Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

In Life It Is Important To Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing





“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  

Stephen Covey

I have spent most of my life doing a myriad of things and not doing any of them particularly well. I love all sorts of art amd craft. I love writing. I love cooking. I love gardening. I start a lot of things and never finish them.


I spent a lot of my adult years wondering why it was so hard for me to get  some things done. If it wasn't something I was particularly interested in, like housework, it seemed to take me for ever and just never seemed to get finished. Other people seemed to have immaculate houses and no matter what I did I just couldn't seem achieve it. When I was 40 I saw a psychiatrist and I began to understand why I had such a problem. I suffer from adult ADHD without so much of the hyperactivity (unfortunately. I would like a bit more 'get up and go'). I now take medication for adult attention deficit disorder.


Over the years I have created all sorts of systems to try and get things done and still believe one day I will find the right system and things will fall into place.

I have been trying to follow Stehen Covey's suggestion and choose the main things in areas of my life and work on getting these done this week.



Writing
I have been writing for Medium so I plan to write one article at a time and not bits of many.

Gardening
This week in the garden I will plant seeds for coriander in my herb patch.

House Cleaning
My hall is a bit of a dumping ground for all sorts of things so this week I plan to make it immaculate.


One thing I have found is that I need to write things down and stick to working on these - not get sidetracked.  Writing things down and crossing them off helps me organise things.

Of course the really important things in my life are my Christian faith, my partner, and my family.  They always take precedence. But after that I will just aim at these 3 things in the next couple of days and anything else is a bonus.

                                                               ...🌝🌝🌝...


A new granddaughter.

There is a beautiful, new granddaughter in our lives. Genevieve Rose. She is 8 weeks old and just starting to put on weight. She is grandchild number 8 and granddaughter number 7.




Tulips at Bowral

We visited the tulips on the mountain at Bowral which is located a 90-minute drive southwest of Sydney. The annual Tulip Time festival features over 75,000 tulips planted throughout Bowral's Corbett Gardens and the surrounding Shire. 



We took Mum and had a very enjoyable day.

My Sydney Rock Orchids 

My own Sydney Rock Orchids in my front garden have been putting on a beautiful display. It is a pity they don't flower for longer.








They get absolutely not attention. The other day when i was gardening I fell over right in the middle of them so I am hoping they are not damaged.


The lake

As we took our morning walk around Lake Illawarra we came across this flock of Little Pied Cormorants slowly making its way around the edge of the lake.

 


Rhiannon's art prize

My very talented daughter Rhiannon recently won first prize for $1000 at an art exhibition at the Polish Association in Keiraville, Wollongong.

 
Her work was painted with acrylics on canvas and is entitled Decomposers. We are very proud of her.

Interesting sites


1. Strange collages of buildings

Photo source
 Click here to see the strange collages of Matthais Jung.


2.  The environment effects why some people succeed

Photo source
The environment effects why so few people succeed and others don't. Click here to read why.


3. Esther the Wonder Pig beats cancer

Photo source
Click here to read a great story about Esther the Wonder Pig.

 

Sunday, 4 August 2019

GOOD FOOD - THE FOUNDATION OF GOOD HEALTH

Since I love to eat, and consider food part of my "medicine" to keep me healthy, I budget higher food prices into my (very modest) budget. Produce is unquestionably the foundation of good health. When you enjoy delicious fruits and veggies because they taste great, then you will keep eating them. That's why taste matters.

  Starre Vartan

 

The quote above mirrors my experience. I have a modest income but most of it goes on fresh fruit and vegetables. I make all our meals from scratch, so as not to rely on chemical additives. 

 

Every Friday I visit the fruit market. We make a day of it. I take my mother and daughter, and Peter usually comes along for the ride. We travel a few suburbs to find the fruit market of choice - the Leisure Coast Fruit Market and Deli at Fairy Meadow.


 My weekly buy always includes sweet potato, cauliflower, lettuce, rocket and mushrooms and then whatever else I need for that week such as carrots, onions etc.

 

The truth is we don't know if cancer and other types of digestive diseases and health problems are connected to the array of additives and chemicals present in so many processed foods. (We do know that nitrates in processed meats are carcinogenic.) Since I had cancer recently I prefer to take a precautionary approach. 

 

Fruit and vegetables are the basis of good health. I love to eat and try new recipes. I like to buy good quality produce because it tastes better. I like to make all my meals from scratch so I know what is in them without the artificial colourings, flavourings, extra sugar and additives to give something a longer shelf life.

 

I have read various opinions about eating organic produce. At this stage I have avoided the extra cost as I am on a limited budget, and they are not available at my fruitmarket.  But this may change.

 

I lost 6 kilograms before Christmas. I managed to put it all back on again over Christmas when I stopped sticking to my Plant Paradox regime. I am back on my eating plan and gradually losing weight again.

 

This style of eating is based on promoting healthy gut bacteria and reducing inflammation. I saw Kelly Clarkson on TV explaining that she had lost a lot of weight following the Plant Paradox program so I decided to give it a try. Unlike other diets I have been on, there is no calorie counting which is great, although there are quite a few restrictions. But it is all healthy eating.

 

I plan to start a new blog based on the Plant Paradox program, providing recipes that I have tried, are budget friendly and have ingredients available in Australia. I'd like to try some of my recipes on this blog first. Maybe I could get some feedback.

 

A granddaughter's christening

(Please note that faces are not shown to protect privacy.)

Our little granddaughter was christened on the weekend. It was held in Helensburgh Catholic church.

 

The baby slept through the service, and barely stirred when she had water poured on her head.


Peter's daughter Megg made a beautiful carrot cake which was cut and shared at morning tea.





A walk by the lake

Peter and I took a walk by Lake Illawarra. The white spots are pelicans. There must have been fish out there. 





Another photo of a dandelion on Peter's front lawn. 

I just couldn't resist it.





Article in Medium

 
Photo source


I have written an article for Medium, Do You Feel Like Giving Up? Read This Now.

Interesting sites 

 

1.  Beautiful hiking cabin in Norway

Photo source

 

This cabin was made with 77 panels. Click here to read more. 

 

2. Why don't birds' feet freeze?

 

Photo source

 Birds' feet don't freeze in winter. Click here to read why.


3. This 'king' once ruled Antarctica

Photo source

This king once ruled the green, lush forests of Antarctica. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

THE IVY LEE METHOD


Falling in love with starting is easy. Falling in love with finishing is hard. But, if you can learn to fall in love with the art of finishing—and the process of overcoming adversity, failures and working around obstacles—you’ll consistently follow through on your ideas.

  Mayo Oshin

When I read this quote I thought, "That's me!" I am not good at finishing things - household chores, crafts -  all sorts of things.I start things and do part of them really well and then get sick of things or forget about them. I am super organized in some areas such as my recipe collections and laundering clothes. Then I am completely disorganized in other areas such as actually getting the clean laundry into cupboards - and there is only me in the house!


I have mentioned before that I am looking for the  optimal   system for getting things done and finished. I just don't get the things done each day that I plan. I have tried various systems including the Bullet Journal System which many people swear by, but just made me very anxious.

In my recent reading and search for helpful tips on being productive, I came across Ivy Lee. He was a highly respected productivity expert and pioneer in the field of public relations at the beginning of the twentieth century.

He had a notable system for getting things done, which he shared with various industries. It was a simple daily routine for achieving peak productivity.
 
  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

In a nutshell this system appears to work because it is simple; it imposes limits on what has to be done; you know where you are going to start for the day; and it requires single tasking rather than multi-tasking.

I have given it a try and found it quite successful. The secret is to still break tasks down into small pieces and don't make each of the  6 things to be done too broad.

Bonsai trees

This past week has been very quiet. I did some gardening.

I am making a collection of bonsai trees. I take them from the garden when they are very small.

So far I have 2 native Bleeding Heart trees ( Homalanthus populifolius)  and one I think is some type of acacia.



 By the lake

On Saturday Peter and I went for a walk by Lake Illawarra. I can never go past a dandelion ready to blow.





And I'm not sure what this flower below is but it seems to be in bloom most of the year and is very striking






After much searching I decided that it was probably the beginnings of a coral tree of some type.


Fear of the Inexplicable
by Ranier Maria Rilke

But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished
the existence of the individual; the relationship between
one human being and another has also been cramped by it,
as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of
endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the
bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone
that is responsible for human relationships repeating
themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and
unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable
experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.
But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes
nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation
to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively
from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of
the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident
that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a
place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and
down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous
insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in
Poe’s stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons
and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.
We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about
us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
We are set down in life as in the element to which we best
correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of
years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we
hold still we are, through a happy mimicry, scarcely to be
distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to
mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors,
they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us;
are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we
arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us
that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now
still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust
and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those
ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into
princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps
everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless
that wants help from us.



Interesting sites

1. Bubble domes in the Irish woods

Photo source




Scattered throughout a woodland resort in Northern Ireland, these bubble domes provide an unforgettable glamping experience. Click here to read more.



2. Dementia linked to lifestyle

Photo source
Dementia seems to be affected by lifestyle. Click here to read more.


3. Why the forest gives you awe

Photo source
 Why do we feel awe in a forest? Click here to find out.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

PERSPECTIVE

There are events in our personal lives and our collective history that seem categorically irredeemable, moments in which the grounds for gratefulness and hope have sunk so far below the sea level of sorrow that we have ceased to believe they exist. But we have within us the consecrating capacity to rise above those moments and behold the bigger picture in all of its complexity, complementarity, and temporal sweep, and to find in what we see not illusory consolation but the truest comfort there is: that of perspective.
Perspective. How important is perspective! Some days events overtake us and can seem so crushing as to be insurmountable. Something small can just be the last straw to break the camel's back, but when put into the perspective of life and what is important that small thing can melt back into insignificance.

What about you? Do you have things that cause recurring anxiety? Worries about finances, health and relationships are common.

One of my major worries is my house and its continuing state of chaos. There is clutter and disrepair and at times my concerns can fall into hopelessness. I never seem to have the time. I never seem to have the money. I am limited by my bad back and constant pain. I am harangued by my obsessive tendencies.

Then I spend a few days with Peter. I stand back and put things into perspective. And I look at the big picture and I make some realistic plans. I am so lucky to have a house in a nice area. I am so lucky it is paid for. It nestles against the mountains and the bush and I never tire of its setting. I love the wildlife around it, and my house sits in the trees. For all its faults it is beautiful.

Major depression is the curse of my family. My children and I suffer from it. Treatment resistant depression has shaped my daughters' lives. It has prevented  them from living normal lives. It would be easy to view it all as a tragedy, but when we look at the big picture and how much worse things could be we can put it into perspective. We are so lucky to have the treatments that have become available in the last 30 years. My talented daughters are settled with wonderful partners. They will never be rich or own their own homes, but they live lives that are fulfilling as much as possible and that is what matters.


The important thing is to face anxieties head on. Take a step back, put them into perspective and then make a plan to deal with them.


A day trip to Belangelo State Forest



On Monday, Peter and I  visited my daughter and her husband , caravanning at Belangelo state Forest. I was expecting it to be cold, but it was absolutely freezing. They were the only campers there.



Belangelo is a state forest with rows and rows of pine trees planted for cultivation. When the weather is wetter there are lots of mushrooms, but this year it has been too dry.




Below is the view towards the small lake and in the bottom left hand corner you can see the outdoor heater that Rhiannon and Bill took with them. It was wonderful. I sat next to it all day.


Jasper, my granddog, kept warm snuggled up under Bill's jacket.


And he set up a little place for himself in the caravan to keep warm.



Craft-wise

This week I made a birthday card. I used water colours and black pen. I made it for a little girl who has a thing for llamas so I hope she likes the card.










Interesting sites



1. The world's most beautiful bookshop in Argentina

Photo source
National Geographic stated that the world's most beautiful bookshop is in Argentina. Click here to read more.


2. Baby can't stop laughing after first hearing

Photo source
At 11 months this baby hears clearly for the first time and can't stop laughing. Click here to view the video.


3. The strange art of David Alvarez

Photo source

Click here to see the strange anthropomorphic art of David Alvarez.










Saturday, 25 May 2019

ALFRED COMES TO STAY

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”  

 Winston Churchill


I love quotes and save them for my blog as I come across them. I like to think about them and write a little bit on each one. I was a bit stumped with this one as it just seemed self evident.

But then I thought about how it applied to me and how important it is to remember that what we have or earn is not as important as what we put into life.

Sometimes I get a bit angry about my financial position, caused by divorce and redundancy. I am indeed lucky to have a pension. I have tried a range of ways to supplement my income but for various reasons nothing has been terribly successful - yet.

Meanwhile, when I am sad about things I need to focus on what I can do for other people. I do some volunteer work once a week at Manna House, a place for people to come in off the street and have a free meal. There are often days when I am not at my best do not feel like going, but I must admit, when I do go my mood usually lifts.

But giving in life doesn't have to be through formal processes. It can be in our day to day relationships. So often we forget to be giving towards those who are closest to us.


Alfred comes to stay
 
This week Alfred, my daughter's rabbit spent a couple of nights with me.


He ended up in a pen in my lounge room.


Having Alfred at my place is quite difficult as I have a full blown fur phobia. I have had it for about 50 years. It means I cannot cope with being near anything which is soft and furry such as rabbits or cats. Dogs are fine. They have hair rather than the soft fur of cats and rabbits.

I talk to Alfred and feed him. (He has quite a food regimen of greens, pellets and hay.) But I don't pat him.

 Terrarium

I love terraria and set up a small one with some succulents my daughter gave me.







Interesting sites


1. 27 Beautiful sheds

Photo source
Click here to check out 27 great sheds.


2. Steam powered rocket is legit

Photo source
Click here to find out about this steam powered rocket and the opportunities it brings.

3. One word: plastics

Photo source
An island crusader in the Philippines takes on the big brands behind plastic waste. Click here to read more.