Make Time To Take Time.

Finally, a moment to muse – It has been a while.

School holidays, visitors coming and going, a family member recovering from an operation… Not much time amongst the chaos for musing.

Life is starting to settle back into a routine and it made me realise how long it has been since I made time to take time. Just that ten minutes here and there for my own mental R and R.

My ten minute brisk walk around the block (my friend and I call it our “twirl”) – I didn’t realise how much I missed it. Especially at this time of year when the air is fresh, and on a fine day such as this, the sunshine is warm on my back. It can be so invigorating!

Working for myself, helping out a friend in their business, and being a full-time parent can be exhilarating and exhausting all at once, so those couple of self imposed “time outs” can be crucial to well-being.

When the house is empty and quiet, it is so nice to throw open the windows and doors, inviting our beautiful garden in. To sit quietly, sip my warming brew, and indulge in one of my favourite ten minute pastimes… A morning coffee musing.

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The Next Chapter Begins…

Anticipation, apprehension, excitement, nervousness and a little worry. What a mixed bag of feelings I carry around with me this morning as I go about my usual routine. These feelings are not for myself, but for another special person as they undergo a long awaited surgery… I can’t even begin to imagine how he must be feeling.

Today marks the end of this first long and painful “leg” in his unique triathlon. The next will be the operation and recovery, and then, hopefully six months later the third and final stage… years of pain-free activity.

The family are looking forward to having a dad who will be able to play with them again.

As I watch the sun shining brightly through the leaves in the trees – illuminating them from within – I get a good feeling… Today marks the first day of our next chapter…

A Perfect Day For A Great Day

The lorikeets are twittering, the air is cool, the sun is warm and the sky is clear… what a perfect day to have a great day!

Anticipation is in the air… Anticipation of good things to come.

A family member will be having a long awaited medical procedure, our international “daughter” will be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, beloved family members are arriving for a visit, the weekend is not too far away, a family gathering is planned, and the school holidays are just around the corner!

Every day we still have to deal with the mundane – necessary chores, a home and garden to maintain, meals to prepare, bills to be paid and work to be done – but the anticipation of all the positive in our lives makes life worth looking forward to.

Sometimes we have to convince ourselves to look forward with positivity. Sometimes things happen that rip the fragile tapestry of life to shreds… but it is that incredible unshakable human quality of hope that allows us to weave those threads together again into a more beautiful, rich and ever evolving tapestry. Our own unique work of art coloured with the light and dark, highs and lows of life experience.

As I sip my morning coffee, I muse about where these next few threads I weave will take me…

Brrrrr!

It is different this morning… The sky is a brilliant blue with just a sprinkle of iridescent white flecks of cloud. A light breeze dances through the tops of the tall gums. The sounds of cars and workmen have a slightly brittle ring to them this morning. I can hear a twitter here and there, but even the birds are huddling quietly for warmth. It is a chilly morning indeed!

It may not be snowing where I am right now, but you can definitely feel a flurry in the air. My jacket warms my back beneath the brilliant morning sunshine, but the tip of my nose and tops of my ears still feel the sting.

As I walk, the cerise and scarlet of the bougainvillea are startlingly vivid in the crisp morning air. The shiny white of the gumtree trunks is almost silvery as if with a sheen of ice. It is not quite cold enough for ice, but I definitely need the warmth of my morning coffee to infuse some life into my chilly limbs!

As I warm my hands around my mug, I inhale the aroma in anticipation of my first sip… Aaaahhhh

Be Prepared

I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week… I also know it has always been staring me in the face.

As we know, removing a family member from the mix changes the dynamic, and this week I have worked hard to keep our hectic morning rush to school as calm and light-hearted as possible. The results have been great – we’ve arrived on or before time, and the kids have enjoyed a chat with their friends or a game of handball before class.

This morning, one of the children asked me if we could do this every day? I laughed and said “that is entirely up to you!”

Just now, as I muse over my morning coffee, I realise and admit that it is also very much up to me. We are all a team and we all play a part. My part is the trigger for all that follows…

My advice to myself – don’t hit that snooze button, get up and get organised straight away. Make sure I get myself a coffee (or whatever it is that gets you going). Take a moment to draw breath and know where you are at.

I’ve always thought I needed to get the kids up earlier, and that they were always the ones dragging their feet as I madly tried to get them to school on time – but that’s not the case. I have been getting them up later than usual (but not too late) and we have made it to school early every day. The key – as all those amazing parents who are already organised well know – is being prepared.

Not necessarily physically prepared with lunches already done and breakfast laid out. As my friends who know me well enough, will chuckle to themselves because they know that I am never that well prepared, I am simply talking about being mentally prepared for the day. I am talking about being calm and light-hearted within.

With all that being said, let’s hope I can practise what I preach into next week, when I have all the team back together! Stay tuned…

Love Takes Up Space

It’s funny isn’t it?… In a family there are always squabbles, arguments, difficult moments, crazy busyness and chaotic messiness… But even when we don’t notice it, there is always love.

I didn’t realise until driving in the car this morning, that love actually takes up space. One child is away on an adventure, and the other two are missing her so much. They said the car felt strange without her in it, like there was an empty space that should have been filled.

It is amazing how when you remove a child, the family dynamic changes. Things tend to run more smoothly – which can be momentary relief – but at the same time, disconcerting. Routines are completed a little more quickly, but family chores take a little longer. The bathroom is a little less messy, but I am missing the scattered skincare and hair ties – crazy isn’t it?

Her room remains dark and quiet, and a little more tidy than usual. It’s quite obvious that the space taken up by messiness is also the space occupied with love.

There is an empty seat at the dinner table, a little more food left over, a few less crumbs to clean up… Love takes up space.

There was no jostling for the prime position at the breakfast bench this morning. In fact, that seat was left vacant. No waiting for what seems like an eternity for the kids to finish their breakfast and drag their feet to the car – usually one shoe on, and one shoe off!

She will be home in a few days – the squabbling will begin again, the messiness will be amplified, the chaos will return, there will be less food leftover and more crumbs at the table. We will probably run late for school… but there will be more laughter, more hugs, no vacant seat at the dinner table, at the breakfast bar, or in the car… Love definitely takes up space!

***

I have written these words from the viewpoint of a mother whose child is away for a short while, but depending on your perspective, these sentiments can apply to anyone in any situation… My heartfelt sympathies to those who are living with a permanent absence.

Inhale, exhale… Fresh air, positivity!

Your day may have begun with a blur of the spray from the shower, a flurry of clothes as you dressed, followed by a liquid caffeine breakfast, then a mad scramble to make it to work or school… but once you are where you need to be, then stop and take a breath…

We all stop for a coffee, a fruit snack, a short break at some time during our morning. We usually take about ten minutes for ourselves before resuming our daily obligations. Make that ten minutes count! Make it REALLY a “ME break”!

A ten minute walk is ideal – a breath of fresh air if you can get outside, and something that most of us – regardless of fitness level – can do without too much discomfort.

Take that time to reflect, to “muse”, if you like. Take your morning coffee with you while you walk. Empty your mind and open your eyes to your surroundings, whether it be within your building, your neighbourhood or your own backyard. It is amazing what you notice for the first time when you lift your eyes from that phone (or other distraction) and enjoy the moment.

If you have a like minded colleague or friend, invite them along. A friendly ten minute chat about nothing in particular, or something that is playing on your mind can be very therapeutic, or simply uplifting.

A short walk with a friend (or my favourite coffee) can make a world of difference to the outcome of my day, to my productivity, and I like to think, perhaps even to those I come in contact with.

Lately I have been more focused on what I should be doing, rather than what I need to be doing… And that is taking a ten minute walk (or “ME break)… This morning I took that break, and my whole outlook on the day improved.

“Inhale… 2… 3, exhale… 2… 3…

Fresh air… 2… 3, positivity… 2… 3…”