It’s March Already: Taking Stock.

We are in March already. Sometimes I want to just press pause for a moment, but no matter how    hard we try the cyclone of life collects us up in its frenzied twister and dumps us into the new month. The arrival of March signals a change in seasons, cooler autumnal weather, which ultimately signals winter. While we can’t complain too much in this southern tip of Australia with warm sunny days every day this week and the same for next week, the mornings are decidedly cooler.

My daughter observed on a day last week when the temperature tipped 36 º, that in Summer she longs for the Winter, and in Winter she misses the warmth of the Summer. I completely understand this, and often find the same. Although the benefit of adulthood is that I can remind myself not to wish life away. The cooler weather will come, all longing aside. It will come anyway. And then we will curse how cold it has got, and will the Winter days to pass so we can glimpse the Spring.

As most of you who read regularly will know, I took all of December off Facebook. It was quite a    revelation. If you’ve ever given up sugar or caffeine, I liken the experience to this. Withdrawal headaches in the first week, shadowy voices calling you back with temptation. December was a hard month to step away, with parties and lots of goodwill – and perhaps a toned down version of the internet outrage. There were a few times in that first week where I did feel that I was missing out.

Then I started being mindful and taking stock of what I was doing in the time where I would otherwise be staring into that lonely blue computer screen. I found time for art, reading – both books and magazines. I found an embroidery, buried in a box, that I started more than 20 years ago. It was a gift from my Mother-in-law when we still lived in the UK. I haven’t done a lot of work on it, but it has been lovely to be able to pick up, do a little then put it down again.

First corner completed (most of it was done 20 years ago!)

 

Making progress on the second corner!

It is only when we stop and take stock that the important things come back into focus. My  daughter is giving up the iPad for Lent, so I decided to pick up her lead and give up evenings on Facebook. I find the evening is when it becomes so insidious – it’s my down time from the busyness of the day, the kids are in bed. Facebook is easy, it’s so mindless that before I know it an hour has passed and I’m fast losing my evening to something I don’t much care for. The happy result thus far, is that I’ll have a quick look during the day but my separation from has highlighted just how inane it can be.

While I have made some lovely connections on there, and been able to keep in touch with friends and family who are not in my immediate orbit, there is a lot to wade through for these benefits. But enough Facebook bashing, this post is about taking stock.

So this is where I am at on this day in early March.

Making : time for the things that I love doing (well, trying to anyway)

Cooking : Jamie’s Fiery Dan Dan Noodles from the Jamie’s America cook book. It’s a good way to use bok choi, which I’m really not keen on, but it comes in my organic box and I hate the waste!

Drinking : right now it’s tea, but over the weekend it was home brewed beer, and some bubbles.

Reading: I just finished The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith, and tonight I start The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman.

Wanting: a little something to nibble with my cuppa

Looking: at a gorgeous rose I just picked from my garden. (See above right). The bush is old and gnarly, and the roses are covered in thick thorns but it never fails to produce velvety bright orange roses. This one is still in bud. I love the anticipation of what it will become, and the smell is just heavenly.

Playing: with my four-year old daughter (well, in a minute. We are going to the park just as soon as I finish my cuppa.)

Deciding: How to spend the long weekend in Melbourne. We are contemplating a camping trip but I am also keen on a slow weekend pottering around the house, mornings in pjs and pots of tea in bed.

Wishing: that this weather would last forever. It is my perfect climate, sunny and warm, but cooler at night so sleeping is easy.

Enjoying: being back into reading, and making time in the evening for reading.

Waiting: for my second round of home grown strawberries to ripen

Liking: growing my own strawberries. There has not been an abundance, perhaps one or two a day, but we split them five ways and all enjoy a slither. I feel like Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oh, the sweetness…

Wondering: what 2017 has in store

Loving: getting to know our new chooks – we have four of them. And they are funny little things.

Pondering: how I can get more organised, why siblings fight so much and how I can tune out from that.

Considering: going for an after dinner walk. The sun is shining till late in the evening at the moment and it’s an opportunity to claim half an hour for myself.

Buying: not too much but considering a new couch. Our current couch is 15 years old and was bought pre-kids, but now that there are five of us, we don’t all fit on it.

Watching: The Crown – just so good.

Hoping: to spend more time in our art room – maybe over the long weekend.

Marvelling: at how my eight year old son can continue to talk non-stop without drawing breath.

Cringing: at my Kath & Kim dancing on Saturday night. Fun at the time though…

Needing: a nana nap. And a slower pace of life.

Questioning: our way of life, we seem to chase our tails working, earning, spending…

Smelling: my gorgeous home-grown rose.

Wearing: shorts and a t-shirt, it’s 28C and sunny.

Following: lots of England-based people on Instagram, which is making me pine for the mother-land…

Noticing: how tired I feel right now.

Knowing: that we are all doing the best we can.

Thinking: that kindness costs nothing and it can make the world of difference.

Admiring: lots of artists on Instagram

Sorting: dinner out – the kids are excited about the fiery Dan Dan noodles

Getting: excited about planning our trip to Vietnam in July (recommendations please!).

Bookmarking: not much actually, it’s amazing how much less online reading I do since disengaging from Facebook.

Coveting: not much, but maybe that new couch

Disliking: all the running around and chasing of our tails

Opening: a new book tonight – excited!

Giggling: at my funny little chooks.

Feeling: thankful for the day I’ve had.

Snacking: hmmm, perhaps some cheese and crackers, or some nuts. I didn’t realise I was so hungry!

Helping: my son with his home work – this is his first year of homework and it’s been a bit overwhelming.

Hearing: my kids chatter (and not fight!)

What’s been happening for you? 

The ‘Could-Do’ List – Why It Makes Life Better

simple-things-photoI’ve mentioned before that I love to read UK magazine The Simple Things. I love that it keeps reminding me to slow down, take stock and enjoy all the small things. A regular feature in the mag, that I just love, is the ‘Could-Do’ list.

The headline “Your Could-Do List” then follows with a sub-heading “Things you might want to do this month (no pressure!)”. Quirky, and beautiful. Pregnant with possibility.

These days we are all slaves to our ‘To-Do’ list. There is always something being added, even when you happily cross something off it. With that comes that heavy feeling, the weight of responsibility, the slight panic of drowning under the pressure of all the things that need doing.

[Read more…]

Here’s Why Being An Explorer Is A Good Idea

rainbow-1201862_1920In my Womenfolk series, the women I’ve spoken to have all sought to explore different dimensions of themselves. One thing they all have in common is their personal evolution. They have gone in search of things that have helped them grow, and evolve. They are explorers.

Our society dictates that we call ourselves something. We are all a bit prone to labels; we want a box to sit in, a pigeon hole to rest in, a safe place to say we fit. I think this is a completely natural thing to seek. Wanting to define yourself and your purpose is important as it helps us navigate the world.  [Read more…]

Five Feel-good Things To Do

Five Feel Good things to do

Ok, see here in Melbourne we’ve all been tricked a bit. Had the rug pulled from under us in the weather stakes. When I left the house this morning it was like 6C. On Thursday I took my laptop and sat outside and worked on my back deck – it was 22C!!! The sun was shining, I wore a dress and had bare legs!

Bare legs in August!!!

It’s much harder to take this cold snap, when the delights of Spring have been so tantalisingly close. We were whooping in celebration that the winter has passed, only to be plunged back in the following day with torrential rain and temperatures hovering at 10C.

So if you’re feeling like you’ve had the rug pulled from under you, right when you were rifling around for that bikini, here are five feel good things you can do. [Read more…]

The Stuff of Life: Balancing the Good With the Bad

Hell yeah

I’ve written before about how I write Morning Pages and how the act of writing out what I am thankful for has made a huge difference to my wellbeing. You know, sometimes you just wake up in a funk. My husband calls it waking up ‘with a bag on’ – meaning you feel like you’ve got a bag over your head. A little cryptic, but I think it describes how I sometimes feel.

On those days, this is when I benefit most from writing out my Morning Pages, but in particular, writing down the three things that I am thankful for. I’m not going down that path of banging on about practicing gratitude. It’s a bit over-talked I think, but I guess it’s because it works. It really can improve your outlook on life.  [Read more…]