What I Found this Summer

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

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

WHAT I LEARNED

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

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

Then this happened

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

Then this

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

Well let’s hope they are.

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

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

2. I like white

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

It started with

Painting this  tiny wall

Then I was given this set of white sheets,

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

Then I found these beauties.

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

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

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

3. BFFs are the best

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

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

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

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

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

And the more the merrier

WHAT I FOUND

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

Kitchen

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Cushions

Paintings

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Roadside

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WHAT I WATCHED

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

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

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

And this movie  – all the hearts

Everything Must Go

AND SOME WORDS THAT STUCK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linking up today with

Inspire Me Monday Link Up

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Chasing Community

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Porch Stories

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Inspire Me Monday with Create with Joy

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Five Minute Friday – Why

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

I’ve a few whys at the moment

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

Every time.

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

Small shake your head, laughable whys

A much bigger why at the moment is work related.

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

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

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

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

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

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

but I want hope to win out

I want to err on the side of possibility and opportunity

And I want hope to have the final say.

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

Read what others have done with their five minutes here

Five Minute Friday – Agree

Five Minute Friday = prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no over editing.

This weeks prompt word – AGREE

Can we agree together on a couple of things

Nothing ground breaking, nothing earth shattering – just simple things that I forget all the time and need reminding of always and maybe you do too.

Can we agree that we are all probably doing way better than what we give ourselves credit for.

Can we agree to be thankful for our right here right now lives whatever that looks like, whatever shape it is, however dinged up and pieced together it may feel. Can we breathe thankfulness in, deep down into our bones in, because which ever way we look at it what we have right now is pure gold.

Can we all agree to be kind to ourselves this year, this day, right now. Kind and supporting and encouraging like we would a friend. We’re good at being kind and good to others so let’s be being kind and good to ourselves.

Let’s agree to keep believing – no matter what has been and what’s gone down and what’s turned sour. Let’s believe again and believe the best and throw hope at the dark and turn it on end.

And let’s agree to do our thing and live our calling with all we’ve got and not call it nothing like it doesn’t count. Because it doesn’t have to be seen or recognised or have bells on to be called something. Its ours – our story, our people, our heartbeat and that makes it something already – so grow the garden, make the meals, paint the picture, write the words, invite the people, hang the clothes, tell your story and call it good and call it scared and call it your art.

Let’s agree that small steps are good steps and even teeny tiny minuscule ones will do and work the same way. They all add up, and forward is forward. So let’s take one small step after another and see what mountains we climb.

Its early days yet. The years still young, unsung and unsullied.

Here’s our chance.

Our moment to do things a little different.

Anyone agree?

End

You can read what other peeps have done with their five minutes here.

Five Minute Friday – Different

Five Minute Friday – prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no over editing.

This weeks prompt word is DIFFERENT

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“This year it’ll be different”

Famous last words those.

Lets hope it will be.

Lets hope we have all learnt a thing or two over the years about staying sane and actually enjoying Christmas.

Little things like

  • not expecting everything to be perfect – ourselves, others, the food, the gifts, the moments because they never are and we’re certainly not
  • not trying to do ALL the Christmas things and be at ALL the Christmas places
  • doing the things we love that are meaningful to us and our family and forgetting the rest
  • not worrying about what other people are doing or making or buying
  • not blowing the budget
  • saying no sometimes instead of yes and just giving ourselves a minute
  • not having too set an idea about how things are going to turn out because we all know by now there’s nearly always a loose canon sitting ready to go off somewhere
  • enjoying the moments  –  imperfect and chaotic as they often are
  • laughing at ourselves

But

Ask me how I’m doing in about a weeks time and I might tell you a different story.

Christmas sure has a way of doing crazy things to us.

So if you run foul of the best of your Christmas intentions this year – if your calm and zen like attitude makes a sudden left turn and leaves the building  – its OK , it happens, your in good company.

Ellen Griswold said it kinda straight

“I don’t know what to say, but its Christmas  and we’re all in misery” (National Lampoons Christmas Vacation)

We can all relate – so if your heading that way – – –

give yourself some grace,

God is in the business of grace, its His speciality and Christmas laid bare is about God’s grace putting on skin and embracing us in human form.

So give yourself some grace today and give the people around you some too. Take a breath, take a moment – a good few if you need them. It’ll all be OK. Watch “Elf“, have a laugh, phone a friend, take a walk  – any or all will do you the world of good and remember

Next year it’ll be different.

Happy Christmas friends xx

You can read what other people have done with there five minutes here.

 

Five Minute Friday – Familiar

Five Minute Friday – prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no over editing.

This weeks prompt word is FAMILIAR

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I’ve lived in this house for over ten years.  Every nook and cranny, every window, every wall, every corner is familiar. In and out, up and down. Her good side and her bad side, her quirks and her crookedness the parts I love and the parts that make me truly wonder why, I know them all well.

And being so familiar and depending how tired or restless or impatient I feel, I  can think  we have the entire measure of each other,  that I know all there is to know with nothing left to discover and no more surprises to be had.

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But I’m not truly convinced  – see hope tells me otherwise, hope keeps me looking for the possibility in every corner and in every well worn space. Hope keeps me looking for what it might be with the right amount of love and creativity and whatever else I have thrown at it. Is it the lure and promise of home? or the idea of creating something out of nothing, of turning water into wine that runs in my blood that keeps me believing there are beauties still to unfold and still surprises to be had, that tells me we aren’t done with each other yet.

 “even our messiest of days are tinged with possibility. Redemption awaits. We only need to find smallest of pathways and choose to keep walking”. Marion Vischer 

Redemption awaits!

Even on the most familiar of days and in the most familiar of places.

Not as obvious maybe, not as sparkling bright new, but there just the same.

Even in this ordinary house.

Despite what’s past, despite all that we are familiar with, despite what we “know”,  it seems  love can abide and hope can stand up and shout your name again.

You can read what other people have done with there five minutes here.

Linking u as well withKristen Hill Taylors Porch Stories and Chasing Community with Brenda Bradford Ottinger.

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