Voting in New Zealand

I just voted in New Zealand’s general election (voting for the ruling party in New Zealand for the next three years).

It’s simple to vote in New Zealand. There are polling stations in every neighborhood and it’s easy to vote in the week leading up to the election. There’s no stress or worries at the polling booths. No one trying to intimidate locals to vote one way. We are fortunate. Every vote counts.
If you’re in NZ, please vote.

 

Spring in Auckland

September in Auckland has crazy rainy weather. Yesterday, on a 30-minute walk with my Labrador, the grey clouds were followed by cold hard rain, followed by warm sunshine. Followed by …

We got to the car just before the rain started again. But the tulips love it. And blossoms (my favourite flower) have started to appear.

How an app is making my health better

The Calm app as a lifesaver. Crazy I know.

I breathe really shallowly. Which I didn’t realise until someone on a health retreat showed me this app. Welcome to the World of Calm

I now use this app (the free version) most days just for a minute. After a couple of months, I’m more aware of my shallow breathing and I try to breathe deeper.

Weird thought – when I was shown this app I heard my own voice loudly say in my head “this will save your life” which startled me! It encouraged me to pay attention to the app.

I haven’t had the patience until now to stick with things like positive affirmations. But if I can change my breathing habits with one minute’s practice a day, it makes me think affirmations might actually work.

(I’m not affiliated or getting any payment for mentioning this app. I just think it’s great).

The happiness of childhood music rediscovered

I recently bought this Julio Iglesias CD from a SPCA charity shop. When I was thirteen, my family travelled around Western Europe for a few weeks. My parents had two CDs (well cassette tapes actually) in the car, 1100 Bel Air Place and Elton John. I remember falling asleep to this music as they drove, strapped into the back seat with my younger sister’s head on my shoulder.

You might hate this music. It might seem old fashioned but I love every song and sing along to the CD. Best buy for $2.
Now my 12 year old is listening to it too sometimes when I drive.

Do you have a song or album that you loved as a child and have now rediscovered?

How to say no – gracefully

There’s a real art to saying no to people’s unwanted requests. If you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do, and you say no gracefully and firmly, you’re taking care of yourself and your needs. If you don’t, it’s easy to end up busy and resentful. My husband and eldest daughter instinctively have the gift of saying no. I don’t. But I’m learning.

I learn from masters. Cheryl Richardson in her book The Art of Extreme Self-Care explains it well in her chapter “Let me disappoint you”.
She suggests before responding to unwanted requests you:

  • Buy some time.
  • Do a gut check.
  • Then tell the truth directly with grace and love.

In one of Cheryl’s examples, on being asked to join a local charity board, Cheryl suggests this response: “Thank you for your invitation. While I’m unable to accept, I wish you all the best with your organization (project, goals, or what have you).”
Brilliant! I bought this book so I could refer to this chapter whenever I needed it.

How to respond to a request for a second date if you’re not keen? I always wondered how to handle this awkward situation. A woman who went on 77 dates in two years said no like this:
“I had a fun time but I just didn’t feel any spark between us”. Clear, firm but not unkind.

Two more wonderful examples come from New York Times bestselling author (and lovely person) Nalini Singh. At the bottom of her FAQ page for writers (scroll to the bottom) are examples of Nalini saying no gracefully to writers’ unsolicited requests.
Q: I have a great idea – will you write the book and then we’ll split the proceeds?
A: No, thanks, I’m happy writing my own books. But good luck with your idea!
Q: Do you give cover blurbs?
A; Because of the number of requests I receive to read books to see if I’ll blurb them, I only consider requests that come through either my editor or my agent.

I’m always looking for more examples of saying no gracefully. If you have any examples, please post them in a comment.