#SoCS Stream of Consciousness Saturday ‘March 2020-March 2021: A Year to Remember’ #SaturdayThoughts

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. 

This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda has asked us to write about this past year to share our common experiences as a way to connect, to feel a little less alone, perhaps. 

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March 2020- March 2021: A Year to Remember

I’d use four words to describe how I’ve felt over the last year: Connectedness, Silence, Introspection, and Renewal.

Connectedness

Perhaps ironically, from March 2020 to March 2021 is the year I have felt less alone in the world in my life!

I feel connected to everyone in the world, because we’ve all had to cope with the same fears, restrictions, economic crisis, and illness this pandemic has brought.

The very existence of this pandemic, which originated in a market in a town in china and reached every corner of the world in a few weeks, just goes to show how interconnected we are.

We all breathe the same air, are warmed by the same sun, and our tides are governed by the same moon. We are all unique, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t connected to everything else on our planet and universe.

Silence

At first, during lockdown the silence, especially at night when the curfew meant we were all at home early, was terrifying.

I love silence. In fact, when I write, I often I use my headphones on mute to block everything out and write, but that’s my choice, for a few hours. This silence was different, it was empty; life was missing. And it was distressing, because it wasn’t normal. It was the silence of absence; as if the world had stopped breathing, and it led to a distressing feeling; as something was missing and there was a hole in the world.

Now, after a year we are still on partial lockdown, but the vaccine is being administered and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Silence is no longer frightening, it’s just silence, a friendly, quiet silence. A silence waiting for the storm to pass.

Introversion 

Apart from the pandemic, between March and September 2020, I’ve had challenging months, not related to the pandemic, but worsened by occurring at the same time. I was forced to travel, visit several hospitals, and take care of administrative and household matters in hospitals, shops and government offices, when all I wanted to do was hide at home and wait for the storm to pass.

I wrote little during this time, except some notes and poems, and a few blog posts, but I didn’t have the routines or mindset to revise or continue writing my novels.

However, I did read a lot, especially personal growth and self-help books that have helped me immensely to understand myself and cope with stressful situations. I’m still reading these wonderful books and posting reviews and opinions about them on my blog every Monday on a weekly post called #MondayMotivation. 

Renewal

Fortunately, October brought a relative peace back into my life and I was able to devote my time to my literary pursuits with renewed strength and enthusiasm.

And now that winter is coming to a close, the vaccine is being administered, and the world seems a safer place, we are all longing to get back to our lives, but our ‘new lives’ because at least I am not the same person I was last March. I want more freedom to hug my friends and family and to travel, but I also appreciate everything I have and everyone I love, much more.

I value and feel grateful for my comfortable home, my internet connection for social media, work and enjoyment, the food in my fridge, the clothes I choose to wear, the friends I speak to on the phone every day and the air I breathe.

What are your reflections on this last year?

#SoCS Stream of Consciousness Saturday ‘Gratitude’ #SaturdayThoughts #StaySafe

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. 

This week’s prompt is “first thing.” Start your post with the words, “first thing” and go from there. Bonus points if you end your post with the last thing. Have fun!

Gratitude

The first thing I do every single morning, just after I turn off my phone alarm, while I’m still lying in bed, eyes closed, aware that a new day has just started, is to say ‘thank you’ to the universe for everything I am and everything a have.

I am alive, healthy, happy, loved, enthusiastic about my day and grateful to be lying in a warm, comfortable bed and feeling positive emotions.

I also have a loving family, a roof over my head, hot water to shower, delicious food to cook and eat, central heating, warm clothes and shoes, and plenty of exciting things to do for the next sixteen hours, until I lie down in my bed, and repeat my gratitude for the wonderful day I will have had, which is the last thing I’ll be doing.

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One of the positive aspects of the pandemic we’re suffering, at least in my case, is the sense of gratitude and appreciation for what I have, knowing that everything related to my physical world is a temporary loan.

I’m making a conscious effort to appreciate what I have, while being more concerned with what I am, which I trust is a more permanent state.

#StaySafe

#MondayBlogs My 11 Positive Affirmations #MondayMotivation

I’ve recently experienced an important milestone in my life, my retirement, after 38 years a teacher. In the months leading up to my retirement, and beyond, I’ve had a lot of time, and desire, to think about my life so far, goals achieved, goals to be achieved, done lists, to do lists, etc.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Ted Talks and reading motivational books, both of which I’ll be gradually reviewing and discussing in future blog posts.

There’s plenty of information on the Internet regarding affirmations. This post is about my daily affirmations and what they mean to me and do for me. I hope they’ll be useful for you, too.

Why do we need positive affirmations?

It’s simple, we need to counteract negativity, which is harmful and far too easy to get stuck in. If you want to know more about how negativity works and how to avoid it, listen to Alison Ledgerwood’s Ted Talk, which has been watched by almost nine million people on the Ted website and Youtube.

We need to promote optimistic thoughts and counteract the power of negativity with positive affirmations.

What are positive affirmations?

Well, in spite of being very simple, the process is complex, because you have to be convinced it’s worth investing in them, which is a personal and non-transferable procedure each one of us has to go through themselves. However I hope my affirmations will help you think about your own.

This Ted Talk by Marisa Peer was an eye opener for me about the power of positive affirmations. Here’s another one of her talks about affirmations.

My 11 Daily Affirmations

  1. I am enough
  2. I am complete
  3. I am safe
  4. I am ageless
  5. I am limitless
  6. I am loved
  7. I am loving
  8. I am loveable
  9. I am wise
  10. I am grateful
  11. I am a writer

These affirmations are like the tip of an iceberg. Each three words have a much deeper meaning and conjure up a complex and life-changing thought processes.

As an example, I’ll explain what each affirmation means to me, so when I say it, I’m encompassing a much wider meaning in just three words.

  1. I am enough. This is the first one, and in fact, I believe it’s the only one you need, literally it’s enough, because you are enough. Try saying this sentence changing the emphasis in each word: I am enough, you and just you, not anyone else. I AM enough, because you consciously accept your responsibility in the action. I am ENOUGH, you have the power to decide what you want to be and when it’s enough, so You. Are. Enough.
  2. I am complete. This one is complementary to the previous one, I am enough and I am complete as I am. I am the sum of my physical, emotional and intellectual being, my likes, loves, achievements, hopes, knowledge, every day of my life, all of it is part of me, I’m complete in myself, because I’m the sum of everyone I’ve loved and will love, of everything I’ve done and will do, etc. I am a whole person, as I am.
  3. I am safe. I cover my basic needs every day, I have a job, a roof over my head, food on my plate, clothes, etc. I need not fear I’ll lose that safety, because I will lose everything at the end of my life. We all know life is transitory, but we can’t live in constant fear of losing what we have. I choose to feel safe at this moment.
  4. I am ageless. Age is just a number, it only means what we want it to mean. I’m 60 and I can do the same things I did when I was 50. I’m aware that not everyone can say the same, there may be some things we can’t do now and could do ten years ago, but are those things solely due to age? I bet most of them aren’t directly age related. People die, become ill, lose a limb, have accidents, fall in love, make friends, go to the gym, etc. at every age, so what’s all the fuss about age? Let’s think about the positive aspects of the passing of years, embrace the stage of life you’re at. I’m now helping to bring up grandchildren instead of my own children, it’s not the same and neither am I, but my ability as a grandmother is linked to my age in a positive way, that means I’m wiser. I refuse to be defined by a number.
  5. I am limitless. I can do whatever I really want to do, that means that what I want, really want, has to be backed up by motivation, effort, hard work. I decide on my limits because I decide how much effort I’m going to put into any project, be it preparing a marathon, learning a language or writing a novel. I decide how much time, finance, and effort I am willing to devote to each project. I am limitless, because I choose my limit.
  6. I am loved. This is not only about romantic love, it’s about love in a wider sense, including fondness and friendship. Think about or make a list of people who love you, who value you in a wider sense, this includes family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and it can even include people you haven’t seen for a long time, or people you don’t know, such as your fans etc. We can be and are loved by people who are not standing beside us at this precise moment. Recognise and value all the people who have ever loved you.
  7. I am loving. I love, again in the wider sense of value, appreciate and care about, other people, because love is a two way street, in fact if you made a list, the vast majority of names will be the same in both lists.
  8. I am loveable. This refers to the future. I can be loved, because I am enough, I am loving, I am not an island. I am worthy and available to be loved, because I give love and I am open to love, so I will receive it, too.
  9. I am wise. We all have abilities and knowledge depending on our training, jobs, books read, travels, hobbies, life events, family, etc. I can’t make a pavlova, but I make a mean paella, I don’t know anything about surgical processes, but I could translate a novel from various languages into English. I don’t know everything, no one does, but I can do many things, and I know plenty of things, so I am wise. I will honour and acknowledge what I know and can do.
  10. I am grateful. Finally, we all have things we feel fortunate for, some we’ve worked for like a profession and others we were born with, such as green eyes. I am grateful, that means I don’t take anything or anyone for granted, I thank my children for phoning me, because they’re busy and make the time to do so. I thank the sun for shining because it makes me smile, by saying this affirmation you are thanking everyone and everything you are grateful for.
  11. I am a writer. I write every day, I write blog posts, poems, flash fiction, I’ve written five novels, articles on education, in Spanish and English, so I can safely say I’m a writer. I think about writing, I read about writing, I speak about writing, I read and review novels, I care about writing, I interact with other writers, I feel like a writer. I want to be known as a writer.

By writing down, repeating out loud and owning my personal affirmations, I’m recalling them, acknowledging them and summoning them and everything they mean to me every day.

This process takes some time, certainly more than the few minutes it takes to write them down, and yet those first minutes are vital, because every journey starts with the first step.

So, I urge you to read up about affirmations, make your list and think deeply about what every affirmation means to you, own them and be happy!

Happy Monday!

#SilentSunday #Sixwordstory #sixwordstories If Life Deals You Oranges, Enjoy!

 

Sometimes life deals us sour lemons, and others we’re lucky enough to get sweet oranges, so let’s enjoy those wonderful moments and allow ourselves to recharge our batteries and embrace happiness. Perhaps next weeks’ lemons will be sweet, too!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday.

Thank you for being there 🙂

My camera picked up these beautiful early spring flowers yesterday, just for you… 

#Bloggers Bash Blog Post Competition 2017 #FlashFiction: Connections

This is my entry for the Annual Bloggers Bash Competition 2017.

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I’m including a 100-word Flash and a brief account of why being connected to other bloggers has made me a better writer.

Making Connections

‘You need to stop this nonsense.’

‘Which nonsense?’

‘They’re not real.’

‘You think I’m imagining people?’

‘You don’t know what they look like.’

‘I’ve seen pictures.’

‘How do you know it’s true?’

‘It isn’t all true. We share some fiction, but our feelings and opinions are real.’

‘They’ll steal your ideas.’

‘We don’t steal, we share.’

‘Why do you do it?’

‘Bloggers need to make connections.’

‘What kind of connections?’

‘Connections with the world.’

‘You can’t even touch them!’

 ‘I might be touching a few at the Bloggers Bash.’

‘If they’re real…’

 ‘Why don’t you join us and find out?’

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Blogging Lessons Learned

Lesson 1: Less is More.

One of the most important things I’ve learned since I started blogging is the power of Flash Fiction. I’ve taken part in many flash fiction challenges and blog hops during the three years I’ve been blogging, and reading and writing short fiction has helped me improve my style. There’s a link to an earlier post on this topic on the picture below.

Clean, sharp, concise and precise prose is valued by readers, who are no longer patient enough to read long and detailed accounts, which may be beautiful, but are often wordy.  

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Link to a post about how Flash Fiction has improved my writing

Lesson 2: Worldwide Connection is Essential

I personally know people who blog, write and read occasionally, others are knowledgeable in specific areas, but this interaction is so limited, compared to the whole world, that it covers a very small percentage of my needs.

I need to be connected to other international bloggers by sharing information about books and reading, writing, publishing, travelling, art, and anything else that crops up on their blogs, from cooking to medieval history, because when I’m connected, I feel like I’m growing.

As a blogger, I’m not alone as a reader, writer, thinker, blogger, teacher, or person. I can find out what other people know, think, have done, can see, or like. I can share what I know, think, do, see, or like, too.

I can do so much more with the help, opinions, advice, experience, knowledge, and motivation of other bloggers, and I’m part of something much bigger than I could ever be on my own.

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Lesson 3: Gratitude

Bloggers are part of a huge community, which needs to be nurtured in order to grow.

It’s vital to show appreciation and gratitude to other bloggers by liking, commenting and sharing their posts on social media.

Thank you all for being there, for reading, commenting, giving your opinions, sharing your thoughts, ideas and knowledge, answering my questions, and being connected with me.

Thank you for motivating me to be a better blogger and a better writer.

If I am a better writer in 2017 than I was when I started writing in 2014, it’s because of you.

As a plus, I never feel alone. There’s always someone to read and write to, and something to write about, which someone will read, like and comment on … I hope 🙂

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My #Gapp_Week 1st August @Gapp_Week

  • What am I GRATEFUL for?

I’m grateful for friendship, yet again. Last week I met up with some of my cousins, who I only see every few years (we live quite far, and although we’re in touch, we hadn’t actually seen each other for a few years). Last week I also met up with a very good friend whom I hadn’t seen in a few years, Juan Luis. I met him and his family when I was thirteen and he was twelve, and we’ve been like cousins ever since. His older brother was actually my very first real boyfriend, and we all know how one never forgets their first love, because it’s always young, and fresh and innocent and only lives in our idealised memories… A quick (he had to work) coffee by the beach in Santander with Juan Luis was a highlight of the week for me 🙂

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Another good friend, I’ve known Loli for over 30 years, who loves baking cakes brought me  a cake she’d made and showed me her brand new engagement ring!

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The second thing I’m grateful for is that today’s the 1st of August, and as every year we spend the month in a rented sea-front flat near where my daughter lives, in Fuengirola. It’s wonderful to be near m daughter and grandchildren as we live in different cities the rest of the year (about 200kms away, I do see her some weekends, but not as much as I’d like). I love my temporary beach flat. I don’t actually use the flat much, because I spend most of the day on the terrace looking out to the sea. Bliss.

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  • What have I ACHIEVED? (Things I’ve done for myself)

I’ve started my fourth novel and amazingly, this is true, I’ve written 20,000 words, and more or less plotted it out. It’s a contemporary romantic suspense and it’s set in Spain. I can’t say much more yet, but I’m very excited with my new project.

I wonder what you think of this cover? I’m thinking of using it.

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  • What are am I PROUD of? Things I’ve done for others.

I’ve written a review for a fabulous novel I read last week, I Let You Go

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I’ve tweeted and retweeted other authors and checked out as many blog posts as I could.

I took my grandson to Madrid to visit the Real Madrid Stadium. He’s a big fan, so it’s something he’ll always remember!

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  • What are my PLANS for next week?

I’d like to met up with one of my readers I’ve met on Facebook, and some old friends in Marbella, I see very rarely.

I hope to have lots of fun with my grandchildren and write some more of my new novel…

I’m also behind in my reading, so I need to catch up!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

 

My #Gapp_Week 25th July @Gapp_Week

  • What are you GRATEFUL for? Beautiful yet simple things which make life wonderful.

I’m grateful for living in this wonderful planet with such spectacular wildlife. I’ve spent a week in the north of Spain, in a beautiful part of the country. There are beautiful beaches, wildlife parks, reservoirs, mountains…

The sound of the waves breaking at the sea-shore, water rippling in the reservoir, the colours of the plants, flowers, trees and grass, and the amazing animals I was able to see were such a beautiful sight. I feel privileged to live on this planet.

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I’m grateful for meeting up with my cousins and aunt whom I hadn’t seen for a few years. I’m grateful for their friendship and affection, even if we only spent an afternoon having a long overdue chat and a coffee.

Fascinating how close we feel to people we share genes with, even though our lives are very diverse, and we only see each other very rarely, in my case because we’ve always lived in different parts of the world.

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I’m also grateful for the wonderful writers who write fabulous novels which entertain me, move me, and inspire me. Thank you for making my life more enjoyable.

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Claire Mackintosh for ‘I Let You Go‘ a fabulous novel I’ve just finished.

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Jennifer Theriot for Out of the Box Regifted, which I’m currently reading and loving.

 

  • What have you ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself .

I’m not sure yet, time will tell, but I think an idea for a new novel has been sown. I’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of it, so I can’t say much now, except that it’s a contemporary suspense with some romance. Inspiration is quite an Achievement! (I hope it lasts)

  • What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others.

I’m Proud of helping my mother who wasn’t feeling too well. It wasn’t much in relation to what she deserves, but it was all I could do, given the circumstances, which are too complex and personal to share.

  • What are your PLANS for next week? Doable and simple, realistic steps towards your goals.

I’d like to write down some scenes and character sketches for the new novel I’ve been ‘seeing’. Those who know my writing process know I ‘see’ my novel in scenes before I start writing and jotting down ideas and the novel starts taking shape.

I’d also like to keep in touch with my cousins, even if it’s only the occasional text message.

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I hope you all have a fabulous week!

My #Gapp_Week 18th July @Gapp_Week

G I’m GRATEFUL for a new 5-star review for Midsummer at Eyre Hall and lots of sales last week! It may not seen like much, but it made me very happy. I’m grateful that April took the time to read and review. It takes time to write a thoughtful review such as this one, although I’m grateful for even a few words!

I had a promotion on booksends, which led to my the three novels in The Eyre Hall Trilogy being in the top 100 historical novels on the same day. today, 16th July 2016, the three novels in The Eyre Hall Trilogy are in the top 100 bestseller list for Historical novels in the kindle store in Amazon US. Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is 33, All Hallows at Eyre Hall is 74, and Midsummer at Eyre Hall is 85. It was short-lived, but great while it lasted.

I’m also grateful for my grandchildren’s visit,

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I’m grateful for meeting up with my best friends and their husbands, yesterday evening (which is why this post is very late!).

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I’m grateful for my colleagues’ evening visit, last Tuesday.

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A for what I’ve ACHIEVED? I’ve managed to sort out my emails, redecorate my front garden, and plan some new features for my blog, more about that soon.

P is for what I’m PROUD of. I’m proud of my colleague, Jose, who passed his teacher exams for a permanent post with flying colours, although that doesn’t guarantee he’ll get the post, at least he’ll have a temporary job next year.

I’m proud of my beautiful daughter who has two wonderful children, and another to be born next month. She had her hair done for a wedding on Saturday and I bought her the lovely new dress she’s wearing. I love buying little presents for friends and family.

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P is for my PLANS. These great books arrived from Amazon this week, which I plan to read asap! I’ve already read and reviewed The Mistake I Made, and I’ve started I Let You Go.

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I’ve also planned to visit my mother, who lives about 1,000 kilometers away. It’s right up in the north of Spain, and I live in the south. More about that next week.

I still have to finish proofreading Midsummer at Eyre Hall for print…

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How was your week?

 

My #GAPP_Week 4th July 2016

My #Gapp_Week 4th July

Gratitude: I’m Grateful for the summer holidays, for the lovely weather, for being able to rest and do my own thing (which is reading, writing, blogging and playing with my grandchildren) for six weeks!

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Achievement: I’m really pleased that I was able to wrap up everything at work. My work desk had been a mess all month due to end of term exams, evaluations, and final paperwork, but I managed to get it all sorted out.

Final staff meeting. The final report was typed up shortly after!

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I’m Proud of helping my colleague prepare his exam for a permanent teaching post. He has a temporary post at my school. I only met him five months ago, and he’s a hard-working and enthusiastic teacher who deserves to pass, but he needed a little help with some of the theory and encouragement for the exam.

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I also helped another colleague correct exams, because she was very busy with personal matters. She’s also one of my best friends, and you may think that doesn’t count, but it does. Friendship has to be nurtured, and friends shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Here are my two colleagues in another staff meeting. We were actually working, but we have so much fun!

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I’ve also posted some reviews on amazon for authors I don’t personally know or interact with. We all know how important reviews are for both readers and authors.

I looked after my grandson last Monday, while his parents were working. I don’t help them as often as I’d like to because I’m working full-time, so I’m pleased to help out when I’m on holiday. I’m not sure I’ve put this in the right slot, because really it’s a pleasure to look after Alex. I’m grateful for the games we play and the laughter we share.

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        Painting in the patio!

PLANS: My plans for next week are to finish proof-reading the print copy of my third novel…

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Write some overdue reviews…

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Tidy up my study at home, which is a terrible mess!

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What about you?

Join in, pingback and read other GAPP_Weeks.

Or just read and comment, if you prefer 🙂

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RULES (short version, longer version here):

Few rules. Life has enough of them!

1- Tell us about your GAPP_Week.

  • What are you GRATEFUL for? Beautiful yet simple things which make life wonderful.
  • What have you ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself .
  • What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others.
  • What are your PLANS for next week? Doable and simple, realistic steps towards your goals.

2- Pingback to Lucy’s GAPP_Week weekly post on my blog.

3- Add #GAPP_Week to your post title.

If you like, you can:

  • Write four sentences, 400 words, or 4,000 words!
  • Add pictures.
  • Join in every week, or whenever you like.
  • Write your post on Monday, or any other day of the week.
  • Check out other posts.
  • Add the logo to your post or to your page (when it’s available. I’m working on that!)
  • Retweet as much as you like!

Happy #GAPP_Week!