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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Winter Beauty In A Park

So very tired tonight. I have just finished a long haul of weeks of work and my children are on school holidays from tomorrow. Yeah sleep in due. Have given them the word about not waking me up. A few blogs ago I talked about taking photos, a photo challenge. So I am just taking a moment to post one of my winter shots taken in a local park around the corner from where I live.

My favourite time of day is late afternoon when the shadows lengthen and the soft angled light brings the grass to life.

There is an enjoying of life at midlife. Family relationships seems richer, life slows a little to find meaningfulness if we look to notice it.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Hearts Reach From The Past

Just this morning I chatted on facebook with a face and voice from my past. It brought tears to my eyes. I spent six and half years looking after malnourished children, amongst other things, in the Philippines. Every now and again I get a new request from facebook to be a friend of a young person who reminds me how I helped them as malnourished children. Or I knew them and their parents and they send their love to me.

It is so special.

'That life' seems so far behind me but in my hearts longings I would love to go back there and hug the people and children I left behind 20 years ago. Some of us have lives like that, segmented where we have chosen to leave something behind to start something new. In midlife it can seem that many bridges have been crossed, never to be returned over again. The fragments can be painful but it won't always be that way.

Heaven will be a wonderful place where crossed bridges and broken pieces of our past will be healed. Where all the pieces will fit back in harmony, where as friends and brother and sisters in Christ we will all worship side by side with such intense joy and unity.

Thank-you Casey you have warmed my heart today.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Wrong Lens

I met a friend in church this morning who like me feels its hard to depart much from the mid line at this stage of life. Her discussion echoed my daily emotions. You think you might like to study a paper at university or find something thrilling to do to impress, or just follow a new interest but where is there the time to do it!

She has 5 children and we share the sense of loneliness there is at being at home churning over chores and missing relational experiences with burgeoning or teenage children. Children who need you less and less except to open your wallet or give them permission.

But as she commented we find it so difficult in our generation to be happy with our domestic role in comparison to our Mothers or Grandmothers. They didn't delight in their domesticity but they weren't given many other options so had lower expectations of their station and reveled in it. They enjoyed their home baking days and high teas and gossip sessions in the drawing room with their women friends.

I think I should start a midlife morning tea movement!

Our expectations are so high, the scope of opportunities so broad that we feel the need for two lives to do everything we'd like to do.

So the word contentment came to the surface again. It has been tumbling over and over in my thoughts in recent weeks. Can we be content without lessening our expectations?

Two things are coming to my realization. Only peace with God quietens a discontent heart and realigns our expectations to things that are more worthy of a life lived well.
Discontent is fast fed by advertising and trips to stores and comparing our situations with others.

My final word on this is about perfection. Perfection is such a disappointing dance partner, it waltzes the first lap with us and then changes partners for something more perfect on the second. When we view everything in life with a need for perfection, we will always be disappointed and discontent. We need to see beauty in the 'rough around the edges life' that we live and true wealth in our relationships with others.

I'm glad for the challenge to change the lens for myself,

Carolyn

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Widened Horizons

I am missing blogging, so here I am again. Have a new follower (such a strange thought to have followers!) Am a little further down the bathroom reno research path. Thanks to some helpful advice from a plumber friend we now have a bathroom stripped to the floorboards and have stopped at this. Now I am researching architects to draw up concept plans to redesign our house layout and flow. The bathroom is in the wrong place and we need an extra bedroom. So we have turned a few corners. So far a painless process!

My oldest daughter has had her 10th birthday and has entered the age of cool skateboard kid with the shoes, skinny jeans and cap to fit the image. For me it was owning a original pair of green kaki army pants and nap sack at that age, followed closely with falling in love with horses. So we are not that far apart across the ages.

Last night we went to our first Auckland Zoological society meeting together. We heard a European zoologist speak about olfacation and the olfactory bulb in the NZ Kakapo. 'K' commented that she really enjoyed being there but because of the speakers accent and rather expanded vocabulary, all she understood was thank-you for coming. She would like to be a zoologist at age 10, so we are pursuing this interest wherever we can. On Sunday we go on a 'free to member's behind the scene look at the new building development going on at Auckland Zoo.  

Life continues to be a mess and a muddle for me but never boring. I never thought at 50 I would be sitting in lecture rooms with Auckland Zoo staff and other conservationists but then my father never thought he would be joining riding clubs at the same age and sitting beside me explaining society meeting procedures either.

Parenthood is an exploritive journey of many directions and stages. Our children widen our horizons and allow us to enter into aspects of life, adventure, interests with them as they get older that we never would have chosen for ourselves.

That is kind of cool.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

To Blog or not to Blog

This is the question? This journey into the modern world has been just over a week long for me. Should I continue? Maybe some of you have some thoughts about that?

Does anyone have some advice about bathroom reno's. How it went well or wrong for you. Is using a complete package company a financial rip off or is it worth the money spent? Please write a comment as I'd love to know. We need to decide in the next week how we approach this.

Right I'm off to scream around the house and clear up a weeks mess, after 2 soccer practices, scores of homework, washing and beds, find the kitchen bench and make a cake to take up to school for a shared lunch. Pop in on Mum and give her meds, and walk the dog. However I did spend 15 minutes on my face this morning and am wearing my $8 second hand top from savemart and I feel a million dollars.

Cheerio, Carolyn

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Keeping up Appearances

Well I did the hot chocolate at the garden center this afternoon before I picked up the kids from school. It was 'lick'alicious. Then I briefly enjoyed the visual feast of interior decor items on my way to the door without buying anything. I must score a brownie point for that one.

A friend and I were talking about keeping up appearances today. Finding and taking the time to put on a little makeup to brighten the face and keep our husbands noticing us. So we don't just fade into the wallpaper. I think a lot of the time we just can't be bothered when it's not a work requirement. But have you noticed how confident you feel when you've finished and stride out the door with the eye shadow and a striking lipstick on.

Womanly confidence is worth bottling, especially for those days when life seems dull. Its a good pick me up. No the preschooler won't notice but your husband will. Valuing ourselves somehow helps others value us too.

So gather up all those pieces of your make-up kit, no matter how old and desperate they look, or how far flung they are! Re-instate them in your handbag. Find a space in your morning even if its after you've left the house to make a striking difference to the way you look and feel. Often the only thing that needs to be airbrushed is our confidence.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A Photography Challenge

I've been thinking I need to pick up an old hobby for a day and revel in it. I'm sure most of us don't have room to breathe in life, let alone pursue a hobby. Being woman, our lives are full to the brim with work, family and relational demands, too many voices, no empty spaces. Just cramped! We need to get away sometimes and the mall just doesn't cut it!

I did a photography course when I was living in Brisbane and it was the most thrilling thing. It brings alive every creative juice, especially developing one's own shots, very much a science and an art form but even to the most unskillful the magic is always there as the image emerges on the blank paper.

So here is the challenge to all you budding image makers, who desperately need to get away, pick up your camera sometime in the next week and head off by yourself to create. Step 2, send me a copy of your 'best of the best' shots on facebook. We'll see what we get back. Step 3 attach a comment about how it felt to be out there again with a camera in your hand.

Life can always be livened up by doing something out of the ordinary, where time gets lost and the soul takes flight.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Foggy Days

Its a foggy day in Auckland, the Queens birthday actually. Happy birthday Elizabeth. My washing machine and dryer keeps churning and after 3 hours of housework I have returned a few layers of clutter to their right spaces. What does one do with the mundane! It just keeps coming back.

Part of being a woman seems to be dealing with everyone else's stuff. You can tell I still have young children who'd rather play computer games than pick up after themselves!

I am enjoying the autumn hues though. Looking out my window I see the ornamental cherry tree boasting bold orange tones. We see the summer green leaves and the winter bare branches for so long, but the autumn leaves are fleeting. We could almost miss them.  I'm thankful for the little things that bring colour to mundane days today. A piece of music, a chat with a friend, a hug from a child, a sense of achievement, a walk with the dog, a clean bench, views to my garden.

Find sometime to see autumn this week, if autumn is happening in your part of the world, colour is such a gift to the soul.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Walking With Sorrow

As I journey with friends and their pain this week I am reminded of the song, 'God is watching us from a distance'. If you've got a minute watch it on youtube - 'Bette Medler'.

My Father died very suddenly when I was a seventeen year old girl. After the fresh fall of grief there were other winters of it too. I was chosen to give the graduate speech at my nursing graduation in 1981. The day of the graduation I spent many hours crying. As I practiced my speech to be delivered that night in the Auckland Town Hall to an audience of over a thousand parents and students, the mayor of Auckland and nursing officials, my Father was constantly in my thoughts.

It had only been 2 years and I thought forward to the many other special events in my life that he would be absent from. I thought my face would never dry. But later that night, hair rolled in a french roll and crisp white uniform and red cape on, I nervously strolled behind the back stage area of the town hall stage.

At that moment I felt that all of heaven was open and my Heavenly Father and my own Dad were watching from a distance. Somehow nothing stood between us. My 3 minute speech was delivered succinctly and quickly and as I stepped down the stage steps to my amazement every person in that auditorium stepped to their feet in applause. Something had happened beyond all of our understanding, God had come down to touch every heart through my pain.

That night I knew that God sees our pain and is never distant.

Double-Digit Delights

This morning was a day with my pre-teen that surprised me with its wonderfulness. She won her soccer match and is a real play maker in various positions. We chose her birthday present, she has a budget to keep to for her choice of present and celebration. She calculated everything, making cheaper choices to achieve what she wanted to do with her friends. She created her own e-invitation and sent it. She enters double-digits in 7 days and delights me with her growing sense of what is reasonable.

I thought it would never come but shouldn't be surprised, we all get there in the end. Her challenging ways emerge into a girl who knows very clearly what she is passionate about and will pursue these things eagerly. Again I am surprised by a new stage of parenting where as a daughter she needs so much of my assurance about 'girlhood'. I get to walk alongside this and observe her and cheer her on. There's nothing like a sports sideline to make you realise how much your child relishes your cheers of support and grows in confidence from every success.

I feel warm and fuzzy about seeing my children grow up. Especially as they cross the line from Year 6 to Year 7. I've always hated people saying to me, it get's easier because as a Mother of twins and a 2 year old, it took so very long to do so.

What I realise today is how much parenting is an invitation by an older child to a parent. When they let you in to coach them, its such a joy.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Squeezing Life In

Yesterday I went for a job interview, I thought it might fill the lonely corners of life and help meet the budget. Only to find out the job was way too exciting and perfect but wouldn't fit into the small shape I had for it in my life.

All the energy and adrenaline for the interview dissipated a few hours later into cold reality. This midlife Mum had to face the facts, the jigsaw pieces were too many like 2 bags of pieces mixed up, life would get too confusing and lots of pieces would always be left over, with no place to go.

I have to say no today. No to working with a CEO 3 weeks into a project who wants to setup offices and launch something fantastic that would make a real difference with me at his side.

But as a woman I can't leave out the human quotient. My elderly Mother who depends on my company. My children who need my management and nursing on a sick day and the sum total of all the weekly activities and chores of a busy family life.

If you are choosing the right pieces for the puzzle all the time and letting little dreams slip away to do so, well done.

Welcome to my 3 new followers, you've inspired me today.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Resonating

Being new to writing a blog I don't want to prescribe answers, after all I'm a mid-lifer and one thing dawns in this stage of life, answers are too easy to give and don't fit every ones life size. I hope my words resonate with my readers because it comes from where they are.

To know you are not alone in your head space is a comforting thing, like a hot chocolate on a sunny day.

Have you been for one lately, when you most need it, drop into your local garden centre cafe, get a luxurious hot chocolate with bouncing marshmallows and sip it outdoors with the birdsong bouncing off your soundscape. You deserve it. Melt away the winter blues with some moments to yourself. Breathe again, forget the loads of washing or afternoon work schedule for 30 minutes.

You are more than the sum total of your skills and task list, you have a soul that needs to slow down and be nourished too.

Defining Oneself


We reach moments in life when we are arrested with a need to find or measure ourself again. As women we get lost in our roles, wife, mother, daughter, housekeeper, sandwich maker, taxi driver. And we feel empty when these roles melt away like ice on a summer's day.

Staying home with young children strips us of a sense of being the intellectual, the sophisticate in a work role, the rush of the urgent takes on new meaning! Its no longer about getting work across a deadline but rather rushing to rescue a toddler who is about to bang their skull as they stand-up under a shopping trolley.

Reaching decade milestones has a similar effect. We wonder who would be counted as a friend to celebrate our life at that midway point? What has our life added up to? Where have we left fingerprints of consequence? Who are we really? Where has the fun gone?

Ever wondered such things? Join me on my journey of being an older midlife Mum. Join me on my journey of 'being woman'. Share insightful stories with other women who visit this site.

I'm Carolyn...