I am joining Joyce again this week for her Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you want to have a go yourself, click on the graphic below and follow Joyce’s instructions. Here we go.
1. What keeps you blogging?
A couple of things. First, the contact with friends I have made through my site is a big draw. I love reading what they write and I love hearing from them when they comment on my posts. Second, the discipline of writing something each day. Third, I like a challenge…!
2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-
St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)
Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter?
I have not visited any of these beaches but I have visited plenty in the UK which are definitely winter-worthy. There is something primal about being beside a body of water, and the ferocity of that body of water in winter is a humbling and invigorating experience to be enjoyed.
3. What’s a song you’re embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?
I’m not embarrassed to know the lyrics to any song, but I am highly embarrassed to sing them in public!
4. When you were a kid what’s something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you’re an adult you realise it’s not all that fantastic?
Being “in charge” of my own life. Sometimes I hark back to those days where my bedtime was set according to my age, and being told to get up for school etc. The days when certain TV programmes or films were deemed too grown up for me seem a long time ago, and I’ll never forget watching “Carrie” after being told not to because it was too old for me. It was.
5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” –Albert Einstein
6. Insert your own random thought here.
I experienced my first “thunder snow” last night. Wow! Purple lightning and massive crashes of thunder accompanying a substantial fall of snow and hail. For all the power of its arrival, the snow didn’t stay around for long and it had largely melted overnight. But that thunder and lightning was something awesome to behold.
1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?
I have never had a mentor in the official sense, but I have received wisdom and guidance from several people at different stages of my life which I would consider a form of mentoring. My music teacher in secondary school was a big influence and I credit him with arming me with the sense to keep asking “why?”. I was lucky enough to tell him that a couple of years ago and to thank him for his mentoring in those turbulent teenage years. Since then I have received musical mentoring as well as life skills and personal development mentoring from a couple of different people. I would like to think that I have served in a mentoring role in my life in return for that guidance I have had so far. I think it’s vital for everyone to have someone they can look to for it.
2. What current trend makes no sense to you?
I don’t understand making a circle with your finger and thumb to people. I have seen a couple of memes online where people fall about laughing, but to me, it makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe it’s an age thing…? Here’s an example:
3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few ‘weird’ things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the ‘weird’ things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more ‘weird’ thing you’d add to the list?
I like to think of them as “simple pleasures”, and for me, there’s not much that beats a clean body, clean pyjamas and clean bedding. Next to that is writing with a nice pen (on nice paper).
I would add waking up feeling like you’ve had a full night’s sleep, checking the clock, and realising that it is still the middle of the night and you can still enjoy a full 4 hours cycle of sleep. Heaven!
4. What’s the last good thing you ate?
Corned beef shepherd’s pie this evening for our tea. So tasty!
5. Describe life in your 20’s in one sentence.
As a new/young married mother, life was turbulent but character building.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
I am not one for exercise, but I really do fancy having a go at this. It looks incredibly good fun!
I’m making a return to the Hodgepodge this week and it is so lovely to rejoin Joyce on her weekly blog. Here’s my entry this week.
1. It’s that time of year again…time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they’d like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or genera uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here,but this year’s top vote getter-s are
unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumour), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn’t need to be heated), and gig economy
Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you’d like to add?
I don’t find any of these words particularly annoying, except perhaps “unpack”. I don’t find it annoying, but I do get irritated when I hear that “we will unpack that later” but then never return to it. It has happened in different places recently and I don’t mind the promise of “unpacking” something, but when we don’t get to do it, I get slightly annoyed.
Words or phrases that aren’t on the list? Lush is pretty irritating for its overuse and meaninglessness.
2. What’s something you need to get rid of in the new year?
We have made a promise to ourselves this year that we will empty all the junk from the loft (attic) and get rid of as much of it as we can. We have lived here for around 20 years now, and over that time all we seem to have done is accumulate rubbish!
3. Where do you feel stuck?
I feel a little stuck in my writing at the moment. I am busy studying for my masters which involves writing, and now and again when it’s my turn on the rota I get busy writing sermons and liturgy for church, but I feel a bit stuck as to what to do with it all. I seem to lack the final oomph to get something submitted either for competition or for consideration and I feel a bit stuck with lots of notes and outlines of plots and characters etc, and struggling with turning them into something worthwhile. One of the ways I am trying to combat that is by restarting my regular blogging habit as a way of disciplining myself.
4. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favourite canned soup? Your favourite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter’s day?
I made a broth/soup yesterday out of vegetables, grains and leftover lamb which was delicious. I like to make soups from scratch, but when I feel unwell, there is nothing quite like Heinz tomato soup to cheer me up.
5. Tell us one thing you’re looking forward to in 2018.
I am looking forward to starting my ordination training in September.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
I have to share this with you! I nearly cried laughing at this when I first saw it a couple of years ago and it came to my attention again a couple of days ago when I saw this same warder on duty at a New Year’s Honours presentation in Westminster and I recognised him. He is called Bill Callaghan and is a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London. This video is part 2 of 4, and if you wish to see the others there are links to them on YouTube too. This is how history ought to be taught in schools!
If you wish to take part in Joyce’s weekly hodgepodge, please click on the picture above and you will be taken to the host site.
It’s another week on the Hodgepodge and thanks to Joyce for these great questions again this week. If you want to have a go too, please click the graphic below and follow the instructions. Dive in!
1. If you could sit beside and/or jump in any lake in the whole wide world today, which lake would you choose and why?
I would love to be beside Wast Water in the Lake District. It is one of the most beautiful and spiritual places I have visited – not that I’ve travelled much – but this place is breathtaking.
2. What’s your favourite ‘fruity’ drink?
Vimto. Not too strong and made up with fresh cold water it is my favourite pick-me-up at the minute.
3. I read a list here of thirteen things to do right now to simplify your life. They were-
clean as you go, re-evaluate your relationships (cut toxic ties), unsubscribe (too many blogs and websites), de-clutter, write down your daily goals, reply to emails right away, forget multitasking, create a morning routine, re-evaluate your commitments (which hobbies and responsibilities are most important to you), say no, clean up your computer, and plan your day ahead
Which of the tasks listed do you currently find most helpful in keeping life simple? Which item on the list should you adopt in order to simplify your life this month?
There are quite a few of this list that I could do right now to simplify my life! In no particular order – re-evaluate my relationships, clean as I go, reply to emails straight away, learn to say ‘no’ and stick to it, change my morning routine and having had a commitment re-evaluation forced upon me by ill health I don’t really want to do that again voluntarily but there’s no harm in being careful and having a long hard look at the things I fill my time with.
4. What did you do the summer after you graduated from high school?
As a Brit, we don’t do high school the same as you do in the US and our equivalent is Sixth Form, or College, which is the stage before university study. I did a year at college but failed my exams miserably and left to get a clerical job with ICI at the age of 17. I’ve tried hard all my life to make sure my kids don’t repeat my mistake.
5. Are you a fan of podcasts? If so what’s a favourite?
No, not really. I prefer to read content than listen to it and struggle to even listen to audio books so podcasts are definitely not for me thank you.
6. Do you think today’s fathers have it harder, easier, or just different than fathers in the past?
I think they have some things easier (communication and openness about emotions and relationships for example) but they have other things harder (working to provide for a family’s needs is beyond even the most basic wage and so fathers are stretched to earn enough). I think expectations of fatherhood have changed over the years from both children and fathers themselves and some of it is for the better and some of it is not. The responsibilities of fatherhood are the same as ever, but being able to fulfil them are very different I think.
7. Tell us one way you’re like your father? Or not at all like your father if that’s easier?
Physically I have my Dad’s moles and freckles – even down to the mole on our right cheeks that are in exactly the same spot – and whereas my brothers and my mum have hazel coloured eyes, my dad and I have got dark brown eyes. In other ways were are very alike in that we have the same sense of humour (daft and crackpot!), we both love reading and have a large cross-over of interest in the stuff we read, we are both ambidextrous (Dad more than me, but operating tools and paintbrushes we are both the same) and we both love learning – history mainly. Apart from that, we’re not very alike at all haha!
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Why does the world have to be so violent? And not just cruel and hurtful on a small scale, between individuals, but wholescale hatred and barbarity resulting in mass death and injury. I don’t get it. Obviously I’m referring to the shooting in Orlando, but also at the Euro 2016 football tournament in France. Why can’t folk just get along with each other without resorting to rioting, or shooting, or letting off flares at one another? Why can’t people live and let live? So what if you don’t approve of someone’s lifestyle, or sexual orientation, or football team they support, or religion they follow, or even what country they were born in. Get over it and let them be. It saddens me that in our so-called ‘advanced’ society, people can still be killed for something that is none of anybody else’s business and where they are doing no harm to anyone.
But it’s not just human to human is it? It saddens me to know there are people who hunt ‘game’ in Africa for fun – elephants, tigers, lions, giraffes and so on – just because they can. Not to gain food, not in self-defence, not to put it out of its misery if it is ill or injured, but simply because they see it as sport, for fun.
Needless and wanton violence for the sake of it and it really upsets me. We pray for peace all the time, and you might agree with me that we are the agents of our own prayers being answered. If that’s true then it is up to us to start doing what we can to bring peace to our world.
Welcome to the Hodgepodge! Thanks to Joyce for the questions again this week. If you want to play along, please click the graphic and follow the instructions. Here we go:
1. I read here a list of 13 things you should do in June. I’m paraphrasing a little but basically…
Go on a road trip with your best friend, pick fresh strawberries, host a garden party, take a morning run, treat yourself to a flower bouquet, spend a whole day hiking, discover a new coffee shop, try a new ice cream flavour, read at least one book, visit a Farmer’s Market, make a swing for your home, and visit a new city.
Which thing on the list do you most want to do? Of the activities mentioned, which one holds the least appeal? How many on the list will you attempt in June? What’s one thing you’d add to the list?
Having looked at the list there are a couple of things I do anyway (reading books, eating in the garden) but if I were to try something new I would go for a different ice cream flavour
Something new on the list? I would say have a haircut. Spring/early summer is the perfect time for a good cut that will make you feel brighter and lighter to match the weather and the season.
2. What’s something you could do today to feel more peaceful?
I have had a fairly peaceful day today, which was lovely. I cut my Mum’s hair this morning, sorted a huge pile of laundry out, hung some on the line to dry, did a baptism preparation session in church for a family and have been generally pottering about cleaning and tidying up today. It has been a very nice day.
If I’m feeling anxious or stressed I like to try to do something creative such as crochet, writing or painting to help me, but generally speaking, prayer is my go-to activity to find peace.
3. June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Are you a fan? Swiss mocha, rocky road, chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate, or a dish of plain chocolate…what’s your pleasure?
I’m not a huge fan of ice cream, but perhaps that’s because I only really have vanilla. Chocolate ice cream always gives me a migraine so I’ve developed an aversion to it in any form. My favourite ‘different’ flavour was one I tried once that I have not been able to find anywhere else which was absolutely gorgeous – ginger and honeycomb – oh wow, what a flavour sensation that was!
4. you came with a warning what would it say?
At the moment it would be “Warning: Walking Heat Source Ahead”.
5. What’s the most interesting website you’ve visited in the last week?
I did a bit of research on WebMD, which was fascinating. My son has been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency, probably due to mal-absorption rather than poor diet or lack of sunlight and I was doing some reading into it. A very enlightening article that was to the point and didn’t go over the top with the “you’re going to die” messages that online health websites tend to do.
6. Spring, summer, autumn, winter…which season are you? Why?
Spring. I feel that I’m only just getting going with my life and I have the rest of my life to look forward to.
7. “You lose sight of things…and when you travel, everything balances out.” ~Daranna Gidel
Would you agree with that sentiment? Explain why or why not.
Not sure I agree with this, but I agree with the reason for making it. It is easy to become prejudiced to your own point of view if you don’t take a break away from it and look at things from someone else’s perspective. It can be dangerous to think that the rest of the world sees things the way you do, because they don’t, and you have to challenge yourself all the time not to become so entrenched that you think your view is the only view. However, I don’t think travel is the only answer or the only way to challenge your perspective. Reading books, watching films, meeting people, asking questions about your beliefs etc can all helpfully challenge the way you think.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
This is the view out of my back door into the garden this afternoon. It was lovely and sunny, hot etc and my washing dried in next to no time, which was a good because shortly after this photograph was taken the heavens opened and it was like Armageddon out there! Thunder, torrential rain, black skies… it was almost like the end of the world, honestly. The whole area suffered – flash floods have closed roads and submerged vehicles, drains have collapsed with the force and sheer amount of water that appeared in about 30 minutes this afternoon.
I haven’t posted for a little while because of things going on at home and in my studies, but I thought I would break my “fast” so to speak with a dip into the Wednesday Hodgepodge this week. Thank you Joyce for enticing me out of the shadows again!
1. This is the last Hodgepodge in April. Share something you learned this month.
I have learned how to crochet teddy bears for babies; I may have a talent for scriptwriting after all; and, my spontaneous joke-telling skills can be useful in a crowded room in front of a breathless brass band.
2. It’s National Poetry Month, and we all know you can’t escape an April Hodgepodge without a little poetry. Keeping the first line as is, change the rest of the wording in this familiar rhyme to make it your own – ‘Hickory Dickory Dock…
Hickory Dickory Dock
My dryer has eaten a sock;
A black one today,
A pink yesterday,
The filter now needs an unblock
3. What were one or two rules in the home you grew up in? Growing up, did you feel your parents were strict? Looking back do you still see it that way?
We didn’t have rules as such, but my brothers and I all knew when we’d stepped over the line. My Dad never had to raise his voice to us and we knew we’d disappointed him by the look on his face which was punishment enough. They weren’t very strict but then again they didn’t really need to be. We weren’t naughty kids or anything, just that we never seemed to have any clashes with them and didn’t really push the boundaries very much. I’m sure my brothers might have a different view!
4. Tell us about a kitchen or cooking disaster or mishap you’ve experienced. Do you have many from which to choose?
The funniest one was when we tried to cook beetroot in a pressure cooker when we lived at my Gran’s house. If you don’t know what a pressure cooker is, it’s a special heavy pan that has a lockable lid so that when you boil it there is no steam escape route and the added pressure inside helps cook the food quicker. Very useful for beetroot because it takes hours to boil properly in a regular pan. This one time, for some reason, my Mum either had the pressure set too high, or she’d left it to boil for too long, but the result was that it exploded and embedded shreds of beetroot in the kitchen ceiling and all over the walls. You may realise that beetroot stains bright red, and the result was the kitchen looked like a serial killer had gone to work in there. We cleaned it all up, but my Dad had to redecorate the kitchen. The stains are that deeply embedded the ceiling has to be repainted every couple of years now because it keeps bleeding through. And it has been nearly 30 years – oops!
5. Plant a kiss, plant doubt, plant a tree, plant yourself somewhere…which on the list have you most recently planted?
Planting a kiss – my friend played in a concert with my band on Saturday night and I went to kiss him goodnight as we were leaving but he moved his head just as I leant over and I ended up head-butting him in the face instead. We laughed, and ended up with a very tentative peck instead!
6. What’s your most worn item of clothing this time of year? Are you tired of it?
I don’t really have a seasonal wardrobe and I tend to wear the same clothes all year round. However, I have a favourite hoodie at the moment and I am wearing that one more than the others at the minute. And no, I’m not tired of it yet.
7. I’m wrapping up the A-Z Blog Challengethis month and our Hodgepodge lands on letter W. What’s one word beginning with W that describes you in some way? How about a word to describe your home, also beginning with W?
Myself – “weary”. I’m nearing the end of my degree and got three big pieces of work to finish off in the next couple of weeks and I have been ill again recently. My husband’s wages have been reduced from this month and the financial struggle we have been having for the past six years has just been made a whole lot worse. I’m weary and tired of being tired and weary.
My house – “welcoming”. It’s where we as a family can simply be, and where anybody coming in can feel at home too. If you’re in my house, you’re one of us and you get treated like one of the family.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
In an effort to try and get myself a bit fitter I have started the “Couch to 5k” running challenge recently. And boy is it a challenge! At my age, with my health problems and at my weight, running is NOT easy. The app I have is one where you walk for a bit, run for a bit, walk for a bit etc. I have been stuck on day 1 for more than a week because I can’t do the 6 reps of running for a minute and a half each time….yet. I will get there eventually but it is going to be a lot less than the 7 weeks this app is telling me it will take. Watch this space!
Thanks to Joyce for hosting the Wednesday Hodgepodge again this week. Here are my answers but if you want to join in, please click the hodgepodge logo below and follow the instructions on the host site. Here we go!
1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th?
Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you’re so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.
We have had a prolonged spell of difficulty with our finances since I lost my job through illness and I have been continually surprised by the random acts of kindness people have shown me and my family through this time. There have been countless things happen to us and for us, but the two that stick out in my mind was one day I went get the post from behind the front door and a card had been put through containing a gift voucher for Tesco for a significant amount of money. The message read “from your friend at church”, and I was totally overwhelmed and still to this day don’t know who was so generous to us. The second was last Christmas when we received a food hamper from Marks and Spencer delivered to our house, again anonymously, but ever so thoughtful and kind at a time when we were feeling the pinch particularly keenly. Both those gestures have stuck out in my mind because of the timing when they were given. The Tesco one meant we were able to buy a good two weeks worth of shopping and we didn’t have to penny pinch to do so, and the M&S one was at Christmas time, which speaks for itself.
Personally, I do try to be kind to people at all times but I know I’m human and must often miss chances that perhaps I ought to be awake to. Nevertheless, I don’t like trumpeting the fact when I do ‘do’ kindness. It’s between me, the person involved and God.
2. What’s the most uplifting or encouraging thing you see happening in the world right now? You may have to dig deep for this one.
I have just read a news article about a man who instead of buying a yacht donated the money he would have spent to a kindergarten class for them to go college later on. How wonderful is that! It’s nice to see in this day and age someone who is thinking of the longer game when it comes to spending money.
3. Black olives, black currants, black grapes, black beans, blackberries, Oreos…your favourite food the colour of night? Your least favourite on the list?
Blackcurrant cordial was one of the staples of my childhood but I’m not so keen now I’m an adult. I don’t mind black olives (I’m a recent convert), black grapes are delicious, not so keen on black beans (two powdery inside). Blackberries are nice with icecream and syrup and thank you very much, but you can keep your Oreos. Not nice for me I’m afraid.
4. A while back I read (here) a list of twelve things you should do before you turn 50. They were – travel when you have the chance, take care of your skin, learn a foreign language, make exercise a habit, leave a toxic situation, stop caring what others think about you, stop worrying, volunteer, spend time with your grandparents, pledge to work less, learn to cook an amazing dish, and seize an opportunity as it arises
What do you think of the list? What would you add or remove and why? If you’re over 50, have you done all 12? If you’re not yet 50, have you done any at all? What’s on the list that you haven’t done, but would like to do?
I have another 5 years to go before I hit that marker, and there are a couple of things I have already done and things I still have to conquer. The conquering things are “seize an opportunity as it arises” (I analyse far too much and quite often end up missing out), “make exercise a habit”, “travel when you have the chance” (yeah, chance would be a fine thing!) and “leave a toxic situation” (easier said than done). Ones on the already conquered list are “learn a foreign language” (French), “take care of your skin” (having eczema most of my adult life kinda means I do that already), “volunteer” and “pledge to work less” (again, chance to work at all would be a fine thing). The ones on the nearly-conquered-but-need-more-work list are “spend more time with grandparents”, “stop worrying” and “stop caring what others think”. There’s a way to go on all of those still.
5. Besides the classic Christmas flicks, what’s your favourite film where winter plays a part in the setting?
I love “Bridget Jones”, both films, especially the bit where she and Mark Darcy are on a skiing holiday and she thinks she might be pregnant.
6. When did you last feel helpless, and what did you do about it?
I currently feel helpless in a situation with a very close friend who is experiencing some really difficult life choices and facing big changes ahead. All the love and advice in the world from me isn’t going to help that situation, and I don’t have the right words (or a magic wand) to solve it for him.
7. Share a favourite proverb. “Necessity is the mother of invention”
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I am taking part in a 5 minute Lent challenge from my church this Lent and there have already been some great Bible verses to meditate on and pray over so far. Here is today’s verse:
I have found it to be a comforting verse throughout my illness. It does help to know that no matter what, God will be with us wherever we are and whatever we are experiencing.
If you would like to see the 5 minute Lent challenge, you can follow us on Facebook here, or you can click onto our website to see the whole challenge in one go here.