Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Monday, 22 April 2019

EASTER SUNDAY AT THE BOTANIC GARDENS

Be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to those around you.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This is a beautiful quote and I gave it some considerable thought. In the end I decided that I am quite a calm person but too much of a complainer to live up to the sentiments espoused by Desmond Tutu in this quote. I tend to complain about such small things as having to attend doctor's appointments and pay bills. I need to remember that I am lucky to live in a society where health and social welfare are important. I am going to remember this quote and try to be less of a complainer more serene.
We had a lovely day on Easter Sunday and we spent the day at Wollongong Botanic gardens with Peter's family - all 5 children and their partners, and 7 grandchildren. 
I am so lucky to be able to share these times with this beautiful family. (Please note that for the sake of privacy photos are chosen so the faces of people are either too small to see or not visible.)

We set up a picnic site in the gardens.



From our picnic site we had a lovely view of the gardens.




The more able-bodied of us participated in the egg and spoon race. There was a considerable amount of friendly 'cheating' which led to much hilarity.





 

The highlight of the day was the Easter egg hunt for the kids.
Instead of buying individual eggs for children, family members provided a stash of eggs for the hunt.





The children had to wait with their backs turned while the eggs were hidden.



Then they all set off to find the eggs, supervised by the adults.


The loveliest aspect of this is that as the children grow older they are keen to share their found eggs with the adults.


Interesting sites


1. Black is the new black

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Black kitchens are in vogue. My kitchen is a 1980 disaster area and I have zero dollars for rennovation. But I think a coat of matt black paint could make a difference. Click here to see more.



2. English is a weird language
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It's true. English is a weird language. Click here to read more.

 
3. Genetic mutation makes people always feel full

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Two new studies confirm that weight control is often the result of genetics not willpower. Click here to read more.

Friday, 19 April 2019

APRIL

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything

William Shakespeare


Today is Good Friday and this morning Peter and I went to church.



Among scholars the historicity of Jesus is not questioned but they differ about the historical accuracy of details mentioned in the gospels. The two historical events that are generally accepted are the baptism of Jesus and the crucifixion.

The 'Christ Myth Theory' which suggests that Jesus never actually existed in history has largely been refuted by scholars.


From a mere historical point of view it is interesting that the crucifixion of Jesus has been noted for the last 2,000 years. It is estimated that the Romans crucified 30,000 in Palestine alone. So what makes the death of Jesus different?

I love this poem by Australian poet Bruce Dawe. It is written from the perspective of one of the Roman soldiers at the crucifixion.


 
And a Good Friday Was Had by All Bruce Dawe
Photo source


You men there, keep those women back and God Almighty he laid down
on the crossed timber and old Silenus
my offsider looked at me as if to say
nice work for soldiers, your mind’s not your own
once you sign that dotted line Ave Caesar


 and all that malarkey Imperator Rex
well this Nazarene
didn’t make it any easier
really-not like the ones
who kick up a fuss so you can
do your block and take it out on them
Silenus
held the spikes steady and I let fly
with the sledge-hammer, not looking
on the downswing trying hard not to hear
over the women’s wailing the bones give way
the iron shocking the dumb wood. Orders is orders, I said after it was over

 nothing personal you understand -we had a
drill-sergeant once thought he was God but he wasn’t
a patch on you

then we hauled on the ropes
and he rose in the hot air
like a diver just leaving the springboard, arms spread
so it seemed
over the whole damned creation
over the big men who must have had it in for him
and the curious ones who’ll watch anything if it’s free
with only the usual women caring anywhere
and a blind man in tears.


Photo source


I love April The weather is getting cooler. And this year there are toadstools everywhere.  I am a 'fungus-phile'. I love toadstools and the fungus of the forest.

Below are some toadstools we spotted around Lake Illawarra. 

Toadstool by Lake Illawarra.
Toadstools by the lake.
Toadstools by the lake.
This was a large toadstool in Peter's front yard.


And 2 magic circles of toadstools on lawns near Peter's place.



We have an election coming up here in Australia and one of the relevant topics being discussed by both sides is the introduction of the electric car. There is much exaggeration and fear mongering surrounding the topic. Here is an explanatory article to read if you are interested.


 Interesting sites

 1. Beautiful vans

Photo source
 
 Click here to see 10 beautiful vans that people call home.

2. Dog's pooh in accordance with earth's magnetic field

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Dogs join cattle, deer, foxes and wolves as yet another mammal to have 'magnetoreception'.Click here to read more.

3. Cora Ball removes toxic microfibres in washing

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 Recently connected to the term microfiber is the knowledge that these minuscule particles wash off our clothing and into our waterways with each load of washing.  This has resulted in innumerable microplastics in the ocean. The Cora Ball can remove these microfibres in the washing machine. Click here to read more.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

SOME THOUGHTS ON HAPPINESS



“Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.” 

 Aldous Huxley

Chance photo taken in my garden

I love quotes. They can be gems. Wisdom in a nutshell. They make me think, and as I come across quotes that are relevant or interesting I save them for my blog. I have read that people who read blogs don't want to have to think, but I am sure this can't be true.

As the New Year starts it seems timely to think about happiness. 

 I try to find happiness in the small things. A cup of coffee or spotting a toadstool can spark happiness. Snuggling under a warm quilt or watching the waves. Financial necessity makes my life 'small', but it is still happy because I consciously set out to enjoy and be grateful for the small things.

Daniel Kaheneman, a cognitive psychologist, winner of the 2002 Nobel prize for Economics, argues that we are more concerned with satisfaction than happiness which is only fleeting. He contends that happiness and satisfaction are  2 different things.

He spent years studying happiness, yet now he considers satisfaction and life satisfaction of greater importance to people. In his podcast Conversations with Tyler (19/12/2018) he states that people want to maximise their satisfaction rather than their happiness. For example in his research Kaheneman found that spending time with friends scored highly for making people happy. Yet these same people did not make socialising a priority, rather they undertook activities which may not bring immediate happiness but would bring satisfaction in the long term, such as working on a career.


Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Sciences at London School of Economics is an expert on the measurement of happiness. He states that, 'Happiness is situated in what we do and who we spend time with. It does not reside in some story we think should make us happy.' In his book Happiness By Design (2014) he writes that 'the stories about how we ought to live our lives' can hurt us as much as they may help. So we shouldn't compare ourselves to others. We must find happiness within our own limits and in our own way.

In his article, 'Why the Quickest Route to Happiness May be to Do Nothing', David Robson wrote, ' Happiness really is like a timid animal. And once you stop chasing it, you might just find that it naturally appears of its own accord.' 


Dragon boats on the lake

Peter and I like to walk along Lake Illawarra and spotted these dragon boats on Tuesday morning.

Dragon boats in the distance



In the garden

I found this clump toadstools on my neighbour's footpath. I love toadstools so had to include this photo. Toadstools make me happy.

Toadstools on my neighbour's footpath

I came across an article on the internet about mint and using it to keep insects, spiders and mice away. So I did some more research and it seems that this does in fact seem to be the case. One of the things I am not short of is mint. I have a whole garden of it.


My mint garden
Some of the leaves are gigantic.


Gigantic mint leaves in my garden
So I have started putting vases of mint around my house to keep the critters away. 


Jar of mint in kitchen

Mint on my coffee table

My hope is that the mint will grow in the water and I won't have to replace it. The only problem is that something is eating my mint and I can't seem to see what it is.

I don't have any rodents in my house at the moment but I do have the occasional cockroach. So I am hoping they will all disappear. I will let you know how it goes.


Axis Mundi

Below is a poem I love. It represents why I write my blog. It's all about the small things. The things that don't cost much. The things we need to stop and appreciate. Beautiful things, that can just slip by if we don't take the time to notice.

This poem sits well with the quote above at the beginning of this post. "Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities," but we have to take the time to 'see' that happiness. 

Read and enjoy.


AXIS MUNDI

The point at which heaven and earth meet.
There are other definitions. But think about this one. 
Better yet, think of it this way:
"A" point at which heaven and earth meet.
There is a point at the base of a baby's neck where heaven meets
earth.
And, certainly,
when fall moves into winter,
in the late afternoon light filtering through not-quite-bare
branches,
there is a certain shimmering essence that nearly breaks the 
heart.
Consider the point at which,
lying on your back,
you look up into a blue sky and, in a moment of grace, imagine a
worthwhile tomorrow.
Or when an unexpected wind sweeps around a corner and brings
with it a hint of some distant unknown sea
Maroon and gray and gold strata on a rocky headland
above a green-gray sea.
Tea in a special cup.
Points at which heaven and earth meet.
A string of points, connected, make a line.
A line can be followed, to a destination,
can draw us in.
Axis mundi.

Dianne Crumbaker



Interesting sites


1. Entire Swiss village to become hotel.

Photo source
This old village in Switzerland is being saved from decay by being turned into a hotel. Click here to read more.




2. Why your brain is wired for pessimism.


About 25 years ago I read a book by Martin Seligman titled 'Learned Optimism' in an attempt to become more optimistic. At that stage I was not aware that I suffered from depression to the extent I did. This article by Martin Seligman discusses the reasons he thinks half of us are wired for pessimism. Click here to read more.



3.  Giant prehistoric bird eats Neanderthal child's bones.


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Evidence has shown that at giant prehistoric bird in Poland ate a Neanderthal child's bones. Click here to to read all about it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

SUCCESS

 Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.

 Booker T. Washington

My word for this year is 'success'. I read somewhere that rather than make New Year resolutions it is good to give yourself a word for the year. So my word is 'success' - I'm not sure in exactly what yet. There are a few things I want to achieve this year.

I would like to get my house under control. I am the only one who lives here, but I collect far too many craft materials and don't have enough time to use them or enough storage to keep hidden away. As a result I tend to move stuff from room to room in an attempt to tidy up. I am not quite sure how I am going to do this, but plan to start on my back room.

My back room
I think I need to make small changes and be consistent with them.

I am keen for Peter and I to find a hobby we can do at home and keep us busy together. We do far to much sitting around, working on the computer and watching TV. We are not bored but I feel that healthwise we need to be more active. I think I might start with some water colour painting and see if I can persuade Peter to do some too.


I would like to increase my fitness. I have customised exercises I should be doing for my knees and my back and I intend to get back to doing them on a more regular basis, as well as get back to walking each day. We seemed to stop doing a lot of good things over Christmas and the New Year. We also ate too much and I went right off my Plant Paradox diet. 


I plan to start a more professional blog. I haven't quite figured out the niche yet - probably Plant Paradox recipes and I need to sort out a few financial aspects so I can afford to set it up.

I plan to start writing a children's book. I have had a few ideas for this for a few years.
 
I don't think these are really resolutions - they are more just general statements of what I would like to do. But now I have written them down and shared them I have made myself accountable.

Tim Herrera suggests the S.M.A.R.T method for setting goals and this may be useful for daily or weekly goals.

Specific: Set concrete, clearly defined goals with specific points of success.
Measurable: Whatever the goal is, find ways to measure progress.
Achievable: Aim high, but within reason. Your goal should be a stretch, but something you could actually achieve.
Relevant: Find a goal that matters enough to you that you’ll be motivated to stick with it.
Time-bound: Set a reasonable timeline for your goal, and focus on the small wins along the way.

I think I need to break my goals down into more measurable bites. This links back to our quote at the beginning - attend to the small things. 

I intend to give the 3x3 method proposed by Michael Hyatt in his podcast Lead to Win. a try. This is where you set up 3 goals for the year; 3 goals for the quarter; 3 goals for the week and 3 goals for the day. He has a great looking journal that goes with the method but with the exchange rate with the US dollar it becomes very expensive.

Why do we make resolutions with the New Year? There is no real reason for it.  It's a completely arbitrary time, but it seems a time we reflect on the past year and think about how we can change things as we embark on the New Year.


Here's a baby pig

My daughter posted this little pig below on Facebook and I thought I would share it with you.




Kimchi

Photo source
 I decided to try making some Kimchi. I haven't really used it before. I was interested because it is fermented and according to the  diet program I am following, good for gut bacteria.I found the recipe here  for ginger, carrot, daikon Kimchi (Vegan.) 

The recipe made 2 jars. 


 

So far I have used it in a stir fry and it was quite tasty, and on an open sandwich with tuna.

Poetry

I love poetry and come across many poems in my reading. this is one i would like to share. It is beautiful and somehow haunting.


To The New Year

 W.S.Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
  untouched and still possible



Interesting sites



1. Great rooms of 2018

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These are the most liked rooms for 2018 on Apartment Therapy. Click here to see them.




2. Mermaid paintings

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Click here to see the mermaid paintings of Ralph Cahoon.





3. The comfort trap.

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Why the pursuit of an easier life creates a harder one and what to do instead. Click here to read more.