Tag Archives: give thanks



”When one person is missing
the whole world seems empty.”
Pat Schweibert, American Author

Twenty-one years ago today, the light went out of my world. My DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) had died. There are no words to tell how I felt for the next few months. Nothing and nobody could fill the void.

I was lucky that there were three young grandsons around to cheer me up. The eldest, three-year-old James, said “Granma, when it stops raining, will you stop crying?’ and ‘Look Granma, the sky is crying because Grampa is dead”.

Of course, he was far too young, as were the others, to understand the devastation that had crept /crashed into my life.

At that time I didn’t know how I was going to go on with the rest of my life;  but it doesn’t come with a choice. One just has to go on living.

I had no friends or family who had suffered such a loss, and while they were all very supportive, I really was on my own on this journey.

But through this, I found a reason for being. I became a Life Coach and directed my energy towards others who were grieving and attempting to survive. My volunteering was (and still is) in a hospice where people were struggling with their loved ones imminent end of life. How quickly I realised I wasn’t the only one on this survival journey.

I wrote a small book Suddenly Single and gave it to my clients and then friends who found themselves in this situation.

And I found I could go on with my life. Even without the person with whom I had grown up, and who was most supportive of everything I did, and eventually, I realised that life could be good again.

Later, I started blogging and through this medium, I met others who had survived and who became friends.

And now, twenty-one years on, I have made a happy life for myself. There were a couple of major hiccups along the way – the death of the Architect in 2015 followed by my disastrous misadventure in 2016 – but in all life has been good to me.

I know that some of you are just starting on this journey, or are new to it. Please believe me when I say there is a way out of this storm of grief and everybody’s journey is different. If you are suffering, please contact me. I should like to send you a copy of the newest version of my book. This edition is called Stepping Stones.

I propose to publish it and put it on Amazon but until then, I’m happy to give you a copy.

End of misery post. Tomorrow I shall be back to normal. As my children always say – Pollyanna is alive and well and living in Wellington, New Zealand.

And for now, as Shirley MacLaine says:

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play
that I’ve written for myself and so my purpose is

to have the utmost fun playing my part.”















Countdown to Christmas Day

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexe

Of course, we are ahead of you, timewise and as sit here on a sunny Sunday I find there is only 1 day, 11 hours, 26 minutes and 2 seconds until Christmas Day – how long is it for you? Click to find out. – https://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/christmas..

Unfortunately, always at this time of the year, we read of disasters and road deaths which mean that Christmas 2018 will not be a time of celebration for many. If you are driving, please take extra care.

We have just heard from OneNews Now that “at least 20 dead and 165 injured after tsunami hits Indonesian beaches” Apparently, Mt Krakatoa erupted causing the tsunami. Not a Happy Christmas for folk in the way of the tsunami.

We learn that over 20,000 people in Sao Paolo are believed to be homeless and Chefs are serving Christmas food for some of them. So some people will have an unexpected Happy Christmas.

We hear that Gatwick Airport has reopened after days of shut down due to drones flying too close to the airport runways. So thousands of holidaymakers have had their plans for Christmas turned upside down. For many their time with family and friends has been cut short, but hopefully, they will all get to their destinations in time for Christmas Day.

And because here we celebrate with barbecues, swimming in pools and lazing on beaches, we are keen for the weather to be good on the day. We are told it looks good so far!

And in this time of commercialism having taken over Christmas, here are a couple of quotes from long ago from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow a long time favourite of mine

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

and another

“And in despair, I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




Lazy Sunday Afternoon

“Lazy Sunday afternoon,
I’ve got no mind to worry,
Close my eyes and drift away,”

Are you old enough to remember the Small Faces singing this song in 1968?  The group was formed in the mid 60s by four boys from the East End of London and this song reached No 2 on the UK Singles Hit List in 1968.  How innocent we all were then.

But this post is not about the band, or even about that song.  It just came to mind as we were sitting devouring the weekend papers in the sunshine in our garden on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon.  We had a busy morning and now we’re relaxing.

How different is our Sunday in this peaceful corner of the world, from the mayhem that is happening in most other places.  Do these terrorists think so little of the gift of life that they can rampage through peaceful communities bent on destruction?

Yesterday we heard of the latest in the string of atrocities perpetrated by Boko Haram  – At least 10 people were killed when a young girl, thought to be aged 10, blew herself up at a crowded market in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri.  Apparently she had bombs strapped to her body.  Was she given a choice?  I suspect not.

So friends, take care as we never know when something awful might happen

And from my little book of dog wisdom* :-

“Life is a precious gift.
Treat it delicately and be grateful for it,
but most importantly celebrate and enjoy it”


Lotte on desk

Another helping hand

Eleven Hints for Life

And yesterday I received an email with the following attachment.  It does seem to me that at this time of the year, leading up to New Year’s Day when we make all those resolutions, it is good to sit back and consider how we want to live our life.

Eleven Hints for Life

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return.
But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who
means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a
porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

4. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts that  person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.


It’s Just Another Day

When we lose somebody we love, certain days take on special meanings for us.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas etc all become so much more than just days.  These are the days when we don’t want to be with other people and just want to wallow in memories and maybe self-pity.  But after many years of this, one suddenly realises that yes these are just days.

Today is my Dashing Young Scotsman’s birthday.  Had he lived he would be 83 years old.  I ask myself how would I feel living with an 83-year-old and answer great.  Every year on this day since his sudden death in 1998, I have spent time only with the family.  In the beginning, the small boys helped bring me out of the “slough of despair” and I was so very grateful to them and their parents.

But yesterday I decided that enough was enough.  November 1 is just another day and as I remember my DYS every day of the year, I don’t need to make this day any different or any more special.

But this is a special day as this is the first day of the rest of my life. and so…A few months ago I wrote a poem which I think sums up where I am now and how I choose to live the rest of my life –

My lot is cast
In different places
Not beside the river or the ocean
But in the city with its life and vitality.
Not in the distant years of my youth
Nor the busy years of family life
But the peaceful years of time for me
To enjoy friends and family.
Time to investigate new things
New activities and new friends
Time to be me.

..And here’s my rainbow to help those of you battling with the after effects of Sandy.  My thoughts are with you all in this dire time.

My rainbow

And if tomorrow never comes

“If tomorrow never comes will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day that she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through and she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes” sung by Garth Brooks.

It seemed that this was the song playing on every radio station on the day my husband died. For years when and if I heard it played I would immediately be transported back to that dark, awful day and would be close to if not in, tears.  I can now listen without the tears but still, remember that day.  Fast forward 14 years….

And  I have to ask how is it that we recognise other people’s children growing and becoming wise and not our own?  Do we still think of them as “our children” even when they are grown and have children of their own?

Recently I was discussing my late husband with a grandson aged 15.  He said that he hadn’t known Grampa but he knew from his parents and his aunt and uncle that he was a ‘good guy’ and that he would have liked to have known him.

Feeling in a rather playful teasing mood I responded that he wasn’t to be trusted as he had promised to love me forever and this wasn’t forever.  My son rapidly jumped in to tell us both that this was his father’s forever. He had loved me until he died and would continue to love me forever. Well, I can tell you that brought me up very short and in rapid time.  How come this child of mine now knows and sees things that I don’t?  All this time I thought I was the teacher and here he is teaching me.

I have had this thought with me for some 14 years – and yes, at the beginning it was an angry thought that over the years has mellowed to be a thought that I had from time to time.  My son has now put it into perspective.   I have always known that “when the student is ready the teacher will appear” and I know that the teacher can be our special other, friend, peer or as in this case a son.

Although my son doesn’t read my blogs I would like to thank him for this insight.   And I really love this quote from Walter M Schirra Sr.  His son is much more famous having been on all of America’s first three space programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo).  But I should like to know more about WMS Snr.

“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons.
And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out
to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”
Walter M. Schirra, Sr.


All I Need To Know

Noah's ark

Many years ago my sister gave me a book entitled “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum.

This little book contained all kinds of advice that we can heed.  But for me all I need to know I learned from the story of Noah’s Ark.

  • I learned to listen to the voice within regardless of what others think.
  • I learned to follow my intuition
  • I learned to make preparations well in advance
  • I learned to build my house and my life with strong materials and on a firm footing able to withstand whatever comes along
  • I learned to rescue those people and things that were important to me and to keep them safe
  • I learned to choose my companions and fellow travellers well
  • I learned to love my fellow travellers
  • I learned when it was time to let these travellers (aka my children) go to do so with grace knowing that in setting them free they would return
  • I learned to listen to others opinions but to make my own decisions
  • I learned that there is safety in numbers and that none of us can live entirely alone
  • I learned that time for solitary, quiet reflection is also necessary
  • I learned to go with the flow and embrace each new experience wherever I happened to land
  • I learned to give thanks for rain knowing that water is one of our great life sources
  • I learned to give thanks for the sunshine and the drying wind that came after the rain
  • I learned to give of my time to others – Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers
  • I learned to accept the assistance offered by others
  • I learned that life will not be all sunshine and light and that there will be times of rain and hardship
  • I learned that a sense of humour will take me through the hard times
  • I learned that wo/man is not the only living creature and is not of paramount importance.  Who gave us dominion over the rest of the creatures inhabiting our planet?
  • I learned to nurture an attitude of gratitude for all that I have and the life that I have
  • I learned that one man/woman with a strong belief can overcome and succeed in spite of the odds
  • I learned that fish is good for you!

Where did you learn the things you need to know to live life?  And are you living your life true to yourself or are you living somebody else’s dreams and decisions?
























Come To the Edge


Learning to soar in a changing world

“Come to the edge, he said
They said: We are afraid
Come to the edge, he said
They came
He pushed them and they flew”
Guillaume Apollinaire, French Poet and Critic – 1880-1918.

Today I feel as if this were directed at me.  Looking at the crutches saying I cannot get down the two stairs outside my house and guess what – I can.

So in this time of healing and resting up I am still learning that there is little I can’t do.  I have to trust and have belief in myself and my strength.  And embrace all that is being offered to me in the way of friendship, help and love.


My rainbow

Happy Christmas Mrs B

Yesterday while out walking with madam I slipped on some loose gravel and now have my leg in a” back slab cast”.  Apparently, I have fractured my ankle and so have to have this on for 12 days (10 days but as Christmas comes into the counting we can make it 12 days).  No comment as to what will happen after the 12 days, was forthcoming.

Foot in plaster

My Christmas present to myself

As I think in most places, the A & E Department of the local hospital does not have a good rep, but I have to say that I was treated with total respect, care and understanding.  What is more, I was in and out complete with cast, in under two hours.  I have made a point of telling the staff how impressed I am with this.

There was really very little waiting around not like when I had to go to the private A & E.  I was there for hours and then was given a hefty account.  Yesterday’s service was FREE.

This, of course, will certainly slow me down over the next few weeks.  I can’t drive so am dependent on others and this, as you may know, is not really in my nature. I have said in the past that I am working on being gracious and so I am graciously accepting all offers of help.

Today two grandsons appeared telling me that they were here to do whatever I needed them to do.  What fantastic young boys who will most certainly grow into fantastic young men.  We had a very enjoyable day.  They wrapped all the Christmas presents and the eldest, at 14, even tried his hand at tying bows.

So I now have to learn to slow down, ask for and accept the help that is on offer and give thanks that the damage was not more serious.



















My rainbow

The Giant Christmas Pudding

Until 1991 here in New Zealand we had only one provider of mobile phone services – the mega company, Telecom.  Another provider came onto the scene when BellSouth was introduced.  BellSouth was part of the AT&T Corp and was subsequently purchased by Vodafone.

However, back to those early days.  In a bid to increase market share, BellSouth identified possible users and wooed us with offers of free phones (unheard of in 1991) and the incentive that if we introduced others to the service we would gain 60 free minutes for each one.  At that time, all minutes were charged – no included minutes in the contract.

Well I was one of those wooed in this way.  In fact, I am told by the guy at Vodafone that I was the 26th person to change to BellSouth and only the 4th in Wellington.

Now go back to that first Christmas.  BellSouth treated those of us who were early users,  royally.  Each day for 12 days a courier arrived with a parcel for me.  [Note here – my daughter who worked for me and whose phone we had transferred to BellSouth wasn’t treated in this way.]  Each day the courier would arrive with a big smile and say  “He’s sent you something again today.” And then he’d leave with a smile on his face.

I don’t remember all that I received but things included mince pies, chocolates, packs of cards, a juggling game.  But the piece de resistance was on the day that we closed the office.  The courier arrived with a very large blue box with a golden bow tied around it.  BellSouth’s colours here.  He insisted that I open the box in front of him because he was determined to find out what “he” had sent me on that day.  Mind you the smell of brandy was very strong.  Everybody gathered around me while I opened the box.  And there was without a doubt the biggest Christmas pudding I have ever seen.  It was in the shape of a bell and even though it had no doubt been well soaked in brandy it came complete with a small bottle of brandy.

Luckily I wasn’t stopped on the way home because the car reeked of brandy and I would have had a hard time convincing the cop that it wasn’t me!

Christmas was two days away and as luck would have it both my children were going to be out of town for the holiday.  My dashing young Scotsman and I were going to be on our own, so with another couple, we were going to a local restaurant for Christmas dinner.  We were regulars there and so the owners sent a car for us and then after several hours, organised the same car to take us home.  But that’s a story for another day.

Back to this enormous pudding.  I took it home and we discussed what to do with it.  It was obviously far too large for us and we didn’t have any intention of letting it go to waste.

So early next morning I started ringing around the organisations who help those in need.  Nobody was interested in our pudding.  eventually, at 11.55am I got a hit – yes they would love to have the pudding.  They were closing at 12 noon and could I get it there in time?  No way.  Did they have another suggestion?  The phone was put down while a discussion ensued with somebody else in the office.  When they came back they gave me the address of a family of seven who had little or no money and would no doubt welcome the pudding.  The family lived not far from us and so I took the pudding to them.

I hate the whole “Lady Bountiful” idea and so I just left the big box on top of the letter (mail) box.  Then drove further up the cul-de-sac in order to turn around.  As I went down the road again I heard an excited young voice calling out “Mum I think Santa came early”.  I was so happy to have found a welcome place for my Christmas pudding.

Unfortunately, that was the only year that BellSouth recognised its clients in this way.  But we still talk about the Giant Christmas Pudding.

For those of you not familiar with a Christmas pudding this is a traditional steamed spicy pudding served for dessert on Christmas day.  The web abounds with recipes.  Click here for a favourite.

There are many traditions associated with Christmas puddings.  Growing up mother always put silver threepenny pieces in the pudding – we had to return it for use again next year if we were lucky enough to find one in the pudding.

Another tradition is for everybody in the family to stir the pudding when it’s being made. As they each take a turn to stir, they make a wish. Of course, they mustn’t do it out loud or tell anyone what they wished for otherwise, it won’t come true.

On a silver dish the Christmas pudding reposed in its glory.  A large football of a pudding, a piece of holly stuck in it like a triumphant flag and glorious flames of blue and red rising round it.  There was a cheer and cries of ‘Ooh-ah.’”
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding’, by Agatha Christie

And I am sorry that I don’t have a picture of the bell-shaped pudding but found this when looking for a picture to use

Christmas pudding

Roger and Valerie Holley put the finishing touches to their giant hedge which they have transformed into a Christmas pudding Photo: SOUTH WEST NEWS