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An International Picnic by the Wood Pile

It’s lovely how sometimes healing sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Moments that previously would trigger panic attacks are now ones of genuine happiness, and you can’t help but smile knowing you are stronger, braver, healthier than you were before.

That happened to me this weekend when I welcomed people I barely know into my safe place, our farm.

When I first started healing from C-PTSD, the thought of having people in my safe place was cause for full blown panic attacks. Real Me wanted to have my friends and loved ones around me, but C-PTSD Me just couldn’t take it. It made me very sad and I felt much shame about it until I realized that C-PTSD is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s simply something that happened to me that I get to learn through and heal from. Removing shame makes healing so much easier. 

As our guests arrived and we gathered around the table to eat and visit, it struck me that I wasn’t afraid anymore. I felt perfectly safe and, more than that, I felt happy, peaceful, delighted to have the chance to get to know such lovely people better. I was genuinely glad they were there, and I’m overjoyed about that.

Needless to say, such a revelation made a great day even better.

Bear and I had fun bustling about setting up tables and chairs under the gum trees. I added cheery tablecloths and mismatched dishes to brighten things up, and scattered cushions so everyone could have a comfy place to sit.

I caught myself smiling as we set up our picnic by the woodpile, celebrating that I’d also healed from the perfectionism that has long plagued me. It’s lovely to know now that connecting with good people and making memories is what’s important, not having a woodpile-free yard or chairs that don’t wobble or a farm that isn’t dotted with projects waiting to be completed.

I raided my gardens for flowers and herbs to decorate the tables, collecting elderflowers, geraniums, and vinca, petunias, yarrow, and mint. Flower shop perfection they are not, but they make me happy with their whimsical free spiritedness.

We set the tables, chilled the beer, started the bread, set out the wine, and then, phew, we were ready.

A chorus of barking from our four dogs meant our fabulous guests had arrived. Hailing from England, Australia, and New Zealand, they brought a delightful array of accents and stories with them, and we had a marvelous time.

There’s something pretty wonderful about sitting under the trees on a hot summer day, wind blowing through the trees, cold drinks in hand, having great conversation with interesting and kind people.

Our friends – for they are friends now – are so interesting, each with a wealth of adventures, experiences, and insights that make for excellent conversation. We heard tales of cycling around the world, life in the Kimberley’s, and hilarious encounters in New Zealand. We talked of books and food, photography and politics, philosophy and Aboriginal medicine. I loved it.

And we ate. How we ate!! All Bear and I provided was cold beer, homemade wine, and fresh bread, they brought the rest. Bless them.

We started with hummus and veggies and a scrumptious cheese platter bearing spiced gouda, a gorgeous blue cheese, brie, and camembert.

There were sausages with caramelized onions, fresh beetroot, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, buttered bread, chunky potato salad with red onion and gherkins, and sweet apple salad with cashews.

Accompanied by glasses of homemade plum wine, it was a truly delectable meal.

Then we had dessert, Sue’s famous Spotted Dick and adorable profiteroles filled with chocolate cream.


Of course, the company was the best part, and we chatted companionably around the table and as we explored the farm, perched on fallen logs, or nestled into comfy chairs on the veranda. Even two days later my mind is still mulling over things we discussed. It was good.

The afternoon flew by and soon it was time for them to head for home. We hugged good-bye, sun-kissed, wind-blown, and happy, hoping that our next visit isn’t too far in the distant future.

Where is your favorite place to picnic? xo

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Anna @ shenANNAgans - This table, set among the trees, all colourful and friendly is what I think perfection looks like. We had a picnic at the arboretum last weekend, it was gorgeous, cool breeze, views of my fine city, a roast chook and fresh baked bread. #best

lisa chiodo - LOVE IT…. sun kissed, windblown and happy, I always imagine you this way. Love all the sunshine on your table and nothing beats friends gathered around a great meal, happy to know you are surrounding yourself with such beautiful souls xx

Amelia - What a beautiful way to come back to the moment and be mindful. Picnics outside are always so lovely! Also, well done you and nice to read about your strength.

Lauren - What beautiful colourful table settings! I love to picnic in scenic spots but given the English weather it’s not always possible!

Corrie Ehler - What a lovely table! Wish I could have joined you. xo

Rosemarie of Travel and Beyond - What a gorgeous setting and I especially love your round table cloth!

Deborah Regen - Krista, the perfectionists I’ve met in my life never seemed happy, think about that. It’s like setting yourself up to fail mentally. I see your mismatched plates and chairs and all, and I still think everything looks inviting and fun! To have it all “just so” – especially for a picnic – is way too “Martha Stewart” for me.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - I’m so happy for you Krista 😀

Amira - Wow, this is an almost International event :), I’m glade you had a good time with your friends. Nothing is better than picnics with good friends and good food. Me and my friends usually picnic in any park with kids playing around and delicious food.

Summer - Awww So wonderful ♥ That table is beautiful ♥


Karin@yumandmore - Oh Krista, how fabulous to have overcome another step in such a wonderful way. Deep hugs xox

Nancy | Plus Ate Six - What an idyllic setting. I’m glad you’ve welcomed your friends into your safe place and had such a fun filled day. Your bread looks wonderful too x

Cheryl - I love the idea of letting go of perfectionism. I’m always working on that. Your story is inspiring.

Cathy - It looks like it was a stunning day when you had your picnic. What a spread of yummy food and great people to share it with Krista 🙂

budget jan - That plate full of food looks so delicious, I feel like it is mine. Luckily I’ve just eaten a big meal so I’m content. I love the view of your colourful table beneath the trees and am I’m so glad that you could enjoy your guests without worry. You know Krista, I don’t have any C-PTSD problems but I sometimes stress about having people over for dinner. I worry that they will judge our home, that the food might not turn out well, etc. We don’t usually entertain at lunch time because it is far too hot and the flies are horrendous.

Tania | My Kitchen Stories - Good on you Krista for being so brave in the first place. I am so glad you had a great time. I hope that next time will be easier

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - What a beautiful day Krista! We had a picnic yesterday and filled it with plenty of flowers and good company (well it was just my husband and I) 🙂

Sarah - Lovely. So nice you have found a partner in life that you trust. Hugs.

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