Encouragement

The 2013 Jump! Change is good.

Most people in blog-land have probably communicated their thoughts about the new year already. I’ve taken a month to formulate mine…. and a crazy month its been. It really does feel like 2013 is a year of change, not just for me and my family, but for lots of people around us too.

I’ve been pondering what to include in this blog this year, I love good healthy food, interesting design and the odd spattering of inspiration and thats the dominating content, but I have some other things burning in my heart that I want to get out.

You see, I’m a bit passionate about seeing people doing things that they love, or really want to do. I believe that every human is made with a purpose, and that to be truly content, and getting the most out of life, we need to find that purpose. This is a multi faceted philosophy, but the most simple way to talk about this is in the area of career. (I use this term fairly loosely.)

My story is this. I’ve worked for many years in communication, marketing and a bit of graphic design. During December and January I got offered a few opportunities in this area, and so I started on the path to take them up. Partway down the path, I suddenly realised my hypocrisy! I profess this passion for seeing people do what they love to do, yet here I was continuing on a path mediocre. I literally thought to myself…

“How long will I keep doing things I’m only half enjoying, when I know in my heart, I’m meant for other things.”

I have known for a while now that I should be in a more design driven career. I’m obsessed with interiors, furniture, design, colour, problem solving, innovation to make better things, and am constantly coming up with ideas for objects, events and experiences.

So, I jumped! Out of a safe, comfortable chair into a brand new, unworn and slightly uncomfortable chair… Diploma of Interior Design & Decoration. It’s a risk, committing time and money, sacrificing the ability to generate income to contribute to the family with 2 small kids. And although I am an advocate for all things new and exciting, it was a little bit difficult!

Now I feel like I can write about this. I’ve jumped and I want to share a bit of the journey here. But the main thing I want to do this year is find others who have made or are making the jump too. People who are sacrificing in some areas to ensure they are content and purpose driven, people who are just simply enjoying what they do, people who are passionate about making a difference. I’d like to tell some of their stories too. So please keep an eye out for these, if you’re at all interested in making some changes for a more content life.

Happy 2013!

Keep Calm and Carry On

There’s a lot to be said for a kind and calm voice in times of turmoil.

I’ve been tired and cranky. 2 small kidlets and not much sleep is enough to manage just by itself, but the other elements of life don’t stop…if we let it, it can really get on top of us. And I had let it. I am an advocate for deliberate parenting, not reactionary parenting, but I realised my fuse was short, I was raising my voice at my 2yr old, who at times can be very difficult, and hard to negotiate with. Getting cross might be justified, but that is not the mum I want to be.

So I started reading some blogs and information about parenting, I have to say, there are some pretty condemning musings around. Most mums will know there is sometimes a voice whispering in your ear that tells you “You’re not a very good mum, you shouldn’t do things that way”. And it’s so easy to be swayed into thinking that. But the truth is, that you and your little cherub are an original combo. There has never been a parent/child combination like you before. So your parenting is YOUR decision. No one else’s. What works for someone might not work for others, so  I chose to brush that nasty voice aside, and make a decision about how I wanted to overcome this little hurdle.

The very simple conclusion I came to was this.

Its very hard to argue, rebel against, or raise your voice to someone who is being calm and kind.

So for a day, (one step at a time) I made a really focussed effort to be calm and kind to both my girls. No raising my voice, getting down close to give requests and instructions, giving space in times of frustration, and all the while in my head “Calm, calm, calm”.

Wow, just in one day I noticed a world of difference. For a start I had changed the atmosphere of our home by not allowing that condemning voice to bug me, or rise to the frustration it was causing, and I had taken back the reins and started being deliberate and not reactionary. My 2yr old responded so well, it took a few less asks before instructions were fulfilled, and we had more giggles and less tears.

It has now been a week, and I’ve discovered a more compliant daughter and a more content mum. Which ultimately leads to a happier home, and better relationships. I think this principle can be applied in any situation where conflict is arising. A soft word makes a much better platform for negotiation. I’ve found it easier to remain calm now that I’ve made the decision in my heart. And although sometimes I want to let out frustration in the form of a raised tone, most of the time I can control it. But it has only been a week.. 🙂

Phantom crying and other things that keep us awake – 10 Hints for sleeping better

I’ve spent a good part of the last 3 years in a bit of a zombie state. Having small children leads to inevitable periods of sleep deprivation, unless you’re one of those lucky people to have a live in nanny and the kids at the other end of the house.

The thing I find a bit annoying is when people say “Well you should just sleep when the kids are sleeping”. I don’t know about others, but this is actually very difficult for me.

For one, if they sleep in the day, you usually have to carry on with other normal life tasks like eating, going to the toilet, or maybe even housework. For two, its not actually that easy to instantly fall asleep. I lie there, day or night, with racing thoughts about which child is going to wake soon, or the things I need to do, or just stupid things like what I said to so & so last week. And then there’s the phantom crying… any little noise that resembles the pitch of one of my babies cry, alerts me out of slumber right away. And sometimes, I even hear them crying when they aren’t. This is a great hinderance for restful nights.

I’ve discovered a few tricks that help me get to sleep quicker, they are no substitute for a full unbroken nights sleep, but I think it helps:

1. Himalayan Salt – A few granules under the tongue. Apparently its the minerals in the salt that help relax you.

2. Magnesium – A glass of magnesium drink will relax your muscles and nervous system.

3. Do more exercise. It’s really true that it helps you sleep better.

4. Actually counting sheep – I just count backwards from 100. Sometimes I get a bit distracted with other thoughts, but if you can focus, it usually works.

5. Having a bath or a shower generally does help. You feel refreshed after the day’s activities, and its nicer sleeping without old sweat all over you. (A common Brisbane state of being)

6. Maca! Having a cup of hot cacao and maca before bed is just delightful. Its soothing and delicious, and has loads of health benefits.

7. Hanky Panky… thats all I’ll say about that

8. Fresh clean lovely sheets!

9. A pretty far out suggestion, and not very common, NEVER have children! I couldn’t do this, and its too late anyway.

10. Sleep Rescue Remedy. Its great. Get it from the chemist.

Feel free to share your ways into the land of Nod, I think lots of people have this same trouble. And with that.. goodnight.

Stop complaining about what’s not there!

I’m setting myself a challenge this week.

The challenge is to stop complaining. Its not that I complain a lot, but I think if you let your guard down, your glasses get foggy, and you can get lazy in your gratitude.

We are in a time of having just had our second gorgeous baby, and not getting the desired amount of sleep. It’s very much a time that can be stressful, and your patience get short when you’re so tired. But I don’t want to wish it all away. My babies don’t stay babies for long, and I try to enjoy every moment.. even the 2 year old tantrums, and constant bodily fluid to deal with.

If you are always looking for the current time to end, you miss out on what this part of the journey holds for you. We get caught up in the amazing ‘destination’, and we miss the scenery on the way to the place we actually never  get to.

We can often look at the gaps, the ‘glass half empty’, and what others have that we don’t. But a quick change of perspective can turn your day around. Look for the things that are making you happy, there’s always something to be grateful for!

Start blessing what’s in your hands at this time, and stop cursing for what you don’t even have!

When I grow up I want to be…

When I was a kid, I distinctly remember telling mum and dad that I wanted to be a mailman. (mail person for the PC), so I could stop at everyone’s house and get to know them.  This dream was squashed when dad explained that I wouldn’t really get to meet people because I would just have to drop off their mail in the box and keep driving. But I think this gives an indication of what I wanted to do in my life from a young age. To meet people, and connect with them, and help them. I have since developed more interests and desires, but that speaks to me of my core.

I don’t think its coincidence that kids spend a good amount of time role playing different jobs and roles in society. They need to discover what it is they want to do through this process.

I only was exposed to a handful of occupations in a rural NZ community, teacher, shop keeper, farmer or mailman were pretty much the options. I am amazed now at the world of opportunity and variety there is for us to partake in. I believe so strongly in finding a purpose in what you put your hand to. We are meant to do stuff, and stuff that we love. There is an occupation, business, vocation, job or area of interest for everyone to be matched to. And if you can’t find yours, make it yourself!

As a family we are having a bit of a tough time financially, and I know that I could easily find a temporary full time role in a government job because of the experience I’ve had. I went to an interview for one the other day, and as soon as I left the room, I thought “I don’t want to be here full time, or any time.” I struggled for a couple of days about whether I was being stupid, or just true to myself. And I came to this conclusion:

I have come to the realisation that I can’t bring myself to do things just for the money. My time is too precious to be wasting it doing things I don’t enjoy. I realised that in all things in this life, you can do it for love, or you can do it for money. I am doing life for love, taking all the steps to achieving some dreams, and believing that the money will come soon after!