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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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gratitude project

Happy Birthday to my Sister from Another Mother

One of the main things I am hugely thankful for in the midst of this pandemic is technology — specifically our ability to afford it, understand it, and be in community with others who enjoy such privilege and access.

This afternoon, I got to catch up with Audrey — one of my sisters from another mother. Audrey’s family and mine are linked in many ways — primarily through church but also through proximity in terms of distance, life stage, and opportunity. My mother had tutored all three kids in that family, and they, in turn, had been my babysitters twice or three times a week at one stage, when my mother had to work late evenings tutoring other kids. I’d eaten their dinners, learned all their hiding places, played in their playground, watched their TV, read their books, practised on their piano (badly), and loved each of them as I still do.

Audrey is the friend who is closer than a sister, and easily one of the kindest people I know. Her Christian faith is deep with far-reaching roots so I find comfort in knowing she’s still here — running the long race, face tilted towards the Son. Her faith is child-like but hardly naive — the best kind of child-like there is — while I find myself constantly questioning and doubting and uneasy. I really treasure this woman, even though we can hardly find the time to chat between the children, the time difference, and our jobs.

Until today. It’s her birthday, and thanks in part to this pandemic, we managed to have a long and luxurious chat — she in her kitchen, me amongst the books. She’s one of those lifelong friends with whom I can easily oscillate between the superficial and the sacred, the shallows and the deep. So much shared history that there’s such an easy shorthand. So much silliness that we can dissolve into the kind of laughter that hurts.

As for that kitchen she was sitting in, it’s where I experienced that crazy unconditional love — her stripping and cleaning my stroller when Arddun (still not quite 2 years old then) had taken suddenly and violently ill while out at the zoo. That was a seriously gross endeavour and Audrey had been amazing. Honestly, I wouldn’t have taken it well if someone else’s kid had made such a mess and I helped clean it up. I can barely stand my own kids’ mess, much less someone else’s.

Happy Birthday, sis. You know I love ya and miss ya. xx

Three jobs and a Lady

It has been a time of massive adjustment for our household. It’s time to take a breath. Let’s recap.

Thanks to the Sunday of Tumult (22 March) wherein the east coast of Australia speedily jumped within the day from “self-isolate as far as possible but SCHOOLS ARE DEFINITELY STAYING OPEN” to “Wait… we’re closing the schools! Except for those in ‘essential services’, whatever that means — sort yerselves out?” to the Federal government stepping in just hours later and yelling, “SCHOOLS ARE DEFINITELY STAYING OPEN! Take your kids out at your own discretion and peril!” I paraphrase. But it was an abysmal day for Not Confusing the Australian Public, with many of us in the communication field screaming silently.

Silent screeching from the peanut gallery
Continue reading “Three jobs and a Lady”

Love in the time of Coronavirus

I’m just closing in on Week 2 of our self-isolation. The children have been learning at home with me full-time for a week, and even though I’m still experimenting how to manage 2-3 part-time gigs alongside the usual housework and teaching Kindy and Year 3, I’m finally settling into some semblance of normalcy.

Continue reading “Love in the time of Coronavirus”

TTT – Like a prayer, like a pampering, like a pair of pants

1. People who pray with technology
This week, I got two text messages filled with love and practicality. It said I was prayed for, it told me what the prayer was about, and it had a pretty handy piece of scripture attached to it. Short, to the point, powerful. You know how you read a chunk of scripture over and over, and nothing quite sinks in? Not deep-and-meaningful like? And then you get sent one verse at just the right time in your life and – ka blam! Impact.

This was the verse:

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Somewhere in my spiritual life, it got trendy to ONLY ask for strength to handle the come-what-may. Somehow, somewhere, it became the done thing to NOT plead with God. To not beg Him for a specific outcome. Not ask that it be A, and not B. Pretty please. Somehow, somewhere, the idea that we submit to God’s will mutually excluded the bit where I run to Him like a child and pester Him. To take what’s nearest and dearest to my heart and go… “Dad, this is my heart’s desire. Could I please have it?” Rinse, repeat.

I don’t know where I learnt not to ask for healing, but only for endurance. Not to ask for the removal of the impediment, but only to beg for fortitude.

So thanks for the reminder. And for finding the words, when my own brain lies still and rather useless at the mo.

2. Pretty vouchers
Arddun’s Christmas present to me: a very generous get-pretty voucher at a spa in the city. This, on top of another pedicure and facial voucher. Which is on top of my hair appointment this Saturday.

Well!

After feeling all mumsy and like a dag for months on end, it’s lovely to finally book in these pretty-me-up dates. The impetus is a wedding in late March and my trips to Brisbane and Singapore. Oh who am I kidding. I don’t really need a reason to book in afternoons of massages and pampering!

3. Hand-me-down Happies
Now that my weight and body shape have stabilised, I’ve had to take a deep breath and start throwing out things I can’t wear anymore. Which is about half my wardrobe, easily. And while I’ve been putting off the putting-aside because of laziness, the bigger reason has been my reluctance to pass on my clothes to complete strangers.

I donate regularly to Salvos and Vinnies… but these clothes spell history for me. And because most of these pieces have been with me since I was a teen, it’s been even harder to give away remnants of my past life in Singapore. These clothes aren’t just clothes – they’re memories of dates and break-ups and Sunday services and tertiary life and first jobs… They are one of the very few things in my house that came with me from Singapore. That were part of what I brought to our marriage home.

But then the Kirky girls have suddenly all grown up – and so I’ve found new clothes horses! It’s been happiness on both sides, because they get a new wardrobe while I see my clothes get a new lease of life every Sunday morning. Now complemented with gorgeous chestnut brown and strawberry blonde hair.

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