Blast from the Past ~ Lean against… and listen ~ Christmas

December 2019

Five years ago I wrote a story inspired by a childhood memory

December 2014

Only 22 days left and Santa will be knocking on the door (or maybe down the chimney 😉 ).
It’s high time for some Christmas pictures…..

And maybe the storyteller can inspire something festive in me:

Lean against … and listen

I quote Kasey Mathews from the WANA group “Write to heal” for this writing prompt:

With paper and pen, or computer handy, lean back in your chair, or against the wall, or a sofa etc., close your eyes and imagine you are sitting under a large tree with your back resting against the trunk. On the other side of the tree, a Storyteller has come to sit down and also rest against the tree trunk. With eyes still closed, just listen. Wait for the Storyteller to begin his or her story. When you hear it begin, simply write down all that you hear.

Description for visually impaired readers: A white tea mug with red poppies on it standing on a rock. Over both white writing in the middle of the picture saying: Lean against… and listen

We were walking in darkness.

Well, not fully. Of course, the guides had some torches which not all of them used though. Gabi, Sonja and I walked alongside each other. We just fitted on the forest path side by side. I longed to shout excitedly how wonderful the starry sky looked and how quiet it was in the forest.

In front of us, we could see all the boys and girls covered in thick coats and hats. I could only recognise their silhouettes in the dimmed light of the few torches around us.

“What are the candles for we are holding? They are not lit!” Sonja whispered. “No idea!” I whispered back feeling the little tube-like candle in my gloved hands. Every now and then a boy or girl was brushed by a pine branch and freshly fallen snow tickled down on them. They squeaked just to be hushed by our guides.

“It’s killing me. Where the… are we going?” I could hardly hear Gabi on the other side of Sonja, who whispered back: “No idea ~ just be quiet!” My fingers started to tingle of the coldness and I could hardly feel my nose no matter how many scarves my grandmother had put around me.

A hushed “Wow” came from the front of the line. “What?”, “What?” came from all of those who could not see anything yet. And then we arrived:

A huge pine tree in the middle of a clearing was decorated with hundreds of lit candles and the guides started singing “Oh Tannenbaum…” Stunned we all fell in without hesitation.

I could not take my eyes away from the light and sparkle this Christmas tree disseminated. We had gathered in a huge circle around the tree and I could see the shining faces of my friends and all the others. I did not listen to the stories our pastor was telling or realised I was singing the traditional Christmas songs. I did not feel the cold crawling up my legs or biting into my fingers. I just bathed in the shine and delight this tree gave to us.

In the end, the pastor invited us to go to the tree and light our candles and we carefully, carefully carried them all the way back to the community centre.

#WordlessWednesday: Looks a lot like Christmas 🌲

Hello out there, is it Christmas soon by any chance???? Keep it balanced peeps. Life is too short to get stressed over presents 😘

Let’s get wordless instead 😁

Terracotta reindeer candle holder
Christmas wreath with red candle

This post takes part in Wordless Wednesday. Please head over and find more wonderful and curious more or less wordless posts: Wordless Wednesday

Good Morning Writers! I know it’s early but some ideas for Christmas

September 2019

I know Christmas is still a little away but if you want to join in this idea from 2014 you might want to start now 🙂

December 2014 

How are you doing? How is your writing going? Are you scribbling along nicely or are you lagging behind? Maybe you need a creative break and do a little project to make a friend happy.

There is a tradition in Germany at Christmas time: Children get a little calendar with chocolates. You find one chocolate per day behind a little door with the number of the day on it and it starts on December 1st. Of course, German children get their presents in the afternoon or evening on the 24th so that is the number of chocolates available.

Creative families make their own. One example is to make little bags with the numbers of the day on them and fill them with goodies, which need not be chocolate. It can be a clementine, a rubber ducky or a ring. Any trinket that makes your child happy. All those bags are knotted on a string and hung up in the living room and the child can open one a day.

I used to do my own “writers” version when I first came to Great Britain but not for a child but for my grandmother, who missed me terribly. So I wrote her a postcard every day with a little message or story and send it to her via post one a day. She loved it and it made me happy to make her happy. Besides that: It gave me an awful lot of ideas for writing. I have also done an e-card version for friends, which was a little easier because you do not need to post in time and can schedule the sending.

No matter which you like to choose: it just gives your creativity a boost as you look around for little stories, finding trinkets and get creative in another way than your usual one. And it is great fun. So for this week I invite you to just go for it: find written or other trinkets to make someone happy but at the same time give your creativity a break and a boost.

Some ideas for Advent Calendars:

Create one for your page: Online Adventcalendar

Creative Life In Between: Easy DIY Advent Calendar

Blast from the past: Notes from a Survivor

January 2019

It is nearly a year that I stopped working at the supermarket and while it was not a particularly auspicious decision for our finances it certainly is for my mental health. I did not enjoy Christmas 2018 particularly because of all the emphasis of buying more and more but I was fully, entirely and enormously grateful not having to experience it again working in a Supermarket. But here my blasts from the past about Christmas and the Supermarket

December 2017

It’s another Christmas at the supermarket and it looks like it’s going to be the worst so far staff wise. Looks like we are not getting any extra staff to deal with the extra work and on top of that many of us are checkout trained and spent 50% of their time down there but are expected to get their normal jobs done as well.

I doubt it is only the company I work for that operates like that. So if you come across a very stressed and maybe not as friendly as usual shop worker please give them a smile and tell them they are doing a great job this Christmas because that makes all the difference.

Two years ago I wrote about my experiences with going to work when my anxiety is extremely high and how some people don’t get what that means. I also asked myself the question why I care about what they think. I am pleased to report that I have developed a thicker skin when it comes to these people. It still bothers me at times but mostly I just get on with my job of breathing my anxiety down and thinking “It’s just a job, not a life-threatening situation”.

But here my experience two years ago:

December 2015

I woke up with this rock hard feeling in my stomach that indicates this won’t be a good day.

It will be a day of constantly monitoring my breathing and thoughts, of reminding myself that not all is lost and what I have achieved so far. It will be a day of “forcing” myself to do the things I enjoy and constantly reminding myself not to give up.

The worst is over. It happened in my past. I am safe now. Why though doesn’t it feel safe? Why though does it still feel like I am helplessly in the claws of my feelings and fellow humans some of whom just don’t give a damn.

Don’t get me wrong: I am lucky enough to have a stable support system of family and friends around me who just take me as I am and who love me dearly.

But those others I have to deal with can make life hell. They say things like: “well you get paid for coming to work! ” when I try to explain that I am there even though I am not well.

I see it in their eyes that they consider me a drama queen because I am good at my job and cope most of the time.

These people make that rock in my stomach just that little bit harder to bear.

Why though do I bother? Why though do I care? Why do I give them this sort of power over me?

After my last flashback and break down I told my husband that I feel ashamed of the way I reacted towards them and he looked blankly at me and said: “It’s not you who should be ashamed! It’s them! And I can’t stop thinking about these two sentences. It’s not me – it’s them….

Ok, a little Christmas Spirit from this blogger Grinch ;-)

This is my absolute favourite Christmas song and my absolute favourite version of it. It makes me cry every single time…

video source: Pentatonix via YouTube

May you have a blessed day no matter where you are and what holiday you celebrate!


Merry christmas from Carol anne!

Hi all
Just want to wish all of bee’s followers a merry Christmas! I hope you all have a great holiday!
I have only been collaborating on this blog a short time.
I am honoured to be able to do it!
I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas season and a peaceful new year!
carol anne


Carol annes poetry prompt for this week!

Bee set me a wonderful prompt for this week!

In the grounds of longing, the young ones rejoice

Isnt that awesome!

So I decided to give it a go! So here goes my attempt at a poem using it!

they fly
flying so high
and in the grounds of longing
the young ones rejoice
rejoice in the joy
of Christmas time
which is near
never fear my sweet little ones
this year
we’ll have fun
so so much fun
we’ll craft and create
eat our fill
open presents
watch childrens tv
and rejoice
in the peace and quiet
where the longing will grow
but never fear
I will make all of your wishes come true
look to me my sweet little ones
look to me
and that longing
to be kids
never lose that longing
for it is you my sweet kids
that make me complete

Story Time: The Gift/Zeit fuer eine Geschichte: Das Geschenk

October 2018

First published in December 2011:

The Gift

“They are lime green!”

my younger sister Sofia whispered when she came sneaking up the stairs. “What are you talking about?!” I dragged her into our room as our parent’s door started creaking suspiciously. I had just woken up and realised she was gone. “Aunt Bertha’s jumpers!” “Oh no not jumpers again!!!!” I sighed. “Yea and they are even worse than last year. They are lime LIME!” “Come on get back to bed before Dad wakes up!” She crawled under her Pink Panther duvet and I got up to the top bunk. “I asked for a tent!” her disappointed voice sounded muffled. “How do you know it is jumpers anyway?” “Well, I picked a little whole in the wrapping paper and there was a button and something lime green around!” “Did you close it up again?” “Yes had a piece of sellotape with me” “Clever girl” I could not stop thinking but I said “You shouldn’t have. They’ll find out.” “No they won’t! They never check and I will have ripped it open before they know” I laughed despite of myself. My sister was famous for ripping Christmas presents apart in Guinness book record time. One year we have stopped the time that she needed for her 10 presents: less than 5 min!

Our aunt Bertha, on the other hand, was famous for her Christmas knitwear. She was so proud of her jumpers, scarves and hats in impossible colours and patterns. If they were just lime green and no pattern we probably get away with it somehow.

“I can not wear another one of hers! I’ll burn it!” my sister said, “Yes do that but make sure you do not burn down the whole house.” I answered, “It was an accident!” I just laughed “You always have stupid accidents like burning down Alfie’s hut!” “That silly dog needed a new one anyway!” “Yes but I bet you did not think that you have to build it yourself.” “Didn’t build it myself really!” I could imagine her grin under the duvet. “Well yes, Dad did most of the building but cleaning away everything and holding wood for hours could not have been so much fun!” “Kind of” she mumbled and was asleep.

The Christmas Bell was ringing waking us up the next morning. I was not even really awake while my sister already jumped down the stairs and leapt into the living room under the tree. “Darling not so fast” our mother’s voice sounded cheerful. I got down a little more serene. Our father stood in the corner of our old-fashioned living room holding his camera in his hands. Filming this year’s “great rip off”. Our mother beside him just shook her head. “WOA!” in mid~ripping my sister suddenly stood still. “What is it?” She turned around with a snow-white face. She slowly walked towards me and whispered “The hole is gone! They know!” “Just go on as usual” I pushed her back to the tree and shouted “Oh presents from Aunt Bertha!!!!!” We both did not see the grins on our parent’s faces. Another “WOA” stopped me in my tracks. “What now?!” I pushed her in the ribs. “Ouch, that hurt!” “Vanessa please leave your sister alone!” I pulled a face. “It’s not a Jumper it’s a tent!” Sofia shrieked in astonishment. Our parents roared with laughter. Sofia looked at them with a guilt-ridden face. “Seems like our little trick has worked,” Father said to our mother when he got some breath. “What trick?!” Sofia and I asked like one. “Well, we took last year’s Bertha Jumpers and made a made up present and hid your real one!” “What do you mean?!”

“Well, Aunt Bertha’s hands got worse so she can not knit anymore. She asked us what you would like and if we could organise the presents for her which we did. And we knew you wanted the tent. But we also knew you would have a look and that is why we tried our little trick!”

“Yeah, little sister “They never look” wasn’t that your words??????” “You never said anything” Sofia shot a reproachful look at our parents. “Well, we did not want to spoil your fun” “So why this year then?” she asked. “We thought you might be a bit too old now for peeping in Christmas presents and can start having real surprises!” “Maybe I can from now on,” Sofia said smiling.

This little story was written for Rachel Hoyt’s Smiley Sociology Study #11 “Gifts” ~ please feel free to write something on your blog about a present and leave your link on her linky~tool. It is fun and sends some great bloggers to your blog!

Description for visually impaired readers: brown table with a red round candle holder. A lit tea light is in it

Oktober 2018

Ich habe diese Geschichte zum ersten Mal im Dezember 2011 veroeffentlicht:

Das Geschenk

“Sie sind neongruen!”

fluesterte meine juengere Schwester Sofia, als sie die Treppe hochgeschlichen kam. “Wovon um alles in der Welt sprichst Du?” Ich zog sie in unser Zimmer, da die Tuer zum Schlafzimmer unserer Eltern verdaechtig quitschte. Ich war kurz vorher aufgewacht und hatte bemerkt, dass sie nicht in ihrem Bett war. “ Tante Bertha’s Pullover” sagte sie. “Oh nein nicht schon wieder Pullover!” seufzte ich. “Und die sind noch schlimmer als letztes Jahr: Sie sind neongruen NEON GRUEN!” “Na komm schon geh jetzt ins Bett bevor Papa aufwacht!” Sie schluepfte unter ihre Pink Panther Decke und ich stieg zum oberen Bett unseres Stockbettes hoch. “Ich habe um ein Zelt gebeten!” Ihre enttaeuschte Stimme hoerte sich gedaempft an. “Woher weisst Du, dass es Pullover sind??” “Ich habe ein kleines Loch ins Geschenk gepiekst und da war ein Knopf und was neongruenes drumrum!” “Hast Du’s wieder zugemacht?” “Ja hatte etwas Tesa bei mir!” “Kluges Maedchen” musste ich denken. “Haettest Du nicht tun sollen. Sie werden es herausfinden!” “Nein, werden sie nicht. Die schauen doch eh nie nach und ich hab das ganze aufgerissen, bevor sie etwas bemerken koennen!” Ich musste lachen. Meine Schwester war beruehmt fuer ihr Guinness Rekord verdaechtiges Aufreissen von Weihnachtsgeschenken. In einem Jahr haben wir die Zeit gestoppt, die sie brauchte, um ihre 10 Geschenke aufzumachen: Weniger als 5 Minuten!

Unsere Tante Bertha dagegen war beruehmt fuer Ihre Weihnachtsstrickereien. Sie war so stolz auf ihre Pullover, Schals und Muetzen in unmoeglichen Farben und Mustern. Falls diese nur neongruen und ohne Muster waeren, waere es wohl nicht so schlimm.

“Ich kann nicht noch so einen tragen. Ich verbrenne ihn!” sagte meine Schwester. “Ja mach das aber versuch nicht das ganze Haus nieder zu brennen!” “Das war ein Unfall!” “Du hast immer solche Unfaelle wie als Du Alfie’s Huette nieder gebrannt hast!” “Der bloede Hund brauchte eh eine neue!” “Hattest aber nicht damit gerechnet, dass Du die selber bauen musst!” sagte ich. “Hab sie ja nicht selber gebauht!” Ich konnte ihr Grinsen unter der Decke erahnen. “Klar Papa hat das Meiste gebaut aber alles aufraeumen und stundenlang Holz halten kann je nicht so super gewesen sein!” “Irgendwie schon” murmelte sie und war eingeschlafen.

Die Weihnachtsglocke weckte uns am naechsten Morgen auf. Ich war noch nicht richtig wach, da war meine Schwester schon die Treppe runter und spurtete ins Wohnzimmer unter den Baum. “Liebling nicht so schnell!” Die Stimme unserer Mutter klang froehlich. Ich kam ein wenig gesetzter die Treppe herunter. Unser Vater stand in der Ecke unseres etwas altmodischen Wohnzimmers mit seiner Kamera in der Hand. Er war dabei, das diesjaehrige “grosse Aufreissen” zu filmen. Unsere Mutter stand neben ihm und schuettelte nur mit dem Kopf. “OOOH” meine Schwester hoerte mitten im Aufreissen auf. “Was ist los?” Sie drehte sich mit einem schneeweissen Gesicht zu mir um und fluesterte:” Das Loch ist weg. Sie wissen es!” “Mach einfach normal weiter!” Ich schubste sie zurueck unter den Baum und rief:” Geschenke von Tante Bertha!!!!” Wir konnten das Grinsen unserer Eltern nicht sehen. Ein weiteres “OOOOHHHH” stoppte mein Auspacken. “Was ist jetzt los?” ich schubste sie in die Rippen. “AU das hat wehgetan!” Ich zog ein Gesicht. “Vanessa lass Deine Schwester in Ruhe!” “Es ist kein Pullover! Es ist ein Zelt!” schrie Sofia erstaunt. Unsere Eltern bruellten vor Lachen. Sofia schaute sie voller Schuldgefuehl an. “Sieht so aus, als ob unser kleiner Trick geklappt hat!” sagte Vater zu unserer Mutter. “Was fuer ein Trick?!” fragten wir wie aus einem Munde. “Naja wir haben die Bertha Pullover vom letzten Jahr genommen und ein “Vorfuehr-Geschenk” gemacht und haben Dein richtiges versteckt.” “Wie jetzt?!”

“Tja Tante Bertha’s Haende sind schlechter geworden und so kann sie nicht mehr stricken. Sie fragte uns, ob wir etwas fuer Euch zu Weihnachten organisieren koennten, was wir taten. Und natuerlich wussten wir, dass Du das Zelt wolltest. Aber wir wussten auch, dass Du versuchen wuerdest, zu schauen und so haben wir Dich ein wenig ausgetrickst.”

“Jaja kleine Schwester “Die schauen nie!” waren das nicht Deine Worte?” “Ihr habt nie was gesagt!” Sofia schaute unsere Eltern vorwurfsvoll an. “Naja wir wollten Dir die Freude nicht verderben!” “Aber warum dann jetzt?” fragte sie. “Wir dachten, Du bist jetzt zu alt, um in Geschenke zu spinksen und kannst anfangen. wirkliche Ueberraschungen zu haben!” “Ja vielleicht kann ich das von jetzt an!” sagte Sofia schmunzelnd.

Diese kleine Geschichte wurde fuer  Rachel Hoyt’s Smiley Sociology Study #11 “Gifts/Geschenke” ~ Bitte fuehlt Euch eingeladen auch etwas ueber ein Geschenk auf Eurem Blog zu schreiben  und tragt Euren Link auf ihrem Linky-Tool ein. Es macht Spass und laedt grossartige Blogger zu Eurem Blog ein! 


Simply having a wonderful Christmas time/ Einfach eine wundervolle Weihnachtszeit haben

Description for visually impaired readers: To left illustration of three trees with differently coloured canopies (light green, orange, dark green). To right writing saying Bi-lingual

October 2018

It seems to start earlier and earlier. Last week I saw the first Christmas aisle in Sainsbury’s. Glad I do not work in a supermarket anymore. It must be a nightmare now. So please if you come across a grumpy employee give them a smile and understand the pressure. Thanks.

December 2011

Right! It is Christmas time and we all know the trouble: It is busy, stressful, we spent too much money to make everyone happy and if you do not have any family or friends or if your mental health is troubled it is the most likely time to do something stupid!

We could do with a few less presents and bit less food at Christmas. It would probably still be mountains of but we might have a bit more time to be merry and relax. In the end it is our decision where our priorities are. But are we prepared to set them?

Maybe we just have a look in the eyes of our children or remember how Christmas was for us when we were young then maybe we find that excitement again and let Christmas truly be merry instead of stressful!

The explanation is not an exact translation of the English version

Oktober 2018

Weihnachten scheint frueher und frueher zu beginnen. Ich habe letzte Woche die erste Weihnachts gang im Supermarkt hier in GB gesehen. Ich bin froh, dass ich nicht mehr im Supermarkt arbeite. Es muss jetzt ein totaler Alptraum sein. Ich weiss nicht wie das in Deutschland ist aber hier sind die Mitarbeiter in Supermaerkten sehr unter Stress, weil ueberall an Mitarbeitern gespart wird. Trotz allem denke ich, dass mein englischer Aufruf auch bei Euch gilt: Falls Ihr einen gestressten Supermarktmitarbeiter seht, dann schenkt ihm oder ihr ein Laecheln und versteht den Druck, den sie erleben. Danke.

Dezember 2011

OK! Es ist Weihnachtszeit und wir alle kennen das Problem: Es ist geschaeftig, stressig, wir  kaufen zu viele Geschenke, um alle gluecklich zu machen und wenn man keine Familie oder Freunde hat oder die mentale Gesundheit nicht die Beste ist, dann ist es am ehesten Moeglich, dass man was Dummes tut!

Wir koennten sicherlich mit ein paar Geschenken und ein bischen Essen weniger auskommen. Vermutlich waere es dann immer noch mehr als genug aber moeglicherweise haetten wir ein bischen mehr Zeit, um gluecklich und relaxed zu sein. Am Ende sind es ja wir, die die Prioritaeten setzen. Aber wollen wir das denn tun?

Vielleicht schauen wir in die Augen unserer Kinder oder erinnern uns, wie Weihnachten fuer uns war, als wir klein waren und finden die Vorfreude und Aufregung wieder und lassen Weihnachten somit wieder froehlich sein anstatt stressig.

clouds over sea

Again I wonder/Und wieder wundere ich mich

October 2018

Yes, soon it is that time of the year again. On Tuesday I was shopping at Sainsbury’s and guess what? They have one aisle that is Halloween one side and Christmas the other. Really? So, this post from Easter 2011 fits perfectly for reposting:

April 2011

Are there any other religious holidays that are so much about shopping than Christmas and Easter?
What about Yom Kippur, Baisakhi or Diwali????? Is this shopping maniac a special Christian thing or is it maybe the absence of any religious or spiritual awareness, that makes people filling their emptiness with spending money on things they don’t really need with money they don’t really have???

Description for visually impaired readers: Sepia photo of trees behind which shows the tower of Fakenham Parish Church

Oktober 2018

Ja, bald ist es wieder soweit. Am Dienstag war ich bei Sainsbury’s einkaufen und was glaubt Ihr gab es da? Sie haben einen Gang mit Halloweenzeugs auf der einen Seite und Weihnachtszeugs auf der anderen. Deshalb passt dieser Post von Ostern 2011 sehr gut zum wieder veroeffentlichen:

April 2011


Gibt es da noch andere religioese Feiertage, bei denen es so ums Einkaufen geht wie Weihnachten und Ostern?
Was ist mit Jom Kippur oder Baisakhi or Diwali????? Ist dieser Einkaufswahnsinn ein speziell christliches Ding oder ist vielmehr die Abwesenheit jeglicher religioeser oder spirituellen Wahrnehmung, die die Menschen dazu bringt ihre innere Leere damit zu fuellen, sich Dinge zu kaufen, die sie nicht brauchen fuer Geld, das sie nicht haben????