Tuesday: I love my local friends. I will probably say that a lot in this series but friends are so important.
Wednesday: I was pleased to receive a phone call to say that my kids had won a school holiday colouring contest through the local library. They were stoked with their prizes. Thank you so much to the staff at the library!
I love our library for so many reasons. It was a lifesaver when the kids were little; a place to visit on a rainy day, baby rhyme and song sessions and a super duper toy library (free!) that we still use regularly, plus a yummy hot chocolate on occasion. These days I love it mostly because of the OneCard system...I order my books online and I receive a text to say when they are available to collect, too easy.
Thursday: An emotional day for me, teary and a bit all over the shop; feeling extra sensitive. It was interesting to notice. Weather wise, it was warm and super windy which made me feel a little flustered at times. I bought myself some flowers, just a little reminder to myself that I am lovely and that I can nurture myself, as well as be nurtured by others, when I need it or when I feel like I am beginning to feel depleted. I had a nap and an early night! I look forward to my lillies opening up :-)
Today was a lot better but I was still feeling tired, I ended up having another nap after volunteering at school and doing errands. I will tuck myself into bed very soon.
Perhaps because yesterday was a little rough, I have felt a lot more appreciation in general.
I am so grateful for the awesome people in my life.
I am grateful for week long monopoly games, we leave the game set up to return to when we have the time or inclination :-)
I am grateful that my contract for 2 days work providing Reiki in community health has been renewed until the end of the term, yay! It's not for everyone and that's okay but it feels so good to receive so much positive feedback and to know that the people who benefit from complimentary health therapies, in addition to mainstream medicine and psychology, really benefit.
Friday: A walk at sunset with the kids. We counted 13 cats, some peaking out at us from windows, some relaxing in their front yards and one super smoochy ginger who wanted to be friends. Our record is 15...cats love dusk and so do I.
Saturday: Awesome cloud formations in the mid north on my way to visit some of my favourite people.
Sunday: I am grateful for local, friendly faces.
Monday: I am grateful for our school!
Relaxing with a cup of tea after work with this guy. Could he be any more handsome?
My new painting is up in the kitchen!! There are a few spots I could continue to fiddle with, a couple of mistakes, but I am going to say...it is DONE. I am really happy with it overall.
PS. Can you see that my kitchen table has purple legs? Two tones of purple to be exact. Apparently it was from a sunday school and I loved it as soon as I saw it.
I love journalling and I often write snippets of gratitude once or twice a week, to reflect on and tune in to all the good stuff in my life.
So....I am going to try and do a daily gratitude series on my blog. Maybe some text, maybe a photo. I won't promise to blog everyday but I will make a note in my journal or take a photograph...DAILY....and then post them on here.
If you want to play along, please comment, drop me a line, start your own blog (You know who you are!!) or personal journal.
So here goes...
Friday 7th: The beginning of a weekend away for me...friendship, hot tea, delicious food, fresh flowers, good conversation and a warm and comfy bed.
Saturday 8th: Art workshop with my lovely friend, learning from Tracy Verdugo. I was so out of my comfort zone, I felt very awkward and inexperienced, I was the only one there who had virtually zero acrylic painting experience. It reminded me a little of when I did Singing with the Stars...shitting myself most of the time on the inside haha but knowing I wanted to be there and do my best. So, yeh, I attended and experimented... with a beginners mind and a good dose of courage and did the best I could.
And again, friendship and hospitality, laughter, good conversation, a different warm bed and a full belly of delicious homemade food! I seriously get spoiled when I am away staying with friends in Adelaide.
Sunday 9th Oct: Day 2 of the art workshop and I found I relaxed...a little. ;-)
Here is pic of Tracy's layers on day 2.
And mine coming along....
Below is Tracy finishing hers off as an under the sea scene..."Night dive".
She makes it look easy! You can check out her website here
I had to stop to take a photo or two of the sunset on my drive home.
Monday 10th: Family time! I had missed those little faces...and the big one too.
Tuesday 11th: Celebrating our 2nd Wedding Anniversary! Some art with The Man of the House (he is so good at painting...like naturally...with ease! Grrrr, haha) and then Cafe Capella's in Moonta for tea...it is always consistently good there. I have never been disappointed.
A brisk walk after tea before it all unravelled, haha. Cafe Capella begins dinner at 5pm which is perfect for dining out with kids but it still requires a bit of patience...during or after!
My painting is looking good...nearly finished, another sess or two and I'll be done. Tracy's method involves lots of layering, symbols, mark making, using acrylics and ink which react with water and playing with colour & texture. I am so glad I attended.
Ok, I'll be back soon for more gratitude.
Here is a beautiful song I heard on the radio, it makes me cry but alot of things do these days :-) I adore his deep voice.
Bryan, the teenager speaking in the film clip, has a life expectancy of 36 years of age.
In my messy, beautiful, confusing, amazing, imperfect and joyful life...I live.
Wow, it's been quite a year!
I have blitzed through my personal barriers and fears around singing in public and documented the process here on the blog, it has been an adventure but worth every minute.
In other HUGE news I married The Man of the House this month!
On our eleventh anniversary with a small group of loved ones.
In the dress of my dreams created by the amazing Lisa Slabskyj.
Intimate and special and relaxed and an absolutely amazing, beautiful day!
Here is a little selfie I took at the end of the day, super happy.
It is a great feeling when you cross some dreams and goals off your list.
It is a great feeling and also a little strange, perhaps even unusual. I guess it is human nature to ask what it is next....and when I can't really think of anything right now...it is strange indeed! I do have a few little ideas of course, but nothing jumping out at me for now.
So, I'll take my own advice and CELEBRATE this amazing year in this blog post and also by picking up my wedding photos this weekend, woohoo, can't wait!
As for a specific focus for the future, if anything, I decided to get quiet and ask my heart.
What would I really like to do/be/experience next?
The image that came to mind?
An image of my two bright and beautiful kids with my arms around them....then the man of the house with his arms around us.
What does this mean? I think it means to continue putting our own little family unit first, as best as we can, from moment to moment.
The second thing I feel when I see the image in my mind's eye is gratitude.
What with all that is going on in the world right now, gratitude is so important. I have it so good. I am safe. I am loved. I have shelter and food and fresh water and health...more than many others have, I am very aware.
I feel soooo grateful for the two little people in my life that drive me absolute bonkers, who teach me everyday, who push my buttons and who I love so much!
I am grateful for the amazing man who I now call my husband! (Who incidentally isn't a huge social media fan, let alone blogging, so he gets a very small wrap on here ;-)
Alongside that, I am so grateful for the delightful, necessary, little pockets of solitude that I have purposely carved out in my life so I can feel more like myself and therefore give more joyously to my loved ones and to causes that touch my heart.
I can do that!
I am blessed indeed.
Well, it's been a little while since I wrote and I knew it would be ....being involved in a big project like 'Singing with the Stars' was a huge outward breathe of courage and newness for me.
This outward movement required another equally large inward breathe to reflect and attempt to return to some sense of internal equilibrium!
The concert raised over $13,000 (!!) for Make a Wish Foundation to go towards granting wishes for seriously ill kids, an amazing achievement for all involved and all who attended, particularly Belinda Knight who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.
It was a great show, loads of fun and variety, with such a high standard of acts. My singing partner Jonny Gorden and I performed a medley of Buddy Holly songs that he arranged and directed. By all accounts, our performance was well received and I was especially proud of our efforts.
On a personal level, Singing with the Stars was a mammoth step out of my comfort zone. I was scared shitless at times during the process but interestingly, at other times, I felt very myself...like I was exactly where I needed to be, and wanted to be, despite the newness of it all.
Because, you know, newness does feel scary.
Of course it does.
Fear around something new is normal.
If the new thing we are doing really matters to us, if we really, really want it or it has a deep, personal significance, we may feel even more fear.
And...if we've had a negative experience in the past...an embarrassing moment whilst performing, if we failed an important test, if we received feedback that was less than constructive, if we were teased or laughed at, talked about, criticised...the list goes on....let's add another few layers of fear on top of the original 'newness' fear as well.
For me, I had already made my baby steps. (You can read about them here.) I was both ready and eager for the next step and I still had my fair share of personal challenges to get there.
What did I do? Well, I did the best I could, honestly.
Here are a few tools and tips that I found helpful for dealing with any anxiety or fear that came up for me....
1. Journalling, particularly free writing. I would write whatever popped up in my head, longhand, even if it was just my shopping list at first. After a few minutes of random thoughts, the juicy, raw stuff would often come up to be expressed and dealt with. I sincerely found (and continue to find!) that putting my worrisome thoughts down on paper stops them from running amok in my head.
2. Rescue Remedy lozenges....thank you dear Robyn for this 'lolly of calm' at rehearsals and at the show.
3. Prepare. Now, there might be a time and a place for 'winging it' but for me, this was not one of them and I would say that if something really matters to you, like a performance or a job interview for a much longed for position, winging it is not a great idea :-)
I steadily worked through my 'to do' list before the show, sometimes it was long and a little overwhelming, especially if there were other personal things happening. Other times it was slow and steady, mostly involving a 10-15 minute practice after the kids were in bed to learn the song lyrics and then later some story lines/stage direction. I knew I wouldn't regret that I had not rehearsed enough, no matter what happened on the night.
4. Visualisation. In the couple of days before the show I had crazy butterflies in my tummy so I attempted to reframe my thoughts. I chose to remember that the butterflies were not 'bad', I didn't need to get rid of them, instead I saw them merely as a reminder that I was keen to do my best. I would take deep breathes and visualise the butterflies slowing down their crazy fluttering, landing calmly on a log and just fluttering their wings every now and then. I didn't make them disappear...we chose to become friends instead :-)
5. Get support! I found that effectively communicating my desire to be a part of the show and how important it was to me, family and friends were keen to support me, whether by attending the show, sending positive words of support or in the case of The Man of the House and the kids, freeing me up for rehearsals...a huge thing if you have a family.
Ask for help if you need it...I asked my hairdresser for help with a costume and she gladly provided things to try on. I asked members from the local Rock and Roll dance club to dance in our act. I asked my friends to buy tickets, attend and vote. I texted my singing partner Jonny on the morning of the show some silly, anxious questions that were stressing me out, nothing major, just little things that were bothering me. Fantastic mentor that he is, he phoned me and calmly talked me through the logistic stuff that had me concerned.
6. Celebrate your success. Please, please don't forget this important step.
Even if your success was just having a go, celebrate it.
Celebrate that you had the courage to try.
Celebrate your very first, teeny, tiny, baby step.
Celebrate when you totally achieve your goal, when you hit the mark and then some.
Life is too special and amazing to just move on to the next thing.
Enjoy the afterglow.
I consciously decided to truly hear and receive compliments that people gave me. At first my knee-jerk reaction was to point out the errors in my act, especially when I watched the video recording on facebook.
But it didn't feel good and I'm guessing it didn't feel great for my friends to have their compliments thrown back either.
So....I decided to go the other way...to graciously receive compliments, thank the giver and remember the words they said. I wrote a heap of them down in my journal, along with some memories of the night, and they are fabulous to reread already. What a wonderful memento for the future.
Celebrate in whatever way that feels right to you. Mine definitely included a little bubbly...after my performance ;-)
Celebrating with friends and flowers below.
More flowers, lucky girl.
So that is all for now...in two years there will be another show that will surprise and entertain local music lovers...I can't wait to see it and perhaps even help out in some way.
I'll leave you tonight with this video by the immensely talented Tania Allen with fun footage of the contestants, professionals and crew preparing for the Make A Wish Foundation "Singing with the Stars" contest of 2014.
Yay us! (See, there's a little more celebrating for you ;-)