As I write these words the clock has ticked over 4.15am.  It’s dark outside and the rain has begun falling ever so gently on the tin roof of  nana’s garage.   The house is so still I can imagine each rain drop.    My aunty has made me a cup of tea and brought in a wine biscuit as we have both been up caring for nana.

I sip my tea and nibble all around the pattern of the biscuit.     I savour the stillness, quiet and gentle sounds of the pre daw, the space of being able to think without distractions of the internet or others.

This savoring … it’s a magical act.

Savoring is usually applied to eating good food: take a single square of dark chocolate and put it in your mouth, but don’t chew and swallow it. Let it sit there, as you savor it, noticing its earthy notes, hints of citrus, the richness of its texture as it melts in your mouth. You swallow it almost regretfully after letting it linger, fully appreciating the delicousness of it, giving pause to think about the people who grew the beans, who roasted and grinded them and hand-crafted them into this square of joy.

But savoring food is just the start: you can savor anything, and you should. It’s wonderful. And it changes everything.

Savoring can teach you to be mindful, to stop procrastinating, to finally exercise, to eat less and more healthfully, to live life in the present, and much more.

And, as you read this, I urge you to slow down from your usual busy practice of reading quickly, and savor the reading of this article.

The Practice

The savoring of a square of dark chocolate is a great practice you can do once a day.

When you savor tea, or chocolate, or a handful of cherries … you slow down. You pay close attention — the closer the attention, the more you’ll get out of the savoring. You don’t rush to the next thing, but stop and give some space to the activity.  In that moment you don’t worry about what you have to do later, you are fully enjoying the present.

This is savoring, and it takes practice. You can do it right now, wherever you are: pause and look around you and savor this very moment. Even if it doesn’t seem to be special, because let’s face it you’ve done what you’re doing a thousand times, savor it. Fully appreciate the gift you’ve been given.

This is a practice you can do several times a day — find a few rituals for savoring, like enjoying your morning tea or coffee (without sugar), or taking a bath, or reading to your child, or having a tea ritual in the mid-afternoon, or snuggling with a loved one. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

Doing the Perfect Thing Right Now

A constant source of anxiety for most people, in this day when we can do almost anything at any moment, is: “Am I doing the right thing, right now?” Should I be exercising instead? Should I be doing that housework? Are other people doing something better? Is there a better way to do this, a better tool, a smarter method, a faster way?

When you savor,  anxiety can melt away. You are savoring this activity, so you let the thoughts of everything else go away, and immerse yourself. You give it space and just do this, and fully appreciate it. And so you know that you’re doing the perfect thing, right now, whatever it is, because nothing can be a delicious as savoring this moment.

Eating Mindfully

One of the problems that causes many people to be overweight is that they eat too much (you might say it’s the main problem). A big reason people eat too much is that they eat large amounts of food, quickly. It’s tasty, so eat it fast! And get some more! I know, because I did this for years. Still do sometimes.

But I’ve also learned, much of the time, to savor my food. And when you do this, you don’t just cram it down your throat, but you pause for each bite (don’t reach for the next bite as soon as you put the last bite into your mouth), and you give it space, and you savor it.

This means that you really notice every taste of that bite, the texture of it, and give thought to where it came from, who made it, what went into it (not chemicals, we hope!), and what it will do for our body.

It’s hard to overeat when you savor each bite, and take your time. In this way, you can also learn to enjoy healthier foods, like dark leafy greens or raw almonds and walnuts or tempeh or tofu. You can also eat healthfully most of the time, and then enjoy a bit of birthday cake without overdoing it, because you just need a little bit in order to savor it.


I enjoy exercise, which is a statement most people probably wouldn’t make. I love the feeling of a good workout, the good feeling of lifting something heavy, the feel of the water washing over me as I go for a swim.  Most people dread exercise, and so put it off. But you can savor a workout. You can savor a good walk, swim, workout, run or  ride. Give the workout some space, and fully be in the moment as you do it, fully notice your body as it moves and works, fully notice your breathing and body.  Fully notice the air and smells and sights around you.

Savoring exercise makes it more enjoyable, makes you more likely to do it, and makes the time you spend doing it perfect.

Living in the Present

Savor everything you do, every experience. There is no moment that cannot be savored — even those routine moments, even those times when you’re having a conflict with someone else, even those times when you’re alone with nothing to do.

Savoring is about learning to live presently, to fully enjoy the gift of each moment, to give that moment the space and attention it deserves. It takes practice, but it’s a delicious practice.

Inspired by Zen Habits and spending time with my Nana Jan 2013.

‘As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are.  Otherwise you will miss most of your life.’ ~Buddha



Day 16 – In August last year I began a 40B440 List – 40 things I wanted to achieve before my 40th Birthday.   One of these was to try something new for every Sunday in January.   I had never made scones in my 39years on this wonderful planet!  So when my nana requested some this weekend it was a perfect opportunity.   My first cheese scones were a hit!   Thanks for the lemondade tip from one of my LeapStars Hope and my husband Riwai was amazed that in nearly 10 years of knowing me I have never made scones!  Nom Nom Nom.


Cates Cheesy Lemonade Scones

300 mls of cream

300 mls of sprite lemonade

1 cup of grated tasty cheese

3 cups of self raising flour

Turn on oven to 210 degrees

Sift flour and add cheese to a bowl, then add cream and lemonade.  

Mix with a flat knife until all ingredients are mixed in.

Turn out onto well-floured board or table and pat into an oval shape about 15 – 20mm high.   

Transfer mixture to a greased cold tray and score into scones sizes you desire.

Add a handful of grated cheese over the top of the scones

Bake for 12mins and check with sharp knife that no mixture is sticking.

Remove from oven and cut into shapes

Transfer into wire basket and cover with a tea towel to keep them fresh

Serve warm with jam, butter, cream or your favourite topping

Todays Cates Thoughts to Ponder is inspired for all those going through tough times and in particular those families who have been affected by the fires and hot weather in Australia and NZ.


Gratitude enhances positive emotions and improves health.   It is one of the most wonderful tools you can learn to enhance you in all aspects of life.   Let’s face it. It’s cool to be grateful. Oprah made it a worldwide phenomenon when she started encouraging gratitude on her live shows, many big names practice gratitude to assit in reaching their goals.. And, there’s a reason it’s so popular. Focusing on what you have and not what you lack is one of the most simple and wonderful ways to learn to appreciate your life and the people in it.

For some, gratitude comes easily. For others, it takes work. Here are some ways I’ve found to revive the gratefulness perspective:

Exercise I know I am preaching to the converted here but before you step out you  are down on your life, annoyed by your family and friends and generally irritated by everything. During your favourite exercise session something happens. Life opens up. You get perspective. You start to notice the beauty around you. You appreciate the strength of your body. Post-run your head is clear and you are often able to feel and see the gifts around you.

Be the very best version of you ever!  This is the single most important thing to do if you want to feel better about your life. be Stop comparing yourself to others.   Focus on being you!  This is your day, your journey, your race, your family, your relationship, your job. Make it a point to be the best person you can possibly be!

Be Grateful at the same time everyday. Make being grateful a part of your day just like brushing your teeth. I do an inventory last thing at night before I turn out the light.   I focus on things that are going right in my life and the people who I cherish. If I’m dealing with a particular struggle or challenge, I look to what I can learn from the situation to make it make me better in the future.   I am always grateful for the gifts the  challenge brings.

Give to others. Sometimes we get so stuck in our heads about what our personal challenges are. When we reach out and take time for others, gratitude and a sense of well being are returned. Practice regular Random Act of Kindness and see what happens.   Send a friend a card. Volunteer at an old folk’s home. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee.

Stop thinking it should be a certain way. When we get caught up in an ideal of how we think life needs to be, we become inflexible. We get let down. We forget to be grateful. Do your best to accept how life is unfolding for you right now. This doesn’t mean you can’t have dreams and a preference for how you would like things to go. But, do not be tied to that plan. Sometimes the best thing is to take a deep breathe, go with the flow, be adaptable.

Expect that something magical will happen every day. We are taught to have very high expectations for ourselves.   This can lead to feeling like these are not met when things don’t go to plan.   Instead we can wake up every morning and expect something magical will happen that day.  Then we will subconsciously seek it out all day.

Smile at a strangers. A smile costs absolutely nothing and can bring so much joy to you and the person you smile at….

Happy Gratitude LeapStars xx


Day 13

YAY You!!  How fabulous that you are already 12 days into your challenge and nine days into the year.  I know you have important priorities for 2013 so let’s make sure you make them happen. 

The key is to make those “resolutions” and life desires into a game plan.  Why? Because Resolutions have a reputation for not happening, right? If you want a resolution to work, it needs to be focused, action-based, and strategic.

Action-based: commit to DOING something measurable. Talk is cheap, action is priceless. Focused: make it about changing ONE thing at a time. The more specific, the better. Strategic: you are changing an existing system in your life. Be smart about how you do it.

Let’s take a typical resolution – for instance “I want to lose 5 kg’s.” Now, let’s make it focused and action based. You do this by asking yourself: what’s ONE action I can take consistently this month to help me donate weight?

Feel the difference? You’re focusing on ONE concrete action now, the action that will make the biggest difference. Now, most people trying to change their eating habits have a “weak point” in their day where their will power fails them. You want to protect yourself from that. If you’re going to change one thing, try changing that one weak point. Let’s say that your weak point is that, when you get home from work, you snack on too many snacks.

I love the 50 life lessons that are ciculating around again.   The coolest thing is that the urban myth is Regina Brett is 90years old.    The truth is she is only 54 which excites me incredibly – because imagine how many more pearls of wisdom she will share with us in the next 36 years!   Smiles & Hugs and I hope you enjoy Regina’s list as much as I do 🙂 Cx

January 7th, 2013 by Regina Brett

A year ago, my book “Be the Miracle” came out.

Tomorrow, it comes out in paperback.

People often ask me why I wrote it.

My life has been full of miracles. Growing up with ten siblings, being a single mom for 18 years and getting through breast cancer all taught me that we’re all here to be the miracle for others.

Imagine what would happen if each of us decided to be the miracle for someone else.

How do you do that? All you have to do is make a beginning:

1. Start where you are.

2. Get busy on the possible.

3. You can make a big difference, no matter how little you make.

4. Magnify the good.

5. Do your best and forget the rest. It could simply be too soon to tell.

6. We all do the same things. It’s how we do them that makes the difference.

7. Interruptions are divine assignments.

8. Adjust your own oxygen mask before helping others, or you’ll be of no use to anyone– including you.

9. Instead of treating people the way you want to be treated, treat people the way they want to be treated.

10. If you want to see a miracle, be the miracle.

11. Everyone matters to somebody.

12. Speak up for others, especially when they aren’t present to speak up for themselves.

13. Give birth to yourself every day.

14. Sometimes it’s enough to make one person happy.

15. The secret of life is no secret. It’s sprinkled all over your life.

16. If you can’t be the rock, be the ripple.

17. Give as if the world is your family, because it is.

18. Everyone is either your student or your teacher. Most people are both.

19. Pray like you mean it.

20. Arrive early.

21. Dream big.

22. Consult your own soul. Deep inside you already know the answers you need.

23. Get in the game.

24. God doesn’t always call the strong. Sometimes you have to be weak enough to serve.

25. When you have nothing but faith, you have enough.

26. Be a good monk. Make your life a prayer.

27. Believe in abundance.

28. Shine your light, no matter how dark the world around you appears.

29. Comfort the sick. When everyone else flees, be the one who stays.

30. You have an endless supply of abundance from a wealthy Father who loves you, and so does everyone else.

31. Carry as you climb.

32. Be an original. Forge your own path.

33. Harness the power of hope.

34. Watch well your words. Practice restraint of tongue and pen.

35. No matter what happens, don’t take it personally. Take it spiritually.

36. The world needs your Yes!

37. Empower your power by joining forces.

38. You are a child’s most important teacher.

39. What you think about, you bring about.

40. Aim higher.

41. Make someone else’s dream come true.

42. Triage.

43. A saint is someone who knows how much God loves them.

44. Don’t quit before the miracle happens.

45. Make amends as soon as you can, while you still can.

46. Silence the noise. In times of doubt or indecision, pause and make room for God.

47. To be a channel of peace, you have to stay open.

48. God will not have His work made manifest by cowards.

49. Leave a legacy time can’t erase.

50. If you woke up today, God isn’t through with you yet.  

There were days during cancer when I wondered if God might be through with me, when I was bald, sick and too weak to walk around the block.

That was 15 years ago.

Every day above ground is one big miracle.

Image Day 12 – Did you know you have a finite amount of willpower each day because for the brain to exercise willpower you need energy in the form of oxygen and glucose.   That’s why it is harder to say no when you are tired or not feeling well.   Of course you can boost your will power with healthy eating, a good nights rest and moving more.   And now that you have this awareness it is also a good idea to avoid your sticky situtations that require willpower when your resources are low.    In other words if you are trying to change and eating habit, avoid the biscuit jar, don’t drive past BK on the way home and avoid people (whereever possible) who are doing the one thing you are trying to modify and instead hang out with those who are doing something similar.

Day 11. Believe you can and you are halfway there! Go my LeapStars – I believe you are on fire for 2013!   I am loving Alicia Keys – This Girl is on Fire!  The words are so great to kick start 2013 🙂  Happy Magical Monday remember – People do not decide to became extraordinary. They decide to accomplish Extra ordinary things” – Sir Edmund Hillary.