life · parenting · reviews

My Hats, My Inadequacies and My Readings

It appears I’ve had a bit of a hiatus from the blogosphere. Similarly it appears that the end of school holidays is my time for posting. So here I am again, this time at the end of Term 3 holidays, relaxed and inpired enough to make time to sit in front of the screen and type out a post.

We were ready for these holidays, worn out from our routines and ready for a break, and yet I largely spent my time feeling inadequate and guilty, then trying not to let these feelings take me down. We did participate in various activities and particularly enjoyed recent days as a whole family in our capital city (family, friends, adventures, beach, soccer fields, viva pinata!) but I found the days long and screen and snack time difficult to manage. I kept my head above water and am coming out of this time especially motivated to build my business – I’m thinking this may help me justify OSHC next holidays!

My Hats:

  • Parenting is number one but it can be at the same time the hardest and easiest. My children are old enough to do much themselves (easy) but there is so much scope for more active parenting on my behalf (oh so hard). My son is pushing boundaries (do they ever not!) and gets so easily angry at home. My daughter is growing too quickly for me to keep up, she doesn’t share easily and I want to work on our relationship so I can feel more confident she will reach out if needed.
  • Family – keeping house and feeding the tribe – I feel happy when I’m on top of dishes and washing and we’ve done (the kids and I) something each day – walk, outing, cards, soccer.
  • Renovations – we are moving house sometime before the year is out and completing renovations before we do – I had hoped the holidays would be time to get on top of this but it felt overwhelming to work on independently and my husband was not readily available – my mind debated if this was excuse or truth
  • Volunteering – I had a few tasks for one role that I wanted to tick off, I got there but it was frustrating not to just get in and get it done earlier. Another role I was happy to take a backseat on during holidays, especially following some recent negativity but again some frustration arose with opportunities missed due to lack of – well it wasn’t exactly time, nor was it motivation perhaps a combination of the two and difficulty accessing timely support. Another role is ending prematurely not by anyone’s choice with some sadness.
  • Work – wonderfully flexible and slow in holidays but again the opportunity to catch up on PD (professional development) or other such ‘always there’ jobs went wanting

I did finally start Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning (good for PD) – this book helped me move from my mother-guilt to what other purpose or meaning I could be searching for. The movie Carrie Pilby also spoke of purpose and touched my heart

AND I bookended the holidays with 2 wonderful reads, both South-Australian authors:

The Bards of Birchtree Hall by Amanda Maynard-Schubert – I got to read this pre-release date, and as number one in a trilogy it’s going to be a struggle to wait – it is the beginning of the story of Neala ‘Stormbringer’ Moran as she discovers she’s part-faerie – I fell immediately in love with this book. Neala’s voice was just so relatable, open and honest, it felt like home. Each character introduced intrigued me and the relationships felt so genuine. It’s Harry Potter in flavour but wonderfully different. The elemental nature of the magic, the importance of music and the learning styles at Birchtree are truly unique.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams – Based on the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary the author was considering questions of ‘Do words mean different things to men and women? And if they do, is it possible that we have lost something in the process of defining them?’ Again a beautiful and diverse cast of characters around the main character Esme who we follow from childhood through the women’s suffrage movement and the Great War, finding her own purpose. I love historical fiction especially when it inspires me, as it did today, to google and google to find out more!

Love to the blogging community

GJ

ps I do NOT get this new editor….adding photos anyone??

community

Kindness Pandemic #2

Today I was truly blessed to spend time on our nearby River. Our family tend to be more in-landers/busy no time for fun farmers ( :p ) . Today however my son was invited to a birthday party down the river fishing with a classmate. Hubby was busy farming (sheep to bring in for shearing Monday) but the kids and I made another trek into town for the adventure.

An added bonus was I know the mother well and made a bold request.

Lately we’ve been catching up with another family of one of my son’s classmates. A note came home from school with a phone number suggesting an outing to a local playground – the boy’s both love soccer. A few weeks later I sent a text and made the connection so we could catch up. This family has been in Australia for 18 months, just 6 months in our local area. Whilst the children have attended international schools learning English all the way the mother is still learning, her native tongue being Arabic. It’s hard enough moving to a new town without any extra barriers (believe me as a somewhat itinerant pastor’s daughter, I know!).

I’m so proud when I made the late request yesterday asking if I could invite this family to join us, Mum and son said yes. I’m so excited to be getting introduced to lots of new cuisine and seeing the kids all have fun together. Life’s greatest joy (for me) is knowing I’m making a positive difference in someone’s life and today I’m sure I and all the beautiful people around me did just that.

Hope you too brought a smile to another’s face today 🙂

God bless

GJ

life

Just a taste

I was feeling quite enthusiastic today by the prospect of writing a new blog: It’s been a while (but thankfully not quite as long as I thought); I’ve finished my most recent read (coincidentally the book from my last posts to read read list!); we’re running out of data so best to give my newly acquired Netflix a break and it’s been a good week, so I thought that would be nice to share. But of course now I’m sitting here, I’m feeling tired and a bit clueless for direction.

However, some recent feelings:

  • delighted at how relaxed I feel these school holidays compared to the last
  • Grateful to live in South Australia which has consistently stayed COVID free
  • Motivated by my latest read to keep learning about Australian politics
  • Nostalgic watching my favourite childhood series return to the screens on Netflix, yay The Baby-sitters Club
  • Excited that my small counselling business is getting off the ground
  • Content with my relationships
  • Happy to be home with the kids
  • Busy with my various roles but also relieved I shelved one responsibility a little bit

And now I think I’m ok to leave it at that, short and hopefully sweet 🍓

Happy Friday All 🙂

How have you been feeling lately?

Books · Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday 6th May 2020

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I’ve had a long hiatus from this post but got inspired in my reading last week and am keen to share 🙂 Thank you to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun and simple meme, with just three W questions to answer: 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:

Last week I found myself reading The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir by Samantha Power. Somehow I came across this on Libby (my library ereader app) and I loved it. I’ve been interested in learning more about the UN for awhile but hadn’t quite managed to open the ‘beginner’s guide’ I’d picked up. This memoir, however, about President Obama’s US Ambassador  to the UN had me eagerly checking wikipedia for more details about titles and descriptions of the UN. Samantha Power has also been a foreign journalist, author (Pulitzner award winner for a book about genocide), human rights advisor etc. etc and her memoir was a real eye opener.

What are you currently reading:

Somehow I’m managed to start and have 3 books currently on the go (not the usual for me). I was only a few pages into The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi ( – author and Luke Leafgren -translator) before my hold for Educated by Tara Westover became available and then I realised my loan for The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton was almost up. So we’ll see what the week brings in getting through any or all of these!

What do you think you’ll read next:

Inspired by how Samantha Power’s memoir got me thinking, I’d like to try my hand at an Australian politician, so my next goal is My Story by Julia Gillard. Will be interesting to see if I get into it or not. Maybe you’ve got a different politician/activist memoir to suggest? Have you heard of Samantha Power or read her memoir?

That’s all folks, happy reading!

 

family · Farming · life · mental health · relationships

Emotional

Feeling cold, sad and lonely.

I just finished an episode from Season 2 of The Crown. Prince Phillip has been travelling around the Commonwealth, predominantly via ship, away from England for months, Queen Elizabeth is home and one of the Prince’s staff’s wife is seeking divorce.

It was not a good day to watch this show. My house is cold. I’ve turned the heater on, but I think the batteries are going flat in the remote and the mode hadn’t changed properly sending out cold air (just finally feeling warmth now coming out). The window in one of our doors has been broken for over a month (the new glass is s sitting waiting to be replaced along with new screening laying around for literally years), so cold air has been more easily able to enter. I reattached some cardboard today and have shut off that section of the house, although being the kitchen area can not avoid it entirely.

We have just had some wonderful rain. The perfect start to seeding and my husband is hard at work. I had three weeks at home with the children for extended holidays in SA. I’m incredibly blessed that we have had 6 days free of new COVID-19 cases and my children have been able to return to school (Indeed our shutdown has been minimal compared to many countries).

Even prior to seeding starting on ANZAC Day my husband had been busy preparing for this time on the farm and despite no usual sporting committments on the weekends family time was still limited.

I know I’m sad from having just watched a sad show but I’m also crying because I can’t remember the last time my husband told me he loved me without myself first saying the words. Nor can I remember the last time he asked how my day was. He is a wonderful provider and a good man but he puts little effort into our relationship. Sometimes its ok. Sometimes I have enough else going on in my life I am distracted from this absence. Sometimes I’m happy just to be living peacably and doing my own thing. But often, today it hurts deeply.

I had no intention of writing this post. Although I struggled mightily in the holidays with negative thoughts and lack of motivation. I also (belatedly) reached out and received wonderful support. I had wonderful cuddles with the kids in bed this morning, so although lacking patience at bedtime in general I’m coping.

My body is warming up, I have plenty to do today with time too I believe for rest and bingeing (no more The Crown, I’ll turn to Gilmore Girls!). But I am sad.

 

 

community · faith · life

Kindness Pandemic

The last few weeks have seen so much change in our society and with it at times overwhelming anxiety. I confess to being scared to go to the shops unsure of what I’ll find. I’ve also been one of millions of parents thinking about the decision whether or not to send my children to school. Living in a country area, there’s a sense of false safety perhaps. But also living on a farm social isolation doe not feel all that new, and I know whats not entirely best for my mental health.

I was very blessed this week to be added to a facebook group with Mums from my sons class where we could share our choices and thinking. Within this group we also acknowledge the superhero efforts of our school and it’s staff and I can’t even describe the joy it gave me to be part of this group who arranged these gorgeous flowers for these very special people in ours and our childrens lives.

 

I’ve also been completely uplifted by The Kindeness Pandemic group on facebook recording kind deeds all over the place. Also learnt about Up Lit and read the darling book A man Called Ove today. So while the world may at times get us down, there always good to be found.

Praying for everyone in need at this time

God bless

GJ

ps I also recommend Humans of New York for good fuzzy feelings – have you got any recommendations? Any specific prayer requests? xo

 

faith

Starting Off Right

Have you ever started a job wrong and then had to re-start it right? … Um only like a million times!!

Apparently God’s biblical ‘heroes’ did too.

From Lutheran Hour Ministries – Daily Lenten Devotion 27th Feb 2020

You may remember the story of Moses and how he started his work. God found him tending sheep in the wilderness, and He spoke to him through a burning bush and sent him to set the people of Israel free. What you may not know is that Moses had already taken a whack at that job, 40 years before. He had attacked an Egyptian slave driver who was beating a Hebrew man. Moses’ self-appointed rescue job didn’t work out. He was accused as a murderer and he had to run for it. It was another 40 years before God called and sent him back to do it right (see Exodus 2:11-25). God’s call makes all the difference.

Today did not start right for me. I had a late night due to book-club (Yay! Wolf by Wolf – check it out). I slept in my daughters bottom bunk as my son had transferred to our bed (morning washing required). Said son slept in but needed a shower and only had a single bite of his breakfast. In all honesty I knew we weren’t  early but I didn’t think we were really running late, so I didn’t do my usual bus run speeding, but the bus didn’t come.

I was busting for the loo but had to drive the kids into town as for the first time we had TRULY missed the bus (we have needed to race it down a number of  times!). I pulled over one car on the 30 minute drive in, hoping it was the school’s local receptionist, no such luck. But we did meet the bus at the first intersection where the bitumen starts so I didn’t have to go ALL the way into town bra-less!

Over half an hour later than usual I got home and hear from my husband that we’d had a miscommunication around some funding we’d discussed that he DID want me to apply for. I ‘obviously’ hadn’t heard what he’d said to me, no possibility that perhaps that’s not how the conversation ended….hmm a bit defensive aren’t I?!

I found it a hard then to settle into my normal morning routine – cuppa, bible reading, job-list and go…. I was tempted to go back to bed but knew that would only make the job-list harder.

I put the bible aside, I put the washing on, made the bed, grabbed a blanket and curled up on top….and then I connected. I sent off some messages, spoke to my brother (who’s life complexities are currently much higher demand than mine, he and his wife are amazing humans and parents, I wish there was more I could do but God will answer my prayers and He IS with them too), read the above devotion and still wasted my morning away writing a blog (hehe) but it was the time-out I needed.

I needed one yesterday too at around lunch time and it allowed me to get on top of my afternoon jobs. I am learning and surprising myself and trying each day to start right, sometimes multiple times a day.

God’s biblical ‘heroes’ were all far from perfect, except for Jesus of course, who saves us from our imperfections and works with us, comforts us and calls us each day for a life with Him.

 

faith · life

Decision anxiety – leaving it to faith

I’ve been itching to write a post this last week, being I felt well overdue, and yet until last night I had no inspiration to use my spare time on this endeavor.

Finally I wanted to write, but no real topic came to mind….I found the start of this in my lengthy drafts vault….

 

As previously mentioned, I quit my job (2018) and it’s a little bit scary. I’m scared about having made the right decision, a Godly decision. Thankfully even amidst my fear I have peace that it is the right decision at this time, I just don’t know what the future holds, of course we never do. For the past 7+ years though I knew I had work as an occupational therapist. I don’t know if I’ll ever work as an OT again. I don’t know if I’ll ever work in a paid position again!

The last two days I’ve had ample free time and it’s felt weird, quiet, empty – scary!

Yesterday I asked God to let me know if I had made the wrong decision, I’m running out of time to change my mind. He answered my prayer.

Today I read a blog from The Godly Chic Diaries which shared ‘Life requires a total surrender, a flying leap of faith. Sometimes the tighter we hold onto life, the louder the message from the universe is. FAITH! It will all turn out as it should be, even if it doesn’t seem that way at all in the moment. Every experience is an opportunity to practice letting go and of grasping onto life as we believe it should be, and free-falling with acceptance into the life we have.’

Also ‘We’re human, we’re not meant to be perfect. It’s your journey. Own it. Bloom where God planted you. Be your most authentic self, all in. Honor yourself and make choices not because someone or society expected it of you, because they are right for you and consistent with your beliefs.’ ….

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Wow. I can use these same encouragements now! I’m still not in a paid working position and I’m very much considering letting my occupational therapy registration lapse but there are many new adventures in my life.

I finished a Masters in counseling and am supported by a local church to offer services locally.

I’m volunteering in the mental health space in my area, my biggest passion, including being available to help kick start a new exciting collaborative co-design process. I confess it’s keeping me busier than expected, that on top of trying to deal with a mouse plague in the house! Oh and scary primary school attitudes….I swear my parenting role is based entirely around managing snacks and screen-time – I have serious work to do to adjust this pattern in my home.

On top of this I’ve been trying to prayerfully considering a position of more responsibility at my children’s school. It’s been hard to read the signs, to trust my intuition but as above FAITH will be my best guide. I’m finding this easiest when I start my day with prayer and Bible reading. Again not an activity I always find myself inspired to spend my time on even though the rewards are obvious.

 

So here I guess is an update on my life. Daily decisions to be made and daily trying my best to let it go and trust God. Now off for church and footy. I wonder what decisions you are making today?

 

 

Books

Happy New Year – WWW Wednesday, 1-January-2020

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Wow it’s been over  a year since my last WWW Wednesday with Sam from Taking on a World of Words,  although it’s been a regular part of my weekly blog reading. It is a fun and simple meme, the perfect way to start a new year. Just answer three W questions: 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.  

Currently reading: The Philosophy Book – DK Big Ideas, Simply Explained and Friday with my Folks by Amal Awad from Goodreads

Amal Awad’s life changed when her father was diagnosed with kidney failure. Seeing the impact it has had on him, both physically and mentally, and the way the side effects trickle into those around him, Mentally, it had an impact as he was unable to recover from his fresh grief at not having the same freedom to move and live as he had known before. Work had made him feel whole and retirement was a challenge. When he became ill, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Amal eventually realised that life offered a new reality. Not always pleasant, but also not unique to her family…

At a time when ageism and health is high on the public’s radar, what we’re not always talking about is how to deal with the anxiety, depression and overall challenges that come with someone you love facing their mortality and a decline in health…

This book stems from a personal experiences, but it expands to a much wider, more universal discussion about life, suffering, coping and hope.

Recently finished: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang a bit steamier than I expected but definitely a good read. Sadly I won’t be finished Girl by Edna O’Brien about the Boko Haram girls, I feel it’s an important read I just couldn’t face it at this time.

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Reading next: Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales a bookclub Christmas gift about resilience. I also have The Sociology Book and The Economics Book out from the library but doubt I’ll get to them before they’re due back. The one I’m mostly likely to read next though is The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, while you’re on a good thing 🙂

Wishing you all a year of wonderful reading

GJ

 

Books

Spot On Book Quotes

Some recent reads really hit the spot for me (oh how I love books) especially some of these quotes:

From ‘As Bright As Heaven’ by Susan Meissner

I no longer fear Death, though I know that I should. I’m strangely at peace with what I used to think of as my enemy. Living seems more the taskmaster of the two, doesn’t it? Life is wonderful and beautiful but oh, how hard it can be. Dying, by contrast, is easy and simple, almost gentle.

your mother’s heart is healing the best way it can…the heart always does what it needs to do.

This book was set in Philadelphia during World War 1 and the Spanish Flu epidemic. It was told by three daughters and their mother which amazingly well, covering themes of  Death (and undertaking), Family, and Hope. A great book with just a slightly disappointing ending.

From ‘Words in Deep Blue’ by Cath Crowley

No one has anything to get up for. Life’s pointless and everyone gets up anyway. That’s how the human race works….No one likes how the human race works.

The bookstore is a building, but it’s not only the building. It is the books inside. People are not only their bodies. And if there is no hope of saving the things we love in their original form, we must save them however we can.

Loved this book which included a bookshop setting. From goodreads:

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

And finally I’ve just started ‘Fridays with my Folks’ by Amal Awad

Strangely the activity that helped me best decompress was doing puzzles…it’s the therapy of them…knowing that concentrated purpose and persistence pay off; that sliver of relief you feel each time you lock a piece in to place.20190609_140853.jpg

One of my puzzles from 2019