I have struggled to know what to say in this fortnight's piece.
Do I use this 400 words to remind you all of the ever present threat we are all living in as fires decimate communities across our country and encourage you all, as I have for the past few months? To have the conversations today with your family, friends and neighbours about what you will do when you are faced with your own disaster emergency.
Do I use this 400 words to reflect on the extraordinary compassion, strength and resilience of our nation and it citizens to come together in the most challenging of circumstances and do extraordinary things? Like openING their homes, hearts and wallets to support the individual and collective recovery, and encourage you all to support the many amazing efforts to provide long term support to those impacted.
Do I change the tone and talk about the wonderful local group that the community centre is developing with the Samaritans to provide a local, regular support group for those in our community who are a primary carer: a grandparent, relative or significant friend of a child? And let you know that the Samaritans are holding a meet and greet on January 21 in Dungog and Clarence Town before the regular groups start up again on February 10 in Dungog and 17 in Clarence Town. For more information call 0429914553.
And then, amid all my confliction, I turned to my 12-year-old daughter and asked what she thought I should write about and she smiled at me and in her whimsical, light hearted voice replied "Ballet - is there anything else?".
And I was instantly reminded that despite all the challenges, fears, conflicts and anguish that we are witness to on a national and state level with the fires and drought, or at a local level with the need to support caring, passionate and vulnerable people in our own community, that it is important to find our passions, find what makes us happy and brings us joy. To find time in life's busyness and worries to connect with it and nurture it because our own peace, our own well being is important.
We can't help others if we, first, are not looking after ourselves.
So I guess my piece this fortnight is a simple reminder from my 12-year-old as she dancers and twirls through our lounge room (and her life): find and hold onto what makes you happy and share it with those around you.