Musings

Childhood Memories in a Box

A few weeks ago my Mum gave me a big box to take home and sort through. It was full of my school work from primary school and early high school that she had kept. It was so much fun to look through, my Sister and I were in fits of giggles. It appears we were both quite the storytellers.

Here’s a few golden nuggets I found:

Some beautiful self portraits…

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My year nine diary where my sports teacher had written on quite a regular basis

“Sarah did not bring her swimming gear today”

“Sarah did not bring a change of clothes for PE today”

I hated sport. Clearly nothing much has changed.

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But hey, at least I was up to date with my Geography homework.

My diary of a high school assignment where we were given an egg and had to pretend it was our baby for a week. The egg was meant to be a symbol of how fragile life is, especially in the early years. We had to take the egg with us everywhere and if we broke it, effectively we had killed our own baby. I think it was supposed to be a warning about teen pregnancy but I just remember it being lots of a fun! This was one of my daily diary entries…if only being a mum was this easy!!

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And the stories, oh the stories. Tons of stories I had written and made into little books with pictures on each page and staples down the side. The collection included such riveting titles as ‘The Big Mansion’, ‘On a Cold, Cold Day’ and ‘The Dog Called Spot’. I also found a two page essay on why McDonalds was my favourite fast food outlet and a rather disturbing story about a fictional plane crash I had supposedly survived. It started with the words “all my life I have been terrified of flying…” again, not much has changed. (Funny because I don’t remember being afraid of flying as a kid).

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Along with the stories there were so many reminders of how much I loved to write. A note on the back of a year twelve practice Enlglish essay where my teacher had written:

“I am so pleased with this Sarah. You are writing confidently, intelligently and referring to the test appropriately- it’s great! I don’t think you need me at all!!!” I remember feeling rather chuffed at that, I really looked up to my English teacher.

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And the results of a survey I took in year nine about what type of career I should have:

“Working with children or people” (tick!) “being creative with words and colours, communication.”

It also told me I would not be good at engineering or repairing machinery. So there you go, it appears a career survey taken when your sixteen can be very telling!

It was amazing how the memories came flooding back as I flicked through years of school projects. Things I had long forgotten but can now remember as clear as if they were yesterday. I threw out a bunch of stuff; maths books mainly but have kept a lot of it. I now hope to do the same for my son so he can look back on his childhood when he is an adult too.

Did your parents keep any of your school work? What did you want to be when you were a kid?

P.S- Have you entered my Mothers Day Giveaway yet? Head over here before Friday to enter!

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Living Small

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Last week I shared this article on my facebook page about a couple who live full time in a bus. Yes, a bus. A few people commented that there was no way they could do that; they need their space. I kinda like the idea of doing up an old bus to travel around in but I don’t think I could do it full time either, if for no other reason than I love my bath. It seems the whole ‘tiny home’ thing is big at the moment, a revolution even. They’ve made a few TV shows about it and there’s blogs about it. It’s a whole ideology that people are gravitating towards; a simpler life with less ‘stuff’. I get that.

We live a small house (about 13sm living space). A few years ago, seduced by a beautiful, big display home we put our house on the market. Circumstances changed and after a couple of weeks we took down the sign. We decided to stay and instead put a bit of money into changing some things around our home; new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, that type of thing. We fell back in love with our house and we realised we really didn’t need a bigger one. After all a bigger house just means there’s more to clean and more space for stuff we don’t really need. I stumbled across this quote and thought it said it all:

“Love grows best in little houses, with fewer walls to separate.

Where you eat and sleep so close together, you can’t help but communicate.

If we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss.

Love grows best in houses just like this.”

Honestly, we still dream of a new house one day, our ‘dream home’ but it will be small with lots of land to roam (that’s the dream anyway).

Is your house big or small? What do you think of the tiny home revolution?

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Love in the Letterbox

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When I was a kid I had a pen pal. She was the daughter of one of my mum’s old friends. We’d see each other once a year when our families went camping together. Our lives were worlds apart. She lived in remote country on a huge sheep farm whilst I lived in the suburbs of Melbourne. We often talked about wanting to swap lives; she wanted to live in the city (hello shops that weren’t hours away) and whilst living remotely didn’t appeal to me I was totally horse mad so dreamt about living on a farm. We’d write to each other regularly and talk about usual girl stuff (aka- boys). I loved it when a letter arrived from her in the letterbox.

Now I’m an adult the only thing I get in the mailbox is bills. Letter writing has been replaced with emails and people stay in touch via social media. I miss getting old fashioned letters. I love it when my birthday comes around each year and there’s that handful of relatives that still send me a birthday card in the mail- it so nice, like receiving a little bit of love in the letterbox. My mum will often send my son a letter or a postcard in the mail. His little face lights up when he sees his name on one of the envelopes.

Last month after our dog passed away we received this beautiful card in the mail.

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I saw that it was postmarked from our Vet and thought it was probably just a standard thing they send out after such an thing but when I opened it our vet had taken the time to handwrite a note inside…..


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It really meant a lot. So thoughtful. A little bit of love in the letterbox.

So because I’m missing the old fashioned mail I’ve signed up for the Happy Mail Project with Fat Mum Slim; it’s like pen pals for adults, fun! I’m excited to see who I get partnered with and look forward to both writing and receiving some letters! (If you haven’t signed up you totally should- this round is still open)

Have you ever had a pen pal? Do you miss getting old fashioned letters? Have you received any love in the letterbox lately?

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

 

 

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A Healthier Me

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If you didn’t know me and saw me walking down the street you’d probably say I’m a pretty fit and healthy person. Because here’s the thing; I’m skinny. I don’t say that to brag, it’s just a fact; thin, petite, small, whatever you want to call it, I’ve always been that way. But here’s the other thing; I’m not fit, nor am I particularly healthy. No I don’t have an eating disorder (I promise!) It appears I’ve just been blessed with a super fast metabolism or something which means I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, without gaining any weight. You hate me know don’t you? But honestly, it’s not as awesome as it seems. Because I can eat crap and get away with it, I do. Because I don’t need to exercise to maintain my weight, I don’t. But as a result that means I’m pretty unhealthy and super unfit. And I’m tired, all of the time and I’ve often wondered if my constant tiredness is due (or at the very least linked) to unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. I’ve known I needed to do something about it for a long time but I never do, or I always start only to give up after a few days. You see it’s very hard to get motivated when you can’t actually “see” any results.

I recently took a trip to my GP to get her opinion on the whole tiredness thing. I’ve always battled with low iron so we’re trying to get that under control. She also referred me to a sleep specialist who I went to see last month. He’s booked me in for an overnight sleep study in August (there’s a bit of waiting list) to see if there’s anything else going on there. I’ve always had trouble falling to sleep and I’m a very light sleeper so he suspects even though I might be in bed for 8 to 1o hours each night I’m not really getting the quality, deep sleep I need. Truth be told staying in a sleep clinic over night, hooked up to wires with people watching me sleep through a window kinda freaks me out so I’m using this as my motivation; lets see if I can get this tiredness issue under control before I get to the point of needing to do a sleep study. Can I get rid of this constant tired feeling by making changes to my lifestyle instead?

Let’s face it, I’m never going to give up chocolate or run a marathon; I don’t want to and I don’t think I need to either. I’m going to start small and build from there. Here’s some goals I’ve set for myself:

  • Increase my water intake: This one should actually be pretty easy for me. I like water and apart from a juice in the morning and a small soft drink with dinner it’s all I drink. I used to be pretty good at drinking plenty when I was at work, I’d have the drink bottle on my desk and sip throughout the day but I’ve noticed since I’ve been home I forget and don’t drink as much.
  • Make smarter snack choices: When I looked at my eating I realised my biggest downfall is snacking. Fast metabolism equals constantly being hungry which means lots of snacking. And I always go for the convenient choice- whatever I can quickly grab from the cupboard. So I guess the answer is I need to get rid of the crap in my cupboard and fill it with healthy choices. I figure if I don’t have it then I can’t eat it can I? But the problem is I’m very fussy, which limits my choices, which leads me to my next point…
  • Try new things: I’m a plain eater and pretty fussy. As I get older I’ve started to try more things and often surprise myself because I find there are things that I actually like. I need to live by the rule I’ve always given my son “If you don’t like it that’s ok but all I ask is that you try it”.
  • 20 minutes of exercise everyday: That’s what “they” say you need and I think that’s totally doable right? So I’m going to start there, with a brisk 20 minute walk each day.

Now that I’ve written it all down and shared it with the world I’m hoping that will make me more accountable.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has had similar issues…do you have any tips for me? Any suggestions I could try?

I’ll keep you all posted on my progress; here’s to a healthier me!

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Creativity and Career (AKA: My A-ha Moment)

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This post has been forming in my head for many weeks now- different ideas all swirling around but not quite coming together. It all started when I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (which I spoke a bit about here). Then I binge listened to the follow up podcast series Magic Lessons and this week I read this post by Stacey and it all kind of started to fall into place. If I was Oprah I’d say I had a series of ‘a-ha moments’. So now I’m going to try to put it all down in words, lets hope this makes some kind of sense….

I’ve always been a bit of a creative soul.  I was the type of kid who liked craft, reading, writing stories and drawing. My favourite subjects in school were English/Literature, Art and Photography. I took drama classes for many years. As an adult I’ve continued to be drawn towards the creative- jewellery making, typography, photography, and blogging/writing to name just a few of the things I’ve dabbled in.

After high school I did the ‘practical’ thing and enrolled in university to study the Bachelor of Business. A year later, feeling bored, uninspired and dealing with depression and anxiety, I dropped out. I remember the day I walked out, I went straight to the newsagents and brought a bunch of photography magazines to read on the train ride home. I knew if I was going to tell my Mum I’d dropped out of uni I needed a plan and that was it- I was going to become a photographer.

A few years (and a whole other university degree and career later) I finally did start a photography business with my sister only to shut it down a few months later. Why? Because we discovered that once we started charging people money for our work, it stopped being fun. The pressure to get the photos perfect was too much. So it turned out maybe I didn’t want to do what I thought I wanted to do after all….

It feels a bit like I’ve always been searching for something…something a little more than what I have. Not in my personal life because I have a wonderful marriage, a happy home and family life- things are pretty damn good there. I thought maybe I needed a career change and have dreamt of starting my own business; but it turns out I really didn’t want to do that either. And you know what? I actually love my job, I love the place I work for and the people I work with. There are also many different opportunities available to me there if/when I’m ready. So what’s the answer? I love writing and blogging but I have stopped and started and reinvented this blog so many times over the years because I constantly fall into the trap of comparison and thinking that if its not making me any money then it’s worthless. But then the other day it occurred to me ….creativity and career are not synonymous. They can be two totally separate things and they can exist side by side and I think for me that maybe that is answer. I don’t need to making a living from my creative pursuits, but I do want to create. I need to create, because that’s what my soul needs. I need to make the time to get back to doing that. I need to write and draw and snap pics for no other reason than because I damn well want to. Because I love it (I really do).

Does this mean I’m giving up on any grand dreams I may have? No. Of course I would still love to be recognised for my work; to publish a book (I should probably start by writing it) or have a ‘successful blog’ (whatever that is) but what I now know is this; if that never happens it doesn’t really matter. I don’t need to publish a book to be a writer, I don’t need to host an exhibition to be a photographer, I don’t need a piece of artwork hanging on a gallery wall to be an artist. I just need to do it, to do it for no other reason then because it makes me happy and to do it for no one else but me. That will be enough.

Maybe it all sounds a bit wanky; I always cringe when I read back over my own writing but whatever, it’s my truth and I’m speaking it.  Maybe Elizabeth Gilbert said it all when she wrote:

“There is a famous quote that shows up, it seems, in every single self-help book ever written: What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? But I’ve always seen it differently. I think the fiercest question of all is this one: What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail? What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant? What do you love even more than your own ego? How fierce is your trust in that love? You might challenge this idea of fierce trust. You might buck against it. You might want to punch and kick at it. You might demand of it, “Why should I go through all the trouble to make something if the outcome might be nothing?” The answer will usually come with a wicked trickster grin: “Because it’s fun, isn’t it?” Anyhow, what else are you going to do with your time here on earth — not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and your curiosity?”

A-ha!

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Anxiety Myths

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Being someone who has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for many years, I am all to aware of the myths surrounding these conditions that exist out there. If you are a sufferer I’m sure you will be able to relate and if you’re not, then I hope this helps you understand a little better.

5 Myths about Anxiety:

If you suffer from anxiety you are weak: On the contrary I think that people who suffer from anxiety are really strong. If you are someone who experiences anxiety or panic attacks and are still able to face each day…well that takes a lot of strength. Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid of anything, the true definition of bravery is being scared of something and doing it anyway. Having anxiety can often mean facing your biggest fears each and every day. Now that’s strength.

Only women suffer from anxiety: Completely untrue. Just like every other mental illness it affects both women and men. One of my closest friends who suffers from anxiety is a male. Anxiety does not discriminate, it affects people of ages, sexes, backgrounds and races.

You’re exaggerating about the physical symptoms of a panic attack: Nope. The physical symptoms of a panic attack are very, very real. I actually know quite a few people who have called an ambulance the first time they experienced a panic attack because they legimately thought they were dying. The physical symptoms of a panic attack vary from person to person; from pain in the chest and breathlessness to faintness, heart palpitations, sweating…the list is endless.

Medication is the only way to control anxiety: Medication is one form of managing anxiety but it certainly isn’t the only way. Counselling, talking, learning to manage thoughts and symptoms through techniques such as meditation and deep breathing are all other options that can be explored and in fact need to be if you want to manage anxiety long term.

If you take medication for anxiety you are weak: As my Doctor once said to me “If you had diabetes would you take insulin? Yes. So why is this any different? Anxiety is an illness and sometimes it needs to be treated with medication.” I am not saying everybody who suffers from anxiety should take medication; it is a case by case basis which needs to discussed and decided with your doctor. But for some people yes, it can get to the point where medication is required and that’s ok.

It is my hope that the more we talk about these things, the better people will understand and myths and stigma that currently surround anxiety will no longer exist.

Are you a sufferer of anxiety? What other myths do you want to clear up?

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Saying Goodbye

This week we said goodbye to an important part of our family. Our beautiful dog Bonnie.

She came into our family over eleven years ago. We saw an ad in the local paper for pure bred Golden Retrievers. We weren’t ready for a dog because we’d just moved into our new house and didn’t even have fences up in our backyard yet, but we just went to have a look. Of course who just goes to look at puppies and comes home empty handed? Not us! We fell in love and brought home a puppy that day. We named her Bonnie.

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She was a beautiful dog, very clever and she loved to be around people. She always had to be close by, within touching distance, a paw on you leg, a head on your foot, always touching.

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We’d noticed before we went away on our holiday last week that she was a bit off her food and losing some weight. When we returned she’d lost even more. Her back legs seemed a little unsteady. She’s just getting old we thought. We decided it might be a good idea to take her to the vet for a check up anyway. But on Tuesday morning when I woke up she had gone completely down hill overnight. She could barely stand. I took her to the vet and was told there was a large cancerous mass in her spleen. Nothing could be done. My husband was away for work. I asked if they could possibly make her comfortable enough to last the night so he could say goodbye. They couldn’t, it would be too cruel. So the decision was made.

I held her head in my lap, whispered “I’m so, so sorry. I love you” and then I said goodbye. I felt sad and I also felt really guilty. Guilty that we hadn’t realised sooner how sick she was, guilty that I hadn’t made my son give her a big cuddle before we left the house that day, guilty that we hadn’t played with her more and guilty that I couldn’t bring myself to stay for that final moment. I hope she didn’t feel alone. I hope she knew how much we loved her.

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That afternoon when I picked our son up from Kinder I told him that Bonnie had died. Like most kids, losing our beloved family pet would be his first experience with death. He asked what had happened to her and I explained she was just very old and very sick. He didn’t say anything. This morning he asked when she was coming home. I explained she wasn’t because she had died. He asked where she had died, “was it inside or outside?” “Inside” I said “I gave her a big cuddle.” I don’t think he really understands, I’m sure there will be more questions to come when he realises she’s not coming home. We’ll deal with each question open and honestly as they come.

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Rest in peace Bonnie.

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Tradition

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Easter is just five sleeps away…what?! It’s one of my favourite times of the year and not because of all the chocolate (ok maybe a little) but because we head away for the super long weekend with a great group of friends. We’ve been doing it for almost ten years now and have grown in numbers since the original group as we all now have children. Our kids are all around the same age and play wonderfully together. It’s always a weekend filled with fun and lots of laughter. I’m a sucker for tradition and this time of year is surrounded by it.

Firstly, there’s Fish and Chip Friday. It started the first year we went away and there was a big discussion about Good Friday and not eating red meat. We’d all grown up in families where red meat on Good Friday was big no-no but none of us really knew why. We knew it had something to do with religion but none of us were particularly religious. I believe we ended up googling it and to this day I can’t really remember the exact answer (if anyone does know please explain!) But that year we decided to be a bit rebellious, we were adults now and could make our own choices. So we stopped at KFC for lunch and chowed down on some crispy chicken. Afterwards we all immediately agreed it felt wrong and vowed to never do it again. And thus began Fish and Chip Good Friday.

There’s board game night (with a trophy and all), we’re a competitive bunch but it’s always in good fun and usually ends in fits of laughter. The Dad’s get a day out (to play golf) and then the Mum’s get a day too (usually shopping!) Of course there’s the Easter egg hunt on Easter morning. All of these traditions we have built with our friends and now share with our children. That’s the bit I love the most.

It might be the last year we’ll be able to spend Easter at the particular house we stay at because next year there will be more kids out of cots and needing beds and more babies too…but I’m hoping many of the traditions will still continue.

So this week I’m looking forward to Easter and our weekend away. How about you? Do you do anything special for Easter? What traditions does your family have?

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Crossing Over

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Last night Hubby and I went to a ‘crossing over night’ with a very popular local psychic. When it comes this to spirits and the afterlife I guess you would say I am a believer, I certainly approach it all with an open mind. I have no doubt that there are plenty of so called ‘psychics’ out there that are just a sham, taking money from people who are desperate for answers. But I also believe that there are people that have a special gift; sometimes there is just no other explanation.

So anyway, back to last night. We were in a small room with fifteen other people. The psychic leading the night was very down to earth and straight down the line. The session lasted just over two hours and in that time she was able to speak to everyone in the room. There was gasps of disbelief, lots of tears and lots of laughter. She left hubby and I until nearly the end. My husband’s sister passed away a few years ago and he has really struggled to accept it; it was the main reason we decided to go. And thank god, she came through for him and told him everything he needed to hear. Whether you are a believer or not I don’t think anyone could argue that the comfort and peace that was given to him hearing those words is a beautiful thing.

She told us a lot of things and I won’t go into them all here but let’s just say she is the third psychic who has told us that we are going to have another child and it will be a girl (not happening people!) and that will we move to a bigger house in the country (which has always been a dream of ours). I take it all with a grain a salt and know that at the end of the day we are in charge of those choices.

At the end of the night I think most people in the room walked away believers. She had spoken about things she could not possibly otherwise know, down to exact names, dates and locations. True or not she gave these people the comfort and closure they were looking for and isn’t that the most important thing?

What do you think? Are you a believer?

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The Truth

I feel like I should have some dramatic music playing in the background for you as you read the title of this post. Ok here goes…

Quick backstory for those of you who don’t already know- a few months ago Hubby and I decided that I would take this year off work. I had built up twelve months long service leave (at half pay) and our son was off to four year old kinder. Anyone who has kids knows that kinder hours can be a bit tricky to work around and I just wasn’t going to be able to pick him up and drop him off each day and work as well. My work approved my leave request and I finished up in January. I was really happy with the decision but also worried. It meant less income and also more time home alone for me, which was great but also a bit scary for me. Why? Because in the past that has been when I’ve struggled with depression; when I’m not working and spending a lot of time alone. So, as I do, I started to plan. I tried thinking of something to keep me busy and earn some extra money. I came up with a little business idea, built a website, brought some stock and launched last month.

If I’m completely honest I knew from the start it wasn’t going to work. Everyone knows if you’re going to start a business it needs to be something you’re really passionate about. I know it has only been a month but the thing is to make it work I need to be willing to put in the time (and money) and frankly, I just don’t want to do it. That’s the truth. It was just all a bit forced. I was looking for something and of course, as is usually the case, when you’re busy looking you can sometimes miss seeing what is right in front of your face!

I wish I had of just waited. I wish I hadn’t worried about the money (because we’re doing just fine). I wish I hadn’t worried about keeping busy; because like looking after my son isn’t enough? Looking after our household and blogging and catching up with friends and just enjoying a bit of me time isn’t enough? Of course it should be enough! I’ve realised this week it is enough.

I recently read the book ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert (if you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favour) and it really resonated with me. I realised exactly what I needed to do and so I’m doing it. I’m dropping the business idea…(as soon I wrote that I felt a weight come off my shoulders) and I’m focusing on what’s important right now- my family and myself, the things and the people that I love. I’m letting the ideas come to me rather than forcing them because right now I have that luxury-, I have the luxury of time, a whole year off with a steady income, when will I ever have that again?

I’ve had all of these thoughts swirling around in my head for the past month and it feels good to say it (or write it) out loud. Of course, as the universe would have it, when you free yourself and just accept what will be the opportunities come knocking; I’ve had four awesome opportunities presented to me just this past week so looks like I’m going to be kept busy enough after all ha! But you know, it’s not work when it’s doing something you love.

So thanks for reading, thanks for listening. And thanks also to all my wonderful friends and family who supported me with my business idea.

Have you ever experienced something like this? A time when you found yourself heading the wrong way? A moment when it all became clear? Am I making any sense at all?!

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