Exist. Get in the dang photo!

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Hey friends,

Let’s talk photos… Family photos. Professional photos and just photos in general.
I love photos, always have. Ask anyone I went to high school with, I was “that” person with the camera at every party, school camp or function and to this day I take photos, daily. Yes, daily. Photos are my love language, maybe that’s why instagram is my favourite social media…
Recently on instagram I asked how many people regularly get professional family photos done, (regular being at least once every 2 years) 
The main response was NO.
And then I asked for responses on why you do or don’t get professional photos done… And I will get to them in moment, but right now I want to tell you why I invest in getting professional photos done.
Mainly so I am actually in them – as Mums we are so often the one behind the camera. I have countless lovely photos of the children and Trent with them, but not so many of me, heck even the pets have some lovely photos I’ve captured. But I want evidence I existed too in more than just selfies! But secondly because to me, they are like gold. They are so precious and I treasure them. And I know I will for the rest of my life, so they are an investment I’m happy to make.
A big reason people listed as not getting photos done was the cost and I agree some photographers charge way too much money and some deliver really poor quality photos – but there are awesome photographers out there who are affordable, offer great deals and do exceptional quality photos.
My tips for scoring good deals with photos is wait for times like spring or christmas when many photographers offer mini sessions, they are usually 20-30 minutes long, cost around $100 and you get 10-20 digital images… I like these sessions as they are cheap and easy.

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Our 2017 Christmas card.

Photo taken by Tina Ebenal Photgraphy.

Another way to justify spending the money on photos is write it off as a birthday gift for yourself. I did that last year. Or get an annual family photo done for the christmas card, print off and frame a few and presto easy & affordable christmas gifts for the grandparents! Or organise an extended family photo session, get everyone to chip in, then you can have full family photos, individual families and generational photos. That would be special and would make a lovely, thoughtful gift for parents or grandparents (birthday, Mother’s Day, anniversary etc) – because honestly those people never really need anything and that sort of gift I feel is so meaningful.
Another reason many people listed for not getting professional pictures done is because they do not like photos of themselves or their husbands aren’t fans of posing. Well, all I have to say to that is – do you think your kids or possible future grandkids will one day care if you think you looked good or not in a photo? One day you’ll be gone, sorry to be blunt – but we all die and all that will be left to prove we once existed will be photos. I treasure old photos of photos (yes photos of photos) I have of my grandparents, one day someone may feel the same way about your picture. Give them something more to treasure other than a selfie. And as for posing, well many photographers are happy to do lifestyle or more natural photos. You go to your session and positively interact with your family and the photographer just clicks away… Yes, they may give some direction but it isn’t so structured and posed as just sitting there and grinning. A good photographer should make you feel comfortable. I like both styles of sessions.

Our recent professional photos, taken by Tina Ebenal Photgraphy.
(highly recommend her, she is a Toowoomba & surrounds photographer)

Photos are something so special to me, I treasure them. I capture a photo of my kids daily and I document it for our family’s project 365. Basically I take one photo a day, everyday for a year, log it daily on an instagram account I have set up especially for this project and then at the start of the new year I make the previous years photos into a book. I print 2 off, one for each child. These photos range from professional images, to selfies and to photos I’ve taken on my good camera… It’s a mix of individual photos of the kids, family snaps, the kids together and with our pets… Just our day to day life, captured & documented…

To my Mum friends, I want to encourage you to be in the photo. Get in them, don’t shy away, you may not love the photo of you – but I promise you one day your kids will treasure that photo and so will you. Very soon our little loves will be grown, they’ll be busy with their own lives and we will have our photos to look back on & remember when we were their whole world… And then we will be gone and all they’ll have is those same photos. And no one knows when that’ll happen, so get in the photo. Exist.
And to Dads, take more photos of your wives! Pick up the phone and snap a photo of her sleeping in a bed with kids sprawled everywhere, take the photo of her comforting a teething baby, pick up the good camera at the birthday party and take a photo of just her and the birthday kid or you take the camera on christmas morning and snap a shot of her with the kids or you surprise her with a voucher for family photos, even if you hate them… She’ll fuss and complain and say her hair looks silly, but just take the photo. It matters.

And that’s the point, you matter. Photos matter, memories matter. One day our future generations will want to know us, give them something. I wish more than anything I had more photos of my grandparents… Something to show my kids and for me to see them – to see a glimpse into their lives back then… I use to love when my Nin would show me old albums of the family, I loved sitting at the kitchen table and seeing the black & white and sepia toned images and having her point out who was who and telling me the stories behind each photo… I promise you one day someone will want to see a photo of you.
Investing $100 into a photo session for some lovely photos you didn’t have to set a self timer for I feel is money well spent, but if you can’t justify spending that money and I understand not everyone can, ask a friend with a camera to snap a photo and then do the same for her family. Or if you and your family are out somewhere all dressed up, ask someone to snap a photo of you all, try and use a good quality camera if you can! Heck, you don’t even have to be dressed up, just grab your tribe, stand in some good lighting, throw someone who isn’t a family member a camera, all huddle together and smile.
Get a picture somehow. But I do highly recommend investing in professional photos at least once every 2-3 years.
Bottom line is, just get in the dang photo! Be present, exist.

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Our story with Kawasaki Disease.

Our story with Kawasaki Disease.

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Kawasaki’s disease.
Ever heard of it before? Nope, me either – it’s uncommon, but it’s serious and I feel more parents should know about it…
Please read THIS FACT SHEET to learn more (seriously, click that and read it, learn the symptoms)
This is a disease that should be on every parent’s radar. It is noncontagious but it’s very serious and needs treatment in under 10 days to help reduce the risk of long term damage to the heart.
Let me tell you our story with Kawasaki’s….

Saturday the 20th of October – LuLu’s party day, we woke up and our little man was just a bit “off” – nothing major, just grumbly and a bit clingy. He enjoyed the party and spending time with his Nan, but he didn’t eat as much as normal and we all agreed it was probably due to a big molar he was cutting. That afternoon he started getting lethargic and that night was dreadful. He was awake screaming & he had a fever in the high 38c’s.
Sunday morning when we woke up he had a rash on his tummy, by the time we had finished breakfast and we changed his nappy again it had spread to his back. So off to the hospital emergency department we went.
The doctor thought it could be just a viral thing – possibly hand, foot and mouth, I didn’t feel it was that – but being a viral thing made sense – kids get those.
By 4pm that same day the rash had intensified, so back to the hospital we all went. This time a new doctor said it was a random allergic reaction, Tommy was given an antihistamine and then steroids.

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This was his rash just before 4pm on Sunday evening.

We went home after a few hours and when we woke up Monday morning around 6am the rash had faded and he seemed to be on the mend.
A few hours later before 9am, the doctor from the hospital called and wanted us to return, she believed it maybe scarlet fever. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Tommy had gone back down hill and the rash had returned. (The steroids and antihistamine had masked the rash temporarily) We were given a script for penicillin and went home. At midday he started vomiting, I contacted the hospital they said it could just be the combination of scarlet fever, high temperatures and medicine making him a little unwell. He threw up a few more times and then again after we woke on Tuesday morning and now he had diarrhoea. We took him back to the hospital.
This time he had a blood test straight away and a cannula was inserted to start fluids.

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His “bear paw” – his first cannula.

They ran many tests; blood cultures, x-ray and from memory I think they started a broad spectrum antibiotic. And they started organising transfer to Toowoomba either by ambulance or care flight – which ever could come first. Ambulance it was.
Dalby Hospital did everything they could for our little man and their level of care was great. I can’t fault them for the multiple diagnosis, from what I have read this is very common in the early stages of Kawasaki’s because the rash and symptoms continually change and the symptoms could be many different illness, it’s all a process of elimination. The doctors and nurses really cared for him and we are so thankful.
Before 2pm on Tuesday we were loaded into an ambulance with a lovely nurse, I’ve never been in an ambulance before so that was an experience and I sat beside him holding his hand for our very quick trip. Trent and Lucy followed behind.

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I sat in the seat beside him on the right and he slept most of the trip. Thankfully we got there very quickly.

We arrived at the base hospital in Toowoomba, we were told paediatricians were on stand by waiting for us – we weren’t seen at all by one, so there may have been so miscommunication. Tommy threw up all over me again while we waited. We ended up asking for a transfer over to the private hospital and drove ourselves there. We couldn’t watch him become more unwell and no one could tell us when he would be seen properly. The base hospital was very busy.
We arrived at the private hospital at 7pm and were given a bed and a private room immediately. That night our little man suffered through more blood tests and they had to put in another cannula. He was started on more fluids and antibiotics. At this point they were worried about sepsis, a few viruses and possibly meningitis. Those possibilities were terrifying. We were exhausted at this point it was a hugely long day, I believe Trent left us at around 10pm that night to go back to Dalby.
The next few days were a blur with lots of tears, I sat in a hospital bed scared out of my mind holding our little man who just slept. He didn’t want to do anything and he was so upset. I felt like a zombie and my heart was shattered. Days earlier he was his normal cheeky self. I was wracking my brain trying to think how he got sick and I didn’t stop praying for him to get better. Trent drove in each day to be with us.
Wednesday was a rough day of more tests and this was the day he started to swell up. His little body went puffy, his hands and feet were like little balloons and his eyelids were so swollen. He is normally such a petite little guy, in hospital he gained 1kg due to the swelling. And his eyes were so red and blood shot, they looked painful.
Thursday I remember he sat up and finally ate something, he ate a jatz biscuit and a lemonade ice block for breakfast and then some weetbix. That was a huge moment, he hadn’t eaten for most of the week except a small amount of yogurt on Tuesday – which I ended up wearing anyway. He also had to have another new cannula put in that day, his 3rd one.

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During all these days we were waiting on blood test results, monitoring him constantly, weighing nappies, measuring water and our paediatrician was conferencing with the Lady Cilento paediatric team and infectious disease management team. His rash continued to spread down his arms and legs and he remained so puffy.
Thursday evening the paediatrician asked me if I had ever heard of Kawasaki’s disease… I hadn’t. She and the doctors she had been speaking to believed this is what he had, unfortunately there is no test for this disease – just ruling out other possible problems and that’s what we had been doing. Eliminating other viruses and illnesses. Every test was coming back fine, well not fine. His inflammation levels were through the roof, the highest she said she had seen in such a young child, his kidneys and liver weren’t doing great and multiple other worrying results – but for specific viruses nothing was coming back. Throat swabs, nasal swabs, stool, urine, bloods – it showed no illness – but there was clearly something going on.
We were waiting on one more test result to come back before we treated for Kawasaki’s… The only symptom that wasn’t exactly right for Kawasaki’s was his temperature wasn’t getting over 39c, but it was in the mid-high 38c – but the doctors believe the steroids he had been given on Sunday evening were effecting his fever. Because even with regular panadol & nurofen his temperature would continue to be higher than normal and he felt so hot.
The test result still wasn’t back by Friday afternoon – so we agreed it was best for Tommy to start the treatment anyway. The treatment is intravenous immunoglobulin – so it was not dangerous at all for him to have. Trent and I sat with him while the treatment happened and we prayed so much that it would work.

 

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Receiving the IVIG treatment.

Trent stayed in hospital with him that night and I went home to snuggle LuLu.
Saturday he did seem to pick up, he was more alert and playing. He was actually playing with toys! He ate more and just seemed brighter. We were so thankful that this treatment had seemed to work, if it hadn’t he would’ve had another round of it and if that failed, then he would receive a lumbar puncture – but thankfully we avoided that.
I stayed Saturday night and it was awful. We barely slept at all and I feel it was because he was more alert, suddenly he was much more aware of where he was and he was scared. So that was rough, but understandable with the constant nurse checks and flushing of his cannula. He was so sick of being poked and prodded!
On Sunday 28th/October he was weighed and was back down closer to his normal weight, we were getting our tiny little man back and after more blood tests we were discharged. It was so wonderful to get back to our big blue house and our own bed.

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The paediatric ward we stayed in, we were taken care of so well and all the staff were beautiful – but I hope we never have to return.

We saw our paediatrician the following Thursday, she said one of his blood results showed possible glandular fever as well.
The poor little guy, Kawasaki disease, possibly glandular fever, teething with molars and the paediatrician also believes he could’ve had a mild case of viral meningitis (due to his very sore head & neck).
We had another round of blood tests today (Thursday 8th/Nov) to check again for glandular fever & a bunch of other things, just to make sure everything has remained ok in his little body and we hope the glandular fever result was a wrong one and he hasn’t had that.
At the appointment we also discussed how upset and unsettled he has been since coming home. He has really good & normal moments and then he will just melt down and he is so sad, he doesn’t like being away from us and some nights he sleeps well and others he won’t settle at all… She believes his stay in hospital has traumatised him and he is suffering from a lot of stress. He still is suffering body/joint pain, peeling hands, feet & lips and appears to get very bad headaches. So all we can do is love him through this, we cuddle a lot, we carry him and stay close to him, we are gentle, we do massage and just take things easy. From the reading I have done these symptoms and the behaviour is expected and normal after Kawasaki’s.
Each day is getting better but we still have 6-8 weeks to go until we know if he has come out of this ordeal ok. In that time frame he will get an ECG done in Brisbane and that is to make sure his heart is ok. Until that test he has to have aspirin every day.
This experience was horrific. I am so thankful his issue was treatable and he responded well to the treatment, we continue to pray that his little heart will be totally fine and we have faith it will be, especially because he received treatment before day 10.

I want to encourage you, that if your child is sick and you are given one diagnosis and then they worsen/change – go back. Keep going back until the treatment works or you see improvement. You don’t have to accept one opinion. We are our children’s advocates. We have to fight for them. I knew each time in myself when he needed to go back to the hospital and I didn’t care if it turned out to be nothing, I would prefer to be known as the over cautious Mother than regret not taking him or leaving it too late. If we had just agreed it was some viral thing and tried to ride it out over a week, I hate to think of what the outcome could’ve been.
Because even in hospital with constant fluids and daily antibiotics given through his IV, regular pain relief and routine observation they were describing him as flat and not improving. I hated hearing that at each shift handover, I just wanted to hear he was improving – but I knew he wasn’t but I also knew he was in the best place and was being taken care of.
This was easily the most scary and awful week of our life. One I wish on no one and my heart breaks for families going through worse ordeals than this, gosh I can’t even imagine it. I know we are fortunate that it was this and nothing more serious.
So what caused this? It is unknown, it could’ve been anything – most likely just a basic germ and his little body sent it’s immune system into over drive causing all of his arteries throughout the body to become inflamed. Prior to the Saturday he hadn’t seemed unwell or anything, so we are puzzled. But we are praying this ordeal is now over and his ECG will come back with good results.

This blog post was created to draw awareness to Kawasaki’s disease. If you are concerned your child has Kawasaki’s please go to your nearest hospital or GP. If your child has this and you need support please feel free to email me at modernwifelife31@gmail.com and I can connect you with a great support group.
I pray you never experience this disease first hand, but if you do, know you aren’t alone.
Thank you to so many of you for your genuine kindness, concern and compassion over the past few weeks.
We would appreciate any prayers or positive thoughts towards healing and good results.

Thank you.

Once again, please click on these links and educate yourself on this disease and share this post or those pages with any other parents you know.
Kawasaki Disease fact sheet from Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Kawasaki Disease foundation Australia 

My list of 30 for turning 30. 

My list of 30 for turning 30. 

Hey friends,

On Sunday I turn the big 3-0…
And ya know what, I’m looking forward to it, for the last few years my best friend and I have been saying how the 30’s are going to be our prime – our 20’s were years that we both struggled with different things personally but as we near our 30’s we are gaining confidence, wisdom and strength.
I feel like I am entering the 3rd decade of my life with a newly found sense of empowerment.
I truly feel more confident in who I am and what I believe in.
I am very ok with the fact one day I love being dressed up in a pretty dress and the next day I am enjoying a pair or ripped jeans, and that’s just the trivial side of it.
I am feel strong in my faith, despite the naysayers. I don’t feel insecure about my parenting abilities and I am strong enough to set boundaries in areas of my life.

When I was in my early 20’s I felt I was still on that path of self discovery, working out who I truly was and what I stood for. By the time my thirties are rolling around, I kind of feel like I have a good sense of self and I am proud of who I am.
There are chapters of my life that I cringe about, the outfits, the anger, the poor choices – but it all adds up to me. If it wasn’t for all of that, I wouldn’t be where I am right now and know what I know.

Before I hit the thirty milestone I’ve personally been working on a little list of personal accomplishments that I’ve recently done that I am proud of & bits of wisdom I wish to share – because sometimes we need to brag about ourselves…
So here are 30 things I have achieved/done that make me feel ready & proud to tackle my 30’s…

  1. Get married. Doing life with Trent is amazing & I love him with all my heart. 
  2. Have my 2 babies. Add in 2 little ratbags and my heart is full, these 3 give me purpose. 
  3. Go camping. This was a step out of my comfort zone to discover something I really enjoy.
  4. Set personal boundaries & be ok with not tolerating toxic people. This was hard and I am still working on it, but I am getting better at it!
  5. Learn to put my health first. I need to be well, to enjoy life & care for my family. 
  6. Be open about having IBD. This is apart of me and I needed to accept that and by being open about it, that’s helped me greatly. 
  7. Get my scopes done… What a milestone, getting a colonoscopy before the age of  30 – but it’s vital for my health and we were able to work out the full extent of my disease.
  8. Start treatment for my disease. A scary time, but I need to be well. 
  9. Take care of my mental/emotional health. There is nothing wrong with not being ok and working out ways that work for you to deal with that. I have my own coping mechanisms that I find work best for me. 
  10. Give myself grace & make time for me. I am not a perfect person, no one is. And I cannot pour from an empty cup. I need to look after me.
  11. Start & maintain a night time skin care regime & wear sunscreen everyday! Because I maybe 30 & love it, but I don’t want to look 40 while I’m 30!
  12. Move into our house. This was a huge thing, I wanted to have our keys by my birthday and we got them & each week our home is coming more & more together, it makes me so happy!! 
  13. Let go of anger & hurt. This is another tough one, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come with this. 
  14. Forgive. As above. But also, holding onto anger is pointless – it only hurts us. 
  15. Realise & accept some people aren’t forever people, no matter who they are & some people are better loved at a distance. Another one that is a tough pill to swallow, but the sooner I learnt and accepted this the easier life became. (Even if I do have moments that it still all hurts & I struggle with it)
  16. Accept life doesn’t play out how we imagine it will, it’s all apart of His greater plan and that’s what I hold my trust in. Amen!
  17. Let go of other people’s opinions. What they think of me, is none of my business!
  18. Know my own style. I can accept I am not super fashionable, but I have a certain look and I know what suits me… Even if  88% of the time it’s jeans and a shirt. And I have a go to fool proof make up & hair look that I am confident in. 
  19. That to create a positive life you need positivity. Negative self talk & negative voices create a negative space – fill your mind and heart with positivity and watch it grow.
  20. Seek the joy. It’s my mantra, seek the joy EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY – look for it. Write it down, capture it – whatever works for you, but train your mind to find the joy, even on the dark days – scratch & dig for that tiny little sparkle of joy.
  21. Learn how to make some go-to delicious meals. Done, I feel pretty confident in my cooking ability – especially THIS chocolate cake!
  22. Accept I don’t know it all and still strive to learn. This especially applies to my faith, I truly enjoy learning more & more about that.
  23. Try yoga. I really enjoyed yoga & it’s something I want to try and make time for more often – even if it’s just doing it at home. 
  24. Realise family maybe family by blood, but often family is people who we chose and who choose us. This can be sad but wonderful all at once. 
  25. Let go of romantic & idealistic views of everything. For me this was family relationships, the sooner I accepted that I can’t change people & they won’t behave how I wished they would – the better. It’s still hard & still something I am working on. But this applies to so many areas of life. Having zero expectations means less disappointment. 
  26. Know that your past doesn’t define you or anybody else. The person I was 10 or 12 years ago I wouldn’t even know now, but she is apart of who I am and I had to be her to be who I now am. And I cannot hold someone else’s past against them. 
  27. Make up my own mind on things & people without the input of others & be confident knowing I can make the right decision, for myself & my family. This was a life changing moment for me.
  28. Be confident in what you do & what you feel your purpose is. Being a stay at home Mum is something that can be hard to be proud of  in today’s world. Especially when in conversations people ask what you do and when you give them that answer they follow it up with “yes, but what’s your actual job?”… I love what I do, I’m proud of it and I feel it is my purpose in life. 
  29. Know that all through life there are seasons, and each season brings new highs & lows. I find this particularly comforting when applying it to parenthood, I refuse to wish away seasons of my children growing up because I know one day I will wish for them back again.
  30. Be proud & happy with who I truly am, even if other people aren’t. I know who I am and I’m proud of the person I am today. 

So there it is, my 30 little tidbits of wisdom and rambling thoughts. I hope you took something away from it…
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I am looking forward to the weekend, I get to celebrate with a small group of people who I am so thankful for.

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Sunday series on a Friday… {Contentment}

Hey friends,

Let’s talk contentment… Being content., happy where you are, at peace with what you’ve got – you know the deal.
I shared the other night on insta-stories that I found tremendous peace with where I am currently at with my little blog. In this “online world” every single thing is numbers, it matters greatly how many views, followers, likes, shares, etc – everything, every single number matters and you know what… I’m kind of a bit done with having it be that way. I am sick of watching my numbers go up and down. And wondering what I am doing wrong or right. Bottom line is, I am me – I put out the content I feel I need to and what I want to share. Like me or don’t like me, that’s fine.
I said in that post that I am aware I’m a small fish in a big pond & I’m fine with that, that suits me fine – I’m like 5ft/5ft 1 – being little suits me.
That very next morning I woke up to an inner voice trying to tell me, I’m small because I’m not worthy to be anything else… You know the voice, that voice that comes into your mind and undermines your positive thoughts, the voice that tries to drown out the quiet and loving voice we should all be listening for – you know the one, the voice that means nothing good.
And I let it eat at me, it got me down briefly.
And then I realised my worthiness, my contentment & joy isn’t found in that negative voice – it’s found in the one that’s whispering to me, reminding me about the Mums I have encouraged, the positive messages I get weekly, the beautiful connections I’ve made, reminding me of what I have achieved in my “online career” and assuring me what I put out there is useful and needed in this world of many voices. My voice maybe small, but my message matters.
I think this can be compared to so many scenarios in our everyday life, we feel content and then a voice of doubt creeps in, we compare, we lose that joy and secure feeling and suddenly we aren’t happy, we are envious and we are negative.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13
“I am not saying this because I am need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

That is spot on, Jesus is the one who gave me my contentment and it wasn’t His voice trying to fill my mind with doubt. But that of the enemy.
I pray you remember this when a negative voice tries to drown out your positive and content thoughts.

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I’m so content with my 2 little loves.

I hope this post encouraged you today friends…
Each of our lives and paths are different, but we are all where we are meant to be and still slowly moving to where we are intended to be, all part of a greater plan. We can either be content and at peace with that or be miserable. I chose the joy, each and every darn time, because I want a joy filled life. Even if my current place isn’t the ideal in my mind or the times life is a bit chaotic or hard, I don’t control the end game – that’s out of my hands, but I have faith.
So yes, I will keep striving for more, working and aiming higher – but that doesn’t mean I am not content with where I am. I am grateful for my little platform and I’m thankful you are here to read my post.
Thank you.
Are you feeling content with where you are at?
What are you working towards currently?

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10 tips for Handling toxic people & family estrangement at Christmas.

Hey friends,
It is a few days out from Christmas and in today’s blog post I want to offer support & encouragement to anyone that maybe dealing with family issues or estrangement during this festive season.
It is fairly hard to be an adult child and feel like your family has abandoned you or to feel like you have no other choice but to walk away from family who continually hurt you. It sucks, gosh it is hard, heck it is hard enough writing this post, but I feel it may help someone… So if you are dealing with this right now, I am sorry. I get it.

I filmed a video the other day talking about this, I admit it’s a bit rambly and a bit long – so if you want to watch, I highly recommend you go get a cup a tea/snack/cold drink and then click HERE.
But if you would just like a few tips on how to deal with family estrangement or toxic people, especially at Christmas read on…

  1. Refocus your vision. Instead of focusing on who isn’t in your life, focus on who is. Focusing on those who aren’t in your life, is heartbreaking & can bring up a lot of angry feelings. So instead focus on those who actively participate in your life and bring value to it.
  2. We can’t control the actions of others. Remember this, it doesn’t matter who they are – parents, siblings, children, partners – we ultimately cannot control anyone but ourselves.
  3. Set boundaries. If you are forced to be around people who are toxic during Christmas, set boundaries. Protect yourself, don’t put yourself in a position to be alone with them, have an exit plan if you start getting upset or hurt and remain respectful.
  4. Don’t lower yourself. It is easy to say this and not so easy to do this, but when someone is hurting you, don’t go out of your way to hurt them back. Their behaviour is their choice, you look after yourself – your mental & emotional health and make sure you are behaving to a standard you are proud of. Admittedly everyone occasionally says something they wish they hadn’t or let’s anger take over their mind, in this case – try and pull yourself up and walk away or hang up the phone.
  5. Let go of negative feelings. Let go of anger, stress, resentment & bitterness.
  6. Understand everything happens for a reason. This sounds dreadful in this context. Like it’s hard to understand God’s plan for removing people you love from your life, or forcing you to remove people you do love but you can no longer tolerate hurtful behaviour from. But I truly believe everything is part of a greater plan, we just can’t see it yet. Perhaps the person will never be apart of your life again or maybe you just need a time out from them, who know’s time apart could strengthen your relationship… Everyone’s circumstance is different. But everything happens for a reason.
  7. Don’t be hard on yourself & be prepared. If you have made a decision to distance yourself from family members, be gentle with yourself. Not every person will understand, agree with or respect your choice – be prepared for that. You may lose even more people you love, because of the fall out from this decision. Many people will try & guilt trip you – especially around events like Christmas, if you went through gradual steps and the separation is a mature & thought out decision, don’t feel you owe it to anyone to explain why. You can of course, but be strong in your choice and know that your decision was for the best for yourself/& your family at this current time. Often outside people don’t see a side of a person that you may, so they may not understand what you have been through. Toxic people are great at playing the victim & you maybe painted as a villian.
  8. Reconciliation. If you want it to happen, reach out. But prepared to have that talk about issues and also your part in the estrangement. If you don’t want to reconcile but the others do, be respectful if you respond or just say nothing. You don’t have to have a relationship with someone or accept being treated poorly just because they are family.  Christmas seems like an ideal time for reconciliation, because everyone wants family at Christmas – but I highly suggest thoroughly thinking it through seriously, would you and the other person would be in the right mental/emotional state in such a busy month to properly reconcile. Remember it takes 2 people to mend a relationship & both have to be willing and also have empathy. Some toxic people lack the skills to be empathetic – so reconciling can be hard – even impossible and it may actually require professional help. Christmas may not be the ideal time to do this.
  9.  Seek help & talk. Chatting to a trusted friend or your partner/spouse maybe all you need, but maybe speaking to a professional or seeking out a support group is what you need. Don’t let your feelings build up so you explode – talking is very helpful.
  10. Lose all expectations & don’t compare. If you don’t expect anything you can’t get hurt. I am still learning this and it is hard. I don’t mean material items, but basic support & love. The very basic things we expect from family. And try not to compare your relationships to others, this is also tough. Remember comparison is the thief of joy and if you have no expectations – you can’t be disappointed.

Friends, I hope these tips may help you during the holiday season. If you are feeling abandoned, alone or forced into a decision you wish you didn’t have to make – I am sorry. I understand – I truly do. It is very heartbreaking & hard.
To hear me ramble & be a little raw about this topic please click HERE. But be warned the video is a bit all over the place.
Or for more support please check out this organisation. Stand Alone

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This post/video is designed to help people and that is the motive behind posting it.

To the online Mummy community…

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I’ve been going back and forth in my mind if I should weigh in on the current state of the “Mummy Community” that is ever so present online… Part of me wants to completely rant about it and the other wants to just ignore it completely.
So I’ll meet in the middle and just discuss it…
This next sentence will either make you cheer or make you hate me – but that’s ok.
I am so sick to death of seeing posts (blogs, social media updates etc) by women who speak badly about their children, husbands & lives being liked, shared & celebrated and reading posts by privileged women who constantly complain how hard motherhood/parenthood is.
Being a parent is challenging at times, yes. You are raising a human, at times you will feel like you are failing, like you can’t cope, you’ll lose your temper & you will have bad days. This is a given.
Discipline, toilet training, meal times, sleep – it all can be challenging. But is it the hardest thing in the world? No! Not really, I wouldn’t even call it hard – just challenging.
I would think it would be pretty hard if I lived in a third world country & had to carry my baby on my back & walk to a river to collect barely drinkable water for my family to survive – that to me is hard.
Parenting in the modern world, not so hard. It is hard for some, but not for a lot.
Living in poverty while trying to provide for your children & create a better life is hard.
Having a child with special needs or who is very ill or losing your child that would be unimaginably hard. Battling an illness while parenting, that is hard. Being a single parent with no support system, that would also be hard. I admire so many parents from all walks of life who truly have it hard, but those people who actually have hard lives rarely complain. And before we go any further I want to acknowledge that there are parents out there who truly have it hard and they are in situations I doubt I could ever handle.
But I however do not have it hard, chances are if you have the time to kick back in the middle of the day & read this blog post on some form of technology – you also don’t have it that hard, you just think you do.
Sitting on your ass whinging how hard being a Mum to your “little assholes” is on social media proves one thing, your life isn’t hard – you are spoilt & need a wake up call. And yes, I did read that exact sentence on social media this week. Actually I have lost count of how many versions of that sentence I’ve read online this week. And these women are applauded because they are “honest & real”.
I have been criticised in past posts for being “fake” because I don’t “write honestly” about Motherhood. Yes I do, I feel I write the truth. But I write my truth. I don’t need to fill my blog with a big pity post about how hard being a Mum is. This is a life I chose, I love what I do, I do not chose to dwell on the challenging times. Every part of life can & will be hard, being a young adult, being single, being engaged, being newly married, being new parents, parents of a toddler/preschooler/young child/teenager, empty nesters, elderly – it all has challenges. You would be simple to think otherwise.
The moments so many Mothers are wishing away are the moments they will long for one day. Being a parent I don’t think we will get any easier as your child grows, sure what is challenging right at this moment may fade but a new challenge will appear. It makes me sad when I read posts such as “I can’t wait until my kid is school age and I can have a break”. Breaks are important so we can recharge, but wishing away seasons we are in is not good & I assure one day you’ll wish your child was little again, gosh I have moments when I long for one more newborn cuddle with my daughter.
The moments when I am feeling negative, low and down I take a good hard look around and that fixes my attitude pretty quickly. I have a very beautiful little daughter who is the light of our lives, I have a home in a safe country not a war zone, my husband has a job, we have a car, we have health care, friends & family who support us, we turn on the tap and there is clean drinking water and by the flick of a switch I have electricity & I have the internet. I can either use the over priced piece of technology that can be often found in my hand for good or bad. Unfortunately the current cool thing to do with your smart phone is whinge on social media how awful your life is and liken your kids to terrorists and belittle your husband. Really? I am a firm believer in what our minds are full of, what we speak of (write) is what our hearts are truly full of. (Luke 6:45)
I try to surround myself with like minded, strong, positive women, women who inspire me to be better, wives who love being wives and Mums who enjoying Mothering – not just say they do – but really love it.
I refuse to enter into this trend, even if society makes it seem so acceptable – I will not post endless status updates on how rough my day is going, because in reality it maybe just a bad day but it isn’t that hard. My life is pretty damn easy & most of our problems are trivial. Some days we have really bad days & sharing them makes us get that bit of built up anger off our chests or we can laugh at the situation once we write it down, but I do not have a habit of daily, weekly or even monthly pity parties.
Everyone has struggles – every single person. Just because I don’t share every heartache I’ve been through recently publicly doesn’t make my life perfect, it just means I enjoy some privacy in my life & everything I go through doesn’t need to be shared and if I do share it, I share it at the right time. I am not trying to “pretend to be perfect” or create a “fake life” – I just don’t have the urge to share private details for sympathy – which sometimes is why people over share online. Yes, some subjects need to be spoken about openly more often; miscarriage, still birth, mental health, domestic abuse, PND etc. – those are sensitive topics that should be shared so other women don’t feel alone.
So, I am not shaming the occasional rant status or a sad life update or having that friend you can vent to, no – not at all.
But calling your child & spouse awful names online, questioning why you became a parent & just flat out complaining about motherhood is in my opinion – pathetic.
At the end of the day you decided to have this child – make the most of it and be the best you can be for that child. Don’t trash your child online. Like put it into perspective – you created this child and you belittle your own little human to pretty much strangers online just so you can feel like you aren’t a failure because there are other people who also partake in this bizarre behaviour? I read these threads of women supporting this behaviour & agreeing to having hard days and praising others for hating on Mothering, calling their children dreadful names & making fun of their husbands and I just sit back and think what the actual hell?
Have we lost all respect for our families & any shred of decency & tact?
You decided to have your child, YOU! Your child didn’t ask for this life, but you think it’s ok to call them awful names or humiliate them? I don’t care if you finish the sentence with “oh but I love them” or “I couldn’t imagine life without them” – read the start of the sentence where you degrade them – that is the part that sticks and it’s awful!
People chose certain careers in life, every job has difficult aspects – just like parenthood but complaining about it doesn’t make it any better. That rule applies for anything, if something in your life is hard, not going right and is just falling apart – complaining constantly online will not help you. Make a plan, be proactive, get off your butt and fix it. I do know some people like to inform everyone on the ups & downs of life in one hit online and that’s your prerogative but daily “wah poor me, life is hard” posts – they don’t help, writing them reminds you how bad your situation is and people lose interest in being supportive. Instead try looking around and find 1 positive in your day, share that. Change your mindset and you will change your life.
Everywhere I look on the internet people tear confident Mothers or women who love Mothering down, bloggers, parenting sites, social media users – so many people. That’s bullshit. On one hand the “Mummy Community” wants to celebrate the mediocre & average attempts at parenting and parents who proudly boast they feel like they are failing & just accept that Mums freely call their children “assholes” – but a Mum who thinks she is doing well is torn apart because she thinks she can do this. Are you confused? Because I sure am. You are congratulated for being proud of failure & accepted if you run your children & husband down, but ripped to shreds, made fun of and called a fake & an idiot if you have confidence and don’t find Motherhood hard? *insert very confused face here*
On this site I wish to encourage, inspire & lift Mothers up. And I am not writing this to tear those Mothers down – it makes me mad, but each to their own, I am just trying to maybe change a few minds and encourage women to enjoy Mothering & being wives and that it can be a beautiful season in our lives. It is ok to enjoy Motherhood. Maybe these women don’t realise how their words look, maybe it’s a case of jumping on the band wagon – but I want to encourage these women to change the way they speak about the most important people in their lives.
I know the feeling of being torn down –  it appears no one wants to read you’ve had a good day or you feel like you’ve got this parenting thing kind of figured out, they only want to hear how hard done by you are & how much you are failing so they can feel not alone in their failures.
If you love your husband, enjoy Motherhood & idolise your children – in this day & age you are viewed as some sort of weirdo and you are made fun of as a stepford wife, brainwashed, someone from a cult, a 1950’s housewife, a liar, a fake, pathetic, not honest – the list goes on and I’ve been made fun of in a lot of different & hurtful ways.
But if you get on your iPhone, log onto social media – call your husband awful names, talk about not enjoying being a Mum and how much your life sucks and how you are so hard done by – you are applauded, you are surrounded by like minded women, put on a pedestal & you are accepted.
I am happy to see women supporting women, but it’s almost like a giant pity party of competing who has the hardest life on some sites.
Motherhood is not that hard, it’s challenging. The days can be long & tough, but the work is fulfilling, soul enriching & world changing. We are creating people to send out into the world. What are you sending out?
A lazy, spoilt, self centred brat who complains about life constantly? Because if that’s the way you act, that is what you are sending out – children are products of their environments – they will be a version of who you are.
I strive to send out a well rounded, confident, intelligent, kind, polite young girl who knows she can do anything she sets her mind to if she works hard – someone who seeks the positive even in the darkest situations, who can look after herself and someone that wants to encourage others.
I want my daughter growing up knowing I love her and I don’t take a day with her for granted.
To the mothers who write negatively about their children, I don’t doubt the love you have for your children, but one day our kids will know how the internet works & once you put something online it’s there forever and do you really want your child reading that you thought they were a proper little asshole and you wanted to lock yourself in the pantry drinking wine at 11am while being alone at home with them? Or that you wrote awful things about their Dad online – for the world to see? Will what you write today, make you proud in 5, 10, 20 years?
How about you look at that way you think and consider how you’ll feel in 20 years? Will you long for these days back, will you regret living with the negative mindset & constantly wishing away a beautiful season of your life?
How about instead of making it the norm to speak badly about our children & husbands we encourage women to speak lovingly about them? Sure, speak about the struggles of daily life, don’t pretend everything is just perfect – because life never is, but don’t solely focus on the negatives, celebrate the joys, find those small moments in life, in your day that sparkle and make them your focus.
I think it is rude to call our children hurtful names at any time, but especially online, admit they drive you crazy in a status if that is what helps you cope – but if the last thing you ever wrote about your child was calling them an asshole – would you be glad that’s what you left behind for them to read? I personally would never call my husband an offensive name online – I am not saying our marriage is perfect or either of us are, we fight at times – but if he went online and ran me down & I did that to him, well that would be the point I question why I am married and how much of an adult I really am.
So bottom line is, everything in life is tough, parenthood can be challenging – but it is by no means the hardest thing in the world to do – but you will find it more challenging if you sit online all day complaining about how hard you have it. I can almost assure you if you get up, leave your phone on charge and go interact with your “little assholes”  (your words not mine) & actually put your heart more into mothering than complaining about it you may not find it so hard.
We need to stop making it socially acceptable to be rude & speak awfully about our husbands & kids – these women aren’t “brave, raw & honest” – anyone can be crass and ridicule the ones they love – I find these traits childish, attention seeking & sad.
So no, I will not be jumping on the bandwagon of humiliating my daughter & husband and whinging about my life just because I might be having a bad day. That’s not my style, there are enough of those writers in the world – I aspire to be an encourager.
I do not set out to paint my life as a perfect picture, it isn’t – please don’t think it is – but I don’t need to share every low, because guess what – I don’t wish to dwell on the negatives, I want to celebrate the positives, embrace every joy & encourage others to do the same. I want to encourage women to love Mothering, to love their husbands and be the best they can be in every aspect of their lives. If you focus on the bad stuff constantly your life will be negative, if you embrace the joy & celebrate the highs your life will positive.
Give it a go, stop speaking, thinking & writing negatively for 1 week – I am willingly to bet your attitude, thoughts & life will change, for the better. I truly encourage you to try this.
Find the joy in Mothering & embrace it, it’s there & if you can’t find it change your mindset.
Restore & embrace the joy.
Because in the end, we are the only ones who can give our children a happy Mother who loves life – be that Mumma.
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Of all the the things I’ll ever do in my lifetime, Mothering my children will always be my greatest accomplishment. 
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To read the follow up post to this one please CLICK HERE.

Day 7; 27 lessons I’ve learned in 27 years. {Blogging Challenge}

Day 7; Seven lessons I’ve learned so far this year…  27 lessons I’ve learned in 27 years.
I am going to alter this one a bit… Last week was my birthday, I turned 27. So I thought I would write 27 things I’ve learned so far in my life…

  1. “I spent a lot of years running from believing and looking for another way to save my soul. The longer I’ve lived the more I see it, there is only one way home” (John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 – Keith Urban) For me, knowing God & Jesus has been a wonderful & a beautiful positive in my life. I don’t have to fully understand everything about God to love him. I am so grateful for the life I have. I trust in God, but this does not make me immune to hard times & hurt. But He does give me strength to get through those times.
  2. Honesty is always best.
  3. Let go of anger, hate, resentment, bitterness – just let it go. It lightens your load, your soul feels free and your life becomes sweeter. So forgive when you can.
  4. You cannot change people. You can’t change their type of crazy, their behaviour, their perspective or opinions. You don’t have to understand them or always agree with them, but try to be respectful. Just focus on those who love & care for you, those who understand your choices & listen to what you have to say. Don’t waste time with those who don’t see your worth. 
  5. Celebrate everything, make it an occasion – invite the family, take photos. One day those memories and photos maybe treasured. 
  6. Leave your past where it is, make peace with it. You can’t change it. If you are unhappy with choices, situations & actions you’ve made – let them go, make sure it never happens again, but don’t dwell on the past it will just mess up your present. 
  7. The key to happiness is being content more so than getting what you want. Happiness is always a choice and it’s always a matter of perspective. If you keep searching for reasons & things to make you happy, you’ll never be happy. Learning to be content with what you have now – will bring you happiness. Things do not equal happiness.
  8. Team work, mutual sacrifice, forgiveness and love are the keys to a strong marriage. 
  9. Setting boundaries & standards for everything in life is important & makes true freedom a possibility. The way people treat you, your behaviour & reactions, how much you spend/eat/drink/work/play etc. Self control & control of situations you open yourself up to, is important. 
  10. Never let fear stop you from doing something you can’t stop thinking about. You will never be 100% ready to start something, you just have to learn to deal with the awkwardness, nerves & fears – just do it!
  11. You will never regret being generous or helping some one.
  12. Praying is more about listening to God, not just handing Him a list to fix or talking endlessly. 
  13. Over prepare for every occasion, event & outing. Then just go with the flow.
  14. Try to control your words. It’s better to have a moment of biting your tongue than saying something you can’t take back. (I am still working on this)
  15. Your instinct is normally right, if you feel uneasy about a situation, place or person – your feeling is normally right. Walk away.
  16. Be kind as much as you can. Kindness is so important.
  17. Cry if you want. 
  18. Your children only have 1 childhood, do everything in your power to make it positive & memorable. 
  19. Treat others how you want to be treated. It’s a simple & basic principle taught at primary school. Also treat your spouse how you would want your child to treat & be treated by their future spouse.
  20. Your mind controls your life. Positivity and negativity come from the same place, your thoughts. Fill your mind with positivity & your life will change. 
  21. Drink water. Lots of water – make it your drink of choice. Your body will love you for it.
  22. Surround yourself with people who build you up. People who you connect with, that have good energy, good vibes and people that will teach you new things & help you grow.
  23. Use your special perfume, put the good linen out, burn the special candle, drink the special bottle of wine. Don’t wait for “some day special”, the present is special.
  24. Only own things you find to be useful, beautiful & special. Discard the rest. 
  25. Record as much as you can. Write it down, photograph it, film it – live in the moment, but don’t forget to capture it somehow – one day that captured moment could bring you so much joy.
  26. Always have a book you are reading. Read when you can, feed your mind.
  27. Count your blessings daily. This life is a gift. 

I am so happy to be another year older, the way I see it growing older is much better than the alternative – dying young.
Every day on this earth, in this life is a gift & I am so grateful for it, even the hard days. The hard & hurtful times just make the great times that much sweeter.