Blogember: Five favourite blogs…

blogember

Today I get to share five of my favourite blogs.

1. Adventures of Holly

I finally got to meet Holly who has moved from New Zealand to England this past summer. Like pretty much all my online to IRL friends, she is exactly like she seems online. She regularly cheers me up and makes me smile with the things she shares on Instagram too, making dull days much less boring! :)

2. Making Memories

Of course, I wouldn’t have met Holly had I not ‘met’ her online through Rebecca’s blog. Rebecca I’ve now met a number of times, and the Home And Away fan twitter trio of me, Rebecca and Ruth have now twice met up in London to go to musicals! Hopefully Holly might be join us on a trip for 2014! :)

3. Storyline

Donald Miller is probably one of the few ‘Christian authors’ that I can read and not get irritated by! Storyline features all sorts of contributions, and I regularly find myself inspired or challenged into pondering a viewpoint I hadn’t considered before with the content on this blog.

4. Nicola Writes

Nicola is my fellow alien on Planet Christian (or that’s what we nicknamed ourselves many moons ago). I think it helps that we’re both often on the same page when it comes to our values. Both of us became Christians while at university and neither of us grew up going to church. We both did science degrees at university. We both believe in God. We both get frustrated at religious culture. We both love cake. We both love Alexander McCall Smith books. We both sponsor children through Compassion. We’re both feminists probably too. Equally there’s lots of differences between us too. And I’m so glad we’re friends and that she now shares her writings and thoughts online – especially when we live 100s of miles apart now.

5. Cameroon Girl

The main reason I like this blog is because, how on earth would I be able to keep tabs on my baby sister without it?! It’s hard to keep up with where her, my Dad and baby brother when what they are doing, living and planning on doing seems to change every time you manage to get in contact with them! (I say baby brother and sister – they are both taller than me by a good number of inches and now aged 18 and 22 respectively). My sister most definitely lives in a completely different world from the one I grew up and live in, but it’s interesting to hear her tales of privileged ex-pat life in a country so vastly different from Scotland. I’m proud of how she’s coped being so far from friends and family in a totally different culture.

And of course there are so many other blogs I love too – please do check out my blogroll for more details (though it is likely in need of updating!!) :)

To all my online friends from 4 years ago…and to Mama Africa…

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4 years ago, as the 8th July dawned, this was the view from my window as the plane I’d been on all night flew over the continent of Africa.

As I reflect back, one of my vivid memories, was the overwhelming amount of support I got from my online community. I remember people e-mailing me and sending me money to help fund the trip. But more than that, I remember spending a year humming and hawing and spilling out my nerves about going and everything that would be involved to get there. The main one: flying on 6 planes.

The last time I had been on a long-haul flight from Sydney to London and a young girl had got travel sick while sitting next to me. To say I flipped out would be a mild understatement. But as I sat in Edinburgh Airport I remember the tweets from friends all over the world letting me know they were praying that it wouldn’t happen again. I remember texting my wonderful friend Vicky every day – fitting all I could into the precious 150 characters so she could relay it to our smallgroup.

I remember the day the lovely Michelle let me use the internet in her home so I could leave a message on my blog – I knew lots of people wanted to know if I’d met ‘the woman in red’ and how things were going.

I met amazing people. So many friendships began in Durban. I left part of my heart in South Africa that year. It’s true what they say about ‘Mama Africa’.

So today, I want to say to my friends – the friends I made offline and the friends I made online – THANK YOU. You helped me to get South Africa and back. You helped me discover the meaning of themba.

I don’t think I could have got there without you. Those tweets, blog comments, e-mails and facebook messages those years ago meant more than the world could to me.

And South Africa — I hope I can return to you one day…

A is for Aberdeen, B is for board sports, C is for campfire songs…

Today I should hopefully be in Aberdeen with the Soul Surfers crew – and I’m hoping some other friends too!! :)

feb soul sunday

Speaking of, Soul Surfers one of our crew has started a blog documenting a challenge he has set himself of ‘365 days of stoke‘ – basically spending at least 5 minutes of every day on some kind of ‘board’ (surf, skate, indo…) for the next year. Do check it out! (And welcome to the blogosphere dude!!)

Meanwhile, this past week I had to take my friend’s Guide Unit for the night, and I made sure to teach them ‘the Surfer Style’ verse of Boom Chicka Boom. Do you think I could exchange skills during the CS weekend in Polzeath – surfers teach me board skills, if I teach them campfire skills? Mini Kahuna is already working on ordering me into the waves as he declared last Sunday afternoon ‘Laura Anne take her glasses off. Laura Anne go surfing‘ while talking about going to the beach in June!

Looking for your blog recommendations…

Ok blog friends. I’ve now been ill for a total of 8 days. And I have serious cabin fever. And lack of energy.

I’m looking for distraction in the form of blogs!

What blogs do you read that you’d recommend I should check out?

Leave your recommendations in a comment below (if you leave more than 2 links in a comment, wordpress may flag you as spam…just a wee warning!!)

 

Thanks x

Compassion Bloggers in Peru

My journey with Compassion began in August 2002. Yep – it’s been 10 years since I began sponsoring a boy in Ethiopia, who has grown into a young man who has just finished his education. Several blogging friends – namely Lindsey and Pete – have done Compassion blogging trips. Pete to India in 2009 and Lindsey to Guatemala in 2010. With all my heart I wanted to sponsor a ton more children when they went out to those countries…but I couldn’t at the time.

This year, I was finally able to, and I started sponsoring a boy in Indonesia.

Follow the Compassion Bloggers in Peru

Several times a year, Compassion bloggers go out to see some of the projects and meet families helped by the week of Compassion. It gives the charity transparency, is a huge encouragement for the projects and makes people human beings rather than just statistics or faces on a leaflet as these bloggers share the stories of real people.

Today Shaun, Angie, Jennifer, Kevin & Layla will be travelling to Peru to spend a week with folks working with Compassion there. By clicking on the widgets to the right – you can follow them as they post videos, photos and stories from their trip. You can also find out more about sponsoring a child in Peru through Compassion.

A very airmail Christmas…

So you might have realised on twitter, that myself, Rebecca & Holly have been cooking up an international Christmas blog project. I had loads of you who participated in last year’s Christmas blog party last year which was super lovely. This year though we’re having a joint blog party that is even more special as we’re taking it offline.

And you’re all invited – whether you have a blog or not!

Our only hope is that when you have finished reading this you will say ‘yes’ to taking part, because we’re doing this for a very special reason.

We’re calling it ‘A Very Airmail Christmas’. A Christmas card exchange with bloggers and tweeters from all around the world!

Let us tell you why we’re doing this…

Rebecca is a nurse. There was a lovely lady Rebecca had the pleasure of caring for over the last month who won’t get a chance to do all the fun things she loved doing at Christmas, as cancer took her life away last week at the age of 41.  We’ll call her ‘Robin‘. I am sure many readers have heard stories like these, we’re then affected but soon we get on with life. We all do it.

It was Robin that started this whole idea of doing a Christmas Card Exchange. So I’ll let Rebecca tell you the story behind it…

When I first met Robin the whole nursing team and I were overcome by how humble she was. She spent most of her days trying to get fit enough for chemotherapy, her husband doted on her and her twins would draw a picture for her everyday after school. However, Robin was growing weaker and it soon became clear that she would never get her chemo and would never reach her favourite time of year…Christmas. Over the last few weeks we had been having a few chats and conversations about a multitude of things. She was really prepared but also aware that making it to Christmas was not a possibility so she wrote letters and said her final goodbyes. However, a couple of days ago we got talking about Christmas and how people lose sense of it’s ‘true meaning’. I never got around to asking her if she was religious or what she believed in about Christmas. I just knew enough that Christmas was her favourite time of year. But it was one thing she said a couple of days before her passing that really struck me.

Robin said “if I had a Christmas wish now it would be really fun, Rebecca, if everyone in the world could just send anyone a Christmas card“. I was really confused and when I mentioned that I do send out Christmas cards she corrected herself. She said “No what I mean is it would be fun to send a Christmas card to someone you have never met. We all send our friends and family cards but not to anyone else. It would be fun to spread good will to other people as well too.

Doesn’t she have a point, you think?

Robin passed away just how she wanted last week. It was extremely hard on everyone as we all thought the same: She left this world too soon. The following day her twins and husband came to see us and thank us by giving us a Christmas card. We were all touched beyond belief and now I want to carry Robin’s idea on to the rest of you.

Now we have to ask you the question: Would you like to take part in a Christmas Card Exchange with other bloggers and tweeters this year?

If you would like to participate, please follow these steps before November 28th 2012:

1) Click here to e-mail your address (it can be your home, work or anywhere else address that you’d like a card posted to you at). Please be assured your addresses will be held confidentially and not shared with anyone else apart from the person who will be sending you the card.

2) We will then email you the address of someone else that you can send a card to this year.

3) Once you have posted your card all you need to do is wait for you’re the card that you will receive from another generous blogger.

The only rule is that if you’re paired up with someone who lives abroad then you need to be willing to send the card to another country. We hope this will also be seen as a way of connecting with new people. You can also take a picture of your card and post it on your twitter or blog feed, and I will set up a page for a gallery of Christmas cards sent around the world!

We really hope you take part in this Christmas card exchange. When Rebecca told Robin’s husband of the idea this week and his face just lit up, his words were “this would be Christmas music to her ears.”

The more the merrier, so tell your blog friends about it! Let’s wish everyone ‘A Very Airmail Christmas’ this year! :)

Hi, my name is Laura Anne and I’m a blog slacker…

This week, I was so happy to see a post on Lindsey’s blog pop up on my blog reader. I’d missed her writing and I really love the blogs of my fellow singleton sisters (not that I don’t love all you married folks too, but I’m sure you’ll understand appreciating someone who is at a similar ]life stage’ to you!)

Reading her words was like a punch in the guts though.

“I have been avoiding God.

This place right here, this simple little blog, is my sacred space. This place right here is where I come and wrestle with God. This place right here is where He shows me His grace, His beauty, and His ability to meet me in sadness, in fear, and in joy. This place right here is where I learn from life.”

Ouch.

Why? Because I know I’ve been doing the same. For sure I’ve put up posts every few days, but most of the time I’ve put little effort into them. I realise that a lot of people read my blog because of the openness about my faith in God when it’s been strong and also my doubts and struggles too. I’ve prayed for other people, but it’s been a long time since I sat and had a chat with God about me. I think because I’m afraid of what I might hear from Him.

And if I’m really honest, I’m afraid of what others might think of me. I wonder who reads this blogs – I know it gets 100s of views per week, but not many people leave comments. So I have no idea who is reading this or what they think about what I share here. I usually don’t mind when people disagree with me or think I’m a bit nuts – as long as I know what they are thinking!

So I guess I say all this to declare that I want to be better!

And that you’d really help me to be better if you’re lurking without saying anything – please do leave a wee comment! The first one gets moderated for approval, but once you’ve been approved your comments will appear immediately after that. :)

 

One Lovely Blog Award

So catching up on some blogs this evening, I discovered that the lovely Holly gave me a ‘One Lovely Blog Award’. :)

So I’ve to nominate 15 blogs I love to read for the award too. These are in the order of distance of the blog writer from where I live from furthest to closest (I hope – my geography may be in need of refreshing!!)

The Adventures of Holly

A Little Peas of Our Mind

Without Wax

Carpe Diem

Faith, Hope & Lovebugs

The Owens Family

Color Me Katie

Making Memories

Smile Through It

Nicola Writes…

Linus and co

Mairead

Lessons from the Journey

Learning to Love…

Apparently I also need to share 7 things you might not already know about me. Hmm…I’ve been blogging for so long now that I’m not sure what to share that you don’t already know – ha ha! But I’ll give it go…

1. I really miss dancing and have been for a while considering going to an adult ballet class. I was ready to book last year but I sprained my ankle and it took a long time to heal, then the timings didn’t work out. I have however bought a pair of ballet shoes which are currently sitting in a cupboard waiting for the elastics to be sewn on…so maybe?

2. One of my favourite greatest sentimental value possessions is my purple fleece camp blanket. Sadly it’s currently in a box in the attic but I hope it can be retrieved soon. Especially as I got my first badge in 10 years to be added to it at the Jubilee Beacon night.

3. You might already know this from facebook or twitter, but it looks like I’m going to be starting a ‘Senior Section’ unit (this is for people coming up from Guides who either want to be young leaders or do awards like Duke of Edinburgh, Queen’s Guide and so on who are aged 14-25). I’m really excited as this is the age group I love to work with. However it’s been a looonng time since I did youth work like that so I’m a bit nervous.

4. I recently tried Pilates again with my friends from high school. OUCH. I really need to do it more often.

5. With the rubbish weather, and the fact that The Good Wife and The Mentalist have come to an end for another season, I went on search of a new American TV Drama. I found one. Revenge. Once again playing the game of ‘oh they’ve been in xxxx as a guest star!’ I even noticed that the pilot had been filmed on locations used in Wilmington for Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill. Yes. I’m a geek.

6. I’m not sure if Guiding is great for my mild predisposition for pyrotechnics. I’ve built 2 campfires in the space of a week. One in the rain no less. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain on Monday for my final campfire building for this school year.

7. I love Greek food, but I’ve never eaten proper Moussaka. If one day I can ever eat lamb again (though I just feel so guilty – lambs are too cute to eat!) I would like to try it.

 

A new look (again)

I get bored of my blog at least a few times a year, and so this afternoon I decided to give it a new look and update some stuff.

Like the photos – since the one on my ‘about’ page was taken over 3 years ago and I’m about 20lb heavier and my hair is probably double the length now. And I wear different glasses.

I still love the avatar my friend Diane created for me so it’s now taking prominent place on the ‘about me’ page. I’ve also updated my ‘Causes’ and my blogroll since I’ve got 2 more friends that have started blogging. Points if you can spot the additions to my blogroll!

Hope you like the new look – do let me know what you think!

 

We’re having another party – and you are cordially invited!

I love parties. I love having friends over and taking part in parties. Having our ‘Community’ blog party in September here was so much fun, I thought I’d try and have another one. So during the 12 days before and after Christmas Day, we’re having a ‘Christmas’ blog party.

Once again, I have a whole mixture of people with a whole mixture of thoughts. Because some of them asked for a ‘prompt’ I thought I’d show you the list, which lots of friends contributed to over facebook and twitter.

Holly

Jesus

Pagans

Hanukkah

Hogmanay

New Year

Beach

Summer

Family

Home

Brussel Sprouts

Nativity

Saviour

Hope

Stuffing

Decorations

Advent

Illegitimacy

Angels

Journey

Snow

Gifts

Star

Children

Birth

Traditions

There’ll be rants, anecdotes, recipes and who knows what else. And if you’d like to get in on the action, please do get in contact (which you can find out how to do on the ‘about laura anne‘ page). Even if you don’t want to contribute with a post, I hope you do pop in as others share by commenting on their posts!

Of course, I’ll also be (re)sharing some of my winter recipes (and maybe some summery ones to for my friends in the southern hemisphere) and having my annual nativity story rant (because it is tradition). Meanwhile, for those of you who like to see my ‘Edinburgh at Christmas‘ pictures, some new ones are over at my other blog. Plus a brand new ‘Translator‘ post for my Americaneze speaking friends!

Oh, and if anyone feels like contributing some storytelling of ‘The Night Before Christmas‘ we’ve only got Australia, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England represented so far. I think we need some more accents!! If you can make a vimeo/youtube video, let me know so I can add you to the collection for Christmas Eve!