Miscellany

Fighting the good fight

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I feel like a stranger in my own corner of the internet! I let this little place go for a long time.

Most of this year has felt like a struggle. There have been challenges, so many challenges. And many times, I felt like those challenges were too big to be overcome, like I should just fold and admit defeat. Because I’d been chipping away at them but the hits just kept on coming. It was too big. Life seemed insurmountable.

There were times when I wasn’t sure how we would pay our bills and afford groceries.

There were times when our family felt like it was breaking apart and I didn’t know if it could be saved.

There were times when I cried myself to sleep, or cried quietly alone in the dead of the night.

There were times when I wondered if I would ever get a win.

There was a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights, for seemingly no result.

There were times when I was beat down, my self-confidence taking blow after blow, my soul and sense of value and purpose disintegrating at the hands of others.

There were a lot of dreams, with no path that I could find to bring them to fruition.

There was yelling.

There was rejection.

And for the first time in years, the shady black dog of depression reappeared, much to my surprise and dismay.

I mourned my missing creative spirit. I KNEW what I wanted to do, and what I needed to do, to feed my soul and feel the wonder of the world again. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t summon the energy or the motivation. And so this place was abandoned along with my knitting, and my yoga, and my other writing projects, and other crafty adventures.

About three months ago, we had some amazing luck. My husband was offered another job out of the blue, and with it came some major positives for our family. More income. More time together. These things combined have lightened the burdens on our shoulders and given us some breathing room and opportunities to do things we couldn’t before. It’s made all the difference.

So lately, I have been starting to fight back against the anxiety and disorder. Each day, I’m trying to take small steps towards what I want to manifest. I understand now that if you want things to happen, you have to seek them out, you can’t trust that they will just land in your lap. And so, my plans are formulating in my head, and I’m doing little pieces here and there to make it all come true. It is taking time, but I’m starting to feel productive and creative again.

So here I am again. I can’t say if I’ll be back again tomorrow, or in a week, or a fortnight. Who knows. And I know I don’t need to make excuses or apologise to anyone, the main person this space is for is me. But sometimes it feels constructive to acknowledge the good fights we fight.

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Miscellany

Some thoughts on journalling

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My best ideas come to me when I’m in no position to pause and take 15 minutes to jot something down. When I’m driving, when I’m showering, when I’m kid-wrangling, when I’m busy at work. I don’t know why my mind does that to me, perhaps I need to be in an active state to come up with my best insights.

I also have a shocking memory now, ever since my first pregnancy (“baby” brain, sure). That’s one of the reasons I love journalling, because when I come up with something that I think is brilliant or thoughtful at the time, I feel like I need to write it down straight away or I will forget it. And often when I look back on things I’ve written, I do think to myself, “Huh, I’d forgotten about that”.

I consider blogging to be a form of journalling. That’s my own personal reason for doing it anyway, and it can somewhat explain why I’m not really an organised or regular blogger. I don’t blog to a schedule. I blog only when I have something to write about. Sometimes I wish that was more often, but hey, that’s my other explanation for my seat-of-my-pants blogging strategy – lack of time or ability to do anything about it even when I want to. See paragraph 1 for further details.

I tend to feel the urge to write, either online or in my handwritten journal, when I’m feeling strong emotions. And usually the happy, giddy emotions, as opposed to the dark, melancholy ones. I find it hard to cope with the darker emotions if I let them out of my head, I know that the more time I spend on them the more upset I will get, and I seem to have a fear of feeling upset. Probably something I could work through, if only I wasn’t too afraid to journal about it. I am happier to write when I’m feeling grateful, or creative, or blissed out, or inspired.

Someone who does journalling really well is Sophie Isobel Asher. She blogs a lot about her love of journalling and often shares peeks of her gorgeous handwritten journal complete with clippings and embellishments. I love her journal style, it’s totally her own. I’d like to expand on my own journal style, which at the moment consists of my uninteresting handwriting only and is not pretty at all!  I do however jot down quotes and other sentences I’ve found here and there that have touched my heart, and I note down things I’d like to achieve as well. But my journal is definitely in need of more stickers and stamps and washi tape.

Sophie just finished up a series called “Journal Your Heart Out” which ran over September. I’m going to have a read back through those posts and use them as inspiration for opening my journal up more widely and writing more frequently. I find journalling to not only be very therapeutic, but it encourages me to keep creating. I’d love to discover what else it could bring to my life, if only I made it more of a priority.

For a recent birthday, my Big R bought me a gorgeous handmade leather-bound journal, and I still haven’t had the courage to put pen to its paper yet. Mostly because it’s so beautiful, I’m feeling pressure to only write amazing things in it and not just your standard day-to-day musings. It’s silly I know, because I find the everyday musings are often the most telling. I did have an idea for the journal though. I often think about advice I’d like to pass down to the kids, stories I’d like to tell them, and discussions I’d like to have with them, but not right now because they are too young to understand any of it yet. But as I said above, my memory is very bad and if I don’t record my important thoughts straight away they usually disappear for good. I thought I could use my special journal to write down these thoughts for the kids to read when they are older. I just need to find the courage and time to start.

Do you journal? How frequently, and in what ways do you use your journal?

 Linking up with The Weekend Rewind at Life, Love & Hiccups

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Miscellany

Emerging from the cocoon

I love this time of year. Living in a place like Canberra, you can literally feel and witness the turning of the seasons. About a month ago, I could feel the onset of spring on my skin. The way the breeze wouldn’t chill me through to my bones, but rather just brush against me with enough coolness to raise goosebumps. I couldn’t feel the harshness of the outside air in my lungs anymore, the way it seems to burn during the worst of winter. The air smelled different, more lush and full.

 

20150909_165247 The camellias at our front door are in full bloom – they’re about 3 times as heavy with flowers now as they were when I took this photo a couple of weeks ago!

 

We’ve had a glorious start to spring in this part of the country, weather-wise. I can’t quite believe it, but we’re expecting summer-like temperatures this weekend. I almost don’t know what to do with that, there are so many possibilities and so many things I want to be doing! After the winter that we’ve had, we need to be doing things – outside and together.

I’ve written before about the spell that spring puts over me, and it’s doing it again. I can feel motivation and energy returning. I feel uplifted and hopeful for what the remainder of the year will bring. We have no plans, but plans will be made. I want to spend time with friends, having fun and laughing. I want to go on weekend road trips to visit family interstate. I want to experiment with new knitting patterns. I want to find myself having spontaneous picnics in the sun with my family. I want to walk in the bushland surrounding the city, listening to the sounds of the earth meeting my footsteps. I want to spend time in my garden, kicking a ball with my children, and lazing around on picnic blankets and reading in the sun.

Mostly, I just want to breathe deeply, and laugh, and feel the sun on my skin again.

 

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Moments

Free playing

“What do you want to do today?” I asked.

She immediately answered “I want to make a picture with lots and lots of butterflies!  We can stick them on, like a collage!”.

So we rummaged through our craft box, and we did indeed have a whole bunch of coloured cardboard butterflies ready to be glued.

But first, she wanted to draw her own butterfly.

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Not bad for a 4-year old, huh?

Then, we coloured the butterfly together.

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And she cut it out all by herself, silently, with the utmost care (she’s actually better at cutting out stuff than I am).

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Next, we needed a background for our butterfly collage.  I  handed her a very large piece of cardboard, and she very quickly drew a scene – a stream surrounded by grass, flowers, a tree (with a nest tucked in to a bough of branches) and a sunny sky.

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And then, we stuck butterflies on it.  Her own drawn butterfly was placed first, followed by the other craft ones and some leaves picked from our garden, to create this gorgeous, colourful scene.

watermarked - butterfly collage

I find it hard to conjure up both the energy and imagination needed to continously think up new creative activities for Moose and I to engage in together.  A lot of the time, my brain can’t do much better than “Let’s draw/colour in/paint”, which is fine sometimes, but she quickly gets bored with it.  On this day, I simply let her suggest an idea instead, opening myself up to whatever she might come up with and committing myself to doing the activity together.  This one took us around an hour to complete.  And it was fun!  There was no whinging, no arguing, no tears.  I just gave her imagination free rein, and helped her to make it happen.  It was so satisfying to spend a good amount of happy, creative time with her, on a task of her choosing.  We both enjoyed the whole process of creating together, one step at a time, and I didn’t have to bear the pressure of having to come up with an idea myself!  Win win!

Come and chat with me on my Facebook page!

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Miscellany

Spring / Growing and making

As I get older, I find myself appreciating each season more and more.  I notice the subtleties, pay more attention to the changes all around me.  In recent years, I finally made my peace with winter.  This year, it’s spring that has my heart.  Living in Canberra, we’re so lucky to experience each season to the fullest.

 

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All around me, I find beauty.  The maple’s port-coloured leaves are back, weighing the delicate branches down with their weight.  The seaside daisies have sprouted in to bulky borders around the garden.  And various surprise bulbs have popped up here and there, little treats to be discovered.  When I walk outside, I can smell spring.  The air is clean, nourishing, warm, slightly floral scented.  It energises and awakens me.

 watermarked - winter mapleBefore – our maple in winter

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After – our maple now, in spring

 

I have embraced the gardening life here at our new house.  Having inherited a gorgeous and abundant garden has ignited a passion in me, I’m determined to maintain it and not let the hard work of the previous owners go to waste.  Roses and bushes were pruned back prior to the appearance of spring sprouts and are now lush with new growth, weeding is a continous task (like the clothes washing, I don’t think it will ever be completely done), we have planted rocket, basil and mint seeds in pots, and in our veggie patch we have erected a plastic trellis border to keep the dogs away from our brocolli and silverbeet seedlings, as well as the fig, orange, lemon, and raspberry already growing in there.

 

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Inside the house, I have been teaching myself how to knit.  When I was a little girl, my Nanny taught me how to knit and purl, and so I could make a very basic garter stitch scarf if I wanted to, but that was all I knew.  I have always wanted to build on those basic knitting skills, and learn how to read a pattern and make other knitted treasures.  This has been a little project of mine while I’ve been home on maternity leave.  I’ve read how-to books, watched YouTube videos, joined Ravelry and Craftsy, photocopied pages and pages of instructions and patterns for things that I would love to make, and have bought yarn and needles online.  The feel of the yarn in my hands, the sense of accomplishment from making a piece yourself, it feels wholesome.  And somehow that piece keeps you warmer and cosier than if you had bought it.

The year may be vanishing at an alarming rate, but I’m still so happy that the warmer weather is here.

 

Joining in with the Weekend Rewind at Maxabella Loves

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Miscellany

Winter / Nothing but time

Over the last couple of months, I’ve read a number of blog posts that have spoken of going slow during the colder weather.  Hibernating for the winter, retreating inside our cosy, warm homes.  Instead of rushing a-mile-a-minute, focussing on warming and nourishing food and drink, spending lazy time with our loved ones, reading, resting, and working on our own desires and projects.  A time to look inwards and care for ourselves, figuring out what we really want, and giving ourselves time.  Everything slowly.

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This theme has mirrored my winter outlook this year.  I’m usually the kind of person to actively seek out a challenge, to constantly be learning, looking for ways to be busy.  Not this year.  Over winter, I’ve taken this slowness under my wing.  There have been times where opportunities have risen in front of me, and I’ve been tempted to embrace them.  But instead I’ve stood back, looked them over, said “No thanks, not now” and walked away.  And it has felt really good, a real relief.

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Instead I’ve been sleeping in until the last possible moment.  Lingering over my morning coffee and toast.  Staying in pyjamas until lunchtime.  Holding Little R and just looking at him, and talking to him.  Listening to the peace and quiet, or the wind, or the rain.  Teaching myself more knitting stitches and techniques, and knitting a new scarf.  Reading.  Tidying up the garden.  Baking with Moose.  Catching up on TV.  Writing in my journal.

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I’m on maternity leave and will be until May next year.  Right now, my only job is to look after my children, primarily Little R.  That is it.  I have no other obligations for that period of time.  My sole purpose is to be a Mum.  And it feels wholesome, it makes me happy.  And it gives me time to pursue the other little creative tidbits that I’ve longed to but hadn’t had the time to.  I won’t ever have this time again, not with Little R, not with any more babies because he is our last.  I have nothing but time, and I plan on embracing it.

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