Monday, January 29, 2007

Some more beach photos

AJ about to catch a wave. He's very comfortable in the water.

Two cute boys, tired but happy after the afternoon at the beach.

Sami, tired but not really happy about going home. She'd live in the water if she could. Sometimes I need to check to see if she's grown a mermaids tail.

Ok, a few more photos

Nuke loves to climb - he's been doing this ladder easily for about a month now. Of course he tries to do pretty much everything he sees AJ doing.

The kids playing at the park. It had rained a lot the night before which is why Sami is wearing her gum boots.

AJ at Jetty Beach.

Nuke doing some surf-yoga, or maybe trying out some new things to do on the board if it were in the water.

Nuke carried this board into the water and was playing with it in the low waves as if he were riding a wave in. He had the moves down - amazing.

Just a couple more

This park is diagonally across the road from our place. You can see the creek (low tide) and big sandy area where dogs and horses and people play. On the other side of the creek is the ocean. You can kind of see it in this photo, I should have zoomed in on it. It only takes a few minutes to walk to the surf beach, depending on the tide and how many puddles we stop to play in along the way.

Another shot of the creek across the road, taken at low tide and a little to the left of the previous photo of the creek. We usually swim at the "deep puddle" (as the kids call it) that you see towards the back of the photo.

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My boys at the beach.

Sami having a great time. She is such a little fishy, she just loves the water.
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Thank You

Thank you to those that sent prayers, postive energy and healing thoughts to my brother. I spoke with him this evening and he sounds better than he has for days. He is going for his cat scan tomorrow and is optimistic about that.

Besides his health problems, he's had such a run of bad luck lately. He did a huge job sailing a boat half-way around Australia which took much longer than expected as the boat kept running into problems, including a period when he was drifting at sea for six days. The owner of the boat still has not paid him the money he promised him. When Geoff got back home, he had his wallet stolen and found that his houseboat (where he lives) had been broken into and most of his special things, like his guitar and a beautiful clock, were stolen. Geoff is a really hard worker and a great guy. It's just not in him to be dishonest in any way and he's having a hard time figuring out why this has happened to him.

Anyway, thanks again. I'll let you know what they find with the cat scan.

Friday, January 26, 2007

More on grief

I did not mean to be flippant in my previous post about grief. I was mainly referring to low-scale grief, not the kind that is usually associated with the loss of a person.

I received news tonight that my brother's health has gone down even further. Further tests still need to be done, but it looks like the cancer is spreading, possibly into his brain. I certainly don't want to jump the gun and assume this is what has happened without the test results, but it's hard not to think about all possible outcomes, including the worst.

The thought of a world without him consumes me with an overwhelming grief. Oh God, help him. Stop his pain.

What are the lessons? I'm searching...

After all of the releasing I've done, does it make it any easier to release a loved one?

I am so grateful for all of the times we had together. He is one of the main reasons I had such a great childhood. We were so close for the first 16 years of my life until he moved out of home and started finding his own way. The fact that I couldn't go with him and he was often too busy for me hurt like hell. But I eventually learned to accept that and stopped trying to fill the void he left.

I don't want to see him so sad and in pain. I want him to be free of that.

I am reminded to live my own life more fully - don't hold back, stand up for my beliefs, pursue my dreams. To love more deeply - taking time to really connect with those close to me, to hold them a bit longer, look into their eyes and speak from my heart. To take life more lightly - see the simple pleasures, laugh freely and often, to be silly and playful.

I don't want to think the worst as I do not want to project that energy onto him. I will visualise him healthy and pain-free and be available to listen to him and do whatever I can.

Would you please say a prayer for my brother Geoff too?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lessons from grief

A good friend recently went through a relocation where she had to downsize and part with various personal items. Although she was glad she did this, and happy to move on to a new phase with a lighter load, she explained to me that she had periods of grief over some of the things that didn't come with her.

I found this an interesting emotion to attach to the process. I'd always thought of grief on a larger scale such as death of a person or pet. But yes, grief can be attached to any kind of loss, even when we are the instrument in deciding upon that loss.

Even though I am enjoying life here, there are periods of time when I am drawn to memories of what we left behind. Pets, friends and even, to a lesser extent but still a real thought, some of the material "stuff" we had. I cannot do anything about the pets we had except send them love and hope they are happy and being taken good care of. Friends, well some still keep in regular contact, some that I thought would, don't, some that I didn't think would, do. But it's all ok. To the friends that I don't hear from anymore, I thank you for the time we had and I wish you love and peace on your path. To the friends that still keep in touch, thank you, you are lights in my life.

Regarding our material stuff, I honestly don't think about it much anymore so I'm surprised when I do get the occasional feeling of "oh, AJ's bed was so comfortable" or "those windchimes we used to have sounded so pretty" or "those wooden toys were so cool". Now when I get those feelings, I take a moment to remember the item, I thank it for the time it was a part of my life and then I just let it go. This has become relatively easy for me to do, and I am helping my children with this too. Sometimes they talk about a friend they used to know, or they see a toy in a shop or catalogue that they used to have. We take time to talk about the friend and wish them well. With the toys, they don't usually dwell on them, but start planning how they can raise some money to buy new ones.

So, interesting lessons from these brief moments of grief that stem from old attachments. We are learning gratitude for things that were and releasing those things to allow new people and things to flow into our lives. Doing this increases our gratitude for the way things are now.

It's all good.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Are we nuts??!

(just another neighbourhood flower that caught my attention)

The kids and I have been back in Australia for almost 4 months. I needed this. I feel like a different person. I feel a calmness inside of me. I feel like I have been nurtured back to wholeness. I feel more in touch with myself on many levels. ... I am ready for another adventure! I was so spent, and felt so good when I got here that I thought I could stay here forever (and that's a long time!). Now I feel like I've drunk from the well, lightened my load and am ready to head off again.

Cary likes this area, but doesn't think it has enough business opportunities. We are going to check out a few areas north of here to see if they provide that as well as the other things we like about here (great beaches, bushland, other things for the kids and family to do). If that doesn't fit, we are open to the idea of moving overseas, though not back to the States. Funny, the idea is very exciting to us! Except Sami, she loves her school so much, she's not keen on the idea of moving.

When we moved across the USA in 1998, we travelled with my minivan that I drove with a load of stuff, Sami and two dogs. We were following Cary who had a big pickup (filled with stuff)towing a 28' enclosed car carrier filled to bursting with our 'stuff'. And that was after we'd had a huge yard sale and donated a bunch of stuff. We swore we'd never do that again and the next move would be much lighter. We thought we were pretty good getting it down to a bit over one pallet load to move here. Our things are still sitting on the docks in Brisbane. The process has taken so much longer than we thought it would. I've been thinking that it would have been easier to just seamail the photos and sentimental things over. I have obviously gotten along just fine without any of the other stuff - did I really need it?

It's exciting to me to ponder just how lightly I could move the next time. I would store the sentimental things here, as well as some other household basics as I can definately see us coming back here to live. (Maybe we could do an endless summer, spending several months a year here.) Could I do another big move taking just whatever will fit into our luggage allowance? I am totally confident that I can!

Now comes the fun of researching and planning!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

more photos - a few neighbourhood flowers

Frangipani's are probably my favourite flower for their beautiful scent and perfect simplicity.

These looked like spider flowers to us, not sure if that is actually what they're called. If not, it should be! Or, more correctly, insect flowers as they have six 'legs', not eight.

I need to brush up on my knowledge of Australian flora. Again, not sure of the name, but the blossom looks like fireworks to us.

And now for some photos...

I Ifinally got a small digital camera today! I had a raincheck for one I saw advertised right after Christmas for almost half price. So the kids and I went for a walk around the house and then around the neighbourhood trying it out.

The 2nd photos is mr. 18month nuke. He discovered what fun it was to fall onto his knees at the edge of the flat bit of grass and slide down the little slope on his knees. The flowers in the background were amazing - like trumpets.

The 3rd photo is of a painting my wonderful step-mum did. It's large - 100cm (40") x 83cm (33") and the colours are so vibrant and happy, it brightens the room and my spirit whenever I see it. Fruit is a huge part of my life and everything looks so juicy and delicious. Another interesting story about this painting is that is was painted on Hamilton Island where Frankie spent time as artist-in-residence. That was several years after Cary and I had met on the same island. To me, the island energy and fun come through the painting as well as a part of Frankie. I just love her! This photo doesn't do the painting justice, but I really wanted to post it anyway.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Simplify & Beautify

My Mum asked me recently "what New Years resolutions have you come up with?". "None" I answered knowing that all well-intentioned NY resolutions fail within the first week or month. I mean without a good plan to follow through on them. I just can't make a change without there being a burning need in me to do so. I will not do it just because I turned over a page on the calendar or woke up one day and my age has clicked forward one. Certainly those things can cause me to ponder on the previous year, but to actually make change, I need to stew for some time on the areas of my life that can be made even better until it becomes more painful to stay the same rather than to change.

We had to simplify our material 'stuff' a LOT when we moved. It was such a great lesson and gave me clarity on what I really like and want. I now shop much more consciously. I don't go to garage sales and buy stuff simply because it's cheap or it would fit or we used to have one. I do not buy anything that will not give me joy when I see, use or wear it. Of course I also consider what others in the home will feel when they see, use or wear something. I've been through my clothes again and asked myself honestly - do I really enjoy wearing this? If the answer is not a definite "yes", then it gets donated. When I first did this, I was left with about half the clothes I started with. This was actually enough to get by on as long as I washed once or twice a week. Since then, I save so much time when I go to thrift stores and yard sales as I just look for the colours and styles I like and don't mess around bothering with other things. I have been able to add a few more things and have enough variety to match my moods and the weather. I feel good when I look in my closet as it is mostly blues of all shades, light purples, and a couple of different greens. I have very little from the other end of the rainbow.

I am so blessed. I feel like I'm living simply and beautifully and that gives me joy and lightness of be-ing. I've made a shift within myself that had become necessary for me to live more fully and consciously and I am loving it!

Listen - really listen

It is such a breath of fresh air to be here in Australia. Besides the fact that the air is actually fresh and clean. On other levels, it is so refreshing. In general, Aussies are pretty concerned about the environment. Practically everyone recycles on some level. The local councils make it easier by providing each house with large colour-coded bins. Public rubbish bins are plentiful in public places which keeps the litter way down, in fact, I've never noticed it as a problem.

In my own life here, I am taking advantage of quiet moments to really listen to everything I can. The different birds chirping - how many birds are talking, how many different kinds of birds, what are they if I don't already know? How many frogs are there? Hmm, they've moved since yesterday, now their voices are coming from a different direction - how long did it take them to get there? The wind rustling the trees, the sounds of breathing from my sleeping children, crickets and cicadas outside. What else can I actually listen to that I just take for granted? I need to work on this too. I want to experience life and relationships more deeply. By being present and attentive to the moment, I believe I can gain more understanding and depth and give myself more completely. Maybe I didn't do that enough back in the US, I think I was too tired from the competitiveness.

The other day day I was feeling so content, and I remembered hearing someone sometime in my past say "this would be a good day to die". I thought of how wonderful it would be to die feeling so content. I bit into a carrot and a piece got stuck in my throat. I wasn't scared as I had the feeling that this wasn't actually my time to go. So I just relaxed. All of my family was outside the house at the time. The carrot came unstuck and I went outside to join them.