Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Unanswerable questions

IMG_0349 IMG_0339 IMG_0327 IMG_0355 IMG_0348 IMG_0336 IMG_0321 The truth is I'm struggling. I feel heavy and close to tears and not quite right a lot of the time. Since the drama with my left breast at the start of the year I've gotten quite good at staying focused on the good in my world, at counting my blessings, at surrounding myself with kindness and protecting myself. But over the past little while the big wide world has snuck in with its frosty tentacles and weighed me down like a rock. I feel terrible and don't know what to do about anything.

How can I explain to our children that we expect them to behave with kindness and compassion to their fellow human beings, when our country's leaders often do not?

How can I listen to global stories of horror and atrocity and not take them personally?

How can I keep up with the wars and the bombings and the treatment of people less fortunate than ourselves without it making me sick?

How can I come to terms with the fact that we are just so incredibly lucky, without the guilt that attaches itself to that feeling?

How can I complain about head-lice, about the crazy cold, about the mess and about not sleeping at night, without feeling petty?

How can I be a human being and not imagine myself in the place of the hungry and the desperate and the terrified?

How can I switch off from all the big bad news as a fellow member of the human race?

How do I make sense of war, of refugees, of poverty, of the death of innocent children and parents and grandparents to my kids, when I cannot even come to terms with it myself?

I have no answers right now, only more and more questions.

For now I can only keep breathing, keep looking after my crew and holding them tight and keep growing awesome food.

And counting my blessings. Often.

Big love my friends, and peace.

xx

47 comments:

  1. no answers here either.
    Hugs to you, all we can do is be the change we want to see

    cheers Kate

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    1. My Indi collects good quotes, she'll love that one.
      Thanks Kate. xx

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  2. I've switched off from the news. It hurts too much.

    And just because your problems don't seem BIG on a world scale doesn't make them any less. We are allowed to feel crappy about head lice & the weather & lack of sleep ( god the lack of sleep! I could talk forever about that!).
    It'll pass this feeling, eventually it'll pass.

    Love to you Kate xx

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    1. I've switched off the news but I still can't help hunting it down on social media.
      It hurts but I feel like I still need to know.
      And tired, yeah I suspect you are an expert in that one for sure.
      Love to you too xx

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    2. If really rather not be an expert in sleep deprevation lol I'd rather be an expert in something much more fun!

      xxxxx

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    3. Well put! I was about to say the say same thing, but now I don't need to =D

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  3. I know exactly how you are feeling. I cannot get this latest tragedy out of my head. i don't watch the news but I read too much of it online. I dread the day when our children are old enough to pick up on these things and ask questions......what answers will I have for them? I know some people will disagree but I am cocooning my babies in childhood for as long as possible..... magical and full of joy, love and kindness xxx lots of love to you xxx

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    1. My 10 year old started asking all the hard questions last night.
      Sitting up asking in her little girl voice it nearly killed me.
      Cocoon them for as long as you possibly can, I agree. xx

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  4. Kate that chicken photo with the light coming through is amazing. This world of ours can be a scary one where planes go missing and get shot down and many many families are facing life without their loved ones. I do know that I love love love that we are in a country that is called "the Lucky country". Sure we have natural disasters and the next person in politics will be just as bad as the previous one. A bit like real estate agents who promise you that your house is worth x and then once they sign you the next day there are excuses about the market only wants to pay x-y. I haven't got my house on the market but it's those promises to get you to sign up and then they make up excuses why they can't deliver for xyz reasons. You can only control what's in your immediate control and trust me every time my sister puts on the beanie she relives over and over about this kind lady that her sister reads her blog. That gift even though was received once keeps on giving. Hang in there and keep on your path and you'll get the ripple effect. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. I'm so grateful for you telling me about your sister.
      Even though I didn't do it for the thanks, knowing that it makes her happy makes me so happy.
      Let me know if she needs another. xx

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  5. Kate, the frost & ice at your place is insane! Isn't it strange, we can be surrounded by pretty light, real food, incredible people & so many good things yet the wide world can feel so brutal. I certainly don't have the answers but just a thought...we don't have TV. This was not a conscience decision to turn off from the world, it just happened. We listen to the ABC radio almost 24/7 & of course we are on the internet but these two news sources are not as confronting as TV, for us. At the end of the day what can we do to make a real difference in the wide world?

    Perhaps we can just make our own little worlds better places to be? I feel richer for reading your blog x

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    1. We don't watch TV either, but like you said with the radio and Facebook and twitter it's almost impossible to stay out of touch, not to know. I think we are both unbelievably lucky living where and how we do it's almost a responsibility to make the most out of it. xx

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  6. When we look at those with less than us we always feel as though our complaints are petty. I have stopped watching the news and reading the paper for a little bit. I know there was a horrible plane thing but I don't actually need to see photos of the victims. I know asylum seekers were refused entry to Australia again because our PM is heartless ARSEHOLE. this I know is true. I'm annoyed about head lice too.

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  7. Hey Kate, hang in there. It does hurt and it does suck, but the best things can be born from crap like this. Tomorrow morning you'll get up and notice how beautiful the frost looks when the sun's first rays hit. You'll put yourself out to get your girls ready for another day, bellies full of nutritious food you have grown and clothes lovingly made by you on their backs. These same girls may grow into women who take these messages out to the world, to equip others with promise and hope, possibly even changing the hearts and minds of the crazy people that cause the hate we see today. So don't lose heart and take great joy in knowing that no shitty politician or hostile gun-toting moron will take the love and the positivity from those of us who choose to make a little difference...even on days where it's only eradicating (hideously frustrating) head lice, one school kid at a time x

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  8. Your post meant a lot to me. It has been a hard week for so many in so many ways.

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  9. It's all too much but I believe we are given too much news on a daily basis. I am super over sensitive now after having children and the way I deal with it is to choose a few passionate topics and stay informed on that otherwise and limit the whole world problems on a daily basis. It's way too overwhelming. I wish I never saw that movie The Road, it pops up in my head all the time and really brings me down. I get terrible winter blues and feel crappy and claustrophic with all the washing hanging all the over small lounge room and still feeling so cold in the house living in the snowy mountains etc...bring on spring! On another note if it's not too insensitive to ask I was wondering do you use polytunnels to keep frost at bay in winter. In regards to our so called leader it's time for people like us to stand up and fight back for our future.

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  10. I too have cried many tears this week. The thing is its people like you, good people, who keep this world balanced and stop it from being filled with badness. We have to believe good will prevail....

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  11. It's hard to find the answers to the questions our children ask about the nastiness of the world. I have found this week hard too. I feel awful if I turn off the news because I can't bear to listen to the suffering and tragedy. I feel terrible guilt if I listen to it. Guilty that I moan about my petty woes, when there are others whose worlds have just completely disintegrated. I was chatting to a friend about this the other day. We decided there are people who are 'containers' and people who are 'absorbers'. She is a container. She hears the news, feels awful for all that is wrong in the world, but is able to contain her thoughts and go about her day. I am a 'absorber'. I hear the news, I spend days absorbed in my thoughts of what it must be like for the families when such a tragedy has struck. I feel grief, and sadness at their loss, and I feel helpless. It takes me days to shake these feelings off. I don't know what the answer is, but I think it's all about balance. For as much sadness as there is happening in the world, there are daily moments of sheer joy happening too. I have always said to my husband that I think after the news there should be a programme highlighting all the wonderful things that have happened in the world that day. I think we get overloaded and the media needs more balance.I try to remember this. Don't feel bad for grumbling about your day. You are allowed too. Take care Vanessa xxx

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  12. Yes, I perfecly know what you mean. I don't own a tv nor a radio, and I try to stay away if not ignorate the news that I might stumble upon the internet. But sometimes the reality jumps to your face, and it's difficult and painful.
    Don't feel bad about it. What you're doing is amazing, you're the kind of person how's bringing warmth and kindness into people's heart.

    Warmly,
    Melody

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  13. For Kate and Vanessa
    It sounds as if you are both Empathisers. I understand as I am too. With my depression (menopausal yuk) I have had to block the world out. Which feels mean but it is the only way for me to cope and not have it drag me down further. We cannot change the world nor understand it. When I am whingeing and complaining I have to "have a word with myself" and shut up and crochet, crochet, crochet. It helps. I have also stopped reading murder mysteries and thrillers and changed to 'softer' novels to soothe my beleaguered brain.
    Susan x
    PS Your lovely frosty pictures, Kate, are just what I need on the hot sweaty day in Blighty!!!

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  14. Hola ! Las respuestas nos las trae el silencio ya que están en el interior de cada uno... pasear por la naturaleza a mi me ayuda . El mundo es como es , con lo bueno y lo malo , hoy estamos tristes mañana estamos alegres , la Vida es cambio, yo siento que es importante fluir y vivir lo que nos aporta el presente y no darle muchas vueltas a la mente... el cambio del mundo comienza en el interior de cada uno... Un fuerte abrazo desde España.

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  15. I have been wishing I could disassociate myself from being human; ashamed of the place this tribe of beings has come to, of so much mutual ill-treatment. I will positive change into our days, protect the young one from the grim parts of humanity, review with the "adult" child his views and feelings, trying to be calm. it is hard and taxes my emotional well-being. as much as I have narrowed my exposure, I do not escape completely but partly, momentarily. peace to you, Kate. thank you, again, for putting it to words so well. xo

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  16. Don't beat yourself up about this. I think that with all that is going on in the world right now it is very unsettling for everyone. There is no way that we can as individuals do anything to stop most of these things, but we can play our part by taking care of those around us, making sure that we do the right thing and sending as much love as we can out into the world. I hope that you can find some peace. xx

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  17. There's too much sadness + hurt in this world, and not enough answers. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that small acts of love + kindness, as you do with your family every day, is helping make this world a more positive place. What we put "out there", we can have come back to us + others. It's hard to not "feel" all the emotions of the world, especially with an empathetic heart. Sending lots of light + positive thoughts your way!

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  18. Huge, understanding hugs to you Kate. You are not alone to feel this plethora of disturbing emotions. Why them and not us? That's the question which resounds in my head and heart. And yes, I'm guilty of turning off the news too. I want to cocoon my children...

    Stephanie

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  19. Sending you much love and support.

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  20. I understand where your coming from. Especially living the beautiful life you do on your farm you understand that we as humans were meant to live a different way. not with all of this terror, fear, death, and other atrocities. There is a reason for everything thats going on in the world now and God does have a plan for our future here on the earth where your farm could be as big as you wanted it to be! Please go to jw.org and you ocan find the answers to a lot of the questions that are plaguing you right now. you can also fill out the form on the website and one of Jehovah's Witnesses will come visit you and share this hope for the future from the Bible. I hope that you are able to find some peace and hope for the future

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  21. The tragedies of the world are utterly overwhelming at times aren't they. I've been having a bit of a tough time recently, but as you say, how can I complain when we have so, so much. I think that it is right that we feel the pain of the world, but some people feel it much more than others, and it's completely okay to take some time out. I'm sending you a big cyber hug. CJ xx

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  22. You do the good you can. You keep writing, you keep looking for beauty, you find strength in those that inspire you. Having a great, big empathetic heart is one of the best things in the world, but also one of the cruelest burdens. Humans are tenacious and I choose to believe that we are mostly good. One of my favorite quotes: "As we give to the world, so the world will give to us." Putting love and hope and light out there and creating a space where others can connect - even on the other side of the world! - is a little piece of a big part. So I thank you for this space and your honesty.

    Blessings to you and yours.

    Ashley
    www.rubyandperry.com

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  23. I understand where you're coming from Kate. I too have a lot of questions and I don't know the answers. I often think about how lucky I am compared to many others. I also don't know what we can do about it. I try to do my best in my own little world. I take care of myself and my family. I support friends and family in whatever way I feel able to when they are struggling. My husband works with refugees and Aboriginal people to help them find work. At times I don't watch the news because it gets to me and weighs heavily on me. This doesn't feel right either, but my health and happiness is important too. Yes, many questions, and I don't have the answers. Take care Kate. xxoo

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  24. Yes, this world is in an uproar again. It's so hard to keep hoping and living on in the face of the war, the pain, the destruction. I wonder if you may be going through an additional winter depression. Do you have a light box? Could you talk to your doctor about this? I know that when I feel the way you've described, sometimes I just have to tell myself to keep going one more day. And that day will be better. I tell myself that until it comes true. I send you love!

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  25. I believe the best we can do is, to raise our children to be human and have compassion with others, as they are our future. And that is one of our important tasks as parents.
    I too struggle with all the struggle and misery in the world, most recently all the innocent people that were shot out of the sky... I agree with a previous comment, i do try and avoid reading and watching too much news, as it is always about the negative aweful things that happens around the world, as Good happy news doesn't sell. We all know about these bad things that happens around us in the world, so why keep dwelling on it, it doesn't help anyone. I believe what is really important is for you on a personal level do the best you can to make sure you create a positive environment for those close to you, and appreciate what you have. If you are not feeling good and well in yourself, you are not going to be able to help anyone else either.
    Over the last few years, i have learnt to count my blessings, I may not have everything I want or doing exactlay what I want, but I have what I need to live a comfortable life and I am able to help others.

    But like i said in the beginning, i think the most important in all this is to guide our kids to become the adults that can make a change.
    Thank you for such a wonderful honest blog. xxx

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  26. I have no answers. not a brass ra-zoo.

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  27. Three years ago my mother got ill. She has a disease that not more than 60 people IN THIS WORLD have. There is no cure and everytime she gets better and we all start to breathe more easy and relax, it starts to get worse again. She's in hospital again and the doctors don't really know what's causing the bad conditions and therefore don't know how they can help her. There are a lot of unanswerable questions there too. Why her? Why now? Why can nobody help her?
    I guess, there are always things happening in thís world, that will make you feel sad and helpless. But I think the only way to deal with them is learning to accept them. In the beginning, I always felt bad when my mother was in the hospital and I had a nice day, went out with friends, I felt quilty for every laugh. But it doesn't make her healthy again, when I don't laugh. So I'm working hard on being there for her and still enjoying my life. Not easy. But that's that we have to do. Try to make the most of our life. I have a tattoo on my rips that says "Stop chasing shadows, just enjoy the ride." Guess I have to try to live like that more often!

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  28. Sometimes you just have to turn all of that off. As I read the paper this morning about another plane crash, a 4 year old who was killed by pit bulls, and other horrible stories I finally shut the paper, took a sip of tea and said enough. I have enough worries on my mind without taking on the worlds also, that does not mean I am oblivious, I just need to be careful what I allow into my brain.
    You will feel better in a bit,
    Sending you a hug,
    Meredith

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  29. Just remember that those who inflict this harm on others are few, and that we, the majority, are those that show true humanity. It has been a hard week for the world.

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  30. I have no answers and nothing to add really - I just want you to know that I'm here, reading and feeling too. I often feel like there's a black hole opening, but it does brighten my world to read that you feel this way too, Kate... that there are others out there *feeling* full-stop. It does mean something. Take care. Kx

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  31. Kate, this post really resonates with me. Some days I feel so broken and full of sadness because of the evil in this world. I feel guilty for being one of the lucky ones and not doing enough to help other people. I too try to avoid the news but then I feel awful for burying my head. I cry knowing my daughters have to grow up and be faced with an uncertain future where people seem to get more evil and the Mother Earth is falling apart. Some days it's hard to stay positive but I force myself through little reminders - the fruit trees my friends bought us as a thank you for a little job Nick did for them, the fact my sister (whom, this week, we thought there was a chance of her having a brain tumour - she doesn't thank goodness) is in a hospital that is clean and offers top notch care, and my girls, who find so much joy in being let loose at a new playground.

    Hang in there, stay strong, we can make this world a better place, just by believing in it. All my love, Linda. x

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  32. I guess I have to ask myself does it help if I don't continue with my life? Who is helped if I weigh myself down with guilt, worry, and concern over things over which I have no control, no ability to change. I believe in the Serenity Prayer. It forces me to concentrate on the things I can change and to release those over which I have no control.

    I lost my Aunt to cancer and she was a huge positive force in my life. One thing she made clear to me is that my grief didn't honor her. If I stopped living it wouldn't make her feel I loved her more. She took joy when I came to visit and I could share stories about positive, happy things still going on in the world even if she was no longer participating. Those stories gave her pleasure.

    I approach the world and closer challenges in the same way. I can't stop living my life because it will not change the problems that are occuring. When there is something positive I can act on, I do. However, failing to live my life does nothing to help those who are in bad places.

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  33. Dear Kate, I too take on much of the horrible stuff that happens in the world, and it gets my down. Really down. A lot. I wish managed to learn how to deal with this so I could help, but I'm still learning. I often get so completely exhausted just from all the thoughts & questions going around for days, I wish I would fall asleep and never wake up. The other day I sad down at the park and someone had written on the bench 'stop the world, I want to get off'. this is perfect, I often feel like i got on the wrong planet. especially now with such a messed up person running out country. i just think 'really? you really think this is all ok? other people in Australia think this is right?'. I feel like we have reached a point where people have to really decide what they stand for and stop sitting on the fence. like do they believe in climate change or not? will they accept asylum seekers or not? the best things i have done in the last few years is to stop reading newspapers, get rid of tv (i know you don't), and un-follow everyone on FB (even family). I also decided putting good energy into my local community is one of the best things I can do. But still these is always the guilt. So much guilt about if i'm doing enough, if what i'm doing is right, and just about the huge gulf between what i have and what others dont.

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  34. I think you struggle, Kate, because you care. I am struggling to answer the questions I get from family - even my mum rang me with a "what are you doing" (what the!) and my partner keeps asking who should we be giving money to ... (I work for UNICEF and even the question is asked). The media asks what can be done, the people who support the child rights organisation I work for ask, the world is asking... and struggling... and we have to struggle and feel uncomfortable to really start asking, to really start shaking and moving and asking it of the people with the power, to shift the power, to talk and share and tell our children we want a better place and want their help to make it a better place. So many of your readers are saying the same thing - we must believe, yes, but we must also act and in it's way, this post is an action. More and more and more and more and more. Please.

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  35. Dear Kate,
    This post sums up exactly how I am feeling lately - I find myself unable to shake off the despair and sadness that people are experiencing, and like the post by Vanessa, I imagine what the families are going through and take all the pain right to my heart and my head and I feel overwhelmed and guilty and hopeless and terrified of the future. It seems like the world is slipping back to medieval darkness.

    I struggle to make sense of the world I am bringing my three children up in and find I am not being prsent for them because I am feeling so down about the world.

    But I have to remind myself of the good, I have to try and keep seeing light and love instead of darkness and there are ways we can all do that.

    First step, like a lot of you have all said, is to try to limit the news that I watch and read online.

    I also thought I would reccomend something practical which does actually help...although I am not religious, it is a Buddhist practice called Tonglen where you breathe in the black smoke of suffering from the world and take it in, breathing out pure white light. I like to imagine thousands of monks all over the world doing this, helping ease some of the pain of the world without us even knowing. There is a lovely link to a guided Tonglen meditation if you look on youtube by Tulku Tsori Rinpoche.

    There is also a book by Byron Katie who talks about what we can and can't take on in our lives, like a practical users guide to the serenity prayer.

    And when all else fails, I try to be reassured by Gandhi's words...
    "“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”

    peace and light x

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  36. I used to be an activist about 10 years ago. I watched every channel's news, every night. Wrote angry rants (to myself), read the paper, shouted at the tv. Then one day I stopped. I think mostly it was that I just didn't want to care anymore. Then I had a very bad car accident. Very bad. And the combination of my (pre-accident) mild anxiety and PTSD means I outright avoid the news. I have my ipod all the time so I don't hear it in shops- the other day it came on while i was in the op shop and I had to examine the men's shirt section very thoroughly and wait til it was over. Any movies I want to watch have to be pre-researched for 'badness' and I just don't want anything on SBS without taping it so I can fast forward the ads, because they're very good at traumatic ads. So I live in a small bubble of comfort and peace, watching shows about the English countryside and dealing in antiques. And this is where I'll stay. I try not to think about the future of this country- I accept that it's become a brothel for the developing world's need for natural resources and that's all the government cares about. All you can do is live the life you want. Be the change. Think local, act local. I know quite a lot of activists now who are (like me) tired of shouting about the same things as they were shouting about 10 years ago, Just turn away from it and build your best future. In truth I don't think the world is any worse off now than it ever was, there's just more people, less stable systems and of course more news. At least we can turn that off.

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  37. I love this post, I just wrote something similar. It is hard to have no answers isn't it :(

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  38. Your repeating pains my mind thinks of often. Pains we shouldn't feel in an ideal world, pains we cannot answer. I find solace in loving every moment of happiness and peace I have. <3

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  39. A very touching post, and with touching comments too. I think anyone with any level of sensitivity feels like this sometimes. I do. I feel better when I help others, though. Cook someone who is having a hard time a meal. Volunteer at the school. Run for a charity I care about. Xx lots of love

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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