The Stop Go Man

“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.” 
~  Roy T. Bennett

 

Byron Bay has sunshine and farmers markets and great beaches and heaps of tourists and endless potholes. Our roads are in a constant state of disrepair, and there are always road crews out doing their best to keep them patched.

Wherever there are road crews there are also traffic controllers, or Stop-Go people, as I like to call them. It’s usually the same faces that we see, year in, year out. Byron is a small shire, after all.

Recently we’ve been stopped often just here (see below). The view is fantastic and there’s almost always an ocean breeze, so the long wait is not much of a hardship.

I like to wave at the traffic controllers, and thank them as we drive past. Almost always they smile or wave back, or at least acknowledge me with their eyes. Except this one bloke…

For over five years I could not create any kind of interaction. Every time we encountered him I’d wave and smile. If he saw me he never let on. Somehow that made me even more determined. Whenever I saw him I’d double my efforts. When that didn’t make a difference I began dancing in my seat and doing funky disco moves. I even made up songs for him.

Finally, one very cold morning earlier this year, after years of concerted effort, the traffic controller raised one finger off the Stop-Go sign in what is known in Australia as a one-finger wave. Motorists often do this on country roads as they pass one another, raising just one finger off the steering wheel.

I was beside myself!

‘Have a great day!’ I yelled as we drove past. And of course I waved one more time.

He was in that one spot on the road all week. Every day we’d go past, and each day I’d wave and yell out something positive, and every day he’d raise one finger then go back to being poker-faced.

Then I didn’t see him for months.

Until yesterday. He had his back to us, talking into his two-way radio as we drove up, but as we went past he turned and saw us. He raised one finger at me and smiled. ‘G’day, love,” he grunted, then turned away again before I could react.

Made my day, he did!

Wishing you all a fabulous day too, with waves and kind words and funky disco dancing,

Much love, Nicole  xx

Not my Stop-Go guy, but one just like him!

Update for Our Book Reading Challenge – November 2017

I read like the flame reads the wood.” 
~ Alfred Döblin

Do you love to read?

In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.

As our year comes towards its end we have read some fine books and learned about new reading possibilities from our friends who have posted their own recommendations. My personal reading list is now long enough to get me through until 2020, at least.

It’s still not too late to join us .Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book or an audiobook. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.
    book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!

For those of you who are already participating, I’d love to hear about your current book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

If you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month, I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge.

What books have you been reading or listening to this past month?

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

 

Here’s my Completed Reading List for October:

  • My Year of ME Planner draft for 2018! It’s going to be a super year, and our Planner and online course and community are shaping up to be our best yet.
  • Educating Alice by Alice Greenup. A memoir of a city girl who embraces country life. That makes it sound simple. It’s not. It’s an inspiring story of love, struggle, near-disaster and a woman who makes the most of her life, despite things often being stacked against her.
  • Peter Shankman’s ‘Faster Than Normal – Turbocharge your focus productivity and success with the secrets of the ADHD brain’. It was so good that I ended up listening to the audio version of it too. Please go buy this book – if you or someone you love had ADHD it’s a godsend. And if you don’t it will still give you so many solid tips for increasing your focus and productivity, as well as becoming an all-round better human being. Peter also has an excellent Podcast by the same name.

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The Man In The Dress – A Tale of Courage

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” 
~  Washington Irving

 

I’ve lost a lot of confidence with some daily activities while I’ve battled Lyme disease. One of them is driving. Lyme disease caused me vision problems and poor reflexes that until recently made driving safely impossible, but as my health has improved I have been talking about getting behind the wheel again. In the last month or so I’ve driven around the farm getting my confidence up, but I wasn’t feeling ready last week when Ben asked if I could follow him in our second car because he needed to visit a town thirty minutes drive away to have his vehicle serviced. His ride home had fallen through and there was no public transport. If I didn’t drive, he couldn’t go. It made me nauseous from anxiety. What if I couldn’t do it? Still, I agreed.

That first drive was nerve-wracking.  My hands ached from clutching the steering wheel by the time I pulled in behind Ben’s car. But I’d done it! Ben drove us home, and we quietly celebrated the fact that I’d gained a little more of my old life back.

The next day Ben drove us both back in to Lismore, and then left me to bring the second car home.

To be out of the house, on my own… I struggle to explain how liberating it was, even as it took every fibre of my being to stay focused and to not give in to my anxiety.

After we swapped cars so Ben could bring the newly serviced truck home I stopped at a shopping centre and did a few chores on my own. My first unsupervised shopping trip in years. Oh the freedom of being able to decide where to go and how long to take! Of being able to please myself as I looked at clothes or laboured over yoghurt choices. When I finally returned to my vehicle I saw that Ben had left a swimming-pool water sample on the seat that he’d intended to drop off to a local store. I decided that I’d go there myself. Miss Independent. It felt marvellous.

I couldn’t get an easy park out front of the pool shop so I pulled up in the next block. As I got out of the car I saw him coming towards me. An older man, perhaps in his early seventies; thin and stooped, wearing a large faded dress over his shorts and shirt and pulling an old-fashioned wheeled shopping basket behind him. He looked so odd and awkward as he shuffled along. As he got closer I realised that he was crying, but his face was furrowed with determination.

I wondered if wearing a dress was an act of bravery regarding gender identity. It’s been in the news so much lately as Australia goes to a postal-vote plebiscite over marriage equality. Whatever it was, I could see the old man was struggling.

Walking over I asked him if he was okay, handing him a tissue to wipe away his tears. He nodded, without saying anything.

Are you lost, I asked.

No, he said. I am going shopping. I must go shopping. There’s no food left.

Image from www.atablero.com

Then his story tumbled out. The man had lived with depression and social anxiety his whole life. It became so bad that ten years ago he had moved home with his elderly mother and she had taken care of him. He’d barely left the house in that time, and she had done all the grocery shopping and town duties. But his mum had passed away a few months ago. He hadn’t even gone to her funeral, although he’d wanted to. Now the cupboards were bare and he needed to shop. It had taken days to work up the courage.

There’s not a scrap of food left, he said. Nothing. And no-one to go now but me.

In the end, this man had put his mum’s dress on over his clothes, because then it felt like she was with him, keeping him safe. He didn’t care how it looked anymore. He just needed to eat. He just needed to get to the shops. It was the only thing he could think of to do. Her dress was a shield. A talisman. His only hope.

I asked him if he wanted me to go with him. No, he told me, standing straighter. I’ll be right. He wiped his face with a tissue, his hands big and gnarled and old. Then he put the tissue in the pocket of the dress, thanked me and kept walking. His courage and dignity broke me wide open and I cried for him as he continued his halting journey out into town.

As I drove home that afternoon I pondered what had happened.

What does it matter if a man wears a dress or not? What does it matter who a woman loves, or who a person marries? All that matters is kindness, and taking care of each other.

I understood a little of what it had cost him to leave the safety of the familiar and risk going out into the wider world. I hope each trip out into the world becomes easier, for him and for me. Freedom is wonderful, but it is not always easily grasped.

As always, I’m holding you in my prayers and meditations and sending love, Nicole xx

Join Our Book Reading Challenge – October 2017

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 
~ Neil GaimanCoraline

Do you love to read?

In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.

Already we have read some fine books and learned about new reading possibilities from our friends who have posted their own recommendations. My personal reading list is now long enough to get me through until next year, at least.

It’s still not too late to join us .Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book or an audiobook. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.
    book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!

For those of you who are already participating, I can’t wait to hear about your book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

But if you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month, I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge.

What books have you been reading or listening to this past month?

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

 

Here’s my Completed Reading List for September:

  • My memoir final draft, again! Night Sky Walkabout tells the story of my year in the Kimberley where I met and was forever changed by the love and guidance of my Aboriginal Aunties. Only a few changes left to go and it will be all done.
  • Tarin of the Mammoths – the Exhile by my good friend, Jo Sandhu. This book, for middle grade children, is an engaging and thought-provoking tale about a boy called Tarin who has a twisted leg, and cannot become a hunter the way other boys and men of his tribe are expected to. It is set in the Stone Age, and entwines themes of being different, journeying, friendship, spirituality and nature. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read the second book in the series.
  • I also listened to What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey – narrated by Oprah herself with her reassuring and familiar voice, she explores the lessons and wisdoms she’s gathered to her through life. I found myself replaying parts over and over because the messages were relevant, supportive and inspiring.

And for October I’ve just finished Peter Shankman’s ‘Faster Than Normal – Turbocharge your focus productivity and success with the secrets of the ADHD brain’. It was so good that I’m now listening to the audio version of it. Please go buy this book – if you or someone you love had ADHD it’s a godsend. And if you don’t it will still give you so many solid tips for increasing your focus and productivity, as well as becoming an all-round better human being. Peter also has an excellent Podcast by the same name.

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Join Our Book Reading Challenge – September 2017

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” 
~Vera Nazarian

Hello Lovelies!
How is your year of reading going? I’m pretty happy with the pile of books and audio books that I’ve managed to get through so far. What about you?

If you are new to my blog, let me get you up to date. In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. We’re reading books and sharing our recommendations, and putting a little money aside for every book, which we will then donate at Christmas.

Already we have read some fine books, and learned about new reading possibilities from our friends who have posted their own recommendations. I’ve discovered so many wonderful new books and authors, and I won’t be running out of reading ideas any time soon.

It’s still not too late to join us. Here’s what you need to do.

The Book Reading Challenge involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book, or an audio book. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.
    book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!


For those of you who are already participating, I can’t wait to hear about your book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

But if you haven’t joined us yet, come on board. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month, I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

I look forward to hearing about your August reading and what you have planned for September.

Go ahead and them, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

kindbook

Join Our Book Reading Challenge – August 2017

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” 
~Vera Nazarian

Do you love to read?

In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.

Already we have read some fine books, and learned about new reading possibilities from our friends who have posted their own recommendations. My personal reading list is now long enough to get me through until next year, at least.

For those of you who are just joining us now let me explain the Challenge to you. It’s pretty easy!

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book, or an audio book. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.
    book-reading-challenge-bingo-sheet
  4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!

For those of you who are already participating, I can’t wait to hear about your book recommendations! Pop them in the comments below.

But if you haven’t joined us yet, it’s not too late. And I’d love you to get your friends involved too, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

On the first Saturday of every month, I’ll post an update here on the blog, and ask you what you are reading and if you have any recommendations to share.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else.

Do you want to join me?

Go ahead and write your name below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

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After work, rest!

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” 
~  John Lubbock

 

This morning I’m not blogging.

I’m sleeping.

Sleeping is healing, and right now what I need more than blogging is rest. After my recent illness I’ve come back to work part-time – but it’s more tiring than I had expected. Guess I still need to take it easy for a while longer.

Remember that this week’s energies are all about balance and paying attention to what will have a positive or negative impact upon your life. (read more about that here)

How about you? What do you most need right now?
I hope you’re listening to your body and your intuition, and honouring yourself and your own inner wisdom.

See you tomorrow, when I am well rested and with a zing in my step again.

Lots of love, Nicole xoxo