CC0 Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Prodigal or Profitable?

If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.

Benjamin Franklin

 

It’s Saturday morning!

This time last year, I was a full-time employee and part-time carer for my beloved mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. This time last year, on a Saturday morning, I didn’t have the luxury of a whole day to myself, with which I could do exactly as I pleased.

This time last year, I was ruminating with regret over past years and decades, when I’d enjoyed a similar luxury but hardly ever spent my spare time in a meaningful way. How I wished I’d used my time more wisely!

Last year, out of necessity, I had to put my dreams and goals second place.

Purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers, realise that your spare time, is a precious commodity. You never know what your future holds. Don’t be deceived into thinking you have all the time in the world to achieve your dreams, accomplish your goals, fulfil your destiny. And if you are currently a “free agent”, pretty much able to spend your leisure hours doing as you please, don’t be deceived into thinking that your current situation will remain the same, indefinitely.

Fulfilling goals and dreams, or the destiny God has pre-ordained for you, requires diligence, hard work and the productive use of your time. If you are in the habit of squandering those precious moments, spending an exorbitant amount of time on activities that don’t really matter… that don’t add value to yourself… that don’t take you forward in the direction of your dreams, then you may later regret it (as I did!).

Don’t let slothfulness, procrastination, indecision, fear or folly rob you of the quality time you have available now, which could be spent productively on pursuing your dreams. By the time you wake up, or decide to pursue you dream in earnest, circumstances may have changed. You may find yourself having to juggle unexpected responsibilities and having to squeeze in micro-moments for yourself. Take it from someone who knows. Take it from a procrastination queen!

There are two types of wisdom available to you dear reader. There’s the one you acquire from your own hard-earned experience, and the type you gain from listening to and learning from the hard-won experience of others.

In the context of using your spare time profitably, which type of wisdom will you choose to learn from this year?

Wisdom is the principal thing;

Therefore get wisdom.

And in all your getting, get understanding.

(Proverbs 4:7 NKJ)

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers have a blessed and productive week.

CREDIT: CC0 Image – courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Are you guilty of wasting your spare time, or are you a workaholic?

Did you enjoy reading this post? Please let me know your response in the comment box below. Likes, ratings and shares will be most gratefully received.

Best wishes,

Carol

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“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer

My other blog: (Women of Warfare!)

My Google Collection: (Soul Surgery)

 

 

 

3 Tips For Making Successful Life-changes

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details. (Unfortunately, Lady Cee only has capacity to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays).

 

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My Thinking Corner

 

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Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

It’s a new year and with it comes the promise of new opportunities. With it comes new hope for old dreams and even enthusiasm for new ones. At least that’s how I feel. How about you?

Now I’m aware from talking to others and from articles read on the subject of self-motivation and pursuing personal goals that some people, disheartened by past failures, have given up completely and do not even attempt to make new resolutions, or New Year goals.

If you belong to that category of “no-hopers’ and have laid aside your ambitions, or if like me, you are refusing to give up on your dreams and are choosing to set out on that path of optimism once again, I hope the following thoughts and suggestions will encourage, perhaps even inspire you.

 

1.  EAT MODERATELY

It’s easy when you are feeling excited and self-motivated to try and saturate yourself in as much knowledge as possible. So you buy a book, research appropriate resources online, perhaps seek out a mentor. But this can lead to information overload, to mental and emotional indigestion.

When it comes to making life changes, or pursuing dreams, you will most probably need to seek out information. But in your enthusiasm, or haste to get from A to B quickly, you can overdo it.

Have you ever been unwell, gone on a diet or a fast? Do you remember your stomach shrinking from not eating your customary amount of food? Think of your desire to cram in as much information, as quickly as possible, as being much like you gorging lots of rich food after a period of fasting. It makes you feel uncomfortable, perhaps even sick.

The trick is to consume the information you need in digestible portions. The trick is to make small demands upon yourself. Take small steps daily, rather than trying to make significant changes overnight. Think elephant – the way to eat one is by taking small bites at a time!

 

2.  EXERCISE GENTLY

Have you ever been unfit?

I can recall a time when I suffered from a chronic back problem. Even my normal walking pace was significantly affected. I’d set off down the road and people seemed to zoom past me, even though they weren’t walking particularly fast. School children reluctant to get where they were going and even elderly folk, managed to disappear in the distance, whilst I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. I had to be patient with myself and determined. Thankfully, over time, I regained my fitness.

Pursuing goals, achieving your dreams, requires you to exercise your life-changing muscles regularly. Just as you wouldn’t just pick up a set of heavy weights and try to lift them the first day or week you visit a gym, exercise those life-changing muscles slowly and gently. When it comes to pursuing your dreams, start out with small changes, then increase efforts, once your capacity to deal with more, enlarges.

 

3.  EXCISE RUTHLESSLY

Become your own personal development surgeon.

You know yourself better than anyone else. Which cankerous areas of your life do you need to remove? Cut out those excuses (no time, no money, no skills). Remove time-wasting activities and if need be, sacrifice the odd leisure pursuit in order to make more time for learning, or practising, or working on your project.

Above all, ruthlessly sever wrong thinking! Replace negative thoughts (I can’t do this, I’ll never master that, I’m not intelligent enough), with life-enhancing meditations. Renew your mind with the Word of God. Adopt a pertinent motivational quote as your mantra for a week, a month, even the entire year.

 

Before I close this thinking session, let me leave you with a quote from Carole Gaskell, life-coach and author of Your Pocket Life Coach:

We are all capable of making changes in our lives, the secret is to break things down into SMALL STEPS – tiny steps in fact – and spend a few minutes EVERY DAY taking action. Little and often is one of the fundamental secrets to successful transformation.

 

Purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers – we can do it! Have a blessed and victorious week.

 

CREDIT: The above CCO image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com 

Please share your response to this post in the comment box below.  If you enjoyed reading, don’t hesitate to like, comment on and share this post with your social media network. Many thanks in anticipation!

 

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Purpose-Driven Achiever’s Top 10 Posts

 

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Hello lovely readers, faithful followers and new visitors – I wish you God’s very best for 2017 – may your endeavours be fruitful, your goals accomplished, and your journey toward success, prosperous.

As many of you who have followed me for some time will know, this blog aims to encourage you to walk with God, as a dream-achiever and purpose-driven believer, rather than being driven by impure motives or a negative mindset.

I am aware that I have acquired some new followers during my absences last year. And so this post has been written especially with you in mind. Apologies, if I have not managed to get around to acknowledging your follows.

When I first began blogging, I used to receive notifications for every follow. For a little while now however, I’ve noticed that I’m not always advised when this is the case. I realise I’ve had a few blogging breaks, so perhaps the WordPress process changed whilst I was away, since on quite a few occasions, it is only when I’ve been looking at my stats that I notice the names of new members joining the community of purpose-driven achievers.

So, old and new followers and other visitors, thank you for honouring me with your time, for reading and responding to my posts. It is greatly appreciated and gratefully received. Bless you!

New followers, you may wish to read some of my popular posts of last year, whilst old followers, you may find it useful to re-acquaint yourself with these. I’m always amazed at how quickly we can forget what we’ve read, even when they’ve touched our hearts, or made an impact upon us in some way.

And so without further ado, let me give you my top ten posts from 2016. I’ve divided these into two sections – those which received the most views and those which received the most likes. Where there are two posts that have received equal top views or likes, I have listed both. And I’m pleased to say that a few of the posts have made it to both lists. Happy reading!

 

Posts Which Received Top Views

1.  Paradise Lost or Regained?

A personal invitation to agnostics and atheists, curious seekers, spiritual outsiders and lost sheep. Will you accept?

and

Quit Comparing

Aspiring writers, bloggers, success hounds – give yourself a break!

      2.  Satan’s Suicidal Mission

A WordPress Daily Prompt exercise – Mr Diablo comes a cropper! Read all about it!

3.  Charisma or Character?

Which leadership trait attracts you? Which do you believe to be more valuable on your journey to success?

4.  Secrets of Success

Success keys shared by someone who knows! In my eyes, Oprah Winfrey epitomises phenomenal achievement and success. Interested in learning her secrets? Read and listen to this post to unlock them.

5.  Lady Cee’s Thoughts on Integrity

Do you have a set of moral values? Do you keep them at all costs, or do they get in the way of your pursuits for success?

and

Effective Communication

Most of us are guilty of being distracted whilst talking to others, of not really listening. Here are 7 keys to improving your communication skills.

 

Posts Which Received Most Likes

1.  Quit Comparing

See Top Views above for blurb details

2.  Satan’s Suicidal Mission

Again, please see Top Views above for blurb details

and

Give God Your All

If you’ve committed your life into Christ’s keeping and control, has your commitment waned over time? True success requires an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to pursuing your God-given destiny.

3.  A Stark Contrast

Another WordPress Daily Prompt exercise – Lady Cee measures herself against the incomparable Christ. The result? Click the above link to find out!

4.  Paradise Lost or Regained?

Once again, please see Top Views above for blurb details

and

What is Your Life Metaphor?

Did you know that your life metaphor determines your outlook and dictates your actions? Click the above link to learn more.

5.  A Debt of Gratitude

I am sure many of you are familiar with the saying: “it takes a village to raise a child”. I’d like to use that same concept and say: it takes a team, or a partnership to achieve success, to fulfil your destiny. Do you appreciate your destiny-helpers? Have you thanked them? And do you thank God for those individuals who’ve made quality investments in your life?

and

Five Years Ago

This Blog Challenge post shares personal ramblings and reflections on my creative pursuits: writing, journaling and gardening.

 

As always, I invite you dear readers to connect with me by sharing your response in the comment box below. Do you have a favourite post from the above selection? If the post you liked most doesn’t feature above, then please let me and the PDA community know which one you preferred. Many thanks in anticipation.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, have a blessed and productive week!

 

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A Dream Plus Persistence = Success!

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MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY (1st Monday of each month)

Sharing and Savouring Secrets of Success…

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THEME WORD:

PERSISTENT – continuing with determination in spite of discouragement; dogged; tenacious

(Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)

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Ambition is not enough! Desire is not enough! And wishful thinking will certainly not catapult you into the pathway of success!

I have heard it said that pursuit is the proof of desire. And I know from personal experience that pursuit is not a one-time-effort. It’s not a once-in-a-while activity. Pursuit must be consistent. Your dream, your goal, requires persistence.

The question is: do you and do I have what it takes to cross the finishing line?

The following is a 3.5 mins motivational video, which I trust will encourage and spur you towards the fulfilment of your dreams.

 

 

 

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, may 2017 be your year of achievement and success, as you persist with your endeavours.

 

SELF SCRUTINY:

Is there a dream, goal or vision that you’ve abandoned or neglected because you felt discouraged? Are you willing to try again, to persist until you succeed?

Please share your response to this post in the comment box below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Wishing You All A Wonderful New Year!

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As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection – a time to release old thoughts and beliefs and forgive old hurts. Whatever has happened in the past year, the New Year brings fresh beginnings. Exciting new experiences and relationships await. Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future. ― Peggy Toney Horton

 

What do you need in the New Year? You need a dream; your dream needs an action; and your action needs right thinking! Without right thinking, you can have only unrealised dreams! ― Mehmet Murat Ildan

 

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. ― Ellen Goodman

 

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering ‘it will be happier’. ― Alfred Tennyson

 

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous New Year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

 

 

My heartfelt thanks to all followers and readers for supporting me with your visits, comments and likes. It has truly been a blessing and an honour to share my thoughts with you. I wish you all God’s very best and look forward to the pleasure of your visits throughout the coming year.

Best wishes,

Carol

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https://plus.google.com/collection/Qw96cB

“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer

 

 

Food! Comforting Food!

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details on how to participate click on above link)

Yes, it is day 27 of Lifewithgraceandbeauty.com’s Blog Challenge. Since, I’ve not been able to post daily, I’m taking my pick from the prompts I’ve missed. Today’s post relates to Day 15 of the challenge. And so, without further ado…

 

Prompt Fifteen | Comfort Food of Choice

Feeling a little down?  The changing of the seasons has you a bit under the weather?  Don’t feel like being social today?  At some point in our life we need comfort.  And while there are plenty of different ways to be comforted, a common theme we can all agree on is comfort food!  What do you like to eat when you’re sick, feeling a little down, or just whenever you’re in need of some yummy goodness?

 

Comfort Food.

For me it conjures up a picture of warmth, homeliness and love.

What form will it take? A bowl of steaming soup? A plate of fattening carbohydrates? Or a dish of ice cream?

I believe many of us are familiar with the TV scenario where girl gets dumped by her boyfriend, or discovers her man and best friend have betrayed her. And so to what does she turn for comfort? A tub of ice cream!

Not me! Ice cream for me is a pleasure. A way of pampering myself—so no way do I want to associate it with unhappy times. And if  I’m seeking comfort from my food because of inhospitable weather, then frozen dessert is so not the way to go!

Now when the weather is cold and hostile outside, I need nutritional enrichment inside. I need an affectionate bear hug from my food. I therefore turn to shepherd’s pie with its comforting moreish layers of minced lamb, cheese sauce, creamy, rich and buttery mash with a generous topping of melting grated cheese, or alternatively, a good old-fashioned home-made soup with its hot, tasty, West-Indian style seasoned stock, jam-packed with generous portions of Irish or sweet potatoes, yam, green bananas, dumplings, meat and/or blended beans. Hmmm!

So scat winter blues! Your frosty face is certainly not welcome here!

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.mumsnet.com/uploads/recipes/201311/medium-3-1170-shepherdspie.jpg

 

What’s In A Name?

BLOG CHALLENGE

Do you want to participate? Please visit  our blog challenge host for further details:

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PROMPT 20:   How did you choose your blog’s name?

What’s in a name?

Before we all hit that “create blog” button, we had to come up with a name – something to identify us amongst the millions of other blogs out there.  How did you decide on your blog name?  What did it take for you to finally decide this was the one?

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Another great prompt question from lifewithgraceandbeauty.com on this 30-day blog challenge. I’ve not been able to participate for a few days, so am re-joining participants today.

Those of you who have been following me for a while will be aware that I own two blogs. In addition to this one (A Purpose-driven achiever), I also created Women of Warfare! 

 

Blog 1: Women of Warfare!

I knew what the name of this blog would be before I created it. For a long time, I’d felt a desire to reach out to marginalised, or wounded women and encourage them. As someone who’d endured a perpetual cycle of negative circumstances and despaired of things ever changing for the better, I could relate to those who saw themselves as helpless victims. Yet deep down within me there was a fighter who could not accept that this was to be my lot in life. As a born-again believer, I knew this should not be so. I knew Christ’s cruel death had purchased an abundant and victorious life for me, which I wasn’t experiencing and I didn’t like feeling short-changed!

Now since I’d been a Christian long enough to know that God uses your experiences to strengthen you, so that you in turn can strengthen others, I believed God wanted me to reach out to other women whom Satan had hoodwinked into thinking they could not escape the negative course in which their lives were entrenched.

I realised that deliverance from a victim mind-set requires warfare against the Enemy. I envisaged a group of women who could (and would) turn their lives around through prayer, through spiritual warfare, and whom I knew my Father God wanted to transform from victims into victors—hence the name Women of Warfare!

I particularly liked that the name evoked an image of strong warrior-like women, who would not allow themselves to be brow-beaten and deceived by the Enemy. I also liked that the abbreviated form of this name (WoW!) spoke of admiration, amazement and impressive wonder. I had a vision of an army of women, who not only learn to walk as victorious overcomers but use their prowess as spiritual warriors for the benefit of their family members and loved ones, or any situation that touches their hearts.

 

Blog 2: A Purpose-driven Achiever

This name is a compromise on the name I originally wanted because it (Purpose-driven Woman) and other permutations had already been taken. I went through a couple of name changes before finally settling on this one. I’m so glad now that my original name was not available. I think this one has a positive ring about it. I believe it speaks of both aspiration and accomplishment and I believe it is more in keeping with the type of woman I desire to be.

The name is part inspired by Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-driven Life, and part a reflection of my desire to glorify God as a purpose-driven believer, whose life is focused, fruitful and successful in terms of pursuing my pre-ordained destiny.

 

Remembering the Christ of Christmas

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

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Are you celebrating the TRUE reason for this season?

 

Christmas time,

Mistletoe and Wine

Children singing Christian rhyme

With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree

A time to rejoice in the good that we see.

(Cliff Richards)

 

 

Cliff Richards, Commercialism, Christ

The above refrain taken from a popular Cliff Richards’ song, evokes a warm, wholesome image of Christmas, which pretty much stands at odds to the commercial and secular response often associated with this important season in the Christian calendar.

Many will feast and frolic their way through this seasonal period without giving much (if any) thought to the person behind this important event. With all the clever commercials, hyped expectations and frenetic preparations, it can be easy to forget that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.

 

Stop and reflect!

And so dear readers, may I invite you to come aside and reflect for a while upon what the Christmas message means to us as purpose-driven believers? I’d like you to consider what lessons we can take away from the nativity story, which will equip and encourage us to live God-glorifying, purpose-driven lives.

A big part of Christmas celebrations involves the giving of gifts. The Bible reveals that God led wise men from the Far East to the Jewish town of Bethlehem. They presented Jesus with gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh—as part of their acceptance, recognition of, and homage to Jesus, the prophesied Messiah and King.

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Make faith your travelling companion

I understand from a devotional article read recently, that it took two years for the wise men to travel from their home town, to their ultimate destination. Two years of travelling through unfamiliar terrain away from creature comforts. Two years of not really knowing where they were going – depending solely on God’s guidance through a star.

Logical reasoning would lead anyone to conclude it a risky and perhaps foolish venture, to leave familiar territory for an unknown destination. However, that’s where faith (the ability to believe without actually seeing) comes in!

 

Walk with God-focused purpose

Our relationship with God is often described as walking with Him. It is generally depicted as a journey. There is an oft-quoted proverb about success. It goes thus: “success is a journey – not a destination!

As purpose-driven achievers. we may be tempted to focus on the destination, on the fulfilment of our dreams—but just as important to our Father God, is the journey… how we cope with the vagaries of travelling to the unknown… whether during that pilgrimage we endeavour to be self-sufficient, or are willing to trust and depend solely on him.

Even though it is obvious God was there to guide each of these men on their journey, He nevertheless did not require them to travel alone. There is strength, support, even safety in numbers.

 

Embrace your destiny-helpers

Even though our calling as purpose-driven achievers is specific and individual, our Father does not expect, or desire us to play the lone ranger. Adam was given a help-meet. Jesus, the Son of God, eventually chose 12 disciples. Since God has placed you and me as particular members within the Body of Christ—the fulfilment of our potential, the achievement of our destiny, depends upon our interaction with and, interdependence upon others.

 

Let go – and let God!

Dear followers and visitors, as we move towards the end of 2016 and prepare to greet a brand new year, with brand new opportunities, I pray you will find your destiny helpers. I pray that God will surround you with the right individuals, who will challenge, encourage, inspire and motivate you to be the very best that you can be. I pray that our Father God will cause every past disappointment, discouragement, failure and seemingly insurmountable obstacle, to work together for your advantage and advancement, for your emotional and spiritual growth, and for your success.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, I wish you and your loved ones a happy, Christ-centered Christmas. And if you don’t celebrate the birth of Christ (which is the true reason for this season), then I wish you a peaceful and relaxing break over the coming holiday period.

 

 

CREDITS: the images within this post are courtesy of Pixabay.com

Did you enjoy reading this post? Did my message speak to your heart? If so, please let me know. I welcome your comments, likes and ratings and would encourage you to re-blog, or share this post with your social network contacts. Many thanks in anticipation of your support.

 

Netflix? I’ve No Need!

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details on how to participate please visit lifewithgraceandbeauty.com)

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PROMPT 9:         Favorite Netflix-a-thon Show

One of America’s favorite pastime is watching T.V. There are plenty of tv shows to get hooked on. Some shows you can watch over and over and over again. With streaming like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, there’s always something on TV!

…So tell me, what are your favorite Netflix-a-thon shows? What shows are you currently obsessed with? What’s something you have watched so many times you can quote entire episodes?

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Shock! Horror! I don’t subscribe to Netflix. So, am I missing out?

I did subscribe to Lovefilm and received 2 films of my choice each month. My last discs were from the Mad Men series, which I enjoyed. I originally subscribed to Lovefilm because my husband likes to watch wrestling and boxing (which I hate), so when he’s thus engaged, I use the time to have a Lady Cee’s self-indulgence evening.

Whilst hubby happily watches his sport on our TV downstairs, I used to go up to my study, or “ivory tower” (as dear hubbie likes to call it!), loaded with fancy popcorn, or savoury snacks and drinks and watch a rental on my apple mac computer with its 20inch screen. But not anymore! Oh No! Since acquiring a large screen TV, I refuse to slum it! So I wait until our TV becomes available, in order to enjoy my home cinematic experience.

Come to think of it, I’m due another session. You see, whenever I’ve achieved a goal (which I have recently), I like to reward myself and I’ve been saving my DVD War Room, for just such an occasion.

 

Favourite Movie Stars

filmgerdaltmann-pixabay-1328403_960_720My favourite movie stars are Denzel Washington, Penelope de Cruz and Kirsten Scott Thomas.

I love the Bond films (particularly those starring Daniel Craig) and enjoy Mission Impossible movies with Tom Cruise. I also have a liking for romantic dramas and am developing a taste for Tyler Perry films.

Moving now to my TV diet, I can reveal that this consists of the following:

 

Aspirational Programmes

I just can’t get enough of A Place in the Sun, Escape to the Country and Location, Location, Location (in that order). Perhaps one day fortune will smile upon us (hubbie and I) and we’ll be able to afford a holiday home abroad, or retire somewhere hot and exotic. If not, then a move to the country will be the next best thing—God willing of course!

 

Comedy Flicks

Next to Friends (which no longer airs – however, I do have my DVD box set of all 10 seasons), I’m addicted to Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier.

Kelsey Grammar stars in another series BOSS, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The character he plays here could not be more different from dear old Frasier. Talk about chalk and cheese! I think it’s an absolute shame that the series didn’t continue beyond Season 2 and that viewers have been unceremoniously left hanging, wondering how the ruthless mayor, Tom Kane, will fare. Most unsatisfactory and most inconsiderate! And if you know who the hell’s responsible dear reader, please tell him/her/them that I said so!

And because I’ve mentioned BOSS, I can’t leave out Scandinavian crime drama The Killing. Absolutely ace!

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Cookery Shows

Don’t get me started on these. I just love, love, love ’em. My favourites are MasterChef (both professionals and celebrities) and anything with Nigella Lawson, Barefoot Contessa, or Jamie Oliver. I usually intend to try out some of the mouth-watering recipes I see demonstrated, however, I very rarely do.

I also enjoy Come Dine With Me, which nicely combines cookery (albeit by amateurs), with an opportunity to have a look into other people’s homes and lifestyles. What’s not to like?!

 

Spiritual Line-ups:

And for dynamic, motivational messages to stir my faith and add zest to my spiritual walk, I like to watch the inimitable T D Jakes (on YouTube) and the fabulous Pastor Michael White (at TBN UK).

Netflix for my film and TV fix? Not necessary dear friends – I think I’m managing quite nicely without it!

 

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PHOTO CREDITS: All the above photographs are CC0 Images – courtesy of Gerd Altmann at Pixabay.com

Did you enjoy reading this post? Your comments, likes, ratings and shares are most welcome, for which I thank you in anticipation. 

My Leisure Time Pursuits

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details on how to participate please visit: Life with Grace and Beauty)

 

 

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Prompt 8: 5 THINGS TO PASS THE TIME

We all need a break every now and again.  Whether it’s from studying, working, to escape from reality or to cure boredom.  What do you do to break up the mundane tasks in your life? Do you play a game, check your Facebook or Twitter account, or check the news? What are five things you do to pass the time?

 

Spare time!

For the past two-and-a-half months, I am beginning once again to enjoy the luxury of this thing they call spare time. Oh the joy of being able to get out of bed when I feel like it on a Saturday morning, to know that the entire day stretches ahead of me and it is mine, completely mine. All those glorious hours from 7am to 11pm are mine!

Don’t get me wrong – I am not a lazy bones. I don’t spend hours in bed just for the sake of it. In fact I don’t spend hours in bed period (unless I’m not well). That’s just not me.

The thing is, because I am now in the unique position of being able to spend all that time to myself and on myself, I feel I have to use it wisely. I feel I should not squander it. So when scriptures come to mind, such as Ephesians 5:16 about “redeeming the time” and because I know I’ve been guilty of wasting precious time in the past (periods spent in pity-party mode), I feel I need to make up for the time I’ve lost, by using my spare time working on quality activities.

Unfortunately, there is quite often a BIG gap between what I feel I ought to be doing with my spare time and what I actually do.

The following are my spare-time activities:

Reading

This is most definitely my number one activity and takes up a significant portion of my spare time. I love to read. However, I don’t read as much as I used to when I was a child and teenager. I recall one of my secondary teachers (Ms Harding) encouraging our class to read more. In order to motivate us (or check that we were actually doing what she asked), we had to record the title of the book we’d finished reading against our names in a special book she’d set aside for the purpose. Each pupil was given a page to themselves and I remember needing more than 1 page for my name, because I’d read so many books. I remember feeling exceedingly proud that by the end of that year, I’d read over 100 books.

biblereadingpixabay-896220_960_720So, as I was saying, I like to read. I’m currently on a sabbatical but when I am working, I read during my commute. In the mornings (unless I’m in the middle of a gripping fiction book), I normally read the Word of God. I try to read the Bible from cover to cover within the year. So far, I’ve only managed to do so maybe twice. Every time I start with the best of intentions but somewhere around Deuteronomy or Numbers, I lose momentum.

This year, I’m pretty pleased with myself. I set myself a target of at least 5 chapters per day. And although I’ve not always managed to keep to that target, I have progressed beyond the usual drop-out position. Today, I read 4 of the minor prophet books (Nahum to Haggai) comprising 11 chapters. As each of the books were fairly short, I thought I’d capitalise and try to catch-up. Granted, it’s now unlikely that I’ll complete the entire Bible by the end of this year but at least I’ve already achieved the satisfaction of moving way beyond those early books at which I normally get stuck. Hooray! Hoorah!

My evening commute is usually spent reading either a fiction or motivational book. I’ve now started to read for an hour or so in the evenings, rather than watch TV.

This year I set myself a target of reading at least 15 books (in addition to the 66 books of the Bible). To date I’ve read:

Fiction:

Waiting For An Angel – Helon Habila

Beach Café – Lucy Diamond

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

Liar – Nora Roberts

Every Day, Every Hour – Nataša Dragnić

Rogue Lawyer­ – John Grisham

Non-Fiction:

23 Steps to Success And Achievement – R. J. Lumsden (a re-read)

Success Motivation – Charles Capps

Outliers – The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell

Short Story Writing – Dilys Gater

The Positive Woman – Gael Lindenfield

Positioning Your Family For Greatness ­– Bola Ogundeji

Appointment With God – The Navigators (a re-read)

And I’m currently reading: Destined For The Throne – Paul E. Billheimer and Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee.

Writing

I believe my best time for writing is first thing in the morning, so before I go into work, I like to get in 15-20mins of practice (either an exercise or journaling). At the weekends, I’m more likely to stretch the time from between 20mins to an hour or so.

And of course I write posts for my two blogs Purpose-driven Achiever and Women of Warfare!

I’m a slow writer and I’m obsessive about making sure my posts are as perfect as they can be in terms of readability, comprehension, grammar, presentation and clearly getting across what I have to say. Often when I’ve uploaded my prepared text into WordPress Admin, I’m presented with all sorts of problems from the themes I use. They often re-arrange my layout and refuse to toe the line regarding how I want the text to be laid out. Numbered paragraphs, bullet points and line spacing are a particular nightmare.

Why can’t they be as amenable and co-operative as the Word documents my posts were originally created in? Why do they (the themes) keep exercising their own minds and doing their own thing? Why don’t they recognise that I’m supposed to be the boss? I can end up spending a frustrating amount of time trying to format each post  in the way I want it to look. I don’t always manage it, perhaps because I am not IT literate. I try my best nevertheless but feel mega-guilty about all the time spent on just 1 post. Oh someone please deliver me from my perfectionist bent!

Other Leisure Activities:

Cinema/Theatre/TV

remotecontrolpixabay-825597__340To completely unwind, I like to watch my DVD box set Friends. I’ve probably watched the entire set of 10 seasons (20 discs in total) around half-a-dozen times already, if not more. I love them. They are so funny and I find this is just what I need after a long tiring day, or to get me out of “pity-party” mode.

My husband loves watching action films, so provided they’re not too violent, I’ll watch a movie with him at home, or we’ll go to the cinema. He in turn panders to my tastes and will treat me now and again to a theatre trip.

Hospitality

I do love to cook and entertain but these days my hospitality is confined to having family members over about 2-3 times per year.

Shopping

When I’m in the mood I’ll go shopping, sometimes for necessities like clothes or new shoes but mostly for home accessories and furnishings. I’m into home make-over shows and these often inspire me.

And so here endeth my epistle on how I spendeth my spare time. Wow! When I began writing this, I didn’t even think I had that much to say!

 

QUESTION:

Did anything in this post resonate with you? How do you like to spend your spare time? Please share your response in the Comment box below and your likes, ratings and shares will also be most appreciated. Thank you for reading.

PHOTO CREDITS: the CC0 images used in this post are from Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Path Of “Adulting”

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details visit: Life with Grace and Beauty)

 

Prompt Seven | When You Finally Started “Adulting”

Oh to be a kid again!  Except now we’re adults with careers, responsibilities, and other grown-up business.  When did you finally start “adulting”?  What moment marked your transition to adulthood?  What makes you feel like an adult?

 

Child or Adult Mode?
Child or Adult Mode?

 

I remember when I turned 18 years old. I thought “Yes! I have the key to the door”. And then when I turned 21 years old, I thought “Oh Yes. I’m a true adult now”. At 18yrs and 21yrs, I may have been viewed as an adult legally but in reality I was still quite innocent and naïve. Decades later, am I any more adult than I was then? Not absolutely sure!

Of course since receiving that golden key to the door of adulthood, I’ve clocked up significantly more years of life experience—but does that make me an adult in the true sense of the word?

Maya Angelou made the following interesting observation:

I am convinced that most people do not grow up…We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias. ― Maya Angelou

I think she makes a valid point.

Psychologist and author, Robert Firestone Ph.D also seems to support Angelou’s statement. He says:

Most people are unaware that they are conducting their lives more from a child’s frame of reference than in an adult mode. Although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, rarely do they achieve emotional maturity.

Oh dear! Perhaps “adulting” and adulthood are two different things. I will however, treat the two terms as interchangeable throughout this post.

To be honest, I’ve never heard the word “adulting” before. Perhaps it is an Americanism. Or perhaps it is an original term coined by our blog challenger. Anyway, I’ll respond to her question according to what I think it means—i.e. those activities and behaviours, which mark ones transition from childhood dependency to adult independence.

I suppose securing my first full-time job was my first step upon the ladder of adulthood. Working 9-5 and earning a wage, made me feel as grown up as my parents. Most of my school friends decided to stay on at school but I was in a hurry to work and earn. I saw it as a definitive move through the door of independence. However, I was still living at home and I was expected to hand over my pay cheque, so the feeling of independence was incomplete.

Moving out of the family home, having to pay rent, buy food and plan meals allowed me to put my foot on the second rung of adulthood. Unfortunately, irresponsibility with money matters meant I found myself in debt and had to square up to the responsibility of dealing with debt collectors, pay back monies owed plus the exorbitant interest, plus still afford the daily costs of living, whilst trying to maintain an independent lifestyle.

That experience introduced me to another rung in the step ladder of adulthood—the discipline of delayed gratification. I promised never to get myself into that situation again. For years I kept that promise. However, when my husband and I moved into our new house, I couldn’t wait to see it furnished and styled the way I envisaged. So out came the credit cards! If my life could be likened to a game of snakes and ladders, I suppose at that point, any adulting ground I’d made was almost completely lost.

moroccodanielwanke-pixabay-1623127_960_720My most memorable step into adulthood occurred the first time I went abroad on holiday. I went with my best friend to Morocco and we had a whale of a time. We decided that we didn’t want to go to the usual places like France or Spain, and so chose an 18-30s holiday where the accommodation was in mud huts with thatched roofs, arranged in villages. It was called Camp Africa!

When we first planned this we were both so excited. But I recall my mum and an insurance man (who perhaps wasn’t very happy about me cashing in a policy to pay for the holiday), putting severe doubts in our minds about the safety and salubriousness of our country choice. As it turned out we need not have worried. We had a fantastic time and I can honestly say, it was one of the best holidays of my life.

keysilviafrankpixabay-1809636_960_720My next significant move up the ladder of adulting, came when I got married. Setting up a home with a husband and learning to live together, learning to say “we” instead of “I”, learning to consult instead of independently making my own decisions, learning to become a united two rather than a solitary one, were part and parcel of that ascent. I’d like to think that I’ve moved up several stages in the curriculum of covenant relationship and marital harmony but since marriage is a life-time education, I’m probably still some way off from achieving my certificate of distinction!

My latest rise up the ladder of adulthood came when my dear mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For several years I had to effectively put my personal life on hold, in order to be there for her as a part-time carer, whilst still holding down a full-time job. And then this year my wonderful, supportive husband gave me leave to take a sabbatical from work in order to look after mum full-time, since I did not want her to go into a home. Sadly, my mother became quite ill and died in hospital in September this year. I wrote a post at my other blog called The Politics of Hope, sharing my thoughts and emotional struggles during this time, which you may be interested to read.

And so, it’s here that I now pause on the ladder of adulting, whilst I determine my next move, or wait for another chapter of life’s vicissitude to unfold . In terms of emotional maturity, I know I have a long way to go. But I do believe that even in this area of weakness there has been some discernible growth.

Thank you dear readers for listening. I appreciate you taking the time to hear me out and trust I did not bore you!

And should you want to know what Robert Firestone deems to be the hallmarks of true adulthood, you can read his article at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-experience/201306/six-aspects-being-adult

PHOTO CREDITS: All images used are courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Enjoying My Dream Vacation

BLOG CHALLENGE

 

Are you up for the challenge?
Are you up for the challenge?

 

This post relates to day 6 of this 30-day blog challenge (I know – I’m getting behind!). Anyway, do you want to join in?  If so, for details on how to participate please check out: https://lifewithgraceandbeauty.com/2016/11/17/blogging-goals-whos-up-for-the-challenge/

 

Blog challenge prompt:  DAY 6

All work and no play?  We all need time to relax and unwind.  What’s your favorite vacation spot?  Why is this your favorite place to unwind?  What is the best thing to do here?  Where’s the best place to eat here?

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CC0 Image – courtesy of Michelle Maria at Pixabay.com

 

There are some exquisite places within this world and I have been fortunate and extremely blessed, to have holidayed in just a few of these places.

But wherever I go, whether it be on a tropical island, or a country retreat in the British Isles, or even just in my own back garden (during such times when I couldn’t afford to take a holiday, or my sense of obligation prevented me from doing so), the favourite spot for me has to be the wonderful world of an author’s creative imagination. It has to be the world within a new fiction book.

You see, for me the ultimate in relaxation, in glorious, unashamed revelling at the complete and utter freedom to please myself, to relax and unwind, to not be dictated to by a clock, or monotonous routine, or other people’s demands—but to be able to lie back, or sit in a space where I can absorb the delicious, obliging rays of warm sunshine and enjoy the ambience of my surroundings—has just got to be the joy of reading a new story, of making the acquaintance of new characters, of engaging with the various twists and turns of my vacation buddies’ convoluted lives.

holidaybooks-unsplash-918521_960_720And so, as a measure of my appreciation to the author, and also as a measure of loyalty to these fictional friends, I ride the highs and lows of their joys and disappointments. I empathise with their pains, sorrows and failures. I exult in their achievements and success. Yes, as the plot unfolds, I’m absolutely angst-ing (ok, I admit it – I’ve just made up this word) alongside them. I’m rooting for, and celebrating with them.

In other words, dear reader, the joy of luxuriating in a magical world of creative words and literary phrases is my favourite vacation spot. And if you add to the mix, balmy weather, tasty food, thirst-quenching drinks and melt-in-the-mouth, more-ish ice-cream, then, believe me, I’m in seventh heaven!

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Dream-achievers, where and how do you like to unwind? Please share your response in the comment box below and, if you enjoyed reading this post, don’t hesitate to like, rate, or share it with your social network contacts. My sincere thanks in anticipation.

 

My Paper-round, Parents and Career Pursuits

BLOG CHALLENGE

Are you up for the challenge?
Are you up for the challenge?

For details on how to participate visit: https://lifewithgraceandbeauty.com/2016/11/17/blogging-goals-whos-up-for-the-challenge/

 

Blog challenge – Day 5/Your First Job

We all start working at different ages and for different reasons. What was your first job?  Where did you work?  What was your schedule like?  Why did you start working there?

 

When one of my sisters became poorly and could not do her usual paper-round, I stood in for her for 1 week, so that she didn’t lose the position. And that was my first taste of having a job, being responsible for a role, fulfilling that responsibility to the best of my ability and receiving payment at the end of the week.

newspaperkaistachowiak-pixabay-973049_960_720I recall returning my newspaper bag to the sweet shop owner each day, long after others had returned theirs. I seem to have taken longer delivering the dratted newspapers to his customers on my allotted route. Whether this was because I was more painstaking than the others I have no idea. I certainly didn’t want to mess things up for my sister.

I remember feeling excited about the role for the first 1 or 2 days but after that the necessity of having to get up super-early and the novelty of the job soon wore off. I couldn’t wait for the week to be over! This paper-round however, was not my true first job, since it was not a position that offered regular employment and was not wholly mine.

Well, I subsequently secured a Saturday job at a local drycleaners. I was so pleased I’d landed this position and the proprietor, Mr Williams, was very nice to me. I believe I held that position for a few years. What I cannot recall is whether I had this post in addition to my day job, or whether it was purely a Saturday job—a means of earning pocket money, since my parents couldn’t afford to give us any. It’s just that I don’t think I could have been less than 15-16years old. Now I come to think of it, I believe it may have started out as a Saturday only job but that I continued working there for a while (at Williams Drycleaners), even after I began working properly elsewhere, as a full-time employee.

drycleaningunsplashfh4uo2pya-m0851Williams Drycleaners had a reputation for offering an excellent service. I did not appreciate it at the time, thinking a drycleaners is a drycleaners. But my own experiences since, of a less than desirable service from other establishments; complaints from my husband about the lack of good drycleaners (who don’t put double creases into his trousers and who return your items looking crisp and clean—not shiny, or in the same unclean condition in which they were handed over), plus the anecdotes from one of my brothers, whose cleaning and mending instructions were not followed to the letter, made me realise this is not the case!

My first full-time job was as a typist in the Civil Service. I worked in the Land Registry Department. My boss, the typing pool supervisor, was most impressed with my typing and presentation skills. I am not surprised because I had learnt to touch type at the age of 13 or 14 years old.

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Do you remember when salesmen used to call at your door selling their wares? Well I believe a salesman from the Scheidegger Training Institute had called at ours and my father, who wanted me to have better prospects than becoming a factory worker, decided to enrol me. I learned how to touch type, and earned a Diploma confirming I’d completed the “ten-finger touch method typewriting course including copy and speed typing, use of English and letter writing”. I was very proud of this achievement, especially as I’d achieved it outside of the school curriculum and a good 2-3 years before I actually left school.

Well, dear reader, my civil service job lasted approx 2-3 weeks!

I believe I was one of the youngest in the typing pool. I’d not been there a full week when I felt bored and wanted to leave. My other colleagues constantly moaned about how they hated their job and hated working there. I wondered why they didn’t leave and decided I did not want to turn into someone who stayed in a job they detested, yet moaned to all and sundry about how unhappy they were. So I decided to leave and I did.

Looking back, I can now understand those women. I was young, living at home, with no responsibilities. They were probably married, had a mortgage, plus bills to pay and children to raise. They could not afford the luxury of walking out of a secure job at whim. They had to be responsible. They were adults!

Now because I had this typing ability and because my father had sacrificed to pay for my tuition, I wanted to honour his sacrifice and please him. I did not want his sacrifice, or the skill it had secured, to go to waste, so I decided I’d become a secretary or a personal assistant.

My mother however, wanted me to use the excellent dress-making skills she’d passed on to me and secure a job in the fashion field. I later regretted not trying to pursue this.

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Perhaps I would have been a fashion designer now, or held some other position in the glamorous world of fashion. And who knows, perhaps (unlike Meryl Streep), I would have become The Angel Who Wears Prada!

 

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Did you enjoy reading this post? Please let me know your response in the comment box below. Thank you.

 

Early Memories

BLOG CHALLENGE

(to participate see link below)

 

blogging-pixabay1805004_960_720
Are you up for the challenge?

 

 

Blog challenge – Day 4: Earliest memory

Tapping into your senses can help draw out memories.  What is your earliest memory? How old were you?  What happened?  Why do you think this is the earliest event in your life that you can remember?

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When I first read the thought expressed in the above illustration I did not agree. On reflection however, I believe it is true. Whilst we may not be able to remember some of our memories, I do not think they’ve been permanently erased from our memory banks. I believe they are filed somewhere within the vast reaches of our minds but we either do not know how to access them, or on some subconscious level, we do not choose to.

My early memories are incomplete. They are just fragments of different scenarios. I believe these early memories are from around 6-8 years, then there are a few later ones from when I was around 10-12ish, which is not really early I suppose.

My husband says he has clear recollections of when he was two years old. When he first told me this, I remember being utterly amazed because I can neither recall memories this early, nor so clearly. I had not realised it was even possible.

I understand some people can recall details from just a few months old and some even remember being born. And I hear some people even remember when they were swimming around in their mother’s womb! A-maz-ing!

So my memories are:

  • Walking up a very long path to the front door of my home. As I walked up the path, high flower borders or hedges flanked me on either side. I believe I was coming home from school but I seem to be on my own. Not sure that would have been correct, knowing my parents, who didn’t give me/us such independence and, considering my age (between 6 or 7?), coming home unaccompanied is most unlikely.

 

  • I have a recollection of me sitting in a class towards the end of the school day listening to the teacher at story time. I can recall the class sitting on chairs in a higgledy-piggledy fashion (we were not at desks) and the children in front of and around me listening intently to what the teacher was saying. I was distracted by a beautiful set of coloured pencils that were sticking out of a bag in front of me. 

 

  • Another vague recollection I have, is of me standing by or outside the gates of St. Mark’s School, looking into an empty playground. I may have been waiting to be collected. I don’t recall anyone else being with me. I believe it was the same school from the above scenario.

 

  • At a much later age (maybe around 8-11yrs), I recall having a disturbing nightmare repeatedly. It may not have occurred night after night but I believe I had this same nightmare approx. 4-6 times, if not more. I don’t recall specific details – just what the nightmare had been about.

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And that’s basically it. No real detail. In each of the above scenarios, I can’t recall what the weather was like, or what I was wearing. And apart from the story-time scenario, I don’t even remember whom I was with, or why I was there.  Have I repressed these and other early memories? Or are they sitting in a certain section of my brain which jealously guards and refuses to release my elusive early memories?

I did a little research and experts seem to differ in their theory about early memories. Some say that after a certain age children suffer from ‘childhood amnesia’. University psychologist Dr Patricia Bauer says: “…research is showing that infants do not have the sophisticated neural architecture needed to form and hold onto more complex forms of memory.” Others feel that some early memories may have been fabricated after children were shown pictures, slides or video and the material discussed.

 On reading various accounts of people’s early memories, I found it truly amazing that one person recalled being in the hospital and talking in baby language to a baby that was lying in the crib next to hers. She said they understood each other. That they had this language from inside their head.

I don’t doubt it. After all, God says that he knew us before we were even born (see Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-16). According to Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, we were in God’s heart, mind and pre-ordained plans before we arrived in this world. He  says:

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!

 I still find it absolutely amazing that some children can remember such early memories and in detail. When I do read or hear about such accounts, I wish that I were one of those children.

Purpose-driven believers, before I close, if there are any negative childhood memories, which you know are still impacting your life today, why not bring them before the Lord in prayer and ask him to heal you and set you free? Our Heavenly Father, is a God who both hears and answers prayer!

 

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 If you would like to explore the subject of early childhood memories a little further, you can check out the following links:

 To read interesting accounts of people’s early memories visit: http://myearliestmemory.tumblr.com/

To see graphic survey results of 135 children’s early memories go to: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-s-your-first-memory/

For more information regarding childhood amnesia, or childhood memory visit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_memory

 

Did you enjoy this post? Please let me know your response in the comment box below. Thank you.

Five Years Ago…

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Are you up for the challenge?

BLOG CHALLENGE – DAY 3

(see above link for details on how to participate)

 

How was life for you 5 years ago?  What were your interests from 5 years ago?  What was your most memorable time from 5 years ago?

 

5 years ago?

Wow! I can hardly remember what I was doing 5 days ago.

After checking various records (online for news events, my pocket diary and devotional journal), I was able to piece together certain aspects of my life from that time.

2011 was not a particularly productive year in terms of my writing. There’s evidence I’d worked on a long-term project from May to July. There’s absolutely no evidence in my Practice Journal that I’d written consistently, even spasmodically that year.

I did however, discover an attempt at a poetry exercise, where you were required to write a prose sentence and then rework it into a poem. The result was as follows:

Rather than

Find myself in the

Sorry state of

Fruitlessness, frustration

And historical regret,

Wouldn’t it be wonderful

If this year,

I actually accomplished

One of my goals,

Realised

One of my dreams,

Achieved

A long-treasured aspiration?

2011 was also the year when I discovered the delights of gardening. Having gained most of my knowledge through research from that ever flowing fount of knowledge—the world-wide web—I planned both the front and back borders and was pleased with my efforts. Believe me, for someone who did not know their weeds from their herbs—this was a considerable achievement!

summerjillwellington-pixabay-783345_960_720In the back garden, I planted tulips and daffodils in pots, pink, white and mauve trailing Fuchsias in two hanging baskets. Another pot held white lilies with thin black edging called Eyeliner.

In the earth, I put orange crocosmias, ferns and shrubs (a deep red rose bush, a pretty pink camelia, an evergreen with creamy-white margins, two yuccas, a pink and white hebe and another evergreen shrub with glossy foliage, called fatsia japonica).

I recall a decorative wooden plaque which hung on a wall in our family home. It said: You are nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth. Certainly, whenever I sat out in my newly-created garden, I’d bask in its air of tranquility. I’d sit, survey and take pleasure in the fruit of my handiwork and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

On a miniscule scale, I could relate to how God might have felt after creating each aspect of his magnificent creation. The Bible reports how God looked and saw that it was good. I can relate because I’ve been made in His image and likeness. We share the same spiritual DNA. And so, when I looked around my little garden, I too felt a sense of personal satisfaction and I too saw that my efforts were good.

When I started writing about this post, I thought 2011 had been neither productive nor memorable. Thanks to my foresight in keeping garden records, I was able to recall a positive period and rejoice in that memory.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, if you don’t already do so, may I encourage you to keep some sort of journal? Apart from it being a great record which you can consult later, journaling is generally deemed to provide positive mental and emotional benefits.

Have a wonderful and productive week!

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I Blog Because…

Blog Challenge – Day 2

 

Hello Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers. I do hope you are joining me for the second day of this 30-day blog challenge. If you have no idea what I am talking about then let me invite you to visit this young lady’s site  for further details. You will learn everything you need to know, to participate.

 

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Are you up for the challenge?

 

Day 2 Question: Why did you decide to blog?

 

Can I let you into a secret?

It will take a little time, so grab yourself a coffee, settle down into your comfy chair and I’ll begin. All ears? Okay!

Once upon a time I had a dream. This dream was a long, long, long-held desire to be a writer. I couldn’t shake this urge, I couldn’t squash this hunger that demanded fulfilment.

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At the same time as cherishing this dream, I had distinct immobilising fears and uncertainties that kept getting in the way of my aspirations. I believe it all stemmed from an incident that occurred at secondary school. You see my English teacher had set the class some homework that I was mega-excited about. We were to write a short story! Furthermore, the best one would be read out to the class.

Well, as a proverbial book worm, I’d read hundreds of books and I just knew in my heart that I was going to deliver the best story. My competitive streak and my ego duly assured me that this was indeed going to be so!

I crafted my short story along similar lines to an Enid Blyton adventure. I hugged and hugged myself with a sense of deep satisfaction and excitement, waiting for the homework deadline, waiting for my story to be selected, my story to be read out and held up as an exemplary model. I know it’s a cliché but I waited until then with bated breath.

schoolgerdaltmann-pixabay-1063557_960_720So when my teacher read out another class-mate’s name and the title of his story, I literally could not believe my ears. Numb with shock and disbelief, as the story was read out, I became even more confused. The story was definitely inferior! Now, whilst I may not make such a claim out of sheer modesty, I certainly don’t say this from sour grapes, or out of malice.

When growing up, in order to teach us humility, my mother often used to say: “Self-praise is no recommendation!” However, dear reader, please believe me when I say that this so-called “best in the class story” was not in the same category as my own. Far from it!

Confusion and dismay roiled in my stomach. Our exercise books were handed back at the end of class and I hastened to see what mark I’d been given. There was no mark! Disappointment deflated me completely and the quiet confidence with which I’d arrived at class was now displaced by a queasy feeling. Why has Mr Williams not marked my story?

I approached him. I asked him.

His response stunned me: “I did not mark your exercise because I did not ask you to copy something from a book!”

Now at the time, I wasn’t familiar with the phrase but he was effectively denouncing me as a plagiarist! I protested. I denied his accusation. I assured him with utter conviction that I had not copied my story from any book. I had used my imagination and I’d made it up. However, I was waved away with contempt.

education-614155_960_720I walked away from that teacher dumbfounded. All sorts of silent accusations hurled themselves at and deafened me. Cheat! Liar! Shame shrouded me. Low self-esteem whimpered within me and abject misery consumed me.

By way of explanation for this nightmarish occurrence, I subsequently surmised why that teacher had so unjustly accused me. I began to have a suspicion, as to why he was not even prepared to give me the benefit of his doubts.

You see, black children are not meant to be proficient at reading, let alone have such a good command of the English language, as to be able to write a cracking good story. So how could I have written it? Thus goes my theory!

Now I didn’t come to this conclusion until years and years later—having suffered repeated episodes of racial prejudice, having had the benefit of hindsight. I surmised that this broad-framed, dark-haired and knock-kneed English teacher had most probably indulged in racial discrimination against me. To my mind, only an explanation along these lines, could account for his bizarre behaviour, since I knew in my heart and God (who knows all hearts), also knew I had written the offending story.

The rot however, had set in. I’d heard about “automatic-writing”. Had I been taken over by some being? (laugh). But no, I’m positive I’d written it. It was my thoughts, my ideas – wasn’t it?

It’s no wonder that over the many years since that fiasco, although I secretly entertained a dream to be a writer, my crippled ego, my crucified confidence just couldn’t rise to the occasion.

So now you know my secret dear reader. And that’s partly why I started blogging.

I believe God has given me a writing gift. I don’t want to be like the ungrateful servant, who hid his one talent in the ground. It’s perhaps conceivable that fear of once again being falsely accused, contributed to my years and decades of suppressing this ability. Who knows?

writer-(Pixabay)

I do know that I’m responsible for what God has entrusted to me. I do know that through the sands of time this gift within me may have withered from lack of use but somehow it has also absolutely refused to lay down and die. I do know that blogging provides me with wonderful opportunities to hone this talent, to use and share this treasured gift, speaking into the hearts and lives of others.

Blogging, has given me a new lease of life. Last year, when I started my blog, I committed it into my Father God’s hands along with my writing ability. And do you know, when I started using this gift, just as the protagonist had declared in Chariots of Fire, I sensed the pleasure of God?

I blog because I believe it will become a gateway to the fulfilment of other dreams. I blog because it allows me to write. Writing is my re-claimed passion and writing is an important expression of who I am. I blog because I can!

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 PS: since writing this piece, my husband happened to mention he’d been watching a programme where Diane Abbott (MP),  a black woman in the same age bracket as myself, revealed she had written an essay and her teacher asked her: “where did you copy this essay from?” Ms Abbott explained: “she could not believe that a chubby little black girl had written it!”

Given my own experience, it seems this may have been the prevailing attitude of teachers in the UK at that time, towards black pupils. Interesting!

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Purpose-driven achievers, precious visitors, have you experienced set-backs whilst pursuing your dreams? How did you recover?

Please share your response in the comment box below. I look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile, have a blessed weekend.

 

 

I Am Me!

I met a delightful young lady today whilst on my cyber travels and spent a great time reading and engaging with her 7-day gratitude posts. I want to support her as she is a newbie blogger, and so I’ve decided to participate in her 30-day blogging challenge, which begins today.

Please note, I will not be posting my usual style posts this month. I hope you will nevertheless enjoy the posts that I do share and that you will even feel motivated to take part. I believe this blogging challenge will not only add a new dimension to our blogs and help people like me to post more regularly, but will also enable us bloggers to get to know one another better and maybe even attract new readers.

Please do join in. Go along to her website for full details. Obviously the more bloggers that take part, the more fun it will be and whether you are a seasoned blogger, or a newbie, I’m sure taking part will be beneficial. So come on, let’s give this young lady a boost and help make her blogging challenge a success. Don’t worry if you can’t commit to the full 30-days – just take part as and when you are able.

Blogging Challenge: Day 1

 

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Are you up for the challenge?

 

Day 1 – What makes You, You?

What makes you, YOU?  What identifies you as you?  This isn’t about your gender, although if that’s what makes you, you then so be it.  Who are you?  What defines you as a person?  What sets you apart from everyone else?  When you die, what will people remember about you?

What makes me, me?

I asked my husband the question and he told me three things (of many he says), which I’ll share. Firstly, when he thinks of me he thinks of someone with a sense of style. I like that. I do feel that I’m stylish. I love nice clothes and love putting them together to make a stylish ensemble. I pride myself on having excellent taste. I perhaps do not dress as stylishly now, as I did in my youth. For a start, I do not go out as much as I used to. Lately, I seem to attend more funerals than weddings or special occasions.

Secondly, he (my husband) says I have a beautiful voice. This really surprised and pleased me. I’m aware some people find my voice attractive but I do recall way back in my past that a few employers and service-users had complained I sounded dull and depressing! Anyway, my dear hubbie mentioned that if I happen to call him at work when he’s not having a good day, my voice soothes him. Isn’t that nice?

Thirdly, he says he loves my big, broad smile. I am not a naturally smiley person. In fact people will normally see me as serious, or stern-faced. Years ago, I’d often feel surprised if someone came up and asked “why so serious?”, or “what’s wrong?” As far as I was concerned, I felt fine but somehow my face didn’t seem to register that. Maybe that’s why God has blessed me with a beautiful smile! I just need to remember to showcase it more often. 🙂

Now, let me move on to what I think makes me, me.

I have a strong sense of family responsibility. I will do my utmost to fulfil whatever responsibility I feel I’ve been given. Perhaps that comes from being the oldest of 7 children, or perhaps that is just part of my make-up, I do not know. I do wish that this same mindset would transfer over into my role as an ambassador for Christ. It pains me that I am not as diligent with spiritual responsibilities (e.g. soul-winning), as I am with secular matters.

I am super-sensitive. I will say no more on that front.

I have a deep compassion for the poor and for disadvantaged children, especially in the developing world. I hate to think of them not having enough to eat, or having to take on adult responsibilities and not having the freedom to enjoy being a child. And I absolutely hate it when people misuse their power and authority in order to  abuse or humiliate others, be it children or adults.

I love literature. I love words. My husband calls me a word-junkie! I love reading fiction both for the pleasure of the story being told and for the delight of observing the literary strategies deployed by the author in order to tell their story. I normally tell myself I will read a book twice, once as a reader and once as an apprentice seeking to learn and improve my own writing. I rarely do. So now when I read, I’ll try to do both simultaneously.

I love writing and teaching and sharing and helping others and have a particular desire to see women become the best they can be.

I am a recovering perfectionist. Sadly, that means I can be highly critical and judgmental of myself. It also means I have a desire to excel, excel, excel!

There are many people who would perhaps describe themselves, as avid readers, aspiring authors, compassionate Christians, stylish dressers and responsible adults, with a desire to make a difference to the world around them, so what sets me apart?

Well, I believe the fact that I was born and raised in Britain, yet am of Afro-Caribbean heritage; the fact that I’m a committed follower of Christ, the fact that I have an introverted personality, the fact that I do enjoy social events but prefer my own company, added to my experiences throughout life, my responses to them, my skills, gifts and abilities, my opinions and perceptions, my principles and values, my pre-ordained, God-given purpose, all combine to make me the unique person I am today.

When I die, I hope people will remember me as someone who cared about others, who was a positive influence on others and who glorified God—not just with my lips but also with my lifestyle.

A Debt of Gratitude

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CC0 Image – Pixabaycom

 

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer

 

As a follower of Christ and a purpose-driven believer, I want to live my best life possible. I want to glorify God, honour his name and pursue the purpose ordained for my life. I am aware that I cannot achieve this on my own. I not only need God’s assistance, I also require the help of others. There are people (past and present) who will play (or have played) a part, whether minor or major, in helping me to accomplish my dreams and fulfil my God-given purpose. To those people I owe an inestimable debt of gratitude.

Amongst those people are two who are dear to my heart—my mother and my very first pastor and father in the faith, Archbishop Malachi Ramsay. Both have now gone on to be with the Lord but both in their individual ways made a significant impact upon my life and left a valuable legacy in terms of my spiritual walk with God.

Just as in the natural, the first five years of a child’s life are fundamental in helping to shape them into healthy and competent adults, so I believe the early years of a Christian convert’s life determines their future spiritual development, competence and maturity.

And so I thank God for placing both these commendable individuals early on in my Christian walk. I thank God for their:

  • integrity
  • unswerving commitment to Christ,
  • passion for the lost,
  • fervency of spirit,
  • excellence in service to the Body of Christ,
  • diligence in the spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer,
  • willingness to teach and model their spiritual convictions to others.

 

I also want to thank God for their exemplary input into my life, which has helped shape me into the Woman of God I am today.

Are there people to whom you owe a debt of gratitude? People who have perhaps prayed for you? Friends who stood with you in good times and bad? People who believed in and encouraged you? Folks who have invested time, perhaps even money in you? Have you thanked them? Are you continually grateful to God for them?

PDA followers and visitors, let’s take care that we don’t undermine verbal expressions of gratitude with behaviour that sends a contradictory message!

Have a blessed week.

Thanksgiving Fatigue?

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CC0 Image – Pixabay.com

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to day 5 of my “thanks-fest”. If you have joined me on all the previous days to date – thank you!  If you have only just joined – where have you been? 🙂

Well, the official Thanksgiving Day is over! I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family and friends.

Perhaps you are now feeling a little sluggish from all that food and drink, and perhaps you are even feeling fatigued with the whole gratitude saga. I hope not. There is only one more day to go of my 6-day “thanks-fest”, so I hope you will bear with me.

I’d just like you to consider one point today.

Have you ever given a gift to someone (maybe a child) and that person had to be cajoled into saying “thank you”. Or have you had someone thank you for something you did, out of a sense of duty or politeness but it lacked sincerity? Not nice is it?

ONE QUESTION:

I wonder how our  Heavenly Father feels when we treat him similarly?

 

ONE VERSE:

Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven, for his lovingkindness continues forever.

(Psalms 136: 26 – The Living Bible)

 

ONE BEAUTIFUL SONG:

 

Best wishes,

Carol

“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer

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https://plus.google.com/collection/Qw96cB

 

 

 

 

Dear Lord – Thank You!

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I continue today with the seasonal theme of thanksgiving.

PRAISE

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,

The power and the glory,

The victory and the majesty;

For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;

Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,

And You are exalted as head over all.

 

Both riches and honour come from You,

And You reign over all.

In Your hand is power and might;

In Your hand it is to make great

And to give strength to all.

 

Now therefore, our God,

We thank You

And praise Your glorious name.

(1 Chronicles 29:11-13)

 

 WORSHIP

 

PRAYER

Father God,

You have said in your Word that we should enter your holy presence through the gates of thanksgiving and the courts of praise.

I am so grateful that I can come into your awesome presence with boldness, because you have made me worthy. I thank you that no matter how many times I fall short of your standards, you love and accept me unconditionally.

Dear Father God, I ask that you cause gratitude to you, for your undeserved favour and mercy, to effervesce continually from my inner being. I ask that you will take great pleasure in the fruit of my lips and from my thanksgiving sacrifices. I pray they will delight your heart, ascending to your throne like sweet smelling incense. Amen.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.

Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

 

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I wish you and your loved ones a joyous and memorable celebration. Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers be blessed !

 

 

 

Gratitude Determines Your Altitude!

My Thinking Corner

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  Please check out her blog and if you’d like to join in – see Jacqueline’s “Thinking Corner” (Tuesday Trickles) for further details.

 

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Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

CC0 Image -Erika Wittlieb (Pixabay.com)
CC0 Image -Erika Wittlieb (Pixabay.com)

 

As many of you will be gathering with loved ones this week to celebrate thanksgiving, my thoughts turn to the subject of gratitude.

Experts say that having a thankful attitude in life improves our health, enables us to be more resilient when troubles assail us, and can even raise our level of contentment.

Maintaining an attitude of gratitude heightens awareness of, and appreciation for the positive aspects of our lives.

So, instead of succumbing to stress over unfavourable conditions (which will only have a detrimental impact on our emotional and mental well-being), we can choose instead to focus on, and express thanks for, the good things in our lives.

The more we engage with life from a grateful perspective, the more we can enjoy a stable, self-disciplined frame of mind and the happier we will become.

The following are quotes I hope will encourage you to pursue thankfulness as a lifestyle, rather than an occasional or seasonal exercise.

 

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.

John Milton

 

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”

Maya Angelou

 

“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.”

Roy T. Bennett

 

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

William Arthur Ward

 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

 

“Forget yesterday – it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift – today.”

Steve Maraboli

 

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.

Author Unknown 

 

 

Happy thanksgiving to all those celebrating and to all purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, have a great week!

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Do share your response to this post in the comment box below.  If you enjoyed reading,  don’t hesitate to like, comment on and share this post with your social media networks. Many thanks in anticipation!

 

 

 

A Heart Brimming over with Thanks

thankyouheartpda
Thank the Lord for all the glorious things he does… (Psalm 105:1 – The Living Bible)

 

It’s Thanksgiving!

We don’t celebrate this over here in the UK but I join with you all across the pond (why on earth do they call the Atlantic Ocean a pond?), in expressing my gratitude. Yeah, I join you all with my own low key celebration (no turkey – just fresh air pie!).

I am thankful!

The following is an extract from my writing practice journal, written earlier this year.

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I’ve just spent about an hour or so editing and reading recent entries. I am struck about how negative and depressing many of those entries are, about how negative I am regarding my life, my future, my prospects.

It reminds me of David and Asaph, who complained to God about the unfairness of life, the unjust challenges they faced, the persecution they encountered. I don’t want murmuring and complaining to be a constant feature of my life. I don’t want to always see things from a negative viewpoint. I recall WJ saying I am not as negative as when we first married. Nevertheless, thinking negatively seems to be my default place. I want that to change.

I liked when I used to write for the blog feature “My Thinking Corner”, since it forced me to think positively, so that I had positive things to share. I miss that and look forward to renewing that feature, and re-introducing that attitude in my life, in my thoughts. And so, I thought why don’t I make this entry one of positive reading? Why don’t I focus this entry on the good things in my life?

So first of all, I am so thankful that I am saved, that somehow God opened my eyes and took hold of my rebellious heart and drew me toward him. I am glad, I’m not the same person I was when he saved me some 30 odd years ago. I love that God LOVES me unconditionally! I love that there is nothing I do that can or will change this fact. God loves me! Period.

I’m thankful that I have someone to share my life with and that this someone (WJ) is thoughtful and at times considerate and we get along fairly well. I am grateful for our home and I’m thankful that we are both working and have been in full-time work for much of our married life. I’m grateful that we’ve been able to pay our mortgage and bills and enjoy leisure activities and pursue our interests.

I’m supremely grateful for the gift and talent God has given me to write… for the joy I experience when I do write… for the satisfaction this gives me personally and for the enjoyment and encouragement, even inspiration (hopefully) that my writing has provided to others.

I am thankful for my dear, dear mother*. For her prayer legacy. For her example as a committed woman of God and as an intercessor, as a staunch member of her church and for her unwavering love for the Lord.

I am thankful for my ‘ivory tower’ (so dubbed by my husband). My room of my own. My personal space in which to withdraw, to spend time with God, to study, pray and write.

I am appreciative and thankful for the freedom to follow Christ and both enjoy and express my faith through worship and church attendance, even though with respect to attending church, I don’t always take advantage of this privilege.

I love that I am not on my own. That despite my pessimism sometimes, despite my complaints and angst, I know God is with me, has a plan for my life and is in TOTAL control. I am thankful for the assurance that what I’ve gone through in the past, and what I’m going through right now, is not my final destiny, is only equipping me for better days ahead.

I’m thankful for this country into which I was born. It may not be the Seychelles. It may not be Barbados. It may not be the exotic location for which my heart pines but at least the economic climate is temperate. And at least, as a place which adheres to democracy, the political climate is somewhat stable.

I am thankful for each new day. There have been still-births, cot deaths, road traffic accidents, murders and catastrophic events, which have occurred over these past days, weeks and months robbing precious lives. I am still here, still alive and kicking (or alive and sometimes stressing) – praise God!

I am thankful for the assurance that one day (whenever God determines), yes, one day when I leave this life, I will enjoy a new, fear-free, stress-free, glorious life in Heaven. It is hard to conceive that one day I will inhabit a place where the brilliant, pure and stunning light of Jesus, which emanates from his holy, illustrious being will flood that awesome atmosphere, so that there is no need for the sun or moon to shine. He will be the light.

My mind can hardly conceive the possibility of seeing a world with gates made out of a single pearl, foundations made from precious stones, roads and pathways paved with gold, animals of prey co-habiting in peaceful existence with weaker animals, even children.

It is hard to imagine a world of perpetual peace and happiness, of continuous, inexpressible joy. A world peopled with the likes of King David and his son Solomon, with faith-giants such as Abraham, prophets like Elijah and Elisha, disciples such as Peter, James and John, leaders like Moses and saints of the ilk of Paul the apostle.

But, most of all, it is hard to conceive that on that momentous day, I will actually see face-to-face the beautiful shining countenance of the one who loved and loves me, the one who died for me, interceded for me, cherished me, had high hopes of and for me, sustained and preserved me.

For all these, I am truly thankful.

 

*Since writing this entry in July of this year, my dear mother went to be with the Lord.

Chameleon? Colour? Controversy?

DAILY POST WORD PROMPT

 

I wonder… to be, or not to be?

 

Daily Word Prompt: New Skin

Would I benefit from new skin?

Perhaps a white one, so I could generally find acceptance in a white man’s world. Perhaps then I could walk around life batting my blue eyes, flicking my fair locks and use these as a passport to a world of dignity.

rhinoceros-pairlynngreyling-pixabay1612629_960_720Then again, perhaps I should swop my skin for that of a rhinoceros. They often say sensitive people need to develop a hard skin. I imagine that should be hard enough! Toughen up baby! But, is that not just semantic speak for saying you should not get upset when people don’t celebrate you, when because of your colour they doubt your ability, snub you and systematically besmirch your reputation—or (horror of horrors!) even decide their dog deserves better treatment and respect than you? (Now there’s a thought – perhaps I should just get me the skin of a lap dog!)

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But if I were to develop a hard skin, such that I didn’t feel it when someone hurts me, would that mean I’d have become an unfeeling, uncaring so and so?

I suppose I could swop my skin for that of a baby’s just for the fun of it, for the sake of having that soft sweet baby smell. But I’m not sure that would work either. Loved ones wouldn’t take me seriously. baby-tawnyvanbreda-pixabay784608_960_720They’d start conversing with me in that strange baby-speak, tickle me under my chin, and try to feed me with that yucky pureed stuff in jars. Nah!

So I guess I’ll just have to be content with my own skin. Learn to live in it comfortably. Adapt my behaviour in order to accommodate its likes and dislikes (as opposed to allowing racist rhetoric to make me feel uncomfortable within it, or pandering to anyone’s demands, fears and suspicions, as a direct response to it!).

After all these years, I should be able to shrug off the received but unwanted, unwarranted prejudices towards the colour of my skin. I should be able to – right? And, I should be able to ignore the ignoramuses who believe because my skin’s black and because my black skin is stretched over a female form, I don’t belong to the human race… I don’t have a right to speak up… I don’t have the right to be taken seriously… and I certainly don’t have the right to self-respect. Yep, under no circumstances should I show ambition or promise – no siree!

Well dear reader, I have come to a conclusion. A new skin? What good would that do? I just wouldn’t be me anymore!

Now I can’t think of any more fitting conclusion than this song, which confirms and consolidates my convictions on this subject, so I invite you to boogie along with that consummate musician—the inimitable Michael Jackson.

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Wanna read more or participate? Then hurry along to: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/new-skin

And don’t forget to leave me your responses or feedback in the comment box below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

NB: photographs used are all  CCO images from Pixabay.com

 

 

That Tree!

The Daily Post Word Prompt

 

Hello faithful followers and lovely visiting readers!

I’m thinking it’s time I posted another one of my responses to the Daily Word prompts. This is so I can showcase my writing ability in another format and perhaps gain the interest of any prospective commissioning editor that might be roaming around my corner of cyberspace! Anyway, I’m posting the following for fun and trust you will enjoy reading.

Please do let me have your feedback in the comment box below.

 

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 Daily Word Prompt: Tree

  

CC0 Image by Hans Braxmeier - Pixabay.com
CC0 Image by Hans Braxmeier – Pixabay.com

 

The horse chestnut tree stood tall and erect, strong and silent, robed in its green summer finery.

How I hated that tree! Hated the way its leaf-covered branches hogged all the light and sunshine from my adjacent garden, starving my shrubs of light and life.

I hated the way it spread its greedy grasping roots past its fenced boundary—daring to encroach upon my property, spreading its life-sucking roots with quiet determination, caring not one iota that it robbed light and life and nourishment from plants that had a legitimate right to be there.

horse-chestnut-tree-pixabay275921_960_720Its leaves, although green, are severely afflicted with rust splotches – incontrovertible evidence that although it would have you overawed by its might and height, although it would have you believe it is invincible, some blighting affliction had struck it.

Just deserts, I say, for stealing accommodation for its roots, for stifling and strangling the life of my own plants which have a legitimate right to be here!

I didn’t care that it offered a home, a sanctuary to those green parrot-like birds, year after year and I could not care less about the grey squirrels that use it as an escape route from the next door neighbour’s cat that regularly lies in wait, hoping to pounce upon the pesky rodent.

chestnuthansbraxmeier-pixabay60346_960_720I did care about the huge amount of life and light this arboreal nightmare absorbed whilst denying my own garden the same privilege. And I did care that it dared to add insult to injury by shedding its rotten leaves in my garden, expecting me to pick them up whilst it looks on in haughty disdain, without even so much as a “thank you”!

So, next door neighbour, now you know exactly how I feel, perhaps you will kindly do something about it. And, if you won’t, then don’t be surprised if you, I and your tiresome tree are featured in the next reality series, Neighbours from Hell! Don’t say you weren’t warned.

 

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Do you enjoy reading? Do you appreciate good writing? Then let me introduce you to another blogger, whom I believe needs wider exposure. To read her take on this same prompt, please visit: https://whennothingworks.com/2016/10/06/when-trees-walk-home-with-you/. And, if you do enjoy, please encourage her with your comments, likes etc.

Now, should you wish to participate, or if you simply want to read further responses to this prompt from other bloggers, please visit: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tree/

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Day!

 

CC0 image courtesy of Pixabay.com
CC0 image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Today is Remembrance Day!

Years ago, when I was a care-free, rebellious soul I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. I certainly wasn’t going to buy a poppy to commemorate people I didn’t know, or a cause about which I had no regard.

After all, I was born in a country whose people showed me in no uncertain terms that because of the colour of my skin, they did not consider me to be one of their own, so why would I, in fact why should I celebrate these dead combatants, who hail from a nation of bigots… a nation who made my parents’ lives, and then subsequently my own life, damned difficult?

So they want me to commemorate and celebrate people who’d sacrificed their lives, so I can enjoy so-called freedom? What freedom? Nope! As far as I was concerned, Remembrance Day did not mean squat to me.

Fast forward a few decades and my care-laden, much-humbled and enlightened soul has a different attitude. After all, I live in a country where I am not oppressed by a dictator. I live in a country that is run by democracy. I live in a country where I enjoy the freedom to openly worship God, and follow my faith. I am supremely grateful.

Now since God has a divine purpose for me, I have to accept that He has orchestrated certain aspects of my life. I have to accept that certain components of his ordained purpose include the parents to whom I was born and the country in which I was born and raised.

Listen to what Rick Warren has to say in his best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life:

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!

 …God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose.

 

I could have been born in a country within the developing world, facing famine, drought, poverty, dictatorial oppression, or religious persecution. However, God has placed me within an environment where I can pretty much please myself to my heart’s content. But that freedom to do as I please comes along with a responsibility. A responsibility to serve others, to be a voice for the voiceless. It is not a freedom to despise, hurt, or sabotage.

And so purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers, take heart. Your nationality, even the colour of your skin, is an integral part of God’s purpose for your life. Don’t let the likes of the American president-elect, Donald Trump, colour  your view (pun intended) of who you are. Don’t allow anyone’s opinion to personally pigeon-hole you, decide your potential, or dictate your future.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, the onus is upon you to know God for yourself and become acquainted with his Word. Embrace, meditate upon and regularly recall what the Bible has to say regarding the matter of your self-worth and your potential success.

The following passage is just one of many scriptures our Father God has provided to counteract thoughts and words designed to undermine our hopes and self-esteem:

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”

(Jeremiah 29:11 – New International Version).

 

Today, whilst you commemorate those brave men and women, who have laid down their lives in defence of your freedom, let me encourage you to remember another man, who willingly laid aside his royal pedigree and sacrificed his sinless life for you… for the entire world, so that we can know the truth (Jesus is the Truth), and so that our knowledge of and, intimate acquaintance with that truth, will ultimately and irrevocably set us free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speak to My Heart!

martin-luther-king-25271_960_720

 

 

 

An effective communicator does not merely speak to your ears but also to your heart… your emotions… your aspirations.  (Lady Cee – aka Carol)

 

 

PERSONAL CHALLENGE:

Have you heard or read something recently that inspired you to ACTION? If so, please share with the PDA community in the comment box below.

 

 

7 Keys for Effective Communication

My Thinking Corner

 

CC0 Image courtesy of Rebecca Matthew (Pixabay.com)
CC0 Image courtesy of Rebecca Matthew (Pixabay.com)

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  Please check out her blog and if you’d like to join in – see Jacqueline’s “Thinking Corner” (Tuesday Trickles) for further details.

 

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CC0 image - Gerd Altmann (Pixabay.com)
CC0 image – Gerd Altmann (Pixabay.com)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

(George Bernard Shaw)

 

 

Today, my thoughts turn towards communication and how we, as purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, can become more effective at communicating with others.

I believe communication is the life-blood of relationships. Customers and retailers, husbands and wives, parents and children, politicians and constituents, all rely on effective communication (the exchange of words and non-verbal clues), to make themselves understood.

Whether the relationships in our life flourish or die, depend upon our communication skills. Show me a relationship where the parties refuse to speak to, or trade insults with one another, and we can pretty much deduce that the said parties are in strife, or are indifferent to one another’s feelings. This type of behaviour amounts to dysfunctional communication. This type of behaviour undermines success.

So how can we improve our communication skills? The following are a few practical tips that I believe will enhance our ability to relate positively with others.

  • Use your words to build—whether bridges, self-esteem, or understanding. Avoid the temptation to exchange insults or putdowns. You not only diminish the person at whom your barbs are aimed but you also diminish yourself.

 

Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. (Yehuda Berg)

 

  • Be engaged in the moment. Are you listening (both to what is said and what remains unsaid), or merely waiting for the other person to stop talking, so you can have your say? Worst still, do you interrupt someone speaking mid-flow?

 

  • Don’t be habitually competitive. Avoid turning social exchanges into a “well, my circumstances trump yours!” scenario. (I’m sure many of you will know someone whose health issues are always worse than yours, or whose house/car/children are bigger or better than yours).

 

  • Follow known etiquette in each communication context (e.g. observe personal boundaries when speaking face-to-face and don’t use CAPITAL LETTERS within email).

 

  • Be aware that potentially negative signals sent (non-verbally) to your audience, may unintentionally contradict what you say. For example, I recently watched an episode of Come Dine with Me. One of the contestants kept smirking whilst eating a meal prepared by someone he saw as a potential rival. He had already discounted the other competitors.

Everyone around the table noticed it and asked whether he was enjoying his meal, to which he replied that he was. However, the host saw his behaviour as an unspoken and unfavourable comment on her food and, to me the onlooker, the smirks seemed to be a gamesmanship ploy, particularly as the host’s menu was similar to his own.

Again, let me remind you of Tip No. 1. Refrain from sending negative, non-verbal signals to others, as a deliberate put down.

  • Make appropriate eye contact. Neither stare at someone so intently you make them feel uncomfortable, nor on the other hand, give the person with whom you are speaking, the impression that they’re not worthy of your time. Whilst conversing with others, avoid texting or staring at your phone, looking around at what others are doing, or continuing with your duties.

 

  • Be concise in your verbal exchanges, thereby allowing your listener to engage with you in dialogue and ask for more info etc., if they are interested. However, don’t be curt whilst communicating with others. And please don’t commit the cardinal sin of going on and on and on, ad nauseam, because you happen to have a captive audience. In effect, you are saying to your listener(s): in future, avoid this person like the plague!

 

  • Smile. You may give others the wrong impression if your face looks hard and unapproachable, or stern and unfriendly. Also, remember a smile makes your voice sound warm and helpful, when speaking on the telephone.

 

Finally, to my fellow believers, remember God requires us to season our speech with salt (Colossians 4:6) and to keep our lips from speaking with guile (1 Peter 3:10). Furthermore, no matter how articulate, or eloquent we might be, if our communication with others is not expressed with, or motivated by agapē love, then (according to 1 Corinthians 13:1), in the eyes of our Father God, our endeavours are the equivalent of loud, clashing symbols!

 

SELF-SCRUTINY

  • Are you guilty of any communication blunders?
  • If so, which of the above tips will you begin to put into practice this week?

 

Please share your response to this post in the comment box below.  If you enjoyed reading, or considered the above tips to be useful, don’t hesitate to like and share this post with your social media contacts. My thanks in anticipation!

 

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

 

The Hiatus

CC0 Image - courtesy of Rebekka D (Pixabay.com)
CC0 Image – courtesy of Rebekka D (Pixabay.com)

 

Dear faithful followers and visitors,

You may have noticed that there has been no activity from this corner of cyberspace for a good few weeks.

My apologies for the inactivity and for the lack of explanation.

Following a sudden deterioration in health, my dear, sweet mother recently passed away in hospital. As you can appreciate I’ve had other priorities!

My sincere thanks to all new followers and visitors for your comments and likes during my absence, particularly those whose kind engagement with me have not been acknowledged. I do appreciate you.

I expect to start posting again this month and thank you for bearing with me at this time.

Best wishes,

Carol

(aka as Lady Cee)

PS: If you are not a regular reader of my blog Women of Warfare! you may be interested in reading the following posts: (“The Politics of Hope” and “A Celebration of Motherhood and Tribute to my Mother”), which provides a little background to relevant events regarding my beloved mother.

Meanwhile, Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers have a blessed weekend!

My Thinking Corner – thoughts/thinking

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  Please check out her blog and if you’d like to join in – see Jacqueline’s “Thinking Corner” (Tuesday Trickles) for further details.

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Image by: Monoar Rahman Rony - Pixabay.com
Image by: Monoar Rahman Rony – Pixabay.com

 

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

Last night as I considered what my theme should be about for today’s post, I suddenly thought, why not focus on thoughts and thinking itself? After all thoughts affect our emotions. Our emotions influence our decisions. Our decisions dictate our actions and these actions can produce our habits. Habits then form our character and our character determines our destiny.

As you can see, our predominant thoughts play a significant role in whether or not we achieve our goals, or fulfil our purpose. Thoughts can steer our lives towards success or shipwreck our hopes upon the rocks of negativity. And so, without further ado, today’s focus is on THOUGHTS/THINKING.

 

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.

(Wade Boggs)

 

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

(Henry David Thoreau)

 

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

(Norman Vincent Peale)

 

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.”

(Warren Buffett)

 

I like to think of thoughts as living blossoms borne by the human tree.

(James Douglas)

 

Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.

(W. Clement Stone)

 

One cannot think crooked and walk straight.

(Author Unknown)

 

“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”

(Marcus Aurelius)

 

Thoughts are like an open ocean, they can either move you forward within its waves, or sink you under deep into its abyss.

(Anthony Liccione)

 

We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

(Swami Vivekananda)

 

Question: Bearing in mind the above quote by Marcus Aurelius, if you were to assign your predominant thoughts a colour, what would it be and why?

 

 

A Stark Contrast!

The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt

CCO Image - courtesy of Pixabay.com
CCO Image – courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt: CONTRAST

 

There is a stark contrast between me and Him.

O yes, we both have the same father. We both belong to God’s Holy Order of kings and priests. But that my friend is where the similarity ends. He is far, far superior! He has to be, for he has made me and he is self-existent—i.e. nobody made him! He existed along with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the very beginning. His name is Jesus.

Contrast.

Now he is in Heaven whilst I am down here on Earth. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time that he was here on this Earth and within 3 years he brought much light and love, healing and miraculous exploits to the world around him. Whereas, I have been on this earth for over 50 years and I cannot say that I’ve impacted the world about me, or the people within the circle of my influence in such a marvellous way. Nope! Much as I wish that were true, I cannot say that.

Contrast.

Jesus was self-assured. He was not fooled easily. He did not strike back in anger, or resentment, or any other negative attitude when he encountered opposition or violence. Imagine being the one who made man, yet allowing the creature you created to mock and jeer, choosing to stand silent, dumb as a sheep, allowing yourself to be sheared so to speak. Sheared of respect. Sheared of self-esteem.

He could have summoned a legion of angels to rescue him. He could have opened his mouth and burned his detractors to a crisp. But he didn’t. He humbled himself. He remained silent. He succumbed. Succumbed to the malicious will of those sanctimonious bigots (fellow Jews) and soldiers of the Roman Empire—who breathed lies spawned from envy… who uttered false accusations… who mocked and ridiculed and humiliated him (stripping him not only of his clothes but also of his dignity).

How meek but strong was that to not react, to not use his power and might to blast them to hell? How meek but strong was that to not retaliate? Oh no—instead, he said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.

Contrast.

Now, if the power had been in my hand, I would perhaps have cursed them with my words. I would have stopped them in their tracks. Or I would levitate myself from out of my predicament. Or I would play games with them and put the ‘fear of God’ into them – disappearing and reappearing, taking on that aura of blazing fiery light so they could not look upon me but would either fall down in terror, or freeze to the spot in fear—and then I’d freeze them permanently!

But that is the difference between me and Jesus, the difference between me and the Holy Son of God. Jesus loved me and loved the entire world. He wanted to obey his Father at all costs, so that the world would have a way of escape out of spiritual darkness, and could be redeemed from the hateful hand of his arch Enemy, who also became our ultimate enemy. I speak of Satan (whom I also dub Mr Diablo)!

He is the Christ, the Messiah.

Me? I was just a doomed, rebellious sinner.

Okay, so now I’ve been saved by God’s grace, through his unmerited kindness. Now I’ve been elevated to the position of a saint (according to God’s reckoning). Yet, as his beloved child, his sanctified saint, I am nowhere near the calibre of this awesome man, who loved and sacrificed himself for me, who lived in order to die for me. And as I read his biography and compare his noble achievements with my base life’s record, I cannot deny the fact, yeah, I cannot disguise the truth that between me and Him—there’s a stark contrast!

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If you wish to participate, or would like to read other contributions on this prompt, please visit: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/contrast/

And, for your further reading pleasure, if you have not already done so, you may wish to read my post on a contrasting character – the aforementioned Mr Diablo (another Daily Post Word prompt).  If so, please go to: Satan’s Suicidal Mission

 

 

Satan’s Suicidal Mission

The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt

Image by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay.com)
Image by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay.com)

 

 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (Isaiah 14:12a)

 

The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt: MISTAKE 

Okay Mr Diablo (aka Satan), so you made a mistake.

You had the audacity to think you could overthrow the Lord God Almighty. You not only had the audacity to consider such a move but you also had the temerity to try and act upon your foolish idea. BIG MISTAKE!

And, to compound your catastrophic error, you convinced one third of Heaven’s angels to abandon their allegiance to the God of Heaven and Earth… to the great I AM, and assist you with executing your devilish desire by mounting an unholy insurrection! BIG, BIG MISTAKE!

You failed! Utterly!

Why, oh why you ever believed such a plot would succeed, I’ll never know. Even I could see this could, and would never work!

Now I realise I’ve not been around as long as you have. I don’t have your twisted wit and cunning. But did you really think that a CREATED being could outwit his CREATOR—particularly when that Creator is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent? I suppose that’s what comes of arrogance, deception and overweening pride. Wow! You are a real textbook example of the term delusions of grandeur, don’t you think? Hush now Mr Diablo, it was a rhetorical question—I was not really wanting an answer.

Was it worth the price Mr Diablo?

Was your evil covetous desire for supremacy worth being booted out unceremoniously from heaven? Was it worth exchanging your prestigious position, as the most beautiful angel in heaven with a highly significant responsibility, for the infernal regions of a dark spiritual underworld?

Granted, your heinous activity and warped influence is fully evident around the world. But for an egomaniac such as yourself, surely it must gall to find yourself confined to exerting influence anonymously, through manipulation and subliminal subterfuge. Surely, it must irk knowing that at the end of it all, you and your cohorts (whom you inveigled), are destined for eternal damnation in God’s Lake of Fire.

Do you ever consider your end Mr Diablo? Have you ever rued the day you decided to usurp my Father God’s throne?

Mark my words Mr Diablo—the time will come when you will have plenty of time to consider your error. Yeah, the time draws near when you will have to face the consequences of your monumental mistake.

(“Dead demon walking…”)

Until then Mr Diablo, let me bid you farewell. Oops delete that—let me say: good riddance!

 

(For biblical evidence of events alluded to above, please read Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12b-17; Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6).

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If you wish to participate, or would like to read other contributions on this prompt, please visit: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mistake/

 

Quit Comparing!

Hello dear readers,

I wrote the following article some years ago, to encourage myself and other wannabe writers. I think the fundamental message of this post can also be applied to newbie bloggers, or to anyone pursuing their dream (whatever that might be), or to those who perhaps feel discouraged during their journey towards achievement.

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gems(BrettHondow-Pixabay)
All images from Pixabay.com

Very often we view success in much the same manner as a gorgeous gem within a jeweller’s window display. We’re attracted by the lustre of those diamonds, the flashing brilliance of those stones and the fine quality of gold.

rings (Pixabay)We forget these beautiful jewels have been specially crafted. We forget those precious stones and polished metals had a beginning and that if we were to retrace the journey of those glittering jewels back to their origin, we’d see those finished products from a very different perspective.

RubyNecklace(Pixabay)We’d discover that the item nesting alluringly against a rich velvet backdrop and shining so brilliantly with the help of strategically arranged lighting, started out in a place of complete contrast. It started out in the bowels of the earth.

mine(Pixabay)

Once extracted, if you didn’t know what you were looking at you’d maybe throw it away as a valueless lump of rock. You wouldn’t realise it had the potential to be a thing of beauty, something that evokes admiration, even desire of ownership. You wouldn’t appreciate its capacity to bring pleasure.

The journey of an unpublished writer is very much like the above scenario. We ooh and ahh over the creative brilliance of polished writers. We appreciate their carefully crafted words set against the backdrop of an artfully arranged world. Attracted by another author’s style or success, we long to ‘own’ similar achievements.

books(Pixabay)

However, in our approbation of these works, we often leave a relevant factor out of the equation. Much like our appreciation of a beautiful diamond or sapphire, we forget that this artistic work, these authorial presentations had a fairly insignificant genesis.

Perhaps if we didn’t forget this, we wouldn’t feel despondent, frustrated, or threatened about our own endeavours. Perhaps we’d give ourselves a break, stop mentally flagellating ourselves because we haven’t crafted the ‘perfect’ article, short story or novel.

Perhaps we’d stop dismissing the raw materials mined from the bowels of our creative imagination and instead realise: “Hey! This may not look like much now but given time and patience, it can actually become something of value”.

writer-(Pixabay)

And perhaps, instead of constantly comparing the finely crafted pieces of other writers with our freshly mined lumps of untreated ore, we’d start to appreciate, even enjoy our modest beginnings. We’d begin to see our pursuits, not as a path of frustration and defeat, but of learning and adventure.

Fellow writers (I speak to myself as much as to you), let us view our beginnings and efforts with less negativity and more realistic expectations. Let us put our goals, dreams, aspirations and the different paths we take in order to achieve these, into the right context.

SuccessSignpost(GerdAltmann)Let us not fixate on publishing prowess as the ‘be all and end all’ of authorial accomplishment. Let us not be in such a hurry to arrive at ‘Success Street’ that we forget to enjoy the novelty and nature of our quest.

As aspiring writers, bloggers, purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, let us find encouragement in, and take the following words of Ben Sweetland seriously to heart—Success is a journey, not a destination!

 

Do you know…?

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Hello people,

I just wanted to post something short, sweet and motivational to set you up for the week ahead.  This song has been revolving around my mind for several weeks and I managed to find a short video that I think serves my purpose. Listen. Enjoy. Reflect and be inspired!

 

 

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

My Thinking Corner – Integrity

MTC-BeachHammock(Pixabay)-457311_960_720
Image from Pixabay.com

My Thinking Corner

Hello lovely readers,

It’s that time of the week again when we share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate one another on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts. For further details check out her blog and if you’d like to join in, don’t hesitate to visit Jacqueline’s “Thinking Corner” (see Tuesday Trickles at side bar section for full details).

 

This week, my focus is on INTEGRITY

integrity-quote(vollanza.com)Integrity is not what you appear to be when all eyes are on you. It’s who you are when no one is looking. It’s a level of morality below which you never fall, no matter what’s happening around you. It’s a high standard of honesty, truthfulness, decency and honor that is never breached. It’s doing for others the way you would want them to do for you.

(The Power of a Praying Wife – Stormie Omartian)

 

Integrity is a heart-deep moral stance – not a stage for shallow showmanship

(Carol Hind)

 

Integrity is a choice to honour your moral or godly principles above popularity or personal gain

(Carol Hind)

 

The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.

(Bob Marley)

 

Integrity(BrianTraceyquote-quotesgram.com)
And for a portrait of someone who walks in godly integrity see Psalm 15:1-5

 

 

 

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

SINK OR SWIM? (That my friend is the question!)

The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt: SINK OR SWIM?

Do I sink, or do I swim?
Do I sink, or do I swim?

 

“To be, or not to be. That is the question!” So asked Hamlet (the eponymous character of a Shakespearean play).

Well, my words are not enshrined within a well-renowned playwright’s script but I will utter them anyway. And my query is this: Sink or Swim? That is my question. That is my dilemma. That is the choice I must make.

Sink or Swim?

The choice is not a pleasant one. It’s not like selecting a champagne truffle from a box of Thornton’s chocolates. The choice is, do I allow myself to sink into despair, or do I swim through my troubles looking for the place where hope and resolution meet? Of course, I don’t know how long I’d have to swim before I reach this point. I could get tired. I could drown in my efforts, or I could reach the shore. I have no way of knowing.

Sink? Or Swim?

Do I sink beneath the weight of other people’s expectations and unjust opinions? Can I continue to tread water, or will the constant weight of increasing and unceasing requests—come here/go there, do this/do that, can you/will you?—engulf me within the tempestuous waters of other people’s demands? Do I swim through the morass of moral turpitude that constantly seeks to swamp my soul… that seeks to deaden my godly conscience?

Do I sink, or do I swim? Do I resolve within myself not to let troublesome circumstances overwhelm me, not let them cause me to sink beneath the flood waters of adversity? Do I choose to swim? It is a choice. A daily choice.

But what choice will I make today? Normally it depends upon how I’m feeling. Usually it depends upon whether I have spent time in the presence of my Father God to receive that injection of strength, faith and firm resolve. Will I sink today, or will I swim?

And that is the problem with choices – there’s no one else to blame. You make your choice and you suffer the consequences!

Will consequences be too dire if I were to allow myself to sink within the mire of other people’s opinions—that I’m not good enough, intelligent enough, or successful enough? Does anybody even care that I’m being pulled ever downwards towards the murky depths of low self-esteem?

Surely, to swim is a better choice than to sink? To sink is to give up. To sink is to perhaps invite waiting predators to take a bite out of me, worse still – even swallow me! To sink is to maybe reach rock bottom and never find my way back up again to the surface of possibilities. I suspect there are people who would prefer I sank into oblivion, into obscurity but I shall not give them that satisfaction. Yes, I am weary, but I’m making the choice to swim today. I’m making the choice to swim away, swim forward, swim tirelessly, until I reach that shore.

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If you would like to read other contributions on this prompt please visit: The Daily Post – Word Prompt: Sink or Swim

Question: How do you deal with overwhelming circumstances?

IF IT’S GOING TO BE – IT’S UP TO ME!

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

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THEME WORD: Motivation

Your motivation must come from within, and the first principle of motivation – as in any change of behaviour – is to want to change and have a very good reason for doing so.

How To be Motivated All The Time – Peter J Daniels

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Unlock your SUCCESS!
Unlock your SUCCESS!

 

Years ago, I used to attend a Christian Conference hosted by Don Stewart an evangelist. There is a quote I recall from those days, which has stuck in my mind over the years. It is: “If it’s going to be – it’s up to me!”

Success (as we define it – not as the advertising world, celebrities, or other media determines), is up to us. Your success is up to you! My success is up to me!

Have you written down what success looks like for you personally? If you haven’t, how will you know whether you are on the right path or not? How will you recognise when you’ve taken a detour and need to re-join the correct road? If you haven’t, you risk being blown off course by every ill, or fair wind of suggestion. Don’t subscribe to the “one-size-fits-all” scheme. Compose a bespoke plan. And once you have your plan, get to work!

This morning I listened to an excellent motivational video from which I wrote down the following notes:

  1. Success requires work. It is not going to be handed to you on a silver platter
  2. If you are unhappy with your current circumstances, become your own facilitator of change
  3. Stop looking outside of yourself – realise that the ingredients for your success are inside you
  4. Don’t be afraid or too proud to seek help (i.e. advice, principles, strategies, solutions) and don’t assume people know what you need, or expect others to anticipate your needs – be bold and ask!
  5. Don’t be a lone ranger. Locate your success crew and build mutually enhancing relationships
  6. Learn to speak the language of success fluently
  7. Focus on being the best version of you possible.

Below is the 4min motivational video from which I made my above notes. I would encourage you to take the time to watch.

Now to those of you who choose to invest in your success portfolio by watching the above video, may I ask you to share below which success key challenged, inspired, or spoke something afresh to you?

Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers have a great Monday. If you have not already done so, may you soon find your own pathway to SUCCESS.

 

 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Faces of Longing

Hello lovely readers!

 Many of you will be familiar with the Daily Post prompts. I do not choose to participate every day, or even within the same time-frame that the prompt was posted.

This is a new feature to my blog simply because as a purpose-driven achiever, I would like to improve my creative writing ability and this WordPress feature allows me to do so without feeling the pressure to produce something every day.

I hope you will all enjoy and would appreciate your feedback on these posts.

 

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BlueEye(BreannaWhimsy-Pixabay)-491625_960_720
Image by Breanna Whimsy (Pixabay.com)

  

The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt: LONGING 

Longing.

It’s a word that has the very sense of yearning and earnest desire about it—don’t you think? I have lots of longings. I’ve had longings that have been fulfilled and I have longings yet to come to pass.

Take the time I was walking on Finchley Road in London with my friends. There was a posh travel agents that we passed and in the display window I could see an open brochure or poster, showing what looked to be the most beautiful place on earth. I learned that it was the Seychelles.

I did not know that it was a place that people considered to be a dream holiday destination. I just knew that as I looked at this seemingly idyllic place, the blue, blue sky and turquoise waters, the palm trees and powder-white sandy beach, I wanted to go there. No. I longed to go there.

I decided there and then that if I ever got married that was where I wanted to go for my honeymoon. Well afterwards when I checked into the costs of going to such a place and saw that it would cost about a million times more than a holiday to say Spain, I held onto the dream in my heart but felt it was unrealistic. I believed it was a longing that would not be fulfilled.

Years later, when my fiancé asked me where I wanted to go for our honeymoon, I mentioned my longstanding dream but quickly added: “I know it’s impossible, it’s very expensive.” Well dear reader, I could not have been more surprised by his generous response! He agreed, we planned and we went. And it was beautiful and even better than I had imagined.

Longing.

Long held dreams.

The Seychelles was a longing that became fulfilled. And later, when I think about my other ‘impossible’ dreams, I thank God. Because I know he is in the business of making dreams come true. Particularly, if he has placed those dreams in our heart in the first place.

And so it encourages me when I think about my other dreams, which requires a miracle for them to happen. Although I might not be able to see how that dream, how that longing could come to pass, I need not worry. I just need to leave it in the hands of my loving Father God and leave the logistics, leave the actualisation of those dreams, leave my longings in his most capable hands—the hands upon which I am inscribed (so my Bible tells me – see Isaiah 49:16)—inscribed so that he never forgets me and because he celebrates me!

Longing.

It can be a beautiful thing but it can also be a destructive thing. Like longing for something unfeasible. I think of the protagonist in Toni Morrison’s book: The Bluest Eye. This child is a poor, black girl who has noticed she is not favoured by her school teacher and class peers. She observes however, that a white girl with blond hair and blue eyes is popular and very much the favourite.

And because she is not loved at home (she is verbally and physically abused), and because she is not accepted or celebrated at school, she longs to have blue eyes. She believes if she has blue eyes, she will be favoured. She will be loved. She will be acceptable. She will be a person. She will no longer suffer the pain and shame of ill-treatment, or mockery, or rejection, or ridicule.

And so this girl prays to God whom she believes is able to do anything. She prays and whilst she waits for her miracle, she longs and longs and longs until it becomes an obsession. But her prayer is not answered, frustrating her longing and disappointing her desire.

To the reader, her longing is foolish and sad and painful. And we feel for her and feel her longing and feel the pain she undergoes, as she obsesses over this unrealistic desire.

LONGING. It can be a thing of joy, or a source of deep pain.

Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers, what are your longings? Have you had a long-held desire fulfilled? Please share with the PDA community in the comment box below – you never know who needs that encouragement!

 

PS: for those of you who may wish to participate, or would like to read other contributions on this prompt,  please visit: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/longing/

 

 

Kudos to you dear community!

Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.

Simon Mainwaring

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Image by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay.com)

 

Dear all,

My sincere thanks to all those who visited, commented, followed and sent messages of support during my absence.

Given that I had not been on the blogging scene long and given my recent 3-month absence, your kind words have touched me.

I am back!

However, circumstances beyond my control mean I cannot maintain my previous blogging schedule. I realise this goes against expert advice but future posts will be uploaded as and when time allows.  Please bear with me.

I count it a real privilege to ‘have your ears’ so to speak and, I trust God will continue to use my writing to encourage, inspire, motivate and provoke my readers. I also hope you will continue to dialogue and engage with me and the PDA community.

Wishing you peace and victory in your lives and ongoing success with your endeavours.

Regards,

Carol (aka Lady Cee)

 

Blogging Break

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Image from Pixabay.com

 

Dear fellow bloggers, followers and visitors,

 When I first started blogging I had no idea just how time-consuming this would be. I had not reckoned on the time it takes to interact with others, or the amount of time required to maintain a site. Even though I don’t post as regularly as some others, I’ve found my posting schedule difficult to maintain.

 For various reasons, I’ve decided to take a 2-3 month break from blogging, so this will be my last post for a while.

thank-you(OberholsterVenita)-971644_960_720I’d like to thank all those who have visited and supported me with your comments, likes and encouragement and trust you will still be around when I return.  And I’d like to thank all those bloggers who have, despite their personal trials and busy lives, made time to share their inspirational posts, creative endeavours and beautiful images which have truly, truly blessed me these past few months. Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to re-connecting with you in the near future.

 Best wishes,

 Carol (aka Lady Cee)

 

It’s Party Time!!! Come right in 👡👢👞🎶

Hi PDA followers and visitors. Are you a blogger? Do you want to increase your traffic and influence? Then here’s a fun way to do this – participate in Jacqueline Obyikocha’s “Meet & Greet” shindig. Happening now!

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Juice[1]

Hop in, grab a drink and let’s get this party started.

You are most welcome do make yourself comfortable.

Refreshments are nicely arranged down the page: Drinks, Chocolates, Cakes, Donuts, freshly squeezed juice, Coffee, Tea and so much more. :-)

We even have an Intercontinental Chef in the house. Go right ahead  and place your orders😉Just the little rules of play:

  1. You must mix and mingle with others. Don’t be a wallflower. Go say hello to someone and you can participate in the Tag a poem up above.
  2.  Please leave your blog link or post link in the comment box below along with introductions.
  3. It’s one link per comment, but come back as often as you’d like, that way it’s easier to focus on a link at a time for others.
  4. Please reblog, spread the word of the party like butter, or like, share on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, etc. Tell…

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Five Minute Friday: Unite

Hello PDA followers and visitors.

Some of you will be aware that I have another blog (Women of Warfare!). At this blog I participate in a blog event called Five-minute-Friday. Following last Friday’s prompt UNITE (follow link to read my perspective), I came across the following post from Marie Gregg.
Her message deals with intolerance and pride – something that I feel can easily become an issue in our lives as writers, as dream-achievers, as purpose-driven believers pursuing success.
I loved this young lady’s perspective on this prompt and felt you might enjoy reading it also. I pray that with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, you will allow this message to speak into and regulate your life. Enjoy!

Along the Way

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (2)

Gentle Reader,

I did it. I typed “untie” instead of “unite,” just as I knew I would.

Kate asks us to ponder this deep word tonight.

Go.

Arrogance is the enemy of unity.

There’s no such thing as simple disagreement anymore. So often discussions dissolve into grudge-matches, winner take all. Sycophants take the place of friends. The teeming, scraping diversity of life is replaced with an echo chamber. We surround ourselves with others who are too afraid to challenge, too afraid to question.

Too afraid to be themselves.

Pride clouds our vision. We fail to see our own shortcomings. We hone in on the insecurity of those around us. We pick, we prod, we poke. We tear down.

We think we’re smarter than we really are.

I am fearful tonight. Or perhaps weary and wary are better words. In this age of “tolerance” it becomes ever-more acceptable to be blatantly…

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