Thursday, March 31, 2011

Generosity of Spirit

I have days when I have no idea what I am going to post. It doesn’t concern me though, because if I don’t have anything to say then that’s fine (not that I'm often without something to say). Strangely though, on most of these days I have random words or phrases which just pop into my head. They don’t necessarily mean anything on their own but they come about through things I read or things that happen in my everyday life.

Today the words that popped into my head were generosity of spirit. It started on my drive to work this morning. I spend anywhere from 25 – 40 mins on the drive each morning and then again in the afternoon. Its a little game I play to amuse myself on the drive to work whereby I let other people into the traffic queue. (It’s amazing how many people don’t actually let others in)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

At least I can sleep at night

What happens when there are two things that you want to write about? I could do what is advised and stick to one subject per post or I can say hang it and go with the belief that because it’s my blog I can do whatever I want, hence there are two subjects in my post today.

The first thing on my mind today is blog etiquette. Lori at Words on the Page has encountered every writer’s worst nightmare. Her posts and comments are being posted by another blogger who is claiming them as their own. For most of us this would be distressing, for someone who makes a living as a freelance writer, where credibility is paramount, then this is so much more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Searching for Balance

I follow some blogs written by some pretty amazing people. On a daily basis these people make me laugh, they make me cry, they educate me and most of all they make me stop and think about life. The thing that astounds me through all of this, is that many of these people are people that I would never meet as I go about my normal day.

Some of these people have different beliefs, different ways of looking at things and even completely different lifestyles. Strangely we all come together in one place to share our stories and we commiserate and we celebrate with each other. I found a new blog several days ago through Bloggers of Note and reading it, I realise this bloggers life has been totally different from mine and then similar in some ways as well.

She's outspoken, she's not afraid to swear and she tells it exactly as it is, there's some people who might be offended by how blunt she is. I can honestly say that she probably wouldn't be the sort of person I would normally associate with, yet I find myself drawn to her blog because of her honesty and openess.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is no news actually good news?

This is my 100th post since I started this blog. I thought tonight I would be really celebrating, my 100th post ironically fell on the day we expected a decision from the Board on our project. The Board meeting was today in Sydney and we have heard nothing. The phone rang all afternoon from people who are expected to join the project team wanting to know if we had heard anything yet. Do these people not realise how many people's careers are on hold waiting for them to make a decision?

I have now been on this project for 233 days and we're still waiting for a decision. I am actually quite frustrated by this process, or maybe it's a lack of process that's the problem.

Okay now that I've got that out of my system (well for now at least) and because I'm feeling a little disheartened and not in the mood to write, I thought I'd share this recipe for happiness which I found in one of my old journals.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Great Expectations

I sometimes have days when I feel overwhelmed by everyone elses expectations. It's others expectations on top of my own expectations of what I should be doing, need to be doing and want to be doing which generally leads to an overload of doing and this of course results in not enough hours in the day.

I'm practicing saying no more often but it's not always a comfortable feeling and inevitably leads to me feeling guilty. Sometimes I wonder whether it's just easier to say yes.

Today was a good day in terms of getting everything done which had to be done. I baked, I washed, I folded clothes, I cleaned. I did all the things that needed to be done and then some, so now I can sit and write in peace and not feel guilty. The strange thing is, no-one in my family makes me feel guilty, it's purely self imposed guilt. Yet, were I to have a choice, I would have sat and spent the day writing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Not happy! Computer virus creators suck!

I will refrain from writing what I really think because my children read my blog. Suffice to say that I was saying lots of swear words last night when my computer went into meltdown.

I was innocently browsing clipart websites when this nasty beast called 'System Defender' launched it's attack. It very cleverly mimics the Windows icon and the 'my computer' screen and flicks up warnings of multiple trojans and infections on your system. It recommends that you download 'System Defender' to remove the trojans and infections' (at a cost of course). I declined this option, yet it installed itself on my computer complete with desktop shortcut.

A scan with my own virus protection software failed to detect or remove it. You are also unable to remove it from your program files because it remains hidden.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Land Down Under - Places to visit

Welcome to my Virtual Tour Down Under, this week I’d like to take you on a quick trip around Australia to some of my favourite places. Australia is an amazing country with many unique and interesting places to visit. I have listed some of the most well known tourist destinations and then of course I’ve included my favourite places. If you’ve been following my Land Down Under posts, you’ll have seen some of the amazing places that Australia has to offer. All previous posts are available via the Land Down Under tab on my blog. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Ayers Rock – Nobody can visit Australia without visiting Australia’s most famous landmark. Ayers Rock is also known by its Aboriginal name 'Uluru'. It is a sacred part of Aboriginal creation mythology. Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation located 280 miles (450km) southwest of Alice Springs in central Australia, in the Northern Territory.
It is the second-largest monolith in the world and is more than 318 m (986 ft) high and 8 km (5 miles) around. It also extends 2.5 km (1.5 miles) into the ground. Visitors can climb to the top up a steep 1.6km ascent (I wimped out, it was awesome just standing at the bottom but no way did I want to climb to the top with only a flimsy chain link fence to hold on to – but I let hubby go)

Great Barrier Reef – The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system and is made up of just fewer than 3000 individual reefs and 900 islands. This beautiful and inspiring structure is home to abundant marine life and is roughly 2,600 kms long and covers an area of 344,400km2. The reef is located off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia and is popular for snorkelling and diving as well as offering many sight seeing options by air and boat for visitors.

Twelve Apostles – these magnificent giant rock stacks rise majestically from the Southern Ocean and are the central feature of the rugged Port Campbell National Park. They’ve been created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland that began 10–20 million years ago. The stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. The Twelve Apostles are located along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria in the south east of Australia.

Wave Rock – is located about four hours from Perth in the South-west of Western Australia and is thought to have been formed over 2700 million years ago, The shape of the wave is formed by gradual erosion of the softer rock beneath the upper edge, over many centuries.
The beautiful ribbons of colour have come from the rain washing chemical deposits (carbonates and iron hydroxide) down the face, forming vertical stripes of grey, red and yellow.

Sydney Opera House – has earned a reputation as a world-class performing arts centre and has become a symbol of both Sydney and the Australian nation. In 1956 a competition was launched for a design of a new Opera Hose to be built in Sydney on the east coast of Australia. A Danish architect called Jørn Utzon was chosen from 233 entries from 32 countries. Construction started in 1959 and the building was built in 3 stages. It was formally completed in 1973, having cost $102 million
The Sydney Opera House is one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world, hosting over 1,500 performances each year attended by some 1.2 million people, The building covers 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres) of land and is 183 metres (605 ft) long and 120 metres (388 ft) wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 metres below sea level.

Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of Australia and are known as either Aborigines or Torres Strait Islanders. Australia is rich in cultural history and no visitor to Australia can miss seeing some of the amazing Aboriginal art which is thousands of years old, with the best known forms being rock art and bark painting. Many Australian places have aboriginal names and feature aboriginal artworks.

My Favourite Places
Renmark (which is aboriginal for ‘red mud’) – is the home town of my parents and brother and sister-in-law. This town is located on the banks of the Murray River and is 254 km north-east from Adelaide in South Australia.
The Murray is the third longest navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and Nile and is 2756 kilometres in length. It crosses three Australian states from start to finish and is the domestic water source for more than 1.5 million homes.
Renmark is a popular tourist town where many people (including my family) go to enjoy the fantastic waterskiing, boating, camping and fishing opportunities available.

Kalgoorlie is a large gold mining town located about 600 kilometres inland from Perth in Western Australia. Nobody is really sure where the name came from with, but some sources give it as either meaning: Aboriginal dog chasing a kangaroo; the Aboriginal name of a shrub from the area ("Galgurli");or the Aboriginal name for the local edible silky pear ("Kulgooluh").The gold rush in Kalgoorlie began in the1880’s which resulted in hundreds of people making their way into town to seek their fortunes. At the peak of the gold rush the town boasted a population of 30,000, with a pub on nearly every corner. In total there were 93 hotels and 8 breweries. Many of those pubs are still in operation today.
Kalgoorlie is still an active mining town with a 3.5 kilometre long, 1.5 kilometre wide Super Pit Mine – which still produces up to 800,000 ounces of gold a year.
This is one of the towns of my childhood and leaves me with fond memories of red dirt and more red dirt. You never left the windows open because the house would fill up with red dust. It was also only the newcomers to town who commented on the ground shaking because once you’d lived there awhile you got used to the regular mine blasts which would make the earth move.

Berry Springs – is located about a half hour drive from Darwin in the Northern Territory. There are numerous water falls and swimming holes around Darwin but Berry Falls was my favourite. Darwin has a tropical climate so the water at Berry Springs was always warm yet was still perfect for cooling off in. Berry Creek starts from a number of springs, forms a small creek, then reaches Darwin Harbour through a mangrove lined estuary.

Kangaroo Island - is located 113km off the mainland of South Australia and can only be reached by ferry; it’s about a 45 minute trip. The island is 155km length and has soaring cliffs, dense forest, towering sand dunes, wetlands and beautiful beaches. At every turn there is an abundance of native wildlife from kangaroos and koalas to seals and sea lions. We enjoyed fishing, hiking, wildlife and plenty of fun things to do. We visited underground caves, eucalyptus distilleries, lighthouses and a favourite was sand boarding on massive (scary sized) sand dunes.

Pinnacles – I visited these amazing rock formations as a child. They are located about a three-hour drive north of Perth near the coastal town of Cervantes. These incredible limestone formations can reach up to several metres tall. It's believed the Pinnacles were created millions of years ago as seashells were broken down into sand and then eroded by water and wind.

Next Friday I will be sharing some of Australia's amazing and unique creatures - the good, the bad and the ugly.
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. – Unknown

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Balancing Act

If you look closely you’ll be able to see the sign on my forehead which says ‘sucker for punishment’. I’m one of those people who seems to take on more tasks than I have hours in the day. It’s a self imposed affliction, but I think that it must also be genetic because my mother is one of the busiest retired people I know.

The last few months have obviously been fairly quiet at work as I’ve mentioned previously, so I have been steadily adding to my task list to stop myself going stir crazy. Mind you, other people have also been very good at adding to my list. I find myself involved in tasks that I’m not really sure that I want to do because I also suffer from that common ailment called ‘I can’t say no’.

I think the balancing act is now getting slightly unstable and I will have to find a way to form my lips around the word ‘no’. Monday is decision day for the project I am involved in at work, it goes before the Board of Directors for approval and there’s quiet optimism that we should get approval. If we get the go ahead on Monday then life is going to get very busy, very quickly. Long hours and lots of work are on the near horizon.

Further to that, if we get the go ahead for the project I would really like to launch a weekly blog (separate from this one) to write about the process. I looked for one when I first started on this project and could find nothing along the lines of what I wanted, but we’ll see how much free time I have. I have also recently become involved with another blog which has 25 writers from 9 different countries and starting next month I will be posting there once or twice a month also.

See, if you look closely, the ‘sucker for punishment’ sign is shining brightly right about now.

Combined with all of that, my family have demands on my time and attention which I would never begrudge them and I am also trying to finish my book. The book has stalled at just under 60,000 words at the moment. I’m still writing in chunks but not as concerted as it has been for the last few months.

Many of the tasks on my list are things that I want to do for me and I will not relinquish, however other tasks have come from work and are not related to my job but I’ve been put forward to manage them because I have a ‘talent’ for organisation. I’m not sure that it’s so much a talent as a pain in the butt at times.

So today I am practicing the words ‘no’ and ‘I’m too busy’ and fingers crossed the project gets approval on Monday because it will provide me with a legitimate excuse for saying I'm busy (I can't help it - I'm a sap who doesn't like saying no) Because, as much as I write about suddenly having too much to do – I’m a slave to the balancing act and it makes life so much more interesting when I'm constantly on the go.

It sure beats the last few months when I was moaning of a lack of things to do, it’s the old saying it doesn’t rain, it pours and here comes the deluge…..

So how do you manage the balancing act and do you also suffer from the ‘I can’t say no’ ailment?

Cheers, Fi

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy ~ Dale Carnegie

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's a fine line.....

How much is too much when you're talking about information?

My children are now at the age where they're aware of what's happening in the world and they're intelligent, curious children. There's so much information coming at them through the media, on Facebook and things which are talked about at school. Then of course they come home and ask me the BIG questions.

I have always tried to be open with my children and have discussed things honestly with them, but then I'm also a mother who wants to protect my children and not scare the living daylights out of them. There is a lot of nasty stuff happening in the world today and I want to preserve their childhood for as long as possible.

The hardest questions I have faced in the last few weeks have concerned the nuclear fallout in Japan; will it affect Australia and will we have a nuclear war? To be honest it concerns me too and I have to weigh up how to give them the facts (which I have to ensure I've found out) and still ensure that I'm not imposing any fears I may have on them.

Then yesterday's question was whether America had dropped a bomb on Israel and if so why? This one caught me a little bit unprepared, I hadn't really been following this in the news and as far as I knew, while the American army had gotten involved they weren't literally bombing Israeli people as the kids had asked. They wanted answers and I had to do my best to answer their questions. If in doubt I've always told them I'm not sure and will later find the answers for them.

At times their questions can be quite overwhelming but at the same time I realise they're growing up and becoming aware of this world that they live in with all the good and bad things that happen.

It certainly makes me long for the times when such questions as 'where do babies come from?' and 'what happens if we don't poo?' were the hardest questions I faced. These sorts of questions now seem like a piece of cake to answer. Besides the fact that a simple answer usually sufficed and they were easily distracted.

I would love to know how you all handle the 'biggies'

Well my Auntie flew into Adelaide this afternoon and my mother is driving down from Renmark to collect her so I have two houseguests for the night who will be arriving shortly, so I best get organised.

Perhaps I'll ask my mum the big questions, after all isn't that what mum's are for, to give us the answers and ease our worries; no matter how old we get.

Remember to tell your mums you love them this week, mums are special creatures who should be treasured.

Cheers, Fi

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. – Voltaire

Monday, March 21, 2011

I wish for you a Sandpiper

My beautiful mother provided me with the inspiration for today's post and I had to share this story with all of you. (you'll need tissues). I was going to wait for Six Word Saturday because of the six words in the title - but that's me in a nutshell, impatient.

It was something that I felt the need to share now, I have not added anything (including the note at the bottom) other than my wishes to my readers at the end.


By Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy.. I'm six."
"Hi, Wendy."
She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.
The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
"I don't know. You say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk."

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.

"Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter. "Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation"

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me,

"I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

"Why?" she asked. I turned to her and shouted,

"Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all --! she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.
"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia, maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..."

Her voice faltered, "She left something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters.

Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand -- who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other.

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less. Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis.

This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses. This comes from someone's heart, and is read by many and now I share it with you. May God Bless everyone who receives this!

There are NO coincidences! Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Never brush aside anyone as insignificant. Who knows what they can teach us?

and to all my readers - I too wish you a sandpiper

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Rose

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beware - Blogging is addictive!

Since I started blogging my social life has gone to the pits (who am I kidding - what social life? - hubby works two out of three weekends, so my social life wasn't huge to start with) It's gotten worse since I discovered Six Word Saturday, not that I'm blaming Cate.

My Saturday nights and Sunday mornings are now spent joyfully roaming around other people's blogs and learning so many new and wonderful things and discovering some amazing blogs and people. I think this is all called networking or maybe blogworking is a better word.

Most of you have probably done the blog tour as I did but in case you haven't, here are some of the amazing things I learnt this week. Please note that I am not providing a link back to any of these blogs, only because you should pop over to Cate's Six Word Saturday post on Show my Face and give her the credit for bringing all of these people together in one place.

I'm not sure if that's good blog etiquette or not but it makes sense for me.

1) Rabies is not present on the island of New Zealand, thank you Karen from 21 Wits for the comment, I too thought it was everywhere in the world.
2) Dave from Home School Dad is coming up for his 500th blog post and plans to celebrate - I didn't even know how many posts I'd written until he made me check. Now armed with the facts I've discovered that after this post I'm 8 posts away from three digits. Does anyone else celebrate this milestone and if so what do you do?
3) I discovered there is a fruit called a kiwi berry from Kylie D at Kylie's Conversations. When I first read this I figured it would be years before I saw them in Adelaide but guess what, we're blogging from the same state (ain't it a small world?) I am now on the hunt for this new fruit.
4) I learnt that every second person (or so it seems) is blogging about spring being on it's way. This is my favourite time of the year and in Australia we're moving in to Autumn, so I had to feel a little bit envious because summer and spring seem to have slipped on by and we hadn't even noticed.
5) I commiserated at Living life with Grace over the bump and shimmy her car had suffered and the scoundrel who fled the scene and proved to us that not all people are honest, I marvelled at Madison dancing on Reflections from Kathy and I found out so much more about my world.

What an enjoyable journey it has been this week - thank you all for providing my social life with some zing.

Cheers, Fi

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Six Word Saturday


Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

So many people I meet or talk to are as fascinated by Australia as I am by visiting and learning about other countries. I have introduced a new post to my Blog every Friday which will give you the best (and sometimes the worst) of my country. The first post is below if you're interested in having a look.

I loved Bali - Hubby and I visited there last year and I also have a special place in my heart for a little town called Mollala in Portland, Oregon. I spent three months there in my teens and then went back again in 2005. I have special memories of my time spent there and met some amazing people

I would love to know what your favourite place in the world is and why?

Cheers, Fiona

Friday, March 18, 2011

Land Down Under - Facts and Comparisons

It occurred to me from watching Oprah in Australia that people from other countries are fascinated by Australia. I’ve also seen this interest first hand myself, through overseas travel. A large portion of my readers are non-Aussies, so I thought that I would dedicate a section of this blog to sharing with you a ‘Virtual Tour to the Land Down Under’.
I’ll share the readily found facts and then provide my personal views and memories. I love Australia and I’m proud to be
an Aussie; so I hope you enjoy the journey.

· Size - Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. It's about the same size as the 48 mainland states of the USA and 50 per cent larger than Europe, but has the lowest population density in the world - only two people per square kilometre.

· People – Australia has a population of roughly 22.5 million people, compare that with more than 150 million sheep and 40 million kangaroos in Australia

Australia 22.5 million people – Land area of 7.7million km2
China 1.4 billion people – Land area of 9.5 million km2
United States of America 352 million people - Land area of 9.1 million km2
Russia 142 million people – Land area of 17 million km2
Japan 127 million people – Land area of 377,835 km2

· Beaches - Although Australia is surrounded entirely by water and could by definition be considered the largest island in the world, it’s actually large enough to be called a continent. The magnificent coastline is almost 50,000 kilometres long and has almost 10,000 of the most beautiful beaches, more than any other country in the world. Up to 85 per cent of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast and no part of Australia is more than 1000 km from the ocean and a beach.

· Culture - Since 1945 more than six million people from across the world have come to Australia to live. Today, more than 20 per cent of Australians are foreign born and more than 40 per cent are of mixed cultural origin. In our homes we speak 226 languages - after English, the most popular are Italian, Greek, Cantonese and Arabic.

· Climate - Australia experiences a variety of climates due to its size. The weather can range from below zero temperatures in the Snowy Mountains to intolerable heat in the north. It is considered to be one of the driest continents on earth.
The south of Australia has cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. In the north, the weather is tropical with a warm, dry winter and a hot, wet summer. The inland deserts can remain totally dry for years whilst rains can produce floods. Dorothy McKellar summed up the beauty of this sunburnt country with her iconic poem ' My Country - which you can find here
· Lifestyle - The lifestyle is quite laidback and relaxed. Sunshine and good weather makes getting out in the great outdoors a way of life. In times of adversity Australians work together – mateship is strong. Australians are generally easy going and friendly people.

Memories of my childhood growing up in Australia
- Driving across Australia with my parents – it was vast, with lots of red dirt and very hot.

- Swimming, the beach and backyard pool
- School camps
- Beach - fishing, swimming, boating
- Picnics in the park
This is Adelaide - my home!
Next week I'll bring you the tourist places to visit and also my favourite places. I hope you enjoy the sneak peak at my country.
All posts will be available via the 'Land Down Under' tab on my blog.
'There's no place like home' ~ Dorothy from the 1939 movie The Wizard of OZ

- Moving to Kalgoorlie – a small mining town in Western Australia – it was dry with lots of red dirt, a place where a kangaroo in the main street wasn't uncommon
- Backyard cricket or beach cricket
- Paddy melon bowls (they grew wild in the mining town I lived in)
- Camping out – beside the river and next to salt lakes, campfires and hiking
- Barbecues – celebrations always meant an outdoor barbecue

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Time Management made easy - for me at least

There was a time in my life when every day was a crazy day, my children were all still at home and involved in numerous out of school activities, hubby was working shift work and I was working and also studying at university. I developed a habit which stopped me going crazy. Quite simply I wrote lists.

Some would call me mad maybe in this day and age of technology with I Phones and email and numerous other tools to keep us organised. I guess it’s the writer in me; I love to write at every opportunity. I love a clean sheet of paper and being able to fill the pages with neat little words. I am addicted to new notebooks and stationary. The first day of school with all my new equipment was one of the best parts of my childhood.

Okay many of you are probably thinking I’m crazy about now and are seriously concerned about my mental well – being. Don’t be, it was my way of coping with the craziness of having too many things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them. All working mums suffer from this ailment, rephrase that, I think all mothers full stop suffer from this problem, not just the working ones.

They say that if you want something done then give it to a busy person; consequently I got a lot of those tasks. I wrote sports newsletters, coached baseball teams, served on committees and always turned up to help when parents were needed.

We are all forced to find what works for us, for me it was lists. I’d have lists of who had to be where and when on my calendar on the fridge, included on each day were the starting times of when hubby was working (his shifts changed every week and there was no pattern to them). I prided myself that the kids made every activity on time and with the right equipment. I was one of those mothers who didn’t mind what activity my children wanted to do as long as they realised that once they committed that was it, they were in it for the season, there was no giving up halfway through.

My university assignments were completed on the sidelines during training sessions for soccer, or football, or baseball, or BMX. You name it and they probably played it and I would sit and study because it was the only option I had.

At work I would fill A4 pages of all my tasks for the day (important must do tasks had the dot point highlighted) and then I would sit at the end of the day and feel a sense of accomplishment when I looked at the number of crossed out tasks. Maybe it was time consuming to write the lists but it kept me on track when I had numerous interruptions during the day.

My journal was filled with list after list – goals to be achieved, places to visit, books to read, new things to learn. It’s a habit that is still with me today. I’ve tried Outlook and diaries and phone reminders, and every other option under the sun to keep my family organised and on time but I find that I still like the old fashioned comfort of hand written lists best of all.

What about you, how do you stay organised? What works best for you?

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it ~ Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Courage is fire, bullying is smoke

Friday 18th March is the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence in Australia. I wrote this post last night in preparation to post today and then got up this morning to hear about yet another video of a bullying attack in an Australian school which has now gone global. It is reassuring to also hear on the news today that the government is looking at legislation to make cyber bullying a criminal offence. I worked in Human Resources for a number of years and this is a subject that is dear to my heart and which I am very passionate about.

I heard an interview on the radio yesterday by the founder of Youth Opportunities, which is a South Australian based, non-for-profit company. They’ve created a school based program to teach kids about bullying and to provide them with the skills to help build self esteem and confidence. Ironically bullies often suffer from just as low self esteem as their victims do.

Bullying doesn’t only occur in schools (latest statistics show 1 in every 6 kids suffer from bullying every week) but it also occurs in workplaces (a recent survey indicated that 66.6% of workplaces have an ‘active’ bully)

Ironically upon investigating the website of this company, I discovered that the Founder of the program is in fact a boss from a company that I worked for almost 20 years ago where a number of us participated in a course that he created called ‘Self-Motivated Success’. Isn’t it amazing how things work, life is just one big circle.

This course was just one stepping stone to greater things for me and knowing who the creator of this program to prevent bullying was, motivated me to fire off an email to the company to investigate volunteer opportunities

I also was inspired to dig out a training presentation on Bullying & Harassment which I created for the company I previously worked for. I have taken the main information from the presentation and put it on my In My Words page for you to have a look at.

Please take the time to check it out because even though we all hear about bullying in the media, I know that if you’re anything like me, I had absolutely no idea of how many different forms bullying could take.

I have a strong belief that every man, woman and child deserves the right to go about their daily lives without fear, no matter who they are.

What are your thoughts on bullying? Should we (or is it the schools) be doing more to protect our children?

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself ~ Harvey S Firestone

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life's little pleasures

On days like these when the tragedy in Japan fills the news, it reminds me of life’s little pleasures, of how special they are and of how much we should enjoy every small thing that brings us joy. So here are 15 things that make me smile, bring me pleasure and remind me I’m alive:

- balmy summer evenings
- scented bubble baths
- smooth clean bed sheets
- the smell of rain on freshly mowed grass
- baby fingers when they clench mine
- crispy apple pie with cream
- spring flowers
- the innocent giggle of a child
- losing a kilo without any effort
- a hot milky coffee
- laughs with my friends
- a warm bed
- talking with my children
- a word of encouragement
- a hug from my husband

I am thankful for all the little things in my life that remind me I'm alive - what about you, what brings you small moments of pleasure?

Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. If you don't collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don't really mean anything ~ Norman Lear

Monday, March 14, 2011

Magic Numbers

Absolutely amazing - since Friday night I have written 6213 words, taking my grand total to 53273 words on my book (Woohoo!). I remember when I first started university and my lecturer told us we would have to write an assignment of 1500 words and I panicked because that seemed like so many words to write.

I have been saying since the age of eight that I would write a book and up until now that’s all it has been, me saying I was going to do it. Then a couple of years ago I promised myself I would do it before I turned forty. Last November I realised I was rapidly running out of time and I had twelve months to fulfill my promise to myself, so I began.

Now I find that it’s become a part of my life. I have roughly 20,000 – 25,000 words to go to finish it which compared to what I’ve already written, now seems like nothing. Of course there’s still editing and revising to be done but I’m nearly there. I’m starting to get edgy because in some ways I don’t want it to be finished. It’s also kinda scary because then I have to do something with it.

Sure I’ve written it for me but there’s also that part of you that wants to put it out there and see if it really is any good. This is obviously a daunting prospect because I’ve never done that before and am not entirely sure where to begin. The one thing I have learnt though is that there is a wealth of sound advice and information floating around on blogs that I visit from people who have done it, so when I’m ready I’ll start hunting for the answers.

My greatest lesson learnt through this process is that I’ve done it (well almost) and even if this one doesn’t get published I know now that I can do it. So if this one doesn’t get there, I will just try again until I do achieve my ultimate dream of a published book. The feeling is exhilarating and I can’t wait to finish it and finally say I did it.

My words of wisdom for all of you today – Dream it, Believe it and then Do it!

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe ~ Gail Devers

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Perfection is an illusion

I’ve had people who tell me they envy me my life or at least parts of it. Why I wonder? My life is not perfect, in fact at times it is as far from perfect as you can get. It’s not all sunshine and roses, I just think the difference is that I try to look on the positive side of things, I do the best I can in any given situation (and often I get that wrong too)

Looking at the positives and striving to be the best person I could be were the greatest tools my parents ever provided me with.

People comment on how well mannered and hard working my boys are. I am immensely proud of my boys because it’s true they’re hard working respectful kids, but they didn’t get that way by chance. My hubby and I have fought long and hard to get them to that stage. They’re boys and they’re still human, they mess up, they swear, they fight, they drive me crazy at times and all I can do is keep guiding (read that as forcefully directing) them along the right paths. That’s not to say that I always get those paths right either.

Along that path they kick and they scream and they fight us and I keep reminding myself that all I can do is provide them with the tools to go out into the world and be worthwhile individuals, in the end though it’s their choice as to what they do with those tools.

My hubby for all his good qualities can be the most irritating man alive; I still love him though and try to take each day as it comes. It doesn’t mean that our marriage is perfect, probably far from it. We have to work at it. He still has the ability to hurt me, to make me cry and to make me angry beyond belief. I have to take the good with the bad, because no person is perfect, including me.

I’ve had people comment on my work situation or how lucky I am to have got to where I am today. There was no easy and joyful path for me, I worked my butt off and I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way. There are days when you wonder why you bother doing what you do or if the end result will be worth the effort. Honestly I still have so far to go to get to where I want to be, so I keep slogging it out.

The truth is that we should never envy another person’s life, because the reality is that nobody has a perfect life. Even the richest and most successful people in the world are not necessarily the happiest.

Life is what we make of it and instead of envying someone else’s life; we should work at making our own lives everything we dreamed they should be. The good life only comes through determination and hard work. The battles and the tears and the disappointment along the way only make the success and the triumphs that much more appreciated.

Just want to add my thanks to Cate whose blog I discovered a while ago. I participated for the first time in her Six Word Saturday yesterday and have had an amazing time today visiting new blogs as a result. Who would have thought that six simple words could be so powerful.

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. ~ Harriet Braiker

Saturday, March 12, 2011



This is my first time participating in Six Word Saturday - Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Respect yourself

Yesterday I mentioned about my boss being awesome and one of my friends commented that we should appreciate bosses who are like this because they’re few and far between. I’ve had two bosses in recent years that have come from opposite ends of the good / bad range which means that I can truly identify with this.

The ‘boss from hell’ was opportunistic, narcissistic and totally unreliable. She managed to turn a job that I thoroughly enjoyed into a nightmare that I thought I would never escape from.

The ‘heaven sent boss’ who I’ve moved companies with; is understanding, reliable and someone who I consider a mentor that I can learn a great deal from. He’s not always right and he’s not perfect but he’s also not afraid to admit when he’s got something wrong

I believe the difference comes down to one simple word. Respect.

The dictionary definition of respect is: the esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability

I had absolutely no respect for the ‘boss from hell’ because her behaviour and conduct were unprofessional and reflected not only on our department but on the whole company.

I respect the ‘heaven sent boss’ because he values others opinions, conducts himself respectfully and gives everyone an opportunity to prove their worth. He tells a person when they’ve done a good job and is not afraid to tell them when they need to improve their performance but still does so in a way that encourages and doesn’t demean.

Recently I’ve had several conversations with friends regarding respect and why so many kids today don’t understand what respect is, whether it’s respect for themselves or towards others.

Think of these issues which indicate a lack of respect;

Graffitti – is a lack of respect for property
Theft – is a lack of respect for others personal property
Land degradation – is a lack of respect for the environment
Poor treatment of police – is a lack of respect for authority
Rude treatment of foreigners – is a lack of respect for different cultures
Domestic violence – is a lack of respect for women
Suicide – is a lack of respect for self
Anti social behaviour – is a lack of respect for community standards

No matter where we go in life or what we do, everything is based on our own beliefs and our own understanding of right and wrong. It is through this they we learn to respect others and in turn respect ourselves.

Do the people you respect work tirelessly, are they honest, are they loyal to their friends, do they value others opinions, do they help others less fortunate, are they inspiring? We generally respect those who have similar beliefs and values to our own, they’re the people we aspire to be like.

So, who do you respect and why?

Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make changes as YOU see fit - not because you think someone else wants you to be different ~ Stacey Charter

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today was a 'me' day

Today was a day just for me, no work, no urgent things that had to be done. These kind of days don't come along very often and are even better when they're unexpected as well. You have to love a boss who decided that because Monday is a public holiday that the project team should have today off and have an extra long weekend. My boss is awesome (and no he doesn't read my blog)

So what did I do on my day of 'me'. I spent 2 hours in a chair at the hairdresser (normally I cram this appointment in between my shopping and numerous other tasks on my weekends) Instead I was able to relax with a coffee and the latest novel I am reading and did not experience one anxious moment worrying that I should be somewhere else whilst the haircolour fairies worked their magic on my hair.

I then strolled through the mall, instead of having to race like a woman on a mission as is required on the weekend when every second person is there and I have several other places to be. I then did my food shopping at a leisurely pace and actually enjoyed the experience (I even spent less money than I normally do, can't figure that one out but wasn't complaining)

I came home to find younger son who had the day off school today had unloaded the dishwasher, done two loads of washing and hung it out and had also mowed the back lawn. God I love this child, he was definitely switched at birth because he is so unlike his two older brothers. He's not perfect though, these chores mean that his father can't give him a hard time about rotting his brain by playing the X-box all day.

I have then spent the afternoon reading and browsing the internet - yes it's a hard life but someone has to do it. It also means that I have the whole remaining 3-day weekend ahead of me to do the things I want to do because my food shopping has been done and most of the time consuming chores are done. Ah bliss.

I now plan to spend a few hours writing, I'm sitting on about 47,000 words so slowly but surely my book is getting there. Sending lots of relaxed and blissful thoughts to all of you.

Here's an amazing video - the story was in today's newspaper - Dog riding scooter. Not sure why you would want your dog to do this.

Cheers, Fi

If a man insisted always on being serious and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it. ~ Herodotus

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Making marriages work

Following on from my communication post yesterday, I thought this post from Jessica was really relevant. I've been married for 17 years and my honeymoon phase is just a long and distant memory so I could identify with everything she had to say.

5 Tips for a Mindful Marriage

Guest Blogger: Jessica Stilling is a freelance journalist who also writes on schooling online as well as taking classes online

So you still remember when the thought of that white dress made joyful butterflies bounce inside your stomach. You can still recall when dinner and a movie was the most passionate date on earth, but now, things are winding down. That honeymoon phase, the part before the kids became stressful and the job stepped in to take its proper place within the marriage, is coming to a close. This is a good thing, you’re not going to be living in fantasy love land forever and reality love land is just as enjoyable if you understand that reality love land is a different place from fantasy. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you exit that honeymoon phase and move on to the jobs and kids and school schedule phase of your journey together. I promise it will be just as good, if not better.

  1. Take time to communicate. When you and your spouse are standing across the great divide that is your kitchen in the morning, take a few seconds to discuss each other’s days, plan your schedules, see what the other might want to grab for dinner or watch on TV. You don’t have to be planning a romantic night out or discussing all the problems of the world to catch a few moments of couple time.

  2. Take time for yourself. Being a spouse and parent, an employee and a friend, or any of the other countless hats you wear, is going to take its toll. You have to learn to take time for yourself, even if it’s fifteen minutes after you get home from work before you start planning dinner. Take some time to reflect on your day on your own, this way you’ll be less stressed and more willing to deal with your family’s issues and your spouse’s needs.

  3. Take time for your spouse. Just like you should take time for yourself, you should take time for your spouse as well. Ask him how his day was, see if he wants to make any interesting plans. Let your spouse know that you’re listening, because it’s only when you’re truly listening that he’ll be willing to open up.

  4. Take time to cherish your family. Just like you need alone time and time with your spouse, your family will also bring you closer. Take time to watch the kids play on their floor if they’re very young, or go to your son’s basketball game together and have ice cream afterwards. This is the reason you’re together, this is what makes your life happy and so take time together to cherish it.

  5. Take time to understand and appreciate each other’s uniqueness. You did not marry a clone of yourself, in fact if you had, you’d probably not get along very well. Your spouse has a unique self, a self that you fell in love with because he was not like any of the other people that you’d ever known. Take time to cherish and understand that uniqueness. Also, allow your partner to see and understand the uniqueness in you. Sometimes as that honeymoon phase ends and life becomes life, we forget all the wonderful reasons we’re together, the reasons that are still prevalent if we take the time to see them.

One thread moves throughout these suggestions, time. Sometimes as life throws us curveballs and that job starts to take up more of our time, we forget to make time for the things that are really important. We forget to see the family that is right in front of us, or the husband who is also lover and confident and friend. It’s when we move through life, getting things done for the sake of getting them done, that we miss out on so much. That is why the key to a mindful marriage is making time for the marriage.

Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate ~ Barnett Brickner

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's not what you say, but how you say it

Communication is as vital to our health & well-being as food and shelter is, yet not many of us actively work at improving our individual communication styles. Most of us don’t give it much thought and believe we’re doing a pretty good job. Think about how much of your life you spend communicating. We talk, we listen, we watch, we exchange – all important forms of communication.

Let’s face it, we all know someone who is a born communicator – this is the person we enjoy talking to and spending time with because they listen to what we have to say and they value how we feel.

On the other hand, we also know someone who communicates really badly. This is the person who never shuts up, who thinks that everything they have to say is right and who never actually listens to anything we have to say, assuming that we actually manage to get a word in whilst they’re pausing for breath. These are the people that we avoid or try not to spend too much time with.

On a daily basis we all talk to numerous people from family members, partners and work colleagues to people we meet as we go about our lives. Even the most reclusive person will still need to use some form of communication to get by in life.

Did you know that studies show that the message we send is 7% the words we choose, 38% the tone we use and a whopping 55% is a result of our body language and non–verbal messages. So even if you struggle to find the right words both on paper and in person, you too can be a powerful communicator.

Good communication is the key to strong and healthy relationships at work and at home, so how can you ensure you’re getting it right?

1) Everyone has something to say – so value others opinions, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
2) Don’t think you know everything, we can all learn from other peoples experiences.
3) Show interest in what others are saying, listen to what others have to say and don’t just wait for your chance to speak.
4) Be aware of how people respond to what you say, have they received the message in the way you intended.

I read a fantastic analogy of communication today which said that we should think of our message as a gift which we are giving to someone else. It’s not just the giving but also thinking about how that person will feel when they ‘unwrap’ that gift and how it will make them feel.

It all comes back to one thing – it’s not necessarily what you say, but how you package it up and deliver it.

Cheers, Fiona

'To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others' ~ Anthony Robbins

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Striking a Balance

As a mother and a wife, my decision to return to study was one of the most challenging decisions I ever made. I was working part time and I had my hubby and my three MM's demanding my attention. It was also the best decision I ever made. Shayla offers some tips which I hope will help you find a balance between your role as a wife and a student for those of you considering a leap into the unknown.

Striking Balance Between Being A Wife and A Student

Author Bio - Shayla Ebsen is a professional freelance writer specializing in online media. Before becoming a full-time freelancer, she worked as a radiology technician and also spent a stint as a songram technician.
Attending college is one of the best things you can do to advance your career, earn a higher income, and increase your self-esteem. Because of these benefits, women are beginning to dominate the college scene.
However, many women attending college are met with the unique challenge of striking a balance between being wives and students. This is a tough challenge to overcome for many female students who feel pressured to uphold the traditional requirement that wives are meant to put the needs of their loved ones before their own life goals. Having felt this pressure during my time as a wife and student, I’d like to share the unique challenges I faced to help increase the chances of your success in this venture.

Addressing Competition

A major challenge many wives face when attending college is competition with their husbands. Although many men show support for gender equality, some husbands feel threatened when their wives attend college to earn a higher degree than them. This can lead to household tension and even resentment between spouses.
One option to avoid this tension is to speak with your spouse regarding your decision to attend college before you begin classes. Express how important their support of this decision is to you and explain your reasons for pursuing the degree. It can’t hurt to also occasionally stroke their ego by saying how much you appreciate them and how proud they make you feel. However, be prepared at some point in the future for your husband to express interest in also returning to college as this regularly occurs.

Keeping up with Household Chores

Although household roles are changing, many wives still tend to such duties as laundry and dinner preparation. If you’re currently tending to most of the household chores, changes to the schedule should be made before you begin classes.
It’s very easy to become overwhelmed between household and school duties when attending college. As such, by asking your husband for assistance before classes start, you can avoid most of the stress. Another perk of this new household schedule is it may continue even after you’ve earned the degree.

Scheduling Family Time

Although earning a college degree may be extremely important to you, it’s also important to find time for family between homework assignments. If you’re spending every spare minute studying or working on group projects for classes, your husband will begin resenting the degree you’re trying to earn.
Try creating a weekly schedule of when you’ll study and when you’ll make time for family to avoid becoming consumed by class work. You can make this a personal schedule rather than sharing it with your husband to at least give the sense that you’re still being spontaneous rather than accounting for every minute of your time.
Striking a balance between being a wife and a student can, at times, be very difficult. However, if you remain true to your life goals and overcome the challenges as they arise, you’ll navigate through the stress and arrive as a stronger person on graduation day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Challenge your behaviour

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

I was reading the paper today and apparently the latest fad sweeping across the world is the ‘365 day challenge’. The challenge is to do something radical to change your behaviour for the next year and ultimately improve your life.

Okay so this premise enticed me to read more (it doesn’t take much). There’s an Adelaide woman who is a self confessed shop-a-holic and is not buying any new clothes for 365 days and a guy who’s giving up alcohol for a year and is blogging his story here.

Last year there was a guy who ran a marathon every day for 365 days (that’s 15,000km across 7 countries – I’m tired just thinking about it) and the list goes on.

So then I googled the 365 day challenge and up came a mountain of sites dedicated to changing your life in a year. It’s really all about setting goals and being a better you after 365 days, much like my bucket list post only dressed up with a trendier name and with regular progress reports.

For some reason putting a number of days to it is what it’s all about – but then that’s how goals work though, they have to have a start date and an end date.

Here are some people that have been in the news recently who could perhaps follow the 365 day challenge to improve their lives:

Charlie Sheen – could challenge himself not to ‘Tweet’ every day for 365 days. The guy broke Twitter records this week by being the first person to gain as many followers as he did within a short time, all because his life is spiralling out of control. The man needs help not followers, yet he currently has in excess of 1.8 million followers.

Lissa – the mum who wrote derogatory and racist comments on the Bonds beautiful baby website about other people’s babies (appalled by this one) could perhaps challenge herself to post a positive comment a day instead.

Shane Warne – the Australian cricketer could challenge himself to not SMS lewd text messages to women who aren’t his current partner.

What saddens me is that these people are encouraged to continue their acts of extreme behaviour by the attention they receive in the media and because people on Facebook and Twitter sign up to follow this appalling behaviour.

We all stuff up and make mistakes, we're all human after all. Giving this behaviour credibility through the media is much the same as telling a baby no and then laughing at their behaviour at the same time. It's confusing and sends the wrong message.

I’m all for the 365 day challenge to improve behaviour – what do you think?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Be inspired - I dare you

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. ~ Henry Ford

It occurred to me that so much of my life revolves around inspiration, from the title of this blog to the name of my favourite song (Inspiration by Chicago) to the reason I get up every morning - it’s all because I'm inspired to be a better me (plus the small minor point of having to earn money to pay the mortgage and the bills).

The dictionary has 9 different versions of what inspire means:

1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.
4. to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
6. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence: writings inspired by god.
7. to guide or control by divine influence.
8. to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.
9. to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.: a philosophy that inspired a revolution.

Have you ever stopped to think about what inspires you? What puts that fire in your belly and makes you go the extra step to achieve something. What small every day things in your life give you enjoyment and provide a sense of well being

What makes you sit down and a write a book, an article, a blog, a poem, a short story, a screenplay? What makes you sit in front of a canvas and paint a picture, create a sculpture, design an outfit? What makes you want to learn more, do more, create more, be more?

In other words – why do you bother getting out of bed in the morning?

Here’s my list of inspirations

My children – I love seeing them learn new things and ask questions about how things work and why things happen. They are all intelligent, strong individuals forging their way in the world who still have the capacity to frustrate and irritate me and keep me on my toes.
My hubby – he’s a solutions man; if something is not working or something needs to be built he’s the fix-it man. He’s by no means a sensitive new age guy but his sense of integrity and strong work ethic inspires me.
My parents – they taught me to not only respect others but to respect myself. They also believed in me and encouraged me to achieve anything I put my mind to.
Weather – I love spring days when it’s warm and there’s a slight breeze, nature is at its most beautiful with flowers blooming. Days like this make me feel energised and peaceful.
Books – I love good writing in any shape or form. It’s got to either make me laugh out loud, smile or even cry - anything that is so well written that it makes me feel emotion is high on my inspiration list.
Achievement – Feeling like I make a difference, being recognised for the things I do and knowing that I’ve given it my best effort.
Home – I love it when my home is clean (not sterile clean, but lived in clean) and my gardens are neat and tidy. This gives me a sense of well being
Friends – they remind me to lighten up and not be so serious all the time. They are there to celebrate the good times and commiserate the bad times.
People – I’m a sucker for hearing about any person who does amazing things, has beaten the odds or just lives a good life. Lets face it we all have the capacity for greatness.

There are so many more things that I could list which inspire me but it would probably put you all to sleep.

So what about you – what inspires you?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

False injury claims - the lowest of low!

Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people - Spencer Johnson

I think I must be one of the most honest people in the world and it also doesn’t help that I am also the world’s worst liar. I’m the person who tells a checkout person when they’ve given me the wrong money (okay I was a checkout girl in highschool – so I can sympathise with anyone who has this job) Even if I could lie convincingly I could never see myself pretending to fall in a shopping centre or faking injuries suffered in a car accident.

I am currently watching a story on Today Tonight about people who put in false injury claims. This subject astounds me, who on earth could be bothered trying to prove something that isn’t actually true. If these people have got the imagination to create such grandiose stories then maybe they should be writing books or movies and doing something more worthwhile with their time.

People these days want to sue for anything and everything – and it makes me wild. I understand that accidents happen and anyone getting hurt is unfortunate, especially when companies are negligent. But people who put in false claims leave a very bad taste in my mouth. Why don’t these people get off their butts and do something constructive instead of wasting everyone’s time with making false claims.

False claims affect those of us who do go out and do an honest days work. Mothers at home with children may not be earning a wage but even they are doing an honest days work.
All of us are forced to pay the higher prices that false claims bring, higher prices at the checkout, higher insurance premiums and all because low down no good cheats think its okay to fake an injury to rip off other people.

It doesn’t make it right that just because a company is making lots of money that a person can sue them for a false injury. Who on earth thinks spilling water on the floor in a supermarket and ‘pretending’ to fall over is acceptable behaviour?

I can’t believe that people don’t realise the world we now live in – hello, wake up people, there are surveillance cameras everywhere these days, and you will get caught.

I personally knew an individual many years ago who was guilty of a false claim and let’s just say that none of us who knew him had to say a thing because karma bit him on the butt big time and he got exactly what he deserved.

Injury claims should be for those who are legitimately injured through negligence, not for lazy so and so’s who can’t be bothered earning their way in the world.

Well I’ve had my little rant for today – what are your thoughts on the subject?