I’d like to express my thanks to those who have followed me recently and in the past few months (both at this blog and at Women of Warfare!).
I normally like to visit and thank people personally but of late have not always found the time to do so.
I hate ingratitude and rudeness and would hate to think that any of my new followers and visitors considered me in that way. Sometimes, I’ve been surprised to learn about several new followers from my stats page because as far as I’m aware, this was not indicated to me via notifications. I happened to discover this by accident and wonder if there have been other new followers I’ve missed.
Anyway, in case I don’t get around to visiting you all, I’ve written this post, as a way of thanking and celebrating every single one of my visitors. I want you to be in no doubt whatsoever. I appreciate you and thank you for visits, for your kind, encouraging and supportive comments that have both amazed and brought me joy.
I hope the following goes some way to expressing my appreciation.
‘Thank you’ dear readers and followers
For granting your precious time
To read, to like, or to comment,
In response to my prose, or my rhyme.
‘Thank you’ dear precious visitors
For choosing my place to stop by
For making my moments as inspirational blogger
A wonderful joy-induced high.
My sincere thanks to those who linger,
Over posts shared from a heart of love
‘Thank you’ to those who consume, digest and ponder
Who support me with words which affirm and cause wonder,
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!
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?
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!
(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?
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!
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.
(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:
Find myself in the
Sorry state of
And historical regret,
Wouldn’t it be wonderful
If this year,
I actually accomplished
One of my goals,
One of my dreams,
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!
In 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.
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.
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.
Blogging 101 – Exercise 4 (identifying my ideal audience)
My ideal readership falls into 2 camps. Both camps comprise of those who are teachable. Within the first camp, my ideal reader is:
a committed Christian who hungers for deeper intimacy with Christ
someone seeking greater conformity to Christ’s character
an individual pursuing consistent and ongoing success regarding God’s pre-ordained purpose.
The other camp relates to those who are not Christians… those who are genuinely searching for both a revelation of and, a relationship with God. They are individuals who are seeking to know the meaning and purpose of their lives.
And within both these camps, there is a further group of people who feel devastated by what life has thrown at them. They have been so trampled by circumstances, they have almost stopped believing that anything good will happen to them… that meaningful opportunities will come their way… that cherished dreams can become reality.
I tailor my blog and craft each post towards these three groups of people. I write in the hope that my words will touch a deep cord within the hearts of this target audience. I write, trusting my posts will inspire, or revive any flagging spirits within the circle of my readership community.
Dear ideal reader, I pray my blog will encourage and equip you to become a purpose-driven achiever. If you are new to this blog, please take a moment to acquaint yourself with me the author, and with the ethos of this site by reading my ‘About’ and ‘Intro‘ pages). But if you are already familiar with the focus of my writings and you know anyone within your circle of influence that could benefit from my posts, please do not hesitate to share and spread the word.
Returning to the subject of my ideal audience, I must add that my target readership will be appreciative of the time taken to write my posts. They are therefore supportive and demonstrate this with their comments and likes. May I therefore take this opportunity to encourage your participation? Would you grant me and other readers the honour of engaging in discourse? If you enjoyed reading my post could you let me know? If you agree with a post can you say why, or is there something further you wish to add? Did something I say resonate with you? Have my words triggered a memory? Have you read a helpful book, appropriate to the topic of my post, which you can flag up to this community?
Finally, my ideal readership comprises those who are kingdom trailblazers. At present, they may not look like the world’s definition of success from the outside, however, they have great potential within them. They are committed to developing their potential, to pursuing their purpose. I believe that through courage, patience and persistence these individuals can achieve greatness, they can fulfil their God-given destiny.
Now because this exercise requires me to include an element I have never used before in my posts, I close with an embedded video, which I trust will inspire you on your journey as a purpose-driven achiever.