Dealing with Change

Week 12 of the Simplify Your Life challenge; thoughts on Dealing with Change

I can’t say I deal with change well. While I feel I am spontaneous, creative and adventurous in my mind, I am actually a creature of habit who loves routine and finding my groove. New ideas and desires constantly flow but change requires decisions and there is my downfall.

Sometimes I overthink things until it drives me crazy and I can’t deal with it anymore, other times I can make snap decisions and have to change things this instant!  You know- I want to re-arrange furniture, create a new art piece and have a new cabinet delivered the same day! On a daily basis, I think my challenges are making the decision and then maintaining the change. The ‘actual’ change is quite easy for me.

One of the biggest changes in my life was becoming a mum. The decision to have children was a no-brainer. Something we both wanted and valued highly. We had planned the laid back approach- get married, go off the pill and let nature take it’s course. But of course… after a year, no pregnancy. So we decided it was time to actively ‘try’ for this baby- to step it up and help nature along. This involved doctor’s appointments, charting, temperature taking, dietary changes and lots of early nights! Every month was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I started to question my body, my being… all the while wanting this change more than anything in the world.

And then. One morning. Those two little pink lines changed everything. I did the test twice to be sure. The feeling was exhilaration and pure fear. I had wanted this for so long and now we had achieved it. Woo hoo! We were having a baby! … then… Oh My God (insert shaking wonderment and fear) we are actually really doing this!!!

And it was the best choice we ever made. Mostly, I am proud of the change motherhood has made in me. Some changes expected, others have surprised me. There are fleeting moments when I get caught up in the craziness and think wow- I’ve changed- who is this person? It’s easy to blame them for making me this way and to think “I didn’t used to be like this”. But in learning to take time out and re-connect with myself, I am finally taking responsibility for me. My children haven’t inflicted change on me. We are on this journey and growing together but I am responsible for the person I am, for my thoughts and my choices. I never lose sight of the bigger picture, and remembering those two little pink lines makes my heart swell with pride for our three little miracles and the choices we’ve made.

Change is inevitable. Even my grandmother who defines ‘old-fashioned’ and has had the same wardrobe for more than 30 years- still accepts some change. Having young children means change is a constant for us right now. Sometimes change is a deliberate choice and action, other times change is thrust upon us unwillingly. Yet we not only manage to cope with change, but we also grow and find positive inspiration from change.

We can make choices, set goals and plan action to get things rolling- but I truly believe that ultimately, change unfolds in perfect time. When it is meant to be, it will be.  Change can be exciting, joyful, scary, sad or thrilling- but if you trust it, then positive things will come.

How do you feel about change?

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Parenting Lesson #151 {Towels}

Never EVER throw out a bath towel, beach towel, face washer, tea towel- no matter how old or tattered- because there WILL come a time when the linen cupboard is bare…

Who knew one teeny tiny bad tummy germ could cause so much destruction!!! 5 loads of washing down, 37 to go 😦

Feel free to share parenting adventures below… any new lessons/ surprises this week?

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Kindness and Gratitude

I love this week’s challenge! So far Deb at Home Life Simplified has given me lots of challenges to clear my ‘inner clutter’. Week 11 is all about Kindness & Gratitude.

THE most important lesson my father left me when he passed, was that of kindness and gratitude. He was a master at helping others and forged many friendships through random acts of kindness. He would always lend a hand to someone in need and hoped that one day someone would return the favour if ever anyone in his family was in need. Gratitude has helped me come to terms with his passing. Interesting how life’s biggest moments, both good and bad, are followed by waves of gratitude. 

Things that come to mind when I think about Kindness and Gratitude…

HELPING OTHERS: Dad always carried a towel and bottle of water in the car, in case he came across someone stranded in a broken down car. He often completed work at no charge for charities and fundraisers. I remember him telling me about a family who lived in our street who had many children and were less fortunate than our family. The family were very reserved and would never accept charity, so my parents would wrap baked goods and place them on our neighbours front door step. Another occasion he organised a friend, dressed in a Santa suit, to deliver presents to a family on Christmas morning. He believed in kindness and the greater good.

THANK YOU LETTER: When I finished high school, I had this compelling desire to write a letter to my grade 6 teacher. I thanked her for helping me settle at my new school, and thanked her for being a wonderful mentor and inspiring me to become a teacher. She tracked me down at my part-time job and called me in tears to thank me for the letter; I was both surprised and a bewildered at the time. I hadn’t done it for thanks or recognition, but to thank her and let her know the impact she had had on my life. In turn, it was nice my simple act of kindness could impact her life too 🙂

PAY IT FORWARD: I love the idea of Pay It Forward. I love that someone else can experience the same joy I have. I’ve been blessed to have home-made lasagne and other meals hand delivered just days after coming home from hospital with my 3rd child, another friend recently gave me a massage voucher; and I’ve equally loved paying them forward to other friends. What a wonderful world it would be if we all paid good deeds forward 🙂

KEEP IT SIMPLE: Show appreciation. Use manners, smile, compliment others, acknowledge blessings in life. Daily.

FOR THE FUTURE: So now I am a parent AND a teacher, I am continually trying to bestow these gifts on my children. In this modern day (I know I know, I am only 34!) but it really is a material world. Every month there is a new gadget, a new electronic toy, something more my kids want. I am trying to teach them that there is more to life than material wealth. There are some things you cannot buy that are also the most valuable. Kindness and Gratitude feed the soul.

KINDNESS & GRATITUDE IN OUR HOME: As a family, we donate to charity, organise a Biggest Morning Tea cancer fundraiser and write thank you letters together. My kids love writing letters and often send photos or drawings with a ‘Thinking of You’ note to great-grandparents and family members. I am grateful my children attend a school where they are encouraged to be kind and give thanks for ordinary blessings in their life.  

This week our family started sharing “something we are grateful for today” around the dinner table. During the discussion, I asked Mr 7 if he knew what Gratitude is and he answered, “Yeah Mum, it’s Gr -atitude for Great Attitude!” Amen to that!

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Facing Fears

Week 10 of Deb’s 52 Simplify Your Life challenge is about facing your FEARS.

Aside from the usual spider, snake, emergency room fears, I think deep within I am afraid of not being liked and not being good enough.

The more I think about it, the more I realise I am the creator and feeder of my fears.

It is an interesting thought to ponder. A lot of my actions (or lack of) keep me safe, so I never have to face my fears or step outside my comfort zone.

I fear people won’t like me; so I don’t initiate conversation.

I fear people will judge my life and choices; so I allow my house to descend into clutter-full chaos, which gives me an excuse not to invite people over.

I fear what family and friends will think of my inner voice; so I don’t share my mummy blog.

I fear I am not good enough; so I eat more, snap at loved ones, busy myself in meaningless tasks and generally sabotage my own happiness.

Why? It seems ridiculous when I read it on paper. The only expectations I am not living up to are my own. No-one else has ever told me I am not good enough. No-one has avoided me because of an untidy house (well not to my knowledge – lol). But by putting up these barriers, I am giving my fears fuel and preventing positive outcomes for myself.

I love this poem by Marianne Williamson. Who am I NOT to be fabulous? I believe every one of my children, family and friends deserve to feel happy, confident, loved and to shine. So perhaps I should change my thoughts and actions and give myself permission to do the same.

 Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

a return to love – marianne williamson

I have loved participating in Deb’s 52 Week Simplify Your Life challenge. Some weeks are rainbows and fluffy clouds, others are much harder, delving deep within. Today I am starting to face my fears by linking up to the SYL community and sharing this post with my friends and family via facebook. This week my goal is to take myself out shopping for new clothes and to have a serious clean up at home… because I am fabulous and I deserve it! (can’t read this last sentence without smiling – might need some work on that!)

Feel free to comment, or not. I hope you are able to take something from Marianne’s poem as I have. Thanks for stopping by. E x

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Letting Go, Staying True

I have really enjoyed the personal learning and discovery that has been my 52 week Simplify Your Life journey so far. Week 9’s challenge is to Go Easier on Yourself. Let go of something that is not currently serving you.

This is deeply personal and confronting for me, but I am choosing to participate fully because I know it is a stepping stone for my own greater good and I have gained so much from participating in this challenge already.

So, here goes…

LETTING GO

I recently saw an affirmation, posted on Facebook by my friend Precocious Lotus. Straight away I recognised core values I want to bestow on my children: belief in one’s self and the power of choice.

When I let it sit with me for a while, I realised this is possibly my greatest personal challenge. So then, how can I encourage authenticity and strength of character in my children when I do not accept myself?

I have many negative beliefs quietly hovering in the back of my mind, some of the more prominent being:

  • I am a failure – Being a stay-at-home mum is my full time job. Days when my house is a mess, I’ve not prepared dinner and my children are badly behaved, I feel like I am a failure and have nothing to show for my hard work or for my life.
  • I am awkward & unattractive – at a cocktail party over ten years ago, the boyfriend of a colleague said, “wow- look at you- you’re an amazon woman!” and went on to joke about my size. I had previously always hated standing out. Always the tallest girl, always in the middle of the back row in school photos. This is a strange comment that for some reason I have held on to for all these years. I have never seen him again, nor have I worn high heels since.
  • I am overweight – I have kept a beautiful dark purple dress I wore at my Hen’s night. I love the dress and have fabulous memories wearing it. It has been in the back of my wardrobe for ten years, a constant reminder of my weight gain and disappointment in my body.
  • I didn’t do enough – when my father was battling cancer, I was parenting a 1 and 3 year old, with another baby on the way. It was a constant struggle, wanting to be there and support him but also needing to be there for my young family. I will constantly question myself- could I have done more?

Breaking it down now, I can see some of this negativity comes from setting high (sometimes unachievable) expectations on myself. Others have come from silly little words and actions of others that for some reason (?) I have chosen to hold on to.

Either way, I know I can choose to change my thought patterns. I love Louise Hay and have read a lot on using positive thoughts and affirmations to create the life you desire.

And so now, as the challenge is set… I am letting these negative thoughts go. I am releasing them and refuse to hold on to them anymore. They do not serve me any useful purpose. I do not want or need these thoughts in my life.

STAYING TRUE

What matters is what I believe about me. I will create thoughts that represent me. I replace negative ramblings with positive affirmations:

  • I am a great mum. I love my children and am doing the best that I can.
  • I am beautiful and I love being tall.
  • I love myself and I deserve to be fit and healthy.
  • Some things are out of my control. I am happy doing the best I can.

My mantra this year is Just Do It.

Today I’m adding another, thanks to Deb. Stay on the path that is true to you.

This has been my link up for week 9 of Debra Dane’s 52 Week Simplify Your Life challenge. – Go Easier on Yourself. What negative beliefs are you holding on to?

**END NOTE** I am already making a conscious effort to engage positive thoughts and actions. I have recently taken action to lose weight and for our wedding anniversary (posted here) I wore my purple dress AND high heels and felt AWESOME!

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Parenting Lesson #298 {Seven}

Turning 7 is a magical time in a boy’s life; suddenly he becomes the knower of all things, partakes in frequent acts of random cheekiness and develops a great admiration for fart jokes and all things gross. 

Magic.

Feel free to share parenting adventures below… any new lessons/ surprises this week?

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Happiness Defined

This weekend, I had an incredible night away with my husband. Pure Bliss. We celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in style- stayed at a luxurious hotel in Melbourne, had a relaxing peaceful dinner, saw a great movie at Gold Class, strolled the promenade at Southbank and admired the beautiful panoramic night views and fire balls at Crown. We re-connected with those teenagers who fell in love a long time ago and just enjoyed eachother. In the morning, we woke at our leisure to room service breakfast then ventured out for a walk through the markets. We finished our stay with an exquisite five-star lunch and made our (very relaxed) way home.

I am not a five star girl. But this entire celebration weekend, I felt happy. Inside and out. We never ever splurge like this. We rarely have time together without our kids. But 10 years of marriage is a big achievement and for the first time, I gave myself permission to enjoy myself and leave mother guilt at home.

In these moments of relaxation and enjoyment, I was able to take time to savour every moment. I don’t know when our next romantic getaway opportunity will arise so I lapped up every wonderful moment.

Now as I reflect on the weekend, I wonder how I can translate this state of pure happiness in to my daily life… I think about the little every day moments where I find happiness. And I realise I often take these for granted and do not recognise the opportunities or appreciate them when they occur.

Helping my daughter as she learns to read, listening to Mr 2s big belly laugh, being greeted with calls of Mummeeeee! on coming home. Taking a million photos of my ever growing and changing family. Taking time out in a nice hot shower, going to bed early with my husband. Belting out a new favourite song on the radio, loving when the kids can sing the classics. Exercising and going for walks with my children, feeling good in a loose jeans that used to be tight. Big hugs, big smiles… giving love and feeling loved in return.

Happiness is finding pleasure in simple moments.

Happiness is making time for the big things so you can appreciate the little things.

Happiness is being grateful and savouring this very moment that is life.

I am learning I can create my own happiness. And by taking time to enjoy life’s pleasures, I am teaching my children about happiness too. Bad things happen and we deal with them, but opportunities for happiness are everywhere, we just have to be more atuned to catching them and generating more…

 

This has been my link-up for week 8 of Deb’s 52 Weeks to Simplify Your Life challenge. Go over and have a look, you’ll be inspired too!

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