Posts filed under ‘Donating’

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I am in a quandary. I have been mulling a long time about writing something more substantial. I could say time and energy are against me with a demanding but satisfying job and a busy life. However, there are words in my head and I want to try and get them on paper/keyboard.

I did start writing a children’s story a while back and showed a few chapters on the blog – Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three. I know what I want to write and I know the Chapters I added into the blog need work. I have started on this but we are in the early stages.

The question is what to do? Approach a publisher? I know that most publishers are very risk-averse these days, book sales are dropping and new writers are finding it harder than ever to be signed up. This naturally brings me to the dreaded phrase in social media – self publishing 🙂

I don’t want to be the scourge of social media *weeps quietly* but I do have a inkling how this could be a good thing. If I go for self-publishing then I can make sure that at least 50% of any profits go to children’s charities. When I consider how much time I spend nagging folk to donate to charity then isn’t it time I put my money where my words are? Yes, I donate regularly, both monthly and by never passing a collection box, sponsoring etc. However, if I can raise money with my words then I am putting myself out there.

I will still blog, will still nag you all but there will be time spent on putting this book together and seeing where I go. Even if I only raise a few pounds then at least I have tried. I will use Facebook, Twitter, even Linkedin and Google+ to publicise and we will see where we go.

Why post about this today? Simples. I work better when I give myself a deadline. If I say out here that I am going to write then the pressure is on and a little self-imposed stress can be good for one:) I will update periodically on progress but my initial deadline to me if to have it completed by next summer. Research is needed as well as re-writes and more chapters so this should be enough time to spend my weekends on this. Wish me luck folks, I most definitely need it.

Think of me looking like this!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading,

Lesley

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October 26, 2012 at 9:56 am 2 comments

Hindsight.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I am going to link two stories that are hitting the headlines in the UK today. They may not seem to have much in common but to me there is a thread that links them….

Every day for the last week has seen new revelations about Jimmy Savile. For those of you who don’t know the name, he was a famous UK disc jockey who died last year. He had been famous for decades, known for radio and television shows plus his tireless charitable efforts. He was lauded and admired. However, it appears there was a much seedier side to Savile; he was a sexual predator. Many women have come forward to talk about assaults from unwanted touching to rape. There are ongoing investigations, both by police and within the BBC where Savile worked for many decades.

Some have asked why this is happening now, the man is dead and what good does it do. Some women have said that they went to the police years ago but their claims weren’t taken forward. Many who worked within the BBC from the 60s to the 80s and even today have said that inappropriate behaviour was not uncommon. I read about these times being ‘different’, workplace/life cultures have moved on. As someone who has worked from the 70s until now, whether in part-time work while studying or as now, full-time, I know workplace and indeed life cultures have changed.

Before anyone thinks I am an apologist for this – sexual assaults are wrong. I cannot believe that anyone thinks that the decade provides any excuse for that kind of behaviour. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I watched Have I Got News For You this week and agreed to some extent with Ian Hislop – he said that if people were not aware they couldn’t put a stop to it – the media frenzy that the BBC, hospitals and charities should be hung out to dry over this was not right if those organisations were not aware. HOWEVER, from some reports I have seen there were witnesses to at least some of Savile’s assaults. My question to them – did you report it at the time? If you did then thank you. If you didn’t, why the hell not?  When we see something that is wrong we are supposed to do something about it aren’t we? I have little sympathy with the tears of witnesses many years on if they were silent at the time. Yes, Savile was famous and his reputation as a kind man, a tireless worker for charity would have made it exceedingly difficult to go up against. Difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

I then look at the Lance Armstrong story. To get the disclaimer in place early – Lance Armstrong denies all of the allegations contained in the US Anti-Doping Administration (USADA) report about a systematic and thoroughly organised programme of using performance enhancing drugs and other methods to increase performance. Added to the report we now see fellow riders and support staff coming out to talk about the rigorous processes Mr. Armstrong followed to ensure that he was better than the rest; this would appear to also involve not getting caught.

I accept Lance Armstrong has the right to deny the contents of the report and subsequent news coverage. I am though, personally tempted to stand up, point and say ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’. It seems to me that enough people have come forward to at least partially substantiate the report. I will always be a believer in due process and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Because of this I can only say I am tempted to do the liar, liar action.

However, again I say to all those people who are so eager to talk about the transgressions of Lance Armstrong now but said nothing before – wrong, wrong, wrong. I see no noble actions here, just a tawdry and sorry story about the limits people may go to to win and those who would be content to further this aim whilst it might fit their own ends.

My final point – what do we do when we see something wrong? Do we act or do we allow? I like to think I would act and I hope you all would to.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm 2 comments

Power and Reason?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I have been wandering round the news sites again this week. I like to read the news on that Interweb, it allows you to skim some stories and find deeper opinion articles when you are in that frame of mind. One article in particular caught my eye – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19842100, entitled ‘The psychology of the powerful’, interesting stuff.

There were two main threads to the article. First we had the theory that power can (literally?) go to a person’s head. This came from an extract from a speech from psychologist Guy Claxton at the Royal Society of Medicine conference this week. He talked about “a disorder of intelligence”. Mr. Claxton is Professor of learning sciences at the University of Winchester, has written many books and advised multiple organisations on how to help people learn.

He makes some excellent points, I know I don’t do him justice but my take from his words:-

  • When you gain a position of (Government) power you move into a different world. You are the person who decides.  This different world does not have its core in the day-to-day life that the rest of the world inhabits
  • There is a danger that this (cloistered) world gives a different reality wherein the decision-making and not the decision itself can become more important. You must be seen to act and the speed of your action, not the thought processes behind it will take priority
  • Doubt is a key quality in all of us. It makes us explore more angles before making a decision we can stand over. When we lose doubt we can lose clarity. One way to keep doubt fresh is to have friends who will challenge and even mock you.
  • If you don’t have humour or doubt you will lose the ability to see your own flaws. Acknowledge them and accept the new ones that others may point out. If you don’t do this? You will always be right and everyone else will be wrong. That way leads hubris, wonderful word, scary meaning.

Professor Claxton is well worth a Google or two. I particularly liked the two listed below:-

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/professor-guy-claxton/ebacc-life-of-tests-is-no-preparation_b_1890686.html

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/guy-glaxton-education-morality-character/

I did say there were two main points to the article. The second part covers empathy, another wonderful word and one I love. It is the risk from a lack of empathy that was discussed at the Royal Society of Medicine conference. When we like someone their pain becomes our pain, we empathise. Differing levels of status can impact this. Those in power become, by their position, high-status. This can impact the levels of empathy felt for those perceived to be of lower status; a real danger for all politicians. It brings me back to the cloistered world scenario above. A lack of understanding of how policies impact people is, to me, dangerous. The policy becomes all, the people not so much. I know unpleasant decisions have to be taken. Governments cannot hogtie themselves with hand-wringing and agony. However, they need to account for the impacts their decisions will have on normal people.’ The people’ is not an abstract concept, it is you and me. We have to live with the impacts of the decisions that others make, that is the way when you live in a governed society. I know this, I just hope the politicians do too.

Power and reason need to be bedfellows, arrogance and lack of empathy are normally fleeting in first world politics. Hubris is there but in small nuances. But other countries live with the impact of total hubris, where the people matter not at all. There are countries where it is all about the power and nothing about the reason.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

News or Silly Season?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

The term ‘silly season’ is normally applied to the summer months when Governments are in recess and fewer political stories make the headlines so other sources of news have to be found. However, I think it can also be used during the Conference season when political parties and other organisations announce their cunning plans for the next year. This week we have the Lib Dems, suffering from their slide down the polls and some latest approval ratings for Nick Clegg showing as little as 25%. I am interested to see how his big speech will be received during Conference but prior to Conference Mr. Clegg was doing the rounds with paper and television interviews.  So, I will talk a little about Mr. Clegg. I will not cover ‘that’ apology, please not the apology. So many have already spoken that I don’t need to add any words to this latest piece of ill-advised tomfoolery.

I want to cover Mr. Clegg’s assertion that part of the economic recovery has to come from movement on property, that is,  getting younger people on the property ladder. Saving for deposits is hard when all our bills seem to increase month on month and banks providing many hoops and hurdles to clear before lending thus the market is still slow. Mr. Clegg’s answer to this? Parents and grandparents can ‘draw’ on their pension pots to help provide the deposits for their children/grandchildren. Hmmm. Aren’t we being consistently told that it is our responsibility to save for our old age?  Fewer and fewer of us will have a final salary pension, stakeholder pensions are the reality for most of us. The State Pension age is increasing; I know that a State Pension at 60 is a dream long since passed for me. Most people my age do make calculations on when they can afford to retire and how little they will have to live on when they do. I do and will continue to save for my pension and am lucky in the approach my employer takes. I will never be rich, I reconciled myself to that many years ago but I hope to manage and think that is the best that the majority can hope for. So, raiding what I have saved even for my lovely children is not an option I will take. They can have all that remains when my clogs are popped but until then I will hold on to what I have.

I have often thought that the mark of a really clever politician is being able to present an unpalatable idea in a plausible manner, to sell an idea that doesn’t always make sense. You don’t have to admire their policy but you can give a nod to their skill. By this definition I do not consider Mr. Clegg to be a clever politician.

I  now move to a story that some may think firmly lies under the Silly Season umbrella but made me smile. It is the story of the Canadian dentist who has travelled back to Ireland to see if he can find the woman he briefly spoke to a year ago. They exchanged a couple of sentences at a small cafe in County Clare and she has been in his head and perhaps his heart ever since. I am a completely romantic sop, I admit that freely. A brief encounter story makes me smile. You may think him daft, I think he is taking a chance, that chance that you don’t want to live to regret. I applaud him and hope that even if he doesn’t meet that girl of his dreams that he will know that at least he tried.  The link to the story is here and I hope you take the time to read it and it makes you smile too – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19685982

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

September 24, 2012 at 11:34 am 4 comments

Temptation?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Temptation is one of those delicious words. These days it conjures up naughtiness, wicked but in a ‘Carry On’ way. We apply the word to that sneaky bar of chocolate or a slice of cake. We don’t often consider the darker definition of the word….

The definition of temptation?

1. The act of tempting; enticement or allurement.

2. Something that tempts, entices, or allures.

3. The fact or state of being tempted, especially to evil.

4. An instance of this. The temptation of Christ by Satan. Matt. 4.

Fascinating that the words to describe temptation are as ‘tempting’ as the word. Enticement, allurement, they make us think of something that will make us tingle, make us smile.

People talk about temptation as a quick fix. “I couldn’t resist those crisps, that dress, those shoes.”. We regard it as an enhancement, a reward perhaps for a bad week. I do it too; ‘reward’ myself with something nice, mentally kick myself later for the calories, the money splurged.

So, is the temptation worth it? Yes and no. It comes down to what you are trying to fix. When we need cheering up after a crappy day then a bar of choccy is just the thing to perk you up. Then the quick fix will make you smile, lift your spirits. I raise my hands and plead guilty:)

However, when your life is not what or where you want it to be then a quick fix is not the answer. We all know this and yet we fool ourselves that the new whatever will work, at least sometimes. Why do we think that distraction with little things will sort out the larger issues? We all do it when there is a mountain looming in front of us. Procrastination, prevarication, call it what you will. If we aren’t looking at the mountain then it isn’t there? It may distract for a while but when things are quieter your thoughts will always drift back there.

Looking outside yourself also leads to the ‘if onlys’. If only I had that new job, if only I had that new relationship, if only I could take that trip. Life is full of if onlys but they only happen when you make them. I made a major change recently when I changed my working hours. It has allowed me to do what I wanted, provide a little help to some. However, I have found the adjustment more difficult than I thought and it has taken time to get used to my ‘new’ routine. I thought I would have more time to write but that is an ‘if only’ for me. I will keep working on it.

I said about the darker side of temptation didn’t I? The state of being tempted, especially to evil. A chilling definition. I get the naughty side of temptation, the darker side not at all. Is it temptation, arrogance or complete indifference to others that makes a sane person act in an evil way? There are people who take without heed. There are people who suppress using words or fists. There are people who take positions of responsibility and use their power to abuse, crush as they live lavish lives. How do people start on that path? What is the first tempting thought that leads them down their chosen path? More importantly, when they have no distractions left what does the voice in their head say? I don’t know and am not sure I ever want to, I’ll concentrate on only listening to this one when he talks about shoes…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

September 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

Locked In.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Watching the news this morning I saw an interview with Jane Nicklinson. Mrs Nicklinson is the widow of Tony, who lost his right to die court battle two weeks ago. The devastation he felt hastened his end and he passed away last week. Mr Nicklinson suffered from locked-in syndrome after suffering a stroke seven years ago. The link below has the news report from this court battle. It is hard to watch, seeing Mr. Nicklinson’s distress but it is what he wanted people to see.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19400411

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines locked-in syndrome as a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement. It may result from traumatic brain injury, diseases of the circulatory system, diseases that destroy the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells, or medication overdose. Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and can think and reason, but are unable to speak or move. The disorder leaves individuals completely mute and paralyzed. Communication may be possible with blinking eye movements.

Gruesome.

Mr. Nicklinson had been an active and vibrant man before the stroke left him completely dependent. He felt the deprivations of his condition deeply and was frustrated by it and the burdens he felt he imposed on his wife and family. Jane Nicklinson epitomises in sickness and in health. She cared for her husband because she knew the mind of the man she loved was still there even when everything else had let him down. However, she was practical too. In the interview this morning she said it had been harder seven years ago when her life as well as Tony’s changed forever. During those years she left the house once a week to do the weekly shop, the rest of the time she cared for her husband. I doubt many of us would be as brave as she.

For his sake and hers, I am glad Tony Nicklinson has passed. I admire him for his determination to fight for a change in the law. I admire Mrs. Nicklinson for her love and dedication to the care of her husband. I hope that she will allow herself to smile, travel, enjoy life once she has finished grieving.

It has made me think. Most of us muddle through, balancing work and family. We blithely trip through life and consider our woes as mountains instead of the molehills they often are. It is when I see stories of real sacrifice and love that I stop and pause. We all have worries but it may do us good to put them into a larger context. Then we might find our own burdens a little lighter; allow ourselves to see others whose burdens are heavy and perhaps offer a helping hand?

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm Leave a comment

Neil Armstrong – When I Was Eight

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

When I was eight Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I, like everyone I knew, watched. It is difficult to state how important it was at the time. All the adults talked about it in whispers, as if they were in church. It was so beyond our lives that we found it hard to comprehend. At a time when air-travel was still rare for many flying to the moon was terrifying and wonderful. I still wanted to be a nurse when I was eight but remember how many 8 year-olds changed their minds and wanted to be an astronaut.

I was very small when the first US manned flights were televised. Grainy pictures in black and white of the take-offs. I still experience a shiver when we watch countdowns and blasters spewing flames for miles before, it seems ever so slowly, we see the rocket/shuttle rise up into the sky and beyond. I have often wondered what the astronauts felt when they went into this brave new world. Fear? Excitement? If it were me I think the predominate feeling would be panic-filled nausea:)

The death of Neil Armstrong does close a chapter in some way. They chose well when they selected him as the first person to walk on the moon. He was a man of principle, shy but with a strong belief, in God, man and his family. He was honourable and brave and had no truck with ‘celebrity’. I wonder what he thought about those who assume that status by virtue of appearing in a reality television show. He had a strong sense of humour in any interview I saw, I think he would have smiled at how the world had changed in the fifty years since he hung up his spacesuit. Wouldn’t it be good if some ‘celebs’ took a moment to think how their achievements stack up against those of Neil Armstrong? I doubt it will happen but one can always hope.

I have written about space travel and its cost before here. I stand by that opinion, to me the cost of space travel is too high when many parts of the Earth struggle against hunger and disease. However, I do not decry the achievements of those who have taken that route, it is man’s instinct to challenge and explore and that I applaud. Science and scientists are necessary but it is always my hope that they turn their minds to making our world better too.

I admire the man Neil Armstrong, he carried his life well. I am sure his family mourn him deeply but will smile when they think of him and his goodness. I wish them well, they will suffer his absence. He has left a legacy for the rest of us, we know his name. When we think of space we will always think of him. Goodbye and rest well Mr. Armstrong.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 26, 2012 at 9:32 am 2 comments

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