Stories

Putting My Big Heart to Good Use

Ninety-five per cent of the time, I love people.  I genuinely love them with all my heart – I love spending time with them, engaging in conversation with them and showing them care.  It’s important for me that every person feels loved, cared about and listened to, because it’s horrible when you’re not or don’t feel that you are.  As I’ve said before, I never want anyone to feel the loneliness I feel or as out-of-place as I feel – it’s a horrible feeling to have.

Over the past week, I’ve put that love of people to good use by volunteering at the homeless shelter the religious denomination I’m part of puts on each year.  I’ve wanted to volunteer since it started, but I finally took the time to volunteer this year, which is a natural continuation of the time I’ve spent volunteering at the soup kitchen at the church I attend.

I began to look forward to going the shelter more each day, as I got to know some of the guests through numerous conversations.  It’s nice to watch them getting more and more comfortable with you, feeling able to share their stories and reveal more of themselves.  I personally believe that it is an honour when individuals share their stories with you, as they’re giving you an insight into their lives when you’re a perfect stranger.

However, I also know that some individuals just want the opportunity to have someone to talk to and I’m glad to provide a listening ear.  Sometimes that simple act is all that’s needed to get through to someone or brighten up their day.  After all, God’s given me two ears to listen with and I want to ensure that I’m putting them to good use.

I also want to ensure that I’m putting my big heart to good use, because God’s given it to me for a reason and I don’t want to waste it, especially when so many are in need of love and affection.  I hope that I was able to spread some love, affection and cheer during my short time spent with the guests, which they’ll take with them in the future.

Being a part of the shelter was a really special experience and I’m eager to volunteer when it opens up again at the end of the year – I miss the guests already and it’s only been about a day since I last saw them.  I made some new friends and met some sweet people who have unfortunately ended up in difficult circumstances – I just hope they’re able to find their feet soon and get themselves into some sort of home of their own.  But most of all, I hope that they remember they are more than homeless and each of them are special individuals.

It breaks my heart to think that these individuals have gone from just over a week of warmth, shelter and feeding back into the cold, cruel streets of London.  I wish that there was more I could do to help each and every one of them, so they never have to be homeless again.  No one should ever have to be homeless and hungry, especially in a first world country like the UK.  It sickens and saddens me – we need to do more to put a stop to it.

A Great Year of Reading

As you know, I absolutely love books and reading is one of my favourite things to do.  I read as often as I can and indulge myself in stories or knowledge that will expand my mind.  This year, I have been fortunate enough to read some amazing books, which I found difficult to put down.

I finally picked up the book, Coming Home by Mariah Stewart, months after receiving it for Christmas last year.  After the first few chapters, I was hooked and hungry for more, which led to me buying the next four books in the Chesapeake Diaries series on Amazon.  These were nice stories of love and romance, which is exactly what I want to find someday.  I’m hoping to get the next three books in the series next year.

I love a good book series, so I also read the Casteel series by Virginia Andrews, which I genuinely could not put down. Just like the Chesapeake Diaries, I read the first book, Angel, and then quickly bought the four remaining books on Amazon.  In typical Virginia Andrews style, this series was a gripping, twisted, emotional rollercoaster that kept me wanting more.  However, the plotlines did start getting predictable after a while.

One Blood: Inside Britain’s Gang Culture by John Heale and Hood Rat by Gavin Knight were two of my favourite books this year.  Just like Among the Hoods by Harriet Sergeant (my favourite book of 2012), these are non-fiction books that gave me a greater understanding of young men and gang culture in this country.  I was truly inspired and I know that these two books will be a great help to me in my future ventures.

I also loved reading, Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, a biography of the legendary fashion editor who went on to revolutionise museum exhibitions.  As you know, fashion still has a special place in my heart, so reading this book was a treat for me.  The fashion world owes so much to Diana Vreeland and fashion lovers everywhere should go out and get this book.

One of my biggest surprises of this year was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I loved more than I ever thought I would.  The story was unique but sad, and I never knew what was going to happen.  It was interesting to read the tale of events from the point of view of various characters and I would recommend this classic to everyone.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde intrigued me, as did The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.  I was a little disturbed by The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, but I actually really enjoyed the sweet and sometimes sombre Agnes Grey, again by Anne Brontë.

This year, I expanded my reading horizons and was very happy with the outcomes.  I found amazing stories and texts that I am going to return to again and again.

I just can’t wait for 2015, when I am going to read a new set of books and uncover new surprises.  I especially can’t wait to get my hands on the final book in The Cousin’s War series by Philippa Gregory, The King’s Curse, and The Tribe: The New Dawn, which will continue the story of my favourite ever TV show.

What books did you most enjoy reading during 2014?

A Hilarious, Tiny Friend

As it was her birthday last Friday and I celebrated with her over the weekend, I thought it was only right to dedicate this next post to one of my fellow tiny friends.  Like I’ve mentioned before, it always feels a little nice to have a friend who is shorter than me, because I am so small myself.

I can’t believe that I have known this person for a little over five years now, which shows just how fast time flies by.  It has not been the smoothest of roads, but we have managed to remain friends and she never fails to bring humour into my life.

Her stories are absolutely hilarious and she does some of the strangest things that have me in fits of laughter.  She is a genuinely funny person, without even meaning to be, which I think is the best kind of funny.

We are different people who run with a very different circle of friends, but if I am anywhere with her, she always tries to make me feel comfortable and get me to enjoy myself.  I’ve got to say that spending time with her has led to me meeting some of the most interesting characters, who will be forever engrained in my memory.

This person is one of the most unique individuals you will ever come across and it makes me happy to think that she has provided me with so many funny memories, because memories are one of the aspects of life that I treasure most.  I hope she knows that I love her tiny self so much.