Tuesday, July 2, 2019

New beginnings and a fresh view...

To get to my new job, I take a slightly longer route each morning so I can drive past
the filtration ponds (known locally as the "poo ponds") and see the sun rise.
Then when I turn left I can see the mountains in the distance.
I missed the mountains the most when we left Rolleston a year ago
(how was that only a year ago?)

The strangest thing though, is that you cannot see any of the city.
Just the road I am on and the mountains far away.
It's a refreshing perspective, and a reminder I value as I start every day.

This last month I have been striving to live life like that. 
Keeping my eye on the prize and trying not to focus on all the things in between.
We were mostly successful really. 
We managed to pack up our whole house,
store some of the children's precious things in the attic
and my books in the attic at work.

After all the sorting, we still did end up with a truck load of stuff, 
but we discovered that if you give all your precious possessions a ride in a truck
and pile them outside at the required destination;
that it is far far easier to get rid of them.

To say we decluttered is an understatement.

And now Annie and I have mixed our treasures together,
we have Marie Kondo'd our clothes to the enth degree
and we have played jenga with the possessions we decided to keep.

In the kitchen, Chrissy and I merged our resources together,
keeping the best of both kitchens. Making a space where we can work together
and find everything we want close to hand.

Jacob carried out a mighty mission in the garage.
The camping gear that we absolutely could not part with is now stacked up neatly.
We were not ready to part with all that yet.
We hope to have some more camping adventures in the next few years.

And now here we all are, blending our lives together.
It's so lovely to be able to work together
and the household is running so smoothly so far.
Even all our pets are getting on at this point, long may it continue.

I think as long as we keep our eyes on the big picture
and don't focus on the little things that may annoy us in time,
we will all be able to live happily together until life
moves us on to another stage.

But first, rest and recovery and some catching up of study!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Encouragement Project

Recently I have been lucky enough to be part of the encouragement project
which is being trialed by my friend Abraham.

Abraham does these photos on Instagram and it always
makes me happy to see them.

(By the way Abraham is married to the fabulous Rhiannon
who makes the dresses I wear. Between them they are
a beautiful pair of amazingly talented creative
humble people.)

Anyway back to the encouragement project.
As part of the project, we had to tell Abraham what our goals
are that we were working towards.

Now I am have a pretty stressful year, as it turns out
and both of the times I have been part of the trial,
have been extra extra stressful for some reason.

I absolutely loved getting the texts from Abraham in the morning,
it make my heart warm to know that someone 
cared enough to send me a text. 

I learned a whole lot about myself through the project.
I learned that I am pretty motivated actually and I already
work consistently at my goals.

But what I really needed was encouragement
to be able to acknowledge to myself that I was doing great.
To keep going and to not be discouraged.

This last time I don't think I meet my goals,
but I did a whole lot of other things that were all vital in moving forward.
The texts from Abraham were a huge encouragement
to keep going, to not give up and, most importantly
to take a moment to acknowledge that actually I'm doing great.

For me the encouragement project is a success.
When Abraham runs the program for real, I will be signing up,
you can't really put a value on having someone
remind you that moving forward is not easy
but absolutely worth it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Beginning is easy, continuing is hard {Japanese Proverb}

I've been writing this blog for years now. Many years.
It's become a way for me to process all the things in my head
and in someways, a journal of the meanderings of my life.
There's so much going on in my life right now,
that I'm just going to take 10 minutes and capture them.

It would be an understatement to say that I'm going through a period of change.
There's so much change, its ridiculous. Tomorrow I finish my current job
and on Monday I start a new one. 

This job almost broke me to be honest,
(it probably almost broke my boss too actually)
but I learned to make cold calls like a pro
and I've mostly got over the deep sense of failure I developed in the first 12 months.
I learned to have great self talk, and to set mini goals for myself
that made it seem like I was actually making progress.
It's a shame to leave just as I am getting good at it,
but that's how it is I'm afraid.

Anyway on Monday I start a new job that I'm very excited about
in which I truly hope I can make a difference every day
and it's a lot closer to my future social worker heart.
But because of this new job (I'll tell you about it sometime)
I have had to bring forward the changing of my name.

I'm legally changing my name, but I'll keep blogging under Deb
but if you know me in my real life, you will know that I have a new name.
The reason is because I've been writing here for so long,
my Deb Robertson name is very very easy to find
and that's not such a good thing for my future roles.
I plan to keep writing in this space as Deb, I hope you can still find me if you want to!

And then because clearly two life changes are not quite enough,
Annie and I are moving house. 
Once again, this was something we were planning, but not quite right now.
But a few things have come together and so it's happening in two weeks.
This weekend I'm packing the things to go in storage
(all the books and two 60 litre containers of precious things)
and sorting the things that we will take with us.
and the much much larger pile of what we will get rid of.

Our sweet little house is being rented to a young friend of mine
and he's found himself some flatmates.
I hope it all goes well for all of us.
Annie and I are moving in with family for three years
while I finish my studies.

It's going to be really lovely and we are looking forward to it.
But also I won't lie, we are sad to be leaving our house
and we might not come back to live here (but that's another future post).
We have only been here for a year
and we can't quite believe we are moving already.

In the meantime I'm still trying to finish an essay that is almost killing me
and catch up on my studies while working full time.

I'm filled with a whole lot of feelings that I'm having trouble processing.
I don't know really what's going on, but I am holding onto hope that it's all going to be ok.

I've come so far now. I can't give up.
Even though right now, I have moments when really really wish I could.

There's been a few quiet tears in the shower
and lots of encouraging words from friends helping us to get through.

We will get there I think. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Parenting, hard times and still fighting to move forward

I don't know if it is because time has passed and we have settled into our role parenting apart, 
or if it is the season we are in, but I have noticed that it has become easier to have a working relationship wth the children's dad. For a long time, it was hard work to make things work and often harsh words were said that I regretted later.

{We are human after all and there are reasons why we aren't married to each other any more!!}

Currently we are working through probably the toughest patch in our parenting story,
and it is fortunate that this easing of things has coincided with having to work together
to make truly difficult decisions. 

I'm also finding myself increasingly grateful for all the things that Annie's dad and step-mum
do with her. They take her on amazing holidays, they do all sorts of activities
and often show up when I can't.

I don't want to have a pity party, but I'm becoming increasingly aware
that I have given myself an impossible workload.
And so I'm working to make a few really big changes
so that I can get through this patch alive. 

It turns out three years is quite a long time when you under it so to speak,
I know that in a few years I will look back and it will seem but a moment.
So with this in mind, I am planning some practical changes in the next few months.
In the meantime, I'm loving for both the fact that Annie's dad sends me photos of her having a truly
wonderful time when he has her, and also I'm working hard to make thing work out better for us.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A celebration of life for Cam

On Sunday I was incredibly fortunate to be able to fly to Melbourne to go to Camille's (Curlypops) funeral on Monday. It truly was a celebration of her life and although there were lots of tears, there was a lot of laughter too. Cam managed to maximise the influence that her life made and that was evidenced by all the people there.

 For a lot of us, it was the first time we had actually met in real life. There were people there I have known for more than 10 years, who I have watched their children grow up, who I have laughed with and cried with; but who I have never given a hug to. That is because our friendships were begun in the early days of the blogging community. A time when we found our tribe. That's how we all knew Cam, who was our connection to each other.

So although it was sad and we will miss Cam forever, it was amazing to share the experience of grief and shed our tears together, as opposed to in our individual houses like we usually do. To give and receive hugs from people who we knew. We all did know each other. It was amazing.

 We all sat around a table drinking our coffee and talking. And then some of us pulled out our knitting or our stitching and we talked the afternoon away. I feel like this was exactly what Cam would have wanted. Even though it was a sad sad time, being together definitely did help.

 Blogging and our shared passion for making things brought us all together. You don't often get a chance to be part of a big group that all get you, that think about things like you do and that have such a shared history. I really felt like I was with my tribe. It was a very healing experience. I made two new friends too, which was awesome. We made plans to catch up again.

I'm so grateful to Cam for this gift she gave us. We will never forget her and we miss her desperately.

Monday, April 22, 2019

I love you Cam xox

My heart is so sad tonight. One of our dear friends, Cam,  (Curlypops) is dying in Melbourne. Cam has been so full of colour and light that it hurts so much to see that light being extinguished.

In the early days of the Internet when it was all fresh and new and exciting, a lot of us started blogs.
There was a whole world out there and we could connect with it. I was living an extremely difficult life and blogging was like a light in the darkness. Finally I could find people like me. It literally changed my life.

One of the people I met was Cam. Cam was sewing the brightest of bright fabrics while waiting for a lung transplant. In 2012 I met Cam when I went to Melbourne for my brother’s wedding and I posted a photo on Instagram and she said, you are in my neighbourhood! I visited her again after her transplant bringing a quilt I made with a lot of help from Cam’s friends. (The photo with this post is of a hottie cover I made for a fundraiser that Cam organised)

I count Cam as a dear friend. Whenever we are in the same city we visit. But we keep in touch through the happenings on Instagram.

And now she is leaving us. She leaves the biggest biggest hole in our community. She is an example to us to embrace life with everything that we have. I cannot even imagine not seeing her around in our online spaces.

This afternoon I sewed a rainbow quilt, because rainbows are what I think of when I think of Cam.

Love you Cam, you will live forever in our hearts. Fly free sweet sweet friend.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Nothing breaks like a heart.

Last week was what I hope will be forever regarded as rock bottom in my life. I really don't know if I could cope with a week worse than that. It was so bad that if I told you, you would think I was making it up. But sadly I didn't make it up, it was all true. I'm not going to go into details here, but let's just say, my heart hurts and it was genuinely difficult to decide to keep on going.

But luckily, at the same time as all the shit was going down, I kept on working on my assignments and readings for uni. One of them was a journal article about storytelling theories in Social Work. Basically, if I read this right, when we use a story telling theory in social work, we tell the story about what happened and then we stand back and look at that story and see if we can reframe it differently to take way the victim aspect and gain some power back. 

This was excellent timing for me. I looked at the story I was telling myself, and I could recognise the good bits of the story, the things I could take away. I could put the bad bits aside as part of the learning experience and I think I can move on. I mean, I won't lie, my heart still hurts, but I'm not a victim. I'm someone who is fighting so hard for her goals and to provide for her family. I'm wanting to be a good mum, to empower my kids to make good decisions. All of us are learning that we need to take responsibility for our own actions, to own our failings and to make the decisions and changes necessary to move forward.

I'm far from perfect, as a friend, as a parent and as a person. But none of us are. We are all flawed human beings working on our stuff aren't we? So here's to moving forward. Here's to picking up the good pieces and leaving the broken ones. Here's to taking a risk to love and learning the lessons from it. 

And for everything else, thank God for chocolate brownie dates with your daughter, and home cooked dinners. Here's to good songs on the radio and rain on the roof when you are tucked up in bed. Here's to enjoying the small things and finding enough joy in those to tackle the big things.