Monday, 29 October 2012

Days have feelings

Monday of last week was a pupil free day. Driving along to wherever my beautiful four start chattering about how the day felt like a Saturday because they didn't have to go to school. We all agreed how odd it is that days actually have feelings! 

We laughed & talked about holiday feelings, Sunday feelings & how most people share the same feelings about particular days, i.e. when it's a pupil free day it feels like a weekend day. It certainly is a widespread phenomena that we attach feelings to certain daysWell at least we attribute a feeling to a day due to various reasons; anticipation of something, relaxed routine or simply a change from the norm.

Fridays usually have a wonderful feeling because it heralds the weekend. Mondays can have an 'itis' feeling with a bit of brain fog due to weekend activities. Then public holidays have another kind of feeling again throwing the rest of the week into a fast forward spin or dragged out feeling.

We often say it's been a fast week, slow week. What is that? Time technically doesn't change but we attribute these human elements & feelings to it, to days, to years that make out as if it really can speed up or slow down. I find this fascinating!

Perception is what gives us those feelings. Perception is very individual but it can also be shared. So often when everyone agrees that a day feels a certain way, it's a shared perception. Like a pupil free day makes a Monday feel like a Saturday.

According to Wikipedia - "Perception (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the organization, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment."

Therefore we perceive that days feel different depending on the sensory information we process on the day. Just like a public holiday in the middle of the week can make it feel like a weekend day.

Interesting that's all. Nothing deep & meaning to it. Silly blog really, just a random car conversation that triggered, why, as the world over we all think, days have feelings.

Cherishing time itself
Cherishing pupil free days
Cherishing weekends together

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Blowing in the wind

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Chinese Proverb
Seeing this picture reminded me of a lovely 'washing line experience' I had a decade or so ago, when EQ was about 5 years old. A picture paints a thousand words, well hopefully I can keep it to under that to tell our little story.

EQ had just started at preschool, a nice, well recommended, private, Christian preschool. Being my first child, I was super protective of him & very selective about putting him in environments where he would flourish. First week of preschool he comes home with the f*** word! Naive & over protective me, races down to the preschool end of week 1 to have a little chat with the teacher about where on earth this language was coming from!

What she said has stayed with me for a decade. She reassuringly told me that EQ had befriended a little boy (alias, Rocco) who was a little bit 'different' to the other children. Rocco was a rough & tumble kinda boy, flowery language himself for a 5 yr old, not liked, bullied & a bullier & EQ was one of the only boys in the class to befriend him.

She said, "trust that the good in your son will rub off more than the bad in Rocco. It would be a shame to separate them as Rocco needs EQ's friendship".

Still not terribly convinced about this situation & growing friendship, was prayerful and thoughtful about it. As often my habit, having a chat with God at the washing line, I happened to look over in our garden at a tree we had just planted (very similar size as in picture above). I noticed the wind blowing it almost over. Being so little it was not quite strong enough to keep upright, it bowed to the wind, but it did not break!

Like a voice from heaven itself, sensed that EQ was just like that little tree. His roots were planted deep & strong, though he would bend & bow with the winds of life, he would not break. He would keep growing but his roots were grounded in the right place.

It was such a comfort to my soul then and still now. I no longer fretted over this growing friendship. For goodness sake, seems so extreme even now thinking about it! However I have trusted that the good in my son would hold him through the winds of life. Not unrealistic to the fact he will be influenced & make some poor choices, but trusting he will turn out ok!

Cherishing my children
Cherishing epiphany moments
Cherishing images that comfort & hold us

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Mirror, Mirror

Do you ever look at your children & feel like you are looking at yourself? Not just certain physical features, but in mannerisms, traits, tone of voice, inflections, curvatures of a smile, the way they fold washing, talk to people on the phone, some choices they make? We want to claim what is good & ignore what is not? Claim traits we like & excuse away the others?

There are definitely inherited traits we attribute to either Mum or Dad or even other relatives in the family & some that are most definitely uniquely theirs. Thoughtful Princess has the most amazing smile that is exactly the same as her paternal Grandfather. She has had it since birth & proves to me beyond reasonable doubt that genetic programming goes way beyond environmental exposure. Without discounting the individuality of our children am always fascinated by what is genetic predisposition, nature vs nurture, biological vs environmental.

A frivolous, candid check-out moment has inspired this post. Sunshine has been featuring in most recent posts & she does again today. Never ceases to amaze me the intuition of my children. Maybe they make up for my lack. Reminded me how our children can be mirrors to our soul. 

Sunshine & I were paying for groceries at our local fruit shop, the lovely young lady serving us was Indian & looked like our close neighbour's daughter. I asked her if she was. Innocent question. When she replied no, I should have stopped there. Instead I went on & commented how similar they looked. The lovely check out lady was very polite & said she knew the girl who I was referring too.

In the car driving home, Sunshine pipes up, reflecting back to me what just happened, the conversation word by word. All of 11 years herself she quickly told me how inappropriate & unnecessary my comment was that the girls looked similar. Sunshine said, "Mum you made out as though every Indian girl looks the same, just because they have dark skin & dark hair. It was so embarrassing!" 

This was most certainly not my intent to convey this but unfortunately had inadvertently done so by an off handed, thoughtless comment. My thoughts were actually how strikingly beautiful both girls were but that was obviously not appropriate to say, instead out came the other! I was grateful Sunshine could perceive this. A lesson for both of us. Sunshine & I awkwardly laughed it off, but it hung with me all day.

Made me grateful & mindful that our children are mirrors & witnesses to our lives. Also renewed the sense of responsibility to model well to them, so they become positive reflections. And even when it is negative that they can see that it is. They also learn from our mistakes! They keep us as parents on our toes & mine constantly stir the desire to be a better person & parent.

Cherishing children's intuition 
Cherishing children as both reflectors & reflections of our souls
Cherishing candid moments that teach us to be careful with our words

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Missing earring alert

I went to put on my favourite sapphire earrings yesterday to find one of them was missing. How my heart sank! They are my favourite pair of earrings! The self talk started instantly! How could I be so silly not to put them away in their box? Why didn't I be more careful? Where the heck could it be? If one is here the other can't be too far? When did I wear them last? But I remember very specifically putting them both in the jewellery dish on my duchess? Did Muffin knock them down? The barrage of questions that floods ones mind when something goes amiss!

What struck me was the intensity of the sinking sad feeling! Over an earring! It seemed such a strong emotional response to an object! A very small object at that! They were a Christmas gift from a friend a few years ago and although I don't wear them often because they are so special, I do really, really like them. I was so touched when I received them as they are something I would choose, exactly. I guess there is a degree of sentimental value to them and part of that loss is what I felt.

Nothing in comparison to the loss of a marriage, relationship or dear friendship, but loss that reminded me again, we so easily get attached.

You'll be glad to know that after whispering a prayer to find my earring, (how selfish, although I reckon if God cares & knows the number of hairs on our heads & the number of grains of sand in the world, then He may care about my earring!) there it was, hidden safely on the floor underneath the duchess. How it fell there, I don't know, but all my frivolous fretting was for nought once again! Be still my beating heart!

I guess for me the message is to be careful not to get too attached to physical things, hold people, places and things with open hands, for we know not when they may be taken from us. I am very attached to my children and can only imagine the horrendous agony of any parent who has lost a child through death. That's quite a leap from a lost earring to death of a child, incomparable really, however considering the depth of connection & attachment & still wanting/trying to hold everything and everyone with open hearts and hands.

Remembering the lovely little saying, we hold our children's hands for a moment, their hearts forever. 

Cherishing lost & found moments
Cherishing healthy attachments
Cherishing my children 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Choc Chip Confessions

Baking with Sunshine yesterday gave some interesting insights into family secrets. I had offered to make pancakes for breakfast which was declined by the majority even though it's a Saturday morning favourite no one felt like them. Then on offer, bacon & eggs, also declined, rather suggested was we make banana choc chip muffins together.

I had noticed a few days prior some choc chips on the floor in the kitchen. A little odd as we hadn't eaten anything with choc chips in it. On further investigation noticed little cups in the kitchen sink that had chocolate residue in them ( my eldest son has a love of melted chocolate, so if he finds choc chips in the pantry or freezer he will put them in a cup, melt them in the microwave & eat it with a spoon! Certainly not something I encourage & have resorted to hiding the packet of choc chips to avoid this!).

So to Sunshine's request to make muffins I made the comment that I didn't think we had any choc chips as I had found 'evidence' of illicit choc chip usage the other day and indicated that I suspected EQ as the instigator! She then quickly went to the pantry, pulled out a very full packet of choc chips & told me boldly that there had been two packets hidden in the back of the pantry & yes in fact one packet was used the other day but it wasn't EQ who had initiated it.

Hmmmmmm choc chip confessions during a baking session! Little Miss Sunshine then fessed up to having found the packet herself during a pantry raid & shared them EQ style, melted in cups, with her sister & another friend for afternoon tea last week. Hence the choc chips on the kitchen floor! I laughed as she was telling me, her gorgeous honesty delightful. Given that her EQ brother was on a school camp & not around to defend himself I was struck by her transparency. She could have let it slip and let me think it was EQ, but she did own it, fess up, and tell the truth. Love it.

Even though it's only a simple, small, seemingly insignificant thing, choc chips, I do think it's important to encourage our children to be honest in the little things. Keeping short accounts! We have had the sad news this week of students at our school being expelled for drug usage, even close friends of my own teens. So sensitivity around being open & honest about everything confronting us all. Little things grow into big & more serious things fairly quickly & rather they learn to be honest & responsible for themselves now as little people with little problems so it grows with them into being big people with bigger problems.

Cherishing candid honesty
Cherishing childhood confessions
Cherishing memorable baking moments

Saturday, 13 October 2012

China Rose Tea Cups

Mornings are not the same if we don't start off with a pot of tea, quiet time and conversation. Little Miss Sunshine, fourth born in our family has the middle name, Rose. It is in honour of her paternal Grandmother. About five years ago I gave her a China Rose Tea Set (just two cups and saucers, the bottom one in the picture) for Christmas. Perhaps to some an odd present for a then only 6 year old girl. It wasn't a play set, it was real, not to be shelved for when she grew up, to be used now! We had started the lovely habit of having tea together in the mornings. Sadly one of her tea cups broke so we now use one (tea cup on top) that belonged to my Grandmother, Sunshine's Great, Great Grandmother and love our early morning tea times together.

Sunshine is an early bird like her mother. Though not as much as she used to be, I find most mornings now I have to wake her to get ready for school. That's if she hasn't set her alarm to get up to do dance practise. Through the years she has always been the first one awake and ready to chat bright as a button. We started having tea in china tea cups as a treat, then it became a lovely morning ritual that has now become a family tradition. With a family of four children it is sometimes a challenge to find 1:1 time with each child, so for Sunshine, mornings were perfect to have Mum all to herself, carved 'us' time, as no one else was around demanding my time or attention!

I am not sure who enjoys the time more, her or me, but we love our morning chats together. Quality time definitely being one of Sunshine & mine's primary love languages . It is a special time that is sometimes had sitting together cross legged sipping tea on her bed, outside under our back patio, cuddled on the couch or while I am making lunches or breakfast at the kitchen bench. Wherever or however we love our tea times together. We love our rose tea cups too! Tea just doesn't taste the same if it isn't in a China tea cup!

Cherishing & carving 1:1 times 
Cherishing family tea ceremonies
Cherishing & creating family rituals

Monday, 8 October 2012

Making Memories

A deck of cards, a rainy day, good friends, laughs together and the back-to-basics of camping creates indelible memories of family holiday fun. No grand expense, no overseas plane tickets required, just a little bit of effort setting up home-away-from-home and the ability to cherish simple things that create wonderful memories.

Good memories. Happy memories. Fun memories. Warm fuzzy memories. Holiday memories. Shared memories. Family memories. Friends memories. Adventure memories. Through-the-years memories.

My children love camping. It's probably not top of the pops for my first choice on the family holiday charts, but knowing how much my children love it, makes all the effort worthwhile. We have camped a fair bit. Our favourite destinations; Cyclinder Beach on Stradbroke Island (camped 3 years in a row at Christmas time), Kamarooka (x2), EasterFest (x 4) & Dicky Beach (now x 2).

By BCF (Boating, Camping & Fishing store) standards we are budget campers, not your 5 star variety with all the fancy, flash camping gear that opens & shuts, but we do take the kitchen sink! We have gradually acquired camping gear over the years and deliberately try to keep it simple to minimise fuss.

However the best part of camping is who we do it with. We have always camped with other families, a- la community style. Again proving that no great expense is needed to have fun. Sharing camping adventures with others has created some of the best family holidays my children recall. The memories of togetherness and something about being stripped of familiar creature comforts such as electricity & running water that smacks of reality & what is really important in life - each other. 

Cherishing each otherness
Cherishing camping capers
Cherishing memory making