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Dream houses and aspirations

Is it beautiful where you live? Have you walked in a suburb more beautiful than yours?

This year we have had to take our car to the service station several times for repairs. The station happens to be located in the beautiful leafy green suburb of Medindie — and we accidentally stumbled into a whole new world…

Walking through the streets, the fragrance of flowers wafts through the air. Beautiful houses with unique architecture (no, not our modern cookie cutter houses!) delight us at every turn and leave us with a sense of awe.

Wouldn’t it be inspiring to live here? My husband says. Yes, I agree, but I am also happy where I am. Our kids have a comfortable bed and a playground nearby. Do they really need anything more?

Am I strange? Do you think that contentment is stopping me from pursuing more materially? I do not have those dream house dream car desires within me.

However, if I dream for a minute, that I live in a large house with a pool…I’d love to have all the neighbours’ kids over to enjoy it…I’d be able to host family and guests more often. I would have more space options available to me – for business? To bless other people, and then 10x more?

Actually maybe my kids can have better play spaces. That might improve my wellbeing. And actually, if I’m not so scared of the house costing more money and needing more maintenance, or of myself not being able to manage such wealth…maybe I might even stretch my hand and pluck my dream house right off the apple tree.

Aspiring to more is going into uncharted territory, isn’t it? I don’t mean being jealous of what other people have and then wishing you have it too — I don’t see how that kind of race could be fulfilling. I mean reaching outside of what you considered normal, comfortably “within reach”, and imagining something…different. New possibilities.

That is the foreign space I find myself in when I consider what “more” looks like.

Babies grow exponentially. They try and learn one new thing after another. Can you fathom a tiny newborn walking? It’s a big transformation in a year.

What does growing look like for me now, I wonder? Where am I going to be next year that I can’t possibly fathom yet?

Celebrating a first birthday

I spoke to a few pregnant friends recently, and it was hard to contain my excitement for them as their delivery dates drew near.

I think I felt more daunted than excited leading up to Harry’s birth, but as my baby boy nears his first birthday, I feel an all consuming sense of joy at his little life.

I love his chubby cheeks, his milky sweet breath, his cheeky smiles, his babbling sounds. The way he flaps his arms when he is excited or frustrated. The way he feeds me food, gives me a kiss (more like eating my nose), cuddles into me…It takes my breath away to watch him develop new skills.

I love seeing myself in him.

I remember the tough times too, but they tend to fade: the painful wrists, utter exhaustion, boredom, frustration…

I looked at what I wrote last year when I named him with a prayer (captured in his Chinese name): that his life may be marked with a depth of wisdom, a soaring spirit in the face of life’s challenges and an abundance of generosity.

What a beautiful prayer, and while I continue playing, laughing with him (and telling him off!), by nature of being my son I hope he will inherit those things from watching me and relating to me in everyday life.

I pray son that different people who cross your path will inspire, nurture, challenge and guide you to see you uncover your full potential.

Go light your world with your life.

End of year reflections

I love the festive/reflective season for the space it affords me to slow down, breathe, enjoy gratitude for the year gone past… and maybe write a word or two.

The past year saw me starting to journal (a practice almost forced upon me by my husband, in his now-forsaken diary). It’s been surprisingly helpful to look back at those entries and remember the journey, the emotional challenges peppered through the year, what I’ve been through and how I’ve come to be today.

I had written that I had an impactful realisation in 2017 that “I needed to take a serious look at how I was driving myself forward all the time with a deep fear of insufficiency. I suddenly realised that no matter where I was, I was my harshest, loudest critic.”

Shaped by isolating times and trauma, I didn’t necessarily know how to “be more normal, forgiving and relaxed”. Survival was this big, important, all-defining necessity.

I am grateful for the opportunities I had in 2018 to grow in self-care and compassion, which was very helpful as I took on a more challenging job. I’ve loved the scope of the job and its breadth of challenges. Amidst that, I made a self-care plan and schedule which helped me find inner balance and control. I had the opportunity to work with coaches that helped me rebuild a sense of identity and confidence amidst an ongoing “lostness” in the sea of life changes, and I do have a lot of progress to celebrate.

I think that even though becoming a stepmum came with many emotional & “parental” challenges, I have drawn a lot out of my relationship with Hayden — one that I’m blessed continues to grow. I read the other day that “playing with children” is one way to recover from trauma. That has been true for me. Children bring a lot of curiosity, fun and richness to life. Hayden is now growing up and I miss his younger days (when he couldn’t yet read and write!), and the time we spent bonding/playing. I made so much time and energy for him back then and cannot be more thankful that I seized those opportunities. Some windows of opportunity close quickly…

Now I am pregnant with a baby boy, and my world is yet again about to change.

I never knew pregnancy could be such a “big” and overwhelming experience. It is. It made me contemplate my life, my upbringing  — the completely different future my son is going to have compared to my past… to the added layer of complexity new children bring to our family structure. How is my son going to understand “family”?

Many of these aspects are loaded with emotion, uncertainty and a degree of anxiety. I am already practically a mum, but it is emotional to think that now I’m going to find out what it really is like to be a “real mum”. How strange it is that I’m preparing for my first pregnancy, but also reading books like Coping with Two.

Having been through the exhausting rigmarole of raising a baby, my husband said he only wanted one more child when we got married. But he’s started talking differently these days. It made me cry when he said, “my love for you and my heart for you can just see you thriving in having a large family”. It’s funny how life can change.

Chris and Hayden make a lot of intentional effort to show me appreciation and love anyway, and I am very blessed to have that.

I have no doubt parenting will be a rewarding journey and we will find our way forward, but at the same time I cannot help but feel so much about what every family member might be going through in a blended family…

…and the place I arrive at is that life can bring heartbreak and disappointment. Some feel it more than others, but everyone needs to face them, and how you react and process them can determine how your Self and future outlook are shaped…

Breathing space & flowers

I woke up breathing deeper and easier on the first day of my holiday.😊

It is a welcome relief from always being poised behind the starting block ready to take off at dawn and sprinting till dusk.

The restful state I am in when I am free of demands always seems to be more conducive to new ideas, creativity, thoughtfulness … and I start to think, doesn’t the world just need more of that?

More reflection, more courage, more goodness; less harriedness, less greed, fewer dead souls…but alas it is not always that way. Well, one can dream.

I told my stepson I could visit his school today, and he broke into tears saying he shouldn’t need to go to school if I didn’t need to work. 😂 We shared a giant apple and when we got to school I was quizzed on my identity by his curious little friends (which happens every time I turn up). Kids are very cute and innocent and it is exciting to see the richness of activity that goes on in a classroom. It is also amazing to follow their progress. They keep learning and growing by leaps and bounds!

I am sitting in a hot bath now listening to beautiful music. It is nice to have breathing space – and to remember the things you want to do, not just those you need to (even though they are not mutually exclusive).

It is nice to have space to be intentional and thoughtful – it is hard to feel that way in the corporate world with all its demands! 😀

Or perhaps, living intentionally simply requires clarity of mind and courage in this life — corporate world or not.

I smile at the beautiful flowers around the house – some I bought, and some a gift from work. Flowers always remind me that there is beauty in the world amidst drudgery, injustice and heartbreak.

They remind me to bloom and inspire me to give the best I can for all to enjoy.

 

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