Community garden

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A new season awaits!

I can’t say I fully managed to find the deep Christmas joy this year after searching for it HERE.  But I did have genuine snippets of joy, periods of contentment and laughter.  Sometimes that's the best we can manage. 

Gingerbread house making - a family tradition.

We had a wonderful time at a couple of carols with dear friends, made our gingerbread house, did the present thing.  The kids had a special Christmas day with extended family kayaking on the lake.  It was beautiful to watch and have a paddle about with them.  We played new board games, drank cold refreshing drinks and listened to the wind and the rain on the little old caravan roof. 

I was surprised at how wonderfully Angus picked up kayaking!

The old van on christmas night....All is quiet, everyone sleeping, no one stirs not even a mouse! 

a boxing day midday nap!

But I am glad to be home.  The boys are playing with new games, Lego, books and toys.  There are tea parties, puppets, and building being done.  This afternoon the tree will be neatly packed away, freeing up much needed space in the little old cottage.  I am glad to be facing a new season.  One filled with hope, rest, contentment and hopefully a slower pace. 

Now that Christmas has been and gone I find myself pondering next year.  What goals to set?  What can we work on?  What have we done this year to survive that doesn't fit in with our "why"?  what can we alter next year to bring in a deeper sense of contentment and free up tension and time?

As I was wrapping our Christmas presents I discovered amongst the bundle of books I had ordered from the book depository/fishpond a book I had bought myself and completely forgotten about.  What a timly find!


The month by month layout of this book is just perfect.  So this book will be my "guide" if you will, to help me stay on track as we take stage two of renovations at the little old cottage and try and bring our life back to a slower simpler pace then we were able to manage over the past year. 

I have been pondering a great deal about our "why". 
What does the life we want to live look like?
Why are these things important to us?
Why are we making the choices we are? 
Why are we not doing some of the things we want too? 

My why statement is simple enough. 

I want our lives to reflect the love and grace we have been given through Christ.  I want to care about others like He cares for us, to live our lives being fully present, generous, kind.  I want to live gently on this earth we have been given the opportunity to be caretakers off.  I want to teach our children how to be strong, and fierce about what they believe in and who they are, to be warriors for the poor, the lost and the vulnerable.  To be kind, gentle and practical.  To be good stewards of the many blessings we have in this world.  To continue to learn how to build our lives so they are gentle on the environment, to learn how to be more sustainable.  I want to live slowly and sit in the moments that make up our lives, to be deeply satisfied with life.  The happy, the challenging, the sad.  I want to do meaningful work.  Work that resonates with my why.  To do my hearts work. 

So now as we make the decisions about the next 12 months - this is what we line them up with.

Decluttering is something we are going to continue with, to simplify further.  I have decided to sell some furniture that is simply too big for our little old cottage and scrounge and buy a couple of smaller pieces.  My beautiful kitchen dresser is too big for our kitchen wall.  So It will be sold, the items inside and on it will be halved and only the most precious kept and a smaller simple dresser bought for a fraction of the price.  Our TV unit which ties in with the dresser will also be sold and I will source one second hand which half the size and re-arrange the lounge so the TV is tucked in the corner.  Our coffee table will also be sold to open up the room.  I just want less stuff and more space to actually live in.  In a small house, space is at a premium. 

Grant and I have tried various forms of shopping this year now we live 30 mins from the big centre.  Some stuff I can get through our shop, but not everything.  After much discussion, I am re-taking the reins for the food budgeting/menu planning.  We have tried him shopping - he forgets stuff, it drives me seriously mental.  I'm the main cook, it makes sense I do it.  But I don't have the time to commute, study, work and do it all.  So, I have been trialling click and collect.  It's a massive compromise.  They use way too many plastic bags, but it is their system.  It can only be done though Coles when I much prefer to shop at Foodland....BUT it is a massive time saver during the day in a season I need to pick sanity and simplifying procedures so I can spend time being present with my boys.  This is not my ideal option.  I would love to shop at markets, but in the aim of always keeping it real and honest on this big wide often superficial internet world, its where we are at in this very point of time. Its ok to make do, to keep the bigger goals of your "why" in the picture. 

So, to try and make up for the less than ideal shopping, I hope to continue reducing our waste in other ways around the house.  I have been greatly inspired by Zero waste living and have in mind the next few changes we can easily make.  Like getting beeswax food covers for the things that don’t fit in my glass containers.  Purchasing better quality stainless steel lunch boxes and picnic containers.  Getting a little more organized and always bringing picnics with us, ensuring there are always homemade snacks in the house, and more than just a couple of spare meals in the freezer.

This year with so many things going on with work, the business, renovating and studying we have not eaten as well as usual.  There has been too many last minute take away meals, not enough bone broth, not as much organization in the kitchen.  There are many contributing factors including being kitchen-less for a couple of months, but the main thing is we have plans and systems in place to help us overcome this "flying by the seat of our pants".  We know we have done a much better job of this in the past and are more than capable of doing it.  We have just struggled to find a system that works.  But we have now.  I'm really looking forward to being more organized.  In both the slowness it provides, the nourishment and the health benefits - I'm getting far too chubby - gah!  Why is it always easier and more fun to get fatter rather then skinnier?!  Haha!

We have some interesting projects in the pipe line this year.  Re-building and fixing the back half of the little old cottage and opening it all up to the gardens, new garden beds, plans for our business to streamline and improve procedures.  Grant has been slowly building up his wood roaches ready to expand his little side business, and we have some interesting little family plans.  The first little one will hopefully be revealed in a few weeks!  Another we have a lot of prayer and conversations to have before we share, but I am deeply hopeful.  ;)

Well board games are summoning so I best get going. 
Much love,
Emma
xx






Wednesday, 14 December 2016

De-cluttering, toys, christmas and simplicity.


Kids toys...I am not entirely sure how they seem to expand and multiply when we are sleeping but they do!

A few "hand-me downs" are kindly gifted, a birthday passes, a grandparent sees something they think a child might like and before you know it the toys are falling off the shelves...again!

Over the years, I have developed a system that works really well for us.  Eventually Grant got on board too.  He has Bower bird tendancies.  ;)

I'm a big believer in including kids where possible, though there are times I de-clutter a little as I’m tiding, but only things I know are broken or rubbish.  I strongly believe this is their home, they are their toys and belongings and they need to have autonomy over their own things I believe if they are going to grow into adults who respect and care for their possessions. 

This is Will's own little succulant patch.  He loves them.  I take cuttings for him when I see new ones out and about, and he does too.  He then plants them up and sells them to us and visitors, budding businessman!

Firstly, we are very matter of fact about life in this house.  We have explained their privilege to them, and continue to teach them about this.  We educate them about other countries, about our own country.  We have shown them pictures of how other families live and we try and help them develop the natural empathy, kindness and love for others that children innately poses.  Not in a way that guilt's them, but instead we use it as a tool to empower them to see how they can help children like them, who are not as lucky as we are.  To show them they can make a difference, even though they are small.  We make it a celebratory time.  I talk about how happy another child will be to receive such a special toy, how happy a parent will be to be able to find good toys for their children and how the money that is raised will go to buying Christmas hampers and so forth. 

The tree is up - but alas its not "real" due to a house full of people terribly allergic to pine trees!

We talk about keeping only what we use and really love.  That way it makes cleaning up faster, and we are happier as we get to do more fun things together.  I re-assure them that I will never throw out or donate something they love of they say "no".  I respect that this is their home. 

 And you know what?  They truly get it.  We go through everything and pick it up and ask if we can donate it.  We chat about if they want to pick it up, if they want it taking up the limited space on the shelves, if they still actually play with it or if they have out-grown it and what it might look like. 

 This is not a conversation we have twice a year, its simply how our family approaches "stuff" in an everyday and ordinary manner.  We focus on what we have, what we love and what we truly want in our house.  After that, the rest is generally easy to let go.

I think if we want to grow mindful adults, we need to challenge and grow mindful children.  In a time where child hood and parenting is made into such a complex situation, I find it helpful to simply step out of all the hype, the "must haves" the parenting experts and just chill.  These days when everything is measured and critiqued, "educational" and getting ahead is pushed and shoved down our throats.   

When we focus on the benefits of donating and how great the kids are doing - it makes the entire process pretty easy.  I have a folder for paintings and special things.  But fortunately the boys are pretty good at letting stuff go.  I don’t think it is an accident they are.  We have worked hard to build consistent and persistent attitudes around this subject. 

That’s the key to most parenting problems with very young children isn’t it?  Consistency and persistency.  In whatever form it takes that aligns with your parenting style. 

The toy situation in the western world is not now nor has it ever actually been about the development of the child, its generally about a company’s bottom line.  Toy companies work hard to get us to depend on their "knowledge" and products.

Here is a little story for you - I’m on a tangent but bare with me. 

I was walking in Big W the other day to buy a new washing basket.  I generally avoid the shops at all costs.  But mine was well and truly broken and ran a risk of snagging my clothes.  So off I toddled, annoyed that "nothing lasts these days".   I was walking to the isle and I heard a group of three middle aged adults taking about the "washing machine specialist" who had advised them that the "ONLY" good washing powder to use was a particular expensive brand.  I was highly amused and saddened at the same time. 

This "specialist" is not a true specialist.  He was not someone who built and repaired washing machines, who cared about maintaining a good working machine.  It was a salesman, who sold new washing machines who most likely worked in affiliation with said expensive brand washing powder.

Companies name these people "specialists" as if to raise them up above us.  To make us believe that they must know better then we do, and when did the turn of phrase "specialist" begin getting applied to salesmen?  I always thought a specialist was someone highly trained, highly experienced in a field.  You know, like a brain surgeon or something like that.     

And another thing, when did the simple task of washing clothes become so "complex" and expensive that we need a "specialist" to teach us how to do it "right'?!  Pfffft.....What a load of absolute rubbish.

But that is the power of marketing and consumerism.  These three smart people had been brain washed by the system.  Then I got sad.  Sad that this kind of information is rife today.  Sad that parents get told similar lies about products they "need" for their children, sad that so many people buy into it unknowingly and it brings them nothing but financial strain, anxiety, stress and a feeling of in-adequacy. 

So, as we approach this season of excess.  Let’s look around, lets donate good quality children’s toys in time for Christmas for those that have less.  Let’s be mindful about the items we bring into our lives, into our homes and the message they send our children.  Lets give less"stuff" and give more of ourselves.  Let’s be confident in our skills and that our children more than likely have "enough" just as it is.  They are always watching and learning from our behaviour. 

Hanging out at the beach.  We hope to be present during the Chistmas holidays, that these will be the memories that shape our children when they remember Christmas. 

Grant and I have decided not to give each other Christmas presents, and that has been the case for most of the year.  There is truly nothing we want, what a blessed life we have.  In our run down little old ramshackle cottage.  Our gift in this season is love, presence and mindfulness.  That to me is the true spirit of Christmas. 

Much Love,
Emma
xx








Friday, 2 December 2016

A natter from the porch...

I'm not quite sure what the trigger is, but I feel as if the pressure that built over the course of this year has finally slowly been hissing a slow and steady release.  Over the last couple of days it feels like it has suddenly gone "whooosh!"

And I find myself feeling a familiar kind of old "normal".  Like my skin has finally stretched enough to fit all that has been going on in our lives in.  The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster for sure.  Did you know we have been in the little old cottage a whole 12 months now?  Crazy isn't it?  So much has changed.  So much has happened this year.  The devastating Pinery Bushfires occurred just two weeks after we moved to our new-to-us old cottage, helping to renew our local church and starting a family’s ministry HERE, renovations upon renovations.  Remember what the cottage used to look like?  If you are a new reader here are some before pictures HERE, William had his adenoids and tonsils removed, I started Uni, and also started a new part time job as a Chaplain working with women and children after the fires.

It has been a year of heartache, challenges, growth, laughter and new beginnings.  Throughout it all I have had many times of feeling so blessed.  We have been welcomed into the community, mind you having owned the general store and post office for many years helps that.  But finally I feel I am beginning to put down my roots here, the cottage always felt like home, but now the town is beginning too as well.  How long we will stay I have no idea, but it is nice for now, and “now” is all we have isn't it?


So here are some ordinary photos taken this week.  Happy moments.  Moments when I felt rich and deeply connected to our little home here. 

We got a couple of new chooks to add to our flock and they are laying well!  Though I think we could do with a couple more.   

A little while ago a dear friend gifted me her grandmothers collection of sewing bits and bobs - what a treasure chest it is!  It had everything I needed for a little project I undertook!  So handy considering the sewing shop is 30 mins away. 

"Jimmy" needed a "ninja" outfit apparently for christmas so I whipped this up for a gift for Angus.  William will het a library bag out of the Marvel fabric.  Henry might get a similar outfit for his Waldorf doll.



Licking the bowl!  Always fun.

Homemade snacks ready for the weekend. 

Anyway we are off to a christmas pagent tonight so I best get everyone ready!  Grant will be home in about 3 mins and Henry just hopped out of his bath and is currently running around in the nuddy!

Much love,
Emma
xx

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Christmas stage 2.

Thankyou everyone who took the time to leave such encouraging, understanding, helpful and thoughtful comments on my last post.  I was very touched by the desire to help and so I thank you all with all my heart. 

It was very re-assuring to see I'm not actually the Chrismas Grinch and that many of us simple living folk have the similar feelings we are either working to overcome, or have had to overcome in the past.

A little fence and repair to this little garden again!! The cheeky dogs, this recycled fencing wire from the front ought to fix it....hopefully! 

I'm sorry I didnt reply to them all.  I have read them and re-read them and have been pondering many elements.  They have been marinating in my mind but I saw them, and was very greatful for them. 

So, where am I now? 

Well firstly I should have clarified *we* dont have trouble with the gift giving to our children.  We tend to go with "something to wear, something to read, something you want and something you need." 

So the boys are getting from us:
Wear:  PJ's
Read: (still deciding)
Want: childrens Opinel pocket knife, Henry I'm not quite decided upon, a marble run?
Need: Cotton Sleeping bags

Stockings will include marbels, chocolate, socks, jocks, and something special for each child - William will get a few polished stones for his collection, Henry a little owl finger puppet, Gus I havent decided yet.  The PJ's and the books are usually in the stocking too. 

Its the excess that comes in which we have no control that concerns me.  But I do believe we have started a new tradition with one set of Grandparents happy about giving zoo passes!  Woo hoo!

As far as Christmas day goes.....Well we have been having many discussions about this.  Its not just up to me to say "no".  We are a family and the decision of how we celebrate christmas must be a united one between Grant and I.  We have however now decided that every couple of years we will have start to have Christmas at our own home.  This is a huge change for us and one I am greatly relieved about.    People are welcome to join us if they like, but we wont be doing all the travelling, and we will get to start new traditions with our children.

Apparently "Jimmy" needs a ninja outfit...hmm....

This year we are going to hold our own "Pre- Chistmas day"  at home.  Just our family.  Buy beautiful seafood, light candles, go to church Sunday morning, maybe go to the beach, and give the boys a small hand made gift each, just to make it a little "magic"  William needs a new libray bag and I have the material sitting there, Angus would love a Ninja outfit for his waldorf doll, and I will either applique a cat on a tee-shirt for Henry or make his Waldorf doll an Ninja outfit too.  This special day will be a week or two before Christmas, nothing too fancy, But Im really looking forward to it.  I feel more "at peace".

There is a Christmas pagent on this Friday in a town not far from us they will enjoy, and I think taking the time to simply "be" is perhaps going to be the most important thing.  I tend to get tied up in the "do-ing" of everything around here that has to be done, that I forget to just "be" at the moment. 

I listened to "Matilda" by Roahl Dahl today in full by audiable, I love a good kids book.  and it got me thinking how little reading I have been doing latly. Gosh I miss it.  It dawned on me I have not been caring for myself as well as usual.  Which means I was going into the Christmas season with an emty tank, after a long hard year no wonder I was feeling tired and flat and dis-heartened.

One of our favorite things are Audible - audio books.  The first month is free and awesome for road trips or quiet nights. 

The Christmas tree will go up this weekend, which will be nice.  So we need to do a light toy de-clutter and a bit of a spring clean in the lounge. 

Much love,
Emma
xx

  

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Christmas...

Well there is no denying it, Christmas is fast approaching. 

I'm going to be honest.  I'm struggling these days with Christmas.  I'm struggling to find the joy. 


We are bombarded with questions of "what can we get the kids?"  and my insides scream "nothing!" Its just more crap to pick up and they genuinly have enough of everything.  In fact, they have more then enough.  So I rake my brain trying to think of something suitable, that is going to last, that they actually want, thats not going to break in the first week, that they will love.  I try to put away my cynasism and make it special for them.
 
Family wants us to be with them over Christmas - at their houses.....which means as usual we have to travel several hours.  We will never be able to make everyone happy.

We have to buy gifts for everyone and if I'm completly honest "gifts" are my absoloute lowest love language.  It's not my thing, Im not worried about material posessions, I want for nothing, and know in reality those in my life want for little also.  So whats the point of spending lots on stuff that is going to sit around in others homes?  You know?  I could give that money to charity.....But I do give gifts because I love my family and I understand that gift giving is important to them.

We are just so privledged, and Christmas is all to often a time of over indulgance and gluttony.  Such a stark contrast to so much of the world. 

I used to LOVE Christmas when I was a kid.  It was completly magic with all the cousins gathered around, special food, laughter and and abundance of love.  I'm not sure what happened to make me cynical.  Perhaps because "Christ" is often missing from "Christmas" in our family circles, which pains me more then I would like to admit.....But then again he was never there in my family circles when I grew up either. 

Perhaps because I feel we are expected to fit in with everyone else, and even when we do our best we are bound to leave someone dissapointed.  Which I hate.  Im not sure what stole my joy, I suspect a combination of things. 

But Im going to be honest, Christmas has lost its magic for me, and quite frankly Im not sure how to find it again. 

I put on a smile, we play the music, I do the gifts, we do the miles and we do our best.  But for me, the truth is that it's hollow these days.  I crave a deeper Christmas, something that stirs my heart and my imagination again, something that brings back just a sprinkle of the child like wonder I used to love so much.  Though Im not sure how to get there, which saddens me. 
 
How do you keep the Christmas magic?

Much love,
Emma
xx   

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A quick weekend away.

Last week we had to juggle staff at the shop unexpectedly, which ment we got a 3 day weekend!  What a treat. 
So we quickly packed up the old van, grabbed some basic supplies and went down to a beautiful town and lovely beach front caravan park at Moonta Bay, Which is about 1.5hrs away from us.   

We saw some local sights, we got back in sync as a family, we went to bed early, we gazed at the ocean.  Pure bliss. 

Much love,
Emma
xx 

The dog that thinks he is a person...AKA Ronnie

How's the serentiy?...

My mini chef cooking breakfast.



We went on a fantastic train ride and enjoyed the local museum very much, it was beautifully set up.



The old copper mines...




Saturday, 5 November 2016

A weekend natter.

You know those perfect spring days?  Where the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the weather is just right? 

Well today is one of those days.  One of those days that makes mothering look easy. 

We have spent much of it in the garden, my floors are filthy from little muddy boots wandering in and out of my kitchen, ha!  But it is far too nice a day to clean them or even care for that matter. 

We have just been pottering about on random jobs.  Nothing too strenuous, stopping for regular cuppas and a natter.  The boys have been finding all kinds of interesting project to amuse themselves with.  There has been bug collecting and identifying, fire making, hole digging, cubby building and playing with the various animals that come up to say hello. 

This kind of play is my very favorite kind.  Few toys, no guidance.  Only imagination and what ever they can find at hand.  It's interesting, screen free, natural, simple, and it's the stuff happy, calm childhoods are made of I reckon.  Sure its messy, and muddy, and creates extra work for me in cleaning.  But it is oh-so good for them.  In body, mind and spirit.  Its good for me to watch them in the fresh air.  To listen to them chatter to each other.  Learning how to negotiate, to lead, to create.

For me it is days like this that we strive for.  They are not fancy, or glamerous.  They are quiet.  Humble.  This is the reason we try to live simply, to live slowly and consciously.  Because in the space of home, important activities are done, values are formed, relationships strengthened.  Peace found.    

The joy and happiness of the day is not found "outside" in the world, behind expensive days spent buying stuff for the kids.  It is here, where we are, with what we have, and what we already hold in our own hands and hearts.  This is the kind of love, contentedness that is going to last.  Because it is not reliant on something we have consumed to make us happy.  The media would have us believe happiness is in buying fancy toys and expensive "childrens" activities, and whilst it may be fun for a while, its short lived.  The good stuff comes from within, from them.  Whe we give them time, space, freedom and nature I truly believe we help to teach them that they are enough, just as they are.  What an important lesson to know in this big, crazy, loud world.  

The bonus is that everyone will sleep well tonight!


We have an abundance of lemons at the moment.  This lot are going to be made into lemon cordial and lemon butter.

 The boys have been finding pet snails about the place.  Hours of amusement!

I transplanted some herbs that were being strangled out in my raised garden bed - but they need protection from little feet.   So here is our DIY solution.  Perhaos not the prettiest fence around but its free! 

Our hollyhocks are in full bloom.  Just stunning.

The boys have been making themselves a little camp fire.  I might have to dig out some marshmellos for them!

I was sick of looking at Grants messy bug shed and so he whacked up some mesh we had lying around, planted a couple of Jasmine I bought a while back and we transplanted from of these lillies.  The edging is recycled bricks from the piles we have here.  We need to bring in some peastraw now.  Im hoping to get a load from a local farmer soon. 

I hope every one is having a lovely weekend!
Much love,
Emma
xx

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

persistance and consistancy.

Sometimes either on my blog or in my life people ask how we do it all.  Renovate, own a business, study, work, raise children etc.

I'm not special, nor even particularly good with time management.

This is what it often looks like....


Working on an assignment, late at night with a small child sleeping next to me. 

 It means not watching T.V. at night when my husband is. 

 It means saying "no" to things for the sake of sleep and sanity.

 It means hobbies get put on hold.  It sometimes means an excess dose of Mama guilt.

But for me, I think it comes down to if I really, truly want to do something or to learn something I will work out a way to make room for it.  It might take time for that space to be found in my life.  I might have to wait for the next season....It might mean putting something down so I can pick something up.  Sometimes an old season needs to end for a new season to begin.

But there are many things in life that don’t take that much time to try.  Like making laundry liquid, or learning how to make soap.  Meal planning and shopping for simple but nourishing family dinners.  Buying a few big pots and planting a herb garden.  These things are all small and affordable jobs in the scheme of things.  All too often we simply make them to be bigger than they are in our minds, and we procrastinate. 


We might get disheartened because our work doesn't look like the pictures we see on Pinterest.  But that’s ok.  It doesn’t have too!  We are only able to create the lives we want by firstly making the time to change, having the courage to actually do it, and the persistence to keep going when it gets challenging. 



But when we make these small changes, they add up.  Slowly and steadily.  Eventually if we make enough of these changes we will look back, and our lives will look dramatically different.  As we learn new skills our confidence grows, as we let go of what weighs us down we grow happier.  Suddenly our life looks in line with the things we value.  It looks like us.  It reflects our own values, dreams and personal story. 



Knitting is my new hobby.  I have always wanted to be able to knit beautiful jumpers, to read a pattern.  Today, I’m completely hopeless at it.  My tension is uneven; I have no idea how to unpick it to mend an error.  But I will persist and plod along.  Because I reckon all good things in life take time and effort.  There is beauty in a slow journey.  But the joy when you produce something that resembles your goal?  Nothing beats that feeling! 

Much love,
Emma

xx   


    


Monday, 31 October 2016

Simple indulgance.

Really, there is nothing like a good chocolate cake.  It brightens all bad days, adds joy to any celebration.  I do belive, it is one of my all time favorite things. 

This weekend we needed a little indulgence to break the grumps.  Tired children due to late nights....tired Mama from a sick child......and perhaps just a little too much red wine....

Solution?  Chocolate cake! 

I do believe this is the best recipe I have tried.  Its indulgant, the icing is amazing.  (with THREE blocks of butter, it is in its own league!) Pair it with thick jersy cream and berries and you have a dessert fit for the Queen!

It was so good infact young Henry couldn't resist.....cheeky little mouse.....



Here is the link: Best chocolate cake ever.

It was so good, I even had it for breakfast.  Because that is the joy of being an adult right?  There needs to be the occasional perk for all this hard work - Ha!



Much love,
Emma
xx   

Saturday, 29 October 2016

A weight off!

Finally I have submitted my final assignment in for the semester.  My goodness what a weight off!

Now I can focus on home, on work and the boys.  What a challenging semester.  Not in a bad way, but it was completly and utterly all consuming thats for sure.  Im glad to be done, and proud I have done it. 

Im looking forward to having more spare time at home.  To do the things that have slipped, or that I havn't had time for.  I look forward to fluffing up my nest, to reading books for fun (what a novel idea!) going to bed early and to stop having to push quite so hard to get things done.  Until next semester that is. 

Home is such an important place for me.  So often underrated.  Its where friends can come to relax, to celebrate, to share their struggles.  Its where family is nurtured and grown.  We laugh, we cry.  Foughts are had, and more importantly resolved.  Where love grows strong, where we get to be truly who we are. 

Yes it's good to be home again.  In both body and mind. 

I have finally started the quilt I have wanted to sew for our bed for years.  Its not going to be complex, simply a collection of fabrics from my stash sewn into a big raggedy quilt.  How I have missed being creative with my hands.  I have decided my next craft once the quilt is done is going to be knitting.  I love yarns, natural fibres.  The beautiful clothes that are created from them.  I would love to be able to knit well.  So I'm going to learn.  Great Granny is a wonderful knitter.  I'm going to go and visit her one night in the city, bring her dinner and get her to teach me.  it will be good for the both of us.  She is an amazing woman.   

 This is what my morning looks like, chilling on the couch.  with coffee close by, reading occasional books, messing about on the lap top knowing there is nothing I "need" to be doing apart from exactly that. 

A beautiful older friend from church dropped off these flowers picked fresh from her garden this morning, just to brighten my day.  I love the generosity of country people. 

I love sage.  I love it as a herb, I love it as a flower.  Its tough and so well suited to our hot climate.  I will certainly be planting more of it as we establish our garden.  What a show it puts on! 
These giant holly hocks are amazing.  They come up like weeds here.  They are all ready to burst into flower, these ones are about 8ft tall.....the dogs had a little dig in that garden bed....sigh.

I bought this beautiful lap quilt from our local church fair.  Completly beautifully made by a very talented sewer.  $30, I simply couldnt walk past it knowing I had the perfect place for it.  I had a bigger quilt on there but it would drape on the floor when I wrapped it around who ever needs a cuddle.  This one is the perfect size. 

Our cammomile is in full flower, so once a week I harvest it and dry the blooms for tea and what not. 

Much love,
Emma
xx

Friday, 21 October 2016

simple days.

The big boys are back at school this week.  So its just been me and this little guy.  Oh and about 500 loads of washing - gah! 

Bliss.  Midday naps, tea parties, books and days simply hanging out at home.  Goodness I needed it.

Oh....and assignments, uni, work and the rest of the real life important adulting that needs to be done to keep the wheels running in this place.....But lets just focus on the blissful bits shall we?







much love,
Emma
xx

Monday, 17 October 2016

The second bedroom and the cost of our decisions...

I'm not going to lie, the last few weeks I have been thoroughly over renovating.  I have been fed up, longing for a clean, tidy, fresh space.  I have been grumpy and irritable and emotionally tired from the realities of it all.  I have been ready to throw in the towel on more then one occasion. 

Sometimes I look around at friends building brand new beautiful homes, then I look at our little shabby, dusty old cottage......Sometimes the green eyed monster rears its ugly head.  Even when we know we are making the right decisions both for our family and financially, it's still challenging.  The reality is that sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side.   

Even though we know in our heart of hearts its not, it doesn't stop the mind wondering.  People look at what we are doing and exclaim how much they wish they could do it too.  Mind you - some think we are utterly crazy, ha!   

But the truth lies that underneath it all, is that there is always a cost to every single decision we make. 

We bought this house cash, so we have no home mortgage.  We are paying down our business mortgage as hard and as fast as we can.  Its tough.  When we are doing a big job, like finishing a room, we don't all eat together.  Grant works as hard as he can to get the noisy work done before the boys go to bed.  I will often eat with the kids, do the rest and work late to clean up.

We often work really long days.  We own a business and that in itself is long hours and a lot of work.  Grant works full time there and is often up until midnight working on the house.  I work and study and am often up until midnight reading or doing assignments.  Its tiring, its exhausting and its not sustainable for long periods.

But that is the cost of a big fast push.  Its how we tend to work, perhaps not ideal, but it comes out of necessity.  We focus wholly on a big project, then try to smash it out.  The catch is after its done, we allow ourselves to have a good rest and re-charge.  Now we have done the boys room, we will simply potter about on the garden for a bit.  Finish a few odd jobs, go to the beach, catch a movie, take the dogs down to the local river.  Have big hearty family dinners again and rest and chill out.

But this is the cost of being free of a home mortgage before 35.  If you choose to have a big fancy home, there is a cost to that too.  You will have a big fancy home that has an equally big fancy debit. 

All decisions we make have a cost.  I find knowing this really helpful in how we lead our lives and how we prioritise our values.  Is the cost of the decision going to be worth it to us? 

- Do I stay in a job I hate?  Or do I take a risk and find a new job and explore a new path? 
- Do we have children now or later?
- Do we buy a little house in a good area or perhaps a larger house a little further away? 
- Do we buy new and spend more or something older and do it up over time?
- Do we shop for fun?  Or do we look for fun elsewhere and challenge societies perception of what fun is?
- Do we follow the path of least resistance in our lives?  Or do we search our heart of hearts and work towards creating our own unique life that resonates with our souls - despite it looking different from those around us?

What is the cost of maintaining status quo vs the cost of change?  

For us, living in this little old cottage, working hard renovating......the cost of reduced financial pressure, of me being able to follow my call to ministry.  The cost is worth it to us.  It wouldn't be a decision that resonates with everyone - and that's ok too.  Though that doesn't mean it is easy. 

But then again, most things in life worth doing aren't easy.  They stretch us, they challenge our beliefs about us and the world we are in.  They grow us, and that growth and shaping is truly a beautiful thing.    


Grant built a simple stand to help with putting the ceiling up. 

Gussy choose orange - and it gets a thumbs up!

The boys "helping" Grant. 

I'm not sure who is more excited - the boys or I.  I was in beginning to decorate before the floor was even laid! 

It may not be Pintrest worthy, but they finally have their own cosy space.

And they are oh-so happy about it!


Much love,
Emma
xx