I object!

I object!

To object: to offer a reason or argument in opposition.

I deal with objection a lot in the form of my feisty nine year old who ‘objects’ to at least half of what I say on a daily basis.

I’m learning to see that this isn’t [always] a bad thing. As with many of my daughter’s seemingly toilsome traits.

“She’s a firecracker” we tell people. I always make sure to place a positive spin on the challenges she offers us as her parents though.

She’s optimistic not unrealistic. Imaginative not a day dreamer. Spontaneous rather than impulsive or undisciplined. Her non stop chatter; that’s a great communicator right there. And instead of staying she’s stubborn and disorganised, I’ll tell you she’s a determined wee things who’d rather focus on people than things.

I love all of her, regardless. Even in my frustration.

And some day, I don’t doubt for a second, all of her personality traits will develop into an amazing young lady, a leader. Quite possibly a lawyer so all those objections can be focused on someone other than her mama!

 

This post was written in response to The Daily Post writing prompt: “Object”

 

 

No longer longing

No longer longing

I no longer wistfully long for the life I once wanted, the life I dreamed I might grow into.

I have it.

I’m living my childhood dream. I’m a mama to children who are happy, healthy and fully engaged in everything life throws at them. I’m married to my very own ‘tall dark and handsome’, who also happens to be caring, loyal, loving, my best friend and more beyond that.  My wonderful husband supports me to stay at home and take charge of raising our family.  I have friends. I’ve seen a little of the world outside my own country. I have more in my life than I need. More in fact, than many on this great earth.

I am blessed.

I am grateful.

I am happy.

I don’t need to long. Because I have.

This post was written in response to The Daily Post writing prompt: “Longing”

Mathematically challenged

Mathematically challenged

To divide is the opposite of to multiply. Yep, got that. But divide is so much more than that…

Divide is that black mark on my childhood bedroom wall where my math text book was slammed from across the room at my desk. Frustrated much? Yeah. Statistics not my strength.

Divide is watching my children be so themselves, and so completely different. One who sails through, achieving top possible math scores. One who struggles to meet standards years below their age … and being completely frustrated at their inability to conquer this part of their life.

Divide is the dollars I have to manage across so many piles every month to make our house run. It never goes away.

Divide is the number of miles between my love and I as he serves his country across the sea right now.

Divide is not my favourite word!

This post was written in response to The Daily Post writing prompt: “Divide”

MIRROR MIRROR

Daily Prompt: The Mirror Crack’d
You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?

How would my routines and perception of myself change without mirrors?

Mirror MirrorRoutines – well they probably wouldn’t change really. I blow dry my hair in my (walk-in) wardrobe and 95% of the time my  makeup routine consists of smearing tinted moisturiser over my face and spraying perfume. None of which requires a mirror.

I think I would probably get someone else to start cutting my fringe though!

Self perception – again, probably wouldn’t change a lot. I don’t think most of us see what’s really in front of us when we look in the mirror anyway. I’m pretty secure with my appearance so not being able to see myself shouldn’t increase or decrease this.

It’s working on the inside stuff, the more important stuff, which challenges me at the moment.

OH THOSE ELDERLY PEOPLE!

Daily Prompt: What’s the best (or rather, worst) backhanded compliment you’ve ever received? If you can’t think of any — when’s the last time someone paid you a compliment you didn’t actually deserve?

The first things that came to mind on reading this prompt were a couple of compliments paid to me over the years which were actually very genuine. But a little misguided.

One is from my lovely Grandpop and other from my Great Aunt – both would have been over the age of 75 at the time.

I can remember my Grandpop saying to me:

“Abbie, you look lovely, you’ve put on so much weight”.

Ummm, sure, thanks Grandpop. Not! Seriously, he wasn’t trying to hurt me, or be mean, I don’t think Grandpop had a mean bone in his body. He was just saying it how it was. He maaaaybe should have considered his audience – a 20-something girl (need I say more?!). I didn’t actually take offense. I’ve often remembered it over the years when my weight has plummeted (a stress reaction for me) and remembered it’s good for me to carry a few extra kilos. So it really worked out well.

The other one, delivered by his older sister, one of the loveliest, most charming, charismatic ladies you could EVER meet.

“Abbie dear you’d be such a pretty girl if you didn’t have the mole”.

I did have a mole, a large one, right between my eyebrows. It had been there from birth. Again, I don’t think for a second this was a criticism but all I heard was I wasn’t pretty. I’d heard a lot about my mole over the years at school (kids can be so cruel). This was the comment that pushed me towards having that mole removed. When I look back at photos now I’m so glad I did that – my self-confidence has improved so much.

Funny, the two things I remember, are both to do with my appearance. Maybe I should look into that!

Seriously though, it’s good to look at the heart of the person when you hear the words. It might prevent an unnecessary over-reaction. And you never know what the spin-offs of those comments will be later – there is often something to be learned.

YOU, ROBOT, WASH!

Daily PromptCongrats — you’ve been handed a robot whose sole job is to relieve you of one chore, job, or responsibility you particularly hate. What is it?

Oh this is just too easy.

I’m going to keep this robot plenty busy.

Washing.

Yep, Laundry.

The sorting, stain removing, soaking, washing, hanging, re-sorting, and folding of the 2-3 loads of washing that need to be done in my house. Every. Single. Day.

My most hated sound is the ‘click’ my washing machine makes right before the cycle ends. After that click, comes the beeping – the scream of the machine which doesn’t stop until I purge it of the clean load and feed it with another set of dirty washing!

Washing Pile

Work? Optional!

Daily Prompt: If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

Well this is a prompt I can really relate to. In fact it is an ongoing discussion between my husband and I right now.

Classroom
photo credit: rosipaw via photopin cc

To set the scene, I work in a high school. I manage the Withdrawal Room which is basically time out for the kids sent out of class for a single period, or kids further down the discipline chain who need to be here for a full day. I’m not a teacher, I’m a supervisor. I definitely get to meet some of the more colourful personalities in the school. And I love it.

I work Monday to Friday, 9.00am-1.30pm and I have school holidays off. This is great to balance the needs of my family – they need taxiing around to their various after school activities and as we live across town from their school that’s also a 45 minute round trip. This means I get about 30 minutes between finishing my paid job and taking up my ‘Mum’ job (which generally keeps me active until about 8.00pm). On weekends we have sport, church, youth groups etc. so sometimes it feels like the weekends are busier than the week days in terms of running around.

So how is this relevant to the daily prompt?

Well, my job is on a contract that ends at the end of the school year (December). I’ve been asked to come back and take it on again next year. Part of me wants to, I enjoy the kids I work with (seriously) and the money makes our bank balance a little more elastic.

But I’m exhausted. I have so little energy. There is never any time to take for myself. My husband works night shift every other week so he disappears while I’m out picking up the kids from school – that week we don’t see him aside from breakfast. The house is ‘kinda’ clean and tidy and while I’ve learnt to lower my standards, it is only getting the bare minimum attention. I’m constantly battling that washing pile, there is plenty more I could do around the house, and we’re eating takeaways on a weekly basis which I don’t love. Basically I’m not able to give anything 100%. Yesterday I had to decline helping one of my chosen charities with their annual appeal as I would be at work when they needed me.This makes me sad as I like to help out where I can.

The Kidlets
These little people need (and deserve) a fully functioning, happy and energized Mama bear

So my husband and I have agreed that we’ll take the hit financially to better balance our lifestyles. We’ve prayed on this. I’ve asked my boss if they’ll consider me job sharing and cutting down to three days a week. I’m pretty sure that’s not a realistic option for the school but it’s worth asking the question right?! If the answer is no, I won’t renew my contract.  We’ll step out in faith and believe that something else will come along. We’ll make the financial sacrifices to allow a better quality of life for everyone (when the mama bear is happier, the rest of the bear family are much more settled!). This will allow me to have more energy for the kids, run the house how I like it, to have time to myself to relax and exercise (essential to good state of body and mind), and my husband and I to spend time together before he starts night shifts allowing us to be more than just ships passing in the night.

We both recognise that there are plenty of families who balance two full-time jobs with raising a family. Some out of financial need some out of financial want. I am feeling so blessed right now that Richard and I are on the same page and he supports me so fully even though it does mean sacrifices for us all.

If money honestly was not an issue, I would do my Masters/PHD part-time which would still allow me to balance my family needs with my own needs. I love to study, I’m such a geek! Who knows, perhaps I’ll take on the study option at some point anyway.

 

CHANGE THE WORLD

Daily prompt: Breaking the Ice

There are so many causes that I believe in. But it is impossible to support them all.

Basically, I want the world to be a better place.

I want more of the world, actually I want all of the world, to experience the sort of life that I have. A world where I live in safety, free from guns and violence. A world in which I am free to make my own choices, I can openly worship the God of my choice, I can vote in national elections, I can marry whoever I like. A world where education, especially as a woman, is not a maybe it’s a given and I have endless options for my life. A world where if I am sick I can go to a hospital. A world where people of all nations and cultures are accepted. I have fresh water, I have food, I have a home.

I am privileged.

Do I have an idealised Utopian view of the world? Yes probably. But can the world be a better place. Yes I believe that is true too. It can be overwhelming for sure and I know that I can’t support all the causes that come knocking on my door. So I pick and choose, I have to.

I know that there are people in New Zealand, people in my town, who don’t have a half of what I have in this life. So I try to make a difference locally. Where possible I give my time, I give my money and I give materially to people and causes that touch my heart. Continue reading “CHANGE THE WORLD”

TUNNEL VISION

Daily prompt: Tunnel Vision

I’m going to build a secret tunnel to take me to heaven. Just for a visit, I’m not ready for it to be my time yet. I want to see my kids grow and be a grandmother, I want to mature with my husband and enjoy retirement with him. But in the meantime my tunnel to heaven will allow me to hug my mum. And chat with her, to ask advice about, well, everything.

Even if I could only use my magical tunnel once, that would be better than not having it at all.

Tunnel to heaven
photo credit: Werner Kunz via photopin cc

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: You’ve been given the ability to build a magical tunnel that will quickly and secretly connect your home with the location of your choice — anywhere on Earth. Where’s the other end of your tunnel?

SO MANY BOOKS SO LITTLE TIME

Daily prompt: Off the shelf

Really? You’re only giving me enough time to re-read one book? That is just mean. If you can find time for me to re-read one book, you have magic powers, I want more (time that is!).

Ok, I jest.

I did take a look at my bookshelf before writing this though. I often stand in front of it and gaze at the books, there are many I still haven’t read. The list of books I want to read is ever-growing but I’m always buying more – you just can’t keep me away from a bargain table in a bookshop.

I do re-read The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay every year or two. Yes that’s a definite favourite.

To answer the original question though, I watched The Book Thief the other week and it made me want to revisit the written word. It has been a couple of years since I turned those pages and my memories are now mixed up with those of the Director of the movie. I need to reclaim MY version of the story.

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Take a look at your bookcase. If you had enough free time, which book would be the first one you’d like to reread? Why?

ISN’T IT IRONIC

Daily prompt: 10,000 Spoons

Natty's new bedIrony is the littlest person in the house, having the biggest bed! Seriously, look at the size of that → → →

Yes our little person (with the gorgeously big personality) has a KING size bed. We put it up today after picking it up on the weekend – a generous gift. The other kids already have beds bigger than a single, and we couldn’t get the monster sized mattress up our gnarly spiral staircase to the master bedroom. So Nat has been truly blessed.

Just to be a little more annoying, the bed came with sets of 1,000 thread count sheets. That beautiful quality so wasted on a seven-year-old! Sigh. That said, she knows she is one lucky kid 🙂

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: 10,000 Spoons …When all you need is a knife might not be ironic, but it is unfortunate. Add your own verse, stanza, or story of badly-timed annoyance to Alanis Morissette’s classic.

photo credit: joeldinda via photopin cc
photo credit: joeldinda via photopin cc

Again she felt the tears spill, running down her cheeks matching the raindrop rivulets on the windows. She shook herself angrily, willing the tears to stop. There was no reason to be so sad, there was so much to be grateful for. That was easy to think, but everything going on in her life just seemed to augment the emptiness inside.

Looking out the window all she could see was grey. The winter branches devoid of leaves. The cold sky covered in thick dark clouds. Why was she so dull? Her family was like a kaleidoscope of colour, all living intensely rich lives. She knew because she was the one who made sure that everyone got where they needed to be, at the right time, with all that they needed. Yes her family kept her plenty busy.

Perhaps that was the problem though. It was all about them. She was lost. The bright intelligent happy woman had been buried under lack of sleep, the distance between herself and her friends back home, and the need to keep everything together for everyone else.

It seemed like such a cliché, needing to find herself. But it had become crucial. She didn’t think she could weather another storm.

How though, do you find direction when you’re so lost you don’t even know which way to hold the map?

THINK AGAIN

Daily prompt: Think again

I live in a town called Palmerston North in the North Island of New Zealand. I moved here 18 months ago when I got married – I surely relocated for love because Palmerston North was definitely not a place that I ever wanted to live in. Again. I lived here as a University student aged 18-20 which was a rough time in my life. Everything negative that happened in those years, I associated with this town. So I assumed I would put up living here but I wouldn’t really like it. Not really a smart way to approach living in  a new town I have to say! I’m glad that my assumption was wrong. So wrong. Continue reading “THINK AGAIN”

LUNCH AT TIFFANY’S?

Daily prompt: Missing Sequels

Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast At Tiffany'sOne of my favourite movies is Breakfast At Tiffany’s. I never bore of it.

Surely most people have seen it – or at least seen the iconic pictures of the stunning Audrey Hepburn.

Simply put, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a love story.

I would very much like to see how Holly, Paul and Cat work out. What becomes of them after that last kiss in the rain? Maybe Paul could write a best seller. Would it be possible for them to become a ‘traditional’ couple, and what would that look like for these very different characters.

All that said though, there’s nobody who even comes close to the beauty and charisma of Ms Hepburn. Could anyone else even begin to portray Holly Golightly accurately?  Perhaps I’m just setting myself up for disappointment in trying to work with such an iconic film. Maybe some things should just be left as they are…

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: If you could create a sequel to one favorite (standalone) movie, which would it be? How would it build on the original?

IT’S WEIRD … BUT I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!

Daily prompt: Unlikely pairing

I can remember the first time I saw someone eating this. It grossed me out. Yep, I thought it was just plain weird. So I do understand if you feel the same. But I also recommend that you try this tasty combination a flat-mate introduced me to many moons ago.

Toast with … wait for it … loads of crunchy peanut butter and freshly sliced tomato with salt and pepper.

Yes it sounds strange but honestly, it’s sooo good – I guess if you like peanut butter and tomato!!! I did have a quick look at Google and there are pictures of the same combination from others so I know it’s just not me and my old flat-mate.

Try it, you might be surprised. I was!

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Bacon and chocolate, caramel and cheddar… Is there an unorthodox food pairing you really enjoy? Share with us the weirdest combo you’re willing to admit that you like — and how you discovered it.

ROLLER COASTER!

Daily prompt: 190 Days Later

If I could have looked forward to this day on January 21 and predicted how life would be, would I have been right? I’m going to go with ‘no‘. I’m guessing that now my life is going better than I would have thought possible back in January.

Let’s recap.

Eight days before January 21 I lost my mum and best friend. I’m not going to delve into that today, there are already a few posts if you want some of the back story. But a week into my grief I was in a completely dreamlike state. Nothing seemed real and I couldn’t think ahead to preparing the next meal, let alone how to handle the next six months!

Life is a roller coasterIt has been a roller coaster of emotions for me, experiencing some of my lowest lows ever. Ok, I probably did predict that. But there’s also been some lovely unexpected highs and a lot of growth personally. I re-entered the workforce which has been positive. I started this blog which has had some stunning outcomes for me. And our family continues to grow up and grow together. I was terrified in my grief I would revert to old habits of putting up emotional walls, pushing everyone away. Thankfully I’m learning, and have been able to (mostly) avoid that technique.

So all in all, if I had predicted, my guess is I would have said it’s going to be a roller coaster with more lows than highs. My reality is it has been a roller coaster but with more highs than lows. Yay.

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Back on January 21st, we asked you to predict what day #211 would be like. Well, July 30th is that day — how have your predictions held up so far? If you didn’t reply to the prompt at the time, is this year turning out to be as you’d expected?

 

IN MY OWN HEAD

Daily prompt: Back to life

It’s funny to me that this prompt treats a flight/drive in the same way as a grueling week at work/exam period. To me, they are worlds apart. A long flight or drive, especially alone is like my idea of awesome … the hard week at work or exams not so much!

So let’s say I’ve had a full on week at work and need to get back to me. What do I need?

I need head-space and I need words. Listening, reading, writing … words. Continue reading “IN MY OWN HEAD”

NUMBERS OR SEASONS?

Daily prompt: Age-Old Questions

I wrote about age in a recent post. It was a nice segue from childhood dreams to the same age-old question that of today. Is age just a number? Should we care?

What I came up with in that post was:

“I’m not sure that at the grand old age of 36 I can consider myself ‘grown up’. Really, who says, that at an arbitrary  age, whether it be 18, 21, 25 or whatever, that this is it, that we are grown. Sure we are physically and mentally done but emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, I always want to grow – life is a journey, growth is what makes it good amazing”.

Continue reading “NUMBERS OR SEASONS?”

HOLDING TO MY CHILDLIKE PERSPECTIVE

Daily writing prompt: Adult Visions

I grew up knowing some things about my future. I was told/heard them often enough.

“Oh Abbie, she’s a good girl. She’s so bright. She’ll go to university.”

I mean I was your typical oldest child – reliable and conscientious. God blessed me with a good brain and I liked to get involved in life.

Hearing so often that I would go to University, I honestly didn’t think of anything else. I went to University. I didn’t think beyond that, what I might like to do or be. I didn’t even really have a plan for what I would study. But I knew that University was my ticket out of our town and at 17 I was ready. So I enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts and off I went.

Things didn’t quite go according to plan from there, but given that I didn’t really have a ‘plan’ as such, maybe they did! Continue reading “HOLDING TO MY CHILDLIKE PERSPECTIVE”

CLOUDY LAUGH

Daily prompt: Roaring laughter

That week before final exams Eva could taste the hope. They all could. They’d been working towards this for so long – the proximity of their freedom was tantalising. The rising temperatures of early summer increased the mostly jovial atmosphere of 2012’s graduating class.

The laughter was rampant as the close-knit group bodily crisscrossed themselves, head to stomach, one after the other, so the well-needed joy could physically travel through them.

As she nestled her head on her best friend’s stomach, Eva giggled. Squinting into the bright light, a breeze in her hair, with her nearest friends right there she forced herself to focus on all that was good and perfect around her.

The laugh gathered momentum, moving up and down the line, soaring with each belly bounce. They all needed this light amusement to keep the clouds of uncertainty at bay.

All their excitement threatened to be overshadowed by thoughts of facing their unknown new worlds while old friends dispersed across the country.  New stories were starting in new climes so for now they created these moments of deep, heartfelt laughter  to carry them through the gloom on the horizon.

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?

REAL AND TRUE

Daily prompt: Generous Genie

I’m a genie, newly liberated from the confines of my bottle. My three wishes, free to anyone I favour. How do I choose? Conundrum or child’s play?

If it were me, I would need only one wish. To bring back my mum. But what are the implications of that? The price of being human, and of loving, is losing. In losing we hurt, but we also grow, we learn about ourselves and how to cope with challenges that life will throw at us. Besides, if I could bring her back, I know in time she would have to leave once more and my heart doesn’t want to beat to that drum again.

My children would wish for 1,000 more wishes, millions of dollars, no more school, endless supplies of lollies. At what cost? A life of entitlement, never knowing what it is to work and earn what they need. And a life without education – not worth pondering. We’re so lucky to live in a part of the world where it’s a given.

So I would take those three wishes, stuff them back in the bottle and put the lid on tight in favour of a life that is real and true.

When life is too easy for us, we must beware or we may not be ready to meet the blows which sooner or later come to everyone, rich or poor. Eleanor Roosevelt

 

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Remember those lovely genies who grant wishes? Well, you’re one and you’ve just been emancipated from your restrictive lamp. You can give your three wishes to whomever you want. Who do you give your three wishes to, and why?

 

SONGBIRD

Daily prompt: Strike a Chord

Do I play an instrument? No. Well actually yes. I remember my high school music teacher telling us that ‘voice’ is most definitely an instrument. So yes, yes I do play an instrument. I sing. All the time. Loudly. Passionately. Badly.

NO! Hang on, I should be on Idol – I’m A-M-A-Z-I-N-G – when I’m in the car by myself!!!

All right, quite honestly, I know a lot of truly amazing singers. I adore live music and could sit and listen to a good voice for hours. I don’t think I’m tone-deaf, I was in the auditioned choirs at school, but I don’t have any illusions about the limitations of my instrument.

That said, when I’m at home, or in the car, or during the worship at church, you won’t keep me quiet. I love to sing – it releases something deep from within. And I shall continue to serenade … myself. Don’t worry Idol, I won’t be one of the out-takes in the audition episodes of the next series!

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.

 

IT’S AN ADVENTURE

Daily prompt: Wrong Turns

It could be said that getting lost is going astray. Not knowing your way. Personally I have the worst sense of direction in the world. Heck, I once broke a compass just by picking it up!

You can point me to North and I’ll tell you it’s West. You can give me a map and I’ll turn it upside down before navigating to the opposite direction of where you need to be. But that’s just me.

Compass

Google Maps on my smart phone, now there’s a saving grace. Although there was the time when we were away recently, and I entered the street address into our friend Google with the wrong suburb. We almost ended up on the wrong motorway heading 30 minutes further south than we needed to.

It’s good thing my husband’s theory is that life is an adventure and if he’s lost, he’d rather be lost with me – because really, even with technology, I am the worst navigator!!!

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: When was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.

 

WRITE AWAY

Write NowDaily prompt: Back of the Queue

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. But I’ve been afraid. A part of me hopes I have some ability, part of me doesn’t care, I just love to put words on a page. These last few months blogging are the start of what has been at the top of my ‘I wish I could’ list for decades. And I’m loving it.

I know why I’ve been scared. Continue reading “WRITE AWAY”

FOOD, SO MUCH MORE THAN FLAVOUR

Daily prompt: Picky Tongues

popcornCheese covered savoury scones for a lazy Sunday lunch after church…

Bowls of salty popcorn, snuggled into the sofa watching movies to ward off a wintry evening…

King size blocks of creamy sweet Milky Bar Chocolate devoured to resolve the roughest of days…

A spicy curry in a ‘cheap and cheerful’ restaurant with friends, conversation and laughter for the perfect end to a week…

Bitter. Cutting. Acrimonious.

Food is so much more than flavour, it is experience, it is emotion, it is memories. I choose to lose the bitterness.

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: You have to choose one flavor that your sense of taste will no longer be able to distinguish. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, spicy (not a taste per se, but we’re generous): which one do you choose to lose?