Five Things I Love About Being Home At My Farm

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“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

 

I have loved travelling, but there is something magical about coming home again.

These are five random things I love about being home here at my farm.

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1. I can go out into the garden on a cold and drizzling night, wearing my gumboots and pyjamas and clutching a torch, and come back in with enough foraged weeds, greens and leaves to make a tasty salad for dinner to go with our soup.

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2. No matter how busy my day becomes, there is always time for games and for sitting on the soft green grass, looking out at the trees and watching the koalas.

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3. The air here smells of sunshine and trees, or moon and stars and damp earth. The sky at dawn or dusk is filled with birdsong and a vibrancy that is hard to put into words.

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4. The beach is just down the road, and we can enjoy an early-morning walk, followed by breakfast at one of our favourite cafes. Byron Bay has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet!

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5. All my favourite crystals are here at home. No matter what my mood I have a crystal to suit. There are crystals on every windowsill, and perched all around. There are crystals in the garden and beside my bed. Lovely, lovely stones. <3

Here Comes The Sun

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“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breathe it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Usually I’m quiet on the blog because Lyme Disease has me laid out and I’m in no shape to write.

I’m happy to report that my absence over the past few days had nothing to do with Lyme and everything  do with Mother Nature. After a hefty amount of rain I ended up flooded in, with no power and a flat battery on my phone. To add to the feeling of being a homesteader the hot water system developed an airlock, so no hot water either.

This is what my world has looked like. And the inside of our little farmhouse was equally gloomy.

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A few days ago my husband packed the ute, took Harry and drove to Brisbane and then travelled on to the farm of an old friend. So Bert and I were home alone.

What to do in a cold, dark house?

We napped. And napped. And napped some more.

Meanwhile a whippy six-foot tree snake took refuge on our front veranda, out of the rain. He was long and slender, with a deep olive body and a bright yellow belly.

At the back door our large resident male carpet snake stretched out on the still-warm concrete, and settled in for the duration.

I was grateful to have a side door so that I could still slip out to our bathroom, which is in the back corner of the veranda.

Then late yesterday afternoon, a few hours before Ben was due back, the rain stopped and the snakes departed. An hour later the power came back on. Forgetting that the hot water wasn’t working I turned on the hot tap in the kitchen and it spluttered and gurgled and then burst into life.

By the time Ben and Harry got home everything was back to normal. They’d missed the entire adventure!

This morning the sky is the most exquisite blue. The sun is shining, and our world  is green and lush.

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The air is clear and clean. It smells so earthy and good that I want to eat it with a spoon.

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The plants are growing like triffids, and flowers are everywhere.

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After being cooped up for so long dogs are ready for an adventure, and I won’t be needing that garden hose any time soon.

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Harry’s feeling healthy and happy and is ready for a game. So I’m keeping things short this morning.

Playtime in the sun is much more important today!

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My Early Christmas Present

Image from securinvest

Image from securinvest

“I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.”
~ Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

 

Monday was my day off. A day to rest, sandwiched between two days of psychic work on either side. I am in Brisbane right now, and the plan was that Ben would be here and we would spend the day together, doing a little running around before I napped the rest of the day away.

But Ben needed to race back to the farm in the middle of the weekend heatwave, when a neighbour told us there was a problem with our water pump. And Monday morning Harry got injured in his fight with the stick and spent the day at the vet’s down near our farm, so I was stuck in Brisbane on my own.

Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? And yet, on that day, with me stuck in suburbia, miracles happened.

I know it won’t sound very miraculous to you, but let me explain.

On Monday there were bills that needed to be paid, and forms that needed to be posted. I’d expected Ben would be there to help me, but he was busying helping Harry. Doing those chores suddenly fell to me. ‘Only if you’re well enough,’ Ben said. ‘We’ll work something out if you can’t do it.’

It needed to be done, so I did what any normal person would do. I got in the car and drove to Chermside – a nearby sprawling suburban shopping-mall.

Image by Jeff Camden

Image by Jeff Camden

 

I haven’t really driven very much for quite a while now. In fact I’ve driven only half a dozen times this year after two years of no driving at all. Lyme disease has robbed me of so much independence, and until recently congestive heart failure had made me unsafe behind the wheel. Even now I have a strong startle reflex and slow other reflexes. It takes all my concentration to drive, and it’s usually very stressful.

But Monday I was feeling stronger. Clearer. I got in the car and off I went, determined to get those jobs done.

At the shopping mall I found an easy park, and my tasks were completed in less than fifteen minutes.

I was just about to get in the car and go home when I realised…

I was out shopping ON MY OWN for the first time in five years.

For five years my darling husband has been at my side for every outing. This was the first time I’d had the chance to do a little Christmas Shopping on my own, without him right beside me.

Oh, the luxury of it all.

I stopped at a little cafe, the sort of place Ben would never go, and enjoyed some lunch while drafting up a list of things I’d like to buy. And then off I went, to look at shops that appealed to me.

I lingered at a place which sold aftershave and perfumes.

I dallied at a tea shop, smelling and tasting different blends and talking tea with the wonderfully informative staff.

I dawdled in a bookshop. At a toy store. At a supermarket.

All in all I spent nearly two hours out on my own.

It tasted like freedom. I had the best time!

On the way home, still feeling good, I called in at a friend’s house and we sat in her back yard and worked on my new website.

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That night, while I was waiting for Harry and Ben to come home I wrapped my stash of gifts and marvelled at how independent and outrageously liberated I was feeling.

Those wrapped gifts represent something profoundly significant to me.

My own little Christmas Miracle.

A returning wellness!

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Favourite Things

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“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.” 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It’s Sunday, and for me it’s a day of favourite things.

Meditation first, before the sun comes up, with my Mala beads and Tibetan Bowl.

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A short walk around the farm with Harry while we wait for the rest of the household to wake up. We’ll pick some flowers and say hello to the cows.

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Fresh juice with produce from our garden (followed by a fistful of lyme meds – but we’ll ignore that bit…).

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A trip to the monthly Bangalow Markets, held in the quaint old Showgrounds of our little town. We always go in very early to avoid the crowds. There are lots of places to sit and have a chat and a cuppa, lots of friends to hug, and I’m usually home by mid-morning, ready for a nap on the veranda. The markets means Byron Bay Organic Donuts, lots of crafty things, a chance to stock up on some new jam and a few seedlings for the vegetable patch.

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Saying hello to my lovely neighbour Richard Jones, who’ll be selling his gorgeous earthy pottery at those same markets.

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Afternoon naps. Best invention ever for that sleepy after-lunch lull!

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Sitting with my writing, and adding to my word count. And perhaps some time to curl up with a good book. A nourishing bowl of chai, some spiritual communing and a little dreaming. I love Sundays!

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The Magic of a Cup of Tea

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“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” 
~ Mother Teresa

There are a few things that have helped me to feel human again in the past twenty-four hours after days of being wretchedly ill. Such simple things, but they nurtured me, body and soul:

  • a long hot shower, with neem oil soap made by a friend to soothe my burning, itchy skin
  • clean sheets; fresh and soft and smelling still of sunshine
  • clean pyjamas; old favourites – warm and comfortable
  • a cup of milky tea – after a few days of no food it was bliss to sip and savour
  • vegemite on toast – just a few bites, buttery and the vegemite not too thick
  • an open window, and a gentle breeze
  • lots and lots of sleep

The clean sheets and pyjamas were waiting for me after my shower.  The tea and toast followed after I was tucked up in bed again.

It’s the simple things, always the simple things, that bring comfort, a sense of safety, and the knowledge you are loved.

What simple things can you do for yourself, or a loved one today?  Everyone benefits from care and comfort.

Thanks for all your lovely well-wishes and messages of support. Am off to see my Lyme Doctor today. I’ll be back to normal blogging tomorrow.  Much love to you ♥ xx

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Simple pleasures

farm

“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

Are you suffering from Broken Robot Syndrome?  If so, I have some ideas to help you heal, and to reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

Life doesn’t have to be complicated to be satisfying.  In fact, most of the things that I enjoy cost little or nothing. Down here at my farm I don’t need to look far to indulge in some of life’s simple pleasures. A glass of fresh orange juice from fruit grown in our orchard, or a simple salad with ingredients straight from the garden.

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A long hot bath after I’m tired and muddy from a ramble through the paddocks.

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Fresh flowers – from a friend’s garden or my own – in jars, old vases and teapots around the house.  These ones are actually weeds and vegetables gone to seed…

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Lying in bed on Sunday morning, leafing through one of my seed catalogues, dreaming about what I will plant for the next season’s harvest.

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The feel of soft green grass beneath my feet as I sit on a lawn chair under a leafy tree, throwing the ball for the dogs to chase.

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Sitting on the veranda having cups of tea with friends.

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Time with a needlepoint project. (Have you signed up for my 2013 Creative Challenge yet?)

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Listening to a favourite CD as I do the washing up.

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A really good coffee and time for writing. Okay, I admit that empty plate did have a fantastic Chausson aux Pommes on it from one of my favourite French Patisseries at one stage…

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Watching the new calf frolicking.

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The main ingredients for simple pleasures are these: Slowing down, Awareness and Appreciation.  You might be surrounded by things that could give you pleasure but you won’t notice them if you’re always working, worrying, constantly updating your status on facebook, tweeting, texting, surfing the web, or ear glued to the phone.

Today and in the week ahead I invite you to take a deep breathe, slow down, unplug and pay attention to the world around you. What nurtures you?  What feeds your soul? What can you do to bring these simple pleasures back into your life.

Feel free to leave your ideas for simple pleasures below, where it can inspire and nurture others here in our community too.  Wishing you some simple pleasures today, Nicole xx

Day 5 – Gratitude Challenge

Image from revroher.blogspot.com

 “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

~ Buddha

So here we are at Day 5 of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.  Pull up a seat.  Let me give you a hug and make you a cup of tea. I just want to encourage you, and to remind you that you’re doing so well.

Have you encountered any resistance yet?  Have there been any moments where it’s been hard to muster your enthusiasm, or when finding five things to be grateful for, and really feeling that gratitude in your heart, has been an effort?

If you’re answer is no, then hooray for you – being in flow is a wonderful thing! But don’t be discouraged if you have already encountered some of this energy. And don’t be despondent if it visits you in the next days of our challenge.  Not every day will be sunshine, puppies and lollipops. And it’s precisely on those harder days, and flatter days, that we need gratitude the most.

Image from cakalusa.xanga.com

When you wake to find that an attitude of gratitude isn’t coming easily, or where you’re struggling to rouse any positive emotions, then I suggest you start with counting much smaller Blessings.

Start with safe Blessings that don’t lead you back to where you’ve been. Don’t look to areas in your life that are charged with negative associations.  Do all you can to be in this very moment – do all you can to be here right now.  For example, be grateful for the taste of a cup of tea, the smell of your favourite soap, or the sound of birdsong at your window in the morning.

When gratitude is difficult, understand that you are seeing your BRAIN conforming to its habitual patterns that create depressive or negative thinking, and that is why you need to keep going with this – so that you can retrain it to know how to feel good naturally and to look for more of those feel-good emotions and thought patterns.

Really work to live in the moment, with things you can be grateful for right now, and don’t overthink it. Don’t worry if you don’t get a raging ball of happiness in your heart every day. Just surrender and trust the process. I promise that it works.

So now let’s start our day with the activities that form the foundation of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge:

Part One – Count Our Blessings and Use our Gratitude Rock

If you need a detailed reminder of the process, you can review it here in Day 1 of the Gratitude Challenge.

  1. List five Blessings in your journal, explaining why you are grateful for each one.
  2. Count your Blessings off on your fingers, summoning positive emotion and saying Thank You from your heart for each one.
  3. Tonight before you go to sleep, hold your Gratitude Rock and affirm I am richly Blessed. I have an Abundance of Good in my life. Visualise one thing you have been grateful for today. Swell that positive energy up in your heart like a beautiful golden light, and give a heart-felt Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to the Universe, then imagine a tiny shower of golden light travelling from your heart into your Gratitude Rock.
  4. Still holding your Gratitude Rock, bless your fellow travellers on this Gratitude Journey by sending them golden light, and saying Thank you.  I Bless You.  I intend for you Love, Miracles and Abundance. Know that as you are saying this for them, they are also saying this for you. Feel that connection and gratitude and know that there is real love and support for you here. Place your rock back beside your bed, and go to sleep, cocooned in this good energy.

If all you do each day is these first four steps, know that is enough.

If you feel especially flat, then carry your Gratitude Rock with you, or lie/sit in bed at the start or end of the day, and hold it over your heart so that its energy can recharge you.

If you have an abundance of gratitude and feel-good energy, send some extra to your fellow travellers on this journey, with the intent to uplift those who need it.

Your Gratitude Rock can recharge your heart, and fill you with energy.
Image from yoganv.blogpost.com

Are you ready for more of a challenge?  Today we are going to practice gratitude for the simple things.

It’s the simple things in life…

When I have talked to loved ones at the end of their lives, when I have held their hands and waited with them in those final days, it has always been the simple things that they have summoned forth in their memories – the little things that have given happiness or comfort or meaning somehow.

Image from annmichelesworld.blogpsot.com

A husband who always got the toothbrush ready with just the right amount of toothpaste for his wife whose eyesight had failed her.

A mother’s mashed potatoes – no one else’s ever tasted as good.

The smell of clean sheets.

The lovable way a dog’s teeth always snaggled its bottom lip into a toothy grin.

Coffee from your favourite cafe.

The exquisite perfume of a fresh gardenia or jonquil.

Sunshine.

Diving into the ocean, or surfing the perfect wave.

Hearing your favourite song on the radio.

The joy of paint on a brush, or a completed crossword.

Today, spend a minute or two and really savour one of life’s simple pleasures. When you are done, build up that energy in your heart and say Thank You to the Universe, which provides you with an abundance of little things that make your journey more memorable, more comfortable, more colourful.

If you remember a simple pleasure from your past that you haven’t included in your life for a while, then maybe make the effort to reconnect with that thing, or treat yourself to a whole new positive memory.

Life is for living, and happiness is in the moment.  Bless ♥