Monday, 31 December 2007


Claire and I went to see the Disney film, Enchanted. We really enjoyed it and thought it was worth going to the cinema for, rather than just watch it on DVD at home. We only have our laptops to watch them in, which are a little small. Claire tells me that her dad has a TV so large that his lounge looks like a cinema! We don't even have a television. This is because watching TV rarely makes me feel good. Therefore I don't want to use either my money or my time on it.

Here is an interesting perspective on television programs and how it affects the viewer. Check it out to see how it affects our nervous system. 3.44 mins.

Anyway, back to the film Enchanted.
The main character, Gisselle, has such an innocence about her that she reminds me of a favourite book of mine, Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter. Many people deride this way of thinking/acting as stupid and naive. But I think this has a lot of merit.
For those people who have never read the book I will give you a flavour.

Pollyanna is an 11 year old girl and she has a view of the world that is unique. She believes everyone is good and treats them as such. She assumes everyone has the purest motives for their actions. (It has been shown by research that people rise to the expectations of others so this is a wonderful way of changing people's thinking and behaviour.) She is a friendly and outgoing girl and through her conversations with the people that she meets she changes them. She has a game that she plays called "The Glad Game" and she encouraged everyone to play it. You usually play the Glad Game when something bad or unfortunate has happened. You have to think of something that you are glad about. For instance, when she received a pair of crutches one Christmas instead of a doll, her dad said, "Be glad that yu don't need them!".

The most famous film of the book was made in 1960 and starred Halyley Mills. Unfortunately Pollyanna is portrayed in this version as a bit sickly sweet. There is a great version however, a TV film made in 2003 that is far superior. This version has a more real feeling and although it is set in England rather than the US, it is closer to the book in essence. The first time I watched it was from a rented DVD from Amazon.

Anyway, back to Enchanted once more. :-) Giselle assumes the couple about to get a divorce love each other very much and because of the things she says, they see each other and their relationship in a different light and decided to stay together.

It would be great if we could all spread some happiness around the world by the things we think, do and say. We really never know where our little ripples of thought, action and words will end up and who they will effect.

Let's strive for influencing as many people for the good as we can in this coming year. :-)

Friday, 28 December 2007

My Life Since Kuwait

I left Kuwait in June 2006. With my belongings held in a shipping warehouse, I flew to the USA for the summer. (NOTE - if you are having your stuff hanging around in a hot warehouse it is best not to pack scented candles. They melted into weird shapes and the smell impregnated a plastic beaker.)


I flew to Bozeman Montana via London, New York and Salt Lake City. The whole journey took many many hours as I had an overnight stop-over in New York. This was a blessing because I was able to check into a motel and sleep in a bed enabling me to have a good night's sleep.

I stayed with a friend in Bozeman and she kindly lent me her car whilst she worked. I got toiletries at Walmart and visited another friend. I then got a lift 70 miles to where I was staying in Paradise Valley.

I attended a church conference, and volunteered as Conference Program Assistant. The following week I attended a week long seminar at the same place. I then did some voluntary cooking for a group of wonderful young people who were attending a camping retreat right in the mountains. I did this the year before, but now I had a team mate which made it easier and more enjoyable. After that I cleaned the campground showers - lots of scrubbing! I also tackled some of the self contained rooms where people had stayed during the conference. Weather and scenery was glorious and I enjoyed it all.


At the beginning of August I flew back to Britain. I went to stay with my daughters in their tiny flat in Cardiff. Whilst working in Kuwait I paid their rent for a two bed flat with a large lounge. Now I had no job so they got a cheaper, smaller place - a one bed flat. They used the lounge as another bedroom. It was a little squashed, especially with my summer luggage, but I was useful and helped to decorate the place.

I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do but I didn't really want to get a teaching job. I needed a place to live so I searched for nanny/housekeeping/carer jobs. I started a nanny/housekeeper job for a New Zealand family living in Windsor in September.

I did not know they were famous until I mentioned the guy's name back in Cardiff. Sean used to captain the All Blacks rugby team. He is a modest, genuinely nice man and the rest of his family are lovely too.

The work was enjoyable and quite easy. I took the 8 year old girl to school and back, supervised her homework and sometimes made her evening meal. I also did some errands, cleaned the house, ironed the designer clothes and occasionally took the dog for a walk. Neither parent had regular schedules and both did the school run sometimes. They would occasionally say the house didn't need cleaning so it was a flexible, no pressure job. I enjoy housekeeping for other people, so much more than for myself. They had just moved into a large house with a garden adjoining the River Thames and embarked on an extensive remodeling job of the whole house. They are possibly one of the few people in England to fill in a pool to create other rooms in its place!

They did not have a flat for me until October, so I lived in the swimming pool room. Unfortunately the water was freezing as the pump had broken, so my dream of getting out of bed and having a swim before breakfast did not come to pass.

Eventually I had a lovely flat over the enormous garage/storage rooms. The downside was that they did not want me to have any visitors because they did not want strangers on their property. This was a laugh as their property was overrun by builders for months! They also did not like me booking flights for weekends in Europe because they might need me to babysit at the last minute. I understood both these views. Maybe a young person who had not led an independent life before would not find the restrictions inconvenient. So I realised that this job was really not for me, however nice the family was.

The family went to NZ during December and I took the opportunity to do a bit of supply teaching. I realised that I actually missed teaching children and that although I had accommodation and the use of a car, the wage was not enough for my commitments. Ryan Air might not charge much for the flight but traveling either side of both airports took it's toll on by bank balance.

At that time I was helping to organise a 4 day conference in Frankfurt in October. This was for the European members of my church. We also produced newsletters and had many phone and physical meetings. So it was a very stressful time for me. During the conference I realised I had not had a proper home for 4 months! Being unemployed, a change of job and organising a conference and publishing newsletters was a recipe for stress big time.


In oder to leave that job I needed to find somewhere to live and get a car of my own. So I bought a car on ebay and moved to a room in a shared house in a leafy suburb of Reading. It is a large town where there are lots of supply teaching jobs. It wasn't until I moved into the shared house that I realised that the other people in the house smoked! It was an unhappy month as the live-in landlady also sometimes took drugs. And my car was extensively vandalised along with hers.

I found a lovely 2 bed flat overlooking a large park of grass and trees which I share with my youngest daughter Claire as she needed somewhere to live too. Rent is so expensive here that it made sense for us to share. At the time she was doing supply nursery nursing (child care at private day nurseries), but she soon got a permanent job in a nursery in Theale, a village just outside Reading.

At first I worked for an agency as a supply teacher every day. I enjoy doing this, especially when asked to go back to the same schools. During the summer I was asked to do some work in day nurseries, which I also enjoyed.

In June I was asked by the Head of a large junior school that I regularly visited, if I would like to share a class of 8 year old children, taking them Thursdays and Fridays. This school is situated in a large council estate and the families are 3rd generation unemployed. The children are therefore deprived, with little support from home, either emotionally or academically. This means that there are several very challenging kids in each class and teaching them is a little like trying to get blood out of a stone. However the Head teacher is very nurturing and all the teachers are supportive and work very well as a team. I always enjoyed going their because of this. I even told her that the reason why I didn't have a 'proper' job at the moment was because I wanted to have a week or two off in July every year (when British schools are still in session). She said they would work around that, so I accepted the post. I love getting jobs without applying and being interviewed! They also wanted me to work every Wednesday in different classes, enabling the teacher to do planning.

It is great being part of a staff team again and I enjoyed helping 120 children from years 3 and 4 put on a song and dance show of the different cultures of the world. The staff also put on a short pantomime for the kids which was great fun for everyone but we only had one and a half rehearsals! There are pros and cons being part time. I don't have the full responsibility for the planning, preparation and evaluating, but then I miss the staff meetings with their discussions and training and don't always know what is going on in school as things change to fit the circumstances etc.

Montana Again

Just for a week to attend Helen and Orion's wedding on June 24th. A truly wonderful day. I am grateful to have been a part of such a joyful occasion, especially as mother of the bride. Meeting Helen's father again after 15 years was not quite as nerve wracking as I thought it would be. The bride and groom looked radiant as did the bridesmaids and groomsmen. And Claire looked wonderful as a bridesmaid. Here is a creative slide show of the glorious day:

EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique

I learned this whilst living in Kuwait from a site on the Internet. When I got to England I did a level two training in London. I use it personally to help with my own emotions and physical ailments and teach it and use it in the schools I work in. (See for more info on the technique and look at other posts of mine for info on how i use it in school.) The children doing the show at school gave a much better performance because EFT banished their nerves.

I was very grateful to have the EFT tool at my fingertips during my journey to the Montana this last summer. I took the National Express coach to Gatwick airport. The coach was delayed and so time was a little tight. I therefore decided to use the toilet on the bus to save a little time at the airport. However, as I was washing my hands the door flew open catapulting me down the gangway. I hit my backside on the armrest of a seat before landing on the floor. When I got my breath back, whilst still on the floor, I began to tap. Flying wasn't the best thing to do with a hemorrhaging buttock but I tapped a lot of the journey and by the time I got to Bozeman, 14 hours later, I did not need the wheelchair. There was an enormous bruise but I managed to walk down the aisle with no limp.

Violet Fire

The Violet Fire is another very wonderful technique for helping with emotions and ailments and I use it in conjunction with EFT but they are both most often used on their own.

What is the violet fire? I hear you ask. Well, I will let the person who introduced it to me, Elizabeth Clare Prophet tell you in her own words. "It is an invisible spiritual energy that appears violet to those who have developed their spiritual vision...... (It) has many purposes. It revitalizes and invigorates us. It can heal emotional and even physical problems, improve relationships and make life easier. More important, the violet flame changes negative energy, which makes it an effective tool for healing. Today we are learning more than ever before about how disease can be rooted in our mental, emotional and spiritual states. By transforming negative thoughts and feelings, the violet flame provides a platform for our healing. I call it the highest gift of God to the universe. I think you will agree once you try it for yourself." (Violet Flame to Heal body, mind and soul. Elizabeth Clare Prophet. copyright 1997 by Summit University Press.) Check it out at for more information if you are interested.

It has changed my life. I am now more positive and joyful after the application of this over the years. It has even healed my arthritic elbow and enabled me to be more calm and tolerant with people.

In November I conducted a Violet Flame workshop in London with some friends, which was very well received. One lady said she could feel the energy tingling in her body and she felt light and joyous. If I am ever feeling depressed, a few violet flame mantras banish that state fast.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

A Cracking Christmas show

The children in years 3 and 4 of the school I work part time in have been practicing for a show called A Cracking Christmas. The story goes that 4 children get given a box of magic crackers that when pulled will transport them around the world seeing the cultures and at the same time hearing about a very special story of long ago.

So different groups of children perform dances from different countries whilst the whole group sing the songs. They visit Spain, Hawaii, Africa, India, China, and the USA. These visits are in the original script and so there are songs to sing whilst the children dance. However, with so many children, we extended the show by having dances from Brazil (samba), Ireland and New Zealand (the Hakka).

Early on in the rehearsal schedule I introduced EFT to the 140 or so children. I gave them all a copy of the Happy Tapping poem by Don White to take home (with a reference to at the bottom for parents). I changed it slightly by missing out a word that didn't fit the rhythm.

Happy Tapping is lots of fun
You can do it on your own - or with anyone!
Tap tap tap on the top of your head,
Tap tap tap do just what I said!
Tap on your eyebrow just near your nose.
Then the side of your eye where the hard bone grows.
Now on the bone - under your eye,
Don't poke your eye or you'll make yourself cry!
Now under your nose - but over your lips
Tap tap tap - with your finger tips!
Now under your lip - but over your chin,
Just on the bit where your chin goes in.
Now under your collarbone - but over your chest,
Under the bump of the bone is best!
The last on the list is under you arm,
To make sure you get it right - slap with your palm!

If you still don't feel good - don't go to bed,
Start tapping again on the top of your head!

I suggested they tap on the points whilst thinking of the day's events before sleep. Some children have reported to me that they have actually been doing this!

During rehearsal we tapped on the boring waiting for their turn, not being able to remember or even do the dance steps and forgetting their lines.

Just before they went on stage for the dress rehearsal we tapped on being nervous and scared about tripping up going on and off the stage, forgetting the dance steps, forgetting lines, not being able to sit still and quietly, and scared of the audience. They were performing to the younger children and their previous teachers. As they were lining the corridor to enter the hall i suggested that if they were still nervous to continue tapping. Some did whilst others said they were not nervous.

The dress rehearsal went really well with no hitches.

Altogether they did 4 performances in order to fit all the families in. Before the first two - one in the afternoon and one at night - they tapped for being scared because their family was in the audience and also that their family was not in the audience to cover all bases. On the evening performance, just as it was starting, we realised that one of the main actors was not there and so had to hastily persuade a girl to stand in. She took the script with her and after her first scene I tapped on her non-stop during the first dance. I tapped on her again during the second dance but after that she did not take the script on stage and did not need any more tapping. She was a star!

I noticed a few children tapping just before they got up to do their dance. it was wonderful to know that they now had a tool they could use and that they used it.

I teach a few different classes in that school and have taught a few of the older children EFT for anger management and sometimes get stopped in the corridor by a child who wants reminding of the tapping spots saying they were angry at a kid in the class.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

EFT in Assembly

I got a call from the supply teaching agency to go to a school this afternoon for a year 6 class. The school was quite near my house, I have been there a few times before and liked it.
So there I was in the staff room having a bite to eat and the Head of year 6 said that he would be taking junior assembly this afternoon, but because he didn't know that he was supposed to be doing it he had not prepared anything.

I piped up that I could be a guest speaker and teach them all EFT. He agreed. I had already decided to teach the class EFT so after silent reading that is what I did. I conducted it like a workshop I did with teachers in Kuwait a few years ago.

The children wrote down a physical or emotional thing that was bothering them. Some found it difficult to think of anything, whilst others thought of three. I then asked them to rate it on a scale where 0 meant everything was fine and 10 meant they could not stand it any more.

I then chose a few children to come out to the front and work on their problems whilst the class tapped along. They then rated their problem again and wrote down the rating number it had changed to.

Ah, you may be wondering what I am talking about here! What is EFT and what does it mean to 'tap along'?

Sorry to confuse you. Here is an explanation.
EFT is short for Emotional Freedom Technique. It is an energy therapy and was simplified by Gary Craig from a very complicated version. Gary wants the whole world to benefit from this amazing technique and so you can download a free manual on how to do it at his website http:/ . You can also see a really cool video where a guy who used to have an injured back and subsequently MS is now jumping up and down after doing EFT. (this will have taken him many hours but hey, can conventional medicine produce a similar story?)

Gary does such a great job so I encourage you to explore that site. I will just tell you that the tapping is done on the meridian points on the body (mainly the face) and is a form of acupressure.

Easy to learn and very effective.
The children's problems ranged from headache, anger because teacher took my phone off me, hurt back from a fall in the playground, upset that year 3 girls were fighting at lunchtime, and a teacher telling me off for something I didn't do.

During assembly I had a few kids come up who wanted to share their problems - one physical and one emotional, whilst the juniors tapped along.

I suggested that they do this each evening whilst thinking of the day's events, especially when someone has done/said something to hurt them.
They could also tap when struggling with a maths problem or faced with a test.

I am so glad that I listened to and acted upon that little voice within that was encouraging me to volunteer to do the assembly.