blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Open the Doors

“The best time to open the door to the cages we’ve built around ourselves is now.  Live your dreams while you are able.”  Lisa Dorenfest

from Eric/ka at https://behindthesceneryphoto.com/
french doors

Before you panic, I’m not advocating opening up borders and businesses in the midst of a pandemic. Far from it, I err on the side of caution and conservatism when it comes to nasty bacteria and viruses.

Rather, I am referring to opening the door to our minds and our lives, which often stays closed, to the present moment.

The Present Moment

When old friends get together, they reminisce about the past. Older people love to chat about those heady, carefree days of youth. Their stories are tinged with regret. Regret that they didn’t do more, see more, love more.

Why is it we close our mind to really seeing the world around us, as each moment passes by, a moment that we will never be able to fully experience again? Many of us appear to prefer our own thoughts and stick with thinking that revolves around plans, or worries, for the future, and regrets or reminisces about the past.

When our minds are fixed in the mental construct that is the past or the future, we are more likely to create anxiety within ourselves.

Our Public Persona

Most of us have secrets and thoughts we stash away in the far recesses of our mind. We rarely show our complete self to another person. Presumably for fear of rejection. Because rejection hurts. So we present a public face and persona to the world and our private self is only for the movie that is running in our own minds.

It seems we now prefer to see what everyone else is doing, via the medium of a glass screen than to be involved in life, with all our senses.

Cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world that occurs when we’re afraid it will hurt us or let us down. Cynics always say “no.”

If we always say no, we miss out on learning and growing. Saying yes leads to firsthand experience and knowledge. “Yes” is for strong, open-minded people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes.”

Marc and Angel
proverb

Why are we ignoring the immediate world around us?

Could we be preferencing cynicism over wisdom?

As Marc and Angel state,

“Accepting some level of risk in life is important. Everything you want to do takes daily practice.

Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

Live the life you want to live. Be the person you want to remember years from now.

Make decisions and act on them. Make mistakes, fail and try again.”

front door

The door is open.

grass amongst mangroves at the beach
Australia, blogging, Photography

Friendly Friday Challenge- Splendour in the Grass

So often we walk around in nature failing to notice the details, the grass under our feet.

Subtle changes in colour and appearance indicate the passing of the seasons. Many varieties of grass remain invisible, yet are an integral part of the natural landscape.

Senga Grass at Mt Hakone

The theme for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge is:

‘Splendour in the Grass’

grass in close up Australia

Using Grass to Frame a Landscape in Photography

In photographic terms, grass can be used to frame the shot or make an interesting feature in the foreground.

This ‘Moon viewing,’ photo captured during the Tsukimi festival in mid-Autumn, in Japan.

Japanese Senga Grass Fields at Mount Fuji

The Japanese find Splendour in the Sengakuhara Pampas Grass, by strolling along a walking trail, at the western side of Mount Hakone. For it is here that the changing colour of the tall grass offers stunning vistas. In November, the grass turns a shimmering, silvery gold. Wedding proposal and selfies abound at this time of year.

Australian Splendour

In Australia, a country fringed by blue oceans, you will find grass the colour of sunburnt earth, which often makes me yearn for the vivid fluorescent green grass of wetter climates.

Birch
Birch Trees and Grass in Helsinki – so green

Australian deserts display different kinds of saltbush grass.

Australian Desert grasses and Saltbush

In the arid conditions of the Australian landscape, plants have adapted to grow under extreme conditions, such as the grass tree.

Grass Trees in Australia

Grass Trees in their natural habitat

A relic of the Age of Dinosaurs, Xanthorrhoeas, also known as the Grass Tree, grow very slowly and are resistant to bushfire. In fact, fire helps the grass tree produce its flowers. They also have a unique symbiotic relationship with the soil. The presence of a mycorrhizal microbe in the soil around their roots allows them to flourish, even if the soils are nutrient-poor.

Grass Trees in the Garden

Grass Trees are highly sought after in Australian horticulture and as such are often illegally removed from their natural locations. They fetch high prices as ornamental plants. Little do the owners realize that if the soil in their garden does not contain the mycorrhizal enzyme, the grass tree that they paid so dearly for, will wither and die.

Imitating Nature in Growing Grass Trees

Here’s a secret that an old-timer once told me. Take a cup of brown sugar, put it in a bucket of water and water your grass trees once a month for two years with that mixture. The sugar feeds the mycorrhiza and gets it going and your grass tree will survive.

www.abc.net.au/gardening

Create a Friendly Friday Challenge Blog Post

Everyone is welcome to join the Friendly Friday Challenge with your own interpretation of the theme.

Add a pingback to StPA and tag your post with ‘Friendly Friday – Splendour in the Grass.’ Then return to this post and leave a comment below listing your post’s published link.

There is a full set of instructions on how to join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge on my blog header. This challenge runs until next Thursday.

Last week’s Friendly Friday Challenge initiated some excellent contributions, with the theme of ‘Markets,‘ over at co-host Sandy’s blog.

Would you like to join in this week?

Friendly Friday
Punting on the river
Travel

Re-Visiting Christchurch before the Earthquake

They thought they were safe. Although New Zealand sits atop the “Ring of Fire,” where the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates join, there were no known fault lines where 25,000 people lived for 160 or more years, building beautiful churches, universities and homes. One day, in 2010, that changed forever.

Church

Christchurch, located on the south island of New Zealand, has excellent walking or cycling trails due to its plain-like nature and compact size. The shallow and immaculately clean River Avon runs gently through the city’s centre, and not only boasts trout and salmon in its waters, but is flanked by easy, level, walking trails. The age old Alder, Oak and Birch trees, lining these paths, give the city a distinctive English atmosphere, particularly if you visit during winter.

The tranquillity and reminders of English village living are everywhere and I thought Christchurch a cosy place to make a home, that is, until two weeks after my visit in 2010.

Earthquake

The first earthquake registering 7.1 hit the unsuspecting city of Christchurch on September, 4th 2010, causing widespread damage but no loss of life.

The second quake was felt barely six months later and with a magnitude of 6.3, of which the epicentre was a mere 10 kilometres south-east of Christchurch’s central business district.

Killing 185 people and injured several thousand, many of Christchurch’s unique buildings collapsed, water and gas mains burst causing flooding, roads were uplifted. Countless houses sustained damage, especially in the CBD, where we had stayed not long before. Continuing liquefaction issues have rendered many homes unliveable and unable to be sold.

https://cdn.britannica.com/84/152184-050-0C74FF5D/qualities-soil.jpg

Experts thought a new fault line had appeared in the areas immediately surrounding Christchurch, meaning the city was unlikely to be the same again.

Surprisingly, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, retail store owners in the commercial district quickly improvised, bringing in shipping containers so that they could continue operating, albeit in a limited way.

It is a vast change from Christchurch, the way it used to be, just two weeks prior to that day the first earthquake hit. Here are my memories of the way it was.

My Christchurch Memories

Cathedral Square – as it was

An earthquake was the furthest thing from our mind when we ate a delicious and ample breakfast at the Holiday on Avon motel, prior to boarding the hotel’s free city shuttle bus to Cathedral Square to do some sightseeing on our first day in this pretty city.


Our dining room at the hotel overlooked this lovely vista and a 15-minute stroll along the river took us to the City Square, the site of the iconic 170-year-old Christchurch Cathedral.

Cathedral Square – Christchurch City

The Christchurch Cathedral Square, a few weeks before the earthquake devastates the town. Some people here enjoying Chess, on a clean crisp winter’s day. We spent some time examinging the ornate tiling and interior of the Cathedral, itself.

A group of Maori buskers performed songs for us, with traditional Maori “Poi.” The performance, they freely admitted, was in its early stages.

A short distance away, we explored the Botanic Gardens – a location I always visit when I am travelling, in order to see the local botany and floral displays.

Botanic Gardens Christchurch

The Curator’s house at the Botanic Gardens, replete with herb garden, was tasked with supplying the herbs for the restaurant. Again, very English.

  • Punting in Christchurch
  • Christchurch
  • Christchurch
  • Punting on the river
  • River Avon

Transport in Christchurch

I guess the city was pleased it kept its city tram network, although I am unsure if this is still operating, as a tourist, ‘hop on hop off’ tram. Formerly, it stopped at the major sites surrounding Cathedral Square. For a small city, they really looked after their tourists.

Ornate iron fretwork on the bridge over the river captured my attention. I wonder if it is still intact?

Christchurch’s Heritage Architecture

Beautiful architecture was found in many corners of Christchurch.

A collection of 23 heritage bluestone buildings formed the Arts Centre and University. Housing many different artists and crafts from painting, ceramics, to older ladies spinning and knitting socks, the Arts Centre was evidence of multi-purposing these stately structures. Demonstrations were occurring daily whilst I was there.

Note: This area sustained much damage from the quake, so may look different today.

Day Trips from Christchurch

The Christchurch area of New Zealand can be a convenient hub for day trips to Akaroa, Mt Cook National Park and the TranszAlpine Train Trip to Greymouth.

The relatively small population of Christchurch has had support from the New Zealand Government in the slow process of rebuilding. That continues with further earthquake-proof structures, similar to those found in Wellington.

I feel lucky to see it in its original state.

blogging, Travel

Friendly Friday Challenge – Market

It is quite ironic that my Friendly Friday Challenge Co-host, Sandy, should give us the prompt, Market this week as I was just looking through my photos of the wonderful Market Hall, in Helsinki, Finland.

Finnish Markets

Where the Hungarians are spoilt for choice in varieties of Paprika in their markets, Helsinki is spoilt for choice in terms of Salmon.

Me, being Australian, have only really known three varieties of Smoked Salmon – Tasmanian, Norwegian and Danish Smoked Salmon.

My eyes opened as wide as saucers when I saw the contents of the cabinets in the Helsinki Markets, the day I arrived in the Finnish capital.

I remember it is not just ordinary salmon, because the thing that struck me about Finns, was that they had taken Salmon to a whole new level, like as in Heinz 52 different varieties.

Now I love Salmon, so I was pretty happy with this, until I realized how hard it would be be to choose which one to buy! I needed help to choose between Tsar’s salmon, Cold Smoked Salmon, Flamed Salmon, Lemon Salmon and Rose Pepper Salmon, etc. and in the end, feeling rather befuddled, I settled on Cured Salmon with Basilic. With a large helping of Salmon Soup? How could I resist?

salmon soup in helsinki
in helsinki

You need to know that the people of Helsinki eat a good deal of fish, freshwater fish, that is. Even sometimes three times in a day. So when I think of Helsinki, I think of Salmon, and lots of it.”

StPA – forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/helsinki-travel/

Polish Markets

In Poland, you may not see as much Salmon, but you will see a delicous form of smoked Sheep’s Cheese and lots of traditional style products for sale in Zakopane in the Tathra Mountains.

Zakopane

Japanese Markets

In Japan, the markets were absolutely full of many varieties of seafood. For the Japanese, seafood is a staple. It is a shame my travelling partner dislikes fish!

Australian Markets

Meanwhile back home in Australia, the sun is shining, (as always) and the markets continue with a Covid safe plan for the moment. For how much longer, we are unsure.

Redcliffe Esplanade
Pre Covid photo of Redcliffe Markets
Friendly Friday
blogging

Preparing a Music Trivia Night in a Pandemic

Musicians

Our Neighbours at the Home by the Sea would like a Music Trivia night. Not having been at a trivia night for decades, let alone hosting one, I consulted the net: as one does when one has a question, these days.

Pandemic Limitations

Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

I need to stress I haven’t fully committed to this event, given the pandemic bubble our State of Queensland has been in, (with no new Covid cases), is under some threat. Gatherings have, from today, been limited to 10 persons until further notice.

Why are Group Numbers Restricted in the Pandemic?

Unfortunately, some people don’t get the instruction that if you feel sick, stay home and get tested! A 70 something-year-old worker continued to attend work for five days whilst sick, until it was evident something was wrong. As most of us have heard, Covid can be fairly mild for the first few days. On Day 5 you can suddenly go down very quickly, by which time you have infected goodness-knows-how-many people, around you. I am unsure of this person’s motive in attending work.

Did she/he need the money as they worked casually? If so, we rapidly need a political solution to the dilemma of the Casual worker who is not paid unless they go to work, as the whole economy suffers if they do attend work whilst sick, and the whole community has to lockdown in order to contain the outbreak!

Did she/he not think, or not even consider that being sick, at work, where people are housed in an institution-like facility, was very high risk, should a Covid contamination arise and furthermore, that such infection could spread like wildfire through the vulnerable residents, who could then be released inadvertently, at any time, into the community?

Despite the looming wave of new cases, I will, for the moment, press ahead with the organization for the Music Trivia night and set a date P.C. (post -Covid).

So what do I need/ do? The net did give me some ideas:


Steps To Take in Organizing a Music Trivia Night

1) Choose a Format for Hosting a Trivia Night
Live Pen and Paper/ Tablet/ TV or Smartphone-Based Trivia
2) Select Questions
100% DIY: Write Questions – a wonderful neighbour has volunteered to do this
Professional Trivia Host and Questions
Hosts Using Professional Trivia Questions
3) Write Out an Event Plan – Probably unnecessary given the group number limitation
4) Gather Equipment
5) Prepare Awesome Prizes and Food and Drink – Essential

SmartPhone/Digital Trivia

With the advent of smartphones, there is the option for digital formats for answering trivia questions. Like pen-and-paper trivia, smartphone trivia still involves a host who reads off questions and paces the game and the guests use their own smartphones to submit answers. We could even do this virtually if a FULL lockdown, if necessary.

Apprently there is also TV Trivia: These are trivia questions that run on TVs. Guests don’t “submit” answers, they just think about the questions or chat with friends about the answers. I like this option without the TV.

home

Prizes

I would whip up a painted wooden tray as a prize and some alcoholic beverage never goes astray either! Prizes: SORTED

Photo by Olenka Sergienko on Pexels.com

Food and Drinks

We have some wonderful cooks in the community, so this aspect is already catered for Including gluten-free/coeliac options, gourmet nibbles and cocktails to keep us in the merry mood.

Cheers!

Breaking the Ice/Getting to Know You Games

I am the first one to say that I absolutely HATE those painful introductory games, which are designed to make people relax, feel comfortable and get to know each other better.

They mostly just piss me off and make me hugely uncomfortable sharing personal facts that I don’t wish to publicly share. When forced to participate in them at work, I couldn’t help thinking they were a dreadful waste of my valuable time, and did nothing to enhance Team bonding, which I assume was their objective!

Right?

However, there was one game, I participated in, that was a little fun.

Here is how it goes:

  • Each person, in turn, states three random facts about themselves that may or may not be known to the group.
  • Two of the facts are true and one is false.
  • Everyone has to guess the one fact that is false.

To test the validity of an introductory game, such as this for the Music trivia night, I invite you to play along by choosing one answer below:

The answer will be revealed in a forthcoming post!

Conversation Questions

* Do you have a curly music trivia question I could include in my trivia night?

* Tell me about a less than dreadful, “Ice Breaker – Getting to know You,” game that you have played?

Puppy dog
Australia, blogging

Dogs with High Intelligence

Many people claim their animals understand them: both the words they speak to their dogs and their meaning. It is claimed that Schnauzer Dogs are so intelligent, they may have a vocabulary of over 50 words!

Schnauzer dogs

However softly I say to the Moth, “Shall we go for a walk now?” – the Schnauzers will hear this and come running from the furthest reaches of the house, signalling their excitement and concurrence, with short high-pitched barks of excitement, the older one ballerina dancing on her hind legs then executing a quick Downward Dog Stretch any Yoga teacher would be proud of, as if to say – “I am ready to go too!”

Schnauzer

The Schnauzer is Emotionally close to its Owners

Not only would I propose my Schnauzer is in synch with my body’s biorhythms, but the Schnauzers have extraordinary hearing.

Even though her doggie bed is located in the neighbouring room, she hears when I roll over in bed to wake up, even before I have opened my eyes! I have said nothing, done nothing and she hears all!

How does she know I am awake?

She hears me inhale a deep breath as I begin to wake up!

The Miniature Schnauzer

As soon as I take that breath, I hear scratching at her door a millisecond later! This dog is linked so closely to me she knows that I am awake and scratches at the door telling me she wants to come and say ‘Good Morning. Of course, it must be time for her Breakfast.

They KNOW Every move you MAKE, every Breath you take…you know the rest…

Schnauzers are renowned for being food-obsessed and I see no evidence to dispute that claim.

Standard Schnauzer’s Instinctive Intelligence

The Standard Schnauzer may have the highest instinctive intelligence out of the three [sizes of Schnauzer]. That’s because they were bred for many things, making them some of the most versatile working dogs you can find! They really did it all.

thesmartcanine.com ›
schnauzer

There is no doubt pets bring a special element to your life, but a schnauzer, is so human-like, it even regards itself as human.

I had a Standard Schnauzer some years back. That Dog could tell the time.

When I was working on the desktop computer, writing a post on my blog, and the clock passed 4.59 pm, she would enter the study, put her head underneath my arm, (which was invariably positioned on the computer’s mouse), and flick my hand off the computer mouse, with her powerful neck muscles.

She was letting me know it was time to start arranging or cooking dinner for the evening. Until I cooked my own dinner, she would not get hers, so there was a definite incentive for her to assist in this timely reminder!

Smart!

dog on computer
A Schnauzer Working from Home

In the early years, she would be in the habit to get up from her slumber and come and tell me it was 2.40 pm which meant it was time to down tools and go and pick the kids up from school. Without fail!

What is it about pets that can turn the most unemotional, stoically, clinical person into a blubbering, child-like swooner full of soft and fuzzy ga-ga baby talk?

I have not worked out what their magic is, but I know that I was infected with this obsessional ‘bug’, the moment I laid eyes on a schnauzer.

stpa logo
blogging, Community, Motivational

Blog Conversations

Are all Bloggers would-be storywriters, in disguise?

Disguise

I had to think a little more about why bloggers are attracted to write in the first place?

Is it because we have a desire to express ourselves and communicate to others, using the written word?

Blogging is like a Facebook post on caffeine!

Writing Your Own Story

I believe the stories we, as bloggers, write are to entertain or inform. Whether that is a work of non-fiction or a completely fictitious story, it can be entertaining for the reader.

Mostly, for the reason that people ARE interested in the details of other peoples’ lives and happenings. If you are in doubt, just look at how many Reality TV shows are on TV.

It can be a levelling experience for us to be watching or engaging with others. In doing so, we also learn about ourselves, as well as the journey through life.

Attracting More Blog Followers

Sandy and I have been discussing the art of blogging and the purpose of maintaining a blog after WordPress kindly reminded me I had begun this gig, ten years ago! This revelation was, for me, a little embarrassing when I looked at some bloggers who had acquired massive followings, in that same period of time. [And I say this trying hard to not focus on that number that pops up in my sidebar or notification lists.]

I do not blog to gain more followers, but I have to be honest: I do look at that number for feedback. I question myself: Am I writing something of interest to another person? Was my post boring? Is anyone listening to what I am saying? Did I communicate that well?

Blogging Feedback

In our Conversation, Sandy mentioned:

I worried too that my blog wasn’t focused enough, that I hadn’t found my niche. The thing is, I don’t know my niche.

Sandy from Thesandychronicles.blog

From the comments on these posts, it seems many of us, including me, might have this niggling doubt that our blogs. We worry our writing is not focused enough to gain interest, that is, unless we are a committed food/photographic or travel blogger, who posts solely on the one chosen topic.

Then I thought about the fact that we DO have people visiting and taking the time to post a comment, so that seems to prove otherwise. Thus, I’d like to challenge this almost subliminal notion many of us have, that our blog should be more defined.

Does it really matter if our blog is diversified in its topics?

I have some followers that enjoy my Sunday quotes, others who only like and comment on the photographic challenges and still others who will presumably only read the art, or lifestyle, posts.

With just a single focus for blogging, I would miss out on, “chatting” to this wide spectrum of readers via their own blogs and the comments they make.

Each and every one of my readers bring, with them, their own individual opinions and thoughts, which results in a wonderfully rich tapestry of backgrounds and perspectives that can only be beneficial for me, as a writer.

The number and content of comments on our posts, are perhaps the real litmus test for any Blogger. Growing a dedicated Blogger community will never happen overnight. In the meantime, we can continue to hone our craft and have a lot of fun in the process.

What is it that attracts you to a certain blog?

Join the Conversation with Sandy and Amanda

This post is a part of a new series of CONVERSATIONS between Sandy and myself. Over the next little while, we’ll talk about a topic, compare notes, share Q&A and invite you to join in.

Do you have any topics to suggest for our Blogging Conversations?

Pingback to join in and write a conversation post.

Still in disguise
Mental Health, Motivational

Slowing Down

tired

Most of us spend our waking lives up in our own internal world. We over-think and, like overdoing anything, over-thinking tends to have negative consequences. In the case of constant mental meanderings, the risk is that they will lead to a negative spiral of indecisiveness, self-loathing depression and insomnia. One way to counter this is to make yourself more mindful.”

Dr Michael Mosley – The Clever Guts Diet

Can Mindfulness Meditation Improve Your Mood?

Dr Michael Mosley, famous for his documentaries on the human body, was examining the role of diet and gut health on the body. He wanted to objectively measure what effects, if any, mindfulness practice would have, on his brain. So he underwent a series of tests before embarking on beginning mindfulness techniques.

The studies showed he had cerebral asymmetry, which meant he displayed greater activity on the right side of their frontal cortex, than on the left. This indicated he was pessimistic by nature. Pessimistic people are prone to high levels of neuroticism and anxiety.

Evaluation of Mindfulness Techniques on the Brain

Following the testing, Michael Mosley practised mindful meditation for six weeks, mainly via an app. Like many busy people, he found excuses not to complete the practise: he was too busy, too tired, too hungry, too stressed. Practising along with his wife and incorporating mindfulness into everyday activities, such as having coffee, worked with a hectic lifestyle.

After six weeks of mindfulness practice, an Oxford University Professor re-tested Dr Mosley to find his brain showed an improved balance between the right and left hemispheres, accompanied by a sharp reduction in negative thoughts and emotions.

Beneficial Effects of Mindfulness on Physical and Mental Health

Overwhelmed with insomnia and an incurable autoimmune disease, Australian journalist Shannon Harvey spent a year practising mindful meditation as a way to assist her own mental health and improve an auto-immune illness.

emotion, despair, sad, worry, anxiety

[Shannon] looked for the equivalent of a 30-minute workout for her mental wellbeing, [and] there was nothing. Worried for the future mental health of her kids who were growing up amidst epidemics of stress, anxiety, depression and addiction, in a world-first experiment, Shannon recruited a team of scientists to put mindful meditation to the test. 

My Year of Living Mindfully

Shannon Harvey documented how she experienced astounding changes over the course of the year practising mindfulness, despite having some serious misgivings and scepticism about its techniques.

Why Does Mindfulness have a Calming Effect?

Dr Michael Mosley believes that mindfulness works to calm the mind and body because it helps to strengthen your sense of control over your own thoughts and feelings.

Not only does mindfulness assist in learning to distance ourselves and let go of repetitive troubling thoughts; it also encourages a mind that remains focused in the ‘present moment’, thereby reducing anxiety and overwhelming emotions that stem from reflecting on the past or stressing over the future.

Mindfulness Techniques Improving Mental Health

In a study published by the journal, “Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience,” 15 volunteers completed four sets of 20-minute classes of mindfulness. Brain scans have found that mindfulness reduced anxiety ratings by 39%. They also found that it increased activity in the areas of the brain that control worrying, [….]which supports the claim that mindfulness strengthens our ability to ignore negative thoughts and feelings.

Dr Michael Mosley

Feel Calmer in Ten Minutes of Meditation

Do you have ten minutes? Try it for yourself now!

Mindful Meditation Practice

blogging

Chronic Stress

One thing to remember about chronic stress is that it’s only because our thoughts deem something to be stressful that we can actually feel the sensation of stress. 

“Viewed mindfully, no situation is truly chronic. There are always calm moments to notice and be present for,” [amidst the chaos.] “Moments that can be lived in with ease.” (Stacy Young)

Do you Agree?

Can you ever totally eliminate stress from your life?

blogging, Photography

Friendly Friday Challenge – Colour Harmonies

Do you have an eye for colour in your photography?

Using colour helps to create mood and feelings in photographs and may result in a photo that is more pleasing to the eye.

trondheim
baklandet buildings

Photographers can create a heightened level of visual interest and enhance photos by seeking out particular colour harmonies in the environment.

Such colour combinations may be

  • analogous
  • complementary
  • monochromatic

Capturing Reds, Yellows and Orange tones is an example of an Analogous colour scheme.

Seeking out or deliberately combining the following colours may complement and enhance each other.

  • Oranges and Blues
  • Reds with Greens
  • Yellows with Purple

Keep in mind the saturation and the value of colours will alter the way they go together.

gardens

A split complementary colour scheme might include shades of Red, Orange and Blueish-green. Josef Alber’s images are an example.

traditions

Using a certain background colour in our photographs can also influence how our subject appears. There is more of an explanation here relating to using colour to enhance food photography.

This week’s prompt for Friendly Friday is for you to find or create

Colour Harmonies

Trondheim river

Create a Friendly Friday Challenge Post

Simply add a pingback and tag ‘Friendly Friday – Colour Harmonies‘ to your own post, then return here, leave a comment below adding your published link, so we can find your post.

If this is your first challenge contribution, there is a full set of instructions on how to join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge on my blog header.

Everyone is welcome to join in.

I will return in two weeks time with another Friendly Friday post.

Next week, you will be in the able hands of Sandy, my Friendly Friday co-host, who will post the new Friendly Friday prompt.

Australia, blogging

Maintaining a Blog

Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

WordPress recently told me it was my Blogging Anniversary. Really? What of it?

It has been almost ten years since I first created Something to Ponder About, after trying for a few miserable months with the Blogger platform. I never really got how you connected with other people on that platform, so quickly moved to WordPress, as a penfriend in Norway recommended it.

Purpose of Blogging

I really had to think about whether I should celebrate this Anniversary, or commiserate that I haven’t done better over the years? Some Bloggers have used their blogs as a venue to receive all kinds of free gimmicks, products and even discounts on holidays. What have I been doing?

Contemplating my navel in a semi-public way?

Don’t be misled into thinking I have been writing solidly for ten years. I have taken many a blogging break, here and there, when I have been on extended vacations and for the first three to four years, my frequency of posting was ‘hit and miss.’ That is, it wasn’t really conducive to comment conversations, or consistent readers.

In all honesty, I wasn’t a serious Blogger early on; merely posting interesting information to do with nutrition or D.I.Y. Craft that I might reference later, or using my blog to document my travels to, what I thought, were special parts of the world.

But then, something happened.

I began to connect with people worldwide. I started using my words in a way that was more constructive, ostensibly I wished to share information that might help others. The Blogger community responded with kindness and open arms, enveloping me on a truly wondrous journey that I am happy to say, continues to this day.

Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Connecting with Other Bloggers

Many of the early Bloggers I connected with have now left the blogging world. A few remain, including Leya, Tina and Cyranny. In the early days, Christian Mihai ‘liked‘ every one of my published posts, but never ever did he post a comment. He is a huge Blogger now.

Strangely, I noticed I have only recently connected with fellow Aussie bloggers, but rather most of my readers were in locations around the world. That may be a comment on where my interest is directed, perhaps? I am not sure.

blogger friends
Way back in 2010

Ineke, in New Zealand, but from South Africa, has been a blogger friend and reader of mine from the start. She was the first Blogger I chatted with and the first Blogger I met, in person. When we met up in her home town, it was like we were already old friends.

It seemed easier to communicate with her over the blogosphere, as we were in a closer time zone, generally speaking. She was always, always supportive and assisted me in various Blogging challenges and joint projects in the blogging community. I thank her for her friendship and hope we will meet up again someday.

WordPress Challenges

Living as I do in this far-flung corner of the earth, the long delay in sending and receiving comment replies on blog posts does hamper the flow of conversation, at times. Thus, it was highly unlikely that I would sync with Snow, in Finland – yet something clicked between us. After a time, I discovered she had a similar childhood to me, growing up in Australia! We could share memories and she seemed to understand my typically Aussie ways.

Together, Snow and I launched the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge, which I now run with the extremely resourceful Sandy, in Canada. I love the Global connections blogging affords from all corners of the world!it is a truly multicultural phenomenon.

A pivotal moment in keeping my Blog active was starting the now-defunct ‘Monday Mystery Photo Challenge,’ which ran for close to three years. I had a lot of fun interactions and learnt lots about blogging, in general. Photography was definitely a major way I found and connected with other like-minded folk.

Motivation to Keep Blogging

A key to maintaining my motivation for blogging is to write about things I am passionate about.

If you really are passionate about something, your writing comes alive and your Blog will be interesting for others to read.

I like to use humour or satire in my posts, although I cannot claim to be any good at that. Keeping posts topical to some extent, seems to me, to be a way of starting and maintaining a conversation with readers.

An early criticism I received from another Blogger was that my Blog lacked focus. The comment was that I had, “a lot going on,” at StPA. Back then, travelling was something I posted frequently about, but I also wrote about craft painting, nutrition, mental health, traditional sayings, quotes and cooking. Given the current global situation for Travel Bloggers, I am very grateful my Blog was diversified in its focus.

Something to Ponder about. Blog about Arts, crafts, Cooking Travel and Photography
Denmark

So, somewhat embarrassingly, I am still here, ten years later, at Something to Ponder About, prattling away to anyone who will listen. Blogging still provides me with a great deal of satisfaction. As more Bloggers fall away or take an extended break due to Covid or Blogger fatigue, new Bloggers begin their journeys with WordPress, filling that void. That bodes well for WordPress and for Bloggers, in general.

I hope to still be around in another ten years, but who knows? What will WordPress and the world itself, be like then?

Start a Conversation

What about your Blogging journey?

How did you start Blogging?

Have you ever considered giving up, and if not, why did you perservere?

bridge through a garden in japan
Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Whose Fault is it, Anyway?

“When you blame others,

you give up your power to change.”

Robert Anthony

http://www.awakenthegreatnesswithin.com/

Blame and finding fault teaches us to avoid facing up to some truth about ourselves.

It encourages us to search for what is wrong and who we think was responsible because of an underlying often unconscious belief, we carry, that infers if we are always right, we will be happy. If we could control other people and their actions, then that might be possible.

We all know that controlling others is, pretty much, impossible.

When controlling others fails, as it inevitably does, our innate Plan B might be to use guilt, fear, domination or manipulation; even conditional love and criticism to get what we think we want, or feel that we need.

If there is no value in holding on to guilt, why do we do so? Why is it so hard to let things go?

Forgiveness is the key.

Forgive yourself as well as others, for your own sake.

Tolstoy suggested a bad mood might be the reason we blame others. How often do we hear:

“If only they/it would/didn’t/can ………”

Yet blaming others is not likely to lead to feelings of serenity. Instead it may create more negative feelings and paint your own self as a victim, as the following quote alludes.

“Some people love being victims because they love being able to blame someone else. Accountability is too much for them. They don’t like being responsible for who they have become or where they are in life.” Anonymous

http://www.awakenthegreatnesswithin.com

Therein, blaming may be linked to feelings of remorse, or regret, about where one is in life’s journey.

The only thing we might ever really change is our own attitude.

blogging

Blogging

WordPress has kindly reminded me that I have a blogging Anniversary. To celebrate, I am re-posting one of the first blog posts I wrote. Almost ten years to the day that I wrote it.

I have to admit it is pretty boring. This post achieved a monumental response of two likes, and no comments! Undeterred, I am still at blogging today. Writing about things that puzzle, interest and frustrate me and information that is important to share with others.

Please excuse any formatting errors as I have forgotten many of the functionalities of the Classic Editor.

Norwegian Crochet – Hakking

In Norway, there is a special type of crochet called Hakking. It has nothing to do with computers and is pronounced as in the english word “Haark” and add “-ing”!

I would not consider myself an experienced knitter and my knitting tension as a child was awful, yet I took to this wool handwork instantly. I love it.

I have to thank my dear friend Mia, not only for her patience but for starting me on a Hakking adventure, which seems to be limitless.

If you feel knitting takes too long and is too fiddly, but you want to create something with wool, then Hakking is for you!

You can make a scarf with a basic stitch (using ‘grund’ technic) in less than an hour! I promise you.

Hakking goes by a variety of names: Tunisian crochet, Afghan stitch, and one might use a double-ended hook sometimes called a cro-hook.

My first Hakking projects were a Scarf in acrylic, a sampler with stocking type stitch, and pulse warmer, which is made using Hakking in the round. For this you must have a double pointed crochet hook or needle.

Good luck, I hope you find it as rewarding as I do.

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