Posted in goals, Health, Health Promotion. Diet, Learning, nutrition, Writing

A Potential Blogging Link to a New Local Food Store.

I have made a potentially exciting discovery in my home town of Downham Market, Norfolk. A new specialist food store opened three weeks ago called The Barn and I strolled in to take a look yesterday. It was pleasing to the eye and sold a variety of food products, some of which I had not see in any supermarket chain. 

There was Spelt flour of which I had been searching for, coconut oil and coconut sugar of which I have been reading about the possible benefits off, as well as other ingredients I had seen in several recipes just recently. Here they were, all in one place, and the other attraction for me was ( that it appeared at first glance) a lot of this food was produced locally. I purchased a Norfolk seed, apple and date cake. I knew this would not be my last visit.

As I was paying for my purchase, I struck up a conversation with the seller. I said I liked the shop and that I was trying out some new healthy food ideas. Casually, I mentioned my food blogging and the lady seemed really interested. She told me that they were creating a Facebook group soon and perhaps I would like to link up and share my postings with them. I replied that that would be great.

I went away and had a thought. Why don’t I link the products purchased at the shop with my new spin off to this food blog: a project I had mentioned to one of my closest friends on Facebook only the other day. It’s about seasonal food. I am going to be cooking two specific dishes a month, one fruit and one savoury, starting in September. The ingredients will include at least one food in season for that month and will form part of this blog’s objectives.

So, in addition the writing here could be an additional marketing avenue for this new business and also may attract more traffic to my blog site. I really do hope they set up a facebook group. This will really help my motivation with this work, as I love to have a real sense of purpose in what I am doing and this is definitely it.

For many, these types of food retailers have an image of being expensive. Well, the cake bought certainly wasn’t, at £1.49 but some things did cost more, than say at a supermarket or a shop’s own brand. So as part of my food blogging, one of the objectives is to look at price. The question being: is it possible that paying for an ingredient that is more, for example, coconut sugar be worth it as the end result?

My first dish will be a dessert using the commonly seen and free blackberry that will grace our hedgerows soon. I will be using coconut sugar and intend to make a simple mousse. I will be adapting recipes as well as using others from food sites and these will have links. I hope it will generate some interest.

I just need the September blackberries to show up now…

What do you think to the idea? Suggestions and comments are very welcome.

Posted in achievement, Art, Change, Commitment, Debate, Development, Environment, goals, Health, Health Promotion. Diet, Ideas, Liberation, Modern society, Personal Growth, Psychology, Skills, Thoughts, Writing

Mindfulness: the Way to Declutter your Head.

I was in a newsagents last week when I spotted a new magazine called Breathe:it was the first issue.

  This magazine is written for a growing sector of readership, just like myself,whose desire is to enhance their physical,social and mental well-being. Designed to include four aspects of living: wellbeing, mindfulness, creativeness and escapism, the magazine is beautifully presented and covers a wide range of related topics, all of which are highly interesting and fresh in presentation. I am already eager to see the next issue on sale, September 22nd and have it marked on my calender. 

But what does it say about the reading habits, especially of women, and of a movement ( gathering an ever greater momentum ) where there are now courses and qualifications for a different type of practitioner? I am talking about the subject of mindfulness, and the interest clearly is growing enough for a publisher to create a new magazine, to include this subject, to live calmer, less stressed and more meaningful lives- lived in the present moment.

For someone who has experienced anxiety and stress, sufficient to have produced depression in the past, mindfulness is helping me now in a number of ways; the main benefit being in the unclutering of the mind. This mental dejunking has had several spin offs and I would like to share those here:

It keeps my anxiety into perspective and I will only focus on a concern in the present moment. A worry about a potential, confrontational meeting, regarding a thorny issue next week, can wait until then.

It has empowered me in my relationships. I am finally shaking off the need to be liked. Believe me, this has taken me years! I can be proud of who I am and have no need to seek others approval. I recognise my own power and this power has yielded results, so that gives me more courage to be assertive. This spiral is on a trajectory of only one way which is up. This excites me.

It has helped me to think more creatively. As a result, I am now starting to doodle mindfulness scribbles and pictures. I intend to share some.

It has helped me develop new hobbies. I have taken up drawing and really enjoy it. It does not matter about the level of skill. When I draw I forget everything. The concentration of the drawing keeps me totally in the present.

As a result of drawing, I have taken up postcard colouring. This is a nice spin off. This has brought joy to my family – so much so that one has been framed. This has brought me happiness, knowing that such a simple thing can bring other people joy.

I listen more, but realise I still don’t really listen at all well. There are gaps in people’s conversations that I don’t always pick up. This has been a shock. I am tuining in more to people and can respond better to them. Challenge yourself on this next time you listen to someone. Is your mind mentally on to the next task of what to cook for dinner?

I have started meditations and have returned to a much simpler form of Christian faith which includes prayer. I am beyond astonished that how these prayers have been recently answered. I search out quiet space, churches, under skies, on my walks for these types of moments. I am grateful so much for this.

I have found time to take up blogging again and to really think about what I want to write. Words jump out of my head randomly for future blog post. In the space of my mind, a book idea and even its title is already taking shape. I just need the belief to write it now and to say I am good enough to do it.

I have uncluttered the house. This has been going on for two years now since moving and embraces the minimalist movement. I like simplicity and space. Even my clothes tastes have changed. I like minimalism and follow Joshua Becker and his minimalist blog site.

Over thinking for me has been a real problem. I think too much most of the time. This is a hard habit to break. Recycling your thoughts have a shelf-life. Sometimes, you just have to bin the trash once and for all.

So these are the main changes and observations to date and these won’t be by far the end, of that I am certain . In the meantime, I am looking forward to reading Breathe and wish the magazine every success. My close friend tells me that when you are in tune with your heartfelt desires, things like books find you. I wish I had found mindfulness years ago but am glad to have discovered it now.

Go out and find out for yourself. You might be in for a few surprises! I would like to hear what you find.

 

Posted in Art, Atheism, Christianinty, Debate, God, History, Ideas, Men, Philosophy, Psychology, Relationships, Religion, sex, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized, Writing

The Angel’s Game: Part 2

I wasn’t sure how I would find The Angel’s Game after the excellent, if not involved and sometimes confusing plot, of  The Shadow of the Winds. However, after reading the first two pages I knew this book was going to surpass and excel beyond “Shadows” and it did not disappoint, I could barely put it down.

What I love most about this book is the rich, poetic, elegant flow of words that help to create this magnificent tale of a writer who sells his soul, perhaps for fame, for money or both by being given a commission to write a book. This work is like no other, from a mysterious publisher for a vast sum of money. From the start Carlos Ruiz Zafon makes it clear what he is trying to say. For a man’s ego, sometimes he is prepared to do anything, even with his own near destruction at stake.

The depth of how the author created the characters and how each one was woven and intertwined with the story is something that Zafon does superbly. You could feel the desperate obsessive love that David Martin, the central character, feels for Cristina and how this relationship unfolds. You are not sure at first how the added relationship of Isabella is going to go, this held me the most, and I wanted to cry when reading her last letter to him. This was truly moving and haunting words so tragic and so authentic feeling real to me.

David Martin was intellectually a sharp and essentially good man, yet numbed by years of being let down and abused, he was turned into a character of coldness and unfeeling at times, seen especially in his interactions with his doting young assistant Isabella.  Yet, his drive to survive and to find the truth concerning the darkness of where he lived, that was linked with his own work, gave this novel a sometimes creepy, supernatural air about it. Turing into a detective tale set in a Gothic theme, this enriched the whole fabric of the novel and gave the plot a nail-biting feel. Just when you thought there was nothing new to add, a twist emerged and you were once again thrown head long into the pages of a tale intense and demanding to its audience. You had to concentrate, otherwise you would lose the thread of the plot.

Then the end: how strange. I read it twice and could not take it in. Had I missed something? For me, it left unanswered questions and a feeling that suddenly where it had been convincing it became a non-reality. Why has Zafon done this other reviewers have asked? It was a clever turn and the author’s notes for discussion could say why. Who was the publisher? I have my thoughts which would make the end plausible. Never-the-less I am hooked. I can forgive him for the ending though as I want to read much more from this man. It is hinted in reviews that with the completion of the four novels Zafon prepares to write, the end of The Angel’s Game slots into place. Is this up Zafon’s sleeve? Knowing his writing a little then nothing would surprise me.

If you want a book where you can enjoy some history, feel the city of Barcelona on your finger tips, with skilled and crafted writing around a great plot then read Zafon. It’s poetry from a pen and characters that come alive.  It is the only novel on finishing that I felt I want to read again and along with it The Shadow of the Winds. I  was not aware that The Angel’s Game was joined to “Shadows” until the final twists at the end. It was an Ahh moment. They can be read alone or as a complete story, the Cemetery of Forgotten Books being the cement that link and binds them together. A great find for me in fiction, like no other for a long time. For a thinking mind it is a great read.

(The images are photographs taken at the Monastry of Pedralbes visited at the time of reading and one area featured in the author’s work. The angels are a perfect choice of picture for this blog I felt.)

Posted in Art, Ideas, Learning, Men, Personal Growth, Relationships, Religion, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

The Angel’s Game. Part 1.

Introduction prior to a personal book review.

There is a saying that dogs choose their owners, not the other way around. Once I had started reading The Angel’s Game, I wondered if this book had found me, had sought me out and had choosen me to read it. There are some strange coincidences to this novel in terms of its content. How the main characters names are the same as two very central and important men in my life. How one of the key characters had staged their own death on a date mentioned by the author, that being  the same date also as the birth of my daughter.Things die in the same place as where new life arrives perhaps? That was the message that came across to me when reading this same reference of date. Also, to read a page in a hotel room in Barcelona where the main character recalls walking along the hill road of Pedralbes where I had stumbled across the very same place that afternoon; being many miles away from home and having never set foot in Spain until that week. Well, it feels nostalgic if nothing else.

This year has seen old ways of living being replaced with new ones. This magnificent novel left me feeling three things that are new. The first being an desire to write a creative story, something that I have never felt an urge to do. Until now, all my writing and blogging have been concerned about the giving of facts, discussion or dissemination of information. I am not saying that I will do this but a touch- paper of wanting to do so was certainly lit.  Secondly, that life can not be placed neatly into packages of right and wrong. How good people, who behave out of character or even very badly, can still be inherently good inside. It is the only the outside world and their experiences from it that can drive them to almost anything if the circumstances are set in a certain way.  Thirdly, a re-enforcement of wanting to stay within my new world of work in education. To help and inspire other minds to want to know, and to have a desire to read all the magical stuff, thoughts, charaters and facts that can be found within the wonderful world of books.

Read on, I hope to the next blog, a book review as to why I thought this book was something quite special to read. It certainly should have a place in The Cementry of Forgotten Books in the author’s tale!

Posted in Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized, Writing

Blogs, Books and other Stuff.

Hi to all my friends. 

300 pages into Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and the book is finally holding me in it’s vice like grip, about 133 pages to go. Hoping to finish it in two days. It has been one of the longest fiction books to read. Since finishing my studies, it has taken me ages to get back  into reading for pleasure again. Kathryn wanted me to read it – a tale about apartheid and injustice, only the other way round. The blacks have the power this time, they are the crosses. The whites are the noughts. The struggle for justice, freedom and human rights is a strong one, particulary after the first half of the book. At first, I struggled with it and was bored and put it down – this is aimed at an older child audience, but  I am  determined to show my daughter that I would read it to the end and discuss it with her. That I took the time and bother, to read something she thought was good and wanted me to read, is important to me.

Whilst reading this slowly, life is great and I’m doing lots. Recognise that I can’t quite fit in all I want to do. Itching to do more reading again, both fiction and non-fiction.  Blogging is a struggle with time restraints. Onevoice needs to be the priority now and that is hard with the time available. So this blog is taking a long summer recess. I just can’t do both and this was never meant to be a time pressured thing.

Books beckon me in the book shop. Angles and Demons- Dan Brown looks thrilling. The kite Runner, can’t spell the author, and it’s sequel look appealing. The History of God by Karen Jones, an ex-nun looks fascinating. But it all takes time.

On flickr, an exciting new potential contact emerges. Geoff, my dear flickr friend, brought to my attention a guy who was talking  in pictures and words about the slum children in the Philippines and their survival, sifting through rubbish last night.   This needs to be blogged about. The human rights abuses of children in Irish care homes by Catholic nuns and priests has not left my mind. Haven’t forgotten about that either. And of course my interest in FGM will never be extinguished.

Combing that with family, gardening, running and yes, of course there’s the 30 hr per week job to do and  life is full and brimming. I am not complaining. Plan to return to onethoughtful in the autumn and going to have a very good summer.

Take care everyone and please visit me on onevoice1freedom when I can get there to write.

Posted in Change, Commitment, Development, Health, Human Rights, Ideas, Learning, Modern society, Personal Growth, Role of women, Skills, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized, Women, Writing

Blog Changes

OneVoiceIfreedom

Having deleted this post accidentally last week, let’s have a another try now.

This blog is to announce some important changes, for me anyway, as to how my posts will continue to be written and organised. Approx six months ago, I set up a new blog OnevoiceIfreedom to highlight, research and write about my deep interests in human rights, women’s issues and health. This has been sitting on the back burner, due to all sorts of reasons, but now the time has come for those concerns to take priority and be on the boil, rather on the back burner of the stove.

Onethoughtfulwoman will continue and from time to time will have general posts about other interests.  I do believe blogs are like like living things, they need to be fed regularly to sustain them, so onethoughtfulwoman will not remain idle. My wish is to use this platform  as a mini diary/ slot. Posts for the light hearted things, thoughts, pondering and rather like a log of events.

This is done with so much style and skill by one of my twiiter friendshttp://sallyinnorfolk.com/ who writes while conducting an equally busy life with great charm, wit and sustains those of us who read it with great effectiveness. I enjoy reading her posts, simple and quick to read, as you speed through the day.

Blogging for me has been such a great experience. Meeting new people, making comments, helping others and improving my writing and thinking ability. I shall still continue to reply to other blogs. However, the time has come for the focus of my own work to change. It has been easy up to now to write about things which interest me, yet which takes little time to research. Now, the harder part is yet to come with this new project.

It will still be an infant blog for some time yet. I hope readers will see it grow in statue, strength and effectiveness to a mature site over the coming months. This will require motivation, focus and a lot of effort on my part. It is so easy for the day to be squeezed with the endless things, repetitive jobs we all have to do in order to live, keep a roof over our head and pay the bills.

For me, I live a hectic, all go, yet in many ways a simple life. I appreciate that what can I really know about human rights and conditions, overseas problems when my day consists of living and working in sleepy Norfolk. UK. The dog walk on the fen or driving all around the countryside looking after people, meeting deadlines is hardly a setting for real work in human rights.

Sometimes, I WISH I could just release all those chains of mortgage, the school day and earning a living and just fly, fly away to do some good somewhere. I hope one day I can. But for now, there is much I can do and learn, network and so forth.

I am very, very serious about all of this. I don’t have forever either. Being in a health-care setting I know how fragile life is, how it can be their one minute and how the next a serious diagnosis of illness can blow you away. It is a fine line we tread. I may have years, I may have only months. What ever time I have. The starting line can really wait no more.

Ok, in order for me to organise this, some foundations have had to be laid. Having I hope finished a three and half year course, there are tons of jobs to be done in the house. Over the last three weeks, I have had a blitz on the domestic front and the way it is run. So I have a more solid base in which to organise my time. I can not work in chaos. But the dust, dishes and decorating will always be there. No environment will ever be perfect.

So here goes. Please wish me luck, and for my regular readers I already know your encouragement is with me. My writing isn’t going to become so boring, serious and all about strife and suffering, we all need a balance.

Hence on here, this will be the lighter side to life.

Posted in Art, Thoughts, Time, Writing

Easter

Oh, daffodil and bells.

The garden blooms and swells,

With new buds, a new life,

The birds are flying,

as high as kites.

 

Oh Easter, rejoice now rejoice.

The birds sing in chorus

winds whisper a love song,

of new and old tales,

young lovers take hands

and walk along the Easter dawn.

 

Be fresh in our hearts,

on Easter tide,

of noon and sun,

and joy with pain.

 

Along the lane we face the day,

of come what may.

Kiss the flowers of dew,

like honey, it melts too soon,

Easter be gone again,

another year, another day.

 

The clouds drift by,

soon goodbye.

We should not mourn,

For the day dawns again,

and spring cascades on.

 

The march of time.

Like a fine wine,

we behold the Easter time,

and drink from her cup,

to be satisfied,

and be still to sleep.

Another day peeps,

from our pillow.

 

onethoughtfulwoman April 2009.

Posted in achievement, Art, Change, families, Home, Learning, Personal Growth, Relationships, Skills, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

Looking out to Today

Today, I go to a library return some books and find the last pieces of information to tweak an assignment. Three and  a half years of study is drawing to a close-well, in this chapter anyway. But of course my commitment to life long learning goes on but also to learn not just out of books.

I am giving myself nine short- term goals to now focus upon and this also embraces an opportunity to get out more and have some fun and social life with family and friends. Within these goals there is a more serious side: to do some good as well, or at least try to. They are as follows:

1) To continue my pursuit of my concerns, those being human rights and specifically women’s health. I will continue to develop my other blog site and to contact FOREWARD- Foundation of Women’s Health, Research  and Development. My aim is to initially visit this organisation in London.

2)  To create further an environment of care and peace at home and to cherish relationships. On a very practical level to get some basic home decorating done, encouraging the others here at home to do this with me.

3)  To improve my photography. This includes editing, shooting, days out and the theory of the camera and what makes a good shot.

4)  To take up the subject of the history of art. I figure that if I am to understand life, think and observe more and create better images I need to understand this subject further. To stand still and look at something long enough to form an impression. (I can be too busy, both in my head and in my actions to stand still and notice sometimes.)

5)  To continue to improve my writing and English skills.

6)  To get back out onto the garden again and also grow some vegetables.

7)  To not give up on the swimming, given the progress I have made, and also continue, to walk, run and cycle.

8)  Continue my new involvement with King’s Lynn Transition Town.( I’ll blog more about what that is another time).

9)  To have a better relationship with money and continue to save some more disposable income.

 Just because something has been written first or last, it does not neccessarily mean it does not have an equal weight of importance.

These are goals drawn up for the next six months and I will record at the end what I have achieved. Interestingly, my aim was to have five and it has finished with nine. But these are all do-able. In fact, many are being done already.

Posted in Change, Climate Change, Debate, Environment, Home, Modern society, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized, Writing

Earth Hour

I was looking foreword to lighting my candles this evening to celebrate and recognise Earth hour at 20.30. The glass bowl for floating candles, not used for awhile, had centre stage on our dinning table this evening. At 20.30 I looked out of my window to see if people in our neighbourhood were observing this hour too. They were not.

I was disappointed. Perhaps, they had not heard about it. But it had been on the six o’clock news this evening. Not judging anyone but perhaps they simply didn’t care or didn’t want to bother. What ever the reason, I discovered one very lovely thing about this year’s Earth hour: simply the peace.

We had turned our TV and computers off too. The candles were errie but the quietness was bliss. My daughter and I sat together in the twilight. We were waiting to pick my guy up from work. We read in the candlelight, me looking at course work and my daughter at a magazine. We had a drink and talked quietly. Our conversation took us back to the Victorian times where pastimes in the evening would have been books, conversation, writing letters in the candle light or playing cards.

We didn’t want this Earth hour to end. But it did and then with husband back from work, the flurry of the microwave and the brewing of tea.

The important point to make. We can bury our heads in the sand, but this is truth. We have less than 100 months left to save our planet from irreversible global warning causing sea level rises, flooding and other environmental impacts and damage. Tonight, let that be suffice for now. Have a think about it. It will happen unless we all do something NOW!

Just wanted to share a few thoughts about Earth hour this evening.

Posted in Debate, families, Health, sex, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Writing

But Mum “how can you be sick when your’re a celebrity?”

The title question was raised by my daughter yesterday as we listened, with great sadness,about the very public terminal illness of Jade Goody.

It was a good opportunity for me to discuss with my 14 yr old girl the perils and tragedy of cervical cancer, what it is, and what can be done to help prevent it, with our NHS Cervical screening programme and the new vaccine introduced to protect against this. A quick sexual health lesson in ten minutes, not in too much detail, but enough to get the message home and for her to think more about.

But what struck me more than anything is her perception that somehow when you are a celebrity you must be immune to these things. I explained that in spite of having money for good and early treatment, ill health and particularly cancer was no respecter of age or money. That being a celebrity did not make you immune to pain, sadness and suffering.

I don’t know hardly any of the facts in Jade’s case but it does baffle me why how one young women, who have had I believe two children and be so young, did not discover much earlier that something was wrong in that department, particularly because she had received obstetric care. Jade is 27 as I thought, it does now make me personally question the introductory screening age of 25. Is that now soon enough? (See article found after I had written that statement).

Jade must have a very aggressive tumour and in spite of what people may feel about her character, my heart goes out to her and her family. I had hoped so much for Jade that she could live and use her celebrity status to promote the sexual health of young women( up and down the uk) who needs desperate direction and guidance in this subject area, and who may have listened and be influenced by a celebrity figure. At least, it will be a reminder to us all that women can still die from Cervical cancer and do… NB: I am pleased to write that here you will find that people are being influenced to have regular cervical cytology check ups, in the light of Jade’s diagnosis, so my hopes for this are being  realised.An excellent piece of news and learnt after writing this paragraph.

For my daughter, it has shown her that the glossy magazines, the clothes, money, cosmetics, fake tans and cosmopolitan life style does not guarantee anything and these people are just like us; prone to being sick and dying.I understand Jade is going to be married to her boyfriend and has purchased a wedding dress from Harrods. No doubt, a rather expensive and splendid one. But we all know that she would trade in all of this for her hair which has fallen out and her health which has been destroyed by a terrible illness no-one deserves.

I wonder, having written this,whether I dare  to stray on here to talk more about this terrible cancer from a personal view yet avoid any professional pitfalls of writing about this in a public arena. Why thousands of women- I believe as many as one in three, fail to take up the offer of cervical screening. I have my ideas  of course and there needs to be discussion, if more lives are to be saved and another Jade Goody can be prevented.Perhaps, I may make it a ladies only blog and would have to be sensitively written and with great care.

Onethoughtfulwoman will give this some thought.