Season 3 Episode 3: Robbie Cheadle on Writing Children’s Books

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

Today, I am travelling the distance of 15,174 kilometers that takes me over the Atlantic Ocean and across the equator to South Africa.  What usually takes 18 hours and 20 minutes by air travel, has been accomplished within minutes via technology. I am meeting up with Robbie Cheadle, a prolific writer whose books span the ages of children, young adults, and adults. In order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, she writes for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia.  I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

Coming soon – A Ghost and His Gold

“After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Thank you for joining Robbie and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. And a very special thank you to Robbie.  You can connect with Robbie on Robbie’s Inspiration.  There is always an adventure in reading waiting for your arrival on her blog.

Until next time we meet, dear friends, keep safe and be well.

Traveling to Orkney with Lorna Brown Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

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98 Replies to “Season 3 Episode 3: Robbie Cheadle on Writing Children’s Books”

    1. Thank you, Robbie for sharing your love of writing and your commitment to literacy for all. You continue to inspire me and I look forward to many conversations going forward. Sending many hugs across the world.

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Recipes in literature have a long tradition in all kind of fiction. This gets the reader from the more passive reading to action. On the other hand, Cheadle’s books let me think of the fairy tale “Schlaraffenland”, the land of milk and honey.
    Thanks, dear Rebecca to introduce us to Robbie Cheadle’s books.
    With lots of love ❤ ❤ ❤ and big hugs 🤗 🤗
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for listening in, Klausbernd. The greatest gift we can give children is literacy. How full my life has been because someone taught me how to read. I am now going to find the fairy tale Schlaraffenland. Sending hugs and much love to my dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley!

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      1. This is a great link – thank you, Robbie. I have a feeling that I will be going down a rabbit hole with Alice on this website. Fabulous!

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      2. Good morning, dear Rebecca,
        the fairy tale of the “Schlaraffenland” (modern spelling) is called in the original old German language “Schlauraffenland” and is the fairy tale no. 158 in Grimm’s collection. You find similar fairy tales in nearly all cultures as it is a collective dream of starving people.
        ❤ ❤ ❤ 🤗 🤗 🤗
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I am inspired by Robbie’s commitment to literacy for all. Thank you so much for listening in and joining the conversation.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew bits and pieces about the origin of Robbie’s Sir Chocolate books with her son Michael, but it was touching to hear the whole story of how this lovingly illustrated, family-oriented series came to be. She’s such a great mom to her two boys. It was also touching to hear about her own life story: moving to South Africa as an infant with her mum to a brand new life, such an incredibly brave thing for her young and recently widowed mother to do. I enjoyed being kept abreast with Robbie’s ongoing journey as a writer and how her love of history (and horror) has informed her later, darker, works for adults and young adults. She is a stalwart of the writing community

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    1. I am so glad that you enjoyed meeting up with Robbie, Michael and Sir Chocolate. Robbie had me in tears when she spoke about her determination to share literacy. Writers are a powerful force for they tell the story of our time, so that we will be remembered. I am grateful and honoured that Robbie shared her insights and hopes for a world where everyone has access to books and reading. And thank you, Paul for your commitment to writing.

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    2. Hi Paul, thank you for visiting me here and listening to this podcast. I often think about my mother; the fact my father died in front of her, and her bravery in crossing the ocean on a ship with an infant. She is quite a remarkable person. I am glad you enjoyed this conversation. I am pleased to see you,

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      1. The way you are with your boys Robbie- I would not be surprised if you get a lot of your quiet strength from your mum. Lovely to hear your conversation with Rebecca. Hugs Paul

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  3. Firstly, Robbie is a gem.
    Listening to this podcast is very humanly inspiring. I am a follower of Robbie on WP, although not ardently.
    That is undoubtedly because I am not a parent, yet I appreciate that people write books for children.
    My big take away is Robbie’s love and respect for history. I’m so down with that!
    Knowing, and hopefully understanding history has made me a richer person. So many today have opinions that are not grounded in anything earth history worthy.
    I also read The Diary of Anne Frank at a very early age. Helter Sketler came later for me. Still, I did manage to steal The Carpetbaggers from my mom’s secret book stash.
    Interesting to me that someone who delved into heavily adult topics at a young age, wound up writing children’s books.
    Cheers to you, Robbie! Cheers to you Rebecca for bringing Robbie to us here on this podcast. Rebecca, your love of all the arts transcends art itself!
    Love to both of you!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. And must love is coming back to you, my dear friend. I had goosebumps throughout my conversation with Robbie. Her dedication to literacy for all is inspiration. History is all connected with the gift of literacy. How wonderful it is to read what has come before. And now it is our turn to add to the story. And you do that with glamour, sophistication and compassion, Resa.

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    2. Hi Resa, thank you for visiting and commenting. It is interesting how our life path can take us in a certain direction. Mine led me in the direction of writing books and I chose to follow that split in my road. Starting with children’s books, and a dual purpose of making reading exciting and providing a practical angle for children I know, as well as helping my own child, taught me a lot, helped me meet lots of authors and writers, and took me down the longer path of writing for adults. My adult writing also has a goal of learning and imparting knowledge in an interesting and enticing package. On reflection, my writing is all about sharing knowledge and helping people to have greater understanding which leads to better life choices. My grandfather was a minister of the Church of England and my mother says my desire to help people and empathy come from him.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Makes sense about your father being an inspiration.
        Keep on writing! I speed read at a turtle’s pace (lol).
        I’ve been boycotting Amazon for about 4-5 years now. As I have been sent books and downloads, I have had more than enough reading material. Plus there is never any end to reading on the blogs I follow.
        Anyway, I’ll be joining Kobo, as soon as I finish the 2 books I’m working on. They have a free reader download for desktops, and they take PayPal, so they will be my go to for books.
        I will check there for one of your adult books!
        Write on! Right on!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I didn’t realize that your grandfater was a Church of England minister. My dad was an Episcopal priest. After my brother and I left home, my mother became very active in lay ministry.

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  4. A mother’s love, either toward us or from us, is a powerful force. How Robbie’s love for her son, and that of family and friends, created such a force for literacy is a humble but strong lesson for all of us. What a sweet story whose fulfillment depended on the love and kindness of so many. I enjoyed hearing how it all unfolded and continues to grow beyond. (I’m not a fan of horror, but I love chocolate and sweets!) 🙂 Thank you, Rebecca, for ‘traveling’ abroad on our behalf and bringing inspirational stories every week.

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    1. I agree, Mary Jo. A mother’s love overcomes barriers and influences the world with perseverance and compassion. It is an awesome force. What I found remarkable was that Robbie recognized that Michael was a storyteller, like herself. Robbie has promised to come back and discuss her new book “A Ghost and His Gold”. Like you, I have stayed away from horror because I can’t sleep for a couple of weeks after finishing those kinds of books. But I did read The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft as I entered 2021.

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    2. Hi Mary Jo, I am pleased to meet you here. I am so glad you enjoyed this podcast and my inspiration for writing for children. I am so glad that my perseverance with my sons and their reading and writing has made them into the well rounded [and well read] young men they are today.

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      1. If your sons decide to pursue higher education, being well-read will make all the difference in their success, regardless of what subject they decide to focus their studies on.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Robbie’s writing crosses genres seamlessly. From read and bake books for children, to spooky short stories and longer novels. On top of all that, she is a fully-engaged blogger too! I wish I had some of her relentless energy, and a portion of her talent too.
    (I will come back to the audio another time, as my wife is sleeping.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your heartwarming comments, Pete. I agree – Robbie’s writing spans a wide range of genres. I have enjoyed her Youtube videos as well. Her energy comes through brilliantly. I know you will be inspired listening to Robbie!

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    2. HI Pete, I appreciate your kind comment. You are also a talented writer and I enjoy your blog a great deal. We have a wonderful and talented community and I am very happy I am a part of it.

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    1. Thank you, Bette, for listening in and for your lovely comments. Robbie was a wonderful guest on TTT. Her enthusiasm for writing and reading was heartwarming. It is great to connect to writers and hear their stories.

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    2. Hi Bette, thank you for listening. Doesn’t Rebecca have a wonderful speaking voice? She is a natural for these podcasts. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for your share.

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      1. Thank you for your heartwarming comments, Liz. Did you know that you were the one to introduce me to Robbie? My gratitude goes out to you both because of your commitment to writing, to documenting our time, to adding to the story of humanity. Frances and I were talking the other day about people who right diaries and how they nuanced our understanding of the past – Anne Frank, Virginia Woolf and dear Samuel Pepys. Diarist must find time to live life as well as write about life. Writers trend the balance between the world in which they live and the one in which they create. Now, that is a great podcast conversation. Liz and Robbie would you come back to TTT to discuss this thought. Don has figured out a way to have a three way conversation. Let me know!!!

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      2. You’re welcome, Rebecca. I was wondering if I had been the one to connect you and Robbie. I kept a diary briefly when I was a kid, but not as an adult. Oh, a three-way conversation with you and Robbie would be so much fun!!

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      3. Wonderful – I will be in touch with you and Robbie for a discussion on how to balance the many worlds you experience as a writer. Readers join in those worlds, but writers create those worlds – two very different perspectives.

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    1. Thank you, Jacqui for listening in. I was honoured to have Robbie as a guest on TTT. Her commitment to literacy for all is truly inspirational. Reading is transitioning given our new technologies. Books have gone from paper to digital to audio. Now they are moving to interactive, a concept that I’m following closely. While interactive is nor fully mainstreamed, it has a strong fan-base pushing the boundaries between literature and games. How that will play out will be interesting. Robbie was interactive from the beginning with Sir Chocolate and the recipes. What a great way to encourage learning and reading.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Rebecca. It is marvelous how people come up with new and innovative ideas for aiding learning for children. I often listen to my children and their teachers, and wish I was at school now. They have so many wonderful tools and learning opportunities.

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      2. You have that marvelous Sister who understood your reading abilities. I often think that people come into you life at the right time for the right reason. Love serendipity!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I remember reading an article in the AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Chronicle back in the ’90s about all of the excitement for hypertexted fiction and how it just didn’t work out. Maybe it was an idea that was ahead of its time–and the time has now come.

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      4. How interesting, Liz! Technology has given us tools, but how they become mainstream is indeed a mystery. The idea of games and books merging is something that I’m following closely because of the element of interaction. People want to be part of the story rather than simply an observer. Sarah, my sister read “The Witcher” series of fantasy novels and short stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. It is a popular game and now a mini-series.
        Some believe games should adapt books more often.

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      5. Last term, one of my students wrote a paper on story-based video games. (I can’t remember the official term for them. Role-playing games, maybe?) Anyway, he would be very pleased to read your comments!

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      6. My son would love your comments about games adapting books more often, Rebecca. He is a big gamer but he favours the games that have complex and lengthily stories behind them.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. How wonderful to hear Robbie speak about her writing. Robbie is a wonderful blogging friend, a huge supporter of other writers and a hardworking and multi-talented person.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you listened in, Darlene. You would be interested in knowing that I met you through Robbie’s blog. Children and young adult writers have a very special place in my heart. Writers like you and Robbie started my reading journey and I am forever grateful for their influence in my life. Sending hugs!

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      1. HI Rebecca, I am glad you have connected with Darlene. I have read a few of her Amanda books and I love them. Michael also enjoyed them although now he has moved on to adult books and is influenced by his older brother with his choices. Gosh, you should hear them arguing over book themes. I have another of Darlene’s books coming up on my TBR, it is one I’ve wanted to read for a while now.

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      2. Haha, Liz, of course there are fisticuffs, they are teenage boys. I try to stop them destroying anything, but let them get on with it. They are a bit like lion cubs, play fighting makes them stronger and fitter.

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  7. Robbie, you and Rebecca have produced a wonderful podcast. What strikes me is how sensory your creativity has been: Your son’s struggle with literacy has birthed stories and recipes that prompt children to experiment with their imagination: hearing and telling stories, making clay or fondant models, and recipes. This podcast helped me understand also how you transitioned from children’s lit to historical books and then to paranormal – wow!

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    1. I am delighted that you listened in, Marian. I enjoyed this discussion and appreciated Robbie’s commitment and determination to champion literacy for all. You belong to a wonderful blogging/writing community that supports and encourages each other. Very inspiring.

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    2. Hi Marian, I am delighted to see you here. I am glad you enjoyed this podcast. It seems to me from my blogging and friendships with authors, that writing and other forms of art often go hand in hand. Writing ideas are often inspired by a picture, from watching other people, or from a discussion or event. Every story I have written for an older audience has been inspired by real events, either during my own life or that I have read about. Sir Choc is very much intended to inspire creativity in children.

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      1. After listening your conversation with Rebecca and following the ensuing discussion, the thought occurs to me that what I loved about picture books when I was young was the interaction between the words and the images. Both were needed in order to get the full experience of the story. The Sir Chocolate books are a case in point. I’ve developed on interest in ekphrasitic poetry, or image as inspiration. But access to the electronic medium is pushing me more and more to wanting to have that same interaction between words and images that I loved so much when I was little.

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      2. Liz – I had goosebumps reading your comments. The idea of merging visual with words is opening new windows of thought and experience.

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      3. I always felt that pairing an image with writing as cheating somehow, that the words weren’t good enough to evoke the image on their own. The electronic medium is changing that way of thinking–as you say, opening new windows of thought and experience.

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      4. Hi Liz, it is interesting to me that you said including a visual medium with reading makes it seem like cheating. I think for me the words have always been enough and I’ve always read books that really challenged me. I think I may have mentioned reading Dickens as a girl with a dictionary. I do, however, understand the visual appeal for many people, including my own sons and it makes sense to me to make reading and literacy as interactive and fun as possible. There is so much competition for our attention in our modern world, the more appealing you make things, the more successful you will be in achieving your goals.

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  8. How special to learn more about Robbie and her son, Michael. Not that Robbie doesn’t have enough on her plate already, I think she’d be a wonderful book narrator. Her accent is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.

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    1. Thank you Jill for listening in and for your lovely comments. I was thrilled that Robbie joined me on TTT. I agree wholeheartedly, she would be a wonderful book narrator!

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    2. Hi Jill, thank you for your comment about my narration. I have never really liked the way I sound on audio. I am comforted by your words. Have a wonderful weekend, Jill.

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    1. Hi Bella, Don and Rebecca are a great pair and their work is incredibly professional. Don was better at this than any of the TV studio technicians I have dealt with in the past.

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      1. Hi Robbie – I just read Don your comments!!! He sends his thanks and said it was fun working with you and learning about your wonderful family. Looking forward to the next conversation.

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      1. Don loves the post-production! I hear him saying as he listens to the audio file – “this is great content” or “a brilliant discussion” as he works to eliminate the clicks and clacks of internet noise.

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  9. This is truly interesting and inspirational! ! Children’s books have always interested me–since my early grade school years in a one-room school house in the middle of the Nebraska prairies when my teacher read children’s books in “morning exercises”. She stopped by the library in the nearby town to take them to our country school house. I especially enjoyed hearing that the author and her son had an unusual connection during the start of the first children’s books. This should be an encouragement to all mothers who have the pleasure of introducing their children to these books. Thank you for the fact that the author also has an interest in writing for older (teen-age, possibly) individuals and adults. I have a special connection with this author because my father was also deferred during the war and did not have to serve because he was a farmer and very important for food production. Thank you for sharing, I will be looking forward to the two of you on your next podcase.

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    1. I knew that you would enjoy this podcast, Frances. I remember seeing the one-room school house that you attended on the Nebraska prairies. You had an amazing teacher. It was not easy to travel to a nearby town in those days so it took a great deal of effort for her to bring books to your small schoolhouse. We must do a podcast about this one day!!

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    2. It is lovely to meet your here. I was interested to know that your father was also a farmer. My grandfather got an extra cheese ration because he was a farmer and the whole family benefited from it. They also had lots of milk which was fortunate for them. Bread and milk was a common teatime treat.

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      1. Farmers in my father’s time lived very differently than today. In the 1930’s horses were used to move farming equipment, not tractors.

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  10. I so enjoyed listening to you both Robbie and Rebecca. What a fun treat to hear you both, and more about Robbie’s writing life. Hugs ❤ xx

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    1. I am delighted that you listened in, Debby, and for your heartwarming comments. Robbie has a marvelous way of telling a story. I had so much fun connecting and experiencing the energy that flows through her writing.

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    2. Hi Debby, so lovely to see you here. Thanks for listening and I’m glad you enjoyed this podcast. It was a lot of fun to make. Rebecca and Don are marvelous hosts.

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  11. Rebecca, it was a delight to join you and Robbie for this in-depth conversation which covered so many topics around Robbie’s writing. Your insight throughout is fantatic and you are a natural interviewer!😀

    Robbie, it was lovely to hear your voice and your warm and caring personality shone through. I was touched to hear how you and Michael came to write your first books, how he even illustrated them. You have developed brilliantly in your writing career, and congratulations on all your books. Your ghost / supernatural ones interest me very much and I hope to read one soon. 2000 words a day is a lot and I think most writers would not even expect or recommend more. That is what I usually aim for when on a project – after three to four hours my creative brain is drained although it is enjoyable to reach out to other tasks.

    Finally, I loved your reflections about blogging and the Society of Friends – so true and just what it has become for so many of us! I know without it I would not be where I am today … the support, encouragement and friendships are incredible.

    Many thanks to you for an enjoyable and rewarding podcast which has left me with much to ponder. Wishing you both a great weekend! hugs xx ❤️

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    1. Thank you Annika for adding depth and breadth to this conversation. I agree wholeheartedly- Robbie’s caring personality comes through in her words and writing. I am looking forward to the launch of “A Ghost and His Gold.” One of my personal goals for blogging and podcasting is exploring the way in which we build creative communities virtually. We have the technology to reach across the world that add opportunities and possibilities to engage with kindred spirits. And yet our brains are structured for face to face interactions. These past months of solitude have been tipping point, a time of reflection for me on how communities are formed and how they work together.

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      1. Rebecca, you are playing a huge part in bringing communities together here online … there is incredible creative energy in your podcasts and they are put together with expertise, professionalism and a friendly approachable manner!

        Whilst this is all good and well, the meeting of people in real life is sorely missed by us all – even today as my mother went to receive her first dose of the vaccine was exciting as it was the most amount of peopole I’ve seen in over four months! All far apart, masked, but such warmth and friendliness from everyone, very uplifting.

        Here is to virtual and real-life communities! 😀❤️

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      2. I wonder, Rebecca, if people’s brains are starting to change and need less physical interaction. Young people don’t seem to interact together nearly as much as we did when we were teenagers and in our 20s. They can all be sitting together in a group and they are all watching their phones and texting. It is odd to me. They will text each other instead of having a conversation. It is a different world.

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      3. A very good point and question, Robbie. Something that I will be pondering in the weeks ahead. (Love these types of questions) I recall when I was a teenager my father asking when I would be off the phone. Social inclusion is a huge motivator – those likes validate the feeling of belonging.

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    2. Hi Annika, thank you for listening and for your lovely and thoughtful comment. I am glad you enjoyed learning about Michael and my journey. He has achieved a lot over the past few years and is definitely very creative. I think all of us in this wonderful blogging community are very privileged to have such wonderful and supporting friends.

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