Bless the Mums

Mothers want their children to be happy and healthy. Mrs. Kham, 27 and Anoy, 8 months old. Her smile says it all. She has three young healthy children. World Vision has been working in the village of Phonthong in Pakkading District of Bolikhamxay Province in Lao PDR to provide health and education through the Pakkading Mother and Child Health Project (PMCH).

I wrote this post a few years ago, in honour of Mother’s Day and it’s still true.  To all the Mums, here is my prayer and wish for you. ❤

For the Mums

For the new Mums, who are overwhelmed with love and the responsibility of nurturing this tiny miracle that has invaded and taken over your life:
May you get the sleep you need, may help come when you need it and may you have faith in yourself and your mothering, even when the house has gone to pot and you feel that you have no idea what you are doing.

For the Mums who struggle with post-natal depression or with chronic illness, either physical or mental:
May you have a community who cares around you, may you find treatment that works and support that helps and may your children thrive and bring you joy.

For the Mums whose children struggle with their own health problems:
May each day bring you more joy than pain and may you find the world a loving, supportive and nurturing place for you and your child.

For the Mums who, for whatever reason, cannot care for their children:
May your children find homes where they are loved and nurtured and may they know that your absence is not their fault, and that you love them and did the best for them that you knew how to do.

For the Mums who have lost children, before or after birth.
There is not greater loss.  May you find solace in your grief and people who understand to hold you up on your journey.

For the Mums who go out to work because they need to, or because they love it:
May you find wonderful people to help you care for your children, may you be free of guilt, so that you can enjoy your precious time with your children and may your community support you in ALL your work.

For the Mums who stay at home, because they need to or they choose to;
Your work is invaluable.  May you find joy and fulfilment in your children and support and appreciation in your partner and community.

For the Mums who are doing the parenting on their own:
May your workplace be understanding, your health be robust, your community helpful and may you know what a good job you are doing, even when you are exhausted and feel overwhelmed.

For the mothers who cannot care for and nurture their children as they would like, due to poverty, injustice, oppression or disaster.
May the world see your anguish and hold out a hand in friendship to help you and your family to a better life.

For the step-Mums and adoptive Mums and foster Mums, who look after and love children of other birth-parents:
May your role be supported by all those around you and may your relationship with your children be happy and life-giving for all of you.

For all the women who ‘mother’ children not their own, be they work charges, or students, or patients, or children of friends or just children who need a friend:
May you find such a friend in your times of need and may you know how much your support meant to that child.

For the Mums who have no especial troubles, but who ‘just‘ love and nurture and read the books and drive to netball and help with homework and cook the tea and wash the clothes and clean the house and fill in the forms and go to the concerts and shiver through the footy matches and bandage the knees and hug away the broken hearts and teach sewing and baking and karate and swimming and fishing and camping and reading and music and love.
May you have partners who know how to drive the iron and the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine, who aren’t afraid of tea towels and who make an excellent cup of tea (or beverage of your choice) and may your children occasionally spontaneously remember the things you have been trying to drum into them since birth.

And most of all, for my Mum, who taught me how to read, when I couldn’t wait for school; who brought me cheese sandwiches and flat lemonade when I was sick; who loved me even when I was a right teenage cow; who came to concerts of music she’d never heard before because I was in them; who made my lunch every day of my education; who taught me how to sew and cook; and a million other things, far too numerous to mention here.

May you know how much you are needed and how much you are loved.

Thank heaven for the Mums. God bless ’em, every one!

Happy Mothers’ Day.

PS: The picture above is taken from the World Vision Facebook page. Click on it (or the link on the left) to be taken to the page and find out how you can help other mothers!

International Women’s Day

I wrote this several years ago, when my child was small, as a Christmas gift to my women friends. I’ll have to write an updated one, as I have yet more to be grateful for now!  But in the meantime, on this International Women’s Day, this one’s for the women:

Thank you, God, for the blessing of the women in my life.

Thank you for the ones who, when you are in tears because you have too much on your plate, won’t tell you that you need to plan better, but will come around and take your child so that you can have a break; finish the job; do whatever you need to do, to stop crying.

Thank you for the ones who will take your child for an unscheduled sleepover on a school night, just because you have been in hospital.

Thank you for the ones who spend four hours making cribs for homemade baby Jesus-es just because they are beautiful and the kids will love them.

Thank you for the ones who praise your gifts and overlook your failings.

Thank you for the ones who, no matter how spotless their houses are, never remark on the state of yours.

Thank you for the ones who understand that, when you don’t call, it’s just because life has got on top of you and not that you don’t care.

Thank you for the ones you invite you for dinner at the drop of a hat – and really mean it.

Thank you for the ones who actively like it when you drop in unannounced.

Thank you for the ones who cook like angels and don’t mind giving you the recipes.

Thank you for the ones who will drive your mutual friends out to see you, even when it is out of their way.

Thank you for the ones who bring food, rather than flowers, in times of crisis.

Thank you for the ones who bring flowers when there isn’t a crisis, just because.

Thank you for the ones who make you laugh – and who laugh at your jokes.

Lord, they say that women are like teabags – you never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.  What they don’t say is that there is no such thing as one woman in hot water – because when one falls in, you’ll find another dozen jump into the pot with them to cool the water down.

Lord, I am humbled by, and grateful for, the love you bring into my life through the women in it.

Thank you for the women.

I was amused to note, as I typed this, that I think I can still name the woman who inspired each sentiment.  How lucky am I, to have had and still have such friends?

What I learned in 2016

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This year, I have discovered that roses reward even a small amount of care with great beauty.  Which, come to think of it, is a good metaphor for the self-care I talk about below.

If I had to boil down 2016 into a single lesson, for the world at large, as well as for me, it would be that you shouldn’t take anything for granted.  Life can knock you down, knock you sideways or just end, when you are least expecting it.  So cling to the things you care about and fight for them!

But it also taught me, personally, a bunch of other things.  These are the ones that come to mind this hot January afternoon…

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It’s Christmas and I’m grateful

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This picture was on display in all of our houses.  It’s a few years old now, but still a favourite.

2016 hasn’t been the best of years.  As a family, we’ve had some complicated health issues, and we lost a dear friend, whose spirit wasn’t ready to die, but whose body had finally had enough.  She fought for every one of her sixty years.  I loved her and I miss her dreadfully.

But today, it’s Christmas, and I’m grateful for the good things.  Because I am a believer and it’s Christmas, this has come out in the form of a prayer.  If that’s not your style, feel free to skip the God parts.  I hope that you, too, have things to be grateful for this festive season and that you like it. Continue reading

Feeling the Gratitude today

So, yesterday, Melbourne, my town, turned on one of those glorious autumn days that make you want to frolic and gambol and otherwise bask in the sunshine and revel in being alive.  And then I turned on the radio and this was on, which seemed appropriate:

Although in my case it was more go outside and loll in the hammock, rather than in bed, but you get the idea.

But I was good.  I did do some work, I just did it at a coffee shop with outside tables, where I could bask in the real sunshine (and frolic in my imaginary world).  And I enjoyed it.  And it has put me in a good mood today, which is lovely.  So I want to share some things I’m grateful for.  First, at the moment, I am most pleased with this:

Books actually bought for reading!

547323_332176723551639_366061772_nIt’s a book.  It has my name on it.  It has a gorgeous cover.  All of these things have existed since October last year.  But now it is available in three dimensions, with actual paper between covers, for people to buy*.  This makes me glad.  And a little squoogly.**

(*In Australian Post shops if you are in Australia.  My apologies if you aren’t!  One day I will have many books and they will be available in all formats everywhere, but it is not this day. Sadly.)

(**Squoogly is a word we have invented in our house for that combination of bashful and delighted that you get when someone compliments you fulsomely – or when you see your first book available for sale.)

I am also grateful to friends who bought the book (see first photo) and took pictures of it in the wild (see both photos).  They make me squoogly too! (See**, above.)

I am also pleased that we have a tiny, miraculously tiny frog in our frog tank.  Last year, our little frogs successfully bred in captivity, surprising and delighting us.  They produced one normal-sized frog and one we called Frodo because he was little and gorgeous.  But this year, although we got spawn and even tadpoles, we didn’t get any new frogs.  At least, so I thought, until I saw the tiny, tiny one the other day.  He’s the size of a quarter of a thumbnail.  He’s so small it was hard to believe he wasn’t just a trick of the light.  But he’s real and he’s still there and he feels like a tiny miracle.  I’m finding tiny tiny insects to feed him and hoping we can keep him alive and growing.

And then there’s this:

I enjoyed the Hobbit movie but best of all, I think was the dwarves singing.  I sincerely hope there will be more in the next two.

And there are many more things to be happy about, but I’ve rabbited for long enough.  What are you happy about today?

Last Friday Links: Book Bloggers are awesome

A little while ago, two very nice readers of this blog bestowed blogging awards on me.

I know that not everybody accepts these awards and I can see why.  I’m sure the popular bloggers get them several times a week and it would be impractical to accept them all.  But I am not yet there* and I like accepting them because it gives me an excuse to share links to blogs I love.  And I love blogs way more than I should or have hours in the day.

The two awards are these:

The Reader Appreciation Award was given to me by Tom Lucas.  He’s a lovely bloke who writes all manner of things. You can find his blog here (or by clicking on the picture).

The other came from Resa McConaghy, who is one of the sweetest people I have met in the blogsphere and also, to my low-maintenance, jama-clad self**, almost impossibly glamorous.  She’s a costume designer.  For real. She blogs about that, and her corner of Toronto at Queen’s End.

To accept them, I need to link to several other blogs and today, inspired by the titles of the awards, I am going with a theme.

All of the blogs listed below are devoted to books.  To reviewing them, to sharing them, to celebrating them.

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