Looking back on 2017 and forward to 2018

At the beginning of the year I chose the word Trust and wrote a post about my reasons and goals.

In July I revisited the word and wrote an update about my progress.

So as the end of the year approaches how am I getting on?

There have been times when I have failed completely to trust God. Other times I have been really encouraged about the way things have worked out.

A notable example was when I began to make plans to travel and include attending the ACW Writers’ Day in London. I had decided on dates to travel, but not booked my train tickets. Then I changed my mind. I realised that I didn’t need to go. The trip would have been for my benefit and not for that of my Mum, with whom I would stay. I would miss a number of events near home for the sake of a single event in London.

I went to our cathedral (on the same day as the writers’ day) for a choral workshop and a festival service with presentations of awards, including one to a member of our church choir. On the Sunday morning I sang in the choir at the confirmation service in the parish church. In the afternoon hubby and I went to a piano recital at a theatre in our local area. It was probably the busiest weekend of the year so far!

Then a few weeks later I made the trip south and found that it was entirely for Mum’s benefit. We had a really enjoyable time with her friends and activities at her church. I had seen some of my own friends on earlier visits.

Seen from the train

Seen from the train

I was also blessed on my journeys. My journey south was on the day of a storm, which affected transport on my route later in the day. (The trains were running normally when I passed the affected area.) I had to change trains in 13 minutes according to the timetable. The train I was on was running late. I didn’t panic, but waited patiently for the lift in order to change platforms. My next train was due to leave in 2 minutes as I boarded it. In fact I think it waited a little longer for other passengers from the delayed train. My return journey was on time all the way. (This is a journey which takes at least 8 hours in total with 3 trains.)

Other ways in which I have behaved differently include stepping down from a rota, where there seems to be no shortage of volunteers, in order to have more energy for music and for my other activities.

I wonder which word I should choose for 2018.  The second lesson of St Peter Chapter 1 verse 5-7 has a list of qualities which should be added to faith. The books of poetry tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Micah tells us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

One word?

Discipleship. Learning to live God’s way.


A to Z Challenge Reflections Post 2017

During this year’s challenge I was pleased to revisit some blogs I had found (or whose owners had found me) in previous A to Zs.

I also became aware of some new (to me) participants.

My list may not be complete, but I am adding some notes about each of the links I provide below in the hope that visitors to my blog will find some like-minded bloggers to visit and perhaps follow.

The A to Z Challenge’s founder Arlee Bird blogged about time at http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

http://mailadventures.blogspot.co.uk/ This is a blog about all things connected with postcards, snail mail and stamps. http://mailadventures.blogspot.co.uk/p/links.html lists many more similar sites.

https://bobscotney.blogspot.co.uk/ Houses some real some not. (Bob is a blogger I began to follow last year). He also blogs about postage stamps each week.

https://sratteberry.wordpress.com/ Shawna completed the A to Z Challenge with aplomb. Her blog was new to me this year.

http://heartofareadywriter.blogspot.co.uk/ Linda blogged about hymns this time. I have been following her blog since a previous challenge.

https://lynnelives.wordpress.com/ Lynne joined the challenge late this year, but caught up and posted photos of her garden. (One advantage of a list-free challenge.)

http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/ Hilary is a veteran blogger. This year she looked at rare breeds of animals and used her imagination for the difficult letters. (Unicorn anyone?)

http://mainelywrite.blogspot.co.uk/ Donna found personalised registration plates and wrote verses- a fun challenge.

http://curiousasacathy.com/ Cathy sketched her way from A to Z.

http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/aprils-z-challenge-reveal.html Heavenly bodies (i.e. stars)

http://laurelgarver.blogspot.co.uk/ This is the blog of an author. I nearly missed her comment as it landed in spam. She issued a writing prompt each day.

https://wordwacker.wordpress.com/ Haiku word puzzles

https://lunanoctis.wordpress.com/  Natalie found me; she blogged about Musical groups.

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/ A blogger I discovered the first time I did the A to Z. Martha blogged about musicals.

https://seezooeyrun.wordpress.com/ Unlike me Gail is a Mormon. I first encountered her blog, when she A to Z’d about family history, something Mormons are experts at.

https://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/a-to-z-april-challenge/ a blogger I admire, this year blogging about the streets of Paris.

https://evelyneholingue.com/ Evelyne chose a French theme again this year – authors.

https://mymorningcupofcoffee.blogspot.co.uk/ Debby blogged about life in the 60s.

https://psaltermark.com/ Mark blogged about the Hebrew Bible.  In some ways his posts and mine complemented each other. There was only one letter for which we chose the same word. That day I had two words! I have been following Mark on Twitter for a while, but our posts were written completely independently.

https://theartisticchristian.wordpress.com/ John has completed the A to Z challenge previously.

I’d also like to thank the following people for their encouragement through the challenge:

Arlee Bird, http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/, Susanne Matthews https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/, Rosemary http://charliebritten.wordpress.com/, Susan http://colormewriting.blogspot.co.uk/ (A to Z on parenting young adults), Captain Jill https://captjillsjourneys.wordpress.com/ (Travel), John Holton, who set up a place for WordPress bloggers to link their posts and did his A to Z on https://thesoundofonehandtyping.wordpress.com/, Donna a book blogger from A to Z http://www.girl-who-reads.com/, Lydia https://lydiahowe.com/ a writer and enthusiastic A to Zer, Beth https://bethlapinsatozblog.wordpress.com/ ,A.J. Sefton Author https://www.ajsefton.com/, Mandy http://blog.youreverydaytraveler.com/, Kaddu http://www.mysteriouskaddu.com/ Liam who posted Photos for the challenge https://othemts.wordpress.com/, Katy trail creations (lovely quilts) https://slfinnell1965.wordpress.com/, Marna https://authormarnareed.wordpress.com/ blogging about mythology in her second A to Z, Cathy http://curiousasacathy.com/ and others, who liked my posts without leaving a comment. Also a supportive follower on Twitter and Mark for numerous retweets.

Without a sign-up list I shared my posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, the A to Z challenge page and associated Facebook page and the A to Z page on WordPress. Google+ was the least effective. It is impossible to tell where exactly on Facebook clicks to my blog originated.

It has been a worthwhile challenge. Whether I shall find the time, inspiration and energy to take part again next year remains to be seen. An list of my A to Z posts is on a page.

I intend to link this post to the A to Z Reflections posts on Monday 8th May.

Reflections of debris caught on a fence

Reflections of debris caught on a fence

My usual mixture of posts will resume on a weekly basis, beginning with What I read in April next Thursday.  I’d like to thank my non-A to Z-ing followers for their patience during April.

If you like my photo, why not visit Sue’s words and pictures?


How blogging and social media are enriching my life

I began blogging almost by accident. I had a writing project in mind. A-M was encouraging me to get on with it. She had already shown me that blogging was a way of sharing writing. Rather than bombard her with emails, I decided to start my own blog. That was in 2012 – the year we really were empty-nesters.

After about 8 months of blogging on Sue’s considered trifles, where I mainly wrote to a formula and found that my regular readers did not appreciate more experimental posts I began Sue’s Trifles. This was a place to practise writing. I explored the web for challenges. It was late March 2013 and I discovered that the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge was about to begin. I signed up with little idea about how to proceed.

I wrote my posts as I went along. By the last week of April I was ahead of the deadlines. I had fun! I am still following and interacting with some of the bloggers I encountered online through that challenge.

I was persuaded to join Facebook to be able to see the photos another member of the family was posting. It was not something I’d have done otherwise. I had been following public Facebook posts from a particular band tour, so I had some idea about how Facebook worked.

I soon realised I could use it to promote my blogs, but I haven’t really done that well.

More recently (in 2015) I joined the Association of Christian Writers and discovered their activities on Facebook. I also belong to a poetry writing group. It is these groups, which I enjoy most on Facebook.

I knew less about Twitter at the time I joined. Having signed up for Blog Action Day 2013 I was under the impression that a lot of interaction would take place on Twitter. It was a problem to know who to follow at first as I knew hardly anybody involved.

However I got started and wrote a few posts about my early experiences on Twitter.

I prefer Twitter to Facebook. I find it a useful source of information, entertaining and providing some beautiful photography in a quickly accessed format.

I have made new friends on Twitter and Facebook.  My twitter friends are a less homogeneous group.

The interesting part of this story is the way in which my blogging and social media activities began to escape from the computer screen into real life. The first blogger I met was Fletch the Perchcrow. I have visited him and his assistants at Wordsworth House and Garden several times over the blogging years (and earlier). Fletch and I were both short-listed in the first UK Blog awards in 2014. As he couldn’t attend the award ceremony, I went as his representative as well as for my first two blogs. It gave me something interesting to talk about to the other bloggers in London. Hardly any of them knew about Cockermouth, where William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived as children.  (Cockermouth is over 300 miles from London by road.)

At the awards ceremony I also met a handful of bloggers I had met through Twitter chats. One of them made sure I picked up a goody bag!

In October 2015 I attended a writer’s day in London and met some people I had been in contact with online. In June 2016 I went on a writers’ weekend and met even more (and some for the second time). I attended another meeting in London in October 2016. The speakers at these events were all inspirational. I hope something from them has rubbed off on my writing!

Among my other interests I regularly blog about books I have read. If I am able to connect with publishers, authors or organisations with a strong link to any of the books, I do so. When I was given a book by an acquaintance, who had contributed a poem to it, I was pleasantly surprised. (I may well have bought the book, because of its local interest.) My activities online led to an invitation to the book launch, where there happened to be live music from a friend of A-M and interesting conversations with like-minded people.

For Christmas 2016 A-M gave me a book, which has led to another adventure. It was Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane, which I reviewed on Sue’s Trifles. As  members of the National Trust hubby and I had received news about an exhibition at Wordsworth House arising from the work of Robert Macfarlane and his parents, who are talented photographers. I mentioned the exhibition in my blog post and tweeted about it. An invitation arrived through the ether to an evening event at Wordsworth House with Robert Macfarlane and his parents and others including those involved with the exhibition. It was a very enjoyable evening.

I have skipped over the fact that I was recommended via a Tweet from someone, who contributed a word to the Landmarks’ glossary, to read another book by Robert Macfarlane and others. This book is Holloway. It is an exquisite little book. I had to request it from the library. A-M has a copy and had been inspired by it to write a lovely song. She has recorded a demo, which Robert Macfarlane has listened to and enjoyed. So have hubby and I.

So the boundaries between online activity and so-called real-life are becoming blurred. The positive aspect of this is that connections are made. Writers encourage one another. There are conversations between writers, artists, photographers, song-writers and others, who use the internet for business purposes. It is all about networking and making connection. A published writer has promised to buy my first poetry book, when I eventually find a way of getting it into print. (I am still an amateur or hobby writer.)

My third blog resulted from a day trip and has led to many more visits to interesting places.

This post is appearing on Easter Day. I wish all my readers the blessings of Easter. May peace and joy be yours.