#MySundayPhoto – What Progress Looks Like

 

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it”  Ivan Panin

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I know, I know its just an ordinary old tap attached to a nondescript brick wall.

Nothing interesting here except that I’ve not had a tap on this wall or in any vicinity of my back yard now for over ten years.

So to me it looks like progress and feels an awful lot like luxury.

No more joining two hoses together and dragging them the full length of the front yard and up the side of the house and right around the back, no more running the gauntlet up and down the yard to turn the tap on and off, no more looking for hose connectors gone astray, no more sloshing water in and out of the house to fill the dog bowl and water the chooks.

In short sheer luxury.

I now have water at my finger tips two feet from the chooks and not much further to the dogs. I can now hose the garden and the pot plants and the verandah and the kids jumping on the trampoline without working up a sweat.

But its been a little while coming.

Ten years ago now we began – and I use the word very loosely – “landscaping” our back yard. The tap that happened to stand between bull dozer and access to the back yard was a casualty. The pipe was capped and the tap itself put aside for the “time being”. That time being lasted until a few weeks ago when Ken and I started installing some drainage in the side yard – another project a long time coming. Unknowing and unskilled we’ve done OK  but we drew the line at putting in the tap. By some alignment of the planets and with a plumber actually willing to turn up when we wanted him to, which isn’t always a given around these parts –  the long anticipated backyard tap was reinstalled in a jiffy without fuss or fanfare. Joy.  After all that time so happy I could have wept – for the  tap now and for the progress made.

Something  banal and common place yes – but its looking kind of beautiful to me.

Whats looks like progress at your house?

What feels like luxury?

Lv Tracey xx

Joining in with #MySundayPhoto today

http://photalife.com/my-sunday-photo/

What I Found in March

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

So time for a little looking  back at what I found during the month just gone.

Wondering why I do that ??  Well this post will fill you a bit. I like this practice of looking back , its simple but it does good work. We rush through life so quick . We forget so easy what’s held our attention and grabbed our hearts. We can forget what’s changed us.  This looking back at even the small incidental things slows me down and helps me take notice. Hoping it helps you do the same.

So March it seems for whatever reason had me up to my heart strings in memories of one kind or another. Totally unplanned, they just kept sneaking up on me and not  always welcome I might add.  Thats the thing about memories –  they don’t ask permission, they don’t make an appointment, they just hit you full on and right in the gut sometimes.  But lets starts with some good finds

At The Shops

Had a few good thrift shop and other store finds  – nothing over $5.00 and most under $2.00 that include vintage glassware (love) an enormous gold tray,  some pretty scarves  – one as big as a tablecloth which is what I’ve used it for, more gold in some collapsable storage containers, a woven planter and a few pots of greenery which always spend a good couple of weeks decorating my kitchen bench before they find a permanent home.

Any good thrift store finds your way?

At Home

I found this box of crafty bits and bobs, coloured letters, stickers, glitter, ribbon you name it left over from my scrapbooking days tucked away in a corner of my bedroom .

Olivia and I had  put a bit of a dent in it by the time I took the photo but this is what we did .

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Olivias

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Yes it feels kind of  silly to be spending time prettying up my diary  when theres a trillion other things I could be doing BUT it’s time spent with my girl and she thinks its a perfect  way to spend an afternoon. What gave it away? She kept saying “Oh I love this”  “I love doing this with you Mum”  so I’m thinking its kind of  perfect too and – – – – everything else can just wait.  In a blink this little girl will be grown and yes we’ll probably be doing other things together but for now that sweet spot  involves cutting and sticking and secret telling on a Sunday afternoon.

Online

This post

What It Feels Like When Your Kids Are Growing Up by Emily P Freeman

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On Instagram 

Good finds house shaped and heart shaped

  1. @my colourful home   Her words are in Dutch  but her decorating style definitely speaks my language. Soo pretty and so organised !!

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2. And these words from Lisa Jo Baker to celebrate International Womens Day on    March 8th. She nailed it as always.

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The Memory Keeper

Now  my hurtle down memory lane started with this sweet little vintage tin that came to me for safekeeping. It caught my attention straight up because it’s old and dinged up which is just how I like things and because of the pretty picture of Sydney Harbour (pre Opera House it looks like).

It belongs to my mother and she doesn’t recall when or where she got or what it originally had in it (I do  like to know these things) but I discovered that like a time capsule its crammed full of our family history.  Cards from long ago birthdays , letters written in beautiful old fashioned hand, birth notices, death notices. Joys and heartbreaks all jumbled up together because that’s how joy and heartbreak work. There are fragile newspaper clippings – a few lines about my parents wedding and a front page picture of my paternal grandmother in the 1951 Anzac Day March. I can’t help but wonder what she dreamed of, what did she want for her children, what road did she travel to bring her there that day.  I’d like to scroll back or at least enlarge the view.

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I’m conscious of the stories and lives contained in this tin,  precious souls whose lives and history have bled into mine. I daren’t stay too long or look too hard less it swallow me whole. There’s only the vaguest temptation to organise and catalogue and scrapbook it all into a meaningful whole but they’re not mine to do so.  Mostly I want to leave them as they were left. Untampered with, unorganised, pushed in and layered on top of one another as memories tend to be. Kept safe but at a safe distance. Grateful to be able to take a peek, to pay my respect and grateful to put the lid put back on on tight.

Now the second “incident” that occurred was a few Fridays ago watching an interview on ABC s One Plus One with iconic Australian singer John Paul Young. I’ll apologise right now that while the spirit of what Im saying will translate some of the references here might only strike a chord if your are an Aussie and are old enough to remember the seventies music of this guy. Anyone?  Now I’ll quickly admit  it was all a little before my time but I was alive and with a sister 5 years older than me who never missed an episode of Countdown this music  is (as I found out) apparently seared into my brain. I was only half watching until they played his first song Pasadena and then OMG!!!

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I was 10 years old again – all adrift and alone, the world a bumpy, hard, uncomfortable place – the memories vague but the emotions real and sharp.  Goodness me music can take us places and this place hurt my skin and had me ducking for cover.

I guess some recollections hit our emotions like a tonne of bricks because of whats lost and gone – our youth, our innocence, people,  things we dreamed for, time that can’t be gotten back. And there’s that pang of longing for a do over even when we know its not possible, a chance to do things better, to make different choices, to grab back and use every moment and second to its fullest because now we know what we didn’t then  – thats its gone in an instant.

But where it leaves me once I’ve pulled myself clear of that freight train is face on the ground grateful. Grateful for redemption and for rescue. Grateful that I made it out alive and with some hope still in tact. Yes sorry for whats lost but grateful for prayers prayed long ago that made a difference in my life. Grateful for fresh mercy daily and the opportunity to rewrite my story and to begin again. It’s easier said then done but that part is mine, what’s lost isn’t.

“There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well.”
Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember

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I like these words from Emily P Freeman

All we have is this day, this great right now. Let’s look around, let’s be all here if we can, and give ourselves permission to grieve what we need to grieve and to not be afraid.

Now I wont leave you on that melancholy note – heres a find that is totally for fun.  With my interest piqued by that interview and my weeping done I did some googling and found this great clip on youtube of John Paul Young in his heyday singing live on Sydney Harbour. Worth a look just to see Sydney Harbour circa 1976 and to see what everyone had on.  As I said a bit before my time but another song dogeared in my memory. I showed Olivia and her  response: “Oh I love that – I want to keep singing it” The fashions and dance style may change  but some music don’t get old.  Your welcome.

John Paul Young – I Hate The Music (1976)

Now your turn – any finds big or small your way recently? Would love to hear

Wishing you all a happy Easter and I’ll leave you  finally with this beautiful quote.

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God Bless

Lv Tracey xx

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Linking up today with

Friendship Friday  Fresh Market Friday and  Bloggers Pit Stop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

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The Things That Grow

This post written for Women Connect. You can find out all about that here .

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You know I’m always amazed by what grows and what doesn’t grow in my garden. Wild and overgrown for the most part yet its a constant source of inspiration to me.

Not too long ago in my wandering around out there I pushed the tiniest tendril of a plant that had fallen off another plant into a pot. I planted it  with only a whisper of hope it might grow and then forget about it.

Another of my potted plants though got the best of my attention. I moved it into the best light and out of the wind, watered it and fussed over it and kept a close eye but it was having none of it – it shrivelled and died just the same. 

My forgotten little plant though while I was busy elsewhere had doubled its size and was growing lush and strong and lovely. 

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. Ecclesiastes 11:6

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We sow the seed, we pour the water, we think we know –  but the growth, the life – that magic isn’t ours.  

That part is Gods. 

And we can lament over whats not growing in our lives, throw ourselves prostrate trying to will something out of the ground that we are convinced should be growing but to no avail. And while our back is turned, in the place we least expect it,  is the growth and life and increase we are longing for.  Our prayers answered after all.

Ours to sow but its Gods to grow. 

Lets not miss what’s growing by fretting over whats not. 

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And April is as good a time as any to consider just that. We are four months in and the place we started in January may not be the place we find ourselves in now.  Things dreamed of and hoped for then may be scarce on the ground right now and disappointment is always tempting.

Gods timing is everything and His beats ours.  And goodness me He grows unexpected things in the unlikeliest of places.

www.waterintowineblog.com

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So whats growing for you right now 

Whats feels like a sweet stream coming up on the inside

Whats bringing you life 

Whats bringing you joy

Whats bringing you peace

Let’s take  in the fragrance and shape and feel of that.

Let’s take our fill of whats growing and be inspired by that 

The rest is God’s.

Love to you all today

Tracey xx

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 Linking up today with
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#MySundayPhoto – The Reading Nook

 

 

The Reading Nook www.waterintowineblog.com

Because when things aren’t perfect, which is always, you have to choose what you are going to focus on. Myquillyn Smith

By happy accident, I now have a new favourite reading place. My husband started a project totally uninstigated by me, at the far end of our back room – this happens to be one long room that spans the entire back of the house. Being a bit of a muso and wanting to teach our boy guitar and do some recording Ken decided he would create a music “studio” down that a way. Its come together really well although he  did make  the most ungodly mess in the process which we are still sorting out but as  I often say “you gotta make a mess to clean up”  so all good.

Ken moved the piano that sat under this window for ever so long to said studio and the comfy old lounge chair largely unused from down that way got put under the window and so far they seem a perfect match. A lovely surprise when I came home form work and a welcome change for a number of reasons.

This area opposite my desk and just off the kitchen has long been a pain to get looking nice. For one it houses an enormous four drawer filing cabinet Why? because there is simply no where else for it to go . I did, for about 30 seconds consider getting rid of it after reading some Marie Kondo inspired posts but with almost zero storage in this house the idea didn’t take. The filing cabinet stays for now. How often are there things we just have to live with in our homes, they are not by choice or by design they just are and we have to work with them or around them.

This clever lady who has long inspired me in all things house and homey talks about “arrows” that point us away from a rooms short comings (or ugly storage units) and towards its strengths and beauties.

“Decorating is like placing arrows around. “Look here. And now here.” And anything you don’t want to see you either don’t put an arrow pointing to it, or you simply put an arrow in front of it. And anything you want to accentuate, you make sure it has a big arrow”. “

The piano as lovely as it is to have one, did nothing to draw the eye away from ugly filing cabinet – it was a bad arrow – in fact it became an eyesore it itself as well, just too many hard lines and pointy angles in one area for me. But ahh now with lovely comfy chair in situ I’ve figured it out – this area needed something soft and relaxing and inviting to detract from the all business and no fun great clodding filing cabinet. The chair is a good arrow. This spot is now a destination in itself , it has a purpose, it says sit down and put your feet up and we call it the reading nook. The filing cabinet, well it hardly gets a second glance.

Now my other favourite things next to faux fur rugs thrown over comfy chairs is greenery – lots and lots of greenery – they are my new favourite arrows. They fill in odd vacant corners that look lonely and they look lovely popping up from behind a chair and they are the only thing that doesn’t look odd sitting atop my now barely noticeable filing cabinet.

My final arrow is my favourite blue and green painting because in my opinion blue and green should always be seen especially against a white wall.

I knew all of this but somehow I got stuck in this area. All it took for me to see the light was  Ken doing  himself a little rearranging and God Bless him that he did. The mess is forgiven.

Wishing you a beautiful Sunday

Tracey xx

Linking up today with #MySundayPhoto

http://photalife.com/my-sunday-photo/

 

What I Found in February

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”  Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Ahh February – more a month of endurance than discovery wouldn’t you agree?

By February the new year has worn itself in and even the most sensible of our new year ideals have most likely abandoned us entirely. The hard work of the year is staring us squarely in the eye and I have fits of wondering if my courage will fail me and if my will to keep showing up will throw in the towel.

The weather it gets to us I think. Regardless of where we live, by February’s end we’re all longing for change. For some of you the comforts of winter have well and truly worn thin and your willing spring to rise up on out of the hard ground and for life to show itself in the trees. Down this way we’ve had enough of the heat that’s about seared us through. And when its not scorching hot its belting down torrential rain. We’re longing for calmer more civilised days.

February falls into Ordinary time according to the church calendar and yes ordinary it’s felt.

“Why does February feel like one big Tuesday?”  Todd Stocker 

but lets not underestimate  Tuesday .

and given half a chance ordinary can shine

Even our most ordinary days have their beauties and comforts –  we just have to search that bit harder. Yes we commiserate and whinge and lick our wounds for a bit but then reason and hope somehow kick in and we look for what makes sense and search for what gives meaning. We breathe deep and make dinner and do the next right thing we know to do.

So while I’ve well and truly had a run in with the blahs this February there have been silent prayers answered in the most unexpected ways and  many a  good thing to light my way  – good finds all of them and in no particular order.

www.waterintowineblog.com

Now this is where I  usually share a good thrift store find  but nary a trip to the Op shop this month. After years of thrift store shopping though Ive got a few beauties up my sleeve and I thought I’d share a favourite.

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This humble little painting never fails to lift my spirits.  It’s all the fresh blue and green and the rolling hills and little house on top and the hand made frame too with lovely hand hewn detail. Painted on an ordinary piece of board not an artist canvas, the frame most likely came from off cuts laying around.

It hung a long time in my laundry as Ive got a bit of a blue and green thing happening in there but just recently I brought it out to brighten up a corner of my back room that I look out onto everyday as its situated diagonally across from my kitchen bench where I basically live. So pretty and cheery to look at and it provides a lovely distraction from the great ugly black filing cabinet that has to live in that corner as well.

 

The cherry on top though is the story it tells. It’s always a treat to find items that reveal something of their history and this painting does quite literally that. The dear man who painted it took the time to write a few words about himself and the property he painted and attached it to the back.

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Now I’m not familiar with the area of Dungog that he refers to which is North of Sydney but it sure looks pretty in this picture. Albion Park where Mr Kellner moved is just south of here which is I guess why it ended up in a thrift store near to me. Surprising that a family member didn’t hold it dear but how glad I am to have the chance to do so.

Quite appropriately I’ve just started reading “A Fortunate Life” by Albert B Facey An all time Australian classic about enduring hope and human will and a mans determination to pull a good life out of a broken start. In typically Australian “we’ll be right” style he retells the most horrendous and traumatic of circumstances in the most matter of fact  way.  Oh that pioneering spirit. Amazing.

A Fortunate Life by Albert Facey

“This is the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. It is the story of Albert Facey, who lived with simple honesty, compassion and courage. A parentless boy who started work at eight on the rough West Australian frontier, he struggled as an itinerant rural worker, survived the gore of Gallipoli, the loss of his farm in the Depression, the death of his son in World War II and that of his beloved wife after sixty devoted years – yet he felt that his life was fortunate”.

You realise as you read the book, that the title itself is a statement of hope and belief  and of not giving into despair. A lesson to my self pitying tendencies. A lesson on perspective. A reminder that hope and thankfulness is never to be underestimated.

So what is it with me and book titles lately. Heres another thats got me in its grips. I pounced on this book when it came my way purely and entirely because of the title. Now apparently you can’t judge a book by its cover but what about its name.

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I’m still reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which oh my goodness is a great book –  a story that “illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another”.  And that title  just a few words yet they play like a song perfectly capturing the essence of the book and maybe of life. The darkest of times, the world gone mad but the Light not extinguished. Its encouraged me these past weeks as if to say see it’s OK, your not really in the dark, not ever, not nearly. The Light right there and even in our dark we have this extravagance of light. Maybe it just reminds  me of this:

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4&5

So to a few other finds

Online

Loved this post:  Why I Don’t Care My Van Is a Mobile Thrift Store

Loved this Link Up:

http://photalife.com/my-sunday-photo/

I found this weekly link up on Photalife where you share just one photo and words are optional.  Of course I can’t help but write me some words but oh the simplicity of it !! A short simple post is kind of like a power nap that works wonders in terms of refreshment and just plain making you feel better. Works like a medicine.  You can take a look at some of last weeks contributions here. A reminder that creativity doesn’t have to be complicated.

On Instagram

Some new favourites I can’t stop gazing at:

@blueberrylivingco   This one so fresh and pretty and  bursting with colour

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@marysevanliere  This one is all vintagy and mismatched and comfy looking and I would be happy  to move  right in.

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In My Garden

You know I’m always amazed by what grows and what doesn’t. I shoved the tiniest tendril that had fallen off another plant into a pot recently with just a whisper of a hope it might grow and promptly forgot about it.

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 Another of my plants I willed to grow, I fussed over it, pleaded with it, coaxed it along but it was having none of it – it curled up and died just the same. My forgotten little plant though when I bothered to look was growing strong.  Go figure.

We can sow the seed, we can pour the water but the growth – that magic isn’t ours.  We lament though over whats not growing, throw ourselves prostrate trying to will something out of the ground to no avail yet while our back is turned, in the place we least expect it we  find the growth and increase we are longing for. Ours to sow but its Gods to grow. A reminder to  not miss whats growing by fretting over whats not.

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At Home

I came home from work Monday and found my husband doing this.

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Stunned (and happy) but I didn’t say too much in case I disturbed him and he stopped . Now let me fill you in I’ve been waiting for this wall, that stretches the full length of our  back room to be rendered since we moved into this house many a long year ago. I always imagined it was going to be some monolithic project hence the years of putting it off. Not so – Ken  dragged one bucket of render out of the garage late in the afternoon, gave it a good mix and threw it on with a trowel – he had this bit done in an hour. Seriously. Why oh why do we put things off? But I guess theres a time for everything  and the main thing is that ugly orange brick wall is on its way out and I’m doing star jumps on the inside. So in that same spirit I’m launching into a project I’ve wanted to do for a while.

I always like to have project of some sort on the go so when I found this light shade made of book pages and lace  I thought I’d have a go at something similar.

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Aint it pretty – but this is what I’ve got to work with.

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Now you needn’t laugh – it looks a whole lot better than it did. It did have  ugly brown smoked glass panels all around it but they have been removed and disposed of. And yes I too am tempted to turf it out and buy a lovely new light fitting but with approximately one million other things we need to spend our money on at present this light fitting won’t be budging anytime soon. So what are my chances of prettying it up. I’m going to start with a metal primer, paint it black and go from there and  I’m telling you about it just to put a little bit of pressure on myself to get it done in the next month so I can show you how it turned out  next time.

So that my friends are my finds for February. Your turn now. Any good finds your way, any projects on the go. Would so love to hear . xxx

I’m  happy to say that I’m joining in today with  Emily P Freemans, end of season link up What We Learned  Now you might remember it was Emily’s posts that inspired me to start my own end of month round up. You can read about that here and see what other lovely people have learnt this past Summer/Winter depending on where you are  right here

Also joining in with Literacy Musing Monday.