Raining Bank Holiday

As usual in England, it's law for a bank holiday to be rainy and cold. I've just put the heating on and we've decided that the planned trip to the arboretum is simply out of the question - even if we all wore our wellies and long rain coats!

Here's a picture of the glorious, holly flowers I took only yesterday in the sunshine - hesitant and barely there - but sunshine, nevertheless. Today these flowers are drowning and drooping.

flowers from my holly tree
William James once said, Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not.

Ha! I don't think he'd heard about the British law about rain on bank holidays!

Gifts for Men

Father's day is coming up in a few weeks and even though I've written articles on the subject of gifts for men and boys, I've frankly run out of ideas for presents to give to, or do for my husband this year. We call it father's day, but if we're honest, it really should be, 'husbands' day' because the wives end up doing most of the organisation. Many times we're organising events and presents, for our own dad, our husband, and even our husband's dad.

now, here's a present any man would crave
As if finding birthday gifts for men wasn't hard enough, we now have to squeeze out the last drop of imagination our brains can muster, and come up with fantastic presents for father's day. Don't get me wrong, I do love giving presents, but after years have gone by and you've given everything you know they need or want, all other gifts just seem like random 'stuff'. It's a rut that takes a lot of work to get out of.

School Uniforms Vs Jeans

I know for some people, kids wearing school uniforms is an alien concept. Many of my friends in the US wouldn't dream of giving their kids a set style of clothing to wear to school (frankly, the kids wouldn't allow it). However, in my childhood, I wore a uniform to school in my native South America. We were dirt poor, but I went to the poshest secondary (high) school, because I was a little whiz kid and came first in the entrance exams they made us all take. (It's been downhill ever since :-) We were set aside in a manner of speaking, because we were the only high school students in the county who wore neck ties.

kids in school uniforms
I'm reminded of this topic because I recently read a newsletter from my daughter's school, discussing the matter of changing the uniform to something more formal/casual depending on the parents' take on the matter. I'm all for wearing uniforms. Frankly, I don't understand why they need to be changed or gotten rid of. This debate has never occurred over nurses uniforms. Everyone expects to see a nurse wearing her/his uniform instead of a casual T-shirt with some random band plastered in front, and jeans or shorts. I think uniforms represent order and camaraderie. No student can outwardly feel better than another simply because they're wearing more expensive/better brand name clothes or shoes. We all know students already have enough ways of making their peers feel small. I don't think clothes should be one of them.

New, Affordable Parenting Book on Kindle

As my very supportive fellow bloggers already know, one section of this blog is dedicated to the relationship parents have with their kids. Therefore, I wanted to share this book here before I did so on my writing blog

Two years ago I wrote a book called, How To Raise Kids to be Responsible Adults.
It's based on my Child Psychology qualifications and my 10 years of training and experience as a Youth Worker. It's now been published for kindle. I've worked with young people of various ages, in different parts of the world. The insight this has given me is of course, indispensable to the material delivered in this book. My own experience in parenting (and what it shouldn't be - from my tumultuous childhood) have not been discounted either.

I've put together all these factors and have laid them out clearly to my readers. The facts and issues come directly from my table to yours - no additions or subtractions!

Nesting Dolls and Human Nature

nesting dolls

I've always been intrigued by nesting dolls. There's something slightly akin to human nature - a smaller doll inside a larger one. They have always reminded me of a relationship between a larger, more influential figure, with a less significant one. So when a  friend of mine was going to Kazakhstan to do some missionary work and asked me what I would like him to bring back for me, the answer was an obvious one.

Sunflowers For A Gloomy Sunday

Sunflowers in the sky

This past week has been a particularly gloomy week in my part of the world. I was going through some of my garden pictures from our old house and noticed how majestically these sunflowers stand towards the sky. They seem to mirror the clear and open freedom the sky in its limitless beauty provides us.

I always feel better and much more productive when I can look up at a clear, blue sky. This current greyness above leaves me uninspired, and makes me feel like I’m caught in a dark enclosure. Do you find yourself mirroring the freedom of the sky on clear days?

May this coming week be one in which you stand tall and face up to problems that cross your path. May you look up to the sky for refreshed inspiration and keep your eyes off the ground and all its shadows.

Thursday Two Questions

I never take part in memes, but since I have a few minutes to spare before I go out to work, I thought I'd do so today for a change. This meme is hosted by:

I deal with chronic pain every day of my life because my GP took 7 years to diagnose a medical problem I had. He'd never heard of it, so obviously, it did not exist in his mind (many doctors - I've found out - suffer from God complex). He told me it was all in my mind until by chance I went to another doctor who diagnosed me in literally under 2 minutes. By then the damage was done. Nerve endings and blood vessels had had years of overwork and were damaged beyond repair - even after surgery to fix the problem. Many people tell me I should sue, but I don't want to put myself and family through the stress.

 My questions:
1. Have you ever launched a medical lawsuit for any reason?
2. Do you think that the payout of lawsuits are worth the pain and suffering and stress they cause?

Happy Mother's Day, Across The Pond

I wanted to revive this  post today, for mothers across the pond. In many parts of Europe, Mother's Day is celebrated in March. This took getting used to, when I first moved to Paris in 1996, because this event had always been in May, back in South America. 
Last year I found these brilliant pieces of edible arrangement and shared them on another blog. 
Flowers have always been a very welcome Mother's Day present. Mothers all over the world (here in March, and on the other side of the globe, in May) are given rushed, last minute bunches of flowers when all other  original ideas for mother's day presents have been exhausted.
Nowadays you can give your mother flowers for mother's day (or any other occasion) and still give her an original gift in the mix. This is where edible arrangements come in.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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