Saturday, December 20, 2014

Take comfort from those you love


...and those who love you!


(Click the pic to view larger version)

Is it really almost Christmas? The lady in the Christmas Shop tells me what I'm already sensing - there's little (or no) Christmas Spirit this season...People are snappy, grumpy, depressed, scared, broke...and worst of all, many are bereaved...

Australia is reeling from yet another tragedy - 8 children were stabbed in Far North Queensland today (aged 18 months to 15 years) - a macabre and gruesome discovery for their 20 year old sibling to make upon returning home. That poor kid! My heart breaks for him...for all of them! For that entire family.

I have children of those ages... I guess because I have ten children, I can and do identify with a broad spectrum of age groups... I have a 20 year old and I shudder to think how such horror would effect him when he loves his siblings so much! He's such a calm and gentle kid - something like that would destroy him! I have a 15 year old too... and while my youngest baby is now nearly four, I can remember my babies at the tender age of 18 months old... all of them! That age is perfectly etched in my mind...it was a special time of cute, chubby babies, waddling and talking and giggling and smiling, and learning so much...I cherish those memories so very much.

Being blessed with a brood - it's a gift... It's not something to be revered - I am no super mum (I don't do anything different to a mother with less children - other than I buy in bulk, and hear it all in stereo!) - but I feel that I am just really really lucky!!! I lost 7 babies to get the 10 I have...so I really don't think of them as a burden...I have struggled through some really tough times to keep us all together and I know that has brought us closer and made us appreciate what we do have as a family!

I took my daughter Christmas shopping today, we had a blast...she was a huge help in choosing gifts for her siblings, and we laughed a lot, shared stories and had a great time hanging out together. I logged onto Facebook when I got home to upload some photos from our day... I brought her here, to show her one of my favorite places in the area.


(Click the pic to view larger version)

...and it was right there on Social Media, as I was sharing my joy, that I saw the breaking news of the devastating headlines coming out of Cairns...just six days out from Christmas, and in the aftermath of the Sydney Siege - as if we haven't all had enough bad news...I read what my mind did not want to register or believe. My stomach twisted and knotted as I saw it over and over again, trying not to read it, but some of my friends began posting and commenting on the story, every media outlet in Australia was running variations of the story...and it was pretty hard to avoid. Now, this nation is reeling...again!

I don't understand how something like this can happen... but perhaps it's not for me to understand. Or judge. It's just something to feel compassion, and sorrow for. It's something to ponder, and make us all hold our babies closer...it's a lesson...but it's not for any of us to ask why? I did...but I realized there are never any answers when a tragedy like this happens...

As I sat with my brood tonight, I looked around at them with a grateful heart. We ate dinner, and laughed together, and watched a Disney movie and shared our usual banter back and forth...it felt good!

It was a moment when...

My baby said - 'My invisible dragon is friendly!' ..... Phew! Thank goodness for that! Had me worried there for a minute...

My 15 year old came into the room with a broom! 
I said - "Oh I see you found your transportation!" 
J - "No, I had to borrow yours!" (boom boom tish!) 
That kid has a razor sharp wit ...  I wonder where he gets that from! I had to laugh... 

Earlier (five seconds before the above scenario) I said to my youngest - "Are you perfect?" (his sister had asked him this earlier in the day) and he replied with a "Yep" and convincing nod, followed by a big burp!!! Just all class!!  But at least they keep me laughing!!!

And when I put the kids to bed - they started watching 'Home Alone 4'. I asked the youngest if he was going to watch it and his 11 yr old brother said "I can't even hear it!" ... I said "Well turn it up! Bear, have you got the remote?" Master 11 says "Yeah he's always got it, every night...he's a control freak!" (You just had to hear the tone of voice!) Oh I laughed...and I'm still smiling as I type this. 

It's these little moments that I treasure - that make life worthwhile. They add levity to an otherwise burdened life. These are the adorable moments that I love to share with them when they're older. These are the moments that make you realize there's nowhere else you'd rather be than with your little ones...these are the moments that make parenting the beautiful journey that it is! These are the times that inspire me, that make me feel alive - they are my heartbeat, my purpose! They are what make me want to keep going, and keep creating...for them!

Being so so far away from them in NYC was a torture nobody will ever understand. I am so grateful I got to reconnect with my Father, I am so blessed and so thankful for all I saw and did, for the amazing people that I met, for each experience - even the tough ones (it didn't break me)...but my heart would break each night as I went to bed without being able to tuck them in...when I would see a child the age of my youngest ones I would wish I could hug them and read to them, and with each new experience, I knew the older ones would enjoy, my heart felt heavy, like a stone in my chest... I'm sure there are those who thought I was off just having a great time, no thought or care...but more times than I care to count my brother asked me not to cry, not to let them see on Skype how much their absence was hurting my heart...and I would cry in public (on trains mostly) and I just didn't care. Tears rolling down my cheeks (including mascara) because, well, life just isn't the same without them...it's empty and lonely and everything loses its meaning. When I can't look out of the window and point something out to them, I just don't enjoy it anymore ...there's no magic unless you can share the journey with a child. To see the world through their eyes is to see everything as wonderful...an adventure ...everything is beautiful all over again!

Yesterday...they came to me...

"Mommy, come outside!" my 7 year old implored. "Come and see the sky, it's all orange and blue!" That's the picture you see at the top of this post...and this one here (below)



I smiled, because I've taught them this and now they're sharing the miracles of the world with me! Honestly, what could be more inspiring, or amazing, than that? 

Five minutes earlier...the sky had looked like this - 



(Click the pic to view larger version)


A sunset is proof that life can change in an instant...

So how distraught does a person have to be to injure a child? As someone who has lived this nightmare as a little one myself, I can tell you, it doesn't take much for a mind that is 'freaked out!' For someone who has snapped! When their brain is not strong and their heartstrings are not connected, oh, they can hurt you! They can hurt you really bad!!! Sometimes the scars are emotional, sometimes they are physical, often they are both...and recovering takes a lifetime, if ever...I'm not convinced you ever do heal entirely! But these little souls who lost their lives today, they may now be at peace (I hope!) but they will never know the bitter from the sweet, they will not taste joy, get married or have their own children... It's hard to fathom that someone had so many beautiful (I am assuming healthy) children and then, ended their lives...so violently! So how can we ever understand? We can't...I am not even going to try. I am not going to burden my brain trying to work out why people do what they do. I ceased to be surprised a long time ago...all I can do is show love to those around me...taking comfort in them... a refuge for the soul. 

And I pray that the love I show them will be transformed into something magical and beautiful, even when I am not here. If the only legacy I can leave them is love...then let it be that. Let it be something that they take out into the world and bless the lives of others with...the lives of all of those they come into contact with; that their hands will serve with love, and not violence. That their minds will attempt to understand, to question, but not to judge, and that their hearts will always be open and elastic - accepting others and becoming a safe harbor when others need it. I pray they will never be too selfish to 'help' and they will spend their lives ensuring others are safe from 'harm' - that what I give them will provide generations of love that ensures no generation of my blood beyond me will ever have to go through what I did. For no child should ever ever have to endure harm. If only we could eradicate that from this earth now - today - enough is enough!

We are the adults, the grownups, it is our job to be their voice, to protect them, to set a good example, to set the standard - and to love them so much that they never have to wonder... if they must question everything else in life, never let it be whether they are loved and accepted... because it is without that love, acceptance, and self esteem, that some people grow cold, disconnected. Maybe that's what is wrong with my mother - 'I don't know what I did to make her hate me so much!' - I guess she lacked love, therefore didn't know how to show it...(but then so did I, and I am still capable of it!) She was taught fear and anger and still lives her life that way to this day...she is full of bitterness and dread (even at the age of 63) and it shows in her face...still...her eyes are hollow and she's just an empty vessel rattling around. It's scary to look at someone and stare into the blank depths...an abyss of...nothing! No soul! No heart! That's a person who feels NOTHING! Sadly, she is the very definition of a narcissist and those people never admit fault; so it is futile to question why they harm you. Do they know better? Yes, they do, otherwise how do they know that they have to keep the abuse a secret...oh yes, they know, but they'll always rewrite history and try to make you - the child - look like the bad guy! A child doesn't know any better, they only know what they are taught (they see the example/standard that is set) - as adults we grow up and make the decision to be different or better...not to repeat the mistakes of our parents, not to continue the pattern of abuse! And WE CAN CHANGE IT!

To know more about - 'The Narcissist' go here!

It's sad she doesn't want me or my children around - she paid me to walk out of her life - to stay away and never return - but as someone who knows both of us well said "It's her loss!" and they're right! Look at what she's missing out on...

When I watch my children together I know that the love I show them is shared between them. Yes, they fight...yes, they yell, yes they get annoyed with each other, and yes they get frustrated, they are normal kids...but this...this is MY BLISS...ensuring that my babies are happy! They are my world - my EVERYTHING!



SO SO MUCH LOVE FOR EACH OTHER!



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Just like his Grandfather/Nonno, who is a top NYC Chef!

#proudmamma 

his works of art are displayed below in the final collage!


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(Click the pic to view larger version)


The only way to win in life is to be different - to channel the negative energy into something positive and to create something beautiful out of it. The only way to win against a life that beat you down and taught you that the world can be a very cruel place, is to succeed - Success is the best revenge there is! ALWAYS!

"Every day, every hour, turn the pain into power!" 
- The Script


And on that note....may you feel peace and love this Christmas Season, and be kept safe from harm!

Til next time, 







Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Turn on the light...

always remember to turn on the light...
especially for others!



As the whole of Australia struggles to breathe under the weight of the heartbreaking outcome of the #sydneysiege, I feel very protective of my city, and the people in it. Our peace has been shattered, literally over night, and throughout ensuing days... but it has been beautiful to see how we have pulled together not only as a city, but as a nation too, by using the hastag #illridewithyou; obvious, also in our resilience, in that we refuse to buckle in fear. It's business as usual! We grieve, we share, we weep together - Australia feeling Natalie Barr's raw grief yesterday  on Sunrise, as news broke that she knew one of the slain victim's siblings very well. Some people may peg David Koch as a soul-less creature who didn't support his colleague on air, but I had this to say about that on Facebook - 

I saw this comment (about Kochie) yesterday and couldn't reply because I didn't watch the story (so it would not have been appropriate to comment.) I have only just seen this footage.this moring.. and I wanted to say 'he is a soul-less pig!' But you know what I think.... He was struggling... he didn't know how to react. Men are often NOT comforters I am learning this the hard way. That's what our tribe of women is for... this is a hard reality to come to terms with because I always hoped a man would be the protector, in any circumstance... but in actual fact, it's not an innate instinct like you think it should be, and under deeply emotional circumstances, men shut down, hence why you often see that women are supported through the death of a child but men not so much! They seem stoic, able to cope, calm, unruffled... the ones that act wildly emotional are billed as unstable... so I think men are unsure of their place in the world because we've changed the nature of their role... and honestly from the conversations I'm having with them they are confused about what we want. That said, in that moment, David seemed lost for words and struggled to respond! I think he was in shock. Who knows what went on behind the scenes later on... I hate to judge on sight, because you could see someone react to something and think how wrong it was... but quite honestly, I've done that myself... just not known how to respond and I hate to judge because who knows what was going on inside of him...

And so as we grieve as a nation - we lay flowers at the site, in memory; we talk, we write about it, and we stand together, united as ONE...to the death, evidenced by how the hostages dealt with that harrowing situation - as stories of true heroes emerge, ringing out across social media. It makes me damn proud to be Australian! I love my Italian/New York (aka American heritage) VERY much! But I was born here and like all Australian's, I can't help but embrace the 'What a Dickhead' mentality! So well said, couldn't have said it better myself!

Then yesterday as I was travelling, the AFP were a physical presence in the airport - for which I was eternally grateful! I read the headline about the Pakistan slaying of over 100 innocent people, including children. But I can't bring myself to read the entire story! I just can't. The images are too graphic, mind-blowing, and right now the world is filled with far too much sadness. It honestly just makes me cry!


Google Images

8 days to go....

...and I don't want to cry!

We are approaching Christmas, and for many Australian's who honor this Holy Holiday Season, it really means something. It's an event we are passionate about celebrating and protecting. I see all the posts in relation to letting us live our way - let us honor our timeless traditions and continue to be the peaceful nation that we are. If you come here, all we ask is 'When in Rome please do as the Roman's do!' We don't seek to disturb other people and we embrace ALL cultures and religions here. I mean, come on, what more evidence do you want of that than the #Illridewithyou twitter campaign, trending worldwide ! 

There was a Muslim  woman on my flight yesterday. I only noticed her after I had disembarked, she was still on the stairs as I was walking across the tarmac, but I wanted to rush back to her and ask if she needed someone to walk with. But in true Aussie-form nobody harassed her, nobody said a word! She was allowed to peacefully leave the aircraft with her child. Isn't that what we'd wish for all human beings? Isn't that what we all deserve...and NO LESS??? Isn't that what we all ... well many of us....aspire to? - A peaceful world! We accept you here with your traditions - from the clothes you wear to the beliefs you hold, (as long as you come in Peace and those beliefs don't harm others) but please, let us do the same. Let us not impose each upon the other, but instead work side by side in harmony like the ebony and ivory keys on a piano - each has their place. 

The shape and color of Australia is forever changed. The tapestry has altered. Some have said our innocence was taken away... I'm not sure that's entirely true, but I know what they're getting at and I feel it too, to some degree. I have taken this siege to heart, as many have. It is deeply personal to those effected, but the whole of Australia rallies behind those who have been hurt. That's our mateship! That's WHO WE ARE! Everything I read yesterday made me cry! And I am so grateful for an exhausting, yet beautiful day! Everything went smoothly and to plan! I had the best #jetstar experience ever! We had over-sized luggage and a guitar without case. Nothing was too much trouble and everything arrived in one piece, in pristine order. The staff were consummate professionals and despite a little turbulence that nobody can control, all went smoothly! I instagrammed my journey because it's another milestone...another part of the patchwork dream quilt I have been creating. Yesterday my journey was assured! I was reunited with family! And I returned 'home' to a little surprise...

With each passing day that seems to yield yet another problem in our world, more unrest, more death, more pain and suffering, and bitter disappointment...I have chosen to take some action...for myself and those closest to me!



Over the past two years many things have happened in my life that even to do this day I am struggling to come to terms with. I won't say it's been easy, because it has NOT! There have been many days that have been hard days...really REALLY hard days... where depression has yanked me back into the black abyss and where I have found no solace... so every day I have had to get up and find reasons to keep going - not the least of which is my family, my beautiful children - they are ALWAYS my profound reason to keep breathing... and then all of the little things around me that have come to mean so much! 



There is only one way to fight fire and that is with fire... So, I can either sit idly by or find that fire in my soul - that passion for life and my craft and all of the things that I do! 

I am so very blessed to have conquered several mountains and to have achieved no less than 3 of my dreams in recent times. I have written and published two books (so far), I have reconnected with my father after far too many years apart (45 of them) and I have moved to a city where I have access to some of my most beloved places...including the resting place of my ancestors who are pretty important to me too!  I have a journal that is coming up to its 160th year that belonged to one of them and it's one of my most prized possessions to this day. It has stood the test of time... I know they went through some pretty hard times and without diminishing their life experiences, I often think that this 'brave new world' our generation inhabits is harder - so much harder... but perhaps the truth is, it's just a horse of a different color... for each generation is not without its problems. 

It is with this in mind... and a timing thing as I am coming to a new phase of my life where I am outgrowing some things and wanting to mix them and change them up! I don't want to completely abandon this Blog, but I am going to be moving a little beyond it into a different arena for my writing. I will probably still want to post my family journey here, but at the moment I have some other projects unfolding that I really want to explore... So please watch this space for more...

And as usual, as I've taken to doing when life gets tough, I like to count my blessings by sharing my week/days in retrospect with you! I've had some pretty exciting things happen lately... some fun times, some great experiences... they all mean something to me... and I'll share some of them here today - because I am grateful to God and the Universe for bestowing these many blessings upon my head at this time, when I...when we...needed them most...

Let us not allow the sadness of the world to permeate our lives...may we remain compassionate, and always continue to strive for the 'she'll be right mate' attitude here in this beautiful land we call 'Home!'... may we always recognize that we can transform the world with Love NOT Hate - #illridewithyou - and may always be mindful that by turning on the light we conquer the dark... 




There is always always something to be grateful for. But sometimes yes, you have to look really hard to find the blessings...and sometimes they are just not immediately obvious, it can take years!!!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of the #sydneysiege, the Lindt Cafe family and the brand as a whole, and of course to Pakistan at this dreadful time... Life can be just so unfair!


GRATITUDE JOURNAL -

Here is what I am so very grateful for this week!  (*Click the pics to view larger versions!)



Thank you #jetstar !
How awesome!!!
I can't wait!!!

(click to view larger image)
or VISIT MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT for larger versions
and more cool photos!

#travel #reconnectingwiththoseIlovemost
#love #typo ! - awesome bargains!
the cutest NYC covers - OBSESSED MUCH!??!

Can't wait to review Samantha Armytage's Book 'Shine!'
Awesome to have a signed copy! ...began reading it last night.

Because it's the little things that count...

My children #creatinginthekitchen just like Nonno!
 #mykitchenrules !

Master ten above made these delicious Christmas treats
and Master 15 did this fantastic home-made pizza!

All #madewithlove !


I am sooo soo proud of my children. I had the most amazing conversations with my daughter at the airport yesterday ... (she tells me stuff I would never have told my mother) and then I discovered that my son averted near disaster... my 15 yr old, meant to be watching his younger brother's cookies baking, kinda temporarily forgot them! Meaning they became a little like charcoal ... oops! Knowing his little brother would be heartbroken, while he was out of the house, he whipped up another batch, not telling him of course, and saved the the day!!! I was so impressed... BUT on top of this remembering that his little brother had said 'make sure you don't mess up the heart-shaped one' so he also had to perform a miracle and create one similar lol... which he did.... His brother said 'Wow, these are the best batch I ever made...my secret ingredient is... I melt the butter..' LOL Of course we won't tell him what really happened... will we???


#thesmilesofmybabies !
Proudly displaying the gift he got from his teacher!


and the beautiful artwork of my little ones!

Frogs on lily pads

and... 


Today's #favequotes 





... and so grateful for the dawn of a new day
where we can all be together, and begin anew...
a blank slate to write upon, new projects to begin
new dreams to be made...
a beautiful life despite the challenges!

Til next time...







Monday, December 15, 2014

We always have the ability to transform the world with love...




It doesn't matter whether you have stripes or spots
what color your skin is or the clothes you wear...
your race or religion...
Australia stands with you, so you don't have to be afraid!
#illridewithyou


It makes me proud to an Australian and member of the human race when I see others responding with #lovenothate, in the face of the #sydneysiege. Instead of spewing and spitting forth venom the trending hashtag on twitter#illridewithyou restores my faith in humanity and brings a tear to my eye that others care so much about the safety of others! It's Christmas and it's so great to see this supportive kindness travelling the globe! #showforthanincreaseoflove  Yes, we always have the ability to transform the world with love!


TEN...


Google Images

It's December 15... Nine news reports...10 days before Christmas...on this (heart) breaking news as the story of the day - Twitter hashtag #sydneysiege ... I awoke to this terrible news this morning... 

...this haunting photo disturbs my soul...  This picture will be forever circulated around the world...etched upon our memories, a moment, captured...frozen in time... May these people, although strangers, our fellow-humans, be kept safe throughout this horrific ordeal!

Photo credit #ninenews 



Mamamia Twitter quote - The incongruity of the Xmas tree behind the Prime Minister as he addresses the nation is particularly poignant. ‪#‎sydneysiege‬

...the scene is set...a cafe, one of the most well-known, just 10 days before Christmas...fear seered on nameless faces in a chocolate shop window - what should have been a day filled with innocence fun and peace...what about the incongruency of that?

Abbott: Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society. Nothing should ever change that.  


We may not be Switzerland, but Mr Abbott is right, we are indeed...all of those things, and no, it shouldn't ever change...

In contrast - 

I guess since 911 the heavy Police Presence in NYC is the peaceful fabric of the city...a sea of uniforms with NYPD emblazoned on their uniforms, makes you feel incredibly safe and at peace with the world. I never worried about my safety there... I used to walk the streets of Brooklyn, alone, at night often.

I can only hope and pray that the #sydneysiege ends peacefully...soon!

Life can turn on a dime, so we must always treasure the peace that we have, for the time that we have it...

This week I've been amassing pictures of memories, things that mean a lot to me, as well as a 'few of my favorite things'... To leave behind some of the misery in this journey for a moment... here's my past few days in retrospect...including some of the things that bring me joy, just because they do! It's important to find peace in the simple things in life...

Google Images

I am listening to Russell Simmons stuff and learning how to meditate. I've been going to do this for years...now is finally the time!!! 


I subscribe to all of the above!!!
My life's mantra!


Travel - YES! Tickets are booked! :) :) :)


Seeing my children playing together...
One dipped out of the frame before I could 
completely capture the moment!

#gingerbread

#jamdrops


#chocolateslice

My children baking...
then enjoying the fruits of their labors!
I love seeing how much joy my Dad gets from
watching through Facebook and seeing them 
excel at his craft! #topchefnewyorkcity

#theaftermath .... I had to laugh!
my poor old 'Day to Day Cookery' book!

He cleaned up after himself, so it's not all bad!


#lifethroughthelens


The excitement when others share my work!
Thank you #cockfightersghost for sharing the love
once again!

#sunsetboulevard

I love having a child who loves photography as much as me!
The sky was so beautiful the other day - 
a cloud with a silver lining...
we were both outside snapping together
and I managed to get a couple of silhouette shots of my boy
with the beautiful sky behind him!
My son - illuminated by the heavens that blessed him with this gift!


I'm very proud of these #stormshots he managed to score!
The lightning was sizzling that day!
I have never yet managed to get shots like these myself!

Playing around with different ways to create moody photographs
this one has an #oldworld quality!

#ilovethislittleface !


I love this tree!


I love planning Christmas with my family!
For this year's 'Harry Potter' Theme I made a black tree!



Two of my fave little indulgences from #lush
#rockstarsoap and #creamybubblebar
The bubble bar is my fave to use in the kid's bath!
The Rockstar Soap goes in my shower :) 
It's heavenly!

You know that song 'A few of my favorite things' from
The Sound of Music...
I started my own #pinterestpage for such things here!
Why not create one of your own ... it's a great way to 
enjoy all the things that make you happy every day...
But it's also a neat way for people to get to know you!
It can even be used as a #giftgiving suggestion page!


Writing always makes me happy!
This past weekend I managed to add two very explosive chapters
to my third book 'Wild at Heart!'
Find out more here!

FAVE QUOTES -



Two of my fave #christopherpoindexter quotes 

Many of the best writers in the world use metaphors to solidify their writing
it's what makes it beautiful...poignant...
it is the pure magic of life manifested in words!
#romance #love #divine


#favemoviequote ! #thevow

Love my new tee! #rockyhorrorpictureshow
quote continues on the back of it.





#amen !!!!!!

Think about that one!!!

Til next time....