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Time Out

time out‘Time-out’ is often considered a punishment, a moment to reflect, consider what you have done, say sorry and move on.

I’ve not been naughty of late (well not very). In fact I have been caught up in the blessings and busyness of having a daughter and her young family move back home during a marriage break up. This has been a very special time for us even though it comes with a lot of added stress. A close friend of mine was also diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer just before Christmas, and I seem to have been swept along with the added responsibilities and challenges that this season in my life has created.

Today as I looked at the image on the right I could imagine the sand on my feet, smell the sea in the air and hear that niggling little voice that said, ‘Come, sit awhile. Rest. Give yourself a bit of your own good advice’.

It made me think that if I was in ‘Time-Out’, my current misdemeanour, would be one of self neglect as I struggle to reset my timetables and squeeze in just one more thing. The trouble being that ‘The one more thing’, has grown on a daily basis. So here I am, pondering my thoughts, writing them down and sharing them with you, my blogging family.

time out 2A very wise friend told me back in December, that the best way to be supportive and deal with any crisis situation, is to ‘Under promise and over deliver’. At the time I thought ‘Wow, that is a brilliant bit of advice’. Sadly I had let it slide and I found myself making promises that I was struggling to keep up with.

‘Time-Out’ is exactly what I have needed to have. Now I will complete the promised tasks, take one step back and watch my words. They will still be words of encouragement and my heart will still be eager to help. I just wont over promise those things that I may struggle to deliver. It may be in my ability or time frame to go that extra mile on some occasions, and when I do it will be an added bonus.

The choice is easy really.

I can be a mum and friend that offers realistic support in a warm and caring environment, or a crazy woman who is fried to a crisp, suffering from burn out. The  char-grilled edges don’t suite me either.

Have you ever been asked to write a ‘Life is like….’ piece?

Last week I was given the image below and had a few minutes to come up with something original. I believe I did just that.

Tape Measure

Life is like a tape, coiled up in a framework of double-sided measurement. Modern and old, linking fragmented increments that can discern distance and pronounce judgments, in a parallel world.

It made me question, am I old or new? Modern or ancient in my thinking? Do I combine the two with success or controversy? Which is an interesting thought to take into this next week.

Have you ever pondered about the rest of your life?

This week, the word rest has conjured up many thoughts and invaded my mind, causing me to contemplate the two aspects of its meaning.

During the week I have been churning through paperwork and delving into the depths of financial planning. Our future, the rest of our lives, seems to be wound up in having a savings plan and being wise in our current purchases, in order to live the promised ‘Golden Years’. Somewhere, somehow, the thought had been implanted, that if we work hard during our productive years, we will enjoy retirement with a comfortable lifestyle.

Plumbline2

Now as I look around at my family and friends, I see them snatching at these moments as their busyness closes in around them. Elderly relatives are rightfully in need of additional care, grandchildren bring a glorious added responsibility and many of our children are sadly experiencing marital conflict. Then there is onset of early heart attacks and diagnosis of terminal illnesses that gets added to the mix.

It’s not surprising then, that we find ourselves in a position of stress and pure exhaustion, needing to set apart some time to find the other form of rest. A time to sit down and re-tune our body, soul and spirit.

Many people find time alone uncomfortable, I love it. Perhaps because I am never alone. I have a faith that places God central to my day and although I often push His centrality to the side, there is always a time during my resting, where the plumb line settles back in its rightful place, creating a straight foundation to lean against.

If you find yourself saying, ‘I need to take a break’, can I suggest you really do need to take some time out.

I like to schedule my relaxation and find the best place for this is in my garden, where I have created different little spots to sit, depending on the time of day and the seasons. A cuppa shared with my garden friends never ceases to refresh me as I surround myself with all those who have shared a cutting or gifted me a potted plant. I remember the battles to keep bugs at bay or a season of hardship where watering was intermittent. Nibbled leaves remind me of the criticisms that have chewed away at my own self esteem and mulching reminds me to work hard to contain the life giving moisture and nutrients.

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So many of life’s lessons are contained in such a small area and I feel privileged to be blessed with my own bit of paradise.

How do you find the rest ( peace, stillness, tranquility, contemplation, simplicity) of your life?

A Home Visit

I made a home visit today and stepped back into the pages of my blog, reading through past posts and contentedly reminisced over them.

Last week I made a very brief visit to WordPress, adding a comment to a blog that I follow via Facebook, before I quickly retreated. Strangely it sparked a curiosity, a desire to do something, so here I am, writing a post and who knows, I may just press publish, when I come to the end.

Reading back I pondered over the words that were written. Those heart felt thoughts, recorded as I navigated the pathway I was journeying. Threads of my yesterdays causing my to smile, yet also finding an ache in my heart, that I’m yet to diagnose. It has changed my mood and made me ask the question,  ‘Where to now?’

WordPress has changed since I was last here. So have I.

Change is inevitable, we grow with it or hide from its call on our lives. I’ve recently returned home after an extended trip around Europe. One where I explored some magnificent sites, seen some inspiring architecture, as well as caught up with family and close friends in the UK.

Now it is time to delve into the next stage of my creative journey and I have an abundance of possibilities, yet absolutely no idea where it is about to take me.

Sandies phone October 2014 223

My  journey forward can not reach its destination, if I am unwilling to put one foot in front of the other and step up, when the route I am on calls for it.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets 2014

Volunteering

BooksWith a good leadership team, you can be made to feel as though you have received a promotion as well as being given  a 100% pay rise, when in actual fact you remain a volunteer.

Volunteering has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love the thrill of meeting new people, discovering their stories and feel privileged to gift my time, even though I sometimes struggle to juggle my week.

I manage a small library of around 2,000 books within the Church I attend. We also have a corner with books that we sell to help purchase new books for our shelves. It has been a dream of mine for many years, that the area could be a Book Shop/Library /Cafe, a place of nurture for anyone who walked through the doors. Now, after years of dreaming, plans are coming together, walls are coming down and the space is being created.

This concept was conceived eleven years ago and during this time I have carried my vision carefully, guarding and growing the dream . Over the coming few months I think it may be like experiencing ‘Labor Pains’, as all the hard work begins.

It has reminded me that many of us sit on good ideas for a long time before they become a reality. Patience being a difficult virtue for many of us to develop, even though it is a great resource for our personal growth. 

There is a verse in the Bible that says, ‘Without a vision the people perish’. I have found this to be true in all aspects of life. When you turn your back on something or someone, it feels as though a light is turned out and discouragement rules the day.

My mum use to say. ‘Aim for the stars and you may fall short. Aim for the gutter and you will land in it every time.’ 

Whatever is going on in your life at the moment, hold onto your dreams, maintain your vision, work towards your goal.

No one can accomplish that dream like you can. Continue to nurture it because one day it could be your reality.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets 2014

Motivation

Motivation. A word of empowerment that is often elusive, hiding behind a long list of excuses.

My list has been substantial of late, and while the reasons have been honest, tangible and time-consuming, the results created confusion, apathy and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. As I write this, I have realized how tired I had become and how much I am benefiting from my new regime of walking and taking time out for me.

Last week I was set the task of creating an Acrostic Poem using the word motivation as the prompt. I thought I’d share it with you, along with a photo I took some years ago of Forget-Me-Nots. The two connecting,  reminding me to move forward, reach for the stars and enjoy the journey.

P1000988

All Dried Up

All dried upMy feet should have been getting wet when I took this picture on my Monday walk.

I was stood on the bed of a small stream that has dried up due to the lack of rain in our harsh Australian climate. While family and friends in the UK have been dealing with rain, rain and more rain, we have been drying up and cracking up, for the want of that magical stuff called water.

According to last weekends paper we have not had any rain since November, although we were teased a couple of weeks ago when the roof of our garage had a polka dot look about it. One big drip per square inch and that was it. Our excitement turned to feelings of longing, and the forecast is not predicting a change any day soon.

It has been good to walk again. The early mornings are cool enough to enjoy the air and I am starting to re-kindled the love affair with my heart and spirit as I talk to God and listen to His voice. I was reminded that if I don’t look after me, I can dry up too, just like that river bed. Feelings of self-doubt and criticism revealing itself  and, like the trees planted along the banks, I also need to grow my roots further down into the water course to draw up the moisture.

My hunger for some rain continued at Writers Group yesterday when we were asked to write a Haiku. A three-line, Japanese style poem with a syllable count of 5-7-5, which I thought I’d share it with you.

Summers searing sun

Scorching earth, frying mindscapes

Waiting for the rain.

Now it is time to put on my walking shoes and see what little gems I can discover about myself today.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets 2014

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