Sunday, March 25, 2012


The weather is just beautiful and the last thing anyone wants to do is sit inside on a computer. So after a few days of the long finger I've set up a little outside station with the help of a few extension leads, some big girls to take cute little tot onto the green to play and some nice quiet ipod music.

 So here I am sitting in the sun blogging!! 

Just like someone who has nothing to do.


I mentioned some months back that I was a speaker at a seminar last year on 'The Organised Home'

The seminar was fully booked out by mostly young mothers struggling to run a home, a job for which they had received practically zero preparation or training.  My presentation was 'Is There Life After Housework' a title stolen from a dusty old book, written by Don Aslett, I had borrowed from a library when I was a young mother of three tots and was genuinely drowning in my own home, even though I had been given good training by my mother as mine was probably the last generation who were expected to pull their weight at home. My problem however was two things...

One-I couldn't get a good run at it because of the small children. 


I can honestly say that book, which incidentally is back in print, changed my life. I'll have to read it again to remember exactly how it did that but it definitely marked a turning point in my productivity and being able to get a lot more done in a lot less time. Tackling procrastination is key to a lot of our inefficiencies in life, not just in the home but in our workplace, our relationships, our friendship with God. You know you've thought, if not said it...I'll do it tomorrow, I'll write that later, tomorrow, when this happens, when that happens, after this, after that....

The ever extending Long Finger...

So a big focus of my presentation was tackling the crippling habit of procrastination, and not because I have mastered it but because it is a tendency I struggle with myself every day with varying levels of success. The bigger the job I have lined up the more likely I am to do anything except that thing.  I have been known to spend an evening making beautiful hand made cards like this one:

two days before I need eight of us to catch a boat and I haven't even started packing yet, husband is working up until the last minute and I still need to buy sandals for two children, someone needs a swimsuit and I've suddenly realised that someone else has grown without permission and all his summer clothes are too small. 

My husband says:

 ''re prevaricating...'

I say:

'I'm not...I'm just making these cards...'

We always end up catching the boat or whatever it is we're supposed to do but sometimes only with a huge level of last minute stress and me ending up exhausted with something that could have been done easily at a relaxed pace.

Now remember, procrastination is a habit, not genetic so just like any other habit we wish to break or gain, it can be changed by practice.  I spoke a bit on the causes of procrastination, but here I'm just going to give a few tools that I have found helpful.

Here goes...

(1)  Mentally estimate how long the dreaded task will take

This can be really revealing.  It is just amazing how far we can long-finger a job and have it hanging over us.  If we just actually just did the job it may take maybe 15 minutes or half an hour.  Sometimes we put that job off for years!  Now that's all very well but when you calculate the accumulative affect of the low grade stress the putting off has caused, the unachieved benefits of the job done (storage space freed up, being able to find things in a hurry, greater efficiency etc)...all for the sake of 15 minutes!!

(2) Visualise the job completed.  

If for example you have a junk room to clear out and turn into a bedroom, don't look at the huge clear-out you have to do, instead keep your eye on the finished job, let your mind wander to your ideas for the pleasing and fun finishing touches as you complete the task. Have a picture in your head of how it will look, or even have a picture cut from a magazine of the design you're using.

(3)  Imagine the feeling of accomplishment when the job is done.  

This is different to the physical result but rather the satisfaction and relief of the job well done.

(4)  Get rid of the thought 'I can't'.  

Replace it with 'I can...and I will'.

(5)  Let go of perfectionism.  

Perfectionism is not a good character trait nor something to aspire to. It is stifling to family life, marriage, home care and lots of other areas of our life.  It also prevents us from trying.  There are lots of jobs (especially when you have small children) that don't need to be perfect.  Just start the job and do your best.  A job reasonably well done is better than a job not done at all.  You know the wisdom drummed into students approaching exams...better to try all questions as well as we can rather than get 100% in one question and not attempt the rest.  It is a recipe for failure.

(6)  Do the difficult part first.  

There was a small book which was popular a while ago 'Eat That Frog' which my friend gave me, I only skimmed through it but this short clip explains the simple and very wise philosophy behind it.

(7)  Make yourself accountable.

Tell someone, or everyone, that you're planning to do or achieve something.

I'll give an example:  Last year I wrote this post on my other blog promising to do a 10K mini marathon in aid of even though my level of fitness left a bit to be desired.  I posted it on Facebook and Twitter, told my family and friends and updated regularly.  The reason I advertised myself is because I know that my temperament is to often start a job with great gusto only to wriggle out of it when the going gets tough.
I am doing the marathon but only because I'd be too embarrassed not to after all my fanfare.  I booby trapped myself on purpose. On top of it, I'm finally beginning to actually enjoy the training so it's a win-win situation.

(8)  Break the job into bite sized chunks.

Instead of saying to yourself "I'm going to Spring Clean this house today."
Try something like this...make a list of the jobs which you think constitute spring cleaning.  Then do one a day. Tick each one off as it gets done. When you look at each job individually you may see that each job shouldn't take that much time. Maybe half an hour max. That is so much more manageable than trying to do it all at once and exhausting yourself.  You'll still have plenty of time to do everything else you usually do and time and energy left for what is really important, the people you love.

Here's my  20 Day Challenge, yours will be different for sure. (I'm putting it here to trick myself into doing it, I'll report back at the end.  I might even take a few before and after photos, except No 11 ;-D )

So those are a few techniques to help battle procrastination.  I hope you find them helpful.  Why not set yourself your own 20 Day Challenge?  I'd love to hear how you get on.

 Remember that your home is not an end, it's a means to the smooth running, formation, care and relaxation of the people who live there.  If Mom is worn out, the family doesn't thrive as well as it could.  That may not be politically correct thinking but I think it's what we all know to be true.

If you enjoy my blog why not 'like' my Facebook page?  The link is on the right of the page here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How To Be A Perfect Mother...Just Like ME..

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and in it's honour I've decided to pass on how you can be the perfect mother, just like me.  All you have to do is follow a few simple instructions.

Here Goes...

1.   Always Remember That You Have A Child.

It seems to go without saying. A Mother never forgets that person whom she has carried, given birth to, suckled and loved unto death....or does she?

Two of our children attend ballet classes.  The venue where the classes take place is in the next village to our town.  The village has grown out of proportion and unfortunately the infrastructure is a bit less than ideal so there is always traffic congestion at the time of the classes.  I have it cracked though, I bring along my favourite music to play in the car and value the the time on the road as a little mini-break from...well...everything else.

This is what I (am supposed to) do: Drop smaller girl to her class, go home, put on dinner, load up older child, collect her friend, drive back to the class, deposit two older girls, reload younger girl, drive home, check dinner, drive back, collect older girl...and so on...

This is what I did:  Dropped smaller girl to her class, went home, put on dinner, loaded up older child, collected her friend, drove back to the class, deposited two older girls, drove off, enjoyed the peace and quiet of the car, put on a funky CD, bopped while stuck in traffic, heard my phone ringing, decided not to answer as it's dangerous while driving, bopped a bit more, 20 minutes later while turning the last corner before my home, glanced into the rear-view mirror...and saw...NOBODY!!!!!!!!


20 minutes of being stuck in traffic later, my husband collected a distraught little girl from the frosty care of another Ballet Mom!!  

2.  If You Do Forget You Have A Child, Try Not To Do It TWICE!

Ok..picture the scene...A scenic tidal island in the West of Ireland.  Low tide in Mid August.  Beautiful day.  The local folk have organised a community sports day on the strand for the local children and holiday-makers.  We fit into both categories, being on holiday in the ancestral home, staying in the pre-famine cottage which was where the family lived.  Off we head to the beach to partake in the festivities.  Park near the ancient grave-yard on the island side and take the then two older children and the baby out of the car along with the day's picnic supplies.  Strap the 8 month old baby into her buggy.  Suddenly pick up the loud-hailer announcement that the four and under's race is about to start...I grab my two four and under tots and rush to the starting line, whereupon the older tot has a meltdown  finding herself unexpectedly in this strange situation..younger tot plods across the finish line in her too-big wellies, having absolutely no idea what she is doing.

Proud Mummy consoles older tot while congratulating younger tot on her medal and proceeds to unpack the picnic goodies.  Turns to offer a piece of finger-food to the Bab...y....


She rushes over to the parked car to find the poor little baby patiently sucking her thumb, strapped into the buggy staring at the car. 

Even if a mother forgets...I will never forget. (Isaiah 49:15)

I'm embarrassed to add that shortly afterwards I heard the announcement for the Mothers' race, I plonked the same baby into her carry-tot car seat and joined the starting line-up, leaving the baby in the vague care of my sisters to return a few minutes later to find that in my haste I had forgotten to strap her in and she had flumped forward, scudding her little face on the sand leaving a sore this day she is the most long-suffering of all our children.

3.  Encourage New Experiences.

Most of our children have been quite cautious by nature.  They generally required lots of parental encouragement and reassurance in order to try new things.  So the first time we brought them on a real 'holiday' I was anxious they should try as many new experiences as possible.  The camp-site we stayed on had a sweet water-park designed for families.  Our cautious children were reluctant to try out the water-slides even though they looked like a lot of fun.

(This is the actual one)

I reassured them they'd love it, the other children were doing it, I'd be there at the bottom...I'd catch them...

With that guarantee, the four eldest all agreed.  

Up they went and I positioned myself at the bottom, ready to rescue each child from their watery fate.

The first child positioned herself...and launched like a cannonball from a gun.

There was no way I could possibly catch her.

Before I could take a breath, there she was at the bottom of the water!!  I hauled the tearful and betrayed child to the surface and turned to spot the next child hurtle down the chute at great speed, then the next and the next...each one flying past my feeble arms straight to the bottom of the pool...

Oh Dear....

4.  Expose Children To The Natural World.

Another summer holiday in the West of Ireland.. It's another idyllic sunny day and the children are busy exploring the granite rock pools, nets  and buckets in hand. 

They sporadically return to their relaxing parents with buckets containing sea water and various sea treasures...shrimps, shells, seaweed....

And then I decided to join them and up the wow factor of their findings.  Finding a promising rock pool, I summon the children...all five at the time...and hoisting a large granite rock, I unearthed a large crab.

I emphasise, not a puny, typical rock-pool sized crab...a large crab.  Following my impressive and educational treatise on the habitat, lifestyle and diet of crabs, I had the sinking knowledge that the large rock was slipping out of my the children's horror, the heavy boulder crashed down onto the crab, shooting pieces of claw, shell and...well...guts..out every side.

Oh Dear.

5.  Follow Through On Your Promises.

This Cake:

Has been promised to 

Little Girl #1,

Little Girl #2,

Little Girl #3,

Little Girl #4,

I don't think I'll even bother promising Little Girl #5 that I'll ever make it....


So that's how you can be the just about perfect Mother.

Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sex, Chocolate & Whispering Souls.

This is a fairy-tale and, as everyone knows, fairy-tales are completely made up.

It is about a girl.

There was a girl, she was maybe 22, maybe a little more, maybe a little less...who knows?
She didn't really know it but she was pretty.  And she was slim, very slim.  In her heart she knew that God was calling her to love Him through marriage. 
 All she needed was someone to marry.

So it came about that she met and dated a young man.  He was handsome and funny and they laughed a lot.  He had the air of a bad-boy history about him of which she knew very little.  His past was brushed aside whenever it came up in conversation.  The mystery only added to the attraction.  He was dressed in well cut suits made by D & G and smelled of Armani aftershave.

She had a great time for a few months.  Money was flashed and spent with aplomb. He brought her to expensive restaurants, often ordering top of the range champagne...just to celebrate...nothing really.  Just to celebrate that he had the money to pay for it.  He regularly presented her with some expensive gift...jewellery, flowers and so on.

The young man didn't understand or share the values of the girl, but he tolerated them, because she was pretty. And she had nice legs. He didn't push her...not yet...

Now the girl had this one skirt that was fitted and was just a bit shorter than her other skirts.  When she sat down it slid up her leg a little too far, but she was slim and she could carry it off.
One evening after another expensive evening bathed in the smell of Armani and champagne and the lingering citrus aroma of illegal smoke, spent in the company of the other handsome and finely dressed men from his work, the young man told the girl that he particularly liked her wearing that skirt because when she wore it he knew every man in the room wanted her...(because she was pretty and she had nice legs).
The girl made a joke and laughed it off.  But over the next few weeks she found herself slipping into that skirt a little more often than before.  And she spent a little more money on the stockings she'd wear with it-maybe a little more sheer than what she had been wearing.

And when they socialised with his workmates she'd slip on heels which accentuated her legs.  And she was happy that when she sat down, the skirt would slide up her leg.  You see, the compliment a few weeks before about how the men looked at her had changed a tiny bit of that girl's heart and worn it way.

And he was patient...he could wait.  Knowing (from experience) how good looks and empty flattery can wear down the resolve of values.  And when he noticed a flicker of pleasure pass her face when she spotted his eye lingering on her figure, he knew it was just a matter of time.

But he hadn't accounted for the fact that the girl also had eyes, and a heart that could read and notice the deeper motives of another, and though she had been temporarily swept away by false flattery and the draw of the fruit that could never satisfy, she wasn't stupid.

Because one day that young wolf's plans came crashing down around his ears.  And just like the wolf in every other fairy-tale, he was the author of his own demise.

One evening (when he felt his moment had come) he informed her he was going to marry her and to celebrate they were going to eat and have champagne at yet another expensive hotel. She went along and when they entered the plush foyer, with it's marbled floor and sparkling chandeliers, he strode to a low table which was free.  There were two seats at the table-a velvet armchair, luxuriously upholstered, and an equally well upholstered stool.  With a suave flick, he draped his fine suit jacket over the back of the armchair, loosened his tie and sat down.

The girl sat on the stool and proceeded to listen to him not ask about her day.

At that moment she knew without a shadow of doubt that this wasn't the man for her.

This wasn't what she wanted.

She didn't want a man who saw fit to leave her to sit on a stool while he took the armchair.  Hadn't her parents told her that a good man would see her as a Queen and treat her as such?  What sort of queen is put sitting on a stool?

She didn't want someone who threw money and ostentatious gestures at her but who never asked her about her day.

At that moment the girl saw.

And she knew what it was her heart longed for.

She didn't want the perfect but scentless roses and orchids, clinically cultivated and harvested for their market value.  She wanted the first snowdrop of Spring, carefully picked and wrapped in a posy of tinfoil.

She didn't want those restaurants and those fine wines.  She wanted to share a coke sitting on a wall till 4am...just talking.

She didn't want someone who noticed and wanted her body but cared less for her heart. She didn't want someone who wished other men to demean themselves and her by lusting after her for the sake of his own ego.  She wanted the person who didn't first notice her legs, but instead noticed that when the light caught her eyes he could see that they were golden like the sun...and that those little flecks were just like sunspots.

She didn't want someone who spoke loudly to draw attention to himself and his good looks.
She wanted the person whose soul whispered to hers, understated and true.

She wanted someone who didn't see her values as something to be worn down and conquered, because he would know this story:


The Most Perfect Gift

There was once a father who loved his child more than anything in the world.  He would do anything for that child-even give his own life if needs be.

Now one time the father was visiting Switzerland on business. 
Now if you have been to Switzerland you will know that the best chocolate comes from there.  The father had been to Belgium before and though the chocolate there had been lovely, still, he knew the best chocolate comes from Switzerland.

So when his business was done, the father headed out to get his child the best chocolate.  He searched the glossy shops, the fine confectioners and the best chocolatiers until finally he found, hidden away in a quiet backstreet, nestled between a pretty shop selling colourful cuckoo clocks and a tailors, a tiny store selling the best chocolate of all.  He looked and looked until he spotted the most prettily wrapped piece of perfect chocolate.  The beautifully coloured foil and cellophane were bound by ribbons and decorated with silk flowers he guessed had been made by fairy craft-folk.

In was small and exquisite.  Perfect in fact.

His child would love this gift.  The father packed it carefully in his luggage so as to keep it safe and undamaged.  He imagined his child's delight when he was handed it.  He imagined how the child would admire and hold the pretty parcel and place it in pride of place to be appreciated fully and showed off for a while before it was unwrapped.  Then the child would taste the milky Swiss chocolate and notice that it was better than the chocolate from Belgium.

He could hardly wait to get home and give his child that carefully chosen gift.

He could hardly wait for the hug the child would give him because he would know he had the best father, who loved him more than life.

The child was playing his playstation when he heard the sound of his father's car arriving.  He threw down the game controller and ran to open the door.  Before the father could put the key in the latch the child had burst out.  He ran past the father's open arms and his gentle smiling face and grabbed the luggage bag, knowing there would be a gift within.

He ripped open the bag, strewing the contents over the floor until he found the carefully packed parcel.

Within seconds he had torn open the packaging, thrown it crumpled and ruined on the floor and the chocolate was consumed in a few seconds of intense pleasure and gratification.

When it was swallowed, the child stepped over the mess, kicked the ribbons aside and returned to the playstation, trodding on the silken flowers as he went-the chocolate already forgotten.

His father regarded the decimated remains of the gift on the floor and then his child, still with great love, still for whom he would gladly die, but his heart broke a little because the child had not received his gift.  The gift had become not a sign of affection, lovingly given, but rather a thing, grabbed and devoured and forgotten.  

The child didn't know he had the best father who had given him the best present-he had recognised neither father nor gift.

It was no longer a gift.

It hadn't been given.

It hadn't been received.


He would know this story,  for it was written in his heart and he knew it was true.

So when some months later, when she hadn't noticed that he had recognised the sun-spots in her eyes...

...when she was unaware of his youthful prayers to his Father to keep his carefully chosen gift safe until he found her...

...when she hadn't heard the whisper of his soul calling hers... 

...when she had failed to notice the carefully choreographed coincidence of finding herself time and again paired off with him as they rang doorbells pleading the cause of the unborn in the upcoming vote...

...she was suddenly startled when he climbed into the car beside her, along with the other young people fighting the cause,  

and as she felt the gentle warmth of his arm beside hers, she smelt a smell that wasn't Armani and didn't shout  'Look at ME! I'm RICH!'.

His soft blue, well-washed student's shirt didn't smell of Armani, but she recognised it all the same, 

because her Father God had infused it in her heart the day he breathed life into her.

It whispered

"Here I am...You're home now."

This is a fairy-tale, and as everyone knows, fairy-tales are completely made up.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What Makes A Mother?

A great welcome to my dear friend, Margaret Rowe, my first ever guest blogger.  Margaret has struggled for some years with what is known as secondary infertility, a heartbreaking condition which inadvertently brings with it the extra suffering of un-thought-out hurtful comments and enquiries.  This piece was written when all the emotions of heartbreak and joy were fresh in her heart..  Read to the end...

Mother's Day

Rightly or wrongly I imagined people who didn’t know us assumed we only wanted one child, that we were a bit selfish and pre-occupied, those who knew us only scantily, blithely asked when we were going to have more children, in the most inopportune ways in the most inappropriate places, naked in the changing room of the gym is my personal favourite. Or a man, with whom I have had exactly one conversation in five years, who three days after my first miscarriage, as I dragged wheelie bins to the side of house, shouted from across the road his blinding insight “ time for another one don’t you think”. People are not trying to be cruel; I understand that it’s just something you say. But to casually comment on the most intimate aspect some-one’s life is thoughtless at best and ignorant at worst. 

For the best part of the three years, I took ovulation drugs on the third day of my cycle, and for fourteen days of each cycle I received hormone support, all monitored by monthly blood test and ultrasounds. There was other medication taken daily and a series of stringent dietary restrictions designed to keep an autoimmune responses at bay so my body wouldn’t attack itself if pregnant.

It takes its toll, all this deliberateness on a relationship. Everything becomes a bit joyless, and focused on something you may never attain. It wears you out. I tried really hard not to become that woman whose life was dominated by her desire to have a child, defined by her pain. I did not want to be the person people felt wary about sharing their good news with or letting slip that so-in-so was expecting. A woman who could not bear to congratulate people on the birth of their children. Who avoided contact with new-born babies. The one who resented her life because she some how thought yours was better and easier.

But I was that woman; my gut reaction when people mentioned their pregnancies was to recoil internally. I guarded against letting it show. Admonished myself “Why should other people feel uncomfortable and suffer because your life has not worked as you would have liked” I had no intention of making any kind of truce with the seductive temptation of being a victim. And mostly, it really sucks feeling like that towards people you like and care for.

So I repeated this mantra over and over again. “ You’re a lucky woman, with a good life, you have one healthy beautiful child. You have a husband who loves and supports you” But the reality fell far short.  I felt guilty. It was my fault, my body, something I had done or not done my ignorance. When I was younger if I had pushed doctors more, not allowed a dismissal with a prescription for ponstan and forced them to take my deadening PMT and crippling periods pain seriously. Then maybe I could have prevented the slow demise of what is unique to woman, my ability to conceive.

After the first miscarriage, there was the safe refuge of drama; my husband was away, and I relied on friends for support as he made his sad dash home. So I cried a bit, shook my fist at God, but regrouped and kept going, the same for the second miscarriage. But after the third miscarriage, I stood in the kitchen, angry and desolate. I wanted to give up. It took so long and such effort to get pregnant, and it just kept ending in disappointment and sadness. My husband wanted to keep going, I resented him, thought he was being cruel and insensitive. So he felt the full force of my fury, a moving target for my frustration. How dare he be so calm and detached. But he told me how he had spent his day avoiding those around him, stuck in reports and logistics. Terrified of innocent questions, one act of kindness would destroy him and his reserve would tumble down.

So we galvanised ourselves one more time, the last time. We agreed, we would accept our situation and be grateful for the family we have. Again we arranged our life around my cycle, made the round trip to Galway to see our Doctor.

The faint blue lines divided the oval window, pregnant, I stared at it dispassionately; I tried to think about what clothes I should wear that day. Unlike the other times, I resisted the urge to ring my husband straight away. No hope was allowed, assuming the worst was the best way to deal with this.

They always apologise, just before they apply the gel to your stomach for an ultrasound. I can never understand that, it is not an unpleasant feeling or one worthy of note. Perhaps it’s a pre-emptive strike at sympathy, against greater pain and tragedy. Our Doctor was silent and solemn, the grey plastic of the ultrasound slid across my stomach resting here and there, then again, back and forth, there was no heartbeat, no sign of life. Game over. My Anglo Saxon resolve disintegrated in tandem with my hope. My husband could not hold me; our daughter was with us in the doctor’s office, there was no babysitter available that day. I was momentarily shielded from life by a curtain, sobbing away the emptiness. You pull yourself together, dress yourself, wipe your tears and walk out into the world. I became another body moving through the foyer of the hospital. What was everyone else here for, what crosses did they bear. Worse than mine I imagine. But in that moment, selfishly, naturally, or both, I just didn’t care.

So you start the process by telling yourself a pack of lies. No more nappies, no more sleepless nights, no more potty training, lots of free time now your one and only is at school. You can go to the gym now, you can write you novel now, you can have lots of adult conversations now, you can go back to work now, paint your nails now, and fulfil your potential now. But its bullshit, this fallacy that renders children as nothing more then drudgery and inconvenience. Of course it’s nice to have free time, I’ve been a beleaguered mum longing for some headspace and the right  to go the bathroom alone. But once you taste the privilege of parenthood, free time is only nice because of children not instead of them.

Then there is the overwhelming guilt and contradiction of having a lone child. Only children are lonely. It’s a fact. Not all the time, not everyday. But they are. It’s a hard thing to admit to, mostly because it true. Only children are spoilt. Not constantly, not deliberately or materially if you have any sense. But if they have two adults rotating round them, anticipating and analysing they’re every move, compensating. Then they will be. My daughter’s teacher would remark at how articulate she was, how mature her conversation was in comparison to her peers. Maybe that’s just her, it’s also fair to say that she has had too many one on one conversation with adults because she has no choice. Of course siblings fight, of course they are jealous of each, of course it spills over into adulthood and they cause each other grief and pain. It also true that they have each other, and most people have functioning, loving, if imperfect relationships with their siblings. At the very least they have each other to complain about. It all has value, even if it causes us to suffer, it always worth having something then not.

So I was miserable. And angry at my misery and my lack of acceptance, I’m not special, or different,  I didn’t want to be a victim, plenty of people have no children and must view me with jealous regard.

I lay in bed, physically ill, waiting for the inevitable. My Doctor had counselled we double check in a week or two, have another scan, it seemed more routine advice then a glimmer of hope. The rush of blood came steady and bright. I only changed the sheets as something to do in a long torturous day. But still felt dragging, deadening nausea. We went to the local hospital, letter in hand, it mercifully explained our dilemma so we didn’t have to. We had made this death row drive before, the day bright and sunny, we tried our best to be too.  When you enter a hospital expecting the worst, the walls and the doors approach you, not the other way round, everything happens at a pace that’s just a step too fast, no matter how slow you move. Cursory questions from the kindly nurse and up on the trolley, adjusting my clothes. The Doctor on duty was young and handsome. There’s this hilarious primal over-ride in human beings, God’s wry sense of humour. We just really want attractive people to like us, no matter what the situation. I smiled at my superficial instinct, a gentle lightening of a dark moment.

His cheery young face turned towards me “ There’s the heart beat “ “ What “ My instinct was to thump him not hug him, a child doing a man’s job. He turned the monitor towards me. A tiny blinking grey cloud, on off, on off, a formless lighthouse with a soul. I only realised I was crying when the nurse handed me the rough green tissue. It distracted me for a nano second. My husband sat forward like he was trying to catch the image on the screen. It was unreal in the most fantastic way possible.

So a few weeks ago we went to the park. Pushing the pram we had used for my daughter. She bombed along like a dervish, riding a purple bike with stabilisers she gotten for her 5th birthday. My husband dashed ahead to keep her from hurdling into the wall. The pram rolled over a stone and disturbed his highness from his slumber, eye’s flicking doll-like in his head until he resumed his starfish pose. Fast asleep, my newborn son, unaware of the world around and how much we wanted him to be part of it, how much we all needed him, and the changes he brought. 

Sleepless nights, sore nipples, exhaustion, a crooked back and a million tiny stupid ailments +that I was delighted to have the privilege to moan about. My children are my most prized treasures, I would love more, and maybe having experienced one miracle it may happen again. But they have each other now, him and her, and I hope and pray that I won’t let them down too badly, teach them too imperfectly and neglect my indebtedness to them for making me a better person. 


Happy Mother’s Day to all of us, those who have too many children, too few, no children, not enough time, not enough sleep, not enough money, no support, no father, not enough gratitude in your life, to those of us who have regrets and sorrows. This day means more than triumphantly proclaiming fecundity, it means reflecting on the essential power of your femininity, on the prescient desire and the drive to nurture a child. On the sacrifices made to be a mother, how we run the risk of being pummelled and devastated. And more importantly it’s a day for every person who ever had a mother. It’s a day to reflect on what that means, on the power it bestows and the value it incurs .And to decide today how we each can support mothers, of all ages and backgrounds and situations. And allow them to feel proud of the sacrifices they have made to take a risk on life. They are the gate-keepers of the future, without whom there is no tomorrow. 

Happy Mother’s Day.

  As a little addendum, here is the link to NaPro Technology website.  

NaPro TECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) is a new women's health science that monitors and maintains a woman's reproductive and gynaecological health.  It provides medical and surgical treatments that cooperate fully with the reproductive system.

Thirty years of scientific research in the study of the normal and abnormal states of the menstrual and fertility cycles have unravelled their mysteries.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Which Is Easier...To Outrun A Landslide Or Get Off Your Bum?

This afternoon I watched a National Geographic documentary with the children about the forces of nature, particularly focusing on landslides.  I love these programmes.  I love the gasps of astonishment as we see the moan of the planet in the process of forming it's ever changing landscape.  I love seeing the children's eyes wide open and their mouths drop in awe at the close shaves of the cameramen and film makers who have captured these amazing moments.  And most of all, I love that I am watching all this from a vantage point which poses us no danger.  Well anyway one of the incidents featured was a clip which I have seen many times before.  Two men outrunning a landslide.

The two men who were caught up in this race against nature were interviewed and spoke of the adrenalin and the urgency which kicked them into pulling off this great escape.  There was no choice. Act or perish were the only two options open to them. So they acted and they succeeded.

Now most of us will never be caught up in a landslide, or an earthquake, or a volcano.  The likelihood of huge events like this hitting us is pretty slim.  But just now and again we may get a little glimpse of the big things.  A few years ago a big thing hit our family in the form of a  very loved little unborn daughter facing major health issues.

It affected our life in a similar way as you would imagine being caught up in a landslide would feel like.  Living through that time was difficult, heady, emotional, draining and everything else you can think it would be.  Now, several years later, a normality of sorts has returned to our family and I am able to look back and evaluate whether we, or more precisely, I, have changed as a result.  I think it's fair to say that anybody would be affected in all sorts of ways, most of them probably for the better, after a life-changing event like that.

One thing though that jumps out at me whenever I think about it is this:

Sometimes the BIG thing is easier than the LITTLE things.

How can anybody say such a thing??? How can it be easy to carry a baby in your womb not knowing whether she will live or die?  How can it be easy to hand a tiny baby over to a cardiac surgeon and place her life in his hands? How can it be easy seeing her being bagged by PICU staff and stand there helpless and wondering whether your own heart is ever going to start beating again? Are you MAD???

It's not easy.

It's not easy at all, it is very, very, very difficult.  I'm definitely not saying it's easy.  What I am saying though, is that it was like being caught up in the landslide.  It was terrible, but easy to get up and get on with it.  Because there was no choice.  That adrenalin which forces the decision...fight or flight...fight or flight?
No decision to be made there, FIGHT was the only option.

There was the God given Grace which came our way. 

There was the love and support which was doled out to us without reserve from near and far. 

There were e-mails, text messages, Facebook notes, letters, cards, masses, flowers...and food

In some ways, however tough and difficult it was, we were along for the ride, we didn't really have to do anything. We were carried along by the landslide. The burden was shared.

Now, compare that to a dreary day at home when the children are at school.  There's nothing in the fridge with which to make dinner.  Of all housekeeping chores, the one I hate most is grocery shopping. I hate it!! Give me an iron and a load of fresh scented laundry any day.  

Compare that to 9 pm on a midweek evening.  Husband is on duty, the children really should be in bed and there's a general air of untidiness around the place.  I'm enjoying a chat with a far away friend on Facebook and nice and comfy in my chair near the fire. 

Compare that to the mid afternoon slump.  I clearly remember that I promised Jesus I'd factor Him in today because I was so sorry I'd left Him out yesterday (and the day before), but I'm so tired, and sluggish, and I still haven't put on the dinner, and there's all these children...with homework!! Oh you mind if I put you on the long finger...again?

Compare that to mulling over that imagined slight your husband made of you this morning...mulling over it all day, whereby it has grown out of all proportion and he'd better be prepared for the freeze over when he comes home tonight.

That's what I'm trying to's easy to love and be filled with closeness for your husband when you're standing outside an operating theatre.  It's easy to read the complimentary messages and actually start to believe you are amazing while serving your children the lasagne somebody else has dropped in.  It's easy to cling to God when you have nowhere else to turn.

No landslide, or rollercoaster is going to kick us into action on the mundane.  Nobody is going to send me good wishes and prayers that I'll get the dinner made this evening.  Nobody is going to ring the doorbell and offer to put the children to bed because I must be tired by now.  Nobody is going to notice whether I do the mundane or not. To be quite honest, nobody cares.  

Not qiute nobody.  Your spouse cares.  Your children care (though they probably don't know that yet and won't for about another twenty or so years.).

And God cares.

So NOW.  I'm turning off this computer, I'm getting those children into bed, I'm tidying up this room.  Then I'm going to talk to God, make up menus and shopping list for next week.  And when my husband comes home from out of hours cover...I'm going to smile at him.

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