Be still..

It seems there are many of us trying to slow down and simplify in this busy world.

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I know that my readers of this bog come from different backgrounds and I am so thankful for all of you and value each one of you. I understand if some of you are not interested in the following information which links to a strongly Christian blog….or you might be!

The day after writing the last blog I was reading a Christian blog ‘Chatting at the Sky’ that was looking at similar themes of slowing down in the hustle and bustle. Emily Freeman the writer is launching a book, but along with it there are a few videos that lost only 4 or so minutes.  I have only seen the first 2, but I found they resonated with my soul and the whole idea of ‘mindfulness’ from a Christian perspective. They have encouraged me to slow down and take some ‘simple’ moments.

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So, if you are interested click here.
Chatting at the Sky

May you find a moment to let your soul breath today.
R x

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A 2 year anniversay with a top 5 list!

It is 2 years today that I started this blog. A big thank you to those who have supported me, (especially my family who I love so dearly) encouraged me and engaged with me in some way during this time. It has been a humbling experience to share, learn and try to live out what I read.

As I reflected on my own personal learning it was interesting what things have stayed with me. Here is a quick list of  5 of things that quickly came to mind when I thought about the ideas that have made a difference for me:

1. Being grateful is so important. After a hectic day or when I am feeling a bit negative, I really find it so good to think of 3 things I am grateful for and why. Also, I find I want to express thanks to those around me, such a great thing to do!

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2. Living simply. There is so much research that shows that things do not make up happy. Each time I read about de-cluttering it makes me want to. The whole minimalist approach has really impacted me. It may not always show, but it is there. Big is not always better. More is not always better. Our whole life in many ways is a life of humility and serving. I am learning more of that each day.

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3. Mindfulness. The importance of being in the moment and noticing what is happening around me is something that I am working on. I am aware that I need to do this better. When I do it, it makes such a difference. I love noticing things in nature, the clouds, the birds, my kids….the list could go on!

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4. The small moments make up life. Tonight I just loved sitting for a moment with a cup of tea chatting to one of my boys, watching as he lit the fire and listening to the loud crackle of really dry sticks as the fire started. I have found that being appreciative of the small things and moments is a wonderful thing.

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5. A growth mindset. Tonight as I drove my daughter home from band practice she was talking about the challenges she faces, being the youngest member in a band of experienced musicians. As I listened she talked about her chord chart knowledge and what she thought was a lack of it, but then mid-sentence she corrected herself and added that magic word – yet! “I cannot do it easily, yet.” It stood out to me that she thrives on the challenge. What a way to think! That is a growth mindset and I know that I am getting better at growing!

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The list could go on, but for tonight on my 2 year anniversary, that is it. Except to say, that most importantly all this is undergirded with great thankfulness to a loving, kind, gentle God. He keeps teaching me and forgiving me and being gracious to me as I live each day that He gives.

Blessings and thanks.
R x

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A new year…

If you are reading this, thank you so much for hanging in there! I am acutely aware that asunshinyday has been very quiet for the last 6 or so weeks. It has been holiday season here and I needed to spend time with my family relaxing, reconnecting and being.

The family at the T20 Big Bash Cricket...fun

The family at the T20 Big Bash Cricket…fun

My year is looking a little different as I have a contract of 3 days a week working with 5 and 6 year old children. I am so excited about relating and getting to know the kids well and seeing them learn and develop as little people over the year.  I am still planning on blogging, probably only on Tuesdays and when I have things to share! I am also really hoping to redesign this blog page with the help of my daughter…..

I am really happy to have found out that I missed reading information on Positive Psychology.  I love how practical it can be and the fact that here on my blog I can write things to not only remind and encourage myself, but also others in ways to help our families flourish.

To kick off the year I want to share a quote I came across in my diary – apologies, I am not sure where it came from. As I reflected on the past 12 months and the year ahead I realised that often both adults and kids have expectations. However, if they don’t work out how they are thinking, it can be really upsetting. We need to have open minds for what lies ahead, open minds to be able to learn different things and open minds to allow those around us to be different to how we think they should be!

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.”

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A be-lated thought for the weekend!

Things have been a bit busier than normal in my neck of the woods, my apologies. When things are busy, that means I do not have the same time for reading and reflecting.

I have noticed that when this happens it is easy to forget some of the core aspects that I have written about, that include gratefulness, kindness and mindfulness.

Today as I was hanging out the clothes, I really enjoyed having the brain space to notice the blue sky and blossom.  It was a reminder that it is just so important to try to find those little moments when things are hectic.

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As the week progresses may you find a moment to look at the sky, a moment to take a breath and enjoy a little brain-space!

 

 

Parenting starts with us!

One of the difficult parts of parenting is that parenting actually starts with us!

I look at my 9 year old who finds it difficult to amuse himself if there is no screen time or siblings around to play with and I realise our life has been fairly hectic for him. I realise that as the youngest of 4 he has not had time to just be. It is like he is continually entertained.

I look at my 15 year old and hear her excitement about having some time at home this weekend and wonder how that can happen when you are 15, is burnout just around the corner for her? Then I look at my schedule and think about the things that are happening!

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Photo Credit: bistromd.com

Today I listened to an interesting talk by Arianna Huffington.  (It goes for about 20 minutes, it was very challenging and thought provoking to listen to – if you can find the time.)  Adrianna was talking about the importance of slowing down. The idea that we need to be looking not just upwards and outwards, but also inward. We need to be giving time to ourselves in this world where people are finding it more and more difficult to connect with themselves and others. I have been taking this idea a step further and thinking that we need to be helping our kids to connect with themselves and others in a meaningful way.

Continually the world in putting demands on us in terms of making money, things we need to be successful, things we need to be comfortable and where we should be on the ladder of work and life if we are to be anybody. Each day these messages are being fired at us. Each day our kids are getting messages like this too. Are they good enough? Have they made the team or got the grade? But, we need to reconnect with the essence of who we are – both personally and relationally.

Photo Credit: projectconnect.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: projectconnect.blogspot.com

Life is shaped from the inside out. Shaped with grace, gratitude, joy, compassion, love and trust. Study after study is showing that these are the things we as people need.  When we put these things as important, that is when people start to thrive.

Photo Credit: reloveplanet.com

Photo Credit: reloveplanet.com

The amazing thing is that when we as parents start to put these things as important and take time to follow through, it doesn’t just effect us, it effects our children, our spouses and those around us.

We need to be having times of mindfulness, getting the sleep, turning the smartphone off, disconnecting etc, etc. There is so much research and knowing of what we need to be doing and now it is up to us to apply it.

Photo credit: parker.edu.au

Photo credit: parker.edu.au

Parenting actually starts with us and we need to be prepared to make changes that actually go against what the world is telling us and what it is continually pushing in our faces. We need to be brave to think outside the square. We need to be teaching our kids what is important in life, having the conversations –  and it is not necessarily the story that society is feeding!

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Mindfulness in parenting

Being the best parent I possibly can is something I am passionate about and know that many of you are too.

As my children get older, I feel like things are getting busier as there are so many different activities vying for their attention. As I struggle to balance these, I find it is important to think about what values we have as a family and ask the question ‘How do these activities match up with our family values?’  In many ways the ideas and research by the ‘positive psychologists’ can help give direction as to what helps kids flourish and what helps us be better parents. But then, in the end, taking time to listen to our hearts is also important.

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photo credit: blogthings.com

I really enjoyed reading the following (on the blog “A Holy Experience”) and wanted to share it – please, not to put anyone on a guilt trip, but to encourage you amongst the cleaning and cooking to live in the moment and enjoy the simple parts of parenting.

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photo credit: dyaneburgon.com

To give the writing context, it is set in Canada and the writer is sending her 18 year old son to live-in University. (For the full story click here.)

“How could I forget that the only thing that we’re always really teaching is love? What if I’m wild to go back to Dr. Suess and begin again? What if I want to go back and make the schedule simpler so our lives could be richer? So I could tie your shoe one more time and bend down and kiss your cowlick….
What if I want to play more games of monopoly and leave the dishes in the sink more often? What if I want to take you fishing more Saturdays and blow off cleaning up the garage? Why doesn’t someone tell all the homemakers: Cleanliness isn’t next to godliness. Love is….
I wish I had cared a lot less about your room being clean and a lot more that you and your brothers being close. Why didn’t I paint it in neon on a wall: More important than a clean house is a close family…
You may forget the chronology of the Egyptian pharaohs, but you’ll remember your Dad sneaking up behind me and kissing my ear while I was scrubbing out the breakfast frying pan. I’m not partial to how much you remember of calculus; but it’s dire that you know that the sum of how you see the ordinary is all that ever adds up to an extraordinary life. The lessons any kid remembers are the ones his parents lived. The goal is simple: It’s not about a 5-year scholarship but being a life-long learner and a life-long lover...
I wished we’d read more Charlie Brown books together and laughed loud on the floor. I should have gone slower. Every time you saw me, a smile is what you should have seen first…
I’d give my eye teeth, my liver and lifetime worth of free bacon to go back and tell you three times a day,  to look you in the eyes and tell you: I really like you.”

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May you find time on the weekend for making memories with your kids. Not necessarily big event memories, but the memories that make up the little things in life…
how you see the ordinary is all that ever adds up to an extraordinary life

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A thought for the long weekend.

In my part of the world it is a long weekend. That means that Monday is a public holiday. That means that I get to be with my family for an extra day. Yah!

Photo Credit: acaloans.com.au

Photo Credit: acaloans.com.au

Usually we go away, but due to different circumstances we decided it best to stay home.

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Photo Credit: iconarchive.com

Below are some of the things I hope to do with my bunch:

Forget the ‘to do list’ for a moment and go on an adventure – even one that takes only a few hours.

Forget the ‘to do list’ for a moment and exercise in some way – a form of exercise that we usually don’t do.

Forget the ‘to do list’ for a moment and have a family ‘tea party’  – or hot chocolate or whatever, just sit down together.

Forget the ‘to do list’ for a moment and play something – searching the cupboard for a board game that hasn’t been played for ages!

Forget the ‘to do list’ for a moment and spontaneously do something kind.

Forget the ‘to do list’ for a moment and sit and ‘be’ for a while.

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Look at the ‘to do list’ together and work on that project as a family.

May you too have a blessed long weekend, doing some things that you usually don’t do.
Variety is the spice of life!

Photocredit: klbaileyart.com

Photocredit: klbaileyart.com

Editor’s (the man of the house) note : we need to print this off and put it on the fridge as a reminder over the weekend!