Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Beach - 29th Day of Gratitude

I used to live an hour drive from the beach.  I used to think about going to the beach all the time, but never went because it was too far away.

Now, I live 5 minutes from the beach. I still think about going all the time. I go more often, but still not often enough.

My friends hate me posting beautiful photos like this on Twitter and Facebook

And this

When I first moved here, I didn't appreciate it, simply due to the struggles I had at the time, my energy was elsewhere.

Now, I realise, when I am struggling, my energy is here, at the beach, so I go, I walk, I wet my feet, I inspect the beach, I look at things on the waters edge with the curiosity of a child and I enjoy the clarity the fresh air brings me.

I found these on the beach today

The snail like shell is twice the size of a 50 cent piece (The size of an iPhone screen) and was so heavy I thought at first there might still be an animal in it, and the small piece of Mother of Pearl was wet and sparkling in the sun when it caught my eye.

There was lots of seaweed today, like the sea had been rough overnight.

It was calm today.  I am calm today.  Thanks to my adventure on the beach.

Today I am grateful I live so close to the beach.

Things We Take For Granted - 28th Day of Gratitude

Yesterday, I did not feel very well.  I don't really feel much better today, but in a different way.

Amongst all the "not feeling well" however, I have had to find things to focus on that lifted my spirit.

Grateful In April is a global campaign to get people focused on feeling good about what they’ve already got in their lives. It’s amazing what can occur when you find ways to be grateful for what you have.

I have been blogging gratitude throughout April (as I also did last year), and I have tried to find different things, having only repeated myself a couple of times this year.  It is hard when you are truly grateful for things that you recognise are precious in your life not to constantly acknowledge them.

Which is why, today (or yesterday, as I am once again a day late with my post), when I am not feeling much like being grateful for anything, I have pinned my hopes to the constants, to the 'norm', to the usual, the basics.

I blogged about this last year too

I think it is really important that we do acknowledge our gratitude for these things we call the basics because I know from my experience of the last couple of years, they are things we truly take for granted.

On the days when you don't think you have much, if you really get 'down to tin tacks' (Australian slang for basic facts or realities) you should know how very lucky you are, to have 'the basics'.

So today I pin my gratitude to the things which should lift us up when we are struggling to have hope, today I am grateful for the basics.

See my list below ... What does your list consist of?

Food    Water    Shelter    Running Water    Hot Water    Heat    Cooling System   A Bed

I think you get the idea, I'm talking the real basics, the things we really take for granted every day!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Thoughtful Friends - 27th Day of Gratitude

Since I had LJ some 11 years ago, my life has changed.

People who say having children has not changed their lives in some way must be missing something.

People who say having a child with a Disability has not changed them or their lives, must have really had their shit together before.

I, have gone through so much change in the last 17 years since having my first born MJ and a whole different type of change since LJ came along in 2002, that I feel like I am not really sure what I did with my life before or where I thought I was going.

Now I know.

I've had to make sacrifices as my ability to cater for others in my life was reduced, and so those people slowly backed away. I've had to accept when you become a single Mum you no longer fit into every social situation like you used to, and invitations wane. I had to accept that not everyone knows how to accept differences, and so they take their bigotry and walk out the door of my life.

I've found more recently that many people don't know how to be the friend of a person with fluctuating Mental Health (as I have touched on here) so to find special friends amongst all that lack of understanding has meant a great deal to me.

I've recently found many people who are supporting me in a much more understanding and inclusive way which I wrote about here,  I have also very recently met a friend who has had her own share of life's challenges. Maybe that is why she is more capable of thinking of others, but whatever the reason, I was really happy today when we suggested she would come for a coffee, that she made the offer we go to a park so LJ could also enjoy the visit! Might seem like a small thing to do, but you'd be surprised how many people still think only of themselves.

I am so blessed that I now have people who take the time to consider our needs.

Today, and always, I am grateful for thoughtful friends!

Rockwiz - 26th Day of Gratitude

Last night as I sat pulling my hair out because my neighbours were having one of those parties where the music was so loud you could actually feel it, I was looking for some distraction.

I was unable to do the study I had planned to do because the music was making it impossible to concentrate, in fact it was making it impossible to do just about anything.

I still am not too sure how LJ managed to sleep through it ...

I decided to stop stressing about it and just try to work with it ... Music?


I grabbed myself a glass of wine, some cheese and crackers and "The Gang" and I joined Ms Murphy and Continental Robert to have some fun!

I'm so grateful for good entertainment on TV - Go Rockwiz!

Getting Back on my Horse - 25th Day of Gratitude

Yes, I've dropped the ball on the whole


I am however, fairly certain, that Melina (Click here to find out more about her) would just be happy for me "getting back on my horse".

So here I am, grateful that I have the capacity to get back on my horse (Metaphorically of course) and carry on! 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Driving - 24th Day of Gratitude

LJ went off to Vacation Care today.  He had a wonderful time.

I got done all that stuff I decided not to do yesterday.

I enjoy being in the car on my own, it doesn't happen often.

As most Mothers will tell you, 'Chauffeur' is part of the job description.

I've always loved driving. Who doesn't want to just follow this ...

When I used to drive to work, it never bothered me sitting in traffic, it was time to think (or sing really loud to the radio).

I find that when I am driving, I get to process things more clearly in my head. I also do a bit of self talking to help with that processing.  I've always done that.  Once upon a time it was a problem and I used to make it look like I was singing, but now we have hands free phones, so people don't look at you weird anymore, they just think you are on the phone.

So today I got to be alone in my car.  Not that I drove anywhere as picturesque as the photo above, but I might as well have done, as it served the purpose of relaxing me, clearing my mind and refocusing me for the rest of the day.

Today I am grateful for driving.

Chillaxing - 23rd Day of Gratitude

I am writing this post a day late because yesterday ... we 'Chillaxed'.

Some just do it better than others ...

It was great.

I actually had stuff I needed to do, but I made the choice not to.

I knew LJ was going to Vacation Care today, so I made a conscious decision to wait until today to do all that stuff that needed doing.

Yesterday, we did some cooking, played with water, watched movies and ... I can't remember what else! Not much.

Today, I have two posts to do ...
none the less, I am grateful for chillaxing.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Exhaustion - 22nd Day of Gratitude

Some things just have to be seen to be believed.

I have a child, who, for the most part, does not stop.

LJ is on the move most of the time.  Sure, he gets tired, eventually.  Usually just in time for bed!

These school holidays I have tried my best to keep up with him, but it is usually me who ends up having an afternoon nap so I can get through the day.

Today, however, after we had dropped the older sibling off at the train, visited with a friend who has dogs (which kept LJ moving) and then went to the skate park, I felt such a sense of accomplishment when we finally decided to settle on the lounge for an afternoon movie.

So you cannot imagine my joy, when I glanced around a few minutes later to see this ...

I call that mission accomplished!

Today, I am grateful for exhaustion.

Absence - 21st Day of Gratitude

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And as I type those words it occurs to me how familiar it seems to me, almost like Dejavou.

Having now had a look back, it is because almost a year to the day, I blogged about the exact same thing! And for the same reasons! This was that post if you would like to check it out.

For this year however, I have this post ...

Maybe that is true. But for different people at different times absence can serve many other purposes. 

My eldest child MJ has turned 17 years old. MJ and I recently agreed our relationship is changing as adulthood looms on the horizon. Independence needs to be learnt, responsibilities taken on, consequences truly understood. 

How better to learn those things than to experience situations on our own. 
The first 5 days of the school holidays, spanning the first weekend, MJ spent at a Camp with like minded people, having to take part in all general house keeping; and all campers obviously are responsible for their own personal care. 

MJ was only home one night when the agreement made previously to house sit for friends over Easter was enacted. MJ was solely responsible for a complete house AND one dog plus three puppies. 

We have never had pets of our own. Despite that, MJ has always had an interest in owning a dog. Not sure if that is still an interest. This could be one of those cases where absence makes the heart grow fonder as MJ forgets over time what hard work pets actually are. 

So while I am certain much learning has taken place over the last ten days for MJ, I know I too have learnt something.

I have learnt I am grateful for absence because it truly does make the heart grow fonder.

Monday, 21 April 2014

My Oven - 20th Day of Gratitude

Now I know I have been grateful for my ability to cook already this month. This is different.

Where we lived before this year, the oven wouldn't cook properly. You either had to wait an hour for 15 minute muffins, or burn them in under 5 minutes. It didn't have a "moderate" setting. 

When you are living on a tight budget, it is imperative to be able to whip up something from the basics you have in the pantry. Most of our snacks are oven baked. Sweet and savoury. 

So tonight as I was baking up a storm for lunch tomorrow, I realised how nice it is to once again be able to whip up some old favourites. Particularly since they will actually be palatable!

Today, I am grateful for my oven. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Having something to look forward to - 19th Day of Gratitude

I have found myself less than enthusiastic of late to get the mundane stuff done, the stuff we have to do. The washing, the washing up, sifting through the paper work, folding, tidying etc.

I'm not the type to clean my house because we are having visitors, I like to keep a clean house because we have to live in it and can enjoy being able to find a clear spot to sit when we want to.

It's been a bit different this week however, it came to pass that when I was expecting a friend to pop in for coffee today, I took an empty washing basket, went around the house and filled it with my clutter and threw it under my bed!

Clutter does make me feel a bit claustrophobic anyway, so I was glad to have cleared up. This evening when things had settled down, I retrieved the basket from my room and keeping in mind I have more visitors coming on Monday, I went through and sorted out my paperwork!

I was motivated today because I have had something to look forward to.

I am grateful I have things to look forward to.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Technology - 18th Day of Gratitude

In our house we have 2 iPhones, an iPod, an iPad, an iMac an old PC and only three (3) people! Not to mention 2 iPod/iPhone docks and many chargers in many handy spots around the house, oh, and the school issued laptop.

And tonight, I am using the iPad to type my blog post.  Last night I used my iPhone forgetting I could have used the iPad. This is why there were no photos in my blog yesterday, nor will there be any today or, I dare say for a couple of days.

You see, the teenager is 'off site' and also, therefore, is the best Laptop!

You might think that number is excessive for one small household, I happen to know, by comparison, it actually isn't.

Just consider it is predicted that this year there will be more active mobile (cell) phones in the world than there are people.  Also, remember *that* figure includes all the people who don't even have access to food let alone phones or electricity, and, that also includes all the children and babies! And THAT is only phones being referred to!

Having now pointed out how ridiculously focused on technology we seem to be as humans, I must also say how grateful I am for my technology.

You see I am reasonably housebound most of the time for various reasons and without my technology, I wouldn't have a clue what was going on outside of our little home.

I also use my technology to research information that I hope will improve our lives such as things like parenting, nutrition, education, learning methods for people with Down syndrome, local activities for the kids etc.

Yes, I am grateful for my technology.
(Even if I'm not a techno geek.)

Friday, 18 April 2014

Honesty - 17th Day of Gratitude

I had a positive experience today with a Tradesman. 

Don't laugh ...

It does happen!

Our hot water stopped working, and being the day before Good Friday, I did what any other self respecting, intelligent person would do ... I made a phone call, I sent a text (or two) and I sent an email. And then, I started begging!

The Real Estate Agent got back to me (fairly quickly in fact) and assured me, "he's on his way". 

So I started trying to remember where my soup pot was. I had visions of the three of us using the same bath water after having boiled up many soup pots of water. 

And then it happened ... The phone rang! It was "The Hot Water Guy". Marty assured me he would be there today, and he was. 

You cannot believe just how grateful I am for the honesty I received today as I received good service from two people who, without their commitment to their jobs and their honesty, might have produced a very different result for me. 

Thank you both. 

Today my gratitude is dedicated to honesty. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

In Memory - 16th Day of Gratitude

Today is the Anniversary of an event, that like all Terrorist Attacks, changed the lives of many people, and touched the lives of Millions.

A year ago I wrote a post about being grateful for gratitude itself, so today, I will feature that post as my offering of gratitude once more.

I am still grateful for gratitude itself.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Australia - 15th Day of Gratitude

I struggle to understand some of the decisions our Federal Governments have made over the years, and at times I find their attitudes to Humanitarian issues completely disgusting to the point where I am sick to say I am Australian.

I Marched in March at our local turn out and I intend to March in May to express my dissatisfaction with the bipartisan 'solutions' to such things as Asylum Seekers just to name one.

Having said that, I can still say that I am grateful I do live in this country.

As I sit here in the comfort of my lounge room on my soft lounge in clean clothes and my children sleep safely, and although it is school holidays, they have always attended school and in fact, are required to, I am watching a story on Indian Coal Mines and the "rat holes" young children are forced to work in so their family can eat.

The other boy saw his Father die in front of him in a mining accident.

If you are compelled to and are in the position to help, here are some links for you to see how you might be able to help.

Impulse and Maiti Nepal are two organisations that are trying to make a difference.

Today, I actually am grateful to be able to live in Australia, despite the imperfections.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Our busy lives - 14th Day of Gratitude

It is school holidays, so one could be forgiven for not being so organised.

The sleep ins, not having to make school lunches, not having to be anywhere on time (well, mostly), not having to rush from one thing to another, the fact that most routines go out the window.

And yet, I miss that. It is those routines that keep me going. When I find myself with too much time on my hands, I am often at odds as to what to do with it. I feel a bit lost in fact.

Who would ever have thought I would be missing the rush of a school term, but I am.

Today, I am grateful for our busy lives.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Outspoken - 13th Day of Gratitude

I often see sayings scroll up on my Facebook or Twitter feed and wonder who actually had the courage to put in words the things that society would have us believe we cannot say.

How were those people really feeling at the time? Was it about rebellion? Is it about being recognised for who they actually are after years of hiding? Is it easier to put it in written word and make a visual out of it than to speak those words? Is it a way to say what you feel and yet remain anonymous?

I suppose for each of them it could be any of those reasons, and many more.

For my part, I am grateful for the outspoken, because they say the things I am thinking but have not been able to form into words that can be understood, to be able to string them together in sentences that can be understood, my mind does not always work like that.

Today, I am grateful to the outspoken.

Please find below a small sample of what I am referring to.

Here's to the outspoken and may there be many more ... xo

Motivation - 12th Day of Gratitude

Motivation and logical thinking are things I used to think I was immune to.

I would find it so hard to get in the mood to do the things I knew I should be doing and no matter how hard I would reason with myself as to how much better off I would be if only I just got up and did those things now, I would still sit, and not do those things.

So many times I have finally done the washing up or cut up the vegetables or hung out the washing later than I had planned or in the cold of night or when I really wanted to be in bed and thought, I could have been in bed now if I had done this when I was supposed to have!

So is lack of motivation simply procrastination? Well I have Googled and found an answer to that question, it is HERE and is quite interesting actually.  Quite a short answer and I would suggest you all go and have a look ... That is, if you can be bothered!

Based on that, I can say now that while I do dither around with procrastination quite a bit, my lack of motivation is the thing I am talking about here. Which is why, I can be grateful that I do actually have some motivation, otherwise I would never get anything done.

Today, I am grateful for my level of motivation, as inconsistent as it may be!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Old Friends - 11th Day of Gratitude

I have a friend, I mean to say I actually have a few friends, but this one, I have had for nearly my whole life.

Sadly, we live quite a distance from each other, although that has never stopped us being friends.

We also live very different lives having had children at very different times, we work very different hours and days and we are at very different life stages, and yet, we have so much that we share.

I've written several times before about my friends and each time I look back over my blog to identify those posts, I realise once again, how very lucky I am.

Yesterday (11th day of Gratitude), it happened I had a long overdue phone call with said friend, and she made me realise how loyal my long term friends are to me.

You see I've had some form of Mental Illness it seems, for most of my life, and as I am now coming into a time of real healing, I can identify in my past some of the strange things I have done, the weird responses people have seen in me, the unreliable character that I have displayed in the past, all those things that many people have just walked away from, but not my friends, my pals, my buds, my mates, my absolutely true, life long "in for the long haul" 'besties'.

So here I am, once again saying THANK YOU, to all my friends who love me even when I'm a bit crazy!

Today, I am grateful for my friends,
all of them who stand by me.

"A friend is one who knows you, and loves you just the same." Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Struggles - 10th Day of Gratitude

If you are following Grateful in April on the website or on Twitter @GratefulinApril or on  Facebook you might recognise this ...

I've decided to use this as my prompt for my Gratitude today, because this morning, I had a little struggle.

You see, after years and years and years and years ... well, you get it, of Therapy, as was previously mentioned on my 5th Day of Gratitude I have started to actually find myself much more capable of getting through life's little challenges.

So, this morning when I woke to find my glasses had detached from the right arm which holds them on my head, I was, to say the least, feeling a bit lopsided.

It threw me a bit, but I pushed through with the help from a few positive comments from concerned friends on Facebook.  I also felt a little special when I realised there were people who actually envied my "me" time as I sat eating raisin toast (covered in sesame seeds ??? - still trying to get my head around 'that' though) and sipping my Caramel Latte! (Sorry Kathy)

In general though, I just felt really out of sorts and unable to actually guide my brain in the right direction to actually get anything constructive done. Some of you may be thinking "I have days like that all the time and I just get on with it", I wish I could. Depression is not called "The Black Dog" for nothing. That's why this Institute exists.

In the past, this would have been enough to render me unavailable for a couple of days.

But this afternoon, I was back on track.  I even had a look at my TAFE Assessment that will no doubt keep me busy during the School Holidays which will be upon us in one, more, day!

It appears I am utilising my struggles to gain strength and to finally learn to overcome them ... slowly.

Today, I am grateful for the opportunities to practise my skills that my struggles bring.

If you struggle with Anxiety, Depression or any other Mental Illness, please contact your GP or local Mental Health Team via your local Area Health Service for referral.