Tamworth Country Music Festival 2019 ~ Part 1

The country music talent and the enjoyable entertainment is non-stop here in Tamworth NSW (Australia) this last week.  Everyone is coming “out of the woodwork”, to find their favourite country music stars and discovering some newly-emerging talent.  Singing and dancing are happening all around Tamworth at the moment.  With over 300,000 music lovers, enjoying 700 performers, at 2800 events… there is so much for everyone to see and do.  We are just over halfway through the festival, which ends on Sunday 27th January 2019.

As a last minute decision, I decided to allow myself some time-out to enjoy the Country Music Festival this year, especially now that I live only a half hour drive from Tamworth.  The farm duties and office routines have all been put on hold (but we manage to fit the more urgent jobs in, around our social activities, which really is a rare occurrence for us).  Since the drought has been so much of a burden this last year… it was time to let our hair down.  Not only for my own sanity, but for my husband as well… we both needed some time-out and reminded ourselves of the healing ability that music induces.  So here is a recap of what I have been up to and will also give you a few ideas for when you do attend the music festival.

Opening Concert in Toyota Park – Friday 18th January

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As an invited VIP guest of Clipex Fencing, we attended the Opening Ceremony at Toyota Park.  In a more private marquee setting we were provided with shade, seating, cold drinks and finger-food, whilst we watched and enjoyed the beautiful music from the CMAA Academy of Country Music students and tutors.  As a bonus, we were able to meet and chat with Adam Harvey, the Clipex Brand Ambassador.

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However, the concert in the park is a free event open to everyone, so you can just bring a chair and some drinks/snacks to enjoy the music anywhere in the park, then watch the spectacular fireworks.  The opening concert was hosted by Felicity Urquhart.

“The Great Australian Round Up” Main Event & Rodeo – Saturday 19th January

This was a unique and exciting event introduced this year, with internationally renowned Guy McLean and his incredible stock horses, held at the Australian Equine & Livestock Events Centre (AELEC).  This was a charity event to raise money for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and other vital rural services.

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His extraordinary horsemanship skills absolutely amazed me.  To see his performance, gives you a small sense of appreciation of the work this man puts into these beautiful horses, to train them to happily perform without bridles or leads.  It is absolutely mind-blowing.

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This was followed with some exciting rodeo action, with cowboys on bucking horses and bulls and cowgirls on their well-trained horses.  My favourite part of the rodeo, was watching the young boys riding the mini bulls.

Darren Carr & Other Dummies – Sunday 20th January

OMG this was the funniest thing I have ever seen.  Darren Carr is known as Australia’s #1 stand-up ventriloquist.  With his natural comedy and cast of crazy characters, his performance is so hilariously entertaining.   This was an amazing show held at the West Tamworth League Club.

Country Turns Pink – Sunday 20th January

This was a big concert… with big name Country Stars performing their well-loved songs, and introducing new and upcoming artists.  It was hosted by comedian Darren Carr, with all proceeds going to the McGrath Foundation.  This is an important charity raising money to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses, who provide invaluable support and care to women and men experiencing breast cancer.  The McGrath Breast Care Nurses bring peace of mind to many families, through their expert knowledge, personal care and genuine compassion.

I was passionate about attending this event, to not only show my support of the McGrath Foundation, but on a personal level as well.  A good family friend of mine has just recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and undergone breast surgery only a week ago.  The McGrath Foundation is a great cause and this event has raised over $119,000 over the last 4 years.  Thank you to the country music artists that support this event and the venue West Tamworth League Club.  We enjoyed music from artists such as Tania Kernaghan, Gina Jeffreys, Beccy ColeAdam Harvey and Amber Lawrence.

Pete Denahy Comedy & Bluegrass – Tuesday 22nd January

We enjoyed Pete Denahy in this early morning show with plenty of laughter and great music from the bluegrass genre.  We also enjoyed his other special guests with comedy performances and more bluegrass style music.  This was a very relaxing show and free to members and guests of West Tamworth League Club.  I really love the unique element that the double bass, fiddle and mandolin bring to this show.

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Legends Long Lunch – Tuesday 22nd January

The stars of the show were Daniel Thompson, Mike Carr, Anthony Taylor and Luke Austen.  Their interaction, their humour and their music talent, entertained us for several hours in a free show at West Tamworth League Club.  We also enjoyed their “surprise” special guests joining them on stage to entertain us alongside them.  My favourite part was Daniel Thompson singing “Johnny Cash” songs in his very low voice.

Buskers Street Performance – Wednesday 23rd January

There are a variety of buskers singing their hearts out right along Peel St as well as other entertainers and artists on stages throughout the CBD.  A visit to the Tamworth Country Music Festival cannot happen without checking out the many buskers.  This morning after my doctor visit in the centre of town, I had a quick wander along the main street to see and hear some of the buskers and visited a few street stalls.  It really is a lovely atmosphere and worth seeing.

More to come…

With still 4 days to go and my sister visiting on the weekend, I will give you the rest of the recap next week (Part 2).  If you are lucky enough to be attending this year’s music festival, I hope you enjoy the remaining few days.  It is not too late to come to Tamworth, as there are still daily shows at all hours.  Otherwise, please mark your calendar for next year.

This experience is worth it and I can guarantee, as a stressed-out farmer in need of something else, this has done the trick.  My husband and I are both calmer, more relaxed, more focused to work and more capable to get on with our demanding everyday jobs on the farm.  We are enjoying life again and that is an amazing feeling.  And who better than to enjoy this experience with, but my favourite person in the whole world, my husband Peter.

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For more information see Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2019.

Take care, Karen.

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

~ Berthold Auerbach, a German Poet & Author

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Rural Reflections #5

Loyalty, trust, love and hope… is at the heart of why farmers bear the burden of drought year after year.  Loyalty to our passion in life, our love for the agricultural industry and our love for our family.  This is what motivates us to keep on going, implement our drought management plans and ensure our nation’s future food security.

We trust our agricultural industry to survive so we can continue to feed our great nation and the rest of the world.  We hold hope for a better season as we face hardship and worry every single day.  Farmers love what they do… they care for their livestock, they take pride in managing the land beneath them and they trust in what they are doing to help feed and clothe our nation.

Today I am sharing this photo with you, taken in November 2018, only 2 short months ago.  Our land has suffered the effects of drought, as we had a very dry start to 2018, with the driest first half of a year on record.  Our average annual rainfall is 673mm (26 inches), but in 2018 we only received about half of that… 369mm (14 inches), only 17mm more than the lowest annual rainfall on record.

In the month of November alone, we received 106mm (4 inches)… which had given us hope.  Hope for a break in the dry season and hope for some relief for the land, the livestock and for us.  Sadly it didn’t last for long, but nevertheless, there is light at the end of this tunnel… finally.

Rural Reflection #5

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As in stock management, a new paddock awaits this mob of cows and this photo depicts their excitement as the movement takes place.  A failed forage crop (on the left), planted in February last year, raises its head with the much-anticipated moisture.  Following every big drought, now we have the threat of weeds, invading paddocks that were once pasture.  But through on-farm management, weeds can be controlled, once some rainfall is received.  And those clouds above us hold hope that rain may be coming.

As we drive in front of the cattle, calling them to a new paddock… the hot, dry and dusty conditions were not restraining them at all.  I love this photo because it shows the natural quiet nature of Hereford cattle, the ease of stock movement and the trust that these beautiful breeders have in us.  They trust us to provide them with feed to meet their nutritional requirements.  They trust us to provide them with healthy clean water to drink.  They trust us entirely, as they follow eagerly without apprehension, as they contemplate what paddock may await them next.

So even with the over-bearing drought effects and the long-term process to farm business recovery… our loyalty to these animals and our industry drives us every day.  It is with the love of farming, that we do hold hope for a better season to fall upon us soon.

Take care, Karen.

“Loyalty is what makes us trust,

Trust is what makes us stay,

Staying is what makes us love,

and love is what gives us hope.”

~ Glenn van Dekken  

Revel in Country Music at Australia’s #1 Festival

Get ready for Australia’s largest music festival starting in only 3 days.  Tamworth NSW is famous for hosting the annual Toyota Country Music Festival in January each year.  A festival where many renowned country music artists and thousands of fans flock from all over the nation and from abroad to our regional city for 10 whole days of fun, live music and entertainment.

Not only is this the largest music festival in Australia, but the second largest music festival in the world.  WOW that is huge… 700 artists, at more than 2800 events across the city, over 10 days and nights.  Starting Friday 18th January until Sunday 27th January 2019… there is something for everyone.  And it is not too late!

The Tamworth Country Music Festival is a unique festival experience and attendance is free to all.  There are free shows every night in Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park) for you to enjoy.  Main streets are closed off for buskers, stalls, children’s activities and street performers.  You can choose from over 2800 free and ticketed shows over the 10 days in the park, pubs, clubs and hotels around Tamworth.  The Tamworth region is dynamic and in full festival swing.

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The Country Music Festival is a family-friendly event, with free concerts in Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park) in Kable Avenue, the Toyota Country Music Fanzone stage in Fitzroy Street, busking and live entertainment for all ages.  Bring the whole family and check out the Family Zone for rides, entertainment and more in Kable Avenue during the festival.

There are tickets available for gigs by performing artists in the lead-up and during the Country Music Festival.  From live performances, entertainment, country music attractions and other festival activities… this annual event is not to be missed.

To name a few of the renowned performers for the 2019 Country Music Festival…. Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Catherine Britt, Adam Brand and The Bushwackers.

If the red carpet tickles your fancy… the Golden Guitar Awards night is an opportunity to rub shoulders with the biggest names in country music and see them perform in one huge concert at the TRECC.  This is the finale to the 10 day Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2019.  The Golden Guitar Awards are the nation’s longest running music awards concert.

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In search of the next Toyota Star Maker 2019… 10 of Australia’s top emerging country music artists will compete to become the 40th Toyota Star Maker winner at the Grand Final, the main event on the first Sunday of the festival.  The 2018 Toyota Star Maker Winner last year was Brad Cox.

My husband and I did attend a few concerts and shows last year with some good friends.  I remember enjoying Australian singer/songwriter Shane Nicholson at “The Pub” last year.  We also laughed with friends at the “Longyard Hotel” when listening to the crazy antics of a fast-paced show with the Australian band The Bushwackers.  After attending the free Opening Concert in the park and enjoying a variety of artists, I then purchased tickets to attend the “Moonshiners Honky Tonk Bar” for Travis Collins show later in the week.  I also love to walk around the Tamworth street stalls and listen to the variety of buskers… always finding a favourite.

If you are wanting something a little different, you can enjoy the excitement of the ABCRA National Finals Rodeo and Campdraft.  A week of elite Rodeo and Campdraft action at Tamworth’s Australian Equine Livestock & Events Centre (AELEC)   The thrill of cowboys competing for the buckle… highly experienced bucking stock, who thrive on dumping cowboy’s in the dust… and cowgirls upon their horses in a showdown after years of training.  The dynamic energy will have you on the edge of your seat.

Another new 2-day event to provide an exciting, unique and new element to the Tamworth Country Music Festival for both tourists and locals… is the Great Australian Round Up.  It is to be held at AELEC to celebrate our farming heritage and support our agricultural future.  This is a charity event raising money for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and other vital rural services.  Showcasing Australian country exhibitions and memorabilia from the legendary Longreach Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.  The main event will include internationally renowned Guy McLean and his incredible stock horses, as seen on Australia’s Got Talent (see YouTube link for his audition).  An elite Rodeo extravaganza will follow.  Not only the excitement of rodeo action, The Great Australian Round Up rodeo will tell a story of the heritage of rodeo in Australia, highlighting its importance in today’s rural communities.

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Tamworth country music attractions available all year round include the Big Golden Guitar, Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, Wax Museum, Galaxy of Stars, Roll of Renown and Hands of Fame.

Keep in mind, the Tamworth agricultural industry has been suffering the effects of drought on the land, so the businesses in town have felt this too.  This annual festival is a chance for you to come and spend your money in Tamworth to support the local businesses who have suffered as a domino effect of this horrid drought.  We have seen drought support across the nation, but now is your chance to help first hand and put money back into our rural community by attending this entertaining festival.  We are all in this together and I hope that we can all enjoy some time-out, great music and entertainment galore.

So it doesn’t matter if you are seeking live country music entertainment, exciting country activities or sensational country events… it will all be here ready and waiting for you in Tamworth NSW.  Come and see what the Tamworth region has to offer.  Book your accommodation now and bring your family and friends, a hat, sunscreen, fold-up chair or picnic rug for outdoor concerts, photo ID for the pubs/clubs… and you will be ready for an experience you will never forget.

For more information see Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2019.

Take care, Karen.

“A good country song 

takes a page out of somebody’s life

and puts it to music.”

~ Conway Twitty, American Country Music Singer

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Rural Reflections #4

Hope and memories exist somewhere within us all.  This widespread drought has left farmers and rural communities battling every day… which is a reminder that we all need time to just stop and reflect.

Memories seem to find warmth from within us.  Those memories of a time when a season was able to produce food and fibre, with only the usual effort on the farm.  Farm production without the mental tribulations, physical exhaustion and financial debilitation.  Time to enjoy life… time to spend with our families… time to feel content.  A time we all yearn for once again.

This weekend I did stop, relax and reflect a little… a feeling and action that seemed so long lost.  A reminder that time with our loved ones is essential for all… and time to take care of yourself.  I needed to find this place… a moment where I could bring back hope.  This hope… or feeling of desire… for our season to break, for the heavens to open and rain soak into our paddocks and fill our tanks and dams.  For this rain to wash away our stress, our weariness and our pessimism.  One day it will happen… we are one day closer to rain every day.

So today I would like to share this photo with you, to show that hope is only around the corner.  This photo was taken in July 2017, at the end of a good Winter season, as sheep fatten for sale on the green grass.  It also depicts a storm to the east over Tamworth NSW.

Rural Reflection #4…

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I showed this photo to my husband, and at first, he didn’t even recognise it to be our property.  Sadly, the scenery now is paradoxical to back then.  Now every day is a vision of thick dust and short dry vegetation sparsely consuming the paddocks… and more so have consumed our lives.

I really like this photo because of how it depicts the storm in the background yet the sun shining brightly on the sheep feeding on the green grass.  It symbolises the intensity of how farming relies on storms and rain to continue our production effectively.  It also illustrates diversity within rural areas, and only 20km away the weather can differ so dramatically.

We may not be able to control the weather and a farmer knows best as they gamble every day upon the odds.  But we can have some form of control regarding how we respond to the drought, how we prepare for the drought and how we protect our families mental state in the meantime.  In any industry and family situation it is important to retain our optimistic state of mind and take care of each other.

It is now more than ever, we need to focus on our memories of the good seasons on the farm.  A time that will return to us once again.  Hold on to hope, enjoy time with your family as you anticipate a better season soon and remember we will get through this… together.

Take care, Karen.

“The greater your storm,

the brighter your rainbow.”

~ Author Unknown

Rural Reflections #3

Where does your road lead you to?  We all have a long and winding road within our lives.  Our journey along this road… is what we make of it.

We need to appreciate the journey and not look for a final destination in our lives.  Appreciate our loved ones that we share this road with.  Appreciate the natural beauty all around us.  And appreciate the heart and soul within us all.

After a busy weekend on the farm, family commitments and a bought of heat exhaustion… my reflection is a little late this time.  The never-ending tasks on the farm and the workload 7 days a week, more so as a result of drought as time becomes a limiting factor… is tiring me.  It has left me thinking about what is really important in our lives.  Our family, our loved ones, those that our lives revolve around… these people are the ones we need to cherish and hold dearly.

I spent my Sunday mustering stock, early weaning calves, weighing stud cattle and organising some cows to sell to pay a few bills.  The dry and dusty conditions and the heat makes it a very tiring day.  The usual early start to beat the heat and finally a late dinner by 8:30pm.  Then comes the paperwork and updating computer records to meet record-keeping requirements on-farm.  I finished at 1:00am in the morning.

So then only 4 and a half hours sleep before Monday morning weighing lambs and sending the lambs off to market.  The lack of sleep coupled with the heat, left me with heat exhaustion.  By 4:30pm yesterday and the shock of vomiting, as weakness and vagueness set in, I gave in to the exhaustion and lay on down.  I awoke in a daze over 2 hours later, confused somewhat but ready for dinner.  No office work that evening at all.  I made a dinner from leftovers in the fridge, showered and watched a nice movie on television.  An enjoyable evening and one that has become a rarity.  Relaxation has been lost this last year… and is greatly missed.

Today as my office work is piling up and I procrastinate as to where to start, I decide to write this blog first.  My chance to unwind mentally and share a part of my life with you all.  I reflected on the relevance of the photo I have chosen for today.

Rural Reflection #3…

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This photo shows the driveway to my property and my home near Tamworth NSW.  It was taken in April 2017 in the Autumn, when the green aspect was the norm.  I really like the dark green tree on the right for its facade and shape but I have no idea what sort of tree it actually is.  Does anybody recognise what tree this may be?

I like this photo as it depicts a road well-travelled and a road that leads on home.  It also reflects a better season than what is upon us right now and reminds me that one day the drought will be over and we will see this green scenery once again.

Sometimes life just gets too busy that we do not stop to appreciate the simple things in our life.  I can look at this photo and know that whatever challenges I have to face… I still have a road that leads to home and a haven where I can also find my own inner peace and where my happiness now resides.

As my sons have grown up now and living their own lives independently, I also hope they see a road that leads them back home to us to appreciate their history and the roots of our family.  I also hope that they find their own future happiness and be able to continue to return along this road… to where a loving family awaits their cherished visits.

One thing we must all understand… it is not the home and materialistic objects in our lives, that are of value.  It is the people, our loved ones in our lives… that make our home a home.  The road that we follow in our life, is one that we carve out.  A road that leads us to our own true happiness.

Take care, Karen.

“Chase your dreams

but always know the road

that’ll lead you home again.”

~ Tim McGraw

 

Toddler Killed In Devastating Farm Accident

The shock a family feels as their 2-year-old toddler is killed in a traumatic on-farm tractor accident.  How on earth do these loving parents, siblings and grandparents cope with this mortifying loss?  The grief is unimaginable yet our hearts go out to this family upon hearing of this tragic event.

I was reading today about the young boy that was killed when a fertiliser bin fell from a tractor and trapped him on a dairy farm in south-west Victoria.  The shock and chaos that would have emerged when this accident unfolded, is almost impossible to fathom.  The distress the family would have felt as they tried to dig the little boy from beneath the monstrous weight.  My heart just breaks quietly from afar… for a loving family that I do not even know.

Sadly farm accidents happen on our farms.  It is so scary to think in the blink of an eye… devastation can unfold, ever so quickly.  As a mother of 2 boys, I understand knowing their curiosity, their sense of adventure and their indispensable actions… leads us to worry and take precautions every single day on the farm.

One cannot ever understand what happened that day… a simple farm task, carrying out a usual job, family distractions, nobody knows… but it was an accident.  Plain and simple.  An accident that cannot be reversed and an accident that is so heart-breaking for this family.

It is fun for little kids to grow up on farms and this upbringing is a valued and treasured experience.  A life that shapes the country child and develops their skills and attributes.  A possible farmer in the making or a well-developed young person to take on any alternate career one day.

Farm kids learn so much when they are involved on-farm and it has a positive effect on them.  They learn patience… when extra chores have to be done before dinner can be served.  They learn to drive at a young age and maintain vehicles, which is helpful later on when they are getting a drivers licence.  They learn to be handy and help with jobs that just need to be done, no excuses.  They learn first hand where and how food is grown… and understand the work requirements to feed and clothe the world.  They learn to respect the land as this is their family’s livelihood.  They learn about the weather and how farmers rely on Mother Nature and they learn how to adapt when drought is upon us.  They also learn the meaning of family when they live and work with them every single day.

As a farmer, we generally take precautions with our young children and supervise their involvement.  Like other parents, we try to be aware of where our kids are, to avoid accidents of any kind.  But sometimes, unfortunately, accidents do happen, no matter what we do.  Young children will wander when playing and they take risks without even knowing it.

However, it is devastating that too many tragedies occur on our farms and they happen in a split second of a moment.  Farm accidents can involve tractors, quad bikes, motorbikes, farm machinery, horses, livestock, dams and rivers.  Naturally, children with their inquisitive nature, sense of adventure and unpredictability… can have a disastrous effect on-farm.

As standard procedure, the toddler’s fatal accident is being investigated by WorkSafe Victoria.  I understand the necessity of the investigation due to the fatality and the possible need for future prevention strategies on all farms.  But I also feel the family have just lost their son and that devastation alone would be ripping their heart out and a battle of feelings and numbness would exist.  What could be worse than that?  I just hope the investigating organisation can be respectful to this family… as they have been through enough.

Farm safety for children is very important to all farmers and the usual threats of farm safety are managed from a business perspective.  Information for keeping children safe on our farms as well as managing all farm safety can be viewed at Farmsafe Australia.

Most of us do not know that feeling of the tragic loss of a child and so can only empathise with the situation or hold our own children a little tighter now.  I hope the parents and grandparents can support each other through this tragic time and find solace in other family and friends.  How does one get through such a tragedy on their farm?  I do not know.  I guess memories of this little boy… remembering their cheerful bubbly son for all that he was.  And not being afraid to ask for professional help to deal with their grief and loss.

So we need to love our children, watch them intensely on the farm, take precautions to prevent farm tragedies… and respect the tragic loss that this family has endured.  For more of this tragic story see the Sydney Morning Herald article I read today or 9NEWS.

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Take care, Karen.

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

~ Queen Elizabeth II

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Happy New Year and Days Gone By

Another year has gone by and here we are, smack bang at the beginning of 2019 already.  We have all celebrated New Year’s Eve last night in some way… whether it be a quiet night at home with the family, dancing the night away or the fascinating “big bang” with live fireworks.  Who knew all the words to “Auld Lang Syne”?  Or did you just mumble along like the rest of us… joining in with the traditional folk song to signify the start of the New Year?

New Year’s Eve is the largest global celebration… with men, women and children celebrating through rituals galore.  In Australia, celebrations are held across the nation… popular family events, dancing, entertainment, fireworks, concerts, the list seems endless.

How did you bring in the New Year?  For me, it was a quiet night at home with family, enjoying a delicious meal together, a quiet drink, playing a board game Cattle Baron, good conversation and laughter, thinking about my other family members afar and watching the televised midnight fireworks in Sydney.  I know…probably sounds boring to those of you party animals that celebrate into the wee hours of the morning.  But for me… I really enjoyed my night at home in relaxation mode, surrounded by my loved ones.  With the burden of drought consuming me at the moment, this was the perfect way to bring in the New Year.

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New Year’s Day provides us with a chance to celebrate that we have made it through another 365 days, our unit of time where we keep chronological order of our lives.  The day we profoundly shift from one year to the next.  At the stroke of midnight, we wave goodbye to the year gone by… and reflect on the achievements in our heart… and share the love with our family and friends.  We also signify a fresh beginning at this ritual in time.  Many people dance, eat, drink and watch fireworks to mark the start of a New Year.

If you have a birthday around the end of September or the beginning of October… well alas… you were probably conceived on New Year’s Eve.  A time when our love for one another is profoundly displayed.  Lots of hugs and kisses and gratitude are thrown around… a sight we are all so familiar with.

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I remember when I was young, I used to attend family dances in country towns, dance the night away and upon the countdown to midnight… sing “Auld Lang Syne”.  Historians have called it “the song that nobody knows” yet we have all tried to sing it.  And most of us, not that well… but that doesn’t stop us from joining in.

“Auld Lang Syne” is based on a 1788 Scottish poem by Robert Burns and is typically sung on New Year’s Eve around the world.  The Scottish phrase “auld lang syne” translates to “old long since” and basically means “days gone by” which is an appropriate toast for the New Year.  So when everyone sings the chorus “for auld lang syne”, this translates to “for the sake of old times”.  The song also reflects love, friendship and nostalgic memories.

Thankfully in Australia, the lyrics we sing today are a more modern version of the Scots poem.  I have included a video with lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne” for you to practice so you won’t need to mumble along in the verses next year.  I for one tend to hum along nowadays for the failure of not knowing most of the words.

Video Credit ~ YouTube and “Christmas Songs and Carols – Love to Sing”


Now we will be armed and ready for next year… we can sing to our heart’s content.  This folk song is also sung at funerals, graduations and is a farewell song at other occasions.

Sometimes our rituals do change as we get older, have children, move locations or just need a change.  When I had children of my own, fireworks become our favourite New Year celebration.

We were living on the Mid North Coast when my children were young, so we would go into town, buy a seafood basket and sit on the riverbank at Taree, eat our platter together and then watch the fireworks.  I remember the kids waiting for the fireworks… and they would create their own fun by rolling down the hill and playing on the riverbank.  I loved these times and the feeling of contentment and relaxation with my family.  We have also joined family and friends at Tuncurry/Forster to watch fireworks in later years.

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New Year resolutions have also been contemplated, agreed to and some broken already.  We all seem to view a New Year as a fresh new blank page in our book.  A book where we can write our own story and start afresh in a New Year.  We are excited and enthusiastic to make resolutions to stick with for 2019.  What are your New Year resolutions?

A year of bitter-sweet memories has unfolded with the drought in our farming communities and we have seen the drought support sprawled across the nation by so many truly wonderful people.  My wish for the New Year is that I hope we have a better, wetter and more prosperous 2019.  As the New Year emerges, I hope we all find new joys to discover and lots of reasons to be grateful.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with beautiful moments and treasured memories within your own heart.

Take care, Karen.

“Begin and end each day with a grateful heart.”

~ Andrea Reiser

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Rural Reflections #2

Babies in any form, always spark our interest.  Who doesn’t love newborn baby calves?  Today I will share another photo with you all, which reflects hope, something we all need right now.

With this horrid drought affecting farmers physically, emotionally and financially this year… we are always in need of finding joy in something every day.  The calving season always delivers us hope and joy.

This photo was taken in July 2018, right in the middle of this dreadful drought.  Not only farming to keep our stock alive but also at a production level, as we enter the calving season.  Sadly calves are dropping into a hard dry desert-like environment, where optimism is thin and prospects contemplated.  Nevertheless, these newborn calves always promise to bring us a smile.

Rural Reflection #2…

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I really love this photo because of the innocence portrayed with these cute baby calves.  Our Hereford calves are naturally quiet which I adore.  But I love the calmness they simulate by lazing around in the hay, sleeping soundly and the nonchalant yet curious glances they give you.

They just lay upon the hay innocently… the hay that we just fed out in the wretched drought, during the current daily feeding ritual.  As we watch their mothers eating to nourish and gain energy, these babies rest peacefully, as if we just put the hay there for the sole purpose of softening the ground beneath them.  How can one not fall in love with these beautiful tranquil animals?

The adoration we have for baby animals is the one positive motivation to keep us working so damn hard on the farm.  The birth of life in a cycle, re-cements our vision and passion as farmers and reminds us as to why we accept farming challenges.

So my photo for today is reflecting that change is a part of life… we must appreciate the beauty around us and find this beauty amongst the darkness surrounding us.  Drought may have a gut-wrenching hold on us farmers at the moment, but we will get through it.  We just need to look around and be grateful for what we do have right now in our lives.

Take care, Karen.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr

 

 

 

It’s Not Worth The Anger or the Heartache

The year is nearly over and we are starting to think about New Year resolutions.  2019 can be the year for us to learn how to LET GO.  Let go of all the “crap”… the negative feelings… the anger building up… or the headache of our life spiraling out of control.

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How many of us get worked up over things we cannot change?  Most of us, I think.  We worry about everything… our children, our relationships, our friendships, our finances, our health.  The worry exists daily and is normal to a point, but we can control the extent to which we worry excessively.

Some form of worry is essential so we are aware of danger, giving us an understanding of others, allowing us to care, or building strategies for prevention.  It is the excess worry that I think we can shake.  If we come up with a plan by playing out any “what  if” scenario’s, the worry is challenged and can be somewhat relieved.  Challenge your own thinking and decide if the worry is affecting your health.  If it is, decide to be pro-active and let it go.

Anxiety is real and sometimes over-powering.  Sometimes we are able to manage our thoughts and feelings by shifting our mindset and focus differently.  Sometimes we need to ask our GP for help.  Take that step if it is needed.

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ANGER!  Has something happened in your life that has made you so angry that it continues to build up for many years?  Were there any incidents over Christmas with family members or friends that really annoyed you and now you feel angry?  It is not worth the anger at all.  Regardless of what has happened to you, or what someone said to you… it is not worth holding a grudge, battling feelings of contempt or a will to seek revenge.

It is just ridiculous, that we all allow differing opinions, perceptions and arguments to scar relationships.  It is only stubbornness, selfishness and a lack of empathy that causes the anger to fester within.  The anger may have started because of one single incident but as time passes and you play it over in your mind, the anger builds up for a variety of reasons that you create within your own mind.  We just need to LET IT GO.  Holding on to anger, serves no purpose whatsoever.

In fact, anger becomes debilitating over time.  It just eats away inside of you and makes you bitter.  Anger also affects your health long-term.  A build up of anger will affect your brain, your immune system and your stress hormones.  It will cause increased anxiety,  high blood pressure and headaches.  Anger has the most damaging effect on your cardiac health and it will increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.  Holding on to anger is not only needless… but necessary to let go of, for your health’s sake.

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Relationships are breaking every single day… loving relationships are ending, family break-ups and friendships destroyed.  Heartache is the end result.  We mask our heartache by staying angry… determined never to forgive.  This is so sad.  The anger serves no purpose and is harmful to your health.  When we allow ourself to forgive… a simple action within ourselves to stop feeling angry or resentful… we do feel hurt but relief.  Hurt can be dealt with, allowing closure or acceptance over time.  The constant heartache will subside when the anger is removed.

We get so worked up over little things… things we cannot change.  There are just some things we cannot control or change in our lives.   We must accept that.  People cannot be changed either.  We must learn to manage our own actions and our own reactions in our relationships and in our life in general.  This is what we do have control over.

Stop being angry with the world and holding on to the anger.  Whatever happened… just happened.  Let it go.  Apologise if you should… if you said or did something that you shouldn’t have.  Show forgiveness to others… to release yourself from the anger and resentment.  Control yourself and what you have control over.

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If you have a fractured relationship with a family member.  Repair the relationship if possible, as family is the most important part of our lives.  You can control your side of the relationship only… be nice… be respectful and be prepared to accept that you cannot control the other persons thoughts, feelings or actions.  And do not try to persuade or invite others to join you in the rampage of hateful anger against a family member… as this only reinforces anger to stay in your life.  Let go of the anger and resentment allowing relationships to be healed or accept the irrepairable outcome without contempt.

If you have friends that don’t seem to want to be friends with you.  So what!  You can control how you treat them… be nice… be respectful… but be prepared to let go and walk away if these friendships become toxic to your own health.  We all deserve real friendships yet some of these friends are not for life.  Some friends serve a purpose in our life and both parties need something from the friendship.  But sometimes things just change, we grow apart, our differences may become more prominent or we just don’t see “eye to eye” anymore.  It doesn’t matter.  Learn to accept that things do change.  Let go!

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Life just gets so busy… that sometimes we feel like we have been thrown under the bus.  Feeling restrained and not seeing a means of escape?  We are always busy, balancing work, children, routines, schedules, relationships, sport, health, voluntary activities, friendships, recreation and sleep.  Many of you will relate to this at some point in your lives, if not right now.

I used to feel like… and visualise myself being dragged by a rope called “life”… tied around my ankles, pulling me in and out of all my responsibilities in life.  It is exhausting and tiresome.  Recreation and “me” time became non-existent.  I am learning to treat myself as I would treat a friend or a loved one.  I am starting to get back that control in my life.  Now “I am pulling” that rope in my life… and I may have a few bumps here and there, but I choose how I manage the hurdles or challenges in my path.  I guarantee it is worth getting that control back.  It is worth kicking anger to the kerb and the heartaches will resolve.silhouette-3333895__340.png

Make a promise to yourself heading into the New Year.  “I deserve to be happy and feel whole.  I will live with purpose and let go of anger and heartaches.  I deserve to feel healthy without the stress of life getting in my way.  I control my life… my thoughts, my actions and my feelings.  I will love and cherish those important to me and treat everyone with respect.  I will accept others wanting to be a part of my life and I will accept those that choose to walk away, without resentment.  I will control only what I can and I will LET GO of everything else.  I deserve real happiness, health and contentment.”  2019 here we come!

Take care, Karen.

“Forgive others,

not because they deserve forgiveness,

but because you deserve peace.”

~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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How to Find Peace In Our Life By Self Domination

Life is way too short to leave the key to our own happiness in someone else’s pocket.  We are responsible for our own thoughts and actions.  We cannot control other’s, nor should we even want to.  Everyone has their own opinions, but we choose how we react to them.

The moment we realise that our happiness and contentment is upon our own shoulders… life can truly begin.  Sadly we find fault in others, which seems human nature, when we should be looking within.  We all need to look within ourselves to find the answers and not rely on someone else to make us happy.

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I have found that I am starting to look at life very differently, almost philosophical, and have assumed alternate views.  I used to react to situations that were outside of my control.  I used to worry excessively and aim for happiness as if I am on a journey to find “it”.   A journey without a final destination.

When we are younger, we think that our happiness is a direct result of finding the “perfect” partner, building an exquisite home, having a child, finding the ideal job, buying our favourite car, following the latest fashion fair or finding real friendships in our lives.

The truth is we do not need someone else to find happiness in our life and we do not need materialistic objects to “complete” us.  These people and items may bring us enjoyment and a feeling of closeness or inclusiveness.  But real happiness lies within us and we have the key to our own happiness.  We need to shift our mindset and look at the bigger picture.  Then almost magically, you will see the right people drawn to you and happiness will blossom.Heart, Butterfly, Flight Path, Spring

I now choose to look within myself and change my own thoughts, feelings or actions in order to create my own contentment.  The beauty of this concept is that we can control all of this within… and we will see personal growth along the way.  We do not need to rely on other peoples conduct or behaviour, which is out of our scope.  Our own behaviour then becomes less reactive and more actionable.

We spend our lives trying to figure out who we are and what we want.  We worry about what might have been or who is “on my side” in life.  We tend to overthink situations and possible scenarios.  We can also create an issue based on our own perspective.

Perception is a powerful reality in life.  One person’s perception can be entirely in contrast to another person’s interpretation.  Right and wrong is not the issue.  Personal perceptions are just that… PERSONAL… to each individual.  We imagine things through our own perspective only.  The same situation or incident will be interpreted differently by those involved.  We are all unique and have our own emotional response and reactions.

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How many of you have had someone you trusted disappoint you?  How many of you have broken relationships or severed family ties?  How many of you feel overwhelmed with the impact these fractured relationships have had upon you?

We all have our own issues and baggage within our lives.  We are all human and a hurricane of emotions are inevitable.  If somebody says or does something which annoys or upsets you… you have the power to not react negatively and allow contempt to consume you.  Consider that you may be understanding from your own perspective only… and the other person from theirs.  Both parties can be unaware of the real situation and missing the intent of the discussion.

Forgiveness is often an understated action, if this reflects any situation in our lives.  To forgive, is to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offence, flaw or mistake.  The necessary process of forgiveness… is not to “let someone off the hook” or excuse their behaviour, ignorance or impoliteness.  Forgiveness is a process to allow our own growth and happiness.

A lot of us fail to realise that forgiveness is not about the offender, it is about us.  When we hold on to the hurt, pain, resentment or anger… it harms us far more than it harms the offender.  Forgiveness allows us to move forward without anger, contempt or seeking revenge.  This is essential to release yourself from any situation and to move forward in your own life.  Forgiveness “frees” you by taking control… and peace will remain.

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We waste too much time worrying and forget to just breathe.  We need to learn how to appreciate and just “exist” in the moment.  The time has come for me… to stop the overthinking and worrying.  When I decided that I was “done” with anything that does not bring me peace, my life changed.  I feel content… I feel calmness… I feel happiness embalming me.

Then the magic begins… when you see your loved ones with a sense of adoration in you and inspiration in their own life.  Not only do they see the real you, they are inspired to become the better version of themselves as well.  It then becomes contagious.  Be yourself, love your family, appreciate your friendships, practice forgiveness, just live in the moment and peace will be the cherished outcome.

Take care, Karen.

“If you want to be happy, 

do not dwell in the past, 

do not worry about the future, 

focus on living fully in the present.”

~ Roy T. Bennett 

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