Tag Archives: love

Nightlings – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

The battle was not yet won and nor would it be without help.

The opposing army stood silent but for a drum beating in time with Nomin’s heart. Sweat and fear from his warriors and their horses reeked and the taste of blood set his teeth on edge.

Numbers did not favour him, and the exhaustion evident in the hoarse breaths behind him made him wonder how much longer he could stall the inevitable.

Though they were almost a mile apart, separated by a stretch of verdant mossy green and a crystal clear stream, he knew the Captain’s eyes were trained upon him, and he squirmed with discomfort. Within moments the virid velvet carpet would become mire and the stream would run with ruby swirls.

Nomin straightened his back and relaxed his shoulders heavy beneath his leather armour, and stared back. The drumbeat, echoing across the glen, quickened and Nomin’s heart matched it. His breathing rose and fell with the strain of courage building and determination gilding his lungs. It was now or never, and time was not on their side.

Nomin closed his eyes, and uttered her name beneath his breath, a single syllable, yet everything, “Bren…” Her name fluttered away on the breeze, but he hoped she’d heard it. Their lives depended on it.

The horses shuffled, nerves tingling beneath their hide and anticipation flooding their veins. The drumming stopped and a shimmering wave glinted on the far side of the valley as shields rose, and in the sudden hush Nomin raised his arm. He could not retract his response and commitment was sealed in his shaking hand.

Tension increased as armoured gloves clenched reins and boots gripped flanks. The battle roar opposite had the desired effect, and Nomin swallowed hard then dropped his hand. Heels kicked and horses sprang and Nomin urged his steed forward.

Thunder flooded the glen, and lightning flashes of swords and shields glittered beneath the gloomy sky, and they raced towards death and glory.

Nomin closed his eyes as his breath tore through his throat and his knuckles grazed against his horse’s armour. How long had they before the clash, before the clang of steel took the lives of those around him, how long before death graced the green, green grass?

A new sound echoed, wailing and tearing through his brain and his eyes flew open. He almost dropped his reins as he pulled up his mount and watched his army divide and veer. “Bren!” his voice cracked with effort and passion.

Bren sat astride a steed of the night, clothed in witchery and ebony. She howled like a wolf, and from the forests came a host of Nightlings, baying like demons and screaming with banshee calls. Black, and white, and grey chargers, midnight’s ghosts, streamed from the trees with wild manes and tails, and the magic of the night.

Nomin watched with wonder sparkling in his tired eyes and love pumping through his veins. He screamed and roared encouragement, and he and his army watched as Bren stormed the soldiers that would have annihilated his. Tears welled and merged with the sweat on his grimy face.

Nightlings, the myths of the night, stampeded across the glen without leaving a hoof print or a trampled piece of grass, and barrelled into the army with a force they would never survive. Screams of men mingled with the rage of the revenant, and death did indeed come to the glen that afternoon.

When it ended, Nomin galloped forward, searching the Nightlings for their queen. The ghosts departed and finally Nomin gazed into the dark eyes of his love. Bren smiled with eyes that could not weep, and blue lips that matched the pale skin that barely covered her hollow face. Wild black hair, whipped in strands as the wind kissed her in a way that Nomin now – never could.

Their steeds stood side by side, ghost by flesh, and Nomin tore off his glove and reached to cup Bren’s face in his warm, calloused hand. Bren’s frozen fingers closed around Nomin’s in a clasp that would have to last for all his time he had left. She backed slowly away, until he nodded and whispered in a breath that only she could hear, “Til then…” and Bren’s mount was gone, and she with it.

Death and the Nightlings came and the battle was won.

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Miranda’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge is back again after a summer break and this photo truly inspired me, and I listened to Audiomachine as I wrote…epic battle music!

Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.

 

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Life Lessons we can Learn from Cats

I’ve always been a cat person,
with the belief that cats are magical, beautiful, and healing,
and that purring is one of the best sounds in the whole world!

Life Lessons we can Learn from Cats - The Last Krystallos

I didn’t grow up with cats – my parents rescued Shantih and Charity, when I was already an adult. But Vince and I, newly married, rescued Rusty, a five-month-old abandoned ginger kitten, with only half a tail and damaged paw pads, when he tried living beneath my in-laws shed. He was a sorry sight, scrawny and malnourished, and the vet believed he wouldn’t have lasted another two weeks. He lived a happy, ditzy life with us ‘til he was twelve-years-old.

We got Misty and Raven thirteen years ago: having gone to a farm to collect a grey kitten from the masses of black kittens, the canny farmer placed a black kitten in Bekah’s hands, and that was that, we came home with both of them and adore them, as we should!

So, here are some lessons we can learn from these most independent, yet needy, creatures…

The smallest feline is a masterpiece - Leonardo da Vinci - The Last Krystallos - Photo Bekah Shambrook

© Bekah Shambrook

The smallest feline is a masterpiece – Leonardo da Vinci
It’s particularly lovely that this quote comes from Leonardo da Vinci, someone who not only appreciated art, but also mechanics and science. The physical attributes of a cat are truly works of art, from its sheer beauty to its agility. It’s no wonder they say cats have nine lives because if we jumped from a wall several times our own height we’re not likely to land on our feet and nonchalantly continue our journey.
If only we could appreciate our own beauty, the magnificence of our bodies and see just how amazing we are too!

Studied philosophers and cats, wisdom of cats is infinitely more superior - Hippolyte Taine - The Last Krystallos

Raven © Lisa Shambrook

I have studied many philosophers and many cats, the wisdom of cats is infinitely more superior – Hippolyte Taine
Slightly tongue-in-cheek, but don’t tell cats you disagree. Cat’s have an air of superiority, they take life as it comes, without having to philosophise, theorise, and speculate…but I do feel maybe they meditate, they must be thinking of something while they stare out of the window all day…
We can seek out wisdom and knowledge, and then be as lofty as any feline!

Anyone around a cat...patience with the limitations of the human - Cleveland Amory - The Last Krystallos

Misty © Lisa Shambrook

Anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind – Cleveland Amory
This picture may or may not back up this quote – Misty is waiting for food, impatiently. However, if I don’t respond she will gracefully wait, until I do… As a people we could certainly do with cultivating patience. It’s not one of my virtues, but my cats have plenty of patience with me, and often humour me!

Cats have it all – admiration and endless sleep and company only when they want it - Rod McKuen - The Last Krystallos

Misty © Lisa Shambrook

Cats have it all – admiration and endless sleep and company only when they want it – Rod McKuen
Patience in a cat does run out…and when it does you’ll know. My cats, Misty and Raven, will pretty much allow you to cuddle, stroke, and pet them as much as you like, though Raven will begin to hiss if you push too far. However, Dad’s cat, Fluffy, is a nope cat, when she’s had enough she will sink her teeth and claws into you no matter who you are.
Many cats will only allow attention when they want it. Cats understand and employ consent. Wouldn’t it be great if people truly respected your time, privacy, and space, before you felt like releasing your claws!

Cats have the courage to live them - Jim Davis - The Last Krystallos

Rusty © Lisa Shambrook

Way down deep we’re all motivated by the same urges… Cats have the courage to live by them – Jim Davis
Why don’t we all try to live our dreams? Rusty lived a life of love and adventure. Raven explores and wanders all the time, and Misty sleeps and eats, yep, there are people who would be quite happy with that! I want the confidence of a cat to live my dreams…

Dogs come when they're called. Cats take a message and get back to you - Mary Bly - The Last Krystallos - Photo Bekah Shambrook

© Bekah Shambrook

Dogs come when they’re called. Cats take a message and get back to you – Mary Bly
There is a definite difference between dogs and cats, and this may be it. You don’t ever control a cat. Cat’s live independently living their own lives, albeit tied in with yours for convenience!
Cat’s choose to give you their loyalty, and if you keep your end of the deal they might keep theirs. The love of a cat is a beautiful thing, because if they love you, it’s because they have chosen to love you. I can’t say it’s as unconditional as a dog’s love, but it’s right up there with reciprocal love. Stay worthy of it!

A house is not a home without books and cats - Anon - The Last Krystallos

Raven © Lisa Shambrook

A house is not a home without books and cats Anon
This one is a favourite of mine. I was raised on books, but not cats, so since we got married we’ve had both, books and cats… Never a truer statement!

Let’s live like cats, with patience, adventure,
and the wisdom to know what we want and to go after it!

What do you love about cats?

Also check out: Life Lessons we can Learn from Dogs…

Life Lessons We Can Learn From Dogs

I was never a dog person,
but that all changed when an eight-week-old
bundle of German Shepherd was placed in my arms.

Life Lessons we can Learn from Dogs - The Last Krystallos

To be honest, it actually took me a couple of weeks to become comfortable with her, but she rested her little puppy head on my feet, and there was no going back. I fell in love. That was almost nine years ago, and she has given our family great joy.

So, here are some lessons we can learn from these most devoted of creatures…

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than she loves herself – Josh Billings - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Truth. The most unconditional love I have ever experienced has been puppy love, the love of a dog knows no bounds and is pretty much infinite. A dog loves unconditionally and that’s a quality we should emulate as much as we can. I’m not sure we can ever love with as much purity as a dog, but we can try!

When a dog speaks, it is not language but pure feeling given voice – anonymous - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

This matches their ability to love. Dogs can’t hide their emotions, they don’t lie. When my dog greets me, leaping up at me with excitement, I know she really is happy to see me. When she’s stolen a packet of biscuits and eaten them all, and left the wrapping torn up on the floor, the look of guilt is right there for all to see. The trust in her eyes gives you everything. There’s an honesty in dogs that many humans don’t ever show.

Your dog will never wake up one day and decide he doesn_t love you anymore… anonymous - The Last Krystallos

© Caitlin Shambrook

Once dogs have given you their heart – it’s yours forever. Treat their love with respect and you will never want for affection. Let’s try and show this kind of love to all those who mean much to us. This trait revolves around love, joy, trust and forgiveness.

I think we are drawn to dogs - george bird evans - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Oh, yes, dogs know how to have fun! They don’t waste time when adventure is on the menu, just watch your pup race across a sandy beach, splash in the ocean or rivers, and lope through shady woodland. They emit pure joy! Watching my Roxy leaping into the air to catch bubbles was a true delight, and I often think I should mirror her abandon and spontaneity and embrace life for all it offers!

Dogs have a way of finding people who need them - Thom Jones - The Last Krystallos

© Bekah Shambrook

Did you ever know how a dog would fill that void you never knew existed? I had no idea how rewarding owning a dog is until I had my own. We can be that for those around us. We can be there, filling empty hearts with friendship, love, and company.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog - Agnes Repplier - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

This quote means a huge amount to me. My favourite poem is Beddgelert by William Robert Spencer and is a poem that makes me weep (and I dare you not to cry when you read it), but if you want pure devotion those words are where you’ll find it, within Gelert’s pure hound heart.
My Roxy sits at the window most of the day, my own personal guard dog, she saves me from the postman, delivery people, neighbours, cats that prowl the neighbourhood, and anything that might attempt entry into the house. She makes me feel safe. Outside, I know if anyone attacked me while she was there, they would have to get through her first. Devotion, loyalty, and trust are huge parts of a dog’s life, and you truly are your dog’s life, you are what they live for. Be worthy.

If we could only emulate a few of dogs’ qualities, we would be better people. We would love unconditionally, trust, guard, and care for each other, with honesty, loyalty, and pure devotion.

A dog’s life is a good life.

New Dawn – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

New Dawn

Cara had just commented, yet again, on the revolting orange of their suits, when Pete punched her arm and replied, “Don’t look at it as brash, see it like the rising sun instead.”

Cara hit him back and laughed, her voice warping through the fuzzy sound system as she chuckled.

Pete grinned and nudged her, nodding towards the horizon and the golden orb rising out of the ocean.

For a moment, Cara sobered, turning awkwardly in her cumbersome hazmat suit.

They both stared at the sun and its orange glow creating the celestial watercolour masterfully painted across the sky.

Pete raised his arms and held out his gloved thumbs and forefingers, framing the view, and Cara laughed again. She leaned against him and then tapped the side of his goggles. As he turned towards her she raised her open palm to her breathing apparatus and blew him a mock kiss. “You old romantic!” she giggled.

He shrugged and gazed at her, wishing for a moment they could pull off their protective gear, abandon their radiation suits, and just stand in the heat of the sun. He wanted to watch her walk on the sand beyond the pebbles further down the beach dipping her toes into the rolling surf. The last time he’d seen her do that was the day he’d met her. Long auburn hair glinting in the morning sun, goosebumps rising on her skin as she paddled before the ocean had had time to heat up for the day…

Now beneath the bright-orange hood and protective facemask, her long hair remained tied back and hidden.

Cara stepped away from him and began to stride down the beach, her feet unsteady across the stones, and her arms outstretched to balance. Pete laughed, and knew she could hear him inside her suit. She swayed precariously and provocatively and he laughed again. He wondered if she was about to go full-suit paddling again. The last time she’d done that they’d got into trouble, again. Before he could speak, though, she stopped dead, and surprise registered in her inhalation.

Pete hurried down the beach to join her.

She bent and grabbed clumsily at something among the pebbles. He couldn’t see what it was, but he could hear her annoyance at her gloved hands. As he reached her, she unbuckled the glove and threw it off. Pete gasped, preparing to admonish her, but then he saw what she’d picked up.

Cara brandished a feather, a grey feather with soft white down at the bottom of its shaft. She ran her naked finger across the vane and wonder lit her face. Pete gazed at it and then at her, and Cara stared out across the ocean.

“Your glove…” began Pete.

Cara ignored him and dropped the feather. It floated for a moment and then fell to the ground. Pete watched as Cara tore off her other glove and hastily began to unfasten her goggles and breathing gear. Her breath crackled in his ear, and he stood watching her transformation. She pushed back the hood and dropped her apparatus on the stones, and wiggled her shoulders and arms free of the suit, pushing it down about her waist.

Tears gathered in Pete’s eyes, convinced she’d gone mad, that he would lose her, but as her hair tumbled down about her pale shoulders, she turned to him and threw her arms up in the air in a gesture of freedom. Then she pointed up into the sky.

As he gazed beyond the morning sun, Cara tore at his hood and peeled back the layers of protection, until he could feel the cool air and her lips kissing his face.

“Look!” she insisted, and dipped back down to pick up the feather. “Look at this, it’s new, and it’s here!” Pete still didn’t understand, but he didn’t stop her as she pulled his suit down ‘til they both stood in vests and their defensive overalls hung at their waists.

Then he heard them. Shrill cries in the still quiet dawn, and his wife’s tears rolled gently down her cheeks. Gulls flew, soaring on the whispering currents of air, shrieking in the warmth of a new day, calling in celebration of life, and diving down into an ocean that offered food.

“My God!” he breathed. “Life! Birds!”

And Cara swung round to kiss him full on the lips, something they hadn’t done outside in nearly five decades. She ran her hands through her white hair and her fingers across his aged skin, and they laughed, laughter that rang out in hope and in the revelation of a new dawn.

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This is another Flash Fiction Challenge from Miranda at Finding Clarity…so, I’m enjoying writing again with prompts. Take a look and write your own story too.

Up to 750 words, inspired by the image posted. (Though, I have cheated with 770 words!)

 

What is the Love in Your Life?

Valentine’s Day always makes me think about the love in my life
So, here it is, everything that means Love to me… 

what-is-the-love-in-your-life-the-last-krystallos

What brings you LOVE in your life?

family-the-last-krystallos

Vince, Bekah, Dan, and Caitlin © Lisa Shambrook

My instant response to what brings me the most joy and love in my life is easy – my Family. My husband and children have brought me every emotion under the moon, but love overrides it all. My marriage and partnership with my husband is the most important relationship to me as my children came from this union. I’ve written about our love before and it’s blatantly obvious how much my children mean to me. Each one of them is a unique human being and I love how different each relationship is, how much fun and laughter and joy they bring to my life.
This is Love.

pets-the-last-krystallos

Rusty, Roxy, Raven, and Misty © Lisa Shambrook

Soft fur, purrs (the cats, they can’t help it!), devotion, dependence, twinkling eyes, curling up on your lap (yes, even a sixty pound German Shepherd tries this!), adoration, kneading kitty paws, wagging tail (generally the dog!), wet noses, pricked up ears, padding paws. Rusty, Roxy, Misty and Raven.
This is Love.

faith-spirituality-the-last-krystallos

Nature, scriptures, freeagency, and crystals © Lisa Shambrook

I don’t often write about my religious views and my Faith. My faith is vast, ever evolving, and it embraces humanity with a Christ-like vision, but my Christianity intertwines with aspects of nature and Paganism and the peace of Buddhism. I think Spirituality is a vast subject and faith is very personal. My beliefs make sense to me, and no one can challenge what my heart reveals to me.
This is Love.

creativity-writing-the-last-krystallos

Art, worldbuilding, sketches and notes, and dragons © Lisa Shambrook

I need a Creative outlet, without it I’d go quietly mad. I draw, plan, sketch, paint, sculpt, write, design, craft, photograph, and create. I create worlds with words, characters, plots, emotion, and dragons. I share my emotions in every piece I write or make.
This is Love.

pretty-things-the-last-krystallos

Acorn Cups, Trollbeads, Leather jacket, and Dr Martens Boots © Lisa Shambrook

Most of the things that bring me love are free, family, faith, nature, pets, imagination, but sometimes we have material items that mean something to us. If I wear something ‘til it’s worn out, then it’s been needed and loved. My leather jackets end up worn and torn, as do my beloved boots. I adore gems, I love pretty things, so my bracelet adorned with silver tokens and Murano glass beads means a great deal to me. Each trinket and bead means something, a moment, a place, people, something precious. And as I’m a squirrel, bushy-tailed and anxiously curious I have a thing for acorn cups and hazelnut shells.
This is Love.

What is the Love in your life?

Twenty-one Things I Love About Dan…

Twenty-one Things I Love About You…

To my son, Daniel, on your Twenty-first Birthday!

21-2016-with-the-bells-aug-2016

Dan…Twenty-one on friday!

  1. You lit up my world from the first moment you kicked into this world, my head-strong beautiful son.

    1-1997-daniel-1-heronsbrook-aug-1997

    One…

  2. Your smile has always been one of my favourite things about you. You can light the darkest place with it.

    2-1998-vince-dan-may-1998

    Two…

  3. Your eager delight at the world about you. Your excitable nature from shweep to slox…(sheep and socks!)

    3-1999-dan-3-model-school-nursery-photo-oct-1999

    Three…

  4. Our little Danny boy, full of mischief and fearless adventure!

    4-2000-dan-4-danny-boy-llansteffan-june-2000

    Four…

  5. Your straight-forwardness is strength. Your favourite animal at Gelli Aur aged five was “A big animal with sticks on his head!” A stag.

    5-2001-carreg-cennan-dan-5-oven-august-2001

    Five…

  6. Like a bulldozer you throw yourself into everything with true gusto and sometimes very little thought for consequences, but you always survive!

    6-2002-dan-6-donkey-june-2002

    Six…

  7. I love how you share and love, your love runs deep and strong.

    7-36-dan-7-st-davids-march-2003

    Seven…

  8. You have empathy that will guide both you and those about you, and your example will always inspire.

    8-2004-dan-8-cait-4-model-school-photo-oct-2004

    Eight…

  9. I have never met anyone who can bond so easily and so well with so many, and make a positive difference in their lives!

    9-2005-dan-9-army-july-2005

    Nine…

  10. You have an endearing innocence and naivety, and this is why so many will love you for your honesty and integrity.

    Before Dan had his hair cut.

    Ten…

  11. Your smile lights up so many lives as your sense of fun shines through!

    11-2007-dan-smile-may-2007

    Eleven…

  12. You embrace the simplicity and beauty of life with courage and joy!

    12-2008-freshwater-dan-12-smile-august-2008

    Twelve…

  13. You can be anyone you want to be, dig deep, work hard, and be true to yourself.

    13-2009-dan-and-cait-firth-of-forth-aug-2009

    Thirteen…

  14. Don’t ever give in. Life can be tough and frustrating, but you can always overcome and win!

    14-2010-dan-14-by-bekah-june-2010

    Fourteen…

  15. You have grown slowly with confidence and you will become a beacon of light, a lighthouse…

    15-2011-dan-15-may-2011

    Fifteen…

  16. The way you love is deep and honest and without bars, and your hugs can heal broken spirits.

    16-2012-dan-roxy-july-2012

    Sixteen…

  17. Your sense of adventure will take you far and help you carve your place, don’t lose it!

    17-2013-amazon-zoo-dan-lemur-instagram-april-2013

    Seventeen…

  18. I love your spirit of generosity. You care deeply for those around you and always fight for those in need.

    18-2014-dan-giving-blood-instagram-august-2014

    Eighteen…

  19. Strength and devotion are both naturally abundant in your nature, a true soul of beauty.

    19-2015-dan-family-dystopian-post-apocalyptic-photo-shoot-instagram-february-2015

    Nineteen…

  20. You know your worth, a son of faith and spirit, our son…

    20-2016-dan-on-skype-may-2016-close-up

    Twenty…

  21. The world is at your feet…it’s yours…

    136-dan-skyping-christmas-day-2016-21

    Twenty-one…

*Note: All photographs within this post are copyright to Rebekah, Caitlin, or Lisa and are not to be reproduced or copied in any way.

Silver Wedding Anniversary – Twenty-five Years Together

Today, 5th October, Vince and I celebrate 25 years together
and our Silver Wedding Anniversary…

the-words-that-you-write-with-your-heart-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

I want to link to a couple of posts, the first is: our 20th Anniversary and our Twenty Expressions of Love…♥ I’m so moved when I read back over the words that our love has produced…

I want to add five more:

After twenty-five years we know each other well, we understand each other as well as we can, given our differences, and what we don’t understand we lovingly accept.

We both feel that spiritual and physical bond that holding hands gives you, and physical intimacy brings both immense emotional and spiritual intimacy.

Time is a blessing, time spent together strengthens and deepens our love, and walks on the beach, or through woodlands, or across mountains, or anywhere together increases and heightens our affection.

The love and humour our family has is an eternal bond, something that ties us together no matter where we are. We, as a family, will always be united whether we are oceans apart or sitting side-by-side, and the winds of time cannot change that, our family makes us whole.

We know the strength of a hug, of arms wrapped tight around each other. We know it in sorrow and in joy, and in unity of love.

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Twenty-five years – Vince and Lisa… One photo a year from 1991 – 2016

We’ve changed in many ways: in looks, personality, character, knowledge, wisdom, emotions, understanding, and much more. We’ve grown and become very different people to who we were twenty-five years ago, but we’ve found solace, compassion, love, strength, and passion within each other and a bond that pushes the boundaries of this life.

kiss-me-lisa-shambrook-25-anniversary-bw-the-last-krystallos

On our Twentieth…

I’ve written a couple of other posts about love and relationships, so if you’re interested: How to Feel Loved – Discover your Love Strategy and learn about how you feel and give love, and: The Most Valuable Way to a Happy and Successful Relationship and see how kindness works.

Here’s to the next Twenty-five Years!

♥ With all my love ♥

Being Broken and the Kintsukuroi Art of Healing

There are times in my life when I know I’m broken
and I’m okay with that.

Being Broken and the Kintsukuroi Art of Healing - The Last Krystallos
I have scars, scars that run across my skin and scars that run deep through my very being.
Most of us do, from superficial scratches on our surface to deep canyons that reside in dark places. We all have history, and emotional pain stays with you, no matter how much you try to let go.

I’m not talking of forgiveness here; maybe I’ll post on that another day, but even when you can or have let go, the experience, the memory, will always be with you. You can’t erase the things you’ve been through, and it’s good that we can’t.  

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Dawn’s gold rippling through the sky © Lisa Shambrook

I’m a firm believer in the fact that we are not perfect and nor should we worry about trying to be perfect. I want to be good, kind, loving, and harness many other beautiful characteristics, but I don’t need to be perfect. Along with my good qualities, I embrace rebellion, curiosity, cynicism, and other traits, as I believe you can’t know the good without the bad, and after all we are human.

This also means that though I would love to live on a fairly even keel, I am grateful that I don’t.

I’ve known pain. You’ve known pain. And whilst the levels of pain we’ve known may differ, they are powerful and good. The fact that we’ve known pain means we can enhance the joy that we feel too.

There is an exquisite extreme to emotions, sorrow and joy, and to know one you have to truly know the other.

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Broken things still live – Greencastle old oak tree © Lisa Shambrook

I have felt broken, and I have been broken, but I am also mended.

Many things can fix you. Family, love, religion, nature, chocolate, even money – but know that despite being mended your scars still endure.

I used to worry about my scars; they still decorate my skin and remind me constantly of the times that have hurt. Right now they are white, and pink, and narrow and pale. They’ve filled in, healed, mended, but they’re still there. I live with them and I love them, because they are me.

We need to love our brokenness. We need to embrace the scars that have healed us, for they have made us who we are.

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To bathe in sunset gold © Lisa Shambrook

The Japanese have a wonderful procedure called Kintsukuroi (golden repair) or Kintsugi (golden joinery) and they have beautified brokenness.

It is the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.   

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My attempt at Kintsukuroi – though I don’t have gold so it was nail lacquer! © Lisa Shambrook (Check out the real thing on my Pinterest Page)

Is there anything more beautiful than someone who can embrace their flaws and know that they are worth more for what they have been through?

We are all broken, in a way, we all have scars, some more visible than others. And even when you are healed, those scars, those things you’ve been through have made you stronger. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, to be flawed, and to be broken.

My heart is made of stronger stuff than glass - Patrick Rothfuss - lisa shambrook

My heart is made of stronger stuff than glass – Patrick Rothfuss © Lisa Shambrook

We don’t have glass hearts that can shatter beyond repair, we don’t have crystal spirits that can splinter beyond hope, we are made of stronger stuff, and even if we need repairing at times, we are all the more beautiful for it.  

The Most Valuable Way to a Happy and Successful Relationship

Kindness is the recipe for keeping a relationship alive. 

The most valuable way to a happy and successful relationship, the last krystallos, relationships, love and marriage, better relationships,

When an article, featuring research from The Gottman Institute about how to make a relationship work, recently popped up on my newsfeed it made me think.

You can read the article, but in a nutshell, couples were interviewed and studied as they interacted with each other, and then re-interviewed six years later. From their research Gottman separated them into two groups: the ones whose relationships fell apart or who were chronically unhappy together – the Disasters, and the ones who were still together and happy – the Masters.

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful...agent of human change Bob Kerrey, Bob Kerrey quote, kindness, kindness quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Their analysis showed that those who were defensive in their relationships suffered and those relaxed and comfortable maintained happy bonds.

He followed his study in 1990 with a retreat in which he invited 130 newlywed couples to relax together while he watched how they interacted.

Quoting from the article: Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either turning toward or turning away from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t — those who turned away — would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

Kindness is more than deeds it is an attitude expression look touch anything that lifts another person, C Neil Strait, the last krystallos, kindness quote,

©Lisa Shambrook

Again this made me think and consider my own relationship. How do I respond to my husband’s bids for my attention? How does he respond to mine? This reaches further than just marriage too, how do I listen to my children, who tend to bid for my attention even more than my partner?

Gottman found that: Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had turn-toward bids 33% of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had turn-toward bids 87% of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.

Do we meet our family’s needs?

Kindness has a beautiful way of reaching down into a weary heart and making it shine like the rising sun, kindness quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Our society has become very secular and families find it more difficult than ever to interact with each other. We may be overwhelmed with work commitments, exhaustion, social media, hobbies or just plain disinterest. I was shocked one day when my child attempted to get my attention when I was online. I parried her constant efforts with “Wait a minute, I’m busy right now…” and ignored her protestations against my lack of interest. What was I doing? I was reading online articles, none of which were going anywhere, and none that I couldn’t return to when I had more time. A glance at my daughter made me stop. I closed the laptop and turned to her. Her particular needs weren’t imperative at that moment, but I knew that if I kept ignoring her, or turning away, then she would stop coming to me, which would be heartbreaking. If I ignored the simple things then I’d never get to hear the big things.

The same thing works within marriages and turning toward and recognising the worth of your partner’s need to be heard and loved is imperative.  Read my article How to Feel Loved to learn about your and partner’s Love Strategy, and discover how  we feel loved.

True love a matter of anxious concern for ones companion, Gordon B Hinckley quote, love quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Gottman declared that: contempt is the number one factor that tears couples apart, and Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together.

Kindness, validating, and loving each other is what keeps couples close and intimate. It builds trust and loyalty. Kindness grows. What you give you receive back, and like a muscle it expands and flourishes the more you use and show it.

love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own, H. Jackson Brown Jr, love quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

I’m lucky I have a partner who has always spent time concerned for my feelings. He has an intuition I didn’t appreciate when I was young, that doesn’t mean he always gets it right, but the intention is there and that’s a winner. When we first married I was a very introverted people-pleaser with very low self-esteem and I often felt I’d cheated him by marrying him. I was suffering CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and was ill for the first six or seven years of marriage. Add to that, he had no idea of my battle with depression, anxiety and panic and I spent much of the first decade of our marriage trying to make up for not being what I thought he deserved!

I made sure Vince’s needs were met, I insisted he completed his dream of passing his motorbike test and owning a motorbike, and he gained many employment qualifications on courses, some we paid for and some subsidised, whilst I ignored my needs. I refused to buy new shoes when mine had holes in and I couldn’t see that I was creating an unbalanced relationship. It wasn’t until I sought help for my conditions that I finally allowed my husband’s help in reaching for my own dreams. I had no idea that it hurt my husband when I put myself last, effectively turning away, and I had to re-evaluate my priorities.

lisa-vince-25-years-2016-the-last-krystallos

1991, 2001 and 2015 Vince and I ©Lisa Shambrook

Creating balance improved our relationship and helped our love grow deeper and stronger.

Again, this is vitally important in all our relationships, not just our romantic ones, but healthy partnerships help strengthen homes.

my bounty is as boundless as the sea, Juliet, Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Shakespeare’s Juliet proclaimed infinite love – maybe we can do the same in all our relationships.
Hubby and I will reach twenty-five years on our wedding anniversary in October this year. I can testify that love and relationships aren’t child’s play, or maybe they are – children are more unconditional?

Relationships require work and trust, depth and compassion, kindness and validation, honesty and love.

If we try – where love is reciprocated – then we can turn toward and meet each other’s needs and live within happy and fulfilling relationships.

Here are the Gottman’s Top 7 Ways To Improve Your Marriage

How do you keep your relationship alive?
What’s the most important ingredient to you for
a successful marriage and/or partnership?

 

Love Bites 2016 – Arctic Chill

As one of the hosts for Love Bites 2016, my entry is inadmissible but I’m still compelled to write about the chill of betrayal:

Love Bites 2016 Arctic Chill - Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Arctic Chill

He shivered, violently, but the chill still seeped through every pore. Her voice tickled his ear and he tried to open his eyes, but his eyeballs wouldn’t keep still and his eyelids failed to listen. Her soft, smooth tones swam through his head and for a moment he was content to drown amid their cadence, and her undulating words held no sense. If he were to drown it would be preferable to the hell he shook within.

As his freezing body shuddered again, her fingers grazed his hairy cheek, stroking the crystalline frost from his beard. His eyes still refused to open and her cheek suddenly rested against his temple, her hair draped across his forehead, her lips touched his, but it barely ignited his senses. Arms snaked about his shoulders and she slipped down against him, uttering nonsensical words that slowly began to pierce his brain.

“Wake up…” the words reeled and lurched and stumbled, but had no meaning. Her voice swathed his consciousness like melted chocolate smothering a truffle. Chocolate leached through his mind, flashing up a vague memory of exotic pralines and dark lips – and the kisses that followed as sultry as the chocolates themselves… Those kisses now moved across his face, and touched lightly on his errant eyelids as he struggled to open them.

Body warmth surged as she straddled him sinking down into his lap, but frostbite curtailed any desire that quivered. His body trembled beneath her fingers and he finally looked into her eyes. His body tingled and convulsed and his eyes rolled, but he caught her gaze and it sent shivers of ice down his spine like quarry bolting from a rat. The warmth that teased his body radiated from her fingers, her arms, her legs and her body, but her eyes shone like an arctic ice-flow, blue and cold and frozen.

Deep within his recollection she evoked a stirring of love, an emotion now so void of worth, his brain couldn’t comprehend the feelings that fell like soft rain in his head. Memories surfaced, like drug-induced hallucinations and her velvet voice caressed his mind as soft as fresh snowflakes. Memories flooded his confusion, but he remembered her coy glance across the dancefloor, his arms pulling her into a tight embrace, her kisses, and her pleasure. He saw halcyon days beneath sun-drenched skies, beneath umbrellas and beneath the sheets. He saw devotion and love and – betrayal. His body recoiled at the memory. It was no longer her dark hair, her dark lips, her tropical beauty, but pale skin and fair hair that draped over his body beneath the bed-sheets.

He recalled her ice-chip eyes as they bore holes in the crisp white sheets as he lie beneath the blonde. Pain and guilt mingled in the frigid air amid the pleasure that writhed upon him. And his lover’s moan of disappointment before she fell across him amongst shattered glass and ruby beads of blood.

Now he sat, naked, chained and exposed in every way possible in a shed on a mountainside, and her eyes stared with cold indifference.

“You remember?” She kissed his ear and it stung with frostbite and shame.

He couldn’t respond; his body was too far gone to elicit any reply. The sores on his wrists from the chains seeped pus and black ichor, and his brain felt the same. She gently lifted herself from him and blew a kiss, then winter’s wind whipped around the barn and his heart shuddered as the bolt clanged back into place.

Memories faded along with his cohesion, and as she sat at another man’s table, and slept in another man’s bed, he faded from existence entirely.

(612 Words)

Love Bites 2016 - Arctic Chill

Today is our closing day…so you have a few more hours to get your entry in…go write about love gone wrong…and link up with the other fantastic entries

And if you loved this here are my previous year’s Love Bites pieces: 2013: Pillow Talk and 2014: No More.

And one of my fellow hosts’ piece: Ruth Long – Loveline and Fisticuffs.