On sleep…

So I’ve been a self-diagnosed insomniac for years now. And I’ve kinda always prided myself on what I’ve been able to accomplish on minimal unconscious time.

But I’m coming to the realisation that these days I can do less and less.

And that saddens me.

Time was, I could go to bed at 2am, get up at 4am, do a 16 hour day, or an 18 hour day, or perhaps even more… and do it all again the following day.

No more though.

I’ve always been an early riser. At the moment, I’m up at around the 4 – 4.15am mark. And I love that. I love my morning routine, and I never want to give it up.

But it’s meaning that I can’t stay up too late at night. And that’s the bit I don’t like. I crave the ‘me’ time I get, after the cherubs are in bed for the night. Perhaps I’m just being a little too selfish? Wanting ‘me’ time prior to 6am, and again in the evenings?

I’ve been told I’m a pragmatic person. Realistic. Maybe I am; I don’t see it myself. And I certainly don’t want to acknowledge it in this particular set of circumstances! I want to have my awake time and keep my patience (and my sanity) too 🙁

I guess that’s my arrogance talking though, yeh? And that’s a little embarrassing.

So I’m going to stop typing now. And try this week to (as a wise friend once suggested) be ‘rhythmic in my rest’. Feel free to join me in a ‘seeking sleep’ quest this week 🙂 or not, too 🙂

Either way, have a great week, dear Reader!
— KRidwyn

on habits…

I’ve been talking to my Middle School students quite a lot about habits recently. How often they’re unintentional, a routine formed over time, often because we ‘accidentally’ make a decision to suit us in the circumstances we find ourselves in, and then the next time that situation occurs, our mind/body combo decides ‘let’s repeat the decision, because it didn’t kill us last time!’ or something.

However, if we unintentionally form habits that we see in others and would prefer to NOT have ourselves, then we have a problem. English poet and literary critic John Dryden is said to have coined the phrase: ‘We first make our habits, then our habits make us.’

What habits am I forming at the moment? Are they intentional or unintentional? Because whatever habits I allow myself to form (couch potato in front of the TV; Hubby and my kids’ worst critic; lazy housekeeper; workaholic) that’s the person I will become.

The takeaway? Be INTENTIONAL! I once read somewhere that “the trick to life is to be awake in it” and this is so true. So often I let life pass by because I’m focusing on something, which I deem ‘more important’ at that moment in time.
It is always my decision, and mine decision alone, to deem that ‘something else’ of more importance. And that decision automatically meant that other things were, of necessity, of less importance to me during that moment, that time, that season.
And that decision then reflects my values. So my question is: are these values, ones that I truly want to be holding? And having others witness my holding?
And what exactly do I hold dear, anyway?
So it seems I’ve taken a bit of a tangent, but the thoughts are swirling around up there and this is probably as logically coherent as I’m going to get, this time of the morning.
Here’s to an ‘intentional’ day – and, indeed, week – for the both of us, dear Reader!
– KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #19

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.

Today, blessing #19.

Have I mentioned it’s been COLD???

(And regular Readers of this blog may remember that I absolutely HATE cold, with a capital EVERYTHING)

so these are the blessings I’m counting today:

my fireplace 🙂

and:

my electric blanket 😀 😀 😀

Stay warm, everybody! And be blessed today!

– KRidwyn

Persistence pays off

Hubby and I recently enjoyed the longest holiday of our married lives. It was a whole ten days, in the one location: Rainbow Beach Holiday Village.

It’s a cute little town; just a couple of main streets, a beach with multiple shark protection nets, a huge sand dune for climbing up, and – best of all – the place where we stayed boasted a 25m swimming pool.

You see, my kids aren’t the best swimmers. But Miss9 is determined to do better in her school’s 2018 Swimming Carnival, the one held at the end of January. And because we don’t have a pool at home, she made the most of the opportunity and used her holiday to learn correct freestyle stroke, breaststroke, diving, and even on her final day, tried tumble-turning.

Not bad for a kid who, when we arrived, could barely swim ten metres!

Think three hours worth of belly-flopping until she got the dive right. And multiply that same determination for all the other ‘challenges’ she decided to conquer. She’s my persistent one, all right! Just one of the many reasons why I love her 🙂

Have a great 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

Kinda convenient…

A friend came over for Afternoon Tea the other day. Feeling adventurous, I baked a sponge cake (the making of edible food and I do not go hand-in-hand).

It was once the cake pan was in the oven and I was going to pack away the butter that I realised the butter’s lid was missing. I checked everywhere: bench, fridge, sink, pantry – to no avail. Then it hit me; I had rested the inside circle of the cake pan onto the butter’s lid for a brief minute, before picking it up again and inserting it into the the outside circle of the cake pan.

So I pulled the cake back out of the oven, and sure enough – there was the lid of the butter, stuck in between the inner and outer circles.

Dumb. Yeah, I know.

So I had to remove the inner circle, the cake mixture all the while leaving residue up the cake pan, and down along the inside, retrieve the butter lid, re-insert the inner circle (leaving yet more cake mixture residue everywhere) and then plop the whole mess back into the oven.

Arrghh!

By the time my friend arrived, the globs of cake mix which had fallen from the bottom of the cake pan had burned, giving the house a delightful aroma of burnt food and embarrassment.

The cake, I’m proud to say, tasted quite fine. Sure, it hadn’t risen quite as I’d originally intended, but then again, with large proportions of cake mix adorning not only the outside of the cake pan but also the inside of my oven, this was to be expected.

And just so you know, my food-preparation skills are second only to my oven-cleaning skills.

Sigh.

So it was kinda convenient that Hubby had already arranged to have our house cleaned today. I arrived home with the kids at almost 2pm to a beautifully smelling house – and a clean oven!!!

Now the only embarrassment I’ll feel is when I need to ask our cleaner back next time…

Hope you had a lovely day too, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

‘What path are you on right now?’

That’s the text on my phone’s Lock Screen. (I said I’d write about this, a couple of weeks ago…)

It’s probably weird, I know.

But I leave that saying there as a reminder to me of the path I choose to walk, every minute of my life. The decisions I choose to make, which in return make me into the person I am choosing to be.

I feel as though I’m not explaining myself too well. Sorry. I’ll start again.

Hi. My name’s Ceridwyn, and I’m an addict.

Wha? Huh? What kind of a blog *is* this??!

Okay, so the word ‘addict’ has some pretty negative connotations, I know. I’m not addicted to drugs, if that’s what you were thinking.

But I have struggled with addictions in the past. Gambling was my worst, but as the years pass, the pull to play BlackJack diminishes. It probably helps that I don’t live anywhere near a casino, and that I’m just so gosh-darn-busy 99% of the time 🙂

But having that kind of addictive personality has meant that I’m aware of addictions when they pop up. Recently I noticed my over-partiality to playing the 2048 app on my phone; I was playing it to the detriment of doing other things; things I *should* have been doing. Solution: delete the app. Now it’s only on my iPad, which I use less regularly. Addiction circumvented. The path I realised I was heading down, was one I didn’t want to be on. So I changed my path, and was happier for being able to exercise some self-control.

The way I see things, there’s always a couple of paths before me, and my choice to take one or the other of these paths, will eventuate in either a ‘better’ version of me, the person I’d like to become, or a ‘worse’ version of me – one I’d prefer not to be.

So when I pick up my phone, I ask myself, ‘what’s the reason?’ “What path am I on right now? Am I about to go and do something needed on this phone, or am I really just bored and wanting to distract myself with Facebook or twitter? Is there a better choice I could be making – to go and play with my kids, do some of that housework I hate doing, or that job I’ve been putting off for simply ages?”

The ‘paths’ image also makes me think of the pathways in my brain. Dendrites firing, making pathways stronger. The more I’m on Facebook instead of drafting my latest manuscript, the stronger the ‘Facebook’ pathway and the weaker the ‘writing’ pathway becomes.

Am I stronger than that? Am I the master of my habits, or are my habits the master of me?

Just a few thoughts to leave you with today…

I hope it’s a fantastic one for you!

— KRidwyn

Some recent ponderings…

“Wolf! Wolf!” cried the boy. It was just a bit of fun, getting the villagers to run up the hill; relieve him from the boredom of looking after sheep day after day after day. Sure, they got mad at him, but hey! it was something different. Different was good; even being yelled at was preferable to boredom.

“Wolf! Wolf!” he cried again. The yelling continued. This time, it was harder to hide his smirk. Furious, the villagers tramped back down the hill again.

“Wolf! Wolf!” he cried once more – but this time, in fear. The wolf had come, and was ravaging the sheep. The villagers, wise to his tricks, paid no attention. And later, when the sheep were dead, the villagers’ anger at him knew no bounds.

The problem here? Besides the dead sheep: the boy hadn’t thought about what name he’d been making for himself. He’d thought his ‘game’ was just a bit of fun. Just jokes; perfectly harmless. And yet – what had eventuated? He’d made a name for himself. ‘Liar’, ‘untrustworthy’, ‘deceitful’. No-one believed him, even when he told the truth.

The question ‘what name are you making for yourself’ is one I’ve been discussing with my students recently. Our words, our actions, our attitudes towards others, define who we are. People recognize us by them. What impression do we give others of ourselves? And are we happy with the name we are making for ourselves? At the end of the day, are we going to be satisfied with the consequences of the choices we have made?

One of my favourite Bible verses is 1 Tim. 4:16. It says, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

If I profess to be a Christian, I need to watch that my life reflects this choice. Timothy tells me to watch my life – my choices, my attitudes – closely. And to persevere in this watching. So what name am I making for myself? Is my life one which reflects Christ’s? I’d invite you to ponder this question with me, and with my students, this week.

And have a wonderful week, dear Reader!
— KRidwyn

And on the topic of donkeys…

My phone’s Lock Screen shows the words ‘remember the donkey’.

Unusual, probably, but it’s a constant reminder: to be conscious of my decisions, of my actions.

You see, there’s a story in the Bible about a guy called Balaam. He’s riding his donkey one day, going to meet King Balak, when his donkey stops. So Balaam beats it, and it continues. Then it stops again, so he beats it again. Then a third time – and this time, the donkey talks to him. “Why are you beating me?” it asks. “Because you’ve made a fool of me,” replies Balaam. [Not ‘what on Earth? Why is my donkey suddenly talking?!’ – but maybe that’s just me…]

Then the angel of the LORD appears in front of them both, and explains that the donkey was turning aside each time because he (the angel) was blocking the way. The story continues, and it turns out that Balaam’s attitude towards doing what he’d been asked to do, was the wrong kind of attitude. Balaam continued, with the angel’s reminder in his ears to only do what God had asked him to do.

So those words ‘remember the donkey’ reminds me to check my own attitude. Am I doing what God is asking me to do, or am I doing only what *I* want me to do? I also think about a donkey’s character: it can be obedient, or obstinate. And I check: which one am I being? Obedient? Or obstinate, not doing what I know I should be doing?

What decision am I making in that instant I use my phone? To spend my time on social media? Or am I using my time more wisely than that?

Anyway, just a few thoughts this Monday morning. Next week, it’s my Lock Screen’s turn. And that one’s all about neurons and dendrites…

Here’s wishing you an excellent week, dear Reader!
— KRidwyn

 

On deadlines

I work quite well to deadlines, I think. Not so much when a task is open-ended. That’s when I have trouble.

That New Year’s resolution: get fit? See, that’s a tricky one. Too open-ended. No specific goal; nothing measurable. “Get to the gym at least four times a week”? Much better. It’s achievable. And maybe I’ll even make that ‘get fit’ resolution.

Take that #AtoZchallenge, for example. 26 posts in 30 days: that’s do-able. The difficulty was, life = busy = no blogging after Day 16.

New, self-imposed deadline: finish all 26 posts before May 1 in every timezone. See? Do-able (just!) and I did it! (also just…)

It’s sad, really, I know. Self-imposing deadlines just to complete work that I set myself anyway. How much of a slacker am I?!

But I guess it just boils down to the fact that without that extrinsic motivation of ‘THE DEADLINE’, things just don’t get done.

I’ve got two new ones looming, by the way. Finish JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN by May 14, and also finish knitting child #2’s blanket by May 31, ready for winter (the following day LOL).

Wish me luck! [I’m going to need it…]

And have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy John Morgan on Flickr