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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

Snapshot!

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

Monday, 12 November 2012

A good weekend

We had a busy, but wonderful weekend this weekend.

It was Jonathan's birthday on Saturday and when we had talked about what he wanted to do for his birthday, he said he wanted to have an adventure... so at the last minute I asked him if he could leave work early on Friday, I picked him up at 4pm and we spent Friday night in Avoca Dell Caravan Park in Murray Bridge - right on the murray river!

We would have liked to spend a bit of time sitting by the murray before we put the girls to bed, but they were both pretty tired (didn't sleep in the car as I had hoped) so we put them to bed and watched a movie before going to sleep ourselves.

In the morning we gave Jonathan his presents - Natalie enjoyed wrapping and hiding daddy's presents with me earlier in the week and was excited to tell him 'happy birthday person daddy." (She always adds 'person' when she is saying happy birthday to anyone. I don't know why but it's cute.)

After we had packed up the car, we did a little walk down by the Murray and after a detour in to town to load up with food for the roadtrip we drove to Milang for a picnic lunch and to see Lake Alexandria. It was really windy there as you might expect, but we quite enjoyed it ... with the possible exception of Hayley who didn't seem to be too thrilled by all that wind. Natalie was quite fascinated with the water (as she was by the Murray River) and we had to keep pulling her back from the edge.

After that we went to Strathalbyn and spent some time wandering through a park Jonathan had discovered there once when he was carpet cleaning. There was a river there too (more dragging our daughter away from the water's edge). Natalie loved to see and talk about the ducks and seagulls. We even saw a little family of ducks - the babies are so cute!

The kids both slept pretty much the whole ride from Strathalbyn to home, which was pretty well needed! Jonathan spent some time playing with the Hayley while Natalie helped me ice daddy's birthday cake and make homemade pizza for dinner.

Jonathan seemed to enjoy his day, so I label the day a success!

It was pretty cute on Sunday night - evidently Natalie was reliving the weekend and said something like, "we pick daddy up work, happy birthday daddy person, daddy birthday present, daddy birthday cake, chocolate cake". I love how Natalie is learning so much! It's really sweet. It puts all the more difficult aspects of having a toddler in the house in perspective for me. She really is a beautiful loving girl. When we got home from church I jumped out of the car to open the garage door and Jonathan tells me Natalie said, "my love my mummy. Mummy beaut-oo" ooooooo heart melt!

I love my little family <3

Friday, 2 November 2012

Living Intentionally

One of the blogs I love to read is finding joy. She writes often about living intentionally, and about slowing down and embracing today, and these posts always inspire me. I have a lot to learn, but I recognise a great need to be 'in the moment' with my family more often. I find I all too easily slip in to the pattern of stressing too much about spills and toys on the floor and things that need to be done and always rushing on to the next thing. I think, "I'll tidy the kitchen, and ______ and _____ .... and then I'll read some books to my girls / watch a movie with my husband / put whatever it is aside and just have fun with my family - and then I get to the end of the day and more often than not it's another day in which I haven't taken full advantage of the wonderful opportunity to just stop and enjoy the wonderful gift of family.

Even as I started this post last night, Jonathan was getting ready to go to bed and I knew that if I finished this post then, he would probably have fallen asleep by the time I got there, and I would miss the opportunity to just talk and that time we spend letting each other know about small things that happened throughout the day while Jonathan was at work or I was out at a choir rehearsal. And so this waited until today.

Those are the types of things that don't make much difference in our day-to-day living, but they make all the difference in our relationships. They're the kind of things that help us realise the joy that we are meant to have in life.

So, I am trying to identify ways in which I can be more intentional. Here is an example of my planned 'intentional moments' for today.

1. Organise a surprise for when my eldest gets home that will be meaningful for her. Enjoy with her.
2. Spend at least 20 minutes on the floor with my youngest with lots of talking and laughing (instead of working while she plays)
3. Write a gratitude list for the day.

Be intentional.