advice · challenges · Changes · freedom · gratitude · happiness · inspiration · vision

Sense and Sensibility ~ Part 1

After my husband and I first met, it didn’t take us too long to realise one striking difference between the way we each looked at life ~ which was…

His head ruled his heart,

while,

My heart ruled my head.

Over time, and convinced of the (false) belief that I would please those close to me, and most of all my husband, I made the effort to kiss my airy-fairy ways goodbye, lock away my gut-instincts, hunches and intuition and throw away the key.

“Reason” became my middle name. Everything simply had to be well thought through, the pro’s and con’s weighed up and carefully balanced, in fact, every action I took must have a reason for it, before being given the honour of materialising.

My newly found practicality, along with my down to earth attitude and conservative manner would bring beams of pride to all of those people who I held in high regard. Yes, it would…

Surely it would…It would, wouldn’t it?

Well, of course it did!

With my newly developed maturity and common sense, a certain standard was expected of me. And I aimed to please.

But every now and then, rarely actually, but just occasionally, I would make contact with kindred spirit, a dreamer of the highest standard, a gut-reactor who thought nothing of throwing caution to the wind. I would scramble around to find that discarded key, unlock my soul, and off I would go, reverting back to my flippant ways of times gone by.

It was during these so-called “moments of madness” that I would feel free and alive again, finding the strength again to move mountains and swim across the oceans. And all because my intuition told me so.

After much tut-tutting from those-who-knew-what-was-best-for-me, (and plenty of pouting on my part), I would make my return to the Land of Common Sense, unlocking the gates of wisdom with my reliable Key of Reason.

Did I manage to retain the stamp of approval, kindly bestowed on me by those who I held in high regard? Yes, I did. Everyone approved.

Everyone…except for me.

For many years I continued with this masquerade, pleasing the multitudes, whilst never pleasing myself. Saying yes, when I secretly held back the urge to say no.

Who knew I was living a lie, a life ruled by other people’s standards? No one. ‘Coz I always found a way to enjoy life, look on the positive side of every situation, skilfully navigating my way around the obstacles.

I didn’t just fool the people in my life; I was also fooling myself, by being something that I wasn’t.

Then something changed. That “something” changed absolutely everything. Hot on the tail of being “Ms Fix-It”, “The Whipping Post” and “Communal Door Mat”, I walked away, never to return. I turned my back on it all.

I came home, but not just home to my house, I came home to me.

My instincts had been screaming out to me, telling me that the place I went to every morning to work, where we (my husband and I) each operated our separate businesses from, was not the place where I should be spending my days.

While I had my own business and my husband an entirely different business, which we had worked at from the same premises for a number of years, the two businesses constantly overlapped. He made decisions and choices for my business and I always managed to get dragged, (screaming and kicking, I will add!) into his.

Packing up my bare essentials and moving my business home was a blessing to me. Throwing caution to the wind worked well for me. No amount of coercing changed my mind. With my heart back where it belonged, in its rightful place as The Guide to My Life, I have come of age.

Did I upset anyone by taking such a strong stance for my life? You betcha I did!

Was I ever swayed back into pleasing everyone but me? Never.

Did I care? Honestly ~ No.

Over the last three years my life has evolved into what I want it to be. New lessons have appeared in the most unexpected of places.

And all of these unexpected places have been cleverly disguised as The Simple Things in Life.

(Photo credit ~ alwayschallengeunhappiness.blogspot.com)

gardening · happiness · inspiration · nostalgia · spring

Daffodils

Daffodils ~ William Wordsworth

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”

(Photo credit : aspenlandscapedesigner.blogspot.com)

cakes · chocolate · cooking · recipe

Chocolate Cake ~ Vegan Style

These days, more and more people are changing their eating habits, as part of their search for a healthier lifestyle.

My own personal preference is to grow as many fruit vegetables as I can in my own back garden. So far, I have shied away from keeping my own chooks for the eggs, only because I hate the thought of the poor little hens being terrorised by snakes…we get quite a few here during the summer!

My daughter found this recipe so we would have a vegan alternative to our regular chocolate cake recipes. We do want to make our vegan and vegetarian guests feel welcome in our home!

We discovered that this cake is so delicious, there is no need at all to be a vegan to enjoy it. It’s light and fluffy and oh-so-chocolaty!

125g soft vegan margarine

1 cup castor sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

½ cup cocoa

½ cup hot water

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 cup soya milk

1 ¾ cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Cream margarine, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Blend the cocoa in the hot water and gradually add to the margarine and sugar mixture.

Add the lemon juice to the milk to sour it.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and add it to the creamed mixture alternately with the soured milk. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon the cake mixture into a greased and paper lined 8″ cake pan and bake in a moderate oven, 180 deg. C for 30-40 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out. Allow to cool before icing.

Decorate as desired…enjoy! 🙂

Australia · Changes · happiness · nostalgia

Why is a Ship Called “She”?

Many years ago, in fact so many years ago that it now feels like it was a whole lifetime away, a new shopping centre sprang up in the most unlikely of places. For reasons which I have never been aware of, these shops were built right smack bang on the edge of Sydney Harbour.

Who would have thought?

The whole concept was very avante-guard, back in the day, even for Sydney.

Surrounded by a marina, the local rowing club and a beautiful parkland area along the water’s edge, these shops were an absolute delight to visit.

As a newly married couple, my husband and I enjoyed visiting Birkenhead Point every weekend. Our weekly fruit and vegetables were carefully chosen from the huge array of fresh produce on display, after which we would wander along the harbour side, pointing out which boats we liked the most and dreaming of a day when we would own our own.

Just this morning, I dragged out of my linen cupboard an old, faded and fraying tea-towel, a relic of our visits to the place where just the two of us would while away the hours, with not a care in the world.

Those were the days when we truly, although unintentionally, lived the lives of minimalists, without even realising how lucky we were. Where did those days go?

But back to the tea-towel…I remember finding it at one of the nautical shops down near the water side. We loved to admire the shop’s wares, although we had little money to purchase anything.

On the towel is printed a story ~ “Why Is A Ship Called She?” It goes like this ~

“A ship is called a “she” because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about, she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her good looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.”

Reading back over it all of these years later, it really is an extremely sexist tea-towel! However I still enjoy the play on words, and I remember why I liked it back then.

After finding the tea-towel, I Googled Birkenhead Point. Yes, the shopping centre is still there, however I do not recall it as ever having been the ritzy edifice it now appears to be!

gratitude · happiness · inspiration · spiritual

Affirmations ~ “My Intentions for Feeling Good About Myself Today”

“Today I will direct my thoughts to dwell on the positive about me, and the good things I have done. I will withhold any self criticisms or negative self talk. I will not hold others opinions above my own.

Today I will refuse to participate in anything that takes away from my feeling good, or entertain thoughts of self doubt.

Today I will remember that as an ever loving, joyful soul, I am not my body, nor am I the things I have done, therefore I will not compare myself with others, or judge myself in any way.

Today I will not go against my inner voice of conscience nor put on a “woe-is-me” scene. I will cancel any unrealistic expectations of myself. I will willingly accept whatever is present.

Today I will do something good so that I have more good thoughts about myself tomorrow.

Today I will remember that I am enough, I am okay, alright just as I am, and I give myself permission to just be myself. I will make it okay to say “no”, even if it displeases others. I will forgive myself and forget what I have forgiven. I will always do the best I can in whatever circumstances I find myself in.

Today I will only see, think and hear good about myself. I will practise being patient, kind and gentle with myself. I will take every opportunity to laugh at myself, and refuse to take life too seriously. I will respect myself and treat myself with the V.I.P. status I am worthy of.

Today I choose to have positive and self supporting attitudes and to participate only in those expressions that add to my inner harmony and well being, and I especially prefer to be involved in those things that will have me feeling good and full of appreciation about myself at the end of this day….

And about all, it is my intention to be gentle and kindly towards myself…no matter what percentage of these goals I achieve.” ~ Author Unknown.