Archive for December, 2010

There is Enough guilt in this World…..

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

Anyone who reads this blog will know that I do this as one person, my own wee mission. I don’t do political here, I am not here to make anyone feel guilt, I don’t want to impel anyone to give to a children’s charity, I only mean to persuade. I like people to tell me about the donations they make so that we can see how kind people really are and the organisations that their hard-earned money goes to.

I would class myself as a wet liberal, please note the use of the small ‘l’. I believe that we should all work hard to keep ourselves and our families and that we pay taxes to help those who cannot do that. I believe in healthcare, education and care for the elderly and those who cannot work to pay taxes to help themselves. I also believe that charities are there to help specific causes and are an addendum to health and social care in the local and wider world. All fairly sensible stuff?

I then saw a headline on the BBC this morning for this story – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12085506. The article has the headline ‘Ministers urge giving to charity at the cash machine’.

Anyone who knows me from here or Twitter will know that I don’t do angry, I am all fluffy bunnies and lightness. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, this is what I am like as a person, at least most of the time. Secondly, I don’t want to dictate or order people about, I prefer amusement, persuasion and a lot of daftness.

However, today I am cross. Don’t get me wrong, I know why spending cuts are happening and I know the root causes of the mess. I don’t need to debate banks or spending to get out of recession, there are enough people doing this without me joining in. However, I don’t like the thought of people being asked to donate money when they are at a cashpoint. In my mind there is a certain irony that banks prompt us to donate to organisations who have lost funding due to Government cuts, or is that just me?

I do agree that there is more that could be done. Businesses and banks as well as the public will always be necessary for charities to function. That does not mean to say that it should be in your face when you are getting £20 to buy groceries for the dinner! I would like giving to be the ‘social norm’ but I think it is disingenuous to launch a policy in this way. Big society is not a replacement for the duty of care that Government has, whether you think this is implicit or explicit.

I will continue to blog about giving to children’s charities. I will continue to Give as I Earn. I will continue to sponsor friends and colleagues as they walk/run/absail for good cause. I will continue to take part myself. I will also continue to put money in collection boxes as I am out and about. I hope that you will all do the same. However, I will never try to make you feel impelled or guilty if that is not what you want to do. I am not here to coerce anyone, I will happily nag as I go but I disagree with a new ‘persuasion’ when you go to the bank or are filling in a tax return. Donating is about choice, not about guilt.

Okay, rant over:) I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm 7 comments

Quiet Time…….

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

We are now in that lull betweet Christmas and New Year. Many people will be heading back to work tomorrow, others will be at home until the New Year starts. I talked a little in my last post about the New Year and resolutions. This morning I have googled New Year resolutions and found news that wasn’t surprising to me. People make the same resolutions year after year…….

I have compiled a list from my research and you will not be surprised by the results! Let me know what you think:) The top ten resolutions appear to be:-

  1. Spend more time with friends and family
  2. Get fit
  3. Lose weight (no doubt linked to number 2!)
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Enjoy life more
  6. Control/stop drinking
  7. Pay off debts
  8. Learn something new
  9. Help others
  10. Get organised

Nothing too startling then on the list. I am heartened by numbers 5 and 9 as resolutions shouldn’t all be about self-punishment for your perceived weaknesses. We all have weaknesses and we all work to rectify them. Don’t think that everything can be solved just because the clock strikes midnight on one day. We all know about the gym memberships that have been taken up in the New Year ‘sales’ and you need to pay for 12 months even though you only use it for 2.

All of the resolutions above are well meant and I am sure well made as we use this quiet time to compile our list. However, I would like to make a few suggestions for the list:-

  1. Smile more. Even when you don’t want to, face the world with a smile on your face. It can be very hard to do this but you will benefit. Smiling at the world works, when you face people smiling they will reciprocate and you will find that your mood lifts at the same time. This may seem over-simplistic but why not try it and see?
  2. Make your resolutions small and specific. ‘Help people’ is a very broad ambition and can seem too large to effectively achieve. Why not decide to visit an elderly neighbour twice a week, perhaps invite them over for tea if they don’t have family to watch out for them? Alternatively, volunteer for one small organisation trying to good in your area. It is hard for one person to change the world but it is easy for one person to do one good thing.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up when it all goes pear-shaped! The thing about improvement is that it is hard to break habits that you have had for a long time. You will stumble on any road you choose for yourself but it is only a stumble. One or two lapses don’t make you a failure, they make you normal. You can always get back up and try again……

I will make my own resolutions, they will be small and personal to me. I want to achieve them and will work hard to do so. Number one on my list is to blog more, I will keep up my nagging so that perhaps you will donate to a children’s charity.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me and I will do the same for you:) You never know, we might succeed!

Just remember to take it one step at a time…….

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 28, 2010 at 11:58 am 3 comments

Stuffed?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

So, are you all stuffed? Full of turkey, brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce? Did you pull crackers and tell daft jokes? Did you eat your fill of pudding and chocolate? I do hope so, I know I did! I hope that whatever you did on your Christmas Day you had the day you wanted. Some choose solitude, some choose small groups of friends and family, some go with crowds. All are good, whatever pleases you is what I hope you had. I also hope you received gifts that mean something to you. To me it isn’t the cost of a gift but the thought around it that matters the most. I like choosing gifts, I hate shopping but choosing something for someone else is fun.

It is now Boxing Day or St. Stephen’s day if you prefer. The clearing up will be finished and the leftovers nibbled. I love leftovers and will boil up turkey bones to make broth tomorrow, yummy. Then there is the finding space for all the gifts received. This makes me think I have too much stuff. I will therefore start a clearout, declutter, implement a minimalist strategy – I wish! I may not get everything just as I like it but I will make some room in the cupboards over the next few days. I will then recycle the bottles and those things I can now live without. I am sure you will all do the same so that someone else can benefit and even enjoy those possessions you can now live without. I love recycling, the notion that someone can use what has had its time with you is sensible, practical and helps others, why wouldn’t you want to do that?

At this time of year I start to think about resolutions as well. When asked I say I never make them but I do in my head. I will be nicer to people, kinder, fitter, thinner, work harder, travel more, get my life how I want it to be. All these thoughts run through my head now. I make too many resolutions in my head, will not succeed at them all but if I can achieve a couple then perhaps that will do:) One thing I do intend to do is keep going with this blog. I am amazed that so many people have written to me in only 10 months. It is heartening to see all the good that you do, you really are a wonderful lot.

So please, take this as my thank you to you from me. I could not do this without people and I am truly humbled that you take the time to read my words and tell me about the kindnesses you do. I know there is a lot of darkness in this world but you counteract that with your actions and words……..

Thank You!

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 26, 2010 at 8:34 am 1 comment

Brrrrrr……..

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

This is one of the busiest times of the year for many of us. Have you finished your shopping, made your Christmas cake and Christmas pudding? Have you started boiling the brussel sprouts? For the latter, why not? You know the house requires the aroma of brussel sprouts to permeate the entire house for the two weeks before Christmas… or is that just me?

Seriously, I hope that you have a feeling of some control over all that needs to be done, especially over those things yet to be done. I make a list. I know how that may sound to you, either control-freakery or a daft attempt to make sure that I don’t have that last minute panic. It is of course a smidgeon of both but there is always that small nag in the back of my mind, what have I forgotten to put on the list? Tell me you don’t have that feeling too. If you don’t then you are more organised than I will ever be and I am pleased for you and slightly jealous too….

I am trying to be fully prepared this year, I have even remembered the cranberry sauce; the traditional Lesley panic item! I am looking forward to a houseful of people, too much food, loads of wine and laughter and the inevitable detritus from the crackers. I don’t buy expensive crackers, you get the most fun from the really bad jokes and plastic bottle-openers that the ‘mid-range’ cracker will provide. Every holiday season needs a does of naff and I find crackers are the best way to tick that one off my list.

This year we seem to be heading for a very white Christmas. I feel for all of you who are travelling now or in the next week. Airports are full of tired people at the minute trying to get to their loved ones or seeking some winter sun. I have my fingers crossed that you will get where you want to go, I’m not sure that my wishful thinking will help but I will keep it up on your behalf.

The cold makes me think of other people as well, the young and the elderly. This is not pleasant for many. I checked the Age UK website to see what advice they have for us at the moment. I hope you will take the time to check this out at http://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/spread-the-warmth/ and do sign their petition to get the Govt to introduce an emergency winter plan to help the vulnerable, it will  only take a few moments of your time. Please also remember to check on those who are near and dear to you and check they are warm and well.

Children tend to love this kind of weather. Schools close, snowmen decorate many gardens, snowballs are thrown and sliding is a must. I will admit now that I hate snow, loathe it in fact. Some of you will know I have many brothers as well as a couple of sisters. Having so many males in one household cemented two of my personal characteristics very early on, my love of sport and my loathing of snow. The snow loathing developed early on; my earliest memories of snow come from handfuls of it shoved down the back of my neck and one or other of the brothers running away laughing. So, I hope you and your children love the snow. You may gambol and frolic in it all you like; I will stay inside and think it pretty to look at but nasty to be in. You may think me a bit ‘bah humbug’ now but that is okay, I will laugh and smile at many other things….

For now I will hope that I can make it through this weather to do the few things I need before my festive season starts. The latest forecast is that a blizzard is coming my way, BAH HUMBUG!!!

Courtesy of Wikipedia

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm 6 comments

Me? Chatty? Never……

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

A slightly daft post from me today. I am awake very early and have logged on to the  blog and Twitter. I have reached a new Twitter milestone – 20,000 tweets. I conclude from this that I am either extremely wise and wish to share my wisdom with many others or I am as daft as a brush and chatty with it. Safe to say we all know the latter that is true.

I suppose I could be worried about reaching the 20k milestone. If I was able to run 20k many would think this a better use of my time. However, I beg to differ. Twitter is not an escape for me nor an antidote to anything. It is frustrating, supportive, laugh-out-loud funny, full of varying political opinion so I can see many viewpoints at once, educational, current and mad as a bag of spanners.

I have a busy life like most of us, there are always ‘things to do’ and I do get them done. I  have my lovely family, a fulfilling career and many interests outside the virtual world. On top of all of this I have Twitter and I will always make room for it. Twitter has enabled this blog to be a tiny wee success for me as my twitter friends are the majority of my readers. I am not a ‘top WordPress blog’, I don’t do politics, celebrity gossip and have only added one home-cooked recipe. I just write what I think and feel and now, some off-kilter fiction, the latter being something I wouldn’t have considered until I took blogthemes from my tweetpals and one was Star Wars, Unicorn and Platypus. When you are given that as a theme you can only write a story:)

I recently went to a tweetup in Derby, took a plane and everything! This was an implusive thing for me, not something I am known for. I am so glad I did it, it was the best fun with witty and kind people and I had a blast. The lovely @HumphreyCushion wrote a post that summed it all up for me – http://mshumphreycushion.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/how-was-it-for-you/. Do me a favour when reading the post, ignore all pics of me as, oh dear, I don’t photograph well. Either that or that’s what I look like? *Shivers*

There is now a Belfast tweetup being planned and I am so delighted that we already have a good list of people willing to travel to my neck of the woods. There will be a few locals as well and it will be a mighty good weekend…..

So, people who read this blog, consider twitter. You may regret it but I don’t think so. You get to chat, laugh and can be moved by the talent of people out there, giving out true wisdom in 140 characters or less. You also get to connect with your inner Frankie Howerd and that is a good thing! I will leave you with my latest Twitter avatar, a recent theme for the cold weather, the #hatandscarf look, I think it sums it up for me:-

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm 2 comments

It is easy, if you can afford it……

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

A quick post on giving today. I blogged last week about giving to families in need over the Christmas period. I did this, filled a box with tins and packets and some goodies, everyone needs goodies. I also added a couple of items to my weekly shop so that I could do a ‘girlie’ gift for a teenager, just a couple of make-up items that may make one girl smile, I hope so anyway.

I then flew with Aer Lingus yesterday on a business trip. They paired up with Unicef many years ago on the campaign Change for GoodTM. I like this campaign and always use my spare change and the occasional note to add to the envelope. I won’t add my donations to the blogroll as I never count it, just empty in the coins I have. Please don’t think I am being smug, it is just something that many people do given the opportunity.

This brings me to the point of this blog. I can afford to give to some, I am lucky that I do have spare change, am able to add items to my weekly shopping, can donate monthly via GAYE. There are times in my life when it wouldn’t have been this way, I reckon the same is true for all of us. I still have bills and am still bad at managing finances but I muddle through. I am fortunate that I can say this and I don’t want to make others feel any less because they may not be able to. I am not the person to tell any of you what you can/should/must do, I have no desire to harangue anyone and I hope anyone reading this will get that.

I only want to say this. Where you can do kindess, please do it. This can take many forms. Kindness is not all about money and donating, it is having care for those around you, be they family, friends, neighbours. It is easy to give money when you have it to give but time and consideration are important too. Sometimes checking in with someone, spending time with loved ones and those near to you is just as important. One of the mentions on the blogroll is for RAOK, random acts of kindness, it is there as it reminds me that this one way to make this world better……

I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope that you will rest, relax and laugh with friends and family. I also send my thoughts to those who will struggle this year and I hope that you will receive some unexpected cheer…….

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm 2 comments

Chapter Three – Questions, Questions!

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I have written a couple of short stories on the blog so far but am now working on a larger project. This will take me some time but I wanted to share a little of this with everyone to get their opinions and any feedback you may feel like giving. This is a book for children and this is Chapter Three, Chapters One and Two are already out there. Please be honest with me…..

The Ghosts of Misteldown Hall

Chapter Three – Questions, Questions!

Charlie’s mother was waiting for him as he returned to the house with his Grandfather. As his grandfather went to his study, Charlie looked at his mother closely as she took him to the kitchen to prepare lunch. Did his mother know? Had she known all along? Is that why she had been so determined to come to Cornwall? Was this all planned by his parents before his father left for the war?

Charlie wasn’t sure what to say or do. Was the secret so secret that his mother didn’t and couldn’t know? How could his father have kept this all to himself for so long. Although Charlie was quite excited by what the afternoon would bring he was also confused and angry. All of this new information was buzzing in his head like an angry swarm of bees. And of course there was that background of whispers. Charlie felt like his head would pop!

Charlie bolted his lunch and escaped from the concerned gaze of his mother. She had talked to him during lunch and he knew he hadn’t heard half the words. Charlie knew he had to be alone for a while and think, he had to think! He wandered up to his room and sat on the edge of his bed. Sitting quietly he suddenly realised that the whispers were getting clearer, he could hear his name being called. It was very faint, it sounded as if it came from the next room but Charlie knew he had to sit still and listen. A minute passed, then two. Charlie kept very still, he tried to empty his mind and concentrated only on the whispers. They seemed to say ‘Welcome Charlie, welcome’. ‘Thank you’. Charlie spoke out loud, he wanted to know if they could hear him. Very faintly the reply came back, ‘Wonderful! The lad can hear us at last. It is nearly time.’ This was clearer, Charlie knew it was one voice only this time. ‘Don’t worry, young Charlie, it won’t be long. Go to your grandfather, go now!’.

Charlie lept from his bed and ran down the stairs as quickly as he could. He raced to his grandfather’s study and stopped short. He was scared now. They had said it was nearly time but time for what? He thought back to his father, he wished he was here to ask. As Charlie thought of the Major, he knew in his heart that his father would not hesitate, now was the time and he had to act. If he was to get the answers to all his questions he had to be brave. Charlie knocked on the door and opened the door. There stood his grandfather, smiling broadly.’Come Charlie’, said the Colonel, ‘come and meet your ancestors’.

They stood there, they were faint but Charlie could see them. Seven figures, some in very strange clothing, stood around his grandfather. They were all smiling, some chatting excitedly to each other as they pointed towards Charlie. ‘Let me make the introductions’, said the Colonel, ‘we must do this properly’. ‘Oh do hurry up young Arthur’, said one of the figures, ‘can’t you see the poor lad is waiting’. Charlie realised that his grandfather was ‘young Arthur’ to this strange group and this made him giggle. The Colonel coughed to get the attention of them all. ‘I think you should sit down Charlie, this may take some time’……..

End of Chapter Three © Lesley Miller 2010

So, there we go. I hope that Chapter Three has interested you and that you come back to me with any comments you may wish to make:)

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

December 7, 2010 at 10:55 pm Leave a comment

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