Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Its a funny old country

Happy Feet offered a ride back to Antarctica (Source: Fairfax)
The Happy Feet story.....http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/happy-feet-offered-ride-back-antarctica-4262327

This poor wee bloke (or bloke-ess we're still waiting on the DNA test as we don't have any penguin 'sexers' in NZ - which is the technical term for people who tell you what sex a penguin is - an you thought you had a weird job!) is being called Happy Feet - but he doesn't have a very happy tummy.

He is an Emperor Penguin all the way from Antarctica who somehow ended up on a beach near NZ's capital Wellington. 

Unfortunately he had never seen sand and twigs etc before and decided that they looked tasty so he might try and eat it the way he does with ice when he's at home.

Poor guy had a tummy full of sand that turned into concrete and twigs and dirt and rubbish.

So what do you do for a sick visitor from WAY down south???  Well if you are a wonderful wee nation called New Zealand, you all band together and get him to a zoo ASAP.  Then you organise for the top gastric surgeon at Wellington Hospital to come and operate on him and get most of the gunk out of his tum.

Then you all collectively hold your breath, say a prayer and keep an eye on the news, waiting to find out how the patient is doing.

Happy Feet is showing signs of recovery
Good news!  He's doing much better thank you, especially when you consider he's had 3 ops in just a few days.

He seems to be handling the fame reasonably well and handling the 'being around humans' thing too - especially when you realise he's never met one until he got here!

What I love about NZ is that we come together as a nation and pull out all the stops to save this funny wee fellow.  Penguins I think intrigue us as humans cos lets be honest they do just look like little fat people in suits!!

Its so lovely to be part of a nation that holds its breath waiting to see if a penguin is okay......we don't know how lucky we are!

AND YET we let this happen to our babies and defenceless children

Kahui inquest: NZ child abuse response 'poor' (Source: ONE News)
Click on the picture for link.

Come NZ lets do for our kids what we do for visiting penguins.  Pay attention and go above and beyond to save a life.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lucky 13 Positive

The sun shone today and it was beautiful - even more than that was the fact that I was able to put three loads of washing through the machine and hang it all out AND get it pretty much dry on the line (only 2 tshirt needed extra love in the hot water cupboard). 

The above statement makes me sound like a sad on lady - but I was down to the granny pant bottom of the undie barrel SO call me what you want!

It was shining and beautiful yesterday and we had a lovely time running around the beach with my special friends Jean and Glenn and their kids.

My fantastic Pommie friends the Bewick's
So the 13th inspirational thing I want to tell you about is the wonderfulness that is a walk along North Piha beach, with good friends, jumpy doggies and an ice cream to top it all off.

Oliver the Wonder Dog and his girlfriend Lucy surfing
It is one of mine and Ollie's favourite hangout spots (have I mentioned that we'll be out there for the WHOLE weekend in just four more sleeps?????).  We go out there as much as we can.  In the summer we go to walk and swim and lie in the sun and read. 

Ollie even has his own boogie board and life jacket for the summer swims!

In the winter we rug up warm and go for lovely treks up to the very end of North Beach and get blown about in the wind, race away from the waves and chase the gulls.

It's all about blowing the cobwebs out of your head, getting a lung full of great air, wearing out my four legged wonder boy and just having fun chasing the kids, dogs and talking with friends and doggies.  Who could ask for more from a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How To Know God Wants You At Church Today....

God is very funny some days, today especially.

I have been hiding from my church family of late.  Feeling so low I find it hard to put on the 'game face' and be in public.  Actually to tell you the truth, its hard just to be around people, I find it draining of me physically and mentally, plus I have to make the decision of whether I'm going to be 'real' or not.

SO yesterday after I'd spent the day at the retreat on the book of Job, I told God that I didn't need to go to church today.  I also had babysat last night for my friends (who had babysat Ollie while I was at the retreat - so it was a good swap) and so was out late and figured I would be tired and sleep in.

I woke up at 7.30am, rolled over and told God that I didn't want to go to church today.

I woke up again at 8.15am, rolled the other way and said I really didn't want to go to church today.

I woke up again at 9.15am and said I wasn't going to go to church.  Rolled over to be greeted by a jumpy dog needing to go outside!  Then as I was snuggling down into bed I got a text from my friend saying another mutual friend was going to come to church today; a friend who has never been before and who we'd been inviting along for years.

Still I said I didn't want to go.

I looked at the clock and said well its 9,30am and I still will have to have a shower and wash my hair etc.

I got up, looked in the mirror and my hair was fine....not flat and sticking out in weird places, in fact it was good to go!

So I said OKAY I'll go to church, but only if I can get my hair to look right and get some decent clothes on.

For the first time EVER my hair paid attention to the style in my brain and decided to work with the new straightener!

I was of course 20 mins late leaving and told God well I was going, so He better make sure I could get a decent park cos no doubt my usual park right outside the front door would be gone.....I get to church - 25 minutes late - and my park is free!

I laughed - I had to - He obviously wanted me there for some reason.

Worship ran later than usual and there was an amazing sense of the Holy Spirit's presence in the room.  So even though I was so late I got a great worship time with God.

Then the pastor got up to preach, about how God loves us - JUST THE WAY WE ARE!  In fact he preached all about not having to compere ourselves to others because we are made in God's image and He doesn't make mistakes.  It was a VERY timely message and one that I KNOW He wanted me to hear - even if it was just to remind me He loves me.

So there you go - God is funny, He likes to laugh at us and He likes to give us things to laugh at - He even holds your parking spot for you when you are late!

Blessed and thankful

So I missed you yesterday, did you miss me?  I was at a day long retreat at a beautiful retreat centre on the other side of the world (well not really but the North Shore of Auckland - which is another world from here in the West that's for sure! *Pun intended*). 

The retreat was entitled "Encountering Job: Suffering and Hope".

I don't know if you are familiar with the book of Job in the Bible, but its definitely a doozey!  Its all about a good bloke named Job (funnily enough) who "does right in the eyes of God" and then goes through some REALLY bad times, has his friends give him crap advice and then God finally speaks to him, he apologises for having questioned God and wanting to die (actually he does a really good job of describing his depression I think) and then God blesses him and he gets all his riches and stuff back.

Well that is a VERY brief and Ivanaized version of the whole book and because of the retreat I actually know there is a lot more depth to it......but that will give you an idea.

I had promised my therapist I would do more 'self care' and 'things just for me' things and taking time out is part of that.  Hence I arrived at this retreat not really knowing what I would experience.

I must admit I have come away from the day with MORE questions than answers about Job and God in general (especially when it comes to suffering), but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact its given me good 'cud' to chew over and some exciting things to ponder and reignited a love for going DEEP into His word that I haven't felt in ages.

So apart from giving me lots of questions, it was a great time with God.  Did some art stuff, reflection and writing (mainly questions) and reading multiple versions of the Bible to get my head around the whole thing (praise God for my Kindle!).  And do you know what I was thinking of as I drove home, I am SO lucky to live in a place and time where I can have the privilege of being able to spend a whole day doing nothing but seeking more of Him and learning more of His word in an interesting and creative way.  Because you know there are so many places in the world where I just could not do that without fearing imprisonment, being tortured, being killed or worse. 

You know what?   The privilege of living in a country where you can worship in the open and freely is not just about being lucky, it carries with it responsibility, a huge responsibility.  The responsibility is to be a warrior for injustice and mercy and to show His love to the world - especially those who are suffering or don't know Him yet.

This is one of those nuggets of knowledge that has got lost to me along this path of chronic illness and depression.  I worked for a Christian aid organisation and have had the awesome privilege to visit child sponsorship projects, ministries freeing girls from sex slavery, projects bringing food to the hungry and health to those who do not have access to providers.  When you are face to face with the reality of poverty and injustice its easy to remember the responsibility you have to tell others and to make sure these wrongs are righted.  But when you spend days on end in pain, both physical, mental and spiritual, its so hard to remember the bigger picture.

So I am so thankful for having God break through my times of trial and pain right now and remind me, even though I am suffering, I still have an opportunity to make a change in the world for those who are so much worse off than me.  Thankful that I got to spend a day delving into His word.  And thankful that He loves me when I am having my Job moments of asking "Why me?" and "Please can I die?".

I serve and love a BIG God, who loves and 'sees' me.  Such an amazing honour and responsibility.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ten Positive steps....

Today's positive is all about the joy of the potential of art supplies.

I had a 'heavey' session with my therapist this morning and afterwards treated myself to a shopping trip to get supplies for my 'retreat' to Piha next weekend.

I want to take time to be creative and journal, collage and mind map.  So I decided I needed some new supplies, plus some pastels (which I've become addicted to at Art Therapy) and a visual diary for (duh) journalling in.

I just love the whole process of going in, looking at all the paints, papers, embelishments, canvas, even the folders and storage cases!

I love the potential in all of these things.  I love the potential I can see in the not so usually creative items (eg I brought a bright yellow storage box that I'm going to collage and decorate!!  Just to make it pretty to keep my bits of paper for collageing in - I love the irony in that!).

I just can't wait to get down to being creative and especially since I discovered this beauty;

Its just BEAUTIFUL!  For those who are not as addicted to stationary as me you may not understand the wonderfulness of a new book and the potential that those pages hold.

This is my hope..... that I will be able to create a 'dream' journal.  One I can paint, draw, collage, write and dream in.  I want to let my creativity and imagination run free.  I want it to be a work of art.

I got pastels and a large visual diary and have been collecting bits and bobs (old magazines, crusty old books to make altered art with, scrapbooking embelishments etc) and my heart is swelling with the excitment of creating something from bits of nothing.

I've got photos and quotes I will incorporate.  I have scripture I want to use as inspiration.  And I know that just being at Piha will be inspirational to all my senses.

The potential of creativity is the part of the process I love the most...I enjoy the actual creative process and making stuff.....but the potential, the vision, the wonder of what will be made is an exquisite and almost indiscribable feeling.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nine Positives on.....

So officially in NZ it is the next day and Thursday (today even tho I've yet to sleep for Wed .... I know I confuse myself easily too) is my busy day; Open up for Coffee Group, Pick up Charmaine, Back to host Coffee Group, Alpha cafe, Alpha and/or office work at church, drop Charmaine home, back to church to work or straight home for time to rest before needing to head off to Art Therapy over the shore (North Shore of Auckland for those not of NZ speak) and back home late!  A big day!

Anyway with it officially being Thursday I'm going to post my Positive for today....this video:


This is the flash mob dance number from the opening of the 2009/10 season of Oprah.

I love this song - its just so catchy and fun.  But I remember the first time I watched this video it gave me goosebumps (still does actually) and made me cry. 

From an event manager point of view I was in awe and so envious of being able to create such an awesome moment and have it work so brilliantly.

From an Oprah fan point of view I was so happy to see her surprised and loving it!  I love it when Oprah's staff bless her with these surprises - another 'Kiss from Heaven'.

Just for good measure here's another video that gives me goose bumps and tears.....from my friend who coined the phrase I so love to use...."A kiss from heaven"

American Idol '08 - Shout to the Lord

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Positively stuck on day eight

Today I decided to treat myself with some crafty goodness from Spotlight......just a few bits and bobs for my planned retreat time out at Piha next weekend (I want to do some multimedia/collage artwork while I'm there). 

Well as I was drooling over all the wonderful things I could buy if money really did grow on trees or Ollie and I could find the elusive Millionaire with a Cough, what should my little eyes fall upon but this beautiful sensation:

Mod Podge Shimmer!!!!

Now unless you are A: a woman and B: addicted to crafting - you won't know about Mod Podge.  But put quite simply its a glue and/or sealer.  Its so wonderful and has so many uses and gives a wonderful finish. 

There are lots of different kinds, such as matt, gloss, high gloss finish etc.  Ones for fabric or paper.  But now they even have one that gives you a 'shimmer' of gold or silver in it!

I just stood in the adhesives aisle giddy with excitement at the thought of all the projects I could use it for.....I know that sounds sad but give me a break life is tough right now and I don't get out a lot!

I shared my excitement with the lady at the checkout and she too was excited and giddy and totally agreed with me that it was a wonder of modern crafting technology and how exciting to think of all the things we could now 'shimmer'.

It doesn't take much to get me going some days and this was just wonderful.  I can't wait to reach my decluttering goal of having a dedicated creative area again and then i will be mod podging up a storm and 'shimmer' mod podging till the cows come home!!!

The History of Mod Podge

Mod Podge is one of the most enduring and versatile products ever offered by the craft industry.

The inventor of Mod Podge®, Jan Wetstone, first developed Mod Podge® in the 1960s in her garage. The name of this now-famous mixture came from the term "Modern Decoupage." She tested it on all kinds of surfaces; she even decoupaged a Volkswagen Beetle using bed sheets! At the time, Ms. Wetstone owned an interior design shop in Atlanta. Decoupage was all the rage, but extremely time consuming. It was a tedious task to brush on layer upon layer of varnish, sanding between each coat. Ms. Wetstone "did some experimenting" in the back room of her shop and Mod Podge was born.
mod podge bug
Mod Podge inventor, Jan WetstoneAfter sharing some of her Mod Podge-coated prints in her shop, her customers demanded that she share her decoupage secret--and the rest is history. She began offering Mod Podge kits in her shop and they were a huge success. The product was such a hit that a major Atlanta department store purchased exclusive rights to her kits.

In 1967, Mod Podge received recognition as one of four best items in the Housewares Show in Chicago, at the time, the largest show of its kind. Eventually Mod Podge was sold to Enterprise Paints and then went through a variety of owners. In 1979, Mod Podge found a permanent home with Plaid Enterprises.

Mod Podge continues to be a craft favorite because it is so versatile, easy to use and because crafters are always discovering new uses for the product!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Positively Seven

My positive today is an ode to my wonderful hairdresser Angela.

So I got my hair done today and that as per usual cheered me up.  I love the fact I can change colour and style at will.

I LOVE that Angela has been doing my hair for 12+ years and we grew up together and I trust her completely with my head.  She has never put me wrong with a cut, style or colour.  In fact usually she has to talk me out of some drastic mistake I'm determined we try!

Although she won't let me have blue or pink streaks like I would love to have.....I still go to see her and let her have her way with me.

Its also great that she does the hair of the rest of my family cos its usually the only way I find out a lot of the family news and gossip!

The downside to this relationship is the fact that she is leaving me!!!!  She and her husband and lovely girls are heading overseas for a better life (she is convinced NZ is going to hell in a hand basket!).  We're not sure of the exact date as they are still negotiating a contract in China (of all places) otherwise it will be off to Melbourne.

I'm trying to live in denial as I just don't know what I'll do.  Its just the whole having to start a new relationship with someone and trust them with something so OUT THERE.  Men just don't get it - all my female friends do.  Its an almost 'holy' relationship between a girl and her hairdresser.  You don't just make those sorts of trusting friendships easily!

So here's praying that Ange and James don't move for at least another 7 weeks (till my next appointment!) and also that I will find and build another long term love with someone just as wonderful (but probably not nearly as fun!).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Three positives in one day......

So I missed Saturday, Sunday and here is Monday's as well........

These just make me smile - I post them for no other reason!

2.   I went to Crafternoon Tea with my 'crafty' friend Rachel on Saturday.  We went not so much to buy, but because we'd been promising ourselves we would go for ages AND because we wanted to have a look what people were selling, how much for and what there was missing in the marketplace.  I'm hoping we'll get our act together and have a stall at a new local market sometime soon.  It was a lovely morning.  I love sharing those things with Rachel cos we both know we could do somethings better ourselves and know what really IS a good product etc.  PLUS we brought the most amazing macaroons which I took home to scoff and died in amazement at how yummy and light they were!  I LOVE craft fairs.  I could go all the time - spend oodles of money and eat my way through cheese and home baking till the cows come home!


This picture is called 'Agony', I forget who it is by.  It is Jesus in the garden before his betrayal.  I like it because it reminds me that he knew what it was to be lonely too.  He knew what it was like to be let down by your best friends who were meant to love you no matter what and who had even said they'd be there for you whenever you called - and yet let him down when he was at his lowest.

I like the way that even he leans into the angel.  And the angel is there as a comforter - I suppose because the Holy Spirit hadn't been sent yet.....but that is to theological for my Positivity posting.

I just love the realness, the humanity and the 'human' Jesus.

I want so to remember HE knows depression cos he's been here too.  And he's suffering it with me too I guess.

Thank you for knowing Lord, thank you for choosing to know and thank you for wrapping your arms around me, especially when I don't or can't remember.


So I've been MIA the last couple of days.  I've had a couple of really bad days.  In fact Saturday I had the worst panic attack I've had in months.  Full-on tears, shaking, rocking, hiding THE WORKS!  And what brought it on (or rather tipped me over the edge)......my niece's 3rd Bday party.

So I came home after 15 minutes at the party, crying and freaking out (I'd even taken an anti-anxiety med before the party).  Sobbed, rocked etc.  Freaked poor Ollie out (he doesn't like mummy crying) and did some serious suicide planning.

What stopped me this time were two things 1. No sleeping pills at home and too scared to leave the house to pick up repeat script at chemist!  2. Lots of work to get ready for church the following day.

I ended up getting to church at 6.30am to set up and finish all my jobs in the hopes of not seeing too many people.  No such luck.  But I did manage to get out without 'freaking out' too badly.  Came home and literally slept for the rest of the day and night.

So I apologise that I missed my two days of positives - will make up for in in a triple wammy today.

I have booked myself a weekend at my favourite place to reflect - Piha.  www.piha.co.nz

I took this picture a couple of years ago at North Piha where Ollie and I hangout a lot.

My therapist had suggest some retreat time so this will allow me to do some reading, reflecting, I'll take out some art stuff and do some creating and some journalling.

I want to get moving and put some steps in place - actually look back at the steps that I had put in place a few months ago - started on and then fell off.

So yay for Piha and yay for me and Ollie having a whole weekend just for us at our favourite place.

This weekend I booked myself in for a one day retreat about the book of Job.  I figured if Job's life was so SUCK and my life is feeling so SUCK then maybe this retreat will help me find some light in my dark just like he did.  We'll see.  Its at the other end of Auckland so it will be an adventure getting there anyway.

Today was productive spiritually in that way, I even managed to track down an old family friend who was the Nun that took Mum and Dad through my baptism prep when I was a baby and my First Holy Communion prep when I was older.  She was a bit of  shining light in my spiritual walk as a child, and even now (she lived an awesome adventurous life for a Nun!), and I'd been wanting to see her again for years.  We caught up briefly at my grandmother's funeral a couple of years ago and today I just took the initiative of being by the phone at church and rang round the diocese and tracked her down!

We're having afternoon tea next week.  I'm looking forward to connecting and asking her about her life (now I'm a grown up).  I've always wanted to ask her about her calling etc, maybe it will inspire me.

I'm thinking also of asking my dear friend to be a spiritual mentor for me when she moves back to Auckland in a month.  She's already a life mentor but I'm wondering about doing some serious spiritual direction with her - or at the very least meeting to pray.  She's someone I love and trust and I trust that she hears from the Lord so will appreciate who insight.

Feeling good after putting some positives in motion today.  But getting wound up by yet ANOTHER mouse making its home in my bedroom!!!!  Ollie and I killed two yesterday so this is really pissing me off.  I get upset, frustrated and tense and its all just cos I'm not in control - I know this.  I try to be patient and set the traps etc - but I hate that I can't MAKE them go in them!

UGGGGGGGGGGGGGG  more mouse poo to clean up!  Oh and I even got some quotes for skip hire today to get on to cleaning out my house.  I'll do it on my own if i have to.

Hey this is sounding like a good positive posting - Yay!  Thats a good change.

Hmmm a small glimmer of light......

Friday, June 17, 2011

Positive 3

To start today's Positivity posting I realised this morning I should put some boundries on this a bit.  So I'm going to try the Positive postings for 28 days (thats how long it takes to make a new habit apparently).  After that we'll see what happens......cos who blogs every day in the real world???

So on to todays Positive thing....today its an inspirational picture that I love;

Now THAT is making 'lemonade from lemon's' if ever I saw it!  

Nothing too deep or gooey for today - just something I admire and reminds me - if you don't laugh you'll cry!


Today I told myself I was going to have a positive day.  A day where I was organised and efficient and finish the day 'well'.

It started good.  Had a great, although short, time at the Mt Atkinson coffee cart Birthday Party ( http://www.mtatkinson.co.nz/ )  Ollie looked super cute dressed up westie for the competition.

I ended up having to cancel my therapist appointment for the second week running which I wasn't happy about - but I got stuck being the only person onsite at Church with keys to let the alarm guys in and out of the office (lucky they are such neat guys and I'm enjoying their company - even had a couple of chances to tell them about God today - THEY asked!!! ).

Yesterday I left work with the HEAVY weight of blackness over me and not coping with life at all.  I skipped my art therapy class just to give myself some time out from people.

I was doing okay......had a good lunch with my friend Jean which was nice....BUT then from somewhere it snuck up on me and I was lost under the black weight again.

I realised last night the emptiness and feeling lost is coming a lot from not having achieved any of the goals I set myself a few months ago - chiefly that I would have started back on a career path.

I found a great career advisor who has worked with people like myself - coming out of long term illness, depression and wanting to take things in easy steps.  She talked to me about seeing a long term relationship, working towards goals of setting my business up again and doing it all at a pace I could handle and with great support and encouragement.  To top it all off I just got a great 'vibe' from her and the company.

But thanks to my current financial 'lackings' and debts AND my usual getting lost in other people's needs and losing my confidence - I haven't got my act together to make the next move with this.

I'm finding that I'm getting very angry and resentful towards those around me and specifically the work I'm doing at church (for no pay).  Why?  I love working around church, making my contribution and knowing that its for the 'Big Picture'.  But its meaning I don't have time for me, to make my life move ahead and to make changes that will move me on.

So time to 'man up'.  Next week try and get out from under the black.  Shake the self-pity (or at least IGNORE it).  Work on getting the funds together for the careers advisor/coach and to pay for the skip to dump the junk in my house and pay to get the repairs done that need doing.

I WANT to make it work next week - I want to achieve some goals.  I have some ideas.  I have them written down.  Now I need the motivation to make them work.

I've got therapy Wednesday and Friday next week.  We had a bit of a phone session today and she is going to keep me accountable.  I SO want to move MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!!

Tomorrow I'm off to a craft fair with one of my 'crafty' friends.  Hopefully to be inspired and not jealous.  Hopefully inspired to clear the shit from my house so i can have the space to create again and then SELL some of my stuff.

I just want to MOVE.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Positive 2

Okay so here we are day two of chosing a positive. 

So here it is...........................

Yip I had fun playing with photoshop today!

.......or rather here HE is.

This is Ollie's best friend Sam.  Sam is one of the great kids at the Coffee Group Ollie and I attend at church.  Sam decided Ollie was his best friend a while ago and told his mum how much he loved Ollie.  Each week Sam will bring extra food in his lunch box for Ollie and will sit down on the floor and share morning tea with my boy.

Sam like most boys has an adversion to kisses and cuddles and usually I have fun chasing him around trying to catch him to give him a cuddle and sloppy kiss.

BUT today at the end of Coffee Group I said to Sam, "Can I have a kiss and a cuddle?" and he said yes!  He gave me a kiss on the lips and a big hug around my neck and I said "Love you Sam"  and he said "I love you" back!!!!!

His mum and I were both nearly in tears!!  He made my day.  In fact even now writing this I'm tearing up. 

I've had a pretty hard, dark day in reality.  I've been on the brink of tears and desperate to be alone and quite honestly dead.  But remembering Sam's hug and love - that's a Kiss from Heaven. 

Thanks Sammy - you're my 'light' today.
Love youxxxxx

Positive (or perhaps trying to find some light in this black)

This afternoon I wrote a list of things I'd like to do with this blog and one of those was to lighten the mood of it some what.

If what I want is to share this forum with the world (which after all was the purpose for starting it - wasn't it?) and especially if I want it to be seen by those close to me (a scarier prospect than walking naked down Queen St at the present moment!) then I need to show not just the darkness of the black I'm in.

I do have my light moments.  My laughter and joy in the midst of the black.  I wouldn't call them 'a light at the end of the tunnel' light but they are joy moments in my day.  I also have the things I cling to; things that inspire me; things I'm grateful for; things and people I love without end.  So I will endeavour to share some of them here too - daily being my challenge to myself today.

I have always been more creative in my blacks (the tortured artist no doubt) and so find writing the sadness and depression is easier than the joy and light.  Perhaps because I never believe that the joy will last or that I am worthy of the good things that come my way.  I know that I have a deep set belief that nothing good will stay with me, so I have built walls to not get too used to having 'good stuff' because I only end up being hurt/disappointed/destroyed when it goes/ends/leaves.

SO.........here is my challenge to Me:  Ivana each day you will post something that inspires you OR brings you joy OR you are grateful for OR a moment OR a memory OR a person OR an anything that is positive and affirming.

Each day (I will try). 

Within the challenge I will still allow myself the space and place to write the dark and the black and the depth and to share.  But for my sake and lets be honest for the sanity of anyone who may ever read this; I WILL post some light. 

See I even wrote in yellow today to begin this challenge.

So here goes;
DAY ONE:  I am grateful for/inspired to live for/in love with/besotted with/don't know where I would be without/am blessed by God abundantly and powerfully by............my baby, my fur-kid, my four-legged child......My Ollie.

This is Ollie the day after he came home.....10 weeks old and a ball of lovely fluff!

Oliver Jacob Behrent came to live with me on the 16th of December 2006.  He is my gift from God.  I waited so long for a puppy.  I had missed out on a couple of other dogs I'd wanted.  Originally wanting a girl Bichon and then along came this boy poodle.....my precious gift from God.

I will explain his name another day (that is a posting all by itself!).

Last year when the black had got so bad, and unknown to me, my meds had stopped working, the ONLY thing that stopped me from 'leaving' (read death) was my wee man.

He is my reason for getting up most days (he'll want to go for a wee!).  But brings me so much joy and unconditional love its beyond belief.  I know that some people don't understand how you can love an animal like he is my own 'child/flesh and blood' but I do.  He is my reason when the world is so black i can't see through.  And he loves me no matter what I do or say or am.

He is so much fun.  I love the joy he gets from the simple words of "Lets go to the beach" or just the word "biscuit"!!  I love that he brings so much joy to people at work and the kids at church and when we would go to visit Baba in the rest home he'd have to do a visit of everyone else on the ward.

I love that he has a special gift with little people that he is patient with babies and children who are scared of dogs.  I am so proud of him when I see him interact with kids (and adults) with special needs or illnesses and he blesses them and brings light into their eyes.  He is indeed a blessing from God - a Kiss from Heaven (I'll explain that another day too).

I love you my baby boy xxxxxxx

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Childhood Depression

(click on the title above to link to the Science Daily article)

This article caught my attention......it caught the attention of the four year old who hated herself so much she wanted to disappear......it caught the attention of the nine year old who tried to shoot herself, but her arms weren't long enough for the shotgun to reach her head from her arms......it caught the attention of the little girl who didn't understand why she didn't fit in, didn't understand why she couldn't get her emotions under control, didn't understand why she couldn't be as perfect as her brother or cousins.......it caught the attention of the little girl who 30 years later is finally starting to heal, starting to understand the difference between chemical and bad behaviour and who is trying very hard to realise she is worthy of being alive.

I hope this catches your attention; that it makes you think that maybe that child you know that is a bit of a 'pain' or not quite 'normal' might just need to catch your attention.

Maybe you can get down on their level, look in their eyes, ask the right questions and maybe you can be the one to see that its chemicals that need fixing not behaviours.

Please take time to notice that child......save their heart and you could save their life........trust me.

Trying to be honest to me.....and you.

My outside feels like this.....

My heart and head feel like this......

My 'Apparent Competincy' lets my friends
see me like this....

I desperately want some of this.....but don't know how to ask without feeling vulnerable and under a microscope......

I desperately want to remember that
this is who I am.....

So there is the honesty.....has it helped me?

Friday, June 10, 2011

"I haven't seen you around for a while....."

Sometimes others say it better than I could hope to.....or just as well as i could hope to......

“I haven’t seen you around church in a while,” he says to me.

I knew this moment would happen. My church wasn’t big enough to be anonymous, and I realized the time would come when I’d casually run into one of the leaders and my secret would be confronted. Here we were at a local grocery store, standing in line together.

Even though I was aware this run-in would eventually occur, I hadn’t yet spent the time to formulate an answer.

It wasn’t for lack of time.

It was for lack of energy. Lack of motivation. Lack of will.

And even lack of faith.

Depression has been a demon I’ve dealt with for most of my teen and adult life. And I’m not alone. The National Institute of Mental Health indicates more than a quarter of American adults are afflicted with some type of mental illness like depression or anxiety disorders.

I’ve been to psychologists, psychiatrists, Eastern medicine practitioners, Christian counselors, group therapy and even inpatient treatment. I’ve been misdiagnosed, over-medicated and, at times, left to my own vices. I’ve tried to fix myself with healthy things like exercise and clean dieting—and not-so-healthy things like alcohol and drugs, and self-injury.

My friend’s statement has left me a little shell-shocked. What am I supposed to answer? How much of my problems do I disclose? Do I just come out and say what the last three months have really been to me?

I look into my friend’s eyes and think: I wish I could tell you that. I wish I could tell you how alone I feel and how desperately I need you to just sit with me, to hold my hand, to share some tea with me and listen, even if it’s only about how sad I feel today. If only I could tell you how weak my faith becomes and how easy it is to believe the lies that say I’m not valuable to this world because I’m not as strong as everyone else. I wish I could tell you that I want to be like you—to be able to push through grief and heartache and fear that seemingly have no cause and to come out of it praising and worshiping the way you and your friends do.

But I can’t.

I’m too afraid.

I don’t know how you’ll respond.

And I don’t want to be any lonelier than I already feel.

As I finally determine how to respond to my friend, I take a deep breath and simply say: “Yeah. I’ve been really busy with work and I haven’t been able to make it to church lately. Maybe next weekend?”

He looks back at me and says, “Great—I hope so!” and smiles.

I smile back, but only because I’ve kept my secret safe for one more day.

So many times I’m asked by church leaders, “How can I make my church a safe place?” The only answer is, “You.” You have to be a safe place. You have to first live transparently with others (and by this, I don’t mean air your dirty laundry … use discernment, but be open and vulnerable—even if you are the pastor). By living transparently, others will follow suit. When we share our brokenness with others, we are showing the world there is a God who heals.

After all, if we were perfect, what would we need the cross for anyway? How can we show hope and miracles to a world that is seeking them when we pretend everything is just fine?

My friend Len shared with me that, in Eastern cultures, when porcelain breaks or cracks, they don’t restore it like we do in the West. They don’t try to remove any evidence of breakage or cracks. They do just the opposite: apply a lacquer that highlights the crack with gold. In other words, they feature the cracks with gold, which actually adds to the value and gives the piece a story and a unique character.

May God apply that gold to us, so others may see the cracks in our story and the redemption of His nature, whether we are a Superstar, someone who is Very Broken or a person in The Middle.

Anne Jackson is a writer, speaker and social change activist who lives in Orange County, CA. She is the author of Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan) and Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace (Thomas Nelson).

This article originally appeared in Neue magazine, a sister publication of RELEVANT.