What Inspires You?

ImageI am working on my laptop right now and I have so many of my digital works and scrapbook layouts saved on this. As I was going through them and wandering down memory lane I came across this layout done in 2008. At the time I was designing digital scrapbook papers and elements for digital scrappers and selling them through U.S. online stores. I was also on the creative team of some U.S. stores as well. Most nights would find me sitting with my laptop and creating. It was definitely something I enjoyed very much.

I’ve mentioned before that I began creating an album about myself – otherwise known as a
BOM (Book of Me). Whilst this may seem a little extreme to some, it is actually a great exercise in getting to know yourself and explore your creativity at the same time. Many ofย  the online scrapping sites run challenges. These challenges give you a theme and you are required to create a scrapbook layout around this theme. (Much like the daily prompts on WordPress). The layout above was created in response to a challenge. I have chosen to share with you today what I created when asked “What inspires you”?

“So many things inspire me in my life and in my scrapping.

I find it in my family. They bring joy and love to my life.

I seek inspiration in books and in fashion.

I hold treasures of the past and other old things dear.

I find beauty in flowers and joy and fascination in the history of my family.

When I am in my comfort zone, the inspiration flows.”

What is inspiration? The dictionary defines inspiration as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something (especially something creative). The literal definition of inspiration is “to breathe in and be filled with the spirits of the gods”. Greek myth explained that creativity can only come from the gods and that us (humans) can only be imperfect copies of the creativity from the gods. Hence, we breathe in their spirit in order to create.

There are many ways in which we find inspiration including listening to music, sitting in silence, watching people pass by, art or conversations with others. It is important to find inspiration in our lives. Without inspiration, there really is no purpose to our days. We don’t just require inspiration for writing or creating. We need it to have a reason to get up each morning. (Well I believe this is so anyway).

So my challenge to you all is to write about what inspires you. Or create a collage like I have. Writing or creating this may require some introspection however it provides the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. This is such an important thing to do because if we don’t understand who we are ourselves, we certainly can’t expect others to understand us. Once we better know ourselves, we are better able to heal and grow.

Listening to Yourself


I have read Bryce Courtenay books for a large part of my life. He was a master story teller. Although many of his books had parts that were too raw for me to deal with (I skipped over these bits), he wrote in such a way that he enveloped his readers and pulled at their emotions.

Bryce Courtenay was born illegitimately in a poor village in South Africa. His father was married with a large family that he still lived with. His mother was a dressmaker who has also had a daughter to this man.ย  Bryce was named after his mother’s father who loved books and growing roses. His mother struggled to make ends meet in the Depression years as a dressmaker and suffered many nervous breakdowns.ย  Bryce was placed in an orphanage/reform school. He was the only child there with an English name and because of this was beat up every day by some of his fellow students. However, he thought on his feet and told them that if they left him alone, he would tell them a story. He only shared a part of the story and the boys would come back each day to hear more. It saved him from many beatings. At the age of 7 he wrote his first story about the man in the moon.

One day, Bryce picked up an axe to chop wood. He split his thumb. As a consequence, he was caned for touching the axe, his thumb was wrapped in a dish towel and he was told to walk the seven miles to the doctor. He collapsed from loss of blood underneath a tree. The doctor found him, fixed him up and told him that he would call the orphanage to come to get him. Bryce laughed because he knew they wouldn’t come to get him. He hid under the doctor’s house and when he woke the next morning found a packing crate filled with books. The books were written in English. Since English speaking was banned in his part of the country, he knew he had found a treasure trove. The only thing he ever stole in his life was a beautiful leather bound book with gold filigree that he found in that case. He tucked it under his shirt and returned to the orphanage. One day he shared this book with a temporary teacher at the orphanage. She taught him to read using the book. By the age of 12 he had memorised every word contained within it. When the teacher left the school, she continued to write to Bryce and encouraged him to sit an exam for a scholarship to an exclusive school in Johannesburg. He sat and passed the exam and won the scholarship.

Leaving the orphanage he journeyed back to his family and they scraped enough money to make him aย  uniform and purchase a pair of shoes. Since the school was filled with children from rich backgrounds, Bryce invented a story about his his parents having died in a mysterious accident. During school holidays when children returned to their families, Bryce would sleep on park benches and find work around the town doing odd jobs. He was befriended by the alcoholic, homeless men who also slept at the park and they looked out for him. The money he earned was used to buy school uniforms and books.

After befriending one of his school friend’s limousine drivers, Bryce was encouraged to teach black South Africans to read. His classes became so popular that his friends began helping him. One day they were raided by the police and he was threatened by the police that if he stayed at school it would be under house arrest for ‘communist’ activities. At the age of 17, he fled South Africa and began working in the mines of Rhodesia. Due to his age, he was given the job of laying the explosives. Out of the group that did this with him, he was the only one who finished this job alive or not maimed.

At the age of 20 he had saved enough money working the mines to go to England to further his education and study journalism. He was never happy in England. Meeting a young Australian woman, he travelled with her back to Sydney and fell in love with the country. He became an Australian citizen in 1959. Over the years, Bryce worked in advertising. He married the young woman he followed to Sydney and they had three boys. At the age of 50 he had an epiphany and realised he had put his dream of being a novelist aside for far too long. At the age of 55 his first manuscript (The Power of One) was accepted for publication. In 1991, Bryce’s youngest son contracted HIV through a blood transfusion (he had hemophilia) and lost his life to this disease. Bryce became an advocate for those suffering HIV/Aids. Over the next 23 years, Bryce wrote 21 books. Many of them have gone on to be made into movies. All of his books became best sellers. In November 2012, Bryce died at home with his second wife, young son and pets surrounding him. He was 79 years of age.

This man never lost sight of hope in this world. He overcame odds that would lay many of us low. He is an inspiration to us all. And as he said, never lose sight of things and listen to ourselves. It is better to be wrong than to not have tried at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Battle Within


I created a poster with this legend some time ago and put it on the wall at work. Sometimes visitors, clients or staff stop and read it but mostly they don’t. I went looking for this today so that I could post it on my blog for you all however I could not find it, so I created this one instead. ๐Ÿ™‚ One of my fellow bloggers was telling me a few days ago about the joy she gains from creating. I would have to agree.ย However I digress…. (which is not unusual for me ๐Ÿ˜€ )

This legend is powerful in its simplicity. I often write about our thoughts influencing our actions and our lives. I stress that what we think creates who we are. If we think darkly, our lives become dark. If we think of beauty and light, then our lives and our actions will reflect that. It truly becomes a choice between the two wolves.

Our actions reflect our heart and soul. Our heart and soul reflects our thoughts. If we get all of these on the same page, then our lives become happy and fulfilled. We are filled with compassion, benevolence, love, empathy and joy.

Choose wisely which wolf you wish to feed.

A Lesson in Gratitude from a Four Legged Diva

For today, I am sharing one of my first posts I ever did on this blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you don’t mind and enjoy.


Meet my cat โ€œSmudgeโ€. Smudge is a British Blue shorthair. She also believes that she is descended from the English royal family. If not the royal family, definitely the aristocracy.ย Smudge goes about everything she does in her own time and hands out affection on her own terms. If we do the wrong thing by her (in her eyes) then she will meow piteously and tear around the house in a hair-brained fashion until she believes we have been punished enough. She lets us know when she is hungry by pulling magnets off the refrigerator and leaving them on the floor.

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Goal Setting 2014 – Read This BEFORE You Set Any! (Advice)

What great advice for us all. I will definitely be working through this.


I trained as a life coach 8 years ago and know some things about setting goals and achieving them! I am delighted to pass the JAR idea forward and look forward to hearing how all your jars go in 2014. I have been in quite a reflective (non-writing) mood today and just before I wrap Christmas presents I thought I would tap out another post.

Whether you are dreaming big or small, whether you are an expert goal-setter or a novice โ€“ this post is for you!

Happy reading x


Go sit in a big comfy chair or your favourite place in your home or surrounding area and think about what your life will look like in 12 months time if there were no obstacles and if everything went your way. What changes would happen? Where would you be? What do you need to do to achieve this pictureโ€ฆ

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Boxing Day Musings

Some of you may understand what I mean by Boxing Day. It is the day following Christmas and it is also a holiday. There are many theories as to how Boxing Day came about. I believe it had to do with distributing the contents of the poor boxes in churches the day after Christmas to those who needed it. My favourite theory was the one I heard from my six year old granddaughter yesterday. She believes that Boxing Day is the day that all of the Christmas decorations are packed up and put into boxes ready to come out next year. In the past, my brothers and I have found other reasons for the name and most involved boxing gloves. ๐Ÿ™‚

Whatever the meaning of the day, I have spent the day relaxing. I have napped when I wanted to and caught up on almost a week’s worth of blog posts from others. I have found new blogs to follow and I have travelled the world without leaving my hot, stuffy craft/computer room. I have shared joys and sorrows with you all. I have experienced Christmas miracles and Christmas traditions. I have enjoyed poetry and fiction. I have seen kindness in action and been inspired by wonderful photography. I feel that this was a day well spent. I ask myself why I have so many emails delivered to my inbox rather than use the reader all the time. I think the reason is that an email can sit in my inbox for weeks until I catch up whereas the reader moves so quickly. I don’t like missing out on what any of you have written. So if any of you have received likes and comments up to a week after your post, you know why. ๐Ÿ™‚

As we draw to the close of a year, I find myself reflecting on achievements of the past year. One of those is the healing that has taken place in the Garden Gnome. It has been a hard year but one in which we have grown so much closer and for that I am grateful. I am beginning to look toward what it is that I wish to achieve in the coming year in order to create my vision board. My thoughts are becoming more introspective because of this as I ask myself the questions that I really want to find answers to over the coming months.

I know I want to get back to my book and re-working it. I want to reach out and help others. I need to find ways in which to do this. I want to do so many things……

So what do you hope to do in the coming year? Do you have plans for your vision board? I really would like to know.

I do know one thing that I need to sort out pretty quickly though. I still don’t have a name for my canary. Any suggestions?

Bad Jokes, Face Time, Tears and a Wardrobe Malfunction

In those few words, you have summed up my Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a wonderful time with the grandchildren last night and they were a constant source of giggles and joy. They all filed in, said hello and then promptly went straight out the back door toward the pool. Can’t say that I blame them since the weather was stinking yesterday. Whilst we sipped a glass of wine we watched the First Born, the Tween and four of the grandchildren play in the water with their floaties and pool noodles. We smiled and laughed at the appropriate times to the cries of “Watch me do this” or “Look at me doing that”. We giggled as the youngest (who wasn’t in the pool) couldn’t quite get the hang of the water pistol and kept shooting himself in the face before giving up and putting it in his mouth and drinking the contents of the clear plastic gun. We clapped when Miss Five swam a lap of the pool. And we applauded also when Miss Six showed us that she could swim without floaties.

Then out came the bubble wands and the fun in the back yard continued in earnest. After all this fun, we heard Santa coming up the street in his fire engine. Squeals of delight rang out as all children scrambled to get the bags of lollies thrown out to them by Santa’s helpers in the back of the engine. Only the adults noticed that Santa had very smooth skin under the beard and was well padded in her his chest area ๐Ÿ˜‰ Inside for dinner and the children were at the table (before the adults had had an opportunity to gather their thoughts)ย  and working out the seating arrangements for everyone. The little girls decided to sit at the smaller table and socialised whilst eating their well balanced (!!) meals of cold meats and lollies. (It was Christmas so we weren’t terribly upset). Then the Christmas crackers came out. With the cracker pulling (every single one from the box found was pulled by the young ones) came the bad jokes. All of which were read out by Miss Six. Most of the jokes were groan worthy but Miss Six found them hilariously funny. Miss Almost Five just kept grinning her mischievous pixie grin. Master Three decided that playing games and chasing the cat was more fun than eating and Mister almost Two toddled off to join him. The night heard squeals of delight and lots of thank yous and “Just what I’ve always wanted”. (Love you Lils) around the Christmas Tree afterwards. And then they changed into their pj’s to listen to the Tween read an Aussie Night Before Christmas whilst holding their battery candles. (Except for Master Three who had two and put them against his eyes and made scary monster noises). *sigh* After kisses and hugs, they all went home and peace descended upon our home once more.

I woke at my usual time this morning (just before 5am), remembered it was Christmas Day and went back to sleep. I got up just before 8 to a silent house and went around opening up to let in the morning air (that was already heating up). I found the Tween in the lounge room unpacking her santa sack. She decided to try some of her new hairclips on the Diva and our giggles bought out the Garden Gnome. The phone rang. It was the middle child. We decided we would Face Time and set a time for a couple of minutes from now. Since I was in my nightie and just out of bed, I raced to my walk in robe to find something to wear and brush my hair. Finding nothing I quickly ironed a loose cotton dress, threw it on, made a cup of tea and then spent time with my children on Face Time. We shared jokes, showed him our Christmas tree, the Tween showed off what was in her santa sack, checked out my DIL’s sewing skills (love the colour of the dress she made) and enjoyed time with each other on Christmas Morning before signing off. Then we handed out the presents under the tree. The Tween was over the moon at her gifts. The Garden Gnome loved his framed photo of our HZ Holden and remote controlled speed boat (for the pool). And I cried. I cried because I was given the most gorgeous gifts that I knew so much thought had gone into (the Tween gave me some wooden words about peace and harmony. I also received a beautiful little charm that is a book from the GG. He wanted to get a book charm because of my love for books and writing. But that wasn’t when the tears started. The tears began when the gift giving was over and the Tween left the room and returned with a bird cage holding a canary for me. I’ve wanted a canary for a long, long time. The Garden Gnome had even installed a hook into the roof of the rumpus room/bar to hang the cage from guessing that I wouldn’t even notice it with everything else going on. (He was right). The Diva was miffed because she thought the canary was a gift for her and spent the next hour or so working out ways to stalk the cage and attempt to catch ‘her’ gift before giving up and snoozing. No doubt gathering her strength and thoughts for another attempt later on. The tears continued when I read the Christmas card from the man I love. But they were all tears of joy.

The day continued in a relaxing way. The Garden Gnome’s family joined us for a late lunch. The conversation was good and we watched the George & Mildred movie on TV and laughed at the old British humour before having dessert. (Yes, the fruitcake was a little dry and the fact I put in Cream of Tartar instead of Baking Soda doesn’t appear to have affected its taste at all).

It was as they were leaving and we were taking our goodbyes that I realised…… my dress had been inside out all day!!!!!

Have a blessed day ๐Ÿ™‚

ps: I think I finally achieved my Zen Christmas! ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas

ImageSince I started this blog in August, I have enjoyed every minute of the past months. I have found wonderful internet friends and I have further pursued my passion for writing.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas Day. I hope you spend the day with those you love whether quietly or in a big, noisy group. I hope that for those of you who still believe in Santa, your wishes come true and the presents received are exactly what you wished for. Sending a huge cyber hug to you all ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a blessed day ๐Ÿ™‚