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

 

Just put the screen down

Social MediaI’m really starting to annoy myself.

Do you constantly find yourself checking for new activity on your blogs, tweetbooks, facetags, instapins and hashmails? 😉

I do.

I can hardly wander past my phone without checking the notifications some days. If I’m sitting “watching” the kids at sport, you’ll probably find me on my screen a lot.

Over at Pendulum World, Marla posted recently about being present with our kids, not letting our own things get in the way of really connecting with the little people in our lives. Because I’ve already been feeling frustrated with my behaviour, this really struck a chord with me.

Like Marla, I love the world of blogging. I do love to write and have found such freedom in expressing myself this way. I’ve also found joy in the community of bloggers (hey you guys!) and love to communicate on my blog and others. I link some social media with my blog (Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest) but I also love to interact with my real world friends on Facebook.

That said, God has given me the amazing blessing and huge responsibility of raising four children within a wonderful marriage. To put all that ‘social media’ stuff before them is just plain wrong. For me. I do think God is really speaking into my heart at the moment and saying, put the screen down, look at your family, they need your attention. And I know He’s right. So I’m called to act.

I have to admit, I’ve tried to be more focused at sport this week. At volleyball I enjoyed actually following the game and encouraging the team. A few times Tom looked over and I was able to give him a thumbs up or word of praise and his big grin was well worth it. Same with Nat at swimming – as she swims past me and takes that one breath where I’m in her line of sight, I see her smile when I wave stupidly at her.

I will defend myself a little here. I do think I’m a good mum. I love my kids completely and my life is pretty well devoted to making sure everyone in my family has what they need, when they need it. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Lately though, I feel like I’ve dropped the ball a bit and maybe that is because my priorities are slipping just a little too far in the direction of what I want, instead of what I should be doing. This balance will be addressed with the changes we’re making in the new year – I’ll post about this in the next few weeks.

So here’s the deal: I’m really focusing on the time between school pickup and dinner. This is to connect with my children and my husband. When I’m out with the kids, my phone is not out (excluding photos, my phone is my camera). When we’re at hockey or swimming or volleyball or whatever, I’m watching them, not my screen. On the rare afternoon that we’re actually at home, I’m going to make a real effort to stay off screens completely in this time. Eeeek, I know I’m up for a challenge in this.

Anyone with me???

Raising Children

AbbiesBabble

 

Break my heart for what breaks yours

Break my heart for what breaks yours
background image credit: Neal. via cc

Sometimes the amazing kids are labelled the trouble kids. I come across them a lot in my job, which I’ve written about before.

Recently I had a chat with a young person who absolutely broke my heart. After they left my room the song ‘Hosanna’ from Hillsong came to mind, specifically:

“Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours”

I think that because these kids’ surface behavior is what is most noticeable, the ‘bad’ behaviour, this is what they are known for, and treated accordingly. It’s in the trying to look deeper, to the things unseen, listening to the stories, where we learn that these kids are awesome. And often sad, lonely, hurt, frustrated and completely unaware of the potential they hold.

I want so much to make a difference for these kids but school policy states that I supervise them, I don’t chat with them. Which is so hard when my heart is to minister.

Well this time I broke the rules. You can slap me on the hand but I couldn’t sit back in silence. I had a student in my room without anyone else, and the usually jovial young person, was down with a very ‘I don’t care’ attitude. After witnessing an interaction with a teacher I decided to talk.

I looked at their academic notes and I saw evidence of a kid who is academically capable. So I said so (there was a smile). And I said if they were my child, I’d be proud of those academic results (there was disbelief, and another smile).

I knew I was talking to a keen sportsperson so I asked about that. Then they really started to talk. About sports injuries, training, their coach, family life which is ‘not that good’, about struggles physically getting to school, and so much more.

I encouraged the student to keep up with school and to attain the highest qualifications possible to keep their options in life wide open. I encouraged their natural leadership ability while cautioning on when this might be best used (not so much for mischief in the class!) and told them they had huge potential. We talked about potential career paths and I encouraged the first choice as realistic and achievable. I also said I thought they’d be great.

I am so frustrated that the ‘rules’ don’t allow me to have more conversations with these kids. I’m perfectly placed – I’m not a classroom teacher so the kids don’t have some of the issues with me that they seem to have with teachers. It’s the ‘trouble makers’ who naturally end up with me (in the ‘time-out’ room). I’m not pretending to be a counselor, or to have the answers but as I saw with this student, most of the time they just need someone to listen.

We had a casual, frank 40 minute conversation today. I did much less than a third of the talking.

I do feel like I made a different this time. We had a good chat. And when this student left they looked me in the eye, smiled and said ‘thanks Miss’. I just hope something I said might stick. They are right on the edge of becoming a statistic, I pray they choose to meet their potential and become so much more.

Sorry if this doesn’t read so well, I tried really hard to keep the post gender neutral so as not to give any clues to the identity of my student for obvious reasons.

AbbiesBabble

Not in jail

One simple sentence can change our world – the way we see it, what we think about.

This happened to me at work. I work with teenagers who I happen to think are wonderful. Challenging sometimes, but I enjoy their company. They come to my room in the high school when they’re either sent from class for a single period or removed from classes for a full day. Yep, basically I supervise the ‘time out’ room. Some see these kids as the trouble makers. Some of them do make trouble. But I see real characters. I do tell them they are the most interesting kids in the school.

Jail
photo credit: Sifter cc

One sentence from a student hit me right between the eyes. It was the written response to the worksheet question ‘where would you like your life to lead’?

The answer: Not in jail.

In reading that, I was so sad. I immediately saw my own children with big dreams and infinite possibilities in front of them. Dreams we encourage – hopefully we model that life is what we make of it. Dreams of travelling, teaching, joining the Navy, going to University, becoming a police officer or a lawyer or a pastor or a singer. These are possibilities that they will have every opportunity to explore.

In comparison to a beautiful child who has only the hope that she wont follow the path of, I can only assume, her own family members.

This is wrong. It frustrates me no end that so many people, and now I’m not just talking about children, go through life not even knowing the amazing possibilities that are open to them. Not knowing that they have choices. Not knowing that there is always hope. One day, any day, THIS day, can be a game changer. NOW is the time to start something new, even if just to start dreaming a new dream.

What would your children say if asked ‘where would you like your life to lead’?

AbbiesBabble

Thankful Thursday (October 16)

Thankful Thursday

So much to be thankful for. Always. But especially when I haven’t written it here for a few weeks. So here goes, in no particular order, just bullet points today…

  • Two weeks school holidays with my family, only a couple of days where I had all four kids to myself but we made the most of them. Lots of lovely moments with each of the children, and my gorgeous husband who was on leave for part of the time as well.
  • Being able to help friends in ways big and small.
  • Friends who reach out to me when I need them.
  • Nature/creation, and being able to spend time in it.
  • Spring (and the anticipation of summer).
  • Amazingly supportive in-laws.
  • Booking summer holidays – can already feel the memories we are creating with our family!
  • Naps. I love naps. There was time for a few of those over the holidays.
  • That my Gran is in heaven now. Sad she’s not here, but thankful she is in a better place with our Lord.
  • My new fridge which is as tall as I am (1.78m) and that I can fill it once a fortnight.
  • Sunshine. Did I say that? I love sunshine!
  • People who are willing to teach and lead our children (youth pastors, teachers, Brownie leaders etc).
  • A tidy garage and for the day in the holidays where my husband and I could get together and attack it to make it so – we really to make a good team. Messy generally does my head in, it’s awesome having this sorted out.

What are you thankful for?

 

Thankful Thursday (September 18)

Thankful Thursday

It amazes me how complex we humans are – that I can feel so many conflicting emotions all at once but somehow, manage to compartmentalize, so that the bad does not overcome the good. I have so much to be thankful for, I’m walking in a state of perpetual gratitude at the moment. With that, comes joy. It’s a beautiful place. But then there are struggles with family, watching friends go through rough times, and spontaneously crying as I think of my mum (although this is happening less these days).

There are things I give thanks for EVERY day: family, safety, provision, food, being loved, health and God’s grace.

Highlights from my gratitude journal this week:

  • A lunch date with my husband – a blissful two hours to ourselves. Moments always to be treasured as we intentionally work on our husband & wife relationship in the midst of raising four children in a very busy family environment.
  • That my children are healthy, active and motivated – especially after Sam and Tom did so well at our school sports prize-giving last night (check out the haul of awards).
  • Looking forward to the weekend with my beautiful girl. A mother daughter night away as we go to a show in the city.
  • The ability to help a friend in need – editing a thesis. Believe it or not, that’s totally enjoyable for me and I love that I can help her out.
  • That my children have dreams (I will post more on what prompted this later).

What are you thankful for?

 

Thankful Thursday (Sept 11)

Thankful ThursdayI am super grateful that we have a faith-based radio station in New Zealand. Every morning in the car the kids and I listen to the hilarious hosts on the breakfast show of Lifefm. Funny as they are, everything is delivered under the umbrella of being inspiring and encouraging youth with faith on their journey. (I say ‘youth’ as I’m pretty sure the target demographic is on the younger end of the scale – but I love it all and we’re only as old as we feel right?!).

We love all the music, which varies in style and content, but doesn’t have any of the lyrics often found in the mainstream that I find completely inappropriate. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t listen to hymns, and I’m not opposed to mainstream music at all, I just find a lot of it overly sexual and grownup, especially for our two littlest people. It’s fabulous to turn on the radio and know we will be uplifted and entertained in a way that suits the entire family.

Lifefm’s community funds 75% of the costs – yes, that’s right, donations. This makes us pretty passionate about our radio station! It also means we’re not blasted by advertisements after every second song (love that!).

Lifefm is something that impacts my life every single day. It’s always on in the car, or you might find me listening to one of their forum podcasts. We have it on at home in the weekends. I enjoy the Word it delivers and love the music. Starting the day with a laugh is always good too. Not to mention some of the conversations the content has triggered with the kids and I as we travel to/from school.

I can’t rate it highly enough. So that’s my super-very-love-it-long-time Thankful Thursday for this week 🙂

Check out their website as they live stream and have a ton of podcasts.

Seeing my little people smile

By 9am this morning I had already seen my two littlest people with the biggest smiles on their faces. And I know that happy vibe that will stay with them today. Seeing them happy, that’s a great way for me to start a day for sure!

Natty

Nat asked me if I could write her a list of the things she needs to do in the morning. Nat is good at being the last one ready – because she is so easily distracted. The list seemed like a good idea so I did that then she looked up and laughed at me when she saw I had signed it ‘Mummy’. Apparently I’m very silly.

Soon after, Nat had done everything on her short list and was ready for school. In true mother-daughter style she took great satisfaction in ticking everything off. As I was half way up the stairs to get myself ready to face the world she stopped me.

‘Mama I’m ready and you haven’t even gone upstairs yet!’. She was somewhat incredulous. Sometimes I’m back down stairs and she’s still not ready.

‘Yep, you did awesome, wasn’t that a cool way to start the day, you rock Natty, and now you can play’.

She grinned. Oh did she grin! She had conquered something she really struggles with and she revelled in the praise. She was one proud seven-year old.

~~~~~~~~~

Sammy

Once we were at school Sam asked me to chat to his teacher about an email the teacher had sent me. Sam and his friend have had a photo they took in a digital art competition short-listed for the regional competition. Only the top five in their year made it this far so he’s a pretty chuffed young man.

While chatting to his teacher I saw the photo Sam has entered. I was blown away. It is fantastic. Honestly, I’m not a photographer but I’ve spent enough years around design studios to know good from bad. And I truly think his photo is GREAT.

I couldn’t shut up about how awesome it was to Sam (and his friend). And Sam’s cheeky little happy grin turned into a full face-swallowing smile – which we don’t always get to see. Sammy is very cautious and sensitive and I just know I NEED to find these moment with him to build up his confidence. And honestly, the photo is fab.

~~~~~~~~

Praise the good, oh praise it BIG, because those little people love and need to hear when they’re doing well. Believe me, I know how easy it is to pick on the wrong behaviours but let’s not forget to notice and acknowledge when they get it right.  I hate to think of the mornings I’ve yelled at kids who push the clock when we’re trying to get to school and work – leaving that grumpy-pants-mama’s voice in their ears and their hearts. This channels into their day and it affects who they become. No, no more. Let those praises be ringing in their ears, and in their hearts, all day.

 

 

THANKFUL THURSDAY (August 28)

Thankful Thursday Squares

I give thanks to God every day – for His provision, endless love and grace.

This week I am especially thankful that my children are healthy. That we are able to spend time as a family, especially in the great outdoors. That we live in an amazing country which is peaceful, safe and where one can choose their life. I honestly believe this for everyone in New Zealand, some people sadly, just haven’t been taught the FULL spectrum of choices they have to pick from.

On a less serious note, I am also very grateful that my iPod and my car stereo are fixed. I smashed my iPod screen, my car stereo had a battery issue. At the same time!!!! Both easy fixes thankfully as a life without music, especially all the driving I do, is just plain wrong.

Image background:  Texture Time

RANDOM RANT: POLITICKING KIDS

I need to have a wee rant. It’s about those blimen politicians. Oh I know they keep the country running and all that (well so they tell us!). But here in New Zealand we’re in the weeks leading up to National elections. So yeah, we ALL know what that’s like!

I generally consider myself pretty well-informed – somewhere around the middle probably, I’m no intellectual and a lot of what happens in parliament, well, I’m more than happy to let that fly over my head. But I don’t live in a bubble and make sure I know what’s going on. If there’s something I need to know, I’ll find out.

Kids being read to
photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

Last week however, politics came into my daughter’s classroom. And not in a ‘learning how the country is run’ kind of a way. I saw red as soon as she told me: “Mummy today we had Mr so-and-so come and read to us and he told us to tell our mum and dad to vote for blah blah party”. It was book week at school so there were loads of people going into the school reading to the children. Oh I so do NOT have a problem with that. Heck we all remember George W Bush reading to a group of youngsters when he heard that The Twin Towers had come down. Politicians have used kids (blergh, I don’t want to see another ‘kiss a baby’ photo!) to further their image forever. So I get that. What I have a problem with is the kids being influenced to vote a certain way. And note, she didn’t tell me what book he read her, in fact she couldn’t remember that, just his little spiel about the election.

Call me old-fashioned, but Dr Phil says it best, “children should not have to deal with adult issues”.

My kids are informed. It’s impossible to avoid the elections, there are signs EVERYWHERE. The kids, especially my young little inquirer Natalie, want to know what it’s all about and how it all works. So they get a super simplified version of government, voting, the voting system and the how and why from me. We’ve also talked about why they won’t vote until they’re 18 – the rules are set that way because they’re not equipped to understand the policies and other information that will be thrown at them to make a good, independent choice. WHICH IS WHY THE POLITICIANS SHOULD KEEP THE POLITICKING OUT OF SCHOOLS!!!!! Oh, I yelled that. Yeah, bit passionate.

Don’t get me wrong Mr and Mrs Politician, go to the schools, have your photo taken reading to the little people, of course it’ll do wonders for your Facebook page. But leave the kids to be kids, don’t bother them with stuff they don’t need to know. It’s not their problem, they will make their own choices later in life … when the time is right.

I don’t know, I might be completely out on my own here. I don’t care, it’s how I feel and I’m sticking to my guns on this one.

 

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.

 

BOOK WEEK

Ooooh, much excitement in our house at the moment. Next week is book week at the primary school – aside from poster competitions and special visitors to school etc, anticipation is already building for the dress up parade on Friday. Sam is going as a Famous Five Character, Tom is going as Captain America (book/comic!) and I’ll let you work out who Nat is going to be…

Book week tease

I do love books, anything to do with books, especially something that’s making the school buzz with excitement … about books!

Watch this space for photos at the end of next week!

RANDOM RANT: GAMES NOT HELPING MATHS!

“Mama is one-five-oh-oh-oh bigger than two-two-oh-oh-oh?”

Girl on iPod
photo credit: Dennis Larson via photopin cc

A seemingly random question thrown from the backseat of the car set my brain into action and I need a place to vent. So hello! Continue reading “RANDOM RANT: GAMES NOT HELPING MATHS!”

TO INSULATE OR EXPOSE TO THE WORLD?

TO INSULATE OR EXPOSE TO THE WORLD?

Those of you who know me, or who follow my blog, will know I have no problem stating things as I see them. I’m a pretty very open person and you’ll pretty much always know where I stand on an issue. While blogging gives me time to think and articulate my thoughts (I’ve written about this before), when speaking, I may not be  as articulate. The thoughts are there, oh yes they are ALLLLLL there, and quite jumbled. While I know what I want to say, it doesn’t always come out quite right. So ummmmm, I might have put my foot in it with some people in the school community recently. Sigh.

Our three youngest children go to a Christian school. Part of the way schools work in New Zealand is that parents are consulted and able to feed back on the health curriculum – yep, all that puberty, boy/girl stuff. So there was a meeting last week. As a Christian school, we obviously take a biblical stance on, well, everything. When you’re talking about teaching 11-14 year old kids about puberty etc, it raises some pretty interesting/controversial issues. Continue reading “TO INSULATE OR EXPOSE TO THE WORLD?”

THANKFUL THURSDAY (July 31)

Thankful Thursday

 

The town library – my favourite quiet place.

The ‘thankful’ posts that are going around Facebook. I make a point of doing this every day in my journal and know what a difference it makes to me. I love, that even if only for a few days, people are walking around actively looking for the good in their lives.

Christmas shopping. I know I’m far too organised, doing it this so soon but we also have two children with a birthday either side of Christmas so I need to spread things out. I just LOVE buying gifts for others – it is a joy for me thinking about people and what would make them happy.

The opportunity to open our home to a Japanese student for two weeks. We’ve done this as a new experience for our family. The children are fascinated by Satoshi, asking him lots of questions, learning words of Japanese and teaching him words for lots of things in English. They are being so patient and concerned about his well-being. It is beautiful to watch.

A busy weekend coming up with visits from special family members. A full house which I love. So excited!

FOR MY CHILDREN

The other night while Nat was having one of her meltdowns (for lack of a better word) I REALLY felt the need to reassure her of my love. I KNOW she knows how much I love her, I’m pretty sure I say and show it daily in different ways. But sometimes I feel like she’s testing me, possibly even unaware she’s doing it, and I know she needs to know, as do all of my kidlets…

I love you to the end of eternity and back. My love for you is bigger than anything you ever say or do to me. Or anyone. Or anything. I will always be your safe place. No matter what, my love for you will never stop, will never shrink, it will only continue to grow.

How do you explain that to a child? Especially a child who is grieving and asks what will happen to her if something happens to me and the other significant adults in her life (this is on the back of my mum passing away earlier this year)? Sometimes I wonder if her meltdowns (THAT word again) are her pushing me away because she’s terrified at the moment.

It’s a big world for a little person.  Heck, it’s a big world for a big person.

I hope all four of our kids know I offer those words so truly with every part of my heart.

I love you to the end of eternity and back

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”

INTEGRITY

Integrity

This term our three youngest will be focusing on the Core Value of Integrity at school. I think it can be defined in a lot of different ways and am really looking forward to our teatime round-the-table discussions as we get further into their learning. I would like to think I am a person of integrity in all aspects of my life so should have some wisdom to impart!

Let’s throw some words/ideas out there and see if the kids come back with the same things:

  • Honest / truthful
  • Strong sense of morality and ethics
  • Consistency in personal choices

 

WATCHING HER HEALING HURT

Waiting for answersLast night we had another gut wrenching evening with Nat. It came from nowhere, they always do, these intense waves of emotion that rise from nothing and in a moment consume her so completely. As a mama, I feel like my heart literally cracks each time I see her like that – my baby in physical and emotional turmoil struggling with such intense emotions that she can neither understand nor control. Continue reading “WATCHING HER HEALING HURT”

LABELS: HIS HERS MINE YOURS OURS

LabelsThroughout life there are labels foisted upon us, we no doubt impose labels on ourselves as well. Some are necessary, it’s how we categorise the world. To be honest, I think labels are all about perception, so what one person may label us is quite possibly the complete opposite of what society may label us. But that’s a whole different post.

The specific labels I’ve been thinking about a lot lately are to do with our family.

We are a blended family, just 18 short months into our journey together. Before the blend there was ‘Abbie&Nat’ and ‘Richard with his Three Amigos’. I guess we came into our new life with labels. Richard was a widower. I had the less respectable divorced single mother labels to carry. Now we love the ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ titles (and roles!).

Very quickly, and very intentionally, we started talking about ‘we’ and ‘us’ as a couple and a family, and referring to the kids as ‘brothers and sister’. We also started referring to the children as ‘ours’. Because they are. Ours, that is. Continue reading “LABELS: HIS HERS MINE YOURS OURS”