Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The workings of my mind . . .

 

 I confess . . .  I am not a person who embraces change.  I love monotony.  It doesn't bore me. I find a great comfort in the sameness of things, in knowing that each day can unfold in exactly the same way, so long as I always follow my routine. Change always comes hard to me. I find it very difficult. Even something so simple as the clocks going an hour forward or an hour back can throw me for a loop.

A week or so ago, I noticed new themes on blogger and I had kind of been wanting to make things a bit easier to read on my food blog and so I tried one on to see how it looked.  Well, I thought I had tried it, but it turned out I had changed it, forever.  I have been grieving it ever since, almost regretting it.  I say almost because, there are things I really like about the new look.  Its fresh and clean, and not so cluttered.  But, my readership has more than halved, and I find myself wondering, what is it that made the difference?  I will probably never know.

Perhaps this is the cosmos telling me
I need to change my
focus
...


I say that, because blogging was only ever supposed to be about what brought me joy.  That is all I ever wanted it to be.   I write here . . .  because it brings me joy. I love penning my thoughts. I love sharing the feelings of my heart . . .  my innermost being. I love the interaction between the writer and the reader.

With the food blog I love and loved always . . .  sharing what I cooked and what I ate, with the food being the star of things. I never wanted it to be a popularity contest, not ever. Recognition is nice, but that has never been what my intention was when I started the blog up. It was only ever supposed to be an online cookery book of experience. My experience.  And again, I love the interaction between the writer and the reader. I love it when someone tries what I have cooked and then likes it too.

Those are the things about blogging
that bring me 
joy
...


 Another thing which I have always hated and avoided when I could is competition.  I hate that there are winners and losers.  Why can't everyone be a winner?  When something becomes a contest to me, then I lose interest. I lose that spark of joy, that sense of peace.  I used to feel it all the time when my ex husband and I would go bowling with his brother and wife. They were so competitive that they took all the joy out of the game and I ended up merely throwing the ball down the lanes without caring where it went. For me the fun has always been merely in the participation, not in the end result, and that is how I think it should be.  But then again, there has always been that tiny part of myself that has also longed to be a winner, and it is a part that I don't like . . . because, sadly . . .  when someone wins, somebody else always loses.  And I hate that thought.

I have an acquaintance who is also a food blogger and with her it is always about winning. Whenever someone else accomplishes something, she does not seem to be able to find or to be able to share joy in that. Oh . . .  she pretends to be joyful about it, but it is always laced with a . . .  "Good for you, but . . . " I " have done this!" . . .  and it is not a nice thing to see or experience.  For instance, when I announced that I had a cookbook deal, she immediately had to counteract that with a comment of good for you, but along with an announcement of her "author" page on Amazon included in the comment.  Things like that make me a bit sad.

Why can't some people just
be happy for 
others?
...
Without 
wanting to overshadow
anothers joy and steal their light?

  

I have a really difficult time understanding the psychology behind something like that, this need for one-upmanship, to always be first in line.  Is there not room for everyones light to shine?  I think there is.  Can we not celebrate each other accomplishments with equal joy!  This woman has a beautiful food blog. Well organised and pretty,  and her food photography is stunning.  She lives in the South of France in a beautiful area, and clearly has lots of money to spend on props and ingredients, and she is very talented in what she does. I always loved to visit her page and see what she was up to, but . . .  little by little, her need to swallow up all the air in the room has spoiled it for me, and so I don't visit anymore, mostly because I don't like the way it makes me feel.  I don't want or need that type of passive-aggressive negativity in my life.

So where I am going with this?  The cosmos . . .  perhaps the change in my food blog, however accidental, was the cosmos way of reminding me that it was never meant to be a competition.  To stop my head from swelling . . .  not that I think it was, but I did find myself checking my stats each morning and my mood lifting or dropping according to the numbers. It was never ever supposed to be about numbers, only about the joy that cooking brings to me, and hopefully to those who read me.

Life was never meant to be
 and never should become
a competition
...


 Life is about finding joy, and peace. About becoming better . . . as a person . . . adopting Christ-like attributes . . .  about sharing our abundance, about teaching, and learning . . . on being able to find joy and contentment in what you already have. Learning to share our toys. Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. What really matters most,  is if we enjoy the journey and understand it for what it is.  Most of the joy of any adventure comes in the journey itself.  Oh, I did think about closing comments for both of my blogs a long time ago, but I had a change of heart, only because I enjoy the interaction between writer and reader so much, and because I care about each one who visits and I would miss knowing I was a part of their journey, and I would miss reading about the things which are going on in their lives. 

Life is about hope for 
without hope we 
really have
nothing
at all
...

Hope 
is the catalyst
that keeps us moving forward,
and putting one foot in front of the other.


 

 And so I am trying to adapt to the change and to embrace it as a good thing. A comfort zone can be a beautiful place, but nothing will ever grow there  . . .

Thanks so much
for always putting up with 
my "twitterings" and the "working out " of
things that are on my mind. You help me to be a better me.
♥♥♥


 In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Country Baked Chicken. This is sooooooo good!

We got a lot done in the garden yesterday and will be putting in our bedding plants soon. We have to take the dog to the groomers on Friday and so we may go to a Garden centre while she is in there. Have a great Wednesday!  Hope the sun shines down on you.  Don't forget along the way  . . .

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And I do too!  


18 comments:

Suze said...

Good morning Marie,

Friday sounds busy and the garden sounds promising. I hope you find some perfect things.

I think I understand about someone who needs to be first or better or worse thing. I found a number of ladies days I used to attend were absolutely spoiled by certain behaviours. One lady used to be so intent on winning she would run down the middle of tables in her high heels! She could be more extreme too,

God bless you and keep you.

Tracy said...

Hi, Marie! Bless you.. and bless your beautiful blogs where you share so much! :) I'm sorry you lost your blog template at your foodie blog--not fun with those tech hicups. :( I like the new look though, it looks very smart and stylish, I think! I love your food blog--itt has always given me a lot of inspiration! And I've made many of your recipes with great happiness to our tummies here! ;) I'm not always clever at leaving a comment there though, and I'm sorry for there. I tend to visit you here first, then hop over to see your recipe. More a time th‌ing, I suppose. Keeping multiple blogs though is not easy--I've been there!--so I do greatly appreciate what you do and offer. Blogging, for something so seemingly simple, is really a complex thing. Our motivations and desires with it can change a little sometimes. But ultimately, it should be about sharing and enjoying. :) It's "crunch time" here with the last days of Lent and Easter soon here. I'm trying to finish some spring cleaning, but I don't think it will all get done in time. Still some chilly days here, so spring is slow unfolding. March & April are funny months here. We get one warm day, and then several frosty ones... haha! We're trying a pair of raised beds for herbs and salad greens this year. We have the material, but just need to put them together. Waiting on a warmer day... ;) ((LOVE & BIG HUGS))

kate hazlehurst said...

Hi Marie, loved this blog and I love your 'twitterings' hahaha! Your right though some people can be really annoying with their competitive attitude. Funnily enough my brother and nephew (who happen to share the same birthday) are both extremely competitive, even when it comes to playing with the little ones. They just don't like to get beat by anyone. Ever. So annoying!

We've been on London for a few days visiting our grandson Christian. His mum and dad are still struggling to find child care for him and things are a bit stressful to say the least. We're going down again next week to help out but we just don't want to do it on a full time basis. They live so far away and we'd have to sell up and move in with them. We don't feel up to it physically anyway. It wasn't what we both retired for! It's lovely to be able to help out when needed but not on a full time basis.

I love the idea of your letters exchange, but have just got too much on at the minute to give it the time it deserves. Lots of love xxx

excentric said...

This made me think of those people who 'comment' on a blog, but their comment is just saying that they're the first ones to comment. Stupid.

I don't think I'm very competitive, I just want to have fun, although in high school, my best friend and I sat next to each other in typing class and always tried to type faster than each other. I could type really fast, but then I'd have to go back and correct the zillion mistakes I'd made, so it didn't really count.

I wondered what happened to the food blog. I don't really like the new look, it's not as enticing. I just click on the links from here if it's something I'm interested in. Which it usually is. :)

Sybil said...

Hi Marie, sorry to be all behind but I am going to write to you privately to tell you what has been going on down here that has kept me away from looking at much on line....again I say we are so alike, like you I am not a competitive person ...unless it's with myself.... remember even as a child I would be playing by myself perhaps throwing and catching a ball and before long I would turn into someone else and I would try to beat her at how many throws etc before we dropped the ball !!...left a comment on yesterday as well
Take care. God Bless xx

Linda said...

Marie,
I love your blog just the way it is. I look forward to clicking on the cute things I enjoy with you and seeing the source or just the gorgeous pictures you post. I live on a farm so I don't have a lot of time for the internet and with your blog I get to enjoy the crafts, food, and wonderful sayings all in one place. Thank you and may God bless you and your husband.

La Table De Nana said...

Funny..I just left a comment saying your photos appear even better on the new format:)

I am not a change person either..

I never check stats..I had to ask a friend how she knew what her most popular post was..as many mention that and it is interesting to know what it the most pop.topic:)
Anyway I never followed up..lol..I don't have a competitive bone left in my body.
In real estate for almost 30 yrs..I had enough of that.
I cringe at it.
There is a time and place for everything..that time is long gone for me..

I see that I get excited for the boys and wonder if that is so great.I told Lucas yesterday that I was so happy he is doing so well in school..but all I really want for him in life is to be happy..and he is..
Thank God.
:)

I think you have been sharing so much for so long..this book deal..is just the beginning for you:)
And I am excited for you..

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Change is awkward at first but in no time we forget just how it used to be it seems...Like you I love to blog and it has never been about competition of any sort. It's been all about sharing but I have to admit I do love the few comments I get . I love reading others blogs too. We have a break from the rain and the sun peeped out this morning to say hello. Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

local alien said...

I love your food blog. I know the recipes will always turn out perfectly because you have made sure they do.
Must say I preferred the old layout but that won't stop me reading it.

Marie Rayner said...

Suzan, we will probably only do Geraniums, and some blue elisium, maybe some petunias. Nothing too expensive. I love the colour red and also white and blue, I guess that makes me a bit of a nationalist? I don't know! xoxo

How lovely that you get to spend so much time with your wee grandson Kate! I can also understand how you wouldn't want to do it fulltime! I think we reach a certain age where we enjoy small bursts of energy, but also like and appreciate our quiet times! xoxo

Sybil, I can only imagine what you have been going through these past few days and my heart and prayers have very much been with you. sending love and extra hugs. xoxo

Blogging IS incredibly complex Tracy! We all share a big part of who we are when we choose to do it and leave ourselves so open. I love the sharing aspect of it most of all and have only ever for the most part had beautiful experiences with it, mar a few negative ones. Most people are very kind and generous. I cannot imagine not doing it, but I think there will come a point one day when I will be too old. I dread that time! xoxo

Thankfully I don't get too many of those Linda (Eccentric)! In fact I can't think of one! The new look on the blog is much better when you click on the homepage, instead of the individual posts. You get the header on the homepage. In any case *sniff *sniff I can't get the old one back now. Live and learn! xoxo

Thanks so much Linda (from the farm). I can always use extra blessings from God. I don't know who can't, so I am sending some blessings back to you! xoxo

I think the photos look better also Monique, however I am having to go back and redownload photos from old posts that I had stored on photobucket and upload them directly to the blog now. It is a pity but blogger doesn't seem to like photobucket anymore at all! I never bothered much about stats, but these companies sometimes they want to know what your stats are and so I had to figure out how to do it. I am training myself NOT to look at them anymore. It shouldn't really matter, right? This is a hobby I love and not a job! I self-regulate anytime I think that I am starting to veer down that route. I love to read other's blogs and to comment. I don't know how you cope with all the comments you get, or Susan Branch, she gets so many. I try to answer each one and if I got as many as you or Susan get, I would go insane! haha I am happy with this! You have everyright to be proud of your grandsons! I would be too and I am of mine. That's a Grandmother's prerogative! Like you, I am at an age where I can't be bothered with competition. Leave that to the younger folk. Thanks for your faith in me though! xoxo

Pam, I can still remember the excitement I felt the very first time I got a comment! The idea that anyone was interested in what I had to say fascinated me. I so love to write and the fact that anyone wants to read it still astounds me! lol I don't know how you come up with all you do each day. Everything is so inspiring. You always make me smile. I guess the name On the Bright Side is very apt! xoxo

J said...

I get ur posts later on at night. Lately I don't want to wait, so I look at the next post and then comment. I didn't think it was a big deal just bc I commented first or last! Gee! It's ur blog, u can post whatever makes u happy! People shouldn't pick other people apart bc their unhappy! Instead they should be making their life happier! I feel sorry for those kind of people and they are the ones that need the prayers the most!!! I love ur blogs Marie! I don't care what color they are or what header u pick, bc I'll always read them! U are a sweet and caring person and if people knit pick about ur blog, maybe they shouldn't be on it! I hope u enjoy ur day! I'm so excited for ur cookbook to come out and I know it's going to be a GREAT one!!!

La Table De Nana said...

Oh my dear:) You made me smile..Susan is a business.. a company..a wonderful warm hearted artist..good through and through who has built her company up through hard work talent and dedication and gets hundreds of comments and so well deserved..she is I know a good good talented person:)

I am just me..a spouse..a mom..a home baker..cook..home gardener..wannapaint girl..take photos ..lol..and I know I receive maybe 25 comments..that I love to read and answer..it does not take long..it is part of my day..to me not answering would be like not answering the phone or not saying thank you.
We love sharing stuff..I have always wanted to share where I got something..how I made something..

life changed dramatically for me 7 yrs ago.I went from hustle and bustle ..out and about..to pretty much homebound for 18 months and it has changed me.Blogging was a Godsend..as a hobby.
Jacques loves reading it..that makes me happy..he knows the commentators:)
So that's what it is for me..trying to stay creative..sharing..LEARNING so much..and the friendships..:)
Blogger..Thank You:)♥

Do you need a photo hosting site? For yrs mine were on Picasa..then it became Google photos..and then I discovered I could just upload from my computer..saves loads of time!
Let me know if I can help:)

Noelle Perry-Earle said...

You know, as always I find something in your words that resonates with me. I too find that when something becomes a competition, I lose interest. I hate to be the winner or the loser. I want everyone to be on equal footing. The thoughts that anyone would feel badly, breaks my heart. That doesn't apply to a challenge mind you, because then the only person who I am competing against is myself, so that's okay.

The ability to find happiness in the joy of others is a direct outwards manifestation I believe of how we feel about ourselves. To glory in anothers successes, especially when much deserves is a joy. And when we care for that person on a personal level, well that's almost the same as it happening to you. That's my personal opinion of course. I would be lying to say I have not felt resentment in the past over a situation or two when I know beyond doubt that the praise ought to have gone to another. But then, that's a whole different scenario and conversation.

I miss the old style of TEK but that's merely because it's different and I'm used to the old lay out. Happily you were able to send me the link for what I was searching for today, so thank you so much for taking the time to do that. I'm forever a faithful reader and my day wouldn't be complete without a visit here and there. Your words, the work and care you put into the blogs truly matters to me and I appreciate the ability to share your world in this manner.

Sending love and prayers to you and Todd and snuggles to Mitzie from Nova Scotia. Xx

Marie Rayner said...

Thanks Jan! I am pretty excited about the book coming out also. Although I haven't heard from my editor since I submitted the finished manuscript and am thinking should I be worried? I don't know. Perhaps no news is good news! xoxo

Like you Monqique, I like to and try to respond to every comment, that includes both blogs and my FB page (and now instagram!). I think always that if someone takes the time to comment I must respond in kind. It is good manners and a form of gratitude, because I really do appreciate each person that takes the time, and do not ever want to take them for granted. I know some bloggers do not and that is fine for them, but I know I appreciate being acknowledged on other's blogs and so, like you, I acknowledge! Funny how Susan Branch never seems like a business does it? She has managed quite successfully to make it feel like home. That is a special talent! I feel the same way as you about blogging. It has been a real God send for me and I cannot imagine never doing it, although I do think I might become too old one day and dread that thought! I have started just uploading from my desktop but I know I am going to have to go back and save every photo from my earlier posts and upload them. I am dreading that! So much work! Oh well, Rome was not built in a day! xo

I like a challenge also Noelle! And yes, then I am only competing against myself. I like to try to do better each time! Now, THAT is fun! I think you are right when you say that joy of others is a direct manifestation of how we feel about ourselves. Obviously this other person has low self esteem because they seem to constantly need their ego stroked. I don't mind giving credit where credit is due, but not at the expense of others. I am so grateful that I am not a person that cannot enjoy the success of others. I miss the old layout also, but am slowly getting more used to it. I like the cleanless of it. I guess that is maybe the only thing, lol Love, hugs and prayers right back. Spare a prayer for our Prophet, President Monson. He is in hospital. Thanks! xoxo

LeAnn said...

I always love these kind of blog posts. It gives me a chance to think about how I really think on various subjects. I guess I could say I feel jusst like you. I too don't like competition where there are winners and losers. I guess we learn from it; but it can be so hurtful when you lose.
Right now our mission is doing a master teacher competition. All the Elders and Sisters in companionship are in brackets. They each do a role play of teaching an investigator and then they are judged on various criteria. They have been practising hard with each other for this competition. There well be winners and losers. We are to watch and cheer them on and it has been fun. In particpating, and observing it is supose to help them become master teachers. I do think we are learning a lot but I hate the end result of them losing which many are out right now.
I checked out your English Kitchen blog re-make; and I love it. It does have a more modern flair. It's awesome, so don't feel bad.
I am so excited about your new book; you rock on this one. The recipes I have tried are yummy and I want to try more. Since being on our mission we don't really cook meals much. We just throw things together.
Well, let's just say I liked waht I read today! Blessings and hugs~

Marie Rayner said...

Thanks LeAnn! Your latest activity with the Sisters and Elders sounds like fun! I know how it is with getting meals while on a Mission. Your days are so full and its often a soup and grilled cheese night! Love, hugs and blessings! xoxo

Denise Altman said...

I like both of your blogs! Found the kitchen blog first, bought a cook booklet last year, recommended the site, and read every post. Literally stumbled on your personal blog and thought "this lady sounds familiar", and laughed to realized it was one and the same. I have always been amazed at how prolific you are-even being retired. I like your honesty-you let your human side show rather than just painting a rosy picture, but you are not a whiner. I think you can enjoy looking at your stats without worrying that you are being competitive; its fun to think about the people you may be reaching. However, I also think, eyes forward. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing, let them compete-you are not in their race. I am as pleased for you about your book as if you were my neighbor, and I am sure others feel the same. Keep at it if it gives you pleasure-it certainly does me.

Marie Rayner said...

Thanks Denise! Much appreciated! I loved reading your story about how you stumbled onto this blog and realised I was The English Kitchen. I think it would be really irresponsible for me to make people think that I lived a rosy perfect life. That's not real, and I strive to be real, and honest with the people who take the time to read my pages! I enjoy what I do, and I guess when I stop enjoying it, I will stop doing it and certainly a great part of my enjoyment comes from the interaction between my self and my readers. Love you all! xoxo