Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A coffee cup and an idea and a new beginning

Sometimes good things start in really unexpected ways. A few months ago Aliesha at the Exchange gave me my long black in a cup with an extra cup so it wasn't so hot. She suggested I could bring it back next time for a coffee. I fully intended to, but it fell to the back of the car and kinda got squashed. I felt really guilty because I promised Aliesha that I would bring it back, so I tried to think what I could do with it. 

Anyway I had an idea, and I suggested to Annie that we sow a sunflower in the coffee cup. Turned out we had a couple of packets of sunflower seeds, so we collected up coffee cups, and frozen coke cups and noodle cups. We brought a heavy bag of potting mix. We collected other people's coffee cups. Lots of them. And then Annie filled them with potting mix and pushed the seeds in.

It's kinda got addictive. People keep giving me coffee cups and we keep on filling them. We have pumpkins and gypsophila now. Oh and some nasturtium seeds that Jerome gave me. They look so good and are growing so well. Such a simple thing from something so tiny.

Another thing that is growing slowly in my life is a new relationship. I have been so honest along this journey, that I decided to be honest with this too. I've written about this topic already here and here and here

Anyway a few months ago I met a nice guy and we have been quietly getting to know each other for a while now. Letting someone into your life when you are older and have a ton of responsibilities is really scary. You worry about whether you are good enough for the other person or do you have too much baggage. But you also worry about whether you have enough of a foundation to build some kind of future together and how you even begin to do this having failed so spectacularly in the past.

Right now we are just learning about each other slowly. I'd like to think that it will work out for us, but even if it doesn't I believe that I have made a good friend with a kind, funny man who I love to hang out with and is lovely with my kiddies. Isn't that the best way to start a relationship? I believe it is, and just like our tiny seeds, we will water it with time and patience and dare I say it, love; and who knows what the future will bring. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Are you ok?

I notice there is a thing on Facebook at the moment where people are cutting and pasting a thing to raise awareness about suicide. New Zealand has ridiculously high suicide rates, this year it is the worst it has been since they started keeping records about it.

I'm sure that all of our lives have been effected by someone we love who either tried or succeeded in committing suicide. Recently I was having a drink with some friends and one of them was telling a story about how a close relative of theirs had ended their life. She said,

I wish they knew how much they were loved

and it really struck me how that is something we all wish. My mum used to tell me that suicide was a long term solution for a short term problem. But seeing as it is epidemic in our country, I think we all need to be more aware of those around us. This week someone close to me has been struggling and it is so hard to say, are you ok? because you don't want to put the thoughts in their head. But the reality is, that someone is not going to kill themselves because you suggested it.

They are going to take that long term solution because they simply cannot live one more day with the pain they are living with. They need us to ask, are you ok? because they need to know that we recognise that they are struggling.

So don't just cut and paste something on Facebook and think that will be sufficient. Make sure you go to your friend you are concerned about, spend some time, maybe have a coffee with them. And make sure you ask, are you ok? really ok?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dear America, I stand with you...

This morning when I woke up, it hit me again: Trump is President of the US. I feel so sick. He promises to make America great again. It's done now. We can't change it. Not that we could anyway here, only Americans could vote! (So unfair... seeing as it effects us all.) Anyway I just wanted to make a comment because I can see from my Facebook feed that lots of us are feeling devastated. 

I am guttered because it seems (from here at the bottom of the world) that someone is in power who does not respect Muslims, Immigrants, Women, Disabled, LGBTQ folk, and All People of Colour. What kind of message does this send to both those of us who fit in these groups and those people who think we are inferior. How do I explain this to my children?

But then I have been thinking though that maybe Trump will make America great again. You know how if you exercise, your muscles get stronger? well maybe having someone like Trump in power will make people really have to stand up for what is right. Maybe it will make all of us, wherever we are in the world speak out when we see injustice or inequality. This would make not only America but also the world great again. 

What say we all dust ourselves down and look around us and see how WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE? how great would that be! It looks like at least half of the people in America voted for Hilary. That's 59,595,319 Americans who believe in human rights, respect and dignity. Let's stand with them. Let's not write off America because of the 59,370,534 who voted for Trump.

So here's where I am at right now. To all my friends in America, we are disappointed, we are sad. I stand with you. I love and respect you. Let's all make America great again (and therefore the world because it effects all of us).

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


At the end of last term one of the mums at school pulled me into a conversation with Jenny and said you two should car pool because we both live out of town at the south of Christchurch. I have known Jenny since Annie started kindergarten but not that well. So I talked to Jenny and found out that she had been coming into school to drop her daughter off and then hanging around in town till it was time to go home! That is no kind of life. 

It did not take me long to work out that I should do all the driving because I'm coming into town anyhow. At first I said I would do every second week; but around that time, Reuben started living with me full time and so I can do it all the time. It's actually so easy for me to do and helpful for Jenny. What I didn't count on, was how much I would get out of our arrangement.

Jenny is quite possibly the nicest person I have had the pleasure of coming into contact with. It's hard to explain what she is like, but the best I can do is that she is what I would imagine an angel would be like if they lived here. Jenny has the kindest heart you could imagine and one of the things I love about her is how excited she is about the little things in life. 

I make sure I give her a hug when I see her, Jenny likes hugs. Do you know it is so nice to see someone every day who is really pleased to see you and thinks you are wonderful! Honestly completely makes my day. It's not fake, she genuinely is happy for you about things.

Also Jenny often cooks dinner for us. She comes out when we drop her daughter off and gives us a dish with something healthy and delicious in for our tea. It is amazing. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this kindness, as a single working parent, a healthy cooked dinner is an absolute God-send.
I love how I feel like Jenny does more for us, but Jenny feels like I do more for her. Our relationship is really give and take. If anyone came into my life at the right time, it was Jenny; she really is amazing.

I did not realise that I needed a friend like Jenny in my life, someone who needed me to help them out but who offered me so much in return. Someone is truly glad to see me each day and always has a kind word. Jenny even notices when I look tired and asks me how I am. It actually makes a difference to my day. I am beyond grateful to the mum at school who put us together. Everybody needs someone in their life like Jenny, I can't tell you how lucky I am.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Finding inspiration

Last week was one of those weeks where I let things get on top of me. Annie was at her dads and messaged or rang often missing me and I missed her too. Reuben, while lovely, spends a lot of quality time in his room as 14 year old boys do! Also it was a short week so it was kinda busy.

On Friday I went out to photograph a couple of guys in their workshop for a website. They were so inspiring. I loved seeing how they interacted, I love their dream and the story they are creating. I loved photographing in their workshop and took loads of photos.

I was completely inspired by them and by hanging out with them for an hour. I drove away feeling a hundred times better than when I arrived. Being with people who are working hard and sacrificing for their dreams is just so empowering. I think it is my favourite thing.

I have been plodding away at my own dreams for a while now. I'm working hard at these quilts for the exhibition but it's easy to loose . Talking to Bevan and Andy reminded me of why I am doing what I'm doing, and made me excited to keep plodding away at it. 

Anyway here's a few of the photos that I took (there's loads more). Bevan and Andy are making pushbikes from bamboo. It's truly amazing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Memo to self: Just be kind. Always be kind.

It seems to me that relationships are a balancing act. I'm not particularly good at them (as evidenced by my single status) but I'm learning. I'm not just talking about romantic relationships, I'm talking about all of the people that we have some kind of connection with. Recently I have been taking notice of how the way that I am feeling effects how I feel about I think other people feel about me.

I don't know about you, but I always assume that I feel the same all the time, it's just that sometimes your day is filled with stupid people. No? just me then! ok, well I have mentioned before I'm a slow learner haha. Anyhow, I have started taking not of the fact that sometimes I feel a bit blah, you know flat, uninspired or whatever, and then when I meet people I assume that they hate me and I've done something wrong. Is this just me?? I'm pretty sure it's not.

So, news flash! it's just me having a bad day. It's not all the people I work with, live with or are friends with who suddenly think I'm like a piece of gum on the bottom of their shoe, annoying, disappointing and something to try and hide away. It's just me feeling a bit blah and it's ok. We can't always be amazing.

And so I'm trying really hard to assume that people actually like me, that I'm an ok person and my opinion is valid. And maybe the other person is just having a bad day, feeling blah or uninspired, and maybe I'm coming across a bit perky and annoying and they are not feeling the vibe.

Memo to self: it is not all about me, on the whole as long as you are polite and kind and interested in them, you are ok. And just maybe, if the other person comes across that they don't want to interact with you, it is not automatically something you did wrong, but just that they are feeling blah in the space they are in. Just be kind. Always be kind.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Am I parenting or just looking after the kids?

The combination of being a part time parent and something I saw on Facebook has made me think about being a parent and what it really involves as opposed to simply looking after kids. I realise that I am a parent all of the time, even when Annie isn't with me (Reuben is with me all the time now) because being a parent is really completely different to simply looking after the kids. Now this is probably completely obvious to all the rest of you, but hey! I'm a slow learner.

So looking after kids is lovely. I like having kids around that I am looking after. Like my dear friend Stuart (who loves me, he's five), he comes to my house and eats food (that is slightly bad for him) has some screen time, plays with the toys and generally has a nice time. But I don't parent Stuart. I just love him and hang out with him.

Parenting is different. Parenting is about keeping all of the parts of your child's welfare in your head at the same time, whilst honouring what has happened to them in the past and dreaming of the best possible future for them. Parenting is not about the fun times, but how you handle all the in betweens.

Parenting is about making sure the every day mundane doesn't turn to drudgery. It is about keeping dreams alive whilst injecting a dose of reality. Parenting is an impossible task. I'm pretty sure noone can actually really do it justice.

But oh my goodness, I'm going to try my hardest with everything that is in me. I will be the boundary that they need, I will be the soft place to fall. I will laugh with them, not at them. I will respect their worries and I will encourage their dreams. I know that I fail over and over. But I will keep right on trying. I'm going to take the bits of my life and weave them together to make something that is strong and good that my children can take shelter in and feel safe.

This is what parenting is to me. This is what loving my kids is to me.