Australia · Changes · winter

Winter Sunset Over The Magical Mountain

Yesterday we experienced a particularly cold day. Apparently our maximum temperature only reached nineteen degrees Celsius, although I can’t work out at just what time of day the nineteen degrees happened, as I froze all day!

Yes, I can hear some of you laughing at me right now…and I do appreciate the fact that if your area reaches a maximum of minus-something degrees during winter, you can’t leave the house at all, due to frost bite, and even if you can get out the front door, the snow is so banked up you can’t get any further than your front gate, nineteen degrees seems like a heat-wave!

Surely you understand though, it’s a matter of what you are acclimatised to!

One of the advantages of our cooler weather (yes, there are always advantages, to what at first may appear a disadvantage), was yesterday afternoon’s beautiful sunset.

The photo really doesn’t do it justice. The sky was amazing! Can you see the clouded area over and above the mountain? That is a little stream of smoke from our local sugar mill. Sugar cane farming is one of the local industries in my area.

The mountain in the photo is Mount Warning, named by Captain James Cook in 1770. The highest peak of the mountain is the point where the rays of the sun first fall on Australia each morning.

Yesterday’s winter sunset photo reminded me of a collection of photos I had taken during the summer months, in the same position as yesterday, showing the vivid yellow/orange sky, after a hot summers day.

The view is constantly changing over the magical mountain. It’s yet another natural wonder, one which I will never tire of seeing. 🙂

advice · challenges · Changes · inspiration

A Rejuvenated Soul

When it comes to keeping mementos, I’m up there with the best of them. Those treasured keepsakes, the trinkets of happiness, able to transport the soul to bygone days of warmth, wonder and joy.

But just how much warmth and joy can one soul take? Can the soul cope with possession overload, and still function in its soulful way? Are you a victim of “stifled soul”?

Help is available. “Stifled Soul” is treatable and curable, no drugs or hospitalisation required!

Clothing and shoes are a huge soul stifler. When the disheartened soul is peering at “a wardrobe full of nothing to wear”, that would be a great place to begin. Go through each item in your wardrobe, one by one, asking the same question of each item of clothing and pair of shoes stashed in there; “Have I worn this in the last year?” If the answer is “no”, out it goes!

Next, open the linen closet. Are all of the sets of sheets in there still being used? Are there even beds in the house that still fit the sheets in the closet? And the towels, does your family of four really use the fifty towels you have stashed away in there?

The charity shops will love you, when you arrive at the door, laden with bags of excess “stuff” you no longer have a use for. The health of your soul will be improving as well.

Every room in the house will benefit from a repeat of the above “drug-free prescription”.  Kitchen cupboards and drawers, table tops and coffee tables, display shelving, even clean out the car. The soul sees and feels all.

Next, take a few deep, long, cleansing breaths…in preparation for a good old “paper-shuffle”, in the office, on the desk, or wherever those “important papers” are kept. With recycle bin at hand, go through all of that junk mail, opened envelopes, used shopping lists, in fact any piece of paper no longer required, bin it!

To keep the paper work in check in the future, invest in two or three file trays and some storage boxes. When neatly placed on top of your freshly cleaned desk top, along with a pen holder (a place to keep those elusive pens and pencils that have a knack of vanishing, just when you need them), everything will have its place.

By the time all of these tidy-up and throw out tasks are completed, you’ll feel lighter and freer than you have in years, all due to the fresh air your once stifled soul is now breathing.

To prevent a re-occurance of “stifled soul”, I would recommend repeating the treatment on an annual basis. Your healthy soul will thank you for it!

There’s nothing new about having a good old-fashioned clean out; even our grandmother’s took part in an annual “spring clean”, although the season of spring is not necessarily required for soul therapy to be carried out.

When the cleanout is complete in the home and office, your heart, mind and soul will feel light and refreshed as well, rejuvenated, and awaiting the next chapter of life’s evolving events.

advice · Changes

Always a Second Chance

Time fascinates me. I also have a great love for clocks, although I don’t believe the two are connected in any way at all.

My ultimate dream clock, which I have yet to acquire, is a Grandfather Clock. They feel solid and comforting; in fact, totally timeless! I see Grandfather Clock’s as a most beautiful piece of furniture. On my mantelpiece, I have a wonderful, deep-chiming mantle clock; on the wall in my lounge room I have a cuckoo clock, and in my daughter’s bedroom, she has a musical clock (a gift from her mum, of course!)

The fact that clocks actually have a productive use, that being, they keep track of time, is totally secondary to my mind. I enjoy the various chimes they have, the rhythmic tick-tocking sound and the “feel” of them, that’s all.

Reading an article recently on the psychological reason a person has for a love of clocks, I was most dismayed to learn that the belief is that the clock lover has an obsession with time! Huh! Nothing could be more further from the truth, in my case.

For the day to day necessities, I have my own personal “inbuilt instinct” time tracker, much the same as animals have, glancing at the clock occasionally, to check that my “time sensor” is still on track.  When I’m reading, cooking, gardening or talking with my children, I lose total track of time! So much for their theory of obsession!

In the very first article I published on my “Memoirs” blog, a post entitled, “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, I discussed the theory of time and my ideas on the subject, which you may like to read by clicking on this link.

I fail to understand the word “now”, in relation to immediate time, as no sooner is the word uttered, than “now” is gone, replaced by a new now, and a new now, and so on.

Now is far more successful as a broader ranged word, encompassing today, or this week, even this month or “for the duration”.

With the passing of what we know as “now” being instantaneous, we have the luxury of choice. If we judge our own actions in the “Now” to be pleasing, those actions become happy memories.

Alternately, if we are dissatisfied with our actions, feeling we have made mistakes, messed up in some way, or somehow find our choices displeasing, we are given a second chance! “Now” as we knew it is gone, replaced by another now. The old now is the past, the past is gone, and will be forgotten if we so choose it to be.

Life is full of second chances, of our own choosing. It is of no benefit to yourself, or anyone in your life for that matter, if you are hung-up on old mistakes; move on, create a new truth for yourself, and a whole assortment of new happy memories to look back on.

Always embrace every opportunity for, and make the most of, every second chance. 🙂

advice · Changes

Writing With Reason

There has never been a time in my life when I haven’t wanted to write.

When my memories are panned back as far as they can possibly stretch without breaking, to before I even started my school days, I can recall trying to write by copying words I found, written on pieces of paper, and not having any inkling what all of the scrawl meant! All I knew was, it was writing. And I wanted to know how to write.

For many years thereafter, I did write, until I grew up and somehow lost myself in the real world. Not that I was happy about the real world eating me up.  I would have been quite content to permanently share my book-world with my children.

And share books with them I did, every day. Dratted school interfered. Work interfered. The realities of life flew thick and fast, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t dodge the hits. I’d loved riding on the merry-go-round as a child, but the one I had become caught up on now wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t get off.

Reeling from the shock of “this is life, you can like it or lump it”, I closed my eyes, held my breath and took a massive leap into the nothingness, not knowing how or where I would land.

I’m happy to report that I did in fact survive the jump, and retreated to my safe place, a place so close to my heart it is a part of me. I went home.

The little voices inside of my head kept on urging me on; you know what you want to do, don’t just think about it, do it! My neglected garden needed urgent attention. My kitchen appeared to belong to someone else; it needed a huge dose of “Joanne-ification”.

Somewhere in the midst of becoming reacquainted with the real me, Home Life Online was born. Just one problem; I lacked the confidence to write anything. So many years had passed. What would I say?

Inspired by the need to write, although lacking confidence, I created another blog, “Memoirs of My Life”. I needed somewhere to write anonymously, with the use of a pseudonym. That could work.

And it did; it worked a treat. “Memoirs” filled me with the confidence boost I needed, enough to slowly venture out, one tiny step at a time, into a world where I now feel no fear when saying “this is me and this is what I have to say”.

I have not felt inclined to publicise “Memoirs”. After writing one particular post, however, I meekly mentioned to a new-found online friend of its existence. One beautifully worded comment left by my friend was all it took. From that day on, my confidence has soared, compared to what it used to be!

Sometimes, that is all it takes; a few encouraging words…they can mean the world to someone. Or perhaps an article, written from your own personal life’s experience, however simple, which strikes a chord with a stranger, and sets their life in a whole new positive direction.

My recent discoveries regarding writing have sent me along that particular path; writing in the hope of helping someone, anyone, be they a friend or stranger. And it’s lovely to have feedback, in the form of a comment.

And that is my message today…a few words of kindness, however simple, and even unknowingly, can change the direction of someone’s life. Be kind. 🙂

inspiration · music · nostalgia

Time Travelling…With Music

“If music be the food of love, play on”~ William Shakespeare.

This morning my twenty two year old daughter and I had morning tea together. Being Saturday morning, she had already finished her two hour ballet class, so called in for a visit on her way back to her place.

We shared the last of the Welsh Bara Brith, which I had made a few days ago and each of us had a cup of herbal tea, whilst sitting in my quiet room.

My younger daughter, aged seventeen, completed her exams at school last week and had enjoyed a well deserved sleep-in. She joined us in the quiet room for her “early-morning-but-today-it-was-at-eleven-o’clock” mug of coffee. Tucked under her arm was her lap-top.

“Did you two know that Marilyn Manson is coming to Australia this year”?

“Who’s she?” asked Miss twenty two.

“It’s a he”, I informed her.

It must have been our lucky day. With lap-top at the ready, Miss Seventeen proceeded to play a most charming song for her big sister, feeling sure she would also become a fan of Marilyn Manson. (You are detecting the note of sarcasm in my voice here, aren’t you?)

I will not be offering a link here to MM, nor would I repeat any lyrics to his, um…songs. Needless to say, I invited Miss twenty-two to come into my office with me, as I had a you-tube clip that she would be sure to enjoy!

During the week, Káren at the Calm Space has posted a lovely article “Music to Sooth Your Soul”. A link is included in the article, to the most beautiful version of “Hallelujah” by Il Divo. My daughter knew the song and loved this version, along with the beautiful backdrop of The Coliseum.

Once in the mood for hearing such beautiful harmonious voices, we played more songs, including “The Power of Love”, “The Adagio”, “Unchained Melody” and “Ave Maria”.

Seeing the old Righteous Brothers of “Unchained Melody” there, I had to play that also. I now have an urge to see the movie “Ghost” again!

Il Divo, I have discovered, perform a beautiful version of “All By Myself”. I listened to it, but only as it was being sung in Spanish. The version sung in English, by Eric Carmen, had been my mother’s favourite song and far too emotional for me to listen to. I’m having a happy day and have no desire to cry!

At one stage, my daughter questioned me as to whether the room we were in felt cold, then answered her own question; the goose bumps were due to the music! We both had goose bumps.

Isn’t music amazing? It has the ability to transport your soul to another place and another time, give you goose bumps, can be uplifting (or depressing), it can soothe your soul, as Káren told us and it can even rattle your soul, as displayed by my younger daughter’s music!

Káren asks at the Calm Space “What music do you turn to, when your heart is aching and you’re in need of soothing”? Further to Káren’s question, I would like to ask; what music transports your soul to another place, another time?

I do believe Shakespeare had a point; music is the food of love! 🙂