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?

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.

************

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

Thankful Thursday (December 4)

Be thankful in all thingsOops, I just realised it’s Friday and I forgot to post my Thursday post. Well, I’m sure it’s still Thursday for some of my readers!

This past weekend I was reminded to be thankful in ALL things – I was given this little prompt while doing chores and it was most definitely the recurring theme over the next few days.

Yes, I was getting grumpy as I put ANOTHER load of togs and towels through the washing machine. But hang on, why was I washing their togs and towels again.

Because the kids had a water fight inducing a great amount of fun, laughter and squealing. I am thankful for that.

As I spent three hours reorganising a child’s bedroom I started to feel annoyed. Why was I doing this, there are plenty of other things I could be doing. Then I looked around and realised how blessed we are – we have a lovely home, our children have what they need and then some (a lot more ‘some’!). And I have children, I know something not everyone is able to be so thankful for.

While vacuuming the dog hair off the rug I thought about our dog and how much joy he brings to our family. He’s just so cute and loving, quite often a balm when things are stressful.

I dusted the bookshelves and was so grateful for the fact that I can read, I am educated, and the same goes for my children.

So you get the picture. What started as me going along doing my usual chores and feeling grumpy, turned into me looking forward to the next thing so I could find another blessing to be grateful for.

AbbiesBabble

This is my story #testimony

Last week I wrote about how, for the longest time, I didn’t think I had a testimony to share. I was ordinary. God hadn’t changed my life in big, jaw dropping ways. Or so it seemed. And wasn’t that the point of people who shared their testimony at church – the high impact, spectacular stories, the near death and life altering interventions by God.

Yeah … nah.

We DO all have a story and we should all share it. If we have God in our lives, then our story has started. The way I see it, our testimony is quite simply, how God came into our lives, and the changes he has made since. By telling our story, we can glorify Him and His work in us. It doesn’t have to be attention grabbing, I think it’s more important that it’s real. And it doesn’t have to be full of biblical jargon. Keep it simple, keep it real and make it about God.

We all have a #story #testimony abbiesbabble.wordpress.com

So here’s my story…

I grew up with parents who didn’t want to believe in God. My mum grew up with extremely religious parents and unfortunately, after a life of having religion shoved down her throat, she rejected all things to do with Christianity (as far as I could see) until the last months of her life. I, however, was completely open-minded and quite curious about God. My brother and I spent part of most school holidays with our grandparents who took us to church and ensured we were exposed to the bible – which I loved. It was one school holidays, when I was seven, that I responded to an altar call at their church. I can still remember pulling on my Nan’s arm, looking up at her and saying “Nan, that’s me, I want that, I want to give my heart to Jesus”. And I did.

I didn’t do a lot with that decision growing up. Sure I went to youth group as a teen but that was more of a social thing than anything else. I always believed in God, I always defended never denied that faith, but never did I seek out a relationship with Him. Then came my 20’s, leaving home, going to University, then moving on to a bigger city. Life was busy establishing a career and partying far too hard. On the outside I was living a great big life. I was empty inside and totally dissatisfied, but never did I think to call on God.

God started tapping on my shoulder when I was married in my late 20’s. I pushed Him away saying ‘some day I will listen’. A few years after this (yes, I’m still ignoring the gentle, yet persistent reminders saying ‘Abbie I am here for you’) my first husband left me. Our daughter was six weeks old at the time. My life was thrown into turmoil. This time I responded to God. Over the next few months I talked to Him. I learnt to trust Him. I found a church – ironically my mum, who didn’t want anything to do with religion was instrumental in getting me there. The first time I walked through those doors and the worship started my heart melted. I’d never felt anything quite like that before. I was home. And I haven’t looked back.

Since then (seven years now) I have actively worked on my relationship with my heavenly father. He has changed me from the inside out in ways I didn’t know were possible. He doesn’t stop working on me – I screw up and he’s still there. And that right there is the beauty, the spectacular, the amazing and most definitely the life-altering in my story.

The emptiness I endured in my 20’s has been replaced by peace and confidence in who I am (in Him). The fears and insecurities I faced are melting away as I learn to see myself as God sees me.

He has taught me about forgiveness. I have been able to genuinely forgive people in my past – people I thought I had forgiven but until I had been truly forgiven myself, I didn’t understand what this meant.

I have been able to lean on God through the most stressful periods of my life, and retain a sense of knowing, that in spite of everything else, He will carry me through. Life hurts, but I am never alone and there is always hope.

I was sustained through five years of being single, holding on to the promise that there is a greater plan for my life – that promise is the most amazing thing. Now I am being shown what it is to be a wife within a christian marriage which is truly blessed.

I am grateful for everything I have, which I know comes from God. I also strive daily to actually live a Christian life. It doesn’t always come naturally to me (especially patience!) but as each day passes, I find the things I need coming to me more and more. I know that this is the work of my amazing God. I slip up. Often. And I am forgiven. Always.

My faith and my relationship with God are making me strive to be a better person – to positively impact my world where before, I was all about me. To Him be the glory. I’m just following the steps He places in front of me, and listening to the whispers of His voice.

I still consider myself a ‘baby christian’ and I’m okay with that. But in light of that, and the many and amazing ways my life has been changed, it’s pretty awesome to think of the possibilities as I get to know my heavenly father more and more.

Will you tell me your story?

AbbiesBabble

Thankful Thursday (November 27)

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA so to all of you celebrating this day:

Happy Thanksgiving

For me here in little old New Zealand, it’s just another day. But every day is for gratitude and as it’s Thursday, here’s what I’m especially thankful for this week.

This week it is most definitely family.

Last Wednesday I was able to fly to Auckland for a few days away. Just me, no children, for three days complete break. It was bliss. It would not have been possible without a big pile of my extended family (it really does take a village to raise a family it seems!).

  • My husband who not only supported me in taking off, but encouraged me to take the break and negotiated reduced hours at work for a few days to look after the boys. He also drove Nat two hours up to…
  • …My dad who looked after Nat while I was away. She’s not great at being at home while I’m not there so my dad stepped in and looked after (spoilt!) her. She probably really needed that time with him anyway.
  • My cousin and her husband who looked after Nat while my dad was at work – the highlight being the frozen coke they treated her to!
  • My great-aunt and great-uncle who picked me up from the airport, had me stay, showed me the sights and spoiled me quite completely. It was a joy to spend time with them, with family who know me, who knew my mum. I can talk about my mum with lots of people, but those who knew her aren’t really in my life on a regular basis. My husband only knew her since she got sick, my dad has a new partner so that’s a bit awkward and my Gran passed away recently. To share stories of my mum, especially with my great-aunt who my mum adored, with all that history, was really special. Because sometimes I do want to talk about her. A lot. I miss her and she feels more alive when I know she’s in the hearts of other people too.
  • In memoryMy super talented cousins who conducted 500 children in an amazing choral performance. It was amazing to see them in action. They also dedicated the evening to my mum, Lynley. One of the songs in the line up was the song they sang so beautifully at my mum’s funeral. There were tears – it was really special.
  • My cousin who I met for the first time who is in NZ on a gap year – how cool is that to meet a new cousin at the age of 37?! Such a lovely person and I so enjoyed her company.

So wow, in three short days, look at all those family members who had a part in me being away! Yes, I definitely have a lot to be grateful for.

AbbiesBabble

 

 

 

Thankful Thursday (November 13)

Dr Seuss on Thankful

I don’t think there is a single person who is living a perfect life. I mean, we all have problems, challenges, issues, trials, tribulations. Whatever you want to call them. There are a lot of us walking through this life hiding the bad stuff, I know I do.

So this is probably a good reminder to us all, that while whatever we are facing seems tough, sometimes impossible, like it will never pass, everybody else has something hard that they are facing. And there’s a good chance that somebody else is in a worse place than we are.

So let’s be grateful for what we DO have.

Let’s be grateful for the storms we have already made it through – that they have passed, that they have shaped our character, taught us lessons and made us who we are today.

Let’s also be grateful for our current storms, knowing that this too shall pass, and out the other side, we will be stronger and wiser.

AbbiesBabble

Thankful Thursday (November 5)

Thankful Thursday

I LOVE:

  • Being a mum – this is a privilege for me. I love looking after my family, teaching and nurturing, providing a safe and loving home for them. Meeting their needs, while definitely challenging, is enjoyable for me. Yes, sometimes when I collapse on the couch at the end of the day, when the washing machine has stopped beeping at me and the kids have finally all fallen asleep I don’t feel it so much, but overall, being a mum is cool and this time, having children at home, is a part of my life I know I will always cherish.
  • My kids – I do love these four little people. I have a different bond with each of them, especially given that one is biologically mine and the other three I have met later in life. But honestly, I see them all as ‘ours‘ and I’m so proud to call myself their mum/step-mum.
  • My husband – well obviously! But seriously, when my first husband left me with a newborn I learnt a lot. About life and about me. I made a decision, for myself and my daughter, that I would not casually date ‘just because’. That I would not settle for just anyone. It was also this time that I entered into a genuine relationship with God. So I waited five years (five long years single!) for this man to walk into my life and it was worth every lonely second. My husband is honest, genuine, loving, patient, caring, loyal …. and I could just keep going. Just know that God blessed me with a man who has all the characteristics to be the perfect husband to me (especially the patience bit, I’m prone to stroppiness). Oh and did I mention tall, dark and handsome 😉
  • Good food – yes I love good food. Fresh food. Healthy food. I love preparing good meals for my family and it’s so nice that they really appreciate the effort I put in.
  • Grace and mercy – God’s unrelenting love, offered regardless of what we’ve done, whether we think we deserve it or not, has changed my life no end. The person I am now is so different to the person I was 10 years ago. I am thankful daily for the work God has done, and I know will keep doing, in me.
  • Our new caravan – roll on summer, can’t wait for some fantastic trips away. SO excited!
  • My pets – I’m one of those people who truly loves cats AND dogs. Which is why I have one of each. They hate each other, but I love them both! Polly is a rescued tabby cat who is the most smoochy loyal little thing ever. Moe is a border terrier who we are caring for while friends are overseas for a few years. He is loyal and super affectionate. I am never alone when my pets are in the house, their affection is unreserved and without conditions. Polly lives upstairs (with a litter tray after we established she had peed in the Lego many times!) and Moe lives downstairs. They make it work 🙂

This is a list of things in my life that I love – it’s not a complete list, not even close, just a small sample. These are of course, all things that I am extremely thankful for.

AbbiesBabble

Making Memories

While super-glue is one potential way to bond a family together, as parents, we firmly believe it’s our job to come up with ways to create a lasting bond between our brood. This is especially important in a blended family context.

As our family grows and they eventually leave home, we want the kids to want to come back home to visit. We want our children to be friends, we want their children to know each other. And of course we want to be involved in the lives of our grandchildren (when they come). I want to be cooking for a LOT of people at Christmas, birthdays and lots of days in between for decades ahead!!!

To just expect this to happen, I would suggest is naive. No, Richard and I are very intentional about spending time as a family now and building the foundations for a family who sticks together for the long haul. I’m talking about shared experiences that the six of us will remember for a lifetime. Fun family times, creating laughter and memories that we can lean on when the going gets tough.

We have the everyday things. We eat dinner together around the table every night – which ranges from some serious conversations to the absolutely ridiculous! We attend each others sporting events and prize-givings etc. We attend church as a family most weeks (although to be fair, the kids head off in the direction of their friends pretty much as soon as we arrive!). Sometimes we just pull the curtains and spend the afternoon watching movies and eating popcorn.

And here’s our new fun:

caravan

Yep, we are going to spend our summers camping and tramping. The camping in the caravan, instead of tenting, will give us so much more flexibility. We’ll be able to take impromptu trips when the weather looks good as this uber-organised mama will always have it packed ready to go. It’ll just be a case of grab a change of clothes and away we drive.

We’re all very excited about this phase of adventures and all the new beaches and bush areas we will be exploring together…

AbbiesBabble

 

On the happiness trail … why I quit my job

Last Monday I let my employer know I would not be accepting their offer to extend my contract to the end of 2015.

Happy Jumping
I’m so happy!
photo credit: Denis Messié cc

And it felt great!

Why would I give away a perfectly good job you may ask? A job that wasn’t unpleasant, that offered good hours allowing me to drop my kids to school and pick them up again at 3pm. Especially in these times when jobs can be hard to come by.

Because I am on a mission to find myself, and to create a truly happy life for myself and for my family. And because my mum told me to on my birthday.

Being out of the home five days a week, even if only while the kids were at school, has put too much pressure on me to be able to effectively run my home. I feel constantly stressed and tired, chasing my tail trying to get things done. This is not happy for me and definitely hasn’t allowed me to spend any time finding myself. My life is totally tied up in being ‘mum’. I am, as all mums are, more than just the mother to my children.

In August I wrote about needing to find myself, about feeling lost and not completely happy and needing to make changes but not knowing what they were. Well here’s one of the big changes, a big step in the direction of happy.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a whine. I know a lot of people have to work full-time out of home and full-time parent as well. I did that as a single parent myself. I’m simply working the life I have. If I sound ungrateful, I’m REALLY not. I’m just intentional about having the best possible version of my life (and that for my family as well).

I have an EXTREMELY supportive husband who recognizes all of this, he does see how hard I work and just for the record he’s awesome at helping out. I’m conscious though that his job is demanding and when he gets home I want him to be able to chill and spend time with the kids. And there are some things that a mum just has to do, that only a mum can see, and this particular mum has pretty high standards (self-confessed, I know it!) and sometimes I just have to do things to get them done right the way I like it 😉 Not to mention that it’s almost impossible to eek out a spare hour for myself, which I have learnt this year, is not a bad thing to want.

And the core of the issue is (pretty sure I’ve said this before), if the mama bear is happy, the family are happy. I have realised this year, as I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, how much I influence the atmosphere of the home. That’s some scary power right there!

Happy Girls!
Happy!
photo credit: simpleinsomnia cc

So, as a husband and wife team, we have decided to take a financial hit, to receive a lot more time in our bank. I am going to study part-time (Graduate Diploma in Management Information Systems, I know, GEEK! I am SO excited) and have a lot more time to focus on my husband, my children, my home and myself.

I know we are fortunate that we can make ends meet on my husband’s salary (it will be tight) and that he is willing to go on this journey with me. I do feel a little self-indulgent taking on study ‘because I want to’ but mostly I think that’s because I’m worried about what other people will think – and I know I need to get over that.

Besides mostly I’m excited. I love to study, I love that I’m going to be able to go on all the school trips, and for me, being able to calmly keep an organised-tidy home, is something I enjoy. It’s hard to explain, but if I have the time, it’s not a chore/stress, it’s a part of my role as wife/mother that I love and take great pride in.

NOW is the time to be happy, I’m not putting it off any longer.

Sign off

 

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 25)

I have happiness on the brain at the moment. I’m getting intentional about finding my happy. I do think that being grateful and being happy are intertwined – well, for me, I actually know it. Since I started my gratitude journal, I have on some levels, been happier. Definitely more aware of the blessings in my life.

So here’s a thought on Thankful Thursday from Joyce Meyer who I happen to think is pretty awesome…

Thankful Thursday 1

 

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.

THANKFUL THURSDAY (September 4)

Thankful Thursday
image background: caruba via photopin cc

I am grateful that…

…Spring is here! The sun is shinning (like it’s okay to wear a t-shirt kind of warm), there are lambs, daffodils and blossoms everywhere. Love it.

…There are amazing young women who lead my daughter’s Brownies every week. Natalie comes out of there absolutely buzzing every time. I get a kick out of hearing the girls sing Taps at the end of each session – brings back memories.

…I have a dog. Is it weird to be grateful for that? He is just the sweetest little thing and our kids adore him as much as I do. He always has a super excited greeting so I never feel like I’m walking into an empty house and he’s always up for cuddles.  Every time I sit cross-legged on the floor he launches himself into my lap. Yep, feeling the love! Out walking last night, watching him run about happily exploring the world, he was so content, life in that moment seemed so simple.

Me and my Moses
Me and my Moses on a walk a few weekends ago

 

 

THE LIEBSTER (AGAIN?!)

LiebsterOh my oh my oh my. So I’ve been nominated for the Liebster again. This blows me away. Honestly, I write/blog for me – I pretty much spew words straight from my heart to the keyboard. I’m amazed every time a complete stranger likes or comments on something I’ve written. Let alone follows me … and keeps reading. It’s an honour, truly.

So a big thank you to Joel over at Chesapeake Films who just happens to belong to a Facebook blog group I joined recently. We’ve had a couple of conversations on his love of New Zealand – so I know he’s all around good! It’s always nice to read Joel’s comments on my posts too, which are heartfelt and inspiring.

The rules of the award:

  • You have to link back to the person that nominated you. (That was Joel, linked up there, here it is again in case you missed it!)
  • You must answer all 11 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
  • After completing these questions you must nominate 11 bloggers under 200 followers and give them 11 questions of your choice.
  • You must not nominate the person who nominated you.
  • You must let your nominees know that they have been nominated and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Joel’s questions for me:

1. Why Blogging?

I love to write and thought about blogging for years before I actually got here. In the end, a time in my life where I really needed to take a look at where things are at, prompted me to put pen to paper (fingers to keys, whatever!), Over the last four months I have completely fallen in love with blogging!

2. Twitter or FB?

FB! I manage three accounts (my own plus two for work). I don’t even know how to use Twitter but tempted to explore it.

3. Has there ever been a book that made you cry?

So so so many books make me cry. When I read, it’s like watching a movie – the pictures are so vivid and I fall in love with the characters. I feel it all. I cried reading Charlotte’s Web and A Little Princess as a girl. Not much has changed!

4. What was the last meal you prepared from scratch?

Umm, all of them! I always try to cook using fresh, unprocessed ingredients as much as possible. Last night we had a Thai Beef Curry.

5. If you could go back in time, would you change anything?

Great question! Honestly, and this is something I’ve thought about a lot, I can say no. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had some pretty hellish periods in my life but they make me who I am now. Maybe sounds cliche … but true. And life just keeps getting better (working on it anyway) so I know I needed to travel the lows to really be able to experience the highs.

6. Do you believe in “the road less travelled?

Ummmm, not really. But I do appreciate Peck’s thoughts on delaying gratification, acceptance of responsibility and dedication to truth (please let honesty rule!). It would be fair to say I think of all of these in my parenting philosophy.

7. Robin Williams…go!

So sad – sad for his family. Sad to think of how desperate he must have been at the end of his life. Sad that the world has lost a fine and funny comedic voice. And SO SO SO sad that it has taken the loss of someone with such a high profile to get people REALLY talking about mental health. I could go on … and on!

8. What was your worst experience while traveling?

Nothing really comes to mind! I’ve been lucky. I did have a horrific job while backpacking in Australia – delivering new wheelie rubbish bins and then worst of all, picking up the old ones!

9. What are the top three things on your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list. But I REALLY want to travel to Italy and France.

10. Is it the journey or the destination?

Journey – and learning the lessons along the way.

11. What do you do to unwind/to get rid of the toxins from the day, to vent out your frustrations/to clear your head?

Books, writing, music.

My nominees:

I have done this fairly recently so I’m going to suggest you head over to my other post and check out the blogs I nominated last time – I’m not really one for giving names for the sake of giving names. These really are great and still sit at the top of my list.

Four new sites I will nominate, who I would love you to check out are:

Organised Babble

Sunny Imperfections

Flippy Zip Flop

Accidentally Reflective

Questions for my nominees:

  1.  Read on screen or old school book?
  2. You have a night in, what’s the best way to spend it?
  3. Favourite book (sorry, two book questions already, can’t help myself!)?
  4. Favourite place in the world – that you’ve been to?
  5. The place you would most like to go?
  6. Bungee jump or skydive (I haven’t done either but would probably skydive)?
  7. What’s the best part of blogging for you?
  8. Most played song over the last month?
  9. Favourite smell (for me, fresh cut grass, home baking, the beach)?
  10. Best holiday memory?
  11. Best tip for other new bloggers?

So there you have it. Thanks again Joel. Now you all go and check out those blogs!

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

THANKFUL THURSDAY (August 21)

Thankful ThursdayI am thankful for a hockey trip up to Hawke’s Bay on Sunday – my home. I haven’t been up there since March, it’s been hard to face. Hockey kind of forced the issue. It was hard but I’ve done it now. Phew.

Lambs and daffodils – spring is nearly here. Oh my goodness, how cute are lambs bouncing their way around the paddocks and don’t get me started on those little tails wagging as they feed. Guaranteed to bring a smile to my face 🙂

My children being healthy. As I watch another family prepare to say goodbye to their daughter, only a toddler, I hug my children more tightly and thank God for every day I have with them and we have together as a family.

Books. I love books. And book week at school. Tomorrow is the dress up parade. Can’t wait!!!!

Teachers who are willing to go the extra mile for their students. Even if it means dropping them home at 8.30pm with a massive bruise on their face (hockey injury)!

My husband. He’s awesome. I should probably just permanently put this one on every Thankful Thursday post as it’s always true ♥

 

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”

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.

THANKFUL THURSDAY (August 14)

Something different for Thankful Thursday this week.

IThankful Thursday came across these gorgeous words which really resonated with me.

Gratitude CAN turn things that seem hard/bad/wrong/challenging, into positives. I call them lessons. To be fair, sometimes it takes a bit of hindsight to see them (learn the lessons), but as long as we get there in the end…

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfilment comes to those who are also thankful for the
setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

– Author Unknown

 

Thanks to Accidentally Reflective for posting this.

Image background credit

THANKFUL THURSDAY (August 7)

Thankful Thursday

This week some of the things I have written on the Thankful pages of my journal are:

  • Birthdays. Turning another year older is a privilege not given to all so I’m grateful to be 37. Not only that I also enjoyed a birthday weekend catching up with family I don’t see all the time.
  • An awesome first experience hosting an international home-stay student. It was only 10 days but our whole family got something out of it – we plan to host more students in the future.
  • Sleep. Seems simple right?! It’s now four weeks since I took a sleeping tablet and I’m getting a good amount of zzzzzzzzzz’s every night. I feel so much more alive in body and mind. Even the mornings are easier (and I’m not a morning person)!
  • Coffee. Even though I’m sleeping better, I just love coffee. Especially the therma-cup my husband leaves each morning when he goes to work. He makes a mean espresso which is yum 🙂

MY MARVELOUS MR.

Let’s just get this said up front. I’m not writing this for brownie points. I mean everything I say (write).

I have one very truly amazing husband.

There are a lot of blog posts, and comments in general, about husbands who don’t do enough around the house, husbands who don’t spend enough time with kids and just downright negative blah blah blah.

I’d like to break that trend. Continue reading “MY MARVELOUS MR.”