Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Lifelong Learning

As I sat here this evening beginning to browse a folder full of books about the strategies for teaching mental computation, I mused that I am just being a lifelong learner. I am learning now some new ways of teaching others. Lifelong learners are what we need to be creating in our children now, and it's healthy to be living that reality in order to encourage it in my students. 

It's helpful to be reminded that there are probably a thousand other things I could be doing, and quite a number that I'd rather be doing, but most times it is worth the effort made in learning something new. It's helpful to be reminded that it is hard work to learn something new and that resistance is a natural response in many cases. It's helpful, as a teacher, to be reminded that learning does not consist of being a receptacle into which information is poured, but that it requires real mental struggle to make links to knowledge I already have in order to make sense of the new. It reminds me that it is incredibly hard to remain focused for a long period of time when I'm learning something new. It reminds me that I need to take breaks and have some down time (and sometimes even some sleep) to allow new understandings to be developed. Sometimes it takes time for me to realise that I have questions to be answered.

 It's good to be reminded that learning means re-reading, note-taking, diagram drawing, mind mapping, doodling and musing. It's good to be reminded that sometimes learning means talking to someone else who might know more or have a different slant on things to help me expand my own viewpoint. It is good to be reminded that all these things happen when I am learning about something I am interested in and stand to gain from knowing. 

We sit children in classrooms from four years of age and expect them to learn what we want them to learn. From four years of age until sixteen or older, the state or the nation decrees what they must learn. If teachers are not reminded often that it is hard to learn, and harder still if we are not interested in a particular topic or subject, then they can forget what it's like to be a student in school. I have sat through professional development days that have felt like torture. Yep, I think that is how kids must think about school sometimes too.

I am fortunate to be a recent graduate and am so grateful for the learning I did as an undergraduate of the Bachelor of Learning Management at university in Queensland. I learned that we need new skills in the emerging generations; that they face problems on a global scale that we did not have. We need to create a generation with the qualities of supreme problem solvers. They must be willing to keep trying when they don't get answers straight away. They need to be willing to try crazy ideas in order to make new discoveries that will take humanity forward in a more sustainable way. They must be able to work effectively as collaborators in a very diverse global society. 

Because kids need skills that allow them to work with others, to be resilient in their learning and their work, to be able to go on learning as technology changes everything at high speed with no sign of slowing down, we must create learning environments that allow them to be creative, self-motivated, co-operative problem solvers. Hands-on learning experiences, purposeful conversations with peers and adult support workers including teachers, teacher aides, parents and community members, and open-ended creative opportunities all help children to be more adventurous in their learning, to follow personal and group interests and to value the contributions of others.

Teachers can be pressured into providing schooling that 'looks like' schooling of the past. I think about all the people I know that 'hated' school. They hated sitting all day in desks looking at chalkboards and listening to teachers droning on and on about stuff they weren't the least bit interested in. They hated not being able to talk to their friends in class and being expected to do things in the same regimented way as everyone else. They hated feeling 'dumb' because they didn't 'get' maths or English or French or science or whatever it was. They felt overlooked because their own ideas or understandings or methods were deemed 'wrong' or inappropriate in some way. It's funny how some of the same people question the value of noisy, busy, active vibrant classrooms where children are able to make choices about what they do, who they work with and how far to follow a line of inquiry. Children are incredibly able and intelligent in choosing their learning paths if we give them the opportunity to explore options. The basic knowledge, skills and attributes we want students to attain can be gained in many different ways. Creative teachers with the help of others can make school a rich and rewarding place for children to spend their formative years. We must engage children in learning so that they learn to love learning!

Being a lifelong learner is a wonderful thing. It's hard work and sometimes challenging but it's also a way to ensure a rich and interesting life. It builds an understanding that change is inevitable and that we can never 'rest on our laurels' and be satisfied that we know it all. I learn every day from my students, from my colleagues and from life itself. I love knowing that I'm a lifelong learner. I hope I can instill a joy of learning in my students and encourage them to make a positive impact on their world. 

Time to get back to the books. Did you like school? What changes would you make to schools or to education if you had a magic wand (if money was not an issue)? Are you a lifelong learner? What would you like to learn about? Love to hear from you. 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Can you love ALL of you?

It's taken me a long time to love all of me. Yes all of me. That's pretty amazing really because I am far, far from perfect. The father of my children used to tell me that I was different when I'd been reading women's magazines; I was less happy. I used to shrug it off, but hindsight being the great illuminator that it is, I can see how that could have been true. Women's magazines across the board tell us that we are not enough. They tell us in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways that we are too fat, too thin, not fit enough, not pretty enough; that we don't have enough shoes, clothes, make-up. They tell us that we don't get to go to the 'right' places or to meet the 'right' people. They show us that there are lots of people 'out there' that are prettier, thinner, richer, more beautiful, more successful...more everything! They remind us that we are not climbing mountains or writing books or sailing around the world single handed. They remind us that there are others around the world who are in such abject poverty and that we should be helping them...but we can feel so helpless. They remind us that others are greater cooks and better mothers. They remind us that others are funnier and more clever and generally all round more fabulous. Yes they do. Haven't you noticed?

There were times when I absolutely hated his guts. It happened once a month. Every month. Poor man. It would usually happen when I was washing the dishes and suddenly I would be seething with hatred. I wonder now if I tended to be tempted to buy a magazine and read more at that time of the month too? Perhaps the two things are somehow related. I kind of knew it was hormonal and I tried not to let it show, but I bet it did and I bet he felt it and now I feel sorry about that. So perhaps some of it was hormonal but perhaps some of it was that I didn't feel good enough. Perhaps those times of resentment and anger were really about how I felt about myself. That's what I think now. I didn't take the criticism well...the comment about being different after reading magazines. I felt angry. I wonder why? Could it be that seeing all the beautiful, clever, rich, amazing people in those glossy pages put me under pressure in a sense...that there was pressure somehow to be more or other than who I am? I don't know. What do you think?

The past few years I have been alone. There have been some rough days and some rough weeks. But guess what?! I have learned to love me. All of me. My fat bits, my asymmetrical bits, my lumpy bits, my blemishes, my wrinkles; not just my physical self but my thoughts and emotions too.  It's a process but you can love all of yourself. I appreciate the wonder of how my body works to get me around. How marvellous that I can manipulate this keyboard to share these thoughts with you. Wow! The best thing about loving myself completely is that it has opened the door for others to love me more too. I think the walls are crashing down. I am not wanting or needing more. I am enough. That's not original but it's a good thing to say. I am enough. I don't need to be any different. If I'm always yearning to be something other than what I am I cannot enjoy my life right now. That is not to say that I should not make good and healthy choices for my body, my mind and my soul. In fact, loving all of me helps me to do just that. I am not focusing on losing weight or changing myself in any way. I am focusing on living and loving. The results are amazing me!

This morning I found this in my email and I'm sharing it because it is my truth and I hope it is yours too or that you will claim it now! It came through Meditation Australia to which I subscribe. Think on it. You are loveable.

Sunday, July 28, 2013 - I love my body. I love my eyes and my nose. I love my face and my ears. I love my skin and my hair. I love my perfect organs , liver, stomach, kidneys and more. I love my mind. But most of all I love my perfect soul for it is radiating love through every atom of me. I love myself in every way. All is well. 

What do you think you need to be happy? What needs to happen for you to be able to love all of you?

Have a beautiful day. Talk soon. Kerry xox

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Birthday Blog

How blessed I am. Today it's my birthday. I've lived 55 years on this beautiful planet and I am so grateful for that. Friends have had babies who have lived only short hours. Others have borne them too soon so that they didn't get the chance to breathe fresh air and play in the sand. One friend passed away when she was in her 30s from lung cancer. Another at the age I am now, from lupus. Death can come at any hour. But a birthday is about celebrating the day life began and the years that have ensued...and of course the years that lay dormant in the future waiting to be opened day by day, minute by minute, like a perpetual gift...what joy!

I don't want to look at achievements on this day, or to think about the future too much. What I would like to do is to appreciate fully how blessed, how lucky I am to have this day. Last evening I shared my home with sixteen beautiful women. There was so much noise! Once a few had arrived the swell of chatter rose and grew until it filled every space; it was such a joyful sound. There were old friends who rejoiced in being together over a glass of wine. There were new friendships made - isn't that a beautiful thing when you get a bunch of friends together - some of them get to start new friendships. I love that! 

We had a 'Secret Santa' giving time. I don't need a lot of stuff, so I thought why not have a Christmas in July theme and have a gift swap. Well, it was such fun. Many of the ladies hadn't done that before and there was much hilarity as we negotiated rules for how the game should be played. We had a limit of $10 value for gifts and some people had been so creative. We put all the names in a hat and drew them out one by one and the fun began. The best part is the 'stealing'. When your name is pulled out you can 'steal' a gift that has already been opened or go and choose a new one from the wrapped ones. I am pleased to say that I have some very polite friends who were simply not able to take a gift from someone else, and a few that just wanted the mug or the chocolate enough to go for it! There was playful pouting and sulking and really, it was bucket loads of fun and  it just might have to be done again sometime. I have a feeling that some of those lovely manners might be missing next time, now that they've all got the hang of it!

Friendships are the stuff of life. When I was young, before I really knew myself, before I grew up, before I 'became myself', I didn't think I had many friends. I usually had one friend and sometimes two. I hadn't figured it all out then. Now I have. All you have to do is love people. Everyone. Some of them will love you back. If you love enough people you'll always have friends. It's not about being a certain way or looking right or wearing the right stuff. It's about making space in your home and your heart for people. It's about saying 'come'. It's about saying 'stay a while'. It's about saying 'have a cuppa with me'. It's not about saying 'do you like me?' It's about saying 'I like you.' My friends are many and varied and I love each of them for their own special selves. Every one of them adds something precious to my life.

As I get older I get more and more comfortable with spending time alone. It's precious to be happy with my own thoughts. To sit and read or potter in the garden (which doesn't happen as much as it probably should...the garden part). It's also precious to be hugged, embraced and loved by my friends. Today is my birthday and it's a very good day. Thank you.  Love to you all xox

Friday, 26 July 2013

In defence of baggage

I've been a member of various dating sites for a few years on and off, and one of the things I've noticed is that people will say they have 'no baggage' or they are looking for someone with 'no baggage'. I'm thinking they have 'no brain' and they're looking for someone with 'no brain'. Perhaps it's just a misuse of terminology, and the implications are much less pointed than they sound, but I want to stand in defence of baggage. I'm thinking of the primary relationship in my life. I was with one man for 27 years. We separated and divorced and he has since passed away. There is no going back. I can only moved forward from here on. But I'll be taking some baggage with me. I'll be taking the memories of 27 years of adventures with my best friend. If I started a new relationship tomorrow, I'd have to live until I'm 82 to have 27 years of adventures with a new best friend. I hope I can do that.

Part of my baggage is the lessons I've learned through those 27 years and in the eight years that have passed since we first parted company. Sometimes I wish I'd known then what I know now about relationships, about me, about men, about people. What a rich and wonderful journey it's been so far. I know I'll go on learning, but I'm in a much better place now to learn. I was stubborn and had the righteousness of youth about me. I didn't realise how much I had to learn. None of us do. 

I said to a new friend recently, one of the best things about starting a relationship later in life is that you are more forgiving. Of each other. Of each other's scars and bumps and physical 'baggage'. Not just more forgiving...perhaps even more appreciative because you know that the other person has been on adventures too. You know because of your own scars and bumps that the others' have stories attached to them too. Part of the new adventure is finding out about their life lessons. It becomes a sharing of life lessons. How lucky that we can bring some of that baggage with us. If we find a partner who is forgiving and appreciative then perhaps they can be comfortable with the baggage being part of the deal. You don't stop loving. 

The biggest lesson in life for me has been to let go. I've learned that letting go doesn't mean that I don't care. It doesn't mean that I never reflect or reminisce. It means that I live now. I live planning for the future. I make goals. I learn from the past and hold good memories fondly. I give thanks for the lessons learned in the less than pretty moments. I forgive myself for not knowing a better way to handle things; to respond instead of reacting. To put myself in another's boots. I take my baggage and place it tenderly in the new space. I do not drag it in and throw it in the face of a new love, but I sit it gently in the corner of the room because having it there reminds me to be gentle. It reminds me to be kind and understanding and to keep healthy boundaries around myself. It reminds me to love myself well and to be loving. It reminds me that communication is so important. It reminds me to listen. To ask the right questions. 

All of us who have lived have baggage. Some have a back-pack and some have five suitcases...just like travelers...we all do it differently. Some are better at letting go. Some leave their lessons behind and forget. For them it would be better perhaps to go back and find them. Carry your baggage well. Share it when there is trust enough...most importantly...spend some time opening that baggage if you haven't done so yet. Check it out thoroughly. Look for the lessons. There is something in there to help you live better today and in the future. With love, Kerry xox

Thursday, 25 July 2013

On being prepared

Yesterday I spent the day in town and found myself unexpectedly challenged when I ordered a simple coffee and a muffin for breakfast. Poor mum was fasting ready to check into hospital at 11am, and if I was a really good daughter I might have fasted with her, but I felt like I needed to have some breakfast if I was going to get through the day. It's not easy taking your mum into hospital. It must be harder when you are the one who is going in for surgery! Anyway, so that I didn't end up a jittery wreck I got myself that coffee and muffin while mum was off finding a loo and doing some window shopping. The challenge came when I had a look at what was delivered to the table. The other day I wrote about rubbish and plastic in the oceans and suddenly I was confronted with a coffee and a muffin that came with:

  • a plastic knife
  • a plastic spoon
  • a plastic packet with some butter in it

It's hard not to be caught like this. It reminded me that I'm part of the problem of rubbish too. I already knew that, but I wasn't ready to be reminded quite so soon; this was really confronting for me. I carefully wrapped up the spoon and the knife and put them in my bag to take home and wash and the plan is to put them in a box in the car for using when I'm on the road. What it really made me think is that if I thought about it a bit I could take a thermos and a snack with me when I head out. But the reality is that I probably wouldn't do that on a trip to the city. The other thing I can do is to be thoughtful about where I buy my coffee and muffin next time. If I look for a cafe that doesn't supply plastic implements then I can be making a choice that ultimately is better for the environment. If you know of any in Hobart, let me know. I am suddenly aware of the need to think ahead and be prepared. 

Mum had her surgery much later in the day than we expected and I'm pleased to share with you that all went well. It was my privilege to be able to be there to support her. We were all putting on relaxed and happy faces prior to her going off for the anaesthetic, and I did feel confident that all would be well, but still it is a little bit stressful when you consider that people can die during operations. I was so pleased when I could see her afterwards in the ward, but was a bit shocked to find a very pale and very shaky mum in the bed. She was cold and was shaking from that and probably a bit of shock. I held her hands. At the seniors First Aid session we had attended together last week, the man talked about the importance of touch for reassurance, and how patients' heart rates and breathing settle down when they have that human contact. It felt natural for me to do that anyway. I wanted to transfer my warmth and my love to her. She talked and dozed. A warmed blanket was brought in and placed underneath the other bed covers to help warm her too. Nurses came and checked her blood pressure and temperature every 15 or 20 minutes. I was a little bit worried, but then, she had only just come out of surgery and I think even though we are anaethetised, our brains are still aware of what has been done and is trying to make sense of it all and deal with it. No wonder we shake a little. Apart from warming our bodies, shaking helps to dissipate  stress. There is even shaking therapy out there somewhere for just that purpose. 

Thankfully after a little more sleep and a cup of tea and some analgesics, I saw the colour return to her face and I knew that my precious mum was going to be ok. It's funny because we really never know when someone heads out the door if we will ever see them again. Accidents happen. People can die very suddenly without warning, but most of the time we don't even think about it. Somehow when someone you love goes into hospital for an operation, even though they are surrounded by people watching every sign and every symptom, even though there is every whiz-bang piece of equipment to support them and all that vast knowledge of the human body and how to repair it and keep it going...somehow it brings it into sharp focus that you could lose that person today. It's a good reminder to be present and to enjoy the moments you have together. It's a reminder not to take people for granted. 

I appreciate each and every one of you who visit my blog. Thank you for taking the time to pop in. I hope you take something good and worthwhile away with you. Love to you all xox

Monday, 22 July 2013


Rubbish! It's everywhere. We pay for it. We buy it and then we pay for a bag to put it into to throw it away. Packaging. Disposable cups, plates, spoons, forks. It's a plastic fantastic world we live in. I've just watched a TEDtalk by an Aussie surfer who was dismayed to see the state of our beaches and to learn about what is happening around the globe. Our oceans are filling up with rubbish...plastic rubbish. Apart from the devastating effects on individual marine animals and birds, there is the long term threat of our oceans being so thick with tiny plastic particles that it will not recover. If we keep using and disposing of plastic items at the same rate as we have been, it is only a matter of time before our oceans and everything in them die. And then we die too. That's our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren we're talking about here. We need to do something now. 

For years I've taken a bag to the beach with me when I walked and have picked up rubbish to dispose of it safely. My kids learned to clean up rubbish from the beach or carpark or wherever we happened to be. It is our habit to pick up rubbish and put it in a bin if there is one available or to put it in our car and take it home to put it in the bin. 

Something I've become aware of as a teacher is the concept of picking up rubbish being a punishment. I can remember being told to pick up rubbish at school. In fact, I think there were rubbish monitors so we just took turns in picking up what others or the wind had been careless with. It was more a duty back then and it was to keep the school grounds clean and tidy. Now that it is seen as  punishment, young people are highly offended if you suggest that they pick rubbish up. I have picked up loads of food wrappings, juice cartons, drink bottles and other detritus in school grounds while kids stood by and watched. When I suggested they might help they responded, "Why? We haven't done anything wrong!" I suggested that they could just do it to make their environment nicer to be in and they looked at me like I was from another planet.

Who's responsible?
So who's responsibility is it to clean up? Should it be one person and not the next? Who suffers if the rubbish is not cleaned up? Eventually, all of us. I am right behind the Take 3 campaign which was the subject of the TEDtalk. The suggestion is that wherever you are you pick up 3 pieces of rubbish and take them home or dispose of them properly. We can all do it. It won't hurt us and it will help the planet. Every little bit will help. That's what we can do to help with the rubbish that is already out there floating around and winding up on the beach or in the car-park or wherever. 

What about the stuff we are still buying? How can we cut down on the amount of rubbish we have to dispose of? How can we reduce the overall rubbish load of the planet. You might think that with all those factories belching toxic waste into the air and rivers that it's not worth making the effort, but it is! It's about developing consciousness and awareness of the fact that we are all connected to the earth and that we are dependent on it being healthy. If you start with being more thoughtful about what you buy and how you choose to dispose of rubbish, you will start to notice other things you can do too. If we all stop buying plastic junk, eventually factories will stop making it. There is no point if they're not making money.

Never think it's too late to help. 
You are really helping yourself and your loved ones. You can make a difference. Yes. You.
Ways to cut down on disposable items:

  • Carry reusable shopping bags. They are everywhere. Keep them in the car and use them! (note to self)
  • Make a picnic pack and keep it in the car (knives, forks, spoons, bowls, plates, mugs) Wash them when you get home and put them back in the car.
  • Toys - there are loads of plastic toys out there. Look instead for quality wooden or fabric toys. 
  • Avoid buying stuff you really don't need. Get critical when you go shopping online or in the mall. Ask yourself "How will this improve my life?" and "For how long will this improve my life?" then decide if it's really worth buying. You might save heaps too! Take a holiday somewhere on a nice clean beach!

You know, it's really about living more thoughtfully and if you choose that way, your life just becomes richer and more beautiful. Really it does. Please go and check out the website for Take 3 and let's see if we can encourage our young people to see picking up and avoiding unnecessary rubbish as making wise choices and taking good care of their home.

Thank you
To those of you who are already doing some or all of those things I thank you because you are looking after my home too. What is the attitude towards rubbish in your home or your workplace? Do you have any hints for dealing with rubbish or avoiding it in the first place? Please share to help us all with ideas that might work.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

On Frogs and Toads


For friends who were here yesterday, here's a frog! Today's frog for me is not just one thing on a list but suddenly a whole list of things that have been overlooked during the holidays, possibly because I've been so busy blogging and setting up my website Not An E Card and enjoying the freedom of not having to go anywhere particular or be anywhere particular for a couple of weeks. Holiday days seem to disappear in a blink. Perhaps it's because it's winter here in southern Tasmania and the days really ARE short at the moment. I can't imagine what it's like living in the far northern hemisphere with weeks of darkness or light. The weather and the seasons seem to affect how I feel about doing things. I seem to be on the winter go-slow; I'm in hibernation mode. Anyway, here's a frog to remind you and me that doing the least fun thing first really does allow the rest of the day to feel more relaxed and fun. There is the other argument that doing the most fun thing first can get you motivated to do the rest, but I'm not so sure that works for me. I've been an 'eat desert first' gal for a long time, and the hard stuff seems to stay on the list...

So here's to a new day, eating the frogs first, or at least thinking about it. This little fellow was snapped on my verandah one evening when I lived in warm and balmy Queensland where they are quite common. He and his mates used to congregate around the light by my front door and it was a fairly constant job cleaning up after their nightly visits. Obviously they were eating quite well, if one was to judge that by the offerings they left behind. These handsome fellows often find their way into the cisterns of toilets and even into the toilet bowls where they live on 'offerings' deposited there. Lovely thought isn't it. It can be quite disconcerting taking a seat in some of those Queensland country outhouses. It's not so easy to perform with such a closely attentive audience! They like to hang out anywhere watery and are often found in showers too.  Anyone who's been caravaning or camping in the northern states will have come across them for sure. They are lovely things. Really. 


Which brings me to having to comment on cane toads that are at least as prevalent as the ubiquitous green tree frogs. It seems that cane toads can bring out the best and worst in people. We used to see them a lot around our home in Queensland, and when my kids were young they enjoyed writing up a 'show standard' for cane toads. A bit like the they do for dogs, cats and poultry in the show world.  Things like 'longest legs' and 'prettiest spots' and so on. People tend to shudder when you mention toads, but they are the loveliest things to handle; their skin is soft and silky to touch, and if you handle them gently and with respect they will not squirt poison at you. If you touch a frog without wetting your hand first, it is almost kind of sticky feeling, but toads are sleek and beautiful to touch, like snakes are. 

Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in the 1930's to control the Cane Beetle that was a threat to the sugar industry. Like many things that are 'introduced' to habitats not normally their own, they have thrived and are now a threat to many local species. Unfortunately the bad press given to Cane Toads has given rise to awful cruelty in their disposal, and this is to be abhorred. There are programs in place to try and control the spread and the size of populations and it is best that people follow an humane process for that.  I do not understand why some people, and let's hope this it is a tiny minority, see it as just to inflict horror because they see Cane Toads as a pest. I have seen young men using them to 'play golf'. Poor things wouldn't even be in Australia if it wasn't for people. Give toads a break and find out the most humane way to dispose of them if they are a problem in your area. Thanks.

I had no idea that's where this was going today, and I'll have to leave today's planned topic for another day. Hope you enjoy meeting some of these little chaps, both frogs and toads. They are part too, of the amazing web of life we inhabit. I've included links to a couple of fact sheets in case you'd like to read more about them. 

*Please remember to wet your hands with water before handling frogs so that you don't damage their skin...just by the way. 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Master of Procrastination

Some days - most days - it's hard to get started. I don't know why. I seem to be entirely averse to routine in my life and that does mean that I'm not as productive as perhaps I could be. How do I feel about that? A bit frustrated with myself. A bit annoyed. I'm not sure if it's my own expectations that lead to these feelings, or the perceived expectations of others. Whatever. I do eventually get things done. Usually at the last minute - in a mad rush - with heart pounding and brain screaming "You can do this!!" It's not that I don't have enough time. 

NB: Everyone - yes, you too! Everyone gets 24 hours a day. Everyone gets 7 days a week. You see where this is going. So how is it that some people get so much done, and some of us so relatively little? 

I think the difference is probably that some people are masters at procrastination and others manage to be masters over it. A fine line perhaps but what a massive gulf if you juxtapose the behaviours of the two groups. 

Let's check out the Masters of Procrastination first (after all, this is my field of expertise). What do they (we) do? And how do we do it? Well I'm going to tell you what happens with me, and I hope you'll let me know later in the comments how you work it...ok...maybe we can help each other here. 

Masters of Procrastination

  1. Write lists - circle, colour code, brainstorm, add details, re-write, doodle, make a cup of tea.
  2. Dream - think about what it would be like to have everything done. Decide to do the hardest thing on the list. Can't find the list. Begin to look seriously for the list. Find a letter from an old friend. Sit and read the letter. Get out box of old letters to put it away and end up reading them all. Make a cup of tea.
  3. Find list by kettle. That was lucky. Worst thing on the list. Eat the frog first. You've all heard that haven't you? Eat the frog first. Do the least attractive thing on your list first. Ok. finger down list. Check emails. Oh yeah, I'll do that. While computer warms up make another cup of tea. Check emails. Answer a couple. Delete a couple. Unsubscribe from a couple (what was I thinking?). Notice list again. Oh yes, I have a lot to do today.
  4. Notice that the computer screen is a bit grubby. Go to get microfibre cloth from pantry. Pass the kettle - uh-oh! Make a cup of tea...and some toast.
  5. Clean computer screen (which is not on the list). Add to list so you can cross off. Making some progress now! Big smile! Draw smiley face on list. 
  6. Have shower, get dressed in clean pjs. It's a stay at home day. Oh hang on, I have to get to the hardware. It's on the list. Can I leave it until tomorrow? Yes, that's ok. Cross off list. Ah, that looks better. Write list for tomorrow. Top of list; go to hardware. Is any of this sounding familiar? I could go on...

Understand that it will be a little harder for me to do this next part, but I'm hoping you will all tell me about your great habits that show you have become the master of your own life and destiny and no longer (or never did) bow down to the temptation of  "I'll do it later". I'm going to give this my best shot.

Masters over Procrastination

  1. Get out of bed when alarm rings or 5 minutes before (how do they do that?).
  2. Get dressed in excercise clothes (which were laid out the night before).
  3. Go for a walk or do yoga/Pilates/calisthenics/gymnastics/cartwheels/swimming/mountain-climbing.
  4. Have a shower - sweaty clothes in laundry basket.
  5. Get dressed for the day (work clothes or home clothes. NOT pjs).
  6. Apply make-up. Dress hair. Smile at self in mirror. 
  7. Check time. Six am. 
  8. Have breakfast - muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt. Freshly brewed coffee.
  9. Go to work or tackle today's list which was recorded on Iphone on the way to work yesteday and added to during the day. 
  10. Brush off distractions and interruptions with a steely determination.
  11. Get every job on the list done (always!) and create recorded  list for tomorrow (none of this paper lists rubbish!). 
  12. End of day - get evening meal out of the freezer (all prepared last weekend and packaged in single meal increments - neatly labelled - 7 different varieties x 4 weeks).
  13. Set out exercise clothes for the morning....How do they do it???

Perhaps I'm dreaming. In the end we all get from one day to the next, whether it's in a flurry of confusion with bursts of nostalgia and multiple cups of tea (and creatively flexible lists) or with regimented diligence and adherence to the plan, or something mid-way between the two. 

I've just found my list for the day. I've eaten the frog. I've written the blog. It's not really the frog. I was lying. Sorry. Now it's time to eat the let me check that list again. Pictures? On top of tomorrow's list.

Have a great and productive day everyone. Remember to leave a comment!!

PS Notice how I didn't give the wake-up/alarm clock routine for the Procrastinator - well I'm just not going you know, my phone only allows me to set 5 alarms...

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Bath Drama!

I could write a lot of posts about the beautiful people in my life. Today I'm going to start with one but I won't name her so that I am 'protecting the innocent'. She knows who she is. When I went to university I was one of the oldest students...a moldy old 48 when I started my teaching degree!! I and the few other 'oldies' were surrounded by gorgeous and or strapping young things just out of high school or taking on uni after a gap year or two. I am pleased to be still be in touch with a number of people from that phase of my life but to the one I am introducing through some of her brilliant cartooning work, I became 'BundyMum.' Aha, you might thinking I am an imbiber of the famous rum, but no, we were at uni in good old Bundaberg, and so I was her 'mum' in Bundy, as the town is fondly known by the locals. 

I'm not going to tell you all about her, because the beautiful gift she made me for my 50th birthday speaks volumes about her generosity, her kindness, her insight and her great sense of say nothing of her considerable artistic talents! She must have spent hours and hours dreaming up scenes for this book she made, which contains twenty pages of cartoons she drew with me as the main character. I was so honoured and it made me laugh so much! It has become and will always remain a treasure of my heart. 


Here is the cover which hints at what's to come inside. I love to see this cartoon slimmer version of me!

Out of my mind
Out of my mind...yes I was... going crazy trying to manage university study with a brain affected by menopause. I suffered intense anxiety for the first time in my life, and I think it was a combination of menopause, all the demands of university and lots of other things going on in my life at the time. 

I am the original procrastinator but it was seriously worse at university. Performance anxiety meant I was so scared of not doing well enough. Hampered by 'menopause brain' I had to apply for extensions a number of times because I left it too late to start. More than once I put an assignment through the slot in the dark and eerie wee hours, parking the car and keeping my keys in hand as I rushed up the steps to post the darned things, terrified that someone would leap out of the neatly trimmed hedges and go 'Boo!!' or worse! Deadlines were the enemy, as is so beautifully depicted below. PS I'm sure I wasn't the only one!!

The Bath Drama
But best story of all is the bath story. She gave me heaps about this one. The university had changed its protocols for enrolment, and of course, you don't just enrol at the start and it's all over. Oh no, you have to enrol at the beginning of each semester. I'd just get something worked out and then bang! They'd go and change it all and I'd (we'd) have to learn something new again. It's all pretty strenuous really, but well worth it in the end. More on that later. Back to the bath. 

So the university had changed the enrolment process and one afternoon I thought, you know, it'd be nice to have a relax in the bath. I got the bath running nicely and thought I'll just do my enrolment while that's happening and then I can chill for a while. So I get online and nothing is the way it was. I have to read a lot and figure out what to do and time goes by and by and by and I can no longer hear the bath running in the room next door because I am too focused on what I'm doing on the computer. Then I just casually look over my shoulder...maybe stretching my neck or something and I see the bath water coming out to meet me.

Aaaarrrrrggghhh!! I rush in and turn it off and then look around to see the extent of the damage. There was a drain in the center of the bathroom floor, but in my enthusiasm I had turned the taps on faster than the drain could cope with. Not only had the water crept over the top of the bath and out to meet me in the tiled family room, but it had gone the other way too into my bedroom with the fitted carpet. It was absolutely saturated! I grasped desperately at a few towels and tried to clean up but quickly realised it was way beyond anything I could fix. I consulted the yellow pages and rang for a flooded carpets expert to attend and called my cartoonist buddy to come and give me some moral support. 

She will tell you I did it all  to get her to come and mop my floors (see the cartoon below) but let me tell you, I could have employed a team of house cleaners for a couple of days with the $600 it cost me to get that mess fixed! The carpet had to be lifted and huge industrial dryers hummed and screeched for thirty-six hours to dry out the underlay and the carpet and then the carpet had to be re-laid. 

It's good to laugh about it now, but it was quite a drama at the time. Thank goodness for friends who come when they're called, even if it is to mop the floor or just stand witness to supreme stupidity (no offence to anyone else who has ever flooded the bath). 

The great thing is that there were lots of things about university that I might have forgotten if it wasn't for this beautiful gift. University was a gift in itself as it taught me so much about myself, life and much, much more.  I think most graduates would say the same. It's not just getting a piece of paper to say you are qualified to do something. It enriches your life and stretches you so that you can do things you never dreamed possible. No regrets, other than forgetting to check the bath on time! And you get to meet some beautiful people <3

Thursday, 18 July 2013

On Being Vulnerable

Yesterday was a big day for me. Fear stopped me from acting on the ideas I had for a long time. Now I have allowed myself to be vulnerable enough to put my idea into digital format on the web eek!! I've invited friends and family to give me feedback. Dangerous words "What do you think?". Talk about an invitation to open Pandora's Box, or to tip out a can of worms!! That old fear of not being good enough was the biggest one, and the idea that everything must be perfect before it's presented. Where did that come from? I don't know. Anyway, I decided to put the fear away and get my baby born and on show.

Thank you so much to friends who offered constructive criticism (in private emails). I have taken your thoughts on board and made some refinements. At the same time I have had other ideas borne of the act of doing. More will be done soon to make the original idea rounder and smoother and prettier and more workable. I am so excited because I know that these extra ideas couldn't come until I made a start. I had to believe in myself enough to make a start and be prepared to be laughed off the internet or pooh-poohed before my thinking could move to the next stage.

I hate being vulnerable, don't you? I think that has stopped me from living life as freely and wonderfully as I might have in the past, but I am learning to embrace vulnerability and that will bless me immeasurably I know. I can feel it already. It's not something that happened overnight. Most worthwhile things don't. We have to chip away at them...or at ourselves. I have journals spanning several years of chipping and agonising and tears as I've gone through the process of 'growing up' as an adult. Part of that has been learning to be vulnerable.

When I was a teenager I drank a lot. I don't mean water. I am by nature a guzzler. Yes, I know, not a pretty picture. I didn't know that back then and I just thought everyone drank in the same way and I kept on drinking along with everyone else. Anyway, with the wisdom of hindsight, I know the drinking was a way of hiding my low self-esteem, so I took to it with great enthusiasm (to my own detriment I hardly need to add). The point of this is that I read somewhere many years ago that when someone drinks to excess as a teen, and establishes what one might call a 'drinking problem' then they effectively stop maturing in an emotional sense. I believe this to be true, and I believe I stopped maturing at about 14 or 15 which is pretty sad really. Although I didn't drink daily, when I did drink it was so excess every time. I believe that is why it was so hard for me to make decisions, to make good choices for myself, to take responsibilities seriously.

I bumbled along through life for a long time creating all sorts of mess and then one day I was sitting in a dentist surgery and picked up a brochure with a bold title "Do You Have A Drinking Problem?" I read through it while I was waiting and on the back page was a list of questions, about twenty in all, with yes/no answers. I went down the list...yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes,yes...right at the bottom it stated IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO THREE OR MORE OF THESE QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM. Gee, wish I'd read that before I started. I might have been able to rig it a bit!!

That day, that moment, proved to be a turning point in my life. Everything changed. I stopped drinking. I didn't take an alcoholic drink for three years. This is pretty impressive when you consider that I was living on a boat at the time with a very keen home-brewer, and I used to sleep with the hop flavoured burps of the brew kit right behind my pillow! There was beer 'on tap' - cheap and plentiful and a very big part of the lifestyle (never while we were sailing of course, but once we were in a safe harbour, look out!). 

I think that was when I started to grow up. I was in my late twenties. Since then I've had my two children, home-schooled them, left my marriage and went to university. I was still struggling to grow up then. I was fearful that I wasn't good enough. I was getting Distinctions and High Distinctions for almost everything I did but I didn't think I deserved them. Eventually the counselor at the uni convinced me to give some credit to the lecturers and that they wouldn't give me those grades unless I deserved them. It's been a long journey to believe in myself and my abilities. I still have things I battle with, and I now wonder if any of us really 'grow up'. I wonder what that really means? But I think I'm doing ok and I'm going to be gentle with myself and be comfortable with not being perfect. I always knew I couldn't be and I think that was part of the problem. Crazy.

Drink of the day - mineral water!

Here I am making myself vulnerable all over again by sharing that story with you. There might be some things there you can identify with. I rarely drink these days. If I do I only have one, but most of the time I really feel it the next day so I'm better off with soda water! So today is about being vulnerable, about embracing imperfection and about pivotal moments in life. Love to hear from you if you have something you'd like to share.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Have a go!

I'm excited today as I've just activated my new website! It's an idea I've had for ages and I just couldn't quite find the courage to give it a go. What if it's a stupid idea? What if it doesn't work? What if...? What if...? What if...? So I put the idea away and forgot about it for a couple of years. Now I've pulled it out and got it up and running and if it's a stupid idea and it doesn't work, it won't really matter because at least I've given it a go. And if this one doesn't work, then I'm one idea and one experiment closer to finding the thing that will.

This is a precious card made by my beautiful daughter when I finally finished my degree and graduated.

My goal is to be able to work from home and to be able to devote time to research and writing, and if I don't have to go out to work that somehow removes a lot of stress and I can use that energy in a better way for building the life I want. I love my teaching job, don't get me wrong. But I know that my ultimate dream is to work from home in a job that I can choose my hours to work and be free to travel a bit. So that is the impetus for making this bold move.

I love the mystery of language and treasure these cards from a friend in Finland.

 Gifts from family and the class where I did my internship and some very special hand-made ones.

Best of all, it's doing something that I love, and even if I only get one customer, I know I'll be making a positive difference for that one. It would be nice to get half a dozen as that would cover costs, haha, but it's not a must!! If it happens it happens. I am just happy being here and giving it a go.

I'm sharing some pictures of cards that have been important to me. What do you love about getting a card in the mail? Please share in the comments below.

I'd also be thrilled if you would go and have a look at my site Not An E Card and recommend it to anyone you think might be interested, or perhaps you would like to take advantage of what I am offering. Let me know what you think! Oh, I haven't put photos on the website yet but I will very soon!! Perhaps even this afternoon.

Thanks for having a cuppa with me...let's lift those cups and wish me well in this new venture...Cheers!!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

"You've got to find the extraordinary in the ordinary," said my friend Sioux this afternoon as we walked off a lovely lunch with friends and work colleagues. I had been talking about how much media we get these days on being more. We are told we are 'enough' on the one hand but on the other we are told that we can reach the moon and the stars if we try. There are women out there working full time, raising children, managing their wardrobes to look professional, sexy, athletic (depending on the setting), cooking up gourmet meals prompted by endless cooking shows and being told that if they do this course or that they can do more! They are exercising and reading the latest books and magazines, being community leaders, selling party plan in their spare time and doing Masters' Degrees by night. When will it all be enough? What is this drive to become or to be 'extra' ordinary? 

I have nothing against anyone taking care of themselves and their families and looking great and being well educated. I think it's great as long as it's driven by feeling good. If you are feeling stressed out because you're under too much pressure and getting sick because it is all too much; if you feel like no matter how much you do there will always be more to do or more you should be, then perhaps you could have a look at finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Slow down and take a look at what you're actually doing in a day, a week, a month. Write down all the work, the exercise, the caring, the activities you do. Write down everything you do on a nice big sheet of paper. What does it look like? Is it crazy? 

When you've done that, put a circle around the things you do because you love them or feel fulfilled when doing them. Put a circle around the things you do that make life worth living. If you can find the extraordinary in the things you love, perhaps you can lighten the load a bit and let some of those other things slide a bit. Who is your judge? It might mean you only vacuum every other day instead of every day, or perhaps leave the beds unmade or the book unread, if you don't really want to read it. I don't know. You know your life. I just know that there are a lot of stressed people out there and maybe we could look at doing things a bit differently; slowing down a bit.

How do you find the extraordinary in the ordinary? What does that mean exactly? Well I can only tell you what it means to me right now in this place, in this space. For you it might be something else. For me finding the extraordinary in my rather ordinary life is knowing I have made a difference in a child's life when I stop what I'm doing and listen when they tell me they thought up a new maths game on the bus on the way to school. Popping in to visit a friend out of the blue and finding them with a row of pills lined up ready to take. That turns an ordinary life into something special. I turned up at the right time without knowing there was anything wrong. That happened a lot of years ago but I'm really glad I called in that day. Sometimes it is extraordinary just to be in the moment and to notice just how good that hot shower feels on your skin...not thinking ahead to the clothes you'll wear and the drive to the meeting...or what you'll say when you get there.

Making time to just sit and look at a flower, a tree, the ocean, a face and letting go of the expectation that I must achieve something noteworthy in this life. If it happens that I achieve something noteworthy in the living of my life, then let it be through living the way I want to, and not because I have striven to be noteworthy!     

I know some ordinary people who have done or are doing some extraordinary things and I salute them, but for now I'm going to content myself with living an ordinary life and smiling when I see those little extraordinary things along the way. Perhaps in the end, it's having a willingness to slow down a little and to let life happen around you instead of always being in control. 

What sort of life are you leading? Have you been seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary?  What do you want out of life? Are you doing too much? What could you let go? Do you think there is value in working hard at something you really don't like doing?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Time with Mum

I'm excited! See the lovely parcel of goodies I have from Kaszazz! I wanted to do something different with Mum for Mothers' Day back in May.  I didn't have a lot of money to spend and Mum and Dad recently downsized to a unit so they don't have a lot of space for 'stuff', so I decided to take her to a card-making workshop. It meant travelling together to the venue, a nice afternoon together learning something new, and Mum would have the cards we both made. Perfect.

We had a lovely time and discovered that although all the ladies made the same cards, they were all a little bit different and somehow showed a little of the maker's personality. It was fun meeting new people and as always when a bunch of women get together, there were lots of laughs. An unexpected bonus on the day was that we each received a voucher for $50! It was a spend $50 and get $50 worth of products FREE!!

The catalogue was huge and neither of us had the money to spend on card-making just then, but we had a bit of time to save and put an order in. We squirreled away $100 between us over the next couple of months and finally made time to wade through the catalogue and choose some things that we both liked. It was hard because there were so many beautiful options but we did it and got our order in just in time.

So, here is the parcel. It has stamps and card and ink and I'm itching to open it and have a proper look but I'm not going to. I've decided that it will be a bit of a new hobby for Mum and I to share together, so I'll wait until we find a time to get together and we can have a parcel opening ceremony!

Cards are a good way to go because they don't take up much room and the materials will easily fit in a small box. I'm sure there are people out there who will laugh at that and who have a room full of card-making stuff, but I'm planning on keeping this small. Not just that, but you make them to give away, so it's the ideal hobby really. Most of us appreciate the time that goes into a home-made gift, and in a world where we all seem to have so much, a card is a perfect gift all on it's own, especially if it has been made with you in mind.

Have you ever received a hand-made gift? Do you have a hobby or something you'd like to try? Let me know about it in the comments. Have a great day!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Chai Teabags

I had my standard one or two cups of coffee this morning while I was checking my emails and updating on Facebook, and when I went to make a cup of tea a bit later on I realised that I had used the last teabag yesterday afternoon. Oh no! I went to the cupboard just to make sure and found a brand new packet of chai teabags...what a relief!! I had completely forgotten buying them and that they were in the cupboard, even though I had re-organised it only days ago. It got me to thinking about how much stuff we actually have in our homes that we forget we even have. Can you identify with that?

I'm currently working on doing a bit of a 'clean sweep' through my home. I am not a hoarder, but I do find that because I don't have a lot, people are keen to give me stuff they no longer have use for, and I'm terrible at saying "No thank you," when I know they are being kind. Sometimes I think "Yes, that is something I would use," but then I find it just sits there. I don't need it in my life. It is not helping me. Then there are those beautiful friends who will go and BUY me things because they feel sorry for me. They are so sweet and I appreciate their love and kindness so much, and their concern. I wish they could understand that I'm ok without much. In fact I'm better without much. I find it easier to go for walk, to read a book, to spend time with family and friends when I have less stuff vying for my attention.

Books and paper are my primary problems when it comes to the 'clean sweep'. I love books and have real trouble parting with them. I have just finished giving myself a little talking to about the fact that I can have 15 books at a time from the library! I also have this month's selection for book group, ' True Pleasures: A Memoir of Women in Paris' to tackle. I rarely have books that I keep going back to, but there are a few that will retain their place on my shelves, at least for now. In some ways having too many books sitting there waiting to be read sets up some kind of guilt about not getting to them. There is always that sense of not coping well enough in life to get things done that I want to do or should do. So although it's a bit of a struggle to go through and make decisions about what I want to let go and what I let stay, it's going to be so worth it.

I really only got started last night after a week of mental preparation and I have to tell you I'm feeling better already. Spaces are appearing where there were none and dusting is going to be a breeze as there's not much to have to work around. I can feel the tension disappearing. My breathing feels deeper and somehow lighter. I feel more awake and more relaxed. I feel, in a sense, that I am back in charge of my life. It's funny how 'stuff' can take over and keep you feeling overly busy, overwhelmed or just unable to think..

Well the chai was great. In fact I think I'm going to go and make another one then I'll keep going with the job at hand. What's your biggest challenge when it comes to reducing your 'stuff'? How do you talk yourself into letting go? Or do you hold on to everything?  Love to hear from you and what you do to make your life more manageable.

Here's a link you might find helpful if you haven't really thought about reducing the amount of stuff you have but want to look into it. I found some helpful suggestions.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

100 Things I Am Grateful For

A few years ago, when I was going through a bit of a rough patch in life, I was challenged by something I read about gratitude. I'd seen lots of suggestions to write down five things I am grateful for and well, that was pretty easy most of the roof over my! Sometimes I got a bit more creative and a bit more specific, but it was really not a challenge.

Then I read somewhere that it was good practice to write down ONE HUNDRED things I am grateful for. Now that was a whole different ballgame! So, just to up the ante even more, I decided that I'd do it every day for a while. What a challenge it was. I sat down with my coffee each morning and taxed my brain until I had that one hundred items down on paper.

Luckily I was on holidays at the time, so I could afford to take my time and enjoy the process. Let me tell you, I struggled the first few days, but I was determined to do it as I was sure it would improve my outlook on life, which of course it did. I had so much to be grateful for; I took so many things, so many people, so much in life for granted.

If I missed a day I didn't give up and I didn't beat myself up over it, I just kept going from where I was. It's fun to date the lists so that when you look back you can see what you were thinking then. That's really what the exercise is about I guess, to make one more aware, more mindful of all that is good. We are hot-wired to notice and focus on the negative or not so joyful things in life (think for a moment how much time you devote to that), but if we take the time and make the effort to look for the good, it is there in bunches! Why not take the challenge yourself.

Grab a gorgeous book to write in first (I pay about five or six dollars for A4 size ones from the supermarket and find that size best because those lists will grow, trust me!)so that you are honouring your efforts, committing to do this for a time, and so that you can read back over your lists to remind yourself when you need to.

I'm going to share my first list with you. That's a bit scary, but it might give you the courage to try it too. Your list will be different, but if you try hard, you can do it!

100 Things I Am Grateful For
1. Health, 2. Happiness, 3. Strength, 4. Opportunity, 5. Love, 6. Children, 7. Parents, 8. Brother, 9. Friends, 10. Mentors, 11. Teachers, 12. Fresh air, 13. Clean water, 14. Fresh food, 15. Clothes, 16. Shoes, 17. Skin care products, 18. Mozzie repellent, 19. Manicure tools, 20. Nail polish, 21. Nail polish remover, 22. Furniture, 23. Paint, 24. Glass window panes, 25. Curtains, 26. Towels, 27. Soaps, 28. Shampoo, 29. Conditioner, 30. Jewellery, 31. Books, 32. More books, 33. Computer, 34. Printer, 35. Technology, 36. Cards, 37. Letters, 38. Stamps, 39. Cushions, 40. Carpet, 41. Trees,42. Flowers, 43. The ocean, 44. Fish, 45. Mammals, 46. Birds, 47. Reptiles, 48. Insects, 49. Butterflies, 50. Television, 51. Cars, 52. Trains, 53. Buses, 54. Planes, 55. Films, 56. Film-makers, 57. Philosophers, 58. Thinkers, 59. Universities, 60. Clouds, 61. Words, 62. Body language, 63. Communication, 64. Gravity, 65. Buoyancy, 66. Boats, 67. The wheel, 68. Gardens, 69. Music, 70. Musical instruments, 71. Songs, 72. Singers, 73. Restaurants, 74. Chefs, 75. A house to live in, 76. The cleaning lady (I was house-sitting and the house came complete with a cleaning lady - wow!!), 77. Petrol, 78. Mechanics, 79. Spirituality, 80. Healing, 81. Personal growth, 82. Learning, 83. Aha moments, 84., 85. Positive Thoughts website, 86. The man in my life, 87. His support, 88. His love,89. Kisses, 90. Cuddles, 91. Connection, 92. Double happiness, 93. Time, 94. Timelessness, 95. Dreams, 96. Skills and abilities, 97. Appreciation of beauty, 98. My sense of wonder, 99. God...hmmm I must have miscounted that first time as there is no 100, but I did write...And yes, I could keep going!!

I think my lists got better as time went on...I was able to be more specific, like noticing the way someone smiled at me and being grateful for that. I could have written down why I was grateful for each of these things, but at the time I wrote them I knew why, and that is the important thing.  There is so, so much to be grateful for, and as I review this list now, though life has changed in many ways, it makes me realise how very blessed I am to have known all these things in my life. It's also interesting to notice that my man came in at 86 and God at 99!! It is not a list of priorities, but a meandering list as I pondered over my coffee that first morning. I think I felt a tiny bit worried that I couldn't do it!!

I am very, very grateful for so many things. What will your list look like?

Friday, 12 July 2013

How do you take it?

Hi there lovely people. I've been wanting to create a blog for a long time. I enjoy reading others although I haven't yet become a 'follower'. I think one of the nicest things to do in life is to sit down and enjoy a cuppa with a friend, and I hope that you might decide that's a good thing to do with me.

I'm old enough to be your mum or your grandma, and I've done some interesting things in my life. I've hated myself, made mistakes, taken risks and been 'burned'. Inside me is a yearning to share some of my stories with the hope that they might touch someone else who has felt the same or been through something similar and needs that moment of reassurance that comes when you realise you are not alone. My gift in life it to be an encourager  and it will be my aim to encourage you to be the best and truest version of yourself that you can be, to love and accept who you have been and who you are now.

How do you take it?

In a way life is a bit like a can be black, white, strong, weak, sweet, bitter, hot, lukewarm, cold, satisfying or disappointing. Life is like a cuppa because when you make it yourself, you mostly get it just right for you. When the cuppa isn't right, you just tip it out and start again. We can do that with life too...and usually it is so worth the effort. If you life is like a weak, lukewarm, disappointing cup of tea, then stay tuned and find the courage to tip it out and make yourself a fresh one!

So, pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable and enjoy sharing a cuppa with me now and then. I'll value your feedback and your comments and look forward to hearing your stories too.

With love 

Kerry xox