Toastmasters Reclaims Motivation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

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“The Three C’s of Life:

Choices, Chances, Changes.

You must make a Choice

to take a Chance

or your life will never Change.”

~ Zig Ziglar

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Just Get Off the Farm to Chill With Men of League

A sense of gratitude displayed today, as farmers with a genuine love for the industry, gave themselves some time out, with the generosity and kindness from the Tamworth Men of League.

A Farmers Grill & Chill Re-Run held at the Calala Inn today has left farmers feeling supported, cared for and new friendships have been formed.  Strength has been restored in the local farming community, by easing the pressure of drought through the sharing of a delicious meal, sharing stories and having a good laugh.

The Tamworth Men of League hosted a free lunchtime meal and drinks in the beer garden of the Calala Inn, near Tamworth NSW.  As farmers enjoyed a cold one, smiles returned as the drought load was lightened in simple conversation with old and new friends.

The Men of League Foundation is an Australian rugby league charity providing support and assistance to men, women and children from the rugby league community who have fallen on hard times.  The Tamworth Men of League have once again expanded that support to the local farming region.  They invited local farming families to the second Grill & Chill event, following its success last year.

This was the first event that my husband and I have attended.  Feeling a little awkward at first, for just allowing others to show their support, yet quickly we were made to feel welcome and very comfortable.

We shared friendly conversations with other farmers that we had just met, feeling an instant connection and relatability to issues within our lives.  The positive discussions lifted spirits and recharged our inner batteries.

The chefs at Calala Inn provided a delicious cooked meal including steak, sausages, vegetables and salad, on behalf of the Tamworth Men of League.  The tasty meal was served buffet style.  The staff behind the scenes made this happen.

It enlightened me, to see the selfless acts of kindness in organising such an event to support farmers in a time of need.  Industry support with a personal touch, was at the grass-roots of the event.

Sponsors provided a variety of valuable lucky-door prizes for farmers to all enjoy.  The many sponsors generously provided these prizes, so to hear their names reminded us of the businesses that supported this hospitable occasion.

I was fortunate to meet exceptional people today… those that so kindly put this event together and their thoughtful family members, as well as those strangers that became friends ever so quickly, through mutual understanding or compassionate connection.

Thank you to Kevin and the Tamworth Men of League team for your thoughtful acts of kindness, your support and your gracious hearts in our local community.  It is empowering to see the difference you make in so many lives.  Today was not only a  simple meal, drink and a prize being provided… but rather the analogy of an outstretched arm of support and a gentle reminder of the good people that exist in our community at large.

It is in these tough times that we have seen so many selfless acts of kindness be revealed.  And it is with this supportive shining light, that gives farmers the strength to hold onto their passion in sustaining the agricultural industry into the future.

Take care, Karen.

“Sometimes we just need someone to be there for us.

Not to fix anything or do anything in particular,

simply so that we can feel we are supported

and cared for during the hard times.”

~ Author Unknown

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Taking Control of Business and Empowering Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

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“Gaining knowledge, is the first step to wisdom.

Sharing it, is the first step to humanity.”

~ Author Unknown

CWA Conference Aspires Leadership & Friendship from Albury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, Karen.

 “Don’t let anything defeat you.”

~ Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley

Video Credit: YouTube and Karen Weller

Launching My New ‘Writing & Admin Service’ Website

It is now official… Karen Weller ~ Freelance Writing & Administration Service website has been launched today. My passion for writing and administration has enabled me to share my skills and expertise, as I offer my new business services to the community.

I am quite excited to be able to use my 25 years of administration experience and business management, outside of my normal agricultural-based businesses. Although this experience and my former qualifications have prepared me, I am passionate that this new business is based on my own unique ability and services.

It is with great pleasure that I am now able to provide administration services and freelance writing projects to individuals, businesses and organisations. If you are in need of an honest person with integrity and reliability, to bring your business projects clarity and organisation, I am that person you are seeking.

With a strong work ethic and self-motivation, I can produce high-quality work with a personal touch. From inspirational writing and media articles… to grant applications and secretarial services; I can bring your business a touch of creative design, convey emotion and connection through words and prepare business documents. I can also assist with making your ideas into a plan of action.

With my streamlined process; a simple communication via phone or email, to give me an initial understanding of what you need; I then offer my appropriate administration services to suit the individual situation. Communication is maintained and your ideas are incorporated into the project, until it is finalised. As a result, you end up with an inspiring article, a marketing tool or a captivating document, in a timely manner. Your satisfaction is assured.

With the power of technology and digital communications, my services can be provided nation-wide. I am also willing to travel to service the Tamworth NSW region with face-to-face meetings if that is preferred.

I look forward to working with you on your next project and make it into a reality. I will bring inspiration to your articles to captivate your audience or to bring organisation and a professional touch into your office.

Please see my new website, Karen Weller ~ Freelance Writing & Administration Service for more information or contact me to discuss your needs.

Kind Regards,

Karen Weller

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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

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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Tamworth Country Music Festival 2019 ~ Part 2

Further to my story here at Tamworth NSW (Australia), for my final recap from the Toyota Tamworth Country Music Festival 2019.  It is a wrap… done and dusted… and what an enjoyable, fun-filled, relaxing time that we have all had during the last 10 days of the festival.  The country music talent never ceases and the entertainment factor has been incredible.  Over 300,000 music lovers have enjoyed their time here at the festival… and what an incredible experience for everyone, especially during this horrid drought.

Farmers have had a little time out, rural families have found some enjoyment, city folk have supported the businesses that had been doing it tough over the last year.  Everyone has come together through their passion for country music and this music has encompassed their lives and lifted spirits across the community.  My personal experience has continued on the road of thrills and indulgence.

On Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from Clipex Fencing & Stockyards, to ask if I would like 2 complimentary tickets for my husband and I, to attend the concerts of Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole.  I was astonished and almost paralyzed… why me… why us… there are so many farmers, that would deserve this generous offer.  But rather than worry or feel selfish for being presented with this wonderful opportunity to give us a night out… I just felt so very thankful.  As a Clipex customer, we were so grateful to this local fencing business and their staff… and their kindness was appreciated so very much.

Whilst we had been attending some free shows at the local clubs during the music festival, we had only purchased tickets for shows, to support breast cancer through the McGrath Foundation and drought relief through the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.  So this was very special for us, as a farmer in drought with limited finances, this opportunity was of great value.

Adam Harvey – Friday 25th January

We were still amazed that we had received this generous opportunity to attend Adam Harvey‘s concert.  As we sat waiting for the concert to start, my husband and I were so excited and thankful to Clipex Fencing.  We were so lucky.  I don’t think we have smiled this much for so long.

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The show started with support act Judah Kelly, best known for winning The Voice Australia in 2017.  This young man’s voice really is amazing with his unique range.

We then enjoyed the music from Adam Harvey himself, from his older tunes to his more recent ones.  What I like about Adam, is that he is a genuinely nice fella and is good-hearted and supportive of other young artists.  His guest artists for the show included Catherine Britt and Troy Cassar-Daley.  He also introduced his lovely daughter Layla Harvey and then proudly sang a duet with her.  I really love his laid-back music style and down-to-earth lyrics.

Beccy Cole – Friday 25th January

The good times continued in the next concert with Beccy Cole and the Sisters of Twang.  The all-girl line-up was an absolute hit for festival-goers and a performance to remember.  I still could not believe we were so lucky to receive these complimentary tickets to see this incredible show, thanks to Clipex Fencing.

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The powerful voice of Beccy Cole was incredible and her passion through her songs was captivating.  This may have been my favourite show at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.  I really loved her humour, her story-telling and her heartfelt lyrics.  Her guest artists included her son Ricky Albeck, Kelly Brouhaha, her mother Carole Sturtzel and her partner Libby O’Donovan.  It was lovely watching the emotional performance with Beccy Cole and her son Ricky Albeck.  The heartwarming connection was visible as mother and son shared their mutual passion for music, both with their own individual styles.  As a mother myself, this was just beautiful to witness and enjoy.

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What I really like about Beccy Cole… was the way she promoted feminism and women supporting each other in this day and age.  By no means is she a man-hater, as she is a mother of a son, that means the world to her.  She just wants women to be nice to each other and accept ourselves for who we are… which I think is great advice for us all.  Her kind words and fun-loving performance… left us all feeling strong and capable to face the world.

It was nice to see a “Drought Relief” CD amongst others at her CD store, from various artists for the drought appeal.  As a farmer in drought, this gesture is very much appreciated, when we see the support in front of us every day.  The drought support has been nation-wide from not only music artists, but everyday Australians in city and country, young and old.  This generosity and support make us feel like you have our back and care about the future of Australian food and fibre.  So thank you so much.

Australia Day – Saturday 26th January

Australia Day is the national day set aside to celebrate being Australian, regardless of where our personal stories may have begun.  It is a day for us to all reflect on being Australian, be proud of our culture, celebrate our nation and recognise our history.

What better way to celebrate Australia Day… than spending time with my lovely sister and her beautiful family, when they visit Tamworth this weekend.  We enjoyed a buffet-style dinner together, in the J&L Family Restaurant at the Tamworth Services Club.  There was plenty of choice with succulent seafood including prawns, oysters, smoked salmon… a variety of carvery roasts and vegetables, Chinese cuisine, fresh salads, fruit platters and delicious desserts.  There was something for everyone to choose to their liking, both adults and children.

I remember sitting and reflecting on being Australian… enjoying the company of my family, enjoying tasty fresh food in the local community, and with a sense of proudness for the ex-servicemen and women that fought for our freedom many years ago… so we can continue to enjoy our beautiful country.  I respect the multi-culturalism of Australia and recognise all of our origins… a history that ultimately unites us within our nation.

Following our dinner, we then enjoyed a stroll in the park and listened to some more country music from Tamworth’s best local artists.  The finale was watching the spectacular fireworks with my nieces and nephew.  What is it about fireworks that just seems to fascinate us all and brings us to a complete stand-still momentarily?  From the young children through to the older generation… we all just watch calmly in awe.

Tex Dubbo – Sunday 27th January

My final show was the Tex Dubbo gig… the alter ego of Troy Cassar-Daley, singing old-style songs from renowned country music artists that inspired him.  At this show, Troy does not sing his own songs… but pays homage to the music that has shaped his own career.  We heard original songs from the music of Merle Haggard, George Jones and Willie Nelson… which were relaxing and unwinding for me.  This show happens every second year, is very popular and held at the Longyard Hotel.

His wife Laurel Edwards, supported him in some of his show.  I really like how Troy is so respectfully open and speaks so highly about his lovely wife and their life together.  This gives you so much respect towards him, knowing that he is a very decent bloke and that he appreciates his wife.  As a loving wife myself, I think this is just wonderful.

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Despite the 39 degree heat in the open garden area, I enjoyed the show with my sister and her family.  My sister and her husband love these old-style songs, and I loved to see the enjoyment on their faces as well, as they enjoyed some time-out.  My husband and I also enjoyed a great lunch from the bistro as we enjoyed the music.

And the show must end!  As my lovely sister and her family headed back home to Dubbo, my husband and I returned back to the farm.  Shearing is happening the following day on our farm, so the evening is spent mustering sheep to the yard, ready for tomorrow’s early start.

What a huge jam-packed music festival over the last 10 days!  The festival ended yesterday and is now over… until next year.  So I encourage you all to add the Tamworth Country Music Festival to your “TO DO” list.  This event is not to be missed.  Bear in mind, you will probably enjoy yourself so much, that you may return year after year.

We all deserve a little break every now and then.  It is what keeps us sane and recharged to work effectively in whatever industry we are involved with.  Farmers tend to not take enough time-out… due to the ongoing daily workload and costs.  But in this current drought, it is more important than ever, to look after yourself and your loved ones.  My husband and I are more focused than ever, to tackle life and farming again… with thanks to those music artists and entertainers that support this major festival.

Take care, Karen.

“Never get so busy making a living

that you forget to make a life.”

~ Author Unknown

 

Tamworth Country Music Festival 2019 ~ Part 1

The country music talent and the enjoyable entertainment is non-stop here in Tamworth NSW (Australia) this last week.  Everyone is coming “out of the woodwork”, to find their favourite country music stars and discovering some newly-emerging talent.  Singing and dancing are happening all around Tamworth at the moment.  With over 300,000 music lovers, enjoying 700 performers, at 2800 events… there is so much for everyone to see and do.  We are just over halfway through the festival, which ends on Sunday 27th January 2019.

As a last minute decision, I decided to allow myself some time-out to enjoy the Country Music Festival this year, especially now that I live only a half hour drive from Tamworth.  The farm duties and office routines have all been put on hold (but we manage to fit the more urgent jobs in, around our social activities, which really is a rare occurrence for us).  Since the drought has been so much of a burden this last year… it was time to let our hair down.  Not only for my own sanity, but for my husband as well… we both needed some time-out and reminded ourselves of the healing ability that music induces.  So here is a recap of what I have been up to and will also give you a few ideas for when you do attend the music festival.

Opening Concert in Toyota Park – Friday 18th January

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As an invited VIP guest of Clipex Fencing, we attended the Opening Ceremony at Toyota Park.  In a more private marquee setting we were provided with shade, seating, cold drinks and finger-food, whilst we watched and enjoyed the beautiful music from the CMAA Academy of Country Music students and tutors.  As a bonus, we were able to meet and chat with Adam Harvey, the Clipex Brand Ambassador.

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However, the concert in the park is a free event open to everyone, so you can just bring a chair and some drinks/snacks to enjoy the music anywhere in the park, then watch the spectacular fireworks.  The opening concert was hosted by Felicity Urquhart.

“The Great Australian Round Up” Main Event & Rodeo – Saturday 19th January

This was a unique and exciting event introduced this year, with internationally renowned Guy McLean and his incredible stock horses, held at the Australian Equine & Livestock Events Centre (AELEC).  This was a charity event to raise money for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and other vital rural services.

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His extraordinary horsemanship skills absolutely amazed me.  To see his performance, gives you a small sense of appreciation of the work this man puts into these beautiful horses, to train them to happily perform without bridles or leads.  It is absolutely mind-blowing.

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This was followed with some exciting rodeo action, with cowboys on bucking horses and bulls and cowgirls on their well-trained horses.  My favourite part of the rodeo, was watching the young boys riding the mini bulls.

Darren Carr & Other Dummies – Sunday 20th January

OMG this was the funniest thing I have ever seen.  Darren Carr is known as Australia’s #1 stand-up ventriloquist.  With his natural comedy and cast of crazy characters, his performance is so hilariously entertaining.   This was an amazing show held at the West Tamworth League Club.

Country Turns Pink – Sunday 20th January

This was a big concert… with big name Country Stars performing their well-loved songs, and introducing new and upcoming artists.  It was hosted by comedian Darren Carr, with all proceeds going to the McGrath Foundation.  This is an important charity raising money to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses, who provide invaluable support and care to women and men experiencing breast cancer.  The McGrath Breast Care Nurses bring peace of mind to many families, through their expert knowledge, personal care and genuine compassion.

I was passionate about attending this event, to not only show my support of the McGrath Foundation, but on a personal level as well.  A good family friend of mine has just recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and undergone breast surgery only a week ago.  The McGrath Foundation is a great cause and this event has raised over $119,000 over the last 4 years.  Thank you to the country music artists that support this event and the venue West Tamworth League Club.  We enjoyed music from artists such as Tania Kernaghan, Gina Jeffreys, Beccy ColeAdam Harvey and Amber Lawrence.

Pete Denahy Comedy & Bluegrass – Tuesday 22nd January

We enjoyed Pete Denahy in this early morning show with plenty of laughter and great music from the bluegrass genre.  We also enjoyed his other special guests with comedy performances and more bluegrass style music.  This was a very relaxing show and free to members and guests of West Tamworth League Club.  I really love the unique element that the double bass, fiddle and mandolin bring to this show.

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Legends Long Lunch – Tuesday 22nd January

The stars of the show were Daniel Thompson, Mike Carr, Anthony Taylor and Luke Austen.  Their interaction, their humour and their music talent, entertained us for several hours in a free show at West Tamworth League Club.  We also enjoyed their “surprise” special guests joining them on stage to entertain us alongside them.  My favourite part was Daniel Thompson singing “Johnny Cash” songs in his very low voice.

Buskers Street Performance – Wednesday 23rd January

There are a variety of buskers singing their hearts out right along Peel St as well as other entertainers and artists on stages throughout the CBD.  A visit to the Tamworth Country Music Festival cannot happen without checking out the many buskers.  This morning after my doctor visit in the centre of town, I had a quick wander along the main street to see and hear some of the buskers and visited a few street stalls.  It really is a lovely atmosphere and worth seeing.

More to come…

With still 4 days to go and my sister visiting on the weekend, I will give you the rest of the recap next week (Part 2).  If you are lucky enough to be attending this year’s music festival, I hope you enjoy the remaining few days.  It is not too late to come to Tamworth, as there are still daily shows at all hours.  Otherwise, please mark your calendar for next year.

This experience is worth it and I can guarantee, as a stressed-out farmer in need of something else, this has done the trick.  My husband and I are both calmer, more relaxed, more focused to work and more capable to get on with our demanding everyday jobs on the farm.  We are enjoying life again and that is an amazing feeling.  And who better than to enjoy this experience with, but my favourite person in the whole world, my husband Peter.

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For more information see Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2019.

Take care, Karen.

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

~ Berthold Auerbach, a German Poet & Author

Revel in Country Music at Australia’s #1 Festival

Get ready for Australia’s largest music festival starting in only 3 days.  Tamworth NSW is famous for hosting the annual Toyota Country Music Festival in January each year.  A festival where many renowned country music artists and thousands of fans flock from all over the nation and from abroad to our regional city for 10 whole days of fun, live music and entertainment.

Not only is this the largest music festival in Australia, but the second largest music festival in the world.  WOW that is huge… 700 artists, at more than 2800 events across the city, over 10 days and nights.  Starting Friday 18th January until Sunday 27th January 2019… there is something for everyone.  And it is not too late!

The Tamworth Country Music Festival is a unique festival experience and attendance is free to all.  There are free shows every night in Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park) for you to enjoy.  Main streets are closed off for buskers, stalls, children’s activities and street performers.  You can choose from over 2800 free and ticketed shows over the 10 days in the park, pubs, clubs and hotels around Tamworth.  The Tamworth region is dynamic and in full festival swing.

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The Country Music Festival is a family-friendly event, with free concerts in Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park) in Kable Avenue, the Toyota Country Music Fanzone stage in Fitzroy Street, busking and live entertainment for all ages.  Bring the whole family and check out the Family Zone for rides, entertainment and more in Kable Avenue during the festival.

There are tickets available for gigs by performing artists in the lead-up and during the Country Music Festival.  From live performances, entertainment, country music attractions and other festival activities… this annual event is not to be missed.

To name a few of the renowned performers for the 2019 Country Music Festival…. Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Catherine Britt, Adam Brand and The Bushwackers.

If the red carpet tickles your fancy… the Golden Guitar Awards night is an opportunity to rub shoulders with the biggest names in country music and see them perform in one huge concert at the TRECC.  This is the finale to the 10 day Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2019.  The Golden Guitar Awards are the nation’s longest running music awards concert.

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In search of the next Toyota Star Maker 2019… 10 of Australia’s top emerging country music artists will compete to become the 40th Toyota Star Maker winner at the Grand Final, the main event on the first Sunday of the festival.  The 2018 Toyota Star Maker Winner last year was Brad Cox.

My husband and I did attend a few concerts and shows last year with some good friends.  I remember enjoying Australian singer/songwriter Shane Nicholson at “The Pub” last year.  We also laughed with friends at the “Longyard Hotel” when listening to the crazy antics of a fast-paced show with the Australian band The Bushwackers.  After attending the free Opening Concert in the park and enjoying a variety of artists, I then purchased tickets to attend the “Moonshiners Honky Tonk Bar” for Travis Collins show later in the week.  I also love to walk around the Tamworth street stalls and listen to the variety of buskers… always finding a favourite.

If you are wanting something a little different, you can enjoy the excitement of the ABCRA National Finals Rodeo and Campdraft.  A week of elite Rodeo and Campdraft action at Tamworth’s Australian Equine Livestock & Events Centre (AELEC)   The thrill of cowboys competing for the buckle… highly experienced bucking stock, who thrive on dumping cowboy’s in the dust… and cowgirls upon their horses in a showdown after years of training.  The dynamic energy will have you on the edge of your seat.

Another new 2-day event to provide an exciting, unique and new element to the Tamworth Country Music Festival for both tourists and locals… is the Great Australian Round Up.  It is to be held at AELEC to celebrate our farming heritage and support our agricultural future.  This is a charity event raising money for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and other vital rural services.  Showcasing Australian country exhibitions and memorabilia from the legendary Longreach Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.  The main event will include internationally renowned Guy McLean and his incredible stock horses, as seen on Australia’s Got Talent (see YouTube link for his audition).  An elite Rodeo extravaganza will follow.  Not only the excitement of rodeo action, The Great Australian Round Up rodeo will tell a story of the heritage of rodeo in Australia, highlighting its importance in today’s rural communities.

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Tamworth country music attractions available all year round include the Big Golden Guitar, Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, Wax Museum, Galaxy of Stars, Roll of Renown and Hands of Fame.

Keep in mind, the Tamworth agricultural industry has been suffering the effects of drought on the land, so the businesses in town have felt this too.  This annual festival is a chance for you to come and spend your money in Tamworth to support the local businesses who have suffered as a domino effect of this horrid drought.  We have seen drought support across the nation, but now is your chance to help first hand and put money back into our rural community by attending this entertaining festival.  We are all in this together and I hope that we can all enjoy some time-out, great music and entertainment galore.

So it doesn’t matter if you are seeking live country music entertainment, exciting country activities or sensational country events… it will all be here ready and waiting for you in Tamworth NSW.  Come and see what the Tamworth region has to offer.  Book your accommodation now and bring your family and friends, a hat, sunscreen, fold-up chair or picnic rug for outdoor concerts, photo ID for the pubs/clubs… and you will be ready for an experience you will never forget.

For more information see Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2019.

Take care, Karen.

“A good country song 

takes a page out of somebody’s life

and puts it to music.”

~ Conway Twitty, American Country Music Singer

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