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

 

My Ideal World With Genuine Kindness and Heartfelt Compassion

Empathy, kindness and compassion do exist in our world if we look beyond the hustle and bustle in life.  Heartfelt feelings and actions are truly what unites and forms connections within our communities.  I want to create a world where… old-fashioned morals, honesty and genuine understanding for others, will re-connect us all on a broader level.

With more positive connections in our lives, this will lead to a much-desired inner strength and the ability to believe in yourself.  Young people today are filled with self-doubt, confusion and they lack the compassion that is needed to protect their self-confidence and true spirit within.

In my ideal world, imperfection is a charm, making each of us unique, yet perfectly moulded.  Acceptance of self and acceptance of others needs to be prioritised.  Learning to love the person you are and aspire to be… allows the real person within to shine.  Don’t you just wish you could tell your younger self the wisdom that has taken decades for us to learn?

Morals and values are things that cannot be bought, but can be passed on to our future generations.  As parents and mentors in life, we have a wonderful opportunity to teach good manners, respect, honesty, trust and responsibility.  We are not only raising children… we are raising future mothers, fathers, teachers, builders or farmers for our world.  We need to look at the big picture and shape these young people to become future leaders in our communities with a strong sense of self.

Consideration and respect for other peoples differences, opinions and actions… is simply human politeness.  With so many strong opinions beating down the opinions of others in an effort to persuade, is sadly accepted in our society.  But what if we just accepted that we all have our own personal opinions and are all authentic to only ourself.  This would make for a better world, a more peaceful world and contentment would remain.

Empathy is the capacity to understand the feelings of another and the ability to mentally place yourself in their shoes.  This ability allows for a real connection but needs an open mind and an open heart.  The empathy shown towards others, may just be the one thing that helps another person make it through the darkness.

Kindness, caring for others and a willingness to help somebody else is what we call compassion.  Sometimes life just gets so busy or we get so distracted, that we do lose touch and our compassion is pushed aside.  Being thoughtful is a decent human attribute and one that should be seen every single day.

Just a little consideration for another, can make the world of difference for that one person.  Kindness is contagious and we all see this around us.  Like a domino effect, that person can then go about their own day and positively affect another person.  It is all about sharing this kindness and understanding throughout our family, our friends, our workplace, our communities and then hope to reach the wider world.

Showing a sincere concern for another person’s well-being is very highly regarded.  Strangely enough, your own soul will be enriched and you will feel enormously content that your actions have touched the soul of another.  You can create calmness in your own mind, by cultivating kindness and compassion in your life.

In a world when we cannot see the compassion and kindness around us… be that person that the world truly needs.  Be the person who makes everybody feel like they are somebody.  Use your voice to express that kindness and use your ears for compassion and use your heart always.  It is with genuine compassion, that we can start to bring peace into all of our lives and into our world.

Take care, Karen.

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“It is in your hands

to create a better world

for all who live in it.”

~ Nelson Mandela

#march_create #greatblogchallenge

 

 

The Truth About C.W.A. Scones, Valuable Support & Lobbyists

Country Women’s Association or CWA for short, are renowned for their scones and delicious baking… but there is so much more.  The largest women’s organisation in Australia that gives country women a voice and aims to improve conditions for country women and their families.

We have been called “Cranky Women’s Association” and “Chicks With Attitude”.  In my opinion… the CWA acronym should really stand for “Courageous Women Appeal”.

With over 8,000 members, CWA offers a range of services from being a social outlet for women… to lobbying the Governments for change.  CWA is at the centre of it all… helping the local community and creating a network of support.  CWA provides a forum for all women

I did not even know what CWA was all about, until I joined a small rural CWA branch 8 years ago.  From my first meeting, I was inspired… joined up and unaware that a friendly group of women, would impact my life so significantly.  First I enjoyed having an outlet where once a month I could leave the farm and enjoy other women’s conversation, stories were shared and friendships formed.  As I started to understand how CWA really works, I was enthusiastic to get involved more and make a difference.

CWA begin back in 1922 when country women were fighting isolation and a lack of health facilities.  Within the first year, these women became a unified and resourceful group.  Can you imagine what it must have been like for these women and to appreciate the strength and commitment they had.  They worked tirelessly to set up baby health care centres, fund bush nurses, build and staff maternity wards, hospitals and schools.  These women used initiative and were lobbyists making it happen.  They provided social activities, educational, recreational and medical facilities.

Many people may not know this, but CWA was responsible for many significant improvements in our communities such as:

  • Baby Health Care Centres
  • School zones flashing lights
  • White lines put on bitumen country roads
  • Safety seat belts on buses
  • Rest Rooms
  • Home Hospitality
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Community Health Centres
  • Improved Dental Services
  • Prevention of Domestic Violence
  • Low-alcohol Beer
  • On-Farm Quad Bike Safety
  • Mental Health Support

The biggest fundraiser for CWA is the Tea Rooms at the Sydney Royal Easter Show where more than 350 volunteers work, bake and help feed a hungry crowd during the 12-day show.  CWA has served scones at the Easter Show for more than 60 years.  They bake and sell over 50,000 scones as well as a variety of other food and beverages.

CWA fundraising efforts support community members by way of:

  • Educational Grants & Scholarships – for individuals applying for a variety of scholarships each year, for their education in schooling, artistic ability, hospitality, humanitarian and the health industry.
  • Medical Research – to assist in the research of medical projects.  Current project being funded is the research for Endometriosis.
  • Disaster Relief Fund – to assist people and communities in need as a result of a disaster.  Current disaster relief is Drought Assistance and the Tathra Bushfires.

CWA is also involved in learning, competitions and personal achievements all throughout the year in:

  • International – Country of Study, Competitions & ACWW (Associated Country Women of the World).
  • Agricultural & Environmental – Study of Flora, Fauna, Foe & Primary Product, which are selected each year.
  • Cultural – events, competitions, tours, photography & writing.
  • Handicraft – Branch, Group & State Handicraft Competitions.
  • The Land Cookery – Competition as per Cookery Schedule and sponsored by The Land newspaper.
  • Hospital Support – support hospitals, Ronald McDonald House, nursing homes & women’s refuges by donating knitted & crocheted rugs, teddies, breast cancer cushions, premmie baby clothes, stillborn dresses and Emergency Packs.
  • Social Issues – equity of access to services in rural, remote & regional areas, regional development and gender equity.

CWA of NSW members comprise of women from all walks of life in town and country.  There is over 370 local branches statewide, working not only for the overall aims of the organisation but often for very specific local issues.  There are 30 Groups which cover all branches and each Group meets quarterly to coordinate activities and hear reports from State Executive.

CWA of NSW hold a State Conference each year in May, for members to discuss and debate issues to bring legislative change.  When I attended my first CWA State Conference, I realised the magnitude of what CWA is all about.  It really opened my eyes and to see the significant difference that CWA makes at a State level… is life-changing.

With a changing society, CWA branches have been changing as a result, in the last few years.  With full-time working women, there are more Evening branches now as well as weekend, sunrise and an online CWA branch.  I think CWA now allows for a wider age range of women and each generation can contribute in different ways.

We have a group of women… with a power house of experience over many years in CWA… and younger members with a power house of resources and knowledge to share.  So although the face of CWA may be changing, the core values and purpose of CWA remains as strong as ever.  Women of all ages with a variety of expertise are still unified, resourceful with strength of character, continuing to improve our lives.

So there you have it… CWA is definitely “Not Just Tea & Scones”.  They are making a difference in our lives.  They have a voice in the nation’s affairs but also provide a valuable service to our country.  A remarkable organisation, that makes me proud.

For more information see CWA of NSW.

Take care, Karen.

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Genuine Community Spirit Survives the Drought Crisis

By now, everyone should be aware of the heartbreaking drought that has been devastating our Australian farmers and crippling the industry.  The worst drought in 100 years is upon us.  Sadly the tough times for farmers also have a domino effect on businesses in the community.

The daily struggles of such strong farmers are very real.  How does one motivate and stay focused when their livelihood for now and future years, has become non-existent?

We see photos of hungry stock, parched farmland and stressed farmers around us in newspapers, magazines, television and social media. The farmer lives it every day, but still puts on a brave face.  Courageously, they have been here before.  They have a Drought Management Plan that they have implemented… but for how long will it last.  Farming is a gamble that unfortunately relies heavily on the weather, markets and politics.

Wrongfully, droughts are not seen as a natural disaster any more, yet the effect is the same upon the farmer, as like any other disaster.  The recovery from drought takes several years and sadly due to large farm debt, some farmers will not recover.

Thankfully we also see the many drought appeals bring assistance and help to farmers.  The drought support from the community is what is really getting the farmers through it all.  The compassion and thoughtfulness displayed, is a reminder to the farmer, that their every day job is important to the wider community.

Financial stress is on overload and the future is uncertain.  Mental health is becoming a large battle.  But the support is all around us.  It is knowing that someone else cares.  The entire community is adapting to the changes that drought brings.

Community spirit and generosity that’s typically Australian has emerged during this prolonged drought crisis.  Many community groups, businesses and individuals have  rallied behind our farmers in this time of need. To see school children collecting donated groceries and sending heartfelt messages, even the tough farmer will shed a tear.

We are a wonderful nation and every community member should be congratulated for the support they are providing.  When farmers win… everybody will win.

Take care, Karen.

“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit,

wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

~ Miles Kington

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