Five Minute Friday – Way

Five Minute Friday= prompt word, five minutes, just write.

No overthinking, no over complicating.

This weeks prompt word: WAY

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No way !!!!

Yes way

The first two words shout out big and bossy like they know all there is to know. Like they’ve decided and that’s all there is to it.

The second two are whispered but they’re determined, not easily put off, resilient, resourceful and they just might have a secret weapon up there sleeve.

I spend lot of my life trying to figure out a way to get a thing or two done around here. See when it comes to home projects it’s alway ALWAYS!! been a juggle of limitations of one or another. I’ll have plenty of one thing (ideas and hair brained schemes mostly) and a scarcity of another (money, time, expertise, teams of able bodied tradesmen). The size and shape of the limitation/s changes randomly. At the moment it’s mainly time. Now that I work full time I never seem to be home and being a homebody with a capitol H it presents all sorts of frustrations to my “have to have a project in the works” self. Seeing a few things done, making progress, keeping things fresh and moving adds enormously to my sense of well being. So not having a lot of time to do these things small or large, presents an ongoing challenge.

but I do like a challenge.

And there’s always a way.

There has to be a way.

(My five minutes ran out about here).

One way I’ve worked out to keep things moving along is to simply do smaller projects that don’t take much time. And when I say small,  sometimes they’re minuscule. Ten minutes sometimes. Half an hour to an hour at most other times. Works the same way. Small project done = enormous satisfaction = sanity saved.

Here’s a sample.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also worked out long ago that a good way to get something done, especially something big is to break it down into smaller parts. Twenty minutes concentrated effort on one thing in succession is my favourite.

But

I think I might have taken this idea to the next level just lately. You’ve heard of “death by a thousand cuts”. Well this is finished project by a thousand tiny goes at it.

I have a lovely set of French doors leading out to my back deck. Photos below you can see them in the background.

They were given us for free by a client in Kens painting days. They’ve been installed here now a good long while. They’re solid and beautiful but they need a really good sand and oil to make them sing. Famous last words those and who in their right mind wants to or has the time available to sand down a set of double French doors. I do apparently. I decided I couldn’t bare looking at the water stains, the rough edges and greasy finger marks any darn longer.

The only way I could think of that was remotely within my capabilities is to do one teeny tiny section at a time, and because sanding is horrid I decided five to ten minutes a day is the most I was prepared to do it. I’m up to day number five – it’s my weekday project – (the back fence is my weekend project). Just before I leave for work, I put a cloth down, sand for five to ten minutes, wash my hands and go to work.

I have accomplices. Other like minded people egging me on.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

To read what other people have done with there five minutes click here.

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Marking Time

I’d had the 31st of May fixed in my head for a couple of reasons. Olivia had an inter school soccer tournament on that day and I’d been wondering if I should take the day off to go and cheer her on. And having been plodding away writing this post through most of May in the cracks and crevices of my days – during my lunch break, in the car after work before the drive home, I’d set myself a 31st of May deadline to get it done already and published.

The thing with plans though –

is that life quite often has very different ones.

The 31st of May remains a day locked in my head now for other reasons. It was this day my mum decided her time here on earth was done and went off to her heavenly home. Just like that, no fuss, no fanfare, about six in the morning while I was still sleeping, a month off 91.

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I wrote these words on Instagram a few days after she died and I can’t think of any better to say

Grateful for 52 years with this lady – far longer than many people have their mums for. Grateful that she went in an instant on a clear blue sunny morning, the last day of Autumn before the cold of winter set in. Grateful she is no longer tormented by a body plain worn out that wouldn’t let her do the things she loved to do – she was a maker, always busy with growing, cooking or sewing something but it was the sewing she really missed most these last few years. She was still persevering with crocheting hand towels though and on her last day did a lovely piece of crochet in a bright pink yarn that she was really pleased with. Grateful too on her final day she enjoyed an outing and a laugh. But mostly I’m grateful there was no time for fear in going just time to be ushered straight into the presence of God. Grateful also that she’s now reunited with the three of her children who went on ahead of her whom she spent a life time missing. What a beautiful welcome she’ll be receiving. Posted in honour and remembrance of our very own “land army girl” and my mum Sheila Lincoln 26/6/1927 ~ 31/5/2018

Done and finished with this world but fresh faced and new to heaven – I like to think of her there – the shackles gone, the striving over, the homecoming sweet.

A few weeks along I’ve thought much about how quickly she went. The thought that keeps coming to mind is what an incredible kindness. She kept trying to stay, a little bit afraid of death, not wanting to leave us, still trying to do things and this epitomised her life – she was always always one to have a go, to keep at it, to do something, anything – even in this last little while when everything was failing her, her hands, her mind and her energy – she was still trying.  This last year she often said to me “What am I still here for” with such frustration. And I’d say the one thing I could think of which was ” Well I’m glad your still here, and if your still here God has a reason.” I wonder now if it was that she didn’t know how to let go, how to stop trying, how to stop mothering and I wonder too if it was that we weren’t ready to let her go. And in the end we don’t decide, God does. Decision made for all of us. And what a kindness to her, what a relief not to have to stare death in the face and give in to the going but to just step through that flimsy veil and be gone to Him. These words I think He might have beckoned her with keep coming to me “Come on, its enough, lets be done with it”.

I would have liked an inkling though that she was going. Seeing her all the time I think I stopped seeing how very very frail she was. I would have stayed a bit longer the night before, I would have sat and stared and taken her face in for the last time. Told her a few things, all things I know she knew but it would have been nice to say again, the love you and the thank you, a million times thank you and the you’ve done well and you’ve been a good mum. She would have liked that.

But I didn’t have an inkling – not one little bit. So what we did was eat chicken, thank God I took it that night instead of the next as I usually do and with a bit of guess work and stopping and starting she told me what she had done that day and what had made her laugh. We admired her crochet and I rubbed on some cream – there was always cream that needed to go somewhere – then as always she hurried me off  because she knew the kids were waiting at home, a kiss – there was always a kiss before going and we called another good night to each other, her from her room and  me as I headed out down the hallway. Not a grand parting as partings go, both of us clueless but I can see it was still lovely in its own way. Not knowing maybe a kindness to me as well in the long run

A few weeks along and the reality of it is setting in, the activity thats been buoying us all along is finally done and finished, her ashes are where she wanted them to be, the memorial service which was everything we could have hoped it to be – a fitting farewell – all done. The flowers  on my dining room table are starting to fade and  I keep taking pictures of them because they were bought to celebrate her life and her passing and once there gone they’ll be gone.

It’s been nice to write some words about her particularly today. Today is the 26th of June which would have been her 91st birthday.

Her going makes the sentiments of this post that I wrote in the month beforehand ring all the truer I guess so I’ll share it now as is. Hope there’s something in it for you.

Marking Time

How many times do we hear ourselves say it.

Time flys

And faster every day it seems.

Here we are in June now and do any of us know how we got six months into this new year so suddenly.

On a Monday the week looms large and long but you no sooner get started and you find it’s Friday again. Some weeks seem a total blur one day running clean into another.

And really that would be OK except from one week to the next my kids are growing up and changing and changing fast and I want to grab time and hold onto it so I don’t miss any of it – – –

but it doesn’t work that way and I don’t think I’ll ever remember enough.

There’s no slowing it down, there’s no stopping it, there’s not even a pause button.

All we can really do is try and pay attention.

Take notice of our days and how we fill them – even the most ordinary of them because even they in days to come will feel like gold.

It may be all psychological who knows, but there are a few things I’ve been doing so far this year that I haven’t consistently done before that I feel are helping me keep track and counteract that sense of it all running away from me too quickly.

Nothing genius, nothing revolutionary – really simple things in fact because its me and simple is the only thing that ever works for me on an ongoing basis.

1. I keep a detailed diary.

Now I’ve always kept a diary of one sort or another to keep track of appointments and where we need to be but as I’ve flicked through diaries from years past there’s great expanses of blank pages with a few Doctors appointments, play dates and birthday parties scribbled in. But these days weren’t blank.  They were full of our lives and kids growing and raging around my house and a million things done and my memory fades so fast on the little stuff and unfortunately on the the big stuff too. Thank God for iPhone photos and Facebook!! Well never remember it all, maybe we’re not meant to but enough with the blank pages.

So this year year I’ve been filling my diary pages with what we’ve done and where we’ve been, along with what we’ve had for dinner (what was a hit and what was a fizzer) things the kids are saying and enjoying and even what we are watching on Netflix. Just in point form, no waxing lyrical, no essays. I paste in our movie ticket stubs and occasionally a photo as well. I paste in pretty embellishments too like I’m seven years old because its something Livvy and I like to do together. I write in all the usual appointments and to do lists and things I need to buy too – just everyday stuff but they are our everydays and they’re worth noting. Some days are fuller than others – there’s still a few blanks – like most of life really. I do it not so much for the future but to immerse myself more in the right now.

And yes it’s just your average ordinary everyday diary. Not a bullet journal, not one from a fancy shmancy paper goods or bookshop (how lovely are they though). Mine from Kmart – works the same way . Pics show days not so jam packed with words and embellishments because no one needs to see all my hastily penned shopping lists or my random comments and insights.

2. I get photos developed.

Yes that old fashioned concept where you take a photo and end up with a real photograph you can hold in your hand. All those digital photos on my iPhone and computer and in the “cloud” thingy wherever that is and I wonder what I’ll do if one day any or all of it goes kaput. So no fancy photo books at this stage, I just go down the road to Big W and print a few of my favourites off every few weeks. Costs next to nothing. They end up in frames and on the fridge and stuck in my diary.

3. I make a big deal of small things that reflect the season we are in.

Things like change of seasons, the end of the school term, something scary overcome, a milestone reached, the end of a hard week. Anything really. Acknowledging something, marking it as an occasion or event even with simple words does something. It dog ears the moment and provides a hook we can hang our memories on. It acknowledges the time passing and our part in it. It’s an opportunity for joy and a bit of fun that can otherwise pass by just too easy without noticing. I’ll often make little announcements like “heres to the end of a big week” or “heres to the start of the school holidays”. “First day of summer – time for – – – – ” . Yes they roll their eyes sometimes but if its accompanied by food or something fun they’re all good. This year I made a bit of a fuss of the start (and end) of the summer holidays with a start/end of summer hoorah – packing in the activities and fun and just making a thing of it. You can’t do it all the time with everything – but it’s a great way of taking notice.

4. I write everyday – this ones more for me than for the kids but it helps me keep track of where I’m up to, what I’m thinking about, what’s inspiring me, what I’m learning. I write in quotes or words I’ve taken screen shots of, I write in questions. It helps me work out what I want to do differently and rethink where I’m headed. Sometimes the words will become an IG post or a blog post, some words are just for me.

Some days I haven’t a thing to write but I write anyway and it’s always surprising how much you can write when you think you have nothing to say. It’s helped me feel front and present in my own life if that makes sense and brings a measure of calm. Having written some things out I’m not always scrambling to remember my thoughts. Five to ten minutes worth at the most – sometimes in a pretty book, sometimes in a scrappy old exercise book I’ve found in Olivia’s room. They all work the same way.

5. Pause

This is simply stopping for a few minutes each day. For me it’s usually during my quick as a flash 15 minute morning tea break when I walk downstairs and sit in the sun and fresh air for a few minutes. It only takes a minute or two to take in your surroundings, think about what day it is, what time of the year it is, the weather, what you can hear and what you can see, and how your feeling. – breath it all in and breath it out – be grateful, a simple way of taking notice.

6. Show up where your feet are.

This one I’m still learning and probably always will be. The idea and I know it sounds like a cliche is to be fully present where you are and with what your doing at that particular moment – even if that’s watching a movie with the kids – without stressing about what I’m not doing or what I should be doing next. I feel like I enjoy that time more and that adds to the sense of having immersed myself in the day rather than being a passer through on the way to somewhere else.

7. Do one thing at a time

A bit similar to the above I guess. I have a tendency and maybe you do too to try and make every second as productive as possible which often means trying to do too many things at the same time. I’ll tell you right now for free its exhausting and totally counterproductive. A dear online friend of mine Heather said this to me “Multitasking is just the ability to screw multiple things up at once in my opinion”. I agree. Now having the washing machine, the dishwasher and the slow cooker on at the same time I’m all good with. Trying to cook dinner, pay a bill online, do the lunch boxes for the next day and find some random item for Ken (because apparently in this house I’m the finder of all things ) – I am not so good with. I end up with my head in a spin and things end up half done, badly done or burnt.

These days when I’m doing something and several other things beckon, or one of the people in my house beckon you’ll quite often hear me say “No I’m doing this right now I’ll do that when I’m done here”. Magic little words they are and make for a happier calmer me, a calmer household and a much nicer dinner.

So that’s my few ideas. As you would well know by now I’m no expert on any of the things I write about so if you have a couple of ideas feel free to chime in in the comments below.

I will leave you with these words

“What matters is not how much time a person actually has but how best to inhabit it and make it spacious” Christian McEwan, World Enough and Time.

Linking up today with #PorchStories

and Hearth and Soul with April J Harris

Five Minute Friday – Stuck

Five Minute Friday = prompt word, five minutes, just write.

No overthinking, no over complicating.

This weeks prompt word: STUCK

Now theres a word I can relate to.

“I feel stuck” is a phrase I’ll say all dramatically quite often – more often than I’d like –  to myself, to God, to anyone who’s bothered to ask or listen. It can often relate to bigger broader life issues (more drama involved)  but often it just relates to everyday what I’m doing around the house type things,  creative projects (there are many), my words, my writing – I get stuck between where I am and where I want to be and this struggle to move forward, to gain momentum feels like a common theme that I grapple with.

Sometimes its a “deer in the headlights” type stuck, a fear paralysis –  wanting so much to make the right decision that I can’t make any decision at all. Or it’s the result of wanting so much for the end result to be somehow perfect (like it ever will be) that I become immobilised. Or it relates to something put off for so long, that I’ve made such a big deal of in my head, any step forward seems inadequate.

The one thing I’ve learnt about “stuckness” though is that by putting one foot forward followed by another, and the tiniest foot will do  – you’ll find yourself moving forward even while your still feeling stuck. Small steps will get you moving – even  if feels like inch by inch at first – but your moving and that’s when things have a red hot chance of unfolding and becoming clearer. Simply put; your on your way and things look so much different from that vantage point.

I’ve written some words about the value of simple small steps that I’ll be sharing with you soon that were inspired by these words from  Leeana Tankersly.

 – – – small steps often keep us going when we run out of steam with the grand gestures.

A thousand times yes.

Grace follows every small step, every not giving up, every time we let hope  move us forward – grace follows, heaven cheers and thousands walk with us because thousands of ordinary people are taking small brave steps of their own.

Feeling stuck?

Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible  Francis of Assisi

Read what others folks have done with their five minutes here

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What I Found this Summer

Good without the bad ain’t no good at all.   Everything Must Go

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Hi friends –  if you’ve joined me here for a while you’ll be familiar with my What I Found posts. These are simply a way of paying attention to my right now life and being thankful for all of it. The lovely, the not so lovely, the inspiring, the exasperating, the trivial (that’s sometimes not so trivial) and occasionally the deep down meaningful that stops  me in my well worn tracks. It all counts. It all has a place. Today its a mixed bag of things learned and found and enjoyed and noticed  over these past  summer months.

WHAT I LEARNED

1. Letting yourself ask WHY good and loud can somehow help settle things on the inside of us even when the answers are still illusive or taking their own sweet time in coming.

In my most recent post I had a good whinge about my job. I didn’t mean to but out it came and at the end of the five minutes of writing I decided that regardless of the “whys” and “what fors” I always want hope and possibility to have the final say. Now I’d perculated on those words for a few days before I decided to hit publish but somehow writing them made me feel better about everything. That nagging on the inside, the wanting to cry if I thought about it too much, the frustration, the feeling of being sidelined –  just fizzled out. I still don’t know what will happen with this job,  I can only trust it’s somewhere good and I’m looking at it now from a different angle

Then this happened

About an hour after I published that post in my lunch break I got asked out of the blue to go back onto inbound calls for two hours because of the high call volume. I said yes in about a nano second. In that two hours I remembered how good and life giving it felt to be interacting with and helping people but – – – I also remembered how challenging and demanding and utterly exhausting it is to be interacting with and helping people. The grass isn’t always greener it’s just a different shade.

Then this

With Chinese New Year a fortune cookie arrived on my desk. Now I’m not looking for my fortune to be told, not now not ever but I was hungry so that fortune cookie was getting eaten and this  fell out.

Well let’s hope they are.

Now that made me laugh. See adventure was my “word” for last year and no it didn’t have me canoeing down the Amazon or jumping out of a plane so it was an odd word for me but there it is and I felt like it followed me into this year too but with the change in my work any chance of adventure felt well and truly trampled on. And boring well that’s a word I’ve been bandying about willy nilly since starting this role. So as random as it was, these few words  hit me right at heart level and felt a bit like God saying “get a grip it’s all under control and its better than you think”.

So what I was reminded of (again) is that our emotions rarely tell the real story. Theres always a bigger story in the making than what we can perceive with these eyes or touch with our hands. I thing hope keeps us looking for the bigger story.

2. I like white

Now its no secret how much I love a bit of colour and pattern in the home furnishings department.  Still do. Always will. And if its mismatched and vintagey and all thrown together all the better but over the last few months I’ve had a hankering for white. White walls mainly buts it seems to be spreading and yes I think it must reflect a inner hankering for some simple, clean, and calm in my life. A bit of white it seems can go a long way towards that.

It started with

Painting this  tiny wall

Then I was given this set of white sheets,

They’re microfibre, 1600 thread count – softest sheets I’ve ever had and they feel like velvet but it’s the white that really shone and brightened the room more than I could have ever imagined. Small change but a huge difference.

Then I found these beauties.

$12.00 a pack at The Reject Shop. That bright white was calling my name. Thought I was getting one curtain in each pack so bought six but nope theres two in each. The red sticker that says “2 Pack” should have given it away but no I didn’t twig. I thought I’d put them in the lounge room but they’ve ended up in the bedroom.

They couldn’t go up until I painted the walls and the difference that a) taking the lined curtains I’ve had there for years down b) painting the walls and trim Antique White USA has been nothing less than revolutionary. The sense of space and light in the room now is monumental. It feels so much bigger and brighter and it’s doing me all sorts of good. And even though I’ve got some brightly coloured frames in the works and a new gallery wall in the planning my inkling for right now except for one small painting next to the window is to leave it completely blank.

I like these words from Courtney Carver at Be More with Less.

3. BFFs are the best

“If we have friends we should look only for the best in them and give them the best that’s in us, don’t you think”. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Seeing Olivia and her best friend Milly hang out together all summer reminded me  of what is truly good and right and lovely about having a bosom friend as Anne would say.

These two are of the same ilk, both gentle souls and because of it their friendship has stuck. Both as relaxed and sweet spirited as each other. Their only real agenda when they’re together is to giggle a lot and have themselves some fun. But heres what I’ve really noticed that means so much to me and I know to Milly’s mum as well – they’re good to each other, they have each others back, not interested in comparing or competing, they don’t put each other down or try to out do each other, theres no power plays or tantrums, their not exclusive or divisive, there’s always room for one more to join in whatever shenanigans they’re up to and all of it as refreshing as it is rare. They are each others biggest fans and first picks always when it comes to fun and having a jolly good time. And oh they certainly had themselves a good time over summer.

Let’s just say they summered hard – they swam and played and laughed and FaceTimed there way through. Giggled almost constantly and discussed every aspect of “Stranger Things” ad infinitum and still there were more things to say about it apparently. There were movies, sleepovers, endless selfies, water parks and fun park rides, fireworks and summer sized servings of ice cream and hot chips thrown in on a regular basis for good measure. A pretty perfect summer all round but like anything isn’t it really about the people you share it with.

We can worry so much about what we are giving or not giving our children, are we doing enough and in the right amounts. Are they missing out. And then it all gets put into perspective because the things they really need to be OK aren’t what we can buy. And doesn’t a good friend make just about anything OK. A true friend is somewhat rare and  as precious a thing as you’ll ever find, a gift of a thing. And this is the stuff that really counts isn’t it, this is what they’ll remember when they’re grown – having someone to jump in at the deep end with them and go on the scariest rides, someone safe to tell your secrets too and laugh with till you cry. I got me one of those. So thankful my girl has too.

And the more the merrier

WHAT I FOUND

Both my sisters visited over the summer and when they visit we do the rounds of the op shops together – it’s officially a thing. Now I seem to gravitate to the same kind of things every time- cane baskets, pretty cushions, paintings, plates, bowls , coloured glassware and books. The only non op shop find is the cream chair which I found beside the road as you do – my other favourite shopping location.

Kitchen

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Cushions

Paintings

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Roadside

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WHAT I WATCHED

I’ll confess I’m a bit of a Netflix binge watcher and I managed to watch six seasons of Longmire in an absolute jiffy. Felt like I’d only watched maybe two or three. Nope all six. but I was hooked early on. What I liked about it

  1. The scenery – set in Wyoming and oh my the mountains, that sky – just spectacular
  2. The log cabins – from cute little ones styled to perfection all the way up too huge ranch style ones which were gobsmacking
  3. The “old fashioned”  manners and morals and classic pitch of good against evil. All of it still works for me and in spades.
  4. And it didn’t hurt one little bit all the handsome fellas getting about in cowboy boots and wide brim hats.

Now heres something I learned that I didn’t know. The lead actor Robert Taylor is Australian and I’ll confess I’d never heard of him before despite him having parts in a whole slew of movies apparently. Who knew? Probably because like a lot of good actors he just does his thing and acts up a storm and doesn’t make a big fat fuss of himself. Either that or I live under a rock. Any hoo despite it being  just very slightly slow moving in parts and wanting to buy deputy Vic a more lady like sized coffee cup it was a winner all the way round.

And this movie  – all the hearts

Everything Must Go

AND SOME WORDS THAT STUCK

Show up where your feet are. Show up for the people in front of you. @hayley.e.morgan

Don’t get simpler than that. Be right where you are, whole head, whole heart for the people Gods given you. I think I needed this reminder.

I always say that the best New Year’s resolution you can make is to begin again. It will permeate every area of your life, and will remind you that the small steps often keep us going when we run out of steam with the grand gestures. Leeana Tankersley

New Year resolution or anytime resolution – begin again.  You can download “15 Ways to Begin Again” on Leeana’s  blog now. Just click right here.

And then there’s Shannan Martin and no one says things quite as straight as her

What would it be like if we all flew to the highest, riskiest branch and sang our guts out.@shannanwrites

So now what I really want to know is what you’ve been up to. Any good finds or reads or something you learnt. Would LOVE to hear. xx

Linking up today with

Inspire Me Monday Link Up

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Chasing Community

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Porch Stories

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Inspire Me Monday with Create with Joy

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Five Minute Friday – Why

Five Minute Friday= prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no over complicating.This weeks prompt word: WHY

I’ve a few whys at the moment

Why does my boy leave wet towels on his floor after every shower.

Every time.

Why does my girl shove her dirty clothes into her wardrobe with her clean clothes

Small shake your head, laughable whys

A much bigger why at the moment is work related.

I was recently moved from my lovely inbound call job helping people get the care they need to back of house work adjusting and amending client records. I’ve gone from part time and a flexible sliding shift to full time 9-5 daily. Yes it’s helping people in a different way but for me its like this. Talking to clients – life giving. Staring at a computer – soul destroying. Others in the same boat consider it a promotion yet to me it feels like a punishment, like I’ve been put in the naughty corner for having too much fun. A blessing or a curse? A doorway or a sideline? or simply an opportunity to learn new skills and push myself a bit.

I don’t know, I don’t get it – it’s just a big why

And then there are the eternal universal break your heart whys that are truly important and put things in perspective as they should and they make my whys seem petty and me ungrateful so I its tempting just to stuff them down and hide them away.

Emily P Freeman though often talks about carrying our questions with us and I like that idea. Like letting them out in the light where we can pray them and feel them and give them some air.

See our questions can propel us and push us and keep us searching but have you noticed they won’t be bullied into giving up their answers, they won’t be beaten into submission and answers rarely come tied up with a bow or from the direction we think they will.

I’ve noticed this too – we can carry other things with those whys – grief maybe, some disappointment too but also thankfulness, possibility and hope. They all have a place. It’s not one or the other

but I want hope to win out

I want to err on the side of possibility and opportunity

And I want hope to have the final say.

I listened to this episode of The Next Right Thing podcastlastweek. All about the whys and the what nows So if you have yourself some whys too it’s well worth a listen.

Read what others have done with their five minutes here