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