A Day Just For Me

Painting by Laura Sotka

Painting by Laura Sotka

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
~Eleanor Brownn

 

I’ve designated a day of rest. Today I have no agenda, no chores to do, and nowhere to be. I’ll leave the answering machine to take my messages. My emails will wait. And so will everyone else’s problems.

Today I shall sit in the sunshine with my feet in the soft grass. I’ll hang out with my husband. I shall nap whenever I want. I’ll cuddle my dogs, read a book, listen to music, or embrace silence.

I’ll fill the well back up.

Filling that well is so important.

I’ll be back tomorrow, refreshed and more ready for the flow of life again.

Much love to you, and thank you – from my heart to yours – for your love, kind words and support these past weeks. It means the world to me. ♥ xoxo

2014-07-23 16.20.12

Saying Goodbye To Julie

'Hearts and Flowers' by Lauren Marems

‘Hearts and Flowers’ by Lauren Marems

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
~Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

 

My friend Julie died last night. We’d known this day would come. Julie was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer on June 11 of this year, a mere 46 days ago.

Still, we’d all hoped this day would have waited a little longer. In the end she was given just one extra day for every year of her short and precious life.

Her husband has lost his wife. Her small children have lost their mother. Julie’s mother has lost her daughter. I have lost a friend.

We’ve been talking a lot, Julie and I, these past 46 days. I was trying to help her prepare for the inevitable. My friend had time to record some messages and write letters for the events in the future where she will not be there to guide and comfort her two young daughters. She managed to create some new happy memories with her loved ones and to savour some last beautiful and life-affirming moments.

I also shared my insights about death, gleaned from all of my many experiences as a psychic. That we are souls having a physical experience, that when the body dies our soul continues to exist, that love endures, and that we are always and forever connected through love.

Rumi quote from QuotesWave

Rumi quote from QuotesWave

Julie had come to a place where she was no longer afraid of death. But she was afraid of pain and suffering, and given her situation, it was expected that her last days would be difficult, even with pain management.

But Julie died without having to experience any of that. She ended up with a bowel blockage, and needed emergency surgery yesterday after her temperature spiked and she began to have abdominal pain. The surgery went well, her family came to see her after she came out of theatre, and they sat with her until bed time, when she drifted off to sleep. She died in her sleep from heart failure. No pain. No suffering. No distress.

After I got over the initial shock of her death, I laughed. She got a good death. A very Julie death – for my friend was the Queen of taking care of every small detail, of streamlining and problem-solving and organising things just so.

Ah, we’re all saying through our tears. She didn’t suffer. She died in her sleep, which was what she’d wanted and believed she would be denied.

If Julie was a gardener (see opening quote), then the way she touched me is this – she showed me the importance of taking time for what matters and for making time for myself and my healing. She also encouraged me to drink fine champagne, eat the best chocolates, cheeses and cakes, and savour the deliciousness of life, even if it meant needing to bend the rules sometimes. Treating yourself occasionally, she kept telling me, was vital for anyone who worked hard and grew ragged at the edges from stress, duty and the ongoing everyday demands of life.

Oh my darling friend, I shall miss you being physically in my life. But you know you’re welcome to pop in any time, energetically speaking, for a catch up and some love.

Some pretty pink bubbles and cupcakes for you! Onward on your journey. Bless xoxo

Image from ZuJew Life

Image from ZuJew Life

Two Steps Forward…

 

2014-07-21 09.45.26

“Progress, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.” ~ Samuel Smiles

 

It’s been a frustrating few days for me.

I’ve recently changed Lyme doctors, and begun a new regime of drugs and herbs for my Lyme and co-infections. I’m filled with optimism for my return to health, and although I’m tired it had all been going well until the tail end of Monday.

I’d taken the first dose of a new drug that morning, and been fine.

But suddenly on late Monday afternoon my speech began to slur, words vanished from my brain, my eyes blurred until I could not see at all, I walked like a drunk woman and I forgot how to do the simplest tasks, like cleaning my teeth. My night was filled with hallucinations. I was sure that lizards (Lizards? Oh, Nicole!) were hiding in the bedclothes and coming out to bite me when the lights were out. Of course there were no lizards, just the sting in my nerves and skin from the herxing as the bacteria within me died and flooded my body with their nasty neurotoxins.

A little bit scary, but also a familiar road. This happened last time I took this particular medication too. But this time my reaction has been less severe, my pain less too.

All my symptoms are finally settling down again, but it’s a good reminder that with Lyme treatment it’s so often two steps forward, one step back.

And you know, two steps forward one step back is STILL one step forward when you do the math. :)

PS – Don’t you love that photo of Bert? He looks how I feel!

Image from Inspirably

Image from Inspirably

Easy Nutella Cheesecake Recipe

nutella cheesecake

“….I can dream away a half-hour on the immortal flavor of those cheese cakes we used to have on a Saturday night.”Mary Antin, ‘The Promised Land’ (1912)

 

This is probably the easiest cheesecake I have ever made. It only requires a few ingredients, and it is seriously yum. Not too sweet, not overpoweringly Nutella flavoured, and it makes the perfect end to a meal. It’s also the kind of cheesecake you can dress up or down, depending on the occasion.

I first ate this cheesecake at a friend’s place. My friend is a chef and when I asked about the recipe they were embarrassed. “You don’t want that. It’s so easy,” she said. “It’s barely even a recipe!” Turns out, her eleven-year-old son had made it all by himself from a recipe given to him from a friend’s mother after he’d eaten this cheesecake at their house.

All the better. If a child who doesn’t cook can manage this, anyone can!

I made this for Saturday night dinner, when our friends from the city came to stay. It took just a few minutes to whip up, and not much longer to devour.

Why don’t you try it, and you’ll see what I mean…

nutella

Ingredients:

250 grams sweet plain biscuits (I used a packet of caramel pecan cookies and the caramel and pecans gave a lovely texture and flavour!), 75 grams (5 tablespoons) of butter, 1 x 400 gram jar of Nutella (which is a chocolate hazelnut spread in case you don’t know!), 500 grams of cream cheese, 75 grams (1/2 cup) of icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered sugar)

I also used a punnet of fresh strawberries and an extra tablespoon of icing sugar for decoration.

Method:

Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and whizz until they are crushed. Then add the butter and a tablespoon of Nutella. Whizz again until it begins to form clumps.

making the crust

 

2014-07-19 11.06.45

*Note – if you don’t have a food processor, place the biscuits into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Tip into a bowl and add the butter and Nutella and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Tip the biscuit mixture into the bottom of a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin, pressing down firmly over the bottom and slightly up the sides of the tin. Place into the fridge to chill.

2014-07-19 11.13.08

Now cut the cream cheese into cubes and add to the bowl of the food processor with the icing sugar. Whizz until it softens and combines. (Can you spy a few biscuit crumbs on my cream cheese? Yes, that’s right. I didn’t bother to wash out the food processor bowl before I used it again. I promise it won’t matter.)

cream cheese and sugar

Spoon the rest of the jar of Nutella into the bowl, and process again until smooth and completely mixed together. (Can’t see those crumbs now, can you?)

nutella mix

Remove pie crust from fridge and carefully spoon the cheesecake mix over the base, smoothing the top. Place back into the refrigerator to set. This will take four to six hours, but it will be even better if you can leave it overnight.

smooth cheesecake into tinIn emergencies, the freezer will help chill things down quickly too. I understand – sometimes you need to make and eat that cheesecake FAST!

Carefully unmold the cheesecake from the springform tin, removing the sides first and then easing the cake from the bottom tray using a knife and a spatula or egg slide. Removing the cheesecake from the springform base stops you cutting through the non-stick coating with a knife when you slice pieces of cake and helps your pan last much longer.

nutella cheesecake 2

To Serve:

It’s perfectly good served plain. But I like to garnish my cheesecake with sweet fresh strawberries and a little dusting of icing sugar. It’s also super yummy with the following variations:

  • whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel
  • whipped cream and fresh berries
  • whipped cream and mandarin or orange segments
  • lashings of shaved or grated chocolate
  • tiny chocolate truffles and chocolate sauce

You might also like to make individual cheesecakes, or even put your mixture into teacups or cocktail glasses for something a little fancier.

However, in the end, what matters is the eating. Our visiting campers, Hannah and Mitchell, gave this dish their stamp of approval.

Enjoy!

happy faces

Exhausted, with Aprons…

94012710940847678f8Moqz90c

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 
~ Albert Einstein

 

What a lovely weekend I’ve had. Our friends and their children visited the farm, and to my delight I found that these particular children had a great love of rambling walks in the countryside, board games, stories, an exceptional fondness for fairies and pirates, and a deep appreciation of yummy food, all of which are among my favourite things! :)

Ten-year-old Hannah was also very keen to strap on an apron and help in the kitchen, and so we practiced knife skills, invented crazy salads, decorated desserts with strawberries and made endless delicious treats, including Blueberry Crumble Slice, which was a huge success with her blueberry-addicted brother, Mitchell.

Blueberry Crumble SLice

Today, I’m going to catch up on all that energy I expended. The dogs are equally exhausted after all that fun so we’re going to stay snuggled up on this rain-sweetened frosty morning, drink tea, and write. Well, I’ll be writing, and the dogs shall be lending moral support, bless their furry paws!

Tomorrow, after I am caught up on sleep, I shall share a particularly delectable recipe for Nutella Cheesecake, which was the dessert we enjoyed on Saturday night. I promise it’s both easy and divine. :) Mmmmm, cheesecake…

Around the Campfire

CampFire (1)

“So, I looked up and we were in this giant dome like a glass snowball, and Mark said that the amazing white stars were only holes in the black glass of the dome, and when you went to heaven, the glass broke away, and there was nothing but a whole sheet of star white, which is brighter than anything but doesn’t hurt your eyes. It was vast and open and thinly quiet, and I felt so small.”  ~ Stephen Chbosky

 

We have friends from the city coming to stay this weekend. They are bringing their two young children with them, who are bursting with excitement at the idea of visiting a farm. They are also determined to camp out. Mum and Dad, meanwhile, will be snuggled up in the guest bedroom in our little cottage.

It’s freezing here right now, with deep frosts on the ground each morning. I fully expect to see two little bodies inside in front of the log fire when I wake up on Sunday. But isn’t half the fun of being a kid having the opportunity to try things and to live the adventure?

I’m really looking forward to having them here. We’ll take them to see the platypus and the koalas, we’ll visit the cows, and pick some oranges and mandarins (clementines) from the orchard.

platypus

Koalas vege garden

2014-03-04 16.30.51

And when night falls we’ll light some of the wood piles around the farm that need burning, eat a delicious dinner, talk to the owls, and watch the procession of stars across the sky.

2013-04-26 16.56.14

I might be late blogging tomorrow. There’s lots of fun to be had between now and then, and I may well end up sleeping in!

Lots of love to you, Nicole xx

Guided Meditation for Anchoring into the Expanding Universe

Image from ScienceNet

Image from ScienceNet

“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” 
~ Alan Wilson Watts

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
~ John Burroughs, Leaf and Tendril

 

This last meditation in our series is designed to anchor us into the unfolding and ever-expanding energy of the Universe.

For this meditation you need:

1) A photograph of you as a small child or baby.

2) A photograph or even an object that belonged to one of your ancestors. Choose someone who is/was your grandparent, or even from the generations before that.

3) The crystal that we used in last week’s meditation, or one you have prepared for this meditation.

4) Something that you deeply desire to manifest in your life. Get clear about what that is. If you have time, journal about it to create as much detail as possible.

Image from Quotes In Space

Image from Quotes In Space

You’ll need to set aside twenty minutes for this meditation. Sit or lie somewhere quietly, using pillows or blankets if needed to make yourself comfortable. Then simply close your eyes and follow the sound of my voice. It’s fine to let yourself fall asleep during the meditation, or immediately afterwards.

To listen to the meditation, click on the button below:

 

This meditation will help you to connect into your own soul’s energy, the energy of your ancestors, and to use intention to manifest your own unfolding reality.

Holding your crystal after this meditation will continue to strongly connect you into universal energy and universal consciousness, and will also help you to travel along the timeline during subsequent meditations or in the dream state.

PS: If you’d like to review the other meditations we’ve covered so far, click here.