Category Archives: Live Your Love

Live in 2015

Lights

2015 has been greatly anticipated by me. I’ve been jotting notes, plans, dreams and ideas for this coming year for such a long time. It’s not that I was wanting last year to end – I really wanted to savour the last month or so of 2014, knowing that these quiet, at-home, relaxed kind of days with my family were a gift to enjoy. But while immersing myself in these homely activities with pleasure, I was also looking ahead with such excitement. I’m still not sure why, but I’m incredibly excited about the year which stretches far out ahead.

I started a new notebook and began by filling several pages with my thoughts and feelings about the next 12 months – simple things like family; unusual things like candles and aprons (go figure. I’m not sure what the significance is, but I wrote them in a contemplative moment so I’m sure the reasoning will become clear. Either that or I’m simply crazy.); exciting things like planned travels; and soul stirring things like plans for a new venture which is guaranteed to be full of laughs and fun (and maybe some hard work? maybe?).

As I jotted, discussed or thought about 2015 I found the words ‘Live’ and ‘Life’ cropping up in almost every point. No idea why (maybe it’s that crazy part again) but it was a theme I couldn’t ignore. So it was quite easy to begin this year with a theme word – ‘Live’ (the verb, with the short ‘i’ sound). I’ve mulled this single word around in my mind for a while now and it seems to fit just perfectly.

Live:

:: Live Fully

:: Live Well

:: Live Now

:: Live Joyfully

:: Live my Love

:: Live with Intention

:: Live…… many more words with get added here as the year progresses.

 

So in 2015 I intend to ‘LIVE’. When the year’s end comes and I reflect, I want to know that I have truly lived my life. The physical location doesn’t matter, the accomplishments aren’t all that important, the events that fill the diary are only a part of the story – what does matter is the way I choose to live my life each and every day of 2015.

2014 Reflections…

The end of the year is drawing close. Christmas, with all it’s glitz, lights, parties and shopping seems to be surrounding me – although I feel rather insulated from it all this year, enjoying the simplicity of crafts and stories with my young family this advent season. It is such a delightful way to spend these hot, summer days – sipping iced tea and reading some of our new Christmas books (oh my, there are some beautiful books in our basket this year); drawing, painting and crafting engrossing everyone as gifts are created and quickly squirrelled away before they are seen. Memories are being made in our household on these quiet, homely days and I’m appreciating each and every one of them.

With this background of family and creative mess, I’ve been reflecting the year just past. I realise I’ve not kept up some of my plans with which I began January (consistency here in this space being one of those) but I also realise that this past year has been full of far greater richness than I had written in those well intentioned new year plans. I have delighted in a year of living in a new location, away from the normal, ‘expected’ activities and I’ve been able to chose, very intentionally, just how my children and I will spend our time – lots of time at home with adventures on the days we can go as a full family. The hours spent at home have been filled with heartfelt discussions with my ever growing children; all of us learning (or re-learning) many skills including how to knit, crochet; much sewing; even more conversations; hours spent simply sitting and watching these delightful beings (whom I’m privileged to call my children) play and interact with each other and at times their friends; I’ve stopped and enjoyed so many little moments and it’s these little moments which fill the greatest space in my reflective heart.

I could look around and wonder just what happened to the year as I haven’t recorded it in words or photographs nearly as much as I intended to. But because I have made the conscious effort to be present and appreciate the little moments, I have a wealth of memories and pictures embedded within my heart which I’ll carry with me forever. I may have neglected writing here (sorry, I do apologise) and neglected other writing and photography projects which I know I could have pursued (and will one day) but I really believe I’ve made the right choices for me this year. I look at my children and know that I have invested in their lives at a time when that was needed most.

I know the decisions I’ve made this past year will dictate my future and I’m content with that. I’ve lived intentionally, sometimes I may have been right and sometimes wrong but always with intention, and it feels good right now as I reflect on the year just past.

I’m not one to sit and ponder on the past too much, preferring to dream and plan for the joyous future in my minds eye. So this last week of 2014 I intend to do just that. I’ll reflect on what went well this year and dream of how I can be a better ‘me’ next year. Oh, what an exciting prospect.

Please will you join me this week and reflect on the past with a grateful heart and dream of the future with a joyful imagination but above all appreciate the present moment with the utmost respect, because that is all we ever have in our lives – the present moment.

Everyday Ladies – Impacting a Community.

Inspiring Weekend 2 Inspiring Weekend

Inspiring Weekend 3

It felt like such a privilege to be invited – yet there I was enjoying a delicious, champagne breakfast last Saturday morning. Surrounded by 12 of the most inspiring women I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, in fact 9 of them were total strangers till that morning. All were hand-picked to contribute to a project which a friend of mine has been diligently working away at for most of last year. (You will hear more about this project as the year progresses, I promise.) A group of women specifically chosen because of the inspiration they are and the impact they are making in their community. And somehow I found myself there….

Inspiring other women. Making an impact in our community. Living out our dreams. Making a difference in the lives of the women around us.

Sounds all rather grandiose now, doesn’t it?

But the reality is just the opposite. I had the incredible pleasure to spend a morning with some very amazing, talented, giving, generous and above all, inspiring women. Yet, they were all just everyday people. Mum’s who go about their daily duties at home. Ladies who found a need in their workplace so set some little steps in motion and it’s impact has been far reaching. A lady whose daughter’s birth introduced her to a whole new world and sent her in a direction which I’m sure she would never have expected. A gentle, humble older lady who spoke with a graciousness belying the impact she has had on so many people by her generous spirit and her finding a way to serve others no matter where she has lived. An ex-neighbour (as she labelled me with a off-handed smile) who has been the most delightful neighbour I’ve ever had the pleasure of living next to. Her thoughtfulness has set this whole project in motion and on a totally different front, she has been instrumental in me finding an answer to some lonely questions in this new community of ours.

Inspiring ladies, to be sure. But everyday ones as well. Just simple ladies who have said ‘yes’ to doing what their heart says and finding the results so much more than they expected.

And there I was. Surrounded by this incredible energy of possibility. Simply soaking up the atmosphere that is created when like-minded people join together to celebrate a milestone and share each other’s journeys. A privilege which I’m so grateful for. A time which will shape my growth as a person.

It was a moment to reflect and acknowledge that who I am and the person I choose to show up as everyday actually makes an impact in the lives of others – like a ripple effect flowing from my family at it’s heart.  And I realise that living my dreams, my purpose and helping others along the way can really be as simple as living with intention – It’s all about these quiet days spent at home with my little ones, sowing into their lives with love and learning as we simply live our lives together.

 

Not keeping busy

It was a few weekends ago now. A quiet day at home, extremely hot and hard to feel motivated about doing much at all. A day that could have easily gone by without much thought or memory of the time. But instead it is etched in my memory box of thought provoking moments. I had seen a TED talk featured on a blog which I respected, so Brad and I sat down to watch. Which led to watching another and another and about 7 in all. Wow… Fancy all that time being challenged by speakers who were passionate about their topic and communicated it in a way which shared that passion with us – in a very thought provoking way.

The topics and challenges have been swirling in my mind ever since. We chose these particular talks because they were thoughts, ideas and topics we were interested in or wrestling with at the time. And this one afternoon of sitting in the cool air-conditioned comfort has definitely changed us and our approach to life in subtle, yet profound, ways. Yes. A good weekend day filled with just what we needed at the time.

But there was one comment that has swirled about my thoughts more than any other – and I don’t even remember who said it:

Life is too short to be busy.

There. A life changing challenge wrapped up so succinctly in seven little words.

At first I thought; ‘Oh yeah, just don’t fill up the diary or over schedule activities. That’s simple for me at the moment. I really don’t have a lot going on in my life outside of my home and family.’

Then my thoughts went to; ‘Life is unavoidably busy when you have little children and then decide to homeschool them. There’s not a lot I can do about that at this stage in my life.’ …. End of thought process.

But there have been many moments over these past couple weeks when those seven little words have crept back into my mind and dictated how I chose to spend that moment. You know the times, when it’s so hard to get motivated so you look on pinterest instead. The computer is a great accomplice at those times. Or when the children are all happily occupied so you busy yourself doing….’stuff’.

Yeah, so confession time. I’ve had a lot of those times lately. And those little words are there to remind me that I’m making myself busy just for the sake of it. Not because I have a lot on my to-do list that day, but simply because I feel better about myself if I’m busy. I can fuss around doing this, that and the other without really accomplishing anything because it feels better to be doing things rather than just enjoying the moment.

I think it’s a cultural thing as well, we tend to value being busy. We talk about it, moan and complain about how busy we are, yet continue to fill up our days with busyness. We reply to so many conversations with the response, “busy”. Why? Does it give us status? We must be more important if we are ‘busy’. Is it an avoidance tactic? We don’t have to face other (probably more important) issues if we remain ‘busy’. We don’t have to talk to that person or make that decision if we are ‘busy’. Is it a form of laziness? It’s easier to be ‘busy’ that to use the mental fortitude required for other tasks (such as writing or thinking). Is it because we lack self confidence? It’s easier to by ‘busy’ than put our dreams on the line and open to critique as we work on bringing them into reality. I don’t know, and I suppose the answer is different for everyone and each situation.

In response to those words and the tumultuous thought process inside my head lately, I’m determining, once again, to remember what really matters. In the big scheme of life what is it that is most important – not urgent, but important? I need to keep my focus on the life I wish to lead, the example I want to be, the person I need to become to achieve my goals and the person I choose to show up as each and every day.

My resolve:

:: Place a higher value on sitting still and just enjoying where I am at the moment.

:: Remember that relationships matter most of all. People are more important than things or achievements.

:: Write a note, make a phone call, send an email, connect in some way.

:: Write a to-do list each day/week to keep me focused and allow me to enjoy the time after those things are finished.

:: Stop more often to watch my children play, explore and learn.

:: Pick up a needle and thread more often. {This makes me stop and enjoy the moment and everything that is happening around me. It is relaxing and allows me to focus again. It gives my thoughts clarity, as a friend said this morning, ‘It’s so much easier to think with a needle and thread in hand. The thoughts are deeper and with more clarity then.’}

:: Write a journal daily.

:: Remember these quiet days which fill my calendar are a privilege – don’t busy myself just for the sake of being busy.

:: And Remember Always…

Life is too short to be busy.

 

Welcome 2014

 

Christmas Lights 4 Christmas Lights 3 Christmas Lights 2 Christmas Lights 1
It’s a time of year I always anticipate with excitement. A new year just beginning. An opportunity to sit down and think about the life we live, the dreams we have, the ideas we desire to bring into reality, the priorities we have in life…..

Having said all that, I’m not one for resolutions or making promises I know I can’t possibly keep. But rather, I see the value in stepping back and thoughtfully planning this life we are privileged to live. A time to dream and plan rather than make empty promises. So with the busyness that usually accompanies our Christmas/New Year time (delightful, fun, joyful, family-filled days), it’s now – already a week into the new year – that I’m finding the space to think, dream and plan. And what an exciting prospect that is. A whole new year full of promise and opportunity, just waiting to be lived.

I’m fully bursting with excitement and have a notebook getting filled with ideas, dreams and goals. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic year ahead, I just know it. I’ve began writing, with a pen and paper, a journal once again. This was a the request of my biggest son who enjoys our time together as we write, he writes his journal but me typing away at the computer keys just wasn’t quite the same. I had to agree, so I found a notebook given to me 4 years ago from a special group of friends (you original Nourished girls are such a wonderful group of women), a touching note written in the front cover and have made it my goal to write whatever I want in there this year – just whatever fills my heart and mind each day. This may come as a surprise, for someone who loves writing as much as I do, but I haven’t really kept a proper journal like this for years. I’ve kept notebooks of this, that and the other but not just a journal filled what what makes up my heart each day (or as often as I get to write) – no pressure, no restrictions, no ideas of what I should include, just a place for me.

So much of what fills me with excitement are the little things, the small changes I make to our everyday family life and the little family traditions I want to continue or begin. The picnics we plan to take more often as a family, the afternoons spent stitching by the sandpit which I intend to continue, the sewing and knitting projects I’m helping my daughter with, the woodworking  which my two older boys are enjoying at the moment, the camping adventures we have planned, sharing more family dinners by candlelight – all the little things which make this life of mine so rich and blessed. Oh yes, there are bigger dreams and plans swirling around as well but my full priority is placed on the little moments which are truly the big moments.

I hope your 2014 is shaping up to fill you with joy, peace and hopeful anticipation.

What I’m Learning – Being Present

Stitching It was plainly obvious that something was not working in my daily rhythm. The afternoons from when my littlest woke from his sleep till he went to bed at night – sometimes far later than he needed – were not pleasant. My littlest was displaying plain naughty characteristics and I was becoming a more cranky Mummy by the minute. Each afternoon was turning into a battle. I would dread it. The older children were missing out on my focused attention and any response I gave was certainly not in a loving tone of voice. The littlest, well, he just got into anything and everything he knew he wasn’t allowed. And my husband would arrive home every day to a very frazzled family and a wife ready to explode.

Not a good way to live. And if this was only an odd day here or there, I’d just let it pass. But it was becoming a daily occurrence. Now, I’ve learnt a thing or two about this parenting lark. Until this point I had been battling a strong-willed 2 year old and ‘locking horns’ with him. And as you wiser Mums out there know, this is a rather unproductive way of approaching a situation such as this. So I got to thinking, the problem wasn’t really his behaviour. Because that was just the outward action, it wasn’t the cause of the problem. What was the cause? What was it that this littlest one of mine needed? Why did he seem so angry at the world? What was going on inside him for this to be the outworking?

I decided to give one day to observing him and giving him lots and lots and lots of focused attention, in an effort to break the cycle of our rather unpleasant afternoons. That’s when I discovered the answer. I was getting distracted each afternoon. Not completing enough in his sleep time and feeling short-changed. Then I would spend the afternoons in a distracted state. Maybe reading some blogs or checking facebook or googling something or…….. but I was feeling unfulfilled myself and was giving my attention to a screen rather than my family. (Humbling moment, I realise the cause is more about me than the little one.)

Now that I realised the my littlest one was really just needing a Mummy to be present and not distracted in the world of www’s and smart phones. What a relief. So I’ve set up a new afternoon rhythm around here. And it’s working wonders. The entire family is more content, less arguments, Mummy is happier which seems to trickle through to the whole family. I tend to greet my husband with a smile instead of a ‘I can’t take this any longer’ type of desperation. Just changing my afternoon to become present with my children for an hour or so has made a massive difference. And we all like it.

And, well, I almost feel a bit embarrassed telling you the simplicity of it all. What do I actually do? Well, I turn off all screens after the children’s rest time. Unless I need to make a phone call or something, well that’s fine, but not to have them around to waste my time and take my attention. And I, wait for it, this is the big, big, big change. I make a deliciously, hot, freshly ground, coffee. Take some embroidery and sit on our back deck. Yup. That’s it. Basically I take an hour out of my ‘feeling bored’ ‘wasting time’ afternoon and do what I would chose to do if I ‘had more time’ (win, win all around). The little one plays happily in the sandpit or back yard with minimal attention from me. But he knows I’m there to help him or watch him or give him attention if he needs it. The older children come and go. Different every day. Sometimes they join in the play outside, sometimes one will sit and chat with me (which I enjoy immensely), sometimes they might pick up a project and stitch alongside me, sometimes they might be busy inside. But everyone is productively enjoying the time.

Needless to say, I’m now LOVING my afternoons instead of dreading them. And our family is a much more content entity as a result of me taking an hour or two each afternoon to enjoy the outdoors with a coffee and embroidery in hand. What a delightful answer to a problem.

A New Perspective

 

“I …can …see …for…e…ver.”

The words came floating across the yard in a disjointed fashion. Jumps on the trampoline punctuating a pause between each word breathlessly shouted loud.

It’s all about perspective.

The blond hair tousled by the breeze and the all important work of a five year old, who at that moment was completely absorbed in the view which his high jumping position afforded him. Eyes alight with the innocent joy and delight of childhood. Words tumbling forth without any thought to whom they were directed. Just exclamations of pure delight.

It’s all about perspective.

The excitement held within his voice indicated a view of magnificence. A view across the miles – maybe a mountain range, valley or possibly a view of the ocean beyond.

Perspectiv 3

 

Perspectiv 4

 

Perspective 2

Ahhh, but my ‘grown up’ mind was planted firmly in reality and knew that the view wasn’t really worth writing home about. Just the neighbours paddock and a couple horses which call that patch of grass home. But the ‘childlike’ mind of my delighted 5 year old realised this view was something special – to him at least. The first jump on the trampoline in this new home of ours, provided him the freedom of seeing past the fence, to the horizon far beyond. He could see for…e…ver…

Perspective. It’s a strange concept because even the utterance of the word is framed by our own ideas and beliefs about what it means. Perspective means something different for you and it’s different again for me or my children. A successful property investor would probably view the ‘For Sale’ sign down the street differently to me. The entrepreneur businessman would probably have a different perspective on a conversation between a group of friends. The perspective of our new town is different between my husband, myself and our children (as we drove through for the first time we each noted very different things, distance to work, good farmers market, parks etc.). Our beliefs, values, memories of past experiences, what we have learnt and who we are deep within, all meld together to make up the filters through which we view the world around us.

The simple innocence of taking on a child’s perspective and suddenly I can see beyond the steel-grey fence surrounding my little patch called home. I can see forever, if I just jump.

I thought the view beyond my fence was just a paddock – dry, parched, brown and dusty. But, oh no, the perspective of my little one gives this view wings. Those dried out grass fronds are food for the horses. The horses are a sign of life, living, freedom and fun (in the mind of my little one, anyway). The view to the horizon may not have much of interest in it. Dry and flat, very flat, very very flat, farmland punctuated by houses and buildings, as far as the eye can see. But, oh no, that view is to the end of the world, the place where the sky joins the earth, the path to the unknown, mystery, excitement and adventure.

Perspective 1

 

Perspective. I’ve decided today that I need to open my eyes a little wider and view this world around me with a different perspective. To view my situation, my actions, the people around me through the eyes of someone different – maybe the perspective of someone I admire greatly, someone hugely successful in some area of life, maybe the childlike optimism which I’m surrounded by constantly, maybe the eyes of someone now given a second chance at life.

Join me in determining to view the everyday, ordinary aspects of our lives with a different perspective. Turn the view of an ordinary fence into a view of … forever…. of abundant possibilities.