The Sunshine Blogger Award – Nominated by Author Sally Cronin

the Sunshine Blogger Award

My heartfelt thanks go to lovely author & blogger Sally Cronin for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. The Sunshine Blogger Award is given out by members of the blogging community in recognition of inspiring, creative, and motivational blogs. YAY!

I am honored to be nominated alongside some really wonderful bloggers I do admire and follow. This is my very first nomination, so I am feeling quite smug 🙂 Having your blogging work appreciated is always a motivation to push for better content, but also to support fellow bloggers. For we are but lonely stars on a dark sky without each other.

During the past year I discovered such a wide range of amazing bloggers. I will use this opportunity to nominate those whom I admire for their kindness and generosity and whose blog posts motivate me.

I know how busy life and blogging can get, so if I nominated you and you don’t have the time to respond with a post, that’s okay 🙂 But I do hope you will take the nomination as a mark of my admiration.

If you choose to accept the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:

• Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.

• Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.

• Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Do leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award and ask your nominees 11 new questions.

Here are the 11 questions set by Sally for her nominees, with my answers:

1.What is the most daring thing you have done?

I moved half way round the world to be with the man I love, my husband.

2.Name one item still on your bucket list.

I don’t have a bucket list, but one thing I’ve been wishing I could do and never been able to (although I’ve been invited once!) is visit Greenway, Agatha Christie’s home.

3.If you had a time machine, would you choose to live in the past or the future?

Definitely in the past. I am such a history fan. And I love research. I love planning too. Am I allowed to research the era before jumping into the time machine? J

4.What is your favorite movie of all time?

I think each decade of my life can be defined by a movie. ‘Gone With the Wind’, ‘The Way We Were’, ‘Love, Actually’. I think this decade it’s ‘A Night at the Museum’. Gosh, the titles speak volumes J

5.What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Start. Writing. Now.
And do no stop.

6.What is one of your guilty pleasures?

I have only one guilty pleasure, and that is Coffee with a capital C. Coffee is my morning joy, my strengths in the wee, lonely hours, my inspiration and my fuel. I love the rhythmic, musically-drum sound of coffee beans as they sing in their container. I adore the smell of freshly ground coffee. I cherish the taste of a good cup of café latte. I relish at the sight of a frothy cappuccino and can appreciate the velvety, creamy taste of an espresso.  

7.Do you have any pets?

99% of my books include at least a dog 🙂 We have two.

8.Tell us about one thing that really gets your goat.

People who cut in line.

9.Who would you invite to a celebrity dinner. List 5, dead or alive?

Agatha Christie. Kathy Reichs. Ingrid Bergman. Margaret Atwood. My daughter 🙂 – she is my hero for handling her life as a teenager during the 21st century as well as she does.

10.What is your most annoying bad habit?

I can think of two. While awake, I tend to speak softly. While asleep, as I transition to and from REM sleep, I tend to act out my dreams and speak out loud. I am told that no one can reason with me during those seconds.

11.Name your current favorite song playing on your playlist right now.

‘Where Do You Go’ by No Mercy has been (almost) the only song on my playlist during the last six months J

Here are my 11 questions for my nominees:

  1. Share one thing about yourself that would surprise your followers.
  2. Which do you prefer, mountain or sea?
  3. What is the highest / furthest point you traveled to?
  4. You stand on a 1m high brick wall. Would you jump off or climb slowly?
  5. If you would only start your writing career now, where would you begin?
  6. Which animals you feel it represents you best?
  7. Are you an early riser or night owl?
  8. Was writing your first choice as a career? If not, what was it?
  9. What is your comfort food?
  10. Best way to relax and recharge? (either than writing J)
  11. What is your favorite word?

And here are my 11 nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award

Jessie Cahalin (Books in Handbag)
Jo (Tea and Cake for the Soul)
James Cudney IV (This Is My Truth Now)
Brian Langeose (Bonnywood Manor)
Bette A. Stevens (Writers and Readers)
Caz (Invisibility Me)
Katie Kay (Writer, Blogger & Pilot)
Barbara Auzou (Lire, Dite Elle)
Annika Perry (Annika Perry)
Mike (M. C. Tuggle)
Pete and Ollie 🙂 (Bettley Pete)

If you are reading this and would like to participate, please do! Answer those questions, nominate the bloggers you admire. And do link back to me; I will make sure to share your post.
Thank you, Pat.

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Snowy Night, a Winter’s Dream

I love the snow for what it is –
Of dreams and stars that spark,
Of clouds and tears.
Some say it’s angels in the dark.

I love the snow for what it stands,
My childhood memories asleep
And holidays with frozen hands.
Snowmen were built of snow knee-deep.

I love the snow for what it might,
The hopes it brings, the smiles it carves
Each winter, a brand new sight
To welcome with open arms.

I love the snow, I hope you too –
This thread that links all that is true.

Snowy Night Winter Dream
Christmas decorations in Cismigiu Park, Bucharest
snow at night
blizzard in the middle of the night
white flakes against a Christian Orthodox church
Snowy Night Winter Dream
winter wonderland
Snowy Night Winter Dream

I hope you enjoyed my sonnet on snowy night, a winter’s dream.
You might also enjoy reading about:
Snow’s Thousand Faces and Meanings
A Train Journey through Snow, in Romania
A Journey through the Medieval City of Sighisoara
or
Amazing Roles dogs Played During WW1: Sled Dogs, Pulling Dogs

What is it that you enjoy about snow?

snowy night winter’s dream

You can find all my books on Amazon, here.

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The Oldest Christmas Carol, Jesus Refulsit Omnium

Oldest Christmas Carol. Wise Men and Infant Jesus in Manger

The oldest Christmas Carol historians have knowledge of is a 4th century motet or Epiphany: ‘Jesus Refulsit Omnium’ – Jesus, Light of All the Nations – exactly translating Jesus, the brilliance of all. It depicts the sudden realization that enlightened the Magi, the Wise Men, when they finally arrived to the stable where infant Jesus had been born and it was created by St. Hilary of Poitiers between 310 – 367 (most probably without any instrumental backing).

Listen to this touching rendition of Jesus Refulsit Omnium as performed by the Chamber Choir of George Watson’s College at the annual Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, on 16th December 2015:

You can find the choir, a capella sheet music here. The lyrics in Latin are below:

Jesus refulsit omnium
Pius redemptor gentium
Totum genus fidelium
Laudes celebret dramatum

Quem stella natum fulgida
Monstrat micans per authera
Magosque duxit praevia
Ipsius ad cunabula

Illi cadentes parvulum
Pannis adorant obsitum
Verum fatentur ut Deum
Munus ferendo mysticum.
(Source)

 The Magi by Henry Siddons Mowbray, 1915 . oldest christmas carol Jesus Refulsit Omnium
The Magi by Henry Siddons Mowbray, 1915

This is the English translation by Kevin Hawthorne, PhD :

‘Jesus, devoted redeemer of all nations, has shone forth,
Let the whole family of the faithful celebrate the stories

The shining star, gleaming in the heavens, makes him known at his birth and, going before, has led the Magi to his cradle

Falling down, they adore the tiny baby hidden in rags,
as they bear witness to the true God by bringing a mystical gift.’

Saint Hillary of Poitiers, whose first name comes from the Latin word for happy or cheerful, hilari, was a Bishop of Poitiers who later received the title of Doctor of the Church. It is worth mentioning that in Latin doctor means ‘teacher’ – thus Doctor of the Church recognized a significant contribution brought to theology through research, study, or writing. Three hymns are attributed to St. Hillary of Poitiers thus making him the first Latin Christian hymn writer.

Charles Bosseron, Adoration of the Magi. oldest christmas carol Jesus Refulsit Omnium
Charles Bosseron, Adoration of the Magi

What exactly is a motet?

A motet is a short, sacred vocal composition. I love the etymology of the word motet. Originating in the Latin movere, ‘to move’, it depicts the movement (against each other) that the various voices produce during the song. Yet considering motet as a diminutive deriving from the French mot, ‘word’, it depicts a ‘little word’ – thus a short song.
The medieval motet most probably became the sacred Renaissance madrigals.

I am Christian Orthodox, yet I love the peace that washes over me when I listen to Catholic vocal compositions, late-medieval to present. My native language, Romanian, resonates closely to its Latin roots and the one year of Latin study I did in school has added an aura of mystery and enchantment to this now dead language.

I hope you enjoyed listening to what is believed to be the oldest Christmas carol, Jesus Refulsit Omnium.

Song lyrics and movie clip are property and copyright of their owners and are provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

The #MusicMonday meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You can pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog feature on Mischenko’s lovely blog, ReadRantRockandroll .

Wishing everyone a blessed Holiday Season!

Which one is your favorite Christmas song?

You might also enjoy reading A Journey through the Medieval City of Sighisoara, Romania.

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Achieving Calm through all the Chaos

I just gotten used to writing 2019 and, in a flash, it already flew by, taking with it milestones and achievements, forgotten plans and stolen moments with my family. Life is faster, we work harder, have more plans, higher goals, yet we are busier than ever before. I grasp at the meaning of calmness through the chaos that my present day translates to. My heart knows it before my mind, achieving some state of calm through all this chaos is a must. Deep breath now

Some say we are addicted to stress, that our neural pathways thrive on it, on back to back meetings and the adrenaline rushing through our bodies. But is pushing ourselves actually making us more productive?

Is more, always better?

Perhaps spreading us thinner through juggling numerous projects at a time – ours, a co-workers, the kids’ – is not a measure of how much we can achieve. Perhaps doing less, resisting the urge to focus on other’s business, focusing more on our needs, on what really matters, is the true way forward. Being able to say ‘no’.

Asking ourselves: do I really have time for this? Do I need to add this to my schedule? Am I the one that has to do it? – is just as important as the skill needed to solve that extra issue.

achieving calm through chaos

Achieving Calm through all the Chaos in 5 Steps

Prioritize: life before work

Ask yourself, which are the most important people in your life? To me is my family. What manners next? Perhaps work, a hobby. And then? Friends, sport, social life?

These are aspect of your life you need to prioritize at the beginning of each year. Put them in your calendar first: birthdays, anniversaries, school holidays, family gatherings, dates.

Do not worry to leave the leftover time for work – it will still be plenty available!

Create a path through all that clutter

I am not talking about desk clutter, but all the bullet points on your daily ‘to do’ list. For some, an Excel spreadsheet works well, for others, a daily planning stuck on the fridge door will do. Start with that.

There you go, now you know in what order to prioritize your daily tasks. Focus on only one task at a time.

Plan, prioritize, but also make time to breathe – every day.

achieving calm through chaos

Know your personal and your career goals

If you make them clear to yourself at the beginning of each year, you would have reduced most of the clutter from your daily planner. They say, if you know your yes’s, then your no’s are easier.

Keeping your goals in mind makes it easier to prioritize on a day to day basis and it makes your decisions a lot easier.

And family time? Sharing daily, joyful moment with your family keeps you connected, thus making it easier to keep your personal goals in sight.

Face it, head-on

Often, solving the top issues, the most stressful ones, and reshuffling the rest can remove most of the daily stress our minds deal with.

Next assess these issues that seem to be constantly moved from one day to the next and ask yourself: will I feel a sense of accomplishment if I finish them? Are they important? If you think yes, then schedule one a day, prioritize it and finish it. If no, then they were just cluttering your daily schedule.

achieving calm through chaos

Meditate and Sleep

Maybe not for everyone, and I am the first to admit that I have a problem with both – I find them equally time-consuming. But when I do meditate – I realize that my objectives are clearer, what was a conundrum is clarified, I know how to approach a problem and, in conclusion, I feel less stressed.

Sleeping is a whole other issue. Beneficial for all and it does improve the immune system. And, yes, a good night’s sleep does give us a performance-edge and increases our mind’s agility.

It is easy to allow small worries to become big issues, but achieving that sense of calm through all the daily chaos is doable and can be a positive aspect of your 2020. I hope it will!

And read on. Poetry, in particular, calms the mind. Poetry is as good as gold 🙂

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Snow’s Thousand Faces and Meanings

frozen snow mening pictures

I love snow in all its aspects, yet browsing through past holiday pictures I realized that snow has thousands of faces and meanings. From the simple joy of snowflakes to the excitement and rush of making a snow angel or a snowman; from the wonder of an icicle to the art nature instills in a frozen fence; or, simply, the unspoiled wonder the morning after a snow storm holds.

Join me in finding the different meanings that snow holds.

The weather channel announced the blizzard, so everyone was expecting it: the snowfall. It came over a few days, quietly falling, day after day. The ground has to be frozen, you see, for the snow to settle and we were holding thumbs that first day: freeze, freeze. Checking the windows every half an hour: does the tar still shows? Has a dusty layer of snow settled yet? It takes a couple of day, you know. And it starts with a skift, a light snowfall.

Then, one morning, we woke up to this:

snow thousand faces meanings

And to some footsteps left on our windowsill:

snow thousand faces meanings

Need I say how fast we got dressed to go outside? As fast as our endless layers of clothing allowed us, anyway. And this is what we saw:

snow thousand faces meanings

One of snow’s thousand faces certainly is wonder! Its meaning? Live in the moment.

snow thousand faces meanings

Let it snow… or make it snow!

I think you have to be very patient if you are a coniferous tree. And have lots of practice sitting perfectly still.

snow thousand faces meanings

Snow angels, through their serenity and peace, do confer winter a higher, spiritual meaning. But the joy that goes into making them certainly anchor the holiday season firmly into childhood. Maybe this symbol of winter is the fine, silver thread that connect so many hearts around the world, an universal language.

snow angel in winter. a spiritual meaning

And snowmen! Yet you need a certain type of snow to built one, it has to warm up a little, so the snow will release some heat that, in turn, will bound the snowflakes together and help them hold their shape.

a first winter's snowman

Then the onding, the heavy snow, returned. That’s a massive snowfall, but not big enough to be qualified as a blizzard. An onding is a regionalism used in Scotland and Northern England since the middle of the 18th century.

And a day later we walked to the shops…

The snow was THAT big:

Brave us, we traveled to Sighisoara by train, through snow. This will be a story on its own, but for now this is what we saw: grue, thin, floating ice:

grue, thin floating ice in Sighisoara
rollerblade on ice, snow, winter

Here is a first glimpse at Sighisoara, the amazing medieval city built along Târnava Mare River:

I have ambivalent feelings for the snow and ice clinging to a fence. It can be art, like this spiraled fence capped with snow:

snow on a fence in winter

Or this glowing, frozen chicken wire fence:

frozen chicken wire fence

Yet this barbed wire frozen in winter makes me wince:

barbed wire frozen in winter

I leave you with this: as spiky as a barbed wire, as graceful as a ice-skater’s blades, the icicle is wonder and physics combined:

Glowing icicle
Winter’s artful magic wand.
Alohomora!

For more winter poems and haiku:

Christmas Haiku
Christmas Haiku

Get Christmas Haiku from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, or worldwide.

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