How to Simplify Christmas

How to Simplify Christmas

Enjoy a simple Christmas without being a Scrooge

I know Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful time of the year. Extra commitments, tricky relationships and unrealistic expectations coupled with years of family traditions and memories can create a melting-pot of emotions and pressures. Add to that the additional financial pressure of purchasing gifts, expensive food and impressive decorations and the ‘wonderful’ can start to melt away.

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Running on empty

Running on empty

Ever felt like you were running on empty? I know I sure have. I get to the point where it just feels like everyone wants something, and I have nothing left to give. The hardest part is that often the people I love the most, my family, get the left-over dregs of me after I have exhausted myself caring for others during the day.

I have learned I have a limited capacity in four key areas of my life. Some things drain energy out, other things pour energy in.

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Don't worry

Don't worry

I’m a first-class worrier! Ask me how I’m going, and I can prattle off a long list of problems I’m facing, the challenges I’m tackling, how busy I am, tired I am, overwhelmed I am… Poor me, poor me.

I was having one of my ‘I can’t cope with this; the world is falling apart; how will I survive' moments, when a very wise and loving friend offered to pray for me. At the end of the prayer, she said that God had given her a word for me…

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The Mean Girl in my Head

The Mean Girl in my Head

Quieting the Voice of Self-Criticism

We are our own harshest critic. In fact, we are nastier to ourselves than we would ever be to others.

After my friend complimented me on what I was wearing one day, she commented, “I can’t wear t-shirts; they show my belly fat.” What? What belly fat? You have to understand, this lady is beautiful, she is not over-weight, and she always looks fantastic. And yet, she is always terribly self-critical. 

I’ve been reminded in several different ways lately how we are so much meaner to ourselves than we are to others. 

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Joy: An Indicator of Spiritual Health

Joy: An Indicator of Spiritual Health

I chose Joy as my ‘one word’ for this year because it is a spiritual health indicator for me. Let me explain...

At my obstetrician check-up six weeks after giving birth, the first question he asked was, “Have you had intercourse yet?” That was a confronting question. Then he explained why he was asking about my sex life. It was an indicator. If I had not healed physically from giving birth, if I were not coping with my role as a new mother, if I had severe sleep deprivation or post-natal depression, the answer would be ‘No.’

Aparently, sex is the first thing to disappear from a new mother’s life when she is not going well. It is an indicator of general health and well-being.

For me, joy is an indicator of spiritual health and well-being.

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My New Year Resolution: To be Unproductive

My New Year Resolution: To be Unproductive

My Facebook feed and inbox are full of resources and reminders of how to kick goals and be more productive than ever this new year. There are planners to buy, courses to do, worksheets and printables to break the goals down into manageable pieces, all to help make this year my most successful ever.

I am usually a big New Year’s Resolution setter. I love having big goals and plans for how to achieve them. While I don't always achieve everything I set out to, usually my goals have helped me to produce more than I would have without them.

I’m not sure why, but this new year, things feel different.

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Moving From Struggling Through to Abundant Life

Moving From Struggling Through to Abundant Life

I’m sick, but not THAT sick.  

I have a head cold. I did the right thing and had a sick day off work to rest and get well. That was on day 3. After a couple of days of taking things easy, I decided that the worst was over and re-emerged into my daily commitments, although at a reduced capacity. I was still sick, but not THAT sick.

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Making Friends with Monsters

Making Friends with Monsters

How I Use Gratitude to Defeat Stress

I haven’t been coping very well lately. There has just been too much to stress about: stuff going on at work, uncertainty around next year, changes with jobs for both my hubby and my son, not to mention my daughter’s wedding in two short weeks. It has just been all too much, and...

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Post-Holiday Debrief

Post-Holiday Debrief

The trip is all over. Done. We had an incredible time. All of the research and planning paid off, all of the destinations were wonderful, and we got to see something amazing every single day.

In London we saw the London Tower, including the Crown Jewels, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, the national museum and portrait gallery. We happened to be there for

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Too Much of a Good Thing (Part 2)

Too Much of a Good Thing (Part 2)

The year is a third over. Gone. Wow, where did that four months go? I started the year feeling super organised and in control. I had time blocked my calendar, prioritised my to-do lists, and set my goals. You can read all about my great beginning here. I can now admit that there has been not one week of the term that went to plan. Not one! 

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Same Run, Different Day

Same Run, Different Day

You can't always judge success by the way you feel.

I’ve had a few crazy busy weeks with extra stuff on that has messed up my usual routine. For two weeks in a row I had events scheduled on Thursday evenings, which is when I usually attend my group fitness class. I go on Monday nights as well, but when I work out once a week I get too sore the next day, and it isn’t fun anymore, so I try to go at least twice a week.

My husband, on the other hand, is a runner...

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My Monumental Minimalism Failure

My Monumental Minimalism Failure

Playing the honesty card here… coming clean with an absolute mess I made for myself recently. If you walk past me at church on Sunday, this probably isn’t the conversation topic I am most excited to bring up.

I had a relatively simple problem to solve: I needed new walking sandals for our trip to Europe in June. Have I told you I’m going to Europe in June? (Insert excited squeal.) This should be easy. This should not rate on the ‘difficult decisions to make in life’ scale. 

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Self-Improvement V Contentment

Self-Improvement V Contentment

Just a few weeks into the beginning of a new year and there is this fight in my world. Self-improvement and productivity is going up against contentment and peace. Late last year as I was finalising all my planning for 2017 I read 'Getting Things Done' by David Allen. I was all excited to get myself super-organised so that I could be more productive and achieve amazing things this year, to make the most of every day...

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I Quit

I Quit

I’ve had enough. I don’t want to do this anymore. That’s it. I’m done. I give up.

It’s been a big year, and I’ve had enough. Enough suffering, pain and tragedy. Enough dishes, enough washing, enough grocery shopping. Enough packing and unpacking and sorting and decluttering. Enough of my kids exams and graduations and milestones. Enough driving in traffic and finding something healthy for lunch and deciding what to wear to work. I’m tired and I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of Christmas already and I haven’t done one thing to prepare yet. I’m tired of everything and everyone and I want to quit...

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A Birthday Reflection

A Birthday Reflection

This week I turned 47. I’m not upset about getting older because I have a great life, full of people who love me, people to love, a job that is challenging and purposeful. I live in an incredibly beautiful part of the world and I have opportunities to enjoy it. I spent my birthday sitting on the balcony of our 15th floor holiday apartment looking out over a picturesque beach, a sparkling blue ocean, whales swimming by. The white sand littered with colourful beach umbrellas, children playing, young adults kicking footballs and tossing frisbees. It was absolutely perfect.

Okay, 47. Too old to get away with immature stupidity, too young to...

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It's Not a Good Time for a Holiday

It's Not a Good Time for a Holiday

We sold our house 10 days ago. Yay? It was a dream auction where there were plenty of people bidding and more than one family that really wanted to buy it. It was exciting and amazing. Everyone was smiling and shaking our hands. Then we signed the contract, everyone went home and left me sitting in my spotlessly clean, quiet house. It was all over in an hour. Done.

Then, reality hits. We have 30 days to find a rental and move. 29. 28. 27. By the end of the week...

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The Secret to Surviving Stress

The Secret to Surviving Stress

This week has been overwhelming. The steady waves of complicated life just seem to keep coming and coming and coming. It’s been relentless. Stuff going on at home, a really busy season at work, a friend’s cancer diagnosis. The list just seems to get longer and longer. I could go on, but you get the picture. You have your own relentless life and your own overwhelming list.

 

So, how do I deal with this well? I find myself wanting to withdraw, wanting to cry, wanting to give up, but having to keep going. The secret to surviving this season is...

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