Rural Reflections #29

Life is like a book.  Some chapters in our lives wear us down.  Sometimes we experience sad times, but sometimes we have good times and excitement in our lives.  If we never turn the page, we will never know what our next chapter in life holds for us.  Who knows it could be our most exciting chapter ever.

Times have been very tough for all of us on the land, especially in this region.  But knowing that we are all going through this together, somehow gives reassurance and strength to believe in our soul purpose to produce food for our nation.

Life is about to change for me.  With the downsizing of our farming property in the near future, I will take a step back from it all… to pursue work elsewhere in an effort to support the ongoing operations on the farm.

Rather than view this change with hesitation, I choose to see this as an exciting chapter about to reveal itself.  Learning new things empowers me, and on my latest journey of personal growth, I am eager to see where life takes me.

When one has not experienced the job interview process, after 25 years of self-employment… this process could be a little daunting.  Strangely enough, however, I am not nervous at all.  I believe I know what I am capable of and what special gifts I can offer the wider world.  Nobody else knows us better than ourselves.

I have had a couple of job interviews and applied for a couple more in the business administration area and am ready to see where this takes me.  With nothing set in stone yet, I am allowing myself to blossom.

My advice to anyone going through a change right now… just breathe, do your best to showcase who you are and enjoy the opportunities before you.  Life will not give you too much to handle… just keep making decisions to get through it.

Today I found this photo to share with you.  I took this photo in June this year when I thought that after a shower of rain, maybe, just maybe, seasonal conditions would turn around for us.  A shade of green was scattered through the back paddocks.  Although temporary, it gave us all a boost to soldier on.

Rural Reflection #29…

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Why I like this photo?  It serves as a visual analogy.  The older large tree on the left with the deformed tree growths… is feeling the struggle of conditions yet not inhibited to serve its purpose.  In comparison, we may be getting a little older, a little tired and feeling the struggle in this drought… but we have a purpose to share our talents with the world and provide a little shade of comfort for others.

Similarly, the small green tree on the right is growing from an old stump of a tree that would have been cut down many years ago.  From the centre of an old hollow stump, this seedling would have grown, feeling the protection from the environment until it was able to blossom.  Even in drought conditions, this beautiful tree looks healthy and is still growing.

This just shows that we depend on one another in our personal development.  But more importantly, change is how we evolve into the person we truly are.  Through change…  whether it is changing our perception or thought processes… or with life-changing events… we evolve and progress through the chapters in our lives.

So be kind to yourself, be kind to others and enjoy your next chapter!

Take care, Karen.

“Change is inevitable,

Growth is optional.

~ John C. Maxwell

Rural Reflections #28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rural Reflection #28…

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.

~ William Arthur Ward

Celebrating 25 Years Anniversary of Love and Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

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“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love,

trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.

The order varies for any given year.”

~ Paul Sweeney.

Star-Struck by CWA Past State President

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

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

~ Richard Branson.

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

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“Don’t believe everything you think.

Thoughts are just that – thoughts.”

~ Allan Lokos

 

Love Who You Really Are

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

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

Own who you really are.

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

“EMBRACE YOUR INDVIDUALITY.

Love what you love without worrying about judgement.”

~ Author Unknown

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Rural Reflections #26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rural Reflection #26…

26 Calves of Joy

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

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

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

Take care, Karen

“Those who have the ability to be grateful

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

~ Steve Maraboli

Speaking to Inspire at Empowering Anxiety Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

“You can’t stop the waves,

but you can learn to surf.”

~ John Kabat-Zinn

Toastmasters Reclaims Motivation

How does one go from feeling overwhelmed with a mind full of chaos, to a sense of calmness with empowering motivation?  Step outside your comfort zone, play the game of life and allow Toastmasters back into your busy schedule.

My mind was feeling like a complete mess with so many work activities and commitments.  I was starting to feel like that image of the calm looking duck upon the lake… with those webbed feet madly paddling beneath.  At what point do we say enough is enough?

How many times in life do we question our direction and our choices?  We allow ourselves to be dragged along, ensuring that we do everything that we must and somehow try to saviour a little time for yourself.

I had been crossing off events from my calendar and any activity that was not work-related got scratched.  Trying to free up some space in my daily schedule.  But was I crossing out the correct choices for me?

Tonight I made that decision, without planning, stepped outside my comfort zone once again.  I had not attended a Toastmasters meeting for months.  Thinking I needed a break and I wouldn’t miss it for a while.  But what I noticed was that I was losing my confidence.  That confidence that was starting to develop when speaking to a group… had started to be lost.

Nervously I jumped into Tamworth Toastmasters again tonight and I am loving the outcome.  Feeling full of motivation with a feeling of complete support and friendship, I have realised that Toastmasters is what is missing in my life.  I am keen to work on my next speech already.

From a morning with back pain and lacking the enthusiasm to do anything more than office work… to a vibrant and interesting evening.  Have you ever felt the need to pike out and push something aside?

After nearly 12 months of no real haircuts because farming finances became far too important to be spending it upon me.  I finally went back to my hairdresser, feeling guilty that I wasn’t able to support her business when the drought had impacted farther afield.  Almost like magic, a simple haircut… no colour, no style… just a haircut, lifted my spirits.  It felt like a load off.  A fringe that had grown out.  A good tidy up, far exceeded expectations.

Then the doctor visit for the dreaded pap smear.  Ladies, I know you understand!  Say no more.  The anxiety and stress around this visit clearly subsided.  Then to review my health care plan.  NOOOO!  I have put on 2kg.  Feeling sorry for myself again about now.

Waiting at the pharmacy for medication, one brief phone call was to change my thought process and how I might react.  A lady cared enough to phone to see how I was going and to make sure everything was OK.  Truthfully no not OK, but I was reminded of what Toastmasters could do for me.

A simple phone call encouraged me to come along tonight.  Without any paperwork, no plans, no badge… I rocked up to the meeting.  Within minutes I felt almost at ease, was speaking on an impromptu task and took on the task of evaluating a speech.

It absolutely amazes me how I can be so nervous yet so calm and excited, all at the same time.  I am so very shy when it comes to speaking, but something ignites within me and I share my passion verbally.

The highlight of the Toastmasters evening for me, was being told that my impromptu speech comes straight from the heart and is spoken with complete honesty.  That is exactly what I want to be able to do when I speak to inspire people.

I think we all have more ability than what we realise.  Every time I hear somebody speak, whether it is a newcomer or a more experienced speaker… we under-estimate our own ability yet think everyone else speaks wonderfully.

Toastmasters gives you the opportunity to improve your communication skills, build confidence and leadership skills, all within a fun supportive learning environment.  We all share our experiences, share stories and help each other.  We laugh and enjoy the evening, and we listen to interesting speakers.  Some of us share knowledge and educate, some share inspiration and uplift us and some share their unique passions in life.

I would like to extend a formal invitation to you if you live in the Tamworth area to attend our next Tamworth Toastmasters meeting, as a Guest.  It will be held on 9th September at West Tamworth League Club, Phillip Street, West Tamworth, 6:45 for 7pm start.  Come and see for yourself what Toastmasters can offer you.

If you live outside this area, I invite you to seek out your closest Toastmasters club and encourage you to challenge yourself and see how your life will improve.  You will be more confident, will have better communication skills and life just becomes more interesting.

Be the best person you can be and with Toastmasters you may just discover that person hiding within.  If I can do it… so can you!

Take care, Karen.

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“The Three C’s of Life:

Choices, Chances, Changes.

You must make a Choice

to take a Chance

or your life will never Change.”

~ Zig Ziglar

Rural Reflections #23

The light has been flickering as I have been juggling life, businesses and my own personal growth.  I have been neglecting to share my photos with you as part of my weekly feature Rural Reflections.  Guilty I am, but I am back with so much to share.  Thank you for waiting for me.

My passion to be more, and to do more, has led me to a new business and new skills to excel with.  My underlying desire for sustaining the agricultural industry still exists beneath it all, but my passion to expand and inspire people every day has become the driver in my life.  And I am loving life right now.

Remember back, only a year ago, I was suffering from depression and feeling sorry for myself.  Angry that I had to experience such heart-wrenching feelings and loss of all basic motivation in life.  Depression and anxiety had overwhelmed me… I had no idea what was going to happen and where life was guiding me.

So many of us, unfortunately, do go through these depressive numbing cycles and anxiety can consume us every day.  My gift was to experience this first-hand.  In hindsight, I now know that it had to happen.  How was I to understand if I didn’t feel it for myself?

This time in my life… was necessary to reveal my true passion and what I can do for the world around me.  I was determined and with the support around me, I made it through… with flying colours.

My new business provides freelance writing, administration services, hypnotherapy, speaking and life/business coaching.  Every day I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to share my skills with those in need.  Those that need guidance… those that need office management… and those that need the inspiration to believe in themselves.  My words are my gift and I am on a journey to share and to uplift each and every one of you.

Today marks the day, I have set up my new office.  My own room dedicated to me, my gifts, my valued clients and the changes that await all of us.  This office symbolises a separate part of my life… separate from the farming business.  This is my space, my personal inspiration and my business motivation.

I want to share with you, this photo today… taken only 2 months ago on my farm.  Still suffering from the effects of drought, yet the oats are growing despite the odds.  For me, this photo symbolises my personal journey.  I had the odds stacked against me, but I continued to grow.  I did what I needed to do.  The beautiful sunlight is captured in this photo, shining that healing light upon me.

Rural Reflection #23…

23 The Light Shining Within

image subject to copyright

We all need to find that one thing that brings us happiness and pure joy… and share that gift with the world.  Recognise what is against you and make choices to move forward for the betterment of you, those you love and those that need you in the wider community.

The greatest joy in this world is when we can reach out and help someone else.  This gives us purpose and a vision on our horizon.  I am no different from you all.  You too have the capability to find yourself and chase your dreams.

Believe in yourself and believe you will do it.  And you will!

Take care, Karen.

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”

~ Maya Angelou