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blogging about my books

12 years slave

Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Thu, January 23, 2014 13:21:29

Of course we must not forget tof as well.

Kind regards to you all xx

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Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Tue, January 14, 2014 15:44:16

Whilst enjoying a leisurely morning coffee, one of the presenters on the radio station I was tuned into mentioned something about ‘Happiness Week’ and it got me thinking.

The first month of the year starts with a bang and then goes downhill rapidly, and not because we’re still coming down from the fun and frolics of the Christmas festivities. January has always been known as the most miserable month of the year and seems to stretch on and on and paired with many of us trying desperately to keep to whichever New Year’s Resolution we have made this year, no wonder we’re all feeling down in the dumps. We also find out how much the recent festivities has actually cost us when the bills start dropping through our doors.

So this particular radio station has decided to help its listeners combat some of the January blues and I thought I’d add a few of my own to get you smiling. My first helpful tip is do not, no matter how miserable you are feeling, give up on your New Year’s Resolution. It might make you feel better for an instant but once you realise you have quit two weeks in you will be back feeling miserable again.

Music has always lifted my spirits or motivated me when I needed a little extra push. So why not spend some time having a good look at your music collection. I bet you find plenty of tunes that can lift your spirits. Why not make yourself a HAPPY playlist so when you start to feel you mood slipping all you have to do is hit the play button and let the music lift you up?

For all you pet lovers out there spending time with your dog, cat, horse, rabbit (insert any other pets you have) makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. So why not spend an afternoon snuggled up with your pooch, galloping round the paddock with your very own black beauty or if you don’t have any pets, why not go to the local pet store. You could also add a visit to the zoo or sea life aquarium to your list as there will surely be one encounter that will bring a smile to your face.

The weather might be cold and miserable but don’t let it keep you prisoner in your own home. If there is a special place guaranteed to make you feel happy why not arrange a day out. Whether it’s a lovely countryside walk, or a stroll along your favourite promenade being out in the fresh air, and for some, the winter sunshine, gives your body an added boost.

So what if you don’t have a special place, don’t like music, or don’t fancy venturing outdoors as where you live it really is far too cold, or far too wet? I bet you have a growing collection of films or books that brighten up the darkest of days. Go on treat yourself to a duvet day in front of the TV watching all your favourite films or snuggled on the sofa a good book in your hand.

There are whole heaps of things we can do to make ourselves feel happy, we just need a little reminder of what they are. If all else fails pick up the phone and call the person you think is the most happiest. Let their happiness rub off on you and don’t forget to return the favour.

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New Year's Resolutions

Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Fri, January 03, 2014 18:14:34

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014!

Wow didn’t 2013 go fast and who can believe 2014 is already here, and how many of you have made New Year’s resolutions? We all do it, but only a handful will keep it going throughout the year and into 2015. So did yours involve food or exercise or both? The most popular resolutions that feature year after year include:

1. Losing those extra few pounds you seemed to have carried over the year and added to over the festive period. Visions of a toned body fill your every thought. Followed by a bowl of crisps or a really unhealthy portion of chocolate cake.

2. You seemed to have doubled your alcohol intake in the last six months and with the festive period only just over, it has reached a level you really don’t want to be at. New Year’s Eve rolls into New Year’s Day and you promise to give up drinking for the rest of the year. When the weekend arrives your promise becomes only drink at the weekends.

3. Another resolution that is at the top of some people’s list is give up smoking and it has become a lot easier to do with the help of nicotine patches and fake cigarettes. Even doctors’ surgeries are more encouraging and often run a no smoking clinic to help you keep your resolution in check. This is also one of the hardest ones to achieve.

4. For all those who tend to put work before everything else, a New Year can signal a change in your priorities and time spent with your family and friends a more regular occurrence. How many of you turn down a chance to spend the day with your siblings or decline a friend’s kind offer of dinner?

5. This resolution is also for all you that spend your life at work and forget there are other ways to enjoy your weekend. Work is important and sometimes it needs your full commitment but don’t make it a habit, get out there and start enjoying life. Even if you start small, like spending an extra hour in bed, or keeping Sunday evenings work free.

6. Do you feel as if you don’t do your share of helping others? Some people use the start of a New Year to change that, even if it is popping into your elderly neighbour for a cup of tea once a week. You might not think that is helping but I bet you they are glad of the company. If you really want to take helping others seriously there are loads of volunteering opportunities you can consider.

7. What happens if you don’t smoke/drink/work to much/need to lose weight/already volunteer? How about learning something new and this can be anything from a learning a new language, to learning how to paint or take pictures or maybe learning to drive or swim. There are so many new things you can learn, so why not push the boat out and make 2014 the year you learn two new things.

8. This is for all the unorganised. You know who you are? You’re always late, you always leave that important document at work when it needs to be at home, or at home when it needs to be at work. You’re forever misplacing your phone, your keys, your diary. Why not just tackle just one thing and get that one right before trying to get totally organised. Being punctual goes a long way.

9. So you over indulged over Christmas and then hit the Boxing Day sales. You pray the postman passes your door every day and doesn't deliver the evidence that your spending went a little out of control. Don’t worry you’re not alone and it can be fixed. How about you sit down and take a long hard look at your finances and set yourself a target of sorting out one thing at a time. See if you can make any sensible cutbacks, like buying less goodies or walking instead of driving, that’s if you don’t live in the middle of nowhere. The extra money you save why not put in a jar and see what a difference it makes.

10. Another popular resolution is the exercise one and can range from going for a walk to attempting a charity race. This one normally goes hand in hand with losing weight and can be as much fun as you make it. If walking isn't your thing, how about swimming, tennis, aerobics, and even golf and why not get your family and friends involved to keep you motivated.

Whichever resolution you have made – good luck and keep at it!

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Lucky Charms

Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Sun, December 08, 2013 11:53:42

Hands up if you have, at least once, made sure you had your lucky charm with you when you went for a dream job, took part in a competition or started a new year? How many times have you heard someone say they were wearing their ‘lucky’ socks or ‘lucky’ pants? You’d be surprised how many people actually think a particular piece of clothing will bring them luck. Socks and pants are not the only things deemed ‘lucky’ with certain ‘lucky’ objects passed down through generations.

A White Rabbit’s Foot is considered lucky from an ancient belief, which considered the rabbit a close friend to the god of fertility, due to their field of reproduction. We all know rabbits just keep having little bunnies. It is believed that rabbits were blessed with luck and the ability to reproduce, with the blessing considered extendible to others. So this charm would come in really handy if you might be thinking of starting a family.

Four leaf clover is not as common as a three-leaved clover, and if you have been out in the country side where these grow wild, you will see others looking for the one with that extra leaf. These leaves, according to tradition, bring good luck to their finds, especially if you come across them accidentally. Each leaf is believed to represent; faith, hope, love with the fourth being luck.

A Laughing Buddha, the pot-bellied statue that appears to be smiling or laughing is said to be lucky and its presence is believed to bring good fortune. Not just practising Buddhist have one of these in their homes, with many choosing to include this particular statue as part of their home furnishings.

Newly married couples are commonly given silver horse shoes as a token of good luck, but in the olden days horse shoes were hung in many homes to protect the family and bring them good fortune.

Not an object, or a piece of clothing is the action of crossing your fingers ‘for luck’ before you roll a dice or put your hand into a container of prizes, hoping to pull out the star prize. I'm sure someone has told you or texted you ‘fingers crossed’ before am important day, with the action replaced by a verbal or virtual good luck.

So do you have a ‘lucky’ object you wouldn't leave home without? If not, which one is for you?

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Nelson Mandela

Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Fri, December 06, 2013 10:01:23

The Butler - Is quite an emotive film. Glad the system got fairer in the end. The world still has a bit of a way to go though.

Rest in Peace NELSON MANDELA , you were a great act to follow. @FoleyWestern

Well done to everyone in positions of some power or not who stand for fairness and equality amongst all mankind.

World Leaders take note

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Follow Your Dreams

Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Tue, November 19, 2013 17:10:27

Do you remember telling your parents you wanted to be a pop star, football player, model, actor, writer, fashion designer when you grew up? I am guessing you grew up and became a teacher, chef, gardener, hairdresser, secretary instead. So what happened to the dreams you had? Just wishful thinking of a child’s mind or did life dictate which path you took.

A lucky few do follow their dreams and become exactly who they said they wanted to be. It’s not an easy path to take and no one would blame them if they choose to give up before they succeeded. Finding a job can be a hard task, imagine trying to find your dream job. Even the bravest would feel a little nervous.

For the older generation (all of you over 35) I am sure there are plenty of you who sit on the train or amongst traffic dreaming of writing a book, opening a quaint little coffee shop, turning your love of pottery into a business or whatever else you long to do with your life. Is it the thought of the unknown or the fear of failure that stops you taking the first steps? But wouldn’t you rather have tried than just sat each and every day just dreaming.

There is hope for all you dreamers out there. It is known fact that when we hit a particular milestone in our life (different for everyone), or find ourselves going through a dramatic experience we find ourselves reflecting on our life. This is the most common time that we decide to make a drastic change in our life. Whether it be going back to college and study a random subject just for fun, take that long overdue trip around the world, or turn dreams in to realities.

So if you haven’t yet reached ‘that’ milestone and life hasn’t thrown any dramas your way, why not take a look at your life and your dreams anyway. Wouldn’t it be great to know that you made your own decisions and hadn’t waited until you hit the big 4-0, or when you took early retirement, or even worse, after a rather tricky divorce?

Whatever you dream, dream big and don’t let anyone tell you different!

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The Art of Conversation

Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Fri, October 25, 2013 14:28:29

Is the Art of Conversation slowly fading away and being overtaken by a brief generic text message, a Facebook status with accompanying image or a quick tweet of 140 characters or less? It certainly feels that way sometimes.

You’ll notice your landline rarely rings these days unless it’s one of those annoying marketing calls and always when you’re running late. How do they know you haven’t got time to answer a couple of quick questions? They never seem to call when you’re at home alone all weekend and eager to chat to just about anyone.

Can you remember the last time the sound of your latest mobile ring tone filled the silence? I can’t either. I can remember three texts messages being delivered and the chiming of an email being received.

With technology advancing on a daily basis, it has become possible for people to communicate with almost anyone at the touch of a button no matter where they are in the world. For a writer like me, this is fantastic. I am able to interact with readers all over the world, keep them up to date on my latest book developments and share my thoughts and inspirations through my blog.

I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this is a good thing. A friend of mine was able to communicate with her son whilst he was the other side of the world through the wonder of Facebook messaging. She was also able to share his experience via the pictures he posted.

But there is a downside to all this texting, blogging and social media posting. Can we really communicate effectively using text speak or tweeting? And do we really need to know what you had for your dinner? Don’t get me wrong I wouldn't be without this new way of communicating but I do miss a good natter with a friend.

Surely there is room to do both? And what would happen if one day the internet just stopped working? Would we need to learn the art of conversation all over again or would it be just like riding a bike – once you know how to do it, you know how to do it?

So next time you go to text a friend, tweet your work colleague or post a random message to Facebook why not pick up the phone and talk to someone too. Let’s not let the art of conversation be a thing of the past.

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My 'Clearing' Place

Guiding ThoughtsPosted by Foley Western Fri, October 18, 2013 19:48:47

Before I sit down and start on my next chapter, I like to clear my mind of all unnecessary thoughts. My characters need to be free to roam around inside my mind and I need to be clear of distractions. It’s no good attempting to write a single word whilst thinking about the new recipe I might try out for dinner tonight. I don’t think it would be a great idea if my latest plot took an unexpected change of direction towards the kitchen.

So what little gem have I found that works wonders clearing my mind?

For me, it’s a leisurely walk in the countryside with the sound of nature guiding my every step. The morning dew is still wet under feet and spider webs gleam in the early morning sunshine. Thank goodness I don’t see any spiders. Definitely not something I’m ready for that early in the morning.

I’m never alone as I walk. Nature is all around me. I cannot always see it but I know it is there. The sounds of the birds high up in the trees. A rustle of the bushes and never really sure what has just scurried away from me. Dog owners in the distance calling their furry friends as they head on home. Sometimes my husband decided to join me and the sound of our chatty gets swept along with the fallen leaves. This is my ‘clearing’ place and when a new character suddenly pops into my head just as I’ve stopped to admire the ducks sitting by the small pond, I can’t help but smile.

The countryside is not the only good place to go to clear you mind. The beach is another great way of leaving it all behind. I can almost smell the salty sea air and the feel of the soft sand on my bare feet. Probably a little cold for no socks and shoes unless you are lucky enough to be on a beach somewhere really, really hot, but I’m sure you get the picture. The sound of the waves gently breaking on the shore is a favourite amongst a lot of us.

Others don’t have to go too far to find their ‘clearing’ place, just opening the door and taking a few steps outside and into their own garden. Whether it’s just an old deckchair sitting under the large oak tree at the bottom of the garden or a tiny summerhouse nestled in the corner with roses growing up the outside. Their very own place of tranquillity.

It doesn’t matter where your ‘clearing’ place is, what matters is that your special somewhere will help calm your inner turmoil, empty your mind and surround your soul with happiness, ready for the day ahead.

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