ducks · freedom · friends · summer

An Early Morning Visitor….Come back later, around midday, okay?

My camera-shy visitor

Over the past few months we’ve had a regular visitor to our back garden, or to be more precise, to our swimming pool.

We enjoy the pool on a hot day too!

A duck must have mistaken our pool for a nice relaxing pond, in which to float around and casually pass the time of day. Obviously the chlorine and salt added to the pool has not had any adverse effect to his health as he has returned, again and again, even occasionally bringing his lady friend along with him!

In the eighteen years that we have had the pool this is the first duck that has taken a liking to it, which has left me wondering….why? Is this the first duck to ever notice, over the past eighteen years, that the pool is there? Or, have the others been put off by the smell of salt and chlorine?

Perhaps our visitor is simply an eccentric duck!

I'm up here, Mr Duck. Look this way!

I’ve tried to get a photo of this cute little guy for ages, but every time the camera has reached my face, he flies away!

This morning, however, at 7am, armed with both camera and determination, I actually photographed him! They are not the best photos of all time, that’s a certainty, but at least they are proof that I’m not hallucinating!

I’ve noticed that all the photos I take in the early morning and also later in the afternoon have a fuzzy look to them, so just to satisfy myself that the light of the day can make a huge difference to the quality of a photo, I took another photo of the same place, same zoom, but at 1pm this afternoon.

Bring Mrs Duck with you next time. Midday would suit me just fine!

The result? Much clearer, and far more vivid in colour.

Now, if the duck will just make a visit around midday, my camera will be waiting. Hey, I’ll even invite his lady friend! 🙂

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.

challenges · inspiration · vision

Visualising a New Challenge

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others”. ~ Jonathan Swift

The theme for the month of September on NaBloPoMo is “Vision”. Although I have taken the challenge before, and succeeded, in writing and posting a new blog post every day for a month, I have not achieved this task during a whole calendar month.

Today I read some of the posts from NaBloPoMo members who had completed the challenge of a new blog post each day for the month of August. It was interesting to note the reactions, ranging from “thank goodness that’s over” right through to the other end of the spectrum, “I achieved the goal, now I’m not sure if I will continue writing each day”.

The latter is closer to my reaction when I had completed the task during June/July. I had developed the habit of daily writing, and it felt quite odd to realise that there was no pressure to continue at this pace.

More recently, after not writing for about a week, (due to work commitments in my “off-line world” along with developing a cold and feeling a tad out of sorts), I felt like a fish out of water ~ I missed writing!

Now I feel inclined to take on the challenge yet again, to write a new post each day, for the month of September.

At first glance, “Vision” appears to be a rather interesting topic to write about. My mind has already developed many ideas, although I can’t promise to come up with a whole thirty posts relating to the topic! We’ll see…

All I can promise at this early stage is that I have the vision to complete the thirty day challenge, with discipline, consistency and confidence again being my key focus words, just as when I began the challenge for the first time in June.

In June, when writing about “Challenging Myself” with this task, I had intended getting into the “web stream” up to my ankles, which I ultimately achieved. The time has now come to plunge in up to my knees.

Okay, maybe plunge is too strong a word…perhaps “taking a larger step into the stream” is a better description.

Regardless of the terminology, I’m up to the challenge, one step at a time. And isn’t that what life’s all about? Moving ahead…one step at a time. How do you climb a mountain…one step at a time. How do you plant a forest? One tree at a time…

Do you have a daunting challenge ahead in your own life? Remember the routine ~”one step at a time”, take small steps towards your ultimate goal, consistently each day.

Before long, you will have climbed that mountain.

(photo credit http://www.tripadvisor.com/)


advice · basics · challenges · Changes · father · freedom · inspiration · Mum

What’s Behind the Fear of Parting with “Stuff”?

Yesterday I spoke about my thoughts on “Adopting the Minimalist Approach”, a subject which I feel quite strongly about for my own life, and although the concept is to “minimise” the material and emotional baggage in our lives, I have reached the conclusion that to minimise is, well, rather a complex subject.

Although we say we want to discard the unwanted material “stuff” in our homes, we don’t always actually take the action to do it…

What is it that we are so afraid of?

Let me tell you about the emotional tug o’ war I experienced myself, just this week, when sorting through the unused clothing hanging in my own wardrobe ~

Tucked away, right at the far end of the hanging rack, I had a long sleeved blouse, a gift from my mother; a short sleeved blouse, a gift from my father, and a knitted beige top, another gift from my father. When these items were newer, I wore them constantly. Each item, in its turn, had once been a much loved article of clothing.

Now, these clothes were yellowing, and smelled “musty”. Why? My mother has been gone nearly seventeen years, and my father, nearly twelve years!

“Who am I kidding”, I asked myself, “by hanging onto these clothes, will it bring my parents back??”

The truth of the matter is, if my parents were able, they would be the first to tell me to get rid of the clothes…and now I have.

What other excuses do we make to ourselves, you know, the self-talk moments we all have, when trying to justify why we can’t let go? ‘I might wear it/need it again one day’ or ‘I’ll fit into it again, when I lose weight’ or even ‘it’ll cost so much to replace it’.

I’m as guilty as the next person, I procrastinate when it comes time for the big clean out. But you know something? Once you start tossing that unwanted stuff into bags or boxes, momentum kicks in…The more you part with, the easier it gets!

Every time I get rid of more stuff, I feel liberated, and lighter. It’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. I keep on going back to admire the clean, neat, tidy and emptier cupboards!

Getting rid of unwanted “stuff” fills me with a sense of achievement.

Another gigantic plus to owning less clothing is…a smaller ironing pile! More time away from the ironing board! Now, you can’t complain about that, can you? I’m not! 🙂

Every action we take should be motivated by the question of how this is going to improve our life.

With less clutter in our life ~ we can breathe more easily; it lifts the burden of the “excess weight” of material possessions.

When the clutter has been removed ~ it opens up the “space” around us, both physically and emotionally, making way for fresh, new, wonderful experiences to find us.

When the clothing is minimised ~ we spend less time deciding what to wear (and the ironing pile is smaller! 🙂 )

If you are planning on minimising the “stuff” that is blocking the flow of your life, I encourage you to ask yourself what it is that is holding you back from letting go. And be honest with yourself.

And if all else fails, think about how happy dogs are. All they ask for is food, shelter, love and a kind word. They don’t need any of the “stuff” we humans accumulate, but they are happy.

How about making yourself a little happier too? 🙂

freedom · gratitude · happiness · inspiration

Introducing… “Freedom Space”

“Today I embark upon a whole new journey. I’m unsure yet as to exactly where my journey will take me, although the destination isn’t important. Perhaps I won’t ever reach a final destination, and that’s okay. Enjoying the journey each step of the way is my aim”.

And so begins a brand new experience in my life, one in which I find myself not only contributing regularly to my own website, right here. Káren Wallace at www.thecalmspace.com has offered me the brilliant opportunity to become a regular contributor to her online magazine. 😀

Each month, Káren introduces a different theme at the Calm Space, this month’s theme being the wonderfully uplifting emotion of “happiness”. You may recall how the theme inspired me to write my own thoughts on happiness, which in turn led to further thoughts of gratitude, showing the contagious nature of the word!

Over the past three months I have contributed to the Calm Space as a guest writer, having my articles included for the topics of “Inspiration”, “Purpose” and “Wonder”. Káren has included links to all three of my guest articles in my latest post, “Happiness is a Road Called Freedom” .

The word “freedom” encompasses a multitude of emotions for me, including not only the physical freedom to choose to go where we please and do as we please, but more so the freedom we have to choose our own thoughts.

With a mind packed full of negative thoughts, we could travel along the journey of our lives feeling as if we are dragging a ball and chain on our ankle and living like a caged bird, metaphorically speaking, or we can choose the alternative…

Positive thoughts and positive choices will allow the caged bird to break out of these self imposed confines, soaring high above the earth, feeling lightweight and free!

Today, I am the soaring bird, experiencing one of the consequences of the choice I was free to make, in choosing to begin writing again. Káren Wallace unknowingly became the catalyst in my choice to “go public” with my blog here at Home Life Online, through her words of encouragement to me, earlier this year. For Káren’s continuing words of praise, along with the opportunity to become a regular contributor at the Calm Space, I will be eternally grateful. Thank you, Káren. 🙂

Follow the link to “Happiness is a Road Called Freedom” and share your own thoughts, either here or at the Calm Space (or both!) knowing that you are amongst friends. 🙂