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Monday, 31 December 2012

#reverb12 Day 31 - The LAST one

Take a moment to yourself, somewhere quiet.

Take a deep breath, and if you have the time/space/inclination do something that has significance for you e.g. light a candle, brew a put of your favourite tea, play your favourite music, whatever.

Think back to where you were all those moons ago, on 1 December when you started #reverb12. All the way back then, I asked: "How are you starting?"

Now, I am not going to ask you "Where are you finishing?" because this is not the end. What I want to ask is, "Where are you now?".

You have spent a month honouring everything that has brought you to this place: the highs, the lows, the messy middles, the exuberant rainbows, the turbulent storms, the fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, the too-tight jeans, the unexpected windfalls, the toddler tantrums (theirs or yours!), all of it.

You have thanked each end every one of these things for the things they have taught you and brought you, and fully know that they reside benignly in your physical, emotional and spiritual being. You know know that while they brought you here and will always be with you, there is no reason for them to hold you back any longer.

You are standing where you are, all that you are, splendidly imperfect and right in the middle of this messy delicious life.

Take another deep breath.

Now quickly and without thinking too much about it, finish these five sentences:

2013 is going to be MY YEAR because...

I deserve it! I have much that I can accomplish and I can make it about doing those things.

In 2013, I am going to do...

Good. With my time, and for other people.

In 2013, I am going to feel...

Peace. Confidence. Self-assured.

In 2013, I am not going to...

Spend my time on things that aren't worth my while, and won't help me be the person I want to be.

In December 2013, I am going to look back and say...

I made a difference.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

#reverb12 Days 19 - 30

More answers to the #reverb12 challenge:

Day 19 - How did you nourish your beautiful body in 2012? What self-care practices will you take with you into 2013?

Hmm.. I can't say I've done a LOT of caring for my body this year, or in the past generally... but I did start seeing the chiropractor - does that count? It's my way of caring about myself instead of always ignoring all the aches and pains (and there tend to be a lot of them)!

For the new year I want to either get a bike or do a lot more walking! That is difficult since we don't really live in comfortable walking distance of much now and it also means a lot more time management issues... but if the weather is ok, we can just walk for the sake of it when we've got nowhere else to be.  :)

Day 20 - What was lost in 2012? What do you intend to find in 2013?

Lost in 2012? I'm not really sure how to answer this question... I think I lost a lot of self-doubt - that's a good loss!

In 2013 I intend to find more time for other people. I feel that in 2012 I've been so caught up in only just managing my own life - the sweet and not so sweet bits - that I haven't had / found enough opportunities to be there for other people. I'm becoming more aware of this need within myself to know how I can bless others and follow through on that too. :) I have been so blessed by love - the love of family and friends, and through them God's love - and, knowing how it has enriched my life, I honestly want to be able to give that back to the people around me.

Day 21 - What items did you tick off your dream list in 2012? What other, unexpected, dreams came to fruition? What are the top three items on your dream list for 2013?

I think I did more surviving than achieving dreams this year, and I am ok with that! I have done a fair bit of goal setting in the past few months though. I don't know which (if any) of these will come to complete fruition in 2013, but they are things I will be working toward:

- Finishing my SACE
- Doing grade 7 and 8 piano exams and then getting my diploma!
- Jonathan and I will also be working toward buying a house :)

Day 22 - What was the greatest gift you received in 2012? What was the greatest gift you gave? What do you intend to give yourself in 2013?

This year I received the gift of friendship in great abundance. It has been such a blessing to have new friendships develop as well as a strengthening of continuing friendships. I've also been trying to give that same gift to those around me. It is a gift that blesses the giver as well as the receiver! ... and sometimes (more often than not?) you are on both ends of the equation at once! :D

The gift that I intend to give myself in 2013 is... grace. That's all about not expecting perfection all the time - but I've spoken plenty about that so I'll leave it for now. :)

Day 23 - Name three excuses -- stories you tell yourself that are holding you back -- that you are going to let go of in 2013.

Personally, I think I'm pretty good at not giving myself excuses...

Off the top of my head, I do want to stop excusing myself for not taking good enough care of my own body though. As I have mentioned before, I'm going to need it for the rest of my life! So I do need to look at how I'm going to put physical exercise in to my week and how I can further improve my eating habits.

Day 24 - What is the single most important habit you intend to cultivate in 2013?

Single most important? This is another one that I'm struggling to find an answer for... One that I know is important and I need to develop further is the idea of mindfulness or intentionality: being in and enjoying the blessing of the moment. In the past I know I have spent far too much time rushing on to the next thing so that I can conquer that 'to-do list' and not nearly enough time just enjoying everything that is around me. Time to change.

Day 25 - How will you be vulnerable?

The soft white underbelly, the flaw in the armor, the Achilles' heel -- weaknesses are what make us the most human, the most beautiful.
Next year, how will you tend to your vulnerabilities? How will you build them a shelter from the storm? How will you put them through physical therapy? How will you find a way to make them work to your advantage? 

I have issues with vulnerability. I'm not comfortable with it at all. I have always tended to avoid it at all costs. I've had this habit of not even admitting to myself when there are things in my life that are causing me grief/anxiety, etc... Honestly, I know a couple of people who I feel seemed to realise when I was unhappy before I'd even acknowledged it myself... and I would persist in saying that I was perfectly fine - all to avoid vulnerability I suppose.

In 2013, and now, I will be working on trust. Trust in other people will be a shelter of sorts. Fortunately I have a husband who, over the past four years that I've known him, I have learnt to trust and I do confide in. I know I could, if I were willing, extend that trust to others and I intend to do so when I have that need.

And here I am splashing out my vulnerability on to your computer screen!

Day 26 - How do you intend to carve out more time for the things that are the most important to you in 2013?

I have learned, primarily through the example and encouragement of my husband, the importance of goal setting. I've often heard him say, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" (or something of the sort).

In 2013 I will be continuing the habit of setting goals and planning for the things that I want to achieve!

Day 27 - How did you make time for creativity in 2012?
Looking back, is there one creative time or one particular creation that stands out for you? (Maybe you could share it here?) How will you continue (or start) making time and space for your creative passions in 2013?

I didn't get to share it with many people, but this Christmas season I wrote an arrangement to one of my favourite Christmas Hymns and I would have to say I'm quite happy with it! It was a fun and rewarding process and I do hope that I will one day have the opportunity to use it and hear it come to life. :)

Since my piano lessons finished for the year (my teacher always breaks over the Christmas holidays) I haven't been practising the piano much at all, but I intend to start that again this week. I want to progress so I make time for it everyday even if that means getting up really early.

Day 28 - Think of three things that daunted you in 2012: how are you going to work towards overcoming them in 2013?

I am enjoying the process of #reveb12... but some of these questions are really hard to answer. I guess that's the point though - you have to really reflect.

Hmm. Sometimes my older daughter's behaviour is quite daunting. My emotions have been daunting at times. :P 'Keeping up' has been daunting too. Maybe I'm not thinking very hard about this question (the 'catch up' on answering them has been time consuming) but they have all daunted me at one time or another. 

I think with anything that daunts you you have to either come up with strategies to change / deal with the situation... or you have to embrace it. Some things that are daunting aren't actually bad, and once you accept them they can become beautiful.

Day 29 - What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring? What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?

I didn't pick a word specifically for 2012... some words that come to mind that followed me throughout the year are: grow, change and intentional. Intentional has been one of the most important.

For 2013 I would like to use the word courage. Courage to hold fast to moral values. I want to remember that wrong is wrong no matter who is doing it, and that right is right no matter who isn't doing it and to say how I feel.

I want to be remember to be bold - immediately and not at the last possible moment, which is sometimes too late anyway. I want to have courage that will make it easier to stand up for others and to stand alone when I have to. That courage may be borne of knowing that I am never alone anyway.

I hope this courage will also help me to try new things, and to persevere in achieving my goals even in those difficult moments when those goals seem unattainable.

Day 30 - Often we see our life as a humongous journey, and we believe that not only have we not arrived at our far away desired destination, but we also think we must accomplish x, y, and z, before we can declare with satisfaction that we are THERE.
For a moment, take a close look at who you are NOW. See what you can declare.
Merge the past, present, and future into one big ARRIVAL.
Describe joyously and in great celebration the BEING that you ARE. 
(If you like, try writing this in third person as if you were a news reporter and this article about you is appearing in a publication you love and respect.)

Simply, I have arrived at being happy. I don't think that requires a lot of words to explain.
Yes, there are things that are uncomfortable in life. Yes, I have imperfections - there are things I need to change. But the difficult things don't define my life. My imperfections don't define me....

and I can be happy!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Reverb catch up

So, I haven't been keeping up with my reverb posts very well. It started because I felt like some of the questions were the same answers to questions I had already posted, and also there were questions that weren't very interesting to me personally and ones that I didn't know how to answer... and plus I've been just plain busy - but I'm going to hash it out now. :)

Day 14 - The path that brought you here

Today's #reverb12 prompt comes from ... Bron aka Maxabella ... She also rocks this mamahood thing from the zeniths to the nadirs, and if you aren't a part of her 52 weeks of grateful project then you really should be.
Sometimes I spend too long at the end of the year planning for the new year ahead, so something like #reverb12 is so good for me.
This year was so full of change for me and mine that it feels like it wasn't a "good one". While I welcome the fresh breeze that change can bring, too much change just leaves me itchy and skittish, the ground loose beneath my feet. Then, when things settle again and the road ahead looks smooth and delightful, I think - what's next?
But I need to remember to look back at the winding path before I start walking.
My question is: what was the most important thing you learned in 2012?

I would like to add: how does this learning shape the path going forward?

Hmm. The most important thing I learned in 2012? I suppose it was that I am a capable mother, and person generally and that I can make a valuable contribution to my family, friends, and the world around me.

I think sometimes we all have a tendency to feel that our part in the world is so small in the scheme of things and wonder whether we really matter at all, but I know that each of us do! And that's me too, not just everyone else I meet. We can be the change that we want to see in the world.

With this in mind, going forward in 2013 I want to be aware of the ways I can make a difference to those around me... more on this later.  

Day 15 - What tingled your tastebuds?
What was the most extraordinary dish you sampled in 2012? What made it so magical?
It needn't be the most extravagant dish, just the one that knocked your socks off with its flavour, texture, aroma, freshness, colour, significance, timing… whatever. Relive the magic and help us savour it with you here.

A short answer, since I really can't think of much... I don't remember anything that made a particular impression on me - but I am a sucker for creamy pasta with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, as well as bacon and/or chicken! We had something like that in the past week but we used alfredo sauce instead of just cream and it was even yummier!

Day 16 - Who inspired you?

Who inspired you in 2012? And why?
What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2013?

Now here is a question I can sink my teeth into! I can think of a few people and I bet that one of them in particular doesn't even realise that she inspires me so much! Without mentioning names, here are the reasons that these people inspired me.

The first I will mention is actually a couple who has been through a LOT this year. They inspired me with their positivity and resilience in the face of these challenges. They have inspired me by the way they just keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing it with grace! <3

The next on my list is a friend who had huge challenges to deal with this year, but has likewise shown resilience and just kept moving forward. I don't think I have once heard her complain about it all!

The people above and also a few other particular friends have also inspired me with the way they seek to help others and are just wonderful people. I've been so blessed to have them in my life.

Most of these people probably wouldn't recognise themselves in what I have written, even if they do read it though.

I hope to carry these things forward, to be able to meet challenges with optimism and grace and to really make a difference to those around me.

Day 17 - How did you make a difference?

Today we are fortunate to have another guest prompt from ... Lana
Think of one person whose life you made a difference to in 2012.
What did you gain from this?
How will you continue to make a difference in 2013?

I love this question - it makes me think. Try answering it for yourself. Really think about the impact you've had on the people and world around you. It doesn't mean you have to get bigheaded about it, but it's important for your self-worth to feel good about the things you've done!

First of all, I haven't always felt that I really do make that much of a difference... but I plan to remember that I can in future!

This year the biggest difference I have made has been within the walls of my own home. It's impossible not to acknowledge or accept that I made a difference in the lives of my little ones. Being a wife and mother, that was always going to happen - for better or worse! ... but I feel it has been for the better. I don't know how comfortable I feel about making a list of the things that give me that feeling of achievement - but I see my children growing and developing and that they are happy and loving individuals and that makes me happy.

This year I think that I've been so caught up in the wife, mother, and housekeeper things and with adjusting to having two children and a husband that works full-time now, that I haven't made/had a lot of time to make a difference outside of those roles. I try to think of the friends I've made and the help I've given... and I hope that it has made a positive difference for those people I've wanted to help! We don't generally put effort in where we don't care about our impact, do we?

Day 18 - The colour of you

What colour best represents the year you had in 2012? And why?
What colour would you like to invite into your life in 2013?
Be as literal or metaphorical, clever or crazy, or just plain off-the-wall with this as you choose! Can't wait to read your responses to this one!

This question makes me laugh, and I'm not really sure how to answer it...

I think green would be a good colour to represent 2012 for me. Green says growth, which I've had a lot of this year. As Natalie like to shout at traffic lights, geen also means GO - which is representative of my year as well. There's been a lot of going and growing!

In one sense, the 'go go go' that the green represents has been good but in 2013 I hope to also use the idea of slowing down and living intentionally, without rushing so much that I fail to enjoy the blessing of that moment. If I follow the theme of the traffic lights, I'll say amber would be a good colour for 2013. Still going and growing, but stopping to enjoy it!

Well, that wasn't as painful and drawn out a process as I thought it was going to be! I'm still enjoying being part of the #reverb12 challenge. If you haven't checked it out go to this blog and if you want to be a part of it, even if you just consider your answers without sharing them, please do!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Reverb days 12 and 13 - emotions and photos

What made you dance in 2012? What made you weep?

Well, a lot of the year really passed by in a blur and I have to really think about... there have definitely been a full spectrum of emotions for me this year though.
To start on the 'what made me weep' end of the scale... I don't know about just 1 moment that was more intense than any other but for me this year, those moments centred around feelings of inadequacy as a mother (and sometimes other things I am doing). Moments when I simply didn't know if I was 'cut out' for it, and felt like I wasn't doing as good a job with everything as I should be, or as someone else was.

As for the 'made you dance' moments... well, in contrast, they're all centred in those moments of clarity where I was able to comprehend just how richly I am blessed. Times where I was in the moment, and just being with and loving my little family. Times when I forgave the myself for the things that weren't done or that I hadn't done well and focused instead on what was done, and done well.

It has also brought a lot of joy to see my little girls developing and being so happy within themselves, and seeing Jonathan come closer to being able to achieve things he has been hoping to do. Most important of all it has been seeing our family dynamics shift as we become closer <3

lol, this has all got me singing, "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..." haha!

Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2012, self-portrait or otherwise!

Ok, so I don't think I have a single picture of just myself during the year... I'm only in them with other people, and no - I'm not going to just take a picture of myself now to put on this blog - haha!

So I'm just going to upload a pic of me with my girls.. sadly not many photos of our whole family either :(

I love the way Natalie is looking at Hayley here!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Reverb12 day 11 - Music to Your Ears

I am loving todays question in the Reverb challenge:

What was music to your ears in 2012, literally or metaphorically?

I love you

Other Sweet Nothings, spoken quietly

Natalie saying that she is beautiful - yes!
Natalie telling me that she loves me, or daddy, or Hayley.
Natalie singing
Natalie saying things that show me how much she understands, or wants to know more
Natalie talking, period!

Hayley's contented 'chatting' and her sweet little laugh.

My children laughing and/or playing happily - whether it be on their own, together, with their daddy, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other friends... 

Any child's joy for that matter


Christmas carols

Hearing my own progress in playing the piano and being told that I passed my grade 6 exam

There are probably many other things that I could write here that were also good to hear... but in the few moments that I have, these are the things that matter.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Reverb '12 days 9 and 10

What was the best book you read in 2012, and why? (And by "Why?" I mean: Why did you read it? And why was it your favourite? Although these answers could be one and the same...!)

So, initially I wasn't even going to answer this question because I couldn't think of much I had read this year, but as I went to write a comment to that effect I did think of one!

Going with books I hadn't read prior to this year, the best thing I've read was Learning Dispositions. When I began reading it and attending the class where I got it, I really didn't think it would be as big a deal to me as it ended up being. But it ended up being the best book for me because it has really helped me a lot as a mother. I can look at behaviour that we tend to think of as 'naughty' and I can now be a lot calmer while still setting boundaries and see what my daughters are trying to communicate, as well as how I might better direct them to put their Purposefulness and Persistence or Confidence or Resourcefulness, etc. to a positive use. I can see that all behaviour has meaning and I know what I can do to help them develop skills that will benefit them throughout their lives and help them be life long learners.

It's really hard to explain just what this book has given me as a parent, but it has given me a lot.

What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?

Another difficult question to answer.. and even as I began typing this I didn't know what the answer wiould be... and now I this is the question I don't want to answer, but in the spirit of my thoughts about this question, I guess I will!

It's really been a less risky year than other recent years for me... 2009 I got married and in 2010 and 2011 I gave birth... this year nothing major like that, lol!

I guess I have taken a different type of risk this year... in being more open about my experiences since becoming a mother (without wanting to be overly public about it...) I have felt a lot of vulnerability in doing so, but it has also has given me more reason to look for the good, be grateful, and embrace joy and left me feeling more capable, confident, resilient and stronger all round. It's been a risk worth taking - I am loving my family and my life and everything in it right now!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tiny Treasure turns 1

This time one year ago (as I begin writing) Jonathan and I were oohing and aahing over our tiny new baby - Hayley!

I thought this might be a good time to share what happened on that day. If you get squeemish around birth stories, feel free to skip the italics. (Mine is fairly standard)

The Birth Story

I woke up about 5:30am (give or take) to the first contractions, which were 5 to 10 minutes apart. I knew that they could be Braxton Hicks but as they continued to come regularly over the course of the morning, I guessed that it would be the day. In fact, after a few hours I would think to myself between each contraction, "come on, don't stop now - I don't want that all to have been for nothing"... and then when another contraction started I'd be like, "oh no, oh no, oh no" haha!

By 8am my husband had called his mum to say that it looked like this was the day, and could she keep herself free to come and watch Natalie once we headed to the hospital.

My Visiting Teachers at the time (one of whom is a midwife!) had arranged to see me that morning, and they came anyway as well as picking up a few things to get Natalie through the weekend as grocery shopping didn't seem likely over the next few days. (I love those women <3)

Around 11 mum got to our house and we were at the hospital by about 12.


All morning I was thinking to myself that I was handling contractions much better than I had with Natalie's birth and supposed it was because, having done it once, I had a better idea of what to expect. That was true on the whole, but I have to say that right towards the end of my labour that changed for a while - it was like I remembered exactly what I was going to have to experience to have this baby, and I just broke down and was sure I couldn't do it. But after a little panic attack and having a good cry on my superman's shoulder, I came round :P (Not much I could do about it at that point anyway, right! hehe)

I had a water birth with Hayley, and scooping her out of the water and holding her for the first time was a truly incredible experience that more than made up for how awful I'd been feeling in the hour prior to that moment. It was definitely much more positive for me than my birth experience with Natalie, which as far as childbirth goes still wasn't all that bad.

Wasted, but SO on top of the world!

Sweetly sleeping

She was born about 2:30pm weighing 2.94kg (6 pounds, 5 ounces) - smaller than her sister at birth.
We had forgotten our camera and Jonathan had called mum earlier to see if she could drop it off for us... and since the labour was much quicker than we anticipated Hayley had arrived by the time she got there! This was really a good thing in the sense that Natalie got to meet her sister so soon after she was born. She was so excited and has been quite attached ever since.

Natalie and Hayley - love at first sight!
Hayley is a lot more excited about sisterly affection now than she was in this photo!

One Year On

Hayley, although very small, brings a LOT of joy in to our house. Especially over the past week or two, she seems so happy most of the time.

She is a very determined little soul. When she first started crawling a few weeks ago, you could tell it was really difficult for her, but that just made me all the more proud of her.

She is so cute, it is disarming! I love it when we're in the car and we might be at traffic lights or have just arrived at our destination and I look back to see her watching me... and when she realises I'm looking at her now, a huge smile pops up on her little face. Lately she has also taken to putting her hand over her mouth and smiling or giggling when she's really happy <3

Natalie and Hayley share a room now, and in the past week we have heard them chattering to each other and playing a bit before they go to sleep. Earlier Jonathan was out and I was playing with both of them and it was so cute to see how they started to interact more with each other and I could just step back a bit and watch. Hayley is really becoming a more social little girl and she especially loves her sister.

She also loves her daddy very much and has started to be more aware of his coming home - she gets so excited when she sees him! He is one of very few exceptions to the usual, "no one must hold me but mummy' rule.

I love it so much when we're out and about and so many people will stop and smile, and often comment on how gorgeous she is.

Love <3

Thanking you

Over the past year (and before that) we have had the support of family and so any wonderful friends who have adored and spoiled our daughters as well as helped us in many instances. I was thinking today that I haven't taken as much time as I wish I had to thank many of these people... a situation which must be rectified.
BUT, relevant to this blog right now - thank you so much for being there for us as well as showering our little girl with love over the past year. We're all so blessed!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Most important relationship

Considering the idea that nothing lasts forever: what was the most important relationship that you fostered in 2012? 
How will you continue to nurture it in 2013?

I have a problem with this question: I believe that my most important relationships can and will last forever.
Having said that, I guess you can assume where I'm going with this.

I love my little family so much <3 They are all so wonderful and I do my best everyday to nurture my relationship with them. Obviously that began before this year though.

So if I'm talking new relationships... I made a few friends this year who have been a great blessing to me and I hope to continue showing them how much I appreciate all that they are to me. <3 I hope they know who they are!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Photo update!

This is a picture of Natalie a few months ago before she got her glasses. You can see her right eye turning in quite a bit!
This is a cute one of Hayley. I'm not sure exactly when it was taken... possibly Father's day. She's a little grubby, but totally happy. <3
 The swing is her absolute favourite thing. Natalie kept wanting to push the swing for Hayley, which was a little dangerous for both of them so I had to take control of that one! Only little swings for Hayley. Love that little smile, and she's even waving :)
Another swing pic for Hayley, this one in Milang on Jonathan's birthday. This playground was at Lake Alexandria. It was windy there but we had a lot of fun.

Natalie loves painting. She has a tendency to use just one colour on each painting. Often she'll only have a small amount of paint on the page and she wants a new piece of paper. I guess she likes that white space daddy is always talking about as a designer. :-) She's totally gorgeous and I love that she loves creating.

My little artist.

Beautiful little lady.

 Natalie's gallery.

 Natalie loves taking pictures with the camera.

Self portraiture is a must :)

Reverb Day 7 - What Will You Take With You?

What's the one thing you want to take with you into 2013?

Hmm... Again, the answer to this question is already in some of the blog posts I've written recently.

In a nutshell: I want to take with me this zest for life; an attitude of gratitude; the determination to be an in the moment, intentional, loving, fun mum; positivity - the ability to see the joy in each day despite any difficulties. These are things I've been given in greater measure this year that I'm not going to leave behind. :D

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Reverb day 6 - What did you learn?

Compare the “you” from the beginning of 2012 to the “you” that you are now. What new skills or talents have you learned or discovered this year?

I love this question! I've written about a lot of these things lately (Letting Go, Being Like Me, How will you celebrate you?), but I guess I can touch on them now too.

2012 has been a year of growth for me. I feel that I have learnt a lot; about myself, about life, about my children, about happiness, and about how Heavenly Father is aware of and cares for me.

At the beginning of the year my hubby and I had a tiny baby and an almost-2 year old... I was a full time mum with no study commitments, and Jonathan had just finished his diploma which meant he was home a lot while looking for a job. - And that has ALL changed. *jaw drops as, in writing this, I realise more has changes than I realised*

At the beginning of the year, I didn't feel confident that I could do what I was doing - taking care of two kids, WITH the help of my husband and WITHOUT chucking study in the mix...

And then...

  • When the school year started I took up one subject to go toward my SACE, wondered time and again whether I was crazy for deciding to do it, but kept at it anyway.
  • Jonathan found work, which although I knew was necessary and a blessing, also left me wondering how I could possibly do everything I was doing WITH his help, without it. Which in some crazy way I did. I should note that I certainly still had his help, it just meant he couldn't be there in tricky moments when both girls were demanding things like he had been to that point.
  • There were also a lot of appointments related to Natalie's speech and her eyes, and Hayley's physio stuff.
  • Somewhere along the line (maybe around July, but I can't remember exactly) I started up piano lessons again and sat an exam in October.
  • And somehow - in some miraculous way - I actually feel less anxious and much more relaxed in life right now that I did when the year started.
And here I was wondering how I spent all my time this year. :P  Well it wasn't easy... but that wouldn't be any fun, would it? :-)

Has that really all happened just this year?

There are a lot of people I couldn't have done this all without, and to them I will always be grateful. I hope you know who you are.

I'm grateful to know that I've grown.

I wonder if the fact that I am feeling more competent and confident than at the start of the year means that something else is heading my way to offer a new challenge? 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Reverb day 5 - Dream Destination

What was your dream destination in 2012 and why? 
It can be a town, city, country or region -- real or imaginary -- and doesn't matter if you actually got there or not!

Dream destination... oh, these questions are impossible sometimes! haha.

To be honest, Jonathan and I have occasionally discussed the idea of moving interstate or even overseas to find different work opportunities for him - and part of me thinks that idea is exciting... particularly living in the UK for a while I think would be great! BUT, then I think about my life right here where we're living and I feel that even if it were a financially viable option for us, I just couldn't do it. I love it here too much.

It's partly about the geographical location - I'm so patriotic and love Australia and SA so much, but there is more to it than that. It is also where a large part of our family live, so that's one huge thing for starters. But it's even more than that.

I love Prospect Ward (where we attend church) and everyone in it. I'm so grateful for all the friends I've made there in the past 3 years, and can't imagine thriving so much not being surrounded by them all, often. The idea of even moving a few suburbs away and being in another ward can send me in to a panic attack - as it did when we were house-hunting at the end of last year. (Yay, we just renewed our lease for another 12 months!) I don't know if we'll be lucky enough to always be in Prospect Ward, but I'm so not ready to let go right now! haha

There are also the community things I've been attending that have been such a blessing, and have helped me so much as an individual and as a mother. This year I began the process of completing my SACE - once and for all! - and as I only did one subject and want to continue in 2013, that is an important factor in considering where my dream location is. There are other playgroups and classes I've attended at the same place (CaFE Enfield Children's Centre) that have been a huge blessing to me. Since I've written about that before, maybe I won't go in to the specifics... I've also been participating in a program at Gilles Plains to do with Natalie's speech. It has given me a really holistic approach in how to interact with both my girls and help them with all aspects of their development though, and although I'm sure these programs are run elsewhere, a lot of what I've learned was specifically from the women who run the group that I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten elsewhere. (On a side note, Natalie is talking SO MUCH these days.)

Those are just a few examples of the things that really make my dream location HERE. Right HERE. The more I think about it, the more I see that Heavenly Father knows exactly where we need to be to help us grow and to thrive despite the challenges that he gives us to help us grow.

On a fun note, there are lots of places that I would like to visit and I really can't pick just 1... but my hubby and I were just discussing how awesome it would be to go to France and see the Louvre and Notre Dame and the Eiffel tower. Italy would be cool too. But let's face it, I just want to see the world (eventually)! I'm a sucker for history. I'd love to see the pyramids in Egypt, The Great Wall of China, and the list could go on and on...

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Reverb day 4 - How will you celebrate YOU

How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?

I had never thought about this question until this morning, but I think a huge part of celebrating myself will be in celebrating Christmas - that Christ was born. My faith in Jesus Christ is so essential to who I am that being bold about this faith, being grateful for the gift God gave us of His Son and making it central to my family's festivities celebrates who I am.

In much the same way, the time spent with family celebrates myself... as they help make me who I am and are such and integral part of my heart <3 It wouldn't be myself not to spend time with family. On the other hand though, I do want to make the effort that it is a lot more of a relaxed time than I have felt in the past... in the last two years I really did a lot of stressing at Christmas time and all the get-togethers with so many groups felt like a lot of work with 1 or 2 kids to be mindful of - this year I want to be much more focused on gratitude and how much I love and appreciate each family member and enjoy spending time with them.

I realise this might sound soppy to you all, but it is authentic.

I have goals that I'm working toward for the next few years, and it is important to look to and plan for the future... but I also want to make an effort to look back and acknowledge how far I've come in the past year or so. I guess that part of using this process to 'celebrate myself' will also be to acknowledge the difficult things that I've had to overcome... not to dwell over them in a negative way, but to see how I overcame those things and that they have helped me grow.

I'm really enjoying this #reverb12 challenge. Some of the questions have been tricky to answer and some - like this one - are things I had never really thought about until reading the question. We're only on day 4 - you might enjoy it too! You don't have to blog, but can just write in your journal or even just think about the answer without recording it at all. See the button to your right :-D

Monday, 3 December 2012

Reverb Day 3 - What Do You Really Wish For?

Today's reverb question I found hard to answer...

Today's #reverb12 prompt and image come from... Cam aka Curlypops. Many of you may know Cam as blog button designer extraordinaire. What you may not know is that she is also making the most of a life lived on hold:
Living life on a transplant waiting list gives you lots of reasons to reflect on what you've achieved in your life, and what you wish for the future.
Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven't had the chance to accomplish yet?
I would like to add: what steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?

The reason I find this question hard to answer is that I couldn't identify any dreams I'm longing to fulfil that I'm not already in the process of accomplishing at least... I have a beautiful little family. I'm working on other study and interest goals. Those are things that I am excited to do, and do view as important (although not the be-all-and-end-all), but they are there and the steps are being taken. Honestly, there are things (like traveling) that I would like to do... but at the moment nothing that I would be terribly disappointed if I died without achieving...

Then I started thinking about one thing that I really am aspiring to for the year 2013 (and now!) which encompasses and influences all other achievements anyway - living life fully awake, intentionally, with gratitude, embracing joy. In case you're wondering, these are words one of my favourite bloggers often uses to describe the way she desires to live her life... and I think they are great words that simply describe and helped me really grasp a concept that I was already familiar with - life is supposed to be happy, and it can be, but it's up to you to grab it!

So maybe that's it, the thing I want to accomplish: embrace joy. I know that things won't always be simple and that life has stress - even now I can see things on the horizon that although I know will be a great blessing will have their challenges too - but if you make a conscious effort you can see all of that with a perspective of what will be at the end as well as the joys that surround us even when our circumstances try us.

As I have alluded to, Jonathan and I have some exciting things that are also a little bit scary coming up... watch this space! (PS - no I'm not pregnant.)

Sunday, 2 December 2012


I was reading my Aunty's blog post today and saw a link to #reverb12 ... This started yesterday but I am jumping in with a catch up post containing my answers for both day 1 and day 2.

How are you starting this last month of 2012?
Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel...
... in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?

I feel so great right now! With the exception of my back perhaps, I'm feeling physically well and this is something I really want to focus on more than I have in the past. I don't want to obsess over it but I want to make the effort to take care of my body - I'm going to need it for the rest of my life after all! And beside that, I know that how you feel physically rubs off on other aspects of life too.
Which is probably why I've been doing better with the mind stuff! I wrote recently about changing my mindset and how it has made such a difference in my day-to-day living. I have always tried, but more recently increased my efforts to live with gratitude and to find joy despite imperfection... and it's just a better place to be!
I have also become more goal orientated lately in relation to increasing my music (creative) skills. I sat a Grade 6 piano exam in October and have now started working on the 7th Grade syllabus and will do the exam for that in either May or October next year, as well as a Theory exam during the year too. My aim is to have a diploma by 2020, but my piano teacher seems to think I am not ambitious enough and could do it a lot sooner if I wanted to. :P I however am not going to be putting TOO much pressure on myself and want to go in to each exam confident and just knowing that I'm going to nail it... and if it doesn't take that long, that's just an added bonus.
All in all, I'd say December has got off to a good start, as should 2013. It's actually been pretty hard going a lot of the time over the past 2 years, but I feel like I'm coming out of survivor mode and have really worked out what is important to me as a wife and mother and understand what I need to thrive and that it is ok to care about that too. :)

What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?It doesn't have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.
What difference has it made to your life?

I actually couldn't think of what to answer without asking Jonathan... The most significant expenditure would definitely be that we moved house in January... and it was TOTALLY worth it. Seriously I remember moving in here and just being like, "My favourite thing about this house is... the aircon! No, the kitchen! No, the backyard! No, the space!" LOL Come to think of it one of the best things is not having to deal with salt damp and a landlord/agent who wasn't doing a thing about it, (but of course renovated after we moved out). I'm not one to believe that a better house will make you happier or anything, but the lifestyle living in a house vs. a unit and getting rid of the stress we had with that particular agent has been a big relief!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Being like me

Recently I was having a conversation with my mum in which I told her that I wished I was more like my sisters i.e. was more organised / on top of things etc, and then my mum preceded to tell me that yes, they are those things but reminded me that I have got things going on in my life that they don't, and also told me that one of my sisters had said to her that they wished they were more like me in another way...

I found it quite interesting and have thought about it a bit since then. I think we often look at others and are apt to see the good that they do and the skills that they have and think, "I wish I were more like them and could do ______"... as if that one thing is what defines the other person as good / talented / etc. and that this quality would therefore define us in the same way. The fact is that we all have different things that make us who we are... and that is as it should be.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. We have to stop comparing our weaknesses to someone else's strengths and vice versa. We have to stop comparing.

Well, I guess I have one exception - comparing who we are to who we have been. I once attended a school where the Vice Principal would often talk about our Personal Best, and that this was the most important thing we had to achieve. I believe that to be true.

I believe in looking for the good - in myself in others.

I believe that we often think much less of ourselves than others think of us.

I believe that we often think much more of others than they think of themselves.

I believe in taking notice of how far I have come.

I believe in considering my potential and reaching for the best and that this means planning.

I believe that we become who we want to be by being what we want to become.

I believe in finding happiness by losing the need to compare myself to other people.

I believe in being me - the best me that I can be.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Letting go

I have been thinking a lot lately about how a slight shift in mindset can make a world of difference every day. They are things like having an attitude of gratitude, choosing happiness, living intentionally, and embracing the moment. For me one of the most powerful of these is the idea of letting go - which is what I'd like to write about now.

It is simple things like the way you think and feel when you don't get much done in your kitchen over the weekend because you're out a lot, organising other aspects of your home, spending time with family. Usually in circumstances like this I'd end up thinking, "it got out of control" or "I can't manage this" and consequently feel guilty for not getting it done as well as helpless to get it back under control. Instead I can now look at it and say, "I let it go". That is more accurate anyway, but it also empowers me to take charge of everything again and find someway, amidst child rearing and what ever other things I may have committed myself to, to catch up on things.

It has also been a great blessing to let go of the need for things to be perfect before I can be happy or to live up to an ideal that I used to have and thought was oh so important... and in the process recognise that I have so much joy now and begin to focus on the things that do actually matter.

I've also let go of my... unenthusiastic attitude toward messy children's activities - Natalie has had a lot of fun painting and doing paper mache in the kitchen over the past few days... during which time I reminded myself countless times, "that's why we're doing this on tiled floors with washable paint" or "it's just flour and water, flour and water, flour and water" haha! Ok, so I'm still working on the 'letting go' as far as that is concerned.

I've also let go of a lot of things to do with my children's behaviour. I've done a lot of parenting classes (hey, if everyone else can do career development stuff I might as well - this job is the most important one I've ever had!) and learnt a lot about the way children learn, make sense of the world around them, that they need us to help them regulate their emotions and cope with things that are overwhelming to them (and in time be able to do that more independently) and basically that all behaviour has meaning. All of that could take up several blogposts though, so perhaps another time. In any case, it has helped me to let go of certain expectations related to their behaviour.

I've also learned to let go of other peoples expectations of me. If I can't please everyone, such as life. If I'm doing what is best for my family and putting in my time where it really counts - then I am doing fine by me!

For me, letting go has been like water to thirst. :-)

Change what you can. Accept what you can't. Let go.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Here is a snapshot for what's going on with my littlies

So, cutest game that Natalie played with her daddy today: she would take him by the hand and say, "come on daddy, come on", lead him down the hall way and then start running back to the lounge room for him to chase her. Daddy would come roaring down the passage and she would squeal with excitement all the way to the farthest corner of the lounge room she could get to. Then she would take him by the hand again with, "come on daddy, come on" and the game started all over again! It's so cute seeing her initiate these little games and I was so happy to see Jonathan do it again and again, waiting for Natalie to tire of it before he stopped playing with her. He's such a good dad, and both of our girls light up when he enters the room...

Poor little Hayley hasn't been well the last few days, and although she was much better today she was still quite tired and didn't seem to know what she wanted at all. I think part of her frustration today was from not being able to move around as quickly and confidently as she'd like. She's only really just starting to crawl, and at this stage it is still a rather slow crawl, but it is lovely to see her and watch as she has a goal of reaching a particular thing and then works toward it. During Sunday School today, she was sitting on the floor and saw something that she wanted, went and got it, and then came and brought it to me - cuteness!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

I am not an island

No man or woman is an island, nor should we try to be. Human beings are born to be in relationship with other human beings. This is easy to see when we think about babies and young children, but I think sometimes as adults we forget how important it is for us too.

I, like any of you, have had my share of things in my life that have brought with them sadness, anxiety, etc... but I have realised (especially since becoming a mother) that the times when those negative feelings endure are when I have tried to 'deal with it' all myself, have perhaps been embarrassed, and have tried to convince myself that it's stupid to tell anyone or that I'm wrong to feel that way; on the other hand, when I surround myself with people who genuinely care and want to help - I am a strong, invincible woman... because I have these amazing people around me.

Sometimes we don't realise how much we need others until we let them in to our lives and our hearts - really let them in - present not just in our lives but in our hearts! I have realised that I need these people. People who have faced the challenges I have and come out on the other side. People who haven't had those challenges, but they care anyway. People who will also share their struggles with me and allow me to help them, or just be there to listen.

Often that is all you need - someone who will listen to you ramble on about all the things that make your days seem long and weary so that in verbalising it you can put it all in to perspective and realise that there is also much in life that makes each day sweet and memorable and full of joy.

Because there really is so, so, so, so, so, so much that is sweet and blessed about every day. We just have to not try to be an island. Coz no matter how beautiful it is, a deserted island can be a very lonely place to stay.

Thank you to my husband and the many other people in my life who have been ever dependable and have become an integral part of who I am. <3