Mirror, mirror on the wall…

I  had a revelation today…my job is not to look at the mirror judging everything I see there, struggling and striving for perfection. My job is to be the mirror and to reflect back at those who look at me whatever it is that I see. I hope when you look at me you see something beautiful, something funny, something loveable, someone likeable…that you like the reflection that I give back to you….You can only see whatever it is that I am looking at. That’s why I take time to look at things that are beautiful, things that are funny and loveable and likeable…I’m looking at you now and I like what I see…someone worth talking to, worth writing for, worth thinking about…I hope you like what YOU see…

Stay posted, I think this has the potential to change the way I live, they way I am…but the fruit is in the pudding…or was it the pudding is in the oven….hey, I never said it would make me smart!

 

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How could I not…

How could I not love an author who weaves together a touching and terrifying tale of a boy and his tree…to be accurate, the boy is only one and a half millimetres tall and the tree is his home. Toby Lolness finds himself alone and on the run, pursued to the ends of the known world by a mob of angry tree citizens and terrifying insects. Faced with the perilous terrain of gigantic leaves, spiders and weevils and betrayed by those he thought he could trust, Toby must escape if his family is to survive.

This is story for children but it is the most heart-warming, eye-opening book I have read in ages. I have a pile of papers on my desk littered with quotes from this unassuming book, “Toby Alone” by Timothee de Fombelle. It is a ripping yarn but with oodles of heart and seasoned with wisdom that is both deep and rare. I LOVED this book. I want to own this book…I wish I had written this book. It hides some deep and pressing truths behind an exciting adventure and intelligent humour. The story touches on complex issues such as the destruction of our planet and the existence of life beyond ourselves, the pervasiveness of capitalism, the loss of community and of faith, and family and personal loss as well! And it is spattered with fantastic characters and adventures. How could I not give it to my nine-year-old son? How could I not want his intellect brightened and expanded by it?

“His mother had taught him to read when he was three, teaching him that words are the enemy of darkness. If you choose to be their friend, they will help you out all your life. But if you don’t, they’ll block your path. Maya had explained that was why people talked about being ‘familiar’ with a word or language. They were like family to you.”

“It’s very important to kiss your wife and son. That’s not irrelevant, it’s the heart of everything.”

“From watching Maya that day, Toby realised that when you mourn somebody, you also mourn what they didn’t give you. Maya was mourning the mother she’d never had. From now on, one thing was certain, she would never have a perfect mother in her life. And that was why she was sobbing. It was as if, right to the last, you hold out for a gesture or a word that will make up for everything. As if death also kills the gesture that was never made, or the word that was never said.”

How could I not recommend that you go out right now and buy (or at least borrow) a copy of this book and read it for yourself and give it to others and make it’s words part of your family?!!? I have a sneaking suspicion that this book could become a children’s classic… with ten literary awards, it should be!

I’d love to stay and chat but…

I’d love to stay and chat but…that book I was waiting for…the one you were all so keen to find out about…that I was worried would take three months to get to me via my local library…only took ten weeks to get here…and I now have 594 pages of long-awaited, highly-anticipated, shaky-hand inspiring suspense to …what am I still doing here…I have places to go (comfy chair), things to do (put my fuzzy zebra-print blanket over me) and books to read…see you on the other side….

 

Don’t worry, it won’t take me long. Bet it’s done by Monday! Viva la long weekend!

Danger! Confined Space. NO ENTRY

 

 

I took this photo because it made me laugh. I was on my way home from taking my older boys to school when I stopped at an intersection and found myself alongside a red cement mixer. This warning sign was right next to my window and it cracked me up! Surely no one needs to be warned not to climb inside a cement mixer! Even more absurd is the idea that anyone could be bothered! The only people who might fit through the very small, very narrow opening, would be a child, but seeing as the opening is about ten feet (or more) off the ground, it would have to be a professional abseiling child of about five!

The tragedy is this, that as I thought about this picture (hastily snapped on my mobile phone with the hope that there were no police officers nearby to fine me $250 for touching my mobile phone while driving a car- even though I was stationary), I realised that there was, in fact, someone stupid enough to  climb those ten feet and squeeze their adult frame through a tiny crawl hole into the dark, airless, churning bowl of concrete. Me!

About  three years ago I had one of those confrontations with a *person to whom I have a relationship from which I cannot extricate myself but with whom I do not live* (names and details excluded in case they ever decide to read one of my blogs…ha ha ha). You know, the confrontation that you cannot avoid because you can no longer ignore the elephant in the room? It was the right thing to do, and I handled the confrontation well BUT it went pear-shaped anyway and what followed was an excremental storm of  diarrheic proportions. Three years later all of us involved in the events that followed what I would still call a civilised and mature discussion but that erupted into a whole lot more, are still recovering. I have no need to throw dirt (apparently that causes you to lose ground!), to prove a point, or even to be right. The point is, that at the time, mid-eruption, I had a choice to make, AND I CHOSE WRONG!

In the busyness of dodging character assassinating spears and flying excrement as it made its way from the fan towards me, I forgot to pay attention to the hole into which I was crawling for cover; and I squeezed my not-insubstantial frame through that tiny opening into the dark, airless, churning cauldron of unforgiveness. The bad news was that I wasn’t actually safe from the dung-flinging in there either, in fact, there were shovel loads being tossed in there with me and I was left to churn and churn and churn with it all while the other party was sitting comfortably astride their high horse handing it out. Stupid me! I  had wanted to stand up for what was right, to show up the injustice and strike a blow for those who had been injured, and I was stuck in a barrel full of…well, you know what…and the longer I was in there, the more I became covered in the junk that was churning around in there with me, and the more claustrophobic I became, and the more I began to stink of the stuff. The irony is that all the crud that was tumbling in there with me was the proof that I needed that I had been right to do what I did, that I was, to some degree, right. The problem was that I couldn’t climb out of what was becoming a suffocating place because it would mean leaving the evidence behind and then what would I have to show for all the pain I’d endured? The other party was walking around smelling like roses while I was stank. It wasn’t fair. Where was the justice for me? Why was I sick to the stomach whenever we were due to cross paths when I was in the right?

The sickening answer is this: Because I chose to be there. I had crawled in. I was staying in and clutching the offense to my bosom, absorbing it, dwelling on it, marinating in it. I kept myself in there. I had the power to get myself out.

Did you know there is no such word as unforgiveness. The spell checker on here is yelling at me about that little word. In my dictionary it does not exist and the only antonyms it offers for forgiveness are ‘mercilessness’ and ‘punishment’. I wasn’t punishing the other party at all, I was punishing myself…for their insensitivity, for their immaturity, for their selfishness, for their issues! How dumb can you be and still breathe????? I may be stupid at times, but I’m not merciless…and yet I was rolling in it!

So I used the age old, God-given super power of humankind…I used my free will to choose to climb out of that barrel and into the fresh air leaving all the excrement behind me. I washed myself in forgiveness (remembering that I am far from perfect and have been forgiven numerous times myself) and took a nice ddep breath of fresh air! I’d forgotten how good it felt to really breathe.

The other party are still around, shovelling and doing as before, but I have made a huge discovery now that I can think clearly again, now that my brain is no longer strangled by the fetid air of unforgiveness…what goes around, comes around. If I don’t hang on to that cement truck full of all the muck that has been thrown at me, it will finally be released to its rightful owner…and one of these days, the owner of all this flung dung will wake up to find that it has been delivered to its rightful place, deposited in a pile on their front doorstep, ready for them to dig their way out of it as best they can.

And I feel better…enough even that I might lend them my shovel…and maybe even help a little bit!

So there’s a warning here: Danger! Confined Space! Do Not Enter…..trust me…I’ve been there!

 

Things that matter most…

There are some bad things that happen to you in your thirties…

  • you find yourself saying, “Is that little Josh driving his mother’s car? Didn’t I just babysit him last Thursday?” and Little Josh is actually driving himself to his wedding!
  • you find your first grey hairs (I did- two of them…today!)
  • you notice that your skin is slightly creased in places- and there is no straightener to get those crinkles out!
  • you stay up late on a  Friday night (as late as midnight) and you’re still paying for it on Wednesday!
It’s sad but true! Life marches forwards at break-neck speed and you get dragged along with it! But there are some positives too! Like the fact that you’ve finally worked out who you are and who you want to be;  you know what you want out of life and, more or less, how to go about getting it, and  you’ve worked out what is important. The short list goes like this (in no particular order):

  •  Family! I understand my parents so much better since I became one, the price they paid, the reason they chose some of the things they did for me and also, what an ungrateful little brat I was as a teenager! My mother would be so gratified to read that…I think her standard line in my teens was “Just wait till you have kids.” Turns out she was right…most of the time! I appreciate what my brothers are to me, the connection that I have with them and the love I feel for the men who have known and loved me my whole life (lucky me!)
  • Family! I was blessed to have worked in the community in a job that got me into people’s homes, people from all walks of life and of all ages. The thing that impacted me most and often brought me to tears, were the pensioners who, despite their own ageing bodies, cared for a husband or wife with dementia who often did not even recognise their own spouse. As I sat with these veterans of the school of life, many of them would reminisce about the years that they had at home when their children were little, years remembered with the golden aura of their youth. It struck me then and reminds me now, that when there are so many wrinkles in my face that I need to peg the folds of skin back so that I can put mascara on my lashes (if I have any) that I will remember these days, the days when my boys still throw their arms around me and tell me I am the world’s best mum just because I made chocolate cake (with icing) for dessert and when a picnic underneath the dining room table with candles and soft drink is the highlight of the week. I made the decision years ago that the memories I make in this phase of my life won’t be “I wish I had read to my kids/played with my kids/gone bike riding with my kids/baked misshapen cookies/painted/made cubby houses with my kids” memories,  they will be memories free from regret and so rich that they will feed me and, if I am lucky, hurt with the sweetness of them.
  • Friends! I am so blessed to have friends who have seen me ugly cry, who have seen me 30kg overweight and cranky and sick…and who still love me! I count myself wealthy because there are people in my life who rejoice when I succeed, who let me cry with them when they are sad, who make me a cup of tea and tell me it’s ok when I mess up, and who tell me when I need to pull myself together. They keep it real, they keep me grounded and they inspire me to not settle for less than I am worth and they allow me far enough into their lives to do the same for them. We laugh together and play ping pong and watch bad movies and eat great food together and wipe each other’s kids’ noses and share secrets and sit quietly together. We have each-other’s backs and make room for each-other’s growth and strengths and weaknesses. We do life together!  I may not have a nice house or a fancy car or designer clothes, but I have A-list friends! Honestly, A-LIST!!!
  • Faith! I know what it is that I believe and what I want to pass on to my children. I know what I am convinced of and where there is room to grow and change. I know how to be tolerant of others bust maintain my integrity and convictions. I know enough to know that you can never judge a book by it’s cover and that God will surprise me whenever I think I know who He is. I know that I have so far to go…but that the journey is all of the fun! I know that it is good for me to surround myself with people who have strong beliefs and who think about the world, not just live in it. I know that I need to be a part of something that is bigger than me or my family.
  • Shoes! I  know that there is no excuse for wearing a pair of shoes that will hurt my feet for any longer than I have to…no one ever looks under the table at a wedding!
  • Bikini lines: if you’re looking at mine in too much detail, you deserve what you get!
  • Wrinkles: They are proof of life and women who wear theirs with pride are infinitely more attractive than those who try to hide theirs…Really? Should you looked shocked at 65? Didn’t they tell you plastic surgery would cost that much?