An update

Well, what can I say?

My blog has been very quiet I know, but things have not been here.  Where to start?  I guess I should start with the bad and move to the good.  For we must always look for the good, yes?

We have all been unwell with various viruses/infections/asthma.  The crops here are bad this year.  It has been a stormy start to summer and the storms have broken up the pollens into tiny particles which have badly inflamed everyone’s airways.  All of us but Angus are on preventers, we have all been on antibiotics for one thing or another.  We are chronically run down, one of our staff members has retired which means Grant is now working 12 days straight with two off.  

I have been particularly unwell, and I was constantly sick at the end of term with one thing or another and not being able to get on top of any of them.  The latest being endocarditis which landed me in hospital with acute chest pain, troponin rises and ECG changes.  I spent 4 nights in hospital while they worked out what was going on and sorted me out on the cardiac ward being monitored.  The staff and the care at the Lyle Mac hospital were wonderful, I was lucky to have a single side room and wonderful friends and family checking in on me and sending their love.  I am home now, though very, very tired.  My chest is still a little achy and I’m on meds for the next few months while the inflammation in my hear all settles down.       


Me looking stunning in hospital, hooked up to the heart monitor.  In my usual form of keeping it real.  Ha!

So, what does that mean?  Well I have been told to reduce stress, apparently my heart is fatigued and weak now though fortunately I will make a full recovery….I’m not sure how to do that with three small boys home on school holidays, a business being sold, a husband working long hours, and a half renovated house.  We cannot bring in more staff as there is no time to train them before hand over at the end of February, so we are simply in a tough season we need to move through the best we can.  I have hired a cleaner weekly for the next couple of months to do the heavy work.  My focus will be on preparing nourishing food, the maintenance cleaning and caring for the boys.


Beautiful flowers given by a dear friend.  

But there is always good among the bad, college is finished and miraculously despite the challenges our family were facing I managed to get distinctions!  Which I was SO proud of.  It got mighty tough at the end but the work I did earlier in the semester held me in good stead.  The boys are mostly on the mend health wise too.  The sale of the business is progressing well, and the buyers finance has been approved, they are awaiting their Australia Post training now, they have got themselves a good business there.  Family and friends as ever have rallied around us and held us up, I am always astounded and humbled by the beautiful people who surround us.  They are the real gems in life, priceless and precious.  All will be well in a couple of months, it’s a matter of just going with the flow and adapting to the challenges we have at hand.  Taking time to nourish our bodies, our relationships and our souls and letting the rest simply drop away.  Lots of sleep and healthy food are on the cards and a little gentle exercise.  

Diffusing essential oils.  

Christmas?  Well I’m not sure what it will look like yet.  We were planning on visiting family in the country, but I think we will likely have a quiet Christmas at home now.   Just the 5 of us, perhaps go to the beach in the afternoon with a picnic.  My shopping in incomplete, the tree only just up and our usual traditions are not done.  But such is life, all we can ever offer is our best and together we will muddle through.

I hope all is well with you dear readers, Sending much love to you all and Christmas cheer!  May it be a time of delighting in wonderful relationships, love, self-care and good health for you all.  

Much love,
Em
xx    

And we are under contract!!

I know I have been quiet here, too quiet.  But a lot has been happening behind the scenes at the little old cottage.

Princess Aggie tucked up in bed....Its a tough life for a little black bear of a dog!  

As many of the long-time readers will know, we own a small country general store and post office.  It’s been a great little business for us but a few years ago we put it on the market to sell and follow our dreams of buying a farm.

But, like with many plans it was not all smooth sailing.  The economy has been difficult, the banks tightened up their lending requirements.  We have been patiently and not so patiently waiting for the right person to come along. 

Finally, today was that day.  A lovely local couple have signed the contracts, they have already looked into all the ins and outs and we know we are handing the business over that we have loved and nurtured for the last 7 years to good hands.  They are getting a good, solid little business with room to grow as they please.  They are local, and they are lovely, hard working family people. 

So, what now?

Well, we finish renovating the little old cottage as fast as we humanly can and pop it on the market.  Then we buy our long-awaited farm, after a holiday.  

It is surreal. 

I am shaky, excited, terrified, proud, nervous and happy all at once.  I am allll the emotions bursting out of me. 

Since Grant was a tiny child he has dreamed of a farm, and now, finally after 10 years of ups and downs, and slogging our guts out we are nearly there. 

So, what does that mean for this little blog?  Well I’d say it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting as we finish up here, and start on a brand-new family adventure! 

And that my friends, is pretty darn cool.

Much love, 
Emma
xx



A quick reno update!

Here is a quick update on the house reno before the weekend.  The cladding is nearly on the new part of the old stone cottage, and the door is going in.  Its getting there!  We are going camping this weekend in our old vintage van.  Just a quick and easy two night get away, because I am going stir crazy from the same routine and a change of scenery will do us all good.    




I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and I shall see you all next week!

Much love,
Emma
xx

happy friday!

Thank goodness it Friday.  I am more then ready for the weekend!  

I feel like I things are calmer this term.  My chaplaincy job working with women and children after the Pinery bushfires has come to an end, as it was a 12 month position.  I have picked up a couple of extra subjects this semester at college, meaning I am doing .75 and I am still working a few hours running a youth program in a neighbouring community.  But my days have taken on a more settled rhythm and I feel like pressure has eased.  

Blogging has been a bit sporadic recently and I thank you readers for hanging on.  We are here and mostly doing well.  I have an array of health tests coming up.  Blood tests, hormone tests, heart tests, sleep tests.......I am so very tired, no matter how much sleep I get and no matter how well I eat I can't seem to escape the tiredness.  I do my best to pull my socks up and get on with it, but the truth is I am completely knackered most of the time.  I have been struggling with this for the last year or more and whilst initial bloods and a once over months ago showed nothing concerning, the fact I cannot shake it means the Dr is going to explore it more deeply.  This is part of the reason my blogging posts have been a little irregular.   

So, we have been working on embracing simple living when life is not and really, isn't that when we need it the most?  

Grant is hoping to get the cladding on the house this weekend, which was delivered last week.  I cannot wait to see it all sealed up.  I'm not sure if he will get the doors and windows in also.  I look forward to sharing the progress shots with you!        

I will probably spend the weekend pottering about with a bit of cooking, a little cleaning, studying, playing games with the boys and hopefully spending some time in the hammock in the sunshine.  The garden is an overgrown mess, but I am turning a blind eye to it.  I simply don't have the energy to tackle too much of it.  I look after a few small garden beds and the rest I am letting go for whipper sippers and mowers.  

These rat bags were trying to show me grumpy faces, and they both failed miserably! 

I'm packing in veggies every where I can at the moment, chasing off the last of the winter bugs!



Making a double batch of lasagne, with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, capsicum, and spinach.




A delicious dinner.  Though the boys were a little dismayed to find their favourite meal overrun with veggies! 

"A dog bed you say?........Why would I need that when I have a perfectly good couch?"  says Aggie....


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Much love,
Emma
xx


A bit of a natter.

Goodness, well doesn't time fly?

I know I promised photos but I'm afraid I can't deliver.  The wedding was wonderful, but I got so caught up with seeing old friends I didn't pick up my camera at all!  But I felt so comfortable in my new dress and I really impressed my friends who joked about seeing me not in linen, actually wearing make up and not a pair of Birkenstocks in sight.  ;)

I'm not sure where the time has gone since then.  There has been assignments and mountains of reading going on.  That much I do know.  There has been washing, washing, and more washing.

So here are a few pictures of various things that have been happening around the place since my last post.....(See the washing?)

Will sitting with me composing a song while I worked on an assignment.  The wood oven was crackling away, and the sourdough was proving next to it.


Daffodils and Iris's fresh from the garden.

Chicken stew and dumplings for dinner on a cold, wintery night.  

Angus is continuing to see the ENT and work out his hearing problems.  He had another hearing test and after some initial concern it seems to be fine.  

A mud kitchen pulled together from some bessa bricks, and ply we had lying around, underneath the old grapefruit tree.  Will be a lovely place to play in summer!


I caught up with a dear friend and she surprised us with this Scottish Terrier inspired gift bought form an op-shop.  We are happily reading the May Gibbs book a chapter at a time. 

The Scottish Terrier salt and pepper shakers have been added to my little collection of porcelain dogs.  These are all figures that belonged to my grandparents and are very dear to me.  I am keeping my eye out to find an antique ceramic Scottish Terrier to add.  I also have a beautiful heavy antique crystal Labrador which is sitting with some crystal candle holders which reminds me of old Tessa.  Its funny how collections seem to randomly grow isn't it?

My car died an untimely death, and was sold on for parts.  I have ended up with a new-to-me car.  Meet "Suzi"  the Suzuki.  I really like her.  She's neat, and has a perfect service record.  Fits us all in, and a boot big enough for the dogs, all my stuff, and plants!  Because a car big enough to load up with plants is of upmost importance, yes?  It also has seven seats which will come in handy.  We bought in cash from a private sale.  We nipped into a couple of car yards but thought a cash budget translated to "partial finance" and kept trying to sell us care $5,000 above our budget.....seriously......



Anyway, it is time to get dinner on!  Home made chicken soup and toast is on the menu tonight.
Much love,
Emma
xx

A date!

Hello dear readers!

I'm so excited that tonight Grant and I are going on a real DATE!  Well its to a dear family friends wedding, who I have not seen for far too long as they live interstate.  Its one of the daughters who is very special to me getting married.

I even have a new dress!  What a treat!  Granny is coming for the night to care for the boys, and Grant and I get a whole day and a whole night together!  With time for lunch by ourselves between the wedding and the reception.

A sweet dress I found in a little boutique in the Barossa.  It's lovely and thick so it drapes beautifully. I just loved the pattern.  Pair it with a LS wool spencer, thick tights and a pashmina I'll be comfy and warm!  Win win! 

There is so much to do before we go, I have dinner to cook, and we have the old vintage van to pull around to tidy and make cozy for her to sleep in tonight. The yard needs a quick tidy up.  All of these things which should have been done during the week, but we had to go car shopping (I may have accidentally cooked mine....*insert curse words here*) so its been a hectic, long week with late nights driving around Adelaide looking at cars....gah!

But all is well now, and we get to unwind with a rare special night.  I had best go, but be sure I will come back tomorrow with photos!

Much love,
Emma
xx

Finding the quiet moments when life is not.

There is so much written today about being mindful, about being still, about not rushing and being in the moment.

And there is good reason for it, it's really important stuff.  With mental health problems at an all time high, work days that never end with the availability of mobile phones, and email wherever we are, and people living more individualistic independent lives than ever before.  Well our bodies are being bombarded with cortisone and never-ending to-do lists. 

It’s not good for us.  But it seems impossible to slow down at times, doesn’t it? 

I’m in a stage where life in many ways, is speeding up.  With the boys, work, and 3 subjects this semester, there is an increase of the outside demands on my time, meaning I am out of the home more than ever before.  The volume and type of jobs around the home hasn’t changed, it never really does.  There is washing to do, meals to cook, a house to clean, dishes to do, homework to help with.  What’s more, all of these things are important to me in creating and building a nurturing family home which is a refuge from the world. 

I am essentially transitioning from being a full time stay at home mother, to a working/studying mother.  I would like to say I have it down pat but the truth is, I don’t.

Studying today, uninterrupted as I was meant to be at college.  What luxury!

Aggie my little study buddy, it was just me and her all day.  The oven was lit and the fire crackling away, occasionally interrupted by a contented grunt coming from the little black bear of a dog curled up in her bed.  What a total princess!  It's a tough life hey?  

What I do have is our core family values which hold us in good stead.  That we value time together over “things”, that we value a simple life, we value books and quiet time together, we value working together, we value nature which is reflected in our somewhat hap-hazard gardening efforts, bushwalks and camping in our old vintage caravan.

I’m not going to share a “how too” because what works for me, will not necessarily work for others. 

But I thought I would share a few lessons I have learnt and a story of how they have unfolded in the past week or so.  The main one is saying “no” to the things I think I could possibly squeeze in if I’m super organized.  You know I’m talking about, the small extra task we think we should do.  On its own these kind of tasks seem innocent enough, add 5-6 of them and suddenly we find ourselves juggling waaayyyy more balls then we ever intended.  Often coming to a head all at the same time.  (What’s with that anyway?) I often find it easier to say no to the big things, rather than the small.  We can justify it clearly and our reasons are understood to be valid by others.  But it’s not the big things that tend to tip us over the edge, it’s the little, seemingly innocent things.  I’m reminded of the children’s book “Who Sank The Boat” by Pamela Allen.  For those of you who don’t know it, the book is about a little row boat and a bunch of big animals all want to get in at once.  One by one they do, carefully counter balancing their weight.  Finally, there is a just a little mouse who wants to hop in, it seems innocent enough – he is a after all, a tiny creature.  But it is him who upsets the balance of the little row boat and everyone goes toppling into the water.  It is really a wonderful picture book and carries a message that can resonate with all ages. 

This week for us has a lot going on.  My car died and un-resurrect-able death last week meaning we are down to one car, with two adults going in seemingly different directions.  I have a short answer task due for collage, a short quiz, a stack of reading, and two essays.  And the usual work/family/homework/cooking etc.  It means I have had to say “no” to coffee with friends, I have had to say “no” an unexpected church council meeting called that I was asked to attend, I knew they would have their quorum so all would be fine, but I also know they would have preferred I go.  It means I had to miss college as it was going to take too much time to try and juggle cars/busses/school run and put too much pressure on Grant to work around me.  I also had to look forward at my schedule as I was asked to fill a space on the preaching roster.  Now I enjoy preaching.  It’s important to me and I take it as both great privilege and responsibility.  But in this very season, it may well be the innocent looking little mouse that tips my row boat.  Each of these extra things on their own are innocent enough, a couple of hours here, a couple of hours there.  But add them up?  Suddenly I would have lost a significant amount of time.  

What would the cost have been?  Well time for one, but I can guarantee I would be more stressed.  Which adds to the chance of convenience food being embraced, which makes me feel tired and unhealthy, which adds stress to my load as I wouldn’t feel able to do what I need to let alone the extras.  If I’m too stressed I turn into a growly-bear like creature who is not pleasant to live with.  I would have had to stay up late to get the house hold chores done, adding to more tiredness, adding to more stress, adding to more bear-like behaviour. 

But, instead I have submitted the quiz and short answer task, completed necessary readings, and the research for the major essay is going strong and I am well into the planning/drafting stage.  My other essay is in the works too, though will be a little simpler.  I’m getting to bed at a respectable time, my paid work is on track, the house is mostly tidy enough and meals are simple but healthy.  Most importantly, my family are getting the me they deserve, and deserve my best.  Not what is left over after I have given my best to everyone else.

The reality is the church meeting went on without me just fine, the preaching roster will be filled, my friend understood my situation and we will have that coffee at a later stage.  I have not added unnecessary stress to our families’ routine by trying to keep the same pace while we are a car down.  There is no need to feel guilty as I will be able to go to the next church meeting, I am allowed to miss a couple of lectures without it affecting my grade if I give notice, there is plenty of time to preach and I can possibly pick up a couple next roster for someone else if need be.  There are few problems so big they don’t have a solution in our everyday lives, yet often we rush about like crazy things thinking we need to solve aaaallllll the problems ourselves, without help.      

Do you see the picture I am trying to paint?  It is important to say no, especially to the little things because they add up.  Even when they are valid and important things.  It is when we say no, that we are able to create space in which to find those quiet, peaceful moments we are so desperately looking for.  That our bodies, minds and souls need more then ever.  When we say no, we are in turn saying yes to the things which truly matter.   

Much love,
Emma
xx


Thanks for popping by!

Welcome!  I see a lot of new faces here in our little online home as a result of being linked to Rhonda's blog - thanks so much for popping by, and it's lovely to have you here!  Thankyou to all those that have commented, its lovely to "meet" you and I do hope some of you will share a little of your story here too.  Grab a cuppa and a comfy chair, and feel free to have a good poke around.

Part of our story is that we are half way through renovating our little old stone cottage which we bought in cash after many years of hard work.  It was, and still is a complete renovators delight.  I will link to a couple of posts that show some of the progress, but there are plenty more in my archives.

Before
Early days of renovating
Lounge
Boys room
Kitchen demolition
Demolishing the lean-too


The kitchen as it is now....But probably tidier!

Currently the old lean too out the back which was beyond repair has been demolished, we have a new slab down, the framing done and the new roof on.  The renovations have reached a kind of standstill for a while as we have been saving money for the next stage. 

But I’m excited to share that FINALLY we will be starting the next stage of renovations – no more outdoor bathroom and loo.  Can you just imagine that?!  Such absolute luxury!

Next week we will be calculating the materials we need, putting in the order for the cladding, the gyprock and beginning to plan bathrooms and so forth.  So, for those that love renovations, in the coming couple of months there will be plenty of progress shots to share here as we continue to workout how to maintain the character of the old while building the new! (And maintain a level of sanity through the madness.)

Much love,
Emma
xx


 

Authenticity

So often in this modern world we see an image of perfection.  Perfect looking homes, advertising for products to achieve perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect food, perfect lives.

We are bombarded with advertising about things to give us a nicer home, a better car.  We see things to make us more attractive, that will make us happier, to make us better.

When we purchase these dreams dangled in front of us, sure we feel better for a while.  But it's a hollow kind of happiness.  Soon we realize we are no happier then we were before.  The shiny-newness of the car fades.  The excitement of the dream home wears off, and we are left to face the truth of who we are once again.  The fact remains that we are the sum of what is inside of us, not of that which we are able to display on the outside.

There comes a certain point after obtaining the essentials of life like a safe place to live, warmth, proper clothing and adequate food at which we reach a kind of stand still.

The extent of these basics is not as high as modern day media would have us believe.  Beyond a certain point the real truth resides;  If we are not happy without it, then we will never be happy with it.


A couple of photos of a lovely little trip we had to a cheap little holiday house near the beach.  I cant even remember where it was now but I do remember it was freezing!  

No amount of lovely belongings can nor ever will change who we are at the centre of our being.  That if we cannot have a sense of like or acceptance for the person deep inside us, then there is nothing we can buy which will change that.  It simply aids as a distraction for a little while.

You know one of my very favourite things to do?  To have a cuppa with a person who is not scared to show their true colours, to share who they are at their heart of hearts.  To sit down and discuss all that is real, and challenging.  To have the kind of conversations that are rich, and deep, and most importantly real.  An honest account of they are and where they are going, bumpy roads and all.  I love these kinds of conversations.  To get past the everyday polite chit chat and get to the stuff that matters, the very marrow of life.  To encourage each other through fears and uncertainties, to laugh at our imperfections.  To respectfully share thoughts and ideas even when they differ from one another.  To learn and to live.  To be in authentic relationships.

The things we see on the media which tells us how to have a happier life....they are not real.  After a certain point the things we see and desire simply become fluff.  Sure, sometimes fluff is nice to soften the harsh edges we run up against in life, but in the end the fact remains it is still just fluff and can only go so far.  The things that truly help make life brighter are in the relationships we have around us.  When we have the opportunity to be who we are on the inside with others, to share, to laugh....perhaps even sometimes, to cry.

This past week or so I have had a couple of such experiences, which have truly helped to fill my tank.  Once was when I went to a friend/work colleges house for the first time.  I entered her cottage and it was completely un-pretentious.  There was nothing fancy about her home on the surface.  It was a completely ordinary, neat family home.  But within the home held such familiarity and beauty.  There were papers overflowing on the desk, books strewn over the kitchen table, memories and reminders adorning the walls.  Their house told their families story and despite it being my first time there, it was somehow exactly what I had imagined her home to be.  Warm, authentic, beautiful and comforting. 

This morning I had another such soul filling encounter.  A dear friend popped over for coffee, which progressed somehow into a 4 1/2hr catch-up.  We drank hot coffee from oversized mugs, I pottered and made a batch of pumpkin soup.  Coffee turned into lunch, which meandered into coffee again.  Me wearing my husbands trackies, her off the farm.  The floors not swept, beds not made, crazy little Scottish Terrier getting up to trouble, washing machine whirring in the background.

Yes, my house may not be shiny, my garden may contain far too many weeds, my roses need pruning, my car is a little beat up, my curves a little too curvy.  But I feel so very blessed to have such wealth in authentic deep relationships with beautiful family and friends.  These things - these people are the real treasures in life, and I reckon I must be one of the richest people around.

Much love,
Emma
xx 

A fresh look and 200 posts!

Well, school holidays are finished and we are nearly finished week one!  Goodness, it is quiet around the place with just me and this little fellow.

Look at those hand-me-down PJ's, He REFUSED to take them off and he went out in PUBLIC in them.....Such a dag.  He gets that from Grant I tell you.

I realized as I hit publish that I have hit 200 posts - I feel like that is some kind of milestone to celebrate!  Thankyou to all those who regularly read and who follow along with our little family.  It means so very much to me!   An extra special thankyou to all those who like, comment and share any posts.  The way a blog grows is partly from the way readers interact with it.  So thankyou for joining us on this journey, thankyou for your loyalty and for the time you spend with us in our online "home".  

I recently purchased a new template from georgia lou studios which I fully intended on uploading myself.  Until it dawned on me I was completely miffed by the entire process, despite the instructions looking beautifully clear.  (Which is not hard for a technological numpty like me, let's be honest here.)  After a period of failed attempts I began to get a little bear-like-growly whenever I looked at my blog.  Then I noticed that they could install it for me, for only $35.  Best. Money. Ever. Spent.  I went out for a coffee with a friend, and came back to a fresh looking blog!  How cool is that?  Just in time to celebrate my 200th post too!

Much love,
Emma
xx

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