Day 20/31 - Eyes wide open...

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's one thing that I promised myself I would do this year... live with my eyes wide open!

Now, if you know me you might understand why I had to write this goal down.  I'm the kind of person who whirlwinds through life, who makes a plan & puts her heart & soul into making it come to pass.
Sure, my heart is soft & I'm a chronic people pleaser, but by the end of last year I was realising that the very people who mattered most were the ones missing out so I decided way back in January 2014 to live looking at them, being aware of them, focusing on them & not allowing my attention to be distracted by the unimportant.

It's hard, friends, for me to focus.  I'm the mother who has 5 things going at once, the mother who cannot possibly listen to her child reading aloud without a project in hand. While it's helpful to be like that at times, it also means I miss out on so many of the little things.

Last Christmas I was given Ann Voskamp's Devotional Study of 1000 gifts (OK I brought it for myself, but Jud wrapped it which means I was given it ;).  I loved this study with Ann's beautiful phraseology & word pictures, but what I loved even more was the section to journal my own thoughts.  Can you believe that while I've been journaling here for all those years that I've never had a true journal of my own?  I've always admired people who journal, but for me that would once again  mean I had to slow down...and who has time for that?

Yet, it was in this journaling, this taking sometimes only moments to jot down what was on my mind that God allowed healing to begin in my heart.   I've struggled with some aspects of life the past couple of years & trusting God, which was always so easy before, became difficult.  I've felt my faith waiver & my heart break & sometimes the tears would cascade & the children would wonder 'why?' & the very guilt of them knowing that 'Mummy is sad' would press heavy.  So at the start of 2014 I began rather hesitantly to once again count the gifts, the moments, the sounds, the smells, the hugs, the smiles ~ none of which I deserve, but each of which is given to me from a God who cares more than our human hearts can comprehend.

And I made it my goal to look for these things.  In the looking it helped me to realise that God has never abandoned me, that while life isn't perfect & my plans were so very different from how my real life looks, that I am still loved.  By the middle of this year I had surpassed counting the 1000 gifts & yet, I keep on; just a few a day, because I have found that joy comes not in what you possess, but in noticing the little moments.

I hope I will always remember this lesson, will always keep on counting those gifts. I hope I will keep my eyes wide open and not miss those moments, things, people that matter the most!

Have a lovely day friends

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Day 19/31 ~ Sunday Psalms

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children
with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

Psalm 103:15-18


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Day 18/31 ~ Just one of those things...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Parenting is never easy.  This role holds many challenges, many new situations & stretches us more than we ever thought possible.  One such challenge happened a few weeks ago for me.....
...and it's not something you would ever imagine:)

I've mentioned before that our Zai is growing fast.  In fact every time he wakes up I'm sure he's grown a little taller.  Unfortunately he has been growing out of all his clothes.  This is unfortunate because it is the end of a season & I'd really rather not have to buy any more until the start of the next season ( in which he may be 9 foot tall at the rate he is currently growing).  

One day recently we were visiting the big city an hour away.  I cannot  remember why we were going - this story is not momentous because of that particular reason.  I do know that as we were walking around in a mad rush trying to do 1.2 million jobs ( as always when we go to the city), somewhere in that craziness I actually took the time to access what my children were wearing.  Poor old Zai looked as if he'd wedged himself into a pair of too much small jeans. I have no idea how he'd done up the zipper...
 On thinking further I realised that they were the biggest pair he owned & I had not larger sizes for boys in my storage boxes at home. 
It was decided that we would have to go shopping immediately  for jeans for the poor boy & we made our way directly there (because let's fact it, who wants to look like they are a bad parent & couldn't even provide adequate clothing for their poor child ~ even if he'd been walking around in them half the day already).

We went to the boys sizes first.  I was surprised at the lack of choices in the big boys sizes, but quickly grabbed a couple in the next sizes up.  You guessed it...when he tried them on...too small.
This is when I began to feel completely out of my comfort zone. 
You see I have walked into the men's section before, looked around, watched Dave grab clothes & I've walked straight back out.  
I had not idea that men's jeans were not like children's or ladies.  I am one of five girls so I have the girl/lady thing completely covered, but put me in the men's section looking at racks of jeans & I'd rather eat a whole bowl of brussel sprouts ( OK maybe not...)....

This wasn't in my training manual, no parenting book had ever covered this & I felt very panicky.  How on earth was I going to find jeans to fit my son when the sizes were in the 70's or 30's (after all he'd just been wearing size 14)?  
Well I girded myself with courage & began to seek out the smallest pair I could find.

Now as with most stories, this one has a happy ending, because thankfully that smallest pair fitted him perfectly.  
Thankfully I could grab another pair in that size.
And now I know that the men's section isn't as scary as I always thought....

....I think Dave can take the boys shopping from now on though!

I don't know if I'm ready for them to grow up quite so quickly!

Have a lovely weekend friends

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Day 17/31 ~ This moment

Friday, October 17, 2014

In the tradition of Soule Mama, a single photo captured.  
Just a moment, yet one now remembered.... 

An eight year old boy studying ants!

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Day 16/31 ~ These sunsets

Thursday, October 16, 2014

 The nighttime is heavy upon us here at Sunnyside, yet before I fall into the arms of sleep a reminder makes me aware that I have neglected to update here today.  I've been diligently trying to keep up with this 31 day challenge & today marks the half way mark.  Not very noteworthy in the grand scheme of life, but it certainly has been enjoyable to me!  This challenge of blogging each day has brought back to me the joy of blogging about the little things.

It seems in this crazy blog world that somewhere I stepped away from sharing the everyday & instead required something momentous to blog about.  Well  I actually enjoy sharing these things, the photos, our life as insignificant as they are. My favourite blogs over the years have always been the ones that share the little things that make up real life. 

Every night here we are gifted with a sky painted in colours that rival any found across the world.  As the sun descends into the west, the sky puts on a show of the most beautiful colours.  A few months ago I happened to have my camera in hand and captured one such sunset.  Here on the edge of our valley the sky is a shining fire in the west, yet all around the rest of the valley it changes from pinks to oranges to purples as the sun makes it's final descent for the evening.  

Such beauty!

Have a wonderful night friends

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Day 15/31 - Beechworth Bush Walkin'

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eli & Ellie

Can you see the koala?

Contemplative Eli


Last weekend the children & I travelled interstate to visit beautiful Beechworth which is tucked away in the Victorian mountains.  
The reason we travelled was because my sister & her hubby were able to meet us there.  As we live so far away from family we take every opportunity we can to see them.  It was wonderful spending time with them exploring Beechworth's many shops & especially the places of historical significance (this is Ned Kelly country).  The children particularly enjoyed visiting the old telegraph office where you can send out telegrams.  The reason the children were so taken with this particular shop was because you could talk on telephones WITH CORDS!!!!!  They found it so much fun to dial the telephone & pretend to speak all while firmly connected to the telephone.  This was very amusing to the adults who still remember life with telephones with cords :)

While there we also went on a bush walk through gold mining country to a nearby lake.  It was particularly relevant as the children have been studying the gold rush era in their History lessons.  There were still mine shafts around which added to their fascination! It seemed to take a long time to walk the 3kms to the lake, but thankfully we stumbled across a shortcut on the way back to our accommodation.  

While on our bush walk we came across a koala bear.  He was at the base of a tall gum tree & stopped & watched us as we in turn watched him.  I was regretting my decision not to lug my large zoom lens along so I could get better photos.  In the meantime, you'll have to search for him in the picture above.

Beechworth is a lovely place, but it certainly is busy compared to our nice, peaceful corner here on the farm!
It was especially nice to spend time with family though.  
I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Have a lovely day

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Day 14/31 - Fostering Love...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Over the past couple of months we have run the gauntlet through foster care training. 
Endless interviews.  Delving into areas that you'd rather forget. Into boxes you don't wish to reopen. 



Yesterday marked the second last session until we are fully qualified foster parents. 
It was a training session.  A heavy training session.  I am still wearing the cloak of sadness I felt after hearing what some children have to deal with.

I was so blessed...
(Thank you Mum & Dad)

My children are so blessed...

Tears fall for the little ones who are going through this right now.  
You cannot imagine.  
I could not imagine...

We are entering a phase of parenting that we have no idea about.  While our agency tries hard to support & guide, parenting someone else's child is never easy.  Parenting within very strict guidelines is difficult.  Hoping your own children are mature enough to cope, to share you, to love when the child is unlovable....

I am under no illusions....
Fostering is going to be one of the hardest things we will ever do.


We are future builders, we are forward thinkers & we have a blessed role to play in the life of  children.
I've never been one to shy away because things aren't easy.
May I never loose sight of why we are doing this.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. 
James 1:27

Contemplative today....

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