Monday, March 19, 2018

5 Hopes For 2018

It's mid March already, so I'd better post this. Here goes nothin'.....

1. Press on with my dream of becoming a published author. I plan to submit short stories to competitions to hopefully build my writing 'resume', as well as not give up on getting my novel published.

2. Start riding my bike.

3. Build my fitness. I've already been swimming laps at the local pool on my childfree day once a week (man, I'm unfit). When the pool closes for winter (it's an outdoor pool), I'm going to go to Zumba once a week.

4. Go hardcore on DIY projects. I'm in the middle of fixing up my verandah railing (cutting off old wire, sanding, repainting, and putting up new wire). Then I hope to paint the verandah surface with some non-slip stuff I saw in Bunnings. Our verandah gets terribly slippery when wet, and despite my continued warnings, the little fellows run on it, slip over and hit their heads. After that, my scungy outside laundry needs repainting, as well as some of the doorframes and window frames inside the house.

5. Make a serious dent in the huge pile of unread books next to my bed, on my shelves, in my bookcase, and in the drawers of my bedside table. I love books, but I feel like I'm drowning in them (note to self: STOP BUYING BOOKS). Those that I don't like will either be sold, given away, or placed in my in-laws' Perth house (where we stay when in Perth) for other guests to read.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bible Verse of the Day

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-25

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Forging a Real World Faith

It took a while for me to put into words what this book was about. At times it seems disjointed and disconnected, but at the end, everything really clicks into place.

It's about how to live as a Christian in the real world - beyond the church, beyond the 'safety' of any Christian gathering.

What we can do to sharpen our faith, like a refiner of silver. This takes guts and effort.

Our responsibility to grow our faith, and not remain stagnant.

Gordon MacDonald frequently examines the life of Daniel in the Bible, as the example of someone who made a real impact on the culture without compromising his faith in God.

It's a challenging book, but a bit dry in parts. The use of the term 'self-mastery' throughout irked me, until I realised he meant self-discipline. I think it falls short a bit on God's grace and the power of the Spirit in changing us (it's not all up to us).  Possibly a bit more balance was needed here. But it's worth a read, and for those Christians living in a bubble (it's easy to do), it's good shake-up.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

How Social Media Ruins Friendships

I'm sure I could easily come up with at least 10 reasons why social media is beneficial for friendships, but my experiences over the past five months with Facebook and friendships have left me shaken, anxious, paranoid, angry and bitter. I won't go too deeply into the events that caused this reaction (you never know who is reading after all....although part of me wants to just put it all out there), but enough so you know what has caused this extreme reaction.

I've written about this briefly before, but in early October last year, I went to message a friend and my heart leaped as I saw the 'Add Friend' button on her profile. Since I consider this person a 'real life' friend, I messaged her via Messenger, asking what I'd done wrong. I considered maybe her kids had been playing with her phone, until I got the dreaded message. Yes, she'd done it. The reason? She 'didn't agree with some things I post'. I asked her to elaborate. This isn't someone from high school who I haven't seen in 18 years, so it could make any in-person encounters awkward. Last year I posted about how it's usual habit for many Facebook users to unfriend anyone who disagrees with them on anything! I tried to recall if I'd shared any controversial political articles recently. I eventually learned the reason.

I was unfriended because I was sick.

Yep, it was because I posted about this incident.

Then I was re-added by this person a couple of months later as if her actions hadn't had any effect on me at all! She knew I'd been upset about it, but I didn't mention the extent. That whole saga about being in hospital with abdominal pain meant I lost more than just my health temporarily. My parents didn't believe me and acted like it was a massive inconvenience for them, and now a friend of mine had unfriended me because they just didn't want to know (they said they cared too much, but I would never turn my back on a friend in need, even if I was worried about them). I even asked some other friends of mine (not mentioning this person's name) and they thought it was very weird behaviour.

So I still have a yucky taste in my mouth months later and I'm wary about what I post. But then the rebel in me, declares, Who cares what they think!
  • There is no Facebook/real life divide when it comes to friendships. I'm sick of people behaving waaay differently on social media to how they would in real life. If you're rude to me online, that affects our real-life friendship. I'm not just going to forget about what you said because you forgot I'm a real person behind a computer screen. I've seen people write, I'm doing a massive friend cull on FB, getting rid of negative people in my life, then declare that they still want to be real-life friends with the people they unfriended, and not understand why those people were hostile. Ummm yep, it IS personal, buddy. You shafted them out of 500 people and wonder why they're pissed off. And if they're so 'negative' online (which is usually code for they don't agree with everything their friend says or does), why do you still want them in your life?
  • If you're unfriending someone because you're jealous, then YOU'RE the one with the problem. Unfriending/unfollowing someone you're jealous of won't solve the problem, because it's raised heart issues for you that you need to deal with.
  • If someone wants to post 'personal' things, let them. If they want to post often, let them. I've heard people complain, "Mary posts so much on Facebook,". Well, how do you know Mary posts a lot unless you're always on there reading it?
  •  I've had enough of women using Facebook to be bitchy and exclusive. I get sick of seeing mutual friends post stuff about being 'best friends' with someone and liking one person's every post, while completely ignoring other people.
  • If you're don't like or are not interested in what someone else posts, just scroll on by. Unless you're really concerned about this person and what they're posting, just let it go. People like different things. Get over it! Life would be pretty boring if everyone was interested in the same things.

Related posts:
Facebook 'Friends'
Facebook Etiquette 

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Maya is 10

Maya dog turned 10 yesterday.

I couldn't have asked for a better first dog.

Loyal, faithful, gentle and true, she has grown from a timid puppy who used to wet herself in fright, to a wonderful old girl.

I will get her a big bone the next time I visit the butcher.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Quote of the Day

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.
- Dita Von Teese

Thursday, March 01, 2018

My Snuggle Monster

His love language is definitely physical touch.

It wasn't just the fourth trimester. He continues to love his cuddles....and I love mine from him, too.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Five Love Languages of Children

This is another book a friend lent me. It is the children's version of Gary Chapman's bestseller among the Christian and secular world alike - The Five Love Languages. I have the original book, but it is another one that's been sitting in my bookcase, waiting patiently to be read (I'm hoping to read it with Duncan one day). Even so, I consider myself quite well acquainted with the love languages - physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. The idea is that we give and receive love in different ways, so that while we may think we're being loving to someone, they may not feel loved, because we aren't speaking their love language. We usually have a primary love language, although often enjoy giving and receiving using more than one. Just as we need to speak our spouse's love language, we also need to with our children.

There were a few things I learned/were reiterated from this book:
  • A child's primary love language often changes. At the moment, I think Rory's receiving love language is quality time and Flynn's is physical touch.
  •  If their behaviour is not great, it is often because their emotional needs through their love language are not being met. We need to fill their 'emotional tanks' with love.
  • Using someone else's love language might not come naturally to us (because we have a different love language), but we need to persevere.
  • If you aren't sure of your child's love language, you should observe them carefully and ask them questions which may show which way they're wired. For example, for a five-year-old (Rory's age), I might ask, "Would you like for me to bake you an apple pie (acts of service) or for us to take a walk in the park (quality time)?" "Would you rather wrestle (physical touch) or read a story together (quality time)?" "While I am out of town for two days, would you rather I bring you a present (gift) or write you a poem about what a wonderful boy you are (words of affirmation)?" (pages 111-12)
  • When you keep your child's love tank full with unconditional love, you will be able to discipline them with the best results. For example, if a child's love language is quality time, punishing them by isolating them may crush their sense of being loved.
I felt some of the book was a bit guilt-trippy in places, and this is something most parents don't need as we are sincerely doing our best in this very tough gig. There is a chapter about anger (which I struggle with). Overall, I felt as if this book was mainly what I already know.

Monday, February 19, 2018

It Will Pass

This makes me sad:

I won't always cry, Mummy, 
When you leave the room,
And my supermarket tantrums
Will end too soon.

I won't always wake, Daddy,
For cuddles through the night,
And one day will miss
Having a chocolate face to wipe.
You won't always wake to find my foot
Is kicking you out of bed,
Or find me sideways on your pillow,
Where you want to lay your head.
You won't always have to carry me
In asleep from the car,
Or piggy back me down the road,
When my little legs can't walk that far.
So, cherish every cuddle,
Remember them all.
One day, Mummy,
I won't be this small.
- Unknown


Friday, February 16, 2018

Five Year Re-enactment

Surely it cannot be five years since I had my first precious cuddles as a new mum?

Alas, it is.  My big boy celebrated his fifth birthday on the 19th January.

Since we were away at the time, he had a couple of parties - one with family and friends in Dunsborough, and a low-key barbecue in Perth.  Plus there was a very exciting trip to Scitech on his birthday. He and Flynn both threw tantrums when it was time to leave - partly because they were having so much fun, and partly because the lights and noise were overstimulating.

He wanted a dinosaur cake, so I made him 'Stella Stegosaurus'
the Australian Women's Weekly cake book.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Annual Leave is Almost Gone

Duncan took three weeks off after harvest finished just before New Year. We spent a few days in Albany, just under a week in Dunsborough, and a week in Perth.  He also spent just shy of a week at home, assembling our new chook house.

That's most of the annual leave gone now. A great time was had by all, though.

Flynn enjoying the swings in Albany

The customary ride on Grandma's gopher
I took Flynn to a play centre in Perth to catch up with one of
my friends from the Mother Baby Unit and her daughter
Kings Park

Friday, February 09, 2018

Friday Funny

For anyone who wonders what those weird Aussies are on about:

Thursday, February 08, 2018


Well, the bike riding is off to a great start....not!

This whopper of a bruise is on the inside of my left thigh. How did I do it? I was coasting along on my bike...that's right...coasting...not riding, more like scooting. I stopped and tried to get off, and my dress must have got caught on the seat (I know, riding a bike, wearing a dress...stupid) and over the bike and I went. Duncan rushed over and managed to sort of catch me before I toppled over completely. I think my leg banged into the seat.

I will keep trying.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Crazy Dog People

We had to reassure the worried grandparents on the phone last week, that when we told them our family was growing, it was not another grandchild, but a granddog!

Welcome, Shadow

Now there are three of them at the door

Kisses for Auntie Maya

Shadow is part Labrador, part Border Collie and is only seven months old. We hadn't planned on getting another dog, but, last Monday, Duncan received a message from a truck driver who did some work for the farm during harvest.  Due to a change of circumstances, he needed to rehome his dog. He seemed like a nice guy and a responsible pet owner, but I was surprised that Duncan agreed.  Duncan doesn't like male dogs because they pee on cars, hence we've never had a male animal, bar the roosters.

Maya has welcomed the pup and indulged in some play fighting with him.  Gypsy, on the other hand, has got her tail in a bit of a knot over the newcomer.  For the past couple of years, she has been trying to take Maya's mantle as top dog, so every advance Shadow made was met with a fierce snarl.  I'm sure she'll come round eventually.

The boys love Shadow, but are a bit intimidated by his size (he's already bigger than the other dogs).

He's a lovely addition to the family.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Difference A Year Makes

The first day of pre-primary (and full-time school) went a lot better than the first day of kindy last year.

This year, he was all smiles and keen to see his friends and start a new school year.

I'm sure the novelty will wear off when the tiredness sets in. But, for now, I'm just rejoicing at having a child who went to school (or did anything) with no dramas. It's nice to be in the other camp for a change.

Friday, January 26, 2018

2017 Hopes: How I Went

Hmmm, I don't think 2017 was very 'successful' by looking at this list:

1. Confront (and hopefully conquer) some long-held fears and phobias.  More to come in another post.
This mainly revolved around riding my new bike.  Unfortunately it didn't happen.  This year...

2.  Submit my novel to more publishers.
I entered it into the Dorothy Hewett Award For An Unpublished Manuscript run by UWA Publishing, but didn't get anywhere.

3.  Try to have regular quiet times.  I don't want to set the bar too high (it's hard to go from pretty much nothing/sporadic times to daily, so I'm aiming for 2-3 times per week, then build up).
 Nope! I really only read my Bible the night before Bible study each week in order to prepare. I have such a hunger for God's Word, but somehow I just can't sit down and read it.

4.  Continue to sell baby stuff and other items to raise money for Christian ministries.
I donated some stuff to our church's biannual mission stall.  I did sell some stuff, but keep forgetting to actually give the money to ministries! One thing I did last year was save all of the $5 notes I could and put them in a container.  I counted 20 notes the other day....that's $100 for Pregnancy Problem House. This year, I want to save $10 notes and pray about which person/organisation God would have me give the money to.

5.  Adjust my weekly routine now that I'll be a kindy mum, which will include taking Flynn to playgroup on either Tuesdays or Thursdays, while Rory is at kindy.
This was one thing I had some success with.  Flynn and I became regulars at playgroup on Thursdays by the middle of the year.

Stay tuned for my 2018 hopes.

Monday, January 08, 2018

A Face in the Crowd

I thought I saw you
In the crowd.
They walked like you,
Their stance was proud.

Their hair the same,
Their profile too.
I really thought
It could be you.

Then I remembered,
You were gone.
My heart fell flat
As I walked on.

I see your face
Wherever I go.
Guess I just thought
That you should know.

Still hear your laugh,
And see your smile,
Though you've been gone
For quite a while.

I miss you more
Than words can say.
Wish it had been you
That I saw today.

Author Unknown

Seven years today

Nan's surprise 80th. January 1993

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Fast Away the Old Year Passes

I blinked and 2017 was gone.

It was a year of steady progress in some areas, and stalling in others.

It was a year of adjustment for my family, as we entered the school arena.  Suddenly we could no longer take holidays at any time during the year (bar seeding and harvest) - we were confined to term times, like many of our friends.  Rory's Kindy days were Tuesdays, Thursdays and every second Monday.  This made mid-week trips to Albany impossible. I attempted a few daytrips on Wednesdays and that was exhausting.

After a difficult start, the biggest little man did very well. His teacher was very no-nonsense and he seemed to adapt well to her approach. He did things for her that I could never get him to do. He started Kindy not able to hold a pencil properly.  Due to this, his arm would become tired while trying to write. I'd been trying to correct his grip for ages, but his teacher and the occupational therapist who visits the school corrected it within weeks. He has discovered that he CAN use scissors and that craft can actually be fun. But Rory is still very much a 'minimal effort' kinda guy in this area.  He'd much rather be running around outside or doing puzzles.

Dealing with his tiredness and resulting tantrums has been a challenge.  Term 1 was the most difficult, but it did get a bit easier as the year progressed. Still, I'm kind of dreading full-time pre-primary.

Rory's Kindy 'graduation'

One of the many Kindy creations - milk bottle top elephant

One of Rory's paintings. Apparently it's a picture of Daddy haha

This may seem strange, but my surgery was the highlight of my year. That (and actually reducing my anti-depressants) have made a huge difference in my depression. No longer have I been self-conscious going down the street. After I'd had the surgery, Duncan confessed that many people in town have been asking them if I was pregnant (he quickly set them straight).  This reinforced that I'd made the right decision to have the surgery.

Flynn and I at a Melbourne Cup lunch

The other highlight has been surviving seeding and harvest on my own, without needing house-help. I've had short visits from my mum, but other than that, I had a routine happening and I managed on my own (with God's help, of course). I think if harvest didn't fall around Christmastime it would be a LOT easier, as the added stress of the million end-of-year/Christmas events (which all seem to require you to bring a plate) get a bit much.

Flynn at the playgroup Christmas party

Sadly 2017 has seen the slow demise of this blog. I seem to have lost my passion.  Whereas once my head was bursting with ideas for posts, now I'm lacking both inspiration and motivation. By the end of the day, I'm so tired, I can't be bothered starting up the computer to write a post. Plus, I have taken on a small paid admin role for Flynn's daycare, so that has taken up some of my time. I think the fact that many other blogs I have enjoyed over the years have slowed considerably or stopped has been a factor in my own lack of enthusiasm.

What will 2018 hold? Well, it has already got off to a less than ideal start with the death of Solomon, but there are still 362 days left for it to be a good one.

Monday, January 01, 2018

The King is Dead

I had planned to do an end of 2017/start of 2018 musing type post today.

That will have to wait.

Today, we got back from a lovely day by the river (about 45 minutes from our house), only to find Solomon dead.  He'd been the King of Cluckingham Palace since a month before Rory was born.  Understandably, I'm sad.

If only the eggs had hatched, he could have produced an heir.  And we're finally in the process of building a new chook house.  What cruel timing.

He had a good life. I like giving roosters the chance of a good life.

Enjoying a dustbath with his wives. January 2015