Five Minute Friday – WITH and BETTER

Two for one today friends.

But firstly Happy New Year.

I hope it’s treating you well. I hope it promises much. I hope your doing OK.

So now those words

So the word WITH was the final Five Minute Friday word for 2018. I wrote zero words and totally missed the link up but as words sometimes do this one stayed with me anyway.

And now the first prompt word for 2019 is BETTER and I got me some thoughts on that one as well so as I said two for one but I won’t keep you long.

WITH

We were together, I forget the rest.

Walt Whitman

Very appropriate for the time of year when being with family and friends is such a big part of our Christmas and holiday celebrations.

And with this last Christmas I was reminded all over again that being with the people I love wins out hands down without question over

  • having everything go to plan
  • ticking all the boxes on our “this is what we do at Christmas” list
  • having the house all spruced and Christmas ready

Of course it’s lovely when things do go to plan, when the food turns out how it’s meant, when the house shines as I like it to and guests and or children, take your pick behave the way they should.

Lovely yes – but not essential to joy shared and thanks given and a good time being had. Not even nearly.

So this year things didn’t go to plan and in quite a spectacular way. Ken went into hospital on the 23rd of December with a badly infected wound on his foot and is still there as I write this. Daddy not being home for Christmas was a big disappointment for the kids, not because they thought they would miss out on anything but because we wouldn’t all be together at home.

But as we found out a bung foot and a hospital bed aren’t enough to ruin Christmas. Change of scenery you might call it, a slight detour.

So on the day, we traipsed ourselves up to the hospital after present opening at home and in amongst the antiseptic smells and hard light of the hospital ward we had ourselves a sweet little Christmas. I drank tea out of a plastic cup and we ate the lollies and chocolates that had been left at Kens bedside. The kids pulled a solitary Christmas cracker and laughed up big in telling various versions of the joke inside. We took funny photos and gave Ken his presents and though stuck in hospital Ken God bless him simply has a way of making the kids laugh and making any situation a bit of fun.

We spent the latter part of the day with the kind of friends who are family and my sister and I ate lunch there mid afternoon in the cool breeze of the verandah. A pot luck of what everyone had brought along. I discovered then that I’d left the lemon juice out of my signature Christmas dish so I splashed a bit on there and then and it all got eaten just the same. We played board games which got funnier by the minute, ate cheese, sipped some wine and I was happy just to be in the company of these good people I call my friends and family, all of us with our raggedy edges, all of us a bit tired and worn, all of us keeping gratitude and hope close by.

We focus a lot on the details of Christmas – and of course the things we do – the wrapping and baking and arranging and decorating is part of our celebrating – but it turns out only the tiniest increments of any of these are needed when the people your with are the main event.

Christmas is in the withness

And you know what, the kids won’t remember too much all the details that we bend ourselves in half over, that we think are so important to them – but I bet they’ll remember how they felt, they’ll remember the fun, they’ll remember the feeling of being safe and loved and seen. Thats what gets sealed beneath the skin, that’s what hints at the eternal.

So straggling my way into the new year I’m reminding myself

Choose being WITH, choose along side, choose the long chat, choose playing the game and sharing the joke. Choose to stay with even when it gets uncomfortable and awkward because that’s all part of it too.

The rest is all just decoration.

Now to that other word. BETTER – this one was simple.

I say better Christmas spent in a hospital room with good medicine than Ken not with us at all. They were our options.

Better a simple gathering with the ones you love than an abundance without them.

Better a plan go astray than losing everything.

better Gods ways than mine.

A sudden turn of events may feel like a derailment, it might feel like a good hard kick in the shins, it might even make us wonder what will become of us all, but it has a way of making realer, more honest, truer people of us.

Better that than a game of charades.

And better a grateful heart than a bitter one.

Any day, anytime.

We may not depict these ordinary places on Christmas cards. We may not celebrate them in song. But this is where we live and wonder lives here too Christie Purifoy (Roots and Sky).

Thanks for reading friends. You can read what others have done with there five minutes worth here.

Would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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Five Minute Friday – More (or Less)

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.

If I think about it what I’m really wanting at home is not so much more space – what I’m wanting is less chaos and less clutter and less crazy and for that maybe I don’t need more  – maybe I need less.

I know from experience the one thing that makes the biggest difference in a small house is less stuff. That right there 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.

www.katemotaung.com

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#MySundayPhoto – What Progress Looks Like

 

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it”  Ivan Panin

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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.

Whats looks like progress at your house?

What feels like luxury?

Lv Tracey xx

Joining in with #MySundayPhoto today

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

#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/

 

Sitting Pretty

This chair  – – – 

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We’ve been keeping company now for ever so long – possibly longer that any other item of furniture I own apart from this bookshelf my Dad made. Not all furniture is created equal and not all designed to last the distance but in my books this one, she’s a keeper.

www.waterintowineblog.com

Can’t remember where I found her. Most likely the op shop because that’s where I find most things. Maybe a road side throw out ? I do remember I was living in Sydney at the time in my ancient flat that hadn’t a whole lot going for it except a magnificent view of  Bondi Beach. I was doing an upholstery workshop just down the road and I needed a smallish item of furniture that was portable and could be made over in a couple of weekends. This chair was the perfect candidate with  good solid bones – I loved the curve of the arms and the little rounded turned out legs, still do – but her springs were all saggy and needed replacing. So during the course of the workshop I gave her new springs and webbing and fresh fabric and well she hasn’t looked back since. A little worse for wear in places now because its been quite a while but still going strong.

www.waterintowineblog.com

A random meeting that I can’t recall and here we are still together all these years later. Some pieces of furniture just seem to suit your house and life down to the ground and this chairs one. Versatile – she fits in anywhere with anyone, not precious – she doesn’t need a lot of attention or looking after which is a good thing around here, she’s light enough to be picked up and moved easily and her small proportions work perfectly for my tiny house. “Style wise” she dresses up easy – looks best with something soft and fluffy thrown over her and with a few  cushions thrown on.

So far she’s lived in every room of the house bar the bathroom and including the front and back veranda. She spent a long time in Olivia’s room. A perfect chair for story reading and for putting dressed up dolly’s on. In my room there was more clothes being thrown on than sitting on but out front of the house she gave us a lovely place to enjoy the winter sun. Then for a while she was in the entrance near the front door but again more throwing on than sitting in.

www.waterintowineblog.com

Right now though – – – 

She’s doing me a personal favour which is the reason she gets her very own post here today. I currently have her moved into the lounge room so I actually have a comfortable place to sit down.

See what I’ve noticed of late is that two children and one husband manage to take up all the available space on the two leather lounges we have, leaving me nowhere comfortable to sit. And forgive me but when I sit down to relax a little I don’t want to be squeezed in between and romped upon by an often less than fragrant  13 year old boy and the squirmiest 9 year old girl I have EVER come across.

So this seat has become MY seat and mine alone for now.

I read this earlier in the year on one of my favourite blogs and it’s somehow  stayed with me.

I felt a little lost in my own home. I can see my mama in my memory sitting on “her” end of the couch every single night with whatever book or cross stitch she was working on tucked into the end table beside her. I decided it wasn’t wrong in the least bit to stake my claim on my own spot complete with all my favorite books stuffed down beside me in a $2 yard sale ammo crate. Heather, Recollected Design 

Well I’m with Heather and her mama – we all need a sweet spot to call our own in our own homes , where our favourite book is in easy reach and theres a place to put our cup of tea or something stronger.  A place no one else is allowed to sit on or put their feet on or leave half of their sandwich or their school bag on.

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I’ve been missing that for a bit. Maybe I’ve just noticed it more since I have been working and don’t have time at home on my own during the day. Organising myself a comfy relaxing place to sit for a while in the evening, its such a basic thing that’s felt like such a luxury. I read more, I relax more, I enjoy Netflix more (which can definitely be a good thing at times)  and the real bonus I hang out with that odd smelling boy and that squirmy girl more. I think the squeezing in and having my cuppa tea bumped about put me off doing that for a good while. My two just love it when I stop all the rushing around and just be with them – – – – the rushing around a necessary part of life I know , but the sitting down just as much too. So while its been a small change, its made a big difference and they’re my favourite kind.  So if someone could just pass me my cup of tea please we’ll be all good.

Got a favourite piece of furniture ? Need to get  yourself a sweet spot. Would love to hear.

Tracey xx

 

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