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

Creating a Natural High at Walcha Rural Women’s Gathering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

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“When women support each other

incredible things happen.”

~ Author Unknown.

 

 

 

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

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

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’

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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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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Overcome The Fear & Embrace New Experiences

Is it that fear and anxiety is over-powering your being?  Are you simply shy or an introvert?  Maybe you could not be bothered or worry about stepping outside your comfort zone.  Connecting with new people awakens new experiences in your life.  We all need to take that small step to seek a wider view and CONNECT with a more diverse array of people.

That is exactly what I did this evening.  On a spur of the moment whim, I was informed of a local social group called CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network.  Women supporting women… providing a social outlet, chatting and listening, having a laugh, enjoying a meal together and listening to inspiring guest speakers… what better way to spend an evening once a month.

A group of dynamic women with an array of business backgrounds and diverse industries… such as education, health, wellbeing, financial, writing and agriculture.  As guest speakers provide an interesting story, an uplifting experience or sharing their personal knowledge… a group of local women are being empowered and inspired.

“The aim of CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network is to provide a creative, respectful and nurturing environment that brings together women of all ages, at all stages of their career, to network and help them grow personally and professionally.” 

This is exactly what I was part of this evening.  I was inspired and empowered once again… all because I took that step to try something new, controlled my anxiety and allowed myself to enjoy some time out.

Sometimes when we think about getting to know new people, anxiety kicks in and tries to overpower our rationality.  But if we overcome this urge and realise that the opportunities are out there and new people are great for our soul.  It allows us to open our mind and our heart… to share our passions, to share inspiration and to share our knowledge.

For over 30 years CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network has been providing an evening of inspiration, empowerment and education for local women in the region.  This group is a not-for-profit organisation, improving the lives of women on a personal level and a professional level.

We enjoyed listening to guest speaker, Published Australian Author Chris Taylor who writes romantic suspense novels.  She also spoke of her heartfelt journey from childhood on a farm in north-west NSW, her passion for reading, her nursing career, her career as a criminal lawyer… to her passion for writing and becoming a published author.  She has published 30 books and sold over 150,000 copies.  She was a very interesting speaker and shared a uniquely inspiring story of her life journey.

Tonight we also enjoyed dinner at the venue Cascada Licensed Restaurant in Tamworth whilst enjoying the evening.  Over dinner, I was able to get to know some more dynamic women and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and discussions.

Although I usually feel shy, socially awkward and uncomfortable in new groups… I actually felt welcomed and completely comfortable at the first evening event for 2019.  I am so glad that I have joined this new group and eagerly await to attend next month to listen to another interesting guest speaker.  Empowerment is what I strive for and inspiration is a beautiful process.

For more information on CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network  email connecttamworth@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.

Take care, Karen.

“When women support each other,

incredible things happen.”

~ Author Unknown

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12 Ways to Learn How to Love Your True Self

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?  Why do we compare ourselves to others or degrade our own imperfections? How do we get rid of the negative self-doubt and allow our happiness to shine?

It is never too late to become the man or woman you truly are.  We don’t need to be better or do better… we just need to accept ourselves and learn that we are lovable.

We can be our own worst enemy.  I wish I knew 20 years ago, what I know now.  I would have saved myself a lot of needless worry and found my true inner happiness much sooner in life.  To learn how to love yourself is a self-healing process that only we can do for ourselves.  You are worth it!

  • Embrace Your Strengths – Acknowledge and embrace your unique strengths.  Trust that you do have good qualities and you are good at something.
  • Feel Worthiness – Treat yourself like you are an important person, worthy of love & respect.  It will become more natural and habit-forming.
  • Be Compassionate – When you notice that you are judging yourself, stop, and think of yourself like you would your friend, and tell yourself something compassionate instead.  Speak to yourself in a way that you would speak to someone you love.
  • Embrace Your Dark Side – Accept and acknowledge that we all have a dark side that will surface sometimes.  It is human nature to show all feelings and emotions.  It is OK to feel the emotion but then learn the lesson and let it go.
  • Accept Your Imperfections – It is our imperfections that make us special and unique.  Nobody is perfect.  Flaws and imperfections make us who we are and they don’t make you any less of a person.
  • Like Your Reflection – Learn to look in the mirror and see the things you do like.  Your makeup may not be perfect, but your hair looks good today.
  • Accept Your Weaknesses – We all have weaknesses, you can acknowledge them without allowing them to rule your life with self-doubt.
  • Let Go of Regret – You can think about the past but don’t let it overwhelm you.  If there is a lesson to be learned or an apology needed, so be it.  Forgive yourself.
  • Accept Compliments – Say thank you instead of shying away from a compliment.  Own your positive traits and be proud.
  • Enjoy Your Success – Step back and enjoy your accomplishments, even those little things in every day life.  You prepared a lovely meal tonight!
  • Support & Share – Be around people that practice positivity, so you can stop the negative self-talk.  Embrace and share your strengths with others.
  • Express Gratitude – Share your sincere appreciation for those around you.  People may not remember everything you say and do, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Like “most” of yourself, as much as you can.  We may not get to 100% self-satisfaction, but aim for it… and be content with where you are and the changes you have made.

You have the power to improve your life and you deserve true happiness.  Treat yourself like someone worthy of love, respect and compassion, and your life will be joyful.

The most beautiful thing is when we realise how imperfectly perfect we really are.  Then we will be open for the love and life flowing around us.  The secret in learning to love yourself, is learning to see who you really are and accepting yourself with gratitude.

Take care, Karen.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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How to Find Your True Beauty Without Feeling Fake

We spend most of our lives trying to fit in, be the person we think we should be and losing that true beauty within.  Why does it take us so long to feel comfortable in our own skin?  Why do we feel the need to be like others and not value the differences that make us so unique?

The beauty in life works magically, when everyone is being there true self and owning who they really are.  It really is magic, when you finally realise… being yourself is what makes you beautiful.

To be able to be yourself, in a complicated world, that is constantly trying to make you something else, will be the greatest accomplishment in life.  Be who you really are and say what you really feel.  Practice being grateful, be kind and understanding towards others, forgive yourself and accept yourself for the real person you are.  You don’t need to be like others, be yourself and life will fall into place naturally.

Challenge your own thinking with reason and logic.  Pay attention to your thoughts and learn to recognise when your ego is corrupting the process.  Take charge, be unique, find your worth, become the person that you love and respect.

Nothing makes a woman more beautiful, than the personal belief that she is beautiful.  Believe in yourself.  Have the courage, to allow yourself… to be yourself.  And watch the magic begin.

Take care, Karen.

“Beauty Begins the Moment you Decide to be Yourself” ~ Coco Chanel

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