It is school holidays here but also cold and rainy. I am unable to take the kids away on holiday, so we decided to camp out.
First and most important to a 6 yr old is the campfire for toasting marshmallows. I loaded up the metal wheelbarrow with kindling and redgum and we had a gorgeous fire going, with room for my vegies roasting on the side -
We invited friends around and had a ball. It wasn't perfect but it was just fine.
Next was where to sleep. Luckily we have plenty of tents and a big backyard.
But then it rained.
Sarah made her little campsite.
Doesn't she look cosy? She ought to with ducted heating and electric lights.
Her tent was pitched in the loungeroom.
Again not perfect, but just fine for us. She had a lovely night sleep ( except for the 13 or so times that the kitten jumped on her roof), stayed very warm and dry, and stayed in her tent til 11am the next day - awesome!!!
I felt bad that I couldn't take the kids on a "WOW" holiday, but in the end, they have had a beautiful time here in our own home. Isn't it funny how often what we need is right under our noses?
Hope you all have a happy Easter, don't eat too much chocolate,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I am a mother.
I have four awesome, wonderful children, and for most of the time I am parenting by myself as my husband works away. This means I have become very skilled at multi-tasking. I can cook spaghetti while I check homework and stitch a button back onto a school uniform. I can breastfeed a baby while I chase a toddler down the hallway, stopping momentarily to throw a load of clothes into the washing machine. I can vacuum, recite favourite recipes and de-flea the dog all at the same time. I have become an expert at cooking in bulk and freezing, I am studying (and passing) my nursing degree and still managed to squeeze in a few minutes of chat time with hubby ...sometimes.
I am also proficient in human origami, when several bodies attempt to share one small space and end up wrapped up like...
Night before last, in my bed it was like a crazy school roll call, with me, small child, dog, big cat and kitten.
As you might imagine it was cramped. It was also a ridiculously long, sleepless night for me and yet 'Mother Martyr' persevered. After all, the child was feeling scared and unhappy in her bed, Dog is used to jumping on the bed at night, big cat is doing so well to tolerate the kitten so close and little kitten is so cute - how could I say no?? But I needed to sleep and no-one seemed to care that I was uncomfortable and clinging to the side of the bed. GRRRR, why do cats have that uncanny knack of selecting the very centre of the bed?
We rolled out of bed at 6.30 am and got going for the day, and all day - I mean ALL day- I have whined about being tired. "Such a terrible nights sleep", "I'm exhausted", "Well at least you got some sleep last night...."
Then I visited a friend of mine, my reality friend - I hope you have one. She tells me the truth even when it is soooo not what I want to hear, and doesn't allow me to get away with much.
I started my whinge ( and by now I had tale of woe well worded, having practiced it a number of times) and she stopped me.
She asked me if I knew the bed was too cramped at 11pm. "Yes."
Did I toss and turn and know I was going to be overtired today. "Hmmm Yes."
Was there an empty bed I could have gone to, or could I have removed all furry critters? "Ummm Yes".
Then she delivered the killer punch. "So you chose to spend the night like that, just so you could whine today about being tired. Stop the pity party, you did this to yourself."
It stung a bit, but I knew she was right. I could have moved, or moved the little child, or kicked one or all the animals off the bed. I chose to stay in the cramped bed, and I knew I was also choosing to be tired. Even writing this now, it seems so silly to have allowed myself to have a sleepness night because I didn't want to disturb a cat.
As I left her house my friend hugged me and said " If you don't take care of you, how can you expect anyone else to."
So last night, I declared my bedroom no-go zone ( remember hubby works away- he would have been given an access pass LOL). Small child slept in her own bed, after stories and reassurance. Dog slept in her own bed ( yes she does have one), big cat curled up on the couch and kitten slept... well I don't know where but it wasn't with me.
And this morning ...I feel awesome!!!
Gonna do my best to stop the pity party events.
Have a fantastic day
Monday, April 11, 2011
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin
Have you ever felt like the 'happy' was going to just bust you open if you didn't let it out? It's like a tightly wound spring just waiting for release and when you finally let it loose, it just goes bouncing all over the place, happy and boing-ing everywhere.
That's how I feel today. I am acutely aware of the many blessings in my life, four awesome, healthy kids, a great husband who provides all for us, a rich and abundant lifestyle in one of the most blessed countries on earth. I have the freedom to study and further my education, to walk down the street without fear, my daughters are as valued as my son, I have enough in pocket to be able to give away some.
And all around me, there are little pockets of joy - a smile from a baby, yummy, plentiful food in the fridge, a pretty fabric in my quilt box, music that makes me dance.. life is full of joy if you are willing to stop and look for it.Take a few minutes today to write down your blessings - doesn't matter where, brain storm your life and acknowledge on paper every blessing in your life, even the fact that instant coffee and chocolate were invented within our lifetime.... Wow!!! How awesome and happy and blessed are you!!!
Hope you are all bouncing in your own happy bubbles today
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I wanted to share my most favourite poem ever. I remember my brother David teaching it to me, and it has been part of who I am in so many ways ever since.
Come sit down beside me,
I said to myself,
And although it doesn't make sense,
I held my own hand,
As a small sign of trust,
and together, I sat on the fence.
Written by Michael Leunig
I love this! To me ( and I'm sure there are many other interpretations ) it means that even if I am alone in my convictions, even if no-one else will sit beside me, I am strong enough to hold my own hand, and to trust my own instincts.
Mr Leunig is an immensely talented Australian poet, writer and artist. What a gift to be able to express something so awesome in just a few words.
Friday, April 8, 2011
I found this quote yesterday and it really stopped me in my tracks. It is the ultimate description of selflessness.
Acting with kindness, giving generously, sharing our time and resources is so much sweeter when it is given freely, without any expectation of return.
When I was a young girl I was a Brownie ( a Jnr Girl Guide) and one of the challenges was to do secret acts of kindness. The idea was that no-one would know it was you, and therefore you knew there would be no thanks, apart from the pleasure someone else gained. It was a tricky concept for young kids to grasp but such an important lesson. I remember sneaking out and laying the breakfast table, before anyone else was up. Polishing my sisters shoes, tidying the lounge. Of course Mum knew it was me but she played the 'secret' game.
I'm trying to teach my children the same concept, and hope to help them grow into giving, generous people. We can achieved so much and change so much in our world if together we gave freely, without a hidden agenda or an eye on our wallets. Giveaway the baby stuff ( rather than listing it for a few pennies on ebay!), take magazines to the Dr's, pop a coin in a parking meter, mow the neighbors front lawn, and babysit for free. Let's be like the sun and continue to shine the way & lead by example.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
We are all rushing around like bees in a bottle.
Got to do more, earn more, see more.
We spend our lives looking desperately over our shoulder at the people coming up behind, younger, smarter, faster, more worldly and more ruthless.
They weren't joking when they called it the Human Race, we are all literally running for our lives. From the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning we are on a mission to complete jobs, multi-tasking the to-do list until we fall into bed at night exhausted. Even then our minds race with all the drama of today and the planning of tomorrow, the future.
We eat on the run, we talk on the phone while we are driving, we communicate via email to cut out the small talk, we pay other people to walk our own pets. We have 5 minute bible meditations emailed to us because we haven't got any more time.
People taking a vacation are not content to find a shady tree and plonk down with a good book, we want to cram in 6 states worth of major landmarks, a whistle stop tour of monuments, ticking off the list of 15000 things you must see before you die. Jump out of the car take a photo, then jump back in and race to the next item.
If we have kids they are often
over scheduled to within an inch of sanity, so they can be super achievers, top athletes, the prettiest, smartest or at the very least most experienced. Heaven forbid they should have free play and down time making mud pies. We are playing Mozart and holding up flashcards to newborns, potty training at 9 months and rushing them to school before their dimpled toddler legs have grown out. Gotta get ahead, accelerated learning, straight A's at the alphabet..pressure.pressure.pressure....!
Amongst all that rush, does anyone actually stop and examine what they are feeling,? Is there any joy in this madness. "Am I taking the time to enjoy any of these 'must-do' experiences?" We are so busy doing we forget the whole point of being.
The saddest thing is most people rush like crazy until they die. They fail to realise that this is the destination. This life full of experiences is the whole event. This is not a dress rehearsal, and the future they are planning for... it's here right now!
This is it, this life, it is the destination.
Let's stop and take a big breath.
Let's get off the roller coaster and take a quiet stroll.
Let's spend the weekend doing nothing productive.
allow encourage our children to be children,
Let's hold our babies, even after they are asleep, just to keep looking at them.
Let's visit a friend and wander in the garden.
Let's go to the park and fly a kite.
Let's walk our dogs and say "hi" to our neighbors.
Let's take up a hobby without the aim of making money from it.
Let's lie on a blanket and gaze at the stars.
Let's bring the joy and silliness and wonder back into our world
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Today I am being challenged in the most awful way. A beautiful friend of mine has passed away, after the bravest battle of cancer aged 41yrs.
Her initial diagnosis last September was impossibly grim, with only 6 weeks to live. Her amazing determination just refused to accept that, and she managed to last seven months, precious time with her family, making memories and saying all those things we never say until we have to.
She leaves behind her darling husband and three boys aged 6, 11 and 14. On days like this it is difficult to understand how the world works, why good people leave our earth and some not-so-great people stay around til they're 90. In the laws of fairness it seems very very unbalanced. Everything in me wants to look up to the heavens and shout " What are you thinking up there??".
I don't understand, and I am struggling to accept.
However, I am also trying to hold onto all the wonderful positive memories of this woman.
The knowledge that she was an awesome Mum and those boys will never ever doubt her love for them.
She and her husband had a beautiful marriage and friendship. They laughed alot together and parented as a united team. I know she had every confidence that he will continue raising the boys in the same way they chose together. They were at every kids football game, tennis game, school play and athletics carnival. I loved the way she spoke to her kids, and could laugh at silly mistakes rather than be angry at a mess.
She had a smile that could make your heart hurt, and a laugh that was infectious, and it was never at another persons expense. She never gossiped about others and would always find the good in others.
She was generous and kind, and will be so sadly missed, and I know she is an angel in heaven now, free from pain.
This has also made me so aware of myself. How I am speaking to my children, my husband, my friends?
Am I making happy, positive memories, or will they remember me as always in front of the computer, wine glass in hand? Do I put off interacting with them ( you know - "I'll be there in a minute" x 30 ), am I rushing them through conversations so I can get on to the next thing on my to-do list? Is a clean and 'Home Beautiful' house taking priority over joy and laughter and silliness? Do I anger quickly, do I give generously?
Of course it should not have taken the death of a beautiful woman to bring these questions to mind, and I have pondered them time and time again. But I am thinking in a different light - "What would Jackie have chosen to do?" Would she play another on-line game or spend time jumping on the trampoline with her kids? Would she have spent hours searching for the exact right shade of green paint, or would she have spent hours with her friends and family.
We get a limited number of days on earth, and we do not know the magic number. We have no idea if we will be here when we are 108 or gone tomorrow.
In memory of my friend, and in love to my special family and friends, I am trying to focus on living each day as if it were my last, each goodbye will be the last interaction I have with someone.
Try it for just one day. If this is the last time you ever speak to your 8 yr old, are you going to yell about his shoes on the doorstep, or ask him nicely and ruffle his hair as he walks by? Would you tell the 4 yr old angrily to go away and leave you alone or read "Guess How Much I Love You" for the 50th time. Would you pout and whine at your husband for being late home, or be grateful that he is home safely for your last time together? It's hard to do, difficult to remain focused, but just for one day... try it. You may be shocked at how often your conversations were negative and careless.
Monday, April 4, 2011
"People are like stained glass windows; they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within." ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross~
Isn't that the truth. Almost anyone can put a smile on their face and be upbeat when the sun is shining. The true test of character, is when darkness falls.
I know several people who breeze through the happy times nonchalantly, with a sense of entitlement. And certainly they are entitled to be happy. They are carefree and careless with themselves, their finances and their friendships -after things are going great, why should they worry about anything or anyone else. As the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines.
When they suddenly hit a rough patch, all of a sudden, their personality changes, they make comments like "My life is just crap!" ( Their WHOLE life, not just the past couple weeks).
They are the 'why-me's', the 'it's-not-fairs', the 'poor-me's'. They forget the joy and fun of just a few weeks ago and now they can only focus on their own misery, their loss, their hardship. You can see the self pity sitting on their shoulders and there is no spark, no light within. As much as I sympathize with their new situation, I wonder how they can have forgotten all that came before.
Then there are those people who seem to sparkle and blossom no matter what is happening in their life. They view the ups and downs of life as speed bumps not complete roadblocks. They can still uphold the good and joyful parts of life even when there are some negatives. They look for the silver lining, the rainbow and the pot of gold. They are awesome people to be around and you just feel better in their presence...
I have a close friend who is exactly like that, she is like a firefly who lights up even the darkest room with gentle beauty and love. She has had her share of sorrows and yet she finds things to be grateful for. She doesn't ask "why me?" she asks" what can I learn here? What is the lesson?". She is someone who people gravitate towards, her positive energy and joyful approach to life is addictive and inspiring.
Sadly society doesn't really go much for that- it doesn't get high ratings on prime time, doesn't look like much as a headline, and with no bitching, moaning catfight, there's no ringside entertainment. Someone smiling without a good reason is weird, and a grateful, joyful heart must mean they are a religious fruit loop.
I have always been a pretty upbeat person, but I had developed some toxic friendships with sour, negative people, and I realised over Christmas 2010 I was starting to think like them, looking for the negative in people and situations. What a sad way to spend my life.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to make a conscious effort to embrace all that is good in my life, to focus on my blessings and to reflect that in what I say and do. So I am stepping out, happily and joyfully allowing my light to shine from the inside. I have many blessings, a few troubles and plenty of love to support me through.
Bouncing around in my bubble of Happy,
Sunday, April 3, 2011
We are in April and the second month of Autumn, and yet the days are still warm and sunshiney. The kids have been in shorts and T's, enjoying the weekend with the neighbourhood kids, when all of a sudden a cloud rolled over, dark and full. There was a scramble to put bikes, scooters and skateboards under cover, and then the heavens opened up.
The most soothing, warm, gorgeous rain, heavy and full of that end of summer fragrance. You could just about see the grass and flowers just open their arms in welcome.
And then some mothers came out and called children inside, closed doors and windows and pulled blinds. "What a shame the kids' play has been interrupted." TskTskTsk.
My kids looked at me, questioning eyes and unsure of the 'correct' thing to do, after all it was raining pretty hard ....
I yelled " GO FOR IT !!! "
Oh my gosh, they had fun! And one by one the neighbours kids joined in, splashing and jumping, running and having a BALL! They got very wet, and grotty but had the biggest grins you've ever seen. It was wonderful and hilarious and so sweet to watch them all playing like toddlers, even the 'oh-so-cool' teenagers.
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain.
Hope you are having an awesome day, and if a storm cloud passes over, remember to dance!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
"The most important things in life can't be seen... That's why we close our eyes when we kiss, pray and dream!!"
I love this quote as it places my thoughts and priorities back squarely where they belong.
A new car with gorgeous leather seats and all the gizmos and gadgets is certainly nice but it can't throw its little arms around me with the loving abandon of a toddler and kiss me. It won't be my friend, it won't be my confidante, or a shoulder to cry on. It can't celebrate with me at a joyous time, and will quite happily drive away with a new owner for the right price. A kiss from someone I love...now that's important.
A 8 bedroom, 4 bathroom house with room for a pony in a fancy zip code will make me seem wealthy and important, but it can't fill a spiritual void, provide comfort in my darkest hour or offer deep, lasting soulful peace. It offers cleaning not cleansing, and is not a true reflection of my worth, it is a few walls and some carpet. An hour spent in this home means ..not much at all. An hour spent in prayer...now that's important.
The latest designer clothes would hug my (generous) curves and flatter me, may turn some heads and make others envious. But they won't alter the course of my life, they are just fabric and can't affect my soul. I might get a temporary kick out of fitting with the "in" crowd, until I realise that is the clothes and not the person they approve of. They don't know my ambitions, my desires, my "one day I'm gonna's", my hopes and dreams and plans for making it happen. Clothes do not define who I am or who I am going to be. Time and money spent on clothes ( or wishing for them) is not life altering ..but dreaming.. now that's important.
The important stuff, the intangible stuff, the stuff that you close your eyes for is truly what molds us and creates our soul and being. Mother Theresa was one of the most admired women in history and her poverty was heartbreaking. Did it stop her determination to offer love and comfort? To strive for a better world. No, she knew that a person is not deemed worthy based on their bank account, every person is precious and important. EVERY PERSON !
I don't care how much money you make, what car you drive or what you wear, I want you to be happy and fulfilled right where you are, focused on the important stuff. Let others worry about the latest season lip colour - it doesn't matter. Did you ever hear anyone in a history lesson talking about a person from 1642 who wore the perfect shade of lipstick? Have you heard about the rich guy from 1821 who spent a years salary on a really cool horse cart? It's just material stuff and is irrelevant to your heart, your happiness and your peace.
Kiss, Pray and Dream - that's the key to happiness , not possessions.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Yesterday I posted this quote on my Facebook page
"Being happy is something you have to learn. I often surprise myself by saying "Wow, this is it. I guess I'm happy. I got a home I love. A career that I love. I'm even feeling more and more at peace with myself." If there's something else to happiness, let me know. I'm ambitious for that, too."
- Harrison Ford
a friend wrote back on my wall stating that if she had the money he has and the freedom that provides she'd be happy too.
It got me thinking about those in my life who are perpetually glass half empty people, and how their negativity seems to envelope them. This is a woman with a lovely husband, 2 healthy teenagers, 4 bedroom home with pool, 2 cars in the garage... and yet she still is not satisfied. I will admit her home is probably not as large as Mr Fords and he undoubtedly has a bigger bank account, but she missed the whole point of his statement.
Being happy is about seeing what you have right now and acknowledging the blessings. It isn't saying everything is perfect but it is choosing to focus on the good while you work on the bad stuff.
The news flash is - WE ALL HAVE CRAP IN OUR LIVES.
We are all overworked, concerned for our kids future, worried about the economy and struggling to juggle all the balls. Every single married person has had times when they wonder what on earth they were thinking, every parent has woken in a cold sweat overwhelmed with the responsibility of getting their child from 0-18yrs unscathed. It's called life. Even wealthy people, gorgeous people, gifted and brilliant people have the same thoughts, the same concerns and fears. Money does not buy happiness, just look at the divorce and toxic addiction rates amongst the rich and famous.
Happiness, joyfulness & gratitude is something that is learned and practised. It is getting up in the morning and making a conscious choice to find joy in your own world. I don't know what it is like to live in a mansion in Berverley Hills, but I do know how much fun and craziness there is living in my home with 2 adults, 4 kids, a dog, 2 cats and a handful of tadpoles. I don't know what its like to wear Versace but I do know there is enough food in my home and warm clothes in the dresser. I don't have a $20,000 dinner table, but I have one that fits my family just fine and my 6 yr old can colour in without me panicking. I am not paid $43m for a couple months work, but I get to see my children and husband each night and we have enough.
So from here on, I am writing to encourage you, to inspire you to choose to be joyful, wherever you are at.
Love, peace and abundance happiness to all,