Redemption


I know quite a bit about addiction. I have had experiences with it, seen people I love go through it. Some survived, others did not. I loathe drugs. I would love my daughter to live in a world without illicit drugs. Ten years ago, two young men were picked up and arrested in Bali. In the early hours of this morning, they were executed. Monday night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking of this, their last full night on earth. When you know the end is coming, and when, those hours must have stretched. Their homes in Sydney were not far from where I grew up, their high school nearby. Throughout the past decade, they have touched many lives, and have changed countless prisoners’ hearts. I was feeling quite sick last night, and couldn’t attend the vigil in Martin Place, a source of immense frustration. I wanted-needed-to be there, amongst others who regard the sanctity of life. I slept fitfully and as dawn broke, news came of their execution. I couldn’t breathe. By noon I was diagnosed with pneumonia. With a heavy heart and heavy lungs, I offered up prayers for these two men and their families. At the end, only an artist and a minister  faced the firing squad. They had long ago transcended being prisoners on death row. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, you will be remembered. Your redemption will be referred to in the coming difficult days and weeks.

My daughter’s Godfather posted the following, the words and sentiment perfect and heartfelt.

http://www.billcrews.com.au/index.php/2015/04/29/chan-sukumaran-death-what-we-can-learn-from-all-of-this/

Creative Blogger Award


 

 

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The beautiful Rachael Ritchey has nominated me for The Creative Blogger Award.

I am humbled and delighted. Here are the rules.

Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify nominees via social media or blogs.

Thank the blogger who nominated you and post the link of said blog.

Share five facts about yourself to your readers.

Facts about me:

# I.  could easily be a hermit. I once was, but a gregarious daughter and a desperate desire to connect have encouraged me out of my cave. It has delighted me, what I have discovered in this new world. Kind, loving, creative people, who pull me back by the collar when I desire to retreat from an encounter with their opposite. I can’t imagine going back to drawn curtains and silence now.

#2. I am prone to deep, dark pits of depression and anxiety. I am a colourful human (with lilac hair at present),have a multitude of friends, and a wondrous life, and yet the past sneaks up on me like a highway robber. Being in chronic pain bears down on you. When you see a person with colourful hair and clothes, a colourful life and colourful house, rejoice. Their coded message is  that they have been through hell, and still wish to survive. I know it is mine.

#3. I don’t enjoy “empty time.” You know, the time between commitments, whether they be work or social. I seek out connection, where once I sought  retreat.

#4. I wish I had  a glittery wand I could tap to make everyone’s dreams come true. I can’t stand to see suffering.

#5. I love train rides and buses and all the characters you meet when you leave your car behind.

The Blogs I Nominate for the Creative Blogger Award

Cauldrons and Cupcakes You have helped me more than you will ever know.

Ever Upward This lady’s story is so important.

Lolo Lovina This lady rocks! Impassioned, with the voice of an angel

Nerd in the Brain Homeschooling, love and  kindness all rolled into one.

Holistic Wayfarer Beautifully written.

My Friday Blog This fellow is a joy and he also adores guinea pigs!

The Breakfast Drama Queen She is the Queen of breakfasts!

Edwina’s Episodes Love this lady!

Come Fly with me Thoughtful and Sensitive.

Vashti Quiroz-Vega’s Blog Delightful lady.

The Off-Key of Life Such varied and wondrous subjects!

Good Woman Heartfelt wisdom and Beauty.

Fourth Generation Farm Girl Just Beautiful.

Breathing Life Supportive and Creative.

The Showcase Bless this beautiful soul.

Mint Kitty Clothing I stumbled upon this glorious person one day and ended up bridesmaid at her wedding. A true creative.

Home Made Naturally Exquisite.

Once again, I have run out of time to feature everyone I would have liked to. Love to you all! xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Time


My friend's yurt.
My friend’s yurt.

Sometimes, it feels like there is no time. Racing from one appointment and activity to the next. Friends come into your mind, and you determine to get in touch. The day ends, and by the time you remember (usually late at night), it is too late. I hadn’t seen a group of friends for well over a year. I used to go to a meditation on an old train carriage, placed in a friend’s garden. The foliage around it was moist, and frogs would hop onto you as you slid open the door. You would be treated to ambient music and twinkling lights as you arranged yourself in a chair. We would laugh together and tell stories. They cheered for me when I was going through IVF, and celebrated when I fell pregnant. When my daughter arrived, they cooed over her.

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It was time for a reunion. It was overdue. We met at a glorious place on the way to the Southern Highlands, hugging and chatting as though we had never been apart. Over a lazy Sunday brunch, eight women caught up, and then went to a yurt, owned by one of the ladies. There we sang, and laughed some more. We determined that there weren’t to be any more long intervals between catch-ups in future.

I have another group of friends who were my rock through the early days of endometriosis and infertility. We are all scattered about the city, and we remark often that it is best for society that we aren’t able to see each other frequently. We are noisy, cheeky and quite hilarious when together. Anything can happen, and usually does.

My friends made me do it!
My friends made me do it!

I love them more than all the stars in the sky, so impressed am I with their irreverence and spunk. We went to a high-end jewellery store to inquire about the cleaning of a necklace, and were treated with a look of distaste. One of the ladies below became impertinent, which provoked more giggles. These are the sort of people who encourage an environment where you don’t have to watch what you say. In fact, the ruder your train of thought, the better. Light relief in a world so heavy and grey.
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They haven’t had it easy, but then again, no true heroine ever has. It has propelled them to be funnier, try harder, have more empathy than your average woman.
I broke three umbrella’s in the storms that deluged Sydney earlier this week. My daughter started Term 2 of home schooling, and it was back to our hectic schedule.
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Our erupting volcano
Our erupting volcano

So far, we have made a volcano erupt, worked with clay, attended workshops and kids meditation and she has completed several online lessons. Trying to find balance is ever-challenging. I am working on it, and if I hit upon the secret to organization, I will let you know! One thing I do get, is that maintaining a social life is a necessity. Organizing catch-ups isn’t in spite of the hectic schedules we all have, rather it is so we can keep enduring them.

The Beach They Called Gallipoli


I shared a special moment with my daughter this morning. I bought her a copy of The Beach They Called Gallipoli by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley last night, and we sat down together to read it. Before we began, I commented on how young the soldiers were. “They were mostly boys,” she replied sadly. She talked about the nurses who served and comforted, and the power of crimson poppies to represent the sacrifice of the ANZACS. It was a challenge, trying to explain war when I don’t understand it myself. It was easier to highlight sacrifice and outstanding courage. “I want to go to the dawn service on ANZAC DAY,” she said. “Me too,” I replied. It is a beautiful book, published on this, the centenary.

Letting Go and the Art of Surrendering


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I have always had a will of iron. I had to take control at a young age. Had to learn to eat and drink again. Had to learn how to walk. Had to rebuild the strength in my body, mind and soul. I hit all my targets. The same applied when I started correspondence school. Whatever I focused on, came to be. When I went out into the world at eighteen, I had huge dreams, and expected them to all come true, and in the allotted time. I was going to be a published author in my twenties, have several kids, a big rambling house and a strong body. As time passed, I saw the vision become clouded, as though someone had smeared petroleum jelly onto the camera lens. Instead of a tribe of kids, there was infertility. Rather than my body getting stronger, I slipped and fell, breaking my spine again. Instead of a large rambling house, there was a string of dodgy rental properties. Instead of peace there was turmoil. There were times when I lived on potatoes for a week, times when I had to walk miles home. Life was reduced to survival. The dreams refused to die, but they were tempered. The shoots dared to rear up from the soil. Spindly little things, they were, and I feared a downpour would flatten them. My saving grace was the removal of a time frame. Letting go of control. Having a tight schedule and discipline saved me as a teen. It wouldn’t work now. I was down on my knees as infertility and pain and uncertainty pounded me. I was pummelled. “I surrender!” I screamed.

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As soon as I uttered those words, the kaleidoscope in my hands turned, and a beautiful geometrical pattern took shape. Everything about it was different to what I had stubbornly cleaved to. The colours were somehow more vibrant. Perhaps, it was a portent of things to come. I didn’t want the next decade to be remembered by a series of operations, disappointments and scars. As I was admitted to hospital yet again, I had to believe that this provided another step  to where I wanted to be. I had to surrender all control, yet hold onto the kernel of my dreams. They had after all, given me the fuel to keep going. Life is very different to where I thought I would be at this age and in this year. Yet as I reflect on the friends I have met, the miraculous daughter I birthed, the fact I am still able to walk, and am a published author, I can see it is damned near perfect. It is hard to surrender control. It is hard to accept that the vision has evolved and changed. It is scary. When you hit a target after the storm has pummelled your home, it tastes that much sweeter. Don’t give up! Don’t you ever give up.

Self-Acceptance


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I have had my weight remarked on twice in the past week. “Have you lost weight? You look like you have.” It was meant to commend me, most likely on an imaginary stringent diet and ruthless exercise regime. It had the opposite effect. Was I considered overweight before? Not as acceptable? My weight is like the tide, it fluctuates. I don’t weigh myself, nor focus on my weight. I couldn’t give a flying fig, frankly. I need to walk and do weight’s to combat insulin resistance and fragile bones. That is all.

I am a busy lady, and any available head space is filled with other concerns. I think of my friend with liver disease, who is doing everything in her power to keep well. The friend undergoing chemotherapy. So many friends enduring pain and illness. I think of friendship and shared meals and toasting with a good drop of wine. Weight is rarely stable for anyone. Surgery, illness, puberty, pregnancy, infertility treatments, menopause and a perfect storm of endocrine issues sees to that. My aim is to live and do it well. I remember being an adolescent, and feeling empowered by how underweight I was. Filling myself with water before the dreaded weigh-in, eating a dreadful concoction for breakfast that the other girls insisted set like cement and filled you up for the day. Walks were treks of pain, lasting hours. I can’t recall noticing anything of beauty on these hikes. That wasn’t the purpose of undergoing them.

Time has changed everything. I walk with my little girl, holding her hand. I actually take deep, fresh pockets of air into my lungs. I notice beauty. If I were to focus on my weight, I wouldn’t have time to live. I have been there, taking my pocket calorie counter to the shops, weighing and examining everything I encountered. I ended up sick and depressed. It was the opposite of life.

Seeking Movement and Colour and Life (part 2)


Easter Monday, I needed to escape all the jobs that needed doing. I needed to watch my child have fun, and for her to carry me along in her whimsy. My friend Annette, and her son, were coming along for the ride. At the station I met another friend and her son.

It is like no time has passed when you meet old friends.
It is like no time has passed when you meet old friends.

This lady is a professional dancer, and doesn’t walk through life, she saunters. The horticulturist, dancer and writer boarded the train with their kids, and struck up a conversation with these delightful people.

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One of the ladies was a pharmacist from Missouri. I asked where these friends had met, and it turned out it was on a Pandora cruise! Seeing my puzzlement, my new friend Brenda handed us several precious bracelets.

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Her late fiancée had bought quite a few pieces for her collection. They were holy. They weren’t  inanimate objects, but relayed stories of times past and dreams yet to be fulfilled. Each bead held a piece of her soul, and were embedded with his devotion. We shared details of  our lives. There was laughter and connectedness.  My dancer friend departed with her son, as did Brenda and her friends.

This was on a stall in the ladies' at Museum Station
This was on a stall in the ladies’ at Museum Station. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Live!’

 

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At Hyde Park, munchkin wanted to prove how strong she was.

 

Then she ran into the fountain.
Then she ran into the fountain.

 

We met a contortionist
We met a contortionist
We also met 'I am basketball man'
We also met ‘I am basketball man’

 

 

We wandered into the MCA
We wandered into the MCA

 

We couldn't resist purchasing some delicacies from this chocolate shop
We couldn’t resist purchasing some delicacies from this chocolate shop

 

 

 

 

Can you believe this is chocolate?
Can you believe this is chocolate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking up to Susannah Place, we stopped at many wondrous shops, and admired the architecture along cobbled streets.

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We had ice cream and saw more beauty, more colour, more life than we could absorb.  The whole day was unscripted. That is what made it so glorious. There are more good people in the world than bad, and more wonder than you can possibly imagine. I love seeing Sydney through a child’s eyes.

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Seeking Movement and Colour and Life (Part 1)


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I was meant to see Rod Stewart last week but due to circumstances out of my control, I couldn’t go. I put my granny knickers back in the drawer, and purchased two tickets to a charity screening of Cinderella instead. Saffron from Kid About and  Kaity are two local businesswomen who joined forces to raise money for Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation.  They put together a magnificent event, resplendent with face painting, photo props and raffles. My little girl and I  went beforehand to Coco Cubano and  shared a platter. Munchkin had a mango drink and I had a Mojito. We had endured a crazy schedule that day, starting off at drama lessons. Now to get there, we have to catch a train through the suburb where I fell. The building is right near the railway line, and visible in all its glory. Every week, I hold my breath, and shudder with conflicting emotions. Gratitude that I am alive two decades after the event. A feeling of absurdity that I am taking my daughter to her activities past the building which held the ledge which held the villain…A feeling of defiance. ‘Up yours! I am still here!’ A feeling of sorrow. ‘I was so little…’ I took this grainy picture and somehow it seemed fitting. The scratches upon the train window are evident. It is grainy as the building whizzed by, much like my life on that particular evening.

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Anyway, we had been to drama and then guitar lessons. Mummy’s spine was beyond agonizing. I leant over toward the seat in front for some relief on the bus. Mummy needed a Mojito by the time we got to our pre-movie café.

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I met many familiar faces at the movies, including Nicci, our cupcake aficionado.

 

I didn’t know what to expect with this retelling of Cinderella and it was beyond my imaginings. It held all the little girls spellbound, and the ladies gasped at the visual feast on-screen. The settings were  beautiful. The villains were beyond contemptible; vile and  bitter. Fortunately, they didn’t take Cinderella’s light. She didn’t end up a twisted old bat, wounding others as she had been. She became more of who she was inside. May that be the case with us all. I am so glad we went, to support our friends and the wonderful organization who was benefitting, and to see Cinderella come into her own.

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Easter


You can’t breathe life into someone who is lost. Believe me, I have tried. I have been privy to someone I care deeply about being taken down. At first by addiction, and then mental illness. I am grieving although the person lives.  If you are not careful, their reality becomes yours, a closeted,  nonsensical, grey world. It holds no colour, no engagement, no life. I could feel myself becoming pulled into the mayhem this Easter. A land where money is of no consequence, rules are for other people, and laying down staring at the ceiling is what one does for 48 hours. If you are caring for somebody in this situation, coaxing them to eat, to live, to fight, can be exhausting. Best be careful that you don’t go down too. You don’t see it happening. I didn’t. I ate Hot Cross Buns in the city Good Friday, then spent all day Saturday in bed. A smothering film of depression clung to me. I was exhausted. Giving, giving, giving until I was bone dry. The rest did me good. Not having to think. “Please, don’t ask me any more questions,” I pleaded.

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Easter Sunday, the torrential rain stopped and the sun came out. I went to Ashfield Uniting Church. My sanctuary. Rev Bill Crews feeds the homeless via a soup kitchen and van. Via the Exodus Foundation, kids who have fallen behind are educated, and a new school is being opened in Liverpool. Each Christmas, there is a free lunch and it is a grand affair, with a cast of thousands! They do so much at Ashfield, and have changed many lives.

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This treasured lady is 98 years of age. She walks everywhere, lives in her own home, and takes a great interest in social issues. I want to be like her when I grow up!

We went to lunch afterward, and munchkin met the Easter Bunny and his assistant!

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Rev Bill was off to Hong Kong and then Cambodia, so she gave him a big cuddle before he left.

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Nobody pretends to be perfect here, to have it altogether. We muddle through life, and that is enough. You are still loved. Isn’t that reassuring? No titles need to be proclaimed, no diamonds flashed, no mention of private jets. No pontificating. I don’t think you would get away with it if you tried! It was a happy Easter indeed.

Strength Renewed


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I have been exhausted. Being a one-woman show can do that. No sooner have you cleaned the house and garden, filed the papers, paid the bills, cooked the meals, shopped for food, done the work and answered messages then it is time to start over. Home schooling has been the jewel of the past term. Witnessing this little girl’s zeal for learning has been joyous beyond all expectation. I get up at dawn, and start work, then continue after my daughter’s schooling has ended. I haven’t caught up with the many friends I love. There simply hasn’t been time. I know trying to do it all at once is ridiculous, but what if there isn’t any other choice? For me, there isn’t any other choice. I have to devise strategies that help me become a balanced human. A week ago, I watched my daughter skate with some friends. She was  graceful, gliding in circles around the rink, full of the joy of living. I sat with some dear friends, and reconnected. I have missed them.

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I have to lay down by 8.30pm. My spine refuses to keep me upright any longer. The relief when I lay down is indescribable. Its a sensory treat for mind, body and soul. It doesn’t matter that I am still working. I am laying down, getting zapped by my Tens machine, so it’s a win. I shut my eyes around midnight, and catch a few hours of sleep. The relentlessness of life and daily requirements… That’s what  gets to us. That’s why I pack up my daughter and we regularly have a change of scene. We shake up our world.

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I am trying to map out a future, and take care of the present. I drop the ball regularly, and it tends to trip me up. As long as we have playdates and good friends, it wont matter. Somehow, you come back refreshed, to your home and yourself. I stopped what I was doing the other evening, and my girl and I bathed the guinea pigs in warm water and suds. There was nothing else that needed to be done other than listen to her giggles.

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