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.

 

 

 

The Heart of CWA in the High Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world

cannot be seen or even touched ~

they must be felt with the heart.”

~ Helen Keller

Farming: A Passion or a Burden

What a challenge to be farming in Australia… with the current heartbreaking drought and then the recent Queensland flood crisis.  It is with heartfelt empathy, understanding and support of strangers that farmers value the care within the community.

This week I have been speaking about farming, the challenges with extreme weather events and the kind generosity within the community.  I had my first speech assignment at Tamworth ToastMasters on Monday night, and then on Wednesday at C.W.A Wanthella Group Council Meeting at Uralla.  Two organisations and two speeches later… agriculture and the environment has been the topic and is still at the forefront of my mind.  Now I shall share my thoughts with you too.

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Agriculture is all around us and a part of everybody’s lives… from the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the water we wash with.  The agricultural industry is an industry worth sustaining for the future food security of our beautiful and clean nation.

Drought is nothing new, but a normal challenge that farmers experience over certain years.  But this is the worst drought in 100 years.  Not only the severity of the dry spell, but the length of time that farmers have endured to date.  The problem is that this drought is so widespread across our country, that farmers options have become far too limited, so their structured “Drought Management Plans” fail to deliver.  Agistment is not an option in this drought, due to the widespread effect, so farmers are forced to sell their livestock or feed the remaining core breeders.

Sadly the ongoing drought is devastating for Australian farmers, as they struggle daily to keep up with the physical demands of feeding their remaining livestock and carting water.  Farmers are working 7 days a week, are feeling exhausted and families are suffering.  Farming has temporarily become a burden, rather than a passion.

The financial strain is consuming our farmers, with increasing farm loans to purchase feed (which has more than doubled in price), the cost of updating or maintaining water infrastructure, machinery maintenance, livestock husbandry costs… let alone the general living expenses and medical bills of their families.  All with no income.

When farmers do not have the money to spend in town, the drought then impacts the local businesses.  The devastating effects of drought, may first consume the farmer… but like a domino effect… everyone is suffering.

The mental anguish torments farmers… as they worry about keeping their stock, not only alive, but productive.  Stressing about how they will pay that next feed bill without any income.  Wondering how to keep strong for their families sake.  Of course mental health is going to be a concern.  Farmers are mostly resilient and somehow manage to cope… but there are organisations that are available to farmers when needed.

One of the main things keeping farmers sane… is seeing the kind support of the Australian community.  The empathy and compassion shown to farmers, has been incredibly uplifting.

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The Australian culture is to naturally help people in need.  Our community spirit and generosity has emerged during this prolonged drought crisis… and it is this that gives farmers the strength and motivation to survive.  We have seen community groups, businesses and individuals… rally for our farmers and support the future of the agricultural industry.

It is the emotional support through these action, that motivate farmers to stay focused despite their livelihood and future being so uncertain.  The monetary donations have assisted farmers financially or the few bales of hay may feed some livestock for a few days.  But the real value is multiplied… knowing that people care about farming… care about our future food security and care about the industry as a whole.  It is just knowing that people do care and want to help.  Farmers are sincerely thankful for this.

Everyone sees photos of hungry stock, parched farmland and stressed farmers in the media…  but the farmer lives it every day, still putting on a brave face.  Farming is a gamble that does rely heavily on the weather.

My heart goes out to the Queensland farmers with the recent flood crisis.  Struggling with drought for many years… then the devastation of flooding.  Nobody could have prepared for this.  More than 500,000 cattle were killed as a result of the Queensland flood and another 150,000 struggling to survive.  With the flood, the cold weather, the mud and no feed… many cattle faced their last moments filled with fear and panic.  Farmers care about the welfare of their livestock… so this has been an incredibly emotional time for them.

Nobody expected the onset of the much-needed rain… to turn into a major disaster.  As the water dried up… just imagine the catastrophe that unfolded.  Farmers feeling helpless as their livestock are washed away due to weakness.  Fences washed away completely or needing major repairs.  Scattered livestock, bogged in mud and dying.  Farmers having to put down some of their livestock to be humane.  Dead animals everywhere.  The emotional task of cleaning up is enormous and overwhelming.

Rain does not normally produce sadness, it is usually welcomed by farmers.  But not in excess causing such devastation.  Once again, Australians rally together to support our farming communities in dire need.  Their compassion, assistance and kind support come unconditionally.  Sometimes the farmer’s gratitude remains unspoken, due to embarrassment or strength of character.  But farmers are truly thankful to the community for their true Aussie compassion and support.

Farmers do have an underlying passion for farming and a commitment to secure the future of the Australian agricultural industry.  We are all connected through agriculture and we are all in this together.  It is the community trust and support, that has become the real saviour.

Farmers are finding the strength and determination to continue to feed and clothe our nation into the future.  One day their resilience will allow for the burden to lift and the passion to be restored.

Take care, Karen

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“A kind gesture can reach a wound

that only compassion can heal.”

~ Steve Maraboli

 

From Exploiting Women…To The Triumphs of Strong Women

It saddens me that women still have to fight for feminism rights and respect within this world.  Today I tackle a controversial issue that irritates me within the Australian culture… the exploitation of women.  After being faced with an incident last week, it has played on my mind, and now it is time I revealed my annoyance with the way women are looked upon as inferior sexualised objects.  Australia is supposed to be a pretty advanced society and women’s rights have been successfully implemented over this last century.

Despite the strength of many women, we are still faced with sex-based discrimination bringing an abundance of emotional torment to women every day in this country.  Why do some men welcome this exploitation for their mere selfish pleasure?  Why do some women allow themselves to be regarded as the inferior sex and settle for being taken advantage of regularly?

Historically, Australia is a male-dominated society, which started way back in 1788 when the British settled upon this land.  There has predominantly been a lack of respect and inferiority that continued for many generations.  Despite the equity of women becoming more accepted in Australia now… sadly I am reminded that we still have further hurdles.

Thankfully most Australian’s are respectable and there is support for women’s liberation every day around us… and not all men are so superficially challenged.  During this last week, I have witnessed both extremes… from very supportive women to the exploitation of women.

After enjoying several performances and shows during the Tamworth Country Music Festival, I was having a wonderful time and enjoying time away from the farm.  However, there was one particular performance that really did annoy me… which in my opinion, is working against the progress that women have made.  Not to mention names of the “not so great” performing group or venue… the exploitation of a woman within their performance, I found extremely crude and disrespectful.  Not funny at all.

To set the stage for you…

A young woman was “selected” from the audience as a volunteer, which may or may not have been part of the act.  The attractiveness of the young woman was verbally stated as part of the show… but it was the inappropriateness of the in-depth references to her body parts and blatant sexual advances, that I found very offensive. I am not too much of a prude and I don’t mind a little crudeness for humorous purposes.  But the sexual suggestions and inappropriate requests from the all-male performers… such as asking her to stroke the tambourine with intimate references, continuous bending over to take a bow in order to give the drummer a view of her butt in her short shorts, jumping up and down in excitement with men tantalising over bouncing breasts, brazen suggestions for a wet T-shirt to be brought to the stage, the fiddle player “accidentally” on purpose poking her breast with his bow, and the ongoing sexual advances… this was not entertainment but patronising vulgarity.

The saddest part was that this young woman was all too obliging and acted very “ditsy” when carrying on with their show.  Her foolishness within this show, made women appear brainless and cheap.  It made out as if women are worthless and our purpose is only for the sexual connotations for men.  This notion is so prehistoric and I found it crude that this was depicted in this way.  This type of presumptuous demeanor is a tragic insult to women in general.

Women have come so far in this world with equality, through women’s liberation and feminism, and our value has finally been acknowledged.  Sadly, I felt sorry for this woman being exploited (whether she realised it or not).  I felt sorry for the women in the audience (mainly an older generation)… thinking that this was normal back in their day and not considered sexual harassment at all.  And I felt sorry for the men that watched (and maybe quietly enjoyed the show) whether they realised it was disrespectful or not.  As a mother of 2 sons, I would be disgusted and disappointed if my sons treated women like this… and I am grateful that my husband respects women and is not superficial.

I watched the show for a short while, despite their early warning that their aim was to offend people and challenge political incorrectness.  I really thought the show could be quite funny.  Once I realised that this show was far too objectionable for my liking, I did leave the venue, as a personal statement that I did not support the exploitation of women by anyone.

Women are not sexual objects… they do need men to drool over their superficial looks and sexuality.  Women want to feel like a work of art… not a “piece of meat”.  Women have thoughts and feelings… they have opinions and talent… they deserve to be treated with dignity and regarded as an equal gender.  No more, no less, equal.

Although the disrespect may be evoked by many men in our community, it is women who allow them to be disrespectful towards them.  Women must realise their worth and stand up for themselves.  As women, we need to promote the well-being of all women.  If we are more liberated, the men will see that we deserve the respect we seek.

In a paradoxical moment, only several days later, I was able to witness a heartfelt supportive woman.  I attended Beccy Cole’s concert and enjoyed her fun-loving stage presence, her humour and her music.  Something that stuck with me… at the end of her show, her outspoken statements in support of feminism.  She just wants women to be nice to each other and accept ourselves for who we are.  Women need to support each other and boost each other up.  Her kind words really resonated with me, as I totally support this notion.

Similarly, when I attended another big concert “Country Turns Pink” which was raising funds for the McGrath Foundation, I witnessed another inspiring event.  Many music artists showed their support at this event and of women in general.  Beautiful music and lyrics touched the audience thanks to artists such as Tania Kernaghan, Gina Jeffreys, Beccy ColeAdam Harvey and Amber Lawrence.

I would like to share this song I enjoyed when sung by Amber Lawrence as I really loved the beautiful lyrics… “Cheers to the Girls”.  The uplifting song is about women realising their own worth, taking back their power, standing up for themselves and following their dreams.  I am sure that every girl and woman can relate to this song and has felt these sort of feelings at some point in their lives.  This is what we should be promoting for women… and we deserve nothing less.  Listen and enjoy!

Take care, Karen.

“Women of Worth

She is someone’s daughter

She is someone’s friend

She is someone’s sister

She is someone…”

~ Author Unknown

Video Credit: Amber Lawrence & YouTube

Exposing The Truth On Why I Chose To Write A Blog?

Why on earth do people want to blog?  Why would you want to spend time doing such a thing?  Well for me, it was an emotional outlet… a platform to share and connect with others.  There is something magical about opening your heart to allow others to see the real you. love-1221444__340

It is a way I can remotely share my real-life stories and inspire others along their journey in life.  It is a tool for me to use in order to manage my stress related to the current drought on the farm.  It gives me a voice and somewhere to write my thoughts and feelings.

Why not a journal or diary, some may ask?  I have a passion to help others and I can see a need where others can relate through reading my words.  It gives a sense of support and knowing that we are in this together.  I am passionate about encouraging others to believe in themselves and I aim to inspire others through my own experiences.logo-1677364__340

Conventional writing has taken a back seat, as the tech-savvy readers emerge, reshaping the internet media landscape.  Some people may think that bloggers like to be the centre of attention and regard themselves as their own prime focus.  NO, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In fact, bloggers are more introverted, sometimes shy, yet have something important to share.  Connections can still be relevant in our changing world through this means.  Bloggers support some sort of cause or have a passion to inspire others or enrich their lives in some way.

For me, blogging started as a result of the drought, when my stress-levels had sky-rocketed.  I had hit rock-bottom in my physical and mental health.  But I was brave enough to seek some professional help and my life started to improve dramatically.

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Then I started to see the community drought support right across our nation and this was completely overwhelming.  I wanted to thank the community for all the drought assistance and emotional support they were providing to farmers through the charities.  I wanted you all to know how valuable you all were and what a difference your support was making in all our lives.  Blogging gave me this voice publicly.

Sharing through my daily blogs, helps me keep connected with my family and friends further afield.  My Mum especially loves to read what I write.  I know that she is content knowing that I am doing OK and now serving a greater purpose with my writing.  My non-farming friends and associates have enjoyed reading my blogs and like learning about farming life.  My blog keeps us all connected and informed.

Blogging also gives me the ability to be creative with my website design.  As a perfectionist, I took great pride in designing my website from scratch.  Every time I write a blog, it gives me an opportunity to express myself creatively.  I want it to be a true representation of myself and my passion in life.

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It took me a few weeks to feel comfortable enough to reveal who I really was.  Trust does not come easily to me at all.  But I realised that I must trust in the process and allow my purpose in life to be revealed.  The main reason I decided to “expose” myself, was to give credibility and as honesty is my most honourable attribute… it was inevitable.

From there blogging became a commitment to touch others hearts by sharing my personal stories on and off the farm.  I also noticed a need where many others doubted their own abilities and inspiration was needed to guide self-worth for all. heart-2466384__340

There is something to be gained by moving my personal stories from an invisible state into the light for others to see.  When I receive feedback from individuals, thanking me for opening up my heart and sharing my stories… it gives me a sense of fulfillment which is gratifying.  It pleases me that I can support or guide others to find their own answers.

I then realised that blogging had become my own form of stress-relief.  As I typed away at the keyboard, all that mixed-up “stuff” in my head was released.  I literally felt calmer within myself and more centred again.  Life then became harmonious… almost tranquil.

So although farm life hadn’t changed at all and drought feeding demands were still a large burden… my ability to handle the situation had changed dramatically.  Instead of feeling complete exhaustion, emotionally chaotic and unable to cope with these challenges… I became more focused and capable of the work involved.

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Sometimes, I feel a little selfish when I write my blog… as I am addicted to that feeling of knowing that it gives me the inner strength I need daily.  It helps me to find my inner thoughts and to move forward in my own life.  It has become almost therapeutic and a daily ritual for me.  Writing is what I love… the words just seem to flow from within.

But the greatest satisfaction is… knowing that my words have impacted on other people.  Knowing that I have inspired somebody else.  Knowing that my words give them the support they need and a connection between us all.  Knowing that sharing my personal experiences will help someone else every single day.  This is what truly gives me a sense of serene contentment.

Take care, Karen.

“BECAUSE WHEN I WRITE,

it’s more than just me at a keyboard.

It’s the universe converging within

the pandemonium of my mind,

and turning it into something

BEAUTIFUL.”

~ Lyndsay Everotm, A Writers Thoughts.

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A Truly Beautiful Mother That Has Belief In Me

Mothers are the most important person we have in our entire lives and they are unable to be replaced.  They are the ones who love us unconditionally and teach us the important lessons in life.

I value the importance of my Mum.  She is the one who instilled those significant values within me.  I am thankful that she shaped me into the kind and generous person I am today.  (Oh yes, I know my Dad had a bit to do with it too, but this blog is about MOTHERS).

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My Mum reminded me yesterday, when she sent me a little message, that mothers are always thinking of their children, no matter how young or old they are.  The message was a positive quote, bringing with it the very powerful thought being conveyed.  It made me smile when I read it and I thought of how much I really love my Mum.

A simple, timeless and kind gesture, one can give to another… brings an overwhelming sense of calmness and clarity in a single moment.  Our mothers are our greatest teacher… a teacher of love, compassion and fearlessness.  The one that loves and cares for you without question.  A true friend for life… and our greatest emotional support.  She is the one that always has your back.

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As a mother myself, I think we tend to value our Mum’s a little more when we start to go through the trials and tribulations of motherhood.  We realise at this time, it wasn’t so easy after all.  I love being a Mum… loving, caring and guiding my own children.  We just want our kids to be happy and grow into well-balanced, kind and resilient individuals.  We want to protect them yet allow them the freedom to learn from their own mistakes.

Our mother is our greatest critic yet our strongest supporter.  You wouldn’t want it any other way.  She will tell you constructively when you need direction and she will support you to the very end.  Her kind words of support and advice, is what we start to hear in our sub-conscious mind in our everyday lives.  What a beautiful legacy to leave with a child… guidance for life.

A good mother always worries that she is not being a good mother.  Motherhood is no easy venture, but worth it when you are able to appreciate it for what it is.  The privilege to raise another human being and guide them to adulthood, to encourage their strengths and embrace their personalities.

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What joy a child does bring to a mother… no matter their age.  As a child, they bring us laughter and daily quirks, memorable moments and gratification.  As your child becomes an adult themselves (although they are still your babies), they now bring you a sense of contentment and excitement as they live their lives.  Then we sit back and hope our work is done.  And hope we have instilled in them, that we are their support for life.

All that I am or hope to be… I owe to my Mum.  She has instilled kindness and generosity within me, a caring sense and compassion which comes naturally.  Her encouragement and belief in me… guides me to shine, to strive and to achieve.  I am proud that I have inherited so many of my mother’s qualities.  She is one very special lady and I am honored to call her MY MUM.  Love you Mum!

Take care, Karen.

“Life doesn’t come with a manual,

it comes with a mother.”

~ Author Unknown

P.S. Please watch this beautiful video, it sums up how significant our mothers really are.

Video Credit:  Jamie O’Neal – YouTube

 

 

This Is Why Farmers Thanks For Drought Donations Are Concealed

Farmers are truly thankful to you all, for the drought assistance being provided by donations from members in the community, in city and country.  It has been brought to my attention, that some people have not noticed farmers acknowledgement of thanks upon receiving financial assistance and care packages during this drought.  This really saddened me, as this has not been my experience at all.  So I thought I should state a couple of facts and share some understanding.

Through the generous donations of individuals and businesses, charities have been able to distribute financial assistance in the current drought.  Farmers are receiving hay donations, bags of dog food for farm working dogs, financial assistance for household bills, care packs, bags of grocery items and mental health support.  The drought assistance is still available to those farmers in need.

The process starts with a person in the city or country donating a little cash or some grocery items.  The charities are then responsible for distributing the donations through financial assistance, bales of hay, grocery packs, fuel vouchers or food vouchers.  Each charity differs on how and what assistance is provided to primary producers.  The farmer is in direct contact with the charity of their choice.

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Some producers are too proud to even ask for assistance so will battle on independently.  The farmers that do anxiously ask for support are usually so embarrassed or feel immeasurable shame.  They don’t have money to feed their stock or even their families.  They are ashamed that they cannot feed their working dog any longer.  Some farmers are feeling a sense of failure in their industry, despite weather being out of their control.

They are mortified to even be in this position to accept help.  Charities, volunteers and mental health professionals are left with the task to convince farmers of their worth and change their mindset.  It is not a failure to accept help when needed.

Thank you letters and personal thankfulness is shown every single day to the charities distributing the donations.  The charities then through newspapers, television and social media share some stories and the gratefulness that is received.  But due to privacy, they are unable to be too specific.

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You may not see the thanks in public very often, but the person distributing the assistance generally gets a front row seat to see the farmer in tears and receives the thanks personally.  This cannot be shared with the community.  But rest assured, farmers have been ever so grateful for this support from the community.

With charities being so busy, maybe there has not been enough of the gratitude shared.  Maybe when things get back on track for everyone, time will be available for reflecting on this.  In the meantime, believe me, farmers are thankful and are showing their sincere appreciation.  Some producers have sent letters to the Editor of many newspapers, thanking the community members and charities for their support.

I am a farmer and have received drought support.  Like all farmers in my position affected by drought, I don’t like to tell everyone.  I do feel embarrassed.  But I have written a letter of thanks to the charity, to show my gratefulness and appreciation of the support I received, also noting the meaningful donations from community members.  My letter has been used in their social media and on their webpage, after asking me would I allow it.  My name was not included and I was happy for my personal story to assist them in return.

I would like to provide some links below to show that farmers are appreciative of the help they receive in the current drought.  It is with the support of community, that farmers continue to do what needs to be done… to feed and clothe our nation.

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Thankfully farmers have that support, financially but more importantly mentally.  Do not under-estimate the real value of your support.  To know that people care about the agricultural industry and to secure the future… is the biggest support we need.

I do not specifically endorse any single charity, but fully support all drought assistance and their intentions.  I have provided the links below for real Testimonials of thanks and more drought assistance information:

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Each and every one of these above charities have received many letters of thanks from farmers.  Some may have published them, some may have not, due to privacy implications.  Volunteers have experienced personal emotional connections of gratitude from farmers and stories have been shared with a sense of appreciation and understanding.

Although it may not be seen in the public eye, farmers are very thankful for the financial and emotional support being provided during this difficult time coping with drought.  It is truly Australian “to have each other’s back” and unite city and country at this time.  So thank you Australia.

Take care, Karen.

“A small group of determined and like-minded people

can change the course of history”

~ Gandhi

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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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