Friday, January 31, 2014

Aspect National Recognition Awards

Do you know someone who made an outstanding contribution to the autism community during 2013? The 2014 Aspect National Recognition Awards are now calling for entries
This is the first time the Awards have been offered nationally. The new categories are designed to recognise parents, volunteers, professionals and individuals for outstanding contributions to the field of autism. There are six Awards in five categories.
The categories are:
2.  Parent/Carer of the Year Award (acknowledge challenges faced by all parents/carers)
3.  David Foster Appreciation Award (for volunteer service)
4.  Above and Beyond Award (financial or in-kind contribution by an individual or an organisation)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gunnedah to Host 2014 Women’s Forum

Gunnedah will host the 2014 Women’s Forum on Friday 28 February and women from across the district are invited to come along and hear from a diverse range of speakers on a number of interesting topics. 

The Forum will focus on the theme “The Power to Dream, Believe, Achieve,” a mantra of life, this theme emphasises the need for women to have a vision for their lives, to nourish their dreams through commitment, passion and will, and to embrace their future. The forum will create a useful framework for women wanting to gain practical knowledge and skills to advance their career and enhance their well-being. 
The Forum will explore topics including:
  • social media
  • balancing home and career
  • opportunities for Indigenous Women
  • mentoring women; and
  • the importance of health, well-being and lifelong learning in optimising your career.
Guest speakers include:
Dr Simone Ryan (Scovell): FAFOEM (RACP), Grad Dip Occ Env Health, ACCAM Specialist Occupational and Environmental Physical Medical Director - One Life. Live It. Director - Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Chair -RACP College Trainees Committee.
Debbie Barwick: CEO and Chairperson Mandurah Hunter Indigenous Business Chamber Inc., Chairperson NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce,  NSW Direct - Indigenous Business Council of Australia
Robbie Sefton, Managing Director at Sefton & Associates: Board member of the National Australia Day Council, Board member of the NSW Australia Day Council, Board member Graziers Investment Company (formally Australian Wool Services), Board member, Observant Pty Lt Member, Responsible Business Forum, Woolworths Member, Commonwealth Environmental Water Advisory Council, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, Member Public Relations Advisory Group, University Southern Queensland and was awarded the 2002 RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year.
Lauren Robertson, General Manager/ Sales Manager at Ewing Real Estate: Motivated, competitive and extremely successful both in and out of the office, Lauren is the fourth generation of Ewing’s to sell real estate in Gunnedah. Lauren has an unrivalled understanding of the local property market and a rare insight into the community. Her background is in working in sales and marketing for a global hotel group and a special events company after gaining her degree in Commerce, Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality Management from University of NSW. 
Jennifer Ingall, Radio Content Manager, ABC Radio New England North West: Jennifer brings more than a decade of experience with national and regional radio and television to ABC New England North West. Jennifer began her career with Prime TV in Albury before moving to the New England and Northwest with NBN TV, and from there into the newsrooms of radio 2UE Sydney and 4BC Brisbane before settling briefly on the Gold Coast and returning to television with Channel 7 Brisbane. Although a TV broadcaster for more than a decade, Jennifer has gone through a steep learning curve into radio in recent years. Jennifer came to Tamworth as the host of the Morning Program, but in 2006 took over as the Regional Program Manager and moved to the breakfast shift. Jennifer has since moved off-air and is producing online stories for the website and field reporting.
All women are welcome to attend as well as all individuals involved in business with an interest in promoting the role of women in the workplace. The program is designed to provide something for everyone.
If you have an interest in developing a business, just looking to further your career, or simply wanting to connect with like-minded women, come along.

On the Friday evening they are holding an informal dinner at the Gunnedah Rugby Club for all Forum attendees which will allow more time to network and enjoy each other’s company. Partners are encouraged to attend.
Individuals wishing to register their attendance at the forum can find the registration form at, or contact Laurie on 6740 2230 to receive a registration package. Registrations close Monday 3 February 2014.

Nominate Leading Women in Agriculture for the Women in Australian Agribusiness 100 (WIAA 100) List

From the back paddock to the boardroom, nominations are being sought for the inaugural Women in Australian Agribusiness 100 (WIAA 100) list. 

Love this! Especially the lace top with blazer.

Hopefully by creating such a list it will highlight the role of women in agribusiness and provide role models to young women considering agribusiness careers. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Effects of Farm Exit on the Wellbeing of Farmers

You’re invited to participate in a study of farm exit and wellbeing.

If, since 2000, you have left farming to work in another industry then Dominic Peel would like to hear from you.

A study investigating the relationship between farm exit and wellbeing is being conducted by Dominic at the University of Canberra and is currently recruiting participants.

Those who have left farming, both with and without exit assistance, are encouraged to apply.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Thank you to everyone who entered the Flix in the Stix tickets giveaway.

Winner has been drawn and notified.

Thank you to Flix in the Stix for generously donating tickets.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Flix In The Stix Giveaway

As per previous posts  Flix in the Stix is regional Australia's only film, music, comedy & arts festival and will tour regional NSW in 2014 with a brand new collection of short films curated by Australia's Queen of Comedy, Julia Morris.

Eight time ARIA award winning artists, Eskimo Joe will be performing live, joined on stage by comedy trio The Axis of Awesome.

Venues are below

Griffith Jan 31
Canberra Feb 1
Coffs Harbour Feb 7
Armidale Feb 8
Mudgee Feb 15
Dubbo Feb 21
Orange Feb 22
Wollongong March 7
Bowral March 8

I have one double general admission pass to giveaway  so if you would like to enter email me your name, contact details and your preferred venue and on Saturday 18 Jan one lucky reader will be selected at random.

Get in quick.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Thank You From Me

This morning I sat down in between washing loads - yes Bushbelles does do some housework - its not all champagne and socialising (although some might argue that is where my strengths lie) to read my emails.

I received a gorgeous email from Country Mum writer of Farm-ily blog.
I often wonder who reads Bushbelles, what your stories are and where you live.  It's always fun to find out where this blog turns up as well.  I was told by a farmer from here one day that it was mentioned on the ABC Radio and he had heard it.  I often get stories like that which to me is loads of fun.

I started writing Bushbelles as a hobby or an 'escape'.  I had never thought of myself as a writer and would never put myself in that class but it seems over the years I find myself writing more and more, perhaps as a kind of a therapy  It just feels better to write it down.  I have kept a journal from the age of 11 which has years of boarding school and my 20's all included, comforting, hysterical and heartbreaking.  One day I will give them to my girls to read and maybe it will help them through their difficult teens and beyond.  It's always good to know someone else has gone before you with the same hopes and dreams, trials and tribulations and survived.

I try to keep my personal stuff out of this blog but in the last 12 months have probably revealed more than I would to anyone.  Bushbelles is definitely not about me but have thought sometimes that the pictures I use might give some of you the opinion that I live a perfectly happy life with 4 children on a farm.  Just to let you all know my life involves the very same issues as everyone else.  There is nothing super human about me or my family.  Yes, the pictures might tell a different story but I am in touch with the very basic human needs and emotions every day.  Some days it feels like I am surrounded and suffocating from problems as does everyone at times.  I am a 'fixer' and sometimes there is no fix, you just have to live out the time, learn and be.

I noticed when I first moved back home and had children no one talked about mental health, no one was that interested in getting to know me and there were many invitations that were never followed up on.  I constantly went out of my way to get to know people who never reciprocated and some days I thought I would die from loneliness, I also noticed that I was completely surrounded by others going through the same issues.
From everywhere.
It was just that no one wanted to talk about it.
Having babies certainly puts you in touch with emotions you never knew you had and I knew that once you give someone an opening to discuss it watch them go.
And so I thought a blog might help.
I had been reading blogs while I fed babies through the night and thought that I might give it go, the writing side of it appealed to me as I really needed something to do with my brain.
I just was not sure what to write about and thought if I told anyone they would think it was terribly daggy (this was quite a few years ago now although I still find that I don't talk about it much).  I guess that is why I tried to make it about anything but me.
So I found a focus and with that Bushbelles has evolved over the years.
Its really an anything goes blog and I am happy to bring attention to anything that matters.
My first focus was on isolated rural women and the mental health issues that come from living this life and putting some positivity and humour into it.
My idea was always to bring attention to the issues that were not talked about and if I wrote about it and included gorgeous pictures people would be more likely to read it and be informed.
I am drawn to beauty and I think most of my readers are as well.

So the journey of Bushbelles has been very interesting.
Now there are so many 'fabulous rural blogs' and so much to write about.
Which is a great thing for rural Australia.
I am always watching people and listening to what they say which often determines what I write about.
I like to think that I am not afraid to bring the big issues, the ugly issues, the important issues to your attention.  It just might be wrapped in a bow to get you to stop and look.
I am glad to note that mental health is now being talked about more and more although there is a long way to go and am always interested to observe who is comfortable with the issue and who is not.
The Internet, when used for good, is such a wonderful tool for knowledge and keeping in touch.
(I have recently had to address the issue of my 11 yr old wanting to use social media.  Its a scary prospect but one that I have to address.  With the thought "knowledge is power" I hope to educate him with the right way to use it, after all, his mother lives on it.  Although we have already had a cyber-bullying attack take place with him not even being involved.)

Our children have no idea of the power of it.

I always try to make Bushbelles positive and use humour.  
Although the last 12 months for me has been very trying and made me very weary, writing Bushbelles has been a wonderful escape and its always in my mind even when the world has been caving in.  Navigating my way through parenthood is especially challenging every day so I listen a lot.
Know that everyday I am in the trenches with you dusty and dirty, I just might have a few pairs of shoes with me!  (Although last year I think I was wearing odd shoes such was my exhaustion).
I often receive emails from readers which make me feel incredibly humble and their words tell me that what I set out to do is actually happening.  It also means that I am connecting with readers on some level and I thank everyone of you for reading.
(I have only ever received 2 negative comments and they have both been from 'anon'.)
I would love to meet you all and have that champagne or beer (yes I do both, although I generally leave the XXXX for when I want to feel like I am back in FNQ on a hot summer night).
I love hearing your stories and getting to know you. 
Perhaps 2014 is the year that I might do just that a bit more.

The online rural community is an incredibly embracing and supportive place to be and there are many wonderful people who have great ideas and businesses.

So there goes my Sunday morning writing a post I hadn't even thought to do.  My sheets are long finished in the machine and my girls have happily made my own mother a birthday cake while I sit and write to you all (yes there is more chocolate on them then the cake but that's how we roll).

If you have a rural or regional blog or know of one and read Bushbelles please let me know as this year I intend to find the time to do more online and explore a few ideas that have been with me.  If you need anything promoted send it this way.

Thank you Country Mum for getting in touch this morning.  It made me stop and think about why I write Bushbelles.

I wish you all an abundant year in every way.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Things You Should Never Stop Doing

A New Year means new beginnings for all of us.  I am not into resolutions but try to keep improving myself.
Below are some points to remember on our never ending journey to a better us.  (I haven't made these up, they come via Marc and Angel  Hack Life
"Start doing these things now and never stop.  Your life isn’t behind you; your memories are behind you.  Your life is always right here, right now."
~ Fleur Wood dress
Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
Be a defender of honesty and truth so that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.  Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the achievements and lessons of today.  Give so much time to your own self improvement that you have no time to criticize others.  Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism part of your religion.  Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is you.
Walk comfortably in your own shoes.
If you don’t follow the path others want you to follow they might become irritated.  Don’t worry about it.  Let them be.  It’s their problem, not yours.  So many people seem to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but have no clue how to lead their own.  So focus on your inner callings and keep paving your own path.  Remember that it is more useful to be aware of a single strength or weakness in yourself than to be aware of a thousand strengths and weaknesses in others.
Embrace your difficulties.
After each difficulty you faced in the past was overcome, you became stronger and more able to meet the ones you face today.  Likewise, the difficulties you face today are preparing you for the challenges of tomorrow.  As this process of growth takes place remember that there are no mistakes.  The events you bring upon yourself as you journey forward, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary steps in order to learn what you need to know to reach the places you've chosen to go.
Focus on the controllable. 
If you’re feeling miserable and highly stressed, there’s a good chance you have developed an unhealthy attachment to things you have no control over.  The first step is to let go of these things – release the stress.  You were never really in control of them anyway.  Positive change will happen in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over the uncontrollable.
classic with FAB accessories!
Maintain full accountability for every aspect of your life.
When you think problems you have are someone else’s fault, you will solve none of them in your lifetime.  Do not allow yourself to be limited by your beliefs.  In the end you will achieve what your mind believes.  Start realizing that this is not a dress rehearsal.  If you’re not learning and improving yourself by taking responsibility for everything you have in your life, then your dreams and desires will stay fantasies.

Give it all you've got
You get what you put in.  The amount of effort you give determines the amount of joy you receive.  If your life doesn't please you, do something about it.  Take action, change things.  Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask.  Everything you want also wants you.  But you have to take action to get it.  If you can, fly.  But if you can’t fly, run.  If you can’t run, walk.  If you can’t walk, crawl.  No matter how you do it, move forward.

western frill

Prune non-essential commitments.
The mark of a successful person is the ability to set aside the ‘somewhat important’ things in order to accomplish the vital ones first.  When you’re crystal clear about your priorities, you can painlessly arrange them in the right order and discard the activities and commitments that do not support the ones at the top of your list.


Keep taking deep breaths.
Don’t allow yourself to be crippled by stress and anger.  Everything is only as it is.  There’s no reason to let it destroy you.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Relax.  Let every moment be what it’s going to be.  What’s meant to be will come your way, what’s not will fall away.  And remember that a wonderful gift may not always be wrapped as you expect.


Hold on to your humility.
All self-misery has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in taking life too seriously.  If you take everything too seriously, especially yourself, you’ll wind up fearing every new step you take.  Loosen up and laugh it off if you can – especially when things don’t go as planned.  People with a good sense of humour have a better sense of life.  You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself and your circumstances.


Cherish those who have proven their love.
It’s a lot easier for someone to be nice to you on a beautiful day when the sun is shining, but in a heavy storm is where you learn who truly cares.  That’s why you need to pay attention to who was there for you when no one else was.  Because the people who stood beside you through your darkest nights, are the ones worth spending your brightest days with.


Exercise your talents to give back.
Do so whenever you can, because you can.  And when you get tired, remember all those people who can’t do what you can do.  Think about what they would be willing to give to have the abilities you have right now – a simple gift you take for granted.  Then strive harder just for them.  And know that there are others out there with different gifts who are doing the same for you.

Just because you liked something at one point in time doesn't mean you are required to always like it.  You can change your mind.  You don’t have to pretend to like something as an act of loyalty to who you are as a person, based solely on who you once were as a person.  To be sincerely loyal to yourself is to allow yourself the freedom to grow, change and challenge who you ARE and what you THINK at any given moment in time.  The only thing you ever are for sure is unsure, and this means you’re growing, and not stagnant or imprisoned by old ways of thinking.

Flix in the Stix

I love sitting outside watching films so this sounds gorgeous.

Flix in the Stix - regional Australia's only film, music, comedy & arts festival will tour regional NSW in 2014 with a brand new collection of short films curated by Australia's Queen of Comedy, Julia Morris.

Eight time ARIA award winning artists, Eskimo Joe will be performing live, joined on stage by comedy trio The Axis of Awesome.

Griffith Jan 31
Canberra Feb 1
Coffs Harbour Feb 7
Armidale Feb 8
Mudgee Feb 15
Dubbo Feb 21
Orange Feb 22
Wollongong March 7
Bowral March 8

Stay tuned for a giveaway