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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

“In today's rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being.” ― Eckhart Tolle

In today's world, we get very caught up in drama. Drama often in our head. What people have, what we must do, where we must be. We spend more time thinking about tomorrow or getting from A to B that we lose focus on what's important. Where we are right now.

Many years ago, someone selected Buddhism for Mothers of School Children. This is not something I would normally read, and there was a lot I could pick apart, but in the spirit of the text, I thought I'd try it out with the school lunches. For some reason making the school lunches was a real mood trigger for me. I'd get so irritated, and the joy sucked out of me over this small detail everyday. Given that I merrily packed lunches for day trips in the school holidays, I knew, as Jack Sparrow would say, that 'the problem isn't the problem, my attitude to the problem is the problem'. Focusing a little more on my attitude and the task at hand, did change the process a little.

Many years later I went to a Black Dog talk on how to recognise depression and one of the tips to help people was to get them to focus on the present. By taking in the immediate surroundings, it closed out the ruminating on the future. I like to take photos on the dog walks, and I have found it's made me literally zoom in my focus on my surroundings - on the light on the buildings, a flower in the garden, bees in the bushes and so forth. It is a quiet and peaceful time, even though the cars roar past up the main road.

I am not a particularly spiritual or zen person, but I am pretty happy. So I will leave you with a quote that I love, and is the clearest reminder of how to be mindful. In A Man without a Country, the brilliant Kurt Vonnegut says “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” By recognising when you are happy, and highlighting the appreciation of the moment in your mind or with others, you quickly build up a bank of these moments, and realise they far outweigh the others.

Linking with #LifeThisWeek

Monday, 21 August 2017

Old stories are like old friends? You have to visit them from time to time. George R.R. Martin

Last week I had a friend visit from the UK. We met when we were 12 in the pool of a hotel in Malaysia and stayed friends. She moved to London 27 years ago and we've kept in touch and caught up every few years when she visits. A world has changed for us both, but the ease of the friendship has stayed the same.

On the weekend I went to Brisbane to see my oldest friend. We were in preschool together and lived one street apart. We've known each other our whole lives. We're quite different on a lot of things, but quite similar on others. When we travel together, her relaxed nature tolerates my wound up sensibilities. It's an easy relationship.

What I noticed with both these friendships is how quickly the difficult truths come out, and how supportive the reaction is. There is no judgement, and there is never any fear of how it will be received. One of the friends even noted it, saying "I hate telling people that because sometimes they start telling you how to parent". My nature is a 'fix-it' personality but I'm working on zipping it, because sometimes, no matter how helpful you're trying to be, telling people how to do things is the last thing they want to hear. Especially if you have no idea what it's like.

With my friend in Brisbane, we had 11 hours together. The first 2-3 hours, we caught up our recent histories, covered political affairs, work, kids and family health. By the time we hit the bars, we were people watching and had clicked into the groove that we often find when travelling together. Then we just had fun. Not catching up as such but sharing a fun experience, like friends who have the luxury of seeing each other all the time. It's a real joy to have those genuine moments, as they're what's often stolen from the long distance friendships - the moments when you're just kicking back and having fun.

Old friends never cease to make you smile.

Linking with #TwinklyTuesday #Nanahood #FortheloveofBLOG #LovingLifeLinky (cos it's hard not to love life when sharing good times with friends)

Reflection on failed plans

The high winds that stopped the performance of Bandaloop I tried to see on Friday, also dropped out our internet until last night, so today's post is short and sweet. Sometimes the plan fails, for one reason or another, but try to see all is not lost.
I was really disappointed that the performance was cancelled, especially as I had checked prior to heading into town that it was going ahead. The upside, however, was I still got to have a quick lunch and catch up with my friends. As John Lennon said "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” 

Linking with #OutdoorWednesday, #WordlessWednesday #throughmylens,#LNRseasons #WednesdayAroundtheWorld #PointShoot #PictorialTuesday #SerenityMondays #therealwordlesswednesday #TheRandom

Monday, 14 August 2017

Good neighbours

I do the shopping for a 94 year old woman. She was telling me how they got some new neighbours in the street. One of the other residents informed her "I think they might be lesbians." My friend replied sternly "We don't care what they are, as long as they're good neighbours".

"Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
Philippians 2:4

Are we being good neighbours if we don't see those in the LBGTQI community as our equal? Are we being good neighbours if we think we have the right to cast a vote in order to give them our permission to marry? Perhaps we need to think about whether we are being particularly neighbourly in our campaigns to defend or vilify what is not a personal issue for many of us.

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor" Romans 12:10

Women didn't have the vote. America had slaves. We learnt the error of our ways and changed the tradition. Perhaps we need to do the same with marriage. If Centrelink can see them as a couple to minimise money paid to them, surely the Government can recognise their union too?

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:2

We are sitting on the wrong side of history, and as we look at the riots unfolding in America, do we really want our 'religious protections' to unleash the same here? The laws the government are looking to put in place under the guise of protections will quickly be used against Jews and Muslims too. And possibly the converse where the Muslim businesses can refuse to serve me, an uncovered non Muslim woman, should they wish, under the protection of their religion, because surely what is good for the goose is also good for the gander?

Perhaps the right thing for our government to do is to see people as people and afford them equality, and allow the religions to operate in their places of worship, but in the secular world of business and daily life, follow the tenants of loving thy neighbour?

For the record, my 94 year old friend has great neighbours.

As a postscript, after writing this, I was alerted to Father Rod's post on FB where he states more eloquently than me "In the mean time the most effective way to stand up for our own rights is to stand up for the rights of others. None of us are free until all of us are free. 

Perhaps the real debate should be around how we live as loving neighbors in unity and diversity.

Even though you may not personally believe in same sex marriage, I believe that one of the over arching themes of the gospels is justice, and all justice is social. 

Marriage Equality is an issue of justice and we can all support this issue without denying our personal faith."

Lastly, you don't have to agree with me but I will delete any comments that are rude to me, other commenters, the LBGTQI community or the Liberal Party MPs so play nice please.
Linking with #MummyMondays and #OpenSlather

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Weekend Reflections

Central Park, Sydney

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

On #lifethisweek we're talking about our ideal meal. I love the Julia Child quote. I love that she chose to say 'who love to eat' not 'who love to cook'. The cooking is the means to an end. I love a good meal but less happy if I'm involved in the making of it...

An ideal meal is one shared with good friends in a great location. Plenty of laughs to season the conversation. A repast that leaves one relaxed, happy and refreshed - so much more than just refueling the body. It's one that revitalises the soul.

I have looked longingly at the restaurant in the glass box at Barangaroo for years. Whenever we go to the park I think wistfully how lucky the diners in there must be. On Friday, it came to pass. The stars aligned and a small crew managed to make a time and a booking at Henry Deane!

The room is impressive. The views of this spectacular city did not disappoint. The lounges made for a comfortable few hours to while away over bottles of Prosecco and tasty shared treats.

There's no way you can't love life when you're there. The ideal meal is one shared with friends.

Linking with #OutdoorWednesday #LovinLifeLinky #TwinklyTuesday #TPThursday #GlobalBlogging  #LNRseasons #TravelTuesday

Monday, 7 August 2017

Silence and Distance

My husband and eldest child went cage diving off Port Lincoln on a sleep aboard (live aboard?) which meant for 4 days, there was no contact between us. This is the longest time in our marriage that we haven't communicated. We do spend plenty of time apart but there's phone calls or text messages, and the longest flight is really only 24 hours, so prior to this, that's been the max.

What I noticed was at home, nothing really changed though I had less work to do - less washing, less meals (nobody eats the same thing in this house!) and less tidying. The strange thing was how many times I picked up the phone to message one of them and then realise I probably didn't need to (send a book parade photo, ask if they wanted Muse tickets, let them know what we were doing, tell them I hoped they were having fun and so on.)

These phones, which are a real problem for me, are such a huge part of our communication now that we don't even realise it. Or I didn't, until now. We share out days apart in messages and photos. A little wave through space.

A friend had asked if I was missing them, and I wasn't, not in that pining way. The best description was that it was weird. It felt like something was amiss, an intangible constant vibe that didn't ruin the fun, but was just present in everything we did. They were present in their absence. An empty space around me.

Unfortunately for them, the weather was bad and they had to return a day early - big shout out to the Port Lincoln Hotel for being so helpful (book directly with them people!) and I'm thankful for once I booked a full fare airfare with Qantas and we were able to move the flight (and I used a travel agent so she did all the work!).

It was an interesting exercise that highlighted a dynamic in our relationship I wasn't even aware of. 

Have you ever discovered you have a habit you weren't aware of?

Would you love to go cage diving to see the Great White Sharks? Would you let your child get certified and go cage diving?

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Sculpture at Barangaroo

If you haven't worked out by now, I have a love affair with our beautiful harbour. I will use any excuse to get myself on or near the water.

The annual Sculpture at Barangaroo is as good a reason as any to get outdoors and enjoy the sunny winter weather. Until the 20th of August, you can enjoy this outdoor art exhibition with the backdrop of our sparking waterways.

The kids will love selecting their flowers to plant in the 'garden".

Take a picnic or head to Walsh Bay or Barangaroo for lunch afterwards.

To get the sign to line up, you need low tide to move out to the right rocks. That was as close as we could manage....(Don't be silly and take risks!)

(Need to thank Canon for fixing my camera - replacing it? - under warranty and on the same day!)

Linking with #WordlessWednesday #FarawayFiles #TravelTuesday #Throughmylens #LNRseasons #WanderfulWednesday

Friday, 4 August 2017

Treat yo self!

For those that don't watch Parks & Recreations, Treat yo self! day is where you do whatever you want regardless of the cost and don't feel guilty about it.

With my husband and eldest away, I booked in my long overdue massage with the voucher I got for my birthday back in February. So after the book parade, I tore off to read my book in the spa for an hour before having lunch out and then having my massage.

When the kids came home, I decided I would treat myself by not cooking dinner and we headed over to the Truckstop at Rosebery for an easy dinner and a potter about the night markets. I was most pleased getting a loaf of the Bread & Butter Project's fabulous sourdough for breakfast the next day.

After dinner under fairy lights and to some funky beats, we walked back to the car parked outside Messina, so had to pop in before dessert before heading home. We shared an easy evening with lots of fun and frivolity. That was worth every cent!

All in all, a perfect end to a perfect day. I was definitely loving life!

When was the last time you had a 'treat you self!' day?

Linking with #WeekendReflection because of the lovely stillness of the pool! And SundayBest #PictorialTuesday #LovinLifeLinky #PointShoot #OutdoorWednesday #WordlessWednesday

Wednesday, 2 August 2017


In #Lifethisweek we're discussing birth order. I want to limit that specifically to the middle child, in German the apt 'Sandwichkind'. In an article by Sabine Haas, she talks of the middle child needing to find their role in the family as 'the middle child feels like the famous fifth wheel on the car - is superfluous'. I watch my own middle child struggle at times to find his place, and as the teen hormones kick in, I'm fighting to eliminate a lonely distance that normal teen withdrawal may create in the child that possibly feels neglected by his parents and victim to his siblings who gang up on either side. The trick is to plan some time alone, some time when they get the attention, some time when they come first - and let them hear you telling the others exactly that. That today the middle child's activity or needs takes priority.

In the holidays, when my youngest went to a friend's house, we had a day to do his heart's desire. I love the fun we have together when it's the two of us. The dynamic changes significantly. I'm already planning a date night to watch Kingsman (and we went to Baywatch together a deux - these teen movies are OUR thing). It doesn't really matter what you do - play monopoly, cook a meal together. The activity isn't important, it's the exclusion of the others and the undivided attention that counts. It doesn't happen often enough in our house, but I am trying to work in a regular celebration of the Nacht des mittleren Kindes. You may remember when 2 school camps resulted in an almost empty nest; in the year since then there's really only been 3 or 4 times we've managed to really celebrate our wonderful boy.

On the plus, the middle child learns to be a diplomat and an ease that helps them make friends. So this finding their place in the family helps them eventually find their place in the world too. We just need to make them feel important and secure in their role until they get there.

What do you think about birth order? Do you notice the difference?

Linking with #MummyMondays #KalCols #GlobalBlogging #DreamTeam #Humpdaylinky