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50 Shades Of Little Things That Make My Heart Glad.

As the days go by, my mind grows more attuned to the simple, little, beautiful sources of my pleasure and I would like to share them with you. These things don’t cost much if they cost anything at all.

Maybe because I’ve had to live life on a shoe string budget for quite some time – due to cutting back on full-time work to take care of my children – yes, some sacrifices are worth it at the end.Happiness, Contentment, Little Things, Joy, Life, Beautiful Things, 50 Shades

I must tell you that it’s tough, tough, tough, not having a steady income, but I’ve also learnt to literally become a minimalist and my sense of deep appreciation for the small things have deepened beyond measure.

I digress. Now to the 50 shades of things that make my heart glad. They are in no particular order.

  1. The cuddle and warmth of a new baby.
  2. The wonderful smell of a new book.
  3. The outlay of books in the library or bookstore.
  4. Office supplies and notepads.
  5. The frisky frolic of a happy puppy, baby animals excluding snakes and other creepy crawlies.
  6. Good music and Saturday mornings.
  7. A well-stocked pantry.
  8. An early morning walks when the air is crisp and fresh.
  9. The sounds of birds chirping. I try to decipher their conversation, unfortunately, I don’t speak chirp.
  10. Watching the sun rise and set.
  11. The tinkling laughter of a child.
  12. The quiet hum of my home in the wee hours of the morning.
  13. A scalp massage from the fingers of a dear one.
  14. Foot rub after a hard day.
  15. A pretty bud and fresh flowers.
  16. The rich smell of coffee and coffee shops. I think I’ll end up owning one ūüėČ
  17. The sound of Beethoven that my husband plays when he’s shaving *don’t ask me why.
  18. An ice cream on a cone on a hot day.
  19. My bare feet planted on the cool floor under my work table.
  20. Singing loudly to myself – though I can barely carry a tune.
  21. The sound of rain.
  22. Smiles. When I make someone smile.
  23. Gazing up at the stars.
  24. Seeing happy people
  25. The smell of freshly cut grass.
  26. Watching my children dance.
  27. Dancing – I love dancing.
  28. Listening to my fave songs on repeat.
  29. Morning mist on untouched plants.
  30. Warm heartfelt hugs, forehead kisses, and deep conversations.
  31. Getting lost in the pages of a book.
  32. Sleeping on my bed or just lying in and lazing there.
  33. Quiet moments to myself.
  34. A nice soak in a warm bubble bath.
  35. Christmas time
  36. Sweets: chocolate, cheesecake, chocolate cake, hot chocolate. I am an unrepentant chocoholic.
  37. Finishing a crossword puzzle
  38. Things that make me laugh.
  39. Tea time with a pretty tea set – sounds silly but it just makes me sigh in contentment.
  40. Pretty candles and meditation.
  41. Cooking and watching others eat it with appreciation. Sharing food with others is filling.
  42. An unexpected gift.
  43. Seeing an elderly couple holding hands ūüôā
  44. Freshly washed bed sheets.
  45. Looking at old photos and reminiscing.
  46. Finding bargains
  47. Making friends
  48. Picnics at the park – I can’t wait for the weather to get cooler.
  49. A clean house and family time.
  50. Finishing things on time.

As I wrote this list, I realized I had many more things that I could include, like the warm cup of corn and mushroom soup (homemade) that I’m enjoying right now. I will share the recipe with you in another post.

So tell me, what are your shades of pleasure?

Jacqueline

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When I call Your Name…

Support, Love, Community, Together, Encouragement

As I write this post, the song from ‘Like A Prayer’ by Madonna hums in my head, except that I change it from ‘when you call my name,’ to ‘when I call your name.’

Indeed, it’s a prayer when we beseech others and they attend to us through the kindness of their hearts. Last week, I sent out an SOS post requesting for support from all of you to help me with pushing my new book ‘Unbridled’ and indeed I heard your voices.

Many of you responded with advice, tips, offers, reblogs, featuring and I am working slowly through the list of things to do. I am so thankful for the outpouring of support. I am down on my knees and bless God for being in the midst of the blessings of this community.

Indeed, your voice takes me higher. I am grateful and think of an African proverb that says ‘when relatives help each other, the community grows stronger.’ You are my relatives.

Below is a snippet of review from Aspen Book Tree Reviews

First, I do want to say that some of the poems may be triggering for those recovering from abuse.

Second, I want to say, this is beautiful poetry.

The free verse is strong, descriptive, haunting, lovely.  Jacqueline paints with her words. like an artist.

This is no Monet, this is a Helen Frankenthaler with her bold marks and colors.  There is a section which is written in relation to abuse and some of it is very dark.   Darkness is gut wrenching at times, but the light of hope that shines through is blinding.

My heart agonizes for the girl who has lived through excruciating torment.  But the woman she has become?  She is an Amazon; a warrior of her own heart.

I am very moved by Jacqueline’s words.  I already have my favorites and it’s amazing how Jacqueline reaches in and I feel the warmth.  The last 20 poems are exquisite and delightful.

I give this book a high recommendation, for yourself, for a friend… maybe for an Amazon you know.

Thank you, Jacqueline.  You are amazing.

To Purchase ‚ÄėUnbridled.‚Äô

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Taking Notes…An emotional attachment

Journals, Taking Notes, Emotional Attachment, Diary

 

Pretty notepads are one of my favourite things. I indulge in going to a book or stationery store often and the way that I look at the journals for sale – each time with shiny eyes like a child let loose in a candy store – I visualise my words coming alive and filling up the notes.

I always carry a notepad and pen in my bag, maybe that’s why I like sizeable shoulder bags – hubby always teases me about lugging a bag full of wonders all over the place.

Ever since I became aware of my writing passion, I’m known to squeeze in a little notepad inside a dainty purse so that I can quickly scribble my observations at a dinner party, outing or wherever. It makes me feel like a professional sleuth. I know all about using gadgets and computers, but it just doesn’t feel the same to me as writing into my journals.

In so many¬†years, I haven’t chucked out any of my notepads, except some weeks ago when I went to the mall with the children. After galloping through the shops, we sat down to eat and I left my notepad on the table to briefly use the ladies.

By the time I returned, horror of horrors, my notepad had gone missing! Unfortunately, the kids had excused themselves to use the washroom as well and it was left on the table for a whole five minutes.

I felt robbed and I literally interviewed everyone within the vicinity, but no one had seen my beautiful butterfly pink pad. For several days I was simply upset thinking of all the spur of the moment ideas that I had scribbled down and some unknown person was privy to my naked thoughts. Lesson learnt. Where ever I go, never leave notepad lying around again.

If and when we leave the UAE, I am going to find a way to smuggle my journals along with me – though I know my husband will query my sanity for paying excess luggage to carry dog-eared notepads along ūüėČ

Sadly, I failed to keep those that I had during my much younger days because I’ve moved around quite a bit in my life and carrying them didn’t occur to me back then. I bet the notes written in them would have made an interesting read for me.

Do you have a journal passion? Earlier in the week, I read a post where a blogger shared her fear of someone stealing her notes and I could totally relate to that. I’d rather give away the clothes off my back than my journals.

Jacqueline

Indeed, the young shall grow.

Barista, Teen Working, Employment, First Job, Tim Hortons, Work Ethics

To place my order, I stretch up my neck to look at my 6ft 4inches son when it seems like it was only yesterday that he used to stretch out his tiny hands and tell me ‘caawwy me up mummy.’

Where did 15 years fly to? Where did all the time go? Between changing diapers, mashing potatoes and vegetables, reading bedtime stories, reciting nursery rhymes, mending scraped knees and many parenting incidents, time zoomed by.

Now, I watch my son in his Tim Hortons uniform for the first time – after a 3-week training – stand behind the counter to ring up my order.

This is my boy’s first job and I feel tickled pink that he got selected out of many others who were interviewed for the job of a Barista.

It’s a Summer job and I am grateful for the experience that this opportunity gives him.

It will instil some sense of work ethics, confidence, independence and responsibility. It will help his transition from teen to adulthood, provide constructive use of free time and time management.

I am sitting here, typing this post and getting my first cup of drink from the young man and it tastes absolutely wonderful. My heart feels full and this means so much to me.

© Jacqueline

If you wish to participate in a gratitude challenge, there are several gratitude/thankful platforms in the blogosphere that you can tune into and get your ithankful going on. I can’t express in words the enormity of Joy and fulfilment that comes from having a heart of gratitude. Please check out Colline’s blog and Bernadette’s for thankful/gratitude challenges.

 

I am not a superwoman – personal

Quotes, Being slow, Life, Stress, Speed, Thankful

I believe in being steadfast in everything that I do, but the past few weeks have challenged my usual enthusiasm that I find myself doing the barest minimum.

It’s been somewhat a bag of mixed blessings, thankful to get up and do the things that need to be done in an automated mode and being thoroughly bored in-between – why I don’t know.

I don’t know whether to blame it on the torrid and melting heat over here, on unresolved problems that tug the edge of my mind or on having to take care of my family members where everyone seems to be sniffling, running temperatures, a bug here and there including myself or is it a combination of all?

There are days like today when I feel totally inundated and I simply want to reach out and chuck everything out of the window, then press the stop sign on the clock just to let life pause while I catch my breath.

I work at taking deep breaths and exhaling through the mouth, repeating it a dozen times, each breath let out to let go of pent-up emotions, anguish, and stress. I recognize that part of my stress is the unrelenting drive to succeed and when it seems that I am slower, I feel guilty for being slow which is absolutely wrong. There are lessons to be learned from being slow.

As I write this post, I take a pencil to my to-do list. I whittle it down to 5 simple things, making a clean slate for today and going slow. It’s a beautiful, blazing hot day today and I am thankful for common sense and to recognize that I’m not a superwoman, that there are days that I’ll be slow.

Today, I will only do 5 things – one of which is this, now it’s only 4 things; cook for my household, read other blogs, format my book, write that freelance post for publishing… already it sounds plenty.

Jacqueline

So April is Done and I’m No Fool; I Hope?

Personal Thoughts, Dear God, Ambitions, Afraid, Dreams, Aspirations

April is over and out, the first quarter done and dusted. As always I reflect on everything and nothing. I am learning that as a human being that all I can truly do each day is to give the best of my best. Yet there are days that my best falls below par and my head hammers at me that I’m not doing enough, but my heart keeps still and asks for harmony.

There are those days when the vagaries of life dictate the pace of my thought and actions even when I don’t want them to be so. Trying to live a purposeful – focused life has many positive fruits but can also come at a cost.

Those ambitions that faithfully dog my step and grasp my heart fail to let go. Instead, their demands to be achieved increase and there many times that I feel strong and know that I can do it all, yet there are many of those shaky moments when I wonder if I am being a fool for aspiring for so much?

I have been doing all that I do afraid, but with faith. Yet, I’m equally worried that I may never get it right¬†but never worried enough to willingly stop trying.

I know without doubts that there are many like me. Those whose ambitions keep their thoughts racing and their hearts thumping in excited prospects, at the same time they are nervous at the thoughts of failing. I’ve failed in many things in my life, but for the life of me, I am never going to give up on my aspirations.

It may seem like a fool’s dream to want to succeed when one feels like they are between the Spring and Autumn of their lives. Someone, please tell me that I am not a fool having a mid-life crisis of wanting dreams that appear too tall to reach.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

2 Years! Time Sure Flies When You Are Having Fun…

Image result for images of thankful

Woah! It’s two years since I started my blogging journey. I was only reminded last night when WordPress sent me a note that my site’s subscription is due for renewal.

Hmm! I had no idea when I started this affair with blogging that I would fall deeply in love with it and stick to it with such tenacity.

I honestly can’t begin to say in specifics how much this affair has made me grow. When I started, I had no iota of an idea what I was getting into – I still remember saying to myself, if the water gets too hot in here, I’ll simply climb out of the tub.

I am enjoying the choppy waters of the blogosphere and I am grateful with all my heart that I answered this call. It infuses me with such satisfaction, most especially friends that I’ve made in this space.

It’s been a wonderful experience and I thank all of you who have been here with me. You are all raising me up to be better than I was yesterday and today.

I truly wish I could have face time with a lot of people that I’ve met here. We would hug like old friends, sit, laugh, share a cocktail and many stories.

I’ll be hosting my monthly blog party this weekend, join me and celebrate.

Jacqueline