Monday, February 13, 2012

What's important to me. The list.

It's actually not that long.

Learning and sharing knowledge

That's about it. In that order. Those three elements of my life make up what I love, what inspires me, what drives me crazy, and what I couldn't live without. I've been pondering this subject for the last few weeks, since I started to really evaluate what's important in my life, and ultimately it boils down to those three things.

God is first and foremost in my life, He is where my foundation is, He what I stand on, and some days He is the only reason I can keep breathing, let alone anything else. His love for me, and the faith I have in Him, encompasses everything in my life, and my life would be a whole lot more chaotic and messy than it already is if I didn't have Him to ground myself in.

And family? My family is made up of those biologically related to me (who have to live with me whether they like it or not), and close friends who actually *choose* to be in my life (and vice versa). These people are the warp and weft in the fabric of my life - sometimes it's nice and smooth, and pretty wrinkle-free, other times it's crumpled and torn and ragged around the edges. But somehow, the people in my life keep the fabric intact, whatever state it's in, and it's because of that that they are so important to me. I work to provide for my kids (the fact that I actually like working is a bonus), I invest the time and energy into the various relationships I have because without them I wouldn't have much of a life, and I hope and dream and make plans and goals because I want to do what I can to live the best life I can with the people I love.

I suppose that's where the learning and sharing knowledge comes in, learning is a life-long experience, and I believe there's no point in learning if you're not going to pass on that knowledge. I delight in something 'new' to me, and I invest copious amounts of time into finding out everything I can about whatever that is (my best friend once said that she knew when I had a new interest because I'd managed to find a magazine on the subject at hand). But we also need to keep learning about that which is familiar to us - about ourselves, the people around us, the world we live in, the jobs we do.

Those three things are all intertwined, always, there isn't one without the other. As I become more and more aware of this, I'm analysing and identifying what it is that drives me at any given point in my life, and it's quite an interesting journey so far! Within these priorities, I'm seeing the 'sub-headings' of what's important, e.g for my family, at the moment I'm focusing on implementing and maintaining as healthy a lifestyle as I can, so I'm researching and learning more about various aspects of that (i.e. food, simple living etc). This is what the focus of my blog will be, the journey through all this - my relationship with and life in God, my family, and what I'm learning along the way. It will be interesting to see what's in store, and I hope you'll share the adventure with me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Photo Finish Friday (The Late Edition)

This past fortnight has defined 'challenging' for me, and it's been a real struggle to focus on being intentional, when it feels like all I can manage is to survive the demands of life one day at a time. Hence why I was asleep on the couch by about 9:15 last night, and it's taken me until now to get to post Photo Finish Friday. Given that my motto this year is is 'done is better than perfect', here's the week in review, albeit a day late!

My Sunday afternoon 'time out' - cups of tea in my favourite teacup, gifted homemade goodies, and a book. Pure bliss.

Monday lunch in the sunshine, looking out to sea.

The landscape I am growing to love more the longer I live in this beautiful country of mine.

Gum trees and vineyards.

The result of today's tidying efforts - a crafting area I can actually get in to.

The last couple of weeks have seen me having to field a few unexpected curve balls in my life, none resulting in tragedy but causing enough stress that I feel like I'm losing the grip I thought I was just starting to regain on getting my life into some semblance of order. It's times like this I realise that any perceived sense of control I have over my life is only that - a perception, an illusion, not a reality, because the reality is, I truly have no idea what any given day is going to bring. I think I know what I'm going to have to do, have to deal with - work, school, kids etc, and or the most part, that happens. But when events involving other people occur that are completely out of my control, but that I become intimiately entwined with by virtue of my existence, I realise that I have nothing to bring to the table, that there is nothing I can do to 'fix' anything, to change anything, and at times to help anything, or anyone.

I can't do anything.

The only thing I can do is to continue to breathe, and to surrender the desire to control the situation, the desire to fix things to my God who is bigger than anything I have to face. Never has that been more of a sobering reality than the last couple of weeks, and knowing that is the only thing that has prevented me from curling up in the foetal position some days.

The photo post each week isn't meant to be the deep and meaningful one. Guess it's just been one of those weeks. We'll resume normal scheduling next Friday, I plan to be back in a few days to talk about family. If there's one thing that this last couple of weeks has taught me, it's that sometimes you can't live with them, but you can never live without them.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Great minds (and all that)

It's been a while since I've been writing on a regular basis (in any form other than reports for work) and I'm finding that it's taking a bit to find my rhythm again, to feel the flow of putting what's in my brain into words. I've had a few different posts marinating in the soup of my brain since I started blogging again, on various topics, and the one I keep coming back to is about how I'm defining my priorities, how I'm becoming more and more clear on what's most important to me. But I'm struggling to put that into a logical, thoughtfully written piece, and so I continue to ponder the subject. Then today, I came across a post that says pretty much *exactly* what it is I've been thinking

Do you ever come across a completely random, total stranger in cyerspace who seems to have managed to get into your brain and put into words what's been swimming around in there?? I've had that happen on quite a few occasions, and in particular twice in the last 24 hours. Today as I was thinking about writing this post, I was browsing some of my regular blogs, and I came across this post by Trent at The Simple Dollar. Trent writes:

'So, what is it that’s truly important to you? There is no right or wrong answer. It’s a matter of simply figuring out what’s truly important to you.'

He also says

'First and foremost, my family (and I consider my closest friends a part of that) is the single most important thing in my life. Bar none. Secondary to that is learning new things and, hand in hand with that, sharing what I’ve learned.

Almost every other interest and passion I have in my life is secondary to those things.'

I read that part of his post, and it was like the fog in my brain lifted - I could finally articulate clearly what it was that had seemed just out of my grasp of clarity, it was like Trent had put into words what I've always known in my heart. The importance of my family (and yes, that does include my closest friends!) is the foundation of my life, and everything comes as secondary to that. And like Trent, my need to learn and share knowledge is secondary to my family. After my faith in God, those two things form the basis of the foundation of my life, and everything that's important to me comes under either of those categories. I feel like I'm copying Trent to a degree as I write this, but his post just made everything so clear to me, and I can 'feel' everything falling into place in my head now that I've identified those priorities. A couple of weeks ago I had atarted drafting a post on this subject, and as I listed what's important to me, and what I want to focus on on this blog, I kept thinking 'but ultimately, these all relate back to my family, it's like they really come under one topic heading', and that was because they did!

I'm hoping now that with some clarity and some more clear direction in my mind, the writing will come more easily, and I'll get back into the swing of it. As I've said before, being intentional is my 'theme' this year, putting intentional practices in place and considering everything I do, not just living by reacting to life and situations. I haven't got this blog figured out yet, I'm finding that's coming with time, and as I see what it is I admire in my favourite blogs, why they resonate with me. I'm very mindful of not just copying what someone else does, but being inspired by what catches my attention and impacts me. I am a creature of habit, and I do like some form of structure, hence my Photo Finish Friday posts, I think there will be some more topics/themes with a regular posting day - being intentional about those topics, and being accountable!!

On that note, the other 'great minds think alike' moment I had was Jeannett from Life Rearranged's post on Simple Mom yesterday - I discovered that Jeannett has been blogging about her progress through One Bite At a Time (the e-book which I've previously written about), and I *so* related to her comment -

'One of the problems I have when I read any kind of “simplify life” articles or books is that I end up skimming through it and thinking, “Yeah, that’s a really good idea. I should totally do that.”

And then I don’t.

I mean, I know I should… But taking that extra step and being intentional about it is a whole different beast.'

Snap!!! Again, another writer that seemed to have gotten into my head and put into words what I've been thinking. I find that happens a lot when I read Jeannett's blog! I love her encouragement to jump in and 'play along' in this journey, and that's something I love about blogging - that it links us through our interests, through what's in our hearts, and we can make new connections and build new relationships by sharing what we learn and what we love. I think that's why I am motivated to continue blogging at this time in my life - I know there aren't a whole lot of people reading wht I write, but it's a place I can come and record my journey, and it feels like I'm connecting with those on similar paths to mine, that we're sharing a commonalities along the way.

So as I muddle my way through this blogging thing, I hope to share what's on my mind and in my heart, and to continue finding my way in this crazy little thing called life!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Photo Finish Friday

It's been one of those weeks, hence no posts between last week and now. But plenty of pics have been taken, and this week, it's all about the scenery. I'm privileged to have a job that takes me travelling all over the countryside, within about a 250km radius from my home. I live in a beautiful part of the country, and I try to soak it all in at every opportunity. Sit back grab a cuppa and enjoy.

Morning sunshine

The start to my day

Winter Knitty and coffee on a 38deg day

Potato bounty from the garden

Margarita goodness

Cake for the little kid

Divine custard tarts a la Jamie

The view on my way to work on Monday

On the road on Tuesday

Birds on a wire

God's glory at the end of a trying day