Ponder Kindness Part Two

Ponder Kindness Part Two

There is nothing I like more than meeting a person who surprises you with a character that is refreshing and far from mundane.

 

This interview with Fr. Rod has created a joyful series of conversations that spark the mind. The most refreshing facet of this man and his beautiful wife Kerry is that even though at times I am sure they fear the backlash that comes with being a messenger, they march on. They march on not because they revel in it. They march on because it is a calling. It is a calling that they cannot ignore.

It’s the stuff that your soul emits in unison with your heart so strongly, that to ignore it would be emotionally dishonest. This is why the congregation has grown, this is why many Australians are intrigued and captivated by the message Fr. Rod echoes, its quite simple: compassion and kindness for everyone.  Not everybody agrees. Is it easy? No way. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

 

Planet Spectrum

This boy from the Hunter Valley, the son of conservative country party graziers is now the voice of many.

In Part Two we chat about the lighter things in life; cubby houses, Lucifer, climate change, Netflix and so much more…

Kirsten: Ok, so now I am shifting the subject, but if there’s music that’ll get your foot tapping what would it be?

Fr. Rod: Can you believe I am not a huge music fan? (I audibly gasp) But, if there were one it would be Jazz. And improvised, very highly improvised Jazz. I think the biggest-selling Jazz album ever was Miles Davis and Arlo Guthrie, and they came together and basically just cut this thing like nothing in the day in these jams sessions.
I was actually out having drinks last Thursday night, and the guy at the piano was the guy who composed the music for the Compass documentary, and I asked him if he could play this because he’s a very clever musician. So he started playing it.

Kirsten: Okay, so I ask everyone this question as we always get the most interesting responses. As a child did you like tree houses or cubby houses? What would be your preference?

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Rod: I’m a cubby house fan because I don’t like heights. I can remember, we must’ve bought a new refrigerator or something at one stage when I was little kid. So, I created this cubby house out of it, and I spent a good couple of years in this box.

Kirsten: (Laughs) There you go.

Rod: But I did climb trees from time to time. I’m not fond of heights, though.

Kirsten: If you could meet with your 25-year-old self and give him a piece of advice, what would it be?

Fr. Rod: Don’t drink so much. Don’t waste a lot of time, money, and brain cells and use that money to travel. I kind of regret I didn’t, I should have. I had an opportunity to go overseas when I was 20, and I never did, and I still regret that to this day. I wanted to travel in my late twenties and early thirties.

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Kirsten: What made you decide, was there a moment, was it a series of events, which lead you to be in service to God?

Fr. Rod: Well, there was no Damascus road. In fact, it was a long journey of resistance to an insistent call and people sort of encouraged me to be a priest and me agreeing at each step along the process to engage in that. At the same time, I was totally expecting that I’d be rejected by the Church and so I found myself, you know, the day of my ordination, not really understanding how I had got there. And there’s a sense in which I’m still in that process. I’m daring the Church to throw me out.

Kirsten: So I take it you’d have to walk a pretty fine line.

Fr. Rod: Sometimes.

Fr. Rod: While I’m accused of being progressive, I am, I think fairly theologically orthodox and especially regarding patristics in the early Church years. I know I’m not seen as orthodox by contemporary Protestant conservatives, but they’re not really orthodox in terms of the Great Theologians.

Kirsten: But I think too, one of the reasons people find you progressive is because you guys have a real social presence. You are literally streaming online. You’re on Facebook for starters and churches don’t usually have a strong following on social media. This is not your usual stiff upper lip, cause no waves Anglican church!

Fr. Rod: 150 followers is the average for many churches.

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Kirsten: Exactly! You’re up front and center, you do it very well, but it’s also the way you explain theology. It’s very friendly, it makes sense, it’s logical, and it’s not stale. People want to listen to you.

Could you tell me a little bit about your passion for climate change?

Fr Rod: Yeah I have to say we have been very focused on the last few years on refugees. It’s taken over a bit of the agenda for obvious reasons, and in more recent times focus has been on the marriage equality debate. I am hoping this will be resolved quickly and we can get on with other things. Note: this interview happened before the wonderful marriage equality results

I mean, the climate is the ultimate question for us, for our generation, my children and my grandchildren’s generation. It’s going to be the defining subject over the next 100 years. It’s the defining ethical subject; it’s the defining scientific and economic question. It’s the new paradigm. We are the economic paradigm in which we have been in for the last 70 years. It’s crumbling after the GFC. We’ve propped it back up again, but it’s crumbling, and the emerging paradigm has to be the environmental and ecological paradigm. It’ll be the new economy.

 

Kirsten: The new economy?

Fr. Rod: Yes it has to be. It’s farcical to watch the old right clinging to their coal philosophy when even AGL are saying, um no, that’s old, that’s the old we aren’t interested anymore. They know money is in renewables and clean energy! You know we are so close to this renewable technology being introduced, so why on earth would you invest in coal fired?

But there will be ethical and moral questions to ask in this process, and I think this is where theologians need to be.

KM: You are bringing back the cool. Reminding us of why we look to women and men that question everything and bring our ethics and what we stand for to the forefront. Which leads me to this part of my questioning: Why is it seemingly so uncool sometimes to be Christian? I said to someone at a dinner party that it seems to be very zen and modern for people to be Hindi, Buddhist, or even Zoroastrian, Muslim, anything other than Christian. But it seems to be very uncool to be Christian; this seems a bit unfair!

Fr. Rod: Yes they seem to be the flavor don’t they? (Hearty laughter injected from my interviewee)

Fr. Rod: I think the life and teachings of Jesus, has an enormous amount to offer society. The basic doctrines of Christianity are an anchor that we let go of at our peril in that sense because we float off into this sort of nothingness. But I think we can get a bit obsessed with that side of things and not so much on the social ethics.

Kirsten: Outside of all of this theology, as a regular bloke, what do you like to do?

Fr. Rod: I don’t get much time to relax, it’s quite foreign to me! I grew up in an environment where you didn’t take holidays, and so my brain isn’t programmed in that way. Which is not a very healthy. I am not very good at relaxing, I try and take time each day to walk. I am 55 Type 2 Diabetic with high cholesterol, a very typical 55-year-Old Australian male. (more laughter)

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I enjoy getting home, after a long hard day and having some cheese and bikkies, a glass of pinot noir; occasionally I get to veg out I will binge watch something on Netflix. I just finished binge-watching Lucifer.

KM: NO WAY! Are you serious? Ok, if you are watching that, I am so watching that! What did you think? (I am shocked, gaping like a goldfish and laughing).

Fr. Rod: Well it was challenging for a while because Lucifer’s Dad- God is portrayed as a very capricious character, very punishing and I was resistant to this! I am like: God’s not like this! He’s not like this! But the more I watched it; I think he is portraying God in a way in which many people see God. And while it made me uncomfortable, and I don’t believe God is like that I had to acknowledge that this is how many view God.

And you know, Lucifer is the devil, and he does kind of challenge in the show this idea of “the devil made me do it” type stuff. He comments that humans make their own choices and actions, his only job is to punish them, he doesn’t make them do anything. Not that I believe in that either, but I have found it challenging, thought-provoking. Its the antithesis of what I believe but it reminded me of how endemic folky religion is in our culture. Because that is what a lot of people believe. I am a Game of Thrones fan.

Kirsten: Now I like you even more. (grinning) This is my all-time favorite series. We actually have a GOT night at our house with friends and eat special dessert. Seriously.

Fr. Rod: I like Tyrion Lannister, he is the archetypical human in that he is carnal, but also has a social ethic, that he actually doesn’t want people to be hurt.

Kirsten: His transformation in the show is pretty entertaining and so complex!

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Fr. Rod: Yes, because he is vested in good, even though he is a drunken fornicator and even a user and abuser of women which I hold to be highly immoral and terrible. But his complexity fascinates me. I enjoy the religious metaphors in the show, the use of faith metaphor because I think that’s quite challenging too. You know, we are in the process of electing a new bishop… (and there might be a few GOT’s comments, as well as Dutton…I am leaving the next 10 minutes out, what gets said off the record stays off the record) (grin inserted).

 

The conversation continues in Part Three… where we discuss some serious business like Homosexuality, Kingdoms and that Heaven thing people get so hung up about.

The Dynamic Scarce Sisters Serving Up Canine Health with a Side of Humour

The Dynamic Scarce Sisters Serving Up Canine Health with a Side of Humour

We ponder with Alana and Michele Scarce, sisters who infuse every endeavour with their infectious energy, spirited leadership, and sparkling humour. 

These dynamic siblings excel in business, but their vibrant personalities set them apart. With a shared passion for health and wellness, they co-founded Raw Pawz, a trailblazer in canine nutrition. 

Beyond their entrepreneurial success, they are captivating individuals who engage the world with wit, positivity, and a deep commitment to making a difference. 

What inspired you to start a dog supplement company, and how did you come up with the name Raw Pawz? – 

We have always been super passionate about food, clean eating, health, wellness, and the importance good gut health has on us living our best lives. This is not limited to us as humans but extends to our favourite furry friends. 

We have been lucky enough to have grown up with excellent education about healthy food, cooking and eating everything in moderation. Well, maybe too much pasta, given our Italian heritage. We have our Mum to thank for being an incredible role model and showing us the way.

As we get older, we are increasingly grateful for that as we have adopted such clean eating habits in our adult lives. 

We have applied these same rules to our dogs. Our business was born out of our love for fresh feeding our babies. We wouldn’t eat highly processed products on the shelves, so why would we provide them to our dogs? 

We saw a gap in the market where we believe dogs shouldn’t be eating processed foods – they can’t tell us they don’t like it, so we wanted to create something that they liked and was good for them. 

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Who inspires you in business and why? – 

Gosh, so many people… 

Where to start: 

Lisa Messenger – Her attitude, resilience, and mindset have motivated us throughout our journey.

Sacha Packer: She is really paving the way in this space and leading the charge in this movement and growth of the category. 

Carla Oates – Her commitment to her family to cure eczema with natural remedies and share it with the world is inspiring. 

And fundamentally, we truly inspire each other. Starting a business is not easy, and there are countless hurdles along the way. We continue to inspire each other with our strength, positive mindset, and ability to pivot and embrace all the challenges thrown at us. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of running a business with your sibling, and how do you handle conflict or ideas? 

We understand each other so well. We have been best friends since we can remember, trust each other, and it is so special creating a business we are both insanely passionate about. 

Resolving conflict has gotten much easier over time and with life experiences under our belt – aka, age 🙂 We both do a lot of work on ourselves and are on a similar self-discovery journey, so the ability to take responsibility and own our SH^T is pretty powerful. 

Our skill sets complement each other, too, so we trust each other and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. We are honest and open about ideas and every decision we make! 

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What is one of the most powerful lessons you have learned since starting your business? 

Stay in your lane, and don’t get caught comparing yourself to other brands or where you think you are in your business journey. This causes distraction and making decisions out of fear rather than your true values as to why you started in the first place. 

Also, be your biggest cheerleader! There are so many happy dances and memorable moments when we achieve a milestone, fulfil orders, and see ourselves growing – it is a great way to stay grateful and appreciate the business growth process. 

Don’t give up! You get smacked down so many times with production issues, operation costs increasing, and lack of responses, but if you keep focusing on the goal, you can overcome these and keep striving forward. It can be really hard sometimes. 

We are lucky to have each other because we cheer each other on, support and fix any mistakes together, and learn so much from each other. We are a dynamic sister duo! 

What is the most potent insight for other parents with young children starting their businesses? 

The juggle is real! There is no sugarcoating that starting a business, especially in today’s market climate, is challenging, and there is much to do. 

But if you are super passionate about the brand, service and/or cause you are launching, it will ignite a fire that will keep you going.

Balancing a household, kids, self-care, and a business can be tough but extremely rewarding when you find your happy pace. 

It is great for our kids to see us building empires and getting them involved. It shows spirit and entrepreneurship from a young age. But I think there is a point when the business will be there even when your kids are older, so don’t miss out on the small stuff because even though you think you need to answer an email urgently – it can all wait. 

Don’t let it consume you. Let it inspire you. 

 

What is it you love about dogs so much? 

As corny as it sounds….. The absolute unconditional love! And for me, honestly, it is having the best adventure buddy ever! Lenny comes on every adventure. Just last month, we were out swimming in the ocean when a pod of 4 dolphins came up and started playing right next to us. I mean, you can’t even buy experiences like that. He is my best friend and the best adventure buddy! 

Where does the entrepreneurial spirit come from? 

We always talk about this, as we are so different from our parents and wonder where our adventurous spirit, entrepreneurship and wild side come from. However our Mum has always taught us to be independent and encouraged our ideas early on. She even googles at night and comes back with research, other brands, or ideas to help with what we discussed the day before (she’s the best)! 

She does love nature, has extremely high family values and has instilled a very strong work ethic in us from an early age. We have worked at our family Italian restaurant since we were 13. We saved our money to ride horses as a hobby (this wasn’t cheap – even back then :)), but we loved it, and it fed our adrenaline and passion as young kids. 

As sisters, we encourage each other to achieve our goals and reach for the stars. We both believe that life is short and needs to be lived to its fullest potential, and that’s what we intend to do with it. We don’t want to die wondering. 

 

Raw Paws Dog Nutrition

Are there any personal hurdles or inspirations that have helped form the business’s success or spurred you on? 

We have both always been very positive, energetic, life-loving humans. Over the last few years, we have found that delving deeper into our inner work has helped us thrive in business together and surrender to the process, allowing us to break through any limitations and beliefs we may carry. 

It has helped us work together, understand, keep each other accountable, and bring out our best. This has allowed us the space to become more patient in business and really sit with the next steps and decisions from an intuitive level, which has helped us tremendously as the business grows.

 

You are both incredibly funny and energised; we love your social media pages! Can you share when your sense of humour helped you overcome a business challenge? 

When we started Raw Pawz, our brief to our designer was – Bold, Sassy, and With lots of Character – this really does represent who we are, and we wanted that to shine through in our branding and packaging for the products – she nailed it (credit to Danka). We love that you love our social media pages. We just try and be authentically ourselves, so we hope that is shining through how we engage with our community. We love our dogs and what we do, so our positive energy and passion doesn’t  waiver. Even if we are passionate about fresh feeders, it can be controversial. What we do energises us is how we get through ANY business challenges!

 

Gary Thorpe Mental Health Awards 2022

What’s the funniest customer feedback you’ve ever received about your supplements? 

“Your Liver Powder is like crack!!” 

Hahahahaha! We were told by a customer that their dog was the fussiest and wouldn’t ever eat their food. Until trying our liver powder! The fussy dog problem is solved! 

If you could create a dog supplement that could solve any problem, what would it be? 

It would be a supplement that enhances cognitive function in older dogs. The cognitive decline as a dog ages is so distressing for the dog and its owners. A supplement that could solve this problem and slow down the effects of aging on the brain would be amazing. 

But watch this space as we have a secret obsession with Adaptogens and Nootropics. 

 

What’s the biggest misconception about dog supplements, and how do you address it in your products? – 

One of the biggest misconceptions about dog supplements is that they are unnecessary and only for sick or aging dogs. 

However, supplements can provide numerous benefits for dogs of all ages, from boosting their immune system to improving their joint health, skin, coat, and digestion. Many commercial dog foods may not provide all the necessary nutrients and vitamins that dogs need. 

Supplements can fill those nutritional gaps and support your dog’s overall health and well-being. And, like us humans, prevention is always better than a cure. Keeping our dogs happy and healthy from the inside means fewer visits to the vet and a longer lifespan – this is a win-win for the owners.

 

With our products, we only use the highest quality, human-grade ingredients. All our products have been specifically designed to improve gut health, skin and coat, mobility and overall wellness of our furry friends. 

We are fully transparent and provide a complete nutritional panel on the back of our packs, allowing pet owners to make informed decisions about what supplements to give their dogs! 

What’s next for Raw Pawz, and where do you see the future of the dog supplement industry heading? 

We have some very exciting things on the cards. However, we are keeping them close to our chest for now!! 

The dog supplement industry has been proliferating in recent years. More pet owners are demanding better quality and seeing the benefits of supplements for their pets. We envision more specialised supplements tailored to specific health issues and based on a dog’s needs! We also see a massive movement for people switching to feeding entirely new diets and pet owners sourcing more nutritional toppers that are high quality and natural! 

Additionally, with the growing interest in natural and organic products, we may see a shift towards more plant-based and sustainably sourced ingredients in dog supplements. 

We are pumped to be one of the brands pioneering in this space. 

Treehouse or cubby house? 

Alana – Cubby house!!! Terrified of heights!!! 

Mish – Tree House – love being nestled in nature 🙂 

 

Dog Fact:  the composition of the gut microbiome in dogs is correlated with overall health according to extensive studies. Gut health matters when it comes to our pets! 

 

Want to know more? Head over to:  https://rawpawz.com.au 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rawpawz_/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RawPawz.Co/

 

Source: The Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health and Gastrointestinal Disease 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6971114/

 

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Warren Davies; An Unbreakable Journey Beyond the Back Paddock

Warren Davies; An Unbreakable Journey Beyond the Back Paddock

We ponder with Warren Davies, known as ‘The Unbreakable Farmer‘, an icon of rural mental health in Australia.

He’s an ordinary man with an extraordinary story: a farmer, husband, and father navigating the complexities of mental health fueled by resilience, persistence, and determination. His lived experiences give voice to powerful presentations and workshops, promoting communication and community. His new Podcast, “Beyond the Back Paddock”, is an exciting new addition to his message. 

Warren, your story is one of great resilience and persistence. Could you share with our readers about a pivotal moment that led you to where you are now, on this path, helping others?

 

My mental health had declined to the point that I’d hit rock bottom. I call this moment in my life my Two Feet of Perspective. That afternoon Life gave me two choices: to remain angry, bitter and with my mental health out of control or seek help and become better; I chose better. I found myself in a very dark and scary place. That drives me to help others today; if someone can take something away from my presentations to help themselves or help someone they love, I have achieved my mission.

 

Given your experiences with bullying during your secondary school years, how do you approach the topic of resilience in a way that resonates with younger audiences, and what advice do you have for young people facing similar challenges?

 

Reaching out for support would be the first piece of advice. When I was getting bullied, I just excepted it and never sort help. It eroded my resilience, my well-being and my education. I gave those bullies the power to do that. So, my second piece of advice is to be strong enough to stand up against bullies. That requires support. Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it. 

 

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You’ve mentioned how you had to reinvent yourself at various stages of your life. How has your self-perception and identity evolved through these experiences, and how do you bring this evolution into your presentations?

Throughout my life, I have had to reinvent myself and identify who I am. Moving from the city to the country, school kid to farm hand, dairy farmer to professional speaker. 

We learn every day, which has shaped the person we are and the person we will become in the future. Embrace that.

Being an ‘Unbreakable Farmer,’ you’ve become an inspirational figure for many people, regardless of their profession. What message do you hope your story conveys to people struggling with their identity or place in life?

There is a place for everyone in the world, be authentic to yourself, and you will find that place.

 

“One of my favourite sayings I often share with people I manage is, if you haven’t learned anything today, check your pulse.”

 

Growing up, was there someone who inspired you or whose voice spoke to you during difficult times?

I am a mad footy fan; many people who inspired me growing up were footballers, like Kevin Sheedy, Tommy Hafey, and Maurice Rioli. It wasn’t until I became older that I was influenced by others, but the people who inspire me are just people with everyday stories.

You are an avid reader; what is your favourite book you are reading right now?

At the moment, I have two books on the go. The first one is a book by Chris Cheers; The New Rule Book Notes From a Psychologist That Helps Redefine The Way We Live, which is a very interesting book, and the other book I’m reading is called The Thought Leaders Practise by Matt Church, 

You are authentically you, which shines through on your social media; there is no cookie-cutter life coach here! This has been a testament to your success, with followers and fans, everyone from farmers to CEOs, parents to entrepreneurs. What was it like entering the keynote speaker arena and staying true to your message, personality, and style without succumbing to the “trends” or “corporate image.” 

My message and mission are more important than trends and corporate image. Being my true self and authentic is my superpower, and that is more engaging than trends or trying to keep up an image that isn’t me. That might be just the dairy farmer coming out in me. Trying to be something you are not is exhausting and counterproductive.

If you could sit down and tell your 16-year-old self just one message, what would it be?

Wow, now that would be a long conversation. Firstly I would say believe in yourself. I have struggled with self-esteem all my life, and at 16, it was probably at its lowest. Secondly, You are You, and that’s ok. You don’t need to be anyone else.

Can you tell us about the Podcast?

I’ve just launched a new podcast called Beyond the Back Paddock. One of the most powerful assets of any community is the power of shared wisdom; the best way to share that wisdom is through storytelling.

What prompted you to do it?

Being inspired by everyday people and their stories

How have you chosen your guests and why?

I’ve been privileged to meet some amazing people as a speaker, whether their fellow speakers or people that I’ve met in communities with some amazing stories and stories that you sometimes don’t expect. And I chose a balance of guests from all different backgrounds because I think it’s really important to normalise some of these conversations about subjects that we don’t normally talk about, so a balance of well-known and not so well known people was really important in choosing the guests for the Podcast.

What excites you about it? 

What excites me about the Podcast is it’s a different forum to engage with my followers or the people in my community, and I do that through sharing stories of others and some inspiring people I’ve met.

Treehouse or cubby house, and why?

This is a fantastic question. Growing up, I had neither a treehouse nor a cubby house. I used to build little humpies in there in the Bush. Growing up in a developing eastern suburb of Melbourne, we were the first house on our estate, so there was always bushland, building sites, and development around us where you could you make stuff out of anything, and I used to love nooks and crannies and even though they didn’t resemble the stories that were being told in your head the imagination that come with doing that was one of the things that I treasure about being a kid.

To find out more information about this incredible human please visit: 

https://www.theunbreakablefarmer.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/BeyondTheBackPaddockPodcast

https://www.instagram.com/beyondthebackpaddockpodcast/

 

Important facts:

According to Statista 

Approximately 90% of 4-8th class students have experienced bullying, with 70.6% witnessing bullying in school, and over 5% of students in Australia dropping out due to repeated bullying and abusive behaviors.

If you are someone you know is feeling in crisis or unsafe; please call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

 

Important Crisis Contacts:

Beyond Blue- https://www.beyondblue.org.au

Lifeline 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

1800 Respect 1800 737 732

13 YARN – 13 92 76  –  for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

 

 

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The beautiful Bellarine Peninsula jewel is a testament to love for hundreds of couples. A place where “I do’s” echoed a new love story etched in its heart each time.

“The joy of it all comes from the freedom,” GG reveals, speaking of the magic they’ve been weaving, “Creating such an intimate, rustic experience so close to the urban hubs of Geelong and Melbourne is our reward. This place is more than just a venue; it’s 30 acres of undulating greenery in the idyllic Wallington, a stone’s throw from Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.”

The allure of The Barn Wallington is its inherent adaptability. An elegant BYO drinks and catering venue that sheds the pretence of premium price tags. Yet, the true charm lies in its openness – inviting couples, families, and close friends to take over the space the day prior.

This personalisation freedom allows for a deep sense of connection, transforming the wedding day into something more profound. Whether boho-inspired weddings or formal grandeur, intimate gatherings or a crowd of 150, The Barn embodies the soul of GG and John.

Indeed, The Barn Wallington isn’t just a wedding venue; it’s an embodiment of GG and John’s love, their mission to provide every couple with the ability to weave their unique love tale. It’s a testament to the potential of love and the beauty of creating a space for life’s most cherished memories.

For a deeper dive, visit https://www.thebarnwallington.com.au. To experience this inspiring journey directly, reach out to GG at 0409 093 194 or thebarnwallington@gmail.com.

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Dive into the Story Seas: Ponderings Magazine’s Exciting New Voyage into the Realm of Online Book Clubs

Dive into the Story Seas: Ponderings Magazine’s Exciting New Voyage into the Realm of Online Book Clubs

Every once in a while, a revolutionary shift redefines our perception of how we experience books. It challenges the status quo, encouraging bibliophiles around the globe to engage with literature in a way they’ve never imagined. 

 

Today, Ponderings Magazine embarks on a transformational journey, introducing a new chapter in our narrative – our Online Book Club.

 In an era where nearly 27% of Americans read e-books, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey [source], 

 According to research by Roy MorganOver 15.7 million, or 76.3%, of Australians aged 14+ now read or access reading material in an average 7-day period via print or online.  

The magnetic allure of the digital realm is indisputable. Welcome, bookworms and digital enthusiasts, to a forum where we do not merely read books, but dissect their souls, unravel their mysteries, and delve into their profound depths.

This isn’t your regular book club; here, Rumi waltzes with Pip Williams while Dante enjoys a refreshing cuppa with Brene Brown.

We invite you to join us on this journey.

The Ponderings Magazine Online Book Club explores thoughts, but it’s not a monologue – no, dear readers. This is a symposium of minds, a gathering of voices. We share our reviews, yes, but we also invite you, our readers, to pitch your tents in the comments section, add your unique perspectives, and create a rich tapestry of analysis and appreciation.

Come, let us traverse the labyrinth of literature; let us embrace the joy of shared insights. Ponderings Magazine Book Club is your gateway to a world where every book is a universe waiting to be discovered. Join us, won’t you?

The StorytellersNook Accomodation Victoria

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, Ponderings Book Club

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, Ponderings Book Club

In “How to Stop Time,” Matt Haig takes readers on an enchanting journey through the extraordinary life of Tom Hazard, a man who ages at an excruciatingly slow pace.

Haig’s masterful storytelling effortlessly immerses us in a world where time dances to its own rhythm, and the complexities of love, loss, and the universal longing for connection take centre stage.

What sets this book apart is Haig’s ability to make the concept of slow aging feel remarkably plausible. He delicately weaves together a tapestry of historical events and personal experiences, transporting us seamlessly between time periods.

From Shakespearean England’s enchanting realms to Paris’s vibrant jazz-filled streets, each era is vividly brought to life, creating a captivating backdrop for Tom’s introspective journey.

The strength of “How to Stop Time” lies in its ability to balance a light-hearted narrative with deep emotional resonance. The book is an easy read, and the blend of historical elements and Tom’s personal trials creates an interesting narrative.

While the story’s focus is primarily on Tom’s experiences and his eternal search for connection, there are moments where secondary characters could have been further developed to enhance the overall depth of the tale. However, this minor critique does not detract from the joy of reading this book.

Haig’s meticulous research and attention to detail are the standout.

We want to know if you have read this, and let’s discuss your thoughts- scroll down below to our comments section to start the conversation!

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The Divine Comedy- Dante, Ponderings Book Club

The Divine Comedy- Dante, Ponderings Book Club

Dante’s Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy” has left an indelible mark on Western literature and culture. 

Its exploration of the human condition, moral choices, and the redemptive power of love continues to inspire generations, inviting readers to reflect on their own spiritual journeys.

The Divine Comedy delves into profound themes such as the consequences of sin, the nature of divine justice, the power of love, and the ultimate pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. Through allegory and symbolism, Dante explores the complexities of human existence and the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Dante's Divine Comedy

Dante’s poetic prose is awe-inspiring, marked by its rich symbolism, vivid imagery, and profound philosophical contemplation. The use of terza rima, a three-line rhyme scheme, adds a lyrical quality to the narrative, enhancing the reader’s immersion in the journey.

Given its complexity and historical context, some readers may find the numerous references and allusions challenging to fully grasp without external resources.

VERY heavy reading and not for the faint of heart. For some, this will be a one-in-a-lifetime challenge read; for others, it will become a beloved piece of work to treasure. I ABSOLUTELY love the gold-edged pages in this edition; an exceptionally beautiful piece of literature for the book lover.

This is a next-level edition, translated by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow and illustrated by Gustave Dore.

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Dare to Lead- Brene Brown, Ponderings Book Club

Dare to Lead- Brene Brown, Ponderings Book Club

In “Dare to Lead,” Brene Brown emboldens us to embrace vulnerability and transform our leadership skills.

Through insightful research and personal anecdotes, she challenges conventional wisdom, urging us to cultivate courage and empathy in the face of uncertainty.

I love her personal anecdotes; this engaging beloved Texan is so authentic!

If you want emotional intelligence presented in the evidence-based and informative reading, not heavy in academic lingo and, very translatable to everyday situations, rich in metaphor- this one is for you.

Favourite quote: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

Brown also introduces the concept of ‘BRAVING’, an acronym for Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, and Non-judgment. I know, right?

This is a keeper, one you will not want to give away, and the lessons are deep. I am an avid fan of Brene and the research! Her work is a beloved treasure in our home, instigating many passionate conversations at the dinner table.

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The Bookbinder of Jericho- Ponderings Book Club

The Bookbinder of Jericho- Ponderings Book Club

“The Bookbinder of Jericho” by Pip Williams weaves the realms of history, mystery, and the enduring magic of storytelling.

 

Williams takes readers on a journey through the eyes of an exceptionally talented bookbinder who stumbles upon a hidden diary, igniting a relentless quest to unravel its secrets and unearth the extraordinary stories concealed within.

Williams’ prose possesses an elegant charm that effortlessly transports readers into the heart of the narrative.

With meticulous attention to detail, she crafts a vivid tapestry of settings, from the enchanting bookbinding workshops to the rich historical landscapes that come alive through her descriptive prowess.

The atmospheric allure of Jericho, both as a place and a metaphorical concept, permeates the pages, creating an immersive experience that captivates the senses.

 

However, these moments contribute to the story’s overall atmosphere and the thematic exploration of the power of books and the connections they forge across time.

“The Bookbinder of Jericho” is a synergy of history, mystery, and the magic of storytelling. It is a keeper, beautifully written and enchanting!

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Pen Your Next Chapter in Paradise: Victoria’s Writing Retreats

Pen Your Next Chapter in Paradise: Victoria’s Writing Retreats

May Sarton, prolific poet, novelist and memoirist, once said:

“The world is full of places. Why aren’t they enough? Why can’t I go somewhere and write?

 

For the creative (it takes one to know one), finding the perfectly comfortable spot, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, inspiring that “flow” can be tricky to find. I know from experience! I’m not sure about you, but I find, along with many other writing and creative friends, that nature stimulates the soul.

 

In fact, in a study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2019, researchers found that spending time in nature can significantly improve cognitive function, including working memory and attention. The study also found that spending time in nature can improve mood and reduce stress. 

So if you are looking for nature and are in Victoria, Australia, you’re in luck – this stunning region is home to some of the best writing nature-filled retreats in the country. 

Here is just a handful for you to Ponder. 

The Writers’ Retreat Garden is a creative haven nestled in the tiny town of Birregurra, just two hours from Melbourne. Surrounded by shady trees, aromatic herbs, and blooming roses, this idyllic sanctuary offers the perfect setting for writers to immerse themselves in their craft. Linnet, the designer and host of the garden is a poet who understands how to balance the solitude you need with the company and support you crave. As well as providing delicious local food, coffee, herbal teas and rainwater, she guides you through the day with meditations, walking, space for writing and, most precious of all, a coaching session devoted to your words. The Writers’ Retreat Garden is open from late September to mid March, Thursday – Saturday, 10-4. (Maximum of four writers per day). 

https://www.writersretreatgarden.com

The Storytellers Nook, Panmure: This charming retreat is housed in a beautifully restored church, complete with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The gallery-style luxury retreat has an extensive library, luxe kitchen, beautiful writing desk, fast wifi and an open fire. Not to mention the claw foot tub, chef’s kitchen and Alice in Wonderland-inspired bedroom. With beautiful gardens to explore and the nearby Great Ocean Road, the Storytellers Nook is a must-visit for any writer seeking inspiration. Check out their website at www.thestorytellersnook.com.au.

Wiggly Bottom Farm, Yarra Valley – This peaceful retreat is situated in the lush Yarra Valley, offering writers a serene and idyllic setting to focus on their writing. The charming cottage accommodation with a wood-burning fireplace is the perfect place to cozy up with your notebook or laptop. With beautiful gardens and a farm full of friendly animals, Wiggly Bottom Farm is the perfect place to escape the stresses of daily life and reconnect with nature. For more information, visit their website at www.wigglybottomfarm.com.au.

Wombat Bend, Yarra Valley: Located on the banks of the Yarra River, The Burrow at Wombat Bend provides writers a tranquil and inspiring environment to focus on their work. The private balcony with stunning views and comfortable accommodation make this retreat a must-visit for writers seeking solitude and inspiration. With abundant wildlife and breathtaking scenery, Wombat Bend is the perfect place to let your creativity flow. Check out their website at www.wombatbend.com.au.

So, whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting, writing retreats in Victoria offer the perfect environment to focus on your craft. With beautiful surroundings, accommodation, and an abundance of inspiration, they provide a much-needed escape from the stresses of daily life. So pack your bags, grab your notebook or laptop, and get ready to let your creativity soar! 

The StorytellersNook Accomodation Victoria

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Road Tripping with Kids: How to Keep Your Sanity (and Your Kids) Intact!

Road Tripping with Kids: How to Keep Your Sanity (and Your Kids) Intact!

Heading out on a long car trip with young children can be daunting, but with some planning and preparation, it can also be a fun and memorable experience for the whole family.

It’s important to remember that a family road trip is all about the journey, not just the destination. So, let’s take a deep breath and dive into these five tips to help make your next family road trip a success:

Plan ahead: To create a joyful and meaningful road trip experience, planning is essential. Identify rest stops and attractions that might interest your kids, and pack plenty of snacks, drinks, toys, games, and activities to keep them entertained. This will help you feel more in control and organized, reducing anxiety and stress.

Time your trip wisely: Time is a precious commodity, so use it wisely. Plan your trip around your children’s nap and meal times to keep them well-rested and fed and to reduce the likelihood of meltdowns and tantrums. Remember, we all need rest and nourishment to thrive.

Keep it comfortable: Comfort is key to a successful family road trip. Make sure your car is safe and comfortable for your kids. Invest in a good car seat, and add extra padding or blankets for added comfort. Adjust the temperature and ventilation to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, and make sure your kids have access to plenty of fresh air and sunlight. Remember, comfort leads to a sense of security and well-being.

 

Make it interactive: A family road trip is a perfect opportunity for connection and creativity. Engage your kids in games, quizzes, and conversations. Encourage them to look out the window and spot interesting landmarks and wildlife. Play “I Spy” or other classic car games, or bring a travel journal where your kids can document their experiences and observations. Remember, curiosity and playfulness are essential to a joyful and fulfilling life.

Take breaks: Lastly, it’s important to take breaks and stretch your legs. Use rest stops to explore, play, and burn off some energy. Pack a ball or frisbee for impromptu games of catch, or bring a picnic blanket for a family picnic. Taking breaks and enjoying the journey will create a memorable experience for your whole family. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination.

And if all else fails check out the Bluey Album playlist we have below. (You’re Welcome)

Buckle up and enjoy the ride! With some planning, preparation, and a spirit of adventure, your next family road trip can be a joyful and transformative experience for you and your loved ones.

 

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Join us at Ponderings Magazine, the new paradigm in storytelling. Your contribution on Patreon helps us create quality content that informs, inspires and reflects, and fosters a community. You’ll get behind-the-scenes access, early stories, and a sense of connection. Be part of this mission to shape how we view the world.

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