Failing Challenges…

So I’m pretty up for a challenge, no matter the occasion. (Not sure what that says about me, but oh well…)

So at the end of 2016, when I completed my Goodreads challenge (2 books a week, meaning 104 books in the challenge, and I read 107) – I thought to myself, “No sweat! Let’s try for 3 books a week in 2017!”

Dumb move.

Really, really dumb.

I went back to full time teaching in January – but decided to not take that fact into account.

Whoops!

So here I am now, Monday the 11th of December, and there’s 20 days left to get the remainder of my challenge books read. 156 books in the challenge. 63 books read. Leaving 93 books to go.

Yup. That’s doable. Between 4-5 books per day…

Perhaps…

Wish me luck, dear Reader! (At least I’ve got access to well over a hundred Middle Grade books I’ve never read…)

And have a great week!

– 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

‘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 the new word is: FOCUS

Hello again, dear Reader 🙂

If you’ve visited recently, you’d have noticed that my last 26 posts were alphabetical, in order to meet the requirements of the #AtoZchallenge, where bloggers post daily using sequential letters of the alphabet, every day in April except Sundays.

Well, I failed that challenge in my time zone. I was fine up until ‘p’, but then school holidays finished and work got crazy-busy… and it wasn’t until late last night I realised that today was May 1st. And the challenge deadline was over!

Hence a massive amount of blog posting this morning. Q through to Z, and before April finished worldwide. So I *can* kinda still say that ‘I made it’… but not really.

Oh well.

My new thought is: focus. It’s what I need to do. I gave myself a deadline of Mother’s Day to finish Book 5 in my children’s adventure fantasy series – and I believe that’s less than two weeks away. 13 days, 21 chapters. I can do this…

If I focus!

So it’s back to weekly blogposts, and hopefully this time next Monday I’ll be closer to finishing JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN than I am right now 🙂

See you next week, dear Reader! And have a lovely one until then!

— KRidwyn

C is for ‘clever’

As a mum to three cherubs under 12, and also as a Head of School with over 100 ‘cherubs’ aged 11 to 14, I find myself ‘praising’ kids a lot. It helps, you know? Builds rapport, which in turn assists in ‘training the child they way (s)he should go’ (nod to Proverbs 22;6, if you were wondering).

But I find myself often using the same words. This wearies them – the words, the kids, and also me – and thus forms the topic of today’s post. Synonyms for ‘clever’. If only to keep myself from going stir-crazy!

So. ‘Clever’, according to my handy MacbookPro thesaurus, has four different meanings.

Clever – as in intelligent – could also be: bright, smart, brilliant; talented, gifted, precocious; capable, able, competent, apt, proficient; educated, learned, erudite, academic, bookish, knowledge, wise, sagacious. Also brainy or genius, if we’re being informal.

Clever – as in shrewd – I could use: astute, sharp, acute, quick, sharp-witted, quick-witted; ingenious, resourceful, canny, cunning, crafty, artful, wily, slick, neat. And informally: foxy, or savvy.

Clever – as in skilful – dexterous, adroit (I love this word!), deft, nimble, nimble-fingered, handy, adept; skilled, talented.

Clever – as in witty – quick-witted, amusing, droll, humourous, funny, sparkling, entertaining, scintillating (love this one, too!)

Which one did you like the most? And – here’s the kicker, if you choose to see it as such- will you use it in a compliment to someone today?

[In case you were wondering, this set of 26 ‘A is for’ posts is a part of the global A to Z challenge, where consequential letters of the alphabet are used on an a daily blog posts in April (with Sundays off for good measure). My topic for 2017 is ‘word of the day’. Feel free to tune in tomorrow for ‘D’ 🙂 ]

And until then, here’s me wishing you a scintillating day!

Yours,

KRidwyn

The importance of air

Hubby took the kids and I camping on Fraser Island last week. Yes, in a tent. Yes, it’s barely just out of winter, and we all know how cold temperatures and I don’t see eye to eye.

But he wanted me to come (and lets’s face it, looking after three excited cherubs is always easier when there are two adults instead of one) and so I did.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-6-11-20-pmIt was a better holiday than I had expected it would be. It was warmer, for a start! I was mentally preparing for ‘freezing’ and so to not reach below zero was rather pleasant. Yes, the nights were chilly but only one of them was decidedly uncomfortable. One is manageable.

But the title of this post is ‘the importance of air’ and that’s exactly what we had too much of.

In the tyres, that is.

You see, driving up the western beach on high tide, on the world’s largest sand island, towing a VERY heavy trailer, isn’t easy at the best of times.

And Hubby decided to test how well our Pajero could do it with 30 PSI in the tyres.

Needless to say, the soft sand got the better of us. We bogged. Up to the axles, with the incoming tide lapping at the tyres.

There was LOTS of praying happening, let me tell you!

Within a minute, good Samaritans were there to help. Giving advice, helping lower the air pressure, and even snatch-strapping us out of the soft stuff before the tide could get us any more than it already was.

Praise God for answered prayer!

Moral of the story: don’t try running the beach at anything less than low tide, and if you have to (as we did) for goodness’ sake, LOWER THE TYRE PRESSURE TO 15 PSI!!!

Love is a full fuel tank…

Hubby drives a VW Tiguan. Unlike my car, his is salary sacrificed or something – I don’t care to understand because he’s the accountant; I just earn $ and pay bills – but because of this, all servicing and fuel is paid for using a special card from a special account.

Which is all just fine and dandy… except now, I have shiny new gym membership. We’re settling into a new family routine where I’m up and gone early, and Hubby does the cherubs ‘up and breakfast’ bit. And because it’s just to the gym and back, and because of the specialness of Hubby’s car milage being paid for with pre-tax funds instead of post-tax income, I’ve reluctantly agreed to use the VW on my gym mornings.

Have I mentioned I’m not great at driving other people’s cars – Hubby’s included? [I’m also terrible at driving places I’ve never been before – but that’s a whole ‘nother story…]

One of the greatest sources of my anxiety is that I can’t fill Hubby’s car with fuel. I don’t have the card, I don’t know which fuel it needs to use – heck, I don’t even know which side the tank is on, or where the lever release is!

16760087246_64f9756d9e_mBut I’ve never had to worry about it. As soon as the gauge starts nudging its way toward the 1/4 tank mark, Hubby fills up again. Without my even mentioning it!

That’s love. A full fuel tank.

What an awesome Hubby I have. I’m truly blessed – and grateful!

How about you, dear reader? What is ‘love’ for you?

And have a magnificent week, wherever you are!
— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy OER Training on Flickr

When your kid is smarter than you

4066496185_9624123677_mSo it’s happened. My Miss11 beats me in chess. Regularly. So much so, that she doesn’t ask me for games anymore. Miss8 and Mr7 still do, but Miss11? Not so much.

I asked her if it was because I was too easy to beat. She hesitated before answering with, “Umm… noo….” – you know, the long drawn out variety of no which means ‘yes, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.’

It’s sad, but I guess ’twas inevitable. You see, when it comes to chess, I have developed this theory: an older brain is less flexible, and therefore a younger brain will beat an older brain in chess any day of the week.

That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Plus, it makes sense, I think. Why else is it easier for young children to pick up languages etc? Because their brain is still maturing, working out which neurons should fire together, and all that jazz. But oldies like me, our brain paths are set in their ways. They like centre openings. They like castling around the middle of the game. They like set patterns of checkmates to follow. And when an opponent comes along who runs things differently, who shakes things up, it’s really rather frustrating.

So that’s my gripe for this week. She’s now better at me in something. And she’s knows she is, AND she knows I know.

Really, I’m okay with that.

It was bound to happen sometime. *sigh*

I just hoped it would have been much, much later!

Have a fantastic week, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy John Morgan on Flickr

The big countdown…

Hi. My name’s Ceridwyn and I’m a mother of a pre-teen.

143186839_5c9fad13cd_zI’ve never been one before. This journey I’m on, it’s brand new to me.
I’m in the middle of submitting forms for High School and finding those %^&* NAPLAN results from three years ago (seriously, three weekends worth of searching and not only am I majorly embarrassed about my pathetic filing abilities, but I’m also no closer to finding that rotten piece of paper!) and discussing graduation dresses and shoes and hairstyles and OMG some of her classmates are being ASKED OUT by others of her classmates and NO! I’m too young for this! (Yes, she’s too young for it too, but that’s beside the point – if I’m not careful and don’t stop the whole ‘growing up’ thing that she’s doing at the moment, next thing I know she’ll be driving and yelling at me that I don’t understand why she MUST be with this particular boyfriend or she’ll die…!)

Okay, freak out over. For now.

Yes. My firstborn, my baby girl, my Miss11 is rushing headlong to the end of the school year, to ‘graduation’ from Primary School (I still shake my head with how ridiculous that sounds) and into the big wide world of High School.

I’m not ready.

But I can’t let her know.

One of my greatest fears is that inadvertently, my fears become hers. My limitations, limit her. She catches, via osmosis or something, the idea that change is to be feared. That it’s more desirable to stay in the comfort zone, in the place where it’s cruizy and little challenges you.

So I’m finding that my head is high and my eyes are shining (at least, I’m hoping that the ‘eyes wide’ of fear is disguised in the brightness of excitement, or even the tears of emotion at my eldest approaching such a significant milestone.) Because we do this, don’t we? We wrestle our insecurities into submission so that we can prepare our children for the life we think they’ll need? Teach them discernment, teach them about resilience, and then watch from the sidelines as they make their debut and we’re relegated to the role of bystander?

So it’s happening. And I couldn’t stop it, even if I tried. Or, when I really think about it, even if I wanted to.

Because I do want her to graduate. I do want her to experience High School – and everything beyond. I want her to have the best life that she possibly could. I want her to grab opportunities with both hands and hang on tight, and have the courage and the determination to see things through with HER head held high, and HER eyes bright and shining, knowing few regrets and happy with the person she is, and who she is becoming.

I know that she’ll do great.

Now just to get comfortable in this sideline chair of mine…

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy David Goehring on Flickr