Post a Day 2011 – what did I learn from the challenge?

healthy growth in my parsley plant - my blog has grown too!

 Wow! Today is the last day of 2011, New Year’s Eve!

Around this time last year I did a search on google – along the lines of “how do I start a blog?” I liked the idea of writing online but I had no idea where and how to start. I wanted an avenue to practise writing on a regular basis, with no real predetermined outcome. Google thankfully led me to WordPress and it has been a fabulous journey.

WordPress made it so easy to get started with lots of easy to use tools and themes. I still feel like I am only scratching the surface of what is possible. When I see some other bloggers and what they produce, I am amazed at the talent and creativity out there!

 

What did I learn – where do I start? A list might help me explain…

  • It can be great fun setting up a blog site. I change my theme from time to time and enjoy getting a new look and feel
  • I write often but not every day – I wanted to write everyday but I made a compromise and now I write 3-4 times a week
  • I want an avenue to express my thoughts – lots of them – all over the place
  • It took me some months to learn about tagging and how other bloggers can find my blog through them – especially the Post a Day tags
  • Some people have touched my life through sharing and commenting and connecting on similar life experiences
  • I hope that by sharing some of my life experiences, it may be of help to someone else, sometime, somewhere
  • I subscribe to others’ blogs and get a lot of inspiration from them – they are a very diverse group of bloggers and each brings something different to add value to my life experience
  • My blog is more focused now compared to the beginning, however, I still enjoy the chance to veer into a new area
  • I really enjoy taking photos, bought a new camera and take it with me often, for when I need something for my blog
  • My typing speed has improved – a side benefit of tapping away at the keys regularly 🙂
  • I don’t know if my writing has improved – I am not objective enough to notice. I use passive voice less often, thanks to the WordPress tools (I still don’t really get it though)
  • It is a creative outlet for me – I always ponder about the big questions in life and now, being able to blog about them, has given more shape and form to my pondering.
  • I learn a lot about other countries through the global nature of the blog
  • Telling people about my blog is a good ice-breaker –  a little like saying I enjoy karaoke (and I do)!
  • Some friends and family are kind enough to read my blog – I hope it helps them to understand me a little better

So, to all you bloggers and readers, friends and family, thanks once again for your support and interest through  your visits, “likes” and comments. It is very much appreciated.

I wish you all the very best for 2012 – health, happiness, prosperity and lots more blogging 🙂

cheers

Lorraine

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About being brave and strong

Illustration from Chapter VII in Then Marched ...

Image via Wikipedia

I reflected on a couple of WordPress suggested topics about bravery and strength. Do they go together? Let’s look at the dictionary definitions from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary.

  • strong: physically powerful; done with or exerting great force; able to withstand great force or pressure; secure, stable or firmly established; great in power, influence or ability to be brave: to face and to endure danger, pain or difficulty; endure or face unpleasant conditions  with courage.
  • brave: to face and endure danger, pain or difficulty; endure or face unpleasant conditions with courage.

In my experience, the ability to be strong and brave  “kicks in” when I face a fight or flight situation and the adrenalin runs through my body. It is not often that I am chased by wild animals in the jungle these days 🙂 however I can be brave and strong when I am pushed beyond my limits. Fortunately that situation doesn’t happen very often.

There are times when I recognise the reality that if something is going to be, it is up to me to make it happen. I am better at fighting a cause for others than I am for myself. As a parent, I nurtured and protected my children as well as I could and I will still spring to their defense if needed. That is a natural response.

I can be brave and strong when I see an injustice. I believe we all have rights that need protecting and that some vulnerable people need protecting even more than others. I lean more to being merciful than dealing out justice. Everyone has their story and deserves a chance to be heard and understood. There ARE limits to that, of course, but it is hard to define where…

Sometimes our circumstances throw us to a place where we need to be brave and strong. I believe these attributes exist in all of us, maybe in different measure. I consider myself to be a strong person but I am not physically strong so I stay out of physical combat! We can be strong in character, beliefs, compassion, service to others, intelligence, faith, resilience, innovation and so on.

So, where do I go to be brave and strong? I go within. Sometimes I seek God in that space and sometimes I seek determination and perseverance.

Where do you go to be strong and brave?

cheers

Lorraine

The joys and responsibilities of being a blogger :-)

I confess to being negligent – a few weeks back Claire nominated me for the Liebster Blog. I was delighted to receive the award but got lazy when it came to passing it on. “Liebster”, so I am told, is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome! Wow – I promise I didn’t make that up.

The rules are:

  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them  (as above – Claire and Subhakar Das
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the blogosphere – other bloggers.
  5. And, best of all – have fun and spread the karma. Definitely the best part!

 Then, much to my delight, I have just been nominated for the Versatile Bloggers award by Subhakar Das on his blog, Fic Faq.

Thank you so much to both of you for nominating me for each award.

The Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are:
Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
Share 7 random things about yourself.
Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Add the Versatile Blog Award logo on your blog post.

 

Seven random things about myself

  1. I grew up in a small town in country Victoria called Cohuna
  2. I had my first child when I was 21
  3. My three sons had moved out of home by the time I was 50
  4. I am Australian with ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, England and Norway – no convicts to my knowledge 🙂
  5. I love learning about all sorts of new things – but at my own pace 
  6. I like to be unique and have a point of difference – I am not a crowd follower
  7. My partner was born in England

Now, there are responsibilities in accepting an award from a fellow blogger. There are rules to follow (not my strong point 🙂 ) however I will give it my best effort. Can I be forgiven for responding to both awards at once? I will see if I can get away with it.

I have pleasure in nominating the following bloggers  for a Liebster Award and a Versatile Blogger Award. You may chose to select one or both 🙂

Subhakar Das http://ficfaq.wordpress.com (nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award)

Claire http://clairewade.wordpress.com/ (nominated me for the Liebster Award)

Sunshine https://seraphim6.wordpress.com/

Cocomino http://cocomino.wordpress.com/

 Elizabeth http://eof737.wordpress.com/

http://wordsfallfrommyeyes.wordpress.com/

http://ashleyridsdale.wordpress.com/

http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/

http://njlife.wordpress.com/

http://bwinwnbwi2.wordpress.com/

http://countingducks.wordpress.com/

http://tedwitham.wordpress.com/

http://neekswrite.wordpress.com/

http://lazyoptimist.wordpress.com/

http://margrowe.wordpress.com/

http://chittlechattle.wordpress.com/

http://maryamchahine.wordpress.com/

Well folks, this was a big blog! There are so many bloggers that I haven’t included – I hate to leave anyone out. I love the occasional comments I get from people who are photographers or artists – I may only hear from them once but gain much from their observations. I feel like I have known a lot of you bloggers for a long time as we have shared the Post A Day 2011. I hope you keep blogging in 2012 as I know that I will be and look forward to reading yours.

Kind regards

Lorraine

The saucepan dilemma

A stainless steel frying pan.

Image via Wikipedia

When I start something, there is no telling where it will lead to! Just before Christmas I reorganised my kitchen cupboards to make them more practical – less bending down etc. Some of my electrical goods that I don’t use much, went into the big drawer under the gas stove. It is really deep and that limits its use.

Next I found a better place for my cooking implements – saucepans, fry pans, cake tins etc. While I was doing this I realised that my saucepans (fairly cheap ones when I bought them years ago) were showing some wear and tear. In my mind I could see a lovely new set of stainless steel pans gleaming in my cupboard. Next thing, I was off to the shops with a mission to buy some new ones – good quality stainless steel.

I couldn’t decide which ones to buy as there was too much choice and some reluctance on my part, at spending that much money. All was not lost as I bought a new outfit to wear on Christmas Day – top, skirt and shoes.

I thought I had the saucepan obsession licked until I started reading ads for Boxing Day sales – saucepans up to 70% off the normal price. I rang up to see what the postage would be but there was no-one there to answer my questions (thankfully?)

You see, when I was first married we were on a very low-income and I always bought the cheapest of everything or sometimes went without. When my marriage broke up I had less income than before and often shopped at second-hand stores for most things. Later I got a good job which enabled me to take on a good mortgage. I had to watch my spending closely or I would get into debt. Now I am in a better financial position but I still find it hard to spend money. One voice is saying “treat myself, if I can’t afford it now I never will”. Another voice is saying “there is nothing wrong with the saucepans I have – they do the job”.

I wonder if I’m I trying to get a “buzz” through some nice shiny pots (retail therapy)? Probably, but I argue that I could give my existing pots to someone who needs them more than me!

Aren’t I a lucky girl, if this is all I have to concern myself with in this world on this lovely sunny day?

Cheers

Lorraine

PS What would you do, if you were me?

Weekly photo challenge – Between

Wishing you peace, joy and prosperity for every day 🙂

A rose between two thorns

I went away for Christmas this year and actually had Christmas dinner at a restaurant for the first time ever! It was a nice change of pace.

While in Perth I looked out for suitable photo subjects to use for my blog. This is my interpretation of “between”. If you have ever been a Monty Python fan, you may remember a sketch about an old and a new building. This is what this photo reminded me of – the old building continues to offer a valid function in between the more modern ones.

“Between” is a very appropriate name for where we are today – between Christmas 2011 and the beginning of 2012. I love the build up to a new year –  an opportunity to look at life afresh. In fact, I just rearranged my office to accommodate my writing studies for 2012, which will start in February.

Until next time

Lorraine 🙂

Life’s simple pleasures

Staffordshire, 1815-20 Bone china, painted in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Do you know what makes you happy?

Sometimes it is the simple things that can lift our spirits. I love being among nature, such as:

  • I love watching the ebb and flow of the tide at the beach
  • birds, wild-flowers, deserts, autumn leaves
  • watching a willow tree overhanging the river’s edge
  • feeling the breeze in my face
  • seeing the city lights at night-time
  • enjoying fruit that is in season: cherries, apricots, grapes, mangos, peaches and nectarines – even an orange can be special

I also get pleasure from the following experiences:

  • flying in a small plane  – exciting 🙂
  • going for a brisk walk or a leisurely one
  • sitting on a swing
  • driving in the country
  • helping others meet their goals

I love it when I experience the following:

  • a nice dinner is cooked for me and I  am waited on
  • listening to the honesty of young children
  • listening to good music and/or singing with friends
  • listening to the rain on the roof tops
  • being with family and friends
  • reading a good book
  • getting a good night’s sleep

I also feel great when I do something like:

  • a piece of writing comes together
  • assisting bringing about some sort of change by political lobbying
  • having a nice, clean and tidy home
  • completing a task successfully
English: Autumn Red peach. Français : Pêches E...

Image via Wikipedia

I also like to collect some things, particularly miniatures, such as bone china tea sets.  I also collect stamps, post-cards and coins.

So what sort of things or interests, help lift your happiness rating? Sometimes it can be something really simple that can make us smile and give us that warm fuzzy feeling! It may be some stranger at the shops who takes a moment to smile and greet you in a friendly way. That happened to me yesterday.

Until next time

Lorraine

Are you ok?

English: An Australian Christmas tree

Image via Wikipedia

It is well known, but easily forgotten, that lots of people really do it tough at Christmas  time. It is filled with all sorts of emotions and experiences that can be more intense than at other times of the year. It is not restricted to age limits, finances or family status – some people just get really down at Christmas time and find it to be overwhelming.

Maybe we are separated from those we love and are nostalgic about how Christmas used to be. We worry that our children, parents or friends may be disappointed at what we have chosen for them. I think it is really tough for single parent families (and single people as well) at this time of the year, for many reasons.

If you are feeling down or lonely, remember that the time will pass and life will get back to some sort of normality before you know it. You might like to think about members of your family, friends or work mates and give them a call, a text or email, to see if they are ok and let them know you are thinking of them. It all helps.

There is a program in Australia run by beyondblue  (click on the link) and they suggest we ask each other this simple question: R U OK? It might open the door for that person so say that, no, they are NOT ok and are really, really glad that you asked.

There have been times in my life we I have needed that sort of support. I am very grateful that I have so many good things in my life today. If I take one day at a time – all is well 🙂

Take care

Lorraine

 

Enjoy a LAUGH

Christmas in the post-War United States

Image via Wikipedia

I had a good laugh after reading a blog that I subscribe to – you may find it interesting too. The topic of her blog is LAUGH . She also has lots of other quotes and helpful information. For me, I enjoy the little prompts on her site.

I will write another blog sometime soon. You know how it is, Christmas and all that 🙂

cheers

Lorraine

500 comment reached – now for the next goal!

Yesterday I posted that I would feature the blog belonging to the person who made the 500th comment on my site.

The 500th comment came from Dr Tom Bibey and this is the comment he left for me:

 I am the world’s only physician bluegrass fiction writer. My novel, “The Mandolin Case,” is a medical legal mystery resolved by musicians and a golf hustler. It made it to #1 in the Amazon “Country Book” category for a while last summer. (2010).

 Note: “The Mandolin Case” is available at this time as a free Kindle download for Amazon Prime members

Dr. Tom Bibey

I hope you wll take a minute or two to visit his site. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to Dr Tom and to all of you who take time to read and to comment. It is a great community spirit!

Best wishes

Lorraine

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A competition to promote YOUR blog…

watching the clock until I reach the goal of 500 comments 🙂

I love following the statistics on WordPress, especially when they are getting close to an important milestone.

 Today I have a total of 497 comments on my blog. I am very grateful for every one of them – they are all very much appreciated.

If you add the 500th for my blog, I will repost one of your blogs on my site (of your choosing, if you like) and help to promote your blog.

 

Does that sound like a fair deal?

Have a great day (or night) according to where you are 🙂

cheers

Lorraine