Taking Control of Business and Empowering Life

An incredibly inspiring 2-day event with knowledgable businesswomen, Katie Godden and Sharon Jurd, leaves motivation within me.  Motivation to take control, stop procrastinating and put the success strategies learned into action.  My personal experience was shared with other business attendees.

Katie Godden, a mindset strategist, business and life coach, is based in Tamworth NSW.  Her passion has given country business people access to business strategies and techniques shared at specialised events, usually held in capital cities.  This weekend business owners had an incredible opportunity to learn skills from an enthusiastic and empowering businesswoman, Katie Godden, right here in Tamworth NSW.

Together with Sharon Jurd, an extremely knowledgable growth strategist and success coach, based on the Gold Coast QLD, they shared business strategies to bring success in business.  Sharon Jurd is incredibly experienced with a passion to help people succeed.

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These two extraordinary women shared their unique knowledge and wisdom with business attendees.  Information learned ranged from management of databases to strategic alliances and client relationship building.  The networking opportunities gained by all attendees were appreciated.

I enjoyed the strategies of developing rapport and connecting with clients.  The language predicates of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic… I found very interesting.  Sensory acuity and personality profiling really intrigued me.  Client satisfaction and staff interaction is very important in business.

SMART goal setting was fine-tuned and understood to be very specific.  Personal values and business values were concluded for each of us, and an opportunity to re-shuffle our values to be in alignment the best possible way.

Limiting beliefs are the foggy cloud that dampens our positive thought process, so the strategies to challenge and remove these limiting obstacles will be a wonderful technique for all.  It is us that puts these limiting beliefs in our own path to restrict our opportunities.  It will be a relief to challenge these restricting thoughts.

Value levels thinking, a psychological model of a person’s development that influences their behaviour and views.  This introduced an interesting concept from basic human survival mode through to the greater universe.

Setting boundaries for business interactions and expectations will prove to make life less chaotic and work more effectively in both business and our personal life.  I look forward to implementing my boundaries and time management skills.

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The idea of stepping outside our comfort zone has always been a little daunting, but this new concept learned, of expanding our comfort zone is simply amazing.  The visual concept of still feeling somewhat comfortable, yet excited for a challenge, is positively accepted in my world.

These new strategies and thought-provoking notions have enabled me to think a little differently, implement some helpful business ideas, add value to my business and be passionate about the direction my business is going.  Helping people is what I love to do.

I was extremely grateful to have these two businesswomen present engaging content and useful business strategies at this 2-day event.  If you get the opportunity, I would recommend Katie Godden and Sharon Jurd for business events and life coaching.

The kindness, motivation and expertise of these two unique women, drive me to succeed in my business and my life.  I was even brought to tears today, when they offered a great deal for a magnitude of future events for the business attendees.  The generosity and heartfelt desire to help others and motivate… I did see first-hand.

My tears flowed when I realised these women had a passion to give support, business direction and advice to us.  Truly remarkable women!  I felt a connection and look forward to future workshops and seminars with both of them.  Thank you ladies!

Take care, Karen.

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“Gaining knowledge, is the first step to wisdom.

Sharing it, is the first step to humanity.”

~ Author Unknown

CWA Conference Aspires Leadership & Friendship from Albury

Country Women’s Association of NSW (CWA) members bring an abundance of knowledge, energy and inspiration into Albury NSW for this year’s Annual State Conference.  From business meetings, honourable guests and informative workshops… to social activities, historical tours and State Committee displays… there was never a dull moment.  And I have caught it on camera, then compiled a video to share with you today.

I had the privilege to attend as a Delegate for Tamworth Evening branch along with my friend Kylie and a group of ladies from our region.  Women from all walks of life coming together with their unique backgrounds, experiences and expertise to seek a mutual resolution of motions.

CWA aims to improve the lives of women and their families through their democratic process of a policy-setting agenda and an extensive range of activities.  Many opportunities lie within all levels of CWA to be involved and seek the support of local issues of grave concern.

Starting with a combined Ecumenical Service and raising $2,884 for the Albury Wodonga Cancer Research Fund, members once again unite and connect socially.  The Official Opening entertained and inspired members prior to the Business Sessions commencing.  The keynote speaker was Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC Governor of NSW.

The CWA Medical Research Fund has raised $34,000 to donate towards endometriosis.  A debilitating disease affecting many women with symptoms of pelvic pain and fertility issues.  An interesting medical presentation has identified through research the importance of potential protein biomarkers of endometriosis.  CWA members have voted to continue supporting endometriosis through their Medical Research Fund for another year.

Interestingly CWA has opened 12 new branches over the last year; 11 Evening branches and 1 Sunrise branch.  CWA is now appealing to younger generations and working women that have a desire to become involved, having an opportunity to attend meetings that are more convenient.

Women join CWA for a variety of reasons such as friendships, social connections, educational opportunities, sharing of experiences, learning cookery skills, creating handicraft items, to discuss local agricultural concerns, the policy-setting agenda… and the list goes on.

International information was shared on the CWA Country of Study for this year which is Papua New Guinea.  Other cultures are interesting and CWA members have the ability to learn new and fascinating information.

Business Sessions continued throughout the Conference where policy motions were discussed, amended as needed and then voted upon.  A diverse range of topics arose in the scope of agriculture and environment, health and social security, transport and telecommunications and Constitutional changes.

Important resolutions were sought from CWA branches and successfully made CWA State policy for topics such as rural crime, improper use of drones, travelling stock routes, food safety standards for meat and milk, erecting a wildlife overpass, dairy industry issues, public cancer clinics, post mortems, supporting nurses, health industry pricing, drought relief funding, scoliosis, Automated External Defibrilators, horse traffic road rules, and truck-specific rest areas.

CWA, as the largest women’s organisation in Australia, plays an important role in lobbying the Government for change and improvements across so many aspects of our lives.  I am very proud to be a part of such an hounourable and progressive organisation.

As a shy individual, with the thought of public speaking terrifying me all of my life, I chose to step up and speak at this year’s State Conference.  This decision aligned well with my current journey of personal growth and challenging myself.

I spoke against a motion and explained my reasoning, without falter, in front of 500 other members.  When a Past State President asked for me (and another member) to assist in the re-wording of the motion to incorporate the relevant concerns, it felt amazing to be part of this process, working together for the desired result.  The motion was to review a weed classification, educate and research.

Another highlight for me, was winning 3rd place in an annual essay competition presented by the Honorary Editor of the CWA Journal.  This was the first time I had entered a CWA competition, so I was very excited.  The essay topic was “In modern times, do we have the capacity to harness the power of empathy for one another?”  I found this topic very engaging and relatable, therefore very passionate to write about.

Socially we had a very entertaining week away, with plenty of laughter, great meals, dancing and friendly conversations.  I also caught up with some old friends and was delighted to see them again.  CWA brings a great bunch of women together with big hearts, thoughtful personalities, compelling stories and a myriad of experience.

Since the drought has been ever so heavy upon my shoulders, I valued my week away so very much.  I spoke with my husband every night, checking that all was OK on the farm, and appreciated the time out with CWA members and the uplifted feeling that had surrounded me.

I would like to share my amateur video with you all reflecting on the fun, the engagement and the memories of the happenings with CWA State Conference in Albury… through my eyes.

Take care, Karen.

 “Don’t let anything defeat you.”

~ Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley

Video Credit: YouTube and Karen Weller

Rural Reflections #19

Opportunities are all around us to get involved with our community, seek new connections and make a real difference in this world.  To see the bigger picture and what you can offer… will also bring you personal contentment.

The Country Women’s Association of NSW (CWA) gives me a strong sense of community with valuable knowledge, friendships and a mutual commitment to improving people’s lives.  Today marks the start of another Annual State Conference, this year held in Albury NSW on the Murray River.

With the drought over-powering my strength on the farm and a need to so something more purposeful at the moment and restore a sense of life control… I arrive here enthusiastic and ready to be enlightened.  The opportunity to be a delegate at this Conference and represent our region with the policy-making decisions of a strong women’s organisation… is an honour and something I look forward to.

As I left home feeling somewhat excited about the CWA business meeting events to follow and connecting with a larger community… I also felt a little sad to be leaving all responsibilities upon my husband to solely deal with drought-feeding livestock and the hopeful anticipation of rainfall.

Fortunately, I do have a supportive husband and he encourages me to take these opportunities within my life.  He understands what makes me happy and allows me to grow as a person.  I do know if I feel strong, in control and have a sense of purpose… then I can be supportive to the rest of my family.

I always think of that image of a “jug of water” representing our own self… when we run out of water, we have nothing left to give another.  We need to refuel first, so we have something within ourselves to give to the other person.  Knowing when you need to look after yourself, seems to be the forgotten issue, especially for women.

The photo I share with you today, reflects upon my escape from farming life as I travel down the road heading for another opportunity.  The photo was taken about 10km from our property heading towards town.  Every time I go to town, this is a part of my journey.

Rural Reflection #19…

19 The Road to Opportunity

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I like this photo because of the beautiful coloured sky with the blue, pinks and mauve.  The sky looked so lovely that I stopped to capture this image.  I also like the contrast of the cultivated paddock and the dry grass along the roadside.  The cloud configuration reflects the beauty of our natural country landscape.

So as I anticipate my involvement within the CWA State Conference, I also appreciate my roots back home.  An appreciation for our beautiful country, the support of family and the new opportunities that await us all.

Take a look around you… acknowledge and appreciate what you already have in your life and have the courage to pursue personal growth by accepting new opportunities that spark your own interest.

Take care, Karen.

“Alone, we can do so little;

Together, we can do so much.”

~ Helen Keller

 

Perfectionism is an Agonising Myth With Inferiority

When does our self-confidence start to become debilitated in life and we begin to doubt ourselves?  What makes us question ourselves and start to feel insignificant in other peoples eyes?  It is all a perception… yet so difficult for us all to see.

When we are little girls… we are full of confidence… nothing can phase us.  We are full of life, energetic and our strength is abundant in play.  At some point, at this very young age… we fall into a tangled web, as our peers’ question our relevance and we start to doubt our significance.  Differences are pointed out loudly and doubt sets in, upon our somewhat immature minds.

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This negatively conceived concept of perfection develops and sadly becomes the ideal for young girls to strive for… to fit in with a childhood society as a pecking order develops.  The unfortunate part is that it can take many years for these pre-conceived notions to be challenged and overcome.

As young girls develop through their teenage years and grow into young women, these perceptions are carried into adulthood and can burden our personal relationships.  Inferiority complexes have become the norm and media continues to depict the symbol of perfectionism as beauty without flaws.  Visual attractiveness becomes the image for one to endeavor to assume.  What are we teaching our young women and our young men of today?

As women are exploited on television and in magazines, our society is sending this message that perfection with our looks is the ideal.  We place unnecessary pressure on these young developing minds, that our appearance is more significant than personality, behaviour and attitude.  Those less fortunate in the beauty department are left feeling inadequate and unworthy.  Self-confidence has been lost and takes years for one to resurrect.

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Women can spend a great part of their lives, feeling inadequate and defective in some way.  They then feel accustomed with these faulty impressions and perceive that their partners will see the vulnerability beneath.  Men become confused as to what role women play in our society… beauty or brains… one to look at and one to hold.  They may fail to realise that women are far more complex than either.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… and this rings true.  But beauty is far more than being skin deep.  Beauty is a package of love, emotions, attitude, behaviour and values.  Attraction is complicated and not something to be evaluated.

Beauty is not in our appearance… real beauty is in our overall take on life and our confidence to be who we are.  It is our passion, our natural ability, our differences… those special little quirks that make you distinct and stand out in this world.  Everybody has something that makes them special, allowing them to shine with their true beauty when it is discovered.

We are who we are and why would you want to be anybody else.  Be true to yourself and own who you are.  Show the world what makes you tick… show the world that perfection is a myth and you are worthy just the way you are.

Kindness, compassion and an understanding for others are the real qualities that make us beautiful.  There is no need to strive for perfection.  Our flaws are what make us unique.  If you always look for perfection, you will never be content.  Have faith that you are perfect just the way you are.

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We can always strive for personal growth to benefit ourselves in our health, our mind and our wellbeing… but not competition or comparison.  Love the person you are.  Flabby arms, speech impairments, baldness, lack of coordination, shyness, wobbly tummy, big nose, cross-eyes or a physical limp… does not define who you are.  They are just imperfections that should be accepted and thought about no more.

Our flaws and imperfections are the beautiful attributes that make us unique.  There is an untold story beneath each and every attribute.  Claim those stories… claim your individuality.  Our behaviour is not perfect either, we are all human.  Our mistakes are our lessons in life.  Learn the lesson and move on.

Too much of our life is wasted upon how we think we should hide, disguise or shield those unimportant visual discrepancies and our misaligned conduct.  We are what we are and we must feel comfortable in our own skin.  We need to boost each other up and encourage everyone to reveal the real beauty within, rather than battle a comparison war and feelings of inadequacy.

Love yourself first and foremost… then you will attract others into your life naturally and not by any false means of advertising.  You will be happier and more content if you allow yourself to be confident and believe in yourself.  Those little things that make up who you are… is what really makes you beautiful.  Believe you are beautiful and the world will see that you truly are.

Take care, Karen

“The biggest challenge of life is to be yourself

in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else.”

~ Author Unknown

 

How to Reclaim Your Power and Proudly Own Your Individuality?

How many of us get lost in this big wide world trying to fit in with family, our workplace or our environment?  Who has tried to be the person that they think they should be, but in the process the real YOU becomes hidden?  We all have… at some point in our lives… at all ages… felt the uneasy feeling of fitting in and conforming to pressures in society.

The power is in finding yourself again, accepting your unique qualities and allowing yourself to own who you are.  From our childhood years, teenage pressures and growing into the adult for all to see… our individuality is somewhat contained until we place value on our own attributes in life.

It is my niece’s birthday today, she is 15.  These teenage years place so much pressure on our young ones.  I am so proud that she is the mirrored example of accepting her differences and allows her true beauty to shine.  I wish we could all have that strength and capability at such a young age… to proudly be the person we truly are.

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The pressure of fitting in as a teenager… to be cool, popular and socially acceptable.  The pressure that these young people place upon themselves, is disheartening as a parent or caring adult.  For teenagers to overcome that pressure and allow their unique or even peculiar personalities to be released… that is where the real strength lies.

My beautiful niece amazes me with her diverse interests in life and her mature attitude towards relationships and interaction.  She has a passion for animals, a caring heart, a love for horses and showing cattle.  Yet she also likes organisation within her life and she has a gift for cooking.  Her attitude to give it a go and commit to doing her best… I find exemplary.

The maturity beyond her years is also inspiring and I hope that the warped sexual maturity of teenagers today is not a negative influence.  Our teenagers are forced to grow up too quickly and the mental capacity to embrace this advancement puts far too much pressure on our young ones today.  I just hope she can keep true to that individuality in years to come and inspire others to be true to themselves as well.

Children and adults alike, we all sometimes tend to re-shape our personality to assimilate the norm and be accepted in a judgemental world.  Strangely enough, with being divergent… we don’t really need to conform to societal pressures, as our unique qualities are what makes us all special and adds value to the people around us.

Sadly, it can take years or decades for us all to realise our real potential, value and purpose in this world.  We need to teach our children and grand-children early, to accept their differences and realise their own significance which allows their passion in life to develop naturally.

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Never sacrifice who you truly are… because somebody else may have a problem with it.  Be true to yourself… and be comfortable in your own skin and in your own mind.  Understand who you are and accept those beautiful unique attributes that you bring to life.  Authenticity inspires respect… so be courageous and own who you really are.

We are all a work in progress, regardless of our age.  As each year passes, our passion or interests may vary, our purpose may alter… but be true to the person you are and shine light on our world.  By being yourself and sharing love, kindness and compassion… you reclaim your power to make a positive difference in your life and the life of those around you.  Be PROUD of who you are!

Take care, Karen.

“Your self-worth is determined by you.

You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.”

~ Beyonce’

Euphoria Restores My Heart & Mind

Do you need to relax and unwind from the daily stresses in life?  Of course, you do.  Today was the day… for me… to relax and be pampered with pure indulgence.  I had forgotten how nice it was to feel pure relaxation and calmly rejuvenated.  Euphoria Hair Beauty Spa in Tamworth was the answer to my much-needed time out and pure serenity has remained.

My dear mother gave me a beauty voucher for Christmas several months ago… The Gift That Keeps On Giving.  The voucher contained 4 beauty treatments with upgrade options and is used over 4 separate visits.  The pampering package included beauty treatments such as massage, facial and manicure/pedicure.

Today I opted for the full body exfoliation, body wrap and massage.  OMG… I feel like a queen… treated like royalty by the lovely beauty technicians at Euphoria Hair Beauty Spa.  I was a little nervous about being somewhat exposed and I am naturally self-conscious.  But Amanda, with her friendly and calming disposition, was discreet as she used the highest quality products to buff my skin and rejuvenate my weary body.

In fact, my modesty was preserved by all means and I felt very relaxed beneath the warm towels in the dim lighting.  Each area was discreetly exposed, scrubbed and revitalised with moisture.  A warm shower to generously cleanse my body and a soft-velvety gown with slippers to wear… an experience that was fit for a queen.  Then a deep and relaxing hot stone massage to calm the body to unwind and release those toxins from life.

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Euphoria is experiencing a state of intense happiness and self-confidence.  A feeling of extreme elation or wellbeing.  The feeling of being on “cloud 9”.  That is exactly what journey Euphoria Hair Beauty Spa provided to me today.

A little tired yet refreshed and rejuvenated… ready for life again.  My skin feels luxuriously silky smooth and beautifully moisturised.  Thank you to my mother for this kind and thoughtful gift voucher… a gift that truly did keep on giving.

Thank you to the management and staff at Euphoria Hair Beauty Spa for their friendly natures and professional beauty expertise.  Special thanks to Amanda for ensuring my comfortability and relaxation element was met.  You are an angel… bringing life back into my weary body and energy back into my mind.  This experience has completely revitalised me and I can proudly recommend your services to the good people of the Tamworth region.

Book in some time to pamper yourself… you deserve it.

Take care, Karen.

“We have to REJUVENATE ourselves taking a break from day to day activity

which is like REBOOTING a computer for an outstanding PERFORMANCE.”

~ Kumar Aakash

How Ironclad Organisations Empower You With a Sense of Pride?

What a jam-packed but empowering week!  From business meetings and training forums, personal growth events and social outings, I am feeling mentally exhausted yet strong and uplifted.  Involvement with renowned voluntary organisations and business training has released empowerment upon my own life and allowed my authenticity to flow.

MONDAY:

Excitement with prize-winners at Wanthella Group CWA Cookery and Handicraft Day at Kootingal.  An interesting day where the elite cooking skills are tested in competition by entering delicious baking at Group level, as per the state cooking schedule of the Country Women’s Association of NSW.

Our CWA branch, Tamworth Evening branch, had 22 cooking entries with 14 place-getters on the day and 5 winning entries to go to CWA State Conference in May.  I received a First Prize for my Chocolate Sponge.  Our branch also took home several trophies.

The Handicraft Competition displayed intricate work handmade by some very clever ladies.  My friend entered her gorgeous crotchet dragonfly baby blanket and a 3-piece crochet baby set.  I admire the handicraft skills of these women.

Whilst judging occurred, CWA members had the opportunity to listen to a talk about bees and honey production.  The bee-keeping industry was fascinating, very informative and an interesting discussion was presented.  Honey is the primary product studied by CWA this year.

My involvement with CWA makes me feel enthusiastic and passionate, as their aims resonate with me personally.  I am proud to be part of a well-renowned organisation that makes a difference by improving the lives of women and their families.  Personally, I also like the friendships I have developed, the knowledge I have gained and the forum provided giving women a voice to make positive changes.

Later that night, I attended a Toastmasters meeting, another renowned organisation aimed at developing confidence, leadership and public speaking skills.  I delivered my second heartfelt speech reflecting upon my personal experience with this heartbreaking drought, the emotional challenges and the community support.  I was awarded the “Best Speaker” award on the night, so after sharing my heart-wrenching thoughts, I felt pride that my audience was able to resonate with my words.

After I shared my personal experience, many people thanked me for allowing my vulnerability to show in an effort to connect with people.  What I found… was that there are so many kind people in this world, compassionate and understanding people.  Tamworth Toastmasters is a wonderful club, with a group of individuals that encourage personal development with public speaking skills, in a very supportive environment.

TUESDAY:

My husband and I attended a Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) Breedplan Regional Forum in Armidale NSW.  Breedplan is a cattle industry based genetic evaluation of stud stock.  As a seedstock producer, producing Hereford stud bulls, this day was very informative and provided an update and useful information for Breedplan Fundamentals.  Sometimes a reminder on why we measure the traits on our cattle and how it all comes together is very intriguing.  I believe we are never to old to learn and we have the ability to continue learning throughout our entire lives.

On the way back home, later that night, we attended a NSW Farmers’ Association meeting at Tamworth.  An ironclad organisation that brings farmers and agricultural enthusiasts together to discuss the challenges faced and identify issues within the agricultural industry.  I am proud to be a supporter of this renowned organisation making a difference in securing the future of our primary industries in Australia.

At the AGM, I ended up taking on the role of Treasurer, for an organisation I believe whole-heartedly in.  In a voluntary capacity, individuals accept executive roles within prominent organisations, as a sense of pride empowers the connection to their distinguished aims and objectives.

WEDNESDAY:

Back to Armidale for Day 2 of Breedplan Fundamentals, to learn more about the role of genomics and DNA of our stud stock.  Producing bulls is no longer just a business, it is a scientific progression of producing better livestock through DNA advancements.  Over the last few years, I have found breeding cattle very interesting, as we have accepted the new technological opportunities presented to us and put it into action.

Our business is Swanvale Herefords and we focus on breeding cattle with a quiet temperament, good weight for age, carcase and maternal traits.  Our fundamental aim is to produce soft easy-doing cattle with structural soundness and long deep-bodied cattle with plenty of thickness that perform well on grass.  With the adoption of DNA and genomics, we have a greater opportunity to meet the needs of our clients in the livestock industry.

THURSDAY:

Drought feeding livestock eventuated at a more reasonable hour today… in the daylight hours and not quite as rushed.  But then followed by personal dentist appointments and health appointment, necessary to retain our personal health and well-being.

Later that night, I enjoyed a Flavourista social event, hosted by a new friend with deliciously cooked dishes by Sarah.  An organisation that blends flavours and cultures… with tantalising spices, balsamic vinegars, unique oils, flavoursome syrups and dessert sauces.  I already have a few favourites and am enjoying cooking new dishes with the ease of these new items in my pantry.

Friendships and connecting with other women is empowering in itself.  But sharing stories and conversation over the dinner table, brings a powerful element to enjoying the fresh food that our agricultural industry provides us every day.

FRIDAY:

A few hours in the office whilst hubby feeds the hungry livestock, before heading to Willow Tree for a Practical Systems information field day.  An organisation that provides computer programs for livestock manageability, farm mapping and financial management of our businesses.  The objective for the day was utilising Stockbook functionality, a herd recording software program, that can collect data, analyse reports and improve herd productivity.

With a presentation and information provided by Practical Systems, we were able to discuss issues that we would like added to the program and were able to see the program being used at the stockyards with Live Data Entry.  I was able to see the opportunity we could have by making a few changes to better utilise this program at the stockyards when scanning, weighing, drafting and preg-testing livestock.  The possibilities enlightened me and I look forward to better time-management with this incredible technology on the farm.

I am a satisfied user of Practical Systems software for many years and am grateful that technology has provided our business with the programs to better manage our business over the years.  Stockbook is a database of all livestock that we own and have owned, that has all historical records available at the touch of a button.  I use Cashbook for the financial management of our business, budgeting and accountant-based livestock trading accounts.  We also use FarmMap for property mapping, paddock management, crop allocation and proposed on-farm planning.  Technological advancement has provided the agricultural industry with the software to better manage our farming enterprises.

SATURDAY:

After an exhausting and mentally advanced week, I lay in bed this morning listening to the much-needed rain that finally opened upon us in the early hours this morning.  The best rain we have seen on our farm for over 2 years… uplifted our spirits… giving us hope again.

The organisations in our lives that provide us with connection, training, knowledge, friendships or personal development… all have a place in our hearts and minds.  These organisations do give us a sense of belonging and empowerment in many aspects of our lives.

We all need to find those organisations and businesses that meet our aspirations and grant us opportunities to improve our lives and our well-being.

Take care, Karen.

“We cannot do great things on this earth – only small things with great love.”

~ Mother Teresa

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Rural Reflections #14

It may have only been 10mm of rain, but an overall feeling of contentedness… as the rainwater temporarily heals our minds and replenishes our soul.  What is it with that unique fresh smell after rainfall that makes our hearts lighter?  That noise as each drop falls, cleansing our thoughts and easing our worries.  We see an image of freshness and passionately see a vision of hope.  The smell with a crispness in the clean air as the dust is washed away from our hearts.

Diverse landscapes are a common feature across the New England and North West region of NSW in Australia.  This region is located in the north of the state and west of the Great Dividing Range.  This region covers a total area of about 99,145 square kilometres or 12.4% of NSW and is home to 186,200 people.

Agricultural land in the New England and North West region occupies 79,364 square kilometres or 80% of the region.  The agricultural sector in the region includes important commodities, based on the gross value of agricultural production, were cattle ($687 million), cotton ($650 million) and wheat ($482 million).   These commodities contributed to 60% of the total value of agricultural production in the region.

Rocky ridges are very common in this region along with rich basalt soils.  Our property alone has quite a diverse array of landscapes, vegetation and farmland.  From red and chocolate basalt soils, river loams, to a few granite outcrops and steeper vegetated valleys.  The Australian agricultural regions can be very divergent.

Today I share with you a photo taken last week following 10mm of rain.  The only rain we had seen for almost 2 months.  This is a part of my view from the kitchen window every day.  I like this photo as it fills me with a sense of hope that the rain in the eastern hills may come again.  This is a rocky ridge near the boundary of our property.  The large rocks in this bull paddock show how disparate our terrain can be.

Rural Reflection #14…

17 March 2019

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There are 2 Hereford bulls grazing after the light shower of rain that settled the dust.  This photo also overlooks a part of the neighbouring property and shows horses in a distant paddock in the background.  We did not receive any more rain this week, but the feeling and smell of rain were temporarily relished.

This morning I have spent my time baking cakes and a slice for a CWA function.  I do always enjoy my view from the kitchen window even when it is dry.  I always find the beauty within an image and appreciate the smaller things in life.

I imagine myself sitting upon that large rock protruding from the earth… relaxing and appreciating the beautiful views around us.  One day… the drought will break and nutritious green pastures will surround us again.

Until then, I will still focus on the beauty that remains within my life.  I still have a wonderful family to love, a passion for writing to share, a motivation for personal growth and a vision to inspire others every day in their lives.

Take care, Karen.

“Rain has healing powers.

It can wash away your worries

and cleanse your soul.”

~ Author Unknown.

 

The Heart of CWA in the High Country

After enjoying a High Tea at Guyra yesterday, catching up with some former CWA friends, celebrating with new friends and listening to the powerful inspirational stories of the guest speakers… my soul has been enriched.  The dynamic force that CWA brings to our rural and regional communities is so very compelling.

The largest women’s organisation of Australia, the Country Women’s Association (or CWA for short), never ceases to amaze me through their support network and advocating to improve the lives of women and their families.  The newly formed CWA Guyra Evening Branch has proved to be a friendly, inspirational, youthful-toned and welcoming bunch of ladies.  My good friend and I travelled to Guyra to celebrate NSW Women’s Week in the high country on the Northern Tablelands with these mighty women.

A beautiful old-fashioned High Tea table layout with modern touches, made for a visually appealing morning tea with good friends.  Ceramic teaware just delivers that special something with each tasteful sip and delicious morning tea was in abundance before us.

Laughter, support and fond memories were on the menu at each table.  CWA members from many branches were in attendance from the Northern Tablelands Group and we were welcomed in from outside the zone, representing Tamworth Evening branch, Wanthella Group, along with new friends that were tantalised with what CWA membership can offer them.

We also listened to 2 inspirational guest speakers that delivered life enriching words.  These 2 wonderful women are members of CWA Guyra Evening Branch, and truly are very empowering and uplifting to all of us fortunate listeners.

Firstly, Marni Hietbrink a psychologist from Peak Psychology in Guyra, spoke about mental health in rural areas, healthy emotional wellbeing, happiness and the challenges that stress brings to our lives.  I really liked her analogy about how stress works, as each stressful event forms layers upon us, one on top of another… and how that stress needs to be relieved by doing something essentially in the form of self-care and something that is a passion.  She explained if we don’t look after ourselves that those layers of stress will get to a ‘breaking point’ and tip us over the edge… a place we all need to avoid.

She also explained how, as women, we try to be the best possible person we can in all facets of our lives.  But by trying to be the best at everything, which is really an impossible and unrealistic task… these thoughts and actions cause us to feel an unecessary failure in many aspects of our lives.

Her friendly, bubbly personality… made for an informative and understandable speech that all women could relate to.  Thank you Marni Hietbrink for your knowledge, compassion and meaningful words.  CWA Guyra Evening branch and the Guyra community are very lucky to have such a strong, capable and caring person like you, with such knowledge in the industry.

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The second guest speaker was Kylie Woods, a down-to-earth mother that shared her personal emotional story with us about the trauma with her young son and his eventual diagnosis of ‘Type 1 Diabetes’.  Her comprehensive knowledge of ‘Type 1 Diabetes’, the indiscriminate kind, opened my eyes to an enormous challenge exposed to children and their parents alike.  Her story was emotionally heartfelt which engaged us all with overwhelming compassion for her, her family and all those families that suffer these incredible health and financial challenges for the ongoing management of Type 1 Diabetes.

I really enjoyed her honest open story as she allowed us into her world for these brief moments.  I can already see the need for a CWA Motion being formed for State Conference next year, to support the many people in need with the financial challenges faced every day to manage this incurable disease.

I spoke with Kylie Woods afterwards, a shy, but incredibly strong woman.  I do not think she even realised the extent of the powerful effect her emotionally-charged personal story, had upon the listeners.  She also shared in conversation with me, her 2 business ventures, Glenella White Suffolks (sheep) and Ram’s Head Bats (cricket bats).  She is an avid supporter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Breast Cancer Research.

A truly remarkable woman, a great asset to the CWA Guyra Evening branch and a passion for significant causes worth noting.  Thank you Kylie Woods for sharing your heartfelt family story with us all and giving us a means of understanding Type 1 Diabetes.  Also thank you to your daughter for her assistance with the slideshow.

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My good friend and I really enjoyed our day out at Guyra, the friendly conversation, the delicious morning tea and the inspirational guest speakers.  Personally, my spirits needed a lift, so this day out was perfect as I was surrounded by friendships and optimism.  My soul has been refreshed and I have been reminded of the real value of friendship and support.  Thank you CWA for being the true essence of harmony, delight and support.

Take care, Karen.

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world

cannot be seen or even touched ~

they must be felt with the heart.”

~ Helen Keller

Relationships Are The Focus For International Women’s Day 2019 (What This Means To Me?)

Every year on 8th March International Women’s Day is celebrated with a focus on women’s rights.  The achievements of women from the past, the present and the future is what we celebrate.  This year’s theme is relationships.  Our personal relationships, our business relationships and our friendships.

This is by no means to exclude the men in our lives and does not make men inferior at all.  It just celebrates a movement whereby women have equal rights and now have equal opportunities in the workplace and home environment.

I have been fortunate to have been raised in a family where my parents allowed me to make my own decisions and make my own mistakes.  The value I place on my upbringing has made me grateful.  It may not have always been a bed of roses, but parents do the best they can and love unconditionally.  My parents loved and respected me and taught me to seek love and follow my values in my own life.  Their influence has been the underlying factor, of the woman I am today.

As I found love with my husband, a man that respects me and encourages me to be the best person I can be, I am very grateful.  Like any relationship, we have our ups and downs, but it is how you get through those ups and downs that matters… together.  Mind you, we may need to experience a few Mr Wrongs before we find Mr Right.  My advice is find a partner that is supportive and brings out the best in you.  Love, honesty, support and communication is what I treasure in my marriage.  As a woman, I choose nothing less.

When I became a mother, another women’s “role”… I found this was my calling in life.  I absolutely loved raising my 2 children.  I did not have the honour of raising daughters, as we had 2 sons… a wonderful privilege that I embraced.  Born only 17 months apart, I was determined to be the best mother I could be.

Now as a parent myself, I understand the sacrifices that parents make for the love of their children.  We sometimes think that we should give our children the best of everything… but it is our TIME that children need.  Not expensive gifts, treats or anti-social activities.  Our children deserve our undivided attention to know that they are loved unconditionally, but they also need to be taught manners, courtesy and respect.

As working women, time is limited, so we need to schedule time for each child and make it important.  It may be a juggle or it may be that we sacrifice something else in our lives… but they are only young once and we need to focus on the person we are raising for the sake of future society.

The “tooth fairy” antic really annoys me, as parents feel an overwhelming desire to keep up with their children’s peers.  I remember only giving 50 cents for teeth, now it is in the larger notes category.  What are we teaching our children?  I think children need to learn to work for their money and appreciate the value that they have earned.  My sons used to do their daily chores with encouragement from a chore chart, maybe earning several dollars each week, not that much at all.

We taught our children the value of money and their childhood was treated as a learning experience.  By no means did I do everything perfectly, but I did the best I could with what I had.  Now our children are in their early twenties, living their lives independently and I know that they will be OK.  We never stop learning throughout our lives at any age.

Today marks a very special achievement for my youngest son, as he has just purchased his first home, at almost 22 years of age.  He saved for a deposit and applied to the bank for a home loan.  I am proud of the responsibility and independence he has displayed in the process of this big life venture.  My eldest son at a similar age did the same thing.  As a mother, I know that we have taught them financial responsibility and I am so proud of the lives they are now leading.

Although now I find it challenging that my guidance and womanly advice is much less regular to when they were dependents.  Life has changed and is different.  I am always here to emotionally support or advise if necessary, in their adulthood.  One day I look forward to the next chapter of my life, when I will become a grandmother.  With no plans for either son at the moment, I will focus on my relationship with the rest of the world.  But I do look forward to being a guiding light for my grandchildren and spoiling them… but assist by instilling those precious morals and values in this tough challenging world.  More importantly, they need to know their own worth and believe in their own abilities… boy or girl… men and women of the future.

My involvement with the Country Women’s Association (CWA) also provides me with a network of support and friendships.  The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia and aims to improve conditions for country women and their families.

CWA is known for bringing women together to improve their lives and providing a network of understanding and welfare of all women.  They also provide a forum to give women a voice within our nation.  They do this by lobbying the government for change, helping the local community and creating a network of support.

We sometimes under-estimate the true value that our friendships bring to our lives.  I have been fortunate to have made friends through this renowned women’s organisation in many regions and have met some strong women making a real difference.  It is amazing what a bunch of women can do when they put their heads together.

Through my farming business, I have also had the opportunity to meet and associate with many women with unique strengths.  Some women are a supportive partner in the farming world and some women paving their own way.  It doesn’t matter what we choose to do in our lives, as women, we should just do it with passion, commitment and a big heart.

Let go of all the debates of unimportance and accept we all have our own unique paths to follow.  Working women versus stay-at-home mothers.  Feeding style, sexuality or life choices… is only important to the person making the choice… everyone else needs to stick to their own opinion without pushing it upon others.  What is right for one person may not be right for another.  Acceptance is needed in life.

Good manners, kindness, compassion, understanding, love and support is what really matters.  If we all stick to this, life is so much more content.  Appreciate the iconic women that have shaped our lives, the strong women that are in our lives and the young women that are awaiting the future.  As women… be the woman that you admire or aspire to be.

Women need to be celebrated today for how far we have come over the years… individually and as a group.  Thank you to the men in our lives for giving us the freedom, equality, love and respect that you give us every day.  It is this support that brings balance to our lives.  Remember, we all have the responsibility of shaping our future daughters and developing them into strong capable women of the future… and raising our sons into the respectful beings that show a mutual support.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Take care, Karen.

P.S. In the words of Quentin Bryce, an iconic, influential and inspirational woman.  Also, the first woman to become Governor-General of Australia.

“Yes, you can have it all, but not all at the same time.

Set your own priorities, trust your gut and follow your heart.

~ Quentin Bryce, 

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