words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Do less and do it well

words by nerissa

Lots of sorting got done today

Once again, it’s school holiday time.

As someone who runs a business from home, this can be a tricky (and sometimes, frustrating) time. In the freelance writing game, it’s very often ‘feast or famine’ — either too much work or not enough. And for the first few years, it’s very tempting to say ‘yes’ to any work that comes your way, until you are well-established in your field.

As luck (or Murphy’s Law) would have it, my busiest times have usually been during school holidays. This has often meant a stressful holiday period, trying to balance meeting deadlines and holiday fun. It is further compounded by the fact that writing for a living isn’t as simple as sitting down for a few hours and ‘getting it done’. Writing often means needing to be in the ‘zone’ — feeling the inspiration and getting the words to flow freely, rather than trying to extricate them one by one. As a health writer, I also need time to research my topic.

As any writer would know, the zone isn’t something you can turn on and off. It’s either there or it’s not. Sure, there are things you can do to help you get in the zone, but with two noisy (and sometimes arguing) children in the background, getting there can be difficult. Even if you manage to find your way there, that magic place where the writing comes easy, can be shattered in an instant with the words “Mum, I’m hungry” or cries of “Stop it! Leave me alone!”

Really? You won’t believe it. Honestly, no sooner had I typed the words above, my eldest comes in and says “Mum, I’m hungry!”….so I’ll be right back……

(insert 37 minutes….)

Right — where was I? Oh that’s right, being interrupted!!

In the past, working during school holidays has meant early mornings, late nights and working across the weekends. By the time school term started up again, I was in need of a holiday myself. But of course, everything else that had been put on the back-burner while I was juggling work and school holiday activities was beckoning.

So these holidays, I decided to do something different. I didn’t take on any work.

words by nerissa

The art of cake decorating

Yes — I said ‘no’.

Instead, I am working intermittently while I can, on things that are not urgent. They are important, but not urgent. They also don’t require me to be ‘in the zone’ so much, which means that I can make the most of snippets of time that becomes available.

Tasks such as updating my website, planning out the remainder of my year, setting goals, learning new things that will have a positive impact upon my business, as well as building relationships with key people.

Quite frankly, it’s been great. I haven’t worked at night, or early in the morning. I spent last weekend attending a personal development workshop, visiting friends and sleeping in. This weekend we are spending time with more friends (celebrating the end of AFL season, to be honest!) and taking the kids to the Melbourne Show.

Instead of fitting school holidays (and the kids) around work, I’m fitting in my work around them. For the past three days, my son has been at a tennis clinic, and my daughter was occupied either watching a movie, playing with her barbies or at my parents’ house — so that’s when I worked.

This morning, the kids sorted out a plethora of books, pens, pencils and other ‘crafty’ activities that have been accumulating throughout the house, so I took myself off to the study to work. This afternoon’s activity was cup-cake making — something we all did doing together.

The great thing about my new approach is that I don’t feel guilt. No guilt about not spending time with the kids when I’m working, and no guilt about not working when I’m with the kids.

words by nerissa

What wonderful creativity

The other positive, is the quality of my work is a lot higher because I’m focusing more on what I want to get done, rather than how I’m going to fit it all in. There is also a lot less frustration, because writing deadlines do not exist for these two weeks. It’s an arrangement that seems to be working, and one that I will endeavour to employ in future school holidays.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the busyness of work and family life. It’s even more easy to be swamped by the juggle that is work and school holidays. One thing I have learnt however, is that sometimes we need to take something out of the picture in order to have more balance, more fun and less stress.

Sometimes we need to do less, so we can do it well.

And on that note, it’s time to enjoy those cupcakes!

Until next time. xx

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

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What is heaven like?

smiled todayThis week, a beautiful soul was taken to heaven.

I was proud to call her my friend, even though I had not seen her for some time. I first met Louise when she came to work at our church as a student Youth Worker. I was about 15 or 16.

Back then I took school very seriously. I would spend hours studying, working towards ensuring I would get into my chosen university course. Amid all the study however, I made time for youth group. It was the highlight of my week when I would get together with my closest friends and have some good, honest fun.

Louise always reminded me that there was more to life than study. She showed me that there was always fun to be had, no matter what stresses were present. She showed me there was always something to laugh at, if you looked hard enough.

One of the things I remember most was Louise’s bubbly personality. She was always laughing about something. I can still hear her laugh now. She often had a funny story to tell me — usually about something embarrassing she did, or something funny about herself. She had a way of making others feel better about their world, despite what else was going on. I am grateful to have some great (and funny) memories of Louise.

I lost contact with her for a while (after moving to Melbourne),  but I reconnected with her on Facebook. I am so thankful that I did, because even from a distance, Louise continued to inspire me with her ability to care for and serve others. She still managed to laugh at life, despite an illness that ravaged her body. Louise spent her life giving, and serving, and loving others and was a true example of God’s love.

This week, Louise finally lost her hard-fought battle with cancer.

From the hundreds of messages on her Facebook page, it is obvious that she was a true disciple of Jesus. She touched the lives of thousands of people.

During this week, I have been thinking about Louise a lot. I have also been wondering:

“What is heaven really like?”

Before you read my musings, I would like to clarify that I am not an expert in God, Jesus or heaven. I have no biblical training and I do not know the Bible back to front and inside out. I do love God, read the Bible, and go to church. However, none of those things make me an expert.

These are just thoughts, ideas and imaginings, that have popped into my head this week.

I think heaven is a place where there is no illness or pain. Your body (if indeed you have one?) will move freely. You will love it and be happy with it.

heaven will be beautiful

I’m sure beauty will abound in heaven

When you get to heaven there will be joy. There will be no sadness, envy, pride, competing with others, wishing you had more. There will be no more self-doubt or feeling bad about yourself. There will be no hate or bullying. Instead, people will be smiling, singing, talking, dancing — doing things to add joy to heaven.

There is no judgement, or put-downs or negativity in heaven. And I don’t think that those in heaven can see any of the negative, heart-breaking things that we see here on earth.

In heaven, I don’t think you will ever get tired.

I imagine that all those people who knew each other on earth, are reunited and free to carry on catching up with each other. When my Nan died, I imagined her in her new little house making pikelets and chocolate-peanut biscuits so she could have all her friends over for morning tea. I don’t even know if you get a house in heaven, but that’s what I pictured anyway. And I think that every time one of her friends makes their way to heaven, she puts on the kettle and gets out an extra cup. I’m looking forward to a cup of tea with my Nan.

In heaven, everything is beautiful. There are rainforests and beaches, and bushland and rivers. Waterfalls and ice. I’m not sure of the logistics of how you get around to all of them, but I’m sure God has that side of things sorted out.

In heaven there is peace. I won’t need to multi-task any longer, or follow a routine in order to get things done. There will be no more household chores to do. (Hooray!) Instead, I will be free to just be. Sort of like a holiday at the beach perhaps, but even better because the feeling of contentment will be ever-present, not just there for a while.

I think that in heaven, we get to do the things that make us happy. My Pa loved crosswords. I often think of him sitting in his chair doing the crossword, while Nan brings him a cup of tea and a plate of pikelets, loaded up with jam and butter. I’m quite hopeful there are lots of books and quiet reading rooms.

In heaven there is patience. No one is in a hurry. No one is frustrated or annoyed. Everyone looks out for everyone else and is good and kind.

There is definitely love in heaven. I’m sure it’s such a strong feeling of love that it wraps around you like a warm blanket making you feel warm and fuzzy and protected. I know that the amount of love in heaven is way more than I love my kids. That is kind of hard to get my head around, because that’s an awful lot of love.

There are some things I’m not sure about, however.

Are there cars? How do we get around? Can we fly like angels, or do we suddenly transport ourselves to the place we want to be?

I don’t know if there are houses. I imagine there are, but I’m not really sure.

I don’t think we will get tired in heaven, but I wonder do we need to sleep? And if so where? In hammocks strung between trees? On a cloud, or in a bed?

How big is heaven? It must be enormous to hold so many people. And will everyone know each other? If we don’t all know each other, will we get the opportunity to meet each other? I suppose there is time to meet everyone, because heaven is forever. But that’s still a lot of people to meet.

Does it get dark in heaven like it does on earth? Are there sunrises and sunsets? Nights and days?

I’m very curious about how we get to heaven. Does Jesus come down himself to take us? Angels maybe? Is there a large staircase we need to climb that winds its way through the clouds? A tunnel with a light at the end of it that we sort of float through? Do we get a chance to see everyone we have ever known before we make our journey to be with God? Maybe there is a train or a bus? I just don’t know.

heaven is real

I wonder how we get there

However, amid all my wonderings and imaginings there are a few things I am sure of. A few things that I absolutely, 100% know.

Heaven exists.

God is real.

Jesus lives in heaven.

When I die, I will go to heaven.

I also know that Louise is in heaven right now. Her body is no longer fighting disease or feeling pain. She is there laughing and giggling. She will be chatting with her friends and family who have already passed on. She will be talking with Jesus. Most probably telling Him a funny story.

As we say our final farewells to her today (some at her funeral and some from afar), I do wonder however, if she knows just how much she will be missed.

Will she see the tears that people shed today? 

Or will she just know that the world is a better place because she was part of it … if only for a while.

See you in heaven, dear Louise. xx

  

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

My greatest inspiration

IMG_4567

My two biggest inspirations.

Why do you do what you do?

Why do you work? Why do you exercise? Why do you run a taxi service to your kids in your spare time? Why do you go to church?

Why do you REALLY do these things?

Maybe you don’t know. Maybe you’ve never taken the time to think about it before. Maybe you think you know, but you really don’t. Maybe you don’t even care.

However, if you don’t know the real reason behind the choices you make every day, then what you are doing is not really a choice. It’s either a habit, something you feel you ‘have to’ or ‘should do’, or something you do because everyone else is doing it.

When you know your real reason — your ‘WHY’ for doing the things you do, then the actual performing of these tasks (no matter how unpleasant/boring/time-wasting they may be), has a little more meaning, and therefore a purpose. It becomes easier to ‘roll with life’, because you are no longer just going through the motions, wondering what it’s all for.

Instead, your life becomes more focused, more meaningful and a lot happier. Because all of a sudden, you’re not just ‘going to work to pay the bills’. Instead, you ‘re ‘working so you can take that overseas trip’, or you’re driving the kids around ‘so they have an opportunity to develop friendships’.

See the difference?

The same goes for taking care of your health. Many of us say we ‘need to lose weight’ or ‘want to get fit’. Why?

If you ‘need to lose weight’ because everyone else is on a diet, then that’s not a good reason. If you ‘want to get fit’ because Cross-fit is the new best thing, then that’s not a reason either. Even a doctor telling you that you need to do something about your health is not a reason, unless it is YOUR reason. You have to own your reason. You have to really understand WHY you do the things you do.

I have recently done this with regard to my health. What started out as ‘wanting to lose weight’ has evolved into something more meaningful. I no longer care about my ‘weight’, because I have learnt that weight is only a small measure of the kind of person I am. Sure, I want to be living in a body that can continue to move as I age. I want to feel healthy and vibrant and enjoy life as I get older. I do want to feel good and happy about who I am. And the vainer part of me wants to look good! But my real reason — my WHY for training and eating and changing my life for the better, is not about me anymore.

It’s about the dream I have for my kids.

I don’t want them to bury me before my time or to watch me die from a disease I can prevent. I don’t want them to spend their adulthood caring for me, because I haven’t taken good care of myself. I don’t want them to spend their time taking me to doctors, hospitals and medical appointments, or worrying about my health. I want to know my grandkids and have a quality relationship with them. I want to do things with my family, rather than just watch from the sidelines. I want our time together on this earth to be of the highest quality it can be, doing things that matter and things that make us happy. Making happy memories instead of sad ones.

I want my kids to be happy. I want them to know what makes them happy. I want them to be strong enough in themselves to be who THEY want to be, not what the world tells them they should be. I want them to follow their own dreams and passions, whatever they are, and regardless of what others may say about it.

I want my kids to love and value themselves, and to see value in everyone they meet. I want them to inspire and encourage others to be better people. I want them to bring joy to the lives of others, simply by being themselves. I want them to respect themselves and those around them.

I want them to develop a love for healthy food and exercise, so they can live healthy lives. I don’t want them fighting disease, illness or depression. Instead, I want them to make the most out of life.

don't tell people your dreamsI want my kids to be the best they can be and know it’s okay to aspire to greatness. I want them to be proud of who they are as people and what they contribute to the world. I want them to value their uniqueness and special gifts they have been blessed with, and to use those gifts to help others.

I want them to be resilient enough to rise above negativity and hate, and know that when they experience that, it is not a reflection of them, but rather the person who is being negative and hateful. I want them to be confident in who they are, and to never, ever let others’ negativity get the better of them, or cause them to think negatively of themselves.

I want them to seize opportunities when they come along, without worrying about whether they are ‘good enough’ to follow through. I want them to be confident in themselves and their abilities. I want them to trust themselves, and know that they will always find a solution to a problem.

I realise that is a pretty big dream I have for my kids. But I believe it is a worthy dream.

While it’s true that none of us can control how our kids’ lives turn out, we do have an opportunity to model to them what we value in life.

I’m not saying that I am all of the above — but I am working on being so.

The interesting thing about all of this is that since writing down WHY I am making positive changes in my life, I find myself reflecting on the above while I am doing other seemingly mundane and meaningless things such as cleaning the bathroom, doing the grocery shopping and taking out the rubbish.

Although I am not fully embracing the less appealing tasks involved in raising kids, every now and then I catch myself thinking “Why am I REALLY doing this?” And it causes me to turn my negative feelings about these jobs into more meaningful ones.

Why do you do what you do?

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

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