These are for you, friends

This weekend I have been thinking about the women in my life who are wonderful. That’s all of you really. Yep, that includes you, and especially you.

That I have so many faces coming to mind strikes me as deeply special, as I have a weird predilection not to be too trusting, and to keep what I perceive to be a protective bit of distance between myself and other humans.

It may appear that I’m quite open, a wears-her-heart-on-her-sleeve type, and I think that’s true, to a degree. I also have a pretty good game face that I deploy to, I imagine, keep me ‘above the fray’ or something like that.

I hadn’t planned to write about this, so it’s not going to be a definitive, polished blog post. That’s okay with me.

This month I decided I wanted to spend time each day being creative. Over the past 48 hours I’ve tinkered with a watercolour in my sketchbook. It’s a simple subject, a vase of flowers, drawn from my imagination.

As I painted it, considered the colours and shapes, waited for it to dry, added detail, came back to it, photographed it, I realised I was painting it for you. For the women in my life whom I love and appreciate so much.

Perhaps I’ll never meet some of you face to face, yet we have connected.

I will not allow myself to get into specifics, because my memory WILL fail me and I do not want anybody to feel excluded.

This I’ll allow myself – sitting with you, receiving words of affirmation from you, tap-tap-tapping out conversations with you online, feeling known by you even though we may not have (yet) met face to face, bear hugs, being so practically supported when I’ve been in dire straits, laughing easily with you, telling you I’m scared or feeling vulnerable, knowing I’m not in this alone. These are the most precious moments in my life.

Being permitted to speak honestly, to encourage, to cheer for you in any tiny ways I have – ooof, it brings me undone. It makes me cry, it is such a privilege to be allowed into another person’s heart. Sheesh.

Flowers for friends

So friends, these flowers are for you.

You are an immensely important human.

You have such depth and wisdom, courage and love inside of you.

Remember to look yourselves in the eye when you brush your teeth and give yourselves a wink and a kind word.

You make my life richer.

Thank you,

Annette xxxxx

26 reasons I am happy

Wednesday morning seems as good a time as any to enumerate just some of the things in life that I am grateful for. 

To me, happy and grateful are very close kin. I cannot imagine having a happy life without being actively, sincerely grateful for all the good (and the lessons that come from the not-so-good) in my life. Grateful comes first, in my mind. 

As today is the 26th, let’s see if I can list 26 things I am grateful for. 

Here goes: 

  1. Coffee; a simple daily pleasure. Every morning, the first thing I do is make myself a cup of coffee. It’s always good, and I always enjoy it. Thank you coffee. 
  2. My home. It’s a bit of an ugly duckling, this weatherboard half-house that I rent, but it is my space, my refuge and recharging station, and I love it. You can tell that I live here, and that’s how I think all homes should be. 
  3. Hot showers. Seriously! Often when I step into the shower I find myself thinking about how many people in the world don’t have access to a hot shower, or even a cold one, and it makes me thankful. 
  4. The kids I know. I don’t have children, it was never part of the plan, and at 50 I have absolutely no regrets about that. I’m lucky to have ten nephews and nieces, and plenty of friends with kids. Kids are interesting, forthright, creative, expressive and give some of the best hugs in life. I love the kids I get to watch grow up. 
  5. My work. Work is not a cornerstone of my existence, yet it’s an important part of life. I work part-time in a small legal office with people I get along with, that’s enough for me. Pro-tip: Don’t put too much pressure on the way you make a living to fulfil you. There are *lots* of ways to live a contented, happy life. 
  6. Mornings. Because of my part-time job, mornings are all mine. I can take my time, enjoy my coffee, fold some laundry, watch a design show, make my lunch, paint, mooch, hit the treadmill or sleep extra late if I need/want to. Being a night owl, these easy mornings suit my natural rhythms beautifully. Grateful! 
  7. The Corolla. My car is my independence. 
  8. My enjoyment of cooking. This has increased over the years, as my skills have. I feel a lovely sense of pride and accomplishment in cooking simple, tasty meals for myself. I choose to look after myself in this way, and that makes me happy. 
  9. Making lists. How I love a list! On my desk at work right now there’s a fresh list of tasks and reminders for the afternoon. Nerd alert! I make lists for packing, lists of what’s in the fridge, lists of books I want to read… lists! 
  10. My mint t-shirt. This is the tee I reach for when I’m going for a walk, or doing a few reps of simple exercises in the backyard. When I wear my mint t-shirt, I feel good! I might even feel a wee bit strong, that’s new for me. 
  11. Having an eye for beauty makes me happy. I’m grateful that I can appreciate the lines of a lamp or a colour story in a room, a cosy fireplace or a beautiful kitchen. I love seeing a building or a painting that makes me stop in my tracks. I notice the way people dress and compliment their choices. Beauty matters, and not in the way we’ve been conned to think it does. 
  12. My reflection, not because of the way I look (I’m cute, there’s no question of that!) but because of the way I feel about myself. Every single day, without fail, I look at myself and smile. Every day. It’s a “gift” that I’ve actively cultivated. I appreciate myself! 
  13. Half way there, woo hoo! I’m grateful for milestones, not just destinations. The trouble with pinning all your hopes on reaching your destination is that if life throws you a curve ball, then your happiness is thwarted. 
  14. NATURE! This one is massive. If I’m having a bad day, turning my attention to nature is a sure-fire way to perk myself up. If I’m having a good day, looking at the branches of a tree or noticing a leaf on the footpath or the prettiness of dappled light will boost my mood instantaneously. 
  15. Creativity. Once I started to draw and paint a few years ago, a whole new world of creativity opened up to me. Spending time at my art desk, or out and about with my sketch book really tops up my tank! 
  16. This blog contributes hugely to my happiness. I’ve met such incredible people thanks to blogging, and found immensely powerful support and encouragement from fellow bloggers and readers. Thank goodness for blogs! This ties in to #8, #11 and #15 on my list – blogs and the women who create them inspire me in all these areas and beyond. 
  17. The way focusing on gratitude makes me even more grateful. I wasn’t sure I could list 26 things easily, but the more I ponder all the things I’m grateful for, the easier it is to think of 26. Lists! They work. 
  18. I’m so grateful for my sense of self. I have been through seasons where I’ve worked hard on my thoughts and how they’ve limited me, where I’ve painstakingly undone false narratives I thought were utterly true. This has been the most worthwhile work I’ve ever done. I’m happy with the woman I am. Pro-tip: Just because you *think* something, it doesn’t make it true! 
  19. Books. I love how reading opens the world up to me. From travel memoirs to cookbooks to incredible fiction, books are a major source of enjoyment and education. Words can, and do, change the world. Read a book! 
  20. I’m grateful for my health. Yes I’ve got challenges, there’s a pacemaker in my chest, my heart is electrically faulty. I need to take multiple medications every day. I have to monitor everything I eat and drink, yet I’m grateful that I can manage my health with such ease. I could so easily let my health make me miserable, but I choose not to go that way. I choose. I am definitely grateful for that! Is that a two-fer? Bonus! 
  21. Seasons. I’m grateful to live in a city with such distinct seasons. Sure, sometimes they get a tad confused, but I enjoy Melbourne’s wonderfully unpredictable weather. There’s always something to chat about! 
  22. Memories. Though I sometimes despair at the state of my memory, I have many lovely recollections of childhood holidays at the beach, my grandpa’s bear hugs, being a teenager in the decade of all decades, the 1980s. I often tell my sisters stories about our family that they don’t know, as they were only babies or little kids. I can tell their kids about when their mums were kids! Life is long, a lot of great stuff happens along the way. I’m grateful for that. 
  23. Tied with memories, I have to include my friendships in this list. I am unbelievably lucky. My friendships have shaped the person I am. As a hardcore introvert, and a person who longs to be deeply known, the people I count among my close friends are so precious to me. Though they are few, they are mighty! I love them. 
  24. Oh look, 24 – my favourite number! I have no idea why. Seems appropriate to make #24 my quirks. I am grateful for my quirks. I sing a lot, I make up ditties about moronic drivers and housework and play silly games with myself. I am quirky and I revel in it! 
  25. Art by people I know. I’m so blessed to have artistic friends. I have a beautiful photograph of a sunset on my wall, a birthday gift from a talented friend. I have paintings and sketches created just for me, by friends near and far away. Looking at their work makes me happy. 
  26. I made it! The last spot on today’s list has to be that I am grateful that this list isn’t exhaustive! I’m grateful that I have, and recognise, so much that’s good in my life. Life is a gift. It is so important to remember, I didn’t earn anything on this list. 

I hope that my list might inspire you to reflect on things that you are grateful for, things that make you happy.  

Maybe times are super tough right now and the idea of practising gratitude makes you cringe. I’ve been there. It’s okay to feel that. I get it. 

Perhaps life is sweet and easy right now. List the ways you’re enjoying it. 

Thank you for being part of my happiness. I am grateful for you. 

Annette x 


If you’d like to, please tell me something that makes you happy. I love reading your comments. 


Taking Stock – October 2015

Howdy readers!

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I’m sucking down free wifi at the library. Thank you council!

Spring has really hit its stride, now that we’re in daylight savings again (yay!), so it feels like a good time for a bit of reflection and taking stock. I love this exercise of Pip’s, it always makes me stop and think about what’s happening in my life.

Here we go!

Making: a lot of noise in the echo chamber that is the foyer outside the library, I’ve suddenly got a frog in my throat.

Cooking: chicken, bacon and new potatoes, which I shred and smash, then mix with crunchy celery and creamy mayo for an easy weekend dinner, the eat again for lunch. I love cooking that stretches across a couple of days of eating.

Drinking: Soda water and lemon cordial. So refreshing. It’s been almost a year since I gave soft drink the flick, though lately I’ve have the occasional can of fizzy stuff.

Reading: The Anti Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland. What a book! Rosie’s writing is sublime, and her honesty about what her life has been to this point really moved me. I’m almost finished Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ll definitely be going back to the start with my highlighter in hand, there’s so much good stuff in that book. And FYI, Elizabeth Gilbert thinks I’m gorgeous! Here’s the proof.

Thank you Liz!
Thank you Liz!

Wanting: more inspiration in my painting, I often want to grab the brushes but sometimes I lack focus and don’t know what to paint. Got any tips for me?

Looking: Up. Often. All that spring sky. It’s so good for my heart.

2015-09-19 12.18.33-1

Playing: David Bowie’s Greatest Hits

Wishing: That Auckland was a titch closer. I’d love to be able to pop over to my friend Rachel’s with a bottle of wine on a Friday night.

Enjoying: that hands-on creativity has become part of who I am. I draw or paint almost every day and it brings me so much quiet happiness.

My very own girl gang.
My very own girl gang.

Liking: My Ruby & Lilli – Inspired Life Tee. It was a present from my friend Rach, and I adore it.

Loving: knowing people online who genuinely support and encourage each other. I’m grateful to have found a happy crew to hang with, and be inspired by. Step away from your keyboard if you’re cranky, those are real people you’re firing your missives at. Just stop it.

Pondering: why some people refuse to see a link between the number of guns in the US and the insane frequency of mass shootings there. I will never understand this notion that ‘freedom’ equals a carrying deadly weapon. And the paranoia and illogical arguments around the issue – so infuriating!

Considering: moving to bigger canvases in my painting adventures. All that white space, hmmm, maybe not quite yet.

Buying: avocados, bacon, soda water, Lurpak butter, chocolate. Just the necessities of life.

Watching: Blue Bloods, Nashville, Rock The Boat, House of Cards, and Gilmore Girls. I’m nothing if not eclectic in my viewing tastes.

Hoping: that this summer won’t be crazily hot. I just cannot deal with those icky overnight ‘lows’ in the mid-20s.

Marvelling: at the way some people face adversity and then fashion it into a crown. I’m looking at you Styling Curvy. You are creating something beautiful with your life.

Needing: nothing really. I could list off some wants, but couldn’t we all. Satisfaction is a practiced habit.

Questioning: what’s next, not in a major way, but I wonder what 2016 might have in store.

Smelling: flowers in bloom. I noticed as I was walking down the street after work the other day, that the air was heady with spring fragrance.

Wearing: one of my new Ruby & Lilly tees – coffee rings! So hot right now.

Following: Blogs that inspire me and make me smile. I loved being along for the ride on Baby Mac’s recent Italian adventure, and there are always nice happenings on fellow Melbourne gals Bird & Fox and Iris and Edie‘s blogs.

Noticing: clouds, sunsets and light. Every day, I see beautiful shapes, colours and tones in the sky

2015-09-25 18.34.22-1

Knowing: my youngest sister’s life is about to change forever. Baby’s coming soon!

Thinking: about ways I can support her once ‘Barry’ arrives. Already, there are so many opinions! I want to be a big sister who helps her trust herself as she becomes a mum.

Admiring: so many ladies I’ve met via the keyboard. Ladies who create, who write, who cook, who build others up, who tell it like it is and most of all, ladies who use their platform to champion others. There’s no shortage of them, I guarantee you.

Getting: to the point where I really need to vacuum my house. I hate vacuuming!

Bookmarking: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page. This lady is wise and funny and all about inspiring others. I’ll have what she’s having. The fact that she thinks I’m gorgeous has nothing to do with it, I swear!

Coveting: creative inspiration. The desire is there, but I’d like to channel it into a project of some kind.

Disliking: Internet trolls and cranks. Go and do something positive with your life. Why waste the days you’ve been given destroying another person? You were made for more than that. So much more.

Opening: too many emails I don’t care about, must be time to get my unsubscribe on.

Laughing: with my hairdresser. We have such strange, funny conversations when I’m in the chair.
Feeling: good, but slightly restless.

Snacking: did someone say salt & vinegar chips? Yum!

Helping: by being a sounding board, just recently it’s been great to do more encouraging murmuring than instructional speaking, and it works. People get there in their own time.

Hearing/sensing: that people need encouragement. The end of the year is coming, people are tired. To you I say, you can do it! And if there’s someone you can ask to help you carry the load, do that too, please.

So that’s what is going on with me.

If you’d like to get on the Taking Stock bandwagon, head over to the original source of inspiration (credit where credit’s due, it’s easy and nice to do!). Just copy and paste the list at the bottom of Pip’s post and away you go. It’s a great exercise for your journal, blog, Facebook wall, Instagram feed or even as a family activity.

Stay grateful friends. Tell me what’s going on with you? What is catching your eye and making you smile?

Big love,

Annette x

How sweet it is… my night with James Taylor

Today I would like to tell you the story of how I got punched in the arm outside a James Taylor concert.

I have these wonderful friends, Bron and Craig. You know those friends that you just love – you may not see them all the time, they’re busy with their tribe of awesomely boisterous boys… those people you met way back when and just formed a love connection with… the ones that seem to truly get you and you them? You go over for pancakes and you’re still there four hours later… friends who truly listen, who encourage and believe in you…. I hope you can see your Craig and Bron in your mind’s eye.

I’ve know C & B for, gosh, decades now I guess. I actually went to high school with Craig, though he wasn’t in my year.

This story revolves around these two awesome people… we’ll get to the James Taylor bit in good time.

Let me set the scene – it’s late 2002 and I hear that JT (that’s what the fans call the ORIGINAL JT, Mr James Taylor) is touring our fair nation in February 2003. As soon as I see the ad in the paper, I tell Craig that the T-Man is coming to town. He’s pumped, and unbeknownst to me, begins to hatch a cunning plan.

A few months later, Craig calls me up and tells me that he has tickets to the concert, and I think ‘oh how lovely, a date night for Craig and Bron’, but lo and behold Craig has actually forked out for THREE tickets and tells me that they want to take me – just because, as a gift…. I told you they were quality people. Gob. Smacked. Such kindness.

There’s a catch. Craig wants to surprise Bron with the tickets, so I’m sworn to secrecy. A few months go past, and Bron begins to see more advertising for the shows, tensions rise, and I’m astounded at Craig’s ability to keep a secret from his wife without actually telling porky-pies to her.

Craig and I – the brains trust of this whole operation – concoct this fantastic ruse to get Bron into the city on the night of the concert. At the time, I had this boyfriend (the stories I could tell…) and as Craig and Bron are my super special buddies that have yet to meet him, we decide to meet for dinner at a favourite cafe by the river. But, gosh darn it if the boyfriend and I don’t have to rush off to some invented appointment, so it will have to just be an early dinner and maybe a stroll by the river for C & B. (Insert your best machiavellian. evil laugh here……) 

We enjoyed dinner, they met the boyfriend, and Bron and I mourned that we weren’t seeing JT that night. I gave an Oscar worthy performance.

And just then, when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Craig  – who was kind of in the doghouse for not getting tickets before the shows sold out – the mastermind of torment (loving torment) that he is, he actually presented Bron with fake tickets to a JT-tribute concert at a dodgy suburban hotel – oh my goodness, that was a BOLD move…. she was not happy Jan!!**

The boyfriend and I made our excuses after dinner… oh what a shame we’ve got to get to this meeting, so lovely to meet you, sorry to rush off… then raced around to the Arts Centre, where the boyfriend dropped me off and I took up my pre-determined position, milling casually in the crowd. Craig somehow convinced Bron to go for a stroll, right past the concert they weren’t attending, and when Bron locked eyes on me out the front, she rushed up and punched me in the arm!

It was one of the best ruses I’ve ever been part of. Ever. And with the best people.

Once Bron got over the shock, she was ecstatic about what lay ahead… and she wasn’t the only one.

I mean, what kind of awesome friends include you on a really special night like that, just because they love you? Sheesh, I don’t know how I got so lucky in the friendship stakes, and if they’d never taken me to a concert, it would make zero difference to my love for them, but wow, what a special, meaningful gift. We are BIG JT fans and they knew I’d love being there, just as much as they would. (Hey there Craig, hey Bron – I hope you read this – all these years later, again I want to say thank you. Thank you so much.)

The concert was AMAZING. We was utterly transfixed by everything Mr Taylor sang, said and played. The band was sensational, and I was blown away by JT’s long time back-up singer Mr Arnold McCuller. Wow, what a voice that man possesses! I’d go to an Arnold show anywhere, anytime. Incredible. I can still see us in the darkened concert hall… and hear the music. So special.

We had a fantastic night.

Isn’t it lovely to think back sometimes, and remember great nights spent with friends?

There are a lot of memes out there that seem to equate looking back with falling into a pit of depression over the shit in the rear-vision mirror, and I call bullshit on those. Utter bullshit. My life, and I hope your life, in retrospect, has highs and lows, and to not reminisce or look back on precious nights like this one… well that would be just awful.

Dig out a ‘Craig & Bron’ memory, share it with someone, leave it in the comments here… maybe you were the Craig or the Bron, or maybe you were the super lucky pal who got to go along for the ride.

Either way, there’s one thing I will always, always remember about that night….

Take it away James, you gorgeous man. (By the way, that’s Arnold over JT’s shoulder, in the red, with fellow vocal powerhouse David Lesley by his side.)

I’d love to hear your very own C&B stories.

Or your memories of James Taylor concerts.

How sweet it was, and is….

Annette x


** Any references to levels of crankiness etc are my recollections of an event that happened over 10 years ago, written with love and respect for C&B. If the roles had been reversed, Craig would have been just as happy that his wife had bought 3 tickets, as Bron was (after the shock wore off).

How To Enjoy A Public Holiday

Here’s how to enjoy a public holiday, Annette style. 

Sleep in.

Be greeted by the sight of hilarious bed hair upon sliding the ensuite door open.

Laugh at yourself.

Take a photo of your crazy Last of the Mohicans meets Flock of Seagulls do.

Brush your teeth. Wink and smile.

Watch an episode of The Newsroom.

Check what’s happening in social media land – like some stuff on Instagram, read some blog posts.

Enjoy the sunshine streaming through the window.

Make a cup of coffee.

Slather some crumpets with peanut butter. Demolish, with coffee.

Send an email to the person your Facebook friend just told you is running an art class tomorrow night.

Have a shower. Brush your teeth again.

Go and meet a friend for coffee at a local bakery.

Sit outside, with the breeze on your back and the sky so blue above you.

Feel happy. Be present.

Enjoy your friend’s company. Remember how long you’ve known her, and why you like her so much, as she fills you in on her life.

Wander the grocery section of the bakery with her. Tell her you gave up soft drink more than two months ago. Feel good as she turns and gives you an approving glance.

Hug her goodbye.

Walk back to your car. Notice some pretty flowers. Be a blogger…

Go to Kmart in search of work appropriate shoes/pants/cardigan/skirt.

Marvel at the ineptitude of the girl trying to reverse park into a car space right near the entrance to the shops. (She is still finalising her sixteen-point turn after I wait for someone else to leave their spot, park, lock my car, exchange pleasantries with another driver, and walk by her.)

Despair at the horribly limited choices in the plus size section of this massive store. Zero skirts, one cardigan choice (black) and two or three choices of trousers – again, black. Shrug it off.

Try things on, discard most of them.

Find shoes that seem to actually fit. Huzzah!

Go back for that cardigan, it will be fine as a layering piece.

(Thanks for the shoes and cardigan, job services provider.)

Meander home again, feeling good about seeing your friend and finding some shoes.

Get into fresh pjs. Best.

Paint. Enjoy the way the colours bleed into each other.

Watch the end of that Marilyn Monroe documentary.

Consider what to make for dinner.

Consider going to that art class tomorrow night.

Feel happy and relaxed.

Be grateful for a really laid back, enjoyable day.

Write a blog post.

What do you like to do on public holidays?

Are you a jam-all-the-things-in type or a take-it-easy type?

Annette x

How an empty mayonnaise jar brought me undone….

Isn’t it funny how on a bad day, seemingly small things can send you into a tailspin?

When I used my last egg and scraped the last mayo out of the jar this week, the abyss opened up, and I was a mess.

Is my cupboard bare? No, it isn’t. There’s good stuff in there. Stuff I can easily turn into simple, tasty meals. But on Thursday, there were no more eggs, there was no more mayo – and I knew I did not have enough money to buy both, and wouldn’t have, for at least two weeks. I’m unemployed at the moment, so money is tight.

It is a confronting thing to realise you can’t afford basic things, items which Toby from The West Wing (god I love that show) calls ‘the everyday things, the 99 cent things’. The things we take for granted, like eggs, and mayonnaise.

As the last shell went in the bin, I cracked too.

People sometimes say that there’s no kindness left in the world, or that it is hard to come by. Some days that seems true, some of us just don’t have our eyes open to see it, but I can tell you, Thursday was not a kindness-free-day for me.

In my increasing agitation, I took to the keyboard, to vent about feeling sad, stuck and vulnerable. Not a public broadcast, a conversation in a group of people I felt pretty sure I could trust. The group I chose was the one I’ve been spending the most time in lately, my Pipsters. From here in Melbourne, and in far-flung places from Spain to England to America, these awesome ladies, my homies, my Pipsters PICKED ME UP with the tap, tap, tapping on their keyboards, and created a safe space where I could talk about feeling humiliated by my lack, and frightened of not getting through the next fortnight.

They encouraged me, empathised with me and didn’t gloss over what I was saying, which is so important when someone is having a shit day. Let the person in Shitsville say it is shitful. It is. Don’t rush to “the sun’ll come out tomorrow”. We all know it will.

What the temporary residents of Shitsville need, what I needed, was listening ears and compassionate hearts.

Boy was I in the right place. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

There were so many tears, and as I sat at my desk, talking in real time with people, feeling the support and solidarity, reading about how other people have been in my shoes, I was being broken open, my emotional pressure valve hissing and spluttering out the worries of the week.

It may sound utterly bizarre to you (it does to me) but blogging is bringing battered old passions to the surface, it is causing me to be more open, authentic and vulnerable, with the people I am creating an online community with, and with myself…. it is strange, and sometimes painful, but it feels exhilarating too. Being fully alive isn’t about feeling only good things. Neither is blogging!

After I’d been chatting with the Pipsters for a while, I felt a bit better, then a lot better, and so, so tired. All that crying takes it out of you. I woke up the next day feeling completely different. Nothing had changed, but I was no longer weighed down with worry. I was buoyed by people sharing ads for jobs they’d seen and thought I’d rock at, there were links to sites that might help, people shared mayo recipes requiring only two ingredients, people encouraged me, people SAW ME, unvarnished and broken, and not one person turned away, or blithely told me to ‘get a job’ or that what I was feeling was invalid. That’s priceless stuff. Human stuff. That’s community.

Today I can write this from a totally different mindset than the one I was stuck in two days ago. Today’s tears are of gratitude. I am not ashamed of my tears. They are softening me, inside and out.

This week I learned a new lesson about what I’d term humiliation – a feeling I despise with all my being.  Maybe what I know as humiliation – a deeply painful, confronting and devastating state of mind and soul, holds within it a chance to be more authentic with people, more vulnerable and ready to say, I need help. Try saying that, even in your mind, I need help. It’s not easy is it?

And yet, we all need it. I need help. You need it. Your sister, your dad, the guy on the bus, the shiny people on magazine covers, who we’re supposed to worship and believe ‘have it all’, the crafters, the ‘successful’ folks we admire and maybe envy a touch,  even them – we all need help every now and then. Maybe not every day, maybe not to buy eggs or mayonnaise, but sooner or later, Mayonnaise-Gate happens to all of us.

How GRATEFUL I am that when I was ready to say, even just from the ‘safety’ of my computer, that I needed help, that people were there to listen and to encourage me. That was the help I needed most on Thursday afternoon. Help to be honest, help to be vulnerable and let my emotions out.

Can I exist only in the virtual world? No I can’t. I need my flesh and blood friends too, I need to trust them when the chips are down (or gone!), as I do in the good times. I am undone by friends who demonstrate their love in ways that resonate.

Some cheer my efforts at blogging on, or remind me that Don’t Stop Believin is my ultimate theme song.

Some friends do this with their words, their care, their support and encouragement, their precious time.

Some do it with groceries, or a supermarket voucher.

Some  give me money that I know they could have used to buy their own eggs and mayonnaise.

I have friends that take the time to read and comment on my fledgling blog, or come over with pizza.

The yet-unmet-friends who spoke life into my situation this week, wow, thank you.

The pal who asked me how I was on Instagram, and I decided to tell her the truth, which resulted in us having a great chat, she’s sending help. I’ve never met her.

One yet-unmet-friend from Blog With Pip, who sent me a message on Friday asking me where I live, is dropping off help this afternoon.

A lovely friend took me to dinner, paid for my meal, and a second glass of wine, and helped me out, again.

The friend I met in a West Elm store, who I’m enjoying getting to know, said she’ll buy me a coffee next week.

There’s no hierarchy involved. The friends who offer practical support aren’t ‘better’ than the friends who offer a listening ear and words of encouragement. They know that, I certainly know it. We all play our part.

Sometimes we buy the eggs, sometimes we listen and send virtual hugs.

What I’ve learned this week is that kindness isn’t at all like mayonnaise – it doesn’t run out when the jar is empty.

In fact, sometimes that empty jar is a portal to an outpouring of kindness that lays you flat with gratitude.

That’s why I’m not about to stop believin’. Even when mayonnaise makes me cry.

mayo jar




Annette xx