Find Happiness – do what makes your heart sing

 

Do more of what makes your heart sing (1)Have you ever had that feeling?  That feeling of being so happy that your heart literally sings?

I think that we are all seeking happiness, but sometimes in the wrong places.  A couple of weeks ago I was walking down the road, eating an ice cream cone, I had good company, the sun was shining and I felt really happy.  So happy that I felt like my heart was singing.

After going through quite a lot, especially recently, I have had to re-evaluate so much in my life and I think that the key to happiness might just lie in appreciating the moments that make us happy.  A cup of hot tea after coming in from the rain.  Climbing into fresh sheets.  The crackle of an open fire.  The pain of muscle stretch that reminds you of a good exercise session.

So my quote for this week is about happiness

Do more of what makes your heart sing

We live in a world with so many possibilities and so many things to strive for.  I know that many of us set objectives and goals.  I do this myself, and think it is really important.  It shouldn’t however be something where you say to yourself, I will be happy when ….  Be happy now!

Each little moment of happiness should be grasped – relished and enjoyed like a good piece of chocolate slowly melting on your tongue.

Enjoy your Easter and be happy.  This weekend do more of what makes your heart sing.

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

Finding your blogging voice

Finding your blogging voice

 

When you decide to start a blog, you might have a clear idea of what you want to write about, but, have you really found our blogging voice?

I have recently read back on some of my earlier blog posts and realised that it took a while to find my blogging voice.

It is important to figure out what it is you want to blog about and to find your blogging voice.  This is what is going to make your blog popular and have people returning to read your posts on a regular basis.

My mission, a year after starting my blog was to find out what was working and what wasn’t.  Because I love statistics this was my first stop.  I had a look at my stats on Google Analytics and on Jetpack which is a WordPress plug-in.  I also had a look at my comments and which posts had the most feedback.

If I had to describe myself I would say that I am a storyteller.  I tell stories about my quest to feel fabulous despite the curveballs that life throws at us. I am a plus size lady, who has passed the age of 50 who loves life and is determined to find the positive.  I have a good few health issues, that really are curveballs for me.  Over the past few years I have learnt that in order to feel fabulous I need to consider my health and wellness holistically.  I look to my own experiences and to others to find out what it is that gives is that positive kick to overcome the stumbling blocks of life.

I would say that it took me from about 13 to 30 to find myself – to find my style and the things that I would be passionate about most of my life.  I have some pretty frightening and clear memories of some fashion disasters that followed me through my twenties, not to mention hair styles including the spiral perm on very blond hair.  I think I must have looked quite odd, and yet I didn’t think so at the time.

By the time I had hit my forties I had found my personal style.  I do still indulge in some fashion purchases and some of these are less advisable, but generally speaking I now know what suits me and what doesn’t.

Finding your blogging voice is similar I think.  In an effort to find mine I have looked for advice.

I was given a fabulous book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, and it devotes a full chapter to finding your voice.

‘Great bloggers all share one virtue in common:  They infuse their writing with a triple shot of personality.   Let your personality flow into your blogging and your readers will find you.’

Jeffrey Feldman, editor in chief of Frameshop and Huffpost blogger.

Verena von Pfetten, Living Editor at Huffington Post advises you to use the voice you have.

‘The best and easiest way to find your voice is to use the one you have. Sounds too easy?  It’s not.  That is why blogging is so popular!  First think about blogging as writing an email to a friend.  Better yet, and email to a really cool clever friend with whom you have a great and witty rapport’ says Verena.

She also advises to simply start writing.  You don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over how you are going to draft an email, so don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over a blog post.  It is not worth the effort.

Her final piece of advice is not to try too hard.  Don’t try to be anything other than exactly who you are.  It is your voice you are trying to find.

I have been blogging for over a year now, and I want to thank everyone who has read my blog, and an extra thanks for the comments and feedback.  Thanks for helping me find my voice.

I also want to do a quick thank you to the ladies at ITWBN who run fabulous events and give bloggers support.  Being part of a blogging network and reading lots of other blogs is really important and certainly helps to find your blogging voice.

I am proud to say I am a health, wellness and positivity blogger.  Here is to another year writing about finding the fabulous especially for those who are a little older and those who are facing some curveballs themselves.

If you are thinking of starting a blog – do it!  If you want any help or advise please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

 

Driving Safely on Thin Ice

chill_icy_kerryBeing a South African I was not always (and to be honest am still not) confident driving in bad weather.  Driving safely isn’t as easy as it seems.

One morning a few years ago, I woke up bright and early to a frosty morning and got ready to go to work and take my son and his friend to school.  We never got to school that day.

Half way my car slipped on black ice and turned over.  I will never forget the sensation of rolling and all I could think of was the kids who were screaming.

Thankfully the car came to rest and didn’t go any further as that would have meant landing in a lake.  It is the weirdest sensation – we landed with the car on its side.  I tried to reach for my handbag and couldn’t get to my phone.

Other drivers stopped and helped get my son and his friend out of the car.  I was stuck and had to wait for the emergency services.  On that long drive in the ambulance on the way to town I had over an hour to think.  What could I have done differently and how could I have adjusted my driving to avoid this happening again.

Getting confidence to drive again

It took over a month before I had the confidence to drive again and when I did it was January and more icy than ever.  If I woke up in the morning and there was frost outside I froze inside.  Froze with fear that it would happen again.

At this point I lived in Connemara – which is far from everywhere.  There was no choice I had to drive and in order to do that I needed the skills to ensure that I wouldn’t crash.

On the day of the accident I was driving really slowly which was why we were all ok apart from bumps and bruises. So driving slowly wasn’t enough.

I was advised to drive with my gears rather than my brake.  Easier said than done.

A few weeks into the new year I had opportunity to test my new skills.  We set off to school.  Passed the scene of the accident and my confidence started to build.  When we turned onto the coast road it was solid white ice.  We were literally driving on a skating rink.

Even writing this now years later, the fear is real.  I crawled along the road – in a low gear- and tried to keep it together for the boys.  There came a point when I had to pull over – simply to rest and cry and to do this I had to brake.  I changed down gears safely, indicated and pulled onto the side of the road.  After pulling myself together I re-joined the line of cars and dropped the boys safely to school.

I am delighted that my driving tip has been included in a mini e-book published by Chill Insurance.  I think we all need to be aware of hazards like bad weather than can make driving a challenge.

Download the book here.

chilldrivesafely

Thanks for reading and for your ongoing support.

Kerry x

Life Lessons from my Granny

Lessons learnt from my Granny

I am privileged to have had many woman in my life who have guided me and shaped me and made me who I am. Today I would like to acknowledge the life lessons taught by my maternal grandmother – Olive Hanson.

My granny passed away in 1978, when I was 13, I may have been young but I have remembered she taught me some great lessons.

My granny was born Olive Pickavance (I do like that name) and was one of 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls.  All the girls had names of plants – Olive, Iris, May, Hazel and Violet.   My granny was a lady, and one with a sharp wit.

I have fond memories of staying over at my grandparents on a Friday evening.  We went to sleep with a huge sense of anticipation of the adventure the next day.  My grandfather brought us tea in bed, something that didn’t happen at home.  We got up and got dressed with our frilly knee socks and black patent shoes and got ready to ride the bus to town.  Saturday morning in town meant a visit to the hairdresser for my gran (a proud supporter of the blue rinse) and then a visit to the multi-storied department stores which have now disappeared.  The excitement of tea and scones in the tea room and a little purchase or some kind meant we returned home on a high.

These trips were the ignited a passion for independence which had me riding the busses for many years.  At 16 I rode the bus into town and secured myself a job selling children’s shoes.

Here are a few great life lessons I learnt from my Granny.

  1. You are never too old to learn. Granny learnt to drive at 63 before my Grandad passed away.  I think it is fair to say that she was never a great driver but it didn’t stop her getting around.  My little sister always maintained she could hear Granny arriving.
  2. The importance of underwear. Granny always maintained that you should have good undies in case you were ever in an accident.  Years later I was in an accident and found myself lying in the ambulance trying to remember what I had put on in the morning.  Luckily I was ok!
  3. The value of a good story.  Granny was a great storyteller. Sometimes the stories grew and grew like the story of the cat that was so big it could fill a bath.  I did see the cat once and it was big, but not quite that big.  Stories are our history and really should be passed on
  4. The need for walking shoes and sitting down shoes. As a young child I couldn’t understand what Granny meant when she talked about sitting down shoes.  Now I know exactly what she meant.  I have both types on my shoe rack.
  5. The importance of being well dressed. Granny was always elegant and well dressed. She valued her clothes and would spend a good deal of time choosing a piece of fabric that would then go off to the dress-maker. She also didn’t like black.
  6. The value of a social occasion. As she got older she often attended the funerals of her friends. She wore Navy and saw these occasions as not only an opportunity to pay her respects but also to socialise, a wise woman.  She also loved a good wedding for the same reason.
  7. How important quotes and sayings are. She loved sayings – perhaps I have inherited that from her too. One of my favourites was – You would notice an inch on the end of your nose.  This referred to skirts that were too long or too short. (She was way ahead of her time would have enjoyed Pinterest)
  8. The value of occasion.  She had a real sense of occasion. A tea-tray was set and cups and saucers and always a little something to nibble would be brought out for a visit after school. Making small things special.
  9. The importance of high standards. Always told her three daughters to put a price on themselves.  It has been something I have never forgotten – the importance of valuing yourself – featured on  my blog here.  Her three daughters, my Mum, Aunty Ingrid and Aunty Elna were reminded – Remember you are a Hanson. Basically behave yourself and keep high standards.
  10. Everyone is special.  Granny had a way about her that you always believed that the time she spent with you was special.  A real gift that I hope I have inherited.

My granny was born on 12 March – she would have been 109 on Saturday and probably still dishing out wisdom in the form of stories.  I will set a tea-tray and sit down and raise a cup to Olive Hanson – thank you for the lessons you taught me Granny.

 

Kerry x

 

 

Life Audit: Where am I now?

Honour the place between no longer and yet.

 

I know I have been a bit quiet and there has been a bit of a gap between blog posts.  That is because I have been doing a life audit.

Early in December I took sick – a combination of things.  It was a real large bump in the road as I realised that I could no longer work full-time.

I have been working since I turned 16.  I had a Saturday job in a shoe store and then worked my way through college.  After graduating I started working and to be honest I have never stopped.  I even cut my maternity leave to a couple of weeks as I was working for myself.

Not working has been quite some adjustment, and something that has taken some time to get used to.  I love being busy and really relish a busy mind.  My body unfortunately doesn’t agree.  A recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia on top of the other health issues I have been fighting was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So what have I been doing?

My quote this week says it all really.

Honour the place between no longer and yet

I would really like to thank my friends and family who have been incredibly supportive.  They have guided me to take stock.  To do a life audit.

What can I do, and what can’t I do.  What skills do I have and what skills can be transferred.  One friend told me to consider myself a client and look at myself as a product.  What are the good things about me and where are my weaknesses.  I have been doing just that, taking stock and doing a life audit of myself.  Figuring out what I really want and how to achieve it.

It takes some time to get used to what you no longer have to do.  I finally switched off my morning alarm and am letting myself wake up naturally.  I am still a morning person, but it is a relief not to be wakened by beep beep beep at 6.30 in the morning.

I am also taking care of myself.  Nice long walks and time set aside each day for meditation and learning. (read about my very long walk here)

Of course my active mind is exploring new opportunities.  I have a few ideas I am playing with in my head and hope that I will find some great opportunities to volunteer in the future.  I am excited as my knowledge grows and hope to use my new skills in a part-time capacity in the future.

For now though I am in the middle – honouring the place between no longer and yet.

I sincerely want to thank everyone that reads my blog and gives me feedback.  The one thing that I have realised is that I love blogging and will continue to blog and hopefully inspire.

 

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

Why my walk for the Heart of Galway was so special

 

10 km done! (2)

The original couch potato walked not 7km but 10km!

One of my objectives for 2016 was to walk 5km in an official challenge/race.  One morning in January, I was browsing Facebook and came across The Heart of Galway Walk on 14 February a 7km walk in aid of Foroige Big Brother, Big Sister Charity.

Before I knew it Paypal was open and I had paid the 20 Euro entry.  Now I only had two hurdles in my way – raise 80 Euro in sponsorship and get fit enough to walk 7km.  I made it public by writing about it here, and there was no going back.

Thanks to friends and family the money was soon raised and the reality of walking 7km started to sink in.

At school I was the child that always had a sore tummy on sports day.  I have terrible eye hand co-ordination and combined with Asthma I always ensured that I didn’t participate in sports.  I avoided physical activity at all costs.

Fast forward 30 odd years and I was quite probably the most unfit person you knew.  Walking to the shop (a mere 5 minute walk) would have me reaching for the car keys.

My fitness journey started about 4 years ago and regular readers of my blog will have read about when I bought my first pair of trainers, and when I felt the joy of walking on sand dunes.

Slowly and steadily I have built up my fitness levels, primarily through walking.  One foot in front of another and steadily increasing the distance and the pace.

For Christmas I was lucky enough to be given a Fitbit.  As a closet techie this really delighted me.  I could count the steps, monitor the calorie burning and set myself targets.

Commitment counts

Sunday 14 February 2016 – the day of the 7km walk, I woke up with a migraine!  And this is where commitment comes into play.  If I had not committed to doing the walk, raised the funds and promised to be there, I would have taken painkillers and turned over in bed for another hour at least. But, I had committed so I got up and got ready for my first ever official walk.

Walking (or running) for a good cause is even better.  As I arrived at 56 Central I was greeted by friends and fellow walkers who encouraged me and told me that I could do it.  I stood in line for my number and T-shirt and readied myself for the off.

A quick thank you here to friends and family who were there for me.  I needed that support so very much.

The race took off with the runners in front and the walkers behind.  My first thought was that I would come last.  Then I realised I was not competing with anyone else.  I was competing with myself.  I just needed to do it.

It was a long walk – and turned out to be 10km rather than 7km.  It’s a good thing it wasn’t advertised correctly as I never believed I could do it.  I won’t lie, the last third was hard.  I pushed myself and had my walking companion pointing out that I was 60% of the way there, then 65% and then 70%.

Close to the end I met up with some fellow walkers and we got a second (or was it third or fourth) wind and strided with pride up Shop Street in Galway to the finish line.

Now I had a beautiful medal to go with my T-shirt and race number.  I did it!

Giving back

This blog post would not be complete without a mention of the very good cause that we were raising funds for.  Project Impact is a new charity initiative put together by Pat Divilly, Gill Carroll and a fabulous team.  Project Impact raises money for charity with no expenses so everything raised will go to the charity.

For this event the money goes to Foroige – Big Brother Big Sister.  This is an internationally recognised youth mentoring  charity where a Big is matched with a Little to support and inspire.  The funds raised from this even will go to sending 100 ‘couples’ to a youth adventure centre.  In this way not only will the relationships strengthen but the importance of physical activity be emphasised.

I honestly wish I hadn’t waited for middle age to embrace fitness.  It is never too late though!

Onward to the next event.

A sincere thank you to everyone who supported me.  And thank you for reading.

Kerry x

You are never too old to learn

become like a bird

 

I remember hearing this saying – You are never too old to learn – when I was much younger.  I must be very honest and say that at the time (when I thought that 50 was very old), I thought that it wasn’t true – now I know different.

I remember looking at my parents and grandparents and thinking that they were old.  I couldn’t imagine them learning anything.

Thankfully I matured and now that I am a certain age, I certainly don’t think that I am old at all! (Although I am now older than my parents were when I was twenty).

I digress.  The one thing that I have learnt as I have matured is that you are never too old to learn.  I have also learnt that learning is fun and it makes you feel young.  It is a bit like body fitness.  You need to exercise.  I think we need brain fitness too.

 Become like a bird,

expand your wings,

learn new things

and fly as high as you can

When I came across this quote it really resonated with me and made me realise that no matter what happens in life, there are so many opportunities to learn new things.  With knowledge comes opportunity and the possibility of new adventures.

Thinking back to my teenage years learning involved books, photocopying and writing.  I have an old history project of mine complete with drawings traced from library books.  We are really so lucky now that we have access to a world of knowledge from the comfort of our homes.  It is all there online, and I for one am both aware and grateful for that knowledge.

Our brains are like a muscle, they need exercise and like any fitness regime, an exercised brain starts working so much better.

I know a few people who have returned to college as mature students exercising the muscle that is the brain and delighting in the love of learning.

I don’t know if a return to college is in my future, but I do know that I am really enjoying learning about new things. I am setting myself a little study schedule and know how it feels to go to bed with a tired and well exercised mind.

Thanks for reading and feel free to drop me a line to tell me what you are learning.

Kerry x

 

 

 

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