I’m tired.

The post I had in mind for today (I know, I can’t quite believe I actually planned one ahead either!) was to do with marriage and making it work.

Throughout the course of the day, I’ve checked facebook. Because of the pages I’ve ‘liked’, the causes I’m associated with, and the calibre of friends I have, what I see on facebook is diverse. Cute kittens to human trafficking and everything in between fills my screen every time I log on.

Today, though, there seemed to be an abundance of posts about the state of our oceans and their inhabitants; graphic photos of the abuse, torture and murder of people in Egypt; the new scientific proof that pornography damages the brain; appeals for money for families affected by disease and/or trauma.

And now, instead of writing an upbeat encouraging post about relationships, I find myself feeling angry, irritated and sick to my stomach.

If you’ve read even a handful of previous posts, you’ll know that I take an interest in the bigger issues of life, have concerns for the many, many marginalised sections of the world and am not one for sticking my head in the sand.

But today, it’s all too much. Social media, for all it’s wonders that I love, has the dark side of giving us emotional overload. Compassion fatigue, I think it’s known as in psychology circles.

I’m tired of all the problems in the world. Tired of being asked to support so many worthwhile causes. Tired of feeling the ‘affluence’ of living in a first world country. Tired of feeling like I can’t do enough. Tired of the horror humans inflict on their fellow man and on animals. Tired of the relentless sexual objectification of women and girls. Tired of hearing about how we are raping the earth. Tired of hearing that climate change is going to kill us.

I am tired, not because I don’t care but because I do.

Anyone else ever feel the burden of knowing too much?

The Sunshine Award

I’m not usually into the round of blogging awards that do the circuits but this one piqued my interest because the nominator gets to ask their own questions (I like asking questions!) and also that the questions Ambition in the City asked were a little more thought provoking than the usual ‘what’s your favourite colour’ type that are typical of this blogging game.

So. These are the questions and my answers 🙂

1. What goals have you accomplished so far this year? One goal was to go overseas to see the work of Destiny Rescue – tick!

2. What do you think is your best quality? I left this one til last…and I still am having trouble answering! Okay, maybe my love of fun. I know how to liven up a party, and start a conversation. I love finding out unusual things about people so tend to ask questions that are a bit different, which spark some fantastic conversations. People fascinate me!

3. What was the last compliment you received and what was the last one you paid to someone? The last compliment I received was from my husband telling me I am beautiful before my eyes were even open this morning 🙂 And the last one I gave was to my husband telling him he looked hot before we went out today 🙂

4. What are you looking forward to during the rest of 2013? I’m looking forward to getting the word count up on my novel. And Christmas. I love Christmas!

5. Do you have a favorite, Kind of “lift-me-up-quote”? I love so many of Teddy Roosevelt’s quotes but this is one of the ones I think of most often.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

6. What inspired you to start blogging? I started blogging because there were friends who wanted to read my monthly column but lived outside our publications distribution areas. That, and the fact that I wanted ‘writing’ practice!

7. What is creativity for you? Creativity is anything that expresses me. It could be baking a cake, painting, drawing or writing. I used to dance. Dance is a wonderful expression of creativity and who we are. My main creativity right now is writing.

8. What about yourself do you want to improve? Oh my stars. So many, many things! Probably top of the list is time management and discipline. I get distracted by other things far too often and need to learn to stay on track with my goals. There’s heaps of others but that’s the big one I’m working on right now.

9. What’s the one thing you can’t live without? Well, my fabulous family and friends of course 🙂 But materially, I would have to say music and books. I simply cannot do life without a good book by my side.

10. What’s your favorite way to relax? Relaxing for me is having friends or family at our house, putting on some good food and chatting over a lovely glass or two of wine. 

And now to nominate some wonderful bloggers and give them their questions:

Marta Pelrine Bacon

Vaughn Roycroft

Normandie Fischer

Blessed are the pure of heart

Inspired 2 Ignite

S Kim Henson

You’re supposed to nominate ten but, you know me, I’m not a stickler for rules 😉

And their questions are:

1. Best decision you ever made.

2. Worst decision you ever made.

3. Your greatest weakness.

4. Your greatest strength.

5. Most influential person you’ve had in your life.

6. Most influential person you’ve never met.

7. Your greatest passion (and you can’t say your spouse – that’s given!)

8. Best purchase you ever made.

9. Worst purchase you ever made.

10. What does success look like to you?

Are your hands full?

If you’ve ever been shopping, to a fair, walked along a beach, or bushwalked with a small child, you’ll know that they collect things, be it shells, leaves, or more material things like fairy floss, showbags, drinks or popcorn.

And if you are the grown up, you will invariably end up holding those things. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve struggled with shell collections, everyone’s thongs, drink bottles, camera, knapsack and sunglasses for hours on end only to realise at some point that none of the children are carrying anything and are gaily skipping along up ahead unencumbered.

They are simply enjoying the walk or the fair, content in the knowledge that someone has all their ‘stuff’ and they don’t need to worry about it. Their hands are free to investigate other things, to reach out and touch a tree, scoop some sand or hold the hand of another. By not holding their stuff, they can do cartwheels on the beach, they can feel the velvet underside of a leaf, they can play a game at the fair. By letting someone else hold their stuff, they can be free.

It makes me think of how often I carry all my own ‘stuff’. I juggle, I drop things, I may even break something. Sometimes I get a big bag to put it all in and carry it around that way, which is easier but in the end is still heavy to carry.

And then I am reminded that we are urged by Jesus to be child-like and to not carry our burdens ourselves. We are urged to be just like our children, skipping along, relaxed and free of anything that might weigh us down, restrict our movement and make us weary.

What are you trying to carry that should be given to the One who says He will carry it for you? Why not hand it over now…and then your hands are free to reach out to another, to do a cartwheel, play a game or feel something new.

We all want to be free, right?



Trust and the fear that stands next to it

A few weeks ago, I sent my partial manuscript to a friend for a read through and some feedback before I headed back in. This friend (you may remember her from a couple of guest posts she wrote when I was sick last year) is part of a writing group I’m a part of. The other members of the group have read parts or most of it too.

It was a bit daunting, knowing it would be read, with all it’s flaws and inconsistencies. As a writer and artist, I feel so vulnerable and exposed when showing anyone my work. That’s me out there in those words, in that paint. And if my work is rejected or not liked, well then, I’m rejected and not liked too.

It’s hard to make ourselves vulnerable, isn’t it? In a world that constantly celebrates the strong and encourages us to be stoic and tough, it feels like weakness to be afraid. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of sharing something personal with someone, only to discover too late that our confidence is betrayed, used against us or twisted.

I must confess that I find it hard to make myself vulnerable. I take a long time to trust someone with my innermost self and will withdraw at the slightest sign that the trust has been compromised. I am extremely picky about who I share with, how much and when.

Trusting people with ourselves is hard for all of us, not just writers and artists.

Before sending my document to my friend, I knew some things about her that helped me not be too anxious about her seeing me in my novel. I knew she has experience in the industry; I knew she is an amazing writer herself; I knew her to be trustworthy by observing her dealing with others; and she has proven many times that she likes me and we are friends 🙂

We need to be careful where we put our trust. We need to know people and have some sense of who they are before we hand them ourselves. Rather than not sharing or being vulnerable with others, we need to be discerning. We need to make good choices about who we share with.

And what did I get for my vulnerable calculated risk taking exercise? What came back to me was encouraging, useful, thoughtful feedback on my novel. Feedback without which I wouldn’t be feeling the confidence to dive back into writing again.

Sometimes, we need to risk being vulnerable to reap the benefits. Sometimes, we need to put ourselves out there and trust ourselves that we’ve trusted the right person.

Do you need to be vulnerable to move ahead from where you are?

Journeying and the stops along the way

Ever have those times when you just take a step back and do a bit of an overview of your life? I did that a few times while we were on holiday, and I decided there needed to be some changes. So, the kids are off to boarding school! Only joking 🙂

But I did have the realisation that I really, really, really want to finish the novel I started writing over five years ago. I found myself thinking, as I wondered along the beach, that I just didn’t have time. I have my writing for Destiny Rescue, work, a new work blog, this blog, speaking engagements, friends, family etc etc.

And then I realised my mistake, it was the age old axiom that I wasn’t making time. I have enough time. I just wasn’t using it in a way that meant I achieved my goals.

So, now I have a realistic, workable schedule which has everything in it…right down to notes about making time for friends and extended family. And so far this week, it’s working.

And I’m excited to be getting back to my novel. It’s easy to feel like I’ve left it too long, that clearly I can’t manage the commitment that writing a book needs.

And then I came across this quote –

The trees that are slow to grow bear the most fruit ~ Moliere

And then I felt better.

This book is slow to grow but I hope that means it’s worth it, that the angst and frustration it has caused me won’t be for naught. And that one day, maybe, it might be published. Actually, at this point, I think just finishing it will be reward enough 🙂

And the bonus is that I feel more organised in my head and, this week anyway, I’ve gone to bed each night feeling pleased with what I’ve achieved during the day.

Is there something in your life that you should be making time for? If so, why aren’t you?