This Christmas, take a minute to appreciate just how lucky you are.

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As I sit here in the comfort of my air conditioned lounge room on a Friday night, having just shared a lovely meal with my Grandparents, I have to pinch myself and smile. I am so darn lucky. How can I justify complaining about silly things like feeling tired, or having to go to work, when every night I get to sleep under a roof, and every fortnight I get paid? How can I complain about being hot when at the flick of a switch I can be cool, or go and jump in a pool? (That was absolutely not meant to rhyme by the way). Point being – the little things that annoy the majority of us, are the things that some people wish they could complain about.

This Christmas I challenge you (and myself) to stop and think before you go to complain about something relatively insignificant. There are people on every street, on every block, who don’t know how they are going to afford the rent this month. Who don’t have anything to buy their children. Who don’t know what they’re going to eat on Christmas, let alone tomorrow or the next day. Yes, you’re tired. You’re probably exhausted from working hard to ensure everything is done by Christmas so you can enjoy a couple of days off. You’re probably feeling guilty about over-indulging in festive treats and after-office drinks. You’re worried that your Mum won’t like the gift you got her, or that you got the kids the wrong colour. You’re wondering when you’ll have time to walk the dog, or buy the groceries. But just STOP for a minute and appreciate how lucky you are, because you really, really are.

Every day I feel so incredibly blessed to have my grandparents still with me, to share simple moments with them and (hopefully) learn from them as well. Watching my Pop grow to love the new puppy in our life, after initially not being too interested, has been a beautiful transition to see. Every time she comes over she runs straight to Pop’s feet for a belly rub, and the love between them is hard to miss. Seeing Nana fret over her too really melts my heart. From making sure she has a little bowl of water and plate of warmed mince, to worrying over her head getting sore from the way she sleeps with it all tucked into her belly, just really makes me smile. I could complain about little things like our puppy still having accidents in the house, or barking at the postman, but in all honesty she’s been a light in my life this year. It’s the small moments that count, and seeing the magic in every day has been something that I’ve learnt to appreciate.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”

Bob Hope. 

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Photo credits – stylemagazines & minimalliving

Remember, you’re exactly where you need to be right now.

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I saw someone post this quote on Instagram today, and I thought how perfect it was for how I’m currently feeling.

You are right where you need to be.

Sometimes I wish I could tattoo this to my forehead when I’m getting carried away in my thoughts, reminiscing on past times or wishing away the time looking forward to some future event. Mindfulness is key to maintaining your sanity in this fast-paced world, where our thoughts are constantly bombarded with worries, emotions, fears, guilt trips, dreams, memories and more. I woke up a little melancholy today, July the 8th in sunny Queensland, where Winter means shorts and a T-shirt with a cool breeze on your back. The Lucky Country right? So I allowed myself 15 minutes of snooze time in bed to wallow in my sadness, before getting up and committing to embracing this day.

I’m honestly believing more and more that happiness can be a choice, a small pledge within yourself to simply power through with a positive attitude. Sure, I’m feeling down about a couple of things – but in the grand scheme of life, am I going to care about them in a years time? Absolutely not. It’s hard to maintain that attitude 24/7 of course, but constantly checking in with yourself especially when you’re feeling glum can help shed a little perspective on the situation. I spent the morning wandering through the Botanic Gardens, simply enjoying the peace of nature, birds singing, sun on my neck and nowhere to be. Getting outdoors is a wonderful mood booster for the soul. Trust me, I know sometimes when you’re feeling completely lethargic, comfortable in your track suit pants and socks, and the last thing you feel like doing is donning some active wear and joggers. But just push yourself to try it… 9 times out of 10 you’ll come home feeling more energetic and clear-headed.

I’ve got a friend who comes to town every 2 months and we always have a little catch up, something that has been an unexpected delight. You see the friend is actually the partner of one of my closest friends, and up until we started catching up on our own the relationship had always been a little more reserved, or courteous I suppose. Now that we’ve established our own friendship though outside of the barriers of knowing each other through someone else, it’s been a lovely little addition to my circle. Anyway the point of me writing about him, is not only to emphasise that good company can often come from unexpected places, but that letting people in can broaden your perspectives as well. On one of his visits we went to Cape Hillsborough, a beach area famous for attracting kangaroos right on the brink of dawn. As we sat on the sand watching the first rays of sunlight pierce the ocean, he told me to just listen to all the types of birds singing. I honestly hadn’t even noticed the birds until he said that – to me they had become background noise. But upon tuning in to the calls of nature, I was totally surprised at just how many different sounds we could hear.

Mindfulness – it’s about appreciating the moment, getting lost in the moment and being grateful for this moment.

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Photo credits – arthurlitau & folksouls

 

Does anyone really know the true meaning of Easter anymore?

 

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I for one, have definitely forgotten what the history of Easter is all about despite it being drilled into my head during 12 years of Catholic schooling. I know it’s something to do with Jesus, Good Friday and his rising from the dead… but that’s about as much as I can recall. Does it really matter though, I’m wondering? I did try and give up something for Lent (Pizza – lasting about 2 weeks), and I’m not smashing chocolate down my throat at any given chance (just the daily Connoisseur ice cream – amazing range of flavours and really worth a try). So I suppose I’m doing okay in the grand scheme of things. What’s it all about anyway?

To me, it’s a time of reflection. It’s now 4 months into the new year, and most of us are sitting here wondering how the hell it got to April when it was Christmas like 5 days ago? I don’t know if it’s just me, but time seriously keeps getting faster and faster. Regardless, we’ve had 4 months to hone our new year resolutions – whatever they may be. By now we have realised what works and what doesn’t, what was probably an unrealistic goal, and what we can aim to achieve in 2018 (which is just around the corner at the rate things are going). I actually saw a Christmas party package online the other day for a hotel. WTF!? Give us a chance to get over the hangover and pork-induced coma of Christmas 2016 for God’s sake!

It’s also a time for hanging out with the family like we’re all best mates and everything is La-di-da. I say this after being yelled at by my mother for stealing her clothes yet again (well really, if you’re going to have a baby at the age of 19 what can you expect? I’ll have those Lorna Jane pants thanks). Everyone at my house is currently having an afternoon nap after a big feed of nachos, then we’re taking the dachshund down to the beach so she can get mocked by all the gigantic dogs as she waddles her little legs around. SO DARN CUTE.

Anyways, I do hope that everyone celebrates the long weekend in whatever fashion suits them. Breathe, exhale, and appreciate the lovely in-between-seasons weather, because soon it will be Christmas again and we’ll be chucking a prawn on the barbie (for those of us in Australia at least).

“Hedwig didn’t return until the end of the Easter holidays. Percy’s letter was enclosed in a package of Easter eggs that Mrs. Weasley had sent. Both Harry’s and Ron’s were the size of dragon eggs, and full of home-made toffee. Hermione’s, however, was smaller than a chicken’s egg. Her face fell when she saw it.
“Your mum doesn’t read Witch’s Weekly, by any chance, does she, Ron?” she asked quietly.
“Yeah,” said Ron, whose mouth was full of toffee. “Gets it for the recipes.”
Hermione looked sadly at her tiny egg.” (J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). 

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Photo credits – roundrockfarm & babyanimalstagram