Organisation, Flexibility and Resilience

As I sit down to drink my coffee and muse for a moment, the breeze has dropped, a light smattering of clouds white wash the sky just enough to allow the sun‘s rays to penetrate through and warm my back, as the traffic hums in the distance and the birds make music in the treetops around me. After a rather hectic start to the day, I feel a sense of peace creeping in… This is my “me“ moment.

My “me” moment.

Sometimes, no matter how organised we might be, plans don’t always go as expected. My morning has not gone to plan, but with some good communication and a little flexibility, I will get back on track.

During my life, I have participated in numerous courses addressing the issue of time management. As my friends and family all know (and will probably chuckle as they read this), it is a constant struggle for me, but thanks to the necessities of parenthood and finally some of that life experience kicking in, I feel I am making headway in this area. For those of us who tend to be perfectionists and people-pleasers, time management becomes a never ending battle.

A diary will always be an organised person‘s best friend, and now thanks to the age of technology, we not only have the old-fashioned paper style available to us, but countless digital versions are at our fingertips – literally – on our smart devices. It is so easy to make use of them and to schedule “on the run“. We can even share our appointments on a “need to know“ basis at the touch of a button. These days, I would be totally lost without my iPhone calendar. My life is virtually mapped out on that device. I am not completely sure I like that fact, but nevertheless it makes my days run more smoothly, and my tasks more likely to be completed.

Ironically, I am trying to pass on this wisdom as our children progress into high school. They have so much more to remember now – more information, more responsibility, more independent activities, and definitely more homework… How do I impress upon them, given my historic disorganisation, the importance of a diary to ensure the smooth-running of their days?

A last-minute rescheduling of appointments has slightly rearranged our day, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it can be a good thing – learning how to “roll with the punches“ can contribute to resilience – a quality becoming increasingly valuable in our world right now.

What are your tips for getting organised?

Staying Positive

This morning the sky is a watery blue. White washed by clouds that can’t decide whether it will be a sunny or gloomy day. The breeze that jostles the treetops has a slight chill to it – a promise of bleaker weather, forecast to be coming. I really hoped to wake to a brilliant blue sky and warm sunshine today, but that was not to be… My mood feels a little like the weather – not quite sure which way to go – bright or bleak.

Recently, our whole lives seem to be teetering in the balance… We hope for a brighter future. We hope for this pandemic to abate, but the news isn’t so great as we hear of communities struggling with a second wave of infection. Just as restrictions are easing in some places and people are getting back to work, economies struggle to support themselves and the hopeful jobseekers within them.

Hope – such an important human quality. Hope is what allows us to find that positivity. Hope is what drives us to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Hope that the health guidelines will improve the situation. Hope is what motivates most of us to abide by social restrictions. Hope for a brighter future.

Hope gives us the power to stay positive. As I finish my few moments of musing, the breeze has dropped a little and the sun has peeked through those wispy clouds. I remain hopeful for a brighter day, and a brighter future.

How are you feeling today?

Stay safe and stay positive.

Cheers to a brighter future!

Brain Drain.

It is late in the day, but this is my first opportunity to take a moment and “muse”.

Shadows are starting to lengthen, and instead of the excited twitter of birds in the morning, the lazy buzz of insects is the backdrop to the relaxed chatter of children playing in the yard, now that the school day is over.

For our family, this is Day One of homeschooling, and although I have not done my obligatory 10,000 steps, I feel quite exhausted!

With a huge demand for online resources, the anticipated structure of our day quickly fell apart as the primary website crashed. We all took a deep breath, and to buy a few moments of planning time we listened to a kids’ news podcast. Thankfully, they were immediately engaged and enjoyed doing the quiz at the end to see who was listening best. I think we might start every day that way – they keep up to date with current events and it stimulates further conversation and investigation, along with some fodder for writing and other projects.

We very loosely followed our regular school day schedule, and there weren’t too many complaints… In fact, my oldest son even exclaimed that “this day went so quickly!”

I quietly breathed a sigh of relief and gave myself an imaginary pat on the back for a job adequately done. I now feel qualified to describe myself as an “Educational Guide“ (most definitely not a “teacher”), and I’m looking forward – just a little more confidently – to our Day Two.

How is this new global experiment of homeschooling shaping up for you?

Float Like a Butterfly

It feels like late morning, but it is not. The air is warm. There is barely a breeze. The sky is blue with only the barest scattering of fast-moving light clouds. My freshly brewed coffee tastes good.

I sit and just gaze. I look at the brilliant green in the garden, beautifully interrupted with a splash of colour here and there. Tiny insects and delicate butterflies hover just above. A perfect time and place to muse…

My mind is floating like the butterflies. The sights and scents of the garden lead it to far away places.

I am reminded of one of my favourite capital cities in the world – Darwin, Australia. A relaxed tropical city where the smell of fresh cut grass and frangipani flowers lift your spirits as you walk along the street.

Then, a brightly coloured bloom takes me back to springtime in Vancouver, Canada. A bustling busy city centre where nature shows up in the most surprising places. Flowers are bursting from every garden bed as the fountains melt from icicles into sunlit sparkling droplets. I remember walking along one of the busiest streets when a mother duck popped out of a fountain followed by a brood of very young clumsy ducklings. They crossed the sidewalk in front of me, then halted morning rush hour for a moment while she lead them to the refuge of a large garden bed across the street. Then just as quickly and without fuss, the cars moved along again… Springtime in downtown Vancouver.

Suddenly, I am brought back to the here and now as my faithful old dog and his younger, wildly enthusiastic offsider drop at my feet demanding attention and a tickle behind the ears.

Coffee finished – back to real life…

My World Is Still Normal

It is still early, and I’ve crept out into the garden to enjoy the cool fresh air and bright friendly sunshine. The chorus of birds this morning is more like a full orchestra – too many different calls to count. I breathe in deeply and slowly… and just like the day, I can feel myself slowly coming to life.

In this moment, my world is normal. It is the first official day of the school Easter break. The children are sleeping in a little, my partner is early in to the office as usual, and I am taking a moment of solitude to gather my thoughts and contemplate the day.

Only this particular day is quite different. I won’t be planning an outing for our first day of leisure. We will be planning an at home activity. We won’t go out for a picnic lunch, but perhaps will enjoy one in our own backyard. My partner won’t come home from the office this evening, the office is now at home.

As I contemplate my day, I am reminded that my world is not normal. No one’s world is “normal“ any more. We are in the midst of a pandemic, like nothing we’ve seen in 100 years. Our new “normal” is a world of restricted movement, limitations, trepidation and uncertainty.

In order to live with our new “normal“, I have just realised the importance of taking this moment to feel the old “normal”. While the sun rises, while the birds herald, while the day is still fresh and new… as it is every single day. While my partner goes to the office, just like any other weekday and the children sleep in a little just because they can. I breathe in deeply and slowly… and for this moment, my world is still normal.

I am so thankful that my partner can work from home, and that I have a garden to share with the children.

How are you managing your new “normal“?

New Beginnings

For myself and so many of my friends, this was a week of new beginnings… New beginnings for our children – either a new school year, or for some, the brave and vast leap into high school.

These few days are a transition from adrenaline, excitement and nerves into a new routine, and now a touch of overwhelm is beginning to settle in.

I was advised this morning by a kind woman of previous experience to expect this next week to be one of meltdowns – overwhelm and sheer exhaustion will set in for those of our children who are beginning their life in high school.

As I sit and sip on my morning coffee, I muse over these first couple of days. The sky is looking as moody as I feel… Fluffy lighter clouds above, ominous grey and threatening storm clouds on the horizon, with surprising flashes of brilliant blue. If this is how I am feeling, I can only begin to imagine how my almost-teenage daughter must be feeling!

I am taking ten minutes to reflect, gather my emotions and keep them in check so that I may be the rock solid, dependable person my daughter will need for support as she begins this next chapter in the storybook of her life.

How is your sky looking today?

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.

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…

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…