... Living inspired by the beauty of life, one post at a time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happily Ever After!

So I thought today would be a little hard, I've been expecting this day for awhile. Would I feel sad, a little despondent perhaps? I look at this girl in the picture and guess I feel a little reflective because I've learnt a lot. Today marks the day twenty five years ago, that I became this bride. I had dreamed of that day forever! Twenty five years of living and lessons have brought me to this very day. Twenty five amazing years spent raising the greatest two blessings any Mama Bear could wish for and I do count the blessings every day. That day was one of the happiest and best days of my life (Yes, even today) even though I'm now divorced (aahhh, hate that D-word!).



But here I am, all child-rearing done and dusted and empty-nesting beckoning. I married believing in the fairytale and living my happily ever after. The only thing is, happily ever after ended up looking so very different than I could have ever imagined. Hard years followed but so did happy memories. Happily ever after meant three instead of four. Happily ever after was a heart filled to bursting with little arms that enveloped you and hugs that encircled you. It was mornings of pure delight and butterfly kisses at night. Happily ever after was purpose through pain.

If you had told me then, on that day, that I would spend ten years building a crumbling marriage, then five years fighting to save it, and finally just trying to survive it, I wouldn't've believed you. Not then, not that day. That day I arrived at the chapel so expectant and full of dreams for the future. The pipe organs chimed out their glorious tune and they signalled everything I was hoping and believing for. I can still hear them today. I began the slow walk down the aisle to a new and brighter future, a future that involved two people committed and devoted to each other, a future that meant sailing off into the sunset and living happily ever after, right? ... Wrrroooong! And oh how wrong I was!

Wait a minute, hold it right there! How does that happen you ask? ... Or perhaps you are thinking, 'Where did it all go so wrong? ' These are the questions that plagued me too. Surely if two people love each other enough, anything is truly possible? Yep, that was the biggie! I struggled with this question over many long years.

Okay, so lets back up a bit. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. SO if I was to tell my twenty year old self a thing or two, I would tell her this, being in love and doing love are entirely different things. A profession of love, means nothing when it is not backed up by doing love, day in and day out. I was naïve. I thought love really would conquer the mountain. I thought a whole lot of love could fill an entire ocean of aching, hurting need. I would tell that twenty-year-old to look carefully at the current behaviour because it is a damn good predictor of the future. I would tell her that aching brokenness can only ever be found in the arms of a loving saviour. No amount of human loving can change a person, if they can't conquer the mountain with you.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time! 

So why didn't I believe it the first time? Because I thought love was enough. And the truth is love should be enough. But love, real love, is actually doing something, not just saying it. Love is gritty and raw. It is not pie in the sky. It is not just blue skies and summer breezes, although it is that too. It is blustery and time weathered. Love is summer and winter, the sun and the moon. Love is hot and cold. It is valleys and mountaintops.

'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails'. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

That day, twenty five years ago, as these very words lifted up and out across family and friends gathered in the wooden pews, I didn't know that love would be lost or the path ahead of me would stretch me in impossible ways. That day I thought it would be us against the world. Love wasn't meant to fail. I didn't know that the world would snatch that love right away. Nope, I had no idea of the heartache that was before me, not an inkling of the turmoil that would arrive at my doorstep in those early years. I could NEVER have foreseen how quickly my world would tilt and go off kilter.

In those last, love-exhausting years I was drowning under the weight of a marriage falling apart, no matter how much loving was dished out. I didn't know that plain ole loving of this hard gritty kind could be so consuming and that it could carve out a big old hole in your heart and soul that felt like you were being dismantled piece by piece.

Surviving, not living!

Drowning, not waving!

And when you have done all the loving you can, what then? What do you do when love has lost her way? What do you do when love hurts?

You keep on loving, through it all and despite the pain. And when it falls apart, you pick yourself up and walk the path of love some more, all through a divorce of the gut-wrenching, messy kind, and all through the hard, lonely, single parenting years. You just learn to love on purpose. You practice it, day in, day out.

Because little eyes are watching and little hearts are learning.

But also because you have realised that love actually never fails. Love found you in the most unlikely of places. In the deepest darkest moments, a love so full and breathtaking wrapped you in sweet heavenly arms. Love was found when all was lost. A deep, never-ending, all encompassing spring of LIVING LOVE flooded over desolate terrain seeping into the deepest and darkest recesses. A love so real and tangible AND completely unquestionable was finally found. 

And so, a new way of loving was learnt.

Love is patient when facing mounting financial costs, love is kind in the face of lawyers, uncertainty and absent fatherhood. It does not envy successful marriages but rejoices with them, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour your children's  father even if it feels warranted and self justified (especially when little hearts are breaking and you are mad as hell that this is happening). It is not self-seeking but rather self-sacrificing, it is not easily angered when the rules are continually broken, it keeps no record of wrongs and forgiveness is given freely because little lives are being shaped ... and because it keeps your heart and soul uncluttered. 

Love does not delight in evil but seeks the truth, pursues the truth, embraces THE TRUTH. It always protects what you say about their father (because your children are still developing their identity and self-worth), and it looks for the best in everything and every circumstance - there is always a silver lining, somewhere! 

It always trusts that God has your back (and He does - He is always, always faithful), it always hopes for a better day, it always perseveres up the toughest mountain, even on the hardest and most trying of days under the most difficult of circumstances. There's always someone worse off than you. 

Because little eyes are watching and little hearts are learning.

Love really does triumph every time!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy Birthday son!



Happy Birthday son!

So proud of who you are and who your are becoming. Eighteen years went way too fast. Not sure how we got here, to this moment, but inevitably we did. You really do have to seize each moment and live it fully. You are good at that. You have faced life with fierce determination and every storm with quiet assurance. You measure every moment to the tiniest detail and the intricacies of life with thoughtful precision. There will be times when throwing caution to the wind will be expedient so you can fly by the seat of your pants. Just do it! The world is waiting for you to make your mark. Your future is bright. I love you to the moon and back.

So, get to it!
xx

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Well done son!



Logic will take you from A to B but imagination will take you everywhere. ~ Albert Einsteen

Congratulations to this boy who graduates year 12 in the next few weeks. You have excelled in all that you have put your hand to and I couldn't be prouder! You have persevered with dedication, discipline and determination. The world awaits ... and the sky is the limit, anything is possible with you at the helm! 

May all your dreams come true!




Here are a few messages from your Primary school teachers.

Year One

Year Two and Three


Year Four


Year Five

Year Six

Year Seven


Love you to the moon and back!



And so the year of lasts comes to an end!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

They didn't know!


They tried to bury us, they didn't know we were seeds!

When the cares of this world weigh heavy,
when the soul seems burdened beyond belief,
when your heart has been heaped with pain,
just rest. Rest in the soil of purpose, the seeds of destiny are biding their time. You WILL flourish again.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The smallest act of kindness

There are people who take the heart out of you and then there are those who put it right back! 

The smallest act of kindness makes all the difference. Today I am so very grateful for offerings of sweet friendship. Friendship is a beautiful gift. Kindness is in the little things ... it is in the small details of a life lived open and outward focused.

May we all pause to value the gift of friendship and the wisps of kindness that extend from these kind souls, for without these sweet bonds, life would be intolerable!



Friday, July 29, 2016

Happiness


Happiness is found not in the pursuit of selfish ambition, but rather, in the pursuit of a life totally poured out, heart and soul!
This is my firm conviction.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Choose, Look, Love


We are confined only by the walls we build around ourselves!

I have discovered that what we see, is firmly entrenched in our outlook. What is your focus?

We can see the glass half full or half empty, and then, there are those of us who see nothing at all and complain about what is in the glass.

Shift your focus!

Choose to see beauty in everything.
Look for the good everywhere.
Love on everyone!

In everything, everywhere, for everyone!


Friday, April 1, 2016

Pearls of wisdom


My twenty year old daughter moved out of home recently. She has been talking about it for a year now. My head was ready for this but my heart faltered. I knew the day was coming, expected it to be difficult, was ready for whatever feelings would swamp me, yet one can never fully prepare for how one will actually feel in the moment. It's difficult to explain the angst of letting go. TUG-OF-WAR!

Why are there no parenting books for parenting your young adult? There really should be some kind of book that helps this transition to adult-independence because it really does feel like you're finding your way in the dark. Your young adult wants you to stop worrying about them but they still do things that keep worrying you. They still keep you up at night! They should know by now that questionable decisions are ALWAYS cause for concern. Please stop making them and I will have no need to worry!

Every young adult needs to find their own way, and make their own mistakes. It's just really hard to sit on the sidelines and spectate when parenting has been up until now a contact sport. Sitting on the sidelines is really really hard after you have been in the game for twenty years and when shouting the game plan from the sidelines results in raised eyebrows (carefully manicured ones at that), even the most robust of us tend to wither inside. The raised eyebrow is now focused on you! You quickly learn that your pearls of wisdom are better given as rare gifts. Better to give your gifts of wisdom sparingly as remarkable treasure, than to give too many and see them discarded and left unopened. Better to wait to be asked your opinion than to hand out advice not valued or appreciated. Holding my tongue has become a new sport!

I have learnt (by trial and error) that it is expedient for your young adult to learn some things the hard way. These lessons are often the most valuable and never forgotten. Experience is a great teacher and she does a good job. Hence the tongue holding when everything within me wants to direct, persuade or push them in the right direction. How do you explain that the certain amount of worldly expertise you have actually accounts for something. Yes, I do know a thing or two about life having lived it for awhile now!

The question is, 
'Which mistakes decisions do you let them make and which ones do you challenge?'

Some things are definitely better learnt by experience, like closing your bank account instead of just canceling your bank card when some online hack attempts to take money from your account. Although, had I been asked about this, I would have given my pearls and advised against it. Unfortunately pearls were not sought. Whoops, cancelling the whole bank account can be very tricky! We didn't think about the fact that the fortnightly pay might not find its way into the shut account or that transactions being direct debited might attract unwelcome attention. Lesson learnt! Yes, there is value in lessons learnt the hard way and what do you know, suddenly my advice was sought!

So last night (on an entirely different matter) I sent my twenty year old this quote, 'Decisions determine destiny'

It was one of those moments when I just needed to press in and not hold back. It was a moment where everything that needed to be said could be summed up in just three words - three simple pearls. I think this will be my new mantra!



Monday, February 29, 2016

The little things


Enjoy the little things in life for one day you will look back and realise they were the big things!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A year of lasts

This week has been a mixed bag of emotions. We started another school year, which as a teacher of young children is always an exciting event. A lot of firsts ahead for all the little people starting their schooling journey this year. As a mother, I am entering a year of 'LASTS' and have found myself pausing longer than usual to take that little bit longer to connect with my last born who has entered the final year of his school journey. I think he thought I was crazy when I squished his seventeen year old cheeks with a lot of love on his first day back at school. Why do they think this expression of mother love is 'so embarrassing!'

It has crept up on me faster than I would have liked, I wish time would slow down! 

This year is the last year of formal schooling for my boy, my last year having a child around the home, my last year to squeeze in all of the things a busy school mum does. And, it is easy in the craziness of weekly life to miss the moments that truly matter. The matters of the heart and soul continue to need shaping, and the shaping of a teenage character still requires a-lot-of-work! True, it looks quite different ... a lot less chiselling and a whole lot of polishing ... and there are days where a bit of chipping might even occur (you know, that exasperation point when they think they know everything and your ideas are sooo antiquated!)

As we smooth out the rough edges of a teenager crossing over into manhood (with all of the antiquated foresight of someone who has been around longer than the dinosaurs), I must confess that I don't always get it right! Trying to find the balance between how I was raised and the times my teenager is living in are indeed a world apart, and I truly get that. I accept that I am old fashioned (who would have thought being born at the tail end of last century would come to this!) and am okay with it, well sometimes!

Yes, I still expect respect, chores and manners (especially at the dinner table and yes, I know that other families don't mind how their children eat ... and that slouching, chomping and grunting are all accepted forms of behaviour and that I am all alone on these issues, yadda yadda!!) 

I have to remind myself that there are bigger fish to fry and have to choose my battles wisely. I'm learning to stay firm on the critical issues and flexible on the minor issues. So there are times when I try to ignore the slouching and chomping and the monosyllabic responses (apparently it is actually a REAL phase, all this grunting is actually rather common so I'm led to believe ... poor boys, first their voices squeak when their manly voices begin to develop only to be taken over by guttural one word statements on the verge of manhood) all in the hope of connecting on a deeper level. I have been known to throw up my hands in desperation with the lack of articulate language coming forth, which I know lurks somewhere deep within my son. The monosyllabic replies of 'yep', 'ok', 'no', 'aha' can be irritating. If I'm to wade through the first load of grating grunting, I can be rewarded by occasional moments of brilliant sunshine! When that happens, I have to be careful to say little and really truly listen so that I don't miss the glorious glimpse of the the person he is becoming.

So, in this year of lasts, (who knows this might be my last year of butting heads, wouldn't that be nice!) I purpose to embrace my sons last year of being a teenage-boy-man-child with all the last-loving-of-boyhood 'mother love' that I can muster. See you on the other side.



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