Rural Reflections #28

Life does not get better with chance… it gets better with change.  My life is about to change once again.  Have you been at a crossroads in your life?  Ever wondered which road to take this time?

We never know what is around that corner and we must make changes to move through life and experience interesting opportunities.  Sometimes taking a chance… may just be the change we are looking for.  But we must make it happen.

Drought is overloading us.  Overloading my inner strength.  Overloading my mind.  The battle continues here in Tamworth, without rain, without feed and something is about to change.  Making me question… why we all chip away at it every single day?

I am passionate about the agricultural industry… a future to secure for all Australians.  But I am not giving up… I am about to make a change.  Life is all about choices and decisions… right or wrong… who can say?  It is us that controls our own choices.  The drought may be cracking me around the edges, but it is no way going to break me.

Another choice we make.  Unfortunate but necessary, we are dividing our farming property in two, and we will be selling one block.  Finances can only stretch so far, as we all know over the last 2 years of drought.  So we are down-sizing.

Hubby and I will remain here on one block… farming as usual.  The other block “Porters” will be sold… 1650 acres of land… giving someone else an opportunity to love life here too.  Like many farming decisions, at first, I felt a little disappointed.  Then I felt comfortable with the decision, to have a plan in moving forward.

So whilst my hubby spends the days farming, I have decided to seek off-farm work and bring a new experience into my life.  So many farming families have had to change their circumstances and still feel the struggle every day… juggling off-farm work into their life equation.  But for me, since we are down-sizing, I have an opportunity to share my expertise further, in an industry that I choose.

Have you been making choices and decisions or questioning those choices?  There are many opportunities before us, we just have to figure out what we need to do to make a difference.  But the decision must be right for you, not for those onlookers from the outside.  I am still passionate about this industry and I am still the same person… just making some life changes to work for me.

Today, I share with you this photo of the driveway on my property depicting “Porters” and the drive away to change.  This image is the perfect metaphor for changes in life.  It shows a green barley crop after a shower of rain in June, yet now it has sadly turned to dust.  It is still a nice reminder of how quickly our land changes.

Rural Reflection #28…

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We could sit back, struggle and complain about the drought, but NO.  We can’t control the weather and farming is a gamble at times.  But we do have control over our feelings, reactions and our response.  We made a choice to do what we need to do.

Hubby is happy when on the land… and I am happy when anyone can find that passion within to do what they love.  I believe life is made up of experiences.  My next experience is about to unfold and I am excited.

What choices are you making to ensure you are passionate and committed to your life, inspiring those around you?

Take care, Karen.

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.

~ William Arthur Ward

Creating a Natural High at Walcha Rural Women’s Gathering

Passion, inspiration, learning, laughter, friendship and empowerment… were on the program at this year’s Rural Women’s Gathering held in Walcha this past weekend.  3 great days of excitement, connection and culture were shared with 219 attendees gathered in the high country.

A jam-packed program was full of captivating speakers, educational workshops, interesting tours, fresh local cuisine, community group hospitality and musical entertainment.  This is the 27th NSW Rural Women’s Gathering to be held.  The annual event is organised by dedicated local committees each year, supported by the Rural Women’s Network.

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Despite a challenging drought and a heart-breaking season, the Walcha committee flocked together to create a natural high reflecting their environment, location, history and culture.  Ironically, Walcha is renowned for “where wild rivers run”… but the big dry had put a stop to that.  Nevertheless, a wonderful committee ensured the beauty remained in their environment through the town’s artworks, culture and welcoming friendly faces that surrounded us.

The Hon. Adam Marshall MP, officially opened the NSW Rural Women’s Gathering (RWG) and launched the 2019 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll which celebrates women volunteers who give so much to their rural communities.  It was wonderful to recognise a few names on the list this year.  Two ladies that I know personally, I want to make mention of, as they inspire me in their communities.

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The beautiful bubbly personality of Mary Hollingworth from Guyra (formerly Glen Innes) was recognised as a valuable volunteer for more than 35 years.  She is renowned for her involvement with the Glen Innes Celtic Festival and many community organisations.  Mary never ceases to amaze me with her infectious smile, love for life and her encouragement of others.  She also seems to have a knack of persuading people to hit the dance floor with her (thanks Mary!).

The kind-hearted generous likes of Sue-Ellen Wilkin from Moore Creek near Tamworth.  A strong amazing woman that started a charitable food pantry for drought-stricken farmers at Tamworth and Murrurundi.  The charity is called Doing It For Our Farmers and is run by a group of tireless volunteers.  Sue-Ellen has a heart full of passion and care for the farming community.  Her charity is a valuable support network for farmers and local primary producers.

Guest Speakers were inspiring in their own unique ways and an interested audience was captivated in the information they shared, the laughter they inspired and challenging stories they could relate to.

A local Walcha sheep and cattle producer, Sonia O’Keefekept the audience captivated with her inspiring outlook and positive attitude.  She shared her story with her down-to-earth personality and simple, yet empowering philosophy in life.

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A leading lady in musical theatre, cabaret, screen and radio, Amanda Muggleton, kept us entertained with her unique style, passion, humour and extroverted persona.  She has just joined the cast of Home and Away, as Robbo’s on-screen mum Wendy.  She amazed us all with her wit, enchanting personality, performing ability and provocative versatility.

Fun and laughter all-round when she performed the segment called Laugh Out Loud with Amanda Muggleton, alongside 4 talented committee members.  Interestingly, she was not just a guest speaker and performer at this event, but she attended the weekend with us all.  Her friendly involvement, love for life and encouragement of others is very inspiring.

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Grazier, author and Walcha Councillor, Jen Kealey, spoke of her passion in the rural community, charity work and resilience.  Walcha local and organising committee member, Anna Barwick, shared her unique story, her Showgirl journey and her success in life with heartfelt passion as a health advocate. 

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Janelle Archdale shared the inspiration of her time as the first female Mayor of Walcha and now runs her boutique-style fashion, homewares and giftware store called Paperdolls House.  Angus stud breeder, Erica Halliday, gave us an insight into women in the boardroom with her casual yet intelligent demeanor.

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Wool producer, Jules Cordingley, spoke about merino wool, quality yarn and her woollen fashion company.  Jo Palmer, a successful business woman and the winner of the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Awards told her story of connecting people to remote work opportunities.

Sister Jan O’Grady from Open Support gave us valuable information on accessing health care services in Sydney and how Country Care Link transport services can assist the rural community when at their most vulnerable.  My dear friend, Sonia Fingleton went on to explain how she manages the beautiful Chisholm Cottage, like a home away from home, so that rural people can access major Hospitals and health services in the city affordably and with a network of support around them.

Local graziers and earthmoving contractors, Peter and Suzanne O’Keefe, shared their heartfelt real-life story when he became a burns victim in a terrible farm explosion accident.  Against all odds, Peter survived this accident, 59 days in an induced coma and 32 surgeries later.  They both shared their own perspective of what happened and how they handled such adversity in their lives.  I shed tears listening to their amazing strength and how they coped.  Peter now inspires other burn victims during their recovery period.  Amazing speakers, leaving not a dry eye in the room.  Very inspiring!

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The dedicated Walcha RWG Committee offered an abundance of local artists to display their creative artworks in a Pop-Up Art Show.  Local quilters displayed their talent in numerous eye-catching colourful quilts.  Local market stalls provided a beautiful selection of giftwares, luxury items for the lady and unique creations during the weekend for sale.  Service providers were also in attendance to share advice and assistance wherever possible. 

A variety of interesting and empowering workshops were organised with a magnitude of varying subjects.  Not surprisingly, I chose to do 2 writing workshops with Author John Heffernan.  Sometimes we must challenge ourselves, try new things and stretch our imagination… you just never know what you may truly be capable of.

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Friday night we were entertained by the musical ability and incredible voice of 16 year-old Hattie Oates from Tamworth.  A soulful voice well beyond her years where we danced to pitch-perfect tunes.

Saturday night, a blanket of white filled the marquee with a beautiful White Dinner @ Altitude.  Guests dressed in white clothing, enjoyed beautifully presented platters before them and enjoyed a local Fleece to Fashion Parade.  Followed by non-stop entertainment with the fun-loving party band Memphis Moovers.

All night, we kicked up our heels, leaving all reservations behind, and enjoyed music from the 50’s to the 00’s… from Elvis to Lady Gaga.  The Memphis Moovers  returned Sunday for a fabulous musical finale.  A song was written and performed with the RWG attendees… the singers, the dancers and the clappers.

A wonderful, inspirational, motivating weekend that has once again given me direction, time-out and a vision in my own life.  I am already looking forward to next year’s Rural Women’s Gathering to be held in Forbes.   

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The best part was catching up with familiar faces that I had met at previous RWG events.  It just feels like I have known these women for so much longer.  Great friendships have formed and a network of support is so relevant.  We all need a little girl-power, female support, uplifting souls to empower us… and this is the rural women’s event to do this.

Take care, Karen.

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“When women support each other

incredible things happen.”

~ Author Unknown.

 

 

 

Motivated Excitement & Country Charm at Coolongolook School

Primary School Students are the true essence of our future and learning the ways of the world in their younger years.  Today, I had the privilege of speaking at Coolongolook Public School as an ex-student Guest Speaker.  My intention was to inspire these beautiful students to believe in themselves and focus on a future without limitations.

I am passionate about helping people with my encouraging and motivating speeches.  Challenged to design a speech… to connect with students from Kindergarten to Year 6, as well as relating the information to benefit adults.  My speech was incorporated into Grandparents Day with visiting parents, grandparents and special friends.

Successfully, I delivered my message to keen listening ears and interested individuals.  What truly captivated me… was the attention span of these primary school-aged students.  During my 30-minute speech, all students were focused with engaging eye contact and listened so intently.

It was a pleasure to speak to a group of individuals that showed me respect and could relate to the information that I presented.  I thank the Principal and Staff of Coolongolook Public School for their kind invitation to return to my own Primary School to speak on this special day.  I have so many fond memories of my primary school years here and I enjoyed the morning reminiscing and seeing the changes within the school.

Coolongolook Public School is a small country school with a charming country community.  Similar in size to when I attended, the opportunities of attending a small school proves there is no disadvantages to success in life.

I was so grateful to be able to speak with several students over morning tea, lunch and when visiting their classrooms.  From interesting conversations, expressed thank you’s, hugs galore and a personal drawing… my morning was truly inspirational from both sides.  Small country schools offer a special something and I witnessed this today in the welcoming atmosphere… from students, parents, grandparents and teachers alike.

Two students had impacted me through our conversations, their attitude and heartfelt interactions.  So I gave them both “My Journal” as a gift to encourage and motivate them in their future.  We can all do with a helping hand in life so should be looking for opportunities to help somebody else where we can.

I was very impressed with the musical learning opportunities now at Coolongolook Public School and enjoyed a performance.  When I was at school I played percussion instruments like the triangle, castanets and tambourine.  With their real musical department having progressed enormously, to learning guitars and drums… simply amazed me.

Feeling nostalgic, I was also able to sing along with the School Song.  Surprisingly, I even remembered most of the words, even after 30 years.  It was great to see and hear familiarity, but also to see progression.

Speaking of my fond memories of Coolongolook Public School and how the impact of my education led to my success in life… was encouraging for listeners.  The highlight for me, was meeting students and the dedicated school community, and listening to how my words were perceived and related to their individual lives.

Once again, my passion to share my love for life and the motivation to persuade others to see their own beauty within… makes me feel empowered.

Take care, Karen.

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“If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.”

~ Ronnie Lott

Rural Reflections #27

Reflecting from the rural coastal region of my hometown of Coolongolook NSW watching the smoke from bushfires in the distance near Forster/Tuncurry NSW.  Here I am spending some time with my Mum and preparing for a speech at the local Primary School tomorrow.

It is beautiful to see some green foliage within the scene and beneath my feet for a change.  My Mum loves her garden… from shrubs and flowers… to growing plenty of fresh produce to make into jams and relishes.  The coastal region does attract a lot more rain than our western area.

Today, it is a beautiful day in paradise and I am appreciating my beautiful surroundings.  Roses in full bloom, flowers sprawled across garden beds and healthy vegetables growing in abundance.  This morning I helped my Mum pick fresh blueberries and strawberries before breakfast.

We then enjoyed fresh fruit with yoghurt and her variety of home-made jams on toast.  Whilst my Mum and visiting Aunty are working hard in the garden, I have been catching up on some work and preparing for my speech tomorrow.

I have been invited to Coolongolook Public School… to speak about my childhood, my life, my businesses and to inspire these young students.  It will also be Grandparents Day with special visitors.  This is where I attended Primary School many years ago, so I am very excited to return as a guest speaker and to see the changes first-hand.  My intention will be to motivate my audience, encourage their confidence and dreams, and to inspire success.

Travelling down the mountain yesterday, heading towards the coast, I noticed very thick smoke on the horizon and high winds which would be causing havoc and spreading the fire.  The bushfire is in the Forster/Tuncurry region, with people sadly losing their homes in nearby areas.  Volunteer firefighters are doing what they can, around the clock, trying to keep people and their properties safe.

The smoke is not blowing in this direction, so cannot be smelt at all where I am.  My hearts goes out to those victims and those in the vicinity of the bushfires.  It doesn’t matter where you live… you never like to see fire threatening lives nor belongings.

So today, I share with you this photo, showing the smoke in the distance and ask that you spare a thought for the NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers protecting others and working in harsh conditions of heat and thick smoke.

Rural Reflection #27…

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I like this photo because it depicts my upbringing with my family, the beautiful surrounds and Mum’s passion for gardening.  The gazebo was an addition that Mum erected later in life, that has a special connection to a family friend and is indicative of life and death.  That special friend was taken far too soon as a result of a farm accident.  For me, this gazebo is a symbol of him and the value of family friendships.  His memory will always live on through his beautiful family.

I also appreciate having some time out here today at my Mum’s place admiring her garden and the effort that her and her good-hearted sister put in to keeping it so beautiful.  I do not have a green thumb so lack the expertise and passion this involves. But I certainly do grasp the beauty here, and understand that water in our environment makes all the difference.

What better place to feel motivated and inspired?  I feel like I can breathe here and relax.  Admiring the beauty around me, whilst holding my family close to my heart.

Take care, Karen.

“We might think we are nurturing our garden,

but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.”

~ Jenny Uglow, Author

Celebrating 25 Years Anniversary of Love and Trust

Today marks the day… 25 years of wedded bliss… and successful challenges overcome!  It seems like a lifetime ago, that I walked down that aisle proudly taking my husband’s name.  Young, sweet and innocent… yet full of hopes and dreams.  Similarly, it seems like only yesterday.

Reflecting on the last 25 years, I surely would not change a thing.  I met the man of my dreams, far from perfect, but perfect for me.  We fit like hand-in-glove.  I am so grateful to have my husband as my best friend.  He has been my support, my rock and encouraged me throughout our married life.  We raised 2 wonderful sons now pursuing their own successes in life.

Remember that feeling of a new love… the excitement in a relationship, the unpredictability and exploring new emotions in unchartered territory.  Those feelings developed and togetherness just felt right.  25 years on… through the raising of a family and business ventures… those feelings still reside.

That love becomes comfortable and secure.  Sometimes we do not appreciate what we have and who we have in our life every day.  We must stop… think and feel.  That love that surrounds us and is enduring, but still needs nurturing and protecting.  The small things really matter.

Life throws us challenges and obstacles in our path.  It is how we handle these situations, that will make or break us.  We can only control what we do, think and say.  We cannot control those thoughts and feelings of our partner, nor should we want to.  Tolerance, patience and understanding is a big part of the balancing act.

Thankfully, our marriage has survived 25 years, mainly due to mutual support, passion, friendship, respect, communication and encouragement of each other.  Life has not always been a bed of roses, however, it is with inner strength, faith in our marriage and commitment that we can celebrate today.

I am so grateful for my husband… for the support he has given me in the good times and the encouragement through the bad times.  I love him for all that he is and all that he brings to my life.  I believe that he has helped shape me into the strong, determined and motivated woman that I am today.

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband Peter and thank you for 25 beautiful years and making life so interesting.

Now all I want to do in my life… is to help others… feel contentment, speak freely and love who they are and what their purpose is in life.

Take care, Karen.

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“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love,

trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.

The order varies for any given year.”

~ Paul Sweeney.

Star-Struck by CWA Past State President

I was reduced to being star-struck yesterday… and in-awe with a genuinely interesting conversation with the Immediate Past State President of the Country Women’s Association (CWA), Mrs Annette Turner.  This woman is like a celebrity in my eyes.

A good-hearted, caring, intelligent, captivating woman of many CWA achievements with a great sense of humour.  I have so much respect for her as a woman and in her role as the CWA State President over the last 3 years.

Mrs Annette Turner had been invited as a Guest Speaker to our CWA Wanthella Group Annual Conference and to open the meeting.  Her story-telling conversational-style tone is easy to listen to and very inspiring.  My day was enjoyed immensely.

I presented my lengthy Group Agricultural & Environmental Annual Report and shared my passion for an industry that I care about sustaining.  Respectfully, listening to other fellow members share their reports and reflect on the past year’s achievements and activities.

People often ask… what is so great about CWA?  My personal values align with those aims of CWA.  So for me, it is a significant organisation that makes a difference in the lives of women and their families.  I value the advocacy developed by ensuring women have a platform to share their voice and improve lives.  It also provides a network of supportive women and social friendships in our community.

The sharing of skills and knowledge is also another great benefit.  CWA support within the community in so many aspects, is what makes me very proud to be a part of CWA.

Yesterday, was also the day for CWA Branches to present their written motions of advocacy with voting taking place for the potential inclusion at the CWA Annual State Conference next year.  Our Group discussed and voted on 3 motions that were accepted to move to the State Executive Committee for the motion to policy process.

It is fascinating to see the passion from a single concern, will develop into a motion and possibly become CWA policy to lobby the Government to support the policy and make a change in legislation.  CWA is a very influential organisation with the best interests of the members of our nation at heart.

With the elections taking place, I have been re-elected as the Agricultural & Environmental Officer for Wanthella Group.  Very excited to keep promoting agriculture and the rural industry in our region and beyond.

I felt overwhelmed yesterday when Mrs Annette Turner, complimented me on my report presentation and for my passion in the industry.  This compliment meant so much to me, especially coming from her, a lady that I respect whole-heartedly.

It is nice to compliment people.  That small comment that comes from your lips, may just take a small moment, but can make a massive difference for those listening ears.  That compliment may just last a lifetime, giving someone the confidence and strength to make other decisions in their life.  Remember to be kind to people and treat people the way you want to be treated.

Take care, Karen.

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“Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.”

~ Richard Branson.

 

 

 

How to Feel 10/10 about Mental Health Day Now?

That dreaded phrase that we hear over and over again.  MENTAL HEALTH.  Why does that term make us cringe somewhat?  Lack of understanding perhaps?  Mental health is NOT mental illness

Mental health is where we want our minds to be… this is the good place to be.  So mental health is a positive phrase that we need to make part of our lives.

Today is declared World Mental Health Day… October 10th.  Today we need to feel 10/10 on this 10th day of the 10th month.  Let’s extend that… and learn all that we can about good mental health.  We can also be aware that sometimes life gets too tough… feelings of overwhelm can take over… leading us into depression or anxiety.

In Australia, 1 in every 5 people are affected by mental illness, yet so many people do not seek help because of the associated stigma attached.  We must all drop this perception and shed a more positive light on mental health.

If you had a broken leg, a gash that needed stitches, or an unknown rash… you would seek medical help without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable.  If you need some help with your mind or thinking processes, seek help… there is no difference.  It is our responsibility to the people of our nation to drop this stigma and support everyone regardless of what medical help they need.  We can all make a huge difference by talking about it positively.

In the farming industry we are built pretty tough, sometimes show a lack of emotion and live by the “they’ll be right” or “no worries” attitude.  The mental health phrase is getting tossed about everywhere we turn at drought support events.  The Government is pumping finances in, to support farmers’ mental health.  Is that what farmers really need right now?  Perhaps… perhaps not.

As a farmer in drought, suffering the physical, emotional and financial strain… life did become too tough for me for a while last year.  Life changes and medical conditions piled on top of that, tipped me over the edge.  I did seek help starting with my local GP and I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety.

Everything around me proved that I was losing control.  This was when I found a way to take back control and to chose to develop a new mindset strategy.  I finally understood that we had NO CONTROL over the weather, the forecast… and relatively little control over our own business and finances during this drought.

But we do have control over how we react.  When we understand that we control our reactions to certain events, especially when things go wrong… life is easier to accept.  Concentrate on those things that you can change.

I chose this option.  Hitting rock bottom allowed me to find a new path… I found a new passion and developed a new business as a supplementary income to farming.  It keeps me going when I concentrate on good mental health and being proactive and positive… despite sometimes feeling that everything is against the odds.

It is important that we think about prevention rather than cure.  But deal with where you are at.  If you need help or support, ask for it.  Talk to your family… talk to your mate… just talk to someone.  Your health, and your family’s health and happiness depend on this.

Each of us deserves to feel 10 out of 10 about our mental health, so today is the day for you to make this happen:

  1. Take Care of Your Mental Health – Being healthy also means to have good emotional health.  We must be mentally healthy to be able to handle the challenges that are presented to us in our lives.  We must learn to be resilient and build strategies to move forward.
  2. Take Care of Your Body – Eat healthy foods to nourish your body, improve your mood and energy levels, making it stronger.  Exercise regularly to allow your mind more clarity and your body to become fitter.  Ensure you always speak positively about your body with your inner self-talk.  Get enough quality sleep to allow your mind and body to heal and refresh every night.  Sleeping well helps you to feel energised, allows you to focus and will protect your mental health.
  3. Embrace Your Emotions – As humans, we are designed to feel different emotions.  Sometimes we will feel sad, angry or frustrated.  Acknowledge how you feel and be aware of each emotion.  Talk about your emotions and then allow yourself to move on, letting new thoughts develop.   Don’t dwell in a state of negativity.  Learn how to manage all emotions… positive and negative.
  4. Think Positively – The way we think can have a powerful way of influencing how we feel.  Think positively every single day to teach yourself new mindset strategies.  When speaking to others, talk about the positive things in your life.  You will start to see the positive side a little more, when that is where you place your attention.
  5. Nurture Your Family and Friends – Form and maintain good relationships with others.  Nurture your family and teach your children how to manage through difficult times.  Foster your friendships and make a point to meet up regularly for social time.  Ensure your relationships are positive and meaningful.  Spending time with your pets is also great to help strengthen your mental health and wellbeing.
  6. Practice Gratitude Every Day – Write down or say something you are grateful for every single day.  Anxiety cannot be felt when gratitude is being expressed.  If you regularly practice gratitude, your mind will start looking for things to be grateful for daily.  This is great for children too.  At dinnertime, every family member can say 3 things that they were grateful for today.  This holds so much power to cope in challenging times.
  7. Focus on the Moment – Appreciate the small things in your life.  Allow yourself time to see the beauty around you.  Don’t get caught up worrying about what could have happened or what might happen.  Put strategies in place and keep making decisions.  Live in the present moment… not in the past or the future.
  8. Open Up to Someone – Find someone that you can trust to talk it through… a family member, a mate or your GP.  Talking about the tough times as well as the good times will enable you to become more resilient.  Attend social events and functions.  Share your load… and connect with others… you will probably find the load ‘magically’ becomes less heavy.  A mutual understanding becomes very supportive during tough times.
  9. Good Habits and Routine – It is important that we identify our own routine and be consistent.  We need to make an effort to structure our days and priortise our own time.  Good habits help us to learn and fuel our minds.  Find support if you need to be pointed in the right direction.  Keep doing the things that you love to do.
  10. Take a Break – We are all so time-poor… juggling work, business and family life.  Don’t forget about yourself.  You can’t be there for anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.  Schedule some time out every week… every day… to focus on something you love.  Whether it is a walk in nature, meditation, read a book, listen to music, craft or journalling.  Find what it is for you… to be able to relax and re-fuel your mind and body.

Good mental health and well-being will give us a sense of fulfilment and connection with others.  It allows us to live our lives in a positive and meaningful way.  We become more resilient and can cope with life’s changes and challenges upon our paths.

Take care of yourself and your mates.  Accept that it is OK to not feel OK.  Seek the support you need and adopt strategies to manage stress and keep you physically and mentally healthy.

Take care, Karen.

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“Don’t believe everything you think.

Thoughts are just that – thoughts.”

~ Allan Lokos

 

Love Who You Really Are

Why do we feel that we must fit in a neat little box in society?  Be the norm… follow procedures from societal pressure… and be who you think you should be.  NO!

Be unique.  Be an individual. Make your own choices.  Be a leader.  Have your own thoughts.  Individuality is what we all should strive for.  Make yourself the person you want to be.  Be the person that you want to see in this world making a difference.

Own who you really are.

I was reminded tonight of the pressure that we put on ourselves if we make different choices to others.  My friend in her forties felt that she was dragging the chain in the relationship department and family scene.  There is no right or wrong in when we choose to settle down, to start a family, to choose a career.

Each of us are different, we have different experiences and opportunities.  That is what makes us all interesting.  It would be boring if we were all the same.  Imagine that… we would have nothing to talk about.  Nothing to share.  Our perceived imperfections would not be of value.

It is our own mindest that limits our choices and allows us to become our own burden at times.  So many of us at some point in our lives, probably many times… feel that we can’t cut it… or we don’t fit in.  We need to give ourselves a break and appreciate the special things that are individual to us all.

We must make our own choices that feel right for us.  And enjoy life.  Seeing yourself through the eyes of your loved one… is a good place to start.  That love exists for a reason.  The love of a mother or father.  The love of a partner or friend.  See yourself and your fine qualities through their eyes.

Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.  Love and appreciate why you are different.  It is those differences that make you special and will help choose your path in life.  Remember there is no right or wrong when or how we do things… if we just be kind to ourselves and respect those around us.

Take care, Karen.

“EMBRACE YOUR INDVIDUALITY.

Love what you love without worrying about judgement.”

~ Author Unknown

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Rural Reflections #26

Dusty dry conditions!  Drought conditions continue despite the essential production and on-farm management routines.  Sometimes the depressing elements of drought, makes you feel like giving up and questioning your future in farming.

At what point is enough… enough?  DAY IN… DAY OUT… farm feeding tasks continue, fencing repairs, machinery breakdowns, bills to pay, no income, increased financial strain… the juggle of it all takes its toll.

Yesterday, another decision made… cattle needed multi-vitamin treatments.  Raising their calves, ready for joining to be able to produce next year’s progeny, the drought is making it tougher.  But as a farmer, your livestock are your priority.  Their health is optimal and your future income is in reliant on them for your survival.

Drafting cattle at the stockyards, left me in thick dust and sticky little flies.  The work conditions are questionable in the big dry.  Nevertheless, business as usual.  When we start to stop making decisions, it becomes a problem.  Just make a decision, right or wrong.  It is the decision-making process that will keep us going during these tough times.

Sometimes I do question the workload, the financial burdens, the emotional and physical strain.  It is at this point that I need to remind myself of why.

Why do we keep nutting away at it?  Why do we persevere?  Why?  Why?  Why?

To protect and secure the future of agriculture in our nation.  To ensure Australian food security is sustained.  To hold onto a legacy and an industry that we love.  That is why!

My family simply love Hereford cattle.  They have a passion for breeding quality cattle and producing the desired product.  When you see the passion in their eyes and hope for a future, you mutually fight-the-fight alongside them.

I wanted to share this photo with you today, taken in the stockyards yesterday.  You can see a beautiful mob of baby calves, quietly waiting for the process of their treatments and then to be returned to their mothers in the dry desolate paddock again.

I like this photo because I see hope.  I see farm production.  I see the future of agriculture in its rawest form.  Future sires and future maternal females bearing the signs for breeding beef for our nation.  Amongst these calves are several sets of twins, surviving the toughest conditions yet not knowing any different.

Rural Reflection #26…

26 Calves of Joy

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The dust swirling in the background significantly depicts working conditions, yet I am grateful to still breathe every day.  It is by focusing on what I am grateful for in my life, that gives me the strength to face the struggles, the decisions and the adversity in my path.

With this photo that I share today, I ask that you see in your life what you are passionate about and remember every single day what you are grateful for.  Gratitude is how we can turn what we have into enough.

It is all in our own mindset.  Conditions are horribly tough on-farm in a drought, it is how we react and respond within ourselves… that is the key.  We cannot control the weather and many other aspects of farming, but we can control our own thoughts and reactions.  Look after yourself and your family.

Take care, Karen

“Those who have the ability to be grateful

are the ones who have the ability to achieve greatness.”

~ Steve Maraboli

Speaking to Inspire at Empowering Anxiety Event

Last night I had an opportunity to speak at Katie Godden’s Anxiety Solutions Workshop at Nemingha.  This empowering event, with 50 attendees, shared strategies to help women manage anxiety and stress.  Courage and confidence to find our own way by prioritising our own wellbeing was the key message delivered.

I shared my personal story when anxiety was crippling my life and when life changes revealed a future that scared me.  After raising my children and now needing a new life purpose, it was scary not knowing what the future will hold.  As women, we do question our position in life, our purpose and knowing who we really are.

When I started to lose that grip on my life, worry set in.  The WHAT IF cycle had hold of me.  As a renowned control freak, I love order and structure.  I was the organiser and the strength to get things done in my family and beyond.  This was proving to be a struggle.

Anxiety used to rule my life.  Anxiety used to control all of my decisions and lack of decisions.  Anxiety doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone at any time.  We can experience anxiety at different levels, in different ways, sometimes more severe than others.

It is not about the anxiety… it is about… WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT.

I made a choice to get help and put myself first.  I was determined to change my life around.  I put strategies in place.  I learned to say NO.  I set boundaries for my family to know what was important to me.

I realised that I cannot be there for anyone else unless I take care of myself first.  I set my own goals for my own future.  This formed part of my mission of personal growth and self-discovery.  Whatever it is that you want in life, you are all capable of achieving it.

I am now able to manage my anxiety and convert it into nervous energy that motivates me.  I listen to my body and mind to know what is best for me and the ones I love.

When you are back in control, the anxiety doesn’t control you.  There is so much self-satisfaction about taking on challenges and no longer worrying excessively.

If somebody told me 6 months ago that I would be public speaking, there is no way I would have believed it.  I feared public speaking all of my life.  Now, it is just another challenge and an opportunity to share my story to inspire others.

All we want in life is to be the best person we can be.  To be at our best, so we can take on life.  When we are at our best, we are happy, really happy.  Everyone deserves to be happy.  That happiness is contagious and will flow through to others.

It was a privilege to be able to speak and inspire other individuals last night on a topic that is rarely spoken about.  I am grateful that those 50 attendees walked away knowing their own worth and have started that inner process of taking back control.  50 beautiful normal everyday women, just wanting the best for themselves and the ones they love.

We all have the capability of being true to ourself, taking care of ourself and accepting that we deserve it.

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Thank you to Katie Godden for putting this empowering program together to help us all change our lives for the better.  And thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to speak and connect with others.

Also thank you to Nemingha Public School P&C for applying for funding through the Primary Health Network (PHN) to bring awareness and assistance on a very important topic that needs to be spoken about. Anxiety is very common, yet very misunderstood.  This event brought clarity and useful strategies for moving forward.

Take care, Karen.

“You can’t stop the waves,

but you can learn to surf.”

~ John Kabat-Zinn