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Showing posts with label Philosophical Thinking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philosophical Thinking. Show all posts
Old Wisdom and the Spring Equinox in Australia

Old Wisdom and the Spring Equinox in Australia



















I just love spring! It has such a special feel to it.

The Spring Equinox happens in Australia between September 21 and 23. This year it happens today at 6.23pm.

Mathematically, we are at a quarter point for the seasonal year. Day and night are completely equal in time and from tomorrow day will be longer than night.

This balance in the earth’s days reminds me that we should stop and calibrate things in our own lives. We should seek balance. This often means that we need to do a clean sweep, re-evaluate and change things a little.

In days of old, the Spring Equinox held great hope to people because it symbolised the end of the cooler weather, the emergence of seedlings and the anticipation of new crops. The houses were opened and the soot of winter fires cleared out.

We still hold onto this time of ‘Spring Cleaning’. It’s time to pack away blankets, tidy our cupboards, donate clothing that doesn’t fit and generally de-clutter.

We take this time to sow our summer seeds, work out what seedlings we will need and think about harvesting what is abundant now.



Lavender is in abundance at the moment, which tells me it is time to make new skin care products and soap. After harvesting this crop of lavender and picking some rosemary and spinach for dinner, the house smelt sensational ! 


On the 28th of September I celebrate my birthday, another reason to stop and think about the season and the year to come.

The many new colours of the flowers, the sounds of the birds and the smell of a potential summer breeze on the wind makes me stop, think and bring everything back into balance, ready for a fresh new season.

Do you have a spring ritual, a cleaning ritual or any other special things you do to bring in the new season ? 



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A Vision Splendid
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Renewing, Restoring, Rewilding, Reconnecting

Renewing, Restoring, Rewilding, Reconnecting





We were due for a break. We were excited by the opportunity to go away as a family and take some time out.

We didn't need to go far, or spend much money at all.


It is funny that you can be so close to home and yet feel so different about things. Truth is, it is not the location, it is the mindset that you slip into.

You slip into a mindset of relaxation and renewal. You slow down, breath and look around. You are not rushed and you take the time to let all the little things enter your senses. You listen intently, you breath deeply to smell all that you can. You reach out to touch the surrounds.

And it feels wonderful. It feels like you have a fresh lease on life.


...and yet, you are so close to home. It shows you that you can turn off distraction and turn on your senses at any time that you need to renew.



Our weekend consisted of a Friday night of games first of all. A hilarious night of Pictionary where we snorted with laughter and our drawings made us question the way we think collectively because we could draw meaning from a couple of squiggles.


On Saturday we walked almost 8 kilometres. We explored, studied and 're-wilded'. We reconnected with nature and realigned with the fabulous thing that is Mother Nature in its many forms.

It is beautiful to watch our boys, who are now young men, still show wonder and awe at the natural environment.

On Saturday we had an abundant meal of fresh seafood.

On Sunday we returned home, very steadily, stopping a number of times along the way.

When we arrived home we were refreshed and content. It was such a wonderful time of purposeful renewal that we all agreed that we will do this more often.

Personally, I will be exporting this thinking to myself when I am at home. I challenge you to do the same.

What would it look like if you carved out some time to practice renewal ? Does it mean that you have a bubble bath with a glass of wine ? Does it mean that you drag your chair out into the garden and read indulgently without guilt while you eat strawberries ? Does it mean that you choose a hobby and give your self permission to carve out time to indulge yourself in it ?

It's very healthy to practice self care instead of martyrdom and guilt . We are much better for those around us when we take care of ourselves first.

There is much joy to be had in slowing down.



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A Vision Splendid
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The Joy of Ordinary

The Joy of Ordinary




“Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

– William Martin
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Back to my Vision Splendid

Back to my Vision Splendid




Well it certainly has been some time that I have spent away from the blogosphere. I actually contemplated giving up blogging completely, but something has drawn me back and had me thinking.

Why blog ? 

When I first started blogging, I didn't know anyone who was doing it. I can't really remember how I stumbled into the art of blogging, but I am sure it was from accidentally finding some online blogs and being completely inspired by them. 

Blogging was the perfect tool for me. It helped me to organise my thoughts, hold myself accountable, give me inspiration to look back on and connect with some fantastic people. 

Blogging brought me great joy as it made me slow down and have gratitude for the small things in life. 

Why the break ? 

Moving house a little over 12 months ago meant a huge change to our lifestyle. Setting up our 'Vision Splendid' on our acreage has taken time and has meant that lots of our routines have changed. This has been both positive and challenging at the same time.

Throughout this time, blogging took a back seat as I have been focusing heavily on building our future. I took on some part time work, (based here at home) which grew and grew. It seems that the biggest hurdle I encounter is that things get TOO big, when really what I am looking for is balance across all areas of life.

Even blogging got TOO big. A Vision Splendid was always designed to be something that I did for myself and a few of my avid readers. Before I knew it there were product sponsorship requests, radio interviews, Sunday newspaper interviews and LOADS of request for help. I guess it was a case of 'be careful what you pray for, you just might get it'. 

Why return ?

I am encouraged by the ongoing emails that I still receive. I am often surprised that readers are still there. When I recently restricted access to the blog I received a lot of emails asking for viewing rights so people could check back on things that I had written about earlier - as a reference tool. I am surprised that with the HUGE volume of information that is on the Internet now readers still come back to this little site for inspiration.

The Verdict ? 

I will be returning to blogging. Although there are now millions of blogs on all sorts of topics, I will blog for the reasons that I had when I first got started. Whether it brings value to others or not, I will blog for my own reasons. Although our children are now older and we are in a different stage of our lives, we are still working towards our Vision Splendid. We are crafting a life that is family centred and holds old fashioned values at its core.

Even though I work from home, I recently let quite a bit of my work go. This will be give me a chance to bring things back into balance again. My first step is to re-read through the old blog posts ad get back in touch with my original vision.

Want to join me as I assess the steps I need to take to bring back a slower more simple life that has family at the core ? 

If you are still reading this site, drop a comment in the box below and say hello! 
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A Vision Splendid
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Moving House

Moving House



If you have been wondering why things are so quiet on the blogging front, it is because we are moving. I thought that we would be staying in this house forever, but over the past few months a series of things have just fallen in to place and before we knew it we had made an offer on a place out of town.

I feel quite okay about moving. I thought I would have a really difficult time leaving this house, after all,  a lot has happened here in the past 16 years. Firstly, it is the longest I have ever lived in one place. It is the home that I lived in when we were first married and the home I brought my babies home to.

In the past 16 years it has seen me be a teacher, a stay at home mum, a solicitor, a business woman, an author, a blogger and an urban homesteader.

What started as a little cottage has expanded over the years to accommodate our growing family. We added rooms, built bathrooms, took down walls, pulled up carpets all to keep up with our changing needs.

Now, as the boys are physically getting bigger they are after space. I am looking forward to new gardens, fruit trees and the next stage of family growth.

With our move shortly upon us, I thought things would be more chaotic. They are busy, but haven't fallen into total chaos......yet. One of the best things we did when we thought there was a possibility of moving was to have a severe cull of our possessions. We donated, sold, gave away  or threw out everything in every cupboard, drawer, shed and shelf that we did not need or completely love. We also shredded years and years of paperwork no longer required. Even if we weren't moving, this was a FANTASTIC feeling of freedom !

Now we have been working on preparing our house for tenants. Painting, cleaning, fixing. It is funny that jobs we have been meaning to get around to for years have all suddenly been completed in a fortnight.

Everyone is so excited about the move. I am really looking forward to having a place for everything and everything is its place. I am excited about creating new spaces for cooking,   baking and making. The most exciting thing for me, however, is the established fruit trees. Strange, I know, but having trees that are bearing so much fruit is really exciting !

Most of all, as usual, I am looking forward to creating......................a vision splendid ! 
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Hello September

Hello September


Image Source: http://sayingimages.com/hello-september/
Hello September. I am enjoying you so much. Just when I had settled into a life of rugging up, adding layers, snuggling under blankets on the lounge, you turn up and surprise me.

You get me every year!

I get the first hint of you in the breeze. Then I notice you in the song of the birds and the sound of a distant lawn mower. Then I smell you in the blossoms and when your light hits the new green leaves on the crepe myrtle tree.

Then I remember what is to come.... the early mornings, the long summer evenings, the swimming and skiing and playing and gardening and holidays and Christmas and mangoes and watermelon and prawns and shorts and t-shirts and thongs.....

.....and I am one happy spring chicken.
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Should We All Be More Frugal ?

Should We All Be More Frugal ?



Recently I have been thinking more and more about the instability of our lifestyles and the way that we are set up as a modern society to live.

If you tune in to television or magazine advertising they will have you believe that everything is wonderful. It has never been better! 'Live for today', you hear them say....'go ahead, your deserve it'.......'you only live once'....... Pay tomorrow.... interest free...

I look around and see a very different story. I see people wondering why 'everyone else' seems to have it so easy when they are doing it tough. I see people who just completely block their financial circumstances and live from credit card to credit card and keep refinancing their blues away.


I have really started to sit up and take notice because I see more and more people whose lives have been turned around by such a simple event that pulls the rug out from underneath them.

I have seen friends go through a separation and divorce, the death of a spouse who was way too young, a job loss for the only income earner in the family, serious illness which turns a family upside down and people wiped out through once in 150 year floods.

We all subconsciously believe that it will 'never happen to us', but I am sure people who have been through a change like this have thought exactly that.



Do you think it is prudent to tighten our belts in the name of securing a solid emergency fund ? How many of us could truly survive for six months if our current income source dried up ? If your income stopped tomorrow, how prepared would you feel ?

As you know, I am always using 'times gone by' as a reference point when it comes to being frugal, living green or living more simply. Perhaps because of the instability of the times, people from older generations always put money from good times away for times when they may not be as good. They stood by the traditional wisdom of saving for a rainy day.

Are our times today any more stable today than what they were back then ? Does easy credit disguise society's true position ? I am not sure, I can only judge it by what I see, hear and read around the community and in the blogosphere.

Why suspicion is.....yes.
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Capturing The Life That Was

Capturing The Life That Was



Last week I purchased an external hard drive to make a double back up of my digital photo collection. Gee it was easy! I had lots of photos ( I mean LOTS) on CDs all carefully labelled and categorised and I even had proof sheets printed of what was on each disk.

It was so easy to just whip them into iphoto ( I am a Mac girl) and there they all are - in chronological order and able to be sorted in keyword categories at the click of a mouse!

I skim through all the photos they really reveal just how much I have a love affair with days gone by. There are so many photos capturing aspects of a life that was.


I am always intrigued by the lifestyle that people led in the past. The days of hard work and little reward, an instilled work ethic that is rare to come by these days, a complete life of self sacrifice to others with no chance of any recognition.

My Grandmother told me once that the girls of today just don't have the stamina to be able to do all the things they did.....and I would have to agree!

Although, I have been quoted as saying that I could do without electricity and running water, grow my food and still get by quite okay ......as long as I had wi-fi and a solar powered lap top to blog about it! LOL


Look at this tired old truck - can't you see the expression on his face ? Years of hard work can be seen across his brow!


I don't have to walk four miles to school barefoot in the snow. I haven't birthed 13 children all 9 months apart and I will never have to fight for women to get the vote..... but I really do think that there are some traditions and principles that we should not let go of in our modern world.

We should not shy away from hard work. We should only eat our fill. We should show respect to our elders. We should live within our means and we  should raise our children with values that we want to see reflected in our society.


......and then we should blog about it to share the message !
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Panning for Gold

Panning for Gold


When we were away we took the opportunity to go panning for gold at Nundle. Even though it was the middle of winter in an area that often gets snow, it was really quite a beautiful day.

As I sat there, the children off doing their own panning and happily exploring all the river had to offer, I suddenly realised that I had found treasure !

No, it wasn't a gold nugget sitting in the bottom of my pan, it was uninterrupted time, seated in nature where I could hear nothing but the babbling noises of the creek.

It was delightful and the time spent there was worth it's weight in gold!

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Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Practice Random Acts of Kindness





When we were in Sydney we were walking along in Darling Harbour when the boys found an SD card on the ground. A few weeks later when we got home, we decided that we would make it our quest to look through the photos and try and locate the owner. I had heard of someone loosing a camera once and some kind stranger viewed the photos and tracked down the owner. We knew it would be a difficult job, but thought it would be such a triumph if we could track the owner of this SD card down.


We looked all through the photos as a family, gathering clues about our mystery people - who, realistically could have lived anywhere in the world. We were so excited when we realised they were more than likely Australian. That narrowed it down to about 22 million people!

Although we could work out where they went on their holidays ( and what costumers they wore to a Halloween party! lol) We couldn't work out any way of contacting them.

Just when we were about to give up, I remembered seeing a photo of some school children and was able to zoom right in on the badge of the school uniform. We then googled the name of the school and sent the school an email with a couple of pictures attached asking them if they recognised the family.

You can imagine our delight when we were contacted by the school and the family to say the card was theirs! They lived all the way over in Western Australia.

Our boys were delighted and we thought it was hilarious that we could actually do this. Although I guess it was a little invasive for the owner, I am sure they are extremely grateful to get all their precious photos back.

The joy you get from performing an act of random kindness is fabulous....... why not give it a try sometime, you never know when the favour might be returned to you!
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An Early Riser

An Early Riser





I am an early riser. Sometimes it is ridiculously early. Sometimes I am rising when others are just blowing out the lamp for the evening.


I wake naturally. I haven’t had an alarm clock for years. Somehow, I seem to have a built in one.

It wasn’t always this way, in fact, I used to be the complete opposite. When I was at uni the first time they ran evening exams and my housemate and I became completely nocturnal for a period of time! Then.... there was the time I overslept for a maths exam and bolted out the door ( thank goodness I had fallen asleep fully dressed) and was then told that I had the imprint of the electric blanket wires in the side of my face!!!!


But, alas that was almost 20 years ago (gulp!) and somehow I survived the lack of sleep and somehow managed to get a degree or two and somehow pick up a husband and a couple of children on the way to here. ... somehow.....

In between all of that I have lived at both ends of each 24 hour period. I have stayed up very late and I have gotten up very early. For me, the rising early habit really works.


1) I function better, no really.... a LOT better when I have had great sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep I not only lack energy, but my brain fogs over.


2) Quiet, uninterrupted morning time. Whether you use this time for meditation, reading, blogging or just sitting.....the peace and still of the morning really centres you.


3) No rush: getting up early means having enough time to eat a proper breakfast, snuggle with the family, think through your day, get ahead with some housekeeping jobs to free up extra play time etc


4) Seeing the sunrise is a powerful moment. That clear reminder that today is a new day and that everything is fresh and ready to start again. ( contrast this with the buzz of an alarm clock and rush rush rush.....)

Do you want to become an early riser ?

Try these tips.

Go to bed earlier – read if you need to wind down.

Make slow and steady changes, try 15 minutes earlier every second day.

Do something ‘lovely’ with your new time so that getting up early becomes a treat not a punishment.

Read up on the health benefits of getting sufficient sleep

http://www.abc.net.au/health/minutes/stories/2009/04/06/2532293.htm


Are you an early riser ? If you are a night owl, would you say you are productive or have 'quality' time in the evenings ? Have you tried to become an early riser ?

"She rises whilst it is yet night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens" - prov 31:15



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A Vision Splendid
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Vintage Hankies

Vintage Hankies


Looking at these handkerchiefs all freshly washed and crisply ironed I am reminded of their place throughout history.

There was a time when one would never leave the house without a freshly pressed hankie in one's pocket. A hankie was more than just a tissue, it was seen as an item of fashion and, particularly after the war, an extension of the self.

It is interesting to see the progression of beautiful vintage designs. Did you know that when dresses were somewhat plain and all one colour, a decorative hankie in a bright floral was thought to bring style and elegance ?

What about that hankie that was strategically dropped, only to be retried by an attractive suitor ?

What about the hankie that was handed to a teary lady which was lovingly hand embroidered with initials ?


I have accepted the mission of single handedly bringing the vintage hankie back into the world. LOL

You may remember that I am also on a mission to single handedly bring back the tea towel

http://avisionsplendid.blogspot.com/2008/02/tea-towel.html

and the air pot.

http://avisionsplendid.blogspot.com/2007/09/chaning-world-one-air-pot-at-time.html

Phew, this world changing stuff is hard work...... any takers for continuing the crusade of bringing back the hankie, the tea-towel and air pot ?
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A Vision Splendid
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Post Vacation Blues

Post Vacation Blues


We arrived back from our annual holiday and for the first few days I had what I coined 'post vacation blues'. Normally I am really happy to go away, but very happy to return home again.
We use our annual holiday as a time for renewal. We make our plan for the upcoming year, talk about our focus and and areas of improvement we will launch into for the upcoming year.

We also totally relax.

I enjoyed watching 'Chocolat' ( must be about the fifth time I have seen it and still love it!)

I enjoyed having lazy breakfasts like this.



and of course there was lots and lots of this.......

I think I got a little too used to having someone come in and change the towels. I even joked about employing some person who I never actually meet who will come in like the tooth fairy and do things while I am not looking. lol

But.... thank goodness that feeling has passed and I am now ready to face the year.
We had family come and stay last week, so it was nice to be home and to enjoy spending time with people you love.

Now it's time to put my 2010 plans into action.


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A Vision Splendid
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Time For Reflection

Time For Reflection



Christmas is over for another year. It always seems to be such a big build up and then it is all over.... just like that!


Now, it is time for reflection. The days between Christmas and New Year are a time to examine the past year and look at the year to come.


What did you like about 2009 ? What worked well ? What were the challenges of 2009 and what lessons did you learn from them ?


What are you planning for 2010 ? What are you going to be working towards - in your home, your family, your career, your personal development, your relationships ?


We are not talking about new year's resolutions, we are talking about mapping your way for 2010. The best thing about following a map is that even if you end up on the wrong route, you often discover something fantastic!


As I move into a blogging break, I am wishing you and your family Peace, love and joy in your time of reflection. So.... relax and enjoy and remember...... Your Life Is Your Design - you can make it anything you want it to be!
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Busy Bee

Busy Bee




Ask anyone how they are at this time of year and the answer will, without a doubt include some reference to how ‘busy’ they are.


Why are we so busy ? Is it because our to-do lists have a deadline? We HAVE to have things organized by December 25th?


I find that my days are busy because I have so many things that I would like to achieve, but many of them are attached to specific time frames so I actually feel a lot busier.
I wouldn’t normally group my whole to do list together, but every time November falls from the calendar I find myself looking at everything that needs to be achieved between then and Christmas.


Sometimes I have things playing on my mind that I can’t physically do anything about until they arrive, like attend end of school functions and Christmas parties – but they are on the ‘thinking of them at 3am’ mental list I tend to keep.


Add to the mental and physical list making the constant input from television, newspapers, radio reminding us of how to have our ‘best Christmas ever’ and how to ‘show someone you REALLY love them’ and ‘buy now’ ‘pay nothing’ ‘buy, buy, BUY, BUY’. AHHHHHH


No wonder they call it the silly season.

Please remind me, when I start down the path that society says I should be on, that I can chose to think differently. I can choose to participate in the frenzy or to step aside.


I choose to cultivate the spirit of Christmas. To think deeply about how I will bring PEACE to my house. How being prepared, planning ahead and thinking about things slowly will let me feel peace and let my family experience my peace.


I will think about how I will bring JOY to my home. Joy comes from a lack of stress. Joy comes from having the time to sit and play card games with your children, a family game of tennis in the front yard or watching a dance concert performed in your lounge room.


I choose to cultivate LOVE. What my family members want from me is not the latest and greatest catalogue item, they want my time and my efforts and my appreciation for what they do and who they are.

So….. the challenge now is working through the “must do” list so that I don’t sabotage my own Christmas Spirit.


Think…..peace……think…….joy……….think………love.
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