Five Minute Friday on a Monday night but it still works the same way. Prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no over editing.
This weeks prompt word is MORE
We always think we need more, if not for now then for later, for just in case. Survival instinct I guess – the more we have the safer we feel.
But what if we used – really used – what we already have. Used it to its fullest potential without waiting for more. What if we wrung the day dry of its possibilities and opportunities – use up every bit without waiting for more or better before we begin. Wouldn’t there be more just by doing that- more contentment, more joy, more peace – bound to be.
I think sometime I’d like more house.
I live in a small house and there is always the temptation to think all my household woes would be solved by more space. Sheer square footage would be nice but I’d settle for more just in the way of storage space – cupboards and closets and just generally more places to shove things.
But more isn’t always more. More space can get filled up with stuff you don’t really need exactly the same way your existing space can and your no further ahead. A big space can be unfunctional and uncomfortable and unmanageable just the same as a small space can. Big or small, more or less – its all in what you do with it.
When I think about it what I’m really wanting in my home is not so much more space. What I’m wanting is less chaos and less clutter and less crazy and for that I don’t need more – for that I need less.
Less stuff I know from experience is the one thing that makes the biggest difference in a small house and that my friend is easier said than done and an ongoing process in this wee house. The pay off though of opening a cupboard door and not have things fall on me, the pleasure of an empty shelf and a clear line of sight and drawers you can open makes it worth the tough decisions and the ruthless and relentless decluttering.
I’ve such a long way to go with this , theres still stuff piled up around here and too many cupboards shoved full but I’m heart set on making the most of what this little house has to offer, set on uncovering her beauties and on making more of what looks like less to the untrained eye. This idea of rescue and redemption and bringing back from the edge is one that runs fast through my veins and a challenge I can’t help but rise to.
What about you, what are you wanting more or less of?
You can read what other people have done with their five minutes here
Or you can join in with some story telling and heart sharing at #porchstories right here.
“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it” Ivan Panin
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.
“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?
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 .
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.
@my colourful home Her words are in Dutch but her decorating style definitely speaks my language. Soo pretty and so organised !!
2. And these words from Lisa Jo Baker to celebrate International Womens Day on March 8th. She nailed it as always.
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.
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 songPasadena and then OMG!!!
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
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.
This post written for Women Connect. You can find out all about thathere.
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
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.
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.
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
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.