We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Friday, December 31, 2010

Morning run

Layer of red cloud hovers above the trees - the city's looming aura.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A glorious day

Wild rabbits skip aside as I run in the golden dawn.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting an early start...

Stroked by the wind, long grass pulls at its roots, eager to romp.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A river of stones...

"a small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention"

The small stone project collects people from around the world to write a small stone every day during the month of January.

You can do it TOO!

I would write more but I have an insane amount of things to do right now and no way to catch this blog up on all that has happened this year, starting with my leg snapping in two most unexpectedly. So I shall borrow a FLyLady principle and jump straight in instead of trying to catch up. Tis time to start from now and make a brand new ending :D

Watch out for falling pebbles!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Turn, turn, turn

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

1848 Shaker song. Listen - it is beautiful!

I started Lent with a bucketful of high hopes - all the positive changes I was going to make, all the good things I was going to do... but being human, they have dribbled away and dribbled away until I am left carefully balancing that last teaspoonful and praying that I won't spill it too.

First the dripping trail:

- clean like the Lord is coming to visit: one and a half weeks out of 4. I've kept climbing Mt Washmore (the laundry) though, and the dishes twice a day... let's say 35%.

- exercise every day: it seems worse, but it's really only this week that I've slacked off... started with TOM & high humidity, but coincided with anniversary & birthday celebrations to add to the cumulative blah effect... I'll be generous... 75%

- take advantage of study time... again I was doing reasonably well and then somewhere around the middle of last week I allowed the distractions to creep in and take control of my time again. Comparing what I need to do with what I have actually done... 65%

That gives me a grand score of 58%. PHEW! I just scraped in with a pass... but you know me - scraping in is never satisfactory. I'm an over achiever. I want high distinctions to be happy. I NEED to zoom home with flying colours. Well, the special celebrations (excuses for being naughty) are out of the way and Lent is not over yet. There are still 11 days until Easter - and 11 is my lucky number. Hmmmmmm.

Okay, here's the plan. Start by celebrating 11 successes, then set 11 goals to speed me through the next 11 days. Let's refill the bucket!!!


1. I bought a pair of shorts on special for my gym wear - $11.
2. They only had size 14 & smaller left on the rack. I took a pair of size 14 home without trying them on first - and they fit fine!!! (not that many months ago size 20 was a squeeze!)
3. I found a pair of generic orthotic insoles at Woolworths for $21 and they seem to help the pain when I walk, giving me hope I am on the right track.
4. The jade and pearl jewellery that Yeti bought me for our anniversary arrived and is very beautiful. I shall feel like a queen when I wear it.
5. I found FREEMIND - the mindmap program that I have been raving about. It is revolutionising my note taking and is so much fun to use that it makes me WANT to work.
6. There are clean sheets on the beds.
7. I have only missed saying the rosary on 3 days. If I skipped my exercise, I still did the rosary while I hung the washing or did other tasks.
8. So far so good on the don't weigh yourself commitment. Yup, I gave up my scale for lent lol... I couldn't think of any material thing I was inordinately attached to... then I thought of how often I weigh and measure myself and what a sacrifice it would be NOT TO KNOW!!! So I gave it up. And I don't know... and I'm not going to weigh myself until Easter Sunday - hence the desperate desire to turn this train around and ensure a pleasant surprise when I do :P
9. One of our cats, Sweety Follow (named by Wombat, can't you guess?) was bitten by a red belly black snake. I found him lying paralysed out in the yard. We brought him in and cared for him and thanks be after five days he has fully recovered and is back to being a happy 'uncle' cat playing with his 4 kitten siblings. We have seen two more snakes since - but thankfully the boys seem to make enough noise to keep them away.
10. I have started reading the Magic Pudding to Wombat and he is loving it ( a bit above his comprehension level, but he gets the jokes and the songs are fun to sing).
11. We (I) finished the labryinth! There's a little clearing down in the bush. Last year, Wombat and I collected loose stones and built a double spiral. This month I got more ambitious. We now have a full labyrinth next to our double spiral. Wooohoooooo! The boys seemed to find playing down in the bush every day to be more positive than playing around the house, too. I also counted an hour of rock carrying on my exercise ticker several times lol.

And now the TO DO list:

1. Take your iron tonic twice a day.
2. Find your water bottle counter - or make a new one if necessary - and DRINK your water.
3. Exercise for at least 30 minutes EVERY day - the free gym trial is coming up... this should be easy!
4. 10 minutes of parenting reading each day.
5. Keep saying the rosary.
6. Clean your desk - give your workspace a fresh SPARKle.
7. Declutter - find 11 items to throw away and 11 items to give away.
8. At least 2 days of processed food detox - starting today.
9. At least 30 minutes each day of solid study.
10. At least one small item off your cleaning list each day.
11. Eat clean until Easter - no more treats! That includes letting Wombat and the others finish the birthday cake lol. One slice is enough for you. (Don't complain - you shouldn't have gulped down spoonfuls of frosting just because you made too much. The boys were sensible enough not to take your offer - what made you think you needed to overload your system with margarine, icing sugar and cocoa??? It also includes jellybeans and block chocolate. NO MORE UNTIL EASTER - you hear me???) [Sorry for shouting... just need to make sure the lecture sank in... see what kind of a nagging mother I am? but my inner child is getting too spoilt lately... 11 days of no indulging - and all tantrums will be ignored.]

There... that should do it! I was going to post a pic of the labyrinth but my graphics program froze... I'll do a photo entry some time next week instead :D

I'm off to listen to my favourite turn-me-around song again :) Hope you liked it!

PS. just reading through this and noticed the interesting psychological point that i celebrate "MY" success but then I tell myself what "YOU" will do. I'm not going to rewrite it, but next time, I must remember to commit myself and say "I WILL" instead of hiding behind the fiction of an external authority telling me what to do (ie thus avoiding personal responsibility for my choices).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celebrating self worth

One of my favourite places for occasional procrastination is the Ordinary Courage blog written by Brené Brown. She is currently publicising the release of her new DVD: 'The Hustle for Worthiness' - a filmed lecture on her "new research on love, belonging, and the power of being enough." She is hosting a "week of worthiness" in the blogging community.

I just happened to follow a link to an interview with Brené, and was inspired to answer the questions myself. At first, they seemed easy, but when I thought more about it, I found myself answering "I don't know" to most of them. It actually took quite a lot of soul searching and worthy contemplation to get to this point... and then it seemed a shame to throw my answers away, so I decided to share them with you!

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in the creative zone - whether it be sewing, writing, exercise (creating a new me), housecleaning (making dull things shiny) - anything that transforms the mundane into the magical, requires my body to be occupied and allows my mind to soar free. A bit like this song clip, really... (if you don't have time to listen to the whole song, at least fast forward to near the end so you can see what she makes!)

2. What is your greatest fear?

Being unloved and misunderstood, hurting people and not being able to make amends.

3. Which living person do you most admire?

Truthfully? Myself. *Blush* I know... isn't that awful? But no, it is not. I am proud of my resilience, my ability to keep trying, to pick myself up from the depths and start again, to stare my faults in the face (and they are myriad) and to do daily combat with them, knowing that win or lose I will show up again tomorrow to fight the good fight once more. Don't you think it is important to admire the person you know best in all the world? Or perhaps I just have a greater tolerance for my own weakness than I do for that of others :P

4. What trait do you most deplore in yourself?

I too often and too easily make my children suffer for my frustrations. I am a bully.

5. What trait do you most deplore in others?

Sitting on your high horse and judging others (unfortunately, this is also the second trait I most deplore in myself)...

6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Know what? I don't think any virtue is overrated lol... I even read through the Wikipedia article on virtue - very interesting and informative - searching for one virtue I could single out, and instead emerged inspired to cultivate even more virtues in my life. Honestly, I feel that the whole concept of virtue is so UNDERrated by modern society that the structure needs support, and I would be ashamed to throw another stone at it.

7. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Yeti :D We were married on the anniversary of our first kiss, so on March 20th we shall celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, and our 18th year of life together. Since I will be 36 in August, that means that as of this year I have spent half my life with Yeti! When we met, I was 18 and he was 37. I was a catholic schoolgirl, he was a Harley riding biker. I thumb my nose at all those who said we would never last, and hope and pray for many many many many more years.

8. Which talent would you most like to have?

Oooohhhhhhh.... I want to be able to freeze time or stre-e-e-e-e-e-etch it... or maybe just move at super speed, that would do it.....

9. What is your current state of mind?

Anticipatory, eager, a little anxious... actually, there's a bright blue sky of bravery, a burning sun of determination, plenty of soaring birds of ambition.... but way down below there's a tiny little darkness under a rock that is s***scared.

10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Motherhood... it's also my greatest challenge (see 6) and at times my greatest failure (see 4)

11. What is your most treasured possession?

Ok... I have now mentally reviewed my boxes of clutter, my shinies and my sentimental specials... yes, there are lots... but for the here and now the answer is my mp3 player / ebook reader (cheap chinese) and my Bang & Olufsen (chinese copy) headphones... at the moment I am getting in at least 30 minutes on the cross trainer each morning because I have loaded a scriptural rosary onto it so I can double guilt myself into getting out there to pray and exercise at the same time... then if I get the chance at naptime, I rush out for another 30 minutes of exercise so I can listen to Dickens' The Curiosity Shop which I have loaded as an audiobook. Sad but true :P

12. What is your superpower?

Ahahahahahaahaaaaa. I have the power to enter your mind riding a flood of words that lift you up and carry you away on fantastical journeys, all without opening my mouth or leaving my desk. As a recent experiment has shown, my kryptonite is being confined to one word lol.

13. What is your motto?

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." (Carl Bard)

I have a book full of them, though... Some of my other favourites include:

"Even a dead lion scares the sheep." (Anonymous radio announcer)

"Bad weather always looks worse through a window." (Tom Lehrer)

"You are on first name terms with lucidity. I have to call it 'Mr Lucidity'." (The Tick)

"Rest and be kind. You don't have to prove anything." (Jack Kerouac)

14. What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, humour, acceptance of my foibles.

15. Which word or phrase do you most overuse?


16. What is your greatest extravagance?


17. What is the quality you most like in a woman?


18. What is the quality you most like in a man?


19. On what occasion do you feel the most authentic?

When I am writing - and not always about myself lol.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The elves did it - Playful parenting success #1

While Wombat screamed in fury, I peered into his mouth and pretended to see a whole city of elves doing fun things inside him... he was soon giggling so much he forgot all about the tantrum. You can bet I'm going to remember this tactic and use it again... and again... and again!!!

Later... it worked for brushing teeth too! I said I could hear the elves complaining that the little white rocks at their entrance were all yellow and dull instead of bright and shiny. He saw the toothbrush in my hand, caught on immediately and voluntarily did a great job of brushing (normally meets with stubborn resistance.)

I'm loving this! Woohoooo!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Heart Smart

Bet you thought from the title this entry was going to be about my fitness goals?

Nup. My week took a huge dippity-dive into the abyss and I feel very blessed to have emerged on the other side of it with just a few bruises. There were times when I truly thought that my world was ending. Partly hormonal, partly a huge volcano load of stress erupting from me and Yeti and blowing (as Wombat says instead of lava) 'blubber' everywhere... I won't go into painful details.

Suffice to say we worked through it, we survived, and we have a plan to go on with. Smart goals for a happy heart.

Last week, I gave the impression that getting baby ready was all about the house (and the habits that go with it.) Actually, there's another string to that bow, and concentrating on it is largely responsible for saving my sanity this week. It can also be summed up in a quote (I can't find a source for it, but I'm sure I read it on a blog somewhere and it always stuck with me):

"A mother's smile is the heart of the home."

We have been disconnecting with each other. Heading into the war of all against all. A constant battle where all are the losers. Not much to smile about there. But what is that rainbow through the tears? Of course! It's a SMILE!

A book arrived. One I had purchased from England and had been waiting for... Leonard Cohen's 'PLAYFUL PARENTING'. It gets my vote as the BEST parenting book ever.

A random internet link led me to a forum of mothers who were speaking the language I needed to hear:

Nothing is ever smooth sailing. The waves still come over the sides, but now I feel like I have a bigger bucket and a better bailing technique. Plus the sun just came out and I'm smiling at the rainbow.

"Peace begins with a smile." ~Mother Teresa

I couldn't find a calendar I liked this year, so I've been making my own using creative commons photos from Flickr, quotes from St Teresa of Avila (my confirmation saint) and a calendar template from

Here is my inspiration for February.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Here comes the sun

It is Sunday, so here I am! I lost 400 grams this week, down to 78.6 kgs so I have earned my blogging day - though I won't get as much of it as I deserve due to this nasty toothache! I finally got to sleep at 4am this morning. That meant getting up at 5am - even for the temptation of blogging - just wasn't going to fly lol. However, the boys went sweetly off to sleep for me this afternoon (after a few minor tempests) and my tooth is giving me a momentary respite (which I should probably be taking advantage of by catching up on some sleep, but anyway...) HERE I AM!

And now for the promised explanation of my plans for 2010 and what I am up to :D

You remember my 3 critical happy factors - the three things I must achieve to count 2010 as a success?

1. Reach my goal weight.
2. Qualify as a barrister.
3. Become 'baby ready'.

Well, I've sat myself down and I've worked out why I want them and what I have to do to achieve them. Some were easier than others. Actually, the hardest was number 3 - baby ready - so I'll deal with that first.

The reason this was so hard to quantify and plan for is because it is so ambiguous (what does baby ready mean? Before my first son, Wombat, we sat down, had a serious discussion, decided we couldn't possibly afford to have a baby, and conceived him that night. Now there is planning for you!)

There's also the problem that this goal is dependant on achieving goal 1 (losing weight & getting fit) and in almost complete conflict with goal 2 (becoming a barrister). What to do? What to do?

So I forced myself to break down my desire, my vague yearning, into its base components, and then I broke those down and broke the results down until I reached rock bottom and had some clearly defined, achievable, positive steps to take that I could start on right away and would assist me in being baby-ready without needing to know when the actual baby might theoretically arrive.

It all eventually came down to one quote:

Like the sun rising
over the mountains of the Lord
is the beauty of a good wife
in a well-kept home.
(Ecclesiasticus 26:15-16)

At first my feminist hackles bristled, but no matter how I squirmed, I kept coming back to it. That is what I want. It is what I want for my children (both present and future), for my husband, for myself. Even for my 88 year old mother-in-law who rubs me the wrong way, damn it. I want to be that glorious sunrise. That is what being baby-ready means to me!

And so I have dusted off my Home Control Journal (those of you who are FlyLady fans will know what I mean). I have taken to heart the motto I pasted on its spine: "Time is the most valuable thing one can spend." (Theophrastus) I try to get dressed and lace up my shoes as soon as I get out of bed. I start the day with my chores - feeding the pets, hanging the washing (I do several loads the day before and hang them out in the dawn), shining my sink and my little daily adventure in whatever zone I am in today (as per FlyLady's suggestions, I have divided my house into zones, and listed 6 tasks for each zone - one per day, except Sunday - starting at the ceiling on Monday and working down to the floor on Saturday).

It all takes up about an hour of my precious morning alone-time, but it is paying off. Already I can see the changes around me. I am ABSOLUTELY NOT a natural housekeeper. I am the absent-minded professor type who can live in the midst of relative squalor while focussing on the intellectual task at hand and neglecting all else. It is taking a real effort of will to change those habits, but I am doing it, and I am proud of it.

On days like yesterday and today - when I slept in thanks to this toothache keeping me up all night, or when the boys wake up before dawn and won't go back to sleep - I really feel lost because my list hasn't been touched. I don't demand perfection of myself - the idea is babysteps - I just have to make a determined effort on each new day...

Actually, now I've gotten this far, I might end this entry and discuss the other goals next week... the bathroom floor really does need the scheduled scrubbing it didn't get yesterday... and I can hear the chooks squawking as I never did get around to feeding them this morning.

This new-found sense of responsibility is both a blessing and a curse to my procrastinating soul, but you know what - I LOVE IT & I'm not going back!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Happy

I'm really loving the way my 2010 plans are becoming habits - but more about that later... still early days, don't want to jinx it :)

More importantly, I'm REALLY loving being told how healthy I look at the moment... Here's a pic my Dad took of me and the boys earlier this week.

9 kgs down... 14 kgs to go! WOOHOOOOO :D

My hip is still hurting, but I have an appointment with the Physio on Tuesday.