Day One

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Hi.  Again.

So this is me, right now.  38 years old, mum of 2 teenagers and 1 x 11 year old, partner (again) to the man I used to be married to, daughter, friend, sister, nurse, knitter, DIY-er, consumer of books and general lover of life.

And self-indulgent brat.

I’m starting my second Whole 30 today, and it’s taken me months to get here, to face up to myself and acknowledge that how I’m living is not working. For me or my family.  Eating whatever I want, not moving, not getting enough sleep, worrying and generally wallowing in lack of motivation is not resulting in a life lived well.

I lost my job 6 months ago, then went through having a hysterectomy and a variety of other health issues that on their own would have been fairly minor, but basically all the c**p in my life snowballed and to put it bluntly, I just let it go.  Not in the way that ‘Frozen’ or any number of inspirational quotes intend, but in the I-just-don’t-have-the-energy-or-care-factor-to-deal-with-this-so-I-won’t way that usually results in a whole lot more rubbish in life to deal with.  Amid some implosions and explosions.

On the grand scale of things, these are majorly first world issues, and despite the bumps and crashes along the way, I live an incredibly blessed life.  Hence why I’m qualified to call myself a self-indulgent brat, because I have the capacity to actually be a grown-up and make choices that mean I can live my best life, and be the best person I can be in the lives of people I ‘do life’ with.

I know that I cannot change the course of my life simply by what I choose to eat, but what I know from my first Whole 30 is that the program is not just about food.  It might start with food,  but it certainly doesn’t end there.  It’s about addressing how our choices affect our health and wellbeing, and therefore our lives in general, and how to make choices that lead to optimal health and living.  The creators of Whole 30 identify nine factors (the Whole 9) that ‘….. we believe, when properly balanced, will lead you to optimal health’ – Nutrition, Sleep, Healthy Movement, Fun and Play, Stress Management, Socialisation, Natural Environment, Personal Growth and Temperance.  

I’ve been failing pretty much all of them.  

And that’s ok, because today is today, and everything that’s come before is done and dusted, leaving me with a wealth of experience and life lessons.  Like how eating anything with grains or sugar or has been processed leaves me with achy joints, headaches and feeling generally blah (thank-you, auto-immune disease), and that no, my body will not eventually give up fighting and just accept whatever I throw at it without complaint.

So that picture up there, that’s my ‘Starting’ photo (no bikini shots from this little black duck, the world doesn’t need to see that), not to compare before and after, but just a record of who I am today, where I am in my life, and the choice I’m making.

To live well, so I can help others live well.  Ultimately, I have the freedom to do whatever I want to in life, but I don’t want to just get by, I want to be the best version of me that I can.

Eat clean.  Get enough sleep.  Move regularly.  Love intentionally.  Laugh a lot.  Get outside. Take time out.  Be a part of my community.

Simple, really.

Join me??

If you’re even remotely curious about what Whole 30’s all about, even just to see if it’s as crazy as people say it is, go and check out the website or FB page.  Then jump over to the Whole 9 site to see where it all started, and browse their great list of resources.  And I’d really encourage you to get a hold of ‘It Starts With Food’, the book that really opened my eyes to just how much food can affect our lives.  I promise you, it’s worth it.

 

 

Do what you can

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I was talking with a friend yesterday, discussing my bathroom renovation, and working on my house in general, including this little ‘project’ of loving my home purposefully.  My friend said to me that she has admired that I’ve done what I can, when I can, as I can afford it and when I’ve had time, rather than waiting to do it all when I have enough money/time/help/resources etc.

I was surprised by her comment, as I’ve never thought about how I do things from that perspective.  I’ve been frustrated by the stop/start nature of the majority of my projects, whether progress has been halted by lack of money or time, illness, whatever crops up and suspends production for a time, but I haven’t put off starting a project just waiting for everything to fall into place.  If I did that, nothing would ever get done around here!

We have lived in a perpetual state of in-the-middle-of (some might call it mess) for a couple of years, and that’s kind of become normal for us.  I’ve learned to work around what’s half-finished and in-progress (just ask me how you can still use a bath throughout a bathroom renovation), and when I do finish something, I’m almost surprised to live with something that’s complete.

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I haven’t really ever thought that that way of doing things is preferable to waiting until ‘the right time’, let alone admirable, for me it’s just been the only approach I’ve known.  Do what I can, when I can, with what I’ve got, and just keep going until it’s finished. Much like the rest of life, really.  Sometimes it just takes someone else’s point of view to shift our own perspective, and to help us be a little bit kinder to ourselves.

Here’s one I prepared earlier

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Once upon a time, I had a blog where I planned to share my adventures in DIY, all the learning, mistakes and results in all their glory.

Cue the record scratch called life-that-happens, and that blog went by the wayside.  But no matter, here we are again, and I’m sharing with you the project that was the catalyst for starting that blog, especially as I still get asked even now how I did what I did.

The very first time I walked into my house, I was nearly blinded by the carpet that looked like the 70’s had vomited all over the floor:

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I knew that it had to go.

December 2011 saw the carpet being pulled up and ditched, and initially I wanted to paint the timber floors white with a basic acrylic paint.  I already knew that I had to investigate alternatives to general commercial paint, as recent renovations at my office had proved literally hazardous to my health – even the low-VOC paint used by the painters had made me unwell enough to have to stay out of the office as much as possible for a few days.  So when I decided that I wanted to give my floors a limewashed look, I naturally turned to that online font-of-all-knowledge – Google – for advice.  And I was somewhat surprised when I struggled to find a simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve the effect I wanted, and so I found myself gathering all the information I could to work out how to create beautiful floors.

I was very fortunate to have my Dad volunteer to sand back the floors, with my then – 14 year old son as his sidekick (a good how-to tutorial for sanding floors can be found here).  Dad hired a floor sander for the day, and with a few hiccups along the way, transformed the pine flooring from grubby to gorgeous.

Before the floors were sanded, I had already found the brand of paint I was going to use.  A few years ago, I committed to reducing the use of toxic chemicals in my house as much as possible, for a whole variety of reasons, including some chronic health issues I have.  When it came time to find the right paint to use, I Googled ‘eco paint’ and was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few Australian companies producing low or non-toxic paints and associated products.  I discovered Ecolour paints in my search, and knew that they had the product I was looking for.  From their site:

ecolour is an Australian manufacturer of premium quality, climate friendly synthetic paint. It performs like any other premium quality paint, can be tinted to almost any colour from any paint chart, is scrubbable, and is certified Carbon Neutral.

Traditional household paints contain toxic chemicals that are released into the air for years after application, called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). All our paints are water based, and kind to your health with ZERO VOCs.

Our unique Australian invention uses re-cycled re-refined waste engine oil to make our water based paint. The oil acts as a preservative, providing durability and smooth application qualities to the paint. ecolour paints have been proven in the marketplace for over 10 years.

The ecolour range includes interior and exterior paints as well as timber finishes. It is suitable for residential, commercial and retail applications.

While Dad was sanding the floors, I rang Ecolour and after some discussion regarding what ‘look’ I was going for, I ordered a limewash tinted sealer product called ‘Polyclear’, at a cost of about $200 for 15 litres (including delivery).

I had initially thought that I was going to have to prime the floorboards, paint with an outdoor paint, and then top them off with a clear sealer.  The lovely gentleman at Ecolour put me on to the limewash tinted Polyclear, for which I was very grateful!

Whilte I waited for the paint to arrive, I did some more reading on what to do when sealing timber floors, and I had to go by information provided for sealing timber floors with a polyurethane finish and just hope that it was effectively the same process!  I knew that I’d need to sand the floors again after the first coat, and figured I cross that bridge when I came to it (I wasn’t keen on having to hire a floor sander again – this is a budget DIY project!!)  When the paint finally landed on my doorstep, I painted a small test patch of flooring and was initially disappointed with the result – the effect was barely noticeable, and I figured I’d just have to trust that the result would be what I wanted in the end.

Before I got painting, I went to the local hardware store and bought a microfibre roller designed for paining floors with a clear-coat product (along with a paint tray, I really had very little in the way of equipment at the beginning!).

First I taped off the skirting boards that were still in place with painter’s tape, and then  with not a small degree of trepidation, I got painting!

My heart sank when I began to see this emerge:

The timber was turning pink!  I had a moment of panic before something in the deep dark recess of my memory came to light, reminding me that somewhere along the way I had read that when sealing some timbers, the timber’s natural oil would be drawn out, giving them a pink tinge – pine being one.  After the first coat was dry, the pink-ness went away, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I cut in around the edges of the room with a broad paintbrush, and wasn’t too fussy about my application, as any messiness would be covered by the skirting boards when they were replaced.

Painting the floor was effectively like painting a wall, just horizontal instead of vertical.  I painted along the direction of the floorboards, going agross the room in sections about 4 boards wide at a time, and overlapping each time I started a new section.  After the first coat was done, the ‘burr’ of the timber was quite noticeable, which I knew would happen and required another sanding with a finer grade sandpaper (240 grit).  I weighed up my options, and ended up buying a 1/2 sheet orbital sander and convincing my son that he’d *really* be helping me out if he could sand the floors for me.  All 52 square meteres!!  Fortunately I have a great kid who was happy to help (and who also knew there would be a pay-off for his efforts!), and he set to work with one of these little treasures – my very first power tool purchase!!

(I have no affiliations with the brands of any products I use, but I was one happy camper with this sander!)

My dear son worked in sections across the room, working the sander side-to-side across 4 boards along the length of the boards.  After the sanding was finished, I swept and vaccumed the floors, then went over then with a very lightly damp mop to pick up any dust.  After this, it was just a matter of applying two more coats of paint.  You can see below the difference between one and two coats (second coat on the left):

and 2 and 3 coats (third coat on the right):

And the finished result!

I was very, very happy with how my floors turned out, and it was a relatively easy process in the end.  There was absolutely no residual smell from the Polyclear (in fact apart from at the time of application, there was no smell at all!), and even though the end result is different from my original vision, I love how the lightness of the floors really brightened up the place.

Nearly 2 years down the track, the floors certainly show signs of being ‘lived on’, pine is a soft wood and I don’t have a hard lacquer coating on top, so we were always bound to end up with evidence of a life lived well with these floors!!  I still love them, and since this project I have replaced the skirting boards, and repainted the walls, skirtings and architraves, and it’s a beautifully light space to live in.

This project was definitely a labour of love, and one of the first things I did to really love and care for our home.  I’ve done more work on my house since finishing the floors, both DIY and with professional help, and with everything that gets done, this space we live our lives in feels more like a home and less like just a building providing shelter.  It’s not perfect and never will be, but it’s ours, and it’s where we love – every day.

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I had plans for today – namely being working on my bathroom – but my body’s telling me that today needs to be one of rest.

I don’t like that.  Like I said, I had plans.

Patience, grasshopper.

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I’ve written before about the patience of love, indeed it is the first quality of love that Paul talks about in his beautiful description of real love.  When I came home from church this morning, after listening to a sermon on living real love, I was immediately frustrated that my house wasn’t as tidy as I wanted it to be, and later that my beautifully tidy dining room was hosting a few items that didn’t belong there.  My first impulse was to get my son to come and put away the things he had left out, but then those words whispered in my thoughts –

Love is patient.

We need patience when we love not just with people, but with everything in our lives – our homes, our jobs, our selves, our callings.  I had that realisation today, that there is purpose in the not-doing, in the letting-go, in taking a breath and just sitting.

My house wasn’t built in a day, and it’s taken a lot longer than that to make it our home.  We’ve been living here for nearly 5 years, and it’s taken most of that time for me to really work out how to make this house our home, to make it the warm, welcoming, loving space where we do life, imperfectly.  Granted, most of that time I’ve been holding my breath, too fearful to start anything in case I didn’t do it perfectly, and to apply a quote from Myquillin Smith in her beautiful book, I got all caught up in myself and missed the real purpose of being here: connecting.

The waiting has had purpose, though, in that we’ve lived in this space long enough to know much of what works and what doesn’t, what we like and what we want to change.  One thing a time, doing what we can with what we have, and embracing the The Nester’s philosophy of It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful.

So today I ignored the bits and pieces left in the dining area by my son who was off creating his own beauty, and I let go of the expectations I put on myself and instead chose to embrace the opportunity to just breathe, to sit in the sunshine and rest.

Because life – just like my home – doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Unstoppable force.

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image via Nina Matthews/Creative Commons

 

So a few months ago I declared my One Little Word for 2014 – for life, really – was love.

Love.

A small word that is the everything of life.

As I wrote last week, 2014 so far hasn’t exactly turned out as planned, and I’m seizing the opportunity to reset and restart, from where I am right now.  And to help me on my way, I’m going to use a challenge The Nester hosts each year, and make it something to help me focus on the areas of my life I want embrace and be intentional about.

The areas of my life I want to love on.  So really,  pretty much everything – my Spirit, my people, my home, my work, my community, my heart, my body, and so much more I don’t even know yet.

But for now, I’ll focus on one area of life each month, and document the process along the way.  No, I won’t be blogging about it every day, but I’m taking up the 31 (or 30) Day challenge to focus on an area of life and do one thing each day to actively love.  Whatever that is,whatever that looks like, I don’t know yet.  I’ll blog a few times each week and will document daily on Facebook and Instagram,  I’d love for you to join me along the way, and I encourage you to share how you’re loving intentionally in your life.

This has by no means been something well-prepared and organised, it’s just something I thought of today as I was pondering a quote from ‘Love Does‘ by Bob Goff (do yourself a favour, RUN to get this book and read it, do not wait!!!), that Shannan over at Flower Patch Farmgirl blogged about last month.  Bob writes:

‘That’s the way the chemistry of God’s love and our creativity work together when combined. No reservoir can hold it, no disappointment can stop it, and no impediment can contain it. It can’t be waved off, put of, or shut down. It doesn’t take no for an answer. Instead it assumes yes is the answer even when it sounds an awful lot like a no to everyone else. – Love Does by Bob Goff – ‘

We are created to love, because God loves us.  And we are created to be artists (with our art being the life we live).  Bob encourages us to bring love and artistry together to create an unstoppable force, and that is how I want to live my life.

With love being the unstoppable force that drives everything I do.  

I’m starting with my home.  I realised today that our home is such a part of our family, it’s like having another member to care for.  Only our poor home has been neglected, used and abused over the years, and in return has hardly failed us or let us down.  I’ve been giving it some TLC over the last few years in the form of some minor renovations and facelifts, but my heart tugs to make it so much more for our family.  Not perfect, nor with expensive renovations, but in the spirit of IDHTBPTBB (click over, you won’t be sorry), doing what I can with what I have to lavish love and comfort and calm, to create a haven for us to feel embraced by.

It was simply my desk today, clearing a few months worth of clutter.  Half an hour later, and a nearly-cleared surface now invites me to use the space for whatever is required at a given point in time.  It invites me to create with love.

Join me? 

 

Hitting reset.

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Well.

That didn’t exactly turn out as expected.  ‘That’ being my life in general.

Since I last posted, my life has changed even more, to the point where it now looks very, very different to the life I was living not so long ago, and I have come to learn that plans are what you make when you live under the gross misconception that you can have some significant control over your life.

But I’m not complaining.

At all.

Despite the position I’m in right now –  recovering from major surgery and not having a job, dealing with a raft of life issues and having very little idea of what the future holds – I have never known more peace in my life.  Because do you know what happens when the really significant areas of your life undergo dramatic changes – good health, jobs, relationships, finances, future goals?

Everything becomes really, really clear.  As in crystal.

I don’t meant to say that all of a sudden you ‘get it’, and life makes complete sense, and you can sit back and just cruise along.  The ‘stuff’ of life doesn’t go away, the everyday stressors and dealings and challenges and things that just make you cry (like scanning things at the self-serve checkout at the supermarket….), they’re still there.  They’re not going anywhere.

But what becomes so very clear is the truth that we can only live with what we have at any given point in time.  Where we live, how much money we have, the status of our health, the people in our lives – with every tick of the clock, that is all we know.  Nothing more, nothing less.

What we think we can rely on, what we take for granted – it can be gone in a second, with a word, before we take the next breath.

What we do when that happens is what defines us.

And what shapes us.

I am learning to live and respond from a place rooted in love, rather than fear, every day.  There are days where I fail miserably – as in it seems that everything I touch explodes in a hot, fiery mess, including me.  But when I look for the place of love, the way is clearer and there is peace, even if only briefly.  So I keep looking, and keep loving.  Rinse and repeat.

My current troubles are nothing more than run-of-the mill life troubles and whilst they have significantly impacted my life, I am more than ok, and without wanting to sound pithy and trite, I am so incredibly blessed with what I have. And yes, there are blessings in the trials, because they’re forcing me to look for the joy in everything.  I’m living life as Paul writes in James –

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4, The Message)

So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.

Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Patience.  Persistence.  Perseverance.

And above everything, prayer.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” (James 1: 5-8, The Message)

Ask boldly, and believe.  Don’t worry.

Easier said than done, I know.  But it can be as easy as I choose it to be, and I’m choosing to reset my old, familiar, comfortably predictable ways of worrying over what life throws at me, and stepping out into belief without the needing to know.

“Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” (James 1: 12, The Message)

Life, life and more life.

This week I will celebrate the life of a friend who left life here on earth to start her eternal life with Jesus, and the legacy she has left with me is to love Jesus with my whole heart, and to grab life with both hands and love fiercely with every breath I take.  Seeing her family love boldly and hope and persevere through her short illness, to stand and defend her faith and their faith in God and His healing in the face of negative medical opinions showed me what it is to choose life.  To choose love.  To turn from fear and death and live in hope.   To live out loud the choice to meet the testing challenge and stick it out, and for my beautiful friend, who was so loyally in love with God, her reward is life, life and more life.  For eternity.

That’s the life I want to live.  So I’m choosing love and life, over fear and death.

Tell me, how do you face the trials of life when they arise?  How do you find love when you’re in the thick of it?  What would you do if you had the chance to ‘reset’?

 

 

 

Eat well, live well, love well

Woolf Inked

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.

Hoooo boy.

This is one of the biggies for me.

And probably the hardest, most challenging-every-day part of my life.

I believe in heating whole, clean, as-close-to-its’-natural-state-as-possible food, for me and my family.  I’m intolerant to gluten and sugar, dairy and grains in general don’t agree with me, and forget anything artificial.  I have an auto-immune disease that can be crippling, the symptoms of which are very much affected by my food choices.

Basically, the cleaner I eat, the better I feel.

Period.

You would think that would make the choice really easy for me, wouldn’t you?  Eat well = feel great.  Eat rubbish = feel like death warmed up.

I wish it were that easy.

I am so very blessed to live in a wonderful part of the world where I have very ready access to beautiful, wholesome food.  We have a small farmer’s market once a week that provides seasonal produce, and great fruit and veg shop sand butchers  that provide a range of local/organic/fresh produce and meat.  There’s really no excuse for not eating whole and clean, all the time.

The biggest problem is what goes on in my head.

I struggle constantly with want vs need, and I give in to the wants way too often.  Sugar, anything baked, creamy cheeses, carby goodness, and my brain is satisfied – for all of about 30 seconds.  It doesn’t take very long for my stomach to start processing.

When I don’t eat well, I get tired, grumpy, foggy in the head and simply just don’t function well.  I certainly don’t love well, that’s for sure.

Reducing the amount of processed rubbish and replacing it with wholesome, home-cooked food is important to me, as it is one way in which I can love well.

Love my family by taking the time to think about what will nourish their bodies and meals they’ll enjoy, and to prepare them and share in them together.

Love my community by supporting local farmers and producers.

Love this planet God has blessed us with by choosing food that hasn’t been modified or tampered with, or required being shipped thousands of kilometres (that is not to say that I don’t buy out-of-season or non-local food, because I do, I try to keep that to a minimum).

Love the people I do life with by encouraging them to do the same, and walking alongside them in their own journeys to eating well.

Loving myself and my body, being grateful for this amazing creation I am thanks to God, by making choices that only enhance my health and well-being.

The choice to live like this isn’t hard.  Resisting the temptation to give in to temporary, fleeting satisfaction in lieu of being intentional about what I eat because it is good for me, not just because I want it, is the challenge.

My choices haven’t been great of late – I could blame the ongoing tooth infection and resulting pain I’m living with, losing my job this week, or any number of other life stressors, but here’s the thing:

There’s always going to be something.

There’s always going to be something that will make me want to turn to comfort food, to seek out instant gratification, to feel like it’s too hard to fight the resistance.

So I’m simply going to make a choice.  To eat well, and to love well.

It really is that easy.

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When enough is enough

Norris Inked

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.

It’s a funny thing, life.

Just when you think you’ve got it all worked out, there’s often a great big reminder that actually, no, we don’t.

I was made redundant from my job today, so it seems like a very appropriate day to talk about work – only I’ll be writing from a completely different perspective than when I read Notes From A Blue Bike a few weeks ago.  A perspective that changed in a few moments, with a few words spoken by my boss who has the responsibility of delivering the news.

I’ve run the gamut of definitions when it comes to work – I’ve volunteered, worked full-time/part-time/shift work, studied whilst working, worked before I had kids and as a parent, worked as a full-time mum and in the workforce as a single parent.  Now, for the first time, I find myself unemployed.

Funnily enough, I actually asked for this.

Not in the sense that I asked to be made redundant, or wished that I wold lose my job, but last year, I awakened to the true desire of my heart to work more at home as a wife (to-be) and mum, more than in the workplace, but felt that I wasn’t in a position to be able to make that happen.

In the 3 years and 2 months I worked in my job, my working hours ranged from full-time, to 4 days a week, back to full-time, until I finally settled on working 3 days a week as the best balance for our family.

It took constant assessing, experimenting, give and take and just being intentional to find my rhythm – not just when it came to work, but to life in general, because paid employment is just one aspect of work in our lives.

2013 presented many learning opportunities for me to work out what does and doesn’t work in my life, in our family, and I had a rude awakening as to just how much I struggled with saying ‘no’, for fear of disappointing people – and the impact that had on all of us.  I had to eventually say ‘no’ to some things that I should never have said ‘yes’ to, and it was a painful experience.

But they were some of the best, most enlightening experiences I have ever had.  They were lessons in saying brave yes-es and strong nos, and working out what it takes to keep the rhythms of life more gentle than discordant.

They helped me define what work – paid or unpaid –  is important, and what isn’t.  And you know what?

Most of it isn’t.

Working to provide an income is important.  Working to please other people isn’t.

Working to give my family what they need is important.  Working to get more stuff that they want isn’t.

Checking Facebook/ Instagram/ Pinterest/e-mail a hundred times a day on my iPhone isn’t important.  Checking in with my kids and my love every day is.

Cooking basic, clean, healthy food for my family is important.  Stewing over any number of things that I *could* worry about isn’t.

Boundaries are important.  Constantly wanting more isn’t.

Enough is an ongoing, constant evaluation, when it comes to working.  Sometimes the balance requires less effort and more intention, sometimes it’s simply knuckling down to just do what needs doing right then and there.  Sometimes it’s more giving and less taking, and vice versa.

My working life looks very different right now, and I don’t know what enough will be.  I love Kat Lee’s personal motto, ‘Do as little as possible, as well as possible’.

Define.

Refine.

Assess.

Put boundaries in place.

And when you work out what the minimum is that is required for your life, do it to the best of your ability.

Work out what the essentials are for you to live a truly authentic life, and live them well.  With passion and joy.

Get rid of everything else – stuff, the yes-es that should have been nos, worry and fear, expectations.

This is how we find our definition of enough.

I have no idea what makes up enough for me right now.  And that’s ok.  It an ongoing process for life, sometimes requiring more focus than at other times.  I do know quiet, contemplative time is needed, and that I need to find it amidst the everyday of my life (that generally involves *a lot* of noise).

I also know that right now requires coffee, books, knitting and conversations – for now, that is part of my work.  That is a big part of enough.

There will also be walking, and baking (gluten-free) bread, and doing laundry.  And the dishes.  And cleaning the toilet.

And it will be enough.

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Time to hit the road

Augustine Inked

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.

I feel completely unqualified to write about travel.  Simply because I haven’t travelled much in my adult life.

I have had the great fortune of travelling around a lot of Australia (and it’s a reaaallllyyy big place!!!), most of my holidays occurring when I was a kid and my mum and dad were still married.  So basically, before I was 16.

20+ years later, and my family and I have stayed closer to home.  We have had some wonderful trips across the country, but have been very limited by a lack of funds to be able to do this more often.

Well, that’s always been my thinking.  No money for holidays and travelling, either within Australia or anywhere requiring a passport.

I’m starting to realise what a lie that is.

Yes, you need money to travel.  But my perception of never having enough money has always been because I’ve never made it a priority.

I don’t need anything fancy for a holiday.  Give me a tent, a fire and some food, and I’m a happy girl.  Really, I’m that easily pleased.

But I still haven’t made that a priority, for a whole variety of reasons.  That right now seem really lame.

My eldest son is 16, and in the last few months it has struck me with stunning clarity just how little time we have left as a complete unit under one roof full-time, this little family of mine.  In a few years, he will be finished school and off to live out his adventures in the world.

All of a sudden, going places as a family seems reaaallllyyyy important.

I don’t care where, just as long as we’re together.  Somewhere.  Anywhere.

In the ongoing, beautiful process of putting our family back together, I want us to see new things together.  To have new experiences together.  To make memories together.

I don’t care where that is.  I just want us to do it together.

I am admitting my smallness in the enormity of the world.  To quote Tsh, I want to experience ‘the best way to understand our smallness is to leave our comfort zones and start exploring, one foot in front of the other‘.

There’s a whole world out there.  I’d better get started.

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Let’s take a ride

Since January 1, I’ve been writing about how I want to live life differently, how I plan for 2014 to be The Best Year Yet.

So far, it’s working.

I know it probably sounds a bit presumptuous to be saying this on the 3rd of February, but given that fact that my good intentions and yes, resolutions, have always gone out the window by now, I’d say that doing things differently is working out for me.

So to have the opportunity to review Notes From a Blue Bike at this time has been incredibly fortuitous, as this beautiful book – part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide – has encouraged and affirmed so much of what I’ve been thinking about and implementing in my life.

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Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple.   She says ‘It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions.’ 

Yes, we do.  We have the freedom to make the choice to live slower, with intention, thinking about the choices we make and making decisions that mean we are living in harmony with our core values and beliefs, as opposed to continually striking a discord.

For the next week, I and other bloggers around the world will be writing about various aspects of life as Tsh focuses on in the book – food, education, travel, entertainment and work.  Come on over here to join in the fun, and as of Tuesday 4th of February (US time), you can grab a copy of the book here (I’ll update local Australian sources as I find them).

In the meantime, watch the trailer below.  You won’t be able to help but start asking yourself questions that might just change your life.

About the book

Life is chaotic.  But we can choose to live it differently.

It doesn’t always feel like it, but we do have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions.

The popular blogger and founder of the internationally recognized The Art of Simple (formerly known as Simple Mom) online community tells the story of her family’s ongoing quest to live more simply, fully, and intentionally.

Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, Notes from a Blue Bike takes you from a hillside in Kosovo to a Turkish high-rise to the congested city of Austin to a small town in Oregon. It chronicles schooling quandaries and dinnertime dilemmas, as well as entrepreneurial adventures and family excursions via plane, train, automobile, and blue cruiser bike.

Entertaining and compelling—but never shrill or dogmatic—Notes from a Blue Bike invites you to climb on your own bike, pay attention to who you are and what your family needs, and make some important choices.

It’s a risky ride, but it’s worth it—living your life according to who you really are simply takes a little intention. It’s never too late.

About the author

Tsh Oxenreider is the founder of TheArtofSimple.net (previously Simple Mom), a community blog dedicated to the art and science of simple living. She’s the author of Organized Simplicity and One Bite at a Time, a regular contributor to (in)courage, an advocate for Compassion International, and a top-ranked podcaster. A graduate of the University of Texas, Tsh currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with her family. Learn more at TshOxenreider.com.

 

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