Hope into rain day 9

So today I went to visit the beautiful survivors that are the koalas. They have managed to struggle through bushfires, their mothers’ being hit by a car and one even clung to a car bonnet for about 350 metres as the car was driving!

Just watching Mary, who is blind but oh so happy with her feast of eucalyptus leaves really touched my heart. I thought of Lewis who sadly didn’t make it, but united the world with his story and brought me to this hospital. RIP little Lewis.

Yesterday I was about to swim in the lovely pool at the Port Aloha motel when the delightful Connie said to me that the beach was close by. So I went to gaze in wonder at bleached white sand lapped by azure waves.

I started to ponder on this and realised that we can live our life in the pool when the beach is just in sight. By this I mean: I was prepared to enjoy the pool, when there was an amazing and far better experience just a short walk away.

Due to battling depression over many years, my own emotions have been my focus. Now I am starting to enjoy life rather than engaging with my own pain.

This journey into hope is greatly helping me, because my focus and thoughts are directed towards it. I feel as if I have been given a gift.

One of my biggest prayers while I have been here is for rain. I had literally just left the koala hospital when it started to pour and now I am sheltering under the roof of the Salvation Army building.

So today I am hopeful that rain prayers have been heard. I am hopeful because there is a wonderful hospital for koalas and they are not extinct. I am hopeful that over two million dollars has been raised to keep this hospital going.

Keep swimming in the sea X

Travel into hope day 8

I am now on a train on my way to Port Macquarie. In my own small way I want to support the Australian economy by visiting the koala hospital using public transport. I am hopeful that Australia will come through this terrible time and rebuild its shattered communities.

I have been struck by the stories of those who made the decision not to defend their properties, valuing their own lives and thinking about their families above their material possessions. One man who had lost his home, spoke of how others in the community had hugged him real close and these loving hugs had touched him immensely. This to me is hope in action, namely connectedness. When we have lost everything except our life, the kindness and compassion of others can help us to hope for a future not yet in sight.

I have also been deeply affected by the courage and selflessness of the firefighters and volunteer firefighters and by farmers who have decided to defend in an attempt to save their livestock. The Australiams who have spoken appear very brave gritty and determined to battle on in spite of their circumstances. This once again inspires me to do the same. Sadly lives have been lost amongst those who decided to defend. A man and his son, who was a surgeon, are two such people.

One couple who survived, Marilyn Mills and Mick Thompson, narrowly evaded death. Firefighters were unable to reach them. A fireball came at the house and Mick stated: “bugger this, I’m not dying here” and dragged his wife over the top of the cars to safety’. These stories of courage and a determination to survive are inspiring.

So far this journey into hope has been immensely helpful to me personally. Focussing on what hope means has been similar to steering a ship on a specific course. I have been far more hopeful and also negative thoughts have been much easier to manage. I feel that for me focussing on hope is an antidote to the despair which has hounded me throughout my life. This journey has changed my perspective and I feel I am walking through a new emotional landscape.

Have a hopeful day X

Journey into hope day 7

I am going to visit the Port Macquarie koala hospital tomorrow. I am feeling excited about fulfilling a dream.

I have asked myself why I feel so connected to these furry ones. Perhaps it is their vulnerability, because they only eat eucalyptus and they cannot run. They are also very endearing. I feel very connected to nature in Australia, far more than in the UK. I am staying in Gosford this evening and have met another beautiful dog named Cooper, with crème caramel fur, who is a Pomeranian crossed with a maltese. Everywhere I go there are beautiful dogs who seem to welcome humans with open paws.

The fires continue to absorb my thoughts. The weather is slightly cooler, but they still rage on. Public support has been amazing. The government has now donated money so hope seems to be hitting Australia in the midst of pain.

Last night I watched a hilarious programme on You Tube featuring the comic genius Victor Borge. It was good to laugh, especially in the midst of tragedy. Laughter is restorative and in my opinion fuels hope.

I love discovering new programmes. I have also recently discovered the joy of pod casts. The pod cast on hope by Melvyn Bragg has reframed my thinking.

Away from it all, I have begun to consider whether one can live one’s life without being encumbered by too much baggage. More of that to follow.

Today as I travel hope comprises excitement, humour, adventure and a desire to connect with an animal I love.

Journey into hope day 6

St Augustine describes hope as stretching our hearts. This is in the context of stretching our desire to see God.

I like this view and feel it can also be applied to the concept of hope per se as well as hope in God. It is somewhat different from the negative overtones in the Pandora’s box mythology, however it does imply one has to stretch one’s heart and there is a slight overtone of risk in that-what if my heart won’t stretch, how do I do this? What if I can’t find hope. So, I am coming to the conclusion which I had never contemplated before that hope mens taking a risk.

So today I have been thinking about hopefulness. Rather than hope, which can appear quite mellifluous and hard to grasp, hopefulness does seem to be a state of mind, an emotion and a feeling.

I am feeling hopeful because I have settled in my mind the early end to my holiday and also because today I allowed myself some pampering and had a facial. I met two sisters with a family business in Hurstville and coincidentally they were friends with the mother and daughter I met at a hairdressers locally. Incidentally, both of these businesses are Greek. This inspired hopefulness, because having worked with many dysfunctional families in a previous life, I had grown to see dysfunctional families as a normal. Seeing people with established businesses who have worked together for years and clearly love what they do is very uplifting.

My family are also safe because it rained in Bowral yesterday, so I am relieved and grateful. I am also contemplating a different kind of life; where I could possibly live six months in the UK and six months in Australia. I love Australia and I love the UK and I have dual nationality, so I am rolling this over in my mind. Once again this is being hopeful and I feel is an antidote to my early departure.

While in Australia, I have been welcomed by many beautiful furry fiends. I am staggered at how animals communicate. I have walked a guide dog and as a sighted person with poor night vision, I found this made me feel very safe. A Pomeranian next door, named Honey literally keeps escaping and visiting me, barking until she gets my attention. I am besotted by her golden personality.

I am also hopeful because I am going to visit the koala hospital at Port Macquarie. To me these little creatures encapsulate the pain of the fires, in that they can’t even run away. I have seen them bandaged up with patches of burnt fur showing. I want to adopt one. I have over recent days felt emotionally burnt myself, by life, and so I relate to their experience. I have wanted to visit since I heard about the hospital and am really excited.

Celebrities being kind and generous in support of those who have experienced the bush fires, has also really impacted upon me. As have the truck angels, the lorry drivers who have driven hay to stricken communities. Worldwide kindness towards other humans inspires hope that in the world in which we live, kindness and generosity still exist.

So today’s recipe for hope is to combine hope and hopefulness with self-care and kindness to oneself. A further ingredient is the kindness of others, reaching out to a horrific situation.

Keep hope alive X

Journey into hope day 5

So, as I shared with you all yesterday I had a battle with hope for the entire day. I still feel sad deep down within me that my travel plans have been disrupted.

Yesterday, I listened to a fascinating pod cast on hope called ‘In our time: Hope (summer repeat on Apple Podcasts). This discusses whether hope is a positive or negative thing, because hope was found in Pandora’s box and this suggests both positive and negative connotations. I have always viewed hope as a positive, but perhaps quite a fleeting thing. Here are some actual definitions:

The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.a particular instance of this feeling: the hope of winning.

verb (used with object), hoped, hop·ing.

to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.to believe, desire, or trust: I hope that my work will be satisfactory.

verb (used without object), hoped, hop·ing.

to feel that something desired may happen: We hope for an early spring.

So I am looking forward with desire and confidence to visiting the animal sanctuary at Port Macquarie. I have been moved by the plight of the poor Australian wildlife and koalas especially, because they are unable to run from flames. The bushfires have absorbed a lot of my thinking over recent days as has the weather conditions. Living in a situation of potential catastrophe which many of those around me are facing constantly is very sobering. I will never take rain for granted, I will never take my personal safety for granted and I will appreciate those who work in the fire service especially, as they risk their lives to keep mine safe.

Yesterday I went in the pool for the first time, as the temperature was 35 degrees. It was beautiful and I relaxed and swam and enjoyed the cool water lapping against me. I started to make plans for my move when I return to the uK and spoke to a friend, asking for help with my impending move. They were only too willing to offer. Simple things. These are the building blocks of a dy.

I also made some lemonade scones. This for many people, would be an easy thing, but for me as I have shared in a previous post, it was a big deal, because I have battled a fear of failure in regard to cooking. However these were a real success and delicious. They were served with jam and cream-a lovely treat. I got some very positive comments when I put them on view on social media. I am feeling supported by Facebook friends particularly, in my efforts to challenge my fears and withholdings.

So, today my recipe for hope is to take support from friends around you to encourage efforts to change. And also to reach out for help with tasks which one can’t manage. This is mixed with an attitude of gratitude for weather and safety. Keep hopeful everyone X

Recipe of hope day 4

A battle against despair

Hello everyone. So, when I started this site, I promised to be transparent and write with integrity, so here goes.

Yesterday I had my biggest challenge of the New Year. Due to very very unforeseen circumstances regarding my accommodation, I am having to cut short a most wonderful, dreamy, relaxing holiday in Australia and fly back to the UK.

I woke early today feeling dreary and dismal. I sit here typing about hope when I am struggling to find any. I do not want to go back home; I was going to extend my stay and instead I am paying extra money to lose a great chunk of my holiday.

So my recipe for hope today is the choice to make the best of a bad job. I have several items on my wish list, some of which may be done, some may not. I do not feel in the least but hopeful-I feel sad and grey. But I choose to hope that I will be able to do some lovely things before I fly away.

It is trite to say I will count my blessings, because at this moment I do not want to. I will say that I do not wish to inflict my negative frame of mind on those around me, so I will try my level best to enjoy what I am doing each day.

Gritty perseverance is being put into play today against the feeling that everytime I am happy it is snatched away from me. It is okay to be disappointed, it is okay to feel sad, but I will still try to pursue a hopeful path nonetheless. Hope in the face of emotional pain.

I am learning many things from this hope journey. I would today describe hope as an attitude rather than an emotion and this involves a choice.

And just to add I poured out my heart to Oscar my beautiful furry friend last night. He looked up at me with his oracle eyes and spoke in cat language that he understood. And I know he did.

I truly appreciate people reading and liking my posts. It makes me feel this site is worth writing.

Let’s battle on hoping X

Hope recipe day 3

Hello everyone. This is my third day of writing. Firstly, a huge thank you to those of you who have visited my site or liked my posts-it touches my heart that people like my words. Thank you too to those of you who have started following me. This gives me hope that what I am doing is worthwhile.

So today I want to talk about hope in the face of catastrophe. I am writing this from New South Wales in Sydney Australia. As I am sure you aware the beautiful nation of Australia is on fire. A huge amount of wildlife and also humans have been killed. The sate of New South Wales where I am staying is in a state of emergency.

So how does one remain hopeful in a time of tragedy? First and foremost, I feel very close to my family here. We are pulling together and are currently looking after a traumatised cat named Oscar, who belongs to a family member. He is a beautiful rag doll cat with creme caramel fur. Last night he wanted food at about 3.30 am so I didn’t get to sleep until about 4.30! But my view is he has had trauma, so deserves to be spoilt.

I went to watch the Sydney fireworks despite them being held in the midst of a total fireban. I joined with people from many nations in a hope of a brighter decade, a new vision for 2020. There was so much camaraderie and joy. I felt a great togetherness-connectedness with other humans who wanted to share in a momentous event together. I was touched by the kindness of people saving my spot, so I could sit down and complimenting me. A man from France said ‘you are lovely’ and this made me feel so special. Thank you to him. Another stranger said he liked the colour purple (the colour of my trainers). That made me feel warm inside. Thank you to him. These small touches of kindness really make an impact. And finally thank you to the couple who guarded my belongings, so I could stand at the front of the wire and enjoy myself without anxiety. I had never met you before but I am very grateful.

I watch the news and am tempted to feel despair, however I pray for rain daily. I am also extremely grateful for the few drops we have had. I stood under the sky on January 2nd and let the rain fall on my upturned face. I have learnt to be grateful for things I have previously taken for granted-safety from fire, freedom from smoke filled air, my health and of course rainwater which is so precious.

So my recipe for hope is to accept with gratitude the blessings that are in our lives and focus on these things. I also plan to visit the koala hospital at Port Macquarie and want to adopt a koala to support their wonderful work.

Sometimes sadly tragedy engulfs us in our own family, or even engulfs a nation. I am overwhelmed by thinking about the brave firefighters and volunteer firefighters who have given their lives to keep us safe. My heart goes out to them and their families.

Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have any questions or commets.

Keep Hopeful XX

Recipe for hope day 2

I have always been a reluctant cook. This was started when my first attempt to make a Victoria sponge was marked by laughter because the final product at an angle, rather t flat. A photograph marked the event.

This was coupled with school cookery lessons where no-one ever wanted to be my partner. I dreaded those weeks. I did not know I had dyspraxia which impacts hugely on culinary skills.

So this led to a mindset of ‘cant cook, won’t cook’. I became avoidant and when I invited people around I struggled with my inadequacy in this area. I could never think of what to make and many of my friends are skilled in the kitchen.

So yesterday I was helped to make a quiche. A wonderful lady named Mary patiently talked me through preparing the pastry and putting the ingredients together. She basically held my hand as we did this together.

No it wasn’t perfect. It could have been neater, it could have been better cooked st a slightly lower temperature. However I was really proud of having faced a deeply ingrained fear of failure. And what’s more, I actually enjoyed it. I am going to make a flummery next.

My second learning of 2020 hopefulness, has been the impact of animals on me. I had a really tough 2019 as I know many others have. I longed for some fur therapy. Having come to Sydney, for a break, I have been blessed by beautiful guide dogs and a wonderful little Pomeranian named Honey, who has a gift of escapology; squeezing through any gaps, to come and visit at every opportunity. On one occasion she barked at our door to be let in then eventually, she realised it was pointless, gave a quick bark as if to say ‘ bye’ and padded off.

There is also the truly lovely Oscar who is staying here. He is a stunning rag doll cat with profound blue eyes and creme caramel fur. Last night he landed on my bed and I had to sleep on the other side.

Today’s recipe for hope is to try new challenges and break the mould of self-defining negative thought patterns. It might be a dormant dream, or a label that has been placed upon you that you may wish to smash. It may be hard, but it is worth persevering.

The second hope ingredient is to spend time with animals. They are very therapeutic and show empathy and love. I am not allowed pets in my rented property, but I have been able to enjoy other people’s animals while on holiday. Consider offering to walk someone’s dog or pet sitting. There is a website for this and you can combine it with a holiday.

Thank you for reading. Please send me comments, questions, or ideas.

I hope you are enjoying my site. Have a hopeful week X

Hope Recipes day 1

Hello world. This is my first post of 2020 and I hope you will enjoy reading my blog.

The aim of my blog is to look at what hope means and how to remain hopeful.

So yesterday I had a huge internal dilemma as to whether to see the Sydney fireworks on my own or be with my family at the start of the new decade. I have spent much of my life doing things alone and here was one more example. I battled with trying to change the mould. I could be among those I loved.

I wrestled with what I really wanted. I wanted my family with me. I was very conflicted. But I carefully considered how I would feel if I missed out on a moment of history.

I decided that the fireworks were a once in a lifetime moment. It was the start of a new decade. I went with trepidation alone. However I soon got talking to people from Norway, Adelaide, Japan, Italy and South Korea.

The atmosphere was wonderful. As the furnace heat of the day dissipated, excitement grew and I let my 2019 go. I had thankfully found a lovely companion who was also alone.

So my hope recipe for 1st January is to be brave and do things on your own. Other people are kind and welcoming. One couple kindly guarded my belongings.

The second ingredient was to allow myself permission to do what I really wanted and not what I felt I should do. I thought long and hard about my decision, but it was the right one.

The third ingredient was to embrace the moment. I didn’t have a fabulous camera, so I asked people to email me their photos. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But I relaxed and enjoyed the arrays around me; sparkling gondolas, the harbour bathed in hues of colour, breathing in the sounds, sights and smells of the start of a new decade.

And finally. I allowed myself to be silly. At one point I thought some people were making fun of me as I danced by the wire and sang and waved my coke bottle in the air. But actually I think they were just laughing with me, sharing my joy and enjoying the moment too. I have spent too much of my life caring what others think.

So there are some ingredients for a hopeful day. I am going to post every day. I’d love to have your comments.

Thanks for reading and a hopeful New Year to you all Hope X

Happy 2020 world#new year#hope#sydney

This is the start of my hope journey. Please join me as I work out what hope actually means.

Greetings from baking Sydney. Let the fireworks commence!

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