Woven with Gold

I read this earlier in the week:

Perfect spaces, perfect people, perfect things – they are not real to me. Add a little wonkiness to a house, some mess to the waves of someone’s hair or a few tell-tale signs of age on items and they become more interesting to me. And usually more beautiful.  Recently I read about Kintsugi – a Japanese art form that sees damaged items repaired with gold (or silver). Rather than throw away broken crockery or smooth over cracks in rendered walls, the imperfections are highlighted with gold leaf and sealed with lacquer, creating an interesting feature of a home or allowing a favourite plate to continue dishing out your meals – with a little bling on the side. The method humanises things – giving them some attention, patching them up and letting them continue on their merry way rather than just giving up on them at the first sign of a breakdown. It’s giving even the most ho-hum items a history, a story and a chance to shine. The Happy Home

http://www.thehappyhomeblog.com/2016/07/beautifying-and-highlighting.html
Photo by Belinda Graham – The Happy Home

How beautiful is that. Now that’s a language I understand.

A language of reclamation and second chances and never too broken.

For the least of, the worn out, the flawed, the done in.

I think maybe God knows a thing about Kintsugi – all of us a bit dinged up, with our chippy edges and bits worn thin.  Even cracked right through in places

And of course we think it puts us out of the game, one of the ones to be kept for sentiment but of no real use, too damaged, not worth it, the fault lines too deep.

Except that they make room for gold.

And leave room for redemption.

They make space for the beautiful and transformative to happen, right there where the damage is. In the ravine a reworking of our hearts, a different story – a richer one, increase in the place we feel empty, filled –  not thrown out.

“Courage usually shows up in the cracks” Micha Boyett 

The cracks are where the grace gets in.

Where mercy does its work.

I know – we want to show our smooth undamaged side to each other but I’m  not sure I’ve got one anymore and maybe that’s OK. We think that’s the best bit of us or maybe the acceptable bit, but truly the best bit is our own unique shape of imperfection and redemption and coming back from the brink all bumpy with scar lines but woven in with gold. That’s a story I want to hear,  that’s the bit that shines, that has the power to reach others. Lets not hide ourselves away for want of perfection.

The real us, the real story  ——-  that’s where there’s gold.

I’ll leave you with this:

“I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.” ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

And this

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:3 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

Love to you all today

Tracey xx

Got a minute? You can read Belinda’s full post on her Kintsugi experience  here. Inspiring!!

Linking up today with Celebrate Your Story, Three Word Wednesday, Grace at Home and Bloggers Pitstop

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Five Minute Friday – Create

Five Minute Friday  early on a Monday morning while the house is still asleep.

Prompt word, five minutes, just write.

This weeks word.

Create

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‘I was once asked: “How do you know you are living?” and I said, “I create, so I know I am living.”‘ – Florence Broadhurst

We create to make a mark, to express ourselves, to show up, because we can’t not.

We create by an act of our will, with just the tiniest slither of an idea, with only a  pinpoint of a thought, by sheer determination, straight out of thin air sometimes.

Creating doesn’t rely on ideal conditions or a perfect plan, it doesn’t require  flashes of brilliance or strokes of genius or even mind boggling talent – – – – thank God because where would that leave most of us. That would be my creating done and dusted right there. That’s me packed up and gone home before I’ve written a word, or taken a photo or arranged one room.

Creating doesn’t start with any of those things.

It starts with starting.

The first stroke of the brush, the first sweep of the broom, the first line of the story, the first stem in the vase, the first sketch in the note pad, the first phone call or conversation.

And when you start more comes – – – –

More ideas, more insight, more understanding, more clarity, more know how – – – –

More than what we thought.

I see it time and time again, you start with what you have, doubts, misgiving, second guessing and all, throw yourself at it and somewhere along the line it takes on a shape and form and a  life that you couldn’t imagine when you began. Hoped for maybe. I call it the God breathed part, more than what I could do, so much more than the sum of its simple and fumbling parts.

It starts with starting.

Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with shaking hands. Start voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have . Just – – – start. @myinspiredmind

Creating is risk though. Multiple risk. We risk it not turning out the way we think it will. We risk failure, we risk criticism, we risk it not being as fabulous or as amazing  as we want it to be, we risk an indifferent audience, we risk losing control, we risk it not contributing anything, we risk being misunderstood – – – – – its all a risk but the other option is to not create a thing and in that we create a poorer life.

Creating  is part of our living, part of our being human. To make something out of nothing, out of the dust of this life, we feel more connected , more alive, we feel His breath, its worth the risk.

Love to you all today

Tracey xx

What I Found In June

Hi friends – something a little new here on the blog at this half way point of the year.

I have long wanted to join in with Emily P Freeman’s monthly post and link up called “What I Have Learnt” which covers anything from the profound to the trivial to the simply fun that she has learnt in the month just gone. (You can read one here)

The thing I’ve found though as months have come and gone, is that I’m not all that great at articulating what I have been learning, big, small or anything else. Any one else like that? But I would like to be. So as a way of easing /tricking myself  into paying more attention to what I’m learning, I thought I’d start by paying attention to what I’m doing and enjoying and finding because that tells us things too. Worth a try. So this is my first “What I have Found” end of month post. It‘ll be things I have found at the op shop or online or possibly in my garage because I’m always finding random things in there to paint or fix up or reminisce over. Remember this find? It will be things I’ve found interesting, fun or inspiring as well and maybe some others I haven’t thought of yet. There will be an element of “just because I like it and you might too” with hopefully a good balance of house shaped and heart shaped finds.

So yes I am going to just go ahead and assume that you are as interested in a good find as I am. So here goes and if you have a favourite find yourself feel free to share in the comments.

Lets start with something practical.

1. I found this cane basket at my favourite op shop – yes I know its just a basket like a million others and I know they’re not at the top of everyones must have list, but me – I have a soft spot for a sturdy cane basket. They’re just the handiest things to have around and this one just so happens to have helped turn my school morning rush around. I started putting it on the corner of kitchen bench in the morning and throwing everything I need for the day when I walk out the door in it. Wallet, phone, book, glasses, snack, paperwork/letters etc. Now you might think ” well I have a handbag for that purpose”. Good point and I do too but it wont sit neatly on my bench – it falls over and I can’t see into it at a glance – so this just works better for me. Now I don’t take it into the shops or to the bank or out for coffee because I am not 3 (or 90 for that matter). It just it sits on the passenger seat in the car and I have things at hand when I need them.

2. This well loved copy of Under The Tuscan Sun. Found in a rambling country shop in Berrima on a  cold, blustery and wet Saturday afternoon when most normal people were at home. So warm and cosy in the shop we hid out in there for a good while and my apologies to the owner, despite the loveliest range of clothing, artworks, stationary and homewares all I bought was this book off the 2nd hand book rack.

 

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So of course  I’m reading Under the Tuscan Sun a good 10 years after most every body else has.  The movie is  one of my favourites and  as many a movie goes they didn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story which is fine by me but its been a feast to read the original memoir where the countryside and the food and the buildings and Bramisole itself are the leading characters.  And as with all books your drawn head and shoulders into it’s not long before you find some of yourself hidden in there. Its always these stories of fixing up and pulling straight and uncovering beauty that’s been there all along that speak to me loudest and hold me longer.

We arrive at the  house dazed by the events and the grappa. Anna and Lucia have washed the windows and exorcised layers of dust as well as many spiders webs. The second floor bedroom that opens onto a brick terrace gleams. They’ve made the bed with new blue sheets and left the terrace doors open to the sound of cuckoos and wild canaries in the linden trees. We pick the last of the pink roses on the front terrace and fill two old Chianti bottles with them. The shuttered room with its white washed walls, just waxed floors, pristine bed with new sheets, and sweet roses on the windowsill, all lit with a dangling forty-watt bulb seem as pure as a Franciscan cell. As soon as I walk in, I think it is the most perfect room in the world. page 23

What this snippet leaves out is the total shambles the rest of the place is in. Too good. So during this cold and rainy June I’ve had a little trip to the warm Italian country side each time I pick it up.  What drew me in – apart from all of it – wasn’t the idea of escaping to an idyllic life in Italy (although who would argue) but the theme of appreciating and celebrating  the   good and simple things in life and the reminder for me that that has much less to do with location than we might think.  This Instagram feed has been a perfectly timed slideshow to my reading.#tuscanywritersretreat

3. Speaking of books I found out how to reduce my long list of “must read” books without spendings big $. (My kindle for mac app has had one lonely book downloaded on it for ever and my Pinterest board of Books To Read was getting longer and longer). So I now follow the authors of the various books I want to read on Instagram and they very nicely let you know  when the kindle version of their books are on sale. $1.99 for some, $2.99 for others.  Now thats a find.

(Another option is to subscribe to the Amazon  daily deal and it is tailored according to your search history. How handy is that). So I think I might have gone and learnt something after all and it’s just how much I love to have a good read on hand. A good book –  like a friend you can always turn to for a little quiet, solace or even a laugh. Not all of them deep and soul searching, some just a soft place to fall.

4. Next find was a couple of Fan Iris’s.

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Now I would really love to say I found them at a beautiful nursery that sold amazing plants and pots and coffee and homewares and that they called my name from across the top of my cappuccino  – – –  but I can’t. I found them on sale in BIG W. Yes thats just how glamorous things get around here.

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So I  mention Fan Irises like I chose them especially but I’ve had two empty cement planters for so long that I truly didnt care what went in them. The tags on the Iris’s said “loves pots”, there were two, they matched, they were on sale – so Fan Irises it is. I’m hoping with a bit of TLC they might show me some blooms at the appropriate time.

5. I found this short, to the point but truly inspiring post  “A Filmmakers Journey” by Mitch Teemley.

https://mitchteemley.com/2016/06/09/a-filmmakers-journal-4/

It’s my goal as a filmmaker to impact people’s lives. But will I? How many people will remember Over-the-Rhine (or my name, “baby”) a thousand years from now? Heck, how many people will remember it five years from now?

Read more of this post here

And this one

http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/the-magical-key-to-doing-it-all

The Magical Key to Doing it All – and  of course there is no magical key to doing it all. This one is so worth the read.

Each of you has the capacity to do what’s important to you, but there’s no way that can include everything. If you expect a perfectly clean house, manicured yard, homemade food on the table every night supplied from your flourishing vegetable garden, a fulfilling job, margin for personal creativity, community with friends and family, involvement in the community, 60 minutes of daily exercise, time to read and watch TV, and all the other things you think you should do, you’ll literally become an insane person.

Read more of this post here

6. And I found this very lovely instagram feed   @brushed_ interiors  Its decorating on a budget at its prettiest and finest.

https://www.instagram.com/brushed_interiors/?hl=en

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And finally

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I found out, which means maybe I learnt –  that even when everything in my world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket (a sturdy cane one probably) that it really isn’t. That there is always a way through, that there is always One who leads, One who makes a way when I  haven’t the slightest  clue. We know it and then there are the days when we live it for real.  This Women Connect post says a little more.

So thats my finds for June. What did you find?

Love from my home to yours

Tracey

www.waterintowineblog.com

Linking up today with Bloggers Pit Stop, Inspire Me Monday Link Party and Celebrate Your Story

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Five Minute Friday – Want

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Sunday here now but it works just the same.

Prompt word, five minutes, just write – no over editing, no overthinking.

This weeks prompt word:

WANT

I read this on Instagram yesterday

“Grateful that some things didn’t work out the way I once wanted them to” (myinspired mind)

Oh me too.  Arent we all.

Yet we were so sure at the time that we knew exactly what we wanted – that person, that job, that home, that opportunity, that group of friends, that phone call – and not at all impressed that it didn’t go to plan. Yet looking back later, much later sometimes – so grateful that there was a different plan.

But there’s lots I want right now.

I want to do things that matter.

I want to contribute.

I want to be a good mother and wife.

I want to be thinner.

I want a lovely cushy “statement” rug for the lounge room floor.

I want fire warming the house each night during these wintery months.

I want to see England and America, and Italy and – – – –

I want to have more adventures with my kids.

I want an uncluttered, comfy house.

I want to write good words.

– – – – and that’s the short list.

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Some wants hold more weight then others, some run deeper. Some get me up in the morning and have me doing things I don’t necessarily feel like doing. Some take work. Some have me putting other things I want aside for a while. Others are sweet day dreams, “one day”, “all in good time”, “won’t it be nice when” kind of wants. Then there are those that are deep down where only God can see – the ones that make you cry – the contour of them only God knows.

I’m not sure “want” is the dirty word we often think it is. Wanting keeps us looking and foraging and mining the depths of what’s possible. Wanting keeps us growing and changing. I think God created us rich and diverse and hungering.

But we don’t want it to ruin us. To make us miserable and ungrateful. We don’t want it to blind us to how good and rich where we are right now is, even when its not all good.

Maybe the wanting isn’t really the issue.

Maybe its what we do when we don’t get what we want. What we do when we think its all gone pear shaped. It’s what we learn and how we navigate this life when we don’t neccessarily get what we want in the colour or shape or size we ordered it in or it just doesn’t arrive at all. And right there is where most of our living is done – in the place we never planned for, the unwanted zone.

But its where the magic can happen all the same. Where the near to God -ness can truly happen.  Where we can find more and better and true- er than what we thought we wanted. Where our hands get dirty and our hearts get broken yet we come through wholer than what we were anyway.

David found out about wanting at the sharp and pointy end of life. Found out that he could be good and OK and not needing a thing right now because he had God with him. We can assume these words were said by one at their ease, fully satisfied by life rather than one running for his life, alone, accused, defenceless , all at a loss – – – – but God. A man who out the depths of a place he had never planned or wanted to be, was able to say “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. Now theres a thing or two I’ll spend my lifetime learning.

Not what we would choose, not what we want – – – – –  but just as well we don’t always get what we want.

I wrote this recently (not in five minutes):

We would choose an easier way with saner people if it was up to us. We would choose less heart wrenching, less exhausting and less scary.  We’d choose people we could get a handle on, not so messy and mixed up. We’d choose bigger and better and looking good while we do it. We’d choose things we feel more qualified for.   

So just as well we don’t always choose, because we’d choose the easy way and we would never find out what we are made of, we’d never reach deep, we’d never lay hold of the miracle of God in us and God flowing out of us.  We’d never discover that it’s not just about us, that it’s so much more. We’d never discover what He has put us here for, we’d miss the eternal – – – – we’d miss the whole point of it. On Making a Difference

Love to you all today

Tracey xx

How I Do Five Minute Friday

So if you haven’t read a FMF post of mine before I’ll let you know how it works for me. I go to the host site Heading Home and see the prompt word usually on a Friday. Many a time I see it and just call it a day right then and there but this week I was determined. I never read any other FMF posts already linked up there before I have done mine – it would just totally skew my thinking about the word and defeat the purpose of it – which is free writing. I give myself some thinking time and may not come back to it till the next day but mostly the ideas or real thoughts only come when I start to write anyway. I set my iphone timer and write fast for five minutes  – whatever ideas come. After that I will spend up to half an hour fixing typos and grammar, adding any links needed and making sure I actually make sense (even partially will do) because no one wants to read my unedited, un previewed ramblings. I don’t add any new ideas to the ones already there even though its very tempting to add in a fancier word or another thought – but I do round ideas and sentences out, rejig them a bit so it flows. It may not be a true five minutes (more a 45 minutes) on my part but I find it a great free writing exercise that gets the words flowing without me over thinking and something good(hopefully) being said.

Got a minute? You can read other FMF posts here.

Simply Does It – Five Simple Refreshes For Your Home and For Your Heart

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The answer doesn’t always have to be long and complicated. Sometimes (not always but more often than we think) the answer can be simple and it can be easy. In fact they’re my favourite kind. See I’m a great one for overcomplicating and overthinking things  – things like my faith, my writing, raising these two beautiful children God’s blessed me with or even cleaning the bathroom sometimes – – – and it can get me stuck. Deer in the headlights stuck.  But what I’ve discovered is that simple does the job really well somedays and for me, seeing progress in even a small way can be all the boost I need to get me back on track and moving forward.

So enough with the overcomplicating and lets go with a quick and easy post today.  Quick because you will be able to read it in 15 minutes or less and easy for me because  I’m writing about one of my very favourite things. So before this birthday month of mine expires entirely  I’m sharing five simple refreshes (or we could call them tiny changes) that I use all the time when my house is feeling a bit flat and lifeless – or I am.

1. Clean something. A surface, a floor, a corner, a shelf, just one small area. Pick the thing that’s bugging you the most or is the most visible. For me its quite often my kitchen bench – it seems to attract the most amazing amount of items in the span of a day so cleaning that down fresh always gives everything a lift including me but it might be the bathroom vanity, the coffee table, the sink, a work area, the front entrance, or just giving the floor a sweep – give something  20 minutes of your love and care and you’ll be amazed how much better it looks and feels.

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2. Bring in some green. In my opinion green makes everything feel better and somehow puts instant life and freshness into a space. A few indoor plants (or even just one will do) or a bunch of leafy branches from the garden arranged in a vase works wonders especially if its on your freshly cleaned down counter, coffee table or vanity.

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It won’t cost you anything and the stroll around the garden will do you good too. A bowl of fresh fruit, a clean cloth on the table, fresh tea towels in the kitchen or hand towels in the bathroom work a treat as well.

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3. Have a rearrange. Maybe not the whole room in one go but a shelf, a mantle, the top of a dresser, a bookcase, a side table, a few chairs, anything really. A change – well it really can be as good as a holiday and who says everything has to stay in the same spot anyway. There’s a lot we don’t control, there’s a lot that is out of our power to directly change but a shelf or where I put a lamp shouldn’t be one of them.

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“Nothing is sacred around here.  Just because I bought something with the bedroom in mind doesn’t mean it has to live there FOREVER.  This is not a prison for my things.  I want my things to bring me joy and sometimes if they sit in the same place for too long, I don’t even see them anymore”. Edie Wadsworth.

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My favourite quick rearranges are my kitchen shelves, the cushies on the lounge, the laundry shelves, my work area and the verandah out front. So please give yourself permission to change things around as much as you like  – you’ll be surprised what a difference a change of scenery, even a small one can make. Remember there’s no punishment if you put something somewhere and you don’t like it. Just try it somewhere else. Isn’t all creativity just a process of trial and error anyway.

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4. Set a surface free – this is a good one if your feeling a little or a lot overwhelmed by the amount of things you have sitting around and are just not sure where to start. It cuts out all the decision making and umming and ahhing about what to do with each thing. Just clear off one space – again a mantle, the top of a bookshelf, a buffet or a TV unit, a side table, a corner or a coffee table – anywhere thats annoying you because it simply has too much stuff on or in it – be it books or photo frames or vases or any number of cute things. Pack the items away and leave the space empty for a day or two. Just let it breath all on its own for a while and enjoy the uncluttered feel of it. Photos show the top of my TV unit that’s in our back sitting area all naked and my bedside table as well which I cleared off because I can’t be trusted not to cram seventeen items on there.

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 It takes no time at all and when your ready –  only put back items that you really love and enjoy looking at. I can almost guarantee you wont want to overfill that space again and you won’t be tempted to drop just any old thing on there. We enjoy and appreciate the things we have so much more when they are  not vying for attention  in amongst a whole lot of other things. The other thing with leaving a surface empty for a bit is that it gives you a chance to rethink how you have been using it. So with the TV unit above I’ve worked out since I cleared it off that I don’t need another surface to put pretty things on –  being a bit more of a utilitarian area what I could use up there are some baskets (nice ones of course) to store the kids craft supplies,board games and books etc in. As for the  items that don’t make it back on the shelf, here’s a couple of thoughts: keep a donation box handy – just because you have enjoyed something for a while doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. If it’s no longer inspiring or seen better days or your keeping it simply because it was a gift – it might be time to let it go. Less stuff to contend with on a daily basis – now thats a refresh in itself. Or for the keeps, just leave some things put away – all our nice things don’t all have to be out at the same time. They can be rotated just like the sheets and towels. In fact I try and have more put away than I have out these days so that when I do get something out that I haven’t seen in a while, I enjoy it more,  it makes a nice change and is way less expensive than a trip to the shops.

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5. Take a break. Now this ones about you. Sometimes when everything’s feeling a bit blah, it’s us not the house that need’s a freshen up.  When getting anything done feels like wading through mud its a sure sign we are just plan old tired and running low. Same goes if you find yourself going all day without sitting down or taking a break. I know it’s easier said than done but doing something to refresh yourself either body, soul or spirit  for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day will pay off on so very many levels.

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What refreshes each of us is entirely personal but heres a few thoughts: get outside in the fresh air, take a walk, read a good book with your feet up, watch a movie, spend some time in quiet and prayer, take a nap, get out with a friend, take time by the water, in the garden or enjoying a view, do something creative – not work creative but refuelling, just for pleasure creative. While your at it – drink some water and take a few  deep breaths. It doesn’t have to be luxurious or idyllic to work. It doesn’t have to be Friday afternoon and it doesnt have to involve a glass of wine. This recent instagram post I read sums the idea up exactly:

So much of life — pulls and minuses and divides us. But these evening moments of solitary walking around our little city lake – walking with seniors and students, Syrian refugees and soldiering on mamas – add to me. I don’t walk fast, I pray sometimes but mostly I just pay attention and I keep going. I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Sarah Bessey.

Author and blogger Emily P Freeman describes it as pressing your ear against the heartbeat of your own life (I love how she says things). Some describe it as  margin or white space, I just call it room to breath. I’ve not always been so good at that and no doubt I’m not alone but taking regular pauses where I’m not doing or making or planning or thinking so darn hard puts me in the direction of it. I know  I feel better when I rest and do something I like to do and better when I take time to breath deep and stare for a bit into the distance. Yes that so called unproductive “wasted” time, has a way of building and blessing and keeping us sane.

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“White space is anything but nothing” Bonnie Gray

So take a moment – take 20 or 30 or an hour regular like and do something that adds and refuels and refreshes you on the inside.

 So there it is –  a few simple ideas for refreshing your home and yourself. I have tried to keep this one short, sweet and of course simple  but if you would like a little more, here’s a few places where I am constantly inspired in pursuit of home and heart refreshment or if you’ve any simple refreshes that work for you please share away in the comments below.

Nesting Place

Chatting at the Sky, Emily P Freeman

Finding Spiritual White Space, Bonnie Gay

Now I know the posts of late have been few and far between but I have still been writing my weekly Women Connect posts. If you have a moment you can read them by clicking on the titles below or just browse the Women Connect page here.

On Making a Difference

Stay Awake To Love

Whatever!

Like Children

On Being Kind (To Ourselves)

Much love from my home to yours

Tracey xx

Linking up today with Works For Me Wednesday

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