Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday I received the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from our team at work. It was a congratulatory gift for completing my BA degree. I was thrilled and very grateful for the gesture. It was only this afternoon that the thought occurred to me that I don’t give myself enough credit for my achievements. I need to acknowledge me more often and, more importantly God, for only through Him are all things possible.

My beautiful flowers

So I want to take this moment to acknowledge God for making it possible for me to complete my degree while I was:

  • Getting my head around a new role in which I had to relearn old skills and learn new skills all at the same time (I am still not where i need to be but I will get there)
  • Acting as chairperson in our body corporate for the last 2 years
  • Buying a new home and adjusting to a new relationship at the same time
  • Dealing with the end of that relationship, the loss of my mother and the break-up of my family all at the same
  • Giving my son and I the space to grieve together for the loss of my mum in particular
  • Adjusting to a diagnosis of diabetes and learning to live with it and how to overcome it
  • Working on healing and growing myself through the use of self-help and spiritual books
  • Working from home during the lockdown and trying to ensure that my son maintains a certain level of education all by myself. At the same time I did the Mind Power course. I also had to ensure that all the lockdown regulations were being followed in our complex and prepare for and write my exams. (I have to say that it was exhausting juggling everything and I still can’t believe that I passed my exams1 )
  • Supporting my son in all his sporting endeavors and making sure we maintain a good quality life and that he hardly ever feels neglected and just doing my best to be as good a parent as I know how to him.
  • Losing my favourite aunt almost exactly year after losing my mum. The whole experience was like losing my mum all over again.
  • I started writing and got my blog going and have written on other platforms like Medium an Quora. I have enjoyed this tremendously!
  • Fitting in assignments between travels to Dubai and China.
  • And of course, trying to be a good friend, sister, daughter, cousin, aunt and niece to those I love and have given me their support.

It’s been an amazing 6 years. Most of the stuff mentioned happened in the last 3 of the 6 years. So it’s been quite a ride! Phew! I deserve those flowers at the very least I think ..lol.

I am taking a break this semester and aim to start my honours in Psych next year. I am so excited about that! It will be my first honours degree! My end goal is a Phd in Psych and I have no doubt that I will achieve. It’s only a matter of time. God will go before me and make a way.

I have done this exercise for another reason as well. Listing your achievements helps to change your mindset from one of lack to one of abundance and success. The thinking is that you will remind yourself of what it feels like to be successful so that you continue to feel those feelings and draw more success to yourself. Nope, it’s not hogwash. I invite you to think back to a time when you were feeling really great about something. What other good things suddenly started happening to you? I can guarantee you that you received a welcome surprise while you were in that state. If you pay attention , you will find that these welcome surprises pop up when you are thrilled about something good that has happened in your life or are in a state of deep and authentic gratitude.

I encourage you to go ahead and list your achievements and all the things you had to overcome to get there. Remind yourself of what a successful person you already are, because you are!

Thanks for reading this piece. Covid19 is still a real threat so stay home and stay safe.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

christmas tree with baubles
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

 

14 days and counting! I am so excited! My tree is up and my son and I have decorated the house a bit. This is the first time ever that we have our tree up so early and that we have decorated the house. The Christmas spirit is alive and well in my home this year!

This is the first year that my son and I will wake up in our home on Christmas morning. We would normally sleep over at my mother’s on Christmas Eve. This of course meant spending the afternoon locked in my room at my mom’s, wrapping gifts. Ideally little should have been napping at this point so that he could make it through midnight mass, but FOMO is his second name so my dad would distract him instead.  He would rather dose off during the mass so that he was fresh as soon as the mass was done 😂. Before church he would put out the biscuits and milk for Santa and then into the car.  I would drink half the glass and through half the biscuits in my bag and put the gifts under tree before joining everyone in the car.  Coming home to discover what Santa had left under the Christmas tree while we were away has always been my son’s favourite moment at Christmas.

He would always check the milk and biscuits first as soon as he got in the house. The absolute excitement on his face when he sees that the milk and biscuits are finished was priceless. Proof that Santa was definitely there! Yay! Next he would check under the tree and lo and behold…Santa has not disappointed him! There lay all the gifts! In those few moments, his belief in the magic of Christmas is sealed and there is nothing anyone can say or do to shake it. Seeing the wonder and joy in his eyes is gift enough for me.

The past 2 Christmas’s have been very different. The first one, my mom was sick so he didn’t sleep at her house on Christmas Eve and the second, he spent with his father’s family. It was our first Christmas without my mum and I thought it would be better for him to spend it elsewhere to distract him. Luckily, despite these disruptions in our Christmas routine, he still believes in Santa and is looking forward to our first Christmas at home. I am thrilled because that belief in Santa is what makes Christmas magical and neither of us are ready to stop believing in that magic just yet.

I have to admit, it has taken a lot of reinventions of the truth as he has gotten older to keep him believing in Santa. He still believes that I have Santa, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy’s numbers. The story has now evolved to the fact that there are so many more kids in the world today that these 3 characters need help. They now rely heavily on parents to be their helpers so that little people are not disappointed😜. He also knows that he has to “believe to receive” (one of our directors at work taught me that trick). He is no idiot so sometimes a few doubts creep in but the need to believe is stronger and overrides his doubts every time.

He has received his gift early so he is not expecting anything under the tree but of course, Santa will surprise him. I can’t wait to see the look on his face on Christmas morning!!! Today he was trying to suss out how I would go about buying him a gift without him knowing since I am at work all day and he is with me when I am not working.  That brain of his is always busy trying to figure this out.  He also clearly refuses to accept that Santa won’t leave anything for him under the tree.  He is holding on to his hope.  Well…since he believes, he will have to receive.    

This year we will start creating a new Christmas routine. We have already started by putting up the tree and decorations early and I am so excited about that. I must admit that I have no idea what that routine will be so we will just do what feels right in the moment this year and build from there every year. All I know is that I can’t wait for Christmas!!!

Christmas wreath on door
Our first Christmas Wreath

What are your Christmas traditions?  Do you spend it with family or do you prefer to be with friends? How do you keep your kids believing in the magic of Christmas?  Do you believe in it?  

Looking forward to hearing from you!  All the best with your Christmas preparations!

 

 

 

C-section Awareness Month

C-section Awareness Month

http://adventuresofanewmamabear.blog/2019/04/22/c-section-awareness-month/
— Read on adventuresofanewmamabear.blog/2019/04/22/c-section-awareness-month/

Reblogging a post by a friend this C-Section awareness month. I couldn’t explain the emotions better as a mom who also gave birth by C-section. Thank you for this post Katy!

Quote of the day: Sunday

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Flower petal backlight by sun. Quote by Thich Nhat Hanh
Quote by Thich Nhat Hanh. Image by Canva

Cheers Bye 45! Welcome 46😊

Another birthday is on the horizon. Life has been interesting. Lessons have been learned. A new, more fulfilled, me is emerging…

Today I say farewell to 45. 46 here I come!!! 😜😁 I am so grateful for this past year. It has been extremely difficult but, thanks to the trials I have learnt a lot about myself along the way.

Lesson 1: I love been part of a partnership

I have spent decades avoiding a long term relationship for so many reasons. The two main reasons though were that I was afraid of losing my independence and control over my life, and I was afraid of losing myself. Even though the relationship didn’t last, I am so glad that I opened myself up to it and gave it a shot. The relationship might have ended but, upon reflection, in addition to the some of the lessons I learned which you can read about here, I discovered so much about myself. Guess what fam…At no point did I lose myself. What did do was discover new sides of myself that I am thoroughly enjoying. My ex constantly encouraged me to write. He is not a reader but actually enjoyed reading whatever I wrote which gave me confidence. Thank you Tattoo guy. I didn’t lose my independence either. I willing gave up my independence in a lot of areas and it was a joy and a pleasure to have someone to share those areas of responsibility with. When we tackled anything together, we made an amazing team. If felt good to be a part of that. Being a part of a partnership was a fulfilling experience and I cannot wait for the next right opportunity to present itself. And yes, to those of you who know me well…I really did write that…lol. Bring on the next relationship Universe…I am ready and open to it! 😃✨

Lesson 2: I am stronger than I give myself credit for

With the breakup of my relationship and the passing of my mum happening within two months of each other, there were times when I thought I was going to crumble into a heap and just fade away. I didn’t, I got up every morning, I put one foot in front of the other and dealt with each challenge as it arose. I did have the support of amazing friends at work and at home and of my cousin and of course my baby sister and dad. They are all amazing. Thank you. At the end of the day though I had to get up on my own and help not only myself through these huge changes in my life but my son as well as he was directly affected by both breakups as well. We have both pulled through and I believe that we are stronger than ever because of it.

Lesson 3: Not only am I enough but I am worthy of my hearts desires

I have previously mentioned my return to studying the Law of Attraction in an attempt to change my perspective on life, redefine what I want from life and hit the start button. I knew there were aspects of it that I didn’t understand properly and I was determined to get a better grasp of it. I have now read a few more books on it and even watched a movie and the one thing that I have come to realise is that I have not understood my worth. Not at all. I have played small because I didn’t think I was worthy of bigger. I definitely know better now! Gosh darn it! The Universe is limitless! Who am I to limit myself?? I have always loved the piece by Marianne Williamson but I never truly understood it until now…

The thing is that dreaming big takes a belief in yourself that is actually not easy to just switch on. I feel like I am stepping into a whole new world and it’s pretty scary (so scary that my heart is beating so fast as I write this that the breathing app on my watch has been activated…lol) but the rewards that await me are bigger than I can conceive so I am going to take this one step at a time and lets see where the path leads. As Trevor Noah said in his book “Born a crime”: “But the highest rung of whats possible is far beyond the world you can see.” Boy has he shown that to be true!

Lesson 4: I love to bake and to cook

Are you back on your chair yet? 😂 Shocker of a discovery isn’t it.😜 My mum was a baker of note! I never bothered to learn from her because i believed that baking was not my thing or cooking for that matter. She did however teach my son to bake. She taught all her grandchildren to. It was her “thing” that she did with them and they loved it.

As it turns out, Tattoo guy had a sweet tooth so I decided that I would try my hand at baking to satisfy his cravings. The things we do for love…sigh. Anyway, I started collecting my mum’s recipes from her and was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed the process and I was actually quite good at it. My mum was initially very surprised when I started asking for her recipes and was quite thrilled that I actually used them and sent pics of my successes.

Baking has now become my thing with my son. It is an opportunity for us to bond and to honour my mum’s memory. Each taste of our cakes and tarts take me back to Sunday nights at home as a kid and brings to life a taste of my mother’s love for us. This was how she shared her love for everyone. Alex and I are so blessed to be able to carry on the tradition.

As for cooking, Tattoo guy actually liked my cooking. I know I know…you can get back on your chair again. 😂 Having someone actually enjoy eating my food made me want to do more of it and even experiment a little here and there. My favourite dish to make is lasagne. I have even bought a dining room table so that I can cook for and entertain my friends. Yes friends, that’s right, clear you diaries, dinner parties are at my house this year. Come hungry!😉😊

So yes, 45 was a hard year and a crazy year but an interesting and revealing year. I am grateful to have been blessed with the time and the experiences. 46…bring on the new beginnings, the adventures and the learning curves. I am enjoying this new me😊

Thank you as always for taking the time to read my blog. Don’t forget to like/comment/share if you enjoyed it and feel others might as well.

Day 5 of my new reality… a world without my mum in it.

My Mum

It is day 5 of my new reality. 5 days of life without my mum. My quiet, fiercely independent and loving mum. My heart is broken that she is no longer with us but I know that she is now at peace. She suffers no more and that gives me great comfort. She taught me much in the 45 years I was blessed to call her my mum. These are just a few of the valuable lessons I learned from her:

1. You are responsible for your life

Like I have mentioned above and in a previous post, my mum was a fiercely independent woman. She didn’t sit around waiting for anyone, she just quietly went about doing what needed to be done. She was dedicated to her family, to her job and to her God. Through her example, my sisters and I have learnt responsibility and diligence and have each become independent woman ourselves.

2. Being a mother means loving and accepting your children and being there for them always

I remember calling my mum to tell her that I was pregnant. I was 34 and single and felt like I had let my parents down terribly. She quietly listened and then said to me “It is what it is my child. It’s ok. Let me know what I can do for you”. She did not judge me. She didn’t make me feel guilty, she just accepted me and loved me anyway. She was a woman of few words and seldom voiced her emotions to me but she showed me her love by her actions. True to her words, she was there for me in every way that I allowed her to be and even in ways that I never expected. She loved her grandson dearly and he lived for that one week every holiday that he would spend with her. Thank you Mummy.

Alex and his Beloved Granny

3. Actions speak louder than words

Like I said, my mum was a woman of few words. What she didn’t say, she showed. One of the ways she showed her love was through her baking. She loved to bake and she was an excellent baker. She set the standard very high and it is very seldom that I taste someone else’s cakes and find them up to the standard of my mum’s. My mum never said “welcome to my home” or “happy to be here” with words. She said it with a her baking. She knew everyone in and outside of the family’s favourites and made a point of baking it when she knew they were coming or if she was going to visit them. She took great pleasure in delighting everyone in this way. In our home, Sunday night’s were treasured because she would bake 2-3 different delights every Sunday afternoon and that was how we spent our Sunday evenings, savouring my mum’s delicious baking as a family before we started a new week.

4. Your smile lights up the world

Some of the comments that I have often gotten from people over the past few days is “I am going to miss her smile”, “whenever you met her she would always give you a big smile”, “she was always smiling”, “she had a lovely smile”. My mum delighted everyone she met with her smile. She used it to make them feel welcome in her presence. She used it brighten their day. Her smile lit up the world of everyone around her. It was a simple yet effective and gracious tool that she used to make this world a better place everyday. Even while she was in the hospital. No matter how terrible she was feeling, whenever her grandchildren came to see her, she would find the energy to sit up straight and put on her brightest smile when she saw them. It blew me away to see her do that every time.

There is of course so much more that I could share about my mum and I know that as I continue to reflect on her life and my experience of her in the coming weeks and years, there will be a lot more valuable lessons that will come to mind. Even though my son only got to spend 10 years with her, he was blessed to have lots of quality time with her and she instilled in him lots of values and of course, a love for baking.

Baking in memory of Granny this week

Thank you for being you Mummy. You were authentic and an inspiration. I am blessed to call you my mum.

Rest In Peace Mummy.

I’m letting go of control …eek!

As I write this, my heart is beating a little faster and my chest is feeling just a little tighter.  A sense of panic is setting in.   I am a control freak and the idea of letting go of control scares me to death (or so it feels).  The truth is that I actually have very little control of what happens in my life, I do however have control over how I choose to respond to it.  And that, it turns out, makes all the difference.

As a kid, I often felt “caged in” by my circumstances.   Of course in hindsight, I see how blessed I was.  Nevertheless, as a result of this, I have spent my adult life trying to control every aspect of my life.  I felt like a complete and utter failure when things have not worked out as planned or when friends have left me out of something.  I have striven to have the “perfect life” and have been severely disappointed when I have felt that I have not succeeded.  “Perfect” for me equated to “independent”.  Independence meant that I never had to ask for permission and I never had to rely on anyone for anything.  Asking for help was a mortifying experience. The only way to achieve independence in my mind was through control of every aspect of my life.  Control of my money, my feelings, and even the people in my life.  I did accept that there were certain things that I had limited or no control over after a while and that it was ok but even that was a struggle at first and still is at times.  Turns out independence is overrated (mostly)

There was a day in my early 20’s somewhere when my mom and I had a huge fight.  I have no idea what the fight was about, but I remember phoning my dad after and ranting about how unfair my mother was and how I wanted nothing more to do with her.  The only thing I remember him saying to me during that conversation is “no man is an island”.   At the time, I remember thinking: “yah yah whatever. I can survive on my own”.  Turns out he was right.  I cannot do it all by myself.  I need help from time to time.  Every time I push someone away, I hear my dad’s voice saying “no man is an island” then I take a step back and question why I acted this way in the first place.  Is this someone that I will regret letting go of when I am 100 and on my death bed one day and why?  If the answer is yes, then I eat humble pie and try to make amends.  Sometimes they come back and sometimes they don’t.  If they don’t, well then, I guess they have served their purpose in my life and I in theirs and it is time for us both to move on.  Yes, I know, I probably should ask that question BEFORE I push them away but to be honest sometimes I just need the space to get clarity first.

In order to be in control and be independent, I need to be sure of everything and I need to be right about everything.  To be sure that I am right, I must choose an option and remain steadfastly glued to it.  I must find the evidence to support what I believe is right and ignore everything that points to me being wrong.  The problem with this approach of course is that I am not right because, well, who ever really is? The other problem is that I close myself off to other opportunities that I might actually enjoy more.

Soooo…my goal is to give up control (breathe Michelle, you will be OK…) and be more open to all the options and experiences available to me. To be more spontaneous.  To be less judgmental.  To be more wrong.   I don’t have a choice but to be independent right now but nowhere is it cast in stone that I have to be a control freak in order to be independent.  Besides, as a mother, my ability to let go of control of my son is tested every day.  Every day I have to leave him in someone else’s care.  Every day I have to stop myself from telling him what to wear and not impose my ideas on him.  I have to let him be him and not who I want him to be.  As a partner in a relationship, I had to constantly make compromises that I didn’t know I was capable of until the moment arrived. I gave up so much control and even a bit of independence that I would sometimes look in the mirror and wonder who the woman was that was looking back at me…lol.  I have no regrets though.  The person and experience were ultimately worth it.

Forward we move. I’m looking forward to getting my feet wet in life’s little puddles.  I am putting desires out there and letting them go for the universe to take of.

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Until next time…Keep smiling.

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