About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.

Cover Background Survey Results

Inspirational photo taken on my son’s property in Africa

Thank you to all who contributed to this survey.

As those of you who responded know, I am

working on an inspirational book based on stories and images of Africa. At the same time, I discovered I had credits with a photo stock company that I had to use within two days. My Scots blood would not allow these to go to waste, so I had to jump ahead and buy something I would use in the future.Opinion Stage

I tried several software programs to run a survey. None of them suited my requirements until I came to  Opinion Stage. This turned out to be ideal, and it had excellent support.

I created five polls, then joined them into a set and asked you to vote on each poll.

Each poll consisted of a choice of three photographs which could have been used as a cover background for my upcoming book. However, I wasn’t committed to using one of the 15 photos. I wanted to find out, with your help, what TYPE of picture would tempt people to take the book off the shelves and read the back cover.

 

Categories

Each photo focused on one of three categories:

  • Scenic view
  • Animal scene
  • Sunset 

This was an extremely useful exercise, and I will definitely use the idea again. It showed my idea of what you would like and your idea of what you would like were polls apart. (Pun intended!)

Now, I do know there were not that many people participating (77) and hopefully next time I will be able to run one for a longer time. Nevertheless, the results were enough to show a clear trend, which is what I wanted.

Here is a reminder for you of the 5 polls you voted on:

Out of a total of 333 votes, the statistics read as follows:

  • Scenic view, which I anticipated being highest: 17.74% preferred this type of image.
  • Animal scene, which I expected to be a close runner-up, scored 21.12%
  • Sunset came in with a high 61.8%

Out of the entire option of 15 photographs, one came out as a clear leader. The ellie with the sun shining through the trees. What a magnificent photo!

So what inspirational photo did I choose?

As I live in South Africa and have taken a lot of sunset and animal photos myself, and I also have a couple of family members who take wonderful photos, I decided not to spend my credits on this picture, beautiful though it is. I’m sure, with the help of Photoshop, I can create a photo similar to the ellie photo if that’s what I decide to go with. And I can always go back and purchase it if I wish.

So I spent my credits on a photo that I can change in various ways and use, if not for this book, for another. I probably won’t use it exactly as it stands, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a lovely photograph—and it is certainly one I wouldn’t be able to create.

Thanks to 123rf for this photo. Hover over the image to get the attribution.

So thank you to all those of you participated. I was amused by the number of people who commented on the photo at the top, taken on my son’s property in Hoekwil, South Africa.

Over to you:

Whether or not you participated in the survey, won’t you tell me which, out of all the photos on this page, you would like to see on the cover of a devotional book? That includes the one on my son’s property, and the one I finally downloaded. Just describe which one you like best.

Of course, if you like C best, you will add something about the picture so I can identify it, right? Yes, I knew you would.  😆

The Best of Everything. #Share Your World

This entry is part 13 of the series Share Your World

SC: I’ve been out of action with this challenge for a few week. This week, Cee Neuer asks some deep but fun questions in her Share Your World Challenge. Here are my answers.

SYW: wants to know: What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

SC: A day relaxing at a resort with my entire family including my brother and his family. 

SYW: Complete this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world…..

SC:My favourite place in the whole world is the secluded beach on the outskirts of Gordon’s Bay in the Cape. It has trees overhanging the sand, a long beach walk, magnificent mountain scenery, and a fish and chip shop just up the road if you forgot to pack the sandwiches. We have been there with all three babies, so it holds special memories.

SYW: Who was your best friend in elementary school (prior to age 12)?

SC: Jackie Ford. We met when we lived in the same block of flats in Gwelo, Rhodesia (now called Gweru, Zimbabwe) when we were about due to start school. As only children, six months apart, we bonded instantly. We spent our free time from school (prior to 12) like sisters. We shared our mischief and our fun and rarely fought, which is more than can be said for our two dogs. Jackie’s cross foxy, Patches, and my Heinz 57, Brownie, hated each other with a vicious passion, despite the hours they were forced to spend together.

Both of our mothers went out to work, and we were supervised (sort of!) by our grandmothers. Poor old ladies. When I think what we put them through!

When we reached high school age (going on 13), our parents moved to opposite sides of town and we were forced to go to different high schools. So although we are still in touch today, mainly through Facebook, we ended up making new friends. Sadly, I don’t have one photo with us both in it. Jackie, if you’re reading this, do you have any?

SYW: What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

SC: Okay, you know what’s coming right? I returned from our 50th wedding celebration to 5 cutting dies from China, and a further 5 arrived during the week. One of them was a beautiful lacy umbrella. I had no idea why I’d ordered it and couldn’t find ideas for cards. It was too big to use it with other dies that I had. So I needed serious inspiration. Here’s a few of what transpired:

How about you?

1. What inspired you this week?

2. Would you like to join the Share Your World challenge? Cee posts a few questions each week, and all participants need do is answer them. It’s a cool way to get to know one another. The idea is to answer the questions without overthinking them and just have fun. If you are interested in joining this blogging challenge—just copy/paste the above questions into a new post and answer them. Then put the link for your post here: Cee’s Challenge.

 

Where did these Strange Expressions come from?

This entry is part 4 of the series Common Sayings

Back to Common Phrases!

After a gap, I’m returning to posting each Monday about a strange expression or common saying. We’ll look at what they mean and how they came about. Sometimes there will be only one saying, while other times there may be more. I won’t in any way cover all the possibilities as I’d like to complete the series in this lifetime. But it should be fun. Join me?

I intend working through the alphabet, so sign up at the end of the post so you don’t forget to visit me each Monday and perhaps participate by adding suggestions.

Today we look at G. And we have two common sayings.

Get out of bed on the wrong side is a strange expression!

We have all heard this strange expression. We’ve probably said it.

And oh dear! We may well have been accused of this! I know I have, and with good reason. (I don’t DO early mornings if I can help it!)

When someone is grumpy or bad tempered during the day, we often say he “got out of the wrong side of bed.”

out of bed on the wrong side

Olden Days

This is based on superstition from the olden days. Many people believed that evil spirits lurked on one side of the bed during the night.

If you were unfortunate enough to clamber out of bed on their side, those evil spirits and their influence would inhabit your body for the entire day.

The only solution to this problem was to make sure the next dawn you got out of the correct side! (I don’t think I would have ever gone back to sleep!)

The Romans were well known for their superstition that a left-sided anything was evil, so that may well be from where that expression evolved. (That must have been tough on left-handed soldiers!)

Getting the sack is another strange expression!

Today, this means the person has lost his job, been fired, been dismissed without honor.

This common phrase may well go back to the 17th century, where workers carried the tools of their trade in a large sack. When an employer took them on to do a certain task, he would then hold the worker’s sack which contained the unneeded tools, for safe keeping.

When the man completed his job and was no longer needed, the employer would return the sack to him. There was therefor no disgrace. To be given the sack in those days meant they could carry their sack of tools to their next place of work.

Are there any other strange expressions you can think of that start with G? I can think of a few. How about you? Share them below in a comment.

 

Share My World

This entry is part 12 of the series Share Your World

Last post I shared the plans we had for celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. As with all plans, some worked out as expected, others changed mid-stream. But all round it was a great time.

I’ve missed a couple of weeks of blogging, so I’m pulling myself up by my bootstraps (to use a well-worn but appropriate cliche!) and trying to get back into routine. This week, instead of doing Cee’s Share Your World challenge, I thought I would Share My World, and tell you more about our celebration holiday (a.k.a. vacation). So if you’re interested, read on.

read more

Share Your World (#SYW) ~ July 19.

This entry is part 1 of the series Share Your World

What is your favorite cheese? That is the first question in this week’s Share Your World Challenge, run by Cee Neuner.

SYW: What is your favorite cheese?

My reply: Gouda Cheese. I love it on biscuits with butter and pickles. Yummy!

Image: Creative Commons by Dominik Hundhammer

SYW: Are you left or right handed?

My reply: Very right handed. My left hand is purely there for backup!

SYW: Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

My reply: My mind. I love mental challenges and learning things, and I do it all the time. I do take a good walk at least once a day, but I don’t exercise physically as much as I should. I’m too busy exercising my mind. 🙂

SYW: Complete this sentence: Hot days are …

My reply: the main topic of my dreams right now as we are currently surrounded by snow on the mountain peaks. However, when the hot days return, I will be hoping for a low humidity. Here in Port Elizabeth on the coast line of South Africa we get extreme humidity along with the heat and that is so draining.

SYW: Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My reply: Last Saturday I was very grateful for a roof over my head to keep out the beautiful soaking rain that fell, strong walls to keep the howling gales at bay, and warm clothes to protect me from the icy temperatures blowing off the snow-covered mountains. So many in our country lack all three of these.

Make sure you click on audio (bottom right).

Short video clip of rain in drought-stricken Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Please RT Click To Tweet

I am looking forward to receiving a whole bunch of unbranded cutting dies from China this week. I’ve finally plucked up courage to notify sellers of a number of dies that are overdue. So I see it as inevitable that they will now arrive in my post box!

How about you?

What was the best thing that happened for you last week? I’d love to hear from you. Please add your comment below.

Share Your World (#SYW) ~ July 10

This entry is part 10 of the series Share Your World

How do you like to spend a rainy day? That is the first question in this week’s Share Your World Challenge, run by Cee Neuner.

SYW asks: How do you like to spend a rainy day?

I would just love to have this problem! I live in the drought-ravished Nelson Mandela Bay in the Western Cape province of South Africa. We were recently declared a disaster area, and no—it had nothing to do with politics.

When we do have a rainy day (I live by faith!) I will probably spend it following my usual program of writing on my computer, but with regular thrilled looks out the window to enjoy the sight of my long-suffering garden receiving a long-needed drink of clean water! (At the moment the plants have to exist on irregular drinks of soapy water collected in buckets from the occasional washing machine load.) We cannot use the machine often, as we have a limit of 60 liters of water a day per person. That doesn’t even allow for a daily shower!

read more

What is a Damp Squib?


Each Monday, I’m posting on my blog about a phrase or common saying, what they mean and how they came about.

I’m working through the alphabet and choosing one saying for each letter.

Have you ever watched a show on TV and heard someone describe it as a “damp squib?”

That’s what we’re looking at this week. What is a Damp Squib? And where did the expression come from? read more