Changing the world one word at a time. Find me at: http://amazon.com/author/mariarattray or: https://ponmyword.com

No better time to promote, than right now…

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A few years ago my husband and I spent some time living in Penang, Malaysia. There I met the most beautiful man, who to this day is a very close friend. We share similar concerns about the environment, about materialism, and the lack of care for the planet. The galloping and frightening pace of change from where we were less than three generations ago, to where we are today, we discussed at great length.

When I first struck up a conversation with him I asked about why the tides around the island no longer behaved as they should. His eyes filled with tears and he asked me if I’d been aware of the constant noise around the island. That, he told me, was to do with dredging in preparation for building three islands, the size of Singapore around Penang. …


And through that, being born again…

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There’s no interview. The position is challenging and fierce. It comes with no salary. It leaves you absolutely exhausted every day, deprives you of sleep, and the free time you once enjoyed, but you wouldn’t trade it even for free access to the biggest bank in the world.

Welcome to the World of Motherhood, where love begins and ends. Welcome also to the longest and most fulfilling chapter in your life.

It might be physically impossible to count the ways a mother expresses her love. Where loving warmth meets a teachable moment, that’s where you’ll find a mother, confidently wielding her superhuman ability to be everything you’ll ever need. …


Celebrating the birth of a friend’s little boy…

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The inspiration comes from the poem, ‘Oh, the Places Youll Go!’ It’s all about seizing opportunity, and being open to adventure.

Dearest William,

CONGRATULATIONS!

Today is your day,

You’ve landed on earth

And now you must stay.

Today‘s your ‘birth’ day!

And you’re perfect, we think.

But we know that the years

Will fly by in a blink.

So from feasting on milk,

Over which you now drool,

Soon you’ll be shopping

For clothes fit for school!

Oh the things there you’ll do,

Oh the people you’ll see,

The teachers you’ll have,

And the student you’ll be.

The friends that you’ll…


To look in a mirror and like what they see…

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It was a Friday night. Late opening in our city, a night when it is de rigueur to shop after work, and then enjoy a simple meal out.

My husband needed some business clothes, and we went down to the basement of a large store in the men’s section. It was a store where he always found clothes that he liked, so we spent a fair bit of time looking. Our daughter, quite young at the time, perhaps three or four, was with us.

She was always a good little girl, well-behaved, and patient for the most part.

We duly met up with friends later and enjoyed a meal together, then made our way home. On the way, our daughter spoke up. “Nobody’s allowed to look in my bag,” she said. …


It’s not about always behaving perfectly, but more about leaving no room for compromise.

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When I was quite a young teacher I had a boy in my class who was invariably late for school. Sometimes he could be as late as one hour, and that is almost always the time in the classroom where important information, or teaching, takes place.

As the eldest of five children, his father was in the army and often away from home. I felt for the mother. She seemed constantly on edge, as was her young son. He would slope into the classroom, and though I greeted him and quickly explained what he had missed, without judgement, I could sense his lack of confidence. …


How buying one thing can lead to out-of-control habits…habits that don’t enhance your happiness.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Think about this.

If you couldn’t work for the next six months, would you survive?

Would you manage to eat, and pay your rent?

Would you use credit, just to get by?

The thing is, the way in which we spend our money, is an intrinsic reflection of who we are.

The fact is, that how you choose to spend your money, or to ‘spend’, (but live with debt), will be the determinant of how your financial life plays out.

We are all tempted form time to time. The advertising moguls are experts at luring us into buying.

Imagine you see these stylish shoes, Italian-made, so stylish that you just have to have them, even though they cost three times what you’d normally be prepared to pay for shoes. …


We all tend to do it. And we do it again, and again.

Our kids come home from school and we ask the same old question:

‘What did you do today?” or, ‘What did you learn?’

The answer’s almost always the same…nothing!’

Your child spent six hours at school and learned nothing…better catch up with his teacher in that case.

Right…had better catch up with that poor old acrobatic/juggler teacher who’s trying to help thirty kids understand a math problem, or some aspect of punctuation, at the same time dealing with subtle, but intrusive manic behavioral issues.

And all the while your kid learnt nothing. …


The other day a forensic policewoman arrived at my door because there had been a spate of burglaries, and attempted ones, in the area, and ours was an attempted burglary. So I got to see first-hand, how the forensic team works.

We got talking, and somehow the conversation turned to her having to home-school her children, which, in her words, was a nightmare.

‘You know,’ she said, ‘when we got the letter about our school closing down due to the virus, my husband and I thought, no worries. We have degrees. We’ve been to school. We’ll be fine.’

‘And were you?’ I asked.

‘Shit no!’ she laughed. ‘It was a bloody nightmare. You know I thought I’d sit the kids down, talk about what they were supposed to do, read them some instructions, and it would all be hunky dory!

‘OMG…in no time I was hoping for an escape route…


I’m not a great fan of cemeteries. They take up space in the landscape, and over time begin to look tired and worn. Some people love to spend an afternoon…


My love affair with this nifty little punctuation mark. Care to join me?

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I have a confession to make. I’m not just in love with the Oxford comma, but with commas generally. They make for absolute precision in our writing, and shouldn’t be ignored.

To that end, when editing my own work, I make a habit of reading my articles several times, aloud, to ensure that all are present and correct!

Notice that ‘several times aloud, doesn’t bring the clarity of, ‘several times, AND (also), aloud’.

And just as an example of the need for commas generally, allow me to use a sentence from the profile of a Medium writer whose work I very much admire, Jim McAulay🍁, who states: ‘My favourite things are eating my family and not using commas’. …

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