Acts of kindness #11: Kindness postcards

Being kind by sending postcards of happiness to strangers:

In a world full of emails and texts and social media, I still love how powerfully uplifting receiving a hand-written card, postcard or letter can be.

So as soon as I came across Postcard Happiness, I knew I had to get involved.

Creator Tatjana Buisson explains how her postcard happinensss project is about “sending kindness & encouragement where it’s needed most.”

It’s about “encouraging the world to focus their positive energy onto a small rectangular piece of postcard and sending it to people who could physically and emotionally benefit from a little encouragement or acknowledgement in the form of kind, written words from strangers and friends.”

What a wonderfully, brilliant idea.

Anyone can nominate or be nominated and their stories are posted online. Be it a friend or loved one who is going through a rough time, or has done something inspiring, or simply needs a little cheering up.

It’s really for anyone who could benefit from a little postal kindness.

Currently nominated to receive postcards are a nine-year-old boy waiting for a life-saving heart transplant, a South African woman who set up a nonprofit organisation to support patients with rare diseases, and a care home resident whose day is brightened whenever he receives a postcard.

All you have to do is write a few words of kindness – be it support, encouragement, acknowledgement, or even to share your own story – and pop it in the post.

How easy is that!

So I decided to get my craft on and make a few postcards to send out:

Kindness postcards

They’re now making their way around the world, soon to bring a little sunshine into someone’s day.

♡☆♡

More days of Happy: Prince

Being grateful for Prince:

He had me from the moment I first heard the guitar riff intro to When Doves Cry.

My 12 year old self was blown away as Prince exploded into the UK music charts and into the hearts of a generation.

I was absolutely besotted with him throughout my teens and it’s safe to say he’s had a place my heart ever since.

Everyone has their personal musical icon and Prince was mine: he was my dearly beloved.

Like so many of my generation, Prince’s music was the soundtrack of my adolescence and early adulthood.

I played his albums on continual loop: Sign O The Times, Parade, Purple Rain, LoveSexy and learnt a lot about love, sex, passion, race, gender, social consciousness and so much more through his honest, uncensored, and often downright dirty lyrics.

He also shaped my musical tastes for my lifetime, I’m still drawn to a sprinkling of blues, a big splash of funk, and a whole lot of soul.

As discussions pop up all over the globe about favourite Prince songs, off the top of my head, mine is When Doves Cry, oh and Forever In My Life, and not forgetting Adore, and 7… I really can’t pick just one.

And of course, I have to mention Purple Rain, Pop Life, Little Red Corvette, Anotherloverholenyohead, Kiss, If I was Your Girlfriend, Let’s Go Crazy, Girls & Boys, U Got The Look, – ummmm, ok, I think I better stop before I name every single track!! And then there’s all the incredible songs he wrote for others: Nothing Compares 2 U, Manic Monday, I Feel for You

If I could wind back time, I’d be there, front row at his Sign O the Times concerts… I cherished the video (and now the DVD) of the live performance and watched it over and over again.

I dug it out as soon as I heard of his death to enjoy it all over again. What a show, with so many iconic moments to love. But Forever in My Life always stands out for me: those drums…

I soooooooo badly wanted to be Sheila E – who inspired my (still unfulfilled) desire to play the drums – but would’ve happily settled for Sheena Easton, Cat, or anyone on the Sign O’ The Times tour really…

A few years later, I finally got my first chance to see my idol perform live.

It was the summer of 1992, and my sister and I went up to Manchester City Football Ground to see the Diamonds and Pearls tour – not my favourite album, but he still completely rocked it.

diamonds and pearls tour

I remember it was a blazing hot summer’s day and we sat outside the ground for hours waiting for the gates to open. When they finally did, we were ecstatic to grab a spot near the front and sat down on the grass to mark our territory. But as he show began, everyone surged to the front and there was a huge crush.

With the stifling heat and all the excitement, girls all around us started passing out and having to be hauled over the front barriers to safety by the burly security guards. Worried for my younger sister, we left our prime spot after a few songs  to watch from the sideline, where it was less crowded and much safer.

I clearly remember the moment Prince came on stage and he literally took my breath away.

And I was over the (cherry) moon [sorry!] to see him perform live again twenty years later.

He came to Sydney on his ‘Welcome to Australia’ tour. His incredible 3 hour set, performed on his ‘Love Symbol’ stage, filled with all the favourites and so many more.

prince sydney tour

The atmosphere was electric, our excitement palpable, and he didn’t disappoint (I was foolish to wonder if he still ‘had it’!): it felt like an incredible party we were all invited to, all 20,000 of us.

In fat, I screamed like an hysterical teenager, despite having just turned 40!

In my opinion, his stage presence is unrivalled. He is surely one of the greatest performers of all time, if not the greatest.

I feel incredible blessed to have been able to have witnessed his magic: he was utterly mesmerising, incredibly hypnotic, and unbelievably sexy.

A true icon.

Thank you Prince: Nothing Compares 2 U

Let your purple light shine on.

♡ ♔ ♡

More days of happy: Garden bliss

Being grateful for sitting out in the garden:

I am an outdoor living kinda girl.

During the warmer months, I can happily spend all day outside.

When I lived in Sydney I spent most of my days in the great outdoors. In fact, even when I was home I’d be enjoying the luxury of my outdoor sofa on the verandah whenever I could.

Not surprisingly, I find the colder winter months difficult.

Especially at the moment, what with living back in the somewhat cooler English climate, and living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which means I have to spend most of my days resting.

And as much as I love my bedroom, my sanctuary, I long to be outside.

Ever since spring officially arrived a few weeks ago, I’ve been eagerly awaiting a warm sunny day to appear so I can take my resting back into the garden.

And today, it’s finally here.

Yipppeeeeeeee!

My folks’ garden is the perfect little sun trap, surrounded by soothing nature and free from the cool wind, which today is blowing in from the east.

sun lounger

I’ve set myself up on the sun lounger and my heart is feeling so happy at being able to gaze up at the brilliant-blue cloudless sky, to breathe in the cleansing fresh air, to watch the dancing butterflies and the bumbling bees happily exploring the garden, to listen to the melodic birdsong in surround sound, and to feel the comforting warmth of the spring sunshine on my grateful face.

brilliant blue sky

Long live spring 🙂

More days of happy: Celebrating Thomas

Being mindful of being the best Auntie I can be:

Living back in my childhood home while I heal and recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, one of the things I am most grateful for is being able to spend time with my young nephews.

They are such a joy to be around.

And I am grateful for how they are both a constant reminder to live fully in the present moment.

When I spend time with each one of the little munchkins, I make sure that I fully engage with him, giving him my full attention. I believe this to be one of the most important gifts you can give a child. Well actually, I think it’s one of the most important gifts you can give anyone. But anyway…

The bite-size chunks of time I spend with them – before I get too tired and have to go and rest – is really precious, and has become an essential part of my healing journey.

They make me smile, they make me laugh, they make my heart melt, and they make my heart sing.

Today is my Thomas’ 4th birthday. (It took some convincing for him to be happy with turning four, as he really wanted to be five, but we all convinced him that being four is the BEST).

His mummy and daddy took the day off work to take him and his older brother to a farm park for a day of hardcore play. And we were invited round later for birthday dinner and cake, as the little birthday boy clutched his Teddy and fought to keep his eyes open. Bless him.

I’d made him a special birthday card, a photo collage in the shape of a number four filled with memories of the last year.

Thomas' 4th birthday card

Pressie wise, I’d bought him the Stick Man book and DVD. Over Christmas, I’d recorded the BBC adaptation of this adorable story about a happy-go-lucky Stick Man who tries to find his way back to his family in the treehouse, having many adventures along the way.

Thomas absolutely loves it and we look out for Stick Man whenever we go on a soul stroll by the brook. I wrote a little story about our own adventure and stuck it inside the book.

Stick Man story
On the days my parents look after Thomas, we have moments of such fun and I deeply treasure the bond we’ve formed.

He has a beautiful caring side too. Yesterday as I was resting in bed, he came in to see me. He said he wanted to make me feel better and so climbed into my bed and snuggled up to me, wrapping both arms around me: it worked.

Later, he discovered emoticons on my iPhone and when my phone ‘died’, he said he’d go to the phone shop in his “super fast shoes” to buy me a new one. He even got his money box out and headed to the front door. I managed to stop him and we spent the next half hour happily playing imaginary phone shop (if only I really could buy the new iPhone for 14p 🙂 ).

There’s so many precious moments to treasure with both my nephews, and I hope they’ll be many many more.

Happy 4th Birthday Sweet Thomas
Xxx

♡☆♡

Act of kindness #10: Video interview

Being kind by helping someone out:

After the big and exciting activities of the last few weeks, it’s no surprise that I’m feeling really wiped out. While my heart is still smiling after such lovely times, my body clearly needs a few days of complete rest in order to restore and recover back some energy.

But this morning I had a video interview planned with a young journalist.

Stewart had interviewed me a few weeks ago for my Valentine’s Day Act of Kindness for the local paper, and had got back in touch with me. He asked if he could do a further in-depth interview with me as part of his Postgraduate Studies: I was really happy to help out.

Then a couple of weeks ago, he asked if I would be his subject for a video interview, a required part of his course portfolio. Despite being camera-shy, I agreed. But only after he explained that it would be him under scrutiny, not me, which made me feel far less self-conscious.

But when I woke up this morning, I knew I had no energy in the tank. I knew that if I went ahead with the video interview, the fallout would not be good. I knew I needed to postpone, but as his submission deadline is imminent, I didn’t want to let him down.

So, I managed to find a little energy from somewhere and we actually had fun. As we filmed some ‘action’ shots I nicknamed him Stewart Scorsese and I was christened Helen Streep 🙂

Helen Streep.jpg

After Stewart left, my mind and body crumbled. Savagely tired, I gratefully climbed back into bed and know I’ll be staying here for as long as it takes to rest, recover and recharge.

But I’m really glad I did it, as it felt good to be able to help someone out.

Act of kindness #9: Bookmark messages

Being kind by hiding kind messages inside library books:

Today I returned four books to my local library and decided to hide a Kindness Card with a handwritten message on the back, inside each book.

Kindness bookmarks.jpg

The thought of the next person to read each of these books coming across my surprise message, makes me feel really happy.

♡☆♡