Do you ever feel like internally you need to thaw out?
Apparently I do.
My soul feels frozen and numb.
Not necessarily in an evil or destructive way.
But none the less unyielding and unwilling to give.
I don’t exactly know what this means. It’s a new feeling for me. I’m usually so good at being introspective and understanding myself. I ask myself questions and give myself answers and seek the wisdom that comes from within.
But not now. Now all is silent and all I can do is wait.
Wait for my soul to thaw and movement to begin again.
I’m not even particularly sure why things are as they are. I’m a mum and life is busy. I work. I care. I tend to my growing babies. But perhaps I don’t tend to my own self enough. Life, marriage, work, mothering, home maintenance, family and friends all jostle for priority and carry their own ‘barbs of wire’ that scratch and sometimes draw blood if they are ignored.
I find it hard to nourish my soul and some days it screams for attention and love. I tell it to ‘shut up and wait’ because there is always something or someone else that needs my care and concern more than it does. This is not really helpful. After all, I’m sure all it wants is my kindness.
But even with my frozen soul, I feel a flicker of hope. Hope because I know a thaw is coming. I can sense it shimmering away just over the horizon. Waiting for the perfect time to spill over like sunlight and bring justice to my world. It will bring deeper understanding, answers, and fresh perspective. And that’s what we all need, right? Feelings and emotions will start moving again. Passing through and whispering their little secrets of wholeness into my being. Growth will happen and new things will blossom. New strength. New insight. New joy for life.
Expectations bring hope and from hope springs the delights of life.
As mums we have a tendency to get so caught up being ‘a good parent’ that we forget the seriously important stuff. Like the fact that our kids need to know that we value ourselves as people enough to spend time doing the things we love. Most women are born with an inbuilt need to nurture others but have to learn the skill of nurturing themselves. I find it helps if you remember that taking care of your own happiness today gives your kids permission to do the exact same thing tomorrow, and for the rest of their lives.
Thoughts of Christmas have been taking up a lot of space in my somewhat overcrowded head of late. I love Christmas. (I’m a fan and will face-off with anyone who disses it.) I love almost every thing about it. The music, the food, the decorations, having family around, making people happy with presents. What’s not to love? But I do think, in this day and age of consumerism gone mad, there is some need for balance. For me this means sitting back and mindfully thinking about what I want Christmas to mean for our girls as they grow up. Where do I want the focus to be? What traditions and actions are important to our family.
These are things that take actual thought for me. As opposed to just floating along to the rhythm of Christmas hype lead by the marching bands of the massive marketing companies employed by big retailers. (Opps – letting my natural cynicism shine through a little there. Sorry – Not.)
So now, for your entertainment and pleasure, I’m sharing my very own top 10 random ways I’ve decided to use to bring balance to Christmas 2014.
Before the silly season hits in full force ask your kids to go through their toys and fill a box to giveaway to others. It could be a friend, a charity or maybe the local op-shop. You could even just pop the box out on nature strip with a sign ‘Free To Good Home’ and inadvertently spread some Christmas cheer.
Make the decision to be mindful about your spending and indulging in store-bought Christmas hype. It can be as simple as pausing for a few seconds to think before you make the commitment to buy.
Instead of always looking for bigger and better presents consider adding to collections the kids already have. A few more horses to the Schleich collection, that gets played with every day, makes more sense than buying something that has the potential to end up forgotten in the bottom of the toy box.
Include some history and meaning in your Christmas. For us that means including Jesus birthday and the nativity. It also means we explore the story of St Nicolas and how the legend of Santa was born. For you it could be something totally different.
Spend some time thinking about new traditions you want to include in your family Christmas. What is it that you want the kids to remember when they grow up? Remember you are making memories here and you have a lot of power when it comes to deciding what they should be.
Think about how you shop for Christmas. Last year I was converted to online shopping. Around this time of year there are sales galore – some even with free postage. I like to shop around from the comfort of my desk and pick and choose the best prices and deals. I also find it’s much easier to stay mindful and stick to the plan from the vantage point of home. This year I’ve already stocked up on the above mentioned Schleich Horses from Ozsales and scored some free postage bargains from Target.
Who needs fancy pants decorations and a perfect tree? Well we don’t here. Our tree is covered in a bizarre collection of decorations the kids have made over the years along with a few memorable ornaments and just a touch of classy tinsel. I know we wouldn’t win any Home Beautiful awards but I also know just how much each one of those crazy decorations means to the person who made it. Miss matched colours and crazy collections – that’s just how we roll around here.
Take some time out to think about the food side of things. Just how much is enough? Do we really need an over loaded table? This year I’m aiming for quality over quantity. Everyone gets to select one special food they’d really like to be part of the celebration and the rest will be an eloquent sufficiency of family favourites. No fridge full of left overs this year.
Plan beforehand to recycle as much of the Christmas debris as possible. Cards, bottles and paper wrapping can easily be added to the household recycling. But what other things can be done to make Christmas more sustainable?
Make stuff at home from scratch. How about making your own bonbons, place card setting, wrapping paper or gift tags with the kid. How much fun could that be? Set yourself the challenge of only using items you already have at home and see just what you can come up with. Tip- Pinteret is your friend here.
What about you? Any favourite tips or tricks you use to bring a better balance to your own Christmas. Would love to hear about them in the comments. I might be able to steal a few and make them part of our celebration!
Today I want to share with you about an amazing, energetic and boundary pushing organisation that teaches dance to children and young adults with Down syndrome. I would love to be able to convey just how special this program is, and how much it means to those involved, but in all honestly I know words won’t do justice to what happens during an e.motion21 class. Seriously, if you could bottle the energy, enthusiasm and delight shown by these dancers you could probably solve world peace before you finish your morning coffee! It’s really that extraordinary.
But high wattage smiles and funky dance moves aside e.motion21 is all about sharing the amazing abilities of its dancers and using these abilities to change outdated beliefs about just what a person with Down syndrome is capable of doing. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in our local Ballarat dance group for a little while now. I’ve gotten to know the people behind those massive smiles and been blown away by the skill and dedication of the dancers and their families. I’ve also volunteered in the class room and watched first-hand the commitment and skill of the dance teachers as they present dance and movement to their students with fun, excitement and an understanding of Down syndrome. Such an amazing experience and one I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to be part of.
There are many reasons this program is so special. It was founded out of one family’s need for their own daughter and has grown explosively because it mirrors the needs of many other families. (You can read more about Cate Sayers and this amazing journey here.) It also connects deeply with the common human love of music, movement and fun and crosses all boundaries when it comes to building self-esteem, peer groups and personal wellbeing for people with Down syndrome. These are not just empty words either. Last year, RMIT University conducted research in to the effectiveness of the program and the results were eye-opening. (You can find out more about the research by visiting the emotion21 website here.)
So how did you go? Can you get a sense of just how special this program is? I hope so because what e.motion21 Ballarat really needs is for more people to get involved and support the program. That might mean considering becoming a volunteer mover in the classes. If you have a heart for dance or people with Down syndrome I think this option would suit you perfectly. Full training is offered and the experience is amazing. Or perhaps you could offer a donation. As a not-for-profit organisation money is always tight and all donations, big and small, make a huge difference. Donated funds are used to train new volunteers, buy dance class equipment and support the dancers to perform in the community. If you are a business owner and would like to be involved, I would love to talk to you about working in partnership to secure and build the future of the program in Ballarat. This might mean sponsorship or ‘in-kind’ donations of goods and services – all support is gratefully received and truly appreciated for the difference it makes.
These beautiful trays of beads arrived at our place a couple of weeks ago and the girls have been using every inch of pester power they possess to get me to let them create with them.
Finally this weekend they won and they got to spend a few hours in beautiful beading heaven!
Needless to say they loved it and spent hours matching and threading those pretty little beads into necklaces, bracelets, anklets and headbands.
I was truly impressed with what they came up with. These girls of mine have style – much more so than their mother!
A huge thankyou Craft Direct for sending us these lovely beading kits – the girls loved them. You might like to check out their website for these and other fun crafty activities you can receive by mail.
It also gave me a chance to break out my camera again. I’ve got so used to just taking snaps with my phone and forget how amazing it can be to use a real camera.
Now all three of my little ladies has a unique collection of jewellery they made themselves. Along with a few random dolls and teddy bears that make their home at our place.
And because the boxes are so generous we still have plenty more beads to bring out another day. Love knowing I have something to pull out when the ‘I’m boreds’ strike.
Time for me to update on my plans for world domination (maybe not just yet) to heal my body through clean eating, removing chemicals from our home and de-stressing. Okay, sounds like a massive task when I write it down like that – but honestly it’s not.
A quick recap just in case you missed my first few posts last year. I have Hashimoto. It’s a autoimmune thyroid condition that can really mess with your body up. Compared to many I have a fairly low level of symptoms but have been told I’ll have to take medication for the rest of my life. (Not so comfortable about that). I’ve been researching and reading books, blogs and forums for the past six months and about two months ago decided it was time to take the plunge with some serous dietary changes.
Since then I have committed to a process food free lifestyle and to falling in love with my kitchen again. I’ve also gone mostly gluten free (before the gluten free experts amongst us throw up their hands in disgust I realise that statement is full of wrongness – but I need some more time to fully transition) and in fact mostly grain free. I am still eating dairy, eggs and nuts – but have plans to undertake an elimination process at some stage this year to work out if my body is reacting to either of these know allergy spikers too.
I am also slowly removing toxic chemical from our home. One by one I am replacing products with things that are known to be more natural and healthier for us and the environment. And finally I’m trying really hard to reduce the stress in my life. Not an easy thing right now – considering what’s been going on around here. But I am making a conscious effort to stop my stressing ways in their tracks.
Here is what I can tell you two months on.
I can sleep again. Hallelujah! I’ve been struggling with sleep issues/insomnia for years – especially while the pmt monster lurks within. But I have slept better in the past two months than I have in 10 years. I give a good bit of the credit for this to an awesome natural product I road tested called ReDormin (by Flordis) which I believe helped me reset my body clock. But all in all I’m pretty sure clean healthy unprocessed living is restoring my sleep in an ongoing way. (Cannot tell you how much that has changed my life for the better).
Acid Reflux is totally gone. Again I have been suffering from this for years and had come to the point of taking regular prescription medication to deal with it. But not any more. I don’t even have a hint of indigestion left.
More stable blood sugar and less hunger. I can go for much longer without getting hungry – but when I do start to feel hungry it hits with a ‘Feed Me Now’ punch.
Smoother Skin. I have always suffered from dry skin but am suddenly noticing it is feeling and looking much better. No more flaky dry bits.
My taste has changed. Cutting out processed food and refined sugar seems to have changed my taste. For example I used to hate the taste of Stevia (natural sugar substitute) but now it tastes lovely. I also keep giving the kids natural non-sweetened food and telling them how amazing it tastes only to have them pull sour faces and roll their eyes at me.
Weight loss I honestly don’t want to make a big deal about this because it’s not why I’m doing it – but I have lost some cms along the way. The weight is coming off my mid-section at double the rate of the booty. I don’t weigh myself on demoralising numeric scales but do measure my waist and hips when I feel my clothes getting looser and they are down about 5cm an 3cms respectively. Not bad considering I don’t restrict calories and eat loads of yummy healthy fats every day.
So, what’s next? Definitely keeping up with New Years commitment not to eat any processed or boxed foods in 2014 and continuing to live a cleaner more chemical free life. The proof is in the pudding – my body is loving this lifestyle. I really want to test my tolerance to eggs and dairy – but frankly I’m still a little scared to remove them all from my diet, even temporarily, because it seems so restrictive. Need to get my head around that one a bit more.
It’s also my plan in 2014 to visit a local naturopath and get some advice about supplements and other things that might be stopping my body healing naturally. And finally I’m going to get back into my gentle jogging and walking. After running my first 5kms late last year I’ve slacked off and gone back to just the occasional walk. I know gentle exercise is important and makes me feel great – so I’ll be pulling my joggers back on and preparing for my first official 5km run – hopefully in march.
How’s your health going? Share your story with me in the comments – I’d love to hear about it.
The truth is right now that mummy needs to get a grip. 2014 is not working out as I planned (yes already) and I’m feeling the weight of emotions pressing heavily on my heart. You see right now my life is equally divided in to three parts of caring.
Firstly, my precious and beautiful girls. No problem there – I love them and they are all kinds of awesome. It is January, my favorite family month of the year, and the sun is shining. We are enjoying the summer freedom of life without plans and days doing as we please. See – nothing to complain about there. Just back to school to plan for.
But after that things get a bit more tricky….
Then there is my own mummy who is freshly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Bless her heart she is trying hard not to spill extra stress onto my life, but as anyone who has been where I am right now will tell you, that is not how the beast that is Alzheimer’s behaves. I am caught between grief, stress and frustration – with just a little dash of heartbreak thrown in for good measure. I have few words to share about this because frankly it just seems too much and I don’t want it to weigh myself down more than I can candle. At least not until I have to.
And then lastly, just for good measures, my Nature Boy’s Dad who two days after Christmas suffered accidental burns and is spending a potential several months recovering in a Burns Unit 100kms away in Melbourne. This is not a man who should ever be forced to stay indoors or immobile. The physical burns will hopefully heal in time, but the impact this is having on him as a person we’re not so sure about. Watching him cope with skin grafts, operations and his inability to move is depressingly hard and seems unthinkably cruel. He is elderly and his skin is not repairing as quickly or well as hoped. His doctor keeps reminding us this will change him and not to expect him to be the same man he was. Sigh.
This is not how I saw 2014 unfolding. Not. At. All. My focus was going to be sending my baby girl off to school and then looking for the perfect part-time job. I was going to invest time into my health and wellbeing and re-organise my home. Instead I am wavering as I try to readjust to this new and unpalatable normal. I know all those things I wanted for 2014 can still happen, but my joy in them is all but gone. I don’t feel inspired to write job applications or research recipes. I just feel tired and weighted down. I cannot even be bothered to clean up the house – which is usually my stress release.
I told you – I need to get a grip! This is the rollercoaster of life I’m living and the lows are just as important as the highs. I guess I just didn’t expect two huge dips right on top of each other.
Stop the rollercoaster – coz right now I want to get off.
I learned a little while back that, like most things, being an overly emotional person has its good and bad sides. I’ve come to understand that emotions are usually there to teach you something about yourself. When I start to feel a tide of them rising up to swallow me, instead of panicking these days, I say a hello and ask them what they’re trying to tell me. I have a cup of coffee and a grain free muffin with them (remembering I’m trying to heal naturally here) and then I get up and walk away and move on with my day and let them go off and do the same.
I think right now I’m at the coffee stage. Grief and sadness have been gently pulling on my heart-strings for a few weeks – but I’ve actively chosen to bury them under the silly season free-fall of December. I had some not unexpected bad news a few weeks back about my own mum. It has, also not unexpectedly, rocked my world. But I don’t have time to wallow in emotions right now so I’ve been taking the scarlet O’Hara approach of telling them ‘I’ll deal with you tomorrow’. Not a good long-term plan.
I know it’s affecting me in other ways. I’m feeling inappropriately sad about my littlest pink finished kinder this week and I have a feverish need to keep the house organised (I sure-fire sign something is up). But dealing with any type of grief is not a strong point for me. It’s a really hard pill to swallow and I just don’t want to go there. (The swimming is great in the river de-nile right now.) I know this going to feel like a boxing glove to the guts and I just don’t need that at the moment. Christmas is for happy people – right?
The truth is though, that life changes. Things change. Big things and little things. Good thing things and bad things. It’s all a roller coaster and the only part we’re really in control of is how we re-act. I will sit myself down and deal with this. Grief and I will have our coffee-time and I will walk away and do what needs to be done. Maybe not today – but very soon. I’ll let the emotions of the situation wash over me and I’ll learn valuable stuff that I’m sure I’m going to need to know over the coming years. Little message from my heart and God that will sustain me when things get hard – as I’m pretty sure they’re going to.
I guess what I’m saying is I’m grateful for my emotions, even when I’m not giving them the respect they deserve. They’re part of me and they’re just doing their job. Maybe even trying to make my life easier.
I’ve made a commitment with myself to spend more time in my kitchen. Funny that, because over the last six months or so I’ve been trying really hard to avoid it. I’ve been bored and frustrated with my daily doses of mundane meal preparation. Cooking and cleaning up started to feel like to worlds most overdone chore. I know I’m not alone in that. I post about it on facebook and found out heaps of you feel exactly the same way. (Thank-you facebook for letting me know I’m normal!!) Because of that I told myself it was totally okay if my family ate Spaghetti Bolognaise and Tuna Mornay over and over again and gave myself a break from long hours in the kitchen. (I did add in a couple of other super simple dishes just to add some variety).
While I was on my little kitchen free holiday I spent time doing other things. I learned to run (okay jog very slowly) put some extra effort into finishing my Diploma of Project Management and then found myself researching ways to get myself back into a more healthy way of living. Funnily enough one of the big things I’ve realised is just how important it is to spend time in the kitchen cooking meals from scratch. Real, health giving, unprocessed food made by my hands into nutritious meals for my family. That’s what I’m talking about.
I’ve become conscious of all of the boxes, cans and packets we’ve used in the past just by following a standard Australian diet – and something about it started to make me uncomfortable. Not that I’ve wiped my pantry completely clean of them. I don’t think sudden radical changes are my best angle for success. But I am conscious of it and taking steps daily to substitute fake for fresh and cook more with real unpackaged ingredients. And what this means is that I’m starting to spend way more time back in my kitchen – and hoping I’ll learn to love it.
How do you feel about your kitchen? Do you enjoy spending time there?
I guess I should have been prepared for emotional overload this morning. After all I’ve known for ages that today I would be watching my baby girl put on a school uniform and sending her off for her first day of school transition. Yes 2014 is the year my very last beautiful little girl heads off to school. And she looked so cute. Little blonde big-tails and big blue shinning excited eyes.
She even caught the school bus with her big sisters. (I followed behind in the car). Even though she is tall for her age she still looked tiny climbing up those big old bus stairs. After waving her off I got into the car and without any warning burst into tears. I was happy, proud and sad all at the same time and it was just too much for my confused emotions to deal with – so true to form they resorted to tears.
This little person is going to take to school with ease. She’s already spent many hours making friends and playing at school while I’ve been doing the school mummy thing. She has good friends in her class and knows the teachers. (Not to mention the fact that she also has two big sisters ready, willing and able to take care of her.) Not surprisingly she was telling me to go home within 10 minutes of dropping her off and was not overly impressed when I stayed to chat with the other mums.
So I came home. I need to do housework and study. Instead I went for a run and now I’m blogging. But it’s not every day you send your last baby to school for the first time.
So, have you started yet? I guess it depends on your Christmas shopping personality. Are you one of those super organised early starters or more of a last-minute shop till you dropper? This year I’ve decided I want to be a little more mindful about what I want to buy the girls. That doesn’t mean I’m going all eco-warrior about my Christmas shopping – but just that I want to spend my money well and buy presents that I know will have a long and happy life in our home.
This little book is one of the things I’m considering putting under the tree. My middle pink loves ‘findy findy’ books like Where’s Wally and 100 people works along those same lines. Released byGecko Press, December 2013, $24.99 it is a beautiful book with filled with fun and amusing details to keep kids (and parents) entertained – even well after they’ve answer all of the questions. Books are always a winner of a gift idea in our house and I’m pretty sure this won’t be the only one I’ll be wrapping up on Christmas eve.
Do all little girls love snow globes or is it just my three? I suspect it might be a bit of a girl thing because I can even remember spending hours staring at the beautiful falling snow myself many long years ago. Anyhoo these Glitzi Globes from Moose Toys are sure to bring some smiles to the Christmas dials around her. Crafty presents always go down well in this house. The girls love the maker-ing and I enjoy knowing they’ve got something to extra to keep themselves amused over the summer holidays. Making their own snow globes is sure to be a winner of an idea.
The Bright Light pillow, also from Moose Toys, is on my list for Little Pink. She is my only child to ever suffer from regular bad-dreams and I’m thinking the comfort of a pillow that lights up when you touch it might bring her some night-time comfort. (And maybe me a few more full-nights sleep!!) The light turns itself off after 15 minutes too – meaning it will go back to sleep when she does. It comes in a square like above or a heart and takes 3 AAA batteries. Sounds like a spot on present to me.
I got sent a press release about the Chill Factor Slushy Maker a while back and immediately knew it would make a great addition to the Christmas List or maybe the santa stocking. The basic run-down is that you freeze the cup for about 4 hours and then fill it up with a chilled drink. The drink freezes up almost instantly and you can then squeeze the cup to make the slushy. I know the girls are going to love this idea over the long hot summers days ahead (if they ever come to Victoria that is!). I’ve already bought them one each and hidden them away in the Christmas stash.
Well this one is more for the mums than the kid but Adairs have a lovely range of beautiful items that would make great present ideas. I was lucky enough to get sent a box of them a few weeks back and my favourite is the beautiful scented aromatherapy candle. It looks lovely and smells divine – in a nice natural kinds of way. (Nothing worse than artificial smells.)
Do you have a must have item on your Christmas list this year? Would love to hear what it is.
Today I turned 43. (Yes I am THAT OLD.) Hippobirdy to me!! Having deposited all my children where they need to be I’m now sitting snuggle up under a cozy comfy blanket on my bed with a cup of coffee and my laptop – one of my happy places. I’ve been feeling just a little teary and emotional since early this morning. Stupid I know, it’s my birthday I should be celebrating. But alas that’s the life of an over emotional female. Tears are common place and I’m often left riding the waves of my oceans of feelings. In fact the very reason I started writing was because it helps me navigate my emotions. When the feelings become words the waves turn back into ripples and I can enjoy their gentle buffeting without getting thrown of course.
A grew up with the understanding that birthdays are special. Like most of us children of the western world I was given gifts and love in abundance on my birthday. I felt celebrated and that my friends is a wonderful thing. Even though my family was not rich or at all outlandish with their spoiling I still knew my birthday, and hence my birth, was special. I miss that. You see these day I am the one who makes other people feel celebrated. I am the Mum and in our culture that is our role. And though I wouldn’t change a thing there is still a deep need inside me return to my childish desire to be celebrated.
I’ve talked to other mums and I know it’s not uncommon to feel a bit forgotten on your own birthday. I believe there are some husbands/partners who are actually very good at birthday spoiling. But despite his many good qualities my Nature Boy is not one of those people. Over the years I’ve learned to plan my own birthdays and buy my own presents. This year the thought of doing it just left me feeling hollow so I didn’t. Instead I’m spending time right here in my happy place thinking and just letting it all wash over me. We are all responsible for our own happiness and I firmly believe you must choose happiness and not wait for it to choose you. I’m contemplating this little hole in my heart that wants others to celebrate my birth and letting it speak to me before I explain to it that I’m a grown up now and really need to act like one.
As mums we get used to giving. We give of our bodies, emotions, sleep, finances, time and love at an alarming rate. You simple don’t understand how much you have to give until you become a mum. There is no way that giving can really be compensated and nor should it be. Today my own love tank is feeling a little low on fuel. I want to be a child and feel that heart melting sensation when your family smothers you with love and joy just because you did them the honour of being born. Ridiculous when you think of the fact that my own mum did all the hard labour on that front – but it is the truth. As much as I complain or kick up a fuss I know that as an adult that feeling is not going to be handed to me on a plate ….. even though I really want it to be.
So today, on my 43rd birthday I am going to head off to the kitchen to make myself a beautiful carrot cake to share with my family. I’m going to thank God that I was born 43 years ago and have been blessed with such an amazing life. I am going to remember that I have family and friends who have not been lucky enough to live as long as I have and I am going to celebrate the day I was born. Happy birthday me!