#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.

www.waterintowineblog.com

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.

www.waterintowineblog.com

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.

www.waterintowineblog.com

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.

#MySundayPhoto – The Heat of the Moment

 

Joining up today with Photalife for #MySundayPhoto. Just one photo and a few words. A bit of a change from my wordier posts – part of my push this year to write simply from my heart without over censuring or overthinking and to go ahead and just try a few new things.

www.waterintowineblog.com

Taken at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast,  this photo kind of sums up where my little household is at the moment. Kids are back in school but it feels like we still have our feet in the sand. The early starts and regular routine of school and home and after school activities and bedtimes (however loose they are in our house) aren’t sitting well with us at the moment.

We loved the freedom of the holidays, where days are low on structure and commitment and high on doing whatever we felt like doing. I’ll be the first to say that there can be something very grounding and comforting in regular rhythms and daily routines but so far we have been reluctant to embrace them. The heat doesn’t help which has cranked itself up a notch just in time for the kids return to school so I’m putting ice packs in the school lunches and there’s plenty of whinging about scratchy school uniforms and closed in shoes. It’s a tough call after a summer spent in shorts, swimmers,  thongs (as in flip flops) and tank tops  or if your Ethan and at home, just your underpants Axl Heck style.

We’re holding onto our freewheeling summer as much as we can despite what the calendar requires of us and taking all the shortcuts. I abandoned the book covering and went with the ready made slip covers with all the pretty patterns that Livvy was so admiring at the newsagents, we’re using paper plates and plastic cups some nights just to cut down on clean up and I’m doing only the bare essentials required to keep us all fed and clothed and the house running in some vague semblance of order. I AM packing school lunches and reading all the school notes because I’ve fallen foul of that one many a time before. Everything else? I’m not making any promises.

Higher on our priority list right now are trips to the pool after school when we can, sitting in the one air conditioned room in our house, anything liquid with plenty of ice, wet towels draped over us at night, and food that allows the least amount of time in the kitchen, like salads that come pre washed with the dressing and the crunchy noodles  included and all ready to go  – genius.  Yes I could pressure myself to be be doing a whole lot more and to be running a tighter ship as it is regular term time after all,  but frankly it’s too hot and I’ve just no heart for it at the moment. See our bodies may be back at school  and work but our hearts are still on holidays and I’m right in the middle of a good book.

So for the month of February till the heat passes and the routine kicks in I’m giving this little family a hall pass. Sometimes we just need to do (or not do) whatever it is  in order to save our lives and our sanity. (The occasional cooler day helps as well). So here’s to all of us giving ourselves a little grace and making the adjustments we need to see us happily through our current  season.

Any hall passes being handed out your way? Would love to hear.

Check out other My Sunday Photos here.

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

Holiday Word Play (and Other Good Reads)

Written words can also sing – Ngugi Thiong’o

www.waterintowineblog.comNow its no secret I like words and lots of them

The written word over the spoken word any old day if I had to choose, if push came to shove.

And January, as always,  had me wading through a lovely sea of them.

Theres all those new year posts for a start – I love reading other bloggers new year missives. Totally amazed at their presence of mind so early on in the year  – popping out genius posts the first week or two of January when I’ve barely made it off the lounge or out from under my Kindle but oh God bless them that they do. I’m so grateful to have such good inspiring insightful words to read.  Kind companions as I tip toe my way into the new year and feel my way slow for a good bit – a peaceful lull before the real work of the year begins.

www.waterintowineblog.com

And because January is our summer here in Australia I always have a good book  or two on the go – nothing makes it feel like a holiday (even if your at home) like a good book to bury yourself in, especially when no one seems to mind me serving dinner at 9  or if I get out of bed at 11.

www.lisajobaker.com

www.waterintowineblog.comAs for MY words ? –  well that story really started in December .

 I had been trying to come up with just the right meaningful non cliched Christmassy thing to write on my bathroom blackboard which had been  blank for a good while. At some point “Washed Clean” had been washed off. I’d hung my Christmas wreath in front but I was wanting some words.

Then I saw this phrase embroidered lovingly on a holiday pullover on Instagram. And because Home Alone is an all time Christmas favourite in our house and because it seemed appropriate for a bathroom and because we can all just get too darn serious about things- – – – we ended up with this.

www.waterintowineblog.com

My kids thought it was Hil-arious with a capitol H.  I did too but then I’m easy entertained.

A week into January though I was staring at a blank board again and wondering what words I might write that had something to say about this new year.

See I’m not much good at new year proclamations or declarations. Personality type partly, post Christmas exhaustion mainly. But heres what I’ve found. When I give myself a chance, a bit of space, a bit of time without forcing the issue somehow the right words find me anyway, they rise on up to the surface without me even trying.  And sometimes the tiniest of incidents or events can resonate way inside and tell a story you didn’t know needed telling. I had two of them.www.waterintowineblog.com

One was sitting on the edge of the sea pool on a hot, hot hazy day, somewhere between Christmas and New Year watching my kids swim. I hadn’t brought my swimmers for “all the reasons” (those extra kilos, unforgiving lycra, legs that haven’t seen a razor in a while) and I was feeling pretty pathetic because I hadn’t made the effort and because I don’t want my kids to have the mum that just watches from the side, I don’t want to be the mum who’s always just looking on.  I half told myself “I’ll be organised next time, I’ll wear my swimmers with all the appropriate coverage and get in – next time.” but it was an old and tired and incredibly boring excuse that I’d heard myself make too many times before. Some moments are there for the taking and some don’t come again so I took the moment and got in with the kids clothes and all much to their delight  (they were so daring me to). Olivia thought it was too funny and Ethan who seems to get embarrassed if I even breath near him in public these days,  loved it as well because despite his bravado he loves me being in the thick of it with hm.

https://www.instagram.com/cityofsydney/

The second was a decision to take our two up to Sydney on New Years Eve to see the fireworks on Sydney harbour. Ethan has been talking about wanting to do this for a couple of years and very conveniently each year we have been down south camping. This year we didn’t go camping though. Uhh I can’t begin to tell you how much I did not want to go to Sydney on New years Eve. It had all the elements of a waking nightmare for me. Thousands of people all trying to see the same thing at the same time,  traffic congestion, road blocks and the keeping everyone safe  – no thank you. The last time I’d ventured into the city on NYE I was young and single and had drunk a glass or two of champagne to  steel my nerves. I  was soooo tempted to back out but  it was the same deal as the pool – Ken and I looked at each other and thought  do we make excuses, do we act like boring people or do we take our kids on a wee bit of an adventure. Do we grab this chance and show them that even without the perfect plan, with things against you,  you can make a decision and get yourself where you want to go. So we threw our fold up chairs and picnic blanket and a few snacks and drinks in the car and headed up. Theres a lot we haven’t been able to do for our kids this summer. No holidays overseas that according to Ethan, all his friends are on,  no  annual camping trip either as we usually do due to my work  –  but THIS we could do. Yes we could do winging it even at the risk of getting them all the way there and not seeing a thing all Griswold like. We could do looking like the  Beverly Hillbillies driving around  ultra posh Point Piper in our truck. WE could even do me reversing up a very steep one way street and double parking to get a great view of the Harbour (with plenty of time to spare I might add). Oh my goodness the excitement when we found that view. And those fireworks. Most spectacular I’ve ever seen but truly I didn’t go for the fireworks – I went to see my kids faces and to hear them say “we did it” like we had climbed Mount Everest” rather than just drive an hour and a half from home. I think my boy grew three inches that night he was so happy and pleased that he had finally got there.  Was it a glamorous new years eve? – not a bit but we had ourselves a little family adventure and that beats glamorous hands down anyday.

Small moments and small decisions that turned something over on the inside of me.

This is what my board says at the moment

Jump In With Both Feet

Jump In With Both Feet

Not as side splitting as the previous message but a good reminder for the kids  because showering and bathing isn’t always high on their priority list. And  a good reminder for me to ditch the excuses more often and follow my heart  more than my head.

But it don’t come naturally.

Jumping in isn’t really my style. I’m more a slide in quietly while no one is looking  kind of gal, more the type to tip toe around the edges till I get the wobbles and just fall in – which are both Ok options because you still end up in the water. But I’m a great one for not getting in at all or getting half way in and then turning heels and heading home where its safe. I’m a good one for talking my self out of things and faffing around and overthinking and overcomplicating everything to such an extent that I end up waving the white flag  in surrender and turning on Netflix.

Maybe its time to approach things a little differently.

Now that  doesn’t mean I’ll be trying to be someone I’m not, or I’ll be committing myself to a whole slew of things I have no capacity to follow through on or that I’ll be  diving into things completely unthinking.

What I think it means is:

Less  making excuses,

less overthinking

less overcomplicating

less censuring myself

And more just giving things a whirl

and then hanging around long enough to see what happens.

More trusting myself and trusting God

More doing the things I’m scared to do but that I’m absolutely convinced God can do

If I take the chance, if I follow His lead, if I don’t pull back

Worth a try

Maybe it just means more swimming in my clothes.

www.waterintowineblog

A few other words I’ve been reading “just by chance” of late are in Luke 18 and 19. Stories of two people worlds apart but as broken as each other. Both had every reason to pull back and lay low and shy away and make excuses.  Except that they didn’t – they recognised the moment, they grabbed the  opportunity for the  short second it was there and as a result came face to face with living breathing Hope. Zacchaeus was a wealthy educated, influential but corrupt man,  despised by his community and so short he had to climb a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. Who knows with what attitude he climbed that tree – derision, curiosity, inner turmoil, shame – it doesn’t say but where he wasn’t was at home feeling sorry for himself. He was up that tree having a good look where everyone could see him and when Jesus eyeballed him and said I’m coming to your house to eat,  Zacchaeus said Yes. He led Jesus to his home with great “excitement and joy”. He could have just as easily scoffed at the invitation from this dusty story telling man, he could have brushed him off with a wave of his hand, climbed down that tree and disappeared into the crowd. But Zaccheaus took the leap, he took the chance. The other man a blind beggar, the lowest among his people, without position or employment or a home. But when he heard the crowd gathering and the excitement grow he wasn’t about to miss out.  He had little to hope on, no one to stand for him and when he heard it was Jesus, he didn’t wait for permission or for an invitation – he started to holler. He had a brokenness that wouldn’t let him stay quiet and the more he was told to shut up the louder he got. He shouted until Mercy walked right up and gave him back his life. I wonder at that sort of courage, the sort of courage that says yes against all the odds, that takes that risk, thats prepared to fail, that doesn’t let go of  what just might be possible.

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I’ll leave you with these words that I first read last November. Some words make a home with you. They tell part of your story and settle on in you and don’t leave. These are some of those.

My eyes have seen the king in his beauty.
I have glimpsed a land that stretches afar.
It is a peaceful abode and a place of broad rivers and streams.
No galley with oars rides them.
And In this place, even the lame carry off plunder
Christie Purifoy

Would love to hear how January has found you so feel free to share away below.

Before I go here are a few of my favourite online finds/reads for January :

Invite Delight on Becoming Minimalist Blog

How To Give Your Home A Fresh Start – The Nester

I’m Not Into New Year Resolutions – Instead I Do This – Lisa Jo Baker

How I Handle Screwing Up My Goals – The Lazy Genius Collective.

Happy reading, Happy New Year friends -( is it too late to say that?)  and much love from my home to yours

Tracey xx

Joining in with some of these lovely link ups

Literacy Musings Monday

Three Word Wednesday

Sitting Amongst Friends

Tell His Story

Three Word Wednesday www.kristinhilltaylor.comTell His Story www.jenniferdukeslee.com

 

 

 

What I Found in October, November (and December!!)

Time for us, and then some to take a squiz at a few things I’ve found throughout October and November and given we are deep in the throws of this lovely Christmas season let’s throw December in for good measure.  I do this because I love a good find and it always gets me thinking and remembering and taking notice.

So a random bunch of finds this time round both home and heart shaped and in no particular order.

At my sisters garage sale

This picture  – yes another little find for my walls which when I first saw it, was hanging sideways in the dark right up the back of said garage. Looked at first like  the side  profile of a gorilla. Still got my attention but in better light the right way up I saw it was chalk drawing of the mountains behind my home that I look at everyday. Came home with me

What I like about it – apart from the fact that its of Wollongong is that it’s  been done in what I would call a naive  style –  simplistic almost like a child’s drawing and I always tend to gravitate towards these.  Close up though it has lots of lovely detail. Almost impossible to get a good photo of because of the reflection from the glass so please forgive the shine and the wonky angles. Better in real life.

www.waterintowineblog.com

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A pair of  terracotta pots – yes they’re a little worse for wear but that’s kind of what I like about them . They are standing sentinel in my carport now marking the walkway through the car port up to the front door.

www.waterintowineblog.com

I’ll be the first to admit this area is not the most inspiring space – its an ordinary old carport in front of an ordinary old garage door that tends to be a handy dumping ground for all the garden paraphernalia and anything else coming out of the house that hasn’t found its way into the garage yet or the bin which I’ll tell you makes for a soul destroying view as I pull my car up of an evening. So last week unable to stand looking at it any longer I threw an hours time and attention at it. No paint involved, no repairs, no redesigning (although it could do with all three ) just some old fashioned elbow grease. I’m convinced that 9/10ths of decorating is a good clean and sometimes just a little bit of pretty can go a long way to redeeming a space. It’s still an ordinary old carport and an ordinary old garage door but I no longer want to weep when I arrive home of an evening.  I found the plants at Big W. They are Heucherella “Stoplight”. They like shade and I like the bright green foliage. Looking a little fragile at the moment but the tag on the plant assures me that I’ll have “cars come to a screeching stop if I plant a mass of these foliage plants by the road” and I can apparently expect “large screaming yellow and red centred spring leaves and summer leaf colour that is bright green and red” – – –  I’ll let you know.

At the Community Book Swap

www.waterintowineblog.comHow great is this idea. Just down at the my local shopping centre they have created a book swap . The idea is to donate a book/s and then take a  pick yourself. Operates on an honour system. Its a lovely few minutes of distraction between the grocery shopping and hauling it all into the car and heading home. My reads these last months have mostly come from here and were both hit and miss

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult – this murder mystery was enough to keep me reading to the end but the characters were one dimensional and unengaging so I just couldn’t elicit the sympathy for them I’m sure I was meant to. An easy read though in between phone calls at work.

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah – gripping from the first page to the last. I’m officially never allowed to whinge about my life again. Why ? because I didn’t grow up during the Cultural Revolution in China or any where else in the world for that matter that is at the mercy of cruel and in humanitarian government . Truly astounding what people can endure and survive. A reminder of the human capacity for cruelty and malice – – – – but more importantly of the human capacity for love. Yes Hope is made of stronger stuff.

My third pick The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I’ve only just started reading  this one but I can tell I’m going to like it. Its the story of Dinah, Jacobs daughter, from the book of Genesis. Told in the first person Dinah   “reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood”.

Online – this website that might just save me from the constantly rising tide of stuff in my house

I found this very practical, breath of fresh air website A Slob Comes Clean Reality Based Cleaning and Organising  Written by a lady who enjoys not taking life too seriously and who has developed a whole bunch of helpful ideas for keeping your house clean (that don’t require a spreadsheet). She’s very straight to the point with some fun thrown in which is just the way I like my information.

Heres a couple of posts that caught my attention straight up with their simple ideas for keeping on top of the mess when time is limited and energy is low.

Why I Have to Run My Dishwasher Every Night

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This picture to remind me I need all the help I can get.

And because this time next month a little decluttering may be very high on all our to do lists.

How To Declutter Without Making a Bigger Mess

A few finds of the heart shaped variety

Weirdly in a season that has me juggling more that I will ever care to and completely out of my comfy cozy zone, Ive been finding out a thing or two about resting.

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Lets call it How To Stay All In and Not Die. Being a person who generally thrives on quiet and calm and the phone not ringing – staying All In with the people Gods given me and the job I have is a challenge. I’ve discovered the thing making the  biggest difference for me at the moment is REST. Rest as in physical rest, as in going to bed early, as in sitting with my feet up on a chair for a bit and reading kind of rest, and rest as in soul rest, as in not stressing about what I’m not able to do and what’s out of my control. I know its not popular, I know we see rest as a sign of weakness and a wasteful extravagance when theres so much to be done, but that I think is why we end up going down in a screaming heap physically and/or mentally now and then – from trying to keep everything done and all the corners tucked in all the time. Getting the rest we need is part of what keeps us sane and doing what we need to do well.

So I’ve been slowly, and I mean slowly because I’m slow to catch on to new ways of doing things – including in the rhythm of my day opportunities to rest and replenish and revive.

Heres what I’ve found

Rest is being OK with an imperfect present Sally Breedlove

Rest means leaving some things undone.

Rest means doing one thing and not thinking/stressing/obsessing over the ten things not being done.

Rest means being flexible with how things are done and  how my prayers are answered. Rest involves losing some control.

And rest for me means allowing time for the things that keep me centred and calm –  often sporadically but it pays off in spades in a calmer, happier, saner personage. I choose to do things that refuel and revive me on the inside and it seems even more important to do it now even though theres a trillion other “more productive” things I could be doing. Twenty minutes here and there – reading, making something look nice, writing, rearranging the pots out the back, taking a few photos, making a Christmas wreath I don’t really need but couldn’t help myself – (see below) a bit of creating, a bit of quiet and I feel like I can do anything, like I can take on the world again. That’s good rest.

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So I know its not a season we associate with rest right now – the Christmas season pushes and pulls us in all directions and asks an awful lot but who says we can’t make  small steps towards doing  things a little different this year? Lets try for a little more rest, a little less perfection, flexible expectations and a whole lot less frazzle.

If your needing a little more rest in your life heres some good reading along those lines:

The Practice of Ruminating to Save Your Sanity

On Idelness, Solitude and Daydreaming

Hospitality but Not the Kind You Are Thinking Of

And some finds just for fun

I found out how photogenic my chooks are.

How  sweet are these little ladies – restful in themselves – just doing their thing, not rushed, not worried and happy to see me each time I wander out there.

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And to finish a Christmassy find.

Of all Christmas decorations wreaths would have to be my very favourite.  They’re so self contained and simple – you can make them out of anything that can be fashioned into a circle – wire and vines and random thin bendy branches that you can find in the garden are a perfect example, theres no rules as to what you put on them and you can hang them anywhere. I have a little bit of a collection now, all of them have a story and although I officially don’t need anymore ever I can’t help but have a go at making a new one each year – it is my sole Christmassy craft. So I found two of these metal wreath frames  a few years ago and as I do took a photo of what I found. A bit on the blurry side but you get the idea.

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It took me two Christmases but finally the small frame turned into this.

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I only ever use bits and pieces of ribbon and fabric and decoration that I already have – part of the challenge. On this one I incorporated the remaining pieces  of a  sweet set of 6 Villeroy and Boch Christmas ornaments  that were special to us as they were given to us by Ken’s mother and sister who are no longer with us. Lovely as they are/were these ornaments  were not designed for little fingers grabbing at Christmas trees so they didn’t fare well over the years. We have one ornament from the set left intact and it hangs high and brave on the tree and I’d kept some remnants from two others that I tucked into this Christmas wreath. A little reminder of two beautiful people who LOVED Christmas time and who we especially miss this time of year.

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As for this years project – I had apparently put the larger wire frame under my bed at some stage because thats where I found it a week or so ago.  Hadn’t planned to make another wreath but then I found the frame and my fingers started to twitch. So I have used only stuff that I had. Some green, sparkly gauzy type fabric and these branches of berries that I bought maybe two years ago to use at this wedding. Have used them constantly at every event  and non event I’ve decorated since. Last year they turned up here.

www.waterintowineblog.comLove the red colour and so do the cockroaches who have eaten the colour right off some of the berries so this was a rescue mission in a way. Here’s how she turned out.

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Berries were  secured to the wreath with pieces of copper wire that I already had out. Looking at it I could probably play with it for another hour to get it just right, it could probably do with double the number of berries and some other pretty things but I don’t have an extra hour and I’m all out of unchewed upon berries – so this is where resting and leaving some things undone and not stressing about what I haven’t done comes into play – so I’m calling it done and I’ve hung it in the bathroom because every bathroom needs a Christmas wreath in my opinion.

So thats my finds for October, November and December .

Any good finds your way? Would love to hear

Friends thank you for reading along and being kind as I write my words. I’ll leave you with just a few more

Blessings on your eyes, Blessings on your children, Blessings on the ground beneath you. My heart is a ladle of sweet water, brimming over”  The Red Tent – Anita Diamant

God Bless and Happy Christmas

Lv Tracey xx