Connection Is Why We Are Here

deeclarknz.comNeuro-biologically, we are hard-wired for connection. Connection is why we are here. Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The feeling of being connected is the ability to link or associate with something, to belong; like what holds the pedals of this flower

Ask your closest friends and family about connection and they will tell you their most excruciating stories of heartbreak and feeling excluded. That place where we see at a distance what we long to grab hold of and feeling like it is too far away or attainable.

That place that screams from the deepest part of our heart and says, “I feel alone and it doesn’t feel right”. I have been there. I have been holding the hand of someone whom I desperately desired to connect with and feel the distance is too great a span for meaningful connection to occur. I have felt that no matter what I do, there is no kindness or gentleness or acceptance. It makes my heart weep and scream and whirl.

In the midst of the screaming and feeling alone, we begin to gather shame. Shame is the fear of disconnection. It is the belief that there is something about me that if other people know or see, that thing will make me unworthy of connection and I will remain alone.

Universally, we all feel shame unless we have no capacity for human empathy. It looks like: “I’m not _____ enough.”

  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I’m not thin enough.
  • I’m not rich enough.
  • I’m not beautiful enough.
  • I’m not successful enough.

Shame unravels connection.

In order to connect, we must find the courage to tell the story of who we are with our whole heart. We must be willing to be imperfect and fully who we are, letting go of who we think we should be to be considered worthy of connection. We need to be brave enough to see that we are different from those standing right next to us and that truth makes us beautiful and unique.

We must fully embrace vulnerability. We must allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. On my walk to the beach this morning, I met this gentleman who was walking his pet lamb (isn’t it cool that he has a pet lamb and is taking it for a walk?). I stopped to say hello and make a connection. He told me, “She does not like the lead. She is a bit stubborn.” I rubbed her ears and said, “We girls can all be a bit stubborn at times, can’t we?” As I walked away, I was flushed with a sense of shame that I had just told a complete stranger that as a woman, I have a stubborn streak. Yet, after thinking about it, I felt brave as well. I looked at an imperfection and declared it openly with vulnerability.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and joy and creativity and of belonging and love. When we find that vulnerability and tenderness are important, we will surrender and kind of walk into it. When we do, we find a willingness to take risks that bring us closer to each other; let our hair down, ask for help, initiate an embrace, love without guarantees and more.

According to Brene Brown, true, meaningful connections can be made if we will follow these 4 simple steps:

  • We allow ourselves to be deeply and vulnerably seen.
  • We love with our whole heart even if there are no guarantees.
  • We practice gratitude and lean into joy during moments of terror when we wonder, “Can I love you this much?”; “Can I believe in this as passionately?”; “Can I be this fiercely brave about this?”
  • We believe that “We Are Enough”. Because when we believe that we are enough, we stop screaming and we start listening. We are kinder and gentler to ourselves. And we are kinder and gentler to those around us.

To feel vulnerability means that I am alive. That you are alive. Being vulnerable opens the door to being connected which gives fulfilment to the purpose of our lives.

We live in a vulnerable world. What makes you feel vulnerable?

Embrace your vulnerability and get connected!


Garlic Salt Recipe 

I have a handy little recipe to share with you today. 

I use garlic salt almost as much as I use water. I love it! However, this little 200g jar normally costs me over $8NZD. Not thrifty enough for this girl.

After reading several recipes, I quickly found out that there are only two ingredients needed to make my favourite spice mixture: garlic and salt. Duh, Dee? Right? 

The “how to” was as embarrassingly easy. Although it was easy peasy to put together, there are a couple of ways to go about it. 

1. Garlic granules and salt.

2. Fresh garlic finely crushed mixed with salt and then dried until all of the moisture is gone from the garlic.

Today, I opted for using the granules but I will definitely attempt using fresh garlic the next time.

So, here’s how easy it was to make (I opted to experiment and make my own version of the recipes I read):

1 cup sea salt (iodised salt was not recommended. Sea salt is heartier and tastes best)

1 – 45g packet of garlic granules

That’s it! Mix and store in an airtight container. It should stay fresh for 3-4 months (mine won’t last that long!)

Because I like Herbed garlic salt, I also added:

1Tbls dried dill

1 Tbls dried parsley

1 Tbls dried chives

The total cost for this recipe was $3 and I have plenty of ingredients to make more. It only took a couple of minutes to mix together as well. Plus, I felt quite accomplished! (Simple pleasures!)

BTW, herbed garlic salt is what I use for my homemade ranch dressing. Perfect every time! So, this will work a treat!

If you love using garlic salt as much as I do, give this recipe a try…you will love it!

Morning Frost on the Ground


I woke to very cold temperatures this morning, frost, icicles hanging on the house and sunshine. I couldn’t resist getting down and having a closer look at the frost on the ground.

Summer, why did you leave me? Don’t you love me anymore? 

My family arrives in 6 days and I feel so sad that they are leaving summertime weather for a winter vacation. 

Wouldn’t you know it’s the coldest winter we’ve had in a while.


Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Animals

NZ opossums have fur!

serious meercat cuteness

brand new baby lamb

ignore the cute humans…the elephant is the star today!

hungry giraffe



 To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can’t see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His … Continue reading

8 Things You Don’t Need Anymore (#7 Made Me Panicky)

  You know how they say that change is as good as a holiday? Yeah, well, organisation is like that for me. And yesterday I spent the day re-organising my kitchen. Attending to all those little jobs that I have been putting off. Seriously, you guys! I feel completely refreshed today and thrilled with my kitchen.

If you have been using the “latter” word when it comes to your clutter…go conquer your stuff! It’s a fabulous feeling.

Professional organiser, Jill Pollack, has 8 things you can get rid of today and you won’t even miss them:

1. Old Paint. All the touch-up paint you are holding onto expires 6 months anyway. Keep the info and have a test pot made if you ever need touch-up paint. 

2. Black Boots. We women have heaps of shoes and boots. Seriously, who needs several pairs of black boots? Pay attention to the ones you default to most often and pair down the number to two pair. (I know, don’t hyper-ventilate!)

3. Candles. We all have them everywhere. How old are they? Do they still smell like vanilla or pumpkin or anything fresh? Do you light them? Or are they just collecting dust! I don’t know about you, but I don’t need one more thing to dust. I recently biffed all my candles that were more than a year old…and the others, I have been lighting and using them! I’m even thinking of learning to make my own. That way I won’t feel bad about using them cause I’ll know, I can just make more! I’ll let you know if I do.

4. Ugly-Mismatched Sheets! Ok, this is my home pet-peeve. I hate to sleep under ugly, mismatched sheets and blankets in my own home. You only need 2 sets of sheets per bed unless you never do laundry. Then, as Jill points out, you have bigger problems than ugly sheets. 

5. Old cellphones and technology. Unless you are a museum curator you are never going to need all that…out…out with it all…Jill says, “feel good about it and let it go.”

6. Old textbooks and encyclopaedias. With information so readily available, if you haven’t cracked open any of those books in ages, recycle, recycle, recycle.

7. Freebie Pens. Ok, we all have that 1 item that is terribly hard to part with. Mine is pens. Confession time: I have a pen fettish! I love them. I collect them! I might have even been known to accidentally keep a few hundred freebie pens (even though my husband can never find a pen when he needs one…shhh, I sometimes hide them, too!) so, this one is difficult for me. But, I do evaluate and toss the ones that are out of ink. That is progress for me. I used to save the cool ones thinking I would replace the ink refill…NEVER happened. So, now, when they stop writing, I mournfully send them to pen heaven. Ok, I trash them. Be brave…you don’t really need all those pens. I’m working on this one.

8. Free Delivery Magnets. They are just plan ugly. Sorry. Put them in a toxic recycle bin. Yeah, not supposed to just trash them.

Are you feeling panicky?


It’s alright.

You CAN do this.

Don’t put it off until later. Now is the new later according to Peter Walsh


Go, do it now. 

You’ll feel all good and smart and relaxed and like you’ve just had a holiday. That is if your the same kind of organisational-crazy that I am! If not, you’ll feel more organised.

What would you add to the list?
Happy organising! Come sip coffee with me when you’re done.

See you soon.

Oh, here’s a snap shot of my clean little pantry cupboard. One thing I had to let go of were spices and empty spice bottles (although I kept 6 empties just in case I forgot something). I buy spices from the bulk store and refill bottles I have. So, I’m down to the spices I use all the time and nothing more. If the empty bottles aren’t used in 3 months, they are going. 


Do You Want Things To Remain As They Are?

  There are always things that are out of our control. But there are also always going to be things that we can take responsibility for and make a difference. 

We never have to allow drama to perpetuate. We can stop the madness. Jump off of the drama triangle. 

We do not have to live in the mud pit of hatred. Overcome evil with good and love and kindness.

We do not have to suffer the pain of bitterness. Forgive. I know. It’s so hard to do but it replaces the stench of being wronged with the beautiful fragrance of freedom.

We do not have to look hopelessly at the darkness, the problems and despair. We can open our eyes to the possibilities, love or the face of God and find hope.

We can accept conditions as they are or we can take responsibility for making a difference.

No excuses.

Brave kindness and stubborn goodness and determined strength and sound foundational wisdom and eternal Love will guide your efforts each step of the way.

Things I’ve Discovered Along The Way

I’ve discovered the importance of making the best of every situation. In a negative situation, we don’t have much to lose. Might as well! Our life is broader in scope than the darkness we might experience today. Our life is more permanent than our struggles. Things might look bleak at first, but they can improve. With night and day, God has given us a picture of hope. The sun always rises. Things will always get brighter. “The end of a matter is better than its beginning”. -Ecclesiastes I’ve discovered the best things in life, those of true substance, involve the hardest-fought battles and the longest waits. We must keep pressing on. I’ve learned that effort spent on unwinnable battles is wasted effort. It’s best to simply move on to something worth conquering. I’ve discovered the easier route leads to accomplishment, but the harder route tends to lead to your destiny. Things can look ugly along the way! Giving up is the last thing you should do. Your destiny might be interwoven into fabric of your struggle. I’ve discovered there will be times filled with a yearning to be farther along your personal path than you are today. You will hold a dream on the inside, that hasn’t yet been born and feel like your life is barren.  Never give up. Keep moving forward. Fulfillment involves a waiting period—but stay active while you wait. Seize opportunities, even the small ones, to improve your skills. Do something that keeps you on course toward your dream. I’ve discovered that we can’t always blame others for our own shortcomings. They are what they are. We won’t be good at everything. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit when we don’t possess a particular forte and yield that activity to someone more capable. When we focus on our shortcomings and limitations, it can strip us of our confidence. We are all created with an important purpose, with value and uniqueness. Perfect your strengths. You know what they say, “practice makes perfect.”  I’ve discovered that we don’t know our role from day one. We travel a road of discovery.  Our hearts will provide clues about our destiny. A difference exists between excitement about doing something and a genuine, heart-based fervor that says, “I’m created to do this.” Many days, we don’t feel inspired in our lives. More often than not, it’s a matter of simply getting out of bed and pressing through the daily grind. If your circumstances look insignificant, don’t count them out. It doesn’t matter how you start. What matters is the end result. I’ve discovered that we are part of someone else’s story. And while your presence might go unnoticed at times, your absence would actually take something away from the lives around you. You might be the key factor that keeps another person pressing on—and you might not even know it. People need to know victory is possible. Your firsthand experience—your been there, done that—will give inspiration for others to know victory is within reach.We don’t always grow because we want to. Oftentimes, we grow out of necessity. We have no choice but to meet the challenge. Friendship means cutting away a small piece of your heart and allowing another person to fill that gap. Friendship is anchored in love. When we put love into action, it communicates value.

Life teaches us many lessons along the  way. 

It’s important to pay attention. 

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Way

Babies, Babies, Babies

My daughter is due at the end of June. I will be a Grandmommie again. That is fun and exciting to me. What I can’t figure out is how my baby grew up so quickly. I know a lot of mothers ask that question. I’m no different. It seems like I blinked and she became a beautiful woman with a family of her own. Life truly is a miracle.

We decided to give taking baby bump photos ago yesterday.

And then we played with the editing. This one I will enter into Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Take A New Photo. Cee, I hope you don’t mind that I coupled the challenge with my color photo’s.

We even threw a few fall leaves around but we unfortunately didn’t capture any in the air…maybe next time.