Designed and created by a positive minded, Gluten-free, thyroid cancer survivor!

Friday, 21 December 2012

A story has only one master

Almost one year ago to the day I finally finished a book that I just happened upon while scanning the shelves of a local thrift store.

I was just waiting for something to jump out at me as my mind, in truth, really wasn't focused completely on the books. I was focused on memories of my Dad. I was also thinking about the upcoming holidays and how quickly life can change. It was just a couple of months since my father had passed and in that time I had managed to get myself a new job - A job that had so much promise. I was so excited, but just as quickly as the excitement came, it went. Within a week I knew the job was not what I thought it was supposed to be - it was a sham. What was I going to do?! I couldn't go back to my old job - someone else was already hired... I couldn't quit... Who could I talk to? Dad. He would know just what to say, just what to do. He was gone.

Standing there, feeling lost and alone the book I was, and wasn't, looking for appeared. It was called, Ireland: A Novel, by Frank Delaney.

The back cover read:

"One wintry evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller -- a Seanchai, the very last practitioner of a fabled tradition extending back hundreds of years -- arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and some of their neighbors to join him by the fireside, and begins to tell formative stories of Ireland's history. One of his listeners, a nine-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the story-telling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, the boy devotes himself to finding him again.
Ronan's search for the Storyteller becomes both a journey of self-discovery and an immersion into the sometimes-conflicting histories of his native land. As the long-unspoken secrets of his own family begin to reveal themselves, he becomes increasingly single-minded in pursuit of the old man, who he fears may already be dead. But Ronan's personal path also leads him deeper and deeper into the history and mythology of Ireland itself, in all its drama, intrigue, and heroism.
Ireland travels through the centuries, interweaving Ronan's quest for the Storyteller with a richly evocative unfolding of the great moments in Irish history, ranging from the savage grip of the Ice Age to the green and troubled land of tourist brochures and political unrest. Along the way, we meet foolish kings and innocent monks, fabled saints and great works of art, shrewd Norman raiders, strong tribal leaders, poets, politicians, and lovers. Each illuminates the magic of Ireland and the eternal connection of its people to the land.
A sweeping novel of huge ambition, Ireland is the beautifully told story of a remarkable nation. From the epic sweep of its telling to the precision of its characters -- great and small, tragic and comic -- it rings with the truth of a writer passionate about his country and in full command of his craft."

I bought the book immediately, believing that it must have a message in it meant just for me, from my Dad. (As it turns out, one year on, I could not have been more right.)

The book was a symbol of something lost. Having found it I held it as if it were as precious as a jewel. I had every intention of reading it, absorbing myself in it and just eating it up within a week. In no way did I think it would take me a year to read! It has never taken me that long to read a book. It didn't even take me that long to read The Hobbit - and I really struggled with that one... so much journeying over and through mountains! Sorry to all the Hobbit fans out there... I am looking forward to the movie.

In the year that it took to read Ireland: A Novel, I found that it became a source of comfort. Whenever I picked it up to read it was like hearing my Dad tell one of his grand stories again. It is my belief that this was the plan. My Dad intended that I find this book and he intended it to be there for me while I came to terms with not having him physically here any longer.

The message of the book was clear. Be yourself and follow your dreams - and your heart. Life and your purpose will fall into place. The last line of the book reads: "... a story has only one master." I, like everyone else, am the master of my own story. If I don't like it, I can change it. It's up to me.

What it was I was searching for as I read the book became clear. I had lost my focus and my passion for life and work. I had become bogged down by negativity - my own and that of others. In the past I had been able to shake off negativity and find new ways to be happy, to focus and to be passionate about what I was doing in life. I forgot to be true to myself. I was way off track... Luckily life has a way of getting you back on track - sometimes in very crazy ways. If you listen to your heart and your gut instincts you will be able to figure yourself out. The trick is learning to listen - if you don't, eventually you will have no choice as life can throw some fairly hefty or nasty things at you to knock you back in line.

Through the ups and downs of this past year, I have come to find that even the "bad" things that have happened - my cancer diagnosis, my poor job choice... have been blessings in disguise. Without having to deal with these troubling things, I wouldn't be where I am today. Happy -  and, despite having Thyroid Cancer, healthy. I am happier and healthier than I have been in years.

Since beginning this blog a year ago and following my passion to write, I again have focus in my life. I am back on track and wonderful things are happening. 2013 will see the publication of my first children's book, the launch of a new business and... I won a trip (well the accommodation anyways) to Ireland because of my writing (my father's eulogy no less!) How much better can life be?! I can't wait to find out!!
As for the story about storytelling, Ireland and finding yourself... it seems unfair to keep it locked up. It had a message for me and I got it loud and clear. Now I think it's time that it find someone else to help out...

Cheers to all for a very Happy Christmas and a joyous New Year!!!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Merry Christmas, Kiss my Ass: My Rant of the Day!!

It's crazy some of the things you end up inexplicably watching on a Sunday morning. 


Here's the thing, and I'm going to take a stand here and you can hate me for it if you want to - defriend me or whatever... If being a "Christian" means being judgemental, preachy and rude - then I am not one. 

If you are not hurting me I could give a flying *bleep* what you do or what you believe in - black, white, red, yellow, gay, straight, trans or sado-masochistic, 50 shades of grey loving s.o.b., Christian, Muslim or Buddhist - whatever!!! I don't care.

Just be good and kind.

Fact is, you're not going to be good and kind 100% of the time... that's just the way it is. We are human and not perfect. But just do a decent job of trying - and, I can guarantee that whoever is awaiting you in the great beyond - even if it is nothingness - will envelope you without judgement or penalty.

So, to quote the immortal words of Clark Griswald... "Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah." and don't forget Kwanzaa and Ramadan - "Hallelujah! Holy sh!t! Where's the Tylenol?" :)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Wish to build a Dream on - For Lily-Mae

One early winters night a wish went out that was heard around the world.

A wish is a very powerful thing, especially when it's full of goodness and hope. This wish was exactly that and not one soul who heard it, could ignore it.

Who sent this wish you ask and why? Well, it was a little girl in Ireland whose name is Lily-Mae and her wish is to be healthy and happy.

Lily-Mae is a child, much like many others; She is bright, beautiful and full of life... but unlike other children, she must fight for her life every day. You see, Lily-Mae lives most of her life in a hospital where she is surrounded by her parents, doctors, nurses and sadly, other children who must also fight for life just like her.

Lily-Mae's days, just like yours, are full of tests, appointments and meetings. However they do not take place at school or work - they take place in the hospital.

Lily-Mae and her parents try to live life as normally as possible. They have love and they have hope. Most of all, just like you - they dream!

When Lily-Mae and her parents are fast asleep they dream of wondrous things and far off places.

Lily-Mae dreams of things that you and I might take for granted or have maybe never even thought of. In her dreams she runs, plays and goes on trips with her parents to places like the Zoo or to the Ballet. She dreams that she is healthy and has overcome disease and cancer.

At night Lily-Mae's dreams take flight and she is transformed into a beautiful fairy, dancing pirouettes across the sky!

Tonight when you lay down to sleep, think of Lily-Mae and her parents. Think of how lucky you are... and send out a loving and thoughtful wish that just might make Lily-Mae's dreams come true!!

A Wish for Lily-Mae

we hope and pray
for you to enjoy
each wonderful day!

Across the miles
we're sending you smiles.
Our love to you
in all that you do

Your Strength and courage;
your love and light.
It brings us hope
and sets dreams aflight

Believe, keep faith
and make a wish.
May every dream come true, 
for an angel like you.


Lily-Mae is battling for her life against Neuroblastoma … a rare and extremely aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system and is currently in Our Lady’s Children's Hospital in Dublin following surgery to remove a tumour last week.

Lily-Mae’s only hope for survival is immunotherapy but that’s not available in Europe because it’s still on trial. It’s available in the US but it’s very expensive so a trust has been set up to help raise the money needed.
To find out more on how you can donate to help Lily-Mae and her parents please email Madeleine at Send whatever you can … a dollar, a euro, a pound … anything. Donations can be made through Paypal with the registered email address being or, if you don’t have a Paypal account, send Madeleine your email address and she will send you a Paypal invoice with instructions on how you can pay as a guest.Please visit - for more updates on Lily-Mae and how you may help!!


Saturday, 1 December 2012

My Christmas Wish

It truly amazes me sometimes when I log into the back end of my blog... People are reading it. Lots of people - people from everywhere; from Texas to Reykjavik to South Africa and Australia. I may not average the kind of visits that some sites do, nonetheless you visit and I am truly thankful for that :) I hope that when you visit you find something helpful or positive and that you are able to take it with you when you go. I also hope that you will come back again!

In one month I begin my official countdown to treatment. January 9th is the day - and I can't wait! I look forward to having this journey through thyroid cancer behind me and I look forward to what life has in store. I wish and I hope that it will all be good things. It has been hard to keep positive of late... and I am cracking under the weight of it all. Still I try. All I can do is try - to keep on keeping on. Things are bound to look up - right? This is what I tell myself everyday. I keep on smiling :) Even when I'm told otherwise.

This Christmas, more than anything I may wish for me, I wish that my Mom could have her health - I wish her the ability to enjoy the season and to be able to have some comfort. 

This has proven to be the most difficult Christmas to come to terms with. Even last year, the first without my Dad, was easier than this year. Last year my Mom was "well", I was "well" and our family was together. This year it's a fight to find that same semblance of balance and comfort. It hurts. It's been hard and I am struggling to keep hold of the light, the peace and the joy that this time of year usually brings.

Through it all there are still bright gleaming moments of great things to be thankful and happy for; Friends and family; the sights, sounds and smells of the season; a warm loving home to come home too and the joy of being able to see family who live far away. 

Compared to many, I know that am very lucky indeed and I am grateful for all that I do have. I wish everyone the ability to see the wonderful things that they do have already... be grateful for the little things you have. Those little things may very well be more than some could ever hope for.

Things will get better - I hope... I believe... I have faith. I know. :) They just have to!

I wish one and all, all of the happiness that this season has to offer no matter where it is that you come from or what it is that you believe.