A Highland Coo for Sarah

During 40 Acts I asked if anyone would like me to draw a piece of Zentangle Inspired Art for them…

Sarah requested a Highland Cow. So a Highland Cow is what she got:

If you would like to see him in more detail, then click on the picture

 

Again, if there’s anyone who’d like a piece of ZIA for themselves – or as a gift – then let me know. It’s always nice to have a specific piece to be doing.

I sent a few postcards to John Grey of “Going Gently” as he was having a competition. Here’s the envelope that I drew – he has a bulldog called Winnie.

 

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40ACTS2019 :: 22 :: Open Invite

PROMPT: Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, a day of celebration but also a difficult reminder of grief for many. Think carefully and creatively about how they might best receive generosity. It could be inviting them to the party, or offering a more low-key and quiet recognition of how they’re feeling.

LINK: HERE

ACTS Green: Give a card to cheer up someone who’s struggling today.

Amber: Have a catch up with a friend who isn’t able to spend time with family, or will find tomorrow a painful day.

Red: Prep a Sunday lunch, and invite as many as you can!

Paul lived for two years in his rented house. He welcomed everyone who came to visit…His door was always open.” (Acts 28:30–31 MSG)

Interestingly, this reflection is anonymous: I wonder if it is written by someone for whom this is indeed a difficult time. If so, I lift them to God in their hurt and pain.

I’ve sent an e-card to a blogging friend for whom this might be a difficult weekend. I’ve also had a catchup with a friend – not that she’ll find tomorrow difficult, but it was nice to spend time with her. I probably won’t do much more for this challenge – it’s a strange one really, which I’ve found a little tricky to fulfil, and I have felt a little uincomfirtable with.

***

On Catching Up with 40 Acts this morning was a busy time…

I made cakes for our neighbours (Act 19) and took them round. Marion was a bit confused as to why I was offering her a plate of cakes, but I explained it was a neighbourly gesture and she seemed satisfied, but still puzzled.

My first efforts at piping with buttercream – a bit shakey but not too awful!

I also made 12 cards – these are for the people who help at Lunch Bunch – our version of Sunday School – (Act 17) to say Thank You for what they do. There are 8 people who escort the children down from school to the Church Offices, and 4 people who actually teach the children. I was lucky enough to find some little scented sachets in Casa, at 2 for the price of 1 and 1 costing 0.49€ which I thought made a lovely gift to slip in with the cards for the escorts, and I had bouht 4 little fridge magnets in Noz as a preparation for 40 Acts at 0.50€ each, so it didn’t cost me very much to thank these people for what they do.

magnets & scented sachets

Little “Thank You” cards for the escorts

Bigger “Thank You”cards for the teachers.

I had bought a Thank You card in Noz ages ago, for 0.75€ which had lots of “Thank You”s on it – which I cut out and used on these cards. Sadly I was one short, which is why one of the cards has a different style of Thank You. Otherwise practically all the paper and embellishments have also come from Noz – so these were cheap to make. I put one of my 40 Acts stickers on the back of each.

I have other 40 Acts to catch up on tomorrow afternoon too, not least researching Open Doors for Act 18, and making some cards to send with letters to persecuted Christians. As my afternoon lessons on Monday have been cancelled (both students away on holiday) I may hold off until then, and catch up with other admin tasks – I’ve got bills to send out and tax declarations to make…AND I’ve also got to try to make sense of the emails I’ve been sent about the catering arrangements for the party for the Bishop next Friday. It seems extremely complicated and I have filed  them away under “Worry About This At A Later Date”. I think the “later date” has arrived!!

I’m off to feed the Poor Cats now.

 

 

 

Appreciation

I used to read a blog, written by “Betty the Wod Fairy” who did beautiful paintings. It was a gentle, spiritual, slightly whimsical blog, but somehow it slipped off my radar and I forgot about it.

Today, following links from other people’s blogs, I came across her new blog, Wood Fairy

Something she wrote really resonated with me – I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting it:

We are a happy little family, all working different hours/shift patterns, so disorganised, the oven is always on at weird times as it’s someones dinner time and someone elses breakfast! The beds are never made and the house is not as tidy as I would like, there’s a mountains of ironing and cat fur everwhere! But we know the important things: eating well, sleeping well, making sure everyone knows they are loved and appreciated – preferably daily, not worrying about the things we cannot change and… counting our blessings.

While my little family eats at the same time, and keeps the same waking/sleeping hours, rather than having different meals at the same time, I loved Betty’s words for reminding me that being perfect is not really the aim of the game. Loving, laughing and nurturing – THEY are the most important things.

I really appreciated the pizza evening that my friends organised for my birthday last night. It was a great time.

Three days: Three quotes challenge :: Day 1

I was nominated for this challenge by  Bev over at Confuzzledom – and I have decided to actually schedule these posts to appear during my “Lost Weekend”, directly after my next chemo session.

The rules are (of course there are rules; there are always rules! But I’m going to break one of them, rebel that I am)

1. Thank the person who nominated you – Merci beaucoup, Bev!

2. Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

3. Nominate three bloggers each day…. This is where I am breaking the rules…My circle of blogs is very similar to Bev’s, and those people that she has nominated. So I am not going to nominate anyone, but I will say that oif you’re reading this and haven’t been nominated, and would like to join in, then feel free!

Today’s quote has been attributed to John Lennon, Ed Sheeran, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Anonymous…and I heard it said by Mark Kermode on the excellent Kermode & Mayo Film Review programme…Whoever said it first, it is something that Mr FD and I have repeated to each other throughout my current health situation.

It seems apposite.

Thank You!

Yesterday, the Act for 40 Acts was:

The game is gratitude. Without gratitude, you’ll never be content with the things God’s given you. And, because sometimes we need to run life a little slower in order to see what we can be grateful for, we’ve made today’s act a little simpler…

 Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:

One option today:
 Run back over the last month of 40acts. What have you seen that’s surprised you? What’s been tough? What’s cheered you up the most? Who have you been grateful for – and can you thank them today?

I immediately thought of you, my Dear Readers.

I’m not really thinking of 40 Acts here,  when answering those questions “What has surprised you?…What’s been tough?… What’s cheered you up the most?…Who have you been grateful for?..” but rather thinking about my treatment.

What has surprised you?… Two things have surprised me:

  1. Chemotherapy has not been anywhere near as horrible as I imagined. Although I am adding the caveat SO FAR. I am having a new cocktail in April. That might make me eat my words!
  2. How close I have felt to God. How I have felt “upheld” by people’s prayers & good wishes (which, quite frankly, I consider to be prayers by another, more secular name!)

What’s been tough? Maybe that’s another surprise, because, generally, nothing has been “tough”. Even being told at the beginning that it was a cancerous tumour wasn’t that difficult. All along I have had Mr FD at my side, with that mantra “It is what it is, and we will deal with it”. I have, of course, had short periods of upset, but nothing that can’t be coped with, and dealt with fairly quickly.

I think the most difficult thing has been the moulting. Not the fact I was losing my hair: that was a given, and it shows that the chemo is working. And once Mr FD shaved my head, well…that was done. It was the experience of losing my hair that was hard. Waking up with mouthfuls of hair, and having hair up my nose and all over the pillow! That was the nasty bit!!

Here I am:

        

with my little “chemo cap”……………and without!

As the French for “bat” is “Chauve souris” which translates as “bald mouse” perhaps I need to change my moniker for the duration!

I suppose the other thing that has been a bit difficult is the fact that I’ve not been able to complete 40 Acts this year. But I will try to find a way to continue after my treatment.

What’s cheered you up the most?... Quite honestly, the kindness and generosity of friends, both RL and virtual. Here in the village, the Cycle Club giving me a novel to read (hush, don’t tell them I’ve only read up to Chapter 2), a friend from church knitting me three hats to wear, another friend giving me some handmade soap that she’d made, without perfume as she’d heard that the sense of smell can change during chemo, people from church sending me pictures to cheer me up., my friend offering to pay for a holiday, my sister buying me deliciously scented soothing balm, and ginger chocolate, my SiL sending me sweet little ear-rings, my niece sending me magazines, friends sending me books, and letters….

Then there is you, my Dear Readers. Michelle knitting me a hat (yours beats the others hands down!), T sending me a lovely letter, messages of support,  comments on my blog, little gifts, a beautiful card from Chomeuse’s little boy, the assurance of prayer, reminders of God’s goodness… All of these things have reminded me of how much generosity and kindness there is in this world. THAT has cheered me up.

I haven’t had a Happy Turtle arrive – but I’ve had so mazny other lovely things!

Who have you been grateful for?

1. You, my lovely, dear Readers.

2. Mr FD, who has been here; even when he’s not known how to make me feel better in those rare times when I’ve been down, he has been next to me, trying to help in the ways he can. He has been wonderful. Thank you, Mr FD

So, this time (albeit a day late!) I’ve been able to complete a Challenge for 40 Acts…Not that it was a challenge, but rather a pleasure.

THANK YOU!!!!

Award Ceremony Part III

And my final Blog Award is

which is a new one for me! It was originally created by Okoto Enigma

Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” 

This one was “awarded” to me by Emily Guiton-Lange, at Never Idly Dreaming, who wrote a lovely comment: Hello! I enjoyed your review, especially since I would like to start including more book reviews on my own blog. Since I enjoy your content and blogging style, I decided to nominate you for the Mystery Blogger Award! I would be thrilled if you would accept. 🙂 If not, this is simply my way of saying your blog is great. 

Emily’s blog was new to me, and is an eclectic mix of writing, crafting and general comment. I particularly love her Zentangling posts – a very different style to my zentangling, but I really like it! So, thank you for nominating me, Emily!

 

Of course, there are “rules” to accepting the award:

 

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog. (check!)
  • List the rules. (check!)
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (check!)
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. (check!)
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself. (see below)
  • Answer the questions you were asked. (see below)
  • You have to nominate 10 people. (see below)
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog. (see below)
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (see below)

So:

Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

  1. I had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel for lunch.
  2. Mr FD bought me some new ear-phones yesterday, because Jasper chewed through the right-ear wire on my old ones, so I was listening in mono. The new ones are very smart, with a neat little pouch for them, but I’m already getting my wires tangled up! My old ones had a neat little doomy-wang to wrap them around.
  3. I have been married to Mr FD longer than I haven’t been married to him. We got married in 1985 – 32 years ago – and we were both 25. We are both now older than 50.

 

Answer the questions you were asked

  1. If you could learn a new language instantly, what would you choose and why? French!!!! Because I live in France, and, although I get by, I miss the nuances, and can’t express myself particularly well.
  2. What book(s) do you reread over and over? Quite a lot…Mr FD claims I only read 1 word in 3, so I read a diufferent story each time! Not true, but I do read a lot, so will often forget which books I’ve read.
  3. What’s your favorite comfort food? I’m not sure I have one. I like trying out new recipes, but do return to old favourites as well. Chilli con carne with garlic bread, and lots of extras on top (avocado, grated cheese, salsa, chopped onion) is a meal that’s hard to beat!
  4. Do you plan your blog posts in advance, or write them as the ideas come? I rarely plan in advance (for anything!) Sometimes, if the mood is on me, I may write a couple of posts (in fact both this, and “Awards Ceremony II, were written on the same day as Awards Ceremony I – I think today I have just wanted to sit at the computer and write!) but usually I just write when I think I have something to write about. Sometimes I will want to blog, but have nothing much to say – those days are more difficult.
  5. If you could have any mythical creature as a companion, which would you choose? Hmm, that’s a tricky one, as I’m not well versed in mythical creatures. I like the idea of Hedwig, in the HP books, because I like owls, but I don’t know what skills Hedwig brought to the party. A talking cat? But then, cats being cats, it wouldn’t say anything to me, because Well, why should it? A unicorn? A bit big – and I’m sure the horn would get in the way!

You have to nominate 10 people. Oh, no…I’m afraid not! With all the other awards, and the fact many people don’t like these things, I’m not going to name anyone.However, if you read this, and want to try answering the questions, then consider yourself nominated, and follow the “rules” (unless you’re a rebel, that is!)

Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog. Consider yourself notified!

Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question: It’s hard to come up with questions that are original and I may have already asked you these, but still:

  1. Is there a play, or stage musical, that had a profound effect on you (or that you just really enjoyed)
  2. What was the last (or recent) piece of music that you listened to?
  3. Is there a piece of advice that someone gave you that has really meant something in your life?
  4. Who was the last person you received &/or sent a proper letter or card to (rather than an e-mail or e-card)?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush? (The weirder the better.)

 

Good advice.

So there we are!

Three Blogging Awards. Thank you to everyone who gave them to me. I appreciate that you take the time to read my blog and to think enough of it to nominate me.

 

Award Ceremony Part II

So, yesterday I wrote about being awarded the “Leibster” award, by theNewMrsM

Today is all aboutwhich I was “awarded” by Chomeuse with a Chou

The Friendship Blogger Award was invented by: Novus Lectio

“This Award is for those we cherish in WP and to show them affection and to offer them our friendship.”  – which is one of the great things about blogging in my opinion – not just WordPress (which is what I imagine “WP” stands for) but any blogging platform. I have made friends all over the world, and hope that I have inspired someone, somewhere, with what I write. I do cherish those “virtual” friends, and want to encourage people to support, cherish, comment on other blogs.

RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the Award (Novus Lectio) and its purpose.
  • Nominate other bloggers to receive the awards.
  • List the rules and display the Friendship blogger award logo in your post on your blog.

As I’ve said before, it’s difficult nominating other bloggers for awards, as they sometimes find them a bit of a burden, what with “rules” and things they have to do, but here are three other blogs that I enjoy reading – which are perhaps a little different to the others I have already linked to at other times.

1) Deep Heart of France This is a blog written by an ex-pat who obviously loves this area of France. He is writing about the departements slightly west of where I live, and his love of the area shines out through every post. I particularly like reading his posts about Clermont Ferrand, where I sometimes work, and where my church is.

2) Kirk & Bert This is a blog started by someone who wants to explore living a more organic & chemical free life. After her husband survived cancer, the author decided to try to cut down on those things that she suspected may have had some part to play in the development of said disease. It’s full of interesting, thought provoking ideas. Not that I’ve actually tried any of them – but that’s mostly laziness on my part!

3) Unseen Beauty Now, I am not a beauty blogger, in any sense of the word. I don’t wear make-up (although I’m being encouraged to do so during chemo, as my new wig – still to be revealed – is a different colour to my natural look, and needs a stronger colour), my “cleansing” routine involves whatever shower gel/cream I bought cheaply at Noz, and some general shampoo, I don’t use anything on my face, except a bit of Yves Rocher cream when it feels very dry. And that’s it. But I enjoy reading Kirsty’s blog particularly, as it comes from the perspective of a visually impaired person.

So there are three different blogs for you to explore, should any of them appeal to you.

As an added bonus (?!) I’ll answer the list of questions that Bev, another blogger, posted for her Sunshine Blogger award:

  1. What is your most treasured possession and why? I really don’t know…I’m very much attached to a Victorian opal ring that was my “aunt”‘s (not a proper aunt, just a very close friend of the family), but there’s no one “treasured possession” as such.
  2. What would be your dream job? I’m lucky enough to love my work as an EFL teacher, but a dream job would be author, or actor. In the UK I did lots of am-dram, and while I wasn’t fantastic, I loved it! Mind you, learning lines would come more difficult now!
  3. What was the last film you watched? “Young Frankenstein” which we watched last night. I used to find it hysterically funny, and there are still parts that make me chortle – especially those parts with Marty Feldmann in – but there was one part which now actually makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, as I rewatch it…Maybe I’m being over sensitive, but in the light of the #Metoo rising, this one tiny part jarred with me much more than it did in the past. I won’t say what it is – and don’t let it put you off watching the film – but … meh.

We have recently watched Paddington, and Paddington 2 – no controversy there: loved them both!!!

4. What was your favourite subject in school? English language – what’s not to like about lessons about making your writing better?!

5. What’s your favourite thing about yourself? Bof! I don’t know…sense of humour?

6. Have you ever been told you resemble someone famous? Who was it? Not that I recall.

7. Do you snore? Oh yes! I have the family snore, which, I have been told, is reminiscent of a motorbike revving up. My sister also has it, and I would assume my brother too. Mr FD claims that not only can he hear me through noise-cancelling headphones, but I make the bed vibrate!

8. If you could learn to transform into an animal (but only one) which animal would you choose? Cat, definitely – though preferably a well-loved cat. Eating, sleeping, purring, and being stroked. With the occasional saunter into the garden – sounds like a good life!

9. What’s your favourite cartoon? Don’t really have one…or do you mean animated film? Which could include many – practically any Aardman film, but especially Wallace & Gromit, Toy Story, Up, Inside Out…

10. What was your favourite film as a child? Absolutely no idea!

11. If there was a film about your life, what would it be called? Again, no idea! I don’t really feel imaginitive to think of one either. “An un-extraordinary Life” ?

So, there you have it!

Thank you for the award, Chomeuse!