Living Simply

I’ve always been drawn to the simple life.

For the most, I’ve tried to live that way but I confess, over the years circumstances have caused me to let go of some of what I held dear and I think I lost my way, just a little.

Lately I find myself being drawn back to this simplicity I once dreamed of.

We live in a world where we can have it all and a silent mantra quietly calls out to us… ‘you need more, you need more’. In a never-ending barrage of media-driven advertisement, we are subtly drawn into the web and the call to consume, consume, consume constantly calls.

Quite frankly, it tells us we can have more and BE more, even when what we have and what we are is already ENOUGH.

I’m finding, in the endeavour to BE all that I’m created to be, there is a fine line that I sometimes cross in my pursuit of ‘the dream’. Before I know it, I’m running like a ‘nit in a fit’ all too fast to enjoy the ride.

Isn’t enjoying the ride what it’s all about?

Life can get away from us too quickly.

There is a danger that….

One: We’ll just ‘endure’ the ride always looking for that “place” to finally disembark, forgetting to ‘enjoy‘ the journey. We get stuck on ‘destination drive‘, constantly crying out ‘are we there yet, are we there yet?

or maybe,

Two: We’re the proverbial hamster on a wheel sporting a windblown grin, running aimlessly to somewhere, totally unaware that we’ve actually lost our way, our ‘true north’, we’ve become another person and we don’t even realise it.

I’m happy to say, as I’m getting older I hear the warning bells ring a whole lot earlier and I can simply take stock of where I’m at. I’m learning to make small but necessary adjustments so I can slow down, breathe in the beautifulness that life has to offer and remind myself that the race is not won by speed but steady intentional steps.

In the fullness of time, I know everything will work out for my good and I can be confident that I will ‘finish strong’. (more about that later)

I wonder if you need to take some time to look at how your life is tracking.

Are you speeding off into the future, perhaps losing your ‘true north’?

Are there adjustments you could make to find calm, to embrace a slower more intentional life?

Is there something your persueing that could be left til later? Remeber the race is not to the swift? Maybe it’s ok to put it on the back burner for another season. (Life is all about seasons you know)

Are there ‘things’ that perhaps you need to shed (both physically and spiritually) Identify the ‘stuff’ that weighs you down and makes you’re life and home cluttered.

Will you make more time to do the things that feed your spirit. I know how much difference this can make. Maybe this week you can start to identify what you love the most and begin to move towards making time for these things.

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

It’s all about balance and adjustment. Being mindful of when there needs to be a shift. Once our ‘tank’ is full, we can easily move toward productiveness and, visa versa, when our tank is getting low, just make the simple changes to refuel and recharge.

It’s that simple.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE NEXT BLOG “FINDING BALANCE”

Self Care Getaway

It’s almost a whole month since I wrote about ‘self-care’. I’m happy to say that last weekend I took my own advice and went away for a little jaunt in the country.

At first, I thought it would be be too difficult to get away. My men had just returned home after being down south for almost three weeks, and even though I thoroughly enjoyed ‘me time’, I did miss them, leaving them so soon wasn’t ideal.

That’s the thing about self care.

Sometimes, it’s inconvenient.

Now, no-one could be blamed for thinking “hasn’t she just had more than two weeks alone – wasn’t that enough to fill her tank?”

To be honest, my body was very rested, but there was something not at rest within. I needed some time to reconcile and re-ignite one thing that had be nagging me.

It was the book – the one I was supposed to finish last year. I didn’t. Then there were some other complications that had me stuck. Really stuck where that was concerned. I needed a kick start and what better than a writing retreat in the country and better still, at a Benedictine Monastery?

“Goodbye Boys, I’ve gotta go do this.” and off I went.

I’m so, so glad I did.

New Norcia, The Benedictine Monastery and Amanda Vivier’s Writers Retreat were all so good for the soul.

Weeks earlier I’d set myself a goal.

‘At the retreat, I could and would, begin again. I would let go of what ‘lost motivation’ was doing to me. I would also let go of all the doubts that had become a constant nagging, telling me I was just a dreamer. I would simply start again, somewhere – anywhere.’

Setting that goal was pivotal.

The good book talks about fanning into fan the gift that we’ve been given. All too often we let who we really are get drowned out by the cares and weight of the world and more so, by the sound of your own self critic.

You’ve been made for purpose and by design. Remember that.

Perhaps you need a little self care this weekend to find yourself again, to revisit you, maybe just something you’ve let go.

I’m reminded of the lines in Rita Springer’s song, Defender.

“When I thought I’d lost me, you knew where I’d left me, you reintroduced me to your love. You picked all the pieces, put me back together – you are the defender of my heart.”

Go find what it is you’re meant to do. Be kind to yourself in the searching.

You won’t regret it.

Self Care Matters

I need to confess, I haven’t always been a good advocate for self-care. Frankly, I once thought it was – well, just a little bit selfish. Tragic, I know but circumstances and environment shaped me, leaving me with some stuff to sort through. Feeling worthy of self-care was one of them. No wonder I burnt out on more than on occasion.

Since our own ‘series of unfortunate events’ – an overseas accident and our journey with cancer, I’ve had to acknowledge that I need to listen more to my body, to my soul and to my spirit.

listen to the BODY

Even lately, after all the learning I have done, I’ve neglected to look after this temple I call my body. I’m walking around with an occasional limp, bearing the consequences but hoping I haven’t caused some permanent damage. A silly fall left me with an occasional limp that I hope, with some good ‘self-care’, will improve. An early morning trek through the woods of the Te Mata Peak in New Zealand late last year had me galavanting off track to take a close look at an incredibly large mushroom. I spotted it down my on the hillside and went off track to take a look. I got the photo I wanted but unfortunately, my footing slipped and PING – something broke.

Now, I’ve never really had to deal with my feet not being able to carry my body where it needed to go, so when a week later I needed to board a plane back to Perth, I should have taken the crutches with me – but oh no – superwoman chose to go it alone (in more ways than one).

I arrived safely, a little worse for wear. The boys stayed in NZ and fortunately snuck in just before the COVID lockdown. I spent months prior limping along streets, navigating public transport, sometimes in tears searching for a place to live. So, after using copious amounts of strapping tape and what seemed like an eternity of wasted time, God faithfully provided a home. I wonder now whether it was most likely the same one he’d set apart right from the beginning of my searching.

Why could I have not just put my ankle up and rested in the fact that he really is a GOOD GOOD FATHER who would provide for his child? Why did I worry when he’s never let me down yet?

listen to the SOUL

As a man thinks in his heart – so he is.

proverbs 23:7

Our mind, our will and our emotions. All these things that make us tick and neither is more important than the other. Oh how complicated we are and oh how important it is that we keep all these parts of ourselves healthy. What a minefield we are when things get out of whack.

I’m learning more each day to teach my mind to think good thoughts, honest thoughts, kind thoughts towards others and toward myself. This is self-care. I’m becoming more aware of patterns that could send me on downward spirals so I actively take captive of thoughts that could potentially pull me and others down – this is self-care at it’s best.

When it comes to my mind, my mantra for life has become a verse from the good book. “Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things lovely, whatever is of a good report – I CHOOSE to think on those things.” It’s not always easy when life has thrown a curve ball or two, but if we can truly put this concept into action, the out working of it is pretty powerful.

I am still amazed how this simple truth works. It’s powerful stuff. It’s God stuff. It’s a father teaching his children stuff. The good stuff. It tool kit kind of stuff – equipping us for the struggles He knew we’d face.

listen to the SPIRIT

We are not our body but it does need to carry us until the time we depart earth. Nor are we just the thoughts in our head, which often lie to us.

While our body may at times become overly tired and a little worn out, and our mind may struggle to believe we could be all we’ve been created for, our spirit can still stand strong and guide us to truth- especially when one makes an undeniable connection with the creator, the one who know us better than we do, all our undeniable intricacies and even understands our weaknesses.

My view is that there is a spirit spot in each of us that won’t be satisfied until we find our way to that connection. Listen for the still small voice – it will lead you. If you haven’t found it yet – keep searching because there’s nothing quite like deep to deep – spirit to spirit.

(disclaimer: there's so much more I could say, 
so many practical things about self care - this is just a quick 
and hopefully thought provoking blurb)

write_make_create

a space for dreamers and doers

i’ve always been a dreamer. not in the bad sense of the word. i’ve always loved to create. when I was a little girl i made perfume from the flowers in the backyard and wondered if I could sell it. i just loved to make things. anything. when i was a teenager i tried to make varnish from goo that flowed from a tree trunk. i can hear you laughing. but I was a dreamer and i dreamed about what my future would look like. i dreamed about singing. singing on a big stage – and i did. i dreamed of owning a little cafe. i didn’t. life went on and my dreams grew bigger. some were realised. many were not. regret grew. it was ugly. creativity seeped away. i was disappointed. spring came. my eyes opened. new life came. a creative food business. and old dreams revived. new dreams to. write.make.create came into being.write.make.create is a space for you to grow. a safe place to unpack your dreams. fan them into flame. share your ideas & creations. find motivation. nuture clearer direction. grow in strength and faith. find passion and purpose. dream again. you may even be inspired to turn your passion to profit.

write_make_create

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  • workshops – online and local
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If you haven’t already joined us, sign in below and we’ll keep you updated on up and coming events and our creative ventures

River Way

Today I walked down by the River. It was almost dusk. The water was still, and so was the air. I stood for a moment watching the faint ripple as a gentle wind touched the surface. It felt good to be out of the house and away from all the things that continue to beckon me, come.

Musings

I’d worked most of the day. Finally the weekend had come and now my real work could begin, but first, I needed to walk, just a quick walk to clear my head. Down the hill and toward the river that sits peacefully at the bottom of my street. This time I decided to turn left, walking along the side street, River Way, I like this quiet, more elevated laneway. It still affords me an odd glimpse of the river while I walk. I like peeking into the glamorous back entries of these rather palatial homes. They sit high above the river bank and below them they look on to the homes that line the riverfront street below.

I walk. Sometimes I imagine what kind of lives they live. Are these people that far removed from me and the humble life I live. Who knows?

These River Way homes sit haute. They overlook other mansions that sit at their feet. The breathtaking vista of the River below is their everyday view. I wonder if they tire of it, I know I wouldn’t. I imagine families sitting at their tables looking out of the grand windows. The sun is downing over the River, and beyond the river lights begin to flicker in the distant hills that surround our city. This is a painting made for them and everyday the colour changes, just a little. I sigh to myself and think how I would never tire of such a view.

I look down at my feet and notice the marble on a particular drive way and think to myself how much better it is than brick paving and then I see a door that resembles an entry to a Balinese resort. Lovely.

I must say, these grand ‘back’ entries are more glamorous than my entire humble home. Actually, the home I reside in is not even ‘my’ home, but I like living here, surrounded by this earthly glory and I remember the saying ‘location, location, location’. I remind myself how blessed I am to live here.

To be honest, I think I like the status of saying ‘I live in Salter Point’. Is that shallow? Probably. Sometimes I just let people imagine I am ‘well to do’, like my neighbours, but i’m not. I’m just a humble woman trying to make her way in the world. Trying to make life a little easier for my not so well lover. I’m working hard these days to build a business – not just write.make.create but I have another little venture I’m investing in too. Always working, always dreaming. Who knows, one day maybe I will ‘strike it rich’ and buy myself one of the lovely homes I see whilst on my walk.

But for now, I’m happy in my little humble home. It’s more than enough. I’m happy just dreaming.

Motivation

What motivates you?

I’ve been creating quite a bit lately but in the past couple of weeks I noticed my motivation waning, just a little,

so I asked myself why?

Sometimes it’s just weariness that takes over but even then I’m not one to plonk myself in front of the TV for too long. I confess – I’m not a Netflix binger like my other half. I find it such a waste of time when I have so many ideas bubbling in this head of mine. Tho, I’m not averse to it now and then and I do watch the odd flick while I’m creating. The trouble is, I always have some creative mission on the go so I’m never still for long. Yes, I know, I need to remind myself that the rhythm of work and rest is needful, but sometimes, for me, resting is making.

Whether it’s making (journal creating or sewing) connecting with peeps on  “Write.Make.Create or working on our latest business venture “Eco n Me”, whatever the case, I’m busy – not the ‘woe is me’ kind of busy – but busy in a good way.

Anyway, I said all that to say this

creatively speaking

I just got a bit ‘bla’ !

So after I asked myself ‘why’, I quickly realised it was simply because I hadn’t been feeding my creative self. I’d been madly creating and not putting any fuel back in. It was a simple fix!

I simply fueled up!

  • I went searching for some bits n bobs I needed for my journals and happened to see the sweetest mag, so bought that instead and read it from cover to cover. 97214A43-348B-4480-8061-4A64BE99CD41_1_201_a
  • I watched my fave peeps on youtube doing what they love – making journals, making soap – making anything!
  • I listened to a couple of podcasts on the way to work (my business coach, Anna Runyan is the sweetest honest girl – she makes me smile)
  • I picked up my guitar, jumped on my piano (well not literally), and made myself learn some new songs – Defender by Rita Springer and Refiner by Maverick and oh so wonderful, Champion by Dante Bowe. DEFINITELY FOOD FOR THE SOUL I was craving for.

and that was that – all fired up again

So my friends, if you’re flagging, lacking luster, just find what you need to fuel up. Before you know it you’ll be doing what you love more productively!

Create

What happens when you lose motivation and you’re not sure how to get the cogs into motion again?

When it seems impossible to move forward, sometimes you just need to change tack and do something totally different. Changing ‘tack’ is simply finding another way to deal with the same problem. I have a problem. I’ve sadly lost my writing motivation. I’m stuck and I need to get unstuck.

Something has to be done and I know that I need to continue to be creative. Creating is something that has a way of fanning into flame embers that have almost died out. Yep, creativity can do that. Oh, how I hope it fans my writing back into motion. It’s early days but this is my hope.

Some of you may know that some weeks back I lost a substantial number of heartfelt words from the memoir I started just over two years ago. I was almost there. I can honestly say that seeing the end in sight was just an amazing feeling, albeit six months past my estimated completion date.

It’s still a mystery how this happened, but happen it did and I haven’t been able to move forward since that moment. How could I let this happen?

Seriously, how?

I feel so frustrated with myself. Frustrated that I feel stuck, again. Another roadblock. Yep, I’m stuck.

Almost defeated – but I won’t give up – so what do I do now?

I do the only thing I know to do, and that’s to keep moving.  I can’t seem to move on what I want to move on, so I’ve started something, something that I know can help.

Creating

Creating is my go-to place. Not moving is not really an option for me. I’m not sure that this is a good thing or not, but at least for now, I’m moving and not sitting here thinking about what I’ve lost and how I can fix it.

Fix it – I can’t. But create – I can.

If I can’t create my book right now – I can still create.

antique crumpled crumpled paper dirty
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

This may just be the key to unsticking my stuckness.

So here’s my latest little venture.

I’m loving this and now that I think about it, it’s still connected to writing. This week I’ve started creating vintage journals. They still connect me to writing – even if I’m just creating them for someone else to write in.

These little beauties take time, a lot of time but for me, they are breathing new life into my thwarted writing soul and I feel good about that.

It’s a sweet interlude. 

These journals are fun and I find I’m bubbling with ideas about what to do with them. New ways to create. My mind is awash with themes, colours, sizes, and styles. It’s running away with new ideas, but for now Stephanie, focus – just create.

Follow the link if you’d like to order one. Pre-Order your personalised journal or simply purchase one of my pre-made journals.

LOST

It’s been a while and my writing motivation has taken an all-time low.

It started some weeks back when I somehow lost almost 25,000 words. Precious words. Words of the book I’ve been writing. Almost six months of writing, editing, thoughts.

white petaled flowers on a sunny day

Lost Words.

Not just any words, a real-life story, heartfelt moments, traumatic events that had me feeling again whilst I wrote. Moments when tears flowed as I dug deep as I wrote down memories of a time long gone.

After which, I had to ask myself, “have I reconciled with my past?, am I ok ?”

Thankfully the answer was yes.

It’s good to know that it’s actually ok to still feel a little when you remember tough times. I don’t want to be so together that I don’t feel anymore.

I don’t want to be that person who hides their real self behind an austere exterior.

I want to be a person who feels deeply, not shutting down what’s going on inside. Not denying emotions that make me feel vulnerable or even a little needy. We ‘need’ community. We ‘need’ people who gather around us when perhaps we just need a hug or need to know we belong.

I’m thankful for the life I’ve lived, for my story. A story that helped me know I couldn’t walk alone. One that taught me to reach out, to belong to something bigger than myself.

It’s made me who I am today and one day soon when I can gather back my momentum, I’ll share with you a link to the story that resounds within me and the words I lost will come again to paper and yes, I’ll probably shed another tear as I write but it will be worth it.

If my story can help one person to work through their journey and know that there is ‘a future and a hope’ for them, then it’s all worth it.

woman looking towards the sky
Photo by YURI MANEI on Pexels.com

So if you’ve had a set back this week. Don’t give up. Look for the silver lining, it will come.

 

 

 

There is a NAME

There is a name that is above every other name, good or bad.

There is a name over every other name that is raising its head at this point in time. It is a name that is above fear, a name above panic, a name above pandemic. It is a name above disorder, above the chaos, above feelings, above injustice. It is a name above the name of EVERY disease, it is above evil and it is above Covid 19.

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We’re all reeling with what’s happening in our world right now. Fear is real, panic is real and there are moments when I feel moved by what I am seeing and hearing and I find myself giving in to fear.  I have to shake myself and remember who I belong to. I remember the Name of Jesus, my friend, and my delight and I quickly encourage myself with words from the good book, words I’ve held dear for a long time.

David says

1Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
2He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.

8Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

 

‘I shall not be greatly moved’

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I’m not belittling the gravity of what’s happening around us. I for one have wept prayerful tears for Italy and for the nations that are hardest hit. Although my heart is heavy, I want to encourage us all to feed faith and not fear.

Media, although giving us good information and helping us to know how to practically battle this pandemic, it is also filling us with fear. In most cases, the name of ‘fear’ is lifted higher, exalted but we can and must fight this battle with FAITH. Let that be our focus, our battle plan.

If you’re not a believer, now, more than ever is a good time to reach out to the name I’m talking about, JESUS, he who is greater than all of this. No matter what the outcome, whether I live or die, I know he can turn this for your good. Your salvation can be secured today in Jesus by a simple prayer, by just reaching out to him in your little room, by faith, just a look in his direction and he’ll come running to you. Let him fight your battle.

Brazil running to Him…..

He’s like the wind, you can’t see him, but I know he’s there, he’s moving all the time and working things for my good, I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Oh that you could know how much he loves you, how much he wants for you to know and experience his great love for you.

How he wants to gather you in – to show you his love right now.

Turn fear into faith today.

I GLADLY CALL ON THE NAME OF JESUS – THE NAME ABOVE EVERY OTHER NAME

Pray for Italy

I have loved Italy ever since I was little.

green metal post in front of the body of ocean with boats during twilight
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s a strange thing as I’m not Italian, but something within me has always been drawn to this incredibly vibrant, and in some ways, bombastic culture. Perhaps it was the Italian family who lived next door to my grandma’s house when I was very young. As I played in my gran’s backyard, the neighbor’s house loomed large, so much bigger than granmas humble house. White ornate pillars surrounded the palatial house, also white, three stories high. Lemon and olive trees dotted the large yard and constantly drew me to the crumbling grey stone fence that separated our backyards.

food healthy nature water
Photo by Ryan Baker on Pexels.com

My eyes peered over, fascinated by everything that went on in their back yard. I often stood there just watching and listening to the cacophony of words that sounded out, words I never understood. Bottling days were the best when I could smell the aroma of thick red sauce, laced with Basil, simmering on the stove in the not so little backyard kitchen. I could hear the women bantering and knew Nonna, had everyone under control, even the men. Somedays, her grandson, a couple of years older than myself, would invite me over to play. I’m sure it was just to avoid the work because, on other days, he ignored me.

A few years later my sisters moved to Melbourne and dated Italian men and one married a man from Calabria. I visited them often. To me, Melbourne seemed like a little Italy, continuing to fan into flame my love affair.

Later, I met my dear friend Catena, and together we embarked on an Italian journey of travel and language. We’ve travelled to Italy together on numerous occasions and sat in Italian classes, me a novice and Catena, returning to her roots. It’s been a wonderful journey and I know she would feel the same about her homeland and mourning the fact that we can’t just jump on a plane any time soon to visit this beautiful land we both love so much.

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Whatever the started this Italian fascination doesn’t doesn’t really matter. What counts is that all of those things, collectively, cemented a long love affair with Italian food and culture.

For now the doors are closed and the streets may seem empty but life goes on.

With so many people it’s impossible for it to sleep.

Did you know little Italy would fit into Australia 26 times? It’s population is over 60 million, that’s almost three times the population of Australia. A high percentage of the population is over 60 and they are at risk. The Covit19 virus is wreaking such havoc in our world and it seems to be hitting the elderly the hardest.

If you’ve seen anything on social media about Italy and the Coronavirus, despite the sudden lockdown, they are fighting back with their vibrant spirit! Young and old join together in songs for solidarity (Check out lovely Girl n Florence’s blog – who BTW I met when in Florence at Lisa Clifford’s Writers Retreat) from their apartment balconies, an old man plays the accordion as a younger one bangs out a rhythm on a tambourine while her little one dances next to her and they wave across to each other, defying the urge to give in to fear.

God is bigger than Coronavirus.

Right now, I feel sad that I may not see Italy any time soon. They’re in crisis. They need our prayers along with many others.

I say how about we learn a lesson from our Italian friends and let Joy ring out over fear. Carla Coulsen’s depicted their spirit in her book Italian Joy.

Let’s turn worry into prayers, trample fear with a song – this is definitely the best antivirus I know. ♥️