What I Found – April May Edition

“Pleasured equally, In seeking as in finding” Langston Hughes

Time to take a peek at what I’ve found for the months just gone. A two for one this time around but doesn’t April  feel like forever ago, May too – the days  sprint by so fast and if not for a diary where I scribble and an iPhone full of photos how much of it would I remember, how much would be dogeared in my mind. Its why I’m fond of this monthly look back at what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been finding and occasionally what Ive been learning – its slows me down and  it helps me take notice.

So today I’ve narrowed it down to my six best finds for April and May

1. Outdoor Day Bed

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So this curb side find was actually Ken’s find not mine. I’ll admit I groaned  a bit inwardly when I came home from work and saw something loaded on his truck because he hasn’t always backed a winner when it comes to finding things by the road. But bless him I can’t complain as he only does this kind of thing because of me. See the curb side browsing is my problem and lets just say Ken learnt the hard way that when I holler PULLOVER!! out of the blue when he’s driving that its not a medical emergency nor are the police behind us – no need for the white face or  shaky hands or even the bewildered stare – it just means I’ve spotted something really good.

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This time it was all him and it was this  – a daybed – the frame  in tact and solid – just your standard powder coated frame somewhat worse for wear around the edges. The winner though  was the mattress that went with it. Now mattress and road side find are not two words you usually want to put together but this one complete with spotless cover looked amazing.  I went over with a trained eye before it even left the truck. It looked entirely unused, very solid, with a cover made of waterproof type outdoor fabric. To me it looks like its been sitting in storage and is a total winner. The frame could do with a coat of paint – undecided on colour  but we have set her up and I’ve now a spot for all the throws and cushions that seem to find there way to the lounge room floor.

Full disclosure – this is her naked with rust spots on show and no longer entirely spotless since we’ve been throwing ourselves on it.

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And this is her dressed up.

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Makes a comfy  place to sit on our back terrace.

2. This Bag

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For  my birthday I took a day off work and in addition to eating a beautiful breakfast not cooked by me and having a lovely pedicure while sitting in a massage chair  I got to  wander around a favourite thrift store. Not in a rush, not with just minutes to spare, I got to stroll at leisure for a good while. There were a few finds – a sturdy white bowl because I can’t seem to pass up a handy bowl, a basket of course and some lovely yellow striped fabric – but the best of them was a  new handbag.  This one caught my eye because it stands up all on its own so I can just toss things in easily and it has the magnetic closure clip that I like. It was unused which is a nice bonus and still had that new bag smell. So why do I mostly buy handbags at thrift stores? Because I can get a much better quality bag than  what I would get with the budget I have at a normal retail store. This one was $9.00 and I don’t want to be anywhere near a bag I could buy for $9.00 at Strandbags. The other thing – because Ive only paid $9.00 I don’t feel like I have to keep it forever  which is how we feel if we have paid $150.00 – easily done when buying a nice bag. This one I can pass on any time if I want without feeling like I’ve been awfully extravagant but after a few weeks  she’s still doing all the right things so I’ve no plans to move on quite yet.

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3. These Geraniums

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I have four pots on the back terrace that have been empty forever waiting for just the right plants. Officially I think you would call them urns and I got them when I did this wedding .  At Christmas time I always fill them with bushy greenery from the garden but apart from that they sit empty.  So walking into the shops with Livvy recently she asked me what we getting (I have no idea now what we were getting) but I do remember saying “what I really want is four matching plants no more than $2.00 each – what are my chances?”.  Quite good as it turned out because I found geranium plants for $2.00 each all a similar size.  I found plastic drainage pots just the right size to fit into the urns and with the bag of potting mix it was about a $15.00 project – all in all a good shopping day and I now have plants in urns prettying up the outdoor area.

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4. Anne with an E

Livvy and I had this new adaptation of Anne of Green Gables that just came out here on Netflix devoured in a jiffy. We had been counting down the days and while we were waiting watched the 1985 CBC mini series on DVD.  Livvy was enraptured of course and me not far behind. Now its worth watching just for the opening music and graphics  which are so good (see below) and for THE HOUSE !!!  All spare and white with big open rooms and fires and solid hand hewn furniture,  then the prettiest blue green in the good front room because they had parlours in those days !! I stopped short of sketching out the layout.

A lot has been added to the original story in this retelling and being a bit of a purist when it comes to an original story its annoying at first. The simplest way to say it is they have expanded on the underlying themes hinted at but not discussed in the original book. Big serious themes like child abuse and child labour,  abandonment, coming of age, lost love, discrimination, class discrimination, the education of girls and the role of women in society – yep it has the works and makes for a whole lot grittier story thats kind of at odds with the lightness and innocence of the original. For me once  you come to terms with the change off pace it that regards then its captivating viewing. Acting therein is AMAZING, scenery, music and that house are amazing and we are waiting with bated breath for Season 2 but I am hoping it doesn’t get too much darker

You can read a review here.

5. Online

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If you like the idea of a spontaneous mini break but don’t want it to cost you an arm and a leg have a read of this one. Agent Grace has some really great ideas for keeping the costs low and the relaxation high.

Operation: MINIBREAK 

And a couple for the heart.

http://www.christiepurifoy.com/2017/05/25/gardenbound-a-maplehurst-tour/
Photo by Christie Purifoy 

This ladies writing unfolds like a melody and if your a gardener, a would be gardener or you just like staring out windows at gardens you will enjoy reading this.

Garden Bound:  A Maplehurst Tour by  Christie Purifoy

http://emilypfreeman.com/feels-like-long-road-back/
Photo by Emily P Freeman

I’ll read anything Emily Freeman  writes but some posts seem to arrive with perfect timing. This was one.

When It feels Like A Long Way Back by Emily P Freeman

6. In My Garden

Always amazed and inspired by what I find with a wander around my garden.

I found these layered pots in a shady corner on a quick early morning turn around the garden before work. This always does me the world of good if I’m feeling a bit blah as happens  at times. I’m a home body at heart and the trek off to work each day  as much as I love the job takes its toll. Give me ten minutes in the garden though and I feel a whole lot more like I can take on the world.  A reminder that “ordinary places can become sanctuaries” Emily P Freeman These guys were almost totally covered by fishbone fern with the plants looking a bit sad and neglected. I  dragged them out of their forgotten corner and they are  now sitting by my front door where they can be admired and given a bit of attention

www.waterintowineblog.com.au

And heres what else happened in a forgotten part of my garden while I wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention. My “flapjack” plant only tiny when I shoved it into a pot  had without any help from me been growing madly in great leaps and bounds. It has at least quadrupled in size if not more and I found it bursting out of the pot it was in. Now in a much bigger pot with room to breath and stretch and grow some more Ive placed it in prime position so I can admire her each time I walk up my car port stairs. What I learnt from this humble plant? – bloom where  your planted, don’t let lack of attention or applause or less than ideal circumstances stop you doing your thing whatever that is. Hemmed in on all sides – tucked away and hidden ? – grow anyway, bloom anyway, start where you are, give what you’ve got and just do your thing.

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And finally these

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Which is what happens when you don’t mow your grass for two months. Unbeknownst to me the pumpkin plant from next door grew under the fence and spread out at leisure across the lawn  and these are what I harvested when I mowed the  jungle of a lawn last weekend. Sometimes its scary what happens when your not paying attention.

So thats it for my finds big and small for the last two months.

Any finds your way?

Linking up with:

Emily P Freeman’s What I learned This Spring Link Up. Yep its Autumn down this way but the idea is the same – we are all learning things all the time so share away in the comments below if  you’d like.

Porch Stories with Kristin Hill Taylor

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Chasing Community with Brenda Bradford Ottinger

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Love from my home to yours

Tracey xx

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What I Found in March

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

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

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

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

At The Shops

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

Any good thrift store finds your way?

At Home

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

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

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Olivias

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

Online

This post

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

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On Instagram 

Good finds house shaped and heart shaped

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

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

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The Memory Keeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I like these words from Emily P Freeman

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

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

John Paul Young – I Hate The Music (1976)

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

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

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God Bless

Lv Tracey xx

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Linking up today with

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

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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