Sunday morning 2:Window dressing

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Window dressing according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is: [a] the act of decorating and arranging products to display in a store window; [b] something that is intended to make a person or thing seem better or more attractive but that does not have any real importance or effect.

What things in your life are there simply as window dressing?

What would the real you look like if all those crutches, those non-essentials, those pretensions, those falsehood were to all fall away?

Would people still like you, still want to be around you, be your friend? Or would they hardly recognise you and shun you?

Would you still like yourself?

Are you brave enough to make 2016 your year of authenticity?

Write and let me know how you are starting of this new year with you journey to your true self.

 

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Sunday mornings

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My first ‘Sunday mornings’ photography project

1st Sunday, 04 January.

Photo of my mini mini-library, filled with books I’ve collected in the past year. Some still waiting to be read [and a few I would happily get rid of]. I bought most of them from second-hand stores and some were handed down from relatives and friends.

What photography project are you taking up this year?

 

Thank you for a great year!

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Image courtesy of http://www.susangoater.files.wordpress.com

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

Thank you to all of you who visited my blog and for your comments and encouragement during the past year!

Even though I did not post regularly as I would have liked [what with family, work and other of life’s many ‘moments’], you have always been right there and for that I am grateful.

My deep appreciation goes out to those of you who were kind enough to follow my blog. Thank you! Thank you from the depths of my struggling-blogger’s heart! 🙂

I have learned that it is not always easy to express myself in writing, and to write in a language that is not my mother-tongue, well. This is why I am especially grateful to all of you for sharing your time, attention and experiences with me.

Thank you all for making 2015 a great year!

Here’s to a new year full of creativity, inspiration, deep joy and profound wellness!

Thank you,

Teri

 

 

…..after cooking broom (just had to share this)

I found this laugh-out-loud funny.

Checking for the translation of an email that arrived in German:

Sonnige Gruesse aus der Suedsee nach Garbesen

Microsoft Translator gave me this English translation:

Greetings from the South Pacific after cooking broom

🙂

Have you ever found any funny translations lately? Feel free to share it in the comment box below.

The Familiar Stranger

I was about six or seven when I started to notice the aloof stranger who sometimes visited us. He always came in the evenings as if he could not bear for us, for anyone, to see him in daylight.

He never said a word, never to us children anyway and always seemed so shy and unsure of himself around us. I remember that he was trim and looked strong. His skin was a medium brown and he had close-cropped hair as black and frizzy as my own. I never saw his eyes because it was always cast down or looking away perhaps secretly wishing that he was somewhere else. I can tell you their colour, they are brown but to this day, even though we have met so many times since then and have had long conversations, I still don’t know what his eyes look like, are like.

The nights he would visit soon came to be special nights for me. Not because he came, but because my mother would be extra nice to us and never yelled or growled at us which she would do almost every night for no apparent reason. I knew whenever he was expected because she would gather us in early, make sure we were scrubbed down nicely with soap and bundle us into our best clothes. Not our Sunday clothes or our going-to-town clothes but the best looking clothes from the tattered hand-me-downs that comprised our wardrobes.

He would bring gifts. Well they were not really the kind of gifts one would expect, but to me they were early Christmas presents. Not that we ever had presents at Christmas but that is neither here nor there. His gifts were tins of meaty corned beef that my mother would heat up and serve with plump white cassava for our dinner.  Oh, those were the looked-forward to nights. I would eat and eat almost as if I wanted to fill myself up with hot chunky beef ready for the other nights when dinner was only a cup of lukewarm tea accompanied by a small piece of lonely looking cassava or if we were lucky, a few pieces of yeasty bread. I never knew where he got those tins of yummy corned beef from. I did not really care then. It was just enough for me to know that those fat round tins with their red and gold labels would be coming to visit.

My family back then were only my grandparents, my mother, and my siblings. And the families and relatives who lived all around us. No one in our family ever talked about the familiar stranger when he wasn’t there and no one ever told us children who he was. He was like a mystery that I felt I had to solve because he did not fit somehow in our existence. I remember that my grandparents would never join us for dinner when he was around. They would always say that they had to go visit a relative or that they were not hungry. That always made him draw himself so straight and rigid and his eyes would be so hidden from us it was as if he refused to acknowledge that we were real.

It was only many years later, when his weekly visits became monthly visits, became twice yearly and some years not at all, when I started to see his face in that of my siblings. I remember how funny that was and how odd that a silent, unfamiliar man could look so much like them. Like us.

When he stopped visiting at all my mother started to yell at us more and more. I remember feeling so sorry that I had not tried to make friends with him. Maybe if we were friends then he would still visit and my mother would not be so sad and so angry all the time. But it was too late. He was gone and I didn’t know where to find him or how to get him back. I was afraid to even ask about him or to even start looking for him. A big part of me was afraid that if I found him, he would think that I only wanted him to visit again for the tins of corned beef he would bring and not because I wanted my mother to be happy again.

Many years later, when I was about eleven years old, my grandfather bought a thick photo album announcing that it was about time they sorted out all the family photos they had moldering in the clothes cupboard. I didn’t even know we had photos, let alone family ones. The photos were to my young eyes, a revelation into another time, another world that only adults knew about. There were photos of my grandparents during a trip to New Zealand before I was born. One of my mother looking so young and happy in a printed white dress. And there among those memories was one of a man holding a chubby baby in his arms. The man was smiling and looked so strong yet gentle as he tenderly cradled the baby in his arms. There were more photos of him and in all of them he looked like a different man, not at all like the morose looking stranger from all those years ago.

It was then, when my grandmother seeing the questions and the confusion in my eyes, sat me down and introduced me to my father.

Tai Bou’s Cassava and tinned fish stew

At Tai Bou’s house, no food was ever wasted. Left-overs were always eaten for breakfast the next morning but it was always the adults who had them. We children were never allowed and were always served whatever she had cooked that morning.

There was one exception though and that was her cassava and tinned fish stew. Using left-over cassava, Tai Bou would lightly fry them with lots of onion and Indian spices, then when everything was a nice golden brown, she would pour in a whole tin of big chunky fish pieces. Ohh, the aroma from that pot.

It was my comfort food and Tai Bou knew it and always made sure that a pot was waiting for me after school. But not every day though. I cannot explain it but somehow Tai Bou always seemed to know when I needed a bowl of her steaming hot stew. Ah, to come home and see that pot of stew bubbling on the firewood was my idea of heaven. Somehow it made everything right, no matter how hard a day I had at school.

Tai Bou was my fearless great-grandmother. She passed away more than two decades ago but the memory of her special left-over cassava and tinned fish stew is still alive and well in my heart.


In response to Writing 101: Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)! Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

Loss and songs

Or maybe songs about loss. I’ve lost a few days of Writing 101 now due to illness so I have decided to go for a twist and combine the prompts from day 3 and 4 into one post.


 

I grew up listening to 80’s and early 90’s American and British pop songs blaring from almost every local radio station.

No wonder than that for a time there (when I was young and very impressionable) I thought that all those singers – like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson and even a few rock bands – and the songs they sing had all the answers to life’s questions.

Those were the days that singers were simply entertainers and not the celebrities they are regarded today. That is my thinking anyway.

Some songs from those decades that I still like to listen to whenever they are played over the radio are, Madonna’s Frozen and This Used To Be My Playground.  They both remind me of childhood dreams and young love lost. Her You’ll See is an encouragement to rise from those ashes.

Those were simple days, a simpler time, I think, all lost now. Maybe I am just trying to hold on tight to my youth. Maybe I am looking for an escape from the now – the now I find myself in.

Maybe that is why now I am more inclined to hymns and songs  with a faith-filled message. One of these is Brooke Fraser‘s Shadowfeet. This song reminds me of the promise that He will return. A promise whose fulfillment every Bible-believing, faith-filled Christian looks forward to, clings to with every fibre of our being.

A promise that gives us hope to accept, forgive, even forget all that has passed and look forward, ever onward to the future.

 

 

 

Challenged. Again.

Another blogging workshop. Blogging 201. Yay. Yeah, right. I barely managed to complete 101 (and those writing workshops I registered for but whatever…) and now I want to try 201.

But I really want to stick to it this time. This time. Hmm, yes, I have heard that before but this time…This time, I am really setting down my goals. Making them clear.

They are simple goals. I think. Drawing up an editorial calendar is the first on my must-do list – very important to know what to post when. I already started on one; an edcal, that is, and aiming to complete it by this weekend. See what I did there? Edcal. Pretty cool, huh?

In case you still haven’t got it, edcal is short for editorial calendar. Get it? Click here for a few examples and templates of edcals from Google Drive.

I am aiming to total a hundred followers this year. That’s 100 followers by 31st December 2015. To achieve that, I know I have to stay true to myself and share what I like, what I find interesting, what I believe in and to be more interested in people out there who are also on the same kind of journey I’m on.  And hopefully I will not just be gaining followers, but friends.

And my third goal? To improve my English and explore myself through writing. Okay, it’s a two-part goal and both vitally important..

To summarise:

1. Draw up a workable editorial calendar by Sunday, 08 February 2015.

2. Gain 100 followers/new online friends by 31 December 2015.

3. Clarify my thoughts, interests, goals and beliefs through my blogging and writing and improve my use of the English language.

Happy blogging 🙂

Why Do YOU Blog? Part 2

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What comes first, the content or the title?

I don’t know about you but I get a bit of both. I might think about a title for a topic first and write a content that, to my mind at least, befits that title. At other times, I might think up what I think is (ahem) amazing content, write it out and an apt title appears. Magically. Like a genie out of a lamp. Oh, if only…

Every post I have written has been a difficult process. Demanding words, the right words that correctly describe the emotion, the experience that I am trying to convey. Words that when put together with other words actually make clear sentences that actually make sense. And what’s more, I have found that there are a lot of words in the English language. Fact.

Alright, I am sure that there are a lot of words in any language but the English language has words, spadefuls of them that describes one thing or means the same thing and any one of those words forks out into countless meanings. Conundrum.

Of course, the search for the right words, the drafting of sentences, teaches me, grows me. Yes, I did sign up for a blog to improve my knowledge, understanding and usage of the English language. And I am glad I did.

Ultimately, we each have (maybe not so) very different and deeply personal reasons why we blog.

Click here to take the poll and use the comment box below to share your own experience with your blogging journey. For more stories from other envelope pushers, click here.

 

Why do you blog? Enter the poll