blogging · life · mental health · relationships

Off to a good start

This past Christmas week has been full of the highs of festivities with friends and families but also lows of feeling flat, dealing with children and a lack of motivation/direction. The lows culminated in a head cold which thankfully gave me an excuse to lay low. An excuse also helped me build a fighting spirit and I finished off the week ready to bring in the New Year.

It can be tough when you finally reach the much longed-for break at the end of the year. My husband and I of course struggle with different expectations. I’ve generally already had a few slower weeks and am ready to, or at least wanting to be ready to, start doing some jobs together but he’s only just getting a chance to stop and generally still has a few daily work things that need seeing to.

Today on the first day of the year I’ve been productive and bright and hopeful and just HOORAY! As I always say on the flipside of a rough day or two – the hardest part about is not knowing how long it will last. This blog is an amazing reminder that it does always pass, generally much quicker than it feels.

Although not big on New Years resolutions I still think they have a place – I need something to aim towards, particularly this time of year when I actually have time. Last year I had a lot of goals for this blog which really didn’t come to fruition. I was going to do:

  • weekly Gratitude/Positives of the Week Post
  • WWW – Wednesday + When are you reading? challenge
  • fortnightly issue post
  • random regulars
  • 2+ weekly posts?!?

I did say it was wishful thinking at the time LOL

This year I’m focusing on personal goals:

  • Spend 5 minutes outdoors every day –  I’m hoping it will be 5 deliberate minutes and maybe even involve a bit of mindfulness and fitness too.
  • Keep working on my marriage. I made a casual suggestion today at morning tea that we should have a night each week where we discuss the week ahead which wasn’t received well – all suggestions seem to be work to him rather than opportunities. One relationship theory I studied last year by the Gottman’s was called Sound House Relationship – I’m really wanting to work on Building Our Love Maps and Creating Shared Meaning together – the other levels I hope I can strive for myself making a positive impact on my loving man
  • House goals – work towards getting a patio built and changing our lounge room carpet/set up (I’d love to take out a wall!)
  • Continue my slow journey towards decluttering – I’m happy with my pace and progress. I actually think my Fly Lady routine of ‘a load a day, keeps chaos away’ has changed my life!
  • oooh and study I want to start preparing again for that…….especially PRAC (eeek/:D)

Blog wise my brainwave today was to try and learn about my followers. It truly amazes me that 156 people have clicked that follow button. I know it means different things to everyone and I’m nowhere near 156 likes but WoW. I reflected recently that I’m not really a writer but community is super important to me. I think one of things I learnt about myself in 2017 is that I struggle socially out and about but I love reading and feeling connected, even if I can’t manage it all the time!

I’m back to writing down lists to do and feeling positive about 2018. I pray you are too,

God bless.

Dear Lord, give me wisdom and guide me to the choices You want me to make. Amen.

 

 

Advertisements
Books

When Are You Reading 2017 review

According to Goodreads I read 23 books this year and 8,807 pages.

2017

I officially completed the When Are You Reading Challenge, hooray!!

Challenge Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

1500-1599 – Kitty, My Rib by E.Jane Mall

1600-1699 – Silence by Shūsaku Endō

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

1800-1899  The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

1900-1919 – Their Sacrifice: the brave and their Bibles by John Harris

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959 – The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve

1960-1979 – Exposure by Helen Dunmore

1980-1999 – Attachments by Rainbow Rowel

2000-Present – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The Future – The Giver by Lois Lowry

 

Onwards and upwards in 2018!!

 

 

blogging

How to be Happy

I feel like lately  my posts have had a negative vibe. I tend to turn to WordPress and blogging when life is throwing me lemons. It’s my anonymous outlet to share and process. I think that’s healthy, but I also feel it’s a bit dishonest. Just as social media can be guilty of being a disproportionately positive view of our lives, WordPress might be the flip side of that for me.

Last night I finished a truly beautiful book ‘How to be Happy’ by Eva Woods (also published as Something Like Happy), it followed an unlikely friendship on a journey of 100 days of happiness and some truly life-changing experiences. One of things I enjoyed about this book was how it touched on a number of issues without delving into unnecessary depth, they were simply there, part of the story – syrian refugees, gay relationships including an orthodox greek gay christian and cot death. Cancer and death was a large part of the novel and I felt realistically portrayed.

Today I’ve started reading Kent Haruf’s Our Souls at Night which I’m enjoying particularly the writing style and characters but I’m also a bit sad as Louis and Addie share about their past marriages which left much to be desired. That is a big part of where my marriage is at, much to be desired. With our kids getting older, my mental health a lot more stable and future dreams starting to take shape I’m ready to dig deeper into our relationship and strive for true intimacy. My husband however is still happy with where we are at, maybe too busy with his own work.

I’ve also been reflecting on my desire to write. I’ve had more time since study finished for the year but it’s never reached the top of my ‘to-do’ list. I don’t think I’m much of a writer actually. I like to share my thoughts but the process of writing them down often feels too laborious. I think what I want to share today is not (unfortunately) how to be happy, but that while I love this WordPress community I don’t think I’ll be writing much in the New Year. I’m going to keep reading though! Thank you to people who do follow and connect with me, and to those I follow and (I like to think) know me – I love this journey we are all on.

Merry Christmas – may God bless your celebrations at this time of year.

 

ps This will be my 100th post!

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 🙂

 

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

IMG_1384-0

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