Lowering Stress at Christmas


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This article got me thinking about how stressful Christmas can be. We are usually dealing with the same income we have during the rest of the year, with the added burden of buying gifts, extra food, drinks and attending functions. It is easy to become anxious with the pressure! I had planned for my daughter and I to go on an overseas holiday for a week with friends this month. I had budgeted for it, and my daughter was so excited that she packed her suitcase months ago! Circumstances beyond my control led to me having to cancel. It broke my heart to disappoint my daughter, and I dreaded breaking the news to her. She put her arms around me, and said “it’s okay; we will go another time.” We surely will.

We are of the belief that things are meant to evolve for our highest good. If something can’t happen in that moment, then maybe it wasn’t meant to. Our time shall come, and it will be all the sweeter when it does. I underestimated my child’s reaction prior to her hearing that we would have to pull out. I think we do that sometimes; buying things we can’t really afford for people. Those that love you, truly love you; want you, not tokenism. They don’t want to see you in debt, stressed about paying off the credit card bills. She has already stated that the best Christmas present will be us being together. She has a little wish list that I am able to fulfil for Christmas (with Santa’s help).

The season is much more than gifts. It is helping those less fortunate, trips to the city to see the decorations. Carol services and playdates with friends. Swimming and a cheeky gin and tonic (for me). Reflecting on the year and how to build upon it in 2017. We can only do what we can do, and it’s okay to be honest with those around you that you can’t afford to do something (or buy it), at this time. Love is what it is all about!

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Flower Markets, Pie shops and Friendship


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Some time back, I went through a hellish week. I hadn’t endured such concentrated crap for quite a while. Unpleasant people from the past tried to sneak back into my atmosphere via social media, money that I was assured would be there to pay essential bills wasn’t, and I was devastated by other events beyond my control. “What on earth is this?” I shrieked, to nobody in particular. “I’m a good person!” The week before, I had been blissfully unaware of the universal dump that was about to be bestowed on me. I wasn’t at all prepared. The thing with trying times, is that they are often beyond our control, but not our capabilities, despite stretching us to our limits.

I knew that I was in strife when I couldn’t stop my arms from trembling, and my hands from shaking. I lost my appetite and three kilograms in a weekend. I was exhausted and longed to rest my thumping head. I was on the loo constantly, my digestive system unable to cope with the stress. My heart felt as though it was leaping out of my chest, and I felt numb; disassociated from what was occurring. All the above were symptomatic of the massive adrenaline rush I was enduring. I couldn’t articulate what I was going through, and so I retreated. I didn’t want to burden anybody, anyway. I longed to disappear. I couldn’t see a way out of the situation I was facing. I felt I had let my daughter down, even though events had been out of my control.

There was a little tap at my door. A friend had been working around the corner and had called in to see me. My eyes were rimmed red from crying and sleep deprivation. Upon seeing me, she held me close, then took me for a drive. We stopped at a pie shop off the beaten track, and I ordered a vegetable pie. They began to make our pies, and we were shown to a round table, the linen tablecloth and colored serviettes adding warmth to a chilly day. There were flowers on each table,nestled in bright vases, and we enjoyed the best pies of our lives. The pastry was flaky, and the filling had just the right amount of seasoning. Afterward, my friend took me to a flower market. We were allowed in the cool rooms, and admired the floral displays. My daughter was asked if she wanted to pick out some flowers to take home with her, and her little face lit up. The dear lady who was running the farm even let us look out the back to see where the gerberas were growing in massive irrigated sheds. Watching my daughter play with the little dog on the farm, I felt the oppression of the past week loosen. The lady at the flower market was gracious to this stranger, and I am sure she could sense that I was fragile on this day. As for my friend, well, she did more for me than she will ever know. She enabled me to escape my own mind, gifting me temporary reprieve.

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The next 24 hours, saw two other good friends call in, and I cried some more as I relayed the impossible situation I faced. What they gave me in terms of support, love and compassion outweighs anything I could calculate. They are indeed my sisters, and they effectively pulled me back from the abyss, and helped me seek ways to continue on. You can feel overwhelmed when a friend is facing a crisis, particularly when lacking funds, time or the health to physically assist.Let me assure you, that real friends understand all that. I equally treasure the cup of tea I was made, a friend opening her house to me, the phone call I received and the heartfelt messages I was gifted. Just knowing that you aren’t alone is enough to sustain you, and bring you clarity. Each and every kindness shall be recalled and valued always.


I still haven’t any resolutions to long-standing burdens, but at least I have a list of steps I can take, right here and now. I feel a little more empowered, and certainly stronger than I did throughout that horrific weekend. It all started with a country drive, a quaint pie shop and a flower market.

Life, it happens.


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What a month it has been. There you are, minding your own business, attempting to keep your home, career and life in order, and a big pile of manure is dropped from afar. I had eight further titles planned, ranging from children’s books to adult fiction and also an historical novel set in Sydney. That one is particularly interesting, having interviewed some real characters a while back, who told me some unknown goings-on in the city of sails. Will I continue working on these titles until they are ready to be brought into the light? You bet! They came into my mind for a reason, and I will see it through. I have to find a publisher, and I have to believe that it shall happen.

After my publisher folded, life became dark and heavy, as though I were cocooned in a grey film. I am a butterfly, dammit! I fought hard to metamorphose from a caterpillar! Back to the drawing board, back to the beginning. I have done it before, many times. Spending weeks in Intensive Care units at thirteen years of age, learning to walk again, starting a new cycle of IVF… I can do it; however, it doesn’t mean I like it. How many times can you dust yourself off? Hundreds of times, as it turns out.

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We lost this little guy this morning. His name was Snowball, and he was a real character. My daughter found him in a store where rescue animals are sold, and fell in love. I did too. He would look at me in disgust when I fed the other guinea pigs corn silk, and grab the juicy corn cob from my hands and run off with it. He broke into the girl’s side of the yard (partitioned off), and when I witnessed him “hugging” one of the girls, I asked him what he thought he was up to. I thought he was just being a bit full-on with his affections. He impregnated every girl, and soon we had lots of his babies. He was the Garfield of Guinea Pigs, either sleeping or eating. We would set him on the floor and whilst the other piggies would run, he would walk a few steps, then plonk down. He was poorly two nights ago, and we rushed him to the vet. They operated that night, as he was unable to pee. For two days we waited for news of his recovery. Bless you Snowball. You filled our lives with joy for the time we had you. The vet refused to take any money, which was incredibly kind.

I am sitting up in bed, sick with a bad virus. So much to do but with no energy to do it. I think it’s my body’s way of saying I have to stop for a while. Stop running and stop over-committing. Of course, as a mum home schooling her child, I can’t just crawl into bed and build a blanket fort, but I can slow down. I can plan our next house move whilst doing so, and I can dream at the same time. As I wrote in my book, just as I thought my story was winding down, I find it has only just begun. If you are going through hell, my advice is to keep going. Eat well, hydrate. Do only what is necessary. Let the world wait for your second-wind and recovery. This is exactly what I intend to do.

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Time slipping away.


Oh crap! It’s almost the start of November, and November leads into… Freaking out! I can feel my heart racing. I need to flesh out the three books I want to complete in 2014. I need to do a lot before school breaks up for the year. The days and weeks are rushing by. You know when you are paralysed with panic, can’t think straight and don’t end up accomplishing much? Yeah that. I refuse to go into December feeling ill-prepared, bad-tempered and exhausted. Instead of sitting in my office, accomplishing little, I took up my camera. This is what I captured.

Outside table where we sit with friends.
Outside table where we sit with friends.

P1060785 Our yard.

P1060786 Our Guinea Pigs.

P1060788 More Guinea Pig beauty.

P1060789 Tree of Life.

P1060790 Portrait a young friend did of my daughter.

P1060791 I picked this up at a Lifeline store for $6.00

P1060792 Heart painting my child did in art class.

P1060793 Santa! Yay!

P1060797 The birdy gang (or some of them).

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How extraordinary to have appreciated so much glory within five minutes! Makes you wonder why we don’t all stop and marvel at what and whom is in our world much more than we do. You know what, the end of the year skulks up on us, and its okay. We can carry projects and dreams into the new year. All we need do now is breathe, and capture some images to appreciate on the way.