Sipping from the saucer #28

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The LORD has blessed me so much, my cup is overflowing (taken from Psalm 23) and I’m sipping from the saucer.”

I like the visual, so I’m using it here, in this month-long blogging challenge focusing on the blessings God has poured out on me. And finally – nearly 9pm on the second last day of June – blessing #28.

So if you’ve been reading recently, you’d know that I injured my back (herniated two discs) last Saturday, and spent pretty much this whole week on painkillers and icing my back FAR more regularly than I’d like, in between spinal adjustments at the doctor. By yesterday afternoon I could handle over 45 minutes before it started getting uncomfortable – and the doctor was surprised when I walked into his office without the assistance of crutches. The power pf prayer, huh? Because James 5:16 is DEFINITELY one I’ve been holding on to this week!

Anyway, today was the last day of school before our mid-year holidays. I’d organised a HEAP of stuff to happen this week at school, and unfortunately had been away for all of it. But I *really* missed the kids, and seeing as it was really going to be problematic for Hubby to pick up our cherubs this afternoon, I thought I’d brave the sitting and the driving, and go collect them. And arrive early enough to see the donations we’d collected at our major fundraiser for the semester, being given to the representatives of the animal shelter we’d fundraised for at our final assembly.

And thus: my blessing for the day. No sooner was I out of the car than Middle Schoolers saw me. “Mrs Bloxham! Mrs Bloxham! You’re here! How are you? Wow! You’re here!” – a veritable chorus of kids who were surprised and pleased to see me, who wanted to wish me well, who’d heard of my injury and who had been praying for me -it was SO beautiful, to be welcomed back so warmly!

And thus ends my litany of blessings for this year’s #blogJune. Tomorrow’s post, my final one for the month, will be a ‘wrap up’ post. And then the blog will return to its regular Monday morning post. And yay for that, cos I’m tired!

Anyway, here’s hoping that your day was a blessed one too, dear Reader 🙂

— KRidwyn

Better late than never

I have a weak left ankle. I’m not entirely sure why, but if I’ve ever hurt an ankle, it’s always been the left one.

Last Wednesday was no exception.

I’d been digging out a sapling in my front yard, and – surprise surprise – it had left a hole when I’d finished.

Silly me decided to fill in the hole ‘later’, after I’d delivered the sapling to the fire pit.

Whoops. Rapidly rethought that plan immediately I’d felt the agony and heard the sickening ‘crunch’ as I fell.

But of course, by then it was too late.

The upshot was: at the ripe old age of 43, I found myself on crutches for the very first time. And boy! Did I ever learn some lessons about the difficulties inherent in not having two working feet!

Everything got problematic. And I realised that for any similarly-hobbling Middle School kids I have, trying to negotiate a three-storey building, carrying books, pencil cases and devices, hats, water bottles and so on – it must be REALLY HARD!!!

So I’ll be changing some things at my school this year, as much as I can, to make it easier.

And I’m kicking myself (not literally; my ankle is still too idiotically painful for that) that it’s taken me until now to realise the problem.

Better late than never though, I guess.

Have a great week, dear Reader!

KRidwyn

Blogging 12 Days Xmas – Day 5

So I’m continuing my annual #12daysxmas blogging challenge this year, and my theme for 2017 is ‘gratitude’. Each day for 12 days, I’m explaining one thing that occurred in each month, that I’m grateful for. Today’s month? May 🙂

In May I was grateful to survive NAPLAN, the external testing which pretty much every student in Year 7 and Year 9 undergoes. Its a set of five tests over three days, with EXTREMELY strict procedures regarding the running of same. A particular administrative glitch made back in January meant that I needed to organise a workaround, which took hours longer than I had expected. Never mind. Surviving the week, sanity (mostly) intact? Was wonderful.

And knowing that the first time is always the hardest, that in future years I can tweak what happened to make it easier for me, makes me think that I really *can* do this job.

How about you dear reader? What things do you want to tweak next year to make things easier for you?

And have a great day!

KRidwyn

 

Blogging #12daysXmas

Today marks the 7th year since I started this blog, on December 24, 2010. I remember being so nervous! I had decided to join @Fionawb in blogging the 12 days of Christmas, and I wasn’t sure exactly how it would go.

Now, seven years later, I can look back and be proud of the blogging that I have done. Sure, it hasn’t been easy sailing but it’s a commitment I’m pleased I made.

And I wonder where the next seven years will take me?

Having said that, I’ve decided to use ‘gratitude’ for my theme for this year. On each day for the next 12 days, I want to explain one thing that occurred in each month, that I’m grateful for. So, are you ready? Let’s go!

In January, I got my own office for the very first time. I guess, I’ve never had a job before where I’ve been important enough to have my own office. In my current position, I need one… so I was given one!

It’s so much fun!

To have my own space, that I could decorate and use the way I felt it needed to be used, was such an empowering feeling! As you already know, I’m a control freak, so this made it so much easier for me to do things I needed to do this year.

So. January: new office. And ecstatic about that!

How about you, dear Reader? Do you have something – besides today, being Christmas Day! – that made you ecstatic this year?

And here’s wishing you a Very Merry Christmas!

Yours,

KRidwyn

 

Sucking out the marrow

I’ve only got one life, and I intend to live it! I want, like Henry David Thoreau famously said, to “suck out all the marrow of life” – to get every last drop out that I can. Selfish? Perhaps. But that’s how I feel.

So I started a brand-new job this year, working full time for the first time since 2007, and still being a wife, a mum to three, a housekeeper, ‘chief cook and bottle-washer’ – and don’t forget the endless piles of laundry that just never seem to wash themselves…

It’s been tough.

Four months before starting the new job, Hubby convinced me to take out an 18-month gym membership, and so I didn’t want to neglect that either – waste of money, an’ all that.

Plus, as a Christian, I believe it’s important to have a ‘quiet time’ at the beginning of each day, where I can still my thoughts, read God’s Word, and spend some time talking to (with?) him.

But it’s been hard trying to fit everything in!

At the beginning, I tried keeping my ‘normal’ schedule – which included staying up in the evening to welcome Hubby home after his night meetings. But combining that with early morning gym sessions meant that I *really* wasn’t getting enough sleep, so I had to can that idea, and head to bed as early as I could each night.

Now, my routine has settled down fairly well, and it’s one that I’m pretty happy with.

I regularly wake up at 4:08 AM, and I’m in the car heading to the gym before 4:15 AM. I pray as I drive to and from; and read my Bible in between sets or while I’m on the treadmill. I leave the gym at 5:15, and drive to my morning ‘happy place’ where I sit, breathe, watch the view, and write. By the time I get home at 6AM, I have been able to ‘tick off’ exercise, some writing, and my quiet time.

And that morning routine leaves the rest of my day to spend with the people in my family, or at my job, where I can give of myself non-stop, knowing the ‘bases are covered’ so to speak.

It’s pretty exhausting.

But I love how, at the beginning of each day, I can spend time with my God, spend time with myself, and feel relaxed and replenished and happy.

Right now, for example, I’m writing in my ‘happy place’. A hundred metres ahead of me, a kingfisher just dived into the creek, chasing his breakfast. The ripples fan out over the reflection of the clouds from the sky above.

A mullet leaps elsewhere in the creek. He gets incredible height on the jump – close to a metre above the water, by my reckoning.

It’s going to be another warm day.

This is the way I choose to live my life. Yes, it’s busy – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every minute is precious; and I don’t want to waste even one of them.

How about you, dear Reader? Do you have a routine you love?

And here’s praying that you have a brilliant week this week!

– KRidwyn

On the generosity of my cherubs…

I’m athsmatic. It’s only slight, but it’s enough to be annoying, depending on the season and the generosity of sick family members.

So with the change of job this year, I thought I’d better get jabbed with this year’s strain of fluvax. New kids at the new school equals new germs, and all that.

So it surprised me when, three days ago, I got sick. I’d just been congratulating myself on an illness-free year! (Whoops. Pride before a fall and all that… wonder when I’ll learn…) It’s November. Summer’s just two weeks away. And I’m the proud owner of a headcold, courtesy my lovely family!

It started as a sore throat. I’d forgotten just how painful a sore throat could be. It’d been probably at least 18 months since my last one.

Enter Hubby with his juicer. He juices daily, two litres at least, a mixture of oranges, lemons and the occasional grapefruit.

And that, combined with Codral, Panadol, and chicken soup, has knocked this on the head. Mostly.

I even managed to make it to the gym over the weekend! Not strenuous workouts, to be sure, but some activity at least.

And that’s made me feel even better. All those endorphins whizzing around and smashing into each other, having a massive party inside my body. What a wonderful thought!

So. Illness, begone. It’s two weeks til holidays, and I do NOT want you gatecrashing my free time!

How about you, dear Reader? How’s your health been this year?

And have a great week!

_ KRidwyn

Why I love twitter

GenreCon finished yesterday. For those of you who aren’t Brisbane-based writers, GenreCon is *the* place to be if you’re a writer in South East Queensland. It’s a weekend choc-full of inspiration and lessons to learn; speakers and publishers, authors and agents and illustrators… I’m guessing.
I’ve never been. Sad; I know.

Unfortunately, the day job has always intervened; this year, again, no exception. I accept it; the fact that I am too busy in Term Four to attend doesn’t worry me much any more. Getting to GenreCon is about as likely as doing #NaNoWriMo… I won’t say ‘never’ but it’s pretty unlikely, truth be told.

So whenever I’ve seen news about GenreCon, I’ve skimmed over it. Then tragedy hit. A couple of random unrelated items I’d seen, clicked. One of my all-time fave authors tweeted about a newspaper headline I had just read. Then she posted a photo of her cuddling a koala.

What the? She’s here in Australia? Next thing I discover, she’s a keynote speaker at GenreCon. As in, the convention that is literally just down the road (okay, lots of kilometres, but it’s still the same road) from me – and I’m not there!!!

Sigh. Delilah S. Dawson is the reason I’m still writing.

She’s amazing.

I wish I could meet her; tell her in person how much of an effect one of her blogposts had on me.

Alas. Not to be. Not any time soon, anyway.

Which is exactly the reason why Twitter is my absolute favourite social network.

No, I couldn’t be at GenreCon in person. Yes, I missed out on an incredible opportunity… but that’s not to say I couldn’t attend; because I follow tweeps who were there.

And that’s almost the same kind of thing. I was able to follow what she said in her keynotes – because writers I follow tweeted about it.

 

 

 

 

And if that’s not a good enough reason to love twitter, I don’t know what is.

Have a great week, dear Reader!

-KRidwyn

Amused…

Who was it that said ‘pride goeth before a fall’? Not that this is the same, entirely, but I guess it’s similar. No sooner than I published that post about ‘swimming, not sinking’, I was inundated with busy-ness. [Yes, I realise that I spelled that word incorrectly. It was intentional.]

Kinda have to smile, really. I was so excited about life returning to ‘normal’ – and then my parents disappeared overseas, leaving me to house-sit; dozens of Japanese and Chinese students – and teachers – arrived at school; chess tournaments were competed in and children won trophies; Year 6 students Stepped Up for a Middle School experience; two staff accompanied me on a three-day conference; and the list goes on…

all of which meant that I haven’t blogged in three weeks, but it feels more like three years.

Sigh.

On the upside, there’s one week left until school holidays. And I’m spending that week with a couple dozen Year 9 students on camp. Currently writing this on the bus – cramped because I cannot BELIEVE how little leg room there is on this thing! I can understand why my folks were bemoaning their flight-from-England, if this is all the space they had. I’ve been on this bus for less than two hours and already I’m feeling claustrophobic.

So Year 9 camp should be fun – perhaps – and there may even be time to write a little. At least there’s no meals to cook, no house to clean, no cherubs to look after. I hope. Although more than two dozen 13 and 14 year-olds may not be preferable to my own three…

I’ll let you know!

Have a wonderful week, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

Being true to yourself

I read an autobiography the other week: FREEDOM FROM FRED by Anna Magdalene Handley. Anna goes to my church; I’ve known her for some time now. She’s an amazing woman, with an incredible life story… but the line that hit me most was this:

 

Deep inside is our truest expression: the more we pretend the more we die.

 

I love, love, LOVE this idea. So much so, I shared it with my 100+ students this morning at school.

Why? Because they’re teenagers, most susceptible (and not succeeding in dealing with) peer pressure.

I have kids who, in my office and in a one-to-one conversation, will be in tears with how they ‘want to change, want to do the right thing, want to focus on their schoolwork and be the kid their Mum/Dad wants them to be’ – and it’s genuine.

Then they walk out, and within five minutes, they’re back with their friends, invisible mask firmly in place, and are being the exact same person that they don’t want to be anymore.

Interestingly, when I was telling them this story this morning, there was silence. You could hear a pin drop. They knew I was talking to them, as individuals, they could identify themselves in my story, and they were being convicted in the talking.

Then I mentioned how, back a millennia or so ago, when I realised that *I* could drop my invisible mask and just be myself, that my friends just accepted me for who I was anyway. And just being myself was SO much easier! I didn’t have to use up all my energy trying to be someone else, trying to remember what I was meant to be like at home, as opposed to at school, or in whatever situations I found myself in. I could just be me.

And how freeing was that!

Being true to yourself.  Hard sometimes – but worth it.

 

Have a great week, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

Swimming, not sinking

2017 has been quite an interesting year so far. I scored my dream job, which started officially mid-January, and have been hard at it since, working long hours and seeing welcome developments in the culture I’m attempting to establish.

I’m loving it. It’s keeping me extremely busy… so busy, I’ve let my writing slide shockingly. Initially, I thought I’d be able to have things sorted by Easter. Nope. Then, I hoped, by the mid-year holidays. Nah – not a chance.

But I can see how unrealistic my initial expectations were, and am no longer bemoaning my lack of time. I’ve laid off the guilt, been kind to myself, and am far happier knowing that I’ll be more comfortable once I’ve seen the full year cycle.

Having said that though, I quite surprised myself last week. Driving home on Thursday, with a remarkable ‘urgent work to complete’ quota of zero, my mind turned again not the long-awaiting WIP, and I realised that there was only housework and cherub-looking after standing between us! It was a lovely moment. 

Acknowledging that the period of sinking-almost-drowning which I’ve been living, is maybe ending. That I’m swimming, and that perhaps my head is managing to stay above water for longer and longer…

I sure am hoping so!

I love how life works in seasons. How there may be seasons of discomfort, of hardship, of pain, but likewise there will also be seasons of joy, of peace, of love.

God is good. I truly believe that.

Have a lovely week, dear Reader!

-KRidwyn