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.
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.