No more Babble

No more Babble

I think it’s been pretty obvious for a while, that my blog hasn’t been high on my list of priorities. Which is sort of true. I still spend so much time writing posts in my head and wondering what new ideas I can come up with. I love to write, I love to blog. But the time has come to make the decision to let Abbie’s Babble rest.

I’m very much of the opinion that if I can’t do something well and with my whole heart, then I probably shouldn’t do it at all. I started this blog as a means of dealing with the grief of losing my mum all the while adjusting to my new role as mum of four in a blended family. That season has passed now. My grief will never end and I’ll always be a very blessed mum. But right now, I need to focus on being hands on raising my family and being an amazing wife.

So I’ll say goodbye. And thank you. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have read and commented on my posts. I was always amazed at every comment – that anyone would take the time to read my words and then actually connect enough to say something.

My posts will stay here as I love to go back to read, to see just how far I have come. The memories are real. But for now, I’ll say goodbye. Or maybe see you later … in another form if I feel the need…

Abbie x

 

Girl in chaos

Girl in chaos

This is my girl through and through. She lives in her own frenetically paced bubble. Yesterday when she jumped out of the car I just had to snap this pic – it’s so her.

20160503_151807.jpg

In the seven minute drive from school to home she managed to pull everything out of her bag and then scramble inside, barely keeping it all in check. But oh my, she’s gorgeous.

I’ve posted plenty about Nat (she has her own tag) – my firecracker. She doesn’t seem to live inside any set of rules, she battles and challenges me as a parent every single day. Her emotions ALL run to extreme levels  and she’s either on superfast or the total opposite. She loves completely, has a will that is stronger than no other I’ve met, is extremely affectionate (when the mood strikes her), and feels everything to the highest degree.

I love her, the beautiful girl underneath the whirlwind that is Natalie, and almost cant wait to see her grown up. She’s going to be amazing. But hey, don’t get me wrong, she IS amazing now too!

But for now, I’ll deal with picking her stuff up off the bathroom floor (and hallway and lounge and bedroom!), picking my battles with her, and making the most of every gorgeous mama-daughter moment we share.

Reintroduction: Living Fearlessly

Reintroduction: Living Fearlessly

Living fearlessly is, for me, living happily. It’s about playing life to my own tune.

It’s about doing what is right and good for myself and my family.

It’s about doing things that challenge me.

It’s about living in the moment.

It’s about making choices that bring true joy.

It’s about being true to myself in what I think, say and do.

AND, it’s about achieving all of that without accepting resentment, obligation, and pressure from others. Not caring what other people think about the choices I make. And lots of saying no – without feeling guilty.

You could say that sounds harsh, yes. But you know what, if we don’t make the choices for ourselves (and as a mama, our family) to be happy,  I can pretty much guarantee that nobody else is going to make those choices for us.

So I’m stepping out and making choices for myself and my family that are right for us.

There will always be things we ‘have’ to do, places we ‘have’ to go. I’m totally about accepting responsibilities. But living fearlessly is not letting obligation make decisions that don’t bring us joy or meet up with the priorities we’ve set for our family.

For me, living fearlessly is being free.

More to follow on the specifics of this in my life – I’ve even created a new tag…

Reintroduction: Faith

Reintroduction: Faith

In tough times, we all need something or someone to hold us up. In my challenges I was provided with everything I needed, although I couldn’t always see it at the time. I needed hope, strength, bravery, and shelter to find peace. It is my strong faith in the promises of the bible that provided all of these things in abundance.

My faith in my Lord and saviour is the reason I’m still here today, and the means by which I have been able to grow rather than wither in my trials. I simply can not imagine what it would have been like to travel the last few years without having everything I know and believe to lean on.

As a Christian, I believe in God. I believe He created the earth and all in it. I believe He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sin. And I believe in eternal life. I can’t explain my faith, even to myself. I completely understand that on the outside, it may sounds crazy. But there is  a knowing, deep inside me, that God is with me. He’s given us all a portion of faith, we just need to find it. And honestly, the peace joy and hope that comes from surrendering completely to something so much bigger than ourselves in incomparable. (As an aside, by ‘surrender’ I don’t mean that we don’t have choice, we do have free will, but that’s an conversational topic all of its own!)

So I’ve made it through the first year of marriage, a blended family no less. I’ve watched my mum (my best friend) and my Gran, pass to the next life and worked through immense grief. Grief I didn’t think was possible – grief that will be with me forever but through the passage of time, and leaning on God’s promises, grief that I can endure. I’ve had health struggles which persist, identity crisis as I tried to find the real me in the absence of the woman who shaped me, and I struggle daily as a mum (don’t we all?!).

But I’m here. And I’m strong. I’ve been wrapped up by my Lord and I know that no matter what, He will sustain me. My faith is everything.

Here are some verses which are important to me. There are more, many more. But these are the promises I lean on daily. Phillipians 4:13 has become something of a mantra when even taking the next breath seems daunting.

Hope

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Courage

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

Strength

I can do all things through him who gives me strength.
Phillipians 4:13

Refuge

You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

Peace

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Hope. Courage. Refuge. Peace.

Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favour.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and escape will elude them;
their hope will become a dying gasp.
Job 11:13-20

|||||This post was prefaced by: Let Me Reintroduce Myself, which you can read here.

 

Reintroduction: Family

Reintroduction: Family

I don’t for a second believe that family is only those we are tied to through shared genetics. I grew up with a step-father who is my dad in every way (aside from the obvious biological difference). So I knew from a young age what real family is.

As far as my immediate – husband and children – family goes, there is no higher priority for me. Thankfully my Mr and I look at this from the same perspective. We dedicate time, thought and energy to ensuring that our beautiful blend has an amazing sense of love and security, and shared experiences/ adventures/ memories. Family.

I’ve been blessed with four amazing kids. I love them all. But only my daughter is genetically of me. How could I possibly say that my three step-sons are not my family, just because we don’t share genetics? I can’t.

I love them, I’m proud of them, they frustrate the heck out of me … and vice versa no doubt! As I said to them when their dad and I were engaged, I want to be the “mum-type-person” in their lives as much or as little as they will have me (their mum passed away years earlier from Cancer). I’m lucky that they let me be their mum-person in almost every way. We ARE family.

I experienced a big change in my own family dynamics after my mum passed away. We sure did have to do a reshuffle in the way we think and operate. It wasn’t all smooth, in fact some of the lowest lows for me were related to this transition, but we’re over the bumps now. I’m proud of how we’ve overcome. Not proud of my part in it at the low points but on the other hand,  emotions were running sooooooo high, and … well, I don’t need to revisit it now. We’re good and that makes me happy.

Those bumpy months did show me just how important some people are my life. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, is worth breaking those special relationships. Those months also illustrated for me the importance of the ‘mum’ role. I think it gave me a bit of a kick to really intentionally be the wife and mum I want for my nearest and dearest.

There’s so much more to write about family but really, I think when I say that my roles as mother, wife, and daughter have become really key in who I am and how I face every day, then I’ve nailed the key points.

|||||This post was prefaced by: Let Me Reintroduce Myself, which you can read here.

 

Let me reintroduce myself

Let me reintroduce myself

There are moments in life that define us – maybe immediately, or perhaps they set off a transformation that rolls out over time. A journey.

The last few years have been the latter for me. Quite simply, I’m different to the me who was here two years ago. It’s fair to say I’ve been through the fire and I’ve come out differently. But the same. But different.

I’m still Abbie – I still like most of the same things, my heart hasn’t changed. But I now have a different view of the world … and how I want to live in the world. So I’m back, with plenty to say, and after a process of reinvention, I think I’ve found my voice again – the authentic voice that will speak truly from my heart, no bulls*it, always keeping it real.

The marketer in me wanted to come up with a few key words to sum up my priorities. To focus on those things that have a big impact in this stage of my life, and speak about who I am (or am striving to be).

This is what I came up with:

(See what I did there? LOVE alliteration!)

Over the next few weeks I will cover these aspects and hopefully from there, you’ll have a good idea of where I’ve been.

Yay, I’m blogging again! Well, blog, singular post, but Rome wasn’t built in a day 🙂

Thanks for reading x

 

My one thing

My one thing

The other day I wrote about intentionally living in the moment. Every day.

I can, and do, live here and now because I know where I’m from, where my strength comes from, and where I’m going.

I’m really enjoying the new Hillsong worship album: Open Heaven River Wild. I actually love pretty much everything any of the Hillsong bands release and love that there’s always something to lift me up, carry me through, bring me back to earth, send me into a worship party or whatever my day needs. Yep, they really do it all!

Anyway, a lyric jumped out and hit me in the face this weekend.

all I know is
everything I have
means nothing
Jesus,
if You’re not
my one thing

It’s so true. There have been times when I’ve been less than intentional about my faith and it’s not pretty – and I’m not talking about just stopping going to church (I’ll write on that another time). Jesus is my rock. When He’s my focus, my ONE THING, I have everything.

I can remember when I was a really new christian, I didn’t understand that. I didn’t understand how a pastor could ask me to put my relationship with God ahead of my family – ahead of my daughter. Like what?! I was a single mum at that time and my girl was my world. I actually thought I would never be able to do that.

But I grew.

And as I got to know God and have a personal relationship with Him, I finally understood that putting Him first, makes me a better mum. A better person. A better everything. If you could see the difference on my inside – the forgiveness, the peace and true joy experience I now have, you would never be in any doubt that what I say is true.

Jesus is my ONE THING.

Here and Now

Here and Now

Life is such a journey – and every day I learn, and yearn, to live in the journey, savouring each step of the way. The good steps, the big steps, the painful steps … all the while, admiring the beautiful view. The view around me, and view that is me.

Yes I did say that: admiring me. Living in the moment, marvelling who I am, who I am growing to be, and most of all, admiring my most masterful Creator who knows and is with me on every step of this journey.

My journey has seen happy and sad, good and bad, high and low, and probably everything in between.

In the joy I offer gratitude for all of my blessings, it keeps me grounded, remembering where it all comes from.

Here and NowIn the darker times I also offer gratitude for all of my blessings, for I always have things to be grateful for which is so important to remember when the going gets rough. In those times I also ask my Lord to carry me, to take my burdens, to keep me on steady ground. He hasn’t failed me yet.

He is my rock.

Intentionally living in every moment, knowing with complete certainty where I came from, in fact where everything came from, and where I’m going for all eternity, is the greatest joy and hope for my soul.

Eating myself well (ish)

Eating myself well (ish)

20150918_160103That, over there on the right >>>>> is me at 4pm on Friday. This week I worked two half-days and one full day, I slept most of Wednesday and both afternoons where I only worked the morning. There were more naps in between, and outside of work, driving kids and cooking meals, I’ve sadly achieved very little.

I’m a train wreck.

I feel like someone has heated my bone marrow to boiling point, everything burns from the inside, especially the joints from my knuckles to my toes and all in between. The fatigue is ridiculous to the point of sometimes not even being able to complete a sentence. I used to be called Jabba-jaws – this is not natural for me!

I’m battling an unknown disease. I know some things it’s not. Which is great – it definitely takes the pressure off knowing that while I’m possibly battling something chronic, I’m not looking at terminal. I have a wonderful Dr who I know is battling right beside me. At this stage I’m waiting to see a Rheumatologist at the hospital – it’s going to take two plus months to get an appointment.

In the meantime, there are two things I can control here.

Food and medication.

My Dr would like me to go on Prednisone (steroids) to keep me going until I can see the specialist. It’s a means to an end. I have reservations about this. My mum was on steroids long term and it wasn’t pretty. I also struggle with treating symptoms when we still don’t know the cause. I’m thinking on this one, I’m leaning towards toughing in out for a few more months medication free but we’ll see.

Food is a big card in my favour. I wrote a while ago that I was looking into the Paleo way. I did go fully Paleo for a while. I enjoy the food but when I’m so blimen exhausted and have a household of seven to run, it IS hard work. That said, when I don’t look after my diet, my pain goes up, my quality sleep goes down and the brain fog closes in.

I don’t think I’ll ever be fully Paleo, I need coffee (yes, need, don’t try and tell me otherwise please!) and enjoy my Friday evening vino with my husband too much. But mostly, I am heading back to eating clean, very clean, in an attempt to love on my body as much as possible.

Let’s see what happens.

I won’t stop fighting. I will always make the most of the good days and I have learnt to accept the sleep days for what they are – out of my control and completely necessary…not a reason to feel guilty. I am so blessed with a very understanding husband who is completely supportive and never makes me feel bad for the things I can’t do. I love him.

My life is still good. Great. I am blessed.

Beautiful Heart

Beautiful Heart

My daughter is without doubt, the biggest challenge of my life so far. I love her dearly – each and every part of her that makes her … well, … her. But boy oh boy is my intelligent, highly emotional, stroppy, strong-willed girl a challenge to every bit of patience that I have.

She was the dream baby, healthy from the outset, slept through the nights from eight weeks old, and met all her milestones, many ahead of time. Because it was just her and I from when she was only weeks old, she quickly became mummy’s best little friend.

She was so compliant … until she wasn’t.

I don’t know what changed, but about the time she turned four, my little lady found her will. Her VERY STRONG will. Four years later, we’re still trying to find that compliant heart I know is there. But I have to be honest, compliance isn’t the most important thing to me.

Love, respect, honesty, integrity, being a great friend, humility, reverence, generosity. These are important, in a child and in the amazing adult I know she will become.

This doesn’t win me a lot of fans. I’m probably the mum that you hear repeating herself over and over in the supermarket and just want to shake while you yell ‘woman your child is a brat’. I get that. But I don’t care what anyone else thinks anymore. Yes, I have learnt a LOT about tolerance too!

She does have a strong will, but I see an amazing will that can take her far. Stubborn yes, tenacious too. Quick to question yes, an open heart and mind to learn too. Emotional yes, a big heart too. Stroppy yes, hmmmm, not sure I can find an upside to that 😉

I know God has an amazing plan for her life and I don’t want to break her spirit. I know that if I focus only on behaviour of instant compliance, we’ll only be frustrated – I don’t want her to be a robot, she has so much more to offer than that. Besides I also know I’m never going to achieve that. Don’t get me wrong, she still has to respect authority and rules, we just have to go about things a slightly different way. I will let some things slide that you might not, but in the big picture, it’s small stuff on the Natalie scale.

So lately, seeing a few glimpses of the amazing heart I know is in there, makes me more joyful than the words I write can possibly convey.

Over the weekend I received an email from another parent thanking me for raising Natalie to be the good friend she is. HALLELUJAH! I’m not happy for the praise of my parenting (ok, truth, it feels good), I’m really happy that my gorgeous girl is being an amazing friend. Standing steadfastly on the side of her friend who is being bullied, instead of straying to the side of the bully who is relentlessly trying to break them apart.

My girl was bullied for a long time last year, that’s why she’s at the school she’s at now. We’ve spent many hours pondering friendships and talking about being a good friend. I’m so grateful that her bad experience has come to good in that she can help her friend now. Generally in her new school she’s chosen to surround herself with beautiful girls and when the going gets tough, she stands strong beside them. That’s the kind of friend I want her to be. I’m happy.

I’m also happy that yesterday she got angry at me. Because I wouldn’t stop the car and drive back around the intersection – for a third time. Hmmm, ok, I’ll back up. Yesterday there was a man cleaning car windows at the traffic lights. This isn’t a common occurrence where we live so my ever-inquisitive daughter needed to know why. When I saw his pack on the side of the road I explained there was a good chance the man didn’t have a job, maybe he didn’t even have a place to live, so he was trying to earn money. Well, she was ready to jump out of the car then and there and hand over my wallet! She made me drive around the block and back to hand him some money. I did turn around, I couldn’t quash that sort of thinking, but we didn’t catch a red light so I had to keep driving past a second time.

Boy oh boy did my little lady get stroppy and let me have it (verbally).

So we’re not all the way there. Well actually we’re not even part of the way there. But she’s showing that she’s hearing me, the love, the words, the lessons … they’re getting in. I know they’re going to pay off in the adult she becomes.

Isn’t that really what we all want as parents?

Red lights

Red lights

Today I drove through a red light. Seriously, not just, the light was amber and I made a call to sneak through. Nope, the light was red, I didn’t even see it, I just kept driving. At an intersection I drive through daily! Man did I get a fright.

I’m so grateful for God’s protection on my life. That could have played out very differently.

I am far too tired. And I little freaked out that I could do that. It’s so not me, I’m not (usually) a careless driver. Sigh. Roll on the next specialist appointment and working out what is wrong with this body of mine so we can make a plan and take back control!!!

Blessed to live, live fullyI definitely received a reality check today.

A good reminder.

Life is uncertain, we don’t ever know what is around the corner.

We must treasure every step, every experience, every opportunity.

Every. Single. Day

Diamonds

Diamonds

I am, without question, an optimist. Very intentionally so.

I learnt, as a 15-year-old, the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was a life-defining conversation that will forever shape who I am.

It was a wintry day, wandering along one of my favourite beaches with my Nan. We both loved the beach and loved walking, and I adored my Nan, so these were school holiday days that I very much looked forward to.

I don’t remember how it came up, but I can still hear Nan saying to me “Abbie, some people will look at a glass as half full, some will look and see it as half empty, you can choose which you see”. That was the game changer for me, when she stopped, looked at me and told me I choose whether or not I look on the bright side. It’s a moment that is forever etched on my heart.

Since then, I’ve gone out of my way to be an optimist: finding the silver lining in every cloud, knowing that good that can, and will, come out of bad. No matter what life has thrown at me, I’ve kept going – I’ve found positives because I know they are always there. Yes, sometimes I’ve stumbled around in the fog for a bit, forgetting that the sunshine always follows the storm, but I always get there in the end.

Because I choose to.

I remembered this conversation, this part of me, when I recently listened to Julia Grace’s song ‘Diamond’. I love the story, the lyric.

“Find something deeper
make life a little bit sweeter,
learn to make a diamond out of every stone”.

It’s so good to have a reminder.

Life happens, life is sh*t sometimes. Sh*t happens. We choose how we react, what we see, and how we walk through the storms.

I choose sunshine.

I choose diamonds.

Note to self: Honesty

Note to self: Honesty

There’s a song I’ve been playing over and over a lot lately.

If We’re Honest. I love love love this song. The tone, the lyrics, the message, and of course the divine voice of Francesca Battistelli (I love this vibe for her, much more than her more commercial ‘pop’ sound).

Honesty is something that’s very much on my heart at the moment. It always is, really. But I’ve been living ‘pretend’ for a while now and I’m really needing to not do that anymore.

I’ve been unwell for over a year. Really feeling horrible and struggling each day to do what is required of me. I’ve hidden it. Always pretending I’m fine. Pretending to myself to a point, yes, to the rest of the world, definitely. It’s only in the last couple of months I’ve been admitting my weaknesses to some friends and family. I find that really hard. Those who see my Instagram posts will have seen a little more transparency (isn’t it funny how I, and maybe you, find is easier to be real with complete strangers?!).

I’m so much about ‘keeping it real’ yet by hiding this very big part of my life, I’m not being authentic. And that bugs me. It’s hard to be happy when I’m not being myself.

I know why I hide. I grew up in a home where, if someone asked how you were, you replied ‘I’m fine thank you’. It’s not that nobody cared, I guess I was just taught that we keep our private issues private, we don’t head out into the world looking for sympathy. That stance right there has also stopped me being good at reaching out for help. I also place extreme standards upon myself. Yup, I’m a bit of an overachiever in a lot of ways. At the moment, I consider myself failing as a wife and mother because I’m physically not able to do all that’s required of me in these roles. I’m a stay at home mum, my kids are at school, yet I still struggle to do the basics – the driving, washing, meals, cleaning. And that’s really hard to admit.

So the time has come for honesty.

To be honest with myself about what is real and realistic foremost.

Nothing good will ever come from dishonesty. From lying or misleading, no matter how good the intentions.

To be authentic is to be honest, dependable, trustworthy and real. This is who I am.

So honestly: I’m not perfect, I’m fully flawed and I need to accept this. I am how my creator made me. I will not hide from or be ashamed of His plan for my life.


In case anyone is wondering, my Dr is working hard to reach a diagnosis for me on the health issues. It’s a process but after many (many!) tests and specialist appts we’re hopefully closer to working this out. That will be a happy day, to have an answer and hopefully, a plan…

Making memories

Making memories

Yesterday someone pointed something out to me. Something really important.

Something that I thought was a slightly funny but inconsequential moment, was actually potentially significant.

Bear with me…

Yesterday on the school run I had fractious kids – I blame Monday! I was pre-coffee and not really up for the noise levels that six kids, mostly boys, can produce (I also pick up another family en route to one of our schools). Drastic action was required.

“Right you lot, if you don’t tone it down, I’m going to blast this truck with opera music. Don’t think I won’t do it…”

Hmmmm, still really noisy. Right then.

And suddenly I had six kids pretending to be opera singers – full voice, full comedy act. I will never hear You Raise Me Up in quite the same way again! We laughed all the rest of the way and everyone jumped out of the car at their various schools in good spirits.

I would have totally forgotten this moment except for posting a smart comment about boys and opera music on my Facebook page. Then someone pointed this out to me:

We weren’t just making happy noise, we were making happy memories too.

Gosh that got me thinking.

How many other fleeting random or silly (or bad) moments am I dismissing that are actually becoming an important part of the memory bank that my children will look back on? I need to become more intentional about the now.

This is all part of a bigger change happening in me, it’s been coming for a while. I blogged about being present and needing to be happy with life in October/November last year. I have made some changes, both internally and in the way we go about life, that have made a huge difference, and now, it’s time to be even more intentional about chasing passion and happiness.

Hands Free MamaI’ve been reading a fantastic book called Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford. I had it sitting on my bedside table for at least a year before it was the right time to pick it up, but when I finally did, it hit me hard between the eyes.

In short, Hands Free Mama introduces a life philosophy, it’s about simplicity, being present and grasping what really matters in life.

I haven’t related so much to a book in a long time – you can see by the state of it that I’ve thumbed through it more than just a few times! I will be reflecting more on my own Hands Free journey in future posts.

I think yesterday was a great example of grasping what really matters. That laughter and happiness on the way to school, that’s good memories in the memory bank.

It’s so important to create those moments, or even better, to have time in life to just let those moments happen…

Watering your dreams

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” Lao Tzu.

photo credit: Stourhead (National Trust) via photopin (license)
photo credit: Stourhead (National Trust) via photopin (license)

My dreams are big at the moment, although I can’t say for sure what they are, I just know there’s something bubbling. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next step in God’s plan for me is. I’m determined to hang on to this hope and optimism – patiently (not my most well developed trait)! Rather than get bogged down in the details, and the everyday, that can suffocate dreams.

I know the rights doors will be opened and closed at the right times but I’m not going to sit back passively. I shall water my dreams with prayer and persistence.

Abbie x

Prowess – I am / You are ENOUGH

Yesterday I posted about being enough. I am enough. You are enough. Even on the days when we feel like we don’t measure up WE ARE ENOUGH.

This morning a friend posted this story on her Facebook feed. This friend has the most amazingly beautiful heart and I’m almost always inspired by what she posts. She is such an encourager (as you can see). Today her words just tied in perfectly with what’s in my head and heart, and what I wrote yesterday.

Tracey Prowess

Here was this amazing woman, a life saver, carer, nurturer, who felt like she wasn’t enough because she wasn’t a great baker. Honestly, if that’s not getting tied up in society’s standards for us, I don’t know what is?! I love that my friend encouraged her so, a complete stranger, but she spoke to this woman’s heart. We should all encourage each other, these opportunities probably pass us by every day.

The word ‘prowess’ really hit me. It means “exceptional or superior ability, skill, or strength”. Yes! We’re all good at something, we can’t be good at everything. And that right there, is probably why we so often think we don’t measure up. We’re trying to be everything to everyone. Which I wrote about yesterday. Don’t do that. Be true to you and who you are. For me, that is my identity in Christ first, everything else second. I can focus on ONE thing and ONE set of standards – especially when I know those standards won’t change.

Remember – you are enough. Now go find someone else to tell that they are enough too!

Abbie x

I’m not enough

I’m not enough

I can’t be all things to all people. I’m always letting someone down. I know that. On some level, I know that trying to be what everyone else wants/needs is a pursuit that will never end well. I also know that I probably place more of those pressures on myself than anyone else.

But don’t we all have days where, in our own heads, we just don’t measure up?

The days I run non stop after the kids so that by the time I get to sit down with my husband in the evening I don’t have anything left to give him. I’ve let him down. The fact that I’m not the uncomplicated daughter/sister my family would like, the woman who will accept anything they say or do. To them, I’m a Jesus freak. I let them down all the time because I’m ‘different’. The days my body lets me down and then I barely function outside of the bathroom or lying on my bed. Those days I let everyone down.

I’m learning something though.

Even though I might fail to my own standards, or even to someone else’s standards, I am enough. Continue reading “I’m not enough”

When 1 + 1 = 8

Earlier this month we went to one of the most beautiful weddings I think I have ever attended. The setting was gorgeous, outdoors under well established trees in a beautiful garden. We sat on hay bails covered with white taffeta as the sun dimpled through the trees. The groom was handsome, the bride was stunning. So were their children. And I don’t think a single person there could deny that God was in ‘the house’. Oh yes, these two are meant to be together.

As much as the setting was gorgeous, for me, my heart-strings were really pulled on a deeper level. I could so relate with this couple. A widower who tragically lost his wife far too young, leaving him to raise their four children. And a young woman raising her twin boys alone. The joining of this gorgeous couple didn’t just bring together a husband and wife, but a big beautifully blended family.

The best man (the groom’s teenage son) spoke of the order his new stepmother would likely bring to the house…as only a woman can! The father of the groom was overwhelmed with joy when he could talk of his son’s renewed happiness after some really awful times. He also reminded the bride that she was inheriting two sets of in-laws with her new husband’s, late-wife’s family as well.

Oh yes, Richard and I could so relate! I’m just so excited for this new Mr&Mrs. It’s not an ‘everyday’ beginning to a marriage but it’s one I have lived. And continue to live. It’s not an easy beginning to a marriage but are any of the beginnings really easy, if we’re honest? Besides, there are also some really cool aspects that I pray work as well in their life, as they have in ours. The growing bonds between step-siblings, the very extended family, the maturity and experience brought to the marriage from the outset.

These are gifts.

the secret to happy marriage #goodadvice #instablogging #abbiesbabbleSomething I took away from the Pastor’s message was a little nugget of wisdom gleaned from a couple who had been married for 65 years. When asked what their secret to a successful marriage was, they said “we come from a time when, if something broke, we fixed it”. Isn’t that beautiful?! Words to live by I think, I’m getting a bit fed up with this ‘disposable life’ that seems to be so fashionable now. But that’s a whole different blog post…

 

CC Image background It’s All About Love by Candida.Performa via Flickr
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Where to start?! New adventures for a new year!

#newyear #blankpageYou know I’ve been away so long, I almost don’t know where to start. There’s so much busting to get out of me here that when I start writing, I can’t be sure I’ll be able to stop. Could be a long night!

OK, let’s just start with where we are.

So it’s February. Already! I know right … how did that happen so fast? We spent most of December and January on summer holiday, travelling around the country visiting family and friends, and camping at the beach. It’s been blissful. I will post more about our holidays separately. I took a LOT of photos so should (fingers crossed) have some decent photos to share too (in the meantime there are quite a few on Instagram).

The kids have all been back at school for at least a week now. Our eldest second year high school (quick to settle, happy and excited about his year), middle boys back to their primary school (same old) and youngest started a new school after our bullying challenges last year. Happy to report she’s a different child. Excited to go to school, happy and chatty at the end of the day, making new friends and settling in well. Phew. Hang on, that was understated … PHEW!!!!!

Tomorrow we have a student from Vietnam joining us for a few months. He’s older than our kids so will be interesting to see how he settles. It does mean I now have four schools on my daily run but I’m up for it. I love setting up the room for guests and wondering what they will be like and how we will all get on. It’s a little scary but a lot exciting. It’s so good for our kids (and we grown ups) to share our home and to learn about the wider world.

Something I’ve become really focused on is spending time diving into God’s word. Deeply. I can honestly say that I haven’t been so drawn to my bible in my adult life – and the more I study, the more I want to study. I’m being pulled into a closer relationship with my Lord daily which is so exciting and terrifying. Terrifying because I know he has plans for my life and I know I have to surrender to them. Whatever they are. I’m such a control freak and just learning to let go. It’s beautiful scary. Does that make sense?!

I spent last week getting the house up to speed after a lot of inattention. I’m not working out of the house this year (at this stage) so it’s wonderful to have the time to really get things in order … and to stay on top of things. I’ve already been signed up to work at Swimming Sports next week and to manage one hockey fundraiser so my days will not be empty. I love being able to get more involved with the kids’ school and extracurricular stuff, not just be the tired taxi driver. I’m also going to be contributing over at another blog but I’ll introduce them to you when I’ve officially been introduced over there 🙂

And the really good news, I now know why I have been walking through life fighting feeling like a tired, forgetful, cranky zombie! Last month I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Which came as a real shock, but since then quite a few ‘ah-ha’ moments. No medication required, I can fix this myself, by taking gluten out of my diet. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds but I’m off to a good start. I will definitely be writing more about this, it is kind of a big deal in terms of lifestyle adjustment and is taking a bit to get my brain around. But ultimately I’m looking at this as a positive thing.

So, there’s a quick catch up on Abbie. I have a notebook I’ve been carrying around full of notes for blog posts so there will be much more babble. And now the kids are settled back at school hopefully I can make it back here a few times a week.

Ax

Bullying still sucks

Regular readers of Abbie’s Babble might be aware of our struggles this year with bullying (my seven-year old daughter has been bullied over the last few months).

Unfortunately, things have hit an all-time low and I felt forced to remove my girl from school for the rest of the year (our school year finishes in 10 days for the summer). The last week of the year is fun, and she is missing out. Her bullies and their families carry on happy and regardless.

My heart is hurting and heavy.

I’m sad for my girl who has gone through so much she didn’t need to go through – it should have been stopped. I’m hurt that the school has obviously decided we’re wrong and chosen to stop acting – actually worse than not acting, Nat is feeling let down even by staff now. The other children have told lies, denying everything, and staff are consistently taking their side.

I have seen this other girl who is causing the most grief at the moment and she can’t even make eye contact with me any more (she used to come to my home). I don’t believe for a second that she has a clear conscience.

Nat has been told she can no longer go to her safe place the school sick bay. Sometimes she goes there at lunchtime as it’s safe, sometimes she genuinely needs time out as she does get a sore tummy from stress. I’ve been so worried about her health I’ve had her at the Dr with full blood screens taken to rule anything else out – looks like good old stress.

I don’t understand why my daughter is a target. I don’t understand why the school isn’t stepping up. I don’t know what to do from here on in. I feel physically ill today.

I just want my confident sparky happy girl back. Yes even the girl who will answer me back, ask incessant questions and push me to the extreme with her need to do things her own way. I miss that girl now.

I AM grateful for friends and family supporting us and providing advice. And I know there will be answers/lessons that will come from this.

Dog walking
This is much better than getting a hard time at school!

In the meantime, this pic shows how we spent out morning. Nat commented to me as we started walking “Oh well, at least I know I won’t get bullied today, Moe is just a dog”.

I wonder what it will take to get over this. I wonder how it will resolve.

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Update: I wrote the above yesterday, our first day at home. Today I’m feeling a lot calmer, still sad that this has happened but I also feel more confident in doing the right thing for my family. I wrote recently how I was feeling so much stronger these days after a few years of high emotion and grief. I think this is a perfect example. I’m already bouncing into action.

I’ve made an appointment with the school principal for next week, I will go in ready and strong (pray for me to be discerning in my words please!). I will advocate for my daughter and, as I believe the school needs to change their stance on bullying, I might just need to be the change-maker. Well, to get that ball rolling anyway. For the next little boy or girl, so they don’t have to endure any time like Nat has the last few months.

I’ve also been public about this with my friends on Facebook. To start with I thought I shouldn’t, like it would be bad for the school. But I’ve always maintained, as with my blog, I live openly. I don’t have anything to hide. We haven’t actually done anything wrong here! The support from friends and family across the country has opened my eyes to the amazing network I do have around me. Sometimes on my lonely days I do forget that. I’m feeling very blessed in that respect. Good comes from bad. 

I’ll keep you posted…

AbbiesBabble

December is here – the first Christmas post

This is the first Christmas post, it will not be the last. Something to get us thinking…

#Christmas #Grinch #DrSeuss

AbbiesBabble

We all have a story

I used to think that I didn’t have a testimony. I am so ordinary and I didn’t have a big ‘ah-ha’ moment or life changing interaction with God. “I don’t have anything to say” I used to tell myself. How can anything I say make a difference to anyone else? I mean, we’ve all heard those amazing powerful testimonies.

  • The now successful businessman who used to be an alcoholic.
  • The local boutique owner who used to practice witchcraft.
  • The band member who was addicted to drugs.
  • The suicidal teenager, who was planning to end his life.

All now saved by the grace and mercy of God. These are actually testimonies that I have heard – in full, these stories made me weep. They are powerful. So when I hear amazing things like that, I’m even more convinced that my boring, ordinary life and faith is best kept to myself. Right?

Wrong.

We all have a story

I don’t know when, where or how I managed to change my thinking, but I now realise that we ALL have something to share. Something we should be sharing. We all have a testimony – which is, after all, simply our story of how God came into our life, and the changes He has made within us. Our opportunity to glorify the work he has done in us.

Yes, some people have one distinct moment, where they are aware God entered their lives and started to change them. Others, like myself, were more of a slow burn. I gave my heart to Christ as a seven-year old, but I didn’t develop a relationship with Christ until I was 30 years old. Either which way, once we have God in our lives, we ALL have a testimony that we should share.

I’m thinking that most people probably fall into the ‘ordinary’ category like me. Which is of course NOT to put the ‘ordinary’ tag on us, our story, or God! More to say, perhaps we fall into the majority with simple, rather than spectacular stories. So perhaps people need to hear more ‘ordinary’ testimonies to be confident to share their own.

Here’s my testimony.

If you have your story on your blog, please feel free to add the link in the comments below so we can all read of each other’s amazing journey.

AbbiesBabble

Feeling strong

It came as a bit of a shock to me the other day.

I realised I was okay.

I am actually okay. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I have clarity, peace and calm – my thoughts and feelings aren’t overshadowed by one specific emotion or event. I’m living and I’m doing fine. Better than that, I feel strong!

We’ll ignore the massive head cold which has me taking over-the-counter medication every six hours just to function. Because that’s not a big deal, that’ll be done by the weekend.

I’m talking inner, emotional, I can deal with life right now, strong.

It’s probably a bit sad that this came as a shock but if I look back, well I’ve been through the wringer in the last few years. I’ve dealt with my mum’s illness and passing, moving to a new town where I don’t know anyone, blending a family, watching my daughter struggle so desperately with the changes in our lives, and saying goodbye to my Gran. Oh, and being a newlywed. So yes there have obviously been some extreme highs in that time too!

I am still grieving my mum (10 months) and my Gran (one month) and I know I will, possibly forever. I won’t ever let them go. But I’ve reached a point where my grief no longer controls me. I don’t doubt Christmas will be hard. Very hard – I’ve already swallowed back tears more than once when I’ve heard The Little Drummer Boy playing in stores. My mum used to play this on the piano, I can still see the torn yellow cover of her sheet music. But the things is, I’m able to swallow the tears now. Most of the time.

Life comes and goes in seasons. I hope that I’m approaching a season of ‘normal’ life. Whatever that is?! Something settled perhaps? My husband has only really known me when I’ve been dealing with challenges (bless him, he’s a-m-a-y-z-i-n-g). I’ve leaned on him so hard, I’m so grateful to God for sending me this wonderful man at a time I wouldn’t want to have gone through alone.

Yes I will still face challenges. Nobody ever said life was easy. But I feel more well-equipped emotionally to deal with things at the moment, without spiraling into stress with every little thing. I’ve got this. Actually, God’s got this, He’s got me. He’s had me all along. This has definitely been a year of growth in my spiritual life.

Never Lose HopePhilippians 4:13 became a bit of a mantra for me in this time, I was often muttering it under my breath.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Yeah, sometimes just saying it once wasn’t enough!

I will say, to anyone reading this who is facing tough times please hang in there. Please know that it will get better. This is the first time in 3-4 years I could ever say that I felt strong and calm. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, always hope, always a way through.

What a ramble. Thanks for still reading!

AbbiesBabble

 

When being yourself equals trouble

Over the weekend I had a great chat with my daughter, quite possibly, the best so far. We had a two-hour road trip and we talked. And we talked.

The. whole. time.

I can’t speak for Nat, but for me, that was so good for my soul. I feel like we totally connected and were both able to say a lot of things that we really needed to. And that perhaps, in the heat of other moments, we haven’t been hearing from each other properly.

We have had a challenging year (two), Nat has faced more than I think a seven-year old should have to face. But that’s life isn’t it? On this trip everything was right, she opened up and we had a huge heart to heart. The details of which I won’t reveal because she asked me not to tell anyone. But she did raise a fair point that got me thinking…

What should we teach our children to do, when our right thing to do, will potentially get them in trouble?

This is a matter of personality – being true to who we are, not pretending for the sake of someone else.

photo credit: Lauren Beck cc
photo credit: Lauren Beck cc

I always tell my children to be true to who they are. To not change their actions, thoughts or personalities because of what someone else has said about them, or thinks of them.

What is the right thing to do though, when this makes them stand out and possibly draws negative attention? My gut says just be you, be who you are, you are beautiful from the inside out, fearfully and wonderfully made, you are smart, you are unique. And I know that as she blossoms into a young woman, the things that make Nat, Nat, will take her great places. But the mama part of me that doesn’t want to see her hurt, almost wants to say, just tone it down.

Some of the things that make Natty who she is, can get her into trouble. She’s feisty, outspoken, strong-willed, quick to question and confident to tell anyone (including adults … actually, especially adults) exactly what’s going on/how she feels/what she thinks. (This is why I was so surprised that she was bullied).

I’ve always treated Nat a bit grown up I guess, it was just the two of us for so long. In her formative years she also had my parents so very involved in her care – she has always been more comfortable with adults and developed a huge vocabulary at an early age. I know she considers adults, my friends, among her friends. She doesn’t see a big difference between them and her.

Nat has become a lot more sensitive this year because of, well, everything really, but especially school and the bullying. Because of this she is already worrying about the next year at school because she knows that a new teacher won’t know her and her ways. So she’ll probably be seen as the trouble kid. When really, she’s just very honest and extremely inquisitive. She understands the teacher-student relationship and the respect she is required to show in school. But she’s still Nat.

I don’t want to tell her to tone it down, to not ask questions and to not offer opinions. That is who she is and that is how she learns. I also don’t want her labelled (again) as trouble. I don’t really know what to do with this one. But I do need to think of something as it’s obviously bothering Nat and she’s going to need a strategy to feel good about starting the new school year in February.

My gut says stay true. I know this is right. I teach it over and over, I know it’s wrong to stray from that now. But my mama heart still says don’t get hurt.

What would you say to your child?

AbbiesBabble