Anything You Want

Many women feel overwhelmed by making choices and starting something new. Taking a risk is too hard. Following you heart is something that over time stops happening.  Busyness and the 24/7 caring of small people, putting everyone’s needs before your own means that we are often unable to see what we need, when we need it most. But change is possible.

Today I am thankful for my man who helps me on this journey, encourages me, allows me to ‘talk’ until I understand what is going on in my world, who laughs with me, cries with me and is my best friend. Even though change is possible and I can make those adjustments and tweaks to me lifestyle, my character ad my heart…..the reality is that I need someone strong beside me. Someone who will be there tomorrow and the next day and the next day, still smiling on days that I am not.

This is the beginning of anything you want, any change or new direction or adventure. My encouragement to you is to choose someone to walk with you. And want to walk with them.

The Art of Writing

Dear Friend,

How are you? I am well. I do apologise for not writing sooner. The last few weeks my family and I have enjoyed some holiday time at the beach. We have returned home  and it is indeed good to be home. However, the hustle and bustle of organising five people for school overshadows the calm of the weeks at the beach, just gone by.

Such distant memories of hot days, sand and surf. And for some so is the memory of receiving a handwritten note in the mail.

This image spoke to me when I scanned it somewhere on Pinterest. I love stationary and these wooden drawers are a much coveted item for my home. But it was the neat rows of envelopes and the inaudible cry for handwritten notes to fill each and every one of them that really got me. Have we really lost the art of writing and sending a note, a card or letter via snail mail?

Most days my postbox is filled with junk and bills. There is little incentive to check the mail box when it continues to deliver administrative notes and to dos. I long for a note from a friend asking after my health and life, remembering a birthday day or anniversary, sharing a significant event for them or their loved ones. I know we live in a digital world and I am completely sold to communicating online. But can’t we try to bring back the art of writing to each other? Snail mail?

If you think you would like to slow the pace of your life down just a little and welcome some time for reflection, writing and building relationships again the old fashioned way why not write with me? Take this little letter here as a personal note to you, to make a change and write – with – me. I will share this with my friends and family via social media. If you decide to spread the word hashtag it #writewithme2015

Make this year of writing a gentle one. Start small. Write one letter and see how it goes. Follow me on the blog or Instagram and look out for some great prompts to develop you art of writing.

Much love to you as you #writewithme2015

S x

Hard Questions

If you are anything like me you have started the new year reading through other people’s blogs, articles and notes about how they are going to change in 2015. Some have set new goals, others have decided to act so that their feelings are front and centre, many more are attempting to get fit, eat well and sleep more.

I have not resolved what I want this year to look like. Yet….The year has begun nonetheless.

But I have encountered many friends who are struggling to know who they are and what they really want out of life. Maybe that is you too. There is no shame in admitting that we struggle, we are overwhelmed and we feel like we would like to rebuild parts of our life. The important thing is finding the right resources, the right people that will encourage you and stand by you as you make choices and change. For me,  my reading and thinking is anchored in my faith. At the moment I am working through Sally Clarkson’s “Own Your  Life” and I have it on a Kindle app so I can read it  on the go or in a more planned quiet time.

I have also found these questions an interesting starting point. Tricia Goyer on The Better Mom blog says:

Here are 15 question to ask that will hopefully help to get you on the right track. These question aren’t the typical ones you find in most life-coaching seminars. Instead, they are questions I asked myself.

If I had a magic eraser, what is one thing I’d take off my schedule tomorrow? (We don’t have the time to live our purpose if our time is filled with unimportant things.)
How do I want my children to describe our family to their friends when they are teenagers? (We need to establish purposeful routines now to become the family we want to be.)
What’s one thing has God asked me to do that I’m too scared to try? (God won’t do “the next big thing” unless you trust Him with the “first little thing.”)
How can I help my husband support his purpose? (My life and marriage isn’t all about me. Working together helps me find my unique purpose and helps us discover our purpose together.)
Where did I find my greatest joy as a child? (God plants seeds of purpose inside us.)
How does my childhood joy point to my life purpose today? 
What are the themes of my three favorite movies? (I bet the themes are tied to your purpose.)
What unique group of people do I feel called to share the good news of Jesus with in everyday life? (We’re missing our true purpose if we’re the only one who’s benefiting. We are created to be interconnected with the needy world.)
What can God do that I can’t concerning my purpose? (This is where the faith comes in.)
How is God glorified when I’m following my purpose?
What is one way that following my purpose will teach my children about their purpose? (Kids do what we do, not what we say.)
Who can I lean on to support my purpose?
How can I reach out to support a friend’s purpose?
How will following my purpose force me to trust God more?
What is God asking me to do TODAY?
I would be interested to hear how you are approaching the new year. And if you commit to reading Own Your Life, let me know what you think.

Laundry Lust

I have documented my love HATE relationship with the laundry many times on this blog. Washing clothes and nappies has been a big part of my life it seems for the last 17years. This Summer the three big kids have been left to wash, dry, fold and iron for themselves. So far so good.

But there is something about being in a beautiful space to do the most mundane of chores. I wonder if that is why we all have such an obsession with kitchen renovations. So this laundry that I found on Pinterest – source unknown- is simple and beautiful. Those tiles just provide a little fun, bling and magic don’t you think? A small space that is useful and transformed. This is one for me to file away for another house for another day.

To Filofax or File-online?

Diary? Filofax? Planner? Online Calendar? Family Calendar?

What do you use to stay on top of the chaos of family life? In recent years I have enjoyed the Kikki K Family Calendar. But as the big kids get bigger I find things are getting more complex in terms of organising. They have their own schedules and we have ours; the little people’s commitments we adopt.

My man and I use the iPhone calendar and sync via the cloud, so we share important diary dates and contacts. But at the start of the year I always have a hankering for new stationery, a new lot of diary inserts or Printables.

So I am endeavouring to resurrect an old pocket, leather Filofax to record important dates and appointments. If you scan the web there are many Filofax devotees (see Philofaxy) and their zeal for all things planners in general is a little overwhelming.

How do you stay organised? What are your top tips for using online tools and hardcopy calendars? Help me work well this year. Love to hear from you. S x

Highly Sensitive People

Are you sensitive? And what does this actually mean?

Amanda Chan’s article posted in the Huffington Post outlines the key habits and characteristics of a group of people, emerging wearing the title “highly sensitive”. I wouldn’t say that these individuals love this label, but I am assured by friends and family that knowing that one in five people identify with the HSP makes living with it easier.

Elaine N Aron’s research into highly sensitive people which began in 1990s has developed into a range of helpful strategies, data, books and tools which individuals can adopt and use to great effect.

Many HSP often believe that they are at odds with the world for behaving or responding a certain way.  Aron asks – Is this you?

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

This has been the focus of much conversation with a few good friends over the past year. We have exchanged stories about our own experiences and behaviours we see in others, including children. Sometimes it helps just to understand. To have someone else describe what you have felt for a long time but have not been able to put into words.

If you would like to follow this up, take the HSP self test.

Food to Feed Me

I am a recipe book, food book junkie from long, long ago. I recently parted with a collection of Gourmet Traveller and Vogue Entertaining Magazines that date back before the turn of the last century. However, in a digital environment I have not purchased as many cook books as I perhaps would have imagined. So many of my favourite food journalists, chefs and cooks have online resources, blogs and apps and this makes cooking simple.

But there is something lovely about reading a recipe book. Taking a quiet moment over a cup of tea and being inspired. I rarely cook from recipe books directly. But I think my brain works like a search engine, trawling the books for ideas, techniques and new skills that I can apply to our everyday repertoire for our 7mouths2feed.

Jane Kennedy’s One Dish Two Ways is great. I have blogged about this is  woman before and her food minus the boom bah. Like me knows the juggle of five children and she has struggled with children who don’t like every recipe or ingredient. Her collection of food ideas take one dish and offer a kid friendly and a more adult version. And it is fun. The idea is simple. You and I are doing most of it already I suspect, but she offers variety.

Bill Granger is a perennial favourite and his book Feed Me Now is about fresh, fast food. Our Granger collection is well loved.

This Home Made Summer is another food book that is full of great pics and typography. Food books have changed so much in my lifetime. The look, layout and ‘feel’ is evolving.

And finally, meet Dan Churchill. Confession. Before I picked this book up I had no idea who he was – at all. Those of you who follow Master Chef would be familiar with his new celeb status. And seriously, I am not going for the V-neck T. Are you?

But I am totally captivated by his recipes and healthy approach to food. Yes, he is a bit of a Paleo lover and his recipes have less sugar than most but he has some great combinations. His slow cooked lamb…….fabulous! So if you have a special man friend, brother or Dad this books would be a great gift. Or a good pressie for you.