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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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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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You’ve Got a Friend….

I’ve written a simple poem about friendship this week…

Sometimes, do you find yourself retreating from the world? Do you feel your problems are either insurmountable or too silly to mention? Maybe you want someone to understand what’s going on with you without having to talk too much.

That is the time when good friends step up. I love the fact that good friends come in all colours, shapes and sizes, all ages and from all parts of the universe! They may have been around for a long time or you may have made a new one yesterday. They have a certain quality that is just ‘there’. You gel and you fit. Friends love you because you are you. They know you. They have your back and they are happy for you when things are going well. Equally, you are there for them. Always.

Occasionally if a friend you love is distracted – understand:

‘If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.’ Winnie – the – Pooh

A true friendship is easy. There are so many things in this world that demand stress and force heartache; this makes having a loving friend a necessity in this crazy life.

‘After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends.’ Eeyore

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Poems to sooth the soul on a hot day….

I hope you can find a quiet and shady spot today...as I write, the temperature is reading 34 degrees ...hotter than we are used to in England! As they say, 'this too will pass' and will probably become a distant memory before too long! In the meantime, my writing desk is piled with work for another, cooler day, so I leave you with a handful of poems. 

May you find shady, quiet nooks in which to read and contemplate.



I Will

I will sit in the apple orchard
And feel the warmth of the sun,
I will watch the dancing butterflies
And watch the children run.

I will see the kaleidoscope of colours
Unfolding all around
And feel the memory of a hundred summers
Fall like feathers to the ground.

I will hold nothing more than dreams
And love and love and love,
For this is all we have it seems
But then, all we need IS love.

I will let the day run its course
And mark the time only by falling shadows
And feel the peace
Only the wise man knows.

I will forget to ask for answers
To how and why and when,
And know that though the darkness falls
The world will turn again.

Lmh
Be Hopeful

I had a conversation with the night
As I had time to spare,
I asked it what the world looked like
From the midnight sky up there.
The moon peeped through the window 
All silvery and light
And told me from where he was
Earth was a magical sight.
I told him there where divisions
That spread throughout the land
And there was sadness and unrest
That was hard to understand.
He said once his shift was finished
He'd hand over to the sun,
Then talk to his superiors
To see what could be done.
And as I waited below
'Be hopeful', he said with a smile,
'Tuck love under your pillow
And rest there for a while.'

Lmh
Sweet Peas

A tangle of petals
Lilac, pink and white
Bunched together
In haphazard delight.
A handful of summer
Is the gift that I bring,
Soft scent to stir the memory 
Tied up with string.

Lmh
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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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Take Your Time – and Pray

They say we are directed to where we need to be if our hearts are open. In the last few weeks, I have picked up several different books – novels, autobiographies and a book of essays and musings on the divine. Although they were looking at life from completely different angles, they seemed to have a familiar thread running through them, one that linked deeper thinking with simplicity. Yes, that sounds like a paradox, but I think enlightenment does come from a place of calm and contemplation in these times of intense social media and news bombardment.

It is easy for frustration to settle in our very being as we feel weighed down by events, both personal and in the wider world. Times are challenging. Yet times have always been challenging if we look back in history and will be in the future. What will help us along the way, along our journey through this life? What helped those before us and those that will come after us?

I have read somewhere that if you feel disturbed by something the wisest thing to do is to pray. For many of us, this may be something we have forgotten how to do, or perhaps we wonder how to pray and to who do we send our prayers? Again, simplicity is the key. A quiet place for some time out is all we need. If we calmly gather our thoughts and requests together, our feelings of love for others, our hopes for peace and love to prevail and send them to an all-loving being we can find the light. We don’t need to look for explanations because we cannot know the future. We can spread love though, and send out blessings for those who need them, and we will feel it return to us. And the prayers will know where to go. To God, to the Universe, Mother Earth – whoever waits and looks over you and knows your heart.

Prayer Changes Things

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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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Dear World

I am not wise enough to comment on the shocking situation in the world today. I can only try and concentrate on anger somehow dissolving, reason taking the place of fighting and new life evolving in a way which at the moment we cannot see.

We have to believe we are part of a bigger and better picture, even if we cannot see it, and part of an all-loving Universe even if we cannot feel it. We can be part of humanity where we see those who feel invisible rather than those who are in the limelight and part of a place where we don’t nurture our fears at the expense of others, or turn our backs when others weep. In the long quiet hours with the challenge of despair we long to find a place of hope and new life, for here is where all bad things are banished, no explanations are needed and yet we know everything we need to know.

Let us pray for broken hearts to mend, and that the hands of those in power let go of the reins and review the compass so that we can all find the right way.

In an all-loving Universe generous, kind hearts do their best for the common good.

How fiercely we must hope and pray for Ukraine and for all of us. We pray for peace.

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The Gift of the Stars and the Ground Beneath our Feet

How well do we know the ground beneath our feet? As a young child, I lived in Cornwall. I seemed to know every inch of the garden that surrounded our house, as well as the sloping path that led down the stony road to the river. I remember sitting under a bush at the end of the lane where it overlooked the main road and smelling the scent of the buddleia. In summer the shade was dappled and cool and the flowers were a haven for butterflies. My best friend lived just across the road and we used to spend hours playing together, dreaming up stories of dragons and princesses. Sadly she is no longer here, but I can still see her in my mind’s eye calling ‘see you later alligator’ over her shoulder as she walked home.

I can still remember so much about my early years; I can remember where the robin nested in the hedge just beyond my playhouse, the Christmas trees planted each year by my father, and I can remember seeing a slowworm laying motionless on the grass; dark and shocking to me as a child though quite harmless. I can remember having tea-parties with imaginary guests and making them perfume from fallen rose petals.

The busy world went on around me, but I was only concerned with the freedom of the outdoors. Perhaps as children, we had more time to discover the magic in our surroundings, the simple joy of collecting shiny pebbles or building camps. As adults, we tend to ‘fit in’ a daily walk as necessary exercise, something to add to our mandatory 10,000 daily steps, often forgetting to look around. Perhaps it is time to reconnect with our surroundings. The natural world has, since time began, been one of the most important ways of connecting with something greater than ourselves, with God, the Universe, or simply with all the amazing beings with whom we share this incredible world. There may be so much still to learn, but there is also so much healing coming from the atmosphere that we can absorb just by being a part of it.

This week, we have been beset with raging storms and unsettling news. The world can seem grim. But if we focus on the ground around us we will come to know that even when the storm IS raging, the summer flowers are only sleeping under our feet, and are waiting to bloom again.