brain farts, Uncategorized

Dear me…

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Dear Me,
I’m future you! Fancy that. I want to tell you a few things that these years have shown me and taught me…they won’t change you in the past, but they can help you as the years roll on.

You are beautiful. You already are. You actually always were and it bums me out that you never accepted that. Your clothing size – doesn’t matter. Your university qualifications – not where you find your worth. Your job – not what makes you who you are. Having said all that, I want you to know that being a mother also doesn’t define you…you will love your new role as Little E’s mum and you will learn crazy-amounts about yourself, your husband, your family and your friendships…but it doesn’t make you who you are.

Dear past-me…enjoy life where you are because this version of you and the things you’re doing won’t exist soon. God is shaping and changing you with each new experience. Learn to love the you that you are today and lean in to the changes and the challenges. Don’t try so hard to cling to the past, to the things that you used to know…they served you well and were important for a time, but God is leading you down paths that you can’t even imagine! Adventures await, and if you hold on too tightly, you’ll miss them.

Don’t get so caught up in people-pleasing, following the crowd, doing things you think people expect you to do and trying to fit in…future you knows that those things don’t matter! Future you knows that your time and heart will be too full of better things to worry about the trivial. Stand out! Stand out and stand up – be an example to the daughter who is watching you so intently.

Don’t compare your journey with those around you…there isn’t another you and there isn’t a story the same – so why bother? Focus on where God is taking you, your family, your world and go there! Look up, look forward…

Read more.
Watch less.
Cook more.
Walk more.
Try new things.
Say ‘I love you’ all the time.
Hug more.
High five more.
Laugh more and be silly more…what do you have to lose?

That saying ‘dance like no one is watching’…? Yeh, actually do that, would you? Dance with Little E because one day, she’ll probably ask you to drop her off a block from her friend’s house and give you a nod while her headphones are glued to her ears instead.

Past-me, I liked you. But future-you will be even better because of Who created you. Who you are comes from Someone greater, so you know it’s good! Past-me, I hope you know I appreciate what you did for future-me…you’ve helped me as the years have rolled on.

(image courtesy of pinterest)

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brain farts

Dream on

It’s been a while since I tapped out a blog…it’s been a while since I read a blog too! Actually, if I think about it, it’s been a while since I’ve read ANYTHING…that’s not good. I love reading – always have. As a kid, I was so into books and stories and reading that I’d take a book just about anywhere! Every school holidays, I’d have a sleepover at my grandparents and my Grandma would take me to op-shops and second hand bookstores and we’d hunt for the authors and stories that I loved…they are some of my fondest memories!

My affinity for the written word carried well on into my teens and young adulthood. I took a creative writing class in University and have several – make that many – unfinished pieces on my laptop and iPad. I’ve been to meet-the-author evenings; I’ve had email conversations with several authors and have even had the odd short peice published here and there, just locally. I am now a qualified English teacher – specialising in teaching English to speakers of other languages – because I love words and how they fit together to create conversation, story, ideas and convey dreams…

Dreams…

This brings me to why I felt the need to write something tonight…and not just a blog. Today, while my Little E was having her afternoon nap, I found a quiet moment to brew a coffee, sit on the carpet and open a magazine I was given a while ago but never really had the chance to properly devour. Article after article I read spoke about dreams. Passions. Loves. Desires. All things that God has weaved into the fabric of His children…the dreams we have and the passions we’re sparked with are God-given and when we act on those, we bring glory to His name.

So it struck me when so many of the articles I was reading were entrenched with the writer’s passions and dreams…they spoke of following these and seeing them realised in the here and now which is so exciting! They spoke of seeing fruition come from pushing through the fear and the unknowns surrounding these dreams and seeing God’s hand on the outcome…and it made me wonder…what’s my dream? REALLY, what’s my honest-to-goodness dream?

It didn’t take long for an answer to come…I want to write a book and I want it to be published. Always, always have I had this in the very back, dusty corners of my mind…just whittling away the time until I would reach back and embrace it, ready to run!

Now, I have no idea where to start with this…because ‘start’ is a bit of a dark thunder cloud for me. I have started SO MANY different pieces before – different styles, different genres, different lengths, different points of view and even for different purposes in the end – and each has finished the same way…incomplete and saved to a folder I probably won’t open until I need to clear space and delete them. So if this truly is my dream why can’t I see it properly? Why is it so exhausting thinking about it? Is it because of all the failed attempts? Am I simply tired and afraid that it will just be another piece in those unfinished folders, waiting for the trash can click? Quite possibly. I get totally inspired reading articles like those from today, but then I go to put ‘pen to paper’ as it were for myself and I already have writer’s block! *grumble grumble*

There’s a quote that’s fitting here isn’t there? Edison I think – “I have not failed. I have just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.” Fitting. So fitting in fact, it’s like Kim Kardashian in one of those bandaid-tight dresses…so I guess I should listen, right? I mean, I’m hardly at 10 000 written pieces yet so I’ve got a ways to go 😉 blogging is a start, getting the juices going…what’s next? I guess I’ll just have to type and see!

What’s your dream…?

baby J

We laugh but it’s true

  
So I thought instead of keeping all the ‘lol’ slash ‘face palm’ moments to myself, I’d share some! Here are some of my experiences and musings from our baby journey so far…legit. 😉

• you’re actually getting out of the house! *high five* you change out of your size-too-large leggings and sicked-on tshirt and you think your outfit is on point…only to realise that yes, you STILL have baby sick on you in places you didn’t realise you’d held your baby in clothes you’ve only just put on…

• your baby is an absolute angel for your friends and relatives, but the second you’re alone together and one-on-one, she transforms into the single loudest human being ever

• pushing a pram uphill makes you feel like you’re on The Biggest Loser and Michelle Bridges is screaming at you…from within the pram 

• I wasn’t guna be one of ‘those’ weird parents, but yep – I tasted breast milk

• a baby farting with absolutely no shame or understanding of what’s just happened can actually be the funniest thing ever

• the ability to spend long enough in the shower to wash your hair is like receiving an Oscar – you just wanna stand there, holding that shampoo bottle and thanking everyone who made it happen

• there’s no such thing as breakfast, lunch and dinner anymore – they’re all now lovingly referred to as ‘babyisasleepruntothekitchen

• you’d better make sure you have a huge house and some kind of industrial sized shed when you have a baby, coz for small things they come with a big pile of crap…prams, change tables, bouncers, clothes clothes and more clothes; nappies, oodles of wipes, toys, wraps, blankets; carriers, car seats, ‘accessories’ (what the heck? Is my baby a Nokia 3315 that needs a glittery dingle-dangle and multiple cover choices with do-it-yourself sticker art?), sun shades, wind protectors and rain coats (oh yes we’re all about shoving that baby out into nature…), oh and did I mention nappies?

• forcing mini-baby-friendships on your baby is really fun NOW but I have no doubt I’ll probably cop it in 18 years when she’s whining to me about her embarrassing naked bath photos with this forced-friend…like mother like daughter

• finding an empty pram park at the supermarket is like finding the lost world of Atlantis…

• ‘one size fits all’ only works with baby clothes if you’re dressing a cabbage patch doll…

(Image courtesy of pinterest)

baby J

Screaming

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She screams, I scream, we all scream…but there’s no ice cream involved. It might be 2:45am, it might be 11:15am or it might be 7pm – the time doesn’t matter, she’s hungry or hot or cold or has a wet nappy and she NEEDS our attention and she needs it NOW!

Adjusting to life with a little one is like nothing else. You can read all the books, all the blogs; watch all the clips, pin all the pins & have thousands of conversations…and still, nothing truly makes you feel ‘ready’ for caring for 110% of another human being’s needs.

So much has to change now that duckie is in our world – everything from when we eat and sleep to when we can go out of the house or even simply check the mailbox. Neither of us was oblivious to these huge shifts, but of course when reality is actually upon you it still feels surreal.

This week, there were two major stand-outs in my adjustment to our new journey:

1) I have a long way to travel in developing my patience. If I can’t fix her needs, I get frustrated too quickly. If I can’t stop the cries or settle her down, my initial reaction is to pull the plug and pass her over to my other half who (somehow!) has endless patience and a repertoire of songs to sing as he works out what she’s trying to tell us. Thank you God for that man – he keeps me sane, helps me breath & is somewhat of a baby-whisperer!

2) I have to learn how to be a different kind of friend. I can’t hold the friendships I have in the same way as I did before. My priority has to be my family unit & the daughter who relies on us for everything. This means that yes, catch-ups will be different, attending events will be different & generally being ‘around’ will be different. However, instead of wallowing in this shift & feeling guilty, remembering that change is the only constant in our lives is important. If friendships were strong before duckie arrived, they’ll be different – but they’ll be strong with her addition to them too.

There are moments when I feel like throwing in the towel, but if I can pause…take a breath…and look at her little hands and lion’s eyes, I can know that God wouldn’t bring us TO this if He wasn’t going to walk with us THROUGH it too.

baby J

More lessons from the bump

johnny cash

I use ‘bump’ loosely…when in reality it’s like an oversized basketball concreted to my front! 😉

Anyway, this music legend just about sums up where I am right now in terms of welcoming Baby J into this outside world super soon…it’s the overarching feeling I have that on a general day, outweighs the nerves and the unknowns.

So I thought in light of these flutters of excitement intermingled with jolts of nervousness and anticipation, I’d share a few more lessons I’ve been learning with the bump 🙂

#1 – Flip flops are my friend. I am quite literally down to a pair of flip flops as the only shoes that fit and given that we’re still in winter here, that’s not ncessarily ideal…! My feet are so swollen by the end of each day it’s a wonder I can actually walk! 😉 I’d heard about swollen feet and ankles in pregnancy, but until you experience it for yourself it’s a bit of an enigma!

#2 – I’m ok with strech marks…seriously! It took nearly this whole time for me to see any evidence of these and to be honest, I’d been hanging out for them! I wanted to see that Baby J was growing and therefore my skin was streching. This said to me that Baby J was a size that he/she should be and was doing what he/she should be doing in there. These are my stripes. These are the stripes that I’ve earned during this period and it’s pretty amazing that the human body is able to strech out this much to house a small other human!

#3 – Pregnancy books are b-o-r-i-n-g! I thought I’d enjoy reading them – I thought I’d like to soak up the knowledge and highlight and sticky-note and fold down pages…but in all honesty, I find them to be a real bore! And it’s no particular author or book – it’s just kind of the topic and structure of them in general…don’t get me wrong, the information is important and useful but man it’s a slog for me to get through a chapter or two!

#4 – Swimming is the beeeest! Well, I already knew I loved swimming – I’d swim every day if I had the chance – but swimming while pregnant is awesome! I’m weightless. I’m mobile. I’m flexible. I’m comfortable. I can float on my back and swim on my front and my skin isn’t itchy! It’s ridiculously refreshing and calming and oh man I can’t rave about it enough! Haha swim swim swim…! 😀

#5 – Pickles…I love them. Now, I’ve read the stories about pregnant women wanting ice-cream with pickles at like, 3am – but it wasn’t until I felt like a toasted cheese sandwich with sliced pickles that I realised the gravity of this precious vegetable. They’re sweet. They’re sour. They’re delicious…not with ice-cream, but BOY are they good with melted cheese on toast! If I were to order a cheeseburger right now, I’d ask for extra pickles. If I need a midnight snack tonight, I know what I’ll be having. I’f I need an afternoon snack, I know what it’ll be. It’s not a ‘craving’ per se, but it sure is what my toasty machine sees a lot of these days…! hehe

But I think the most important thing I’ve been learning is #6 – God’s timing is sovereign. 100% – in every situation – in every life stage, His timing over-rules my own, despite how brilliant I think I am 😉 This isn’t always easy to comprehend or even accept…a lot of the time, I don’t even really consider that God truly knows what He is doing, I just sort of take it for granted. I whinge, I complain, I get annoyed at what God is doing…but in reality, He has me exactly where I should be and sometimes it takes a great whack to the system for me to realise it fully. But when I do, I’m thankful for His timing. I’m thankful for His patience and I’m thankful for His ongoing love.

I’m sure I could list so much more than I’ve been learning during this part of my life, but I’ll leave some sleeping dogs where they lie…!

What are you learning?

baby J

What I’m learning…

  
Being pregnant is tough.

Ok, ok…it’s not as tough as a lot of other things in this world, but it sure isn’t a walk in the park (though I went for one of those yesterday). There are so many moments where I just wish I could throw in the towel, sit down in the middle of the floor and drink a glass of wine with some soft cheese on crackers. Then of course, I wouldn’t be about to receive one of the greatest gifts I think I’ll ever have the pleasure of unwrapping. So, while I wait this nine months out, trying desperately to keep it together and cling to the promises of my Creator, what have I been learning? 

1. I can’t do everything I used to do. Even when I COULD see my feet still, I was so sick I was barely able to get from the lounge to the bathroom and back again. Now that the sickness has mostly passed (praise the lord!) the aches and pains and swelling and bloating and stiffness has kicked in and my abilities are once again hindered. I can’t run – I can barely walk quickly! I can’t bend in the middle. I can’t sit for a long time, I can’t stand for a long time. I can’t lie on my back and I struggle to get up from the floor. Sounds delightful doesn’t it? But in these limitations, I am – slowly – learning that if I can slow down and accept help NOW I can slow down and accept help when Baby J is here. I can relish the time with our little one because my need for speed and urgency won’t exist as it has in the past. I can smile and say thank you from a genuine place in my soul for the meals cooked and the babysitting offered.

2. Heartburn is a beast! I’ve had heartburn before – we all have, yes? These days I get it several times a day and it’s like a volcano erupting inside my throat! So far, the remedies I’ve tried haven’t worked all that well, though eating an apple helped settle it a little…if you have anything that has worked a treat, please do let me know!

3. My husband is my biggest supporter. It must be so surreal and odd to be having a baby – about to be a parent – but not actually physically a part of this time. He doesn’t really know what it feels like and I’m sure that must be hard…but I have come to know quite quickly that he is the biggest supporter of anything that I need or want during this time. He’s cooked random meals, done housework, booked appointments, come with with me to them, ordered books, tied my shoes, run me baths, brewed me tea and all kinds of other things! But amongst all these acts of love, he has prayed for me and whispered words of encouragement when my spirit has been low and my eyes misty with tears. He has always got a word of strength and a prayer to offer and this means the world to me, especially during this time.

4. I don’t actually mind people touching my stomach. I thought I would! I thought I’d hate it with a passionate fire and need one of those ‘hands off!’ tshirts to wear, but in all honesty, I don’t mind it. It makes me feel like that my friends and family can be a part of this and it shows me just how much Baby J will be loved….though don’t get me wrong, if a random stranger tries to do it, I might set aside my aches and pains and deliver some hefty karate chops! 😉

5. Don’t compare, don’t compare, don’t compare…”comparison is the thief of joy” and in this case, it’s very true for me. Sometimes, well-meaning comments from those around me or too long scrolling through mama-blog after mama-blog of pregnancy, birth and parenting experiences set my grey matter going – “am I supposed to be bigger like her? Am I supposed to be fitter like she is? Was I supposed to do that too? What if my baby isn’t like theirs?” The list goes on…comparison strangles my ability to relish the good moments, seek God in the tough moments and prepare in my own way for what lies ahead. Every woman, every pregnancy, every baby, every relationship is different and if I let the comparison set in, then I lose sight of my divinely created individuality and I discount my own experiences. 

These are just some of the bigger things that I am learning on this journey to parenthood, but by no means the end of the list! Each day comes with new trials, new triumphs and fresh chances to experience where God has called me to be in the now…what I’m learning the most though, through all my mini lessons, is that if I am trying to please the people around me rather than my God, I’m not living authentically. I’m not properly experiencing this time for myself. I’m not perfect, my pregnancy isn’t perfect and my child won’t be perfect either. But I’m learning that to be honest about how I feel, is to be real and to be real means that my ownership of this period of my life still remains.

What are you learning…?

  
(Images courtesy of Pinterest)

brain farts

Blogs, adventures, sailing & service

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Whose been on a cruise?
Hands up if you get seasick?
Ever travelled to a foreign land you never thought you’d get to?

I can tick off each of those, technically! For 3 months from 2010-2011 I spent time serving the Lord with other like-minded, passionate people onboard the Logos Hope ship. We sailed from through the Middle East, visiting cities and countries I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d see with my own eyes.

The Logos Hope is an incredible missions ship run through OM. It’s essentially a huge floating bookstore. They bring hope, healing and acts of service to places around the globe and some of my fondest memories are from my adventures onboard that floating home. You can read more about Logos Hope and OM here and discover the magic for yourself 🙂

A good friend of mine is embarking on her own adventure with OM in just a few short weeks. Se starts the amazing journey by heading to Africa before she boards the Logos Hope. If you’d like to read more about her travels, head over to her blog and say hi. Kathryn I’m sending you some readers hopefully 😉 I hope your trips are just out of this world, I can NOT wait to read about everything you get up to! God is up to some intense stuff!!!

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(Photos are actually mine!)