Christmas and all that it means….

To me Christmas means, “Peace, goodwill to all men.” It is a celebration that Christians every where celebrate on 25th December every year.

However, I think this message should apply to all faiths everywhere, after all many of us are born into the religion of our culture and few of us stray from what we know or taught.

The fact is, we’re all human beings and our desires are much the same as anybody else, no matter what our faith happens to be, after all faith is a personal thing.

Basically we all want to do no  wrong and try to do the right thing by everybody but alas as history has shown us. –  Humanity is far from perfect, it’s frail and it makes mistakes.

Many of us have lived through wars, been aware of massacres and killings of the innocent and most of us ask the same question –  “Why!” – Particularly recently, in view of the tragic occurrence and murder of twenty innocent children and their teachers at school in America, all between the age of six and eight, all shot to death by a madman which I’m sure has put a damper on everybody worldwide.   Particularly as it is Christmastime. – We all feel sick at heart.

I don’t have the answer to the question “Why?” – All I understand is that we are human and many terrible mistakes have been made because of our lack of understanding or willingness to treat our neighbours as we would ourselves. To nurture instead of destroy. The human psyche has yet to be unraveled and understood completely.

Madness is rarely understood but even the sane need to answer a lot of questions in regards to the reasons why they do certain things and their lack of action in  rectifying  wrong doing. – No one really has an answer.

Personally, I love Christmas. I keep it simple and I keep it nice. It’s a family occasion which often invites friends and relatives to join in. I steer well away from the commercialisation of Christmas as I think it taints the real meaning of Christmas somehow.

I just love the smell of Christmas cooking. I  enjoy setting an inviting table and really have a lot of fun watching everybody open their gifts be they big, small or even a gift given in jest. – But most of all,  having a family around us to enjoy and share things with. This  is our greatest treasure.

We should give for the sake of wanting to give and according to our means,  but not as an expectation. We should receive with graciousness and not with disappointment. –  But most of all, I think we should  share this occasion with the less fortunate, such as families in crisis, those that are very sick in hospital or with those that are all alone in the world.  – It’s really not so very hard to do. – To my mind, this is the true meaning of giving.

Here’s wishing everybody a lovely Christmas as I’m sure we are all offering  a special prayer for those that have lost love ones this year, particularly to families of the little school children and their courageous teachers that died so tragically in America just a few days ago.

God Bless and all the best for the New Year and always.

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One thing leads to another…

I am what a lot of people these days would call a  lady of a certain age. – Therefore,  I can take the liberty and assure you that the well known saying of  “One thing leads to another.” –  is absolutely true.

I can look back over the years and I notice that there are quite a few people that I know in my life, that perhaps would not have even been born, if it hadn’t been for me making a certain decision or taking various actions in the past that actually led to the event of their parents meeting each other, which in turn led to them falling in love, forming a relationship, marrying and giving birth to them.

– I dare say quite a few people, once they think about it,  can also claim the same. – Some people may even put it down to destiny. Paths do cross and events do happen.

I was born during the second world war and stories abound about soldiers and sailors meeting their wives overseas whilst they were serving for their countries. – Had it not been for the tragic event of the war, perhaps they would never had met, moved to another land and their children would not be alive today.

We can all remember our school days, teenagers that became friends because of a romantic evening at the school prom or friends that met at church or our local youth club. – Thinking about it, rock and roll and religion certainly have a lot to be responsible for!

Uni students meet and marry, had they not passed their exams and decided to study at university, perhaps they would not have had the families they have today.

Within my own family business which we formed many years ago, we’ve had quite a few marriages between workmates and when I see their lovely children running around visiting our factory.  – I think ” Gosh,  had we not made the decision to create our business all those years ago, they wouldn’t be here!”

Same goes for friends that we have taken on holiday with us and that have met up with some of our overseas friends, met, married and now have a family. – Had we not extended the invite, their children wouldn’t be here either!

As a young man, my husband ended up staying in Australia after a quick decision not to continue working on board a ship where he’d had an unpleasant disagreement with the captain. He decided to stay a few years, work a while and eventually return to his home country, which in time he did. – At the same time, on the other side of the globe, I too, at a crossroads in my life and just about to turn twenty-one years of age, had made the decision to travel and migrate to Australia.  -Two decisions that led us to meet, marry and have a family. A boy and a girl, that wouldn’t be here today, had those decisions not been made.  – The rest is history!

Yes, one thing always leads to another. – Our thoughts and the words we speak, lead to the decisions we make.  Our actions lead to events,  including the good and bad,which definitely direct our lives in such a way, that they lead us to new discoveries, new friends, new careers, new lives and more often than not, always for the better.

As John Lennon once said “Life is what happens when you are making other plans.”

I guess it is all a matter of being in the right place at the right time!

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Flowers…

I just love flowers, any kind of flower. –  I think they are some of nature’s works of art. – Surely the design of a great creator.

They are beautiful and they fascinate me. –  Flora and fauna being two of my great loves.

In fact, I’m always taken back and remain little disappointed when some people stress that they think flowers are a waste of money because for me personally, they give me great joy.

Others make a point of saying “No flowers please” for funerals and prefer to donate the money that they may cost to a charity. – This is a personal choice of course.

– But to my way of thinking, why wait until a funeral to donate to charity.  – To my mind, monetary donations can be done at anytime, we don’t need to wait for someone to die to do it.

– I think flowers are a lovely way to say good bye. – After all, buying flowers also support the living.  The flower cultivators, gardeners and the florists who create such beautiful arrangements.

– This is not such a bad thing is it?

Flowers make me wonder. – I am in absolute awe of nature. Amazed at how a flower can sprout from beneath the earth from a tiny seed or bulb. Then after being drenched by rain, grow a stem which by its own accord, reaches towards the light and sunshine. – Then just as a mother would unwrap a shawl from a newborn baby. It unfolds its leaves one by one and a flower bud  shows its pretty head. – Then gradually, gradually it opens its delicate petals and blooms into some exquisite design. –  Everyone a different colour and  unique in its own way.

Who cannot be swayed by the prettiness of a flowery meadow, a rose bush A  cherry blossom tree. A lily or the elegance of an orchid?

– Who can resist the perfume of a fresh gardenia, a frangiapani tree, lilac or an English rose?  – I can’t.

Gifts can come in many shapes and sizes and the occasions are many. Money of course, has its uses and is very practical and naturally, we are always grateful to receive such gifts.

– But for me, no matter what the occasion may be, there is nothing quite like ” saying it with flowers. ” –  It makes one feel special and it is always that one small kind gesture that really makes life feel worth while.

After all, memories remain and a thing of beauty is a joy forever…

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Disappointments and mistakes….

Yes, disappointments are just that, disappointments.

– Mistakes, well I’ve  definitely made a few – but that’s life.

The thing is just this, that inwardly we’d all like everything to work out perfectly, we’d like to be a success at everything and be rewarded accordingly – but unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life for anything. – Nothing in fact, lasts forever.

However, what we can do for ourselves is to learn to take it on the chin, learn good coping skills and learn to let go. – Particularly, if things are not working out as expected. No point in hanging on to anything that is not working out and making you unhappy in the bargain.

Very often, even after a bad or disappointing experience,  it is just amazing how one’s life can be turned around for the better. Life is full of little tricks like that. – So it pays to be optimistic.

I think these sorts of incidences touch everyone  in one way or another. – If we’re honest and look back, we’ll find,  that more often than not, things have always worked out just fine in the end.

We can lose a job or change careers, lose a lover or have and argument with a colleague, a friend or a member of our family. –  We can have precious things stolen from us or be cheated upon,  only to find that after the ordeal, we see things more clearly. – We brush away the cobwebs, cut our losses, reassess our relationships, job or lifestyle only to gain a better understanding of everything going on around us, the good and the bad. –  The reward being, that we can always choose to move forward more positively. – It has to be this way.

Fail to consciously make this decision and change the situation, then ultimately you will also fail to see your future prospects, realise your desire or find out what you are actually looking for in life.

They are always there, you just have to be prepared to look. – Let bygones be bygones, let go of the negative aspects in your life and embrace the future.

It has to be done. – It can be done.

 

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Violence…

Well, since last weekend – I couldn’t help but sit back in my armchair whilst I watched the news and was amazed at the violence that is going on around in our world today.

There are wars everywhere, political unrest, religious uprisings and everybody vying to obtain some kind power over the masses, in one way or another.

Pointless, all of it.

As a Sydneysider living in Australia, I was astounded as I watched a religious rally turn from a protest into an uprising and then violence, which was all over a silly low grade, demeaning video clip that most people in their right mind would not give the time of day. Yet alone, be influenced by it!

Stranger still, as I watched the violence unfold in our beautiful sunny city of Sydney on television that night, it was also reported that there were more than thirty-five similar uprisings, all occurring at the same time, world wide all over the same silly film.

Threats of beheadings were being carried around on placards, people were being severely injured, children were caught up in the brawl and encouraged to participate.The police were pushed beyond their point of patience and endurance, in order to gain control the crowds.

The whole thing had become very dangerous. Could this really be happening in this freedom loving country of ours?

And yet, the faction that caused the riots, proclaimed that they were preaching peace!

What is the matter with everybody? – Faith is a personal thing!

Common sense should rule over the acts of idiotic film makers and their irreverent insults that are of such little value.

If one is offended by someone’s stupidity, the best thing to do is to ignore the offender.

We live in a liberated society that allows free speech but equally, there is no obligation to listen to all it.

However, people would do well to remember that just because we have the privilege of free speech, it is not a license to create havoc and unrest in a country in which you are a resident or guest.

We should choose our words wisely, and use them well and as eloquently as possible if we wish to make a point.

Violence has never achieved anything, insults do not convert people to your way of thinking and threats do not ensure love and harmony with our fellow man.

People should bear this in mind because the things that we value most in this life could be lost in an instant and they are love, our peace of mind and our freedom.

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Diana…

Fifteen years have passed, yet she has not been forgotten. Like it or not, most of us can’t help but question her life and her sad and tragic demise on 31 August 1997. – The memory of Princess Diana has not faded and gone away as many would have wished us to believe.

Diana was a true princess. Although beautiful, yet imperfect, most of us could relate to her. Somehow, she seemed like someone we knew fairly well. She had a natural way of reaching out to people. She was unpretentious, humane and empathetic. She had insight and understood ordinary people,  despite being an icon in her own right and a prominent member of the Royal family.

As we all know, through the years, there have been just as many cruel critics, as there were admirers of Princess Diana. – I for one, tend towards the latter.

Whilst she was alive and going through some considerable turmoil. Someone once said accusingly, that she was a ” loose canon” or completely out of her mind but surely, her retaliation towards the way that she was being used and snared into a life that on the surface seemed like a life of privilege,  yet it was not so because it demanded so much of her personally and emotionally.

She was young and she was naive. It was thought that she’d fit the mould.- What a mistake that was!

She had been chosen to be a future queen because she had the blood line in her favour and the upbringing of a lady. – She was young, pretty, healthy and sportive, fit to bring into the world an heir and spare. A breeding mare. – Yet, despite of all her attributes, she was denied any true consideration of her feelings or the expectation of love and loyalty within her  marriage.

We can only put ourselves in her shoes. – She was faced with the decision of having to put up and shut up with her husband’s infidelity. He was in love and always had been in love with another married woman, how can any wife and young mother cope and be expected to put up with that?

So as a young woman in her early thirties, with the prospect of not ever having a spouse that really loved or cared for her in her life, I should suppose she had no option but seek comfort from someone else. Which, as we all know, in due course, she did. – Can anybody really blame her for that?

Love and the desire to be loved, unfortunately, often can lead to folly and end up to be, nothing more than a mere allusion and wishful thinking as Diana found out much to her chagrin.

I do not for one moment believe that Dodi Fayed was “the one” or ever was going to be – but that fact of the matter is, had her husband Prince Charles been faithful and abided by his promise when he married her. Princess Diana would not have been where she was when she died, in a car accident with a male friend in Paris. She would have been home safe and sound with her family.- The sad thing is, she was actually looking forward to going home to get to see her sons who were staying with their father at Balmoral. – Tragic.

Conspiracy theories abound of course. Was it really an accident? – Did the powers that be behind the throne plan her death. –  I really don’t think so. Could it have been the armaments industry? They had a lot to lose with Princess trying to have land mines and weaponry banned. Maybe, but who really knows? –  Most of us tend to think it was just a bad and unfortunate accident.

One thing is for sure, a few things have changed within all of us and the monarchy since Diana’s death. Fortunately, Prince William is walking in his mother’s footsteps and that is wonderful to see.

So we cast our minds back, reflect and wonder, what did the death of Princess Diana bring to the fore? Why do we remember, what was worth remembering? –  Personally, I think it made everybody become very aware of their emotions and life’s true values. The outcry and the wailing at Diana’s funeral, I think  touched everybody somehow. For every one of us during our lifetime had experienced some of the things that Princess Diana had gone through in her lifetime. – Love, life, aspirations, loss and disappointment despite of trying so hard to be a good person and contribute to society, to be able to love and to be loved within our lives.

– It’s not fair, but then life isn’t fair,  is it?

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Days that we remember…

Most of us have days that we remember throughout our lives , depending on our age of course.

We remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at the time. The assassination of President John F Kennedy for example or more recently, the tragic death of Princess Diana and that dreadful day of 9/11 and the devastation and loss of the twin towers in New York. Every one of them is strongly etched in our memory. Dreadful memories, all of them.-  My parents remembered the day that Neville Chamberlain declared that Britain was at war at the beginning of World War  2 and my grand parents the first world war. Two other times in history that world could well have done without.

Fortunately, there are other times during our lifetime that we are happy to remember. For me, there are two or three occasions. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2 and of course, the marriage of her son Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer and in between times, the Russian launch of the Sputnik,Laika the first dog in space and of course, the handsome Yuri Gagarin.

However, today because of the sad passing of Neil Armstrong I am especially remembering one of man’s greatest achievements and that is the day when Neil Armstrong and his crew landed upon the moon. A moment in history  for which I feel so fortunate to have been alive and privileged to have seen.

I was living in Italy at the time. My son had been born that same year and remember this day vividly as if it were yesterday, yet so many years have passed since then

It was such a wonderfully hot Mediterranean  summer’s day on 20th July 1969 . We were tanned and feeling very happy as all was well with the world. With an ice cold drink in one hand and carrying my young son in my other arm, my mother and I watched in awe, the landing of the first man on the moon on the TV in the lobby of a seaside holiday hotel in Sardinia where my husband worked at the time.

An incredible achievement. An amazing memory. – In fact, Neil Armstrong’s famous words of ” One small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.” remain with me still.

RIP.  – Neil Armstrong  1930 – 25.8.2012.

Thanks for the memories.

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