Recently, I experienced the worst flare up of Fibromyalgia symptoms that I’d had for years. In the end I had to take a break from everything to look after myself and not burn out. Been there. Done that. It is not fun.
Looking back over the past year has been an incredible time. It was while I was looking back over blog posts from the past year or so that I discovered this one.
On the weekend I had an amazing dining experience at Café 3875 & Co. in Rosedale, Victoria. My friends and I gathered to celebrate another friend’s birthday. Admittedly, my daughter and I approached the experience with some trepidation due to our various food allergies and intolerances.
Entering the establishment we were stunned by the eclectic decor. The hours that we were there, we were still discovering something new to point out. There was a lovely and varied menu to suit even gluten free and vegetarians. All the staff were warm and friendly.
I have to say that the Chef, Lucus, bent over backwards to cater to my daughter’s and mine dietary requirements. The chef personally came out, introduced himself, and even checked to make sure that the food was to our specifications. It was delicious by the way. It was so nice to eat out and not pay for it later, i.e. curled up in bed for a few hours with stomach cramps etc.
The plates and the quantities placed on them were HUGE, and the food was scrumdiddliumptious.
Then there were the little touches. A birthday card from the café that was for my friend, was on the table when we arrived. There was the coffee art, the little tiny biscuits on the teeny teaspoons, and every spoon unique. There was the little flower art on the plates with pancakes, the cute little milk jugs only one cm high, the little bitty honey pot just for me for my Spiced Chai Tea, the lovely little teapots, the perfume for use in the bathroom... well you get the picture.
We will certainly be returning and recommending the cafe to everyone.
Which brings me writing. How, you may be asking, does this relate?
I have a friend who illustrates children’s picture books. I love watching her work. She loves placing little things throughout her detailed pictures that you have to hunt for. I always end up spotting something that I hadn’t seen before, even months down the track. It’s those little details that add to the overall enjoyable experience of a picture book.
I write for children. The experience at the cafe had me asking the question, ‘How can I, a children’s writer, add the little things in my stories, that will make a child fall in love with my characters?’
Choosing a character that a child will identify with, adding little things about the child, likes, dislikes, setting, writing a story that child can relate to--all these can add to a story. But, it can be the tone of voice, an action, just one little word, that can change the overall feel of a story.
I will keep this experience in mind as I write from now on. I will also try to remember it in my day to day dealings with people. How about this as a challenge: Ring and say thanks for the nice day out. Send a card or note just to say, 'Hi!' Have special cups for guests. Maybe little chocolates or biscuits to go with their tea. A flower from the garden as they head home.
Whatever it is, be true to yourself, be creative and keep in mind, it is in the little things that others are made to feel special.
For me, this post was a reminder that, during this time of big spending (for many but not all), lots of eating and indulgences of various kinds that many regret later, that it is a time to reflect on what I have to be thankful for. And it is for the many seemingly many small experiences that I have had this year that have made it one of the most amazing of my life so far.
It was a year of much personal growth, as well as experiencing one of the longest periods of decreased mobility that I’ve had (many months of cold weather did not help). It is because of those times, the days I could barely walk and lived on painkillers, I stopped to be grateful for the many wonderful people in my life, meeting many more, as well as the amazing experiences that I have had this year.
I keep a gratitude box that I started this year. Every time I have something to be grateful for, I write it down and pop it in. I am looking forward to opening up this now overflowing box on New Years Eve and reminding myself of all the wonderful things that have happened in 2016.
What can you do for someone this Christmas? And, like I said last year in the above post, whatever it is, be true to yourself, be creative and keep in mind, it is in the little things that others are made to feel special. And for some, they will not feel so lost, forgotten, or overlooked, but rather remembered and valued.
Merry Christmas everyone.
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