Monday, June 28, 2010

Spritual Awakening....The Long And Sometimes Arduous Journey....

 For those of you that don't know...I was an active member of my church up until I was 20 - then I don't know exactly what happened, but a couple of things I am aware of.....people, especially those that went to church, weren't as nice and honest as I though they were - I had a rather naive upbringing and my bubble was popped in a major way.....I discovered life in general was way more confusing than I anticipated, and not so black and white, but filled with countless shades of grey. All wasn't as it seemed.....at all!!

...And for eight years I kind of dropped under the radar....my church attendance was sporadic (to the point near the end when I just stopped going altogether) and I made some absolutely garbage life choices, where the price I ended up paying was very high (drugs are bad, m'kay? - I'm just sayin). In my world, it was all too hard....my then husband (who had had a similar upbringing) gradually became so hostile towards the church that I couldn't even attend without coming home to a tirade on how wrong/brainwashing the mormon church was and most of the members in it. By this, and other intense living circumstances, I got to thinking my God most certainly wasn't looking out for me anymore, and didn't care about us and what we were dealing with at home. Though now that I think about it, there were times when God so completely 'had my back' that His care and presence in my life was undeniable.

It took a couple of months after we (the children and I) returned to Queensland, before I started thinking about church again....and believe me it wasn't on my own!! I was quite blissfully content just cruising....I didn't care about anything deeper than finally being 'free' and able to make my own decision without fear. I thought I was happy, and in comparison, I was. But once the seed was sown (thanks...you know who you are), I couldn't ignore it and that made me a little bit angry!  My lifestyle and some personal values were no longer conducive to living the gospel - a lot of things needed to change and I really didn't want to - but how could I deny it, when deep down I had always known it was true? Its one thing wanting to do something but feeling like its impossible and quite another knowing you can and having to make the choice (and stick with it) to do it.

So its been about a year and a half since I made the decision to go back to church - and honestly, its been extremely hard, and I am not quite there yet. I am finding I am a rather harsh judge of myself -  and I'm often making spiritual comparisons to my 18 year old self, which is frustrating and very depressing - I hate that its taking me so long to get to a place that I took for granted 12 years ago.....As long as the journey seems, I know how far I have come. I am so thankful to my current Bishop for his awesomeness - and for being in tune to know the process that I need....for supportive friends who don't let me forget what I want or let me settle for anything less! (you guys rock!!)....and I am super grateful to finally have a calling, (my first ever! Yay!!), even though its a challenge and I feel I suck at it a lot - But just like the burn I love from pushing myself running up a hill, I wouldn't change it for anything because I know its taking me where I need to be.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swingstation 2010.....

Firstly I just have to say.....



 OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT AN AMAZING WEEKEND!! :)

To break it down the weekend consisted of a Jack and Jill Competition (dance with a stranger), two dance parties (Fri and Sat) and 9 dancing workshops taken by Melina Ramirez and Ben Morris.

Started off with a little drama - got to the apartment in plenty of time, but Michael's car wouldn't start as we went to leave! (There is something going on with me and that car, it only ever has problems when I am in it!) - so I caught a taxi and Michael stayed for RACQ (it was off but still running - kind of - so we couldn't just leave it). I made it just in time for the first workshop - but felt like a huge loser because I went in alone and didn't know anybody. The class was good and Michael rocked up towards the end, though he couldn't join in as he had to keep the car running outside. The competition was on almost straight away and I had barely gotten in any warm up dances.....I was freaking out just a little! There were three heats and I was the last called in the very last heat...ugh! The heat consisted of three 2 minute dances with 3 different people to three different songs (could be either slow or fast or funky or whatever...) The first guy I got was really good....and the dance was awesome, and I wasn't really nervous at all. For some reason though, I got more nervous with each partner....by the end of it I was an adrenalin mess!! I didn't get into the finals, but I was happy with my dancing....Michael's thoughts on my dancing "I need to look up and smile more".....ugh....sounds a lot like my reports for year 10 dancing - I would always get a nine out of ten, I would nail the dance but would forget to smile - on the inside I was ecstatic...really :)

The rest of the dance party was brilliant! I danced almost constantly (they had the teachers comp and the finals randomly in between social dancing - and a performance by Ben and Melina) until about 1.30am....I finally had to stop due to blisters and running out of band aids (my shoes we still not quite broken in)....plus I was exhausted! ;) That night I really enjoyed dancing with everyone, it was so awesome not knowing how good any of the guys were - a bit of a lucky dip, and I didn't feel insecure not wanting to ask someone to dance because they were far better than me.....

Saturday we got there super early, I was really excited, the workshops were excellent - all up we had 4, 1 hr lessons that day. Then went straight out to dinner at a little cafe that they had booked out for the night. Good food, and met some really nice people who we gave a ride back to their hotel. I was really excited for the dance that night, but for some reason kind of down and insecure as well....hmmmm....I thought it may have had something to do with wanting to be better than I was after all the dancing I had done that day.....and now I KNEW how awesome some guys were, I got super self concious and didn't know who to ask to dance!

Nevertheless...I had some really good dances, and I think I improved quite a bit on my music interpretation and personal styling. We left at midnight - I was wrecked, and wanted a good night sleep to be fresh for the final day. Don't know how some people stayed out almost all night!

The last day was really good - LOVED the classes!! But honestly, by the end, my brain was completely fried!!! I couldn't think, I didn't want to dance anymore and I was getting cranky....hahaha!!

It was such an awesome opportunity to learn from some of the best west coast swing dancers in the world - and I relish the chance to improve and to progress in my dancing....

Now I am really hanging for some dance time to put into practice everything I have learnt!!!

Lucky there is a SA ball on this Friday and if I am lucky - Michael will take me dancing after my last exam on Wednesday night!

Here is Ben and Melina's most recent Classic routine that they performed for us on Saturday night.....amaaaaazing!! I love Melina's style, she is so freakin' funky!!! :) :) They were really fun teachers too....



West Coast 4 Life!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chicken Soup And Kitchen Fantasies....

I don't know what it is about cooking chicken and vegetable soup, but it makes me feel all homey and maternal. Feeling like I just want to take care of everybody.....And for some reason I always find myself house fantasizing as well....weird?? Quite possibly....

Perhaps its because we are so physically displaced at the moment, and my home making instincts are not satisfied....Whatever it is, I visualise the vegetable/herb garden I would love, my dream kitchen - island bench, hanging saucepans, exposed beams, wood floors, raw timber....oh, and a glorious spice rack (that, I have been fantasising about since I was a child!)...I don't want fancy, bring on rustic!

 Something like this *sigh*

 I also love cooking with lots of vegetables and herbs, and thinking about all the nutrients I am fueling our bodies with is rather exciting (not exciting exciting, just exciting)...oops, I am starting to sound like my mother! But really, good food is awesome!

Am I the only ones that gets bizarrely glorious cooking vibes???

Panic Has Set In.....


I only have two days before my first final exam and I am kind of freaking out! This is the one I am most prepared for, Employment Relations - its an essay and some short answer or multi choice (not too sure). BUT - this is also the subject I failed last semester, which put me on probation (because although I only did two subjects, I technically failed 50% of them)....so I am feeling the pressure big time....I have got the brain power, however, the parenting thing is frying it before I get a chance to study!

*breathe*...I am trying to....really....I am sure everything will be ok.

Then I have a full week (minus the weekend - dancing....yay!) to study for the next one....

*breathe*


Wish me luck people!  :)


Please enjoy this "Panic! At The Disco" track - just cause I like 'em.....

The Little Reminders.....

I had the opportunity to watch some 'church' movies yesterday - it seems I missed out on quite a few things over those years of absence and sporadic membership - "The Best Two Years" and "Charly" (I read the book when I was in Young Women)

I really loved them.

I am so grateful for 'little reminders' - that my goals are achievable and, most importantly, that I am not alone in my journey....


Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome To My Fresh Start Monday + Barely Contained Excitement

So I kind of dropped the ball this weekend....Don't really know what happened....

BUT...

On the upside I am feeling 100 times better today!....Went for an early morning road run around our block, which happens to be a decent 9km with quite a few hills. It was hard but extremely awesome!! Really helped to get my 'mummy mojo' back. Ran the opposite way to what I usually go, so the last couple of km's had some absolutely killer hills - so much so that I had to pause my iPod and focus like crazy so I didn't stop running - Arrrghh!

 Me, after run, being super proud of my efforts (please ignore the awful hair and early morning face!)

I always find hard runs a bit of a metaphor for life (though I have been known for my dodgy parables *wink*)....As I run, I often wish I could power on through the emotional turmoil and the study grind like I can on those hills. I find myself also wondering why my spiritual wellness and strength isn't as important to me as my physical health, as much as I want it to be....and I honestly do. That is something I really need to work on.

So, welcome to my Fresh Start Monday....the awesomeness starts today! :)

* * * *
Four more sleeps until Swingstation!!!!....in case you didn't get the memo - I am crazy excited!!! I have finally got some proper west coast swing shoes....

 
They feel soooo good to dance in....I am still trying to break them in so I don't have blisters to deal with on the weekend. M is coming over today, hopefully I can get a bit of a dance out of him! *wink* (Yay, for danceable cork floors at home!) 



The clip I have been 'studying' over the last couple of days for moves
that I want to work on with Michael....

The comment I left underneath when I posted it to his page...
"Note:....1.01 whip variation, 1.08 THAT move (and you are right there is a hand change), and the ending is funky, 1.43 love it, 2.09 cool...2.18 rock n go, 2.36 I like the variation, 2.40 niiice.....some achievable moves with a little practise, I ignored the super hard ones ;)....I guess its a good thing I can recognise the variations now and not being so bamboozled!! :)"

Yes, I am slightly obsessed, and its hard with "partner" dancing, because I can't learn by myself, so Michael has to learn the moves in order to lead me - but he gets to give me critique when I need it (which I find terribly hard to take!).....I may on occasion get over excited when I really like a song, and become very difficult to lead! Hahaha......

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Just One Of Those Days.....

I hope so....

I have afternoon church and I really don't know if I can do it today....I am starting to dread Sundays - and I LIKE church. Its the getting the kids all ready that I hate - its worse than school days. Regardless of how organised I am, with their clothes, nursery snacks made, lunch in plenty of time....they won't listen, they fight, they get dirty. I am mentally exhausted. I don't want to be yelling at them on Sunday as well - let alone any other day!

Lately I have been really feeling the never ending-ness of it all. I don't know how long I can keep doing it by myself, every single day. I wish their dad was more involved in their lives, phone calls are so random - and they miss him terribly, I feel so sad for them. Ash wants to be just like him, Amelie just wants to be with him. And I wish he would get it together, at least to be an active father for them!

I am so hurt and disillusioned by men and marriage, that the idea of getting married again really scares me. So its not like I am waiting around to be saved....No matter how amazing the man is - I would always be wondering when he would change his mind.

Just me and kids...

I am working on it - I have my goals and my plans. I am studying, so in five years I will have a degree, and better able to support us all.....But the pressure is killing me! I fear I am doing a rubbish job. People wonder how I manage...barely, is the answer. Little Jack has got into the habit of running away every time he gets in trouble. Its like I know what I can do to make things better, but I can't make myself do it - I just don't have the energy anymore. My calling is becoming a stress, not that it is terribly hard, but just another thing I have to do, more people I let down if I can't pull it off.

I used to be so idealistic, now I have become a cynic. My faith has taken a battering over the last five years, and I haven't been able to get it back. As well as I am doing, and as far as I have come - it just doesn't seem like its enough....

Let's hope it IS just one of those days.....


PS Sorry for the depressing post people.....keeping it real.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Meet My New Friend.....


 Cornelius....He is a dude.

Now I can enjoy as much popcorn as I like...Yay!...Oh, how I love popcorn!


*side* Although, I have to admit, pan popcorn is far tastier....but alas, not as kind on the behind! :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hair Affair.....Part II

This is me...

Rockin the short n sassy.....

....and its never gonna look this good again! *wink*

Hair Affair.....

Ok...So I am not a big fan of my hair - if I actually think about it too much I want to cry....just a little. Fine AND thin (so thin you can see my scalp at the top - I guess its pretty lucky I am tall), with an awesome kink (not curl) to shake things up a bit....

This is the longest it has been since I shaved my head in a post-natal melt down after Jack was born - possibly motivated by a similar, if not worse (due to crazy hormones and lack of hairdresser funds), feeling of desperation. And seriously....

It's got to go!

I finally have admitted defeat - I just can't do anything past my shoulders, long hair would be nice - but short of of extensions (which I will never do), it's not going to happen.....hmmm...I have had my hair short, and short short and I have done bobs to absolute death....not sure what now, but definitely different.

So, I have made my appointment - and hopefully by school pick up I will be feeling much better about it all! :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Reflection....



There are a lot of conference talks that affect me, but this one by Sister Elaine Dalton "A Return To Virtue", I want to stick on my wall, and read it over and over.....nodding my head emphatically - I couldn't agree more....here is a taste of it's awesomeness....


"Could it be that we have been slowly desensitized into thinking that high moral standards are old-fashioned and not relevant or important in today’s society? As Elder Hales has just reminded us, Lehonti in the Book of Mormon was well positioned on the top of a mountain. He and those he led were “fixed in their minds with a determined resolution” that they would not come down from the mount. It only took the deceitful Amalickiah four tries, each one more bold than the previous, to get Lehonti to “come down off from the mount.” And then having embraced Amalickiah’s false promises, Lehonti was “poison[ed] by degrees” until he died. Not just poisoned, but “by degrees.” Could it be that this may be happening today? Could it be that first we tolerate, then accept, and eventually embrace the vice that surrounds us? Could it be that we have been deceived by false role models and persuasive media messages that cause us to forget our divine identity? Are we too being poisoned by degrees? What could be more deceptive than to entice the youth of this noble generation to do nothing or to be busy ever-texting but never coming to a knowledge of the truths contained in a book that was written for you and your day by prophets of God—The Book of Mormon? What could be more deceptive than to entice women, young and old, you and me, to be so involved in ourselves, our looks, our clothes, our body shape and size that we lose sight of our divine identity and our ability to change the world through our virtuous influence? What could be more deceptive than to entice men—young and old, holding the holy priesthood of God—to view seductive pornography and thus focus on flesh instead of faith, to be consumers of vice rather than guardians of virtue? The Book of Mormon relates the story of 2,000 young heroes whose virtue and purity gave them the strength to defend their parents’ covenants and their family’s faith. Their virtue and commitment to be “true at all times” changed the world!"


I don't know why I am feeling so passionate about this topic recently - maybe because I feel that as a society we couldn't be more in need of such powerful council, especially as my children are growing older and this is the world they live in....it really scares me. 

Rockabilly Rocks!.....

So after reading Bobbie's post on dresses - I got thinking about the kind of dresses I like. It has only be recently that I have been able to define the style that I seem to be drawn too.....

Rockabilly!


I like this style because it adds a bit of attitude to vintage.


I love love LOVE these shoes! - I think I may actually NEED them...;)

 I have never really shopped online, I have a hard enough time trying to find clothes/shoes that actually fit me in the stores....


Only problem is, it's next to impossible to find funky dresses that are modest as well....after looking at hundreds of pictures, this was one of the few dresses I could actually wear! 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sharing Some Maxwell Love.....



In my opinion, this man is a genius....*sigh*


PS. Yay! - I found out how to put clips in my blog!! Oh yes....if you are not familiar with my youtube music obsession....watch out!! ;)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sex Sells.....And Its Selling Cheap.....


This is a subject I have been increasingly concerned about for years. The constant over-sexualisation of  - I want to say woman but really its everything and it's only getting worse. I worry that I have a daughter that is already emulating "sexiness" at five years old because that is all she sees....And no its not just on television, its in billboards on the road and advertising in shops  - as a parent you cannot get away from it, and frankly I am not a happy mum. I have wanted to blog about it for a while but its wasn't until I heard Christina Aguilera's "lovely" new song on the radio that I just have to say something. What the hell is wrong with people!! I am not just be a paranoid mum - As a woman I don't like it either. 

I distinctly remember listening to a Destiny's Child song "Nasty Girl" maybe 8 years ago? (about women walking around half naked flaunting themselves) and being grateful for female music artists with some morals and self respect  - and then watching as they evolved and gradually got more and more sexed up in each video.....check out this very appropriate clip. ....really, its very poignant.


This is Destiny's Child's song "Nasty Girl" with a compilation of video footage they made AFTERWARDS. Funny and hypocritical.

Its not just the visual either, as an avid music head and r'n'b freak I am coming across it all the time. I love you voice and your funky beats guys, but can I please not hear detailed descriptions of you sexual conquests, or what you want to be doing to a certain young lady when you take her home??...And girls, seriously, put some clothes on!! You can't put it out like that and then pretend you are  all strong  and independent because you are only being a tease and are not actually willing to give it up.....then worse still, detailed descriptions of your sexual exploits!

Forgive me for getting on my soap box - I am the first to admit that I find it confusing too. How can we as woman maintain physical self respect without being extreme, and completely denying our sexuality? (because I think there is problems with that as well).....I don't know myself but there are woman out there doing it....thank goodness for the likes of India Arie and Alicia Keys etc....strong, sexy woman, who know how do it while keeping all their clothes on. 




Thursday, June 3, 2010

When The Sun Goes Down.....And Why



It all gets just a little bit harder

The daily successes seem trivial

And I'm just a little more lonely
 

.....Sometimes.....

* * *

To expound....my days lately are so busy, productive and happy (really!) - but the night times are sucking a bit *sad face*....I don't know if it's because I am putting so much more effort into my days, but once the kids are all in bed and I pass that awesome moment of accomplished satisfaction (accompanied by a massive happy sigh)... I get the overwhelming feeling of "Now what?....So, all over again tomorrow then?"....hmmmm.....Not that I have the NEED for someone to tell me I am awesome (ok, well maybe sometimes and just a little)....but I am having hug cravings (get back already Mr M!), and the desire to hear another voice, aside from the one in my head (which doesn't quite cut it all the time), to tell me they notice how hard I am trying and what a great job I am doing.....that's all. :) 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is Ignorance Bliss Or Just Plain Ignornace??......And The June Chocolate Boycott....


The "chocolate boycott" starts today. I am not too bothered about missing out on chocolate for a month, the most regular thing I have is my daily hot chocolate - but we'll see, it may be harder than I think! Amelie has decided to join me as she doesn't want "slaves making her food"....I am very proud of her for trying.

I knew absolutely nothing about the child slavery involved in the chocolate trade until some mutual "friends" of mine joined a facebook group that was doing a boycott. I did some research and was rather shocked with what I found.....I cannot enjoy chocolate the same way again - its next to impossible! You know I actually went down to the local shops to buy some chocolate to have on my "last" day - a mint Aero bar even (my favourite) but I actually couldn't bring myself to do it. It got me thinking on the idea of "ignorance is bliss"...so is it?? Yes, I was able to enjoy chocolate relative guilt free (if you don't count the worry about it going straight to my butt!!)....but truth is truth and whether I knew about it or not child slavery was a part of my "indulgence". So now I know....and I can't ever not know, as much as I try to ignore the truth.

So I joined the boycott, mostly to create awareness for myself, my friends and family, and to create a space so that when I start eating chocolate again, I will be far more selective. Do you know what angers me the most??? Its these damn multinational companies (Cadburys and Nestle etc) that act like there is nothing that they can do about the problem!!! They are the ones that are buying the cacao, THEY have the immense amounts of money! If the boycott came from them, THEY could be the ones that could eradicate slavery in the industry. Are they worried consumers wouldn't support them if there was a shortage of chocolate, because they were making a stand on human rights? or Are they solely concerned with their profit margins?....I am afraid it may be the latter, and that is terribly disappointing.

With this new information - I have a mind to boycott these multinational companies completely - because I refuse to support this mass produced BS!!! I will do more research, although from what I have read so far, organic chocolate may be the way to go - as organic farms have specific monitoring systems which include labour.

I encourage everyone to wake up from blissful ignorance - we as consumers have immeasurable power if we band together - a new revolution is here!! :)


 My last chocolate hit - a hot chocolate and the last of the Easter eggs (score!)

 PS. See the link at the side of my page "Child slavery and the chocolate trade" for further information.