Australia · blessings · books · family · freedom · memories · Mount Warning · rain · reading · spring · sunset · Tweed Valley

Monday Musings

5:45am in the valley.

There were storms about last night – plural. Thunder with no rain during the afternoon, which subsided. A rain storm between around 6pm to 8pm, which also ended. Then overnight, another storm. Bowie cat, I discovered, is scared of storms and slept all night cuddled close to me.

I didn’t know what to expect in the valley this morning, but I woke to a very pretty misty fairyland scene, even if Mount Warning was hidden behind mist and clouds.

Each day since uni ended I catch up on a neglected chore, yesterday I pressure-cleaned the front veranda and part of the driveway; today I spent ironing.

Ironing is a pretty brainless task, and as anyone old-fashioned – like me – knows, whilst ironing and alone, your mind wanders off in all directions.

Today, I contemplated the risk I took in deciding to take photos and add a post to my blog every day, while I studied. It was a risk because I wasn’t completely sure I’d have time to post something every day, but I did. (Except for that one night when my sister called, and we stayed on the phone until after midnight. That was worth missing a day of posting.)

I decided to take that risk and make the committment, another committment – but an enjoyable one – which would distract me from the tunnel-vision I am prone to while studying and writing assignments. As much as I enjoy the study and writing, it drains me. I needed a distraction.

My conclusion at the end of the three month semester is that it paid off. Forcing myself to take time out each day to walk outside and take photos gave me something else to think about. It was a very worthwhile distraction. And even more rewarding has been my reconnection with blogging friends, most of whom I have known now for many years. The risk was worth the effort in many ways.

I’m not much of a risk taker though, which led to another thought. I feel content right now, I’m getting my home and garden back in order, and I am looking forward to Christmas. Through into next year, and when semester 1 of uni starts back, I will continue blogging. Decision made. But I also know I want to hold on to my peace of mind.

Here in Australia, there is a state election on Saturday. It’s not for my state, but the outcome will directly affect us as we live so close to the border. And next week, there’s the big election in the U.S., the outcome of which will have an impact on Australia. I’ve decided though, that this week, I will not listen to any news. Regardless of my opinions, the outcome of both elections will be whatever they will be, so I will save myself the agony of speculating on “what might be”. When the outcome of both elections are known, regardless of which party wins and which one loses, the world will keep on spinning.

Another thought I had was about the year – 2020 – which the multitudes seem to consider is the worst year ever. I understand why many people feel that way, but I don’t. Last year was more difficult when my husband and I had to organise aged care for his parents then sell the home they had lived in for twenty years. In 2015 my first grandchild, baby Samuel, was born, but never took a breath. The next year, baby Braxton, now aged four, was born, but we wouldn’t have Braxton if Samuel had survived. 2002 was an incredibly trying year when my husband had a serious accident and could have lost his life. He survived. I thought my world would end when my mother left me in 1993. The world kept spinning though, and her absence gave me the opportunity for the next five years to develop a closer relationship with my Dad.

My point is, life goes on. I thought a lot about that today, whilst ironing. I can’t control the world, my country, my state of residence, my town – I have no control over the actions of anyone other than myself, and it is my responsibility to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Making that decision feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I think also that if I stay away from watching television this week, I will get a lot more reading done. 🙂

Husband and I have been planning a renovation of my kitchen, so tonight he called me into the kitchen to discuss the height my new rangehood should be installed at. The discussion had to wait though. I looked out the window, and after all the rain, and storms, and mist we have had, look at the sunset sky! ❤

autumn · gardening · inspiration

Passing the time; no car, wet weather….

Memorabilia....

The past week has been yet another seven days of drizzling rain, spurts of dazzling sunlight, taken over a few minutes later by the rain again. What can one do?

A dessert spoon set, now 73 years old, given to my parents for a wedding present in 1939.

After pondering this question for a minuscule moment, I returned to the computer. With a “to do” list to work on, I have taken complete and utter advantage of the rainy weather and continued on my merry way, indoors.

My mum would heat these curling irons on the stove, to curl her hair.

I rarely stay sitting in front of the keyboard for long. I don’t know if others are the same as me, but I need a change of scenery, maybe every half hour, perhaps to get a drink, pat the animals or do some ironing; whatever I do, it just has to be away from the computer for a few minutes.

They opened to wrap around the hair, leave for a few minutes, then voilà! Curls, (so long as they weren't so hot they singed your hair!)

Yesterday afternoon I had the inspiration to take photos. It was wet outside, so I worked on a display using a few old treasures, to photograph a new header for my blog “Memoirs of My Life”. Have a look if you like, I’ve added the link into the blog title, and I’m really pleased with the results!

Sorting photos, another job on my 'to do' list.

The photos were turning out so well for me. The light in the room must have been just right at that time of day, so while I felt inspired, I took a few extra photos, just for fun.

An unfinished doily that my Mum was working on, over 18 years ago. I will finish it, one day...

I even decided to add a post at “Memoirs”, after taking photos of a damaged photo album, which I am repairing. It’s a shame that the original album has been ruined, and I am hopeful that the restored version will be treasured for generations.

This letter, sent from Australia to England in 1946, was brought back to Australia by my Grandmother, who the letter had been sent to.

As much as I would really enjoy spending some time gardening (the weeds are running rampant!) I don’t hold up too much hope in the near future. During the time it has taken me to write this, it has alternated between sun and rain four times! If you hear a huge “hooray” over the next couple of days, it will no doubt be me. The rain will have stopped and I’ll be heading outdoors.

What is a cat to do, other than curl up on the chair on the veranda!

Here’s hoping. My fingers are crossed….

~ ~ ~

Uncategorized

The Sounds of Silence

How long has it been…three, perhaps four weeks, since I have spent the day alone, at home?

I can’t quite remember; it’s been so long, too long.

Days of solitude are a necessity to me, as essential as food and sleep.

But it hasn’t always been that way.

When my four children were all much younger the house was continually noisy, in one way or another. Talking, television switched on by the first child out of bed in the morning, music playing (in more than one room), phones ringing, and usually all at the same time!

On the odd occasion when I would be in the house, in silence, I couldn’t cope; I simply had to switch on music, or the television, anything to cut the deafening silence!

I’m not sure how the changes occurred, the changes within myself, which brought about the demand (yes, it was a demand!) for peace and silence around me.

The sounds around home have altered now. My second oldest lives in her own home now, my eldest is quiet by nature (thank you, God!), and then there’s the two teenagers.

As is the case with many siblings, they are constantly bickering, only pausing long enough to sing together. Yes, sing. They have the same taste in music and, as teenagers do, know every word, to every song they hear.

Their singing can actually be rather entertaining, especially so when I way up the pro’s and cons…would I rather listen to squabbling, or the singing? Hmm…

Today there will be no voices, no phones, no mobile phones, no skype, no texting, no online chatting ~ everyone is out.

I have the house to myself.

My herbal tea is made and my ironing awaits me. Whilst ironing, the only sounds I will hear will be the pattering of the raindrops falling, the occasional chorus of frogs croaking and the distant buzzing of the cicada’s.

It’s a day to restore my equilibrium, to silence my busy brain, to focus on the here and now.

A day to appreciate the Sounds of Silence….

(Photo credit ~National Geographic at Google Images)

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? 🙂

basics · challenges · Changes

Adopting the Minimalist Approach…

Yesterday, I “accidentally” finished all of my ironing…yes, that’s right…

I don’t have an ironing pile climbing up the wall anymore!

It all began a couple of days ago. I felt cold. My fingers were so cold that I’m sure they might have snapped in half, if I were to try bending them. Doing some ironing would warm my fingers up very nicely.

To cut a long and boring story short, (yes, boring…ironing is boring, believe me), I enjoyed the warmth of the iron all day, although my over-exertion, in the interests of keeping warm, created yet another problem…I ran out of coat hangers.

To every problem, there is a solution, and the solution to this one made my heart sing. I discarded more unused clothing from my wardrobe!

The periodic analysis of my life over the past couple of years has made it clearly evident to me that a huge chunk of the middle of my life, to date, has been lived to other people’s standards rather than my own.

The reality of it is ~ I’m a “closet” minimalist.

Hot on the tail of yesterday’s post, “Flicking the Labels”, I am reluctant to label myself by announcing “I am a minimalist”. But yes, living a minimalistic life does appeal to me…it “feels” right for me.

Look at what I have hung on to over the years, not wishing to discard useful items, before they were past their “use-by date”…

  • My refrigerator worked perfectly, although it had rust marks covering the doors. I buckled and purchased a new fridge, after hearing that “old fridges never die”.
  • When my washing machine did die, after hearing the painful news that there was simply no hope of resurrection, I reluctantly purchased a new machine. Lifetime of the old washing machine ~ 1988 to 2009.
  • My children nicknamed my first mobile phone “The Dinosaur”. Another hurtful name they gave it was “The Brick”. I’m here to tell you that I became rather attached to that phone. I only owned it for about eight years and it didn’t miss a beat. Initially I had resisted owning one, but the Man of the House insisted I have a mobile, giving it to me as a gift…
  • Our TV set came into our family around the same time as the washing machine, in 1988. It has served us all very well over all of these years, and continues to do so.
  • When the fabric began to fade and fray on my old favourite lounge chair, I had it recovered…simple!
  • The first car I owned, a two door, stopped being functional after I had my first two children, so after nine years, I traded it in on a four door sedan. That car served me well for ten years and was traded in for a four wheel drive after the birth of my fourth child, as I needed a six seater car. Five years later, when my eldest son had his own car I couldn’t justify hanging on to a “gas guzzler” so traded it in on another four door sedan, which I have had for four years so far.

This list could go on; however I think you get the picture. I loathe the idea of discarding useful items. I refuse to get sucked in by all of the glitzy marketing of buying the “latest and greatest, you’ve simply got to have it” fashionable items.

Don’t the consumers realise it ~ everything goes out of fashion!

My discarding of useless items, especially clothing, is so liberating! The clothes I have hanging in my wardrobe now have air flowing around them; no longer are they all squashed up together to fit them all onto the hanging rail. The clothes I’m parting company with, I never wear anyway, and the charity shop will make good use of them. Not to mention the fact that I finished my ironing…and had enough coat hangers for everything…win/win!

Becoming a genuine minimalist would entail selling household furniture and appliances, only hanging onto the barest minimum. It would also involve downsizing my home and perhaps selling my car in favour of riding a bike, which would, in turn, create more problems…

1 ~ All of the furniture in my home is enjoyed and used every day.

2 ~ We actually need a home the size of ours, to accommodate our family.

3 ~ (Don’t laugh)…I don’t know how to ride a bike, never owned one. Besides which,

we live way too far from the town for it to be practical.

So where does that all leave me? This year especially, I have upgraded my desire to part company with all material item which are no longer of any use to me. I now purchase only the essentials in food and clothing, reverting back to my own old ways of growing food in the garden and making my own clothes.

Actually, “back to basics” is perhaps the more apt expression for how I prefer to live. Although you could also say I’m a minimalist…basically! 🙂

Let me know what you think about this topic. Are there any more “closet” minimalists out there?