Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Funny

Maybe it's just my warped sense of humour, but I find these funny.







Wednesday, April 26, 2017

From Dolls' House to Bookcase

A friend of mine gave me an old dolls' house for free that was in need of some TLC.  When I saw it, I thought that would make a great bookcase.

We were starting to get more books that would fit in Rory's robot bookcase, plus he was getting annoyed at Flynn pulling his books out all the time.  It was time for Flynn to have his own bookcase with board books in it.

It took me MONTHS of a little bit here and a little bit there, but......I did it!

The boys are very happy with it.




Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Won't Give Up

I sent my novel to a publisher in mid January and, knowing it would take up to three months to hear from them, I grew increasingly nervous and restless as mid April approached.  Then, two weeks ago, I got an email I did not want to receive:

Dear Sarah

Thank you for giving Fremantle Press the opportunity to consider your manuscript THE ROAD TO SEPTEMBER for publication. It has now been reviewed for our fiction list and regrettably I have to tell you that the decision was to not make an offer to publish.

There were tears shed.  Now I guess I have to keep trying.  I've come too far to give up.  I won't give up.
Like the many publishers who reportedly rejected J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, maybe one day those who have rejected my work will be kicking themselves.  And all I will say is, "You had your chance."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.
- Truman Capote

Monday, April 17, 2017

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross by Isaac Watts

My reminder to myself to refocus...
 

When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Lyrics from here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Nine Years and Three Years

Yesterday was a significant day.


Nine years since we said hello to marriage:




Three years since we said goodbye to a much-loved friend:






I tried to dwell on the happy side.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

5 More Scary Movie Villains

Here were my first five, but these ones are also scaaaarrrry!

1.  Mombi (Jean Marsh) in Return to Oz

Image from here

 2.  The Child Catcher (Robert Helpmann) in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Image from here

 3.  The Beast (Robby Benson) in Beauty and the Beast
Ok, I know he becomes the good guy, but when he's mean, he's scary.

Image from here

4.   T-1000 (Robert Patrick) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Image from here

5.  Phantom Zone Villains - Zod, Ursa and Non (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran) in Superman II

Image from here

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hoodwinked

A friend lent me this book a few months back and, in true Sarah style, I've only just finished reading it.  She thought I could use some encouragement in this season of parenting small children...and she was right!

And this book IS very encouraging!  Although nauseatingly American at times (there are only so many times this Aussie can read 'momma' and 'kiddos'), it's a great read.  Here's are the motherhood 'myths' they attempt to debunk:

Myth #1: Motherhood is natural, easy and instinctive
Myth #2: The way I mother is the right (and only) way
Myth #3: I am 'just' a mom
Myth #4: Motherhood is all-consuming and all-fulfilling
Myth #5: A good mother can do it all, all at once
Myth #6: Motherhood is a rat race
Myth #7: Motherhood is the luck of the draw
Myth #8: Everything depends on me
Myth #9: I have to do it all right, or my child will turn out wrong

Myth #10: My child's bad choice means I'm a bad mom

My issue is not so much that I believe these myths, but I grow weary when encountering other mums who do.  I don't believe that if my child turns out to be a serial killer that it's because I did something 'wrong' in raising them, but there are plenty of other mothers who will think that.  I've heard older Christian women bitching about other Christian parents whose adult children aren't following the Lord, criticising their parenting, that they MUST be to blame for the children's poor choices.  This really makes my blood boil.  I was very encouraged by Karen Ehman's (one of the authors) honesty in sharing how her son ended up in trouble with the law as a teenager.  Yes, he came from a 'good Christian home'.  It's tempting to believe that other mothers aren't really judging you, and it's true that they often aren't, but the reality is that sometimes they really are.  Ehman shares openly and honestly how when she was pregnant with her first child she had very strong views on how to parent and how she and other women at her church would say nasty things behind the backs of other women who went back to work or didn't breastfeed.  She also shares how a difficult experience with one of her own babies humbled and changed her.

This is a great book for mums under the pump.  It also contains prayer points and Bible verse cards which can be photocopied and printed.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

Successful mothers are not the ones who have never struggled; they are the ones who never give up, despite the struggles.
- Sharon Jaynes

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Suffering Competition

What's one of the worst things a friend can say to you when you're finding life hard?

"You're not the only one."

What? I hear you say.  Surely they're being empathetic, they're being....nice.

You see, it all depends on the tone.

They could mean, Don't feel alone.  I understand what you're going through, because I'm going through it, too.  That's being nice.

Then there's, You're not the only one with a hard life.  Mine is harder.  My husband works longer hours, my kids' behaviour is more challenging, I don't have supportive family, I'm in worse health, I have less friends.  So, don't you dare complain, because my life's WORSE.

I've had people do the latter to me and it really hurts.  I'm in no way implying that my life is the HARDEST there EVER is.  I'm saying that I'M finding life hard right now.  I'm struggling to cope with what's on my plate.

You see, when women make life into a kind of suffering competition it makes it more intimidating for other women to open up and be authentic.

Remember, your friend is is finding life is hard for THEM.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

As a therapist, lemme just say: almost every trauma survivor I've ever had has, at some point, said, "But I didn't have it as bad as some people," and then talked about how some types of trauma are worse.  Even my most traumatised, most abused, most psychologically-injured clients say this.

The ones who were cheated on, abandoned and neglected say this.  The ones who were in dangerous accidents/disasters say this.  The ones who were horrifyingly sexually abused say this.  The ones who were brutally beaten say this.  The ones who were psychologically tortured for decades say this.  What does that tell you?  That one of the typical side-effects of trauma is to make you believe that you are unworthy of care.

Don't buy into it, because it's nonsense.  It doesn't matter if someone else had it 'worse'.  Every person who experiences a trauma deserves to get the attention and care they need to heal from it.
- Unknown

via http://stimmyabby.tumblr.com

Monday, March 20, 2017

The 13th March Strikes Again

Two years ago, I blogged about how I was beginning to think the 13th March was a cursed date for me, and last year I was pleased to report that the 13th March 2016 was a normal day.

Unfortunately this year the date was tinged with sadness.

On Friday 10th March, I received a text message from my dad letting me know he'd read in the death notices in the paper that a childhood friend of mine had passed away.  Jane and I went to school together from kindergarten (what is now pre-primary) to Year 12, but we'd lost touch after school finished.  I was numb with shock after receiving the news.  As more of our old school friends became aware of her death, I found out she had had cancer.  But, after talking to a few old friends via Facebook, it appeared that all of us had lost touch with her.  We were all shocked and upset, sharing photos of the 'old days' with Jane and remembering times we'd spent with her.

The 13th March was her funeral.  I wish I could have got to Perth for it.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Unveiling Islam

Islam in Australian society continues to dominate headlines, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to review this book.

For a book about Islam to have credibility, I think it should be written by a Muslim or ex-Muslim.  I wouldn't like someone who wasn't a Christian writing a book about Christianity.  I'd think, Do you know what you're going on about, mate?  Unveiling Islam has this advantage over Islam in Our Backyard in that it's written by two of three brothers who were raised as Muslims and later converted to Christianity.  There are no cheesy, fictitious stories in this book; rather, theirs is true and painful.  Their beloved father disowned his three sons when they converted to Christianity, because his Islamic beliefs commanded it, even though it broke his heart to do so.

This book is blunt and to the point about what Muslims believe, and gives tips to Christians on how to answer and relate to Muslims in love. I think Islam in Our Backyard does a better job in summarising, whereas this book can be a bit long and rambly at times.  The book doesn't shy away from the difficult questions and perceptions of Islam, and proves that sometimes the media's perception of Islam as dangerous and radical is more accurate than the misguided, politically correct 'Islam is peace' Australians would want to believe.

If I knew a Christian or non-Christian wanting to understand more about Islam, I would give them this book.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Funny

I thought these were appropriate with the WA State Election tomorrow:


POLITICS

A politician is a fellow who will lay down YOUR life for his country.
- Texas Guinan, 19th century American businessman

 I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
- Charles de Gaulle, French general and politician

We hang petty thieves and appoint the bigger thieves to public office.
- Aesop, Greek slave and fable author

When I was a boy, I was told that anyone could become PM; I'm beginning to believe it.
- Quoted in 'Clarence Darrow for the Defense' by Irving Stone

The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'bloodsucking parasites'.
- Unknown

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Life Without Nanny: The Sequel

We had the lovely Liz stay with us as our nanny from the 8th November until the 3rd January.  Liz is a 30-year-old Christian from Perth and we found her via one of my old uni friends.  The amazing coincidence was that she is also good friends with one of the other farm ladies!  She was an amazing help and fantastic company.  I was so sad when she left and blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and host two great nannies last seeding and harvest.

I've been battling along on my own, although I'm not really on my own, because God is always with me.  There have been days where everything has gone smoothly, and days where I can't wait for bedtime (and to guzzle some chocolate).  I'm feeling a bit more robust, but God keeps reminding me to parent on my knees.  Often it's only after I've tried to do things in my own strength, that He's prompted me to realise, Why didn't I pray?


Related posts: We Have a Nanny!
                        Life Without Nanny
                   Slamming Doors

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

It's the WA State Election this coming Saturday, and Duncan asked me yesterday if there's a website that lists what the parties stand for on certain issues.  There are plenty, but I find the most comprehensive way is to go to each party's individual website.  Websites that compare parties are usually quite biased and don't list ALL of the issues.

We visited a different church on Sunday and we were given 'how to vote' cards for the Australian Christians.  Personally, I dislike these things being handed out in churches where godly people have come to their own opinions and disagree on many issues.  There is no such thing as a 'Christian vote', but that's another story.  This is what was on the brochure - a Christian checklist of where the parties stand on issues concerning Christians:

Image from here

The problem with this checklist is that it's kind of vague with lots of question marks.  Also, it doesn't list ALL of the issues that Christians care about (refugees, for example).  There is also the possibility that some parties' views on some of these issues have been misrepresented.

Please research your vote, people.  Go to each party's website and hear it straight from the horse's mouth.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Christmas 2016

It's nearly March and I'm finally getting around to putting the Christmas pics up haha!

Last Christmas was spent in Dunsborough with the in-laws.  Due to harvest being nowhere near finished, it was a fleeting visit - over there on Christmas Eve and home again on Boxing Day.  We woke on Christmas morning to find that the gate on the chookyard had somehow got open and a lot of the chooks were out.  So, there I was at 6am helping Duncan's dad shoo his chooks back into their yard.

Our friends Isaiah, Harriet and Sarah hosted us all at their house for both lunch and dinner.  It was a low-key day with a great variety of cuisines.  Alas, going out for both lunch and dinner was a bit much for the little fellows.  It took them days to recover from it.












The boys' shared Christmas present from us....Kmart bargain.

Friday, February 24, 2017

5 Ladies' Fashions I Don't Like

This is bound to offend someone...but, again, it's my opinion. ;)

1.  Undercuts
So gross!  Why, oh why?

Image from here
Image from here


2.  Grey or purple hair dye
Why do young women want to look older before their time?

Image from here

Image from here


3.  Too many tattoos
Some tattoos look great.  I like cursive writing on feet, wrists or forearms.  But too many women just get the grossest tattoos (i.e. sleeves) that clash horribly with bridal gowns.

Image from here

Image from here


4.  Claw and African Butterfly hair clips

Image from here

Image from here


5.  Short Dresses
That is not a dress, that is a top.

Image from here

Monday, February 20, 2017

They're Not Parenting At You

I've been doing swimming lessons with Flynn on Tuesday mornings while Rory is at kindy.  The local pool doesn't do lessons for children under school age, but there is a lady who does small private classes in her own pool on her farm about half an hour's drive from here. Flynn did swimming lessons last term as well (as did Rory - but that's a whole other story) and he seemed to be ok in the water. We had a few grizzly days, but overall I had high hopes that these lessons would go smoothly, right?

Wrong.

We rocked up to our first lesson and I saw my neighbour there with her 11-month-old daughter, who is also her first child. Now, in the country, 'neighbour' doesn't necessarily mean next-door neighbour (next-door could even be several kilometres away) - it means anyone on a farm remotely nearby to you. This neighbour is probably about 5km away, but I hadn't seen her for ages.

Our experiences could not have been more different.

Her daughter is already walking before the age of one, has slept through the night consistently since she was a few months old, and had an absolute ball in the water. My neighbour was wearing a bikini, has pretty much regained her pre-baby body, and got back into sport a few months after having her baby. I remember seeing her in the supermarket when Flynn was a few months old and she said she was close to being due. I couldn't believe it, I thought she had months to go. She was TINY.

Flynn walked later (at 14 months), SCREAMED his head off for the entire lesson, I can count the number of times he's slept through the night on one hand, and he ends up in our bed every night - the only way we can get some sleep. I was wearing a faded old t-shirt I've had since I was 12 over the top of my tankini to hide the fact that I still look terrible thanks to abdominal diastasis. I haven't played sport in goodness knows how long and can't until I've recovered from my surgery mid-year.

It would have been easy for me to become very disheartened after this experience, but an article I read on Facebook recently really helped my perspective. When we're having a bad parenting day, it's easy to think seemingly perfect parents are parenting AT US, that they are deliberately trying to make us feel bad. I don't believe for a second that my neighbour was trying to be superior to me. She simply has a much easier baby and has therefore had a much easier time than me. It's also good for parents who do have a bit of an easier time of things to see parents like me, who very clearly HAVEN'T had an easy time of it and are battling along in the hope that their authenticity is an encouragement to others.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Alcoholic Prayer for Christians

When I get discouraged by the sin in my life, I look back at how God has grown and changed me over the years. In this way, every Christian has something in common with alcoholics wanting to be rid of addiction. I'm not there yet, I won't be until I'm with Him...but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

I am not the man I ought to be,
I am not the man I wish to be,
and I am not the man I hope to be.
But by the grace of God, I'm not the man I used to be.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bible Verse of the Day

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Quote of the Day

This is my hope, prayer and desire for my boys as we start this new stage of life....school.


Don't become preoccupied with your child's academic ability, but, instead, teach them to sit with those sitting alone.  Teach them to be kind.  Teach them to offer their help.  Teach them to be a friend to the lonely.  Teach them to encourage others.  Teach them to think about other people.  Teach them to look for the good.  This is how they will change the world.
- Unknown

Thursday, February 02, 2017

The First of School Post Nobody Writes

Today was Rory's first day of kindergarten. I'm not trying to be a pessimist, but I haven't had high hopes for a smooth start since he attended orientation late last year.  During both orientation sessions he clung to me, didn't want to play with other kids, and didn't want to do any of the activities.  We've been trying to talk positively about school over the past few months, but he hasn't been very enthusiastic.  He's been going to daycare one day a week since he was four months old, and since around the time he turned one, drop-offs are painful more often than not.  But he ALWAYS has a good time there and plays with other kids, so I don't know what his problem is.

Even though I know him better than anyone but God, I struggle with knowing the right approach in parenting him.  There's no doubt he has issues with anxiety, but he's also lazy (just calling a spade a spade).  If he had his way, he'd still be in nappies and I'd still be spoon-feeding him!  I still have daily battles with getting him to do tasks I know he can do - eating, putting his shoes on etc. ("I caaaaan't do it!  It's too hard for me," is the common whine).  Due to this I swing between being too tough and unsympathetic to just doing things for him, or not forcing him to do things because I've just had enough.  There have been times where I've really done my block and regretted it afterwards.  Sometimes I feel distant from him, because I just don't know how to help him.  I know too well from personal experience at a young age that kids can be cruel.  I don't want him to have to endure what I did.  I want to help him overcome his fears NOW, so he doesn't have to face the ridicule.  At times I feel like I'm reliving my own childhood through his anxiety.  You'd think I'd be able to relate to how he feels, but sometimes I just can't. 

So, today resulted in a meltdown when it came to putting on his school uniform and getting on the bus.  I thought the bus ride would be ok since his best friend was already on the bus (his best friend is going to the Catholic school unfortunately, while Rory is at the public school), but nope.  Duncan had to ride on the bus with him to calm him down.  I drove into town with Flynn and Rory's big bag of stationery and met them both at the classroom.  There were more tears when it was time to leave.

I spent the day sobbing...not because I'm one of those parents who can't let go, but because I felt so drained.  I cancelled swimming lessons for him, since I just can't deal with the way he screams throughout every lesson.  Dealing with school is enough for now.

Thankfully, he got off the bus this afternoon all smiles, and the comment from his teacher in his communication book said he'd cheered up after we left, played with other kids, did everything he was asked to do, and generally had a great day.

I'm grateful for other parents who have shared their own struggles with me.  My Facebook newsfeed has been littered with photos of happy kids in uniforms and comments from parents, such as, "Jimmy has been looking forward to school for months," or "Sally had a great day, no tears, and actually told me to leave."  It's a kick to the guts reading that and I've struggled with jealousy, raging at God about why, after everything I've been through, He has to give me difficult kids on top of that.

I love my kids more than all the hairs on all the bears, but parenting a sensitive, anxious child is just really hard work.  There are people who'll imply that you're too harsh, and others will think you're too soft, and somehow you've got to ignore them all, and figure out what's best for your child when you don't even know what that is.

Somehow we'll get through this together, my boy.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Joshua's 4th Birthday

I got to spend an afternoon with my biggest little man in December.  Rory was invited to his friend Joshua's 4th birthday party at the indoor play centre in Albany, so I took him, while my mum looked after Flynn.

He had a ball going down a huge inflatable slide, and I was so proud of him for being so brave.  The party was a smorgasboard of all of his favourite foods - chicken nuggets, chips, sausage rolls, fairy bread, and a delicious icecream cake.

I'm all for outsourcing kids' birthday parties - it makes it easier for parents who are time-poor, or aren't gifted in the areas of cake decorating.




Monday, January 30, 2017

5 More Dero WA Towns

Yep, I've visited more than five 'holes'....

1.  Northam
2.  Narrogin
3.  New Norcia (not dero so much, but it gives me the creeps)
4.  Manjimup
5.  Carnarvon

Friday, January 27, 2017

5 Dero WA Towns

Bound to offend...but, hey, it's my blog, my opinion. ;)

1.  Meekatharra
2.  Katanning
3.  Jerramungup
4.  Moora
5.  Gnowangerup

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I Am Australian by The Seekers

I thought it was appropriate to post these lyrics on Australia Day.  I love my amazing country and the diversity of the people who call it home.

We are one, but we are many,
And from all the lands on earth we come.
We share a dream and sing with one voice:
I am, you are, we are Australian.

Lyrics from here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

It's Just Like Riding a Bike

This phrase has always annoyed me, because riding a bike has NEVER been easy for me.  I've always suffered from poor balance and I haven't been on a bike since I was 12.  I've struggled with climbing, general clumsiness, driving a manual car (because I find it hard to co-ordinate easing my foot off the clutch and my other foot onto the accelerator at the same time), lack of co-ordination when learning particular dance moves, and my gross motor skills were quite poor as a young child.  It seems Rory has similar issues.  Only in the last few weeks I've been wondering if we both have some form of gross motor dyspraxia.

But this is the year I've decided to confront my fear of riding a bike.  I mentioned in my 5 Hopes For 2017 that I don't want to miss out anymore.  Since my brother-in-law has just bought Duncan and I new bikes as presents, now is the time to start.

Maybe one day I'll join the Ride for Compassion.

For now...baby steps.

Did you know there are classes to help adults learn to ride a bike?  It turns out I'm definitely not the only one to struggle with this.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Four

I can still remember what it was like having skin-to-skin cuddles with him when he was born.  Now my big boy Rory turned four yesterday!

We celebrated his birthday early by having a party at our place last Saturday.  His last two birthday parties have been in Perth, because we were up there for other things.  This time, it was nice to celebrate with his local (and some visiting) friends. Since it was going to be 35C, I had organised for it to be a morning of water play.  Then it turned into a mud fest.  It's amazing how the simple things can keep kids amused for hours.

A Thomas-themed party for a Thomas-mad little boy.

These things were great shelter from the hot, hot sun.


Mmm Cheezels

Bubbles are always a winner.

Mud, glorious mud.


This was my first attempt at using fondant.  I'm not a baker and it's
definitely not perfect, but I'm happy with my effort.  Rory loved it,
so that's all that matters.

Nice to have a family photo.

Flynn loves balloons.


We came up to Perth on Tuesday as I have a week's worth of appointments.  Harvest was STILL going when we left (it has finished now, thankfully), so Duncan was unable to come with us.  My mum is here, helping me with the kids while I go to my appointments.

Yesterday, Rory, Flynn and I headed to the city to catch up with our friends, Sam, Aria and Boyd.  We planned to drive to Cockburn Central Park and Ride and catch the train, but there were no parking spots!  So, I tried Murdoch Park and Ride.,,,no parking there either!  We ended up driving in (Rory took the disappointment of missing out on his first train ride very well).  I took a wrong turn, couldn't find a parking spot and ended up scraping the car on a post (thankfully it's not too bad).  What an effort and a misadventure!  I was feeling quite hot and bothered by the time we finally got to the Fire Station Museum.  The kids had a ball!

The rockclimbing wall was a hit.


Rory was stoked to sit in a real fire engine.

Fireman Rory to the rescue.

There were uniforms and hats there for the kids
to dress up in.  I dressed Firey Flynn in his fire engine
shirt for the day, then seconded him to the SES. He
was not happy.

It was way too big and heavy for him, but he
looked sooo funny toddling around in it.

Then we had lunch.  Rory loves babycinos.

He was so excited to catch up with Aria, who is also four.


Can you believe it has been four years since this precious moment?