Kindness Challenge – Week Five

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
~ John Muir

 

It’s fitting, in a way, that I couldn’t bring you last week’s kindness challenge due to in part to the extreme weather events we were experiencing in our part of the world. But here we are. On with the challenge!

 

Hello Lovelies! Welcome to Week Five of our six week Kindness Challenge.

To participate in today’s challenge all you need to do is select and perform one of the following kindness activities. The beneficiary of our acts of kindness for Week Five is our beautiful Planet.

Our planet could use a little kindness right now. It gives so much, we take so much, and there is a fragile balance here that deserves our mindfulness and care.

I encourage you to find one or two things from the following list that you can commit to doing on a regular basis. This is the only earth we get. We owe it to ourselves, our planet, and our future, to do the best we can for this biosphere we call home.

Image from County of Hawaii

Image from County of Hawaii

Okay, Kindness Ambassadors, let’s go!

  1. Leave the car at home. Walk, ride your bike, catch a lift with a friend or use public transport.
  2. Water a thirsty plant.
  3. Plant a tree.
  4. Start a vegetable garden, even if it is just a few herbs in tubs on your windowsill.
  5. Recycle your waste.
  6. Put a birdbath in your garden.
  7. Buy less. Use less.
  8. Re-use and re-purpose. Buy what you need second-hand. Repair the broken thing, re-sole your favourite shoes. Do what you can to utilise what has already been created. If you no longer need it, pass it on to someone who will.
  9. Don’t buy products that use ivory, tortiseshell, coral, shark, tiger teeth, or reptile skins. These animals and plants are endangered.
  10. Use less processed food, and more fresh locally grown and produced foods.
  11. Don’t waste food.
  12. Buy dolphin-friendly fish, and fish that is sustainably grown or caught.
  13. Take your canvas bags to the supermarket. 
  14. Use your own water bottle or coffee cup, rather than a disposable one.
  15. Start a worm farm or a composting program for your food waste.
  16. Turn lights and appliances off when you’re not using them.
  17. Stop using chemicals in your garden and look for natural alternatives.
  18. Stop using chemicals in your personal care and cleaning products and look for natural alternatives.
  19. Use both sides of the paper. Recycle when finished.
  20. Support farmers who farm organically, sustainably and cruelty-free.
  21. Wear an extra jumper or put another blanket on the bed rather than using the heater.
  22. Dry your clothes using sunshine.

    Image from leafjournals

    Image from leafjournals

  23. Put rubbish in the bin, even if it’s not yours.
  24. Share or borrow objects you don’t need to use very often.
  25. Recycle your wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. Be creative with your gift wrapping.
  26. Organise a clothes swap party with your friends.
  27. Wash in cold or warm water, not hot.
  28. Buy local, including supporting local artists.
  29. Don’t buy stuff just because it’s cheap! CreeIndianProphecy-e1373927658240
  30. Use rechargeable batteries.
  31. Take a shorter shower, or shower with a friend. :)
  32. Don’t flush medications or chemicals down the toilet or sink.
  33. Replace disposable products like razors with durable ones that have replaceable heads.
  34. Use real crockery and cups rather than disposables.
  35. Don’t release helium balloons into the air – they present significant risks to wildlife who may ingest them.
  36. Cut six-ring plastic pack holders (like the ones used for beer) apart before disposing of them so that they don’t harm wildlife.
  37. Fix dripping taps.
  38. Consider solar panels or a solar hot water system.
  39. Support groups and policies that work to protect natural spaces, habitat and endangered species. We all need wild spaces and clean environments.
  40. Use the cooled cooking water from vegetables or boiled eggs to feed to your houseplants or garden.

there is no planet b

 

It’s a beautiful world. It deserves our love. <3

LIfeisamasing

Adventures in Toowoomba!

Image from Be A Fun Mum

Image from Be A Fun Mum

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

 

My darling husband has brought me to Toowoomba for a few days for a ‘romantic getaway’.

Or so the story goes.

If we get to the heart of the matter, Ag Show is on. Yep, that’s right – three days of farm machinery, cattle, chainsaws and ride-on mowers, water tanks, fodder crops, cool organic things, agricultural breakthroughs, solar innovations, sheds, seeds, septic tanks, windmills and other good stuff.

Romantic indeed! :)

It doesn’t matter. I love Toowoomba – it’s a gracious old country town with some lovely borrowed concepts from bigger places. The spring flowers are all coming into bloom and the town is looking green, vibrant and so very pretty.

We’ve found a few exceptional coffee places, and last night we ate dinner at a fabulous Turkish restaurant – Sofra’s. It was so good we’re thinking about going back again tonight!

sofra-turkish-cuisine

I have a few things on my shopping list while Ben is clambering over tractors and going misty-eyed over some big impressive piece of machinery. (Get the red one, Ben! I hear that they’re the best.) . I’m on the lookout for some fancy new gumboots, a lightweight rain jacket, a broad-brimmed sun hat, organic soil conditioners, and some speed-feed – a summer fodder crop for my very spoilt moo-cows.

I’m also going to find a little coffee shop today, and have a pot of tea, a toasted sandwich and a piece of cake, in memory of my beloved Nana, who would have celebrated her ninety-ninth birthday today. I’m still missing her enormously, and I know she would have loved being here in Toowoomba with us.

This time last year I celebrated her birthday in another country town, before meeting up with my good friend Carly to celebrate my own birthday.

A year ago I was a one-eyed pirate in congestive heart-failure who could only manage an hour or two of activity between rests due to the intensity of my treatment for late-stage Lyme disease. Walking anywhere much was out of the question. I was too weak. Too sick. How far I have come. And this year Carls is coming to me down at the farm for my birthday. It shall be a cake fiesta!

Anyway, lovelies, I must go. Coffee, and the romance of tractors and cows, awaits. (((HUGS))) xoxo

Tasty Honey Soy Chicken Marinade

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“We believed in our grandmother’s cooking more fervently than we believed in God.”
~ Jonathan Safran Foer

 

When we were small children, we referred to excursions to my maternal grandparents’ home for dinner as ‘visiting the Palace’.

My grandmother, Marga, would set an elegant table, with a lace tablecloth, a decorative floral arrangement, soft linen napkins, her antique dinner service and the best glasses and china.

Clean hands, neat clothes, good manners, using the correct cutlery in the proper order and ‘sitting up straightly’ were mandatory requirements. But we never cared. Our grandfather, Cedric (or Ceddie to us) would always make us laugh, especially when Marga was out in the kitchen. The he would be the one in trouble, while we all sat quiet and innocent-eyed.

Growing up in big-country-town Brisbane in the 1970s, my grandmother’s food was a revelation. She was always experimenting with new flavours from around the globe. It was incredibly exciting.

Her honey-soy marinade made chicken taste out-of-this-world, and we were totally addicted to it. It became a firm family favourite, and a dish that we all added to our own repertoires as we grew up and began cooking for ourselves.

This marinade also works very well for tofu and other kinds of meats.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ingredients

1/2 cup soy sauce (make sure to choose gluten-free or substitute with Tamari if gluten is an issue for you), 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of sherry (you can use white wine or rice wine too), 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder, 3 garlic cloves – crushed, 2 inch piece of root ginger – peeled and finely grated, 1 kilogram of chicken pieces – your choice. (You could use drumsticks, wings, thighs, mixed pieces, skin on or off.)

Hint – If you like things spicy, feel free to add a little chili to the marinade too.

 

Method:

In a bowl mix together the marinade ingredients.

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Layer the chicken pieces into a shallow non-metallic bowl, and pour the marinade over. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

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The longer you can leave the chicken in the marinade, the better the flavour will be. Overnight is fabulous. Remember to turn the chicken at least once so that the meat marinates evenly. The meat will darken as it takes up the marinade. This is completely normal.

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To cook the meat, remove from marinade. If cooking in the oven, bake at 160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven (350 degrees fahrenheit) for 30 to 35 minutes.

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If cooking on the barbeque, cook over medium heat, basting with extra marinade and turning frequently. This will result in a stickier chicken than cooking in the oven, but is also more work. :)

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Serve with lots of fresh vegetables. Also goes well with rice.

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Magical Book Oracle – A Reading Just For You!

Image by RazielMB

Image by RazielMB

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”
~ Whoopi Goldberg

 

I love the idea of a magical book. Don’t you?

I’ve often turned to books when I’ve needed guidance or answers. So today I’ve used some beautiful images of books and accompanied each image with a channelled message to gift you clarity and reassurance about where you’re at right now.

Each magical book also comes with suggestions for crystals and activities to support you energetically, emotionally and physically.

Instructions for using today’s post

Let each image speak to you in its own way.  One of them will have wisdom just for you!

Scroll down through the following magical book images and then let yourself come back to the one you are most drawn to.

When you have chosen your book, scroll further down for your message. Take what resonates for you, and apply it in your life over the coming weeks.

Trust that you will be shown what you most need to know right now.

Love and Light,

Nicole ♥ xx

Let the Magical Books Guide You…

1. Ancient Manuscript

Image from Internet Monk

Image from Internet Monk

2. Magical Daisy Book

Image from Wallpapers in HQ

Image from Wallpapers in HQ

3. White Light Book

Image from Light Bliss

Image from Light Bliss

4. Magical Lands Book

5. Cosmic Rainbow Book

Image from Oriental Magic

Image from Oriental Magic

6. Book of Shadows

Image from The Charmed Ones

Image from The Charmed Ones

7. Mythical Journey Book

Image by Justin Rowe

Image by Justin Rowe

8. Fairy’s Book

Image from Key Note Blog

Image from Key Note Blog

 

♥ The Message and Gift of each Magical Book ♥

Each Magical Book image has a message for you. I have also selected a crystal to best support the message and energies of your chosen Book.  You could wear or hold this crystal, pop it in your pocket, under your pillow or beside your bed. (If you’d like to know more about working with crystals click here.) The Action Step is a tangible step you can take to begin incorporating this wisdom in your life.

1.  Ancient Manuscript:

Message – Trust your own judgement. It’s time for major change, even if that change begins in the smallest of ways. You’re being supported to create an energy of transformation that will take you far from where you are now. There is a great force of synchronicity at your disposal. All you need to do is allow, and be brave enough to act. Begin things. End things. Be active in creating this new life. You deserve to be happy and fulfilled.

Crystal – Tiger Iron 

Action Step – Spend some time thinking about how you want your life to look. record your thoughts in a journal. When you are ready, begin to put a plan together. Where might you start? Who or what could support you? Start to give your dreams some form. Trust in good outcomes, even if the beginning of this transformation will be modest.

 

2.  Magical Daisy Book:

Message – Love and Friendship is coming your way. What a kind, loving and beautiful soul you are. Right now there is a wonderful opportunity for you to bring magic to some existing relationships, allowing them to be revitalised. There is also the opportunity to meet new people who will become significant in your life. As you love, so will that love be returned, deepening the relationship and giving you new levels of emotional connection and satisfaction.

Crystal – Rose Quartz

 Action Step – Each day find things for which you can be grateful. Live in a way that pours love and gratitude from your heart. Seek out the people, places and things that make you happy. Avoid the people, places and situations that bring you down. Write a list of your dream friend or partner. Put the completed list in a pink envelope, and then place the envelope somewhere safe. Send your list a little love and energy each day to magnetise love into your life.

 

3.  White Light Book:

Message – Be purposeful in bringing your gifts to the world. You know it. The Universe is calling you, reminding you that it’s time. Time to write that book, start that business, invest that money, study that thing which furthers you somehow. Trust that you have something valuable to share with the world. Believe in yourself now, and invest in yourself and your dreams.

Crystal – Clear Quartz 

 Action Step – Sit with yourself and be brave in asking what it is you really want to do with your life. Create some big goals, and then break those goals down into small steps. Choose a place and begin. Each week, put energy into your plan and your dreams. Know that you can make this happen. Know that it is time.

 

4.  Magical Lands Book:

Message – Nature has great restorative gifts for you right now. Maybe you need to change your diet to include a wider range and quantity of fruits and vegetables. Perhaps what is needed is more time in the outdoors, or a hobby or sport that allows you to move more and to feel the sun on the face and the wind in your hair. A holiday in the mountains or by the sea? Perfect!

Crystal – Green Aventurine

 Action Step – Embrace your well-being. Look to the ideas and ancient healing methodologies of other lands. Try yoga, meditation, acupuncture, herbal medicine or tai chi. Be adventurous in looking further afield for what can heal, restore and uplift you. Maybe a health retreat in Byron Bay, Bali or Thailand. Perhaps a practitioner or a workshop that promotes these ancient methods for restoring balance and creating sustainable well-being.

 

5. Cosmic Rainbow Book:

Message – Honey, you need some fun! What’s most needed in your life right now are activities that bring joy. That could be hanging out with friends, listening to music, travel, playing games, starting a hobby or joining a group. Do what makes your heart sing. If you don’t know what that is, then gift yourself time to find out.

Crystal – Fluorite

 Action Step – Clear some space in your diary. Maybe there’s something you used to enjoy, which you don’t do any more. Make time for it again! Search out movies, music, festivals, galleries and places you’ve always wanted to visit. Do something you haven’t done before. Make more time for family and friends. Schedule some time just for you!

 

6.  Book of Shadows:

Message – Spirituality and time for connecting to your Inner Wisdom needs to be a priority right now. Expect magic. Expect clarity, breakthroughs, inspiration and guidance from unexpected but helpful quarters. You have a powerful intuitive side, and it’s time to learn how to connect with this wisdom and guiding force within you.

Crystal – Amethyst

 Action Step – Make time for self-reflection, journalling, meditation and prayer. Be open to guidance from outside of yourself as well. Make use of tools such as crystals, tarot and other messenger cards, runes and other divination items if that feels right. Ask once, and be guided by the answer, whatever that may be. Stay open to possibility and to acting on insights. Think deeply about the big questions. Expect answers.

 

7.  Mythical Journey Book:

Message – Courage. It’s time to go back to, and heal your past. There are issues and situations from your past, that, in remaining hidden, unspoken or unresolved, are preventing you from healing, from knowing expansion, from allowing you to transcend these falsely imposed limits. Sometimes it is  possible to simply get into an allowing space, and ‘let go’ of that old energy without having to examine or re-live it. Sometimes we benefit from guidance and professional help and advice. Always, we benefit from thinking on the blessings and the lessons inherent in those situations which have caused us pain.

Crystal – Citrine

 Action Step – Think about the events, relationships and actions that you have buried, or that continue to bring you discomfort of shame. You are being supported to work through and let go of these old energies right now. Truth must be brought into the light. These old hurts must be let go, or like anchors around your heart and soul, you will continue to be held back by them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Look to counsellors, healers and all other forms of support workers who can aid you in your situation.

 

8: Fairy’s Book:

Message – There is a special magic around you right now, bringing breakthroughs, help and miracles. The Fairy Book connects you to Loved Ones who have crossed over, Ancestors you have never met, members of your Soul Group, Fairies, Guides, Angels and all kinds of other Light Beings. Know that you’re not alone. Know that you are heard, and that help is coming.

Crystal – Moss Agate or Opalite

 Action Step – Ask! Reach out with your heart, your prayers, your meditations. Form that question in your mind. Have a conversation with someone who has crossed over, or with your guides and angels. Sit under a tree or in the garden and call on the fairies and nature spirits. Call on God. Don’t be afraid. Trust that injustice, obstacles, difficulties and dilemmas that have caused you great anxiety and worry will soon begin to dissolve or resolve. Know that you are loved. Expect magic and miracles. Trust in Divine Timing.

Attack of the Gorn

“Of all the things we can feel with our minds and bodies, severe pain is the purest, for it drives everything else from our awareness and focuses us as perfectly as we can ever be focused.” ~ Dean Koontz

 

There is this thing that happens to me on my current Lyme drugs.

It started in a small way. Bacteria began dying in my nerve endings. As they die, they release toxins. Awesome…

One night, delirious with fever, I thought that small lizards were hiding in my sheets and biting me. That was exactly what it felt like at the time.

And those lizards were mean!

Then it settled down for a while, and I’d thought that was the last of it.

But as I’ve ramped up my meds, the lizards have come back, and this time they’re bigger!

Now it feels as if large mean lizards are taking random chomps out of me with their hard plastic mouths. These are some hungry lizards, that’s for sure. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

Chomp on my cheekbone. Chomp on my thigh. Chomp on my belly, my eyelid, the top of my foot. Chomp on my lip, my hip, the very tip of my nose. Chomp, snap, chomp.

Image from Gweenbrick

Image from Gweenbrick

The sensations are horrid. Breathtakingly painful – somewhere between a stab and being tasered, although that only lasts a moment or two, after which it subsides to a less agonising sting. That’s exactly what a villainous lizard with a nasty mouth full of needle-sharp teeth would feel like, right?

Sometimes I can’t help myself and I will gasp with the pain of it. Or flinch and go all wide-eyed.

Which does look a bit odd when you’re out and about. But of course, how are you to know that I am under invisible attack?

My husband and I have developed a code for this now. I call it Gorn Attack.

“You okay?” he’ll ask me.

“Yeah,” I’ll nod. “Just Gorns.”

Have you met a Gorn before? Gorns are a brutal lizard-like race that Captain James T. Kirk fought so valiantly in Star Trek.

Where is Captain Kirk now, I ask? I could really use some help here.

Image from Kotaku

Image from Kotaku

Gorns then made a reprieve visit when Sheldon Cooper was conversing with Tiny Spock in Big Bang Theory. Sheldon was horrified to be attacked by a Gorn. It was his worst nightmare.

I know how he feels. :)

I guess it is kind of interesting. Maybe all of this will come in handy some day for a sci-fi story, or if I ever do meet a real live Gorn or end up in a parallel Star Trek universe. I feel I am developing quite an expertise when it comes to handling Gorn Attack. My weapons are primarily meditation, ninja mind control and magic.

When that doesn’t work, epsom salts baths, infrared saunas and Himalayan salt with vitamin c drinks often do the trick.

I have another four and a half months on these particular drugs. Maybe more. And there is no way I’m quitting.

So, Mr Gorn, bite me!

Image by Jim Doran

Image by Jim Doran

Trusting Your Instincts In Relationships

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”
~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

 

I have some friends going through hard times in relationships just now. They are wondering how they ended up where they are – with a lover who cheats, with a husband who suddenly wants out, with a boss who keeps lying.

When I’ve talked with them they’ve been so hurt, so distressed and devastated at what has happened.

Then they’ve asked the questions.

Why did this happen?

How did this happen?

Why did I not see this coming?

And the truth is, a wise part of them did see it coming. A wise part of them already knew. So, where did it all go so wrong?

All of us have intuition, and instinct. This force within us operates with a vast amount of information – not just our conscious awareness.

When I pressed my friends, eventually all of them admitted that there had been things in their relationship, from early on, that made them uncomfortable. Or there was a point where things began to change. And that point was a long way from where they are now.

In each situation, my friends had intuitively picked up on an energy or behaviour that was out of flow, out of truth – either with the way the person was presenting themselves within the relationship, or with my friend’s values and beliefs. My friends’ intuition had red-flagged something, using those feelings of discomfort and that instinctive knowledge to bring the situation to their conscious attention.

So why didn’t they allow themselves to be guided by that intuition? Quite simply, their mind got in the way. They discounted or second-guessed or validated that discomfort away. They saw what they wanted to see, or needed to see, rather than what was. They gave second chances, chose to believe what they were told, and shoved that discomfort back down where it no longer bothered them.

Haven’t you done that before? I know I have.

But that’s okay. Intuition is not a one time thing. Our internal wisdom will connect with us over and over again. Our job is to listen, and to pay attention. To give ourselves space to think things through and to honour these feelings and ideas that arise from deep inside us.

Of course, intuition doesn’t simply show us what’s wrong. It can also show us what’s good. We have a compulsion to introduce ourselves to someone at a party. Things blossom into a beautiful relationship.

Suddenly it seems like we can’t stop thinking about a business idea, or studying again. When we are brave enough to honour that instinctive direction we find ourselves loving the changes we have made. They feel so right for us.

We come to an awareness, without evidence or proof, that maybe the aloof girl or guy in the office is just shy, and when we make an effort to get to know them we find out that we were right.

Intuition says, Hey – let’s drive down this street for no apparent reason – come on, humour me! And there you find your dream house, or the shop with the thing you want, or an old college friend walking their dog, the same friend whose address you lost years ago and who you’d had no idea how to track down.

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

Intuition and instinct show us where we are out of flow with the Universe, and also how to get back into flow again, with relationships and actions that support our Highest Good.

So the big question is – are you honouring your intuition? Or are you second-guessing yourself?

Maybe it’s time you started paying attention, and trusting what comes up for you.

If you’re not sure how to do that, these posts will help:

Using Your Internal Compass to Navigate Life

Understanding Intuition and Gut Instinct

or this program of eight free exercises designed to help you connect to and work with intuition, energy and the metaphysical:

Strengthening Your Intuition – A program of Exercises

Image from forsurequotes

Image from forsurequotes

 

That Strange Wise Universe

“All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this.
~ Miyamoto Musashi

 

Sometimes things don’t go to plan.

We’ve had a lot of rain here at the farm. Lots actually. Think floods.

Last Saturday, after having been flooded in overnight, the causeway dropped and Ben decided we’d make a run for it and head to the city for a few days. I didn’t want to go. I have a workshop coming up. And other deadlines to meet. I had so much work to do, and sitting at home in the rain working on my computer in front of the fire sounded like bliss to me. Also, to be completely honest, I felt like crap. Spending a few days in my pyjamas, holed up while it bucketed down outside, sounded fine by me.

rain

There was only one problem. Stupid amounts of rain were predicted and I was worried about running out of Lyme drugs, and accessing a post office to send off my memoir to a competition that was about to close.

We needed to make a decision.

 

So we hastily threw a few things in bags and jumped in the car with the dogs in tow. A couple of hours later there was more heavy rain, the causeway came back up, but we were now safely on the other side. Our plan was to fill my prescriptions, finish my memoir changes and get them in the post, and come back late Sunday or early Monday morning.

In Brisbane my computer died an hour after I plugged it in. You know, the horrible blue screen of death? That one.

windows-blue-screen-of-death-pfn_list_corrupt

Meanwhile the rain kept coming down.

I couldn’t make the computer behave!

Suddenly our quick trip looked like needing an extension.

As a result this week has not turned out to look anything like I had planned.

But…

On Sunday when I realised that I would need to buy a new computer, the one I wanted was on special – for that day only. (Which also once again validates my personal mantra Everything I want is always on special! Read more about helpful affirmations here: My Embarrassing Affirmation Confession)

Our good friend Tony, who also happens to be a computer wizard, suddenly had a work cancellation which meant he could perform CPR on my old laptop and breathe life into my new one. A process I thought should take an hour or two, but which actually took days. Who knew these things could be so complicated?

While I was in that Universe-imposed twilight zone of no emails, blogs, twitter, skype, facebook or any other form of digital communication I was able to re-read and re-edit my memoir the old-fashioned way, with pencil and paper. I finished my draft, made the changes on a borrowed computer, printed it off and sent it on its way. I’m sure I did a much better job of it with so few distractions.

What to do after that? Computer still not working, and new Lyme drugs making me feel less than one hundred percent. I napped my way through most of the next few days.

Result?

My memoir is done, I am well rested and feeling sooooo much better, and my new computer, finally, is ready for business.

Of course, the farm is still flooded in. We might get home tomorrow. Or we might not. Helpful neighbours phone us a few times a day with weather updates. No point going home if we get all the way there only to find that we can’t get over the flooded creek that leads to our front door. We’ve had almost a year’s worth of rain in the past few days, and it’s still raining! We’re safe here in the city, our cows are safe back at the farm, and there’s nothing else to be done.

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I’m okay with whatever happens. This week has worked out just fine, with no help from me.

Life’s like that, isn’t it? You can plan all you want, but often the Universe has a way of making your plans ridiculously irrelevant and replacing them with something far more magical and synchronous.

Are you holding on too tight right now? Maybe it’s time to let the Universe have a little elbow room.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

seasons_millman