life · social issues

Resilience

I have just finished reading Resilience by Anne Deveson, an exploration into this indescribable characterisitc – ‘we all know what resilience is until we try to define it’ (Dr George Vaillant). Anne writes that it has come to mean an ability to confront adversity and still find hope and meaning in life.

This week my adversity has been searing pain each time I use my bowels, following a colonoscopy to supposedly get rid of hemorrhoids. I’ve had the joy of enduring these for seven years since my first pregnancy. I spent the last week of my last pregnancy living off painkillers to enable me to be. When I asked the doctor if it would effect the delivery process (as far as I was concerned this pain was already torturous!) he just laughed – fortunately (?!) he was right labour pain is of course an entire league of its own!!

This morning I was also awoken with an overwhelming negative attitude. My dreams all night were forebodingly dark and my children awoke before the break of dawn. I’ve given thanks for a family I love (even while I hate!) and a roof for shelter, all whilst apologizing for the lack of strength to shake this mood off. Two hours passed since I was rudely awoken, I yelled at each family member and returned to bed the moment my husband seemed more awake than dead. This week I’ve finally had freedom, study done for the year, hooray! But my resilience felt mighty low.

Tim Costello’s review on the front cover suggests the book demonstrates ‘resilience as a celebration of life’ and as it follows the last days of the author’s dear friend, indeed it does. The Victorian government is currently discussing a euthanasia ‘assisted dying’ bill where I wish it would spend money on palliative care and sharing story’s like Anne’s of all the trauma of death but also the honour and dignity (perhaps not bodily) of the journey.

If you love, you grieve (Thomas Lynch). You fall in love in a thousand ways, and you grieve in a thousand ways (Allan Kellehear). ‘For some…pain filters through more slowly, a little at a time as the body can bear’. I do not believe I am very in touch with my emotions. The months of November and December seem to be harder for me, the end of year rushes and conclusions, so much anticipated but then here and leaving me with the question of what now? And of course the anniversary of my Harry’s birth(death)day.

But perhaps I am learning the art of resilience, I took a walk, I folded the washing, I even played a bit of monopoly and while not on my list of top ten saturdays, today was ok.

How has your Saturday been?

Do you have a definition for resilience?

Have you experienced hemorroids, Dr Google I believe is shocking on this topic so please feel free to discuss here 🙂

 

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family · life · relationships

An Open Letter on my Brother-in-laws second wedding day

To the open universe,

Today was an emotional day.

Today my amazing brother-in-law, my hubby’s wonderful younger brother, married my beautiful new sister-in-law. I love them both just so much. They are my family and I am so blessed to have them in my life.

I wasn’t at his first wedding. To the wife who passed away within a week of their first child being born. I missed that special day. And the truth is I have many regrets. And fears. We married into this family. One family, two different sons and two very different women. And yet right from the start she enveloped me wholeheartedly and boy was she excited about her first niece. Despite being far away at that time, she was so very involved in showering both her and myself in love. We drifted apart, making decisions we each didn’t agree with and I remember clearly telling myself that just because we were sisters didn’t mean we had to be the best of friends. And then she was gone. And even though things at that time weren’t great with us, they were getting better and with time I know our wounds would have healed. But we didn’t get that chance and although I forgive myself over and over, and even (I think) truly believe deep down that we were good, obviously its still there and no words, absolutely none, can describe how much I miss her, the way I miss her and how much I wish we had more time.

And so today, as I welcome a new sister into the family, who deserves so, so much more than to be compared to the sister I’ve lost, I can’t help but think of what could have been. And I’m so sorry but I can’t think of one without the other. While I miss and mourn for one at the same time I welcome and respect and admire the other. And yes, fear too that we too, may create wounds. We are different, we have different opinions, and we don’t need to be the best of friends but you are my sister. You are the mother and step-mother of my nephew and niece, you are the wife and chosen life partner of my husband’s brother. I know I don’t always say the right thing but when you look at me and shake your head, it breaks my heart. I don’t want to live (I can’t live) in fear of losing you. So please whatever I may do, please, please know I love you.

It doesn’t help, I’m sure that it’s that time of month, that I forgot my anti-depressants…

Today was an emotional, wonderful day, for two people, perfect for each other to be wed.

sincerely

Gee Jen

 

Books · study · Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday 27th September

Seems September Season is WWW Wednesday for me :p

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This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s fun and simple, you just have to answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post here

What did you recently finish reading:

Nothing this week, although I did finish some required chapters from my textbook Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy: The Dynamics of Emotion, Love and Power … now to start the next two chapters, not to mention journal my thoughts on them….gotta love study!

Also rated a few more kids books the children picked out from the library. What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson (who doesn’t love a glittery ladybug!) and Shearing Time by Allison Paterson particularly relevant as we did (aka the men) have been doing crutching on the farm.

What are you currently reading:

I did start Truly, Madly, Deeply by Lianne Moriarty and am already very intrigued. I loved reading Big Little Lies earlier in the year.

What do you think you’ll read next:

Brick Lane by Monica Ali is next for bookclub but although school holidays begin friday until I finish some assignments I think Blogs and Facebook will be my leisure reading.

I would truly appreciate some input though on suggestions for a book set in the 1500-1599’s for the When Are You Reading Challenge,I have nothing so far despite an ever-growing TBR…any ideas??

Happy Reading 🙂

 

Books · reviews

WWW Wednesday 20th Septemeber

Sooooo before I explain what this is all about about I just have to share….

I FINISHED Silence!!!!!!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s fun and simple, you just have to answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post.

To participate, and to see how others responded, click here

What did you recently finish reading:

Silence by Shūsaku Endō, I started reading this back in May and am so excited to have finally finished. I chose it to meet a requirement in my When Are You Reading Challenge, based on a review in my church magazine of the Martin Scorsese movie adaption but I just never got into it. I never clicked with the narrator/main character and found it a struggle to get through. I wish I could go back and start it again at a time when I could finish it in just a few sittings as I think that could have made a difference but then again maybe not.

From Goodreads – It is 1640 and Father Sebastian Rodrigues, an idealistic Jesuit priest, sets sale for Japan determined to help the brutally oppressed Christians there. He is also desperate to discover the truth about his former mentor, rumoured to have renounced his faith under torture. Rodrigues cannot believe the stories about a man he so revered, but as his journey takes him deeper into Japan and then into the hands of those who would crush his faith, he finds himself forced to make an impossible choice: whether to abandon his flock or his God….As empathetic as it is powerful, it is an astonishing exploration of faith and suffering and an award-winning classic. 

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it! I was glad to read another reviewer found it started slow, for me by the time it got a bit more interesting I was already too far over it.

Another reason I struggled with this book was although a christian I’m not catholic and so concepts of confession and symbolism of images is not as important to me and somewhat rubbed the wrong way.

Most reviews however were highly positive and this page on quotes from the book is impressive.

 

Now I don’t actually have much more to say :p

 

The other adult book I finished recently was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell which I LOVED.

What are you currently reading:

Still reading text books and not much else!

What do you think you’ll read next:

I’ve got Truly, Madly, Deeply by Lianne Moriarty lying around for when I feel on top of my study. I’d also like to find a book from the 1500’s to keep on track with my challenge – any suggestions?

 

Challenge Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

1500-1599 

1600-1699 – Silence by Shūsaku Endō

1700-1799 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney

1800-1899  The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

1900-1919

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959

1960-1979 – Exposure by Helen Dunmore

1980-1999 – Attachments by Rainbow Rowel

2000-Present – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The Future 

relationships

Just saying G’day

Would have really liked to do a post this week but alas the weekend is almost over and I spent my evening watching and reflecting on an awesome Australian Survivor episode :p

Things have been pretty tough in my marriage lately. In lieu of a post I’d like to share this poem from Pleasant Street at Are You Thrilled which really struck and resonated with me:

No man’s land

I set up camp there
when my world is too much
and yours is unreachable
I build my safety net there
even though you never
asked me to

(your claim is full disclosure)

What do I need?
I don’t remember, as I have
learned to do without
this ground
with its rotting and wounded
feels oddly safe

Affection would be nice
after all this time
but I can get myself off
like any other day
and I hear you say ‘no’
not that kind of touch

The touch of lips on a heart
injured and bleeding

(no man left behind?)

 

If you are the praying kind please consider a prayer for my husband and I, and our two beautiful living children, that we can continue living faithfully together as a family.

Books

WWW Wednesday 6th September

Gosh it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these! (Almost 3 months)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s fun and simple, you just have to answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post.

To participate, and to see how others responded, click here

What did you recently finish reading:

Tonight I read Say Please, Louise by Keith Harvey and illustrated by Lauren Beard. My daughter chose it from the library as Louise is her middle name. It was a nice book abut learning to use manners. Whilst enjoyable it was a bit simplistic so only 3/5 stars.

My son chose Hey Mum, I Love you by Corinne Fenton, a seriously sweet book using fairly iconic animal photos to illustrate a love letter to Mum. As a Mum I’m sure I’m slight;y biased 4/5 stars 🙂

Three other picture books I read recently which inspired me to rate them on Goodreads were:

Excuse Me, I’m Trying to Read! By Mary Jo Amani – a great book set in Africa the wording got better towards the end.

Look, a Book! by Libby Gleeson – not many words in this but the illustrations show the true adventure a book can take you on.

Busting! by Aaron Blabey – this rhyming book was just so fun! I bought it to read to my son who continues to have frequent accidents, not sure it’ll help but I loved it!

What are you currently reading:

Still reading Silence by Shūsaku Endō, I just can’t get into it and I’m sure its keeping me from getting into any reading but I’m determined to eventually, one day finish it!

Also reading my textbook Emotion-Focsed Couples Therapy: The Dynamics of Emotion, Love and Power by Leslie Greenberg and Rhonda Goldman which given the current state of my marriage is either a healthy or unhealthy thing to do….

What do you think you’ll read next:

I’m pretty keen to get Matilda by Roald Dahl on audiobook to listen to with the kids in the car.

I’ll get Attachments by Rainbow Rowell for bookclub from a friend tomorrow so looking forward to that too.

Happy Reading All 🙂

life · relationships · Uncategorized

So Much More than Just a Sport

I’ve wanted to write for quite a while about a topic very close to my heart. despite the fact I can easily imagine others looking at it as a complete non-issue. I’d like to start therefore by proclaiming that I am a strong believer in the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. Indeed I am very fortunate to be among wonderful supportive ‘villages’ that both make my parenting life easier and also enrich the lives of my children. A predominant one of these villages is my sporting community. My husband is an avid aussie rules and cricket player, so year long our saturdays are taken up by sport, our sundays by recuperation and the week for preparation. I also play and love netball but this year made the BIG decision not to play for the same club as my husband but another local club which plays in a different league.

It was an incredibly hard decision to make, especially when at the start of the season I was basing the decision most pressingly on a memory I had that I wanted to change clubs next year. At the start of the season I couldn’t precisely remember why I’d been feeling that way but I decided to trust that memory and try out for another club.

Things that made the decision difficult:

  • I love the club I was leaving behind – the people and the sense of community
  • They were struggling for netball numbers – actually I thought they would only have one team instead of the usual two which meant I’d be ok
  • Friends not understanding why I was making the decision

One thing that would have changed my mind:

  • My husband was very against the idea. He’d said so and yet (and yet) he didn’t (wouldn’t) discuss it with me. He wouldn’t give me his reasons and he didn’t (wouldn’t) ask for mine.

My husband won his grand final yesterday, I am so happy for him and proud BUT I am also now sitting here in bed reflecting (crying involved) on why I want to make the same decision again next year. I’ve decided to put finger to keyboard and communicate some of these reflections.

Reasons I made the decision:

  • The lifestyle/culture – the only way to celebrate a grand final is to drink all night and all day, or at least that’s how it feels to me. I’m not good at this. I get tired and grumpy and unsociable. I’m more a stay home, read a book, cuddle up kinda girl.
    • I don’t think my husband minds this about me but I feel like I miss out. I want to be apart of his victory, I want to celebrate with him but it just doesn’t work that way.
    • There are other wives/girlfriends who seem to be able to do this and I’m jealous.
  • As I’ve said I LOVE so many people part of this sporting club. My children have so much fun with friends there. I decided though that there’s a difference between loving people and wanting to spend majority of your time with them. They are my family but they are not the people I would sit down and chat with for 4+ hours on a weekly basis. We are different and that’s ok.*
  • I started to hate particularly after training nights walking in and waiting to find someone to sit with. It was a weekly decision/agony and why should I put myself through that?
  • Training nights were the same for both me and my husband making child care difficult. Also due to tea and socializing they were late.
  • Relationship/family stuff – I would always feel like as soon as we arrived at the footy oval my husband would clock off. Now was his time to prepare for the game while I was responsible for the childcare even though involved in my own sporting game. He would often be last out of the change rooms and sometimes I would feel that even after he did arrive out he would not look to acknowledge or come see me. This was his domain.

It was the right decision to make, for me. Not so much our family, we missed out on travelling together for games and the kids missed out on seeing as much of their friends. I would still often head out to club rooms after my games, which would be nice but not great. I enjoyed playing netball with a different group of girls. I enjoyed that the focus was solely on netball and not working on maintaining a whole community. I also appreciated the flexibility of training on a different night.

But now we are at the end of the season (actually I still get to play in a grand final next weekend!) and I still feel the same way about many of these issues. I believe it’s important to my husband for me to be there as a sign of support but I want to be wanted for my company.

There is no conclusion to this story, it’s a work in progress. In good news for me though my husband and I are starting to see a counselor so maybe just maybe by the start of next season we will be making a decision together.

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*I’d like to note that some of these people I would happily spend endless hours with and that some of my feelings are likely overly swayed by my moods. I also want to say how supportive many of these people have been – a number will be there to watch me at my grand final next week and an even larger number asked me yesterday how my team went.