Thursday, December 31, 2015

Quote of the Day

Except 2016 is a leap year.

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one.
- Brad Paisley

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015: The Year of Limitations

I'm heading into 2016 much the same way I've been moving throughout 2015....straining.

It has been a challenging year. My physical health had suffered. The pregnancy with Flynn was just all round harder than it was with Rory. I was sicker, I was tireder (read: exhausted), my body was depleted of vital nutrients. Flynn just seemed to suck everything out of me, and I feel like all I have left is a withered shell. Next year I'll need to put in the hard yards at the physio if my abdominal diastasis has any chance of repair. I know it's normal for the body to not be the same after multiple pregnancies, but I've lost a lot of self-confidence since people have been commenting on it.

My respite this year has been my afternoon naps with Rory. Is it sad that these have been the highlight of my day? Around the time of his second birthday, Rory decided he was going to drop his afternoon sleep. I thought, Not on your life. So, I started having afternoon naps with him in my bed. He loved this and we'd both sleep for about two hours. It was the only way I could get through the day and face 'arsenic hour'.  I was criticised by a few people for this who thought he should learn to sleep alone. But what was initially bothersome became a blessing. It was a wonderful time cuddling with my little boy. I'm a bit sorry it has now come to an end, and he's gone back to sleeping by himself in the afternoons in his new big boy bed.

Not only has my physical health taken a battering, but so has my mind. The two are connected and it's horrid what sleep deprivation can do. Most days, my mind feels like a scrambled egg. I'll remember someone's birthday, but can't remember why I opened the fridge door. People joke about mothers being forgetful, but it just shows why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture during war time. Due to my postnatal suffering, Duncan and I have had to make some hard decisions about family planning. This has caused me more grief than I ever thought it would.

I'm not the only one who has found this year difficult. I know of marriages that have ended and, being pregnant and emotional, this has affected me quite deeply. My cousin and her husband of 18 years split in April (they have two children, aged 14 and 12). The director of the two plays I was in last year also had her marriage end and she moved to Perth. This meant the sequel to the World War 1 commemorative play I was in last year was in jeopardy, but a friend who was in last year's cast put her hand up to direct and the show went on.

This year I was limited theatrically. When the dates for the next play were announced, I knew I'd have to decline reprising my role (it was a month after Flynn was due).  It was flattering that they wanted me so badly they found a way for me to be in it. My role was pre-filmed and shown on a giant screen. So, I was in it, but not in it.  I was actually in the Mother Baby Unit for the show's entire run.

There were other disappointments - the Eagles losing the Grand Final, my book being rejected four times so far, the death of my hen, Gloria.

It was not all bad. I got my Flynn.

Still, I think 2016 will be a year of recovery.

Monday, December 28, 2015

5 Best Christmases (As An Adult)

There were too many great Christmases as a child (and my memory is getting a bit hazy), so here are the best since I've been an adult:

1.  2011
It was our first Christmas as hosts and we had both of our immediate families come to us.  The highlight was the tennis match where my brother and I defeated Duncan and his brother 7-5.

2. 2009
It was just a nice relaxing day Duncan and I spent with my family in Albany.  It turned out to be the last Christmas I would spend with my Nan.

3. 2006
Another quiet day with just my immediate family.  It turned out it would be my last Christmas before Duncan and I got together.  He rang me late that night for a chat and we both knew we were heading towards more than friendship.

4.  2002
It's always exciting to have visitors for Christmas, to spend it with people you don't usually spend it with.  That year we had my cousin's (now sadly ex) wife spend Christmas with us while he was away overseas with the navy.

5.  2010
A Dunsborough Christmas and a badly needed break.  We had just moved to where we are now three days prior and I was glad to escape the chaos.

Yes, I like party hats. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Santa's Prayer

I saw this on Facebook and thought I'd share.  Merry Christmas!

My dear, precious Jesus, I did not mean to take Your place.
I only bring toys and things, and You bring love and grace.
People give me lists of wishes, and hope that they come true;
But You hear prayers of the heart, and promise Your will to do.
Children try to be good and not to cry when I am coming to town;
But You love them unconditionally and that love will abound.
I leave only a bag of toys and temporary joy for a season;
But You leave a heart of love, full of purpose and reasons.
I have a lot of believers and what one might call fame;
But I never healed the blind, or tried to help the lame.
I have rosy cheeks and a voice full of laughter;
But no nail-scarred hands, or a promise of the hereafter.
You may find several of me in town, or at a mall;
But there is only one omnipotent You to answer a sinner's call.
And so, my dear, precious Jesus, I kneel here to pray;
To worship and adore You, on this, Your holy birthday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rory's Advent Calendar

I thought I'd try doing the whole Advent calendar thing with Rory this year. Due to my circumstances, counting down the last 10 days until Christmas seemed like a more feasible task. Equipped with envelopes, textas and a few Christmas stickers, I copied Cathy's idea and let him make his own. He wanted me to help him write the numbers, and he didn't quite get the concept of not sticking the stickers over them, but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Judging by other mums' efforts via Facebook, mine seems like one epic parenting fail. I didn't get around to putting any confectionery in the envelopes, except for one measly lolly banana yesterday. Nor have I put in any Bible verses. But we've read a few kids' books about the Christmas story and enjoyed the lead up to the big day. Maybe next year I can be a bit more organised.

Throughout this I'm reminded that God is sovereign over all things - including whether our children come to faith. While Christian parents have a responsibility to bring up their children in the knowledge of the Lord, no fancy Christmas craft can make them Christian. God can use even the most feeble of efforts.

Monday, December 21, 2015

5 Best Posts From Other Bloggers in 2014

Wow, I am so behind in doing 2014's best posts since 2015 is nearly over!  I will have to do the best posts of 2015 early next year.

1.  My Year of Less is More - No Reading at the Breakfast Table (check out Jenny's whole Less is More series)
2. To Be a Soldier - In All Honesty
3. Memories of Rwanda -
4. The Gap is Wider Than I'd Imagined - The Key to the Door
5. Dear Well-Meaning-Anglo-Saxon-Australian-Christians - This Fleeting Moment

Friday, December 18, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Time For a Questionnaire

1. Name? Sarah

2. Age? 32

3. Birthday? 30th May 1983

4. Sign? Gemini (but I don't believe in that stuff)

5. Significant Other? Duncan

6. Workplace? Stay-at-home mum

7. How old do you wish you were?  I'm happy being in my thirties, but sometimes I'd like to relive my twenties again.

8. Where were you when 9/11 happened? In my scungy flat in Curtin student housing.  I walked into the loungeroom and thought my flatmates were watching a movie.

9. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?  Look around to see if anyone's watching, then bang on the machine.

10. Do you consider yourself kind? I can be kind...but I can also be unkind.  I'm a sinner saved by grace.

11. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be? Ankle or foot.

12. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be? German

13. Do you know your neighbours? Yes, most of them.  Although, out here, neighbours aren't right next-door.

14. What do you consider a vacation? Going away on holidays.

15. Do you follow your horoscope?  I used to religiously as a teenager.  Then I became a Christian (see answer #2).

16. Would you move for the person you love? I already have.

17. Are you touchy feely? Only with Duncan or my boys.

18. Do you believe that opposites attract? Yes, but you still need some stuff in common.

19. Dream job? Author and actor.

20. Favourite channel? Channel 7

21. Favourite place to go on weekends? Home, town, church.

22. Showers or baths? Showers for the convenience and quickness.  Baths for relaxing (they are a luxury when I go to other people's houses since we don't have a bath).

23. Do you paint your nails?  Rarely.  I live on a farm.

24. Do you trust people easily?  I usually do a bit of sussing them out first (if they've been blabbing someone else's confidential information to me, I know they can't be trusted with things I tell them).

25. What are your phobias? Walking on gravel or slippery surfaces, climbing, heights, being upside down.

26. Do you want kids? I've already got two.

27. Do you keep a handwritten journal? No, I keep this online journal, my blog hehe.

28. Where would you rather be right now? On a lovely beach without a care in the world.

29. Who makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Duncan, Rory, Flynn and my dogs.

30. Heavy or light sleeper? Heavy.  Once I'm out to it, I don't hear a thing.

31. Are you impatient? Yep.

32. Who can you relate to? Other mums with postnatal depression and anxiety.

33. How do you feel about interracial couples?  Nothing wrong with them at all.  Stupid question.

34.  Have you been burned by love? By unrequited love.

35. What's your motto? So what? (what I tell myself when I'm worrying about something unnecessarily).

36. What's the ring tone on your phone? Old fashioned telephone ring.

37. What were you doing at 2am this morning? Sleeping (in between feeds for Bubba Flynn).

38. What did the last text on your mobile say? From the bank saying money had been transferred out of my account (which had been done by me).

39. Whose bed did you sleep in last night? Mine and Duncan's.

40. What are you wearing? Pink/red coloured sleeveless top, denim maternity shorts, and my old ugg slippers.

41. Most recent movie you watched? Date Night.

42. Name three things you have on you at all times? While out it's my phone, wallet and keys.

43. What colour are your bed sheets? Grey/blue.

44. How much cash do you have on you right now? None of your biz haha.

45. What's your favourite part of the chicken? Breast

46. I can't wait 'til...? Harvest is over!

47. Who got you to join a site that you're addicted to? My friend Sarah, who invited me to join Facebook in 2007.

48. What did you have for dinner last night? Tacos

49. How tall are you barefoot? 164cm 

50. Have you ever smoked heroin?  Eww no, definitely not!  Who asks these questions? 

51. Do you own a gun?  Duncan does.

52. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water

53. What's your secret to lure in the opposite sex?  Be yourself and smile hehe.

54. Do you have ADD? No

55. What time did you wake up today? 7:15am.  Duncan lets me sleep in, because I'm up feeding Flynn during the night.

56. Current worry?  Abdominal diastasis.

57. Current hate? Vague, insincere offers of help.

58. Favourite place to be? Right now...bed!

59. Last thing you ate? Chow Mein.

60. Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? Only God knows...

61. Last thing that made you laugh? Rory. He's a funny little fellow.

62. Worst injury you've ever had? Sliding face first along bitumen and ripping skin off my face after a skipping accident in Year 7.

63. Does someone have a crush on you?  If they do, sorry I'm taken.

64. What is your favourite candy? Lolly bananas, Kool Mints and musk sticks.

65. What song do you want played at your funeral? Shower of Grace.

66. What are you doing right now?  This questionnaire!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Most Improved Eagles in 2015

And hopefully we can go one step further in 2016!

1. Brad Sheppard
He went from getting games sporadically to reinventing himself as a defender. An excellent mark for his size, he was the Eagles' well-deserved 'Player of the Finals', and was part of the underestimated backline which stood firm in the absence of Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown.

2. Elliot Yeo
This year he showed why the Eagles got him from Brisbane. His spectacular marking was a highlight and he became a handy goal kicker.

3. Dom Sheed
After only playing a handful of games in his debut year in 2014, Sheed became a vital part of the midfield and came third in the AFL's Rising Star award.

4. Jeremy McGovern
Last year, he showed he can play anywhere. This year, he was needed as a tall defender and he didn't disappoint with his outstanding intercept marks.

5. Andrew Gaff
He appeared to be stagnating over the past couple of years, but this year he really stepped it up, racking up possessions and deservedly won the Eagles' best-and-fairest and a spot in the All-Australian team.

Images from

Related posts:
5 Most Improved Eagles in 2014
5 Most Improved Eagles in 2011

Monday, December 14, 2015

Quote of the Day

It's just so bizarre - in this world - if you have asthma, you take asthma medication. If you have diabetes, you take diabetes medication. But as soon as you have to take medicine for your mind, there's such a stigma behind it.
- Jennifer Lawrence

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What It's Like Being Home

I was discharged from the Mother Baby Unit two weeks ago tomorrow.  While it's a relief in some ways to be home, in other ways it's frightening.  I was dreading being left on my own at the mercy of two small people.  Despite stern talks with myself that I'm the adult here, the isolation still scared me.  I didn't want to spend my life counting down the hours until Duncan came home.  Plus it's harvest, so I'd be really thrown in the deep end in the early days of mothering two kids.

My first day alone with them was exhausting.  While nothing went drastically wrong, I felt inadequate to meet their needs.  Rory wanted me to play with him.  Flynn wanted to feed.  Flynn needed to be settled to sleep.  Rory needed stories and an afternoon nap.  Then there were baths.  Thank goodness for a lovely friend from the farm who dropped off dinner and dessert for us (she has five kids herself; she's amazing).

I've bought a Manduca baby carrier off ebay and I'm just waiting for it to arrive.  Flynn still catnaps in 15 minute blocks and I need my hands free sometimes.  Then I might actually be able to cook occasionally.

Duncan has his break between 5:30-7:30 each evening to help me with arsenic hour before jumping back on the header to work 'til 1am some nights.  But one night he couldn't come home and I had a panic attack.  I was completely over it!  Last time I came home from the MBU it was seeding.  This time it's harvest.  God willing, there will be no third time though.

I've been lamenting the lack of support available for country people, and part of me wishes we could move to Perth where there are more options for those with mental illness.  We've been trying to find a nanny, then we thought we found one, but she got another job!  But now we have a friend from church coming to be our nanny part-time as she was looking for some work before she starts studying in February.  This is a HUGE blessing!

Each day still feels like a hard slog.  There have been times when both boys have been melting down at the same time and all I can do is sit on the couch and hold both of them while they cry.  Other times, it has been a joy to play with them.  Rory is a very loving big brother to Flynn, and not a day goes by where he doesn't make me laugh at least once.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Quote of the Day

When you have depression, simply existing is a full time job.
- Unknown

Monday, December 07, 2015


The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island.  He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.  Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

Then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.  The worst had happened - everything was lost.  He was stunned with grief and anger.
"God, how could you do this to me?" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island.  It had come to rescue him.
"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.
"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It's easy to get discouraged sometimes when things appear to be going badly.  But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.  Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

The latest biography I read was that of Hudson Taylor - a man I'd never heard of until I was given this book as a gift.

For those, like me, who don't know, Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was the founder of the China Inland Mission, a mission dedicated to evangelising China's inland, rural millions. This mission is now known as OMF International and has workers throughout south-east Asia.

So, what is Hudson Taylor's spiritual secret?  It is how he learned to be content in all circumstances.  And how did he learn this?  It happened when he had returned to England for a while and spent a few days in Brighton, wrestling with the great need of more missionaries for China:

In great spiritual agony, I wandered out onto the sands alone.  And there the Lord conquered my unbelief, and I surrendered myself to God for this service.  I told Him that all the responsibility as to the issues and consequences must rest with Him; that as His servant it was mine to obey and to follow Him, His to direct, care for and guide me and those who might labour with me.  Need I say that at once peace flowed into my burdened heart? (page 82)

Hudson Taylor is a fantastic example and encouragement of what it means to be content in all circumstances, to obey God and leave the consequences to Him.  The man suffered so much in his life - twice widowed, lost several  of his children to illness, had ill health himself, faced numerous hurdles to his ministry, including riots, slow growth of the ministry....but he never gave up.  He kept praying and persevering in holding out the gospel of grace to the Chinese people, even dressing as a Chinese man in order to become all things to all people, despite some criticism from other missionaries.

The downside of this book is that it's quite boring.  It's an inspiring story, but I found it such a hard slog to read because of the way it is written (it was first written in 1932, but later revised).

Still, I was left feeling both encouraged and rebuked.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13

Monday, November 30, 2015

5 More Health Problems I Had While in Hospital

As if having postnatal depression and anxiety wasn't enough...

1.  The Flu
At first the nurses thought it might be mastitis, but it turned out to be the flu.  My temperature went up to 39 and I had a sore, achy body.  I was kept in isolation for a day so as not to spread it to the other ladies and babies.

2.  Low Vitamin D, Iron and Calcium
I've only ever been low in iron before.  I guess the pregnancy and postnatal period drained my body. Now I'm on a variety of supplements.

3.  A Rash
A hideous rash started on my face and spread right down my chest and my arms.  The doctors think it was an allergic reaction to an antibiotic they put me on (I've never been allergic to any medication before).  In the new year, I'll be heading back to this hospital for testing in the immunology department to confirm this.

4.  Abnormal Blood Tests
Routine blood tests showed there might be something wrong with my thyroid and hormone levels, and there was a possibility there could be a growth on my pituitary gland.  They repeated the tests, just to make sure it wasn't a mistake, and thankfully the initial test was wrong.  Phew!

5.  Abdominal Diastasis

The nurses were concerned that my stomach was still rather protruding and wanted the doctor to check me out.  After ruling out a hernia, he got a physiotherapist to see me and it turns out I have a 3cm abdominal muscle separation.  I carried all out the front with Flynn and my already weak abdominal muscles were stretched to capacity.  I have a few months of physio ahead and, if that doesn't work, I'll opt for surgery.  The last thing I need is people asking me if I'm pregnant again!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quote of the Day

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears, bears will kill you.
- Unknown

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What It's Like Here

I've been in this special hospital ward for mothers and babies for almost four weeks now, and I'm pleased to say it looks like I'll finally be discharged this Friday.

It has been a turbulent past few weeks.  I entered this place at a very low point and Flynn was the most unsettled he'd ever been.  He screamed so much the first night I was in a strange place of feeling glad the nurses were handling him, yet yearning to go to him at the same time.  For most of our stay, he's been sleeping in the nursery at night, with the night staff bringing him in to me for feeds.  Now he's in my room as I prepare for home.  He was in our room at home for the first five weeks of his life as I felt I needed him near me.  Duncan wasn't too happy about this as he is a light sleeper, but he agreed because it was easier for me.  Now I can't wait to get home and get Flynn settled in his own room.  Every snort and snuffle keeps me awake!

At times it has felt like one step forward, three steps back.  My thoughts have descended to some very dark places as my relationship with Flynn deteriorated at times.  The anger and frustration at his lack of sleeping was like a volcano threatening to erupt, and I'm thankful for staff who have stepped in to help.  Thankfully I am feeling much more settled, and Flynn is now on medication for reflux and is starting to sleep a bit more (it's still a challenge though).  I now have mandatory naps in the afternoon and the staff watch Flynn for me, as they noticed I find the afternoons a real challenge with sleep deprivation.

The staff and patients are lovely and I will never forget the love and support they have shown me.  I have formed good friendships with the other ladies here (we even have our own secret Facebook group) and we plan to keep in touch after discharge.  I have refused visitors a lot as I need to focus on my recovery and I really haven't felt like talking.  Some people don't get it; they think it's going to be like visiting someone in hospital with a broken leg or something.  I don't have time for people who expect me to be my old self.

So, now I prepare for home.

I want to go home.  I want to be with Rory.  It has been really hard on him.

But I'm scared.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me LORD, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish, how long, LORD, how long?
Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love.
Among the dead no-one proclaims Your name,
Who praises You from the grave?
I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears
Psalm 6:2-6

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How it Happened

How did I end up here again?

I felt so good after having Flynn.  When I had Rory, the 'love button' switched off on Day 3 and I struggled to feel warm fuzzies for him.  With Flynn, it continued and, despite a few teary days from tiredness, I felt well.  I had a good experience in the Albany hospital.  Despite being short-staffed and under the pump, the midwives were lovely and professional.  Yet I still wanted to be discharged three days after giving birth.  The hospital environment was much too noisy, and I missed Duncan and Rory.

Since I felt like I missed out on enjoying Rory's newborn days, I was determined to relish the cuddles with Flynn.  On Day 1 he mostly slept.  Day 2 was a different story.  He wanted to feed constantly and wouldn't settle when I tried to put him in the bassinet.  That was fine with me.  I enjoyed having him in my arms and holding him close.  I even co-slept with him, despite it being against hospital policy.  Too bad, I thought.  The midwives were too busy to help me sometimes and I'd be waiting for ages.  Plus, I couldn't get out of bed all the time after my c-section.  Flynn just wanted to be nestled in my arms, so we made it work.  I told myself it wouldn't last forever.

When we went back to my parents' house, Flynn continued to want to sleep in my arms and would wake immediately if I attempted to put him down.  Sleep deprivation started to take its toll, but I thought I was still coping well.  My huge stomach was slowly shrinking and I was in good spirits compared to when Rory was born.

After we went home to the farm, Flynn's pattern of only sleeping when held continued.  His cries broke my heart and I didn't want him to feel abandoned.  I just wanted to protect him.  As the weeks went by, I realised I had not slept longer than two hours at a time for a fair while.  But still we were back at church when Flynn was 11 days old and the week after that I even did mission news.  I couldn't wait to get out and about and show Flynn off, even though there was a lot more organisation involved with getting out of the house with two kids.

Gradually old patterns of thinking began to take hold.  I was frustrated with the restrictions placed on me after my c-section.  I felt like I was stuck in Groundhog Day.  My mum came to stay after Duncan went back to work and despite our good relationship this time, it was hard on both of us.  Rory was tiring my mum out.  We played pass the baby as Flynn still wouldn't sleep in his bassinet.  I missed spending time with Rory.  I rarely went outside.  It annoyed me that I didn't get to have a shower until midday, if at all.  I felt Duncan and my mum were getting tired of doing a lot of things for me.  I was getting very little sleep at night and no chance to nap during the day.  I started to shut myself off, refusing visitors and no longer looked forward to going out.  I was starting to get fed up with Flynn's refusal to sleep on his own.

When Flynn was two weeks old, I discovered he had thrush in his mouth and I ended up having to be treated for it, too.  Then I suspected he had reflux, but when I raised this with health professionals, they just fobbed me off, saying lots of babies were windy and vomit etc.  But my gut instincts told me it was more than that.  I'd seen it with Rory, but it was worse with Flynn.  It explained why he liked to sleep held upright.  We tilted up his bed, but it didn't make a lot of difference.  He appeared to be in pain when lying flat, gulping, burping, farting and vomiting.  His nose was congested, like he had a bad cold, but I knew it was the reflux getting into his nose.  Flynn spent many nights sleeping on Duncan's chest as it was the only way we could get any sleep, but Duncan still wasn't getting much sleep.

On Wednesday 28th October, I finally crashed.  I had an argument with my mum and she said some things that hurt me deeply.  Rory was having a tantrum, Flynn was crying, I was crying and just couldn't cope anymore.  I called the PANDA Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Australia helpline because some dark images had started to come into my mind and I wanted to end my life.  They called Duncan and he came back from Perth as fast as he could (he'd gone up just for the day for an appointment).  A lovely friend from church came over to help.  I spent that night in our little local hospital where I could be kept safe and get some sleep.

They wanted to get me a bed in a Mother Baby Unit, but I didn't want to go.  I didn't want to be away from Rory as I was already feeling guilty that Flynn took up so much of my time.  When I was in the MBU with Rory, there was only one with eight beds.  Now there was a second one (also with eight beds) at Perth's newest hospital.  That one had a bed available and I eventually agreed I needed to go.  I was angry at myself for 'failing', that I hadn't learnt anything from last time, that I'd slipped back into old ways of thinking.  Like last time, the staff and patients are lovely and supportive.

So, here I am.

Monday, November 09, 2015

It's Happened Again

I thought I'd beaten it this time.

I thought I was doing well.

Maybe I was fooling myself.

I'm back in the Mother Baby Unit with Flynn - a different one this time - after relapsing with postnatal depression and anxiety. I've been here for 11 days so far and discharge seems like a long way away.

I'm reading Trusting God by Jerry Bridges at the moment because it's a fight to trust God when I feel so angry and I don't understand why He's allowed this to happen again.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Flynn's Birth Story

The second child always seems to get less than the first child.  Less hype surrounding their birth, less photos, less recording of milestones, less presents (and more hand-me-downs).  I've been determined to blog Flynn's birth story - like I did Rory's.

Rory and I headed to Albany on Monday 21st September to start my 'countdown' (five days before my due date).  Having been induced on my due date with Rory, I had no idea whether the baby would be early or late.  I was leaning towards late and therefore was a bit laissez-faire about heading down too early.  I didn't want to be sitting around in my parents' house for up to two weeks.  My doctor insisted she would like me down at least five days before, so I complied.

On Tuesday 22nd September, Rory and I were meant to be meeting up with a friend and her son at the beach for coffee, but she messaged me that morning to say she was sick and couldn't make it.  I took Rory for a play at another playground instead (enduring a lot of stares from people at the cafe nearby).  At 39 weeks and three days pregnant, taking a toddler to the park feels like a major gym workout, but we had a lot of fun.

That afternoon, I went to lie down while Rory was napping, but I couldn't sleep.  I started to feel quite nauseous.  Eventually it passed.

In the evening, I sat down to watch the new Aussie drama 800 Words when what felt like contractions started.  I brushed them off as Braxton Hicks, but they kept going.  I gritted my teeth through it, kept quiet so as not to alarm my parents unnecessarily, and timed the contractions.  They were roughly 10 minutes apart and lasted for about 45 seconds each.

By the time I went to bed, they were about five minutes apart and intensifying.  I couldn't sleep and was thrashing around in bed with the pain, trying not to wake Rory with my moaning.  I seriously don't know how Scientologists expect women to be quiet in labour.  Obviously a man must have made up that rule!

At 12:30am, I let my parents know I thought I was in labour and rang the hospital for advice.  I didn't want to ring Duncan unless I was definitely in labour.  A midwife advised me to wait a bit and see if the contractions got closer together.  The only thing I could think of to help with the pain was a bath.  I knew I wasn't going to be allowed to have a water birth at the hospital because I'd had a c-section with Rory, and they need to monitor me with a CTG belt.  Warm baths and showers have helped with my arthritis in the past, but, this time, the bath was no help at all.  I got out after about 10 minutes, in more pain than ever, with contractions now only a couple of minutes apart.  The pain was so bad I couldn't possibly keep quiet.  My dad rang the hospital and they advised me to come in.  He then rang Duncan who immediately begun the one and a half hour drive from the farm to Albany.

Fortunately my parents live about two minutes drive from the hospital.  They grabbed my suitcase and shoved it in the car.  I got a little bit short with my dad for taking a while to get dressed and ready.  Hurry up, I'm in agony here!  I was taken from emergency up to the maternity ward in a wheelchair to be greeted by a nurse who immediately recognised my dad...and then me.  That's the downside about choosing to give birth in your hometown - there's bound to be someone who knows you and now I wasn't sure I wanted to be 'known' in such a vulnerable state.  I went to primary school and high school with this nurse's son.  She's a lovely person though and informed us that all of the birthing suites were full (it turned out every pregnant woman in the district had decided to give birth that week and the hospital was stretched to capacity).  I was taken to an ordinary room and was in so much pain, I couldn't lie still.  I rushed to the ensuite to vomit, but was only dry-retching.  A midwife examined me and told me I was 3-4cm dilated.  They were waiting for a birthing suite to become free.  I begged for pain relief and they brought me some gas.  It really didn't make a difference with the pain though, I just felt kinda out of it.  My doctor was already at the hospital with another patient and when she was free, she came to see me.  She thought my belly had changed shape since she saw me last (I had noticed that too and other friends had commented on it), so she did an ultrasound and discovered the bubba was posterior and had not engaged.  I had been determined to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) and my doctor was very supportive of this.  I'd been told beforehand that if I went into labour on my own, it would enhance my chances of a successful VBAC.  This had happened, but now other odds were stacked against me.  I felt so much relief when Duncan walked through the door.  The midwife gave me an injection of morphine and I was hopeful that this would make a dent in the pain.

Eventually I was taken into a birthing suite, sucking madly on the gas, even though it still felt like it was doing nothing.  I was so dizzy, it was like I was drunk, and I was guzzling water because my mouth was so dry from the gas.  The hours sped by.  I asked for an epidural and it was so hard to be still while it was done.  With Rory, I was given the epidural before I was induced, so it was no problem to sit still.  However, the epidural did nothing!  It didn't make even the slightest difference and had to be removed.  It was like I was immune to all forms of pain relief.  Eventually my doctor had to gently break it to me that due to the bubba's position, the labour was not progressing well.  I had got to 6cm dilated.  I was given the options of continuing on or having a c-section, but it was likely I would labour for hours and still end up having a c-section anyway.  My doctor assured me she would support me either way.  I opted for the c-section and Duncan was behind me all the way.  The thought of hours more of pain for the same result filled me with dread.  All through my pregnancy I had prepared myself that I might need another c-section.  This time I wasn't afraid.  I had had one with Rory and survived and healed.  The staff started to get me ready for surgery and that meant taking the gas away.  I didn't think it would make much of a difference anyway, but, boy, was I mistaken.  The pain was now excruciating, so the gas must have been helping a little bit.  Then they couldn't do the spinal block.  My back must be so munted from scoliosis and arthritis that they couldn't get it in the right place.  I was told that I'd need a general anaesthetic and this was a tremendous relief.  All I wanted was to go to sleep and the pain to end.

When I came to, it was the most pleasant feeling, like waking from a beautiful, refreshing sleep.  My throat felt very dry though.  Suddenly I remembered where I was and what had happened.  I'd had a baby!  I asked the midwife if it was a boy or a girl, and she told me I'd had a boy.  I was so excited to meet him and was surprised to see that he had red hair (which comes from family on both sides).  He'd spent close to an hour having skin-to-skin bonding time with his Daddy and was getting most frustrated that man boobs don't have milk.  The downside of having a general anaesthetic is that Duncan wasn't allowed into the operating theatre, so he'd had to wait outside.

We'd had three boys names on standby and I asked Duncan which one he wanted as I was happy with any of them.  He said that since the bubba had red hair we should choose Flynn after the fire engine on Thomas and Friends (Rory's favourite show, which first made me think of the name).

Many women have grand plans about how their labours will pan out, but I'm not one of them.  Still, it was far from what I'd expected.  I was just glad the whole thing was over.  Flynn was here, he was safe, and I was ok. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Another Day, Another Rejection

When there's mail for me, with the address in my own handwriting, I know it's not good.

Last Friday I received another rejection from an agent I sent my novel to a few weeks ago.  I had to send them a self-addressed stamped envelope so they could let me know the news.

I guess I've got to just keep trying...when I get the time.  This news, along with the sleep-deprivation that goes with having a newborn and a toddler, plus recovering from major surgery, has left me feeling a bit down.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Bridesmaids...Nine Years On

As I was preparing to cheer the Eagles to victory against Hawthorn last Saturday, I realised it was nine years since I had watched the Eagles in a Grand Final.

On the 30th September 2006, they were premiers.  That day was a special one.  A lot has happened in those past nine years.

I watched that game with a bunch of people from my church.  Nine years later that church has been closed for three and a half years.

Duncan was there.  At the time he was my love interest.  The day after the Grand Final, he moved to Buntine.  I came to the difficult realisation that nothing was ever going to happen between us and that I had to let my feelings go.  Nine years later we are married and have two beautiful sons.


Grand Final Day 2015 was a painful one, but I am proud of the Eagles.  Who could have imagined they would have made it that far.

Image from here

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Bubba is Here!

The bubba is male.

Introducing Flynn.

Flynn was born on the 23rd September (three days early), weighing 7lb 15oz and was 50cm long (one ounce heavier, but four centimetres shorter than his big brother).

We are thrilled to have two lovely boys.

Birth story to come...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: The Firstborn

Six days 'til our new bubba is due and I'm feeling a bit sad.

It's not because I don't want to welcome a new member of our family.  I can't wait to have newborn snuggles.

It's because my precious time with just my firstborn is coming to an end.  It will no longer be just me and Rory going on adventures together.  My main concerns during this pregnancy have been how he will cope with that.

I'm not regretting giving him a sibling - he will benefit greatly from learning he is NOT the centre of the universe.  I just want to make the most of these remaining days.  Sometimes they have been difficult, but they have been precious.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Cross and the Switchblade

This is one of those books that stays with you after you've finished it.  Up there with Keith Green's biography, it will make comfortable, middle-class Christians go 'ouch'.

As inspiring as it is confronting, The Cross and the Switchblade is the story of an ordinary man - David Wilkerson, a small-town US pastor - who is enabled to do extraordinary things in God's power.  One night in 1958, Wilkerson hears about the murder trial of seven teenage boys from New York on the TV; they had been charged with stabbing another boy to death because they felt like it.  Wilkerson couldn't shake the feeling that God was leading him to New York to help the boys.  While he never got to do that, it was the start of an incredible outreach to gangs in 1960s New York, which eventually led to the development of Teen Challenge.  This residential rehabilitation ministry offers hope to those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.

While the book is an amazing testimony to the power of God, there were some parts of the story which didn't sit well with me.  Wilkerson 'tests' God's will a lot by laying fleeces, a practice which I also found irksome in Jim Elliot's biography.  Also, I disagree with the Pentecostal obsession with speaking in tongues.  While trying to get some of the teenagers in his care off drugs, Wilkerson believes they would not be free from addiction or have the Holy Spirit until they spoke in tongues.  There is a heavy emphasis on the Spirit setting young people free from loneliness, addiction, anger etc. and while I certainly believe that God heals and restores people's lives, an emphasis on sin being everyone's greatest problem seems to be lacking.

Overall, I think this is a book that must be read.  It's so easy to become a comfortable Christian, but God can use anyone.  We are all clay in His hands.  Let's pray that He uses us as He wishes, no matter how scary that may be, to change people's lives.  No-one is in the too-hard basket, no-one is beyond His grace.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Quote of the Day

A boat is safe in the harbour. But this is not the purpose of a boat.
- Paulo Coelho

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Funny


A Yorkshireman and his wife walked past a swanky new restaurant.
"Did you smell that food?" the wife asked.  "Wonderful."
Being a kindhearted Yorkshireman, he thought, What the heck, I'll treat her.

So they walked past it again.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: Nesting and Resting

Finally...progress in the nesting department.

Rory's new room is pretty much finished and he is now in his big boy bed.

It took me months to clean out what was my study and transform it into a room fit for a Thomas-obsessed two-year-old.  I love opshops and Gumtree for cheap secondhand stuff.

$5 opshop bargain

I'm pleased to report that the little fellow has adapted to the changes very well.

The baby will have Rory's old room.

The nesting has been slower than I'd like due to my frequent need to rest.

The journey this room has taken since we moved in:

When we moved in.

My study.

Rory's room.  We've just got to put up the $5 Thomas curtains
I got from an opshop, too.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Time Of My Life

I had a great time at Dirty Dancing: The Musical back on the 9th August with my dear friend and former housemate, Emma.  It has become an annual tradition that we go and see a musical together.  Kid-free time and no men whinging that they're bored.....woohoo!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

5 Favourite Wendy Matthews Songs

Another one of my favourite artists I enjoy listening to while on roadtrips (alone, of course, otherwise Duncan complains haha).

1. Ten Miles of Timber
2. Standing Strong
3. The Day You Went Away
4. Let's Kiss (Like Angels Do)
5. Beloved

Monday, August 31, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: 35 Weeks

The bubba's arrival is so close now.  It's scary and a relief at the same time.

Pelvic pain is now in full swing.

I just need to hang on until 37 weeks, so I don't get flown to Perth (Albany doesn't have the facilities for premature babies).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Marriage 101: Men Can't 'Have it All' Either

As a married woman, I constantly hear that I can 'have it all' - the family, the career etc. etc.  That there is a way to juggle, to have your cake and eat it too.

It's such a lie.  It doesn't take into account that women have different limitations and often something has to give.  That's why I was so relieved when I heard one speaker at a conference say, "Yes, you can have it all....just not at the same time."  Sometimes you might have to wait until the kids are in full-time school or have left home to pursue study or a career.  I'm glad I got all of my study out of the way before I had kids....I know I can't cope with both at once.

But what annoys me is that while the message to women is slowly changing, the message to men remains the same....THEY can have it all.  They can be a full-time working man and a family man.  They can be heavily involved at church.  All at the same time.

It's just not true.

I know many women who are privately frustrated that their husbands put work and church above family.  But after confessing that, they plaster on a smile and say, "Whatever makes him happy."

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating making family life into some kind of idol.  I know families need to put food on the table, and often that responsibility for working outside the home falls to the husband.  I'm not advocating that families becoming self-functioning islands who don't need other relationships.  I'm not advocating skipping church to have 'family fun time'.

While some women care too much about what their workplace and church thinks of them, so do some men.  It's like the responsibility of having a family has become a sort of hobby that they tack onto their life.

The Bible is clear that both singleness and marriage are good things.  Paul even goes as far as to say some people should remain single as they have undivided attention to focus on the Lord.  I hear some people wanting to matchmake singles who are very, very busy people.  Personally, unless some people cut down on their dedication to their career and their extracurricular activities, I don't think they should get married.  Where on earth would a wife fit in their jampacked life?

God comes first, but that doesn't mean going on every church roster in existence.

No-one can 'have it all' at once.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs - how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world - how he can please his wife - and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world - how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Funny

This is what a sense of humour looks like:

This will make you smile:

How to deal with a problem neighbour:

Best tattoo ever:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

5 Reasons I Haven't Been Blogging Much Lately

1.  I've been unwell.  I had an iron infusion recently since my most recent blood test showed I am slightly anaemic.  I felt fine during the infusion but, 36 hours later I got a headache.  I kicked it with Panadol, but it came back with a vengeance along with nausea and body aches and pains.

2.  While I was in Albany having my iron infusion, my uncle and aunt from Geraldton came to visit.

3.  I don't get time to blog during the day anymore, so I have to do it at night.  Some nights I've been out, too tired, or just wanting to sit and relax with Duncan.

4.  We had our good friend Alison from Perth come and stay with us.

5.  I've been flat out getting Rory's new room ready, washing all the baby clothes we've been given (we have a heap that get shared between all the ladies on the farm), and continuing my decluttering mission.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The West is Ours

I'm still basking.  The Eagles' last derby win was in May 2012, when I'd just suspected I was pregnant with Rory.  It certainly has been a long time between drinks.

Down with the Dorkers!  How it tastes so sweet!

Image from here

Monday, August 17, 2015

Religion is for Fools

I've also made a conscious decision this year to not only read more Christian biographies, but more evangelistic books as well.  I have had a number of these short evangelistic books/tracts sitting unread in my bookcase for some time, which is a terrible waste.  I'd love to give them away, but it's important to actually read it first before I can confidently place it in an unbeliever's hands and know they will be reading about the true gospel.

Religion is for Fools is one of those books.  In many ways it is like your typical evangelistic book - short, written by a former sceptic is who is now a believer, covers the usual stumbling blocks to faith such as the historical reliability of the Bible, "I'm a good person," etc.

But in other ways, it's different.  Written by Australian comedian Bill Medley (who I hadn't heard of), he explains why he went from religious sceptic to follower of Christ.  It's actually a letter to his sister-in-law Rita (who is not Christian), based on discussions they'd had.  He then put his thoughts into this book which he hoped she would read and think about.  Medley's mission was to investigate the world's five major religions - Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity.  The downside for which he'd be likely to be criticised by non-Christians for is that he spends the majority of the book exploring and defending Christianity, and leaves little room for the others.  He acknowledges and defends this though by saying that in his 'journey' to faith, if he found the true and living God, he doesn't need to spend time looking at anything else.  One thing he does do though is smash the notion that many Westerners have that Buddhism is all about peace, love and meditation.  It just shows that many people make Buddhism into what they want it to be without really investigating its teachings.

The difference between this book and a lot of other evangelistic books is that it's punchy, it's humorous (obviously since it's written by a comedian), and it has some little cartoons here and there.  It would definitely be a good book to give to an Aussie man interested in investigating Christianity.  It's the kind of book I'd give to my dad if he were interested.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:
"I will destroy the intelligence of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
Where is the wise person?  Where is the teacher of the law?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those believe.  Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before Him.  It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

5 Things We've Been Up To Lately

1.  We went to a fantastic Christian conference in Perth in mid July.  Having a toddler in tow meant either Duncan and I had to spend time in the parenting room while the other went to the talks, but it was still a great time.  Here's Rory at a park in Fremantle while Duncan was at one of the sessions.

2.  We celebrated Duncan's 34th birthday on the 21st July.  This is the farm-themed cake I made for him (about the extent of my novelty cake-making ability).  Rory was NOT impressed that I borrowed his toys.

3.  I went away for a weekend by myself.  For the last two Mother's Days I've been telling Duncan that the best present I could receive was some time out/a mental health weekend/a 'Sarah retreat'.  So, I finally went away to Albany and housesat my parents' house while they were away.  It was a lovely time.  So quiet....but I did miss my fellows.

4.  I had my hair cut off.  I figured I'll be going through another postnatal moult soon enough and having a little bubba grab your hair while feeding is not very pleasant.

5.  We went to Dunsborough last weekend to see Duncan's family before the bubba is born.  Unfortunately Duncan had the flu so he missed out on seeing his relatives.  I took Rory out and about a bit.  He had a ball catching up with one of his 'besties', Sarah.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Calling All Theoblogians #13

It's elders' election time at my church. Each time, we are encouraged to reflect on the Bible passages that outline the requirements of an elder. I'm grateful to be part of a church that takes Scripture seriously:

Here is a trustworthy saying:
If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach , the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?). He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil.  He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
1 Timothy 3:1-7

An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer is trusted with God's work, he must be blameless - not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Titus 1:6-9

The questions I have are:
  • Does an elder have to be married?  I've been part of churches where single and engaged men have been elders or nominated to be elders. Christians seem to interpret 'husband of but one wife' differently. Some see it as saying that IF an elder is married, he should only have one wife and not be a bigamist. Others see it as that an elder must be a married man with just one wife.
  • Is Scripture saying that an elder's children must all be believers? I've seen instances where an elder has adult children, some who are believers and some who are not. Or is it only concerning children who still live at home? What about elders who have babies or toddlers who aren't old enough to understand the gospel yet? Can a childless man be an elder? I know some Christians who think that a man with only child should be excluded from being considered for eldership because the passage says 'children'.
Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Learning to Love the Child You've Got

I was cringing as I wrote the title of this blog sounds so harsh!

No matter how much parents tell themselves that they're content with the child they've been given and have no expectations, sometimes disappointment still rears its ugly head.  Even if you are happy and putting no pressure on your child to be a certain way, other people and their concerns and opinions threaten to derail your contentment.

I have no secret desire for Rory to be gifted or advanced in certain areas. I just want him to be average. Average is good. But when it became apparent that he was a bit behind in some areas, people told me I should be concerned.

He walked at 16 months. This is in the range of normal, but I had a barrage of people - some older mums with grandkids, and some first-time mums, like me - express concern that he wasn't walking before age one. WHAT?!? I thought kids walking before the age of one were in the minority.

He has a speech delay. We had a few sessions with a speech pathologist earlier in the year and she's confident he's just a late talker, and that he'll start talking properly around age three. When I tell people that he has trouble with his speech, they assume he's mute. That couldn't be further from the truth (come to my house if you don't believe me). The only time Rory is quiet is when he's asleep or in an unfamiliar environment and he gets a bit shy. He chatters away all the time, just not in English. His vocabulary is limited for his age, but, praise be to God, he has started stringing words together and widening his vocabulary.

He's also been a bit nervous about climbing. At times I've shuddered about this, because I struggled so much with this sort of thing as a child, and was teased mercilessly about it in kindergarten and primary school. I don't want him to take after me in this area and face the bullying I faced. So, I don't want to be unsympathetic about his fears and push him too hard, but I still want to expose him to lots of opportunities to practise.

Being the first grandchild and nephew on both sides of the family means there have been a lot of high (and unrealistic) expectations placed upon Rory's little shoulders. He (plus me and Duncan) have had to listen to comments like, " When are you going to walk/talk?" and, "Why can't he catch that ball/climb that big rock etc. because so-and-so's kid is doing it?"  There's a lot of blame placed on parents these days if their children are below par in others' expectations, and I'm trying to learn to ignore it. It shows people's ignorance more than anything if they assume kids' weaker areas are always the result of 'bad parenting'. But, at the same time, it does bring out defensiveness in me, which I'm trying to learn to get over.

That is one of the big challenges in parenting...learning to love the child you've been given, the gift from God. Not the one who you hoped would be smarter, more social, more winsome, or more physically able, but learning to love them with all of their little quirks and interests, and walking beside them on the way.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: 30 Weeks

The latest photo of me and my basketball.

Even the maternity clothes are starting to get too small!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Quote of the Day

We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
- Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


For me, an essential thing in a friendship is a shared sense of humour, or at least an understanding and appreciation of each other's humour.

I find it very difficult (read: impossible) to be friends with someone who:
  • Is too serious and flashes me weird or condescending looks for laughing at something they don't find funny.
  • Laughs at everything, like nothing is sacred.
  • Thinks I'm being funny and laughs at me when I'm being serious.
  • Has a crude sense of humour (racist, sexist etc.).
  • Has a sarcastic sense of humour.

A true friend is one who I can laugh with so hard, no sound comes out.

A fellow weirdo is what I need.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

You're only given a little spark of madness.  You mustn't lose it.
- Robin Williams

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Funny


1.  Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.

2.  A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

3.  If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives.  Then you'll be afraid to cough.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: The Battle Plan

Having had postnatal depression with Rory, there is a 50-70% chance I'll get it again with this baby.

But while I'm at higher risk, my doctor has also told me I'm at lower risk as well, because I'll know the warning signs and where to get help.

I've been encouraged by my doctor and various friends to think about what to do in advance.  I need a 'battle plan', a way to fight PND and put boundaries in place to protect myself.  The sad thing is that family and friends are sometimes the ones I need protecting from.  Not ALL of them - but some don't seem to understand.

Here are some things we've put in place to protect me from pressures and expectations as we adjust to being a family of four:
  • Have the baby in Albany.  Part of the reasoning for this was that we know less people down there.  Less people = less visitors at the hospital.  When Rory was finally delivered by emergency c-section, I hadn't slept in 24 hours.  Then I couldn't sleep from the adrenaline high from having just had a baby.  Then it was the calling and texting everybody.  Feeds took an hour and a half.  Then I was hooked up to an electronic pump because my milk didn't come in until Day 5.  Even when Rory was asleep, I couldn't rest because I was either (a) like a cow on a milking machine, (b) in discomfort from my c-section, or (c) dealing with staff coming in all the time, banging doors (I know it's their job, I just wished they'd go away).  With visitors on top of that it was all too much.
  • Put on my Facebook status that we are very grateful for people's messages of support etc., but ask them please not to call.  The last thing I want to deal with when I'm too sleep-deprived to construct a sentence properly is people calling to have a chat.  They're welcome to email, but it may take me a fair while to get back to them.
  • Step down from the ladies' fellowship deacon position at church (this will happen in August) and the secretary position for our tennis club (I did this in April).  Say no to everything else.  You'd think some people would have more sense than to ask a pregnant lady or new mum to start doing more stuff, but some people are a bit thick it seems.
  • Not do anything, go anywhere, see anyone unless I want to.  I don't want to sit inside, feeling trapped inside my own house, but nor do I want to be pressured by other people.  I realise now I have Rory to consider, so we'll probably have to go out a bit otherwise he'll go stir crazy.  However, I did get really cross at Duncan for wanting to go visit his relatives after the baby's born.  "Oh, but Auntie So-and-So will want to see the baby."   I don't give a rat's about what Auntie So-and-So wants.  Some people have not made A SCRAP OF EFFORT to visit us on either farm we've lived on and keep expecting us to go to them.  NO WAY!
  •  Say no to visitors, unless they're the helpful, encouraging kind.  I don't want anyone staying with us who thinks they're here for a holiday, or is offended by breastfeeding.
  • Get outside for some fresh air, even if it's just to sit on the verandah and watch Rory and the dogs play in the garden.

Last week, a whole range of emotions from when Rory was little came flooding back.
What if my mum goes from being the great help she is now to how she was when Rory was born?
What if I end up surrounded by unhelpful people?
What if I can't juggle spending time with both Rory and the baby?

I was panic-stricken, but then I realised that many of these fears are unfounded and God will be there right with me. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

5 Favourite Bruce Springsteen Songs

I love road trips by myself. They don't happen very often, so I really appreciate the time to listen to music I want to listen to (there is only so much of The Wiggles I can stand). I can listen to my Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits CD without Duncan rolling his eyes at me (I think I was born in the wrong decade).

Here are my five favourites:

1. Brilliant Disguise
2. Dancing in the Dark
3. Streets of Philadelphia
4. Born to Run
5. Hungry Heart

Which are yours?

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Pendulum: Gratitude in all Seasons

I'll admit that grumbling is a sin I've perfected.  Before I became a parent, I thought that parents (particularly mums) whinged about their kids and the trials of parenting far too much.  My Facebook feed was full of it.  For heaven's sake, I thought, just be grateful you have kids at all.  So many people can't.

But now I'm in a different stage of life, I can fully relate.  It's very tempting to use Facebook to have one big whinge.

I hear a lot of childless people telling parents to be grateful for the family they have and the circumstances they find themselves in.  This is true!  I should be more grateful for my little family than I am at times.

But these rebukes have also irked me.  Not just because I was being corrected about my attitude, but because THEIR attitude was also wrong.  I think some single people assume that being married and having children will cure all of their problems.  That they'll no longer experience loneliness.  That they'll be happier and more fulfilled.

I've wanted to say to some single people, "DON'T covet my life."  Not because my life is always terrible, but because what they're seeing is not reality.  They're often seeing what they want to see.  But I haven't said anything because I feared it may sound cruel.

I can see it now in hindsight, that there is also much to be thankful for about singleness - time to spend with other loved ones, time to enjoy a career, more time to yourself, less restrictions when it comes to serving at church....

Some married people with kids need to be told to be thankful, but some single people also need to be told to be thankful and not to covet.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, July 03, 2015

Birthday Long Weekend

Although my birthday does fall on or around the WA Day long weekend each year, there really is no such thing as a long weekend for me.  Not only are mothering duties 24/7, but my birthday is always slap bang in the middle of seeding.  I'm lucky to see my husband much, let alone do anything to celebrate.

But this year I did have a delightful visit from our friends Sarah and Craig and their two boys, who came down from Perth to spend four nights at our place.  It was so nice to see them!  Rory had a ball playing with Wesley, who's nine months older.  The two little fellows get along so well.

Here are some photos that we took between us:

Three little fellows pretending they're in a 'boat' at the local Rose Maze.

Craig feeling on top of the world at the playground.

Starting tennis early.

Getting to sit in a header.

There wasn't enough room in there for everyone.

My beautiful boy.