Thursday, January 28, 2010

Falun Dafa

My husband is a Falun Dafa practitioner.

In a nutshell, Falun Dafa is a high-level cultivation practise that is guided by the universal characteristics of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance. It's a spiritual practise governed by teachings similar to Buddhism and comprises five exercises, not unlike Qi Gong. It's classes are free (always), and are practised in almost every nation. With one exception - China. In China, people are banned from practising Falun Dafa, and it has been made illegal. At this moment there are thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners imprisoned in hard labour camps, and many have died for their beliefs. Hardly something you'd expect in today's day and age, is it? It is lauded in nations such as Australia, Canada, the USA and the United Kingdom, yet outlawed in it's nation of conception. Why? The answer is simple. Fear. The Chinese Communist Party was unable to 'contain' the practice when it first became popular and for fear of it 'taking over', decided to declare it illegal. Practitioners are unable to express their beliefs, practise their exercises or read their books. To the CCP it is an evil cult, and they have done, and continue to do, anything in their power to stop it in its tracks, despite pleas from other nation's governments, Amnesty International and other protesters. Could you imagine if our government decided that yoga, or Christianity was illegal, and that those who practised them were to be arrested? The CCP's behaviour is abominable.

Falun Dafa is good. It is upright and highly moral, with practitioners only striving to improve their lives both physically and spiritually. I have seen it first hand for the last 11 years.

Last weekend we went to the Health Harmony Soul expo, where our local Falun Dafa group had a stand. My son was chosen to take part in the stage demonstration of the exercises. We were very, very proud, but not as proud as he was!

NB. To my family in Hong Kong, I hope that you will still be able to read my blog. It's likely that it will now be placed on the banned list!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

School's back...

So my boys have flown the coop. Just one little baby chick left at home with Mummy now. Finally some girl time!

I was so proud this morning. My big boy has started Grade 2, and has a wonderful teacher, so I know he will continue to excel and be happy. He will be a little outnumbered by girls this year though - it's about 2:1! He only has two friends from last year in his class, but he has never been one to be shy. I guarantee that by the end of the day he will have already made a couple of new 'best friends'. Despite a dream breakfast, teeth and getting dressed run, the morning didn't start as smoothly as it should have. Leaving all your books at home isn't a great way to begin! All's well that ends well though, and 'responsibility' has become the key word for the day.

My baby boy started prep today too. Such a big year for a little one, and a monumental day for all of us. The first true day of independence. He has to grow up now. I'm not sure I'm completely at ease with that, but like the last time I experienced it, I'm sure I'll grow from it too. He was a little anxious to start, although he didn't admit it. His quietness was the telltale sign for me. However when he saw that several of his kindy pals would be joining him in class, his excitement was almost palpable. He had no problems waving me goodbye!

So now it's time to get some plans into action. This week we'll take it easy and just ease on into the first term. Next week though I need get my act together and sort out birthday presents, swimming lessons, Scouts, home renovations, finish booking our holiday, and give the house a good once over! So many cupboards need sorting, and my blinds are hideous! For now though.... it's time for a cuppa and a rest. This school gig is hard work!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This video is just incredible. It puts everything into perspective.

Watch it here.

Let me know what you think....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How we spent our morning

A trip to the mountains for a beautiful nature walk...

We discovered fairy trees, found cicada shells, wondered at the smells of the earth, watched bats in flight, searched for glow worms, listened to the water fall, and found dinosaur footprints in the rocks...

We played hopscotch on the rocky stairs...

We picniced under the ancient canopy...

One the way home we swam and skimmed rocks in the babbling creek...

What a wonderful part of the world we live in! And we are going to do it all over again tomorrow - just because we can...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In the summertime

A lesson well learned

Last week I participated in a very basic and brief CPR Awareness course. When I arrived I laughed to myself and wondered what on earth I was getting myself into. I was the youngest there by about 40 years! It had obviously been well advertised in the local nursing home. I sat down, trying to be oblivious to the stares coming from all sets of eyes, and prepared myself to learn. I think in the end, most were grateful for a young mind in the room as I was the only one who asked questions, and tried to clarify what we were being taught. I even received a second round of applause at certificate time for being the youngest!

Having never taken this kind of course, I was amazed at how simple CPR really is. I think in the past I was put off with having to remember so much information. Without going into it all, we simply learnt - DR ABC.

D - Danger (check for danger to us, bystanders and the patient)
R - Response (does the patient respond to talking, touching etc)

A - Airways (are airways obstructed)
B - Breathing (look, listen and feel for breath)
C - CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. This was the interesting part for me. I always thought the point of this was to restart the heart, when in fact it is used to keep the oxygen flowing through the body until paramedic help arrives.)

We practised on dummies until we had DR ABC down pat. I left feeling confident that should the need arise, I would be able to administer basic care for a patient, and today I almost had to do just that.

Whilst shopping in the dairy aisle at Coles, an elderly lady collapsed next to me. From the moaning and groaning, I knew she wasn't unconscious, but she was in pain and couldn't move. Before I realised what I was doing, I had her rolled onto her side, and was asking her the questions we'd been taught to ask. 'Can you hear me?', 'Can you squeeze my fingers?', etc. By that stage some Coles staff members had begun to crowd around, and I asked one to call an ambulance, and asked others to get a pillow and a blanket. It was very cold on the floor in the dairy aisle! Someone had managed to find the nurse who was travelling with the old lady and her nursing home friends, and by this stage my job was done. My kids sat quietly, open mouthed during the ordeal, but my oldest son spoke up when we were asked what had happened. He had seen her reach for some yoghurt. She then dropped it and attempted to pick it up when she lost her balance. She was a heavy lady using a walking frame, and she dropped with a mighty thump. I was very proud of him for speaking up so confidently. The poor soul was taken off on the ambulance stretcher, and we left to finish our shopping.

The children have been full of questions since then. 'How do they strap her into the stretcher?', 'Does the stretcher roll around in the ambulance?', 'Where will they take her?', 'Will she be ok?'.... I've done my best to assure them she will be fine, but have also taken the opportunity to educate them a little about looking after someone who is hurt.

I guess the moral of this story is that we should all have a basic understanding of CPR, and the handling of sick or injured people. As mothers this is especially important. Whilst we wish and hope that we'll never need to use it, there is always the possibility that we might. I feel proud that I was able to assist today, even in the small way that I did, and I'm ever so grateful to my Mum for making do the CPR course. Thanks Mum!

NB. Please do not take the above information as CPR instructions. These are merely to illustrate my story. CPR training needs to be performed by a professional, and I suggest you contact your local ambulance station for information on courses.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Solitude - How can we get some?

When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death - ourselves. ~Eda LeShan

Being alone may be frightening for some, or seemingly impossible to obtain for others. But solitude is to me, one of the most important elements of personal growth. I love the company of others - friends, family, companions - but I like my own company just as much, if not better. I enjoy not needing to talk, not needing to explain, and not needing to be concerned about the welfare of anyone but myself. It gives me time to think and to feel, to create or do nothing, if I so choose.

As women we often feel that having time on our own is selfish, or not the right thing to do. Without it though, we risk becoming nothing but a machine, programmed to churn out everything for everyone else, leaving us no energy or no will to become one with ourselves. No time to just sit and question, 'Who am I?', or 'What do I want to become?'.

Our ancestors had the answer. Many of you may have heard of 'menstruation huts', 'red tents' or 'moon lodges'. In ancient times, women were honoured and revered when it was their time to bleed, and during this part of the month, many retreated to their huts or lodges. Food was brought to them, and they were given time off from homely duties, thus giving them time to turn inward. Time for solitude. Most women cycled together (as some women who live together today do), bleeding on the new moon and ovulating at the full moon. This meant that their chores and duties were left to the men and to the children who were old enough to take on these responsibilities. This was part of life. Menstruation wasn't a curse, or an inconvenience. Women were considered magical beings who could bleed for days without dying, when warriors would fall with a single wound! Ancient women had days alone, in solitude, and it was expected of them. It was healing. It gave them the rejuvenation they needed to be able to work hard for the other 3 weeks of the month.

I can't always get time alone. Sometimes I rarely get time to think! Life is busy, and life as a mother of three is hectic! It's not practical these days to expect that we can shut ourselves off for 4 to 5 days a month. We work, we raise families and we run our homes. Today we don't live in communally, and mainstream thought processes are different. We are expected to just 'get on with it'! I wonder how many of our pre-menstrual symptoms, and things like cramping would be eliminated if we were allowed the time our ancestors had? Food for thought...

Anyway, from now on, I am giving myself permission to rest and rejuvenate when my cycle tells me to. The house won't run itself, but I will choose what gets done and what doesn't. What doesn't get done, will wait. I will use those days to reflect, to sit and read, to quietly let my body do what women's bodies have been doing since the beginning of time. I will harness the solitude in small pieces - 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there - and use them to carry me along peacefully.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


"The day came when the risk to stay in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Homely Hints on Everything

My lovely Mum gave me two books yesterday. She knew I'd love them. Today's post is about Homely Hints on Everything. It was written by a beautiful old soul, Marjorie Bligh who lives in Devonport. Marjorie is 92.

The title of this book is extremely apt. It is 470 pages of tips on absolutely EVERYTHING! Some of them are funny and very old fashioned, others are really practical. Things like how to fix jam that went wrong, simple dessert ideas, how to stop brown sugar from going hard, how to make homemade yoghurt, how to clean the inside of your electric jug, how to pick up a dropped egg, how to replace a fuse, how to put out different types of fires, making your own skin care, the different properties of herbs, simple ailment and first aid hints..... The list goes on and on and on! While some of them are slightly outdated, the majority are common sense, simple and extremely helpful. I think the book is a gem!

On one of the pages, a great little poem has been shared -

I remember the cheese of my childhood
And the bread that we cut with a knife,
The children who helped with the housework
And the man who went to work, not the wife.
The cheese never needed an ice-chest,
The bread was crusty and hot,
The children always seemed happy,
And the wife was content with her lot.
I remember the milk from the billy
With the lovely rich cream on the top,
And the dinners straight from the oven
And not from the fridge in the shop.
The kids were a lot more contented,
They didn't need money for kicks,
But a game with their mates in the paddock,
And sometimes the Saturday 'flicks'.
I remember the shop on the corner
Where a penn'worth of lollies was sold.
Do you think I'm a bit too nostalgic?
Or is it because I just getting old?

If anyone is interested in getting a copy of this great little book, leave a comment and I will find out where Mum got it from.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hearing with fresh ears....

I heard this song again today while driving in the car. Something in the lyrics caught my attention, so I tuned in. In all the times I've heard it, I've never really listened to it, or given any thought to the meaning. I nearly jumped out of the driver's seat when I realised what Chrissie Hynde was singing about. I think it's my new favourite.

You can listen to it here.

Hymn to Her - The Pretenders

Let me inside you,
Into your room
I've heard it's lined
With the things you don't show

Lay me beside you,
Down on the floor
I've been your lover,
From the womb to the tomb

I dress as your daughter,
When the moon becomes round
You be my mother,
When everything's gone

And she will always carry on
Something is lost,
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change,
Some stay the same

Keep beckoning to me,
From behind that closed door
The maid and the mother,
And the crone that's grown old

I hear your voice,
Coming out of that hole
I listen to you,
And I want some more
I listen to you,
And I want some more

She will always carry on
Something is lost,
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change,
Some stay the same

She will always carry on
Something is lost,
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change,
Some stay the same
Let me inside you,
Into your room
I've heard it's lined
With the things you don't show

Lay me beside you,
Down on the floor
I've been your lover,
From the womb to the tomb

I dress as your daughter,
When the moon becomes round
You be my mother,
When everything's gone

And she will always carry on
Something is lost,
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change,
Some stay the same

She will always carry on
Something is lost,
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change,
Some stay the same

And she will always carry on
Something is lost,
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change,
Some stay the same

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Innocent eyes

I love looking through old photos of my children. They have grown into such unique and beautiful human beings. All three are so different, in both temperament and looks, but they are equally full of vitality. I love to look into their eyes - so deep, so innocent, and so bright.

These pictures were taken when they were all much younger, but their eyes are still the same. Heavenly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

No light without the dark

We cannot know beauty without first seeing the grotesque.
We cannot know sweet without first tasting sour.
We cannot know warmth without first feeling cold.
We cannot know bravery without first fleeing as a coward.
We cannot know speed without first idling slowly.
We cannot know perfection without first understanding our flaws.
We cannot know strength without first succumbing to weakness.
We cannot know wisdom without first playing the fool.
We cannot know abundance without first grieving a loss.
We cannot be tamed without first running wild.
There is no death without life.
And without first wallowing in the dark, we will never see the light.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Glass half full

After I posted yesterday's blog entry on Facebook, I had a huge mix of responses, and it started a discussion that was interesting, to say the least. My husband's response has had me thinking more about it today.

He quoted an old saying, "Two men in jail looking through the bars, one sees the dust, the other see the stars".

This, I guess, is a bit like the old question of whether a glass that is filled to the middle with water, is half empty or half full. Those of us that are optimists would see that the glass is half full. Pessimists, who tend to see the worst in situations, would tell you that the glass is half empty. The men in jail, had two choices. They could look through the bars and see the dusty, dirty ground (the negative side of their plight), or they could look to the heavens and see the stars, thus searching for the positive. I'm definitely a 'half full' type of gal! I believe people are inherently good, and have decent intentions. Yes, of course there are always exceptions, but that is all they are.

Yesterday's discussion kept returning to how this world is worse today than it was in the days of our childhood, and the dilemma we face as parents to protect our children from its ravages. I guess in some respects life today is worse. There has been a huge moral decline over the last twenty to thirty years and this is due in a large part to the increase of consumerism and quick fix ideals. People crave instant gratification and can easily find it, whether it be on the internet, on the television, or in real life. Gratification of all kinds -

- sexual (speaks for itself really - have you any idea how many porn sites there are on the internet?)
- military (press a button and a country is destroyed!)
- wealth (poker machines, lotto, pyramid schemes)
- health (quick fix cures rather than prevention)
- communication (email, text messages, instant messenger, mobile phones)
- food (why do you think it's called 'fast food'?)

You get the picture. We want it all and we want it now. This kind of living does nothing for our moral growth, and to me living simply is about raising our moral standards. I'm not about to shun all technology, but for me there is a time and a place. And there is a time and place to teach our children about independance, about risk taking and about living responsibly. If we buy into the hype and the scare mongering, who wins? Not us, and certainly not our children.

My dear husband also commented, 'as in nature, when things reach an extreme point...they turn around'. It's happening already. I see it daily on my blog surfing and in discussions with other mothers. We're not happy with the way the world is forcing us to live, but we can be the cogs that will get those wheels of change in motion.

How to make a fabric covered noticeboard

This is how I made it. I don't profess that this is the best, or the only way, but it worked for me. If you have a better or different idea, let me know. I'm sorry there isn't a picture for each step. I didn't think that far ahead! Hopefully my instructions will be clear enough.

Materials -

A canvas or cheap cork board (choose the size you like best - mine is 60cm x 50cm)

Batting to give it padding (I bought some from Spotlight. I cost about $17 but there is enough there for me to make at least another 5 or 6 noticeboards - great gift idea!)

Fabric of your choice (make sure you have enough to be able to fold it behind to secure to the board - at least 6cm on each side)

Contrasting ribbon (I used roughly 6m for my project)

Thumb tacks for each ribbon intersection

String to attach it to the wall

Staple gun and staples

Sticky tape

Method -

1. Cut out your batting leaving enough to be able to fold it onto the back of the board.

2. Using the staple gun, staple the batting onto the wooden frame on the back of the board. Cut off any excess.

3. Iron your fabric.

4. Do the same with your fabric as you did with the batting. I folded the edges of my fabric over once to give it a neat seam and to avoid fraying before attaching it. Staple it to the board, making sure that the fabric is pulled taut. The corners can be tricky, but if you fold them over like you do when wrapping a present, you should be able to keep it neat. You may find you need to do a bit of trimming on the corners as excess fabric will cause it to bulge.

5. Starting at the corners, lay your ribbon diagonally over the front side of the board, making sure that it is flat. Carefully turn the board over and staple it to the frame. Cut the ends neatly. Continue with the ribbon until you have covered the board. The distance between each ribbon is up to you. Make sure the gaps are big enough to allow you to put your notices up.

6. Turn the board over so that the front is facing you. Place a thumb tack into each intersection of the ribbon and press through all of the fabric, batting and canvas. This will be easy over the wood as the tack will stick straight into it. Where there is no wood though, you will have the back of the tack sticking straight out. I turned the board over and bent each tack back so that it was flat on the canvas, and then covered each with a piece of sticky tape to both secure, and to avoid being pricked! (NB. I originally tried to use scrapbooking brads for this part, but the ones I had were too flimsy and couldn't get through all the layers. Pins of some sort that have the split back that can be folded neatly would be best, if you can find them.)

7. Once this is done, you are ready to attach the string and hang it to your wall. I used the staple gun for this job. Again, there may be a better way. Let me know if you come up with one.

8. Your notice board is now complete! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Trust yourself...

"Trust yourself sweet one. At the moment we are being asked to claim our vastness and walk it on the Earth plane. So all the energy and thought forms we have woven to keep ourselves limited and small are coming to the surface to be healed. That is part of the intensity as the old ways are dying"

1995 - Author unknown

This is written at the beginning of this years Moon Diary, and I keep going back to read it. Each time I do, I have a new realisation and it resonates with me in a different way. Initially it spoke to me directly. I was going through great emotional and spiritual change and it was confirmation that I was on the right path. It gave me great comfort.

Today though, I feel it is talking to everyone. The world is changing. We are returning to the 'old ways', and we are rejecting the demands of modern life and all its foibles. Each one of is taking small steps to return to the simple ways of our ancestors, whether we realise it or not. Most of us re-use, repair and recycle, many of us have vegie gardens to feed our families, a lot of us use our skills to make things, and all of us realise that we can't go on living in the throw-away society that has been taken for granted for far too long.

Technology has had its day, and whilst I don't think we will ever see a world without it, I do believe we are beginning to reject it's complications and it's invasion, and we yearn to live a simpler life. I long for a day when life returns to what it was like when I was a child. When all we had were the shoes on our feet (if we wore them!), our bikes and the wide open streets to roam. We came home when the street lights came on, or when Mum yelled out the window. We weren't tied down to the couch with computer games, mobile phones, or the internet and the only technology we knew were our cassette players. We played, and our parents did what parents do - they provided for us, they loved us and they let us be kids.

We will see this kind of purity again, I just know it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ok, this is just awesome....

In about 40 minutes I created this! This was my practise square on the Butterfly Loom. So glad I picked up some funky yarn at Spotlight this morning. Time to start for real now!!

Wonder if the kids will mind having toasted sandwiches for dinner?

A spot for me...

So here it is. My creative space. I love it - my music, my sewing machine, my tools, my works in progress, and my lovely red boxes that are full to the brim with bits of fabric, felt, wool roving and other wonderful little pieces.

My completed noticeboard is on the wall too. Do you like it? If anyone is interested I will put up a 'how to' post so you can make one yourself. It was really easy. I didn't use any instructions but I had seen a few of them on etsy and figured they couldn't be too hard. I think it turned out pretty well for my first effort.

It's now time to plonk myself in my red chair and work out how to use my Butterfly Loom. I'm a little bit excited.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Crafty ideas

What a great day! I've made (well, finished making) two gifts and have started on a noticeboard for my creative space. The gifts have to remain a secret for a little while yet as the recipients might be reading! I will take some photos and post them after the birthdays have been celebrated, I promise. My noticeboard is still to be completed. I have run out of red ribbon. I could have sworn I bought enough yesterday! When it's finished I will put up some instructions and pictures so you can make one yourself. Mine will be part noticeboard (for school reminders etc) and part inspiration board. I see beautiful, inspiring ideas everywhere but unless I print out a picture and have it where I can see it, the ideas tend to get lost - usually somewhere between the dinner menus and housework lists that take up a good portion of my mind!

Whilst blog-surfing today, I discovered something which is really, really exciting. The Butterfly Loom. I love yarn and fibres, but I have never been much of a knitter. It's all a bit mind numbing for me. I like projects that can be completed fairly quickly. The Butterfly Loom looks like it will be perfect for me - quick, simple and relatively no skill required! I think I will take the plunge and buy one. I hope you all like rugs and scarves, because I have a feeling you'll be getting them for your birthdays this year! Has anyone got a butterfly loom, or used one before? I'd love to know what you think of them.

This is a rug that has been made using the Butterfly Loom. Isn't it gorgeous?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010!

Just a quick blog to wish you all a wonderful new year!

I'm excited about 2010. So many wonderful things to look forward to. I've now got my creative space all organised and I'm ready to start my handmade challenge. I can't promise great things, but rest assured, all things will be made with love and with my best intentions!

I'm also really excited to be starting my Wise Womyn course on the mountain in February. My sacred space has also been created and I look forward to learning how to use it better, and how to GROW (my 'word' for 2010) into a stronger, wiser and better woman.

We didn't quite see the new year in last night, but we enjoyed some great family time in the evening. We had dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant (there's nothing better than watching your kids dig into exotic food) and then we braved the crowds to watch the fireworks. Yes, we got wet in the rain showers that preceded the display, but we didn't care one bit! The kids thought it was a great adventure. Master C thought it was 'awesome', and Miss I proclaimed, 'It wasn't scary! I lubbed it!'.

Here is a picture of me and my three, taken just hours before the end of the decade.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it is all that you wish for. xx