Feb 26, 2010

Breathing easier again- it's the Weekend.

I survived the week, and now it's back to getting other things back on track.
The 'traumatic' book review got squared away (Alleluia!!) with mummy as transcription typist and editor.
I will say this for my son, he has an amazingly good head for remembering facts and stories and information from anything he reads or sees. He had forced himself to read it, and pushed on because of the deadline (painful actually) and actually completed the book - Kidnapped by R L Stevenson. This version is not an easy book for a kid to read(especially one who is not into reading).  One, because it was the adult version and two the language was really classic with scottish slang included. It was an older print. 
He managed to write the synopsis/review himself and while I was clarifying his sentences, he was able to recall the story quite well.. I made a big deal out of it but he wasn't convinced it was that amazing a feat. He's a tough customer, what can I say.
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I got this very prettily designed award a 'short' time ago from dear Alice always from Wonder land. Alice writes very heart warming poetry among other fascinating topics.  Thank you Alice.
And so it is my lovely task to pass it on to 7 bloggers and list 7 things (stories, thoughts, favourite, peeves etc anything) about yourself.

1) I love staring at the Full Moon especially when its really huge and seems so much closer to us.

2)  When I was young, I always licked the cake bowl clean (of course that was after the mix went into the oven). That was 'yummier' than baked cake.

3) I have this strange neurosis that involves dog-ears on books - I go berserk when I see the poor books being ill-treated.

4) I was once an 'irritating specimen' along with 41 other such specimens. In the last year of secondary school, the teacher in charge of our class always made us do gardening. And we of course like all teenagers always felt that we could be doing more interesting things with our time than THAT.. and so we dawdled and dilly dallied and very little weeds got pulled out. And that's how we earned that name, she would constantly mutter it under her breathe a few times while we walked back to class.

5) I love mushrooms - the eating kind especially button mushrooms.

6) Sometimes in my darkest, deepest moments of frustration,  I wonder if I collected the right babies from the hospital, none of them are like me !

7) I am the TYPING POOL for my children. How is it they are able to spot a new PC game, figure out how to play it instantly and yet have a problem figuring out Powerpoint and Excel. (Preposterous !).

And now to pass this on to 7 other bloggers:
  1. Lily 'in her journey to find peace  -  Locating My Life
  2. A young poet I recently discovered - Wanderer A Journey called.....
  3. Tracy whos seeks  to understand scripture...  http://abundantliving-tracy.blogspot.com/
  4. Andrea,  always offering  hope with her scriptures and prayers http://arise2write.blogspot.com/
  5. Stephanie http://stephaniebaffone.blogspot.com/, ....a cheerful writer.
  6. Amy my favourite drama mama....at http://mamaswithdrama.blogspot.com/
  7. J B R - a very strong individual in the face of inner struggles http://justbereal77.blogspot.com/

Feb 24, 2010

Endless Work Week - curbing anxieties

I have been a BEEZY bee this week with 2 deadlines back to back so I'm sort of burning the candle at both ends. . . The tension at the office is scary... (what am I doing here.. taking a quick drink ! while the rest go take puffs !)
My son is still at his book, the end(of the book) is near.. I can see it. So that episode will soon be over.  The kids have been getting to bed late too, instead of their usual time because Mummy's late getting home (no I'm NOT upset!).

My endless work week will be over soon, by the end of Friday before I can breathe some again.

I wanted to share something with you
..To keep me going daily, (the ice-cream didn't last too long).. knowing and anticipating everything to happen in this looooong week, I have been either reading or thinking on this little prayer each morning and it has kept me not just going but calm too....  

Do Not Be Anxious

Do not be anxious, said our Lord,
Have peace from day to day-
The lilies neither toil nor spin,
Yet none are clothed as they,
The meadowlark with sweetest song
Fears not for bread or nest
Because he trusts our Father's love
And God knows what is best.

(H S Rice)

Feb 20, 2010

A Day in the Life - An Ice Cream a day....

Coit Tower, Cookie Summit... Chocolate Twist... Minty Delight....... guess where I've been.

It's been a tough week all round, I decided I needed a treat myself ....ice-cream.  But of course I couldn't just go by myself and 'not take' the kids. Then again, except for my girl, the boys didn't deserve a treat.
So I decided to get them to work for it throughout all of Saturday in order to get ice cream.

Yup.. ok ...let's call it what it is ...I resorted to the oldest trick in the book .. I tried to bribe the kids to be good. ...   (bad bad mummy .. !!) . Hey, sometimes you just have to forget the rulebook and go with you've got. . ... desperation.

Well it worked.
The youngest boy managed to get all his study work done and actually watched very little TV. The second child, well it gets better. He actually spent more time focusing on getting the reading  done - his very difficult classic tale by R L Stevenson for his book review. That was major progress; not much TV and not much gaming time either.

SO, I didn't have that difficult a time today, less nagging and all,  I actually got more of my tasks done.
Thank God for small mercies and ice-cream.



And I must add,  I just enjoyed a good long laugh after reading one blog spilling onto the other.. .if you need a laugh check out Farila's and Betty's latest post.


Have a good weekend.



                            ........Now what do I do for an encore tomorrow ??

Feb 19, 2010

A Day in the Life - Fighting negativity daily..

What goes up must come down. My blog is starting to read like that,  my emotions swinging up then down with each post. That's the result of striving to keep positive and resisting the urge to 'relax' into depression.
Who says a mother's life is fulfilling. Not today. Oh yeah, it certainly is full and filling but not in the positive sense of the expression.  We have to be actors much of the time, we cannot be what we feel like being, we have to put on a happy face when we are not, be cheerful when when we are depressed and  exhibit super powers despite fatigue. We have to be constant role models. (OK I 'm ranting, so sue me!.)

Staying optimistic is getting tougher around my second child . When did he become so extremely negative and pessimistic? (I suppose I can blame his father for it, him and his vile tongue). Much of my time, is spent trying to reroute his defeatist attitude, it takes an enormous amount of energy to overpower his negative comments and statements and to stay patient and positive.  If anything else for the sake of the other two kids, I need to stay positive and keep my spirits up (as much as I feel I want to wallow and stay upset.!).

Since the start of school, I have been getting more and more wound up with this child. He's going to be 13, will he outgrow it soon, I doubt it. And it is affecting  the other two kids. Every task (homework) which involves self-expression, or appears voluminous is a humongous task. The fear seems to overwhelm him. The moment he is faced with such work that 'seems' hard or hits an obstacle, his reaction is an instant depression, 'I cannot' , 'I won't be able to finish it in time'..'I don't know how',  'I 'll just die' even before he has begun. He says there is 'no hope' for him. Yes, he can be quite dramatic without trying.  He can't finish a book to get out his review in time, and yet he will persist in procrastinating and compound his own stress.  Does he realise it,  yes he is aware but cannot take charge of it and does not seem to want to be helped.  The more upset or insistent (getting work done) I get, the more stubborn he becomes.

I came home this evening to the same situation, I know I am loosing(wearing down)! Don't be mistaken, I'm not giving in yet.
I'm telling myself now to stop and review. I need to do something different, change my moves to gain his attention ?  I'm thinking this can't go on, what are my options and his ?  Should I send him for one of those motivational classes for kids or counseling , I'm not sure if it would help but it won't hurt and I won't know if I don't try something.
He has his 'successful' moments but they are rare and few between to help boost his confidence or make a dent in his attitude.

I know...  some miracles take time.

He is like a very uneven boulder that I have to keep pushing up a steep mountain. 
I have taken to praying especially more for this boy; after all who else can I turn to. I hope He will eventually hear me and offer some HELP.

Feb 16, 2010

Conquering the Milford Track

In early 1991, before the kids came along, my husband and I went to New Zealand for a holiday. We went with another couple friend of ours. Apart from touring on our own by car, we had decided to do the Milford Track - the unguided walk. I have to admit that my husband and I were ill-prepared for this 'hike'. But somehow I was luckier because I happened to buy shoes just before we set off. 

It was a walk like no other walk I had dreamed of.  We were prepared somewhat for the cold and the snow but not quite for the realty of it.  When we started out, there were few others with us, but we soon fell far behind. It wasn't a race of course.  We had some sort of a well-worn trail (no signs), a general direction to follow; we had to make our own way to the basic shelter stops for each night.  The back pack I was carrying was heavy, we were over-prepared trackers with extra dry food and clothes. On the first day of walking, it was sunny yet cold but still the weight of the backpack took it's toll. I fell head first, face down literally after climbing up a bank.  Thankfully I only cut my lip slightly and tasted some earth. When we got to the first shelter, all we wanted to do was find a bunk and not move ever !. But of course that was not possible.

No room service here, we took turns to prepare food as a couple, can you imagine having ice water to wash up with (no such thing as heaters up there on the track). But then you didn't perspire in those temperatures. Of the lot of walkers I think we were the most creative when it came to food.  We had instant noodles and rice while the rest ate mostly bread, soup and biscuits. You had to walk out the shelter to get to the toilets and wash basins. As we got higher, we had to cross crude rope bridges, cut across shallow streams and even brave the cold rain.  It was quite an adventure, we came across no animals, it was amidst gorgeous scenery and wonderful air.

It was I think the 3th day that we finally reached the mountain top and found ourselves actually dragging our feet through knee-high snow. The picture you see above is a photo of the actual picture taken of us at the top, the two figures in red, my friend and me (standing). Thank goodness the camera did not freeze up.
It was exhilirating, it was magnificent, to see God's beautiful earth in the raw, surrounded by peaks and snow. We were lucky because we had the sun out mostly.

The last day was a little tense because we were afraid of missing the ferry. We had to push ourselves to make good time.  If the ferry left we would have had to camp out in the open to wait til the next day. Now that, we didn't come prepared for.  Of course by then our bags were lighter. My husband's feet were suffering because he had worn the wrong kind of shoes, the rest of us were just tired with bones aching from the exercise.
It was 5 (or 6) days if I recall correctly, we had made it to the end and made it safely back, aching bones and all. It was a feat.

Feb 13, 2010

150 and counting

I have hit the 150th post - I am celebrating it....150 posts since I began  7 months ago.

Posting is not that easy, unless you are into writing literally whatever happens daily. Sometimes something happens but mostly I live through each day without anything spectacular happening (unless you count arguments with the kids) for an interesting read or post.
But then blogging  has become more about marking my own signposts; it helps me chart my thoughts, moods, my ups and downs, self- discoveries and marks my own reactions and thoughts to others' posts on their feelings and experiences. There's a little more of 'being me' in each post and I look at myself anew when I re-read the thoughts.  Looking back now, I did begin on the right note with my first post  Brighter side of Life

As I explore my thoughts and awareness grows, I recall more of my past, the memories intrude more often . As I think about them, the bad is especially more apparent, I am not bothered by them so much as that they are a part of who I am, and quite likely played some share in subsequent actions and attitudes of my early twenties.    It does help to recount them in writing.

I realize in Faith too I have come further along than before 2009.

And making new friends along the way.. across the miles has been a blessing.


BM

Feb 11, 2010

Some Miracles Take Time

This is the title of a book by Art E Berg and his wife, it tells a story of miracles in love, tragedy and triumph. The main point throughout is that miracles do not happen instantaneously but  take time to grow. 'Patience and faith can compel things to happen that otherwise never would have come to pass'. 

Most often it is our driving need for things to happen with instant results and skepticism that blinds us to them and prevents their(miracles) growth.
It is true there are more miracles today than in any age, we just need to open ourselves up to see them in the most unexpected places and persons.

Interestingly, this past week some of you related such stories.
Every child's growth is unique, every discovery they make is a miracle, if you read these posts you get that, Sandra's post  How are you Unique.  I read Farila's story as one of an open relationship with God that only a child is capable of having - unassuming, unafraid, honest.
You can be a miracle for an elderly person, Marty's post relates a chance meeting,  being more present in the present leads to an experience
Farila's miracle story in Miracles do happen, there are many miracles here that came with faith.

Life is filled with the good and the bad, and it is affirmed over and over that you can't have one without the other. But even through the bad, there are graces to be had. And out of them we will find a path that will lead us to our prize.

A lovely poem by an unknown author
Not 'til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unfold the pattern,
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads were as needful
In the skillful weaver's hand,
As the threads of Gold and Silver
In the pattern that he planned.

Feb 10, 2010

Every One has a Purpose

You and I, through our blogs, my friends, your friends, my colleagues, we each are a beacon, a lighthouse for each other. I can see a way clear for you as you can see a way for me. Some are intentional and some are accidental in directing us. We need others, they need us - be they family or strangers or friends.

As the saying holds true, we cannot see the forest for the trees, when we are lost deep in our jungle, despite our own rational sense, we cannot see our way out except with the help of a guide - be it in the form of a higher power or more often than not, other individual persons. We need others.

Strangely when someone else is in the same position as ourselves, we can offer some consolation, advise. But we cannot see it for our own selves. It's easier to give advise then to follow.  We need others.
When lighting another's way, some of that light is shed on my own path and I learn too.

No one is perfect. Not just love, but anger too is a natural part and parcel of our emotions, it lies dormant in us mostly, but the little aggravations that we face each time with minor conflicts and arguments with persons around us, lets us diffuse it gradually or in outbursts.  If our life was too calm and smooth, how would we release that, like all forms of pressure it must soon find  release and restlessness sets in. So non-congruent persons have a purpose too.

And so it goes on, the chain within the cycle of life, we move forward by affecting each other, we change, we think and move each other - in thoughts or actions. Every living being has a place and purpose. Each is a link that joins with another or forever breaks it. And then too, that break serves a purpose, to re-direct our course or to strengthen our path. A death we lament with memories and new life brings fresh thoughts, all touching us to lead us onto different paths.

We need others to lead fulfilling lives.



Who will I affect today ?

Feb 8, 2010

Reading 'Emma'

I've been reading Emma and taking a long time too. Jane Austen certainly knows her characters. While Emma is sensible and very conscious of others' thoughts and feelings, she seems to have totally overlooked her own self awareness, her own feelings.  And thank goodness she did not give away her desired partner out of her own goodness before she came to the realization.
But Emma is not perfect either, she tends to get caught up in her own web and strays from objectivity until it is too late.

Women today have not changed overly much in our innate characters, have we?

Feb 7, 2010

Sunday Solitude - Advice on how to Live life.

I finally found some time to sit and read this night.  Once more,  some of the peace and calm I had lost,  returns.

A good piece of advice for me, I found in the passages(St Paul's) I have just read, I who am not able to let go of the past; and a reminder to live without worry.
Tomorrow is a new day, the beginning of a new week, there will be new opportunities for new graces.


" I can only say that forgetting all that lies behind me and straining forward to what lies in front, I am racing towards the finishing-point to win the prize of God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus.. So this is the way in which all of us who are mature should be thinking, and if you are still thinking differently in any way, then God has yet to make this matter clear to you. Meanwhile, let us go forward from the point we have each attained"  Phil 3: 13-16.

Among the last words in these letters Paul says
" Always be joyful, then , in the Lord:.. Let your good sense be obvious to everybody. .. Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."
Phil 4: 4-7

Feb 6, 2010

A Day in the Life .....Busy busy ..done and to do...

This past week has been a hectic one at work. My PC kept restarting on me right in the middle of typing and the office decided they would switch it to one of the newer ones since it was obviously TIME. So in between waiting for restarts, loosing bits of data and conversion I still had deadlines to keep and tasks to get done.
Fortunately the damage was minimal because my data was already backed up or I would be crying over that. Amazing that we can't live without the computer in the office.
I have so missed my bible reading some too because of the late tired nights

This is the weekend.
I keep thinking that I need to start on it but I haven't done my assignment yet.
There was a PT meeting in the youngest boy's school. I took care of that and then ran some minor errands. Just after lunch I got to it, no not the assignment. 
The thought had been nagging me for a while about cleaning out the children's room. It was way overdue. Everyday I would come back from work to see the state of their room (piles of school books and papers old and new)  and I tell myself I have to do it myself. Their tidying efforts weren't cutting it. 
And today I did it.  It felt great to throw out a lot of unwanted stuff..old books and tonnes of old used papers, broken toys, old stationery... and clear out the drawers and organise them between non-school and school stuff. 
It felt good to see space.  Cleaning is Therapeutic.

I had to fight with my girl to clean out her place, she refused to let me touch them. I knew why of course. So many posters!  I managed to do one of the smaller cabinets with her art and craft stuff but not quite the writing desk. Have you ever tried cleaning off wax jell from the base of a drawer?  She said she would clean the desk. Well I checked, it was a little tidier but not fully to my satisfaction.  I will probably have to take a look at her wardrobe soon. She is not the most organised person.

Tomorrow is church day and marketing day, the fridge is almost bare, I will have to stock up extra too, since the double holidays are up soon. The Chinese New Year means the shops would be closed longer that usual.
 
The assignment will have to wait til then.

Feb 4, 2010

Happy endings & Roses

Below is one of my favourite poems by George Eliot, her dream in the 19th century still works for me today.
If I went by writer's names, I would have totally bypassed this piece all together because the first book I read by George Eliot during my school days was 'The Mill on The Floss'.  It was such a sad story (depressing too, the story of a young girl) it left quite an impression, I never picked up another book by her.  
I don't like sad endings I confess - be it book or movie..probably life too.   I try to avoid them (can't do that in life though !). Strangely, now that I think back on it,  I did quite a few of those tragedies in school like King Lear, Coriolanus, Wuthering Heights, Things Fall Apart (except for Midsummer Night's Dream) few more...were they trying to depress us (late teens) out of Literature !!  ......that's enough of that.. let's move on to peaceful images..
You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
(Roses by G Eliot)

Feb 3, 2010

Lighter


A superb idea to let the memories spill,
what was so present and frequently intrusive
now seems inconsequential and quite dismissive.

Endeavour more to free me now
to strengthen mind and spirit,
as baggage unloads to exit.

I shall pursue this freeing exercise,
a difference I feel, it does liberate.
My heart shall be lighter, I anticipate. 
(- HA)

Feb 1, 2010

My Childhood memories

Self -awareness/ self-counseling.

All who have had a bad childhood, please raise your hands.

I would not say I had a bad childhood,  I think I had an 'ok' childhood, quite normal for those times. My main source of anxiety in my growing up years stemmed from my mother's differential treatment of my sister and myself. I have not attached importance to it (I try to downplay them) but as Freud and Erikson have endorsed,  bad things that happened in childhood does affect your life and thoughts in the future. In this now, it is mostly what NOT to do with my own children.

I am the middle child, neither the 'youngest' child nor the 'oldest' child, not the only girl but the 'older girl'. These are labels that my mother seemed to attach different values to according to her old-fashioned upbringing. My sister was the pet and favourite and forever  'too young'  even when she was in her twenties, my brother well he was 'a boy', the oldest and so for those 'valid' reasons I had to carry the weight of more chores and be more responsible.
So perhaps that was why I felt that I needed to study harder (buried myself in school and study where I could)  to gain approval, to prove myself and kept quiet without rebelling. My sister was allowed to keep short hair from an early age while I was not allowed to cut it until I was 16 (I'll keep that hair story for another time). As a consequence, my sister was bolder, asked for anything she wanted, I was timid and did not ask for things, I was concerned with budgeting, which somehow my mother always impressed upon me. Mixed into all that of course there were feelings of inferiority that did colour my early years of interaction..[self-conscious]). 
The one thing that worked in my favour, was that I was the only one to get to the University, ... that got approval.

Lately I have been reminded of these memories because of my words/actions with my kids. I have said to my girl a few times she is lucky that her mother (me) is not like my mother. My girl like most teens does not seem to appreciate that she has so much more and seems to take some things for granted.  I get irritated when the kids seem self-absorbed and are unable to see beyond their own needs,  that you cannot have everything you want.   But then, the kids themselves have their share of horrid memories to carry with them, so therefore I have to find a balance but not over-compensate.

I am not distressed by these early memories, I have overcome them is many ways,  I am a different person from what I used to be, I have grown into my own so to speak. I am less bothered by the things my mother says these days than the fact that she still thinks along the old-fashioned vein. Old habits die hard. I have come to terms with her as she is. [My mother].

In the past few months I realise too that I have been subtly raising these issues through reminders with my mom in incidental situations but she merely brushes it aside 'so long ago ....really.. ..don't remember'.  What am I trying to do, I have no idea - hoping for a realization,  purple heart, compensation, to blame her for my present situation.?  No, I don't want to cause her any grief.

Why am I telling my story, perhaps it is to effect a catharsis for myself or perhaps I wish to raise the awareness that stereotyping, favoritism is not right. Such thinking still exists today. 

I can leave well enough alone, but I think I still have to let it out somehow to let it go, bring those nagging thoughts to the forefront.  (..dissolve them or expel them ?).

What I do know, is that a child is capable of seeing, hearing and feeling that some things are not right but may not understand or express them.  Unless they verbalize it, they will never know but keep it within.

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