Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm deb and I'm a flawed human being....

The other day I was chatting to our friend Alex 
and we were talking about how it seems to us that church is not always
a place where everyone can feel safe and not
judged for who they are.

I said that I wished that church was like AA
where the only rule is that you have to be an alcoholic,
there is no other qualification.

According to the AA website (I looked it up after my conversation with Alex)
AA is about people who "share their experience strength and hope with each other
that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover"

Seems to me we could all do with a bit of that.

It's not just a church thing, it's a life thing
it's easy to look around us at people and judge them for the things they are doing,
even if we don't mean too;
but the reality is that we are all flawed human beings,
and that is a great starting point.

Sometimes you just need to take of the mask of "I"m fine and I'm coping"
and just acknowledge that sometimes life is difficult
and that it's ok to fall apart a little bit.

And then maybe the other person will be able to acknowledge where they are at
and the two of you can encourage each other.

Let's face it, life is hard enough without
making it harder for someone else.
What's that saying about a mile in someone's shoes?
most of the time if we tried it we wouldn't like it at all
no matter how it looks from our point of view.

Even harder than giving someone else a break,
is giving yourself a break.

Are we not our own worst critic??
Heck yes. Perfection is so over rated.

I'm deb and I'm a flawed human being.
Be gentle with me, ok?
and I'll be gentle with you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A spring clean for 2015 {on relationships}

Much as we wish it was otherwise, relationships are not all sunshine and roses.
Because relationships need regular attention,
a spring clean you might say, to keep everything in order.

Good intentions are not enough to keep a relationship strong,
it takes a lot of actual hard work,
sometimes you have to rearrange things
or clean behind the furniture,
otherwise a relationship can easily get dull and dusty
without us even realising it.

It is far to easy to carry on day to day
and not notice that clutter is acculumulated in the corners;
things like resentment and anger.

Or that even maybe that something isn't working at all
and needs to be carted off to the curb for recycling.

Isn't that a crazy challenge for all of us in relationships?
To keep things fresh and sweet,
when daily life can just make it dull and boring!

I've realised since I wrote my last blog post,
that it is not enough just to embrace imperfection,
sometimes you have to have the guts to work out what you can do to a situation
and sometimes you have to change things.

In a relationship, this always seems to start with acknowledging
where we went wrong to start with,
and going on forward from there.

You know you keep on doing what you do,
and making choices and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes you have to just stop right now
and have the guts to make a decision to change the way things are.

After all, if you really love someone,
it's worth it to make things a little uncomfortable for awhile,
have a good spring clean as it were and both work out the best way to live
a life that is not dull and boring
but where you both make each other shine.

How about that for a challenge for 2015?
I'm up for that one!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Embracing Imperfection....

I got this camera for Christmas and one packet of 10 film things to use in it,
I made a sweet as bag to keep it in and then I couldn't quite find the right occasion to use it.
Finally on the last day of our holiday I pulled it out
and decided to take 10 pictures that reflected on our time in the sunshine.

On the whole we had a great holiday. 
We were all together for Christmas which was lovely
and then we enjoyed amazing amazing weather
and did lots of fun family things.

I didn't realise that the camera reset each time you turn it off,
so I ended up with three dud photos.
Which is fine really as we had a few crappy days on holiday too,
so they still reflect our time away.
Annie got the worst dose of chicken pox I'd seen in a little kid,
and then one morning she had a seizure and we had to drag her off to the hospital.
Another time she passed out on the beach,
oh and Reuben (not to be outdone) got a fishhook in his finger.
It's all fun and games in the Robertson tent I tell you.

I wasn't completely idle while we were camping.
I finished hand quilting two quilts while I was away
(they both just needed a little to finish them)
and sewed all the leaves on my whirlygig quilt.
I cut this thing out maybe three years ago, I can't remember
and its been waiting for me to finally get it done.

Sadly I cut it out before I learned all the things I learned about colour
and contrast last year when I made all the quilts from Beyond Neutral.
It's so busy and confusing but I learned lots about needle turn applique while I did it,
plus, you know... wonky quilts still keep you warm
so I'm going to finish it. It's not perfect but it will still function as a quilt.

This year I want to try and embrace the imperfection in my life,
to not be frustrated by it or to run from it,
but just acknowledge that it's part of life.

Just like our holiday, my instasnaps and the quilt I'm working on,
in my parenting, my work and my relationships,
 none of it is perfect but I'm working on being ok with that 
rather than trying to fix all the stuff.

This is my goal for 2015, not the loftiest I admit,
but right now, that's where I am at.
Embracing imperfection.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Reflections on a sunrise....

Last night was New Years Eve here in the Southern Hemisphere, and we went out for coffee and dessert with some friends of ours. But Annie has a terrible dose of Chickenpox and we decided not to stay up late but to tuck our kiddies into bed and call 2014 done and dusted (just in case we had to get up to the smallest child in the night).

I decided that I wanted to see the sun rise on 2015 and so I set my alarm for 5.45 in preparation for sunrise at 5.56 am. When my alarm woke, I really couldn't be bothered getting up (have you tried sleeping in a camping ground on New Year's Eve??) but I thought the sun will only rise this once on January the 1st and so I dragged myself out of bed and down to the beach.
Once I got there, I worked out where the sun would come up and sat down to wait. It was cold and the sun had to rise above the hill, so of course it took longer. While I waited I thought about something that has been on my mind for a while. These last two years studying at University, has made me re-evaluate a lot of things that I had regarded as important. It makes me look at the world in a different way.

So while I sat there, I had a talk to God about how disappointed I felt about some of the stuff that happens in His name, things that religious people say and do that causes deep hurt and rejection to others. Re-assessing my belief system is a scary thing. Working out what is important and what is not.

I sat on the log and waited for the sun, and talked to God about how I still firmly believe that He is real, and that having that faith is an important part of who I am. But the shape of my faith has changed over the last few years. Faith is all well and good, but faith without action is pointless. I want to be someone who shows others love in practical and tangible ways, someone who lends a hand when times are hard.

After a while I got sick of waiting for the sun to come up and I needed to go to the loo, so I walked back up to our tent and then went up to the utility block. All of the time I was doing this, the sun kept on slowly rising and when I came back it was just peeping over the hill.

The sun kept right on coming up, no matter if I was in a special place to wait for it, or if I was just doing my daily tasks. The sun will keep on coming up whether I watch for it or not.

I read somewhere once, "I believe in the sun when it doesn't shine and I believe in God even though I can't see Him". My faith does not look the same as it did two years ago, but it's still there, and it's still an important component of who I am. I can go about my daily life with the confidence that it gives me, but I can show how this works for me by my actions. This is my dream for 2015, the year that I hopefully finish my degree, that my actions will be such that others are encouraged, helped and supported. 

Happy New Year!!

(Finished the quilting on this quilt today, sorry about the terrible photos. The sun was bright and the quilt is even brighter!!)

Monday, December 29, 2014

What I can promise my child for 2015...

Yesterday when we woke it was raining, so we all went off to the movies. The girls and I went to watch Paddington because we thought Annie would like it. The movie started and the story begun; but we had hardly made a dent in our popcorn when right before our eyes, Paddington and his Aunt and Uncle were involved in an earthquake.

I sat there frozen in my seat as we watched their home being destroyed and I could feel Annie rigid beside me. I couldn't do anything as the Uncle bear died and they lost their home. As Chrissy said in my ear, well that got sad really fast.

The movie is well done and the story ends beautifully but for a Christchurch child who only knows that the ground shakes and the buildings come down, it was a bit hard to swallow. 

Annie needed lots of cuddles and talked to me about how it made her feel and how she remembered the wobbles and the books falling down.

You can't tell a child whose lives through 1000s of aftershocks that it's just a movie, because they know it's true. The ground does shake and the stuff does fall.

But then no parent can ever promise that nothing will go wrong, or that they will always be there. Life isn't like that. I can promise my child i will always love them and if they come to me sad or in trouble, I will hold them close and help them find a solution for their troubles.

However I can teach my children to be strong and independent, I can teach them to face their fears and to be a problem solver. Life is never going to  be smooth sailing, but I believe giving my child skills to deal with challenges is my job as a parent and the best way to prepare them for the future.

The movie has a message that the ones we love are our family, I hope my kids will always be surrounded by people who love them and who they love and feel safe with. Part of my job as a parent is to build a community for my children that they can be part of, of people they know and trust and are able to ask for help if they need it.

Reflecting on the movie it made me realise that right now, it's summer where we are, long days filled with sunshine and plenty of time to be together. Time to enjoy each other's company and be grateful for the good times. There is never a good time to worry about the future, but there is always a good time to build some good memories of fun times.

Nobody can promise their children that 2015 will be nothing but smooth sailing. But we can make the most of where we are right now, knowing that we have lived through the hardest of times and survived, and that whatever life throws at us, if we stick together, we will get through. If you love someone, they are your family, and that is the important thing.

Monday, December 22, 2014

...a well-worn path....

I had an epiphany today while I was driving about doing 101 things
that must be done before Christmas.
I was thinking how its the fourth Christmas since the 
earthquakes began and how most of the time
it seems pretty normal now.

The first Christmas it was like you walked in the footsteps of the Christmas before,
you knew what you were doing and when you did it,
and you knew how it felt when the earthquake struck.
Every day of the Christmas season it was like living it again.

The second Christmas, you remembered,
but it wasn't the only thing you were thinking.
Life was beginning to carry on.

And now the memories are like a well worn path,
it's there in the background, but it's not something that fills your mind,
it's more of a backdrop to life.

We live in a city filled with space,
and amazing art. Lots of grass and lots of carparks!
We live in a city where every second person is a tradesperson,
and the bars are full of Irishmen who come for work.

Most of the time, we probably don't even notice 
as we go about our daily lives. 
No longer are we stepping carefully in the footsteps of the day before,
or the month before, or the year before.
It's just how it is here.

Long after everyone else has forgotten that we lived through this disaster,
while the rest of the world imagines that life has returned to normal,
we live in a city that has had the heart torn out of it,
but we live with grace and style.

We go about our daily life bolstered by the lessons we learned
as we endured 1000s of aftershocks,
as we queued for clean water for months,
and as we watched our city be demolished over years.

 This Christmas, I'm so grateful that our family can celebrate together,
that we have not only survived the last four years,
but that we have grown and changed as well.

I'm actually grateful for that well-worn path,
the things that we remember (we can't forget them)
the things that didn't kill us, but did actually make us stronger.

I'd never in a million years chose to live through a natural disaster like this,
but seeing as what we have, I'm glad to live it with my fellow Christchurch friends
and to have the shared experience and lessons
to take through the rest of our lives.

(All the photos in this post were taken by the lovely Roz this weekend
and used with her permission)

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I'm sure you will have all read or heard about the events in a cafe in Sydney,
where a sad, mad man made a bunch of bad choices
and two innocent people died.
It's one of those things that are just two close to home,
and you feel powerless to do anything to help.

Except that a quilter in Sydney has decided that there is something we can do.
He's going to make a quilt with blocks that we all send in.
You can read his post here and more details here. 

My wee sewing machine is in the process of dying
but I decided that I would coax a few blocks out of it for this project.
It's a crazy busy time of the year but I really didn't want to miss out
on doing my bit to make a difference for these families.

I started off great and got a bunch of blocks underway.
My poor wee machine is not sewing perfectly,
but I'm hoping they will pass the Molli Sparkles test.

I sewed them all up with great enthusiasm,
picturing a nice pile of little yellow hashtags (my favourite)
but then when I sewed the last one with a flourish,
I realised that my tired brain had made a mistake
and instead of hashtags, I had dashes.

At this point I felt like giving up.
But no I was determined to send some blocks.
The final offering of three puny blocks is done.
There is time before the deadline,
maybe I can make some more after we come back from our camping holiday.

Anyway these are easy to make (if you follow the instructions)
so if you want to contribute to the quilt,
pop along to Molli Sparkles blog and get the details.