Rediscovering Joy

I am on a bit of a journey at the moment.  Part of that journey is remembering what brings me joy.  I love creating artworks but seemed to have lost my free creative spark.  So I signed up for a one-off mixed media class.  The beauty of doing this was that I could get creative but I wouldn't have to think too much - perfect!  
This was the end result:

Not only was I happy with it, but I couldn't stop smiling throughout the whole course - something I haven't done for a long time.  I felt so peaceful and relaxed - my creative mojo, and my heart - maybe even my spirit - is slowly being restored!  I can't wait to do some more.  The key for me to know when is to stop when I'm trying to make it perfect.

Added later on in the day: Oh I do have to add that the woman is a print I have used and made into an artwork - I did not sketch this and I'm sorry but I don't know who to credit it to.

Watch this space for a giveaway of one of my creations - coming soon!

People Sitting in Cars

Sometimes people sitting in cars

aren't doing the things you might think they are doing.

Sometimes people sitting in cars

are there because they just can't get out.

Amazing Blessings

I am on stress leave this week.  The eventful year we have had finally got on top of me and I am worn out.  Exhausted. Done In.  I know one week can't fix things but it can give me space to get perspective.  I need perspective.  Being on one income means our money is pretty much all accounted for so I was going in to this week planning things that don't cost a lot to do but are still relaxing and pampering.  So imagine my surprise when sitting in a random hair cutting place waiting for a $20 trim, and this lady walks up to me and asks if I would be a model for their trainee beauticians!  3 hours of pampering and I am now sporting eye lash extensions worth $110!!! 

They are a little out-there but I do feel glamorous!  I wonder if Kev will notice?  I won't be offended if he doesn't (I'm not like that) but it will be fun to see how long it takes him.  Hehe. 

The other blessing for us at the end of last week was the gift of a holiday - anywhere we wanted to go, to the value of $1000!  Thanks Salvation Army!  we have chosen Hanmer Springs - luxury accomodation, petrol, food, pool entries and massages all paid for - bliss!!!  Just got to find the time to go but we can possibly go this weekend with me sporting my luscious lashes and all.    

So even in times of hardship, blessing is abundant.

Have a blessed Monday.


Unconditional Love

I was hugely blessed today.  I am blessed every day but today, I spent time with my wee friend Lucy.  Lucy is one of 5 children in a family of whom I am very close to.  I boarded with these guys for 2 years, and remember the last 4 being born.  I have been an integral part of their lives, and they mine.  I am so blessed by this family in many ways.  The thing I am loving at the moment is that these kids truly love me.  When they come in to church and see me there, or when I visit them at home, they can't stop smiling at me.  I get unconditional hugs from the youngest 4 (the oldest is an 11 year old boy and now way too cool to hug an 'aunty').  It is so fulfilling for me to have this contact with children when I don't have any of my own.  I know when I do have children these guys will be the most wonderful, caring 'cuzzies'. 

Anyway, back to Lucy.  She adores me, and I her.  I love how she is so free with her affections, and yet is not a people pleaser.  Her parents have done a great job with her.  Today I stole her and we hung out.  Over the last 6 months, Lucy has been losing her hair.  (As have 285 other Christchurch girls and women - as opposed to something like 65 reported cases last year.  I think you can make the connection).  The hair loss has gotten to the 'sensitive' stage, so we decided to make some funky headbands together.  For Christmas last year I had given her a voucher to have some time with me and make a top, so we did that too.  I loved every minute of it.  Lucy is so laid back (even if her body is exhibiting the stress of the last year).  The sewing machine ended up not working properly so we had to put the tops on hold, but we made the headbands and then had banana splits.  I am so grateful to have Lucy in my life.

Catch Up...and some of it is deep

I am enjoying a well deserved break while my supervisors mark my first draft. Secretly I hope they send it back to me and tell me it's perfect and nothing needs changing. Somehow, I don't think that has ever happened in the history of dissertations. In the meantime I am making every effort to fully enjoy the break - imagine, two weekends with NO STUDY!!! Unheard of.

I am also enjoying a week away from teaching in the classroom. I am on a course about Restorative Practice which is how my school deals with relationship building and behaviour management. I love it because it is a philosophy which equips me to deal with any behaviours and I feel safe. I used to be worried about how I would handle real adverse behaviours in my classroom but with RP, I know everything will be ok and I will handle it. In my teaching career, I have had scissors thrown out of anger, a child up a tree and then running away, and another child head-butting their teacher aide and I have handled it all. RP rocks!

Today we learned about shame and the ways in which we all experience shame and mis-manage it. The mis-management of shame results in adverse behaviours which we all exhibit from time to time. We can either be in fight or flight mode. I am definitely a fighter! How about you? I used to think that no-one should ever experience shame. Now I think everyone innately experiences shame but it's the way you deal with it that makes the difference. Just like the bible verse that I can't remember right now about shedding light on the darkness, the quicker we shed light on shame, the faster it can be repaired. I've got a bit to work on. But I'm doing okay.

Some of my kids drawings from the screen printing workshop got their pictures published on a blog - so proud. You can see them here. They are so smart! I am beginning to remember how much I enjoy Term 3 because it seems to be the term where you see all the hard work pay off.

Kev and I decided this morning that if we have a baby and it's a boy, we will call it Zephram Cochrane Luke. Kev is now pretty excited about having kids cos he gets to name them after Star Trek characters! Not sure this name will stick which is why I'm telling you now - it's pretty funny. I asked him if we could call a girl Seven of Nine because that is the only girl name I know from Star Trek. She is a bit of a sex bomb on Star Trek but Kevin said no because he could never name his baby after a Borg??? I'm not sure but the way he said it made me think it must be bad! I had to laugh.

We have a new flatmate and he can cook! So good to come home to lovely meals that are not made by me! Kev cooks but it's not his favourite thing to do.

Enjoy your week.


I have finished my first draft of my dissertation. Can barely type. That is all. Goodnight.


Today I am tired...fatigued actually. I still have to keeeeeep goooiiinnnggg with rewriting my dissertation but I am lacking the mental energy. All I want to do is stare at the television. But I can't.


I have a fun lesson planned for tomorrow. Well, I think it's fun. Sometimes it's interesting when you actually teach a lesson you planned that you thought was fun and the kids think it totally bombs! Then there are those moments where you don't know what the heck you are going to teach and it's a magical moment. But I can't help it, I have to plan something because otherwise I wake up at 4am all stressy and thinking. So wish me luck!

Tomorrow we are also doing a screen printing lesson with some Museum Outreach people. I can't wait! I have always wanted to learn. I think it's the coolest way to jazz up an old outfit.

That cool painting in the background is by my friend Jane. She is an artist.

Hmmm eating today has been okay. I stuck to the food I had planned to eat. I didn't have ANY hot chocolates from our machine at work, even though I worked beside it all day today. I did cave at lunch and had one small cupcake. It was cupcake day for the SPCA at school and I had baked these amazing looking cupcakes. They sold well but there was still some left over and I had been saying "no" all day. Not too bad though - could have been MUCH worse, believe me!

I'm missing my friend Lisa. I really want to see her. I have had no time for a phone call with her at a time that is good for us both - she lives in Australia. She is my friend who knows me the most out of everyone, maybe even Kevin. She is here. Maybe on the weekend...

K, gotta go study. I think I'm ready now.


Nothin Deep, Just Real

It's been a while since I posted and I really want to change that. I would like to be more regular but can't seem to find enough hours in the day. Working and studying is really hard. Anyway, I always put the pressure on myself to be deep and meaningful and I guess that's why I never seem to have the head space to post anything. So today, before I start my work, I'm going to connect with the outside world. I have been waking up at 4am - yes, that's right - 4am!!! With thoughts whirring around in my head. It always happens when I have been either stressed or unhappy. So I figure, if I empty some of what's in my head on here, maybe I can create a better mind space.

I have nearly finished my first draft of my dissertation. I have a deadline at the end of this month and I am re-writing all the parts my supervisors have commented on. Yesterday I found a whole heap of new data and now face the challenge of fitting it in to my findings. It's a bit of a slog but I have found a good way to work that is manageable - 45 mins, 10-15mins rest, then start again. It been brilliant for productivity. Funny how I expect my kids to work on the same thing for 45 mins to an hour when I can only just do that myself! Hmmmm.

I have put on 10 kilos since getting married. I put on 5 within 12 months and then, when we moved to Christchurch, earthquakes and snow helped me put on another 5. I hate that excuse, but it is sooo true. When you are stuck at home, or in someone else's home, and your basic facilities are unavailable and you are feeling nervous, tired, anxious etc, you do tend to eat things that give comfort and security. The snow didn't make me feel anxious and we did have utilities but I felt all homely and snuggley and just wanted to bake - not an unusual phenomenon apparently; many Cantabs were donning their aprons. So now, I am back on my tried and true eating plan to shake it off. For me, exercise is good, but what I eat is the key.

On exercise, that part of my life is really sucking. I have a problem with my hips that has developed. I have been to physio etc and now I'm seeing a specialist. I am praying that he will find what is wrong and fix it. Exercise is a big part of my life and I HATE not being able to do anything. I can't even walk for fitness, let alone run or ride my bike. It bites.

Last negative, I'm in a bad space with my job. I think I'm a good teacher but I have major teacher guilt at the moment. My thought life consists of me telling myself what I haven't done for my students, what I'm not good at, and what I should be doing better. I have it on good authority that motherhood can be the same! It is so overwhelming I really just want to run away at the moment. I am working on changing my thought processes and concentrating on what I am doing well.

So, on a lighter note, I am growing my hair and am really happy with the decision - hence the photo.

Kev and I are going back to Whangarei for Christmas and we have a rental car so we are not tied waiting on someone to give us a ride etc. If we decide to go camping for a couple of days, we can. I am really looking forward to seeing our friends and getting out to those beautiful beaches. I think I'll swim even if it's cold! I am so thankful I have a good job that allows Kev to study and still afford for us to go away for a holiday.

Our good friends Ryan and Amy are getting married in December. Here's something funny; Kev and I got married on Dec 19 two years ago this year. I made my own cake (above). My chief bridesmaid and Kev's best man were already married (to other people, not each other). My other bridesmaid got married on our anniversary last year, and I made their cake - same style as mine because they loved it so much. Now this year Kev's other groomsman is getting married the same weekend as us and I am - you guessed it - making the SAME cake! How funny is that? I think it's a cool connection.

We are getting a flatmate. He moves in today. It just helps us not be so tight with living costs and we can save a bit more too. I hope it works out well and I don't get selfish and stroppy having to share.

Later today I will be making cupcakes for the SPCA fundraiser. I can't have a dog right now so I may as well support them! I am selling them at school tomorrow. Just low key - and the cupcakes probably will be too!

Lastly, our marriage is fantastic. It seems to have reached a harmonious place now - which I am loving. Maybe soon I'll be able to write about our first 2 years, but I haven't checked with Kev yet and I'm not feeling deep enough anyway at the moment! Let's just say I am now in a place where I am truly falling more in love with him - not everyday, but most days, instead of wanting to slap him!

On that note, go hug someone and have a good week!

A Bit of Icing on the Quake

It started last night. Yes, I was like a kid at Christmas.

I have just had the best day EVER!!! Waking up to a winter wonderland doesn't happen often in these here parts. It has made the ugliness of our quake affected city seem so beautiful again.

Today I have caught snowflakes on my tongue, had snowball fights, walked in snow to just below my knees, and made a snowman. Then Kev and I cuddled in a blanket by the heater and thawed out our toes while drinking hot chocolate made with real chocolate. Ahhh how romantic. I love how some of the best times we have together are the ones where we don't even try. So nice to know we still have those moments too when everything else can be so stressy you forget about each other.

Happy winter everyone in the southern hemisphere!

Chocoholic or just plain normal???

I belong to a survey company. They send me surveys, I complete the surveys and get paid. I make about $20 every 3 months which they send me in vouchers of my choice. Not a lot of money but a nice wee bonus every so often. And it usually is "cash in" time right when I need a new mascara or perfume. If you are interested, Google Valued Opinions.

Anyway, the last survey I filled out was about chocolate. I was presented with a HUGE range of chocolate brands, I was asked to tick which ones I had ever eaten. I am so embarrassed to say that I ticked them ALL. I certainly know my chocolate well. Is that normal? How many brands do you know/have eaten?

There were other questions about how often I eat certain brands...and all of a sudden, my gradual weight gain started making sense. You know how sometimes you don't see something and then BAM!, it's staring you in the face and you think, 'I can't believe I didn't see it before'? I was really honest in the survey and realised I eat a chocolate bar on average once a week. Is that normal? It seems like it would be when I say it but when I wrote it down it seemed excessive. Don't forget this is on top of other 'treats' throughout the week.

C'mon girls, am I normal? What's your average? And do you think it's okay?

Tasty Tuesday

Kev and I are attempting a more healthy lifestyle. It really helps to present food beautifully I find.
He keeps using the line from The Castle: "Why would you go anywhere else when you can get this night after night?"
Haha. Happy eating!

Pumpkin Soup with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, sour cream and fresh coriander.

Scrumptious Sunday

Smart Chilli Mince with salad and a dollop of plain yoghurt.

So filling and light on the budget and the waist line!

What's on your menu tonight?

Wordless Week

Lessons Through Grace #2 - Cry

Well...ask any of my friends and they would say I'm not really much of a crier. I sit dry eyed through the saddest of movies, someone dies and my immediate reaction is action, I'm sad and ...I eat!

And it would be okay if I wasn't much of a crier. But the truth is, I don't like feeling grief. I hate it and will run away from it rather than let myself feel it. Christina has shown me that time is too precious to run.

Lately I have been thinking that by not crying when I really want to or need to, I am not being honest with myself or anyone else about how I'm feeling. Do I really want to go through life without my friends and family knowing my heart?

So, for me, this isn't about just crying, but about making sure that every day I show my heart, every day, I live life passionately - both the good and the bad. Laugh out loud, cry when things touch me, allow grief to come and go, and, tell people I love what they mean to me on a regular basis.

I'll leave with an oldie but goodie and if you're a friend of mine, look forward to some sap in the near future! Love you bloggers!!!!

Lessons Through Grace #1 - Letting Go

So I have had an epiphany lately. Time is too precious to be wasting it trying to have the perfect house. I used to use so much of my spare time running around wiping up crumbs, dusting, straightening, and tidying, only to have it messed up in a couple of hours.

I would pour over house and living mags and dream of the day I could have a living room/kitchen/bathroom/bedroom like these ones. Oooooh




But no matter how much I try, it never looks like the ones in the mags.

The problem: Human Beings live in my house!

I have realised I have a choice. I can spend all my time making my house look picture perfect; but when I die, do I really want people to remember me for my beautiful home and things? Or would I like them to remember me for my friendship, the time I put into relationships, the way I made people feel special and made a difference in people's lives?

So, here I am exposing myself to how my house looks most of the time. Please note: I have tidied a bit in the living and dining, but this is how it pretty much looks. And I am learning to be okay with this. Please don't get me wrong, I know Kev and I are incredibly lucky to be living in Christchurch in a relatively undamaged house. There are plenty of people without at the moment. This is just my personal inner journey I am sharing.

I love this spot but this is how it normally appears...

If everything looks lopsided in this photo, it's cos they are! Lol.

Crumbs, crumbs, crumbs...

Hubby's toys...well I guess I can't have everything my own way! He does live here too.

I do love my herb corner.

Yes were are still boiling and bottling water - it gets rid of the chlorine taste!

This is a perfectly normal sight...

Always washing to be done.


This is about as made as the bed gets...

This is actually super tidy. Usually there is a pile of discarded clothes on top of the hamper!

Outdoor patio.

Clothes, clothes everywhere!

And this incredible phenomenon - empty boxes and containers that 'appear' in the fridge!

Last week we had our first rental inspection and they score you out of 10. (Cheeky hey?)

10 was immaculate - white glove, pristine condition.
9 was clean and tidy - a pleasure to visit.
8 was clean and tidy.
7 was ...I can't remember the rest but you get the picture!

We got 8/10! Am I happy with this? No not really...but I will be. I guess I will just have to be the 'pleasure to visit' instead of my house!