Tuesday, August 19, 2014

approval, validation : I am enough

Plaguing my mind these last few weeks is the word validation.
What we feel validates us as humans.
What makes us feel invalidated, rejected.
The more I thought about it, the more things I realised I've used to feel validated in my life.
And I say feel validated with weight because it's just that - a feeling.

You are not any better or worse than anyone else. 
Your social status does not validate you, nor does the school your children attend, or the grades they receive. Nor do the grades you receive validate you, or your popularity on Instagram, or your marital status.
The clothes you wear don't constitute a stamp of approval, and neither does the car you drive, or the place you live, or the amount of nice things you surround yourself with. 

You are you. You are good enough, loved enough, purposed and planned.
You don't have to have enough, you are enough. 
Our insecurities tell us we need to be more, have more, share more, be recognised and awarded to be validated enough as humans. 

Today I pulled from the letterbox my first graded assignment of the semester.
A creative writing assignment I poured my heart into, and handed in along with all the tiny pieces of myself I had typed on to that page. 
The papers were scribbled over; words are crossed out, commas added, question marks scrawled messily,  morphed to statements like stop writing, you aren't good enough, you will never be enough through tear-blurred eyes. The grade was fine. But I expected better than fine. 

I cried. I will always cry. I will cry over spilt milk, and death and everything in between.
And then I wiped my eyes and realised that this does not validate me.
I will not feel invalid, rejected, disapproved of. 
I know who I am. I know what I love. I know I am learning, and I know that progress is all that is needed - I don't expect perfection from myself. 
I am enough.

You are enough, too.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

agenda. or losing it.

Agenda. Defined as a plan or list of matters to be attended to.
I have lost my patience twice three times this week.
I scolded crossly, impatiently, and probably not very kindly.
Today, in church, I was thinking about these three times, and countless others during my motherhood journey. I was reciting the fruits of the spirit in my mind, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.
What makes me react? What robs me of my patience, and kindness in those moments?

Always, always, always it's because my agenda; my plan, my list, my to-do's have been messed with.
I've lost control over it because someone has forgotten something, needed help with something, taken too long to do something, is impossible to please because her hair is crazy, been disobedient or accidentally spilled or broken something... and I loose my patience*.
I lose it because control is lost.
I lose it because we're rushing, or I don't want to help put those leggings on because I know she has done it before by herself and she can do it now. I lose it because things are not going to plan.
I lose it with a groan or an eye roll.
I sigh hard, and frown and scold in exasperation, which helps nothing but to bring down little spirits of those I care so much for
And my heart breaks thinking about my impatience and my unkindness and my prioritising my own agenda.
When I'm being called to lay down my life, to be a servant, to put others before myself.
Especially those I have been gifted with the role of mothering.

And impatience doesn't work. My heavy sigh of annoyance don't help the heart of an already-sorry-he-made-a-mess child. It doesn't make things move more quickly or more smoothly.
It just makes us all feel rotten.

So. I am vowing to put my agenda aside.
Maybe we'll be late a few times. Maybe I'll have to be a little more organised.
But I'll be more patient with my tiny humans. I'll speak more kindly.
And I'll put less pressure on myself to perform to my own impossibly high standards - ie. not everything has to be done or perfect.

The Bible says soft speech breaks down the most bonelike resistance.**
That it is better to be patient than powerful.***
There is the quiet, calm patience, the enduring patience, the bearing-a-load patience, the persevering and steadfast and remaining patience.
So, I'll stay. Remain.
That patience that the Spirit produces in us (Galatians 5:22) literally means to be able to hold one's temper.
I guess we have a choice. Lose the agenda or lose the patience*.
Not by my own strength but His as I lay down my own schedule and slow down to be better at this life thing.

*I was going to write the word shit instead here. But, backlash.
** Proverbs 25:15
*** Proverbs 16:32

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


The days are flying by quicker than I can count them, faster than I can run.
August is here; there are countdowns to birthdays and anniversaries, and there are sadnesses and weights and celebrations of life. 
A dear friend lost her sister this week, her daughter also a friend of mine, and it stings the heart and makes heavy the soul.
I've been writing, writing, but haven't felt the need to share here - it's not been a burden and for that I am grateful. 

I have though, popped in over at my gorgeous friend's blog Capture 30 Days, and I will be saying hi there every Tuesday this month and talking about books that changed me.

The first one was Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds.
My firstborn will read the book to you, if you pop over here now, with a cameo from Indiecat.

Boil the kettle, enjoy.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Inspire my July | the seas ripples, my pride, and three S's

Sunday afternoon found me here. Only 1.2 kilometres away from my home.
Wind whipping around my face, pelicans for company, a cosy cardigan keeping me warm and a chai tea between my hands. 
I'd just done a photo shoot, out of my comfort zone and a sensitive, emotional one. 
I stopped to breathe, taking my camera with me as I walked the little jetty.
Sunshine on one side, and clouds moving steadily along, matching the ripples in the sea below them. 
Sparkles on the water, and the weed surging beneath the surface, back and forth.

And the salt air. And the words ringing in my ears from the earlier Sunday sermon.
"Three things your Spirit needs to encounter God; scripture, silence, solitude"
The silence and solitude were here. I usually rush through moments like these. 
There are things to be done/cleaned/sorted/completed/controlled.
This time I didn't rush. I sat, and let the silence in. 

Didn't run from the solitude, or turn to social media for 'company'.

This journey of being distraction free and hands free is a constant one. 

So much of our (my!) lure of social media comes from a need to be validated.
Heard, seen, appreciated. Dare I say admired?! Oh sneaky pride, you are ugly.

Then this

Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he'll do whatever needs to be done:
He'll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Quiet down before God, 
be prayerful before him. 
Don't bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.*

A reminder to walk in humility.
To find my validation in who I am, and have been created to be, and from Him, not from the world; those who don't know me outside of a series of little pretty squares. 

Scripture, silence, solitude.*

These quiet moments, sitting, legs dangling, set the week's foundation for my mind and my heart. I hope to find myself here more often.


* Psalm 37:5-7 MSG

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Inspire my July | soup, sunshine & not stopping

These days the sun comes in soft in the afternoons, hitting freshly made beds and kitty cat friends.
These days the kitchen smells of rosemary when it rains on the little hedge outside.
These days chai tea is the hot drink of choice, and I watch the steam erupt in waves from the top.
These days almond milk making is a therapeutic business, and there is often a jar of almonds on the [grubby] window sill. This will be my last batch until I buy some more almonds.
These days a pot of soup lasts for days, and carrot, red lentil and cumin is my favourite.
These days I want to run, but it's raining, or it's cold.
These days my head is full of wonderful yet busy things, and my mantra through the day is don't stop, just don't stop and it is amazing how many of those things are accomplished. Time so easily slips away, and one glance on my iPhone can steal too many minutes. 
We are called to not stop so many times. 
Don't stop praying.*
Don't stop hoping.**
Don't stop believing.***
Just don't stop.


* 1 Thessalonians 5:17
** Psalm 71:14
*** Romans 12:12

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Inspire my July | birthday girl

I've been a mama for over 8 years now.
For about 5 of those I was either pregnant, breastfeeding, or getting ready to get pregnant again. It was a whirlwind time.
Today, my baby turned four.
It saddens me sometimes, that so many milestones for us as a family are well and truly behind us. 
Newborn scent, cots and nappies, and snuffly tiny baby noises. 
Big siblings meeting brand new baby siblings. 
The quiet in the early hours with just you and that tiny human you are nourishing with your body. 
The neighbourly peeks into your pram at shopping centres and the gushing over tiny dark headed babes wrapped tight.
Those days.

Now, this four year old delight is the baby of our family. And while it's easy to remember the good old days as just that, I know they were full of sleepless nights and ranting mamas and pure exhaustion. And I need to be thankful and present in the here and now.
She helps me to be right here.
With her still-squishy arms and her deliciously full lips that are always wanting kisses.
With her crazy humour and her earnest questions and her pouts when she wants what she wants to no avail.
She is cheeky, and wild; daring and soft. 
And I feel like her birthday marks the end of an era in my motherhood journey.

Happy, sad and everything in between.


Monday, July 14, 2014

inspire my july | board games

I couldn't ever have pictured life, in this moment, from way back then. Could you?
I knew I was destined for motherhood, but I couldn't have known that it would look exactly this way. 
I did however, have hope for those things that family would look like. 
Dinners together, homework, afternoon tea. How our breakfast routine would look, and how we would spend our weekends. 
The movie nights, walks to school, long days at home and sneaky midnight visitors who curl up quietly inside our blankets are bonuses.
What I didn't fail to imagine though, was board games. 
In my mind, the ideal mother plays with her children. And while I so often miss the mark when it comes to reaching the ideals I hold so carefully, I am a mama who makes a conscious effort to play.
Some of my own fondest memories as a child were playing Monopoly, or different games of cards, or a simple game of Snakes & Ladders. I don't know why I loved it so much. 
Maybe because we were allowed to have treat foods, or possibly it was the uninterrupted time with mum and dad that we had. 
And now, what I'd imagined is here. 
Living this part of my motherhood dream is amazing. I am truly blessed.

What better time than winter, curled up on pillows on the lounge room floor, to play a game of Monopoly that continues for hours, and eat creamed rice pudding instead of dinner.