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The engineers of our future

Our honeymoon lime tree.

It was only last year when he threatened to chop it down. Looking at me across the washing line, as I hung work and school uniforms out to dry “It’s producing no fruit!” It was a matter of fact.

I am the plant rescue-er in our relationship. We even have a designated part of the garden called the plant hospital. A location that we walk past every morning as we enter our days, reminding us to water the plants that are most susceptible in our arid soil.

I looked through the wet clothes hanging on the line, with eyes that begged him not to rip out the tree. And a little smile awaiting my response ” Just one more year love.”

“It’s one of those non-fruiting trees I’m sure of it,” he said with frustration. And I just sighed at the sheer tenacity of trying to grow anything in a garden with a family and big life.

Lately, I have been a little obsessed with seeds. I seem to see them everywhere. On the floor when I walk the path to the beach, in the shops up on the shelf and over the fence on the floor of my friend’s house. They are small, but the capacity for them to grow into shady trees, keep drawing me back to the beauty of slow.

We couldn’t afford an overseas honeymoon when we got married. In hindsight, we didn’t need one, just a room with a big bed and a beautiful vista. We laugh often about the fact that our car door broke, the week of our honeymoon and we had to climb across the gear stick each time we got in and out of the car. Some days lately we have forgotten what it was like to just have one car with a broken door.

I think God has a brilliant sense of humour and imperfection often makes for the best of stories. We ended up down south from where we live, visiting wineries with that wonky door. No fancy cars or taxi’s for our arrival, just two people climbing out the passenger door.

At one of those wineries, we found a half wooden barrel and we decided to buy it to plant a tree as a memento of our honeymoon. We got home and decided on a lime tree (my man quite likes a drop of Mexican brew).

Eight years ago we planted that lime tree in that wooden barrel, it has survived two children, two houses and many bbq’s alongside. It even survived the wooden barrel that fell apart last spring and we planted that non- fruiting lime tree in the ground, hoping it would at last produce.

Then last week eight and a half years after we planted that tree I saw hiding in the flourish of green leaves, five or six or maybe ten little limes on our tree. I couldn’t wait for my husband to come home and I walked him around to see.

He looked at me and smiled with his eyebrows lifting and said quietly “Lucky I didn’t rip it out last spring hey?” And I didn’t say anything, just marvelled at the beauty of the very simple things.

I think we have lost the art of patience, in a society so intent on producing. Since the beginning of July, I have had some time off social media and it has been the best thing I have done all year. It is hard not to be drawn back to it, but the resting of the ground in my heart has needed some time to realign. L

“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

Luke 8: 15

I often spend a lot of time thinking about the future. Thinking about my children, my house, the contribution of my life. It is something that I have always enjoyed spending my procrastinating, in-between moments doing.

It is in these times though that I forget that the seeds I am planting today, will bear my fruit in my tomorrow. Holding fast to what is good, changing my mindsets to ones of servanthood and humility. Finding ways to surrender in the ever present tide of self obsession.

What seeds are you sowing for harvest in your future?

Growth

Pain

Cutting off

Fertiliser

Sun

Water

These very simple principles found in the earth of our gardens, go against the success mantras of our day.

I have been reminding myself lately, to reset, to read simple wisdom and to begin again. Creating great soil for the new growth awaiting and surrendering to the beauty of a simple life.

“The engineers of the future will be the poets”

Terrance McKenna

I do wonder what is the condition of our poets soil?

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Embracing Slow Podcast

Recently Em and I recorded a podcast about Embracing Slow with Mish Pope. Have a listen and join the journey of embracing slow.

Listen on itunes

Listen on spotify

EMBRACING SLOW: A journey of unhurried grace.

There is a busy epidemic in our society. Social Media, the hustle movement and comparison trick us into believing that busyness equals success. 

Have you ever wondered what it was like to embrace slow? Has your heart been leaning towards the simple and being present?

In this podcast and also the devotional book we write devotions to take you on a journey of slowing, being more present and breathing with simplicity.

Find a quiet space to sit with these stories and devotions, and allow them to help you slow down a little today.

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Living Brave with Boundaries

Brave with Boundaries

Boundaries are not the easiest thing to institute when you are a reformed people pleaser. Add into this equation that one of your strengths is achieving and it is easier to solve everyone else’s problems and procrastinate with your own. If I am to lean into the dreams I have for my future, which includes writing and publishing then I need to set boundaries and be brave with them.

I have an acronym that lately has been forming my work and family life balance. It makes up the word BRAVE. I found part of it from a podcast that I have listened to more than five times over the last month. And I have added my own little version to the end.

B-oundaries

I have been taking time to remember what boundaries are important in my life. As I lean into July and the second half of the year I sat and did my own one-hour RESET retreat. Reminding myself of the goals I set at the beginning of the year when I pressed PAUSE. There were very specific goals that I set for my work life and family life that I needed some reminders of.

  • Taking time for myself to rest and reflect.
  • Not allowing people to be time stealers but at the same time being generous in moments that are divinely appointed.
  • Understanding other peoples needs but also my own.
  • Setting boundaries around social media and long text messages.
  • Holding my ground in places of energy drain.
  • Reframing the messages I am sending myself.

What boundaries do you need to set in this next season?

R-eliability

As a leader, wife and mother I am learning the power of consistent small conversations so that I can be reliable to those who are closest. I was taught something a long time ago which really impacted my leadership journey. It was to under promise and over deliver. As a people pleaser it is easier at the moment to promise the world and then under deliver. So when the moment that life brings, I am learning to say less but when I give my best yes to surrender completely. Giving my focus to gatherings of people like my writing retreats and a small group of friends.

Are you reliable to the promises and commitments you make?

A-ccountability

Last week my husband and I had a hard conversation. We were talking about money and my current stress load, leaning into the next quarter. It wasn’t an easy conversation but it was so worthwhile. I have noticed a funny culture being created in our online worlds. That we are more vulnerable to those who live on the other side of the world, through private messages and online conversations. However, we don’t have the hard conversations that hold us accountable to those under our own roof.

Who is in your circle that holds you accountable?

V-ault

I have learnt that I can easily talk about others, instead of talking about myself. It is easier to throw others under the bus, rather than bringing it back to our own needs, growth and imperfections. Lately, I have been really trying to be a vault for my friends and their conversations. It is hard in a world that promotes openness as a lifestyle, but I am remembering as a leader that when someone else is sharing someone else’s story (that is not theirs to tell) it probably means they will share yours too.

Are you a vault to the stories of others?

E-ncouragement

If you follow along any of my online spaces, you would have picked up a tone of defeat lately. There have been some significant algorithm changes, but also a culture of passivity has set it. The people I really want to start conversations that matter to I am finding a massive radio silence. It has made me assess my relationship with Social Media. At the same time I have just decided to start encouraging people. I want to be a voice that people feel the encouragement that they so desperately desire. I don’t want anyone to walk away from a conversation with me, either online or in person and not feel encouraged.

BRAVE leadership.

BRAVE in friendship.

BRAVE in my marriage.

BRAVE in my family.

BRAVE in my writing.

Who wants to live BRAVE with me. Setting boundaries, being reliable, open to accountability, a vault with precious stories and living a life of encouragement.

Yours creatively

Amanda

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The story keepers

Through the night, the wind kept waking me as a storm swept past the bay. I tossed and turned, falling asleep and then another bang, shudder and howl. I wondered if the rain would leak under the front door, soaking our jarrah floorboards. Worry came knocking around 2 am that the flu that has been hanging in the shadows of my home would settle in to stay.

I stood at the sink today and saw that the passionfruit plant that had taken months to climb up slowly covering the unfinished fence had died, when nobody was looking. I picked up the tea towel off my oven and I stopped mid sentence and remembered her house.

This year we packed up my Grandmothers house, after many decades of living close by and she went reluctantly to a nursing home. Her things divided between family members and honestly, I wasn’t that interested in her belongings, I’d prefer to hold her hand. A box of things, however, were placed on the back seat of my car and my favourite overall the antiques, jewellery and letters were her old linen tea towels.

Most of them antiques in their own right. But each time I hold them, I think of the Carrot Cakes she would bake and the Christmas cookies that no one has managed yet to replicate. My grandmother is old farm stock and I’m sure these pieces of cloth have been held whilst she watched the news on days when history was smashed open and also the days when baked fish was on the menu for dinner.

Story keepers, of the hands that washed them. Story seekers of hearts questioning as they went about daily life with a menial task. Story capsules of the people calling to chat with her on the phone and gossip about that irritating neighbour.

There are moments of our ordinary days, that no one will ever see. Times when words become powerful carriers of emotion and change. When we realise that the stories laden in the processing of our days are the economy of legacy and hope.

Lately, I have been really off Instagram, social media and the hungry machine of content creation. I have been reminding myself of the power and beauty of creativity and story to leave a legacy that remains.

We are the story keepers. We are the story shapers. We are the story holders.

Robyn McKee says it this way:

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

Robyn McKee

If you look across history, the main keeper of human wisdom and tenacity has been recorded through story. I strongly believe that somebody needs your story. The highs, the lows, the in-between and the not enough yet.

As we begin to find ways to allow writing to heal, when we show up to our blank pages and work through our stories to find clarity, hope and courage God brings strength in these places.

Human beings are shaped by stories.

We find encouragement through stories.

We leave lessons for those coming behind with stories.

We were born into a story from the narrative of our parents.

We live in the story that we are telling ourselves.

There is a story in the Bible that talks about legacy in the midst of our current story and narrative. Joel was an amazing scholar and prophet, a man of wisdom to his local community. He wrote this;

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation”

Joel 1: 3

I wonder what stories will be told to our children’s children about the tone and tenure of our current novel in history. This symphony of peace and chaos, an era of change and technology, ignorance and platforms.

What lessons are we teaching and showing, changing and leaving?

We are the story keepers, the culture changers and the life legacy leavers. As we dig deep into our places of freedom and hope, we unveil the beauty of discovering and wisdom for those who sit alongside. Further more, we leave a trail of inspiration for those who follow behind us.

Write hard, my creative friend. Unveil the promises, lean into the new, discover your voice and allow liberty to set the captives of our hearts free.

Amanda can often be found with a pen in her hand, food spilt down her blouse and a fresh story in her heart.
She is an Author, Public Speaker and Radio Presenter. 

If you would like to help to write hard, here is my online course. Four sessions designed to encourage you in finding, developing and expressing your story. $59 delivers straight to your inbox. If you’d like a simple download tool as a process to help you answer all the questions about publishing and writing. I developed this tool for $9.95 just for you. Somebody Needs Your Story.

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Girls represent: Aladdin

Last night I snuck under an Arabian tent, with a snack of hummus in hand, leaving behind the stress of my day and watched the preview of one of my all-time favourite films, here in Perth, Western Australia. I finished the evening walking out, overwhelmed by the colour, light and love of Arabian nights, wishing I had a magic carpet to fly me home.

Princess Jasmine has always been a strong character in the Musical Theatre repertoire of Disney’s latest film offering “Aladdin” but there is a plot twist that the purists may not like.

In the popular 1992 animated film, she is depicted as a strong daughter of the Sultan of Agrabah, who is sick of feeling “stuck” behind the walls of their castle. She refuses to be forced into marriage and longs to become queen one day.

The new remake of this cult classic draws the story from this thread and smashes it wide open with a new song, Which I am sure will become a power ballad classic.

I was speechless as I watched her character find her voice and stand up to the patriarchal institutions that have held her silent. A tear dripped down my face and I remembered this quote I read recently:

“Daring leaders who live into their values are never silent about hard things.”

Brene Brown

She sings loud and clear that “Enough is enough and I will make a change!” Reminding me a little of “Meghan Markle” and her real-life social media prison she married into and to blow convention out of the window and she has decided to do Motherhood in her own way. Feminism is being written as a backstory into the history of this cult classic.

Naomi Scott talks about her passion to bring little girls into wide spaces of emancipation here in this video below;

New song Speechless and women finding their voice.

Will Smith, of course, wins the comedy card in this remake and the video production of his enactment of the Genie is brilliant. The sets, the costumes and production numbers don’t disappoint but for me, the stand out of this movie is the continual theme of women in leadership in Disney’s current season of remakes.

Empowering our girls to know that they can indeed change the course of history. And the last little plot twist, I cannot tell you, because that indeed would be a major spoiler. Here comes a wave, but it won’t take me under.

Add this song to your Spotify playlist, because I believe its going to stay around for a while, just like “This is Me” and “Shallow.

A whole new world of beauty. You ain’t never had a friend like Will Smith and princesses speaking out for what truly matters!

It seems, the movie should have been titled “Jasmine” now that truly would get people just as angry as the last season of Game of Thrones.