VOWS

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Last year in November marked my fifth year of being married to my husband, and a few more of us being together before that. I feel immensely blessed that I met him when I did, even though I had hoped and prayed years before that to meet my soul mate. I’m glad it took so long, because I don’t think I was quite ready before that. I was young, immature, emotional, and would t have been able to really appreciate the beauty in the relationship. Has it been a cake walk since then??? He’ll no!!! It’s been quite the roller coaster let me tell you. However whilst most if what we have been through could tear even the strongest relationship apart, or break even the strongest bonds, we chose to take these things as if they were like soldering joins to make it stronger. There were times of course that were near misses and made me wonder what the hell I was thinking to get married – and I’m sure my wonderful husband thought the same thing, but we have been able to recognise those times and plough through them.

I had been waiting, waiting, waiting for our fifth year to renew our vows. I had every intention of being in fit form, and at a great place in my life (aka ultimate perfection), but life had other plans. This meant that I almost left 2013 without doing what we had wanted to do – renew our vows as we stepped into the life we had now chosen. All because I wasn’t thin enough, fit enough, happy enough, successful enough…which a few days before New Year’s Eve prompted me to get a grip and realise instead how far I had come and how unrelated those things were to the connection my husband and I had and the appreciation for our journey together. So we just jumped in and said hey! we are renewing our vows on NYE and whoever is there will be there, and we will go as we are…today is all we have for certain.

We were blessed to have a beautiful woman Sandy to officiate, and it was made special because at the end of the vows our background were the 830pm NYE fireworks at Mooloolaba! I had always wanted fireworks and now I got them!!! It was intimate, it was special, it was meaningful. It was everything we wanted in it. We thank Sandy for sharing those special moments with us and the following were my vows.

My Awesome Husband Kevin.

Apart from the moment each three of our children were born, the moment we became husband and wife was my favourite moment in time. My second moment is this one. Because today we acknowledge our connectedness as soul mates from a place of awareness.

I want to show up for you, at any moment you need. I want to be seen by you and you me, because we have both embraced our vulnerabilities. Most of all I want you to feel loved in a whole new way. A way that honours you for who you truly are, for the compassion and courage that guides your path, and for all that you are to me.

I promise you that:
From today, the critics will no longer count.
I promise you that:
From today, I will give US the credit due for our part in OUR arena – for the tears shed, the heartbreak, the grief, our errors and for our shortcomings whilst striving radiantly.
I promise you that:
From today, through efforts and errors, I will with with you great enthusiasms, and through great devotion I will make US my worthy cause.
I promise you that:
From today, whether triumphing in high achievement, or failing for the 100th time – we will do so, side by side, hand in hand whilst

DARING GREATLY

So today I say YES
YES, I loke you
YES, I love you
YES, I adore you….forever, love forever.

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100 MOMENTS OF GRATITUDE

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Are you grateful? I think we are all grateful for something, but to master it is something different. I have been doing some work on gratitude to move past some grief and stress that we have experienced of late. We have been having conversations about gratitude and the fat that it isn’t actually an attitude, but rather a practise – a daily commitment to focus on what is good in our life instead of the bad stuff. So this is the challenge I have put to myself and to all of you. 100 moments of gratitude. But of course since I am a writer, and revel in writing not just dot points, the 100 long list is taking a while to structure. Here is my first 20 and the rest will follow. I have tried to ‘triple whammy’ each of my moments to make them as all encompassing and descriptive as possible. My 6 year old daughter taught me about triple whammy sentences after a year of having the most amazing while brain teacher in the world. Triple whammy is about extending a simple statement three times its original structure…okay that’s kind of how she explained it to me that is….

Today is the day (okay I started the whole active practice of gratitude a few days ago). The day to do my 100 MOMENTS OF GRATITUDE. Really today is the only day – yesterday has come and gone, and tomorrow is not promised to us. If you are doing this challenge its okay to do this as big or little as you like…or even to do this one day at a time, whatever works for you.

We all have our own journey and therefore it is common sense to realise that each of us are at a different place on our journey and that’s okay. This realisation has been very difficult to come to and has taken me a while to grasp because common sense is a little deeper and more intricate these days and therefore less common. If I am transparent I must admit to you all that once upon a time I used to think that if I have figured something out then why the hell doesn’t everyone else know it and sense it too? I used to also find it all too easy to sit back and judge another persons journey and make my discontent with it known. I have now realised my folly in that however and am more aware and conscious of this, trying not to judge anyone’s journey, anyone’s experiences, anyone’s feelings, lest I be judged – because let’s face it, as Bruce Williams says ‘if you spot it you got it’. What you see you have mirrored. So whilst I’m not perfect at it I am trying. As a family we have had such a dreadful 12 months filled with heartaches, multiple deaths, stress, illness, transformations, realisations, injuries and much more. This brings you ups and downs, mountains and valleys, triumphs and trials. So I have made a conscious choice to really focus on gratitude, hence the reason to create this challenge – 100 MOMENTS OF GRATITUDE

I am grateful for:

1. The moment you gaze at the sunshine kissing the waves, causing diamonds to dance before your eyes as the waves roll in and roll out.

2. The moment when you breathe in the vision of your sleeping child, just at the precise divine moment the corner of the mouth turns upward in a little half grin.

3. The moment you catch a gentle wisp of air filled with the delicious scent of Peter Alexander’s caramel vanilla melt as you cosy up ready for sleep.

4. The moment you dissolve into your crisp clean sheets, that has the immediate power to ease the tired ache in your muscles after a long day.

5. The moment you feel the cool sprinkle of scattered raindrops as the heat is broken by a sun showers at the beach.

6. The moment you wake to the sound of the echo of birds calling from the trees surrounding you, just as you realise that it is in fact a non-work day and you have nowhere in particular to be.

7. The moment you walk around the corner at school to see the eager and smiling face of your kids, after the school bell finishes its shrill call in the background.

8. The moment you take a sneaky peek into your baby girls room because you can hear voices speaking gleefully about something you cannot quite decipher, only to find your little princess playing joyfully with her most favourite dolly.

9. The moment you drive in anticipation towards a canopy of deep green trees overshadowing the road, ensuring your window is down to inhale the raw scent of lush trees.

10. The moment your children folk wrap their hands around your neck, before gazing adoringly up at your face to whisper those three sweetest words ‘I love you’.

11. The moment your teenage daughter turns to you after a moment of deep thought, to tell you that the event that caused her so much pain and grief has also brought you both closer on a spiritual level.

12. The moment your husband gently holds your face, looks directly into your soul, and tells you that everything will be okay because we have each other and we are all that matters.

13. The moment your favourite 80’s song comes on the radio, causing your inner disco chick to break free and dance like its the most important thing to do at that moment – because of course it is the ONLY thing to do in that moment.

14. The moment you catch a glimpse of your grandchildren and although you will probably never be given the opportunity to know them, your heart swells knowing they are happy and healthy and adored by their parents.

15. The moment you reach the top of the mountain you never thought even possible to climb, feeling the all encompassing sunshine on your face as your eyes span the 360 degree views of the most beautiful panorama in the world.

16. The moment you realise the spirit of the persons hand you are holding has in fact soared into what comes next, realising the absolute privilege and honour you had been given to hold that hand at that moment.

17. The moment you awaken to the purpose your horrendous experience, with someone you trust, has in allowing you to empathise and support others who experienced the same.

18. The moment that first loud firework cracks into the warm night sky, welcoming you into the visual delight of colours exploding and raining sparkles into your field of view, allowing a sense of child-like joy to overcome you.

19. The moment you taste a new and exciting flavour, leaving your taste buds wondering what is next whilst your brain tries to connect itself to this new experience.

20. The moment you feel the blood rushing back to your cheeks, as you hasten to catch your breath at the end of a beachside run in the winter cold.

…………to be continued.

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21. The moment you walk through the doors of the church and despite having an epic meltdown earlier that day that would make most bridzillas cringe, you see the smile and feel the love radiating from your soon to be husband at the front.

22. The moment your head first goes under the water in the ocean, feeling the cool salty water embracing each strand of hair til you sigh in relaxation, as if all the worries of the world have just been washed out to sea.

23. The moment you take your first sip of your hot delicious merlo cappuccino and that deep and meaningful aroma teases your senses.

24. The moment you step onto solid ground after your very first ‘real’ kayaking trip, despite your terrifying fear of deep water, and the feeling of sheer elation realising you ACTUALLY did it.

25. The moment you hear your two daughters having their first civil, in depth conversation about nothing in particular, WITHOUT the escalation of voices.

26. The moment you wake up and realise that your baby girl has crept into your bed throughout the night, and now has her little arms wrapped sweetly around your neck, and her sweet little snore fills your ears making you thankful for another day with her.

27. The moment your teenage daughter responds to an uneducated judgement about her decision to be dairy free, with a brief but concise, educated answer that stops them in their tracks and challenges their beliefs without feeling attacked.

28. The moment you children’s teacher says to you that it is a delight to teach your child because of the dedication they show to their education and future.

29. The moment you try on a cute pair of blue skinny jeans in a size you haven’t worn in years, and they fit perfectly , feeling like they were made especially for you.

30. The moment you receive that much awaited and prayed for phone call to tell you that yes, your daughter has secured a highly sought after appointment with the paediatric cardiologist and that they will in fact help her regain a normal teenage life.

31. The moment you are able to accept your imperfect humanness, with the non-judgemental awareness that yes, you can be and sometimes are a complete b*tch which then allows you the opportunity to ask forgiveness for such if it affects another.

32. The moment your pale hands – which are cold and frozen from the icy winter chill- meet the surrounds of that steaming delish cup of hot chocolate, melting away your stresses into nothingness even if just for a moment or two.

33. The moment your children reflect the stress-filled exhausted person you are portraying in the shocked look that invades their eyes – because this then allows you to acknowledge and redirect your course which if course allows them to also see an example for the moments they are feeling the same.

34. The moment you look across at your friend. I’d conversation and laugh so hard and so deeply, all because a phrase that was uttered reminded you of that hilarious conversation you both had some time ago.

35. The moment whilst at the cinema you and your bestie are breathless with laughter and you realise no one else is laughing, because this is the third time you have both been to see it and your laughing at what is coming up.

36. The moment your beautiful doctor hands you a printed pathology report that she tells you to frame, all because it tells you that you have no more cancers cells – which also means no more biopsies or talk of surgery.

37. The moment your neurologist tells you that the ‘thing’ that has been found in your brain is not operable because the outcome would most likely be life altering in a bad way – which gives you an awakening to take every moment and every opportunity for joy and love, and becomes one of the catalysts for future change.

38. The moment your neurologist tells you that the ‘thing’ in your brain is not growing and releases you from regular and traumatic MRI’s unless symptoms worsen or develop, which fills you with a sense of freedom.

39. The moment you see the bliss and joy on your husbands face, as he steps out of from the plane he was able to fly, on the most beautiful sunny and clear day on the Sunshine Coast.

40. The moment when just as you reach the end of your resources and abilities, God steps in with devine intervention and brings a last minute miracle that reminds you he is there through it all.

41. The moment you drive over the crest at the top of a very steep road, feeling your stomach flip and glee rise in your heart as you giggle all the way down with your children doing the same.

42. The moment you reach the crest of a hill, and as you clear the crest you catch a glimpse of the oceanic panorama opening up before you like an unexplored adventure, causing your breath to hitch each and every time.

43. The moment NSW victoriously wins a state of origin with an enormous margin, purely due to amazing form and great playing. Okay that hasn’t happened but I imagined it and that was pretty awesome! Ha!

44. The moment you get nostalgic, remembering that as a little girl you thought that 30 was ‘old’ and you couldn’t imagine living for that long, and taking in that actually it was young.

45. The moment you answer an unexpected knock at your front door, only to find your bestie standing here grinning from ear to ear at her cheeky deception not telling me she was coming to visit.

46. The moment you look at your sister in law and realise how deeply similar you both are, and are filled with such overwhelming appreciation at being able to call her a best friend.

47. The moment of enlightened thought where you realise that the box society has placed you in is only kept intact by your own conditioned thoughts, easily changed and set free.

48. The moment you step into your own arena, filled with the knowing that it is your ability to be vulnerable and human will be the very strength that helps you to your feet when others from the audience knock you down.

49. The moment you feel the water run over your face in the shower after a long tough day, allowing you just a few moments of relief where you can sing badly, shake your butt, and pretend you re a superstar with a shampoo microphone.

50. The moment you realise your child is no longer a child but a self assured force to be recognised, and that all those tough mummy decisions are all paying off…most days.

…..to be continued.

I’ve been a tad preoccupied with back to school tasks but have been writing as I go so here are a few more …
51. The moment you burst through the waves of cool, unrelenting salt water on a steaming hot Queensland summer day.

52. The moment you experience that sweet reassuring taste of a sun ripened Coffs Harbour banana freshly picked in all its yellow skinned goodness.

53. The moment you begin a run (okay a jog), after time off training, feeling the breeze on your face and that pull on your awakened muscles.

54. The moment you drag yourself over that ‘hump’ in an exercise session, the one that makes your head scream T you to just stop, and you are filled with a sense of accomplishment on the other side of it.

55. The moment you fluff ball puppy overcomes her distaste for water, and decides to leap into the water for a swim.

56. The moment you take that first sip of a freshly steeped cup of steaming hot tea, realising how utterly exquisite tea actually is.

57. The moment you hold your baby skin to skin for the first time, feeling that deep warmth on your skin whilst you try to grasp the newness of life.

58. The moment you open your window and inhale the familiar scent of lantana, feeling just a snippet guilty for loving something termed noxious.

59. The moment you reach the point in a really great book, where all the pieces come together revealing the plot that was previously hidden.

60. The moment you sit down in a cafe, after hours of school supply shopping in the week before return to school.

61. The moment your knowledge and skills are made use of by someone you admire.

62. The moment you come face to face with something you are fearful of, with the courage and determination to overcome it.

63. The moment your little one comes out with a knock knock joke that is funny just because it doesn’t make sense, causing her to erupt with giggles.

64. The moment your child erupts in the deep uncontrollable giggle, that gives you an insight into the true nature of unrestricted joy.

65. The moment you see the friendly face of the RACQ man you’ve seen now for the 10th time to get your keys out of the car.

…..to be continued….again…
66. The moment you find an awesome human being that an teach you the value of raw foods – Thankyou Scott Mathias 🙂

67. The moment you find an awesome human being that can get you the best spinach, and will order in what you want – Thankyou Sunshine Organics.

68. The moment you find an awesome human being that has the best fresh organic veg on the coast that doesn’t cost you a second mortgage – Thankyou Shambhala Farm.

69. The moment you find an awesome human being that understands the value of actual functional fitness that embraces the adventures of life, and helps you embrace where you are at – Thankyou Melinda Bingley from MAB Personal Fitness and Adventures.

70. The moment you find an awesome human being that is able to transform the way you thought about food and helped you transform your taste buds – Thankyou Lisa Curry.

71. The moment you find an awesome human being with amazing insight and knowledge that finally unlocks the way you view vulnerability – Thankyou Brene Browns Daring Greatly.

72. The moment you find an awesome human being that is able to looks past and through all that you are, empowering you to finally stand up in life instead of following society’s pack, instead being the leader of your own pack with yourself – Thankyou Emazon.

73. The moment you find a gaggle of awesome human beings that accept you where you are at and support and encourage you to keep going in developing your business and your life – Thankyou Alex Mitchell and Sunshine Coast Women Entrepenuers.

74. The moment you find an amazing team that make the best coffee ever, which makes you eat your words about what is the best coffee – Thankyou One on La Balsa.

75. The moment you find an amazing team doing great things in the world to stop child sex slavery by rescuing one child at a time whilst risking life and limb, and you realise this is who you want to support – Thankyou Destiny Rescue.

76. The moment you find an awesome human being with a heart of gold and the best techniques – Thankyou Tundi at Palmwoods Physiotherapy.

77. The moment you stand in front of a classroom of colleagues and future colleagues delivering education and realise that actually you have overcome your fear of public speaking.

78. The moment a jellyfish the size of England bobs to the surface next to your kayak, and you realise that in fact you didn’t die!

79. The moment you realise that what you thought you knew was minuscule compared to what you are beginning to know now.

80. The moment you realise the Devine intervention that keeps showing up is the answers to your prayers making you all that more grateful.

81. The moment you can look at your grandchildren and feel exceedingly happy that they are happy and healthy and loved, instead of feeling heartbroken you won’t get to know them – and you realise you have moved into a better place of being.

82. The moment you child exudes that inner elation that spills onto the pavement when they finally pedal their bikes on their own with no training wheels.

83. The moment you finally make that decision on what you are going to cook for dinner, knowing the ingredients are all present and accounted for.

84. The moment your campsite fire takes hold allowing you to sit back and enjoy it rather than trying to stop it dying.

85. The moment you feel that crispy sweet skin of a roasted marshmallow fall away in your mouth leaving the soft gooey centre to be demolished.

86. The moment your child tells you what her body needs when she isn’t feeling so well, and you realise she is becoming more attuned to her own body.

87. The moment your young child awakens to her own power to change the world by example.

88. The moment you see a beautiful fish lapping around your feet as you dangle them in the cool ocean water, the sunshine glistening on their scales reflecting a brilliance of colour.

89. The moment you feel each and every muscle in your body melt, as your masseuse unlocks the knots that have bound you in your everyday activities.

90. The moment you realise that you are at number 90. in your 100 moments of gratitude list, with the end in sight just around the corner.

91. The moment you realise that this gratitude list has allowed you to build a great new way of thinking and a renewed focus on the great things in life.

92. The moment you realise that your children have kept the values instilled in them, and that now help them shape how they approach life.

93. The moment your husband plugs into how you are changing as a person, allowing him to stand in his own beliefs and values also.

94. The moment you sit knowingly with the blessings you have been afforded in life, with the full authority that you deserve to be so blessed just as much as all other human beings in life.

95. The moment you embrace who you are without guilt or shame for not being who society wanted you to be.

96. The moment you realise that although life flies by in a heartbeat, you have the power to be present in every moment to enjoy each one.

97. The moment you realise that your life is in your power to create as you wish, the only rule being that it is yours and yours alone.

98. The moment you are able to wonder at the transformation that has taken place where seemingly traumatic moment lie, allowing you the reward for the path rarely taken – and the spectacular scenery along its way.

99. The moment you realise that the people that are meant to be in your life are in fact there, and that even relationships have seasons – and that is okay.

100. The moment you realise that through good and not so good, each moment in your life has meaning, and purpose, and the potential for extraordinary, if we can just shift our perception of it.

And that is it…but it is merely a snapshot of gratitude rather than the end.

How are your moments of gratitude lists going…share in the comments section if you like and have a great weekend 🙂

MIB BLOGGERS CHALLENGE – GRATITUDE

Dear Me,

I know you have been struggling this past week, struggling to be motivated, joyful, happy, at ease, and in general to face each day. I know you have found it difficult to grasp the terrible tragedy that has had a significant impact on your baby girl leaving her grieving and unable to understand quite what is going on with her emotions. You can’t be surprised really – she has lost one of her best friends and the soul that was to walk beside her into the next phase of her life as they navigate the paths of achieving their academic goals. I guess it has been tough on you too, maybe more in fact because a mother lost her earthly life also. I understand its tough to sit with tears streaming down your sobbing face as you search your mummy tool kit for that sure-fire way to deliver such terrible news to your teen, only to find through gut wrenching nausea, shock and horror that the tool kit is void of such a thing and you will have to ‘wing it’. I understand the heart wrenching pain you feel as you watch your child’s face turn from care free to free fall in the time it takes to say but a few carefully chosen words. I understand how incompetent, and incapable, and imperfect you feel as you realise this is one thing you cannot protect your child from no matter how you try. I understand how this terrible tragedy brings you face to face with your own mortality as a mother, and that of the people you hold closest to you – including your two babies. I even understand your confusion as to why his could happen to two such beautiful women – yet I cannot explain it or answer it.

Please remember out of each terrible tragedy, comes amazing good. A deeper awareness, a fresh appreciation, and a renewing of faith as it were….for life. Please remember the depth of life you saw in them and reclaim your own similar zest for the same – because it has not gone, just merely taken a step back until the time is right. Please remember that each step back to your new normal will be checkered with tears, a bit of pain, and a need to grab hold of the safety rope, but take those new ways of being with you…they are there for you to use not throw away. Embrace them all: your desire for quality over quantity, your desire for connection, your openness to new, fresh and revamped ways of living and seeing things…carry them all with you.

Finally, never ever forget that as you embrace life, it will embrace you right back. You are loved, you are heard, you are seen.

Love always and infinity, Me x

So I have decided to set out a challenge to overcome my grief. I am going to write an article listing those things I am grateful for. I shall name it……
100 MOMENTS OF GRATITUDE

List 100 moments or things you are grateful for and link your post in here so we can all get a sense of it and share our gratitude moments…..

NEVER TEAR US APART

Welcome to 2014. With a new year comes expectations that it will be a better year than the last, more productive, more settled, less challenging in that 2013 yucky way. I’m just as guilty, I had these expectations too – it’s just that God, the universe…had other ideas. To be honest it still feels like 2013 with all it’s devastation, pain, turmoil and terrible luck. This past week feels like a train wreck really and I can’t for the life of me see beneath the rubble – but I’m flexing my muscles and doing my best to clear it, whilst taking an inventory as I go along.

From the very beginning my week looked much like the bottom of a mudpit. It started with someone spewing their insecurities all over my good mood and intention for the coming change of calendar. With each tick on the clock it worsened – without breaching confidentiality I can just tell you that sometimes it just plain sucks being a nurse, enough to make me question my career choice just a bit. The entire week followed the same pattern and each day saw me sink deeper and deeper into the mudpit awaiting me. Just as I dawn on the weekend and things start looking amazing – in fact during this heat wave we have had mummy pulls out the spiraliser and we make lengthy strands of raw carrot, zucchini and squash. Terribly fun by the way…and tasty too. Then I get the call….yep the call.

I answer my phone and am asked to leave my child’s immediate area and as I do and the conversation continues infall in a heap on the bed as I realise I am going to have to break some terrible news to my child. At this stage I am not going into details of when, why, how, who or what…because it isn’t necessary. Lets just say that from that phone call on, both my daughter and I have barely been able to stop crying…even the smallest things will set us off. At 13 she is far too young to deal with this grief, and yet she must. She must face it head on, wrestle with it and move on. So what about grief?

Well they say that grief follows 5 stages:
1. Denial “no way, never happened”
2. Anger “unfair. Bring me the person at fault”
3. Bargaining “what if? I can do this and it won’t have happened”
4. Depression “no food, no company, tears are my only friend”
5. Acceptance “this has happened but I’m okay”

Nice little equation isn’t it? Would be terribly nice if we could just follow protocol, then we could know what to do and when to do it. So what has this equation taught me about teenage grief? Nothing! Zilch! Nada! Zip! As I navigate with my teenage daughter the road of grief I can tell you that this equation does nothing and provides no comfort to us. What has happened has sent us all in a whir and we just hold on for the ride when we can.

So how do you comfort a grieving teen?

Well firstly you scrap the formula – there is nothing teenagers hate more than to be put in some structured idea, in fact they find it somewhat condescending.

Then you remember that once upon a time she used to be your little girl, and that certain things worked wonders in calming her fears and tears.

You also recognise that sometimes the best counsellor is actually their peers (with some debriefing from mum of course), because let’s face it – different era, different ideas. Their peers are going through stuff too and remember that when we are going through the tough stuff all any of us want to feel for others is a simple and quiet “me too”.

You take back some of the mummy role…tickle their face, stroke their hair, lie beside them and cry with them, listen and don’t interrupt. Hug, cuddle and hug again. Talk about it. And never say AT LEAST, it’s like telling them their grief is invalid.

Get them involved in a related project. My teen is working on an inspired board…something that will encompass important things.

How’s it working? Pretty well I would say, but she will steer the ship and I will just be the added muscle for any sharp turns ahead. Life still feels unfair. We are still crying. But we do it together.

So don’t forget to hug your loved ones, embrace differences, say your sorry when you should, forgive when you can, and remember how short life can be……..