Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hello, My name is Mary and my daughter is a chocoholic

That's right! I am going to blame my daughter for my recent over-indulgence in chocolate.

Some of my friends are flat out blaming the shops for having all those yummy chocolates on display over Easter. Not me, no siree! Some of my friends are blaming the genetic 'sweet tooth' syndrome. Not me, no siree! Some of my friends are boasting about their self control in saying 'no' to temptation (it's all about willpower they say). Not me. No siree!

I put the blame fair and square on my daughters shoulders.

It is a fact, my daughter is a chocoholic.

Unfortunately for me my daughter is also an athlete (I am merely a fantastic appreciator of her athleticism). My daughter has fast fat gobbling hormones (I am menopausal). My daughter is tall (I once auditioned as one of the seven dwarfs) and worse of all my daughter doesn't have any other addictions (Sorry to say I am rather partial to deep fried yummies).

So I kept my daughter company during her frenzied consumption of chocolate over Easter (I called it our bonding time).

Now I am well and truly paying the price.

I suppose it is a little unfair blaming my daughter. It's really not her fault she was blessed with an incredibly fast metabolism. What's that I hear you say? "The first step to recovery is honesty."

You're right. It sin't my daughters fault. No siree.

It's the menopause!!!!

Sorry, got to go , my chips are nearly ready.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fill my cup Lord

It would be a fair statement to say that I have got more than my fair share of things to try and sort out at the moment. Many of these issues are draining the life out of me. My finances are being drained, my emotions are drained, my 'it'll be right!" "No worries" "Have faith" attitude - drained.

Do I consider my lot in life as an opportunity or a burden?

Is it half empty (pessimist) or half full (Optimist)?

Then I wondered why I need be satisfied with half of anything. Why can't I have an overflowing cup?

Fill My Cup, Lord
Words and Music by Richard Blanshard

John 4:14
"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;

but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

          Like the woman at the well
          I was seeking For things that could not satisfy:
          And then I heard my Savior speaking:
          "Draw from my well that never shall run dry".

            Fill my cup Lord,

            I lift it up, Lord!
            Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
            Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more
            Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

          There are millions in this world who are craving
          The pleasures earthly thin
          gs afford;
          But none can match the wondrous treasure
          That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord.

            Fill my cup Lord,
            I lift it up, Lord!
            Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
            Bread of heaven, Feed me
            till I want no more
            Fill my cup, fill it up
            and make me whole!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blessing 5: Rain (We are in drought conditions). Cooler weather (just finished a 15 day stretch of 38-39 Celsius). Lack of North Wind (My sinuses are screaming out their thanks).

Monday, March 24, 2008

The hug of communication

I have been sorting out my teaching resources. I came across this poster that I used to use to inspire students to value letter writing.

Although this was a poster put out by Australia Post to encourage people to buy a stamp it feels like you've been given a warm fuzzy hug when you receive communication from another. I love it when people write me a letter or drop me a line through email. Now I have a new avenue as a blogger.

The more I reflected on this poster the more I saw. It is not only letters that can bring joy but also words spoken.

"Let the words of my heart and the meditation of my soul be acceptable in Thy sight, Oh Lord, my soul and my Redeemer." ( Psalm 19.14)

Would the real me please stand up?

Continuing in the line of wondering and pondering and reflecting without over analyzing the thought that has crept into my head these last few days has been one of my identity.

I recognize that not only am I really worried a lot of the time if people like who I am (once you had moved passed the projected image) but for the most part I really don't know who I am.

In the movie "Runnaway Bride" Julie Roberts character, who has been engaged several times but can't commit to the married part, finds herself (unwittingly) being a chameleon. So unsure of who she really is she becomes the character that best supports her betrothed. This affliction is demonstrated in her egg eating habits. With her first fiance she likes boiled eggs: With her second fiance she likes scrambled etc etc. She is eventually called to declare who she really is, what her desires are. "How do you really like your eggs?" she is asked. It comes as no surprise that she has spent so long becoming what she believes others need her to be that she does not know how she likes her eggs.

I am not fond of eggs at all. I understand that eggs aren't the issue. Still, I find myself pondering on how well I really know me. How can I expect others to know me and love me if I do not trust my own judgments on who I am? How can I peel back the layers and adopt the essence of my truth being?

Which part of my projected image (at any given time, to any given audience or community) is who I am? Are they all part of who I am? Do I choose to project one part om myself over other aspects out of fear of being exposed as worthless?

Would the real me please stand up?

I am a daughter
I am a sister
I am a friend
I am a student
I am a singer
I am an immigrant
I am a Ward of the State
I am a nurse
I am a born again
I am a cadet
I am an Officer of the Salvation Army
I am a wife
I am a mother
I am a mature age student
I am a foster mum
I am a carer
I am a primary School teacher
I am a separated wife
I am the parent of teenagers
I am an unemployed

I have worked so hard to like the type of egg that each of these roles/titles liked.

I am a child of God

How do I make this my true identity?

Blessing 4. Sitting near the lake at dusk watching the sun do its thing as it turned in for the night.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

You raise me up

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

("You raise me up", by Brendan Graham - My favourite artists are Josh Groban and Westlife)

Blessing 3. Listening to Josh sing this song on Good Friday.

Blessing 2
. Sitting under a beautiful blue sky with a friend as we reconciled.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Count your blessings

Not all that long ago I went to the doctors to get my hypertension treatment reviewed. Nothing too tricky - a 10 min max consultation. One hour later with red and puffy eyes I signed the medical form at reception. My blood pressure was fine. Thing is my mental state was not doing so well.

I have been going through a tough patch - rather an understatement. Some days I have felt almost overwhelmed with sadness, isolation, anxiety and anger.

My friend suggested it was time I went to the doctors and called a spade a spade. "Help is out there,' she encouraged.

Pride, stubbornness, fear of losing control and embarrassments were some of the reasons I was reluctant to seek help from a medical perspective. I had prided myself in the past of being stronger than my darkest moments; I had prided myself on being a survivor; I had prided myself on being a thinker and resolver of my own dark moments. I heard myself say that 'counselors would frustrate me because I already knew what was getting me down, what was darkening my soul, dampening my spirit, overwhelming me. I also know what I was meant to be doing (well in part, at least).'

The doctor acknowledged that I did indeed have enough 'stress' in my life to justify my mental fragility. The support available was 1. Drugs 2. Counseling 3. Self management - relaxation techniques.

I was a little frustrated when he handed me a generic sheet of relaxation techniques. Please.... Been there, done that. I could recite the techniques in my sleep. Something obviously showed on my face.

The doctor took back the sheet and challenged me to explain to him how I relaxed. I searched my rambling brain and came up with the good old faithful - think of a good memory, a good place where you felt relaxed, worthy, happy, peaceful... take yourself there. The doctor asked me what my experience was.

I admitted to the doctor that when I do this exercise I make up a memory. The reason, I satated, was that I couldn't always think of a 'good' place. Truth is when I most need to use this exercise I am feeling so low that I only can remember the hurts and hardships.

The doctor reminded me that I gave birth to three children. 'Well actually,' I said, "I had three complicated emergency births, the last being born three months premature. Not exactly a great place to remember". Well, I was committed to my misery now.

There's a lot more to this story but I will now move to the revelation that has come a week later.

Now here comes the ever so subtle nudge from Spirit.

As I was walking along a creek my mind was racing.

"Count your blessings.."

Interesting and rather random thought.

"Count your blessing. Name them one by one."

There was nothing subtle about His voice. It his me like a tonne of bricks.

How easy it is to let the difficulties, hardships, pains, stresses, challenges etc etc overshadow the rich and rewarding things (blessings) that come into our life. The difficult births where genuinely stressful and at that time overwhelming. And yet I love my children and am thankful for them. Unfortunately, I had allowed the 'stress' to make a more significant imprint on my memory than the miracle and blessing of birth. I had acknowledged the blessing but I had recalled at a greater rate the 'stress'.

I am now making a commitment to be a little more disciplined.Shift my focus. I do not want to disregard the impact stress and hardship and disappointments and pain have on my life. They do leave an imprint. What I want to do is start putting back into my life a perspective and balanced view of what is given to me. There are opportunities to bless and be blessed in every day. I want the blessings to start having a greater impact on my mental state. I need to count my blessing. I need to count them one by one.

I stumbled on some Christian bloggers who have in fact started a list of blessings or gifts that they acknowledge. The site(Holy experience) gave permission to use the logo. I will post it on my blog as a reminder to my commitment to change my focus one blessing/gift at a time. From today on I am going to focus on the new gifts and start reshaping my mental state one blessing at a time.

blessing 1. Today I went blog surfing and have been totally inspired by many thoughtful blogs and insights (especially from Holy experience and ornaments of grace). I felt connected.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

False Identity - tempting

Was having a discussion with my youngest (19yrs old) about her 'My Space' practices. Being somewhat over protective in my parenting in the past I did not disappoint by grilling her ( I meant to say discussing with her) on the lurking dangers of profiling yourself to a wide, largely unknown audience.

Got me thinking about blogging in general.

Blogging can be addictive - wake up, cup of tea, check blog, surf net, cup of tea....
Blogging can temporarily fill a void (loneliness, isolation, boredom, procrastination)
Blogging can give you a means to re- invent yourself (how much of what we share re[presents who we really are - do we only share what we want others to see?
Blogging can bring a smile to your dial
Blogging can connect you to this big wide wonderful world we live in
Blogging can re-define relationships
Blogging can be an honest journal of your current journey
Blogging can be an egotistical one sided opinion
Blogging can have a voice, be a listening ear, a heartfelt moment of sharing, insightful and welcoming.

Blogging can be so many different things. That's fair enough! I ask myself what is my intent? What do I want from this relationship?

I'll make myself another cup of tea and give it some thought.

just wondering!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

healing the soul

There's Zoloft and then there's laughter- medicine for the soul.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bucket list

1. Nurture a community of respectful friendships - friends who share and bring out the best in me.
2.Engage in a worthwhile activity that keeps me motivated in the journey of being a true life learner.
3. Find a healthier 'comfort' other than food.
4. Be loved (good and proper).
5. Acknowledge the blessings in everyday (especially during my low moments).
6. Learn to truly forgive myself of all my shortcomings and inadequacies.
7. Be a little less self reliant
8. Become determined to hug someone, smile at someone, genuinly enquire about someone, pray, exercise, be still at least once every single day.
9. Watch a little less T.V
10. Have the Spirit of God fall on me.

I guess my list reflects my hunger to have my living days be purposeful, joyous, relational and authentic. What I desire most before I kick the bucket is to establish healthy spiritual, mental and physical habits.

Less striving and a little more 'BE STILL and know..' moments.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The beginning of something beautiful - my saving grace


I have been curious about blogging for a little while now. Have been a bit cautious as to what to write about, what to share and whom should read. My friend (that's you Ali) reassured me that there are safe ways to have a voice through the internet. I believe her and so have taken this leap.

I love to talk. I love to share. I love to test out my thoughts, opinions and insights with others. I also love to hear of the magical moments of others, if it can challenge my world view and mould me into a more honest person. Blogging could well be my saving grace, literally. There's nothing quite as frustrating as secret insights. By this I mean that when you learn something, discover a truth, feel inspired by a life or an act then you want to test these new thoughts blessings, challenges etc with a wider audience.

I feel a little more ready to hear God's voice again. Actually I have been hearing him for quite awhile but have stubbornly refused to listen. What is God saying? I know He talks through his children, through verse, through nature, through song, through His word - endless opportunities.
Blogging is an opportunity.

I went to see the movie "Bucket List' starring Nicholas Cage and Morgan Freeman. This is a story of two men who come from different walks of life who find themselves sharing a hospital room. Both these men discover that they are dying. One of the men starts writing a bucket list - when he was in college his professor asked him to write down all the things he would like to do, achieve or experience before he kicked the bucket. The two men decide that it is not too late, so they make a list of things to do before they die and off they go on this journey. Keeping in mind this is a movie and one of the men happened to be filthy rich and was able and willing to finance this adventure it was a worth considering what would I put on my list if I knew I had only a short time to live. What do I consider to be valuable in my life? What legacy would I leave? Would I please myself or do everything for the greater good?

I am making my list. I would be tempted to have a balance of 'feel good ME moments' and leaving a footprint in the sand ( making a difference to this world). A whisper has just entered my head. I think that what ever I put on my list needs to lead me to a place where I can say "It is well with my soul".

Random thoughts - just wondering!