Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Time - 29th Day of Gratitude

As this month draws to an end, I find myself looking forward to the kids returning to school.

I have spent the last two weeks with them as they flop around the house doing not much else than annoying me with their questions of "What are we doing when we wake up?" or "Can we have hot chips for lunch?" or "Can we go to the park?" and while we have done a few things, my God, just having to feed them three times a day has been exhausting (as was pointed out in this previous post). It requires a whole other level of planning in my day!

They go back to school this Wednesday, so it will have been 18 whole days of just me and them!  Now, the interesting part of this is firstly that we are all alive, secondly, we are all still speaking to each other and thirdly, we all seem to be happy enough, given the time we have had to spend with each other.

I know I sound ungrateful here; there is, however a bit of confusion going on for me right now, you see, on a regular weekend during school term, I can lose it!

Some weekends, two days is enough time to push me over the edge, and yet, here we are, all alive and well after 18 days!

See how happy we are? Well, just imagine the two girls are boys and of course I don't actually have a husband, or any significant other and the most obvious difference would be that I don't have bangs! But it's close right? We are that happy!
So with the holidays drawing to an end, I am grateful that we had that time together, and I might even be so brave as to look forward to the next school holidays.
I am grateful for time.
T. S. Elliot: Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Scones - 28th Day of Gratitude

It was such a nice day today, too nice to spend inside.

On the spur of the moment (out of my comfort zone but in keeping with the theme of this post) I made a decision we all get showered and in the car and head off for a visit.

I phoned to make sure we would not arrive at an empty house, and all was set.

We stopped on the way to grab some afternoon tea and continued our leisurely drive through the scenic route.

An hour later we arrived and guess what was waiting for us?

Nothing says comfort, old friends and welcome, like a home made Devonshire tea! Scones still warm from the oven.
After a bit of catching up, LJ was off outside to visit the dogs and play basketball and I was able to take some time to sit and enjoy a moment of adult company (rare for me).
The perfect afternoon, sharing the conversation of a life long friend, accompanied by hot scones with jam and cream and a good strong cup of tea, what more does a girl need?
Today I am grateful for scones.
What food really brings you comfort? What does comfort food mean to you? Do you like to share your comfort food or eat alone?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Day's End - 27th Day of Gratitude

We never really know for sure what a day will bring. We make plans, we imagine, we even go so far as to implement plans, but we can never really be sure how that day will end.

I'm a planner, I always have been. I'm also a lists girl, I make lists, lots of lists. It just seems to be in my DNA, I've always done it, nobody taught me how to do it. Nobody taught me how to work through them either ... and so I still have lists. :-)

Planning is what makes me feel safe, or at least it has in the past.

I've had too many things go totally wrong when I have acted on impulse.  Having said that, I used the word "impulse" not intuition ... and I do believe there is a very big difference.

The way it has worked for me is that choosing to do something on the spur of the moment without listening to my intuition, is usually when I land in trouble. But I have trouble following my feelings too, since I have had the kind of life that has numbed my senses a bit. So it's a bit of a Catch 22.  I want to use my intuition, but I can't tune into it. So I plan.

This pearl of wisdom has come up more than once in my life, and whilst it is getting later in my life, I still feel I have time to really grasp the concept. You see, it's never too late!
I have been busy making plans and although I try very hard to follow them, I have found that life does just happen and it drags me along, at times kicking and screaming, to where I am supposed to be.  Even if that has NOT been what I planned.
I am hoping to make life easier from here on, maybe I won't plan so much, maybe I just need an idea of where I want to be and see how life unravels on that journey?
One thing I do know for sure is this, whatever I plan or don't plan, however my day goes, no matter what I have planned or not for tomorrow, I am always ready to lay down at day's end and be grateful that I have another shot at it all tomorrow and that brings me comfort.
Today I am grateful for day's end.
Do you plan? Are you a list writer? Do you live in the moment?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Red Wine - 26th Day of Gratitude

There was a time in my life when I drank.  I drank a lot. I drank all the time. I drank for no reason other than to get drunk, in a social situation, to help me shine.

I loved going anywhere there was people and alcohol.

I remember my first drink, which also turned out to be my first hangover.

Mum thought it would be funny (well I'm assuming that is what she thought) if she gave me a bottle of red wine (that she would never have drunk), to take with me to the Church Youth Group's end of year function so I could "spike the punch"!

Yes, you can all draw breath after exhaling in complete shock ... you may want to draw another breath now though so you don't pass out when I tell you, I was 14 years old at the time.

A friend and I headed off with said bottle concealed in her big purple parker and we were trying to find the opportunity to pour the bottle in the punch, but were too afraid we would get caught ... so we did what any 14 year olds would do, we destroyed the evidence!

Half each, problem solved.

Mum was in disbelief when the Youth Pastor delivered me home explaining to Mum that he thought we were drunk and apologetically telling her he had no idea where we had got the wine from and how sorry he was etc.  As any responsible adult would do when they were in charge of our well being at the time we became COMPLETELY PISSED.

Oh how I felt so sorry for that man later in my life as I realised. SHE. NEVER. TOLD. HIM. THE. TRUTH!

Of course, I suppose she was embarrassed. But what did she think two 14 year olds would do with it? And did she really expect us to spike the punch at a Church gathering?

That one incident, was the beginning of a very long and drawn out list of events that were considered to have been all my fault, including the "Year 10 School Dance incident", and so, when I had left school and Mum and Dad had no real say in where I went or who I went with, I drank.

I don't know why. That first hangover should have been enough to put anyone off drinking for the rest of their life. I recall feeling like I was going to fall out of bed, not to mention the pending vomiting, and so I slept on the floor. At least the room stopped spinning enough for me to get to sleep.

Later, I drank so often I got to the point where I could pretty much out drink most people, but of course it started to cost more money too. That was about the time I switched from Scotch and Dry to wine. Cheap crappy Moselle, I moved onto Riesling and Eventually Chardonnay. But who really cared, least cost most effective, that was all that really mattered.

It was probably also about the time that I started to spend more time with an old school friend of mine.  I would go to her house for dinner or to celebrate events with her and her family, and as we were over 18 by this time, we would have a glass or two of red wine with dinner.

Mr S was a bit of a connoisseur and enjoyed introducing us to different wines and talking to us about how different wines complemented different foods.  Mrs S always had the different foods covered. Mr S also introduced us to Port. Not in the same way I had been introduced to wine initially, no, he taught us to savour it, to smell it, to taste it, to feel it, he taught us to appreciate and respect it.

I learnt to truly enjoy the real value of the combination of alcohol and people. We would talk and listen to music and sit around with their extended family also at times and we would just be.

I was always made to count my drinks or stay the night. Another good lesson.

So tonight as I sat and enjoyed a couple of glasses of red (which I rarely do these days) in the comfort of my own home, I raised my glass to Mr and Mrs S and the lessons they taught me.

Tonight I am grateful for red wine.
How do you manage kids/teens/young adults and alcohol in your house?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hugs - 25th Day of Gratitude

My Mother was a hugger. My Mother and I did not get on too well, so, we did not hug very often; that I can remember anyway.

I would imagine when I was small we hugged a lot, as children do. But I don't remember.

What I do know, is that despite me not being much of a hugger, I am becoming more comfortable with it. I've never been one for displays of public affection until ... I had my kids.

From the minute they were born I hugged them, and I have not stopped. I still manage to get a long hug from the 16 year old at times.  LJ, the 10 year old, will often round us all up for a group hug too. We are all usually happier than this photo shows ...

Today was a day of hugs.  After a very late night last night LJ was so tired he happily snuggled up on the lounge and stayed with me while we watched some TV; and so I got my quota of hugs for the day, in fact, probably enough for a couple of days, I won't complain.

Today I am grateful for hugs.
Where I live if someone gives you a hug it's from the heart. Steve Irwin

The Basics - 24th Day of Gratitude

Today has been a day where nothing exceptional has happened, nothing out of the norm, nothing that slapped me in the face and said "Hey! You should be glad I am a part of your life!", well nothing that I don't see every day.

Today I am putting my gratitude into what I will call "The Basics".  Instead of drawing it out for effect and trying to elicit oooos and aaaahs from my readers, I will simply put it in list form. The things that happen every day, that I really should be grateful for.

I wake up
I draw breath
I see my children
I have food to prepare, eat and share
I have water, tea and best of all coffee
I have running water and can shower or take a bath
I have healthy children and for the most part, I'm OK too
I have health services available to me
I have a roof over my head
I have the ability to be self reliant
I feel
I love
I am loved

This is a quick list off the top of my head.  I found once I started, I could have gone on for some time, but that is all I need to make my point.

Today, I am grateful for the basics.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The "better than" - 23rd Day of Gratitude

Many times in my life I have planned for things and found, much to my surprise, that they did not go quite as I has envisaged.

When the dust has settled though, a quirky little phrase that I have often muttered to myself was, "At least it is better than ..." what ever that worse alternative might have been.

So today when I went and picked up MJ after his night with friends, I was very tentative to see him.  You see, he had also decided to get a piercing!

In NSW Australia, there are many body piercings that are completely legal once a person is 16 years old, without having to produce consent from a parent.

MJ and I had discussed this and while I did say that I would prefer him not to, he had decided long ago that he wanted this piercing and since he had a 16th Birthday in late March, there was nothing I could do to stop him (reason did not do it).

He had the money, the inclination and the law on his side!!! *sigh*

Just a word of warning for new parents ... When your gorgeous little 7 year old (picture below) comes to you and asks for ANYTHING you don't EVER want them to have, don't, whatever you do DON'T tell them they can have it when they are 16!

You think, Oh, that is sooooo long away, he will never remember; it's just a phase, it will pass. You even for a moment smile and pat him on the head thinking "how cute"... You think you are humouring them, you are not. You are simply giving them permission 9 years in advance!

Don't say you weren't warned!


And so, when I look into the face of my handsome son, which I can do standing on a chair or by looking directly up, this is what I now see.

A subtle reminder from a friend in the form of a text message where she just happened to use my quirky little phrase in response to my despondent text regarding the nose jewellery, gave me back some perspective, "I suppose its better than tats."  (Not that I have anything against them, just not on my son's pristine skin!)

She is right in a sense, if he gets bored with it, he can take it out and no harm done. My very wise friend also reminded me that he wasn't doing it to spite me, it was about him being happy. Well, he certainly has my blessing when it comes to his happiness.

It seems they have done an excellent job (what would I know?) as it is in exactly the right spot and all that, he tells me.

The more I look at it the more I am getting used to it. I think the hardest part for me is the fact that MJ being 7 years old, doesn't really seem all that long ago.  I guess I am just getting old ...

Today, I am grateful for the "better than", because it certainly could have been much, much worse.


Absence - 22nd Day of Gratitude

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I am assuming that is only when there is some fondness in a relationship to begin with?

Or does it mean that when a really annoying person who we are not very fond of goes away, by some miracle of delusion, that we start to think they are nice and that we wouldn't mind spending time with them? That we forget?

Sorry that is not my point, simply a random thought I was unable to let go of. Moving on ...

The reason this has come to mind today about the heart growing fonder and there already being some fondness is because my big boy (MJ) is with friends tonight.

MJ went off and met up with his friend in town this morning and they had a lovely day out (that will be discussed in detail in another post at another time) and then he went for dinner and a sleep over. I shall collect him and indulge in morning tea tomorrow. So a win/win.

Yes, it is true, I have missed him even though the school holidays had meant I was begging him to go somewhere ... ANYWHERE!!!

Strangely enough though, when one of my kids goes away or I go out for a day with only one of them, two things happen.

1st - I miss the child I am not with and "Absence makes the heart grow fonder".
2nd - I grow fonder of the child I am with!

The dynamics shift completely. There is no vying for attention, there is no need to prioritise my limited time, there is no need to referee them and there is no need to not just sit and listen or play or be there in their presence.

I so enjoy being able to give my kids one-on-one time, but to do that I must also experience a period of absence.

Today I am grateful for absence.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Joy - 21st Day of Gratitude

Being grateful is a practise I was not taught as a child. I mean, I was told to be grateful, but I did not see examples of that to model. So I had no real idea of what I was meant to do to be grateful.

I have been applying the idea of gratitude to my life for some time now, but thanks to a reminder from The Grateful in April Campaign I decided to undertake a gratitude blog every day in April.

Mostly it has been easy to do, as my life plays out around me and I see the things that I have not recognised before as things to be grateful for. It is a humbling experience to examine ones life and to really see it for what it is ... pretty good really.

I could go into all the well there was that time when, and the other situation that wasn't so good and the other thing that didn't go so well, but where would all that get me?

To be honest, I get tired of listening to myself. Don't get me wrong, given the right set of circumstances and the wrong frame of mind, I will launch into the stories that weight me down, but they are simply that ... heavy.

Gratitude however is light, it is easier to say, to repeat over and over and it brings with it an expectation of more, of abundance.

This is why I have tried to keep away from gratitude for the material things in my life because I know with hard work, we can have those things anyway, but the spiritual things, the nurturing words, the joyous moments, the things that feed my soul and make my heart sing, those are the things I am truly grateful for and want in abundance in my life.

So today I am grateful for the joy, happiness, peace, love and contentment I feel.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Women - 20th Day of Gratitude

I have known many women in my life, the first I suppose was my Mother, who is sadly no longer with us. Sadly, because I am sure we would actually be great company for each other these days; now that I have grown to become a woman and I understand her more.

You see, when I was growing up, we just did not get on, in fact, far beyond my growing up.

Mum suffered from Depression.  I know that is something these days which is fairly common, but in the 1960's, 70s, 80s and even 90s, Mental Illness was not considered an illness at all. Ironically people would say "Its all in your head." (duh) Psychology wasn't really understood. Nor was anxiety and depression.

Those were times when you would simply be put in a corner or locked in an institution or treated like an outcast and for all time then after considered to have "gone mad", never to be accepted as a part of civilised society again.

Anti Depressants for what they were worth, were more like a sedative, doing nothing to help a person function again and in fact making the problem much worse particularly in a social sense.

It was her Depression that made our relationship so difficult for the most part, I found her unreliable, inconsistent, unable to function when I needed her and then ... I hit puberty.

Too late then for us to reconcile, and so all those lessons of character I had learnt, became a part of my own life and I rebelled.

Before my Mother became seriously ill, she was an intelligent capable woman, I do remember some of that. We saw snippets of it through those years too as she fought what I now know must have been a hell of a fight to be well.

I know she was Queen of Trivial Pursuit. We would all refuse to play, as no game is all that fun when you know who is going to win! But I believe that talent also rubbed off a bit; I often surprise myself with the things that just seem to come to mind.

Thankfully, although I don't have my Mother, there are other women who have come into my life over time. Women I can spend hours chatting with, covering many topics, laughing at our own jokes, recounting embarrassing stories from years gone by and even shedding a tear or two.

These are women who when I posted this blog post about my feeling unwell, made contact with me offering soup, supplements, advice and comfort and just about anything else I might have needed.

These are the women who have helped me to heal, who have filled that hole in my life where a Mother is not, and who give me the strength and courage each day to just keep moving forward.  These are the women who care.

We all have these women in our lives, they come in many shapes and forms; and to many, we are those women. In reading this post, I hope it inspires you to recognise those women in your life and have a moment of real gratitude for the wonder of who they are.

Today, I am grateful for women, my women.

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Foxy Foundation

For those of you who have read my previous posts regarding The Foxy Foundation and the story of  Anthony and Sally Fox, I am very happy to give you all an update and encourage you to get behind them to help not only them, but through their Foundation, others who might find themselves confounded by the system.

A refresher for you all, my original post An Australian Family Needs Our Help was very wide spread and I had a lot of help from other bloggers who also spread the word.

Again, they jumped on board when I wrote an update so people would not simply forget the Fox Family plight, that was this one Fox Family Follow Up and now, I would like to bring you all up to date even more, with this link The Foxy Foundation Facebook Page.

Siblings - 19th Day of Gratitude

I'm not as lucky as my kids, they have each other.

They have each other for playing, loving, teasing, fighting, ganging up on me with and to stand up for each other.

MJ always retorts when I chastise for being mean to each other, "But he's my brother! I'm allowed to!" God help anyone else that might be mean to either of them.

And thank God that I have them both.

MJ is a 16 year old, and whilst I do take any opportunity I get to have a dig at him for behaving like one, I would not trade him for the world.

Today, when I was laying on the lounge running a temperature, wondering how I was going to get up and make dinner (thinking about it was killing me) I took advantage of my seniority in the house.

The Superficial - 18th Day of Gratitude

It finally came, that moment, the one I knew would present itself eventually and yet I had fought for so long.

I had closed my eyes to it, I had turned and walked away, hell, I had even stepped over it.

Today, however, with a fighting spirit, my head could no longer deny, my house was a disgusting mess!

I started with the most difficult part of the day, I asked the boys to pick up their own things and put them away! After they had picked up their things, I moved on to the next job, nagging them to put them away!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Simple Life - 17th Day of Gratitude

After such an emotional day yesterday, I really focused on enjoying our happy home today.

Sure, the usual boring stuff was in need of attention, as was some planning and a trip to the shops, but even the mundane was approached with a much improved attitude today.

I watched out the kitchen window at one point while the boys played and tormented each other with a game of one-on-one Basketball.

I spent that extra time conversing with MJ and took LJ happily with me to the shops. No stress or time restraints meant a happy and enjoyable jaunt. We read books today with no attitude of learning, just enjoyment.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Gratitude - 16th Day of Gratitude

I was woken this morning by a tiny little noise that was not unfamiliar to me, and yet made me curious enough to open my eyes. When I did, the only thing I could see was the smiling face of my 10 year old, LJ, so close in fact, I had very little peripheral vision left. He is a cheeky kid at times.

He was up and ready to take on the world, so he thought I should be too!

Straight to the bathroom to start our usual morning rituals and then on to the kitchen, where the first thing that happens is the kettle is filled and switched on.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Preparedness - 15th Day of Gratitude

Being school holidays here in NSW, I have been a bit distracted from my usual schedule, which I am easily distracted from most days anyway.

But having my two wonderful boys home with me all day, every day, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 1440 minutes a day, well you get the picture, brings about a whole new level of distraction.

On a school day I will get up, make sure they are fed and clean and off they go. I pack lunches, or they do, we make sure they have enough fluids readily available for the day to avoid dehydration and that is it.  Six hours later, they are home, and again it is my problem to make sure they are fed, so they make it through to the final meal of the day.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Leisure - 14th Day of Gratitude

We've had a good day today. A day of nothing really. The morning disappeared into lounge lazing and tickles.

A good movie was on the TV, so we sat and watched it.

LJ was determined to go to the park, so after the movie, a shower and off to the park.

A stop on the way home for some necessary supplies while trying to keep LJ from riding his scooter in the aisles at Wooworths and home to get dinner ready.

Finished the day off with Ice Age 3 and LJ was in bed and off to sleep.

What a relaxing day it has been.

Today I am grateful for leisure.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Knowing Myself - 13th Day of Gratitude

When I say "knowing myself" I don't mean in the biblical sense ...

I mean learning something about myself.  We all think we know ourselves really well because who else do we spend more time with?

We hear everything we say, we hear lots of the thoughts that flit through our minds all day, we have personally experienced every moment in our lives that have moulded and influenced us to be who we are, so you would think, we know ourselves better than anyone else.

Maybe we do, but do we know ourselves that well? Do we understand every little thing about ourselves?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Homeland - 12th Day of Gratitude

I was reminded today of how lucky we are to have such a beautiful land to live in!

And so, today, I am grateful for Australia.
Particularly Sydney.
I am Sydney born and bred and although I have done quite a bit of travelling, including living and working in London for a stint, and, forgetting the fact that I don't actually live in Sydney now, I still love Sydney.
I have been lucky enough to spend some time lately looking at the beautiful city of Sydney from the perspective of a tourist and I have to tell you, I understand why people flock here!

Sorry the quality of this picture is not so good, taken through a Perspex wall, as was the next one ...
But this last one, is my favourite, and I have used it before, but after all, it is my favourite. :-)
Today I caught the train to the city with a friend and wandered around past the Opera House, stopping to simply take in the view.
Back we went to the Quay and sat for a while enjoying a coffee and watching the Ferries come and go.
Off into the Rocks for a quick peek at the HUGE passenger ship waiting to load it's cargo and a quick look at the market place and the many people enjoying the alfresco lifestyle so fitting for an Autumn day in Sydney.
Just bliss.
I am so grateful that I have been blessed with Sydney, Australia as my homeland.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Humour - 11th Day of Gratitude

I grew up in a time when any joke was acceptable. No political correctness required ... ever.

I am glad that has changed, because I also was raised in a time where, nobody cared about the impact of their jokes on others; and being the chubby kid and a girl, it seemed to me, many jokes were written with me in mind.

This did not stop me having a sense of humour myself, although some people who know me now might dispute I even have a funny bone. It is sometimes hard to find the funny in life or even a joke when you are reeling with anxiety or disabled with depression.

Having said all that ... I still have a sense of humour. It has been known to be a bit dark and at times inappropriate as I have spoken out my deepest fears or feelings in what to me seemed liked the best way to express them at the time. Such as ...

AND ...

But I have to say, that I would not be able to cope some days without a light hearted jibe or a quirky sarcastic remark being uttered by me or others.

The Star Chart

For those of you playing along at home, or at least reading along at home, you may recall this post, where I resolve to put a star chart in place to keep track on my sleeping habits in the hope to improve them!  And, ultimately reward myself after 21 days of consecutive "good behaviour". I'm such an Angel ...

Well, guess what? I have already missed one night! Which means, back to the drawing board; start again!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Persistence - 10th Day of Gratitude

I once had a boss who told me that he liked my "bull dog attitude"!

In that very moment, I was somewhat taken aback; and then it dawned on me, that he was actually complimenting me!

You see, I worked in an environment of technical specifications and contracts and manufacturing, so, well, things HAD to be right!

When I found something that I thought was wrong and needed correcting, I would pursue it, until I was certain it was OK the way it was, or it was amended PRIOR to manufacture.

I look back now and realise, that while I was a junior and not qualified in the trade, I probably saved them a lot of money over the three years that I did that job!

And over the years, I have had a few reasons to be persistent for many different reasons.

I find, as the Mother of a child with a disability and a child who is gay, it has served me well on many occasions.

And today, yet again.

Most people don't like to be challenged, but sometimes it is a matter of them seeing the real good in change or the real risk in not changing.

I do not ever apologise for my persistence, because even if I am proved wrong at the end of the day, I usually find it makes people think, and THAT, can only be a good thing.

Today, I am grateful for my persistence!

Focus on the solution, not the problem - Walter Anderson

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Food - 9th Day of Gratitude

FOOD, that has been my theme for today, food.  I have shopped for it for the family, I have bought my own lunch, I have cooked and I have packed it away in cupboards and in the freezer and of course eaten it.

So I think it is obvious that today I am grateful for food.
Like my gratitude post about water, we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country, where we have access to so much fresh locally grown produce. Let's make sure we keep it that way! In my opinion, we need to support our local producers.
I'm not going to go on about this anymore, because I am on a deadline to be in bed, (if you want to know the story behind that, it is here) but I will leave you all with these to ponder ...

All of these were made from scratch with fresh local produce!
This is not a sponsored post.
Be sure to check out the actual Grateful In April Website for more information on this fantastic campaign!

Bees talk to each other!

Some days I feel like I know more than I ever remember learning!

I do! (Feigns shock) Don't laugh ... You know that moment when you are sitting at home watching "Hot Seat" with Eddie, and you've got the answer blurted out even before the multiple choice answers are put up! And to your self satisfaction ... you discover you are right! $50,000 right there! Bam! Thank you ...

On another occasion, I will be flitting around in the kitchen cooking, washing up, cleaning ... whatever, and the young one has the TV on watching "Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies" on ABC 4 Kids and I suddenly have to stop what I am doing and sit down with LJ to watch the story about how Bees communicate with each other. Because I did. not. know. that.

Bees actually know how to tell each other where they got their last lot of pollen from and can actually give each other directions! They do it with subtle movements of their body, wings, feet etc. it's like sign language; for bees!

While I most certainly found this new information very interesting, what I began to ponder and eventually found much more interesting, is how do we as humans, know this?

How many hours of research, study, observation, reaffirming that which has been learnt, has actually gone into knowing how BEES communicate? Not to mention the video that has now been made and is being played by that know it all, Mama Mirabelle, to our children so they can learn how Bees communicate with each other.

So why is there not a video being played to our children to explain to them the subtleties of Human Communication?

Why, in this day and age of Video, Facebook, Twitter, Texting, YouTube etc., where every time we turn on the TV we see a news item on how we are loosing the art of communication and our kids can't spell, are we spending, who knows how many hours and dollars, on a video that tells us how Bees talk to each other?

We need to be teaching our children to converse and if there is not going to be a video made about it, well I am damn well going to start talking to my kids ... I mean, not like I never have, I mean, I do all the time in fact ... but ... Oh you know what I mean!

We need to engage our kids, we need to spend time listening, not just telling them what we expect from them or for them, not just hammering out orders and instructions. Yes, we need to teach them so many things, but the art of communication, well I think it is the most important gift we can give our children.

Do you converse with your kids? Or do you talk to them? Do you really listen, or just wait for your turn to talk?

My Happy Ending will be, generations from now, the English language is something that is used every day, not just something we find in old books.

"Communication is and should be hell fire and sparks as well as sweetness and light." Aman Vivian Rakoff

Monday, 8 April 2013

Accountability - 8th Day of Gratitude

Once again, today I was given a reminder, yes, another of my wonderful friends.

I was reminded how powerful accountability is.
Which follows on from why I decided to blog Grateful in April.

Today however, I was reminded about a promise I had made, one I had actually made to myself, no, not to my friend who reminded me (see now THAT'S a friend), a promise to me.

I had resolved to start getting more sleep, for health and mental health reasons; and well, if you are one of those weird people who check what time emails were sent or blog posts were logged or any other sort of Internet action was registered (as it seems most of my beautiful friends are), then you will know that I have not kept that promise to myself!

And so, with accountability on my side, tonight I have made my star chart and tomorrow I am going to buy myself a sheet of beautiful gold stars, or coloured ones, or maybe I'll go with smiley faces, oh, oh, I know I could get Princess ones or, or ... Oops, another distraction.

Anyway, tonight it will not happen that I get to bed before 10:30pm, but it will be earlier than usual! And, tomorrow night, I will be motivated. Because I will have stickers! And I can live in hope that I just may be woken up like this ...

I have decided that I will reward myself after 21 consecutive nights of being in bed ready for sleep by 10:30pm! They say it takes 21 days to form a habit? As to whom "they" are, I have nominated this link to support my argument.
So now, I have to decide what my reward will be! What would you suggest?
My gratitude today goes to accountability!
My Happy Ending will be, in this situation, many things, according to this website Better Sleep Better Life.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Benjamin Franklin

(I can only hope)

Fox Family Follow Up

Thank you to everyone who read my post from the 2nd April 2013 about the Fox Family, and to those who shared it on Facebook and Twitter  An Australian Family Needs Our Help.

The problem is, as is usually the case with these things, the hype has worn off.

Anthony Fox still has no answers and has today found himself having to write to Tony Piccolo MP (@tonyforlight) to request he keep the public promise he made on radio and TV to Anthony about making available to the Fox Family, the funds that will be necessary for them to move forward with their lives. News story here

For those of you out there who are activists, get writing, tweeting, phoning, supporting in anyway you feel you can.

Contact Details: Electorate Office: 148 Murray Street, Gawler SA 5118.
Telephone: 8522 2878 Fax: 8523 1392 E-Mail: light@parliament.sa.gov.au

For the rest of you who would like to get behind the Fox Family and let them know we are on their side, please see the Facebook page, The Foxy Foundation (link below).

Here is the excerpt from the Facebook page and the link to that page also: https://www.facebook.com/thefoxyfoundation?ref=ts&fref=ts
Today Anthony has written to Mr Piccolo pleading for confirmation of his commitment on radio and TV this week:

 To Mr Piccolo,
I am writing this e-mail to you to follow up on your promise to re-unite me with my family in a few days. To date...
we have not received any formalisation of your promise. As I prepare myself to return to Hampstead tonight (I am on weekend leave and say goodbye to my kids for another week). I shake my head in disbelief. “Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong?”
When I look at this situation and the supporting policies that create these situations. It is difficult not to burst into tears. When I look back to when my stroke occurred and my transfer to Hampstead was delayed due to a lack of beds I wonder if my recovery could have been further progressed if I had been immediately transferred to Hampstead when I was ready, not when a bed was free. Would I be walking today (or will I ever walk) and how this delay has impacted me? Would I be walking by now? I guess I will never know. I also wonder if there is another person waiting to be admitted to Hampstead into the bed I currently take up. And what impact these crazy policies and funding miss matches will have on both of our lives.
Before this stroke I was a hardworking , fit and healthy family man who took great pride in seeing his children’s accomplishments and being there to support them as a good dad does. I am still a good dad and husband but these delay’s may forever impact my family’s life as I am not around like I should be. 6 months away from them is enough. We need to move on with lives, and I need to move on with my recovery and the next step begins with you coming through with your promise to get me home as soon as possible. Over the weekend, I also became aware of a link between us as you are an ex ATO man like myself.
Anthony Fox

My Happy Ending will be the Fox Family gets their Happy Ending.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Friends - 7th Day of Gratitude

Today has been one a little more difficult to find gratitude within.

As they say however, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water ... 

Or is the analogy I am after the one where I would take my bat and ball and go home declaring I no longer want to play?

Either way, I am sure I would be on my Pat Malone*.

Cue music from Beaches, the movie, "Wind Beneath My Wings".

I have talked before about my amazing friends, some I have known for a relatively short time, like these ones, who shared my 50th with me and some I have known for a lifetime, like these ones, who are like sisters.

Today I had a very short interaction with one of my beautiful, lifelong friends, one who has seen her fair share of life at its best and at its worst, and yet, she is so strong, so selfless, so beautiful, so successful and such an inspiration, such a wonderful Mum and a magnificent role model to her two beautiful daughters. And she smiles all the time xo

Another thing I must make clear to you all, when I talk about the beauty of my wonderful friends, whilst I do find them all incredibly aesthetically pleasing, I am mainly referring to their "who they are"' and they all, are truly beautiful.

I have had "ugly" people in my life, so I KNOW how blessed I am.

But it is not simply having these people in my life, it is that they seem to just KNOW, when I need them. And today I needed that connection. Thank you V..., well, you know who you are.

And then, when I had actually finished writing this post, I received an email that warmed my heart, again, from one of my beautiful friends, who all have impeccable timing!

Thank you x 2!

So today, as cheesy and cliché as it may seem, I am grateful for my friends, all of them!

*Pat Malone, for my offshore friends = alone.

My Happy Ending well, I will let this picture do the talking ...

Disability Sport - 6th Day of Gratitude

I must firstly apologise in the delay of this post, technically it is a day late! (I had to wait my turn on the computer.)

Today (6th April) I have had a full day.

Lots of washing, cooking, washing dishes, picking up stuff ... you know?

And then there is sport!

At least LJs sport is not an all day thing (grateful for Basketball as opposed to Cricket).

In fact, I am glad that LJ has a sport to go to at all!

You see, having a child who has Down syndrome, can make it a bit difficult to get him involved in sport.  Mind you LJ has great gross motor skills, but it's the turn taking and learning the rules that can take some time.

Most clubs are great and very inclusive, but when it gets to competition, it can be a bit "tedious", usually for them, not us! Thankfully, however, there are lots of sporting groups specifically for kids and adults with Special Needs (including the Special Olympics).

LJ however, has been taking part in a Basketball clinic style group.

They learn the basic skills involved in Basketball and play games that incorporate those skills and at the end of the clinic they get to have a short game of Basketball.

So, today I am grateful for the people who run these programs and the time and energy that goes into fund raising so that the fees can be kept to a minimum, making them accessible for most, particularly us.

My Happy Ending will be that LJ will always be involved in sport that he enjoys.

Sport is part of every man and woman's heritage and its absence can never be compensated for. - Pierre de Coubertin

Friday, 5 April 2013

Sleep - 5th Day of Gratitude

Today's Grateful in April email that I received by subscribing here, talks about Vision Boards.  I have one, and have had one for a while and agree they are a great idea.

To find out more about that and much more on gratitude, you can go to the actual Grateful in April Website.

But for me, today, I am grateful for being able to have a nap when I really needed to.

In our house we have all been fighting off the flu or colds or just dealing with allergies. Whatever it is, I have been much more tired and finding a little nap some days just does the trick.

I know for some people, that sort of time out is a real luxury, and so, I am truly grateful for having the opportunity to be able to take the time I needed for a nap.

My Mother always used to say when I was sick, the only thing that really helped me get better, was sleep.  I guess she was right!

The bonus of today's post is that I have provided you all with something to be grateful for too.  I could have posted a photo of ME sleeping!

My Happy Ending is that we will all be restored to full health very soon.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  World Health Organization, 1948