Thursday, December 24, 2015

And so it is Christmas...

So tonight I went and did my pre-Christmas grocery shopping. I thought I would try and be clever and do it while the grocery store was 'quieter' (ha!). But I didn't have my kids with me, so it was a peaceful time for me. On my way home I was listening to the radio, and the presenter was describing the Christmas story, focusing on how horrible the experience must have been for Mary. I've heard people go along that vein before to be honest, so I wasn't really paying attention.

But while I was listening, I was suddenly struck with a realisation. I knew that God sent his son to be born in a stable to fullfill prophecy, and I understood that he did it without any human pomp and splendour to seperate himself from earthly glory. But I don't think I ever really grasped another important reason why Jesus was born in a stable with farm animals. 

The presenter was elaborating on how awful the stable would have been, with animal excrement everywhere, and he really hammered home just how much of an unpleasant, filthy, horrible place it was. I guess I have become desensitised to the whole thing, having heard it for years. Plus, It's also easy to develop a nicer idea of a manger in your head, especially when you imagine it like it's done in a nativity story, with tiny children dressed as sheep and other animals.

But, when I started to ask God 'why was it a stable, one of the most unpleasant places in the world (in a physical sense)?' all of a sudden I understood the symbolism behind it. He had to have Jesus, the most pure being ever on the earth, introduced to the world in a filth-encrusted place. Because that's how it is. This world is shockingly depraved and filled with the vilest evil. But Jesus, the purest saviour came to us in all our filth, to rescue us. 

I was struck anew with gratitude and love for my God and my saviour. And I really needed that. Christmas seems to get busier every year, but I must never, never get so busy that I don't pay attention to my God and saviour, and the reason I can celebrate and live.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holidays! (And letting go of the word should)

I thought I'd write a little post about our holidays. Mostly because I really love going back over the blog every now and then... It's my favourite way of reliving memories. I do apologise if you follow me on Instagram, as most of my photos here are from there.

We went back to Burrum Heads a few weeks ago, and it was nice to get away. We did lots of shopping, lots of taking kids to the beach. The usual, but nice all the same. One of the highlights of the trip, for me, was going up to Bundaberg and visiting a friend of mine who has moved up there. Our kids played madly on the beach all afternoon, and just picked up right where they left off, and it was beautiful.

One of the very nicest parts of the holiday was Shane. He is a completely changed person compared to the way he was when we went away to Burrum two years ago. He was so calm, and unstressed the entire time. He spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to keep two children entertained in shopping centres, while I tried to get everything we needed, and he did it without complaint. And he was just so nice to spend time with. It made me realise how much better he is, and we as a family are. I know by many people's standards, we might not be everything we ought to be. But I promise you, our family is so much stronger, and healthier, and our relationship is so much better now than it was when we were putting on a show, being people we were 'supposed' to be. And I think that's what God wants.

I've really started to question things lately (in case the last few blog posts aren't any indicator!) and while I am most definitely not giving up my faith, I think I am very much in the process of reshaping it. For a very long time, I had a very concrete idea of what a Christian should look like. I had a very set path of what my own faith had to look like, and I'm starting to realise that that path may not be what I need, or what God wanted from me. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time comparing myself and measuring myself up against a stick that I was never supposed to.

There are some absolute truths I know must always be true. But I guess I'm realising that everyone's walk is going to look different. I have had trouble with the big church machine, but I've come to realise that it's ok to have trouble. I really used to look at church leadership through rose coloured glasses, and I think I drank deeply of the kool-aid in Pentecostal churches that can uphold leaders and singers and speakers a little too highly, and works so hard on the shiny lights, and the great music, and the draw people in culture. I'm always going to be more concerned with keeping people around than drawing them in, and I've realised that that's ok. There are many rooms in my fathers house.

 I never want to be that bitter Christian who bad mouths pastors and church leadership, and does their best to subversively tear people down. That's not of God, and I want no part in anything like that. But I am working on letting go of a lot of expectations I had on myself and my family that were actually, no good for us.

Anyway, sorry if this is all a bit disjointed, I didn't set out to write about all that, this was supposed to be mostly a post about holidays.... But you get that! Back to the holiday, it did have a few bumpy bits, there was a huge heatwave that went through the state on our last few days, and it was pretty hot- especially without an air conditioner. But mostly, it a good holiday. We have kind of come back to earth with a bang, as the week after we came back, Georgie had her ballet concert, and there has been much associated Christmas and end of year hoopla. But, kindy is finished for the year now, and Shane has another two whole weeks off at Christmas! It's kind of great.

So. Photos!

Tonight, this bible verse spoke to me, and it really helped confirm that I am headed in the right direction.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:10-11 NIV)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Square peg, round hole

I really wish I could not be me sometimes. I hate the anxiety that makes me break into a cold sweat at the idea of small talk. I hate that I disappoint my social butterfly daughter because I just don't cope with people and I have to leave right now, so I don't cry in front of them all, and can dissolve in the privacy of my car, with the wiggles turned up loudly in the backseat so the two little people behind me don't hear. I wish that I could stop the fear that suffocates me, and I wish I could silence that voice that keeps screaming about my inadiquacies inside my head. I wish I could be enough, and do enough, and I hate this pitiful, afraid creature I have become, with sharp edges, and anger and bitterness balled up inside. Why don't I just fit?

I'm sorry. I have doubts and questions, and my passion waxes and wanes, and I am opinionated and hard at times, and I make other people uncomfortable, and I'm not skinny, and I'm often wrong and sad and unhappy. But I believe Jesus loves me too. I believe that God doesn't mind if I don't win, as long as I try, and as long as I'm always looking for him. I trust in the one who loves me when I am least able to love myself, but need it the most.

I don't really think it's other people's fault. They aren't really the reason I can't talk to them. I mean, sure, I wish cliques weren't so excluding, and I wish it wasn't quite so easy to fall off the radar. I wish I didn't get overlooked because of who my family is, and I wish it had never gotten to this point, because I don't really know how to come back from here. Part of me blames them and gets hurt and upset, at things that have happened, all the bricks in the wall, but my particular brand of crazy seems intent on destroying its host. So mostly I wish was different. 

I wish I could go back to being that version of me, who said all the right things, and was exactly what the culture told me to be. But I don't think that's even possible anymore. I want to be shiny and happy, and fit in with the perfect veneer. But nothing seems the same anymore. Mummy the emperor is naked. I don't even know who I am or where I fit anymore. Very round peg, very square hole.  I wish I didn't care so much about what other people thought of me.

I must admit though, that I am a bit tired of a culture that tells me I have to be all that I can be, one that tells me I have to give all I have got. I've given, and I am used up. How about teaching us how to go to the well that will never run dry? Because I've lost my way.  I believe in a church that equips the saints and makes the broken feel the love of Jesus. Not one that uses you up and then spits you out when you have nothing left to offer. I believe in knowledge and wisdom, and theology and truth and love and compassion, and Lord, let there be grace.

Im sorry. I'm wrong again. All this is wrong, all of me is wrong, and I just need to get over myself and trust in God and fix my eyes in Him. But I am trying. How long, how hard do you have to try before things get better? Can someone please tell me? How much longer do I try before I can't anymore? I know, my mind is fixed on me too much. I know I am stuffed with faults and sins and good intentions. But I am trying, all the time I am trying. Why can't that be enough? Dear God, why can I not just fit in?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mess in my head

Goodness I am battling so much right now. With lots of things. Don't get me wrong, in many ways I am happy. Life is chugging along well, and some things are great. But I've also been tossing and turning many nights, internally stressing and processing. I don't like church. I don't want to go anymore. I want to want to go. (Oh I want to so badly!) and I still go, but it's pretty much all for my children and out of my love for God, and definitely not because I enjoy it. I'm feeling very weary of it. There's lots of stuff, and I won't go into detail. But my own church doesn't feel like home anymore. And it makes me very sad. Because it's always been my home. 

I'm also really struggling to accept the way we do church, and how it actually relates to God. I feel like the two don't really connect. What is the purpose exactly? You go, and there's so much effort and stress put into the show and the talking, and the food, and the smiles on our faces, and the prayers, the right words, and the pretty clothes, and the misbehaving kids who we are just not coping with, and the singing, and there's just this big gaping emptiness inside that's eroding away like cancer and we are pretending it doesn't exist.

Now don't misunderstand me. I believe some of it is genuine. Some of the kindest, most genuine, generous people I know are in church. But at the same time, it just feels like there is so much effort being poured into things that don't matter, that so much of it is meaningless. Give 'em the old razzle dazzle.

There are people in this world desperate for safety, life, and hope, and none of us ever seem to mention them. Why? There are so many people headed to hell. How does the thought of that not destroy me? And then there are thousands of people internally screaming who are dying slowly on the inside in the western world, in our churches even... and we are missing it. I know I am missing it. I am not trying to place blame here. I really am not. I will put my hand up, guilty too. But I don't want to be. I guess I am searching for authenticity. I am trying to figure out what loving God really looks like. I know there are no perfect churches. Maybe it's more about finding an imperfection you can live with? At the moment for me though, it really does feel like we could do better.

I will freely admit my relationship with God isn't great. I know I could try harder with people. Maybe it is all my fault. It's hard not to feel like it is. But I wish people would try with me too. Maybe it's all in my head? I get really scared that it is all in my head. But I don't think so. I do believe in fellowship. I believe that a church family can actually feel like family. I've seen it before. But now I just feel... Guilty mostly. And sad.

If you asked me to pinpoint the problem, tell you exactly what happened, and when, (as some are so fond of doing) I couldn't tell you. But it just feels like there have been an awful lot of stones, some enormous, some tiny that have created this huge, wall of unhappiness. I know I could scale that wall, climb right over it... And I do, I have been. It's been a constant daily climb. But lately I'm feeling kinda... done. The wall has gotten too high, too big, and I'm just too hurt, too weary, too broken, and  I don't really feel like anyone wants me on the other side anyway. I know I worship the One who looses chains, the breaker of walls. But somehow, every time He seems to get a chance to chip away at it, a few extra rocks get added. It feels like He doesn't think I'm worth it either. I know that's a lie, but why does it feel so true?

I don't really know why I am writing all this here. Mostly I'm just feeling like a giant-attention seeking fool. But... Spiritually, I'm just having a hard time lately, I'm sad, and I'm weary, and I guess what I'm saying is, please pray for me and mine.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I think I did good?

You know how you have those parenting moment when you're not sure whether you did the worst thing ever, or if your kids learned a powerful lesson? Yeah, had one tonight. Laying it all out here.

So today was not awful, just a bit challenging. We had a new couch (new to us anyway!!) to put in our lounge room, so our Saturday morning involved lots of cleaning and lifting and grunting and swearing. It was also a bit tricky due to other-people related stuff, plus the fact that Shane is out tonight and I'm a bit snarky. Not because I begrudge him a night out- lord knows he needs it, and he rarely goes out. But more just because I'm a bit tired of the same old. Especially the whole... clean... get dirty/messy... rinse and repeat cycle that I feel like I'm on lately. Plus I'm all strung out from end of term uni stuff.

Hence tonight when I put the kids to bed we were all a bit out of sorts. We had a bit of chaos because we couldn't find our story (currently reading tales of Brer Rabbit in our house) so instead I decided to tell them a story.

It involved a little boy who, when he was cranky or frustrated, would throw things and hurt people,  and a little girl who wanted everyone to do what she wanted them to do all the time, and who tried to arrange everything. Those children had a choice, they could go to bed, and wake up the next day and continue getting cranky, and try to organise things, and have a not good day, or they could wake up, and try to make different choices the next day, and have a good day. Like for example, when the boy was angry, instead of getting angry and throwing things, he could get angry, then take a big deep breath and use his words. And the little girl could try trusting her mummy and daddy's decisions, and remembering that sometimes people don't want to do what she wants them to do. (I know, I'm a moralising prig.)

Anyway, it was at this point in the story that my girl got upset. "I don't want you to be angry with me!" She wailed. So we chatted about the fact that mummy does get angry sometimes. But that when I get frustrated with them, that the fact that I get frustrated is something they could help me with (by not driving me flipping crazy!) but that when I get angry, that is a choice I make, and mummy needs to work on not getting so cranky, and the fact that I am angry is not their fault.

This lead us into a discussion about how wonderful it is that mummy will always love you, no matter what silly, or naughty, or angry things you do, and God will always love you too. And then I talked about how nice it is, that when I'm feeling sad, or angry, or mean, or bad that I can go to Jesus and tell him about it, and say I'm sorry and he helps take all of it away. We prayed, and as I prayed I was hit anew with how good it is to be able to to lay down all my burdens and my shame, and have my slate wiped clean.

I think it was good. I may have started off with the wrong intentions, and I felt like crap when Georgie got upset. But I think God really worked with me to make it good. It wasn't planned (at all!) but I think I did ok. Parenting, while trying to point your children in the direction of Christ can be really hard at times, and I know I for one feel like I'm doing a terrible job at it. But hopefully, these little conversations mean something.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Baby, baby, baby....

Hello! Long time no blog. :) Someone very dear to me is having their first baby. I am completely over the moon for her, and enjoying it in only the way somebody who is past the first-baby stage can. I was surprised to be honest, by how happy I did feel for her. And I was equal parts conflicted, because while  part of me was thinking 'I wish it was me!' another, much bigger part of me was most definitely dancing around celebrating the fact that it wasn't.

It's no secret that we want a third child in our family one day. But we are both having trouble figuring out how to take the leap and make it happen. I do, really do, want another baby. My children are desperate for a sibling, and I know our family needs another person. I want my children, and my family to have that wonderful support and backup that comes with family, with their own people, and we know two is not 'done' for us.

But when I actually think about stopping taking that little pill every night, I get a bit stressed. I know what is down that road. And I'm scared. Charlie (as amazing as he is, and as grateful as I am for him) changed me. He was delightful, he is one of the nicest things in my life. But after he was born I lost a lot of my spark, and zest and joy. His birth was possibly the worst I have ever felt in my life, and I had to claw my way out of that experience.

After having him I discovered a version of myself who I don't like very much. That Robyn, she is a part of me now, and she still comes to do battle at times. I am scared that if I have another baby, that she will come back more and more, maybe even permanently. It took so much strength and effort to fight that big fight with her, and I don't want to lose myself again.

In many ways, I am also scared about what a third child could do to our family, and our balance. We are by no means perfect, but we trot along okay (most of the time) as we are. What if we don't, as a family of five? I know that a third child would bring this family great joy. But I am still scared.

And I am scared for that child. I feel like I have already done enough damage to two... Why on earth do I think I should have another person to screw up? Also, we have been blessed twice with healthy children, it seems greedy and dangerous to ask for another. What if something goes wrong? I am scared for that child's future, and honestly (and selfishly) I am scared for my own. But I know even healthy people do not remain so.

I don't know what will happen. I hope we can conquer our fears and add to the joy and the crazy. But I am scared. And I'm glad I can say that somewhere. I just pray our fear doesn't stand in the way of what is best.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A very long birthday

Recently, it was my girls birthday. It's been five years since Miss Georgina arrived into the world and made me a parent. It's kind of unbelievable, because it feels like it has been such a short time, and yet I'm quite sure I have never been without her.

The birthday celebrations lasted 3 days! I am well and truly birthday-ed out. We had her birthday a little early because Shane had to be away on her actual birthday, so that night we had cake with family, then we had a party at the park with her friends, which I found rather stressful, but the birthday girl enjoyed. Her real birthday was on the third day, and we didn't have too much more going on then, but somehow she got lots of presents on each day, so I am looking forward to having a bit of a madam for the next few days while she comes back to earth with a bump. 

But oh, I do love her. I would put up with much of the madam because she is still my baby Georgie. She is five going on fifteen, and she is the biggest diva and princess in the world, but I adore her. It is all about the pretty things, and the fancy clothes, and the makeup. In fact I think her very favourite present was a two dollar makeup set from the reject shop. Oh, and it is all about frozen (still). We got her a couple of frozen dolls for her birthday, and I made the epic mistake of buying an Elsa doll that has a button in her stomach, which, when pressed, sings "let it go, let it goooo!" And only that. I have been letting it go though, trust me. However I am not promising that a certain doll may not get 'hidden' every once in a while for a few hours in the near future when I just can't stand it anymore. I especially love it when she rolls over in her sleep and we all wake up at 4am to that well-known dulcet tune. Makes for such a happy household.  Her face when she opened it was priceless though. I do so love it as a mother when I nail presents. I'd much rather buy one really great thing that they adore than shower my kids with gifts they don't really care about.

I made two cakes, one for the family party and one for the friend party, and I feel it is a ridiculous number of cakes for a little girl who doesn't eat sugar. But she did get her pastry and cream stack. Next year the celebrations might need to be a bit more low-key, I am most definitely planning a couple of quieter days now. But oh, she's worth it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

So, tonight I had two showers.

Every night, just before I go to bed, at around 10:30pm or so, I take Charlie to the toilet to do a wee so he doesn't wet the bed. Usually I just pick him up, take him to the toilet, help him pull his pants down, and then kneel on the floor next to him, to point him in the right direction, since he's usually half asleep.

Tonight, as usual, I had a shower and was just about to go to bed, so I picked chuck up and took him to the toilet. I had just knelt in front of him to turn him around to point at the toilet, when I felt a warm steady stream of liquid on my stomach, I looked down at my shirt in shock and realised that my son, half asleep, was peeing on me! I immediately said "Charlie! Charlie! Stop! Stop!" Charlie stopped, mid-stream, opened his eyes sleepily and stared at me for half a second, and then proceeded to start to wee again, all over me! It was completely disgusting of course, but it just struck me as the funniest thing, and I got a terrible case of the giggles as I tried to get him to stop again. Eventually he finished, and pulled his pants back up dazedly. Then he trotted off back to bed, still mostly asleep. 

I really, really do love being a parent. I would laugh so much less if Charlie wasn't in my life.

(Also, I have an excellent story for his twenty first!)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Happy times

I feel like right now, as a family we have got such a nice little groove going on. I'm not saying we are perfect. Sure, the folding is still not done, and two minutes ago I did just get a bit shouty because a little boy thumped his sister. But we seem to be enjoying being together. And I know there are seasons, and sometimes you love your family and like the little unit you are, and other times the loved ones in your life just drive you mad. But right now, I do like my people.

This morning for example. It was freezing cold, and yet of course, as soon as Charlie boy is able, off he goes marching into the backyard to conquer the great unknown. 10 minutes later he is rushing inside telling me all about a beetle! That was on his wood! And he tried to squish it, but then it went away!

So important.

And earlier, as I was getting ready to have a shower I was interrupted by my Georgie girl, who just had to tell me (again) about Nurse Debbie who visited the kindy yesterday and taught them all about how to blow your nose properly, "and you should never cough on people, you need to cough like this mummy," she states, demonstrating for me.

Lately we have been trying to make a dedicated effort intoto making sure we eat dinner together at the table. I must admit, for far too long we used to feed the kids, then eat once they'd gone to bed, because it was just not terribly relaxing eating with them, you know? But now, eating together, (while still, not super relaxing) has just become so much easier. While we sit around the table, we often share about what the best part of our day was. And it gives me such a good insight into my tiny people. I'm discovering more and more, that the best bits aren't the exciting bits, or the interesting bits, but often they are just those simple bits, when you look at your family and your life, and your cup just runneth over, you know?

My cup is overflowing. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

3 and 4

I found this post in my drafts, it was written on the 16th of March this year, and I think I never got round to putting pictures on it or anything, but I'd like to post it now anyway.

Missy moo moo is a big girl now. She is loving Kindy. She has her favourite teacher Miss Katrina (who is so pretty apparently, and looks like Elsa from frozen). She is the biggest bossy boots in the world, and spends half her time driving me nuts with her bossiness and the other half making me laugh so much at her antics. She's just started that fun thing kids do when they repeat every word you say. (Loving that) She is also constantly asking questions  "what are we doing now?" What will we do this afternoon? What are we doing tomorrow? If I got a dollar for every question Georgie asked me, I would never have to work again. She is beautiful, and sometimes she can be so kind. When her brother gets upset because he wants something, sometimes (sometimes) she will be a kind big sister. "Here you go Charles."

A few weeks ago,she had a trip to the dentist. She's been a couple of times before, but this is the first time she would actually let them have a proper look. She also let the dentist clean her teeth very gently. She had the bottom teeth done first, and really didn't want the top teeth done, but she decided to be brave. When we left she kept talking about the sparkles on her teeth and wanted to see them, she was quite upset when she saw there was no glitter on her teeth. "Because the dentist said they would be all sparkly mum!" She's a funny little girl.

She is big on babies at the moment. A few times I have had to inform people that no, I am not pregnant, Georgie just wants me to be. We have friends with smaller ones and she is always wanting to 'babysit.' We will have to give her another sibling one day, but this mama is in no hurry to do that yet!

Charlie. Gosh I like my boy! He is so incredibly chatty now. On Georgie's Kindy days he and I get to spend the days together, and I'm really grateful for those days. He loves helping me with jobs, and he quite likes running errands downtown, and I find it so much easier with one child instead of two! He is also quite a homebody, and I relish the days when it is just us at home. How I wish it were possible that I could hold onto a tiny piece of these days for the rest of my life!

He likes his mummy very much, and while I have doubts about how kindy drop-offs will be next year with him because if it, I am also enjoying it because he is such a delightful snuggly little boy, and I know it won't be too long before he will never again cry his heart out when he 'loses me' and I know that all too soon, the day will come where he won't need me. I want that day to come, I want for him to grow big and strong and brave in this world. But a deep mama-bear part of me adores being the person he needs when he is sad, and I will continue to enjoy cuddling him and reassuring him and snuggling him as long as I am able.

I really love my children. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

The post where all the judgmental people can go shove it.

Every now and then I read something that makes an icy chill of fear creep through my heart. You know the posts, the ones that pop up on parenting sites. The ones that say "why losing your temper with your children and smacking them or yelling at them or crying at them is the worst thing you can do as a parent and you are a child abuser and the worst parent in the world and studies prove that your children are going to end up horribly scarred and hate themselves and hate you and you should go die."

Well, maybe they don't quite say that. But you know what? Every time I read anything like that, that is what I see. I lose my temper with my kids. I do. Sometimes I just seem to reach critical mass point, and I wish I could smile and grit my teeth and keep it together. Sometimes I do. But sometime I don't. Sometimes I just see red, and instead of patience all I have is anger and rage and selfishness. Afterwards there is guilt and tears and apologies and repentance. But don't you worry, I know that no amount of apologies can erase the horrible damage I am doing.

Don't you think that we know? Do you honestly believe that those articles and stories and studies help us at all? Do you think that a parents who regularly loses their temper with their kids just magically reads some of those words and immediately goes, "gee I better stop losing my temper and being an angry parent" ?

Do you know how many times I've read the words "it's been proven that getting angry doesn't work, but sometimes, don't you wish it would?" No. No I don't. I know it doesn't work. I don't wish it would work. I wish that I wouldn't get angry, or that I could learn to control my anger. I don't get angry to make my children behave. I get angry because I am not coping. I get angry because the stress and frustration and irritation and fear and hurt of being a parent overwhelms me, and I need to find a better way of getting rid of that built up tension.

We know. I promise you. And we are terrified, fricking terrified every day about the damage we do. We are overwhelmed with guilt and stress already, believe me, you don't need to pile it on any thicker. Really the only purpose they serve is to make the parents who don't lose their shit at their kids feel superior, and to make the rest of us feel guilty and scared.

Just once, I wish I that instead of reading one of those 'helpful' articles, or comments from someone  who would never lose their temper at their child, I could read something real. Something from a person who has been there, who battles with their temper. Maybe even read something to help me learn some strategies and skills and tips on how to deal with parental stress and anger. I wish I could learn how to change my heart, and my crappy selfish attitude, and I wish I could learn how to give my troubles over to God, instead of letting them pour out in an angry outburst, or a loss of temper. I wish I could speak openly about my not coping, and what happens, instead of skirting around the issue because I'm scared of judgment.

I am constantly battling my selfish nature, and I am trying so hard to overcome my fight or flight instinct, or to retrain it. I am aware that I will chose fight, every time. But I am trying not to. I am trying so, so damn hard. I love my kids, so much. And I am hounded by fear and shame every day. Every night I sit by their beds while they are asleep and I pray that God will restore what damage I have done. I don't need any more well-meaning judgmental crap, or anything that just makes more anxious. I am just doing my damn best, and praying like mad that God's grace is sufficient for my parenting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Christmas post and a half

I've decided that I quite fancy doing a bit of a Christmas wrap up. I know it's nearly February, but I also know how much I enjoy looking back on the memories.

So. Christmas!

This year was the first year that I had a beach Christmas. We spent a couple of weeks at the beach and to be honest, the whole Christmas holiday was a bit... interesting. Some of it was great, and other parts, not so much. I think Shane and I both came away deciding we will never try to have our 'holidays' over Christmas again. It's just so busy! We went to Noosa, which is probably one of the busiest beach destinations for Christmas in Queensland. But aside from that, it's also hard to lose so many of your precious holiday days with all the assorted Christmas hoopla. We are not really crazy shopping, busy-doing holiday people. Our idea of a nice holiday is a chance to properly unwind, and we didn't really get that. But, oh well, you live and you learn!

In saying that, some of the good times of the holiday were pretty great. Christmas day was spent with some of Shane's extended family. And Shane and I did manage to sneak away for a lovely Christmas Eve service at Hillsong Noosa. Very very, not what we are used to, but good all the same. Christmas day was spent opening so many presents (So early! Our kids were up at 4:30 am!).

So many presents!
Look at that tired face!

After the madness that was present opening, we all headed up to Shane's Aunty's house in the Noosa hinterland. Her house was all kinds of amazing, and one of the nicest parts of the day was the fact that the kids spent hours in the pool. It was a really fun time, especially because so many of the adults got in the water with the kids, and that always makes things so much more fun doesn't it? I remember how much I used to love it when my parents and Aunties and Uncles would swim with us when I was a kid, and I want to make sure I have fun with my kids. I think we did this Christmas, anyway!


All tuckered out

A few days after Christmas we headed inland to my sister's house to have our Christmas with my side of the family. That was a good day. I really like my family. 

It's a bit funny. The dynamics in my family have really changed a lot recently. I am one of four girls, and I just love it. It's so nice, but I've realized it's only as nice as you make it. For a while in our adult lives, we all lived in the same town. Which was so great, and made family relationships so easy. But sometimes it made them too easy, if that makes sense? It enabled us to be lazy with our relationships and take them for granted, because it was so simple and easy to see one another all the time. A couple of years ago, my sister Jenny moved away with her family, and now my sister Cathy has moved away too. And unless the effort is put into sustaining those relationships and making them a priority... we simply won't be as close as we once were. I don't want that to happen, so it's something I'm going to try to be mindful of in the future.

Our trip to see my family was a bit of comedy of errors. On the way inland it was pouring down rain, and while Shane was driving we lost a windscreen wiper. We ended up stopping at the next little town, and thanks to the magic of Google, managed to find a replacement wiper without too much hassle. Then, after we left my sister's house in the afternoon, we got a call from and realised we'd left Shane's laptop and my kindle at her house. But it ended up being a really good thing,  we turned back to pick them up. and met everyone at a lovely park, and had so much fun on a giant flying fox there.


We took the kids to Underwater world with Shane's parents, and cousin Cassi, and the kids really enjoyed that.

There was also one morning when Shane and I took the kids for a bushwalk up to a lookout, which was pretty amazing. The walk was only a kilometre, but it was uphill all the way, and was plenty long enough for little legs!

It really made me look forward to doing that kind of thing when the kids are older though. So beautiful!

Probably one of my favourite days, was the day we spent with my sister Cathy, and my nieces Isabel and Rachel. We took Charlie on a go kart ride for his Birthday, and then we went to an amusement park.  The kids had an absolute ball on all the rides. It was a really good day.

We celebrated Charlie's birthday with a cake that Charlie loved. It was only a Woolworth's cake that I repurposed to turn into an accident site. But he was really taken with it. 

My baby is three!!

I think doing the birthday cake thing has to be one of those real defining parenting moments. It is good. 

Goodness this has been a doozy of a post! Well done you if you made it to the bottom!

It was a very busy holiday. But I think we made a few really good memories.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Around Here

So we are getting ready for Kindy (!) this year. It's kind of weird to know that this is the start of a whole new world for us. We are embarking on a new chapter, one that is going to go on for a really long time. I am a little nervous to be honest. I don't love change. And this particular change is one I have zero control over. I am also scared, because I can't help but worry have I done enough? In the four and a bit years that she has been all mine, have I done all that I can for her? My girl is off to face the world, and she will use what skills I have taught her to do so. I am a bit sad for all the times I have not been the Mummy I wanted to be. But I know that always I will be her Mum and she will be my Georgie girl.

She, of course is so very excited, and eagerly talks about "Being a big girl at kindy with no Mummy and no Charlie!" I hope so much that she has a good time.

The Boy is toilet training and doing really well. We have a few incidents, one really fun (read: challenging) one when we were in at the Doctor's surgery. But mostly he is doing such a great job! Now we just need to work on how much paper goes into the toilet. Mummy nearly cried a few days ago when an almost full roll of toilet paper was flushed down the toilet.... only to back the toilet up, and get fished out. It's certainly not always glamorous, motherhood. But we are learning. It's a little bizarre to realize that I am headed to a place that will have no more nappy changes. But so good too!

I have signed myself up for a boot-camp for the next few weeks. Three sessions a week has been hard going, but I also love it. You know that wonderful pain you get when all the muscles you'd forgotten even existed are hurting every time you move? But I really do enjoy it. Group exercise is what really works for me. I especially love boxing on Wednesday mornings. I am really hoping that once the boot-camp finishes I will be able to keep up with the exercise, because it makes such a difference to my emotional well-being, as well as my physical health.

And... yeah. That's a bit of what is going on at the moment. I am going to try really hard to pick up the threads of blogging again, properly this year. I think writing is good for me, and I do love the memories!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Believing that I am enough

At Christmas, my church gives the children a book each. This year, Georgie got a book by Max Lucado, called The Tallest of the Smalls. He is such a good author! She likes the book. But I needed it.

Perhaps you don't know-
Or maybe you do- 
Of the too smalls of stiltsville
And their story for you

Where people like we,
Each evening at six,
Gather together,
for the purpose of sticks.

2015, so far has just been hard. I have been fighting a battle with my head, every day.

My little girl (who is not so little anymore) is about to start Kindy. And it has thrown me a bit. It's no secret that I struggle sometimes to feel like I am enough, as a stay at home mother. And now that I only have one child at home a few days a week, I feel like I should do something more, you know. Other people manage to do so much with their time after all, (oh, comparison is the thief of joy!). I have this internal list of things I try to do every day: Get dinner on the table at a decent hour, make sure I do the folding, do some form of exercise, don't stuff food into my mouth when I feel down, go the whole day without losing my temper at my kids. And honestly? Most days I'm lucky to even check one thing off that list.

Tall stilts upon which, 
A stiltsvillian can strut.
And be lifted above,
Those down in the rut.

Sometimes I imagine what the world would be like if we all walked around with big neon signs hanging over our heads, telling everyone what we are. You know what it feels like my sign would say? Inadequate. Insufficient. Found wanting.

Like Ollie, the boy
Whose pants have a patch,
Whose legs are too skinny,
Whose socks never match.

I came home from holidays, wracking my brain trying to think about what I should be doing with myself. This past week I've had all sorts of wild ideas, about things I could do. I've been looking at all kinds of study options. But to be honest, it's been a bit like last year all over again, with extra anxiety.

I know, I know, that now is not the time. And I don't actually think that study, or qualifications, or job titles will make me a better person. But yet, I kind of do. It's ridiculous, because I don't judge other people on what they do or don't do. Some of my most favourite people, don't do paid work, or have important degrees from universities. Yet, they are some of the people i like the most, the ones I know who do so much, are the kindest, and have the most wisdom.

The truth is, that deep in my heart I struggle constantly with feelings of self-doubt, and a lack of self-worth. I don't feel like I matter to the world, partly because I don't earn money or know stuff. But I also wonder, what will be enough? How many degrees would I have to get, how important would I have to be in the world? I suspect that ladder is one I could climb forever, and never reach the top. And I know I would miss out on so much important stuff along the way if I chose to put my feet on that ladder right now.

I know that what I really need is to stop listening to the lies that enemy is bombarding me with, and start listening when God tells me that I am priceless. It's just so hard, to know something, but not believe it. I am trying so hard, so hard to listen to God. The world just feels so much louder. When I first read The Tallest of the Smalls to Georgie, I cried.

Jesus smiled down and said
"Ollie. Come walk with me.
Keep your feet on the ground,
Refuse to be stilted;
Choose low over high,
Leave the system tip-tilted."

"You're precious my Ollie,
Not too short or too small.
I made you remember?
You're mine after all."

That book, was written for me. For where I am right now. I am doing my best to focus on Him, and on the truth. I am trying not to let my thoughts and feelings become bigger than they should be. I've got to believe that my value is dependent on who He is. And I am trying to trust God, and live according to his word, rather than get caught up in things that have no value. You know what a neon sign above my head would say, (if such things really existed)? Forgiven. Beloved. Property of Jesus. Sanctified. Justified. I am working on believing that.

I may not be much.
The smallest of smalls.
But since Jesus loves me.
I'm the tallest of talls.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

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