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

 

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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.

faith · life · Uncategorized

I did it (with one day to go!)

I finally wrote my Christmas letter today. I really wasn’t sure if it was going to happen. It won’t be to the usual scale, I’ll email a few and post to those from whom we received. I commented on a great post about Christmas Cards by Helen Hayward on Christmas Eve that I felt sad I hadn’t written yet as it is a special tradition I treasure but moreso I felt that trying to squeeze it in (instead of reading blogs :p) was not my priority.

Christmas has been a bit funny for me this year. I managed to get through the stress of shopping (condensing most of it into one day with hubby) and be quite satisfied with our choices. I really enjoyed our celebrations with church, friends and family (although I was kinda rude at yesterdays in-law gathering – when I get tired I’m hopeless at hiding it and trying to be social, tips anyone?). The kids seemed enthralled in both the magic and meaning of the day which makes it all worthwhile but mostly I’ve just been waiting for bedtime.

My family had a good year but I’ve seen so many posts on FB of people who can’t wait to be rid of 2016. It’s made me sad that my good year (following a truly crappy one) has been one so full of pain for others. Last year I lost a dear friend and it annoys me how people have despaired of the celebrity losses in 2016 when any loss of life is tragic. Although I did read another great post which helped change my perspective a bit (When your childhood dies). I’ve had friends and family unexpectedly lose mothers, husbands (brothers, uncles) and babies. It really does make you wonder what Gods plan is. Indeed I find myself questioning this on almost a daily basis, but I also know without a doubt that without His grace, we would be truly lost. I continue to pray that all my friends and family also come to know the peace and steadfastness found in faith, in Christ Jesus. As shared in A Lutheran Ministry Hour devotion …

‘If the shepherds were anything like most people, they felt no danger sitting out in the fields that Christmas night. Then in an instant the angel appeared, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. In that horrifying moment they saw the darkness of their sinful lives in the holy light of God, and they were gripped with the terror of His wrath.Each of us will experience that moment someday — either at our death or at Christ’s return.

Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking my place and suffering for my sins. Guide me to show others why they need Your salvation too. Amen.’

I feel a calling to help people see a need for forgiveness, to see the evil in the world and condemn it. I also feel a calling to give as I know I am one of the lucky ones in a privileged position. Some resolutions for next year?

To firstly though finish off 2016 – My Family’s Highlight Reel:

  • My husband won a footy grand final and worked too hard.
  • I worked a full year without time off for mental illness (!) – and also studied, wrote a blog, book club-ed, got involved at school and even kept relatively on top of the dishes and washing.
  • My daughter thrived in reception, was involved in chapels,  assemblies, school and ballet concerts. She also lost lots of teeth!
  • My son enjoyed many bike, ute, truck, tractor, telehandler and header rides! He also attended child care making good friends to join at kindy next year.
  • We were joined by a pup and a boarder. We holidayed and renovated.

 

 

 

 

faith · Future · life · Uncategorized

This place

Welcome lucky reader, tonight you get three blogs in one or none if this draft doesn’t come together…(came down to two albeit short and simple)

The topic I’ve been working on is based on 50 Things I Want To Do (And Will Do) In My Life — Vincent Carlos

Here’s my own smaller list of 20 things that I want to do (and will do) with my life in the next 20 years.

  1. Become a foster parent
  2. Start a local women’s support group/business
  3. Shop ethically and economically
  4. Create a lovely home environment for my family
  5. More specifically – outdoor patio, bbq, reading area
  6. Get involved in politics
  7. Publish a weekly blog with a community of followers
  8. Reach and maintain my goal weight
  9. Stay married
  10. Support my children through their lives specifically education
  11. Work or volunteer for a charity
  12. Go to Paris
  13. Travel overseas, I’d love to do all the continents
  14. Share my faith
  15. Read on average a book a week
  16. Buy a house
  17. Be a philanthropist
  18. Have a good reputation as a caring open person
  19. Umpire a netball game
  20. Make time for regular play with my children, catch ups with family and friends

Image result for one day... you will be at the place you always wanted to be

Then I saw this photo and quite happily came to the realisation I am exactly where I want to be. Life is good. I get annoyed and tired each day. But I have dreams and they feel completely achievable. I am in love with and thankful for Hubby. My children are my delight. I have a home, a job and financial security. I have been depression free for almost a year. I have a busy social life and still time (although never enough) for reading and relaxing. Seriously I have nothing to complain about. Sorry to be a snob and I know I’m tempting the universe but WOW I want to enjoy it while I’m here.

 

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17

 

What about you, do you have dreams to share? Are you in ‘that’ place, have you been there before or can you see it on the horizon?

 

I pray that ‘he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!’ Ps 20:4

 

ps I’ve blogged before about my dreams collecting dust on the shelf and just wanted to share that I’ve taken action this week on #2 , looking for a partner in crime 🙂

 

faith · parenting · Uncategorized

Just another part of farm life

The other morning our son was waking up (in our bed of course!) and his first question of the day was,

‘Harry is a baby?’ – ‘yes Harry is a baby’ – we have good friends with a nearly one year old Harry who C absolutely dotes on but that wasn’t the Harry he was talking about…

‘Harry is dead?’ ahhh ‘yes our Harry is dead.’

‘Roo is dead?’ – ‘yes Roo is dead’ and then he got up to watch cartoons.

These questions just come from nowhere. His big sister had mentioned Harry the other day at our local park where we donated a fundraising brick with all three of their names on it, but other than that we hadn’t been talking about our Harry. And Roo? Well he was an old much-loved farm dog who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Death is everywhere. Just yesterday my father in law had to shoot one of our younger dogs who had yet again been chasing the rams. Three had already been killed this year by the dogs and they are not cheap. My husband explained to me that FIL had chained him up in front of the other dogs and shot him, he was still lying there when he left work for the day. It sounds awful, it IS awful, I feel horrible for my FIL as I know it would not have been a nice job. But the farm is a business, our rams provide our income and the dogs I guess are workers, they need to listen and learn and this dog had continued repeating his mistakes.

My husband last night at tea explained to our daughter that this incident was the worst part of his day. I commented after his brief description to her of what had happened, that we don’t shoot humans.

We also had a pet lamb die recently and C continues to comment regularly ‘Lamby died 😦 ‘

Death tends to be a part of life for farm kids, in addition my children have experienced my grandparents, an aunt and their brothers passing. Fortunately as christians we can also talk to them about the promise of eternal life through Jesus, about heaven. I appreciate that my children are introduced to death early in their lives, that it is not taboo for them. Their comments and questions sure pull at the heart strings though.

 

GJ

 

ps Sorry to the animal lovers, I hope you don’t read into this post cruelty against animals, if you do I don’t think you understand the realitites of farming but I am more than happy to discuss further

pps At 29 death has been following me too closely recently, the anniversary of my friends death through cancer passed recently and I have again lost loved ones this year – is that what happens when we grow up?

pps I have had the time to write this post thanks to hubby driving past on a tractor and picking up C for a ride, both my children and I are so blessed to experience life on a farm

God bless

life · parenting · relationships · Uncategorized

Great Expectations

This blog has been a real struggle, choosing a topic and finding the energy to flesh it out. Mostly I wanted to write about how tired (and GRUMPY) I am but I couldn’t see that being overly entertaining. I’m disappointed in myself, I really want to give this blogging thing a good go – weekly posts or at least fortnightly but it has now been 18 days since my last post. At the same time I know I don’t want it to be an extra pressure of something to do on the never-ending list.

This last weekend was our least busy in goodness knows how long and I’d been looking forward to it so much, but then n.o.t.h.i.n.g. Even after a week of turning down fun activities (Australia vs England netball game, bookclub, Bad Moms with some wonderful Mummy friends) in order to catch up on much needed sleep, I was STILL tired.

We have reached a golden part of the year, a break between footbal and cricket seasons, a time to FINALLY get some bigger jobs done around the house, I have SO much I want to achieve but…but…but….

The topic I actually chose to write about this week was friendships. I spent last week emotionally drained by a hard one, only to find when I caught up with the person involved, that the big deal I’d made it out to be didn’t eventuate at all. I’ve also come to see I’m very jealous of others friendships, particularly what I see posted on good ‘ole FB. I think the answer is devoting time for building my own friendships, unfortunately  I’m tired AND grumpy.  Sorry does seem to be the recurring theme!

I do have great friends who seem to accept me as I am but I want a bosom buddy, even if that’s not really my style. I’m more of a floater, trying to be friends with everyone, at the same time not really getting close with anyone. At a party I flit around from one group to another, chatting with everyone but in some ways no one. Ideally I would love that one friend I could go sit with absolutely whenever and know we can talk or just sit together.

All this said I AM generally content with my friendships, although just lately wishing I could visibly recognise effort others put in versus just me. I also wish I could let loose and not think about the housework I could be doing with free time instead of catching up with friends.

Life’s busyness and motherhood makes devoting time to friendships, let’s face it, even just yourself hard but family and children are worth all their energy sapping-ness. This morning I watched my boy climbing sheep fences, tank ladders and enjoying time with his father and grandfather. This totally makes life meaningful. (And on the housework side of things even if the big jobs didn’t get done on the weekend I still managed to stay on top of the laundry which feels great – thanks Flylady). Plus my hubby hasn’t stopped talking to me despite my snappiness and my daughter is starting to accept my music choices in the car – it’s been a good day.

 

 

* I think routine (already established during the week) helps, wonder what I can do with free weekends to balance letting go and being productive?!?

 

life · Uncategorized

Things I Like

I wasn’t sure what to blog about today so checked out Discover for some inspiration and found it straight away…

Jessica Gross’ Things We Like started as a simple idea: Each post featured 10 specific things the author enjoys. It’s now an exhibit at the New York Public Library.

via List-Making Love: A Conversation with Things We Like Creator Jessica Gross — Discover

Things Gee Jen likes

  1. When my children hold hands and giggle
  2. Going in to check on the kids before going to bed, realising she does love them even after all they put her through
  3. Reading, reading and reading – books, blogs, articles…
  4. The satisfying feeling when finishing a good book or movie
  5. When either of the above compels me to learn more
  6. Indulging in an hour massage
  7. Staying away from home with my husband
  8. Taking a moment to enjoy the natural environment around me – i.e. a sunset, changing colours of crops
  9. Making a difference in a person’s life – through work, random acts of kindness or just being there
  10. Checking out my sexy husband

And cos I could think of more…

  1. Experiencing the sense of home i.e. driving back into my hometown, re-reading a childhood novel
  2. Eating dessert prepared just for me (thanks Mum!)
  3. Feeling productive – realising at the end of the day I have actually completed what i needed to
  4. Reading over old letters/diary entries/facebook memories
  5. Being on top of my to do list i.e. having bought and sent a card for a friends upcoming birthday
  6. Writing our annual Christmas letter in my head
  7. Stealing moments for myself when my children are happily engaged in an activity
  8. Listening to my children playing nicely together or with a special friend/ family member
  9. Napping
  10. Feeling proud of my childrens, husbands, friends achievements

That’ll do, would you like to share some of yours?