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A bit about me

Updated on September 6, 2014

A bit about me

This is where I tell you a bit about me,Elizabeth Mackay and what I've done so far in my life and what I plan to do next. I've found it all very interesting maybe you will too.I was born at the end of the forties, so am a baby boomer. Life was tough for my parents raising three children on a low income, but they made an incredibly good job of it.

A snowy start to life

The beginning

I have lived almost all of my life in Devon England. It's very green here, that's because it tends to rain a lot. But when the sun is shining it's gorgeous.

I was born here in 1947. Just in time, two days later a bad winter set in and the midwife would not have reached us.

My Dad was a farm worker and we lived in a cottage tied to the job. Dad was a bit unstable and tended to fall out with his employers. Mum was fed up with having to move house every time he lost a job. One day she heard of a place which was a caretaker's cottage for a Baptist chapel. They could settle there and Dad could work his way around the farmers in the area. By the time he had done that the first farmer would be ready to give him another try. It worked well and they lived there from 1949 till 1974.

Here are three books I have enjoyed

I particularly enjoyed Earthly Joys. Philippa Gregory brings the past to life. Earthly Joys is about the life and loves of John Tradescant, gardener to royalty. The Constant Princess is the story of Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife. The other Boleyn girl is about Anne Boleyn's sister, who avoided her sister's fate.

The chapel cottage

Our new home

The cottage beside the chapel was situated in a graveyard with large gardens and an orchard. It was idyllic. Brought up with the graveyard it held no terrors for us and we never saw a ghost! There was plenty of room to play in, with playmates just down the road, at the farm and more farther down the lane, past a little bubbling stream and up the hill where an Italian family lived. School was a mile away and we walked there, and then one day as a bus passed through anyway we were allowed on it. I was quite a timid child at first and quite anxious.

We attended chapel three times each Sunday. When I was seven I had a conversion experience when I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life. This helped me not to be so anxious. My anxiety probably stemmed from when I was 3 and the little girl at the farm who was younger than myself was killed in an accident. That has stayed with me all my life. That was when death first intruded into my life.(See a poem about it in Poems of Loss, shown below)

Schooldays and beyond

So here I am under a hanging basket in Weston-super-mare. To continue my story. At eleven I failed the 11+ an exam we used to take back then. I went to the secondary school, but two years later I passed the 13+ and set off for the Grammar school. It was nine miles away so I cycled into the village and caught the school bus. I loved it at this school and when I was 14 I began to learn to play the violin. I practiced feverishly and after two years took an exam which I passed. Two years later I took another exam and passed. By this time I had been learning the theory side of music too. I didn't leave school until I was 20 and a half !! Then I went off to university in Wales. At this time I was dating the man who was to become my husband. I did quite well at uni with my studies but I kept getting bouts of depression. I didn't realise this was a part of my makeup and so I decided to leave uni and try teacher training college as I thought this might be less intensive. A year later I decided this too was too much for me. Then I got married

Me at 9 on my uncle's farm in the summer of 1956

We spent many happy holidays at my uncle's farm. We had to travel by train to get there.This train journey was an adventure in itself. We took the branch line from our village to meet the main line. At this station we had to cross the line on a bridge which had wooden slats, I hated this I always felt as if I might fall between the gaps. The mainline train took us through more countryside and then along the coast. It was so exciting to see the sea. I was the youngest of three, having a sister and a brother. By far the greater part of my life has been lived in the countryside in Devon England. How blessed I am.

This is the lower graveyard. - It is so pretty

A peaceful oasis

Happy holidays on the farm

Holidays on the Farm

I always loved the holidays we spent on my Uncles farm. Dad had three brothers but was a bit despised by them because he had mental health problems. However Dad was the most successful in my eyes because he was the only one of the brothers to have children, with my brother continuing the family name of Geatches. He also had sisters, one of which had three children and the other two, one son each, but Dad was the only one to pass on the family name.

While on the farm I would take one of the dogs and roam over the fields, although I was always afraid I might come face to face with a bull. I never did.

Uncle kept exotic birds. He fed them with maggots that had been attracted to a cow's head kept in a metal container. He also had two Amazon parrots and a mynah bird which he kept in the dining room. The mynah bird would imitate the sound of the phone and uncle was often caught out by this.

Uncle would dearly have loved to have children, but auntie had married on the condition that they had no children. When she was just eleven her mother had died in childbirth and she was simply terrified that this might happen to herself.

Uncle was very generous and paid for a bicycle for me and I had lots of use from it.

This is the ancient yew tree - Bows and arrows were made from these

What a lovely home

As you see life was idyllic. Or was it? As I grew up times were sometimes difficult when my father was unwell. He was bi-polar. It caused a lot of tension in my life. As the youngest child I stayed at home longer than my brother and sister so it affected me more.

I settled down to married life and soon my husband and I had two children, a boy and a girl nearly nine years apart. I taught violin and piano on a part time basis and enjoyed it very much, but depression was never very far away. The black clouds would roll in and I would be grounded by depression. Fortunately one day, a new doctor came on the scene and diagnosed mild bi-polar illness and put me on lithium and I haven't looked back, except for the time a stopped taking my medication!! It has done me nothing but good. It hasn't stopped me being creative or dulled anything. Did you know the explorer Ranulph Fiennes is bi-polar. Before he sues me it is a joke, he's been to the South and North Poles.

Having spent all my childhood in the lovely place above I then went to live there again with my husband and family, as my parents had moved into the village in a bungalow.It was a lovely place to bring up a family, with plenty of space. At that time I did most of the work in our vegetable garden, which has since been neglected as you will see, if you look in the lens about My Mum shown below.

Times are not always easy

Troubles come and go

Life went on and the children grew up. I had continued to be a committed christian, as was my husband. And then something awful happened. I decided to go and live with another man. Call it a midlife crisis event if you like. Whatever, it was wrong.I eventually married the other man and lived quite happily with him for some time. Then everything fell apart in our relationship and we divorced. I'm telling this because I want you to realise that if you have gotten involved in wrong things there is still a way back and forgiveness in Jesus. I was a christian who knew better than to do these things, but you know we christians are not better than others, we have the same temptations. So now I live happily on my own in a very nice apartment in a village with wonderful views around me.My original husband is a good friend now. And now I am training to be a local preacher with the Methodist Church. I hope my experiences will keep me down - to - earth and give me an insight into other people's problems, and stop me being pompous or looking down on others.

The side view of the chapel

Are bad times really good?

Have you seen my Inspirational Meditations lens? Well, how did I come to be writing all this spiritual stuff, you may ask? I gave you a little hint further back in my story, when I was seven. Whatever we believe, life moulds us and takes us along paths we sometimes don't want to go along, but it is those twisting paths that teach us so much. There is much to be learnt about God, and we will never stop finding out. The subject is indeed vast. I have come to know God better by going through times of depression. Debilitating times. It is only in our weakness that we truly find Him. Although sin is never meant to be embraced even in sin we find Him, because it is then that we find His grace and forgiveness. So when problems hit you, look up and look for your God. He is waiting in love to teach you something.

A happy day

In Tintern

My great love

music teaching

How I ran a music practice in a rural situation

I continued to teach violin and piano to children and adults.I decided that with the way things are run in families nowadays the Mum's would be eternally grateful if I went to them, instead of them having yet another journey coming to me. This also meant that I wouldn't have any problems with my neighbours and noise, especially with violin lessons.

You have to build up a practice slowly and word of mouth from satisfied clients is the best way. It is also good to go to your local music store, as people often ask them if they know of a teacher, so they keep a list of teachers. They are happy to promote you because you are then going to send trade their way. Of course doing this you have to charge for car running costs, but there is no problem because the families are only too grateful not to have to get their car out yet again.

In summer it is wonderful to be driving through the countryside and then taking a few lessons. Winter is not so great.

Some advice on the starting age of a pupil

You are unlikely to have a genius on your hands so starting much earlier than eight is likely to try your patience and use up the child's enthusiam before they can make much progress. There is a theory that violinists should start at six. If you have a genius it will be obvious, other six year olds will lose heart rapidly. I took up the violin at 14. Just circumstances. Anyone who will work hard at that age can learn well enough to enjoy playing in an amateur orchestra.

Going to the pupils' homes is great because you get to know the whole family. Also you can impress on the parents the need for regular practice. Teaching was a good experience.

Spreading the Word

How I felt called to preaching

I started my christian life in the Baptist church. Later in life I behaved badly and I didn't feel I should stay a member of that church. Some other churches refused to give me communion. It was at this time that the Methodist church came to my rescue and made me welcome. They felt that it was their job to be alongside me as I made my journey of life no matter what.

As a teenager, still in the Baptist church, I had a habit of walking up the hill, standing in a gateway, and looking down on the village and praying for revival. One day I prayed that if God did not want to use us Baptist's that he would use the Methodists.

Last summer(2008) I remembered that prayer and thought it was most significant as I was now a member of that very same Methodist church. I feel God is going to honour that prayer and also make me a part of this revival. This led me to believe that I should train to be a local preacher.My sense of call has increased since then and I feel a great joy in leading worship and delivering sermons. I have now(2011) finished my training and am a Local Preacher.

So now you know something about Elizabeth Mackay

Some more books I have really enjoyed - By Ellis Peters, a British author

Ellis Peter's also wrote under the name Edith Pargeter She wrote about Medieval times which she brings to life beautifully. There is usually a love story involved in these whodunnits. Wrongs are always righted and true love wins through. Super. Enjoy

Time for your comments

So what do you think?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You are brave. Thank you for sharing more about yourself. I enjoyed reading your story. Great lens. God bless!

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 

      6 years ago

      Enjoyed reading about you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Coffeebreak9am profile image


      6 years ago

      lovely lens...thank you ...

    • ramonabeckbritman profile image


      7 years ago from Arkansas

      I wish you best luck and happiness.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      really enjoyed reading this, thank you for sharing this :D

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting story. Your life is fascinating. Love the pictures!

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      I think this is a wonderful and interesting story!

      Since childhood I have had Christ in my life, but it wasn't till my cancer that I was "born again" now my life is dedicated to Him.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It was fun learning about you and your life thus far, thank you for sharing! I look forward to reading more of your very interesting lenses :)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      It was so nice to learn more about you. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanx for sharing your precious memories...they are very interesting to read..=]

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your comments on "Are bad times really good?" were comments that we share deeply. We are wisened by harsh situations in life only in that they can turn us more quickly to God if we will have the wisdom to do so. Standing on His security and not on our position nor our environment is much easier to state than do, but the wisdom gained is a sweet serenity.

      Thank you for this lens and the chance to know you better.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Teaching and preaching suits you. It's a true bless to be able to do what you love and pass it on to others who appreciate it. Beautiful lens Liz!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Sharing is caring. Thank you and have a nice day!

    • rlivermore profile image


      7 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading about your life. Thank you for sharing both the good and bad times. You are right; there is forgiveness in Him. How kind He is to us!

    • natashaely profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this with me, it was a lovely read and I know devon quite well, it's a beautiful part of the country! As I said everything is up to the individual and I am pleased that you have found your calling! :)

    • Paul Ward profile image


      7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      I'm agnostic (not sure why I feel the urge to say that) but this is definitely a life story where I want a happy continuation (not ending, notice).

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      7 years ago from New York

      What a nice story to read. So glad you were able to overcome your BP condition and that life is a bit easier on you now because it..

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice life stories here! Thanks for sharing.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      7 years ago from Concord VA

      Thanks for sharing your life with us. I enjoyed reading. Best wishes!

    • hotbrain profile image


      7 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      I enjoyed reading this lens about you. I also take lithium, and my experience with it has been a lot like yours! I still have some depressed days but the lithium has helped a lot. I look forward to reading more of your writing too! Angel blessed :)

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Congratulations on creating an in depth lens about yourself. It can be a daunting task. You've included lovely images and interesting morsels.

    • nebby profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      You have led a very interesting life and I feel blessed that you have been open enough to share both the high and low points in your and your family's life. I think that we learn when we read about others and what they are felling and how they react to certain situations.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • rwoman profile image


      8 years ago

      So nice to meet you!

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      8 years ago

      You've lived a rich life, and learned a lot along the way.

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 

      8 years ago from PA

      It's nice to meet you Liz. I enjoyed reading your story. I grew up living next to a grave yard as well (I'm a preachers kid) and it was fun to read the grave markers and imagine what the people were like that have passed.

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image


      8 years ago

      It's nice to meet you, too! Your life has indeed been very interesting! :-)

    • Blurasis profile image


      8 years ago

      Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    • LizMac60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Mackay 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      @RebeccaE: Thank you to al of you for your encouraging words.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I can't say it enough I am always impressed with your lenses, well done and as you have so wonderfully put it, lowest times are times when we get closer to God.

    • dustytoes profile image


      8 years ago

      You are absolutely right in saying that our lowest times will bring us closer to God. The past few years of my life have been the most difficult, but it's when I've seen the most blessings. Good for you for answering the call to preach. I wish you all the best.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a beautiful story. Music is indeed the way to a soul so you are doing that. Thanks for sharing this.

    • callinsky lm profile image

      callinsky lm 

      8 years ago

      Fascinating. I am so glad that you have found your way in life despite it's ups and downs.

      England is beautiful. I got a chance to live in Germany for a while, but I've always wanted to see England and Scotland.

      I started taking violin at 11 years old. I got to take it for two years in elementary school. I LOVED it, and was pretty darn good. When I went into Junior high I couldn't take it anymore because they didn't have a string band. I switched to clarinet. I then played the French horn and the sax. The violin was my favorite. I adored it, but we couldn't afford lessons. I was able to borrow the other instruments from the school. I finally got my own clarinet in high school when they didn't have the instruments to lend anymore. I think music is so very important.

    • LizMac60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Mackay 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      @anonymous: If you come back and see this Elizabeth I would love to have more contact with you. If you find the contact me button at the top, on the right I think, you can send me an e-mail and if you give yours I can get in touch, for mutual encouragement.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story. I also fell called to be a minister or preacher, but I thought that being already divorced twice would be a barrier. I can now see that it is through our difficult life experience that we learn so much about God's amazing love and restoration - I think these trials give us a deeper understanding of God's love to share with others.Thanks again for your honesty.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Finally found you from pix :-)

    • ZenandChic profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing about yourself on this lens. It is nice to meet you

    • annieangel1 profile image


      9 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      Liz what a wonder you are - thanks for sharing your life with us - your honesty makes me want to do the same thing. hugs Ann

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent bio Liz and thanks for becoming a Giant Squid.

      Isn't it fun this Squidoo business?


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent bio Liz and thanks for becoming a Giant Squid.

      Isn't it fun this Squidoo business?


    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      9 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Very interesting. Enjoyed your bio.

    • Cherry-Ambition profile image


      9 years ago from U.S.

      Very interesting personal story. When you critiqued my lens (thank you, by the way), you never said anything about being a Christian! So am I... well, for now. Things aren't so great at the moment...

      But anyway... I can see why you like the more personal stuff, as you've shared a lot about yourself. It's like you put a big chunk of yourself into this lens. Thanks for not being afraid to share with us!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great to get to know you through this lens, Liz. It's really nice to see how open you were in sharing about your life - I loved it and all the pictures too. Nice to meet you Liz and all the best! :)

    • LizMac60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Mackay 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      [in reply to EatingForEnergy] I hope you come by and see this. Where are your guestbooks I wanted to make a good comment on yours. Did give you 5*

    • LizMac60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Mackay 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      [in reply to EatingForEnergy] Thanks for popping by I appreciate it.

    • EatingForEnergy profile image


      9 years ago

      This was an enjoyable read, Liz. thanks for sharing the good & the bad, & being transparent. Blessings

    • DeboraR profile image


      9 years ago

      Love reading about your life and how you have designed your lens. I hope to read more of your lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Liz,

      enjoy visiting your lovely spot here.

      i will work on my profile soon, when work permits.

      andy AKA gladtobehere

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I truly enjoyed your stories you shared here. You are an inspiration!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      9 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I love your personal history lens, Liz... I'm so happy to have this opportunity to get to know you better. I might write one like this someday. 5* and an Angel blessing for this beautiful lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      told me daughter some of your advice on tutoring...she is ready to start to do this in the summer.

    • LizMac60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Mackay 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      [in reply to Ahmady] Great to hear from you sometimes posting on the internet one gets to feel there is no one out there. You might like my poetry lenses Inspirational Meditations and More Meditations. thanks for cheering me up on a difficult day.

    • Ahmady LM profile image

      Ahmady LM 

      9 years ago

      Dear Liz, I enjoyed reading yours lens. I found it because I searched "Weston-Super-Mare" -- I have a friend who lives there and I visit once a year. What I like best about Weston-Super-Mare aside from my friend is shopping at Sainsbury's, walking on the beach and watching the dogs at play, Proper Job in Worle, and the fact that it is near Glastonbury, a place I love. You look pretty standing under your flowers. I also lived on a farm -- my uncle's farm in South Carolina when I was nine during the War, and loved that life. (Actually the farm was heir property and my mother had an interest in it as well through her mother.) The first paper I wrote in 9th grade was on Maxwell Hudson's play "Anne of the Thousand Days" and that fascination with Anne Boleyn lasted a long time. Like you, I find strength in Christ -- I'm an Episcopalian and had once thought of going to seminary -- I did not want so much to have a church but to work in social organizations of the church.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for sharing both your good experiences and your not-so-good ones. Everyone has challenges...once we realize that we can better deal with our own. I really enjoyed reading this page and had a good chuckle at your Ranulph Fiennes joke! *****


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