#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity More about me my novel-in-progress Work Writing

J is for ‘job’

The regular reader of this blog may remember that I started a new job this year.

Head of Middle School at Caloundra Christian College.

I have well over one hundred 11 to 14 year olds to be responsible for. That’s a lot of hormones!

It’s been fun. So far, I’ve laughed and cried, exulted and been furious, enjoyed every second and wanted to tear my hair out with frustration. And that’s just before Morning Tea each day! Just kidding.

It’s been a wild ride, and I’m loving it. As a Christian, I *do* feel ‘called’ to the position, and I also feel as though I’m making a difference in the lives of the majority of the children in my care. And that gives me such a feeling of satisfaction!

But it’s also been far busier than I’d expected. So much so, that my writing has fallen seriously by the wayside. I knew it would – but not quite to this extent. No matter. This #AtoZchallenge is helping me get back some writing mojo – and when April finishes, I have JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN to complete. Hopefully by Mother’s Day, which is the challenge I’ve set myself.

But school starts back next week after the two week Easter break, so it’ll be interesting to see if things go to plan…

Anyway, have a great day, dear Reader, and hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with ‘K’ !

— KRidwyn

Christianity More about me Random thoughts Reading

Challenge completed!

It’s that time of year again; Christmas ends, we brave the end-of-year shopping frenzy, and we reflect on the past 12 months with a mixture of pride and regret. Some of us make plans for 2017; think up some resolutions for the New Year.

That was me, twelve months ago.

I decided that I needed to read through the Bible in 2017. I worked it out: if I could read four chapters every day, I’d make it, with a couple of weeks or so to spare.

I even drove myself to the Christian bookstore that’s kind of close-ish, wandered the aisles, and bought myself a brand new Bible, which I started reading on January 1st.

The challenge went well until around March, where I missed a few days. Routines changed, and I broke the four-chapters-a-day record I was keeping with myself. I picked up the reading again as soon as I could, and read a few chapters extra for a while, just to ensure that I’d still make it by December 31st.

And guess what? I did it!

(Although to be fair, the title of the blogpost was probably a bit of a spoiler for how the challenge went. Whoops! My bad…)

I finished last week. No, not all chapters were read from my shiny new Bible, but the vast majority of them were. It’s funny, that thing about routines. When they change, and you get a new routine, and it works better than the old routine did? But then you feel guilty because of how you’d committed to the old routine or whatever?

Anyway, I read quite a few of the New Testament letters on my Bible app on my phone, where I’d read a chapter in between reps. It worked, so why not?! And I’d often quickly read them again in my ‘new’ Bible when I got home, or the following day, anyway. I liked the versatility of my phone, but the solid feeling of the physical Bible in my hands even more 🙂

But no matter how it happened, it did. I started in Genesis and finished in Revelation… and I’m thinking about doing it again in 2018. Not in the same order though. Not back-to-front order either. I’m not sure what order yet; but I have the rest of December to figure it out.

Anyway, here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas season, wherever you are, and have a wonderful week this week!



CC image courtesy One Day Closer on Flickr

momentous events Random thoughts

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

Christianity family anecdotes Life More about me Random thoughts Writing

When stuff goes pear-shaped

I remember one of my godfathers once asked me to choose a present for myself. I was about 8, and we were in the local newsagent.

I looked for a long time, finally bringing him the thickest compendium of Garfield comics I could find, which he bought without hesitation. Afterward, he questioned my choice. “I was only able to choose one gift,” I explained, “so I wanted to make sure that the gift I chose would last me a long time.”

That’s me. I’m a thinker; a planner. I’m the person who always has to know what is going to happen, WAY ahead of schedule, so I can plan for it. That photo next to ‘control freak’ in the dictionary? That’s me.

Well, it used to be, anyway. I’m learning to relax a lot more. God working in me and all that, maybe?

Case in point: this blog.

Last week. No blog post.

Whoops! Monday morning came; Monday morning went; all 24 hours worth of Monday disappeared… and no new words appeared here.

And it was completely human error. Mine.

Thees last couple of weeks have been busy ones, you know? As in, three-cherubs-underfoot-EVERY-SINGLE-DAY-and-no-time-to-stop-and-think-and-realise-exactly-what-day-it-is-today kind of busy.

Hence Tuesday evening, when I went to watch the Monday TV show I’d taped the night before, I realised that I’d been a day behind. No TV show taped. And also, no blog post published. It wasn’t even written! It hadn’t even been thought about!!!

Cue panicked screaming, running around the house, arms flailing, et cetera – for a whole 20 seconds.

And then I thought, ‘You know what? These things happen. It’ll be okay.’

Decibel levels reduced to within nationally appropriate safety standards, my arms stopped flailing, my heartbeat slowed again, my mind ceased racing, and the cherubs whose presence had caused the upset to routine in the first place, chalked the episode up to yet-another-example-of-Mummy-being-crazy, sighed, and returned to watching old episodes of Pokemon I’d recorded for them. (Yes. Record their programs, not mine. Go figure.)

Stuff had gone pear-shaped, and little ol’ control-freak me was going to… be okay with that.

I’d realised that no amount of panicked screaming and arm-flailing was going to change the situation. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” seems appropriate to quote here, but actually, it was a tweet that same day that hit the nail on the head for me, instead.

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 4.06.24 PM

So often I allow stuff over which I have no control, to trip me up. Do you do the same? But although the idea of ‘stumbling over something that lies behind us’, is ludicrous… how often do we do it?

If we can’t change the past, then let it lie. Don’t dwell on it; forget about it inasmuch as it is able to be forgotten (obviously, consequences will out and all that).

But, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t want to be the person on her deathbed at the end of her life, saying ‘I regret spending all that time worrying’. Especially when it’s worry over things I can’t do anything at all about.

[Aside: It may be trite, but I believe that worry is simply an unsaid prayer.]

So my advice, when stuff goes pear-shaped? Do something about it, if you can. And if not, then don’t sweat it. In the long run, it’ll probably be small stuff anyway.

Well, that’s my take on it. Your thoughts?

And have a great week, dear reader!


Blogging challenges Technology

Attempt: a daily blogging challenge!

I mentioned a few weeks back that I missed blogging with my online friends during #blog12daysxmas because I’d lost access to my blog.

Well, I’m still feeling a lack of blogging mojo, so I’ve decided to join in a daily blogging challenge. It’s one that’s been running for quite a few years now, with hundreds of participants worldwide: the April A to Z challenge.

The blogging happens each day of April except Sundays, and on each letter of the alphabet, starting at A and finishing on Z.

People write on whatever topic they like: some of the categories of blogs include animals; culinary; craft; gaming; memoir; photography; politics; science; and sports, to name but a few.

There’s also a theme, to be released by the organisers in the near future. I’m not sure what I’ll be writing on yet.

Whatever I end up with, I’m thinking it’ll be thematic. They’ll also be shortish posts, I’m thinking around the 150 word mark each. (edit post publishing: this post you’re reading is 140 words).

So that’s *my* April blogging sorted.

What do you think? If you’re a blogger, want to join me?

— KRidwyn

#blogjune Life Random thoughts

Time flies…

… when you’re having fun. Or so they say. But my days are FLYING past (I can’t believe it’s been a week since #blogjune finished) and I’m not entirely sure that it’s because I’m having fun. So does that mean, then, that if I *were* having fun, that the days would be going past even faster than they seem to be right now? I wonder…

I’ve been doing some intensive decluttering of my house over the past couple of weeks. A truckload (yes, a truck was involved!) of un-used stuff has been donated, and the rubbish bins have been full-to-overflowing the last few pick-ups. And there’s still more to go 🙁

Moving three children, with their stuff, out of three bedrooms, has certainly been an exercise in patience! But it’s been a needed activity, and I’m glad I’m sorting through items that had been ‘stored’ (read: undealt with) for several years – with some items, over a decade! And my runny nose is back, courtesy of all the dust… but I’m excited that in the not-too-distant future, the cherubs will be back in their own rooms again, with a LOT less stuff, and the twenty-year-old carpet will be replaced with easy-t0-keep=clean-and-dust-free, tiles 🙂


Have a great day, dear reader 🙂


#blogjune Random thoughts teaching Work

four days behind…

And I was so proud of how I’d been going with #blogjune this year, too! I guess I hadn’t really realised just how incredibly busy I would be this week. And how little time I’d get to blog. And I’m sad about that.

On paper, this past week seemed a fairly normal week. Sure, I’d have our school’s semester one performance night on Thursday night, but then I’d have Friday off, so I’d be able to recuperate while the kids were at school, and get myself ready for the two weeks of school holidays 🙂

But the reality didn’t match my expectations. Two days of sports carnivals and not-as-helpful-as-I-would-have-liked colleagues meant that although I had *planned* that the performance program order was finalised by Tuesday 9am, so that programs could be written, printed, photocopied, and the powerpoint made… in reality, the program order was only finalised at 12.45pm on Thursday. Dealing with this caused numerous headaches – and the sleepless nights caused by a sick child, and stress over other work issues didn’t make things easier.

Cue swearing and throwing of inanimate objects at other inanimate objects,  (discreetly, of course, where there was noone within earshot, no witnesses, and no harm came to any of the inanimate objects involved,) and a crazy-busy period between 12.45pm and 4pm on Thursday where I managed to get an insanely huge amount of work done WHILE running a choir rehearsal then two Year 3 lessons where the classes were learning and playing recorder (and, of course, fielding several phone calls during this time too) and also collecting two children from their various excursions that had happened that day, and getting Mr6 off to a doctor appointment with Hubby while Miss10 also decided to do a disappearing act on both Hubby and I… just thinking about it, two days later, makes me shake my head and wonder how on earth it all managed to happen! Still, it did, and by 5.45pm, Miss10 and Miss7 and I were fed, ready, and they had also helped me to set up the venue (including supper area, of course, and it was at this point that I realised that I had NO tea, coffee, milk or sugar organised. Whoops.) Cue more swearing (inside my head because students and parents were arriving for the 6pm performance) and some immensely helpful parents, and then it was 6.02 and I was on stage, welcoming everyone to our major evening for Semester One.

Home and collapse by 11pm. But you know those nights when you have so much adrenalin you can’t sleep? That.

And then Hubby couldn’t do the school run on Friday, so the kids stayed underfoot all day. But 95 square metres of tiles *did* get delivered at 5.15pm that day, ready for laying starting 7am this coming Monday, so from then til this minute, I’ve been attempting to empty 95 square metres of furniture out of my house so that the tiles can be laid. And that particular task hasn’t been anywhere near as successful as I’d like it to have been.

So. Four days late for my 24 of June #blogjune entry. Whoops. But I think my excuse is valid, yes?

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn


#blogjune Life

Raising kids #3

I’ve spent the vast majority of my career (to date) teaching teenagers. And the majority of *that* time, was spent teaching them English. That’s a lot of time. And teenagers, on the whole, don’t like learning English particularly much.

I’d like to think that I’ve helped. That I managed to engage my students with the lessons. Maybe inspire some of them with my love for the language, for the writing. Maybe.

But, be that as it may, I’m really experienced at teaching teenagers. Which is a completely different kettle of fish from teaching children just born. As in, my own precious cherubs…. currently Miss10, Miss7 and Mr6.

As a parent, it took an exceptionally long time to realise that, if I wanted my kids to understand something, I needed to teach it to them. Just thick, I guess. But I couldn’t expect them to ‘know’ it, if they’d never experienced it before. It was a pretty powerful revelation when it eventually came, let me tell you! But that brings me (finally!) to Tip #3: Set expectations.

Because really, how will a child know what is expected of them, if they’re never told what to expect?

Case in point: social protocols.

I somehow expected that my eldest child would pick up, as though through osmosis, how to act in public. That maybe she would watch, and copy, appropriate behaviours.

Nope. Didn’t happen.

It wasn’t until I sat down with her and explained the situation that we were about to enter, then told her what I expected her to do, that she understood and was able to meet those expectations. It was simple enough, really. But without my explicitly telling her those expectations of mine, how on earth was she meant to meet them? Exactly. She couldn’t.

So, for example, now when she has a friend come over for a visit, she meets them at the front gate (like I’ve said before, quite a large property) and welcomes them. Once inside, she asks if they’d like a drink / something to eat. When playing, she doesn’t dominate, doesn’t demand. And when her friend is leaving, she’ll go back to the front gate with them, after thanking them, thanking their parent / guardian, etc etc.

It seems simple enough, but it had to be taught. None of it just ‘happened’. And it’s not that she was anti-being hospitable; she just didn’t know. Because I hadn’t done my job, and taught her. So now? I look ahead. Plan ahead for what situations my children will be encountering, and let them know what it is I expect of them.

A number of times now, they have come with me on a Friday morning, to the two-hour-long meeting I have with the Beerwah Writer’s Group. They sit quietly, in one corner of the room, for the entire time, amusing themselves. They never speak so loudly that they distract the group. Who joke that “they’re not kids, they’re cardboard cutouts!” because my children are so respectful and so well-behaved. Why? Because I expect them to be. I’ve told them how to behave. And when they do, they get a reward for it – a chocolate bar each, or something. They’ve earned it!

So anyway, that’s my tip #3. Set expectations. Without them, there are no boundaries. No goal posts. And that’s not fair.

Would you agree?

family anecdotes Random thoughts

Raising kids #2

So I posted yesterday my Number One parenting tip: rewards first. The second however, follows closely behind…

Tip #2: stuff costs money.

We know this. We all know it. You get what you pay for in life. Want a new car? Or a house? A holiday? A meal at a nice restaurant? You can have them all – but you need to pay for them. If you’re in the market for a car, and you like Toyota Landcruisers but only have $10K to spend, it’s far more likely that the car you end up buying looks more like Mr Bean’s than you’d like it too.

Likewise, my kids understand the value of things. They understand… because they can be quick learners when they have the incentive to be!

I mentioned yesterday that my kids earn points (and therefore money) by ticking off chores on the app Choremonster. This gives them money to spend.

It also gives them money to lose, on taxes.

Yes, you read that right. Taxes.

Stuff costs money. Including stuff that kids should be responsible for, themselves.

My kids know that they need to pick up after themselves; put things away where they should go.

They also are aware that, when people move house, for example, they pay someone to help them move.

This is what I have in my house.

Mr 6 can’t be bothered moving his bike from where he left it, back to where it should live? That’s fine. I’ll move it for him, and he’ll pay me for the privilege. Moving tax. Miss7 continually leaves her Wii remote on the lounge? Fine, but if it’s still there when I need to sit down, I’ll need to move it and she’ll pay a moving tax. Miss 10, towel on the floor? Fine again – but it incurs a moving tax if she expects me to do it for her.

It’s brilliant; I love it. The kids know that they need to be responsibile, otherwise they’ll end up paying for the privilege of being lazy. And it’s not a set sum. Wii remotes are generally only 20 cents, but moving a bike can be up to $5 (we have a large property). And it adds up! When Miss7 takes off her school uniform and leaves it all on the floor, then that can be 20c for the left shoe, 20c for the right shoe, 20c per sock, 20c for the shirt, 20c for the shorts – that’s $1.20 just for the uniform! Watch out if she’s left her homework folder, school bag, lunchbox etc on the floor as well!

They only do it once.

And taxes don’t just apply to moving things. I have a ‘lights tax’ (for when they leave their bedroom light on) and also a ‘laundering clean clothes tax’ (this one is mainly for Miss10, I must admit). I’ve told her that if she lets her clean school shirt falls off the hanger and onto the floor of her wardrobe, and she then assumes that because it’s on the floor then it’s dirty, and she puts in the laundry ready to be washed again, then that’s fine. I’m happy to wash her perfectly clean shirt, and she needs to be happy to pay me $3 for the privilege. She’s been more careful since she tried that one!

It also applies to food. If my kids want to leave their sandwich crusts, they can. But they can also help me pay for the loaf of bread that they’re choosing to waste. 5 cents per crust is our going rate. And that way, it’s their choice. They can eat their food, or they can pay to leave it. It’s fair, and it cuts out arguments.

Right now, you’re probably thinking, ‘that’s tough’. Yes, possibly so. But my kids are learning that Mummy won’t always be there for them. They’re learning that stuff costs, and things have value.

So many kids today don’t understand that, I’ve noticed. My kids do.

And the way I see it, they’re going to have to learn it one day! May as well be now.

So anyway, that’s my tip #2.

And here’s hoping that you have a lovely rest-of-the-day, dear reader!



momentous events my novel-in-progress

Smiling – while sick

Hip hip hooray, it’s my birthday today!

It’s 4.30am. The house is dark and quiet and I’m sitting at the dining table at my computer. I am happy.

I am also sick. I’m guessing that, by the way my body feels, I have a case of pretty much full-blown flu. The tissues keep being moved from their original box on my right, to the bin on my left, getting soggy on the way and making my nose red and more sore in the journey (Note to self: Hubby needs to buy a couple of boxes of Aloe Vera ones today. Maybe a couple of hundred boxes.) My throat is sore, and I think I’m coughing at a rate of twice per minute. Less now that I’m sitting upright, and closer to our very-warm fireplace. But my back and the muscles in my diaphragm are aching in sympathy with each cough. And don’t get me started on the head uncomfy-ness!

But I am happy. Because I set myself a deadline, and today was it. Today, I turn 41. And I desperately wanted to be able to say “I finished my first book at the age of 40”. Finishing it today, or at any other point in the future, would have been too late. Because I can no longer say “I am 40”.

But that’s okay. I made my deadline – weeks ago, actually! In fact, I’m most-of-the-way through editing it, as well! Stoked!!!

So, on a practical note, I’ve updated my ‘About’ page. I’ve also added another short story to my ‘Short stories’ page, for anyone who’s interested.

And have a happy day, dear reader – I know that I’m planning to!

— KRidwyn