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Last days of December….

Some thoughts as the year draws to a close.

Remember to love.

Love sends good vibrations across the fields, the miles, the skies, and the oceans. Love has no borders. It never leaves us. It sits in our memories and stirs us when we need it. It appears in our dreams and runs through our veins. It made us. Like Christmas, love is never cancelled!

Be grateful for our world.

Most of us notice the sadness around us and hold space for all that is broken, and in the quiet corners of our minds, we may tremble at the thoughts of an unknown future, but let us picture a time where all the four corners of our precious world have been swept clean and we rejoice in new beginnings. 

Have faith.

I like to believe there is a power that is bigger than us, that is all-encompassing and loving, and I find that even though I have doubts, faith is what gets me through. Faith in a world that is inherently good and a life force that cannot always be explained and is beyond understanding. What compels eels to cross the Atlantic from the Saragossa Sea to spawn in the Irish rivers of their origin, or birds to cross whole continents, following a favoured route that no one could explain, to land atop the same trees every year? In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we may overlook the miracles that occur and the awesome occurrences happening in nature on a daily basis.

The small things are the big things.

Kind smiles and softly spoken words can help when the world wears a muddled face. Small acts of consideration are like gifts that fill life’s empty spaces. A patch of blue sky after the rain, a cup of coffee shared with a friend. Someone telling you things will be okay, that they have your back. These are the things that matter. Oh! And when I sit at my desk, writing comes much easier to me when I play my personal Spotify list, full of peaceful music.

Small big things with my Grandchild

Today we saw a blackbird
Collecting feathers for her nest,
And beautiful white butterflies
Looking quite their best
And an aeroplane flew overhead
As you waved and rode your bike
Ten times around the flower bed - 
These are the days I like.

Be aware but be happy.

I think of my late dad who often came out with some classic observations. One day we were out on one of our little jaunts, perhaps off to the garden centre, and he sat as usual with one hand clutching his seatbelt and sucking in his breath …(I don’t think I am a particularly reckless driver, but still…) ‘You wouldn’t want to venture out on a journey these days without wing mirrors’ he said profoundly. I chuckled inwardly but I still hear those words and I love the hidden wisdom  – keep an eye on your surroundings whilst progressing.

Dust yourself off

For those times you feel things went wrong or life went a bit pear-shaped. Keep going. This time of year, we may feel we have over-indulged too, but we can always start again with the diet/yoga class/calming winter walks. There are no rules!

Daily choices are better than grandiose resolutions

I don’t feel New Year’s resolutions work. Not for me anyway. I gave up making them long ago. I take it a day at a time and try my best to make good choices with whatever life presents to me daily. And if I have faltered, any day I choose to start again is fine.

Shine a light.

I never like taking the Christmas decorations down! I love the twinkling lights on the tree and the familiar and well-loved pieces that come out every year. The Christmas season comes to a close too soon, and soon all the angels, fairies, elves and stars go back into their box for another year, poor things. I’ve learnt to cope with post-Christmas blues over the years by placing a new lamp in the window – a sort of compensatory light to keep the spirits up. It gives me a new routine to embrace and lights the still-dark winter evenings.

So, there is my short and eclectic mix of thoughts as we move forward towards 2023. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I wish you the best year possible. If you are facing tough times I hope you find comfort, peace and healing. 

Thank you for sticking with me!

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Hot Chocolate with Mrs. Claus

I love Christmas. I love decorating the tree, festooning the house with fairy lights and baking all those delicious extras from scratch that I don’t tend to do the rest of the year. I love the magical feeling that somehow permeates the year, the wistful feeling that brings up all sorts of memories from years gone by, and the precious time with family. There is change from ‘the everyday,’ the chance to watch Christmas films and an excuse to drink a hot toddy or two!

This year does seem a little different though. There are many challenges that we and our brothers and sisters all around the world have to face. Many of us are lucky – we have food on our table, we are warm and cared for. BUT there is struggle. None of us escapes challenges entirely.

I have been thinking about Santa Claus – he will be very busy now but I wondered if Mrs Claus would give me a bit of her time. Perhaps sit with me and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. So I dialled the Santa hotline and the Chief Elf put me straight through! I was in luck. Mrs Claus would be delighted to meet me. Soon I was on a direct flight to meet Mrs Claus at the North Pole.

Santa’s workshop was nestled between fir trees seemingly at the most magical edge of the world and the lights were on in every window. There in the doorway stood a smiling Mrs Claus.

Here is how our conversation went:

Me: ‘Hello Mrs Claus, it is wonderful to meet you. Thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to see me.’ (Me looking very overawed here. Well it was the North Pole!)

Mrs C : ‘Hello dear, I always make time for those who need me. Let’s sit by the fire and have some refreshment.’ (Mrs C is incredibly sprightly and looks like everyone’s favourite Granny. She puts a tray with two mugs of hot chocolate and some gingerbread men on the side table. I like it here.)

Me: ‘Thank you. I love Christmas and the sense of wonderment, especially for the children. I love all the traditions and the magic. Santa, you and all his helpers do an amazing job every single year. How do you manage it?’ (I hear some tinkling bells and the elves singing as they work next door.)

Mrs C: ‘Well dear, we are very lucky because we go away after Christmas to recharge our batteries and get some sunshine. Whilst we are are away we check all our messages and ‘thank you’ notes. The elves stay home and look after things. They spring clean, check supplies, replenish the stores and make lists of all the new inventions and toys that will be required for the next year. They are very energetic and like to be ahead of the game. Everyone needs some restorative time and Santa uses the time to eat some plain food after consuming all those mince pies on his journey. He never likes to leave anything the children have kindly put out for him.’

Me: ‘I am pleased to hear that.’ (Looking pensive)

Mrs C: ‘I sense something is worrying you dear, can you tell me what it is?’

Me: ‘Well you see, the thing is, this year has been very hard for a lot of people at home. There are hardships all around, some people have lost their homes and are displaced, some cannot afford to keep their homes heated, some people are hungry, some people are trying to reach a haven… I could got on…’ (Mrs C nods sympathetically)

Mrs C: ‘I know this dear. We might live at the North Pole, but Santa and I keep a very sharp watch on all that is happening around the world. We feel very sad when we know people are suffering. ‘

Me: ‘Do you have any suggestions, Mrs Claus, on how we can help?

Mrs C: Well dear, we should all give what we can to help others. Every donation to food banks and homeless charities will make a difference. However, Santa and I cannot interfere with the running of the world, and we cannot explain why bad things happen to good people, but I can tell you this – if we all do our best to be kind and considerate, care for one another and reach out to anyone in need of a friend, the Universe will benefit. It will benefit big time. So think good thoughts dear. Love will find a way.’

We sat together for a while and then it was time to say goodbye.

Me: ‘Thank you Mrs Claus. Take care of yourself and Santa.’

Mrs C: ‘Goodbye dear, and remember – always believe!’

(Mrs Claus gives me a hug. She says hugs are very important.)

The Chief Elf magically appears and takes me to the airport on one of the spare sleighs. The stars are twinkling in the deep blue velvet sky and I look back to see Santa and Mrs Claus waving from the window. All will be well.

One kind word can WARM three months OF WINTER

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Long ago and Far Away

I found a box of old photo slides recently – the ones that one used to pop into a projector and view on a screen. Perhaps you have to be of a certain age to remember them! My father took hundreds of these slides over the years, and I can still remember the fun evenings we had looking at the many pictures we had accumulated, and eating supper from trays on our laps. We had our own mini cinema! Family weddings, Christmases, birthdays, and various stages of my sister’s and my growing – up years were all chronicled in my dad’s handwriting on the big box of slides.

As often happens, time moves on and the slides were left in the loft as new and more modern cameras provided us with more up-to-date methods of taking and storing pictures. Recently though, I came across the box again and spent several hours looking through the pictures on a view-finder I bought online. The slides had become very jumbled over the years and the selection was very random and hopped from year to year. My interest was piqued and soon I found an App that enabled me to edit my slides and see the pictures more clearly. My past opened up before me and days long forgotten came back into view.

For a while, I felt quite sad. I thought about time passing. I mourned days and people long gone. I wished I could remember all the sunny days of my childhood. I wish I knew where some of the friends were that I had lost touch with. I wished I had said ‘thank you’ more and noticed all the kind actions of my grandparents and older friends who called and were kind. But of course, we can’t remember everything that has gone before us. However, I can see myself standing under a sunny sky as a small girl. I can see our gardener standing with my mother and me, resting his hand on my shoulder. I remember him now as a kind and lovely man and his name with Mr Leaves….a wonderful name for a gardener! Some days and loved ones may be long gone, but even if we don’t know it, good memories and sunny, ordinary but nevertheless special days, stay with us and remain tucked away somewhere in our souls. These days are the ones that nudge us from time to time from our memory banks, the ones that give us feelings of deja vu and the ones that creep up announced and fill us with nostalgia.

Nothing good is ever lost.

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Chaos…but not..

Do you ask: ‘What is the world coming to?’ I do. I think we live in such turbulent times that it is hard to work out what or whom to believe in. So much of what we are faced with on a day-to-day basis – the politics and the rules we are made to abide by, seem to be made to suit some and not others. There seems to be so much unfairness and lack of consideration for others. Have those holding the reins ever experienced poverty or scarcity?

I find myself reading and listening to the news and then wondering why. There is a distinct feeling that we are only being fed what others wish us to hear and I ask myself if that is helpful.

However, it has always been my policy not to get too political on my blog, after all, it is all about pursuing the gentler path! What I will ponder on though, is this: what do we do in times of chaos? Who do we look to and where do we find the answers to our worries and fears for the world? Can we find it in ourselves to bring about change? Do we try and stand up and take action or do we try and make the world a better place with meditation and positive thinking? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. I know that getting outside always seems to calm the mind – nature has a way of giving us answers without having to say anything at all.

Thank you for reading and staying with me. If you enjoy my poetry, I can be found on Instagram at @littledovepoetry_ I’d love you to join me.

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Time to Breathe

October is here again, wearing its golden colours and giving us a gentle reminder that winter is just around the corner. It is a beautiful month, however much we miss the long summer days. Last night I smelled the woodsmoke outside and looked at the moon boldly shining on us, regardless of what is happening in our troubled lands. I came in and lit a candle, pulled the curtains across and settled early. Nature knows just what compensations to lay at our door.

For a moment, switch off the news, find a quiet corner and just breathe….

There is a time to take a breath,
To pause and be quiet
And avoid the scramble to the finish line.
Sometimes, being first
Is less important
Than enjoying the view.
Try, as you know you can,
To remember where your heart is
And where the small things live.
If you stay true to yourself
Time will be kind
And you will find your way
To where you belong
And there will be diamonds at your feet.

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Thank You Your Majesty

I wrote this simple poem at the time of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and thought I would share it again today. We will miss her.

Our faithful Queen,
The places you've been,
The hands you have shaken
The people you've seen!
Never a foot wrong
Nor a hair out of place
The best version of royal
We bow to your grace.
Thank you for wearing 
Your crown with style,
It must have been heavy
Once in a while.
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Encouragement For Today

Days of dull spirits…

I am aware that sometimes my blogs could be a bit more cheerful! I tend to be deep thinker and can let my mind run away with me at times. I have always made it my policy to write about positive viewpoints but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally visit dark places. I wrote a blog at New Year about diet and food and added some poetry about my granny’s kitchen and words about my grandad’s delicious but simple bread and butter tea-time snack. It has been by far my most popular blog and made me realise that it’s often the simple things that lift our hearts. I have even started to wonder whether I should start writing a food blog as all things food-related brings us together in ways few other subjects do! Think of all the food programmes on television and how popular they are. Food seems to spark all sorts of emotions. I have seen people in bits when a cake doesn’t turn out well or a soufflé doesn’t rise, but also seen them jump for joy when a special dish turns out well. Food programmes may seem trivial in times of unrest but that is not the case because feeding people brings out the best in us. It helps us come together and it lifts the soul when we sit around a table together, eat together and try and put the world to rights.

What else lifts the soul on grey days? This week we took a walk through the bluebell wood near us. It wasn’t just the beauty of the stunning blue flowers dipping their heads as we walked along that filled our hearts with happiness, it was the peace that came from walking in a quiet corner of the world. We listened to the birdsong and watched a deer shyly walk past and disappear deep into the forest. We inhaled the subtle fragrance of the flowers. Nothing had changed in our world yet everything had shifted to a good place, at least for a while. When we lose ourselves in nature we can let ourselves relax, we can allow our imagination to take us to different realms – perhaps the White Rabbit frolics nearby!

For a while, we can leave our burdens on the forest floor…….

When the day is heavy with noise and the news I don’t want to hear comes bouncing into the room, I will remember the quiet of the forest…

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Who Inspires Me?

I was recently asked to write a short piece about inspiration and who inspires me.

I started thinking about who I wanted to write about and found myself struggling to single out just one person. There are so many people both in the present day and those who have gone before us that have inspired us through selfless acts, scientific development, religion, philosophy and politics. There are giants who walk tall in our history books and have left us with lasting legacies and we in the world will always look up to them. On the very top of my list would be the names of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, all three of them arguably the most important names of our time.

But that would be only the start of my list, which could indeed be very long, because, thankfully the world is full of very good people, though it’s easy to forget that at times. Especially now.

What always amazes me is that the greatest teachers we know focus or have focused, on lifting the hearts of those around them rather than extolling their own virtues. When an interviewer attempts to paint the Dalai Lama as something grand, a soul with a mighty preordained purpose, his response is typically, ‘I’m a monk, a simple monk.’ That made me think about all the people out there who quietly go about their business, whilst spreading some good feeling or intention to the world. The people who touch the hearts of others in small but significant ways.

And so I put my thoughts into this poem…

Who Inspires Me?


The person who smiled
When I was troubled
And kindly looked my way,
The selfless mother 
Who, though tired and afraid,
Held her children tightly today.
The angel at the food bank
Who couldn’t sleep,
Knowing others were hungry -
She came with love
And bread for them to eat.
The doctor who cared
And knew every person 
Waiting to be seen
Deserved love and attention.
The brave person who stood up to say
‘I’m different, but please look my way.’
The special one who said:
‘I know there are challenges we must all face
But it’s going to be okay,
I love you,
All will be well today.’


Lmh


I hope you will feel inspired by someone today - even better, maybe you will inspire someone, perhaps without even knowing it. How wonderful is the gift of a warm smile.

Namaste 





Here, no less beauty I am shown, than Cardinals or Kings…
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A New Year’s Thoughts on diet….

My palate is jaded. I have had enough of Christmas fare, delicious though it is. As usual for this time of year, we are bombarded with instructions for healthy eating and ways of cleansing our systems. This is all well and good, but how long do healthy diets last? I think getting back to sensible eating is the key, without being too radical.

I like watching cookery programmes. It is very entertaining to watch professional chefs painstakingly preparing delicious delicacies on our screens (try saying that when you’ve had a few glasses of Prosecco) ! There is always a new and elaborate dish or recipe to try, and a new exotic vegetable that will soon sell out in the supermarket, once the word is out that no discerning foodie’s kitchen should be without it.

How do we manage to get a meal on the table without the use of a water baths I wonder? Can we find space in the kitchen for hayboxes, ice-cream churns and sorbet makers? Do we have a supply of pine oil or basil oil? Can we confit an egg? Do we have time to go foraging?

What can be more enjoyable than sitting at a well-laid table being served fancy food, but sometimes, do we not yearn for simple fare?

At lunch time today, we had a simple dish of tomato soup and some bread and butter. I started thinking back to the simple foods of my childhood, and the warm and happy kitchens.

A Devonshire Kitchen.

As a little girl, I often sat at my grandfather’s table and watched him as he prepared his version of afternoon tea. A large white loaf, fresh from the baker, was upended and buttered with rich, yellow, freshly churned Devonshire butter. Then, with the sharpest knife kept solely for this purpose, he sliced the bread so thinly that it looked like lace, when delicately laid on a china plate. Served with tea from a silver pot, this was a delicacy like no other. It needed no accompaniment. No matter how much I have tried over the years, I have never been able to replicate the dish in quite the same way.

Cornish Kitchen

I remember granny's kitchen 
The cushioned window seat,
A pantry with its vat of cream,
The Aga's cosy heat.

Sitting down to breakfast
Was always a delight,
With bowls of creamy porridge 
That had simmered overnight.

Pasties were for lunchtime,
Crimped and golden brown,
With chunks of homemade bread
And tea to wash it down.

At tea-time there were Cornish splits
And fragrant saffron cakes,
Bowls of jam and clotted cream
And fancy china plates.

On Sunday, there was Grandpa
Who took his rightful place,
And seated round the table
We bowed our heads for Grace.

Now I look back in time
And in an old book I see
A recipe, written in my granny's hand
That once she cooked for me.

Lmh

Maybe it is time to embrace simple fare for a while!

Happy New Year.



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Carrying the Light

How do you feel on the days between Christmas and New Year? Do you mourn the passing of Christmas or are you glad to get back to normality if there is such a thing now?

Walking this morning, I noticed some blow-up Santas laying forlornly in neighbourhood gardens, deflated and folded in on themselves. ‘Poor things’, I thought, and tried not to feel deflated myself.

Well-meaning articles suggest we embrace the quiet period between Christmas and New year, take walks in nature, pamper ourselves and catch up on our favourite books. We should also catch up on our sleep and get back into a regular routine. Yes. Done that. All good advice.

However, I am still not ready to give up on Christmas just yet.

I remind myself that the twinkly lights are still shining. After all, Christmas is not over – it continues for twelve days. The lights are there to remind us of the presence of God, or a higher being in our world. Light illuminates us and bathes us in good feeling, and reveals our surroundings. As the daylight fades in the sky in the afternoon, the lights soften the landscape around us.

Whilst I may take a few decorations down before long, I am going to focus on the light. I will leave a lantern in the window and light it at tea-time. Perhaps we will have hot crumpets and butter to cheer us up. I will welcome January but I will try and keep the feeling of Christmas in my heart all the year round. After all, every day should be special.

Be the light!

Happy New Year!

Ocean of Light

The day was cold and grey,
The wind blew hard 
And held the friendly blackbird
In scant regard.
The ground was white with frost
And frozen hearts
Cried for what was lost
And torn apart.
But under our feet
Summer flowers were only sleeping
And across the fields
The sky welcomed the night
And filled it with stars,
Bringing an ocean of light.


Lmh