Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My life reads like a filmstrip!

Braveheart (1995)

William Wallace: Every man dies, not every man really lives. 

This week I've been contemplating...looking at where I have come from and where I am now... 

I've lived through pretty much all of the AZ-family above 
and I am ever so glad I am on the other side of that! 
It was HELL...my HELL...but I survived it...

It seems that the Universe is speaking to me LOUDLY today as I opened Facebook and my email simultaneously I came across all of the things I truly needed to read today ... One of my favorite bloggers, she's also a dear friend of mine - KQ - writes about Trauma here as she explores her world within and beyond Child Sexual Abuse and Trauma...

This is not a topic I generally focus on in my day to day life...but I am one such survivor...of many of these hurts in my life...People can choose to believe it or not, I am past caring. Most people don't want to accept or hear that you've lived through these atrocities, but they are REAL and they DO MATTER, and they SHOULD BE talked about! The taboo that exists around these topics has GOT TO GO! Kelly is blazing the trail to a greater understanding of this horrendous act and how to navigate the life you live 'after the fact!' However, I am not here to explore that process. I have tremendous respect and appreciation for what she is doing - so I will let her do what she does best. This is not my forte...I talk about my own experiences...BUT today this post is about something else...It's about learning the lessons of life...

So today, re-posted on Kelly's Blog... this was the perfect post for me to find as I have struggled to connect the dots today...

Hey Universe, I Hear You This Time!

This post is about a tremendous AHA moment I experienced on Friday. It is so powerful that I needed to share it with all my fellow seekers out there. You see, like many others I am aware of way too many moments in my daily life where stress, anxiety, depression, and a sense of despair threaten to undermine if not destroy my happiness. With all the daily practices I have in place to increase my conscious awareness, I still am a work in progress and prone to ruminating about the tragedies in my past and fretting over my future.  Keep reading here where it was originally written & shared - this is a beautiful post of peace, love, and learning to survive HELL! You won't want to miss it!

Anyway, thinking about how far I've come - and where I came from, I realized my life reads like a filmstrip. I see it in pictures, in snippets - as it runs through my mind! I can choose to give each picture (or memory) a chance to settle there...I can explore it further, giving it time to roll (or play out)... to remember that particular movie (or that part of my life) or I can hit pause and move on! I generally try not to focus on the bad. It serves no purpose! Although, some days that is truly easier said than done!

As life is full of upheaval and there are so many unknowns...as I wonder where life is taking me and what else this journey has in store...I look at the lessons - what am I supposed to learn and what am I meant to teach. Life is still unsettled, we are still looking for a home... Amidst the joy there are still many things that aren't right...so I have realized that perhaps there are some things I just have to trust and let go of...Miracles happen when we least expect them... And we must always be grateful!

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Solomon Northup:  Days ago I was with my family, in my home. Now you tell me all is lost. "Tell no one who I really am" if I want to survive. I don't want to survive, I want to live.

We can change our destiny and conjure up a better future - we just have to believe - and Faith is the cornerstone to living your life free of anxiety! When you believe you don't worry...stress evaporates and you just go with the flow. I know it WILL all work out. I know there is a 'Happily Ever After' just around the corner...I just have to keep the FAITH!

I know I am being tested - I also know Karma is a bitch when the ax falls...But I don't go out of my way to wish harm on the people who have hurt me. I just wish them well.  Eventually life - consequences - will catch up of their own accord...every dog has it's day and if you give someone enough rope they will eventually hang themselves...all good advice from someone who has hurt me in more ways than I care to count - but perhaps it was a tad prophetic...we shall see...

I do know this much though - Bad things happen to good people - it's a fact of life! 

I've been thinking - I have now been 'wandering' for 11 months and I know it's time to settle...to stop and to breathe...ENOUGH already! It's time for things to change. Then I read this! - and it is worth reading to the end. Thanks to my friend Lauren for sharing!

~~The Awakening~~ 

A time comes in your life when you finally get it... when, in the 
midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice 
inside your head cries out - ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold 

And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to 
subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world
through new eyes.
This is your awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to
change... or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next
You come to terms with the fact that neither of you is Prince Charming or
Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or
beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin
with you... and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone
will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are ... and that's OK.
They are entitled to their own views and opinions. And you learn the importance of
loving and championing yourself... and in the process a sense of new found
confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did
to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on
is the unexpected.

You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what
they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always
about you.
So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself... and in the
process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people
as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties.... and in
the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world
around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into
your psyche.
And you begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed about how you
should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear,
what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive,
how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and
raising children, and what you owe your parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And
you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn
the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the
doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin
with ... and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there
is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering
through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the
outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon
which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save
the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the
importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry
and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. How to love, how much to give in love,
when to stop giving and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you
would have them be.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.
And you learn that alone does not mean lonely.
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside,
smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK.... and that
it is your right to want things and to ask for the things you want... and that sometimes
it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love,
kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to
care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water,
and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so
you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So
you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe
you deserve... and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that
wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it
happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all alone...and that it's OK to
risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber
baron of all: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because
you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to
give away the right to live life on your own terms.
And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud
of impending doom.

You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you
think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On
these occasions you learn not to personalize things.

You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your
It's just life happening.

And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state -- the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment
must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison
the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple
things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream
a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and
you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever
settle for less than your heart's desire.

And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to
the wind.

And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to
stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side you take a
stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to
live as best you can

~~Author Unknown~~

(*Blog post continued beyond this graphic!)

Right now I feel gratitude. Here's what I am grateful for today! 

1. A loving family - on both the sides of the globe! - who never gave up on me, no matter what!

2. Good friends - on both the sides of the globe! -  who never gave up on me, no matter what!

3. That my children have this beautiful place to live in (below)

4. Free Graphic Design work via my husband, so I can get all my advertising material happening for my books...a new Resume created...business card designs, and other exciting stuff to come...we even have a brand new merchandising store coming soon!

5. My health - it's not the greatest, but it's not the worst either!
6. For learning experiences and for growth.
7. For the opportunity to be in NYC all this time!
8. For my talents and abilities.
9. For my Faith! ... and my strength that comes from that!
10. and...for love!

Oh and 11... I just thought of this - being in the right place at the right time...and for the blessings that come from that!

I can honestly say I am HAPPY regardless of life's challenges!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Peace be with YOU!

It's Spring
It's 17 degrees -
it's warming up!

Yesterday was Palm Sunday...my brother sent me a message from work
(yes work...looks like he has an awesome job...but more on that later)
and asked me to go to Church and pick up some palms...
Me...go to Church!? Yeah right! ...
I didn't want to go - I am NOT a fan of organised religion
and since I stopped attending my own Mormon church
15 years ago, I haven't been inside one of any description.
Not that I don't believe...I just don't go!

Going to Church Doesn't Make You a Christian 
Any More Than Standing in a Garage Makes You a Car
And generally speaking I can't stand Sunday Christians who belong to their sect
when they wanna...then during the week conveniently forget they even have one
and do whatever they please - and treat you however they want...
So...I just don't go...and I confess I didn't want to!
But if someone asks me to do something, 
and because I knew this meant a lot to him
I couldn't disappoint...
That's just how I am!

I know the drill...from spending 8.5 years in a Catholic school...
I know their religion backwards...and I have a lot of respect for it;
I just don't practice anything... anyway, doesn't practicing mean you haven't got it right yet?
Like...ummm practicing medicine for example...makes you wonder really doesn't it...
I'll practice til I get it right...
God help us!

Anyway...so I went to church...it's one I stumbled on some months ago -
I adore the architecture, and inside is even more beautiful than the outside.
It is truly a stunning building...not that it should matter where you worship really.
God hears you no matter what church you're in...or really wherever you are -
that's what I believe anyway...

My faith is all that has sustained me all of these difficult months...

So I felt that it was right to go...
So I went, I blessed myself with Holy Water
I did the sign of the cross as I entered as a mark of respect,
and I picked up the Palms... 
- it was late in the day so as I walked to the church I prayed
that at least one bunch would be left...and sure enough,
there was one bunch waiting for me as requested... Thank you! -

And then...
I sat and prayed...for everyone, and everything, I could think of!
I have to admit the beauty of this House of God
was very distracting...and yes, I took photos
(see below)

When my brother got home...we made the first cross together!

In the evening we want back to the Church -
it was closed but I actually felt better being there.
It was good to walk, and the fresh Spring air felt good on my skin!

The picture above with the American flag unfurled, 
that's the full moon just underneath it!
That seemed like a good omen to me!

If you read my Blog often you'll see me mention the No. 13 A lot!
It seems to be our lucky number...and once again that's come true -
the new job my brother has been training for has a 13 in the address.
I went to the website to check out their stuff and I couldn't believe it when
I noticed the street details...it's true to say everything happens for a reason...
even if you can't work out what reason at the time...
It helps to just have Faith!
And sure, that's not always so easy to do!
But no matter how dark it got,
I was always determined to believe that things would get better!
And I can see that they are...

You know, I have these challenges but...I'm happy!
REALLY happy!
It took 45 long years...it was a long road...a long journey
but it was worth every minute of the suffering!
I have my Dad, and my brother, in my life and that's worth more to me than anything.

I am surrounded by the most amazing people!
Talented, positive, happy people!
And these are not people without challenges either...
but they are people I am proud to know and share the journey with...
No matter the mistakes I make, or how many times I have to pick the pieces up,
No matter whether I'm having a good day or a bad day...
No matter whether I am there in person or just in spirit,
I am never forgotten, and never alone...

I am so grateful for my life and it's important, even in the midst of trouble waters
'to count our many blessings, name them one by one!'

Thank you Kelly.R....for your little gift of coffee the other day, it meant so much!
I am so glad we can always be there for each other!!!

Thank you Neeta, for your kindness, your words of wisdom, your *new* friendship, love & support -
I know we are going to do AMAYYYYZZZZING things!!!

Thank you P.K - for always inspiring me...for your patience & love..for being WHO you ARE!
You know...I said it all the other day in a heartfelt message I TRULY meant!

Thank you Bec, you are beautifully amazing, and amazingly beautiful! 
Never stop creating!!!

Thank you K.Q. - your courage will heal others...
You are doing amazing things!
Your courage is inspiring!

My list is endless...that's just the short version of the list from the past few days...
there's a stack of people on it...
too many to mention!

Thank you to my beautiful daughter for sending me this!
Love you heaps EJ!

Before I go, I just want to say...always be careful what you wish for you might get it...
While I love the silence & the solitude (at times), I miss my family...I miss all of the little things...I watch my friends writing on FB about screaming kids they can't get to sleep, nightmare days with toddler tantrums and difficult children who wont get ready for school on time...I know how you crave some space and some peace mummies, BUT I would trade with you in a second! I miss hugging and kissing my little cherubs...tucking them into bed...making their lunches and baking cookies and slices, washing their endless piles of clothes...I just miss it all really! Life sure is about giving up something to gain something else, there's always a trade-off, a fine balancing act - not sure I've worked that one out yet - it's one thing or the other for now...the scales tip, it's hard at times...Life is one hell of a crazy ride! But most of all, through all of this, I am grateful for my little people and the messages of love I receive daily over the airways. I am grateful for their dad who keeps me up to date with photos and anecdotes of the latest little thing; no matter how small, I appreciate it. 

and then there's this -

We have a beautiful story to tell...

And I am grateful for my Dad...his personal journey has not been easy...but he is the most amazing man! I'm lucky to know him and proud to call him MY father! I am blessed to belong to this connection... I am proud of my lineage and thankful for the stories he has imparted to me...it's been such a very precious experience to learn about my Grandparents, and exciting, interesting and sometimes treacherous stories of my Dad's life as he traveled the world - where he worked as a Chef, what he's seen and done...I can't wait to share his adventures in a book; he has quite the story to tell! I want my children to know and to be proud of where they came from. And like my children, my Dad is now my inspiration and my reason! This miracle has been such a beautiful gift to all of us - many of the layers of which are still being revealed. All things in time - everything has a season...It took us this long to get here! Now we're putting it all together and building the beautiful foundations for the future.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Every Milestone - Every Moment... ogni tappa ogni momento

I can't believe 15 whole years have gone by!!! I was so happy the day you finally arrived - you had the sweetest little face and we just fell in love with you instantly! Then you got so sick and dad and I stayed by your bedside for 5 long days in the hospital... such a long wait and you went through so much - heel pricks to take blood, having an IV in your little arm... placed in under a light with little covers over your eyes so the light wouldn't damage them... we could only hold you for short moments at a time... how it hurt to see you go through that and how grateful I am for the healthy strapping, creative and clever boy you are now. I am so very proud of you. And I love you to the moon and back baby!!! Always have, always will! I miss you with every single beat of my heart!!!!

I remember those days of J. J. being so unwell. After weeks and weeks of follow up visits to the doctor (once he was discharged from hospital) and constant heel pricks, I could no longer bear to walk into pathology with him. In the end his daddy would go, snuggling him close to his chest and holding his little foot in preparation for the inevitable pain! Outside in the car I could still hear him cry...sometimes I'd turn the radio on just so I didn't have to cry too. If I couldn't hear him for a few moments I could blunt the suffering in my heart...but it would always come back. Cradling our baby so carefully my husband would bring him back to the car for me to breastfeed him - to soothe his little heart and soul back to peaceful slumber... There would be a little cottonball attached to his heel with tape, at times just a little blood-stained...the mark of where his tiny foot had been assaulted once again. Once he reached six weeks there would be another (different type of) test to endure... and a few months later an ultrasound...we got through them all...every milestone - every moment - each, a stepping stone to a brighter day. I tried to imagine him as a teenager - all grown up - healthy, strong, and taking on the world at large... And he is. My dream for him came true. And I know he's going to keep doing amazing things... he's my lucky number!

I am blessed with the most amazing children. All ten of them. We have our differences, we don't see eye to eye (sometimes), we are not perfect, but we lovely perfectly ...and although we are a little fractured and raw around the edges, because we have ALL endured a lot!, the one thing that never changes is how deeply and profoundly I love them!

Today as I walking down memory lane, saving photographs from one computer to another, I was dreaming of the life we created...and it was amazing... In my family, my team, we always did everything together. If you follow THIS LINK it will take you to my Christmas Craft Album - this is just one of the MANY I have saved on Facebook...of all the things I either created for them or...we made together...

Please take a moment to trip down Memory Lane with me...

I have spent all night working on family collages of special milestones that I will be uploading to my Blog this evening if I have the energy to keep going...instead of working...I was walking down memory lane - holding my children's hands in my mind...I have completed as many as I can for now. It's taken hours to get this far...

Peter Hayward cant wait to see the outcome. love your work. see where our kids get their creativity from.

Created and attached in no particular order!


We have always been a little famous for our parties and gatherings...
anyone who ever eats or celebrates with us generously compliments us 
for the kindness & hospitality we extend to them!

I'll show you why!

Below...my son's 21st birthday party 5 years ago now..
I had just had a miscarriage - but as they say...
and go on it did!

My eldest 
(some of these pics are from his time with Ashton's Circus)
I couldn't be more proud of him!

Years ago while Fire-breathing he was seriously injured.
I spent the night at the hospital with him while they dressed his burns
on his face and throat, and monitored his breathing in case he needed to be
placed in a medically induced coma and intubated. 
Fortunately that wasn't necessary.
For the next month I dressed his wounds three times a day...
My son also has 2 severely herniated discs in his spine.
I have spent time going back and forth to all of his spinal appointments with him,
including when he had a spinal block in an attempt to alleviate some of the pain.
He has never let this injury stop him...
and we have been there every step of the way with him whenever there has been a major crisis
such as these...

No matter what - we always stick together...
It's important to me to always do as much for my children as I possibly can...
and nothing hurts me more than when I can't...
regardless of the reason!

They are my whole world!

My second eldest...
and his now ex girlfriend...
but she's still family to me!

My beautiful son has had the same job for nearly 7 years
has rarely had a sick day...is paying off his own home
and has also had his own business,
and if that's not enough,
in his 'spare time' he works as a DJ.
Proud mamma or what?

The chairs I asked my husband to create - 
for their birthdays (the 2 above)
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi
Wild at Heart (modeled on her tattoo)

The year they turned 18 and 21 respectively! (below)
My third son, 
(pictured with his best friend who almost lost his life to a serious car accident last year) -
and my (then) daughter in law who turned 21 that year 
...she's now a lawyer!

I love you all!

(We spent his 18th at Dreamworld - 
he had no idea I had sore toe and walking was a killer!
But there was no way I was going to disappoint him - you only turn 18 once!)

My gorgeous child no.3.
He recently completed a course in Security
and he has the sweetest nature...
My gentle giant - all 6 foot of him!
'FAMILY' is his everything - 
testament to this is the recent tattoo that he had added to his arm!

My son and his girl went to Thailand! - July 2012.
When they arrived home he was very ill & spent a week in hospital.
The medical team couldn't decide what was wrong with him -
they went from Typhoid to Salmonella...to a whole host of other things.
We even looked at the possibility of Leptospirosis!
I was very scared and once I recovered from the flu
I spent every day at the hospital with him!
(I was hobbling around on the same very sore, very infected toe at the time...
and had a sick baby...but this kiddo had to come first).

Another proud Mummy moment!
In 2009 my daughter was DUX of her school
She is still receiving Academic Achievement Awards
and I know she has a beautiful future ahead of her!
I love her with all of my heart and I am so very proud of all she has achieved so far!

Because she was home-schooled for while (her choice)
we spent a lot of time taking road trips as school excursions for her
and we did everything from Museums to Whale Watching,
Marinas/Boat Harbours, The Q1 Building, Vineyards, Beaches,
Art Galleries & Exhibitions and more...

My son celebrated his 13th birthday on Friday the 13th a couple of years ago!

My boy reminds me so much of my beloved Grandfather!
(My GF is in the sepia photograph to the left, holding the baby).

This kiddo who just turned 15 is in the Accelerated Learning Program at school
and excels at things like Art and Photography
(just like his Mamma, & his paternal Grandfather)

He is talented and gentle and super smart!

My other Princess!
My girl now 13.5, was billed as the kindest student her teachers had ever met...
When they told me, it brought tears to their eyes and mine!
She adores music and has always been part of the school band and choir,
she has been involved in dance and plays the clarinet and the violin!
Her next step...the flute..she has also dabbled in guitar
just like her two siblings above her.
She is a gentle spirit, my baby girl!
I just love her to bits!

Her 11th birthday Beach Party!

She has grown into the beautiful young woman you can see below!

Here's our Alfresco area I revamped... 
it was so depressing looking out of the kitchen window at the 
BEFORE view...

Sadly when we lost our home last year...
we lost this too!  :*(
It wasn't supposed to stay behind but it did.

my inspiration for this outdoor area was...

The Brighton Beach Houses/Bath Houses...
Simply Stunning!!!

A little miscellaneous fun!
My crew with their baby brother...
My six youngest!

My girl as 80s rocker chick!
My little man with his fave toy - Rarsh...
and Rarshes friends...

My 7th child... who we call Tech Support is our IT Expert
(he's currently building me a website) he is amazyyyyyyyzing! 
When he was 3 he could disconnect the xbox and 
walk it from one side of the house to the other
and totally reconnect it all correctly!
He has very clever mind!

His sweetness is tangible...love him bunches!

My 8th child, "Mr I EXCEL AT SCHOOL" at every subject
tells us he wants to be a teacher...
I can't think of a better vocation for him.
I can see him being truly amazing and leaving behind a wonderful legacy for his students.
He's only 9 but already I see the young man he is going to become!
He has sooo much personality and fun inside of him...
He's like a bottle of soda ready to pop!
Ooooh I love that kid!

A day out with my  girls,
my husband and our youngest baby!
I love to spend time with my kiddos doing stuff like this!

I embellished this belly cast with the silk flowers from our wedding cake!
17 pregnancies later...this was my last time...
This pregnancy (and birth) kinda sucked...
But I received the best reward -
he was worth every second of suffering!

My 10th baby born on the 10th
This was his first birthday!
This little kid spent the first year of his life very ill...
I still tear up when I think about it or have to talk about it at length.
Two years in I haven't recovered from living this nightmare...
but I never take a single day with him for granted.
He is the sweetest little baby ever...

My husband wrote on his FB page and tagged me 
there is nothing like when our little roo wakes up in the morning. he snuggles up to me in bed. his little arm goes over me and his hand is patting me. he has an angelic smile on his face and he always gives this little "mmmm" of contentment, like everything is right with his world. it is the best moment of every day!

Michelle - I know...I miss that so much!!!! He used to do the same in NYC and it rubbed off on me!

   Oh sweet baby...you are my lifeblood, my heartbeat...
my soul...my breath!

My eldest son and his very beautiful first-born ...
my grand daughter...
I am one proud Glamma! (not Grandma...not Nanna)
Glamma! (aka Glamour)

She is sassy and sweet and oh so precious.
I just adore her...
almost 3 now you can find out more about her here!

*I love saying I have a Grandchild at 45!

My little man's Pre-school Graduation
This sweet little boy is an innocent little soul...
he is soft and gentle and kind...
He spent 4 days in special care nursery and as I'd had a c-section (my only one)
with him it was very hard to get to the nursery to be with him at times...
His birth was a really rough experience, but he is just a joy to behold!
"I just love your little face!"

For a time I have made one of my Christmas Craft Albums on Facebook
available for Public viewing...you can see it here!

Since 1997 I have taken great pride in making everything for our Family Christmases
from Bon Bons, to place cards, gift bags and baskets, decorations, 
making them Tshirts/Singlets with Christmas themed appliques
to entire Gingerbread Villages complete with a tiny toy train 
that circles the entire arrangement,
including a well decked out Lolly Buffet.
Every year we pick a theme and work from there.
2012's Theme was Hollywood!
which a friend in the industry kindly loaned us.

Every year my family and I donate to the Kmart Wishing Tree
Generally speaking not one gift, but ONE from EVERY CHILD!
It's tradition and one that I started with just one gift a year
(I would usually choose a gift that would suit my youngest child)
but over time I wanted to extend the giving -
..and even though we struggle at Christmas
I still believe it's important to give...and I believe by doing so
That I am showing my children the example that it's important to care for others...

"To those whom much is given, much is expected"

We are blessed so therefore we SHOULD bless the lives of others!

And so for now,
this completes my lengthy trip down memory lane.
It has taken many hours to complete this post
but every second to remember the beautiful life we had created
was worth it...

My brother found me crying as I flicked through the albums on Facebook
extracting the pictures for collaging -
He asked me why I was sad, 
some of them were happy tears...
The memories of my life are beautiful
and oh so bittersweet!

And as I said to a friend on the phone the other day...

"Every time someone tells me I can't, I will prove them wrong...
Every time somebody tears me down, it makes me stronger 
and only makes me try harder...
My resolve becomes more steely;
Every time someone assumes that I don't care about my family...
it makes me care all the more...
They are my reason for trying at all!
They are the ONLY reason I manage to get out of bed and achieve anything anymore.
And I will NEVER give up because of them!"

So keep talkin', because you are making it oh so very easy for me 
to reach my goals and to achieve my dreams...
You who doubt me only make my determination more rock-solid than ever!
And my self-belief increases...
My attitude becomes tough as steel!

Those that know me tell me I am strong...
and determined!
And I know now that I am!
My rebellious nature never lets me down!
I have survived so much and I am still standing.
To those who wish me harm, and talk about me negatively
 I would defy you to go through 1/3 of the things I have
and still be standing...