basics · Changes · freedom · knowledge

Sense and Sensibility ~ Part 2

Life is the ultimate teacher.

You may or may not agree with my statement, that is your choice. We all choose our own truths, whatever is the right thing for each of us, as we carry on our existence, safely wrapped within the cocoon of our own realities.

My heart knows it to be true, my heart has chosen this particular truth for me, and my heart never leads me astray.

Sensibility reigns supreme within my life. Sensibility has my ultimate approval. And life has taught me the lessons with which I have reached my conclusion.

Over the last three years, during a crash course on reality, and life, and learning for myself the realities of my own life, I am often reminded of the time-proven adages, those little snippets of wisdom shared with us by the seniors of our society, words loosely thrown our way during times of need…

Gems such as ~

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Actions speak louder than words.

The simple things in life are often the best.

A penny saved is a penny earned….And…

A leopard never changes its spots.

What is right for one man’s life can be totally wrong in another’s. We must seek, find and stay true to our own truths, our own heart. We must heed the silent words seeped to us through our souls.

No man holds the right to change another, we are who we are. If we attempt to change another person to suit our own selfish needs, transforming them into something that they are not, or should another endeavour to attempt this task on us, there is only one ultimate possible outcome ~ a bucket load of lies. Make that a truck load. We are who we are…End of Story.

Pretty words, whispered lyrically into the dainty pink ear of an eager receiver won’t mean squat if the appropriate actions do not coincide with these words. You may as well wrap the empty words back up into the pretty little box from whence they came, tie the flimsy bow back around the box and toss them away as far as you can, preferably with their shallow creator. Who wants to live a lie? Listen to your heart…it hears the spoken words of truths and sees the actions performed in the name of honesty.

Do you remember the last time you were overwhelmed by such happiness that you felt your heart swell and your soul sing? Over the last three years, much to my amazement, I have re-discovered that wonderful feeling of light-headed, giddy happiness in some of the most unlikely places…

  • In the fragrance of a flower.
  • The sound of a buzzing bee.
  • In the blueness of the sky on a perfectly clear day.
  • And the shape and colours of a storm cloud.
  • A perfectly formed rainbow after a sudden storm.
  • My cats rumbling purring sounds.
  • Listening to the crystal clear harmonies of the voice of a famous singer.

This short list hardly does justice to the moments of happiness I have experienced during the past three years, but they all have one thing in common ~ not one of these magical moments has cost me a cent. They are free. They are the simple pleasures of life. And they mean the most to me.

I don’t need diamonds. I have no use for a fancy car. I can only wear one outfit of clothes at a time. And I only have one pair of feet on which to wear one pair of shoes each day. A minimalistic life saves money for sure. But oh, how much deeper the pleasure reaches, as it frees your soul and lightens your heart, when the need of the burden of multiple possessions no longer exists!

We are never too old to learn. I believe that yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! (And yes, my heart told me that as well.)

The ultimate gift for me has been learning to listen to my heart and following my instincts (again), going back to writing (again) and becoming who I really am (yes…again).

Dropping the barriers and cutting the pretence can be, surprisingly, a real eye opener, for you may just find, hidden beneath all of those carefully laid layers of trying to be the person you think you should be, resides the person who you really are…

And the biggest surprise may come when you actually recognise an old childhood friend, the one who used to look back at you from the mirror each day. It may just be the child-who-you-once-were, from many years ago, when your heart reigned supreme and honesty was your middle name.

The packaging may have aged a tad, but take the time to peel back the layers of time, and take a peek inside. See for yourself if the leopard’s spots are, in fact, familiar to you.

“Just be yourself; everyone else is taken” ~ Oscar Wilde.

advice · basics · freedom · inspiration

Freely Writing a Plan of Action

Personal freedom is something I hold very dear to my heart, possibly due…no; make that probably, due to the lack thereof I have occasionally experienced throughout my life.

But then, isn’t that the way life is? Upon experiencing what it is you don’t want, what do want becomes blatantly obvious!

At my very own “Freedom Space” this month, over at The Calm Space I share my thoughts on taking appropriate actions in your life’s journey.

So why not head on over there now and say hi to the wonderful Káren Wallace while you’re there? Feel free to explore some of the other amazing articles in Káren’s online magazine. You can come back over here, to thank me for steering you in her direction, later. 😉

Oh, and don’t forget to breathe! Deep breaths…

I know, it sounds crazy, but someone just reminded me to keep the blood circulating by taking some big, deep breaths of cleansing air, and you know what? I feel much better for it!

Whatever it takes, to keep you in a tranquil, calm space. 🙂

basics · Changes · freedom · gratitude · happiness · inspiration

Taking a Holiday, All Year ‘Round

Being the creature of habit that I am, when the thought of taking a holiday pops into my brain, I have one point of destination in mind.

But no, today I will not be sharing stories of the place that I refer to as my home away from home. Nor will I be relating to you tales of the sun, the beaches, walks along the river, or any other physical aspect of enjoyment, although I could write multiple articles on the subject.

The holiday unit at the resort where we spend a week, sometimes two, more often than not during the steaming summer month of January, has all the basics we need; three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, laundry, lounge and dining area.

The kitchen is kitted out with the basic pots and pans, cutlery, crockery, kettle and toaster. The laundry provides a washing machine, dryer, clothes airer, bucket, broom, mop iron and ironing board.

Basic bed linen, blankets and pillows are provided in the bedrooms, along with bath towels and bath mats in the bathrooms.

All we need to provide ourselves with is food, purchased from the supermarket just up the road from our holiday unit, in fact, its walking distance away.

Before leaving home, all we pack are our clothes, usually summer clothes at that, so we travel light in that regard, although by the time the kids have packed fishing rods, boogie boards, footballs, iPods, mobile phone, etc., we do actually end up with a loaded car.

For the sake of their outdoor enjoyment, however, I don’t mind their various water activity and sporting related bits and pieces. Holidays are for enjoyment, right?

And enjoy ourselves, we do!

Many times I have pondered the why’s and wherefore’s as to how it is that I seem to find more time when holidaying. Why do the days seem longer? There’s still twenty-four hours in every day wherever you are, so what gives?

After a meal, washing up the dishes is easier.

I hang my washing on the clothes line faster.

My ironing is finished in a jiffy (even in summer!)

The beds are made faster.

The floors are swept in next to no time (yes, we have to sweep the floors daily, after we have carted sand in on out feet, from the river or beach).

We end up with more time in every day. That doesn’t happen at home, so what have I been doing wrong at home?

Really, I simply cannot believe that it took me a number of years, multiple holidays and an overdose of brain-strain to realise what we were doing differently when we went away. The answer is so obvious….

When we go away on holidays, we are not bogged down with all of the material stuff we have at home. Our holiday unit is probably less than half the size of our home, and yet…

Some of the best days of our lives have been enjoyed whilst temporarily possessing only the bare necessities in life!

Once this realisation finally hit me, I wanted to re-create the holiday feeling all year through. Yes, even while I was at home.

And so began my task of discarding unwanted stuff around home, sorting through cupboards, purchasing only the essentials.

Minimising doesn’t happen overnight, but then again, the excess stuff around home didn’t accumulate overnight either. It took years, many years, of growing into our larger home. Our larger home came into being due to our growing family.

Funny how these things creep up on you, when you’re not looking, isn’t it?

When I’m holidaying, I enjoy the freedom and the lightweight feeling I carry with me every day. Life is easy, even if only for a week or two. Therefore, is it any wonder that taking a holiday is such a popular pastime?

We can, and should, treat ourselves all year round to this lightweight, heady freedom, when our souls can sour through the days with as much ease as a feather being carried along by the wind.

And so, with the memories of weightless, carefree days held close to my heart, I continue to discard the excess “bulk” from my life, thankful for the days spent in a holiday unit, where, unbeknownst to me, life’s lessons were being learned. 🙂

Australia · basics · gardening · gratitude · happiness · herbs · winter

An Appreciation of Winter Crops and Sun

Winter is just simply the most heavenly season of the year in my part of the world.

I  could make a list of the advantages of cooler days and nights, in fact, I’ll do just that! Here’s my “Winter Appreciation” List.

  • The feeling of the soft fluffy fabrics of my jumpers against my skin is pure luxury.
  • I enjoy knitting to my heart’s content, without fear of sweaty fingers.
  • Have I mentioned I wear jeans, just about every day? Jeans in winter are so comfy with my fluffy boots, or clogs.
  • Ironing isn’t quite the chore in winter that it is in summer!
  • I sleep peacefully each night, without waking up all hot and sweaty.
  • The heat of the oven when baking warms the house.
  • My baking satisfies hungry tummies!
  • My cats and kids are all far more cuddly in winter!
  • Hardly any weeds grow in the garden and those that do grow are tiny.
  • Gardening is a pleasure under the warm winter sun.

Okay, that’s ten points. I could go on to one hundred points, but I think you get the drift…

Little “Cutie Cat” and I enjoyed a wonderful wander around the garden this morning; with me photographing all of my green crops, nearly ready to be picked, and she pouncing out from behind bushes to grab at my hand, startling the daylights out of me as I stopped to pull out a weed here and there.

Coriander is definitely at the top of my favourite herbs list and I have three plants growing, one of which is covered in delicate little flowers right now, much to the bees delight. And the spinach that I had all but given up on has had a new lease on life, now looking fresh and green and ready for the picking.

Coriander in flower
Baby spinach

Here’s a view of some old laundry tubs which make wonderful planters pots. This is where my spinach is thriving, along with some recently planted bok choy. We harvested some of the most carroty tasting carrots I have ever had the pleasure eating from these tubs, only about a month ago. Imperfect, but beautiful.

Recycled tubs
New carrots

The cauliflower and broccoli were planted at the same time, although the broccoli has overtaken the cauliflower by a long shot. We’ll be enjoying the first of this season’s broccoli tonight. 🙂

Broccoli and Cauliflower
Ready to eat.

I’ve taken a freshly picked lettuce inside and we have an ample supply of flat leaf parsley on standby, flourishing away happily in the winter sun.

Home grown lettuce
Flat leaf parsley

Our garden is extra green at the moment. This is one family you can rest assured  will be “eating their green’s” for the rest of the winter.

Cutey gardener
Sunning herself
basics · daughter · inspiration

Hayley’s Homemade Gift

One of the things I enjoy the most about blogging is sharing thoughts and ideas with others. As is the case in the “real world”, like minded people are drawn together throughout the blogosphere, sharing inspiration from all corners of the planet.

Yesterday, Robin, from Bogs of Ohio, told us the story of “The Scrounger’s Garden” which is one of the garden displays at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. In the garden, various items have been recycled, such as old boots and shoes, and even an unused bicycle has been included in the display.

Robin is a wonderful photographer and has included a number of photos in her post, so do pop on over and have a read of the story and admire her photographic skills. And make sure you scroll all the way down to the last photo, where you will see a lamp, made by Robin’s husband, ingeniously sculpted from old used books. I love it! 😀

One of the links in Robin’s story takes us to The X Facta, where Kel shows us how she has made a keepsake journal, by binding together plain old brown paper bags. It’s another ingenious idea and Kel’s artistic talent is apparent when you see the beautiful artwork on her journal. Go on over to Kel’s “Art Attack” and admire her work for yourself.

Another link included in “The Scrounger’s Garden” takes us to the site of Kathy, at “Lake Superior Spirit”, who is another one of Robin’s bloggers friends. Kathy has written an article about the benefits of reusing old cards and calendars. You will find this story at “Taking Back the World, One Card at a Time”.

Kathy’s story really struck a chord with me. It reminded me of my childhood days, when I would save all of the old cards given to my family for birthdays, Christmas and Easter. I had a box full of cards stashed under my bed and when the new school year began, my elder sister and I would cover my new school books with old brown paper, then we would choose a picture from a card to glue on the front of each book.

My sister also taught me how to press flowers, just as Kathy describes, by squashing them for a lengthy amount of time between heavy books.

When my own two daughters were just little girls, each had their own flower press, a more sophisticated manner of pressing flowers than the heavy book version, although both methods work beautifully.

You can imagine my delight when Hayley, my eldest daughter, presented me on Mother’s Day this year with a framed picture which she had made herself. She had found a verse on the internet “How God Created Mother”, which she printed out, glued to a sheet of pretty purple paper, and added pressed pansies along the side.

Here’s a photo of Hayley’s creation ~

Be sure to run the mouse over the photo and click on it, for a closer view.

Hayley apologised for using a second hand picture frame! Can you believe it? It’s such a beautiful gift, from my beautiful daughter, which I will treasure always. 🙂

There’s a lot to be said for saving old cards, calendars, magazines and left over fabric pieces, along with pressing pretty, colourful flowers from your garden. The possibilities are endless when considering the number of hand-made projects we can put together, if we just give some thought to recycling, as opposed to discarding.

And think of the amount of joy which can be spread when the time is taken to create your own personalised gift for a friend or family member, just as Hayley did for me.

Between Robin, Kel and Kathy, I have been pleasantly reminded of gardening and craft projects, involving the reusing of old items, that I have enjoyed myself throughout the years, not only from childhood days but also more recently. I’ll make a point of telling you about them, another day.

Right now though, I’m off to get some sewing done. (Which reminders me…I must tell you about the quilt I made, many years ago). 🙂

Thank you, Robin and Kathy, for sharing your stories and inspiring not only my day, but also my intended future posts here. 😀