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Posted in Adventure, Blessing, Bucket List, Disease, Friends, hope, joy, Motivation, Purpose

Another Soul Joy Adventure

It’s certainly no secret to my family and friends that I wrestle with The Black Dog from time to time.

Thankfully I have had some incredible family and super special friends who do everything in their power to ensure my time spent with the black dog is limited. For those who tell me (or you) to “snap out of it”, “deal with it”,  or just “get over it”,  you’ve obviously never struggled with depression or mental illness.  It’s not that easy.  It’s not easy at all. Despite focusing on the positive, despite living in the now,  despite mediating and relaxing.  It’s just not that easy. Mental illness is an illness, not a mood or attitude,  not something you can “snap out of”.

After time spent in therapy, I have learnt that my depression is situational.

Situational depression is a short-term form of depression that can occur in the aftermath of various traumatic changes in your normal life, including divorce, retirement, loss of a job and the death of a relative or close friend. Doctors sometimes refer to the condition as adjustment disorder.

I had experienced one such incident recently after leaving the job of my dreams (or being sacked – I’m still not sure what happened) and around the same time, my son was beaten by some random drugged youth, which brought the black dog knocking at my door once again. The interviews and statements to police began and so did the stress, anxiety and depression.

Of course I kept playing over and over in my mind why. Why would some stranger want to hurt my beautiful,  kind,  sweet, generous boy?

Why am I no longer working the job of my dreams in which I gave my all and then some.  Why does that person not care about me as I cared for them?  Is it just business?  Why does it have to be so hurtful?  What did I do wrong when I thought I was doing so much, especially since I made it perfectly clear from the get go that I have a chronic illness that impacts on my ability to work long hours and at speed.

I quickly slipped into that deep pit of despair and not known quite how to dig myself out yet again. Although I am more aware of what is happening to me these days and knowing some of the steps I need to take to ensure my mental health remains positive, it is never quite that straight forward once that damn dog is nipping at my heels.

A couple of my friends, recently came to my aide. I am not sure they are even aware of what they have done for me but without them, their unwavering support and belief in me, I have no doubt I would still be stuck in that damn pit with that bloody dog sitting on my lap sharing his blood sucking fleas. If they’re reading this,  I really need DT & RM know just how very much I appreciate them,  their friendship,  their loyalty,  their resolve and their unconditional love. Everything about them.  They are my tribe and I sure hope I am part of theirs.  They are the most selfless people I’ve had the honour of forming friendships with and I love, adore and appreciate them both so very much.

It all began one Saturday evening when I was dropped off at D’s house with my overly filled luggage so I could join him for the two hour drive to Sydney from Newcastle. We must have talked a lot because the drive seemed to go by in no time, made even more special by a super sized bag of Malteasers on hand – thanks D ūüėĀ

I later chuckled at D’s attempts to annoy me during the trip by driving along the rumble strips on the freeway.  I have an 18 year old son and a 21 year old daughter. Your feeble attempts at annoyance pale in comparison to those of my children.

We drove into the city and I was wide eyed and expectant like a kid in a candy store. I love this city. The older I get the more I appreciate it’s beauty, the architecture, the people, the diversity and almost everything about it. It is always such an exciting adventure for me, made even moreso with my great friends by my side.

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Driving into the city,  across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

We arrived at the hotel where B was waiting to meet us. D parked the car and we walked up to the foyer to be greeted by B.

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The Sir Stamford at Circular Quay

We walked into the hotel, you would think I had never been in a 5 star hotel before. Truth be known, I hadn’t. I was ridiculously wide eyed and gawping at everything, trying to not be so obvious. I was so excited. I may not have shown it on the outside but on the inside I felt as though I could burst. I tried so very hard to contain my childish excitement.  We approached the front desk and registered our booking before receiving the key to our rooms.

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The concierge at Sir Stamford

I was completely surprised that we each got our own room, thanks to B and I’m sure D as well. I was totally expecting to have a room to share. How incredibly spoiled are we, how incredibly spoiled am I?

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Check in and the key to my room

We headed up to our rooms, I had a balcony room on the ninth floor! How exciting is that! I was flabbergasted. Really,  I was.  I just couldn’t believe I was there and to be honest I kept waiting to wake from this surreal, wonderful dream.

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My little balcony that was not accessible

We freshened up before meeting down in the foyer to go out for dinner. We walked across the road and around the corner where we found ourselves dining at Matt Moran‘s restaurant ARIA. WOW!

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D, showing that we were at ARIA. He really is a lovable clown and incredibly smart believe it or not.  

I am speechless. I can’t believe I am in Sydney, staying at The Sir Stamford in Circular Quay AND now dining at ARIA. Someone pinch me. This has to be a dream.

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We sat over there near the window where I struggled to not stare at the amazing view all evening

We sat by the window with the most incredible view of both the Opera House and The Sydney Harbour Bridge. Not to mention the most stunning harbour on the globe. How incredibly fitting. I just sat at that table staring out the window for way too long. It was simply stunning.

Our meal was divine and I must say,  one of the most delicious,  taste sensations I’ve ever experienced.

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I ordered the Salmon

I ordered the Saikou Salmon with Apple, Dill and Horseradish for entree. It was completely divine. That fish simply melted in my mouth and the flavours were so subtle but so incredibly delicious.

Before being served our entree, we were presented with a gorgeous little handmade ceramic bowl that nestled neatly within the palm of my hand. It contained the most delicious little sashimi mouthful with maybe caviar (I can’t remember now). A palate cleanser apparently. It was just perfect and totally unexpected.

D ordered a divine rose’ that accompanied dinner as well.

For main, I ordered Roasted Cauliflower Croquette with Cime Di Rapa and Truffle Hazelnut Pesto. This too was a taste sensation but I could not finish it. I was filling up quite swiftly. Mind you we were given another palette cleanser between courses. This time it was some sort of citrus mouse, so crisp and refreshing.

After our meal, we were offered coffee and petit fours

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A selection of three petit fours each with coffee

We finally left the restaurant,  we were the last to leave and once I realised we were the last remaining customers,  I was surprised that we were allowed to continue with our conversation and shenanigans. The staff were so incredibly patient and polite,  even though they’re paid to be.  I was so impressed – with the food,  the staff,  the wine,  the location and of course the company.

We headed back to our hotel where we planned to continue our evening with a nightcap or three. This idea unfortunately was short lived.  The bar in the hotel was closing.  It was after midnight.  We couldn’t believe it.  We had arrived at the restaurant at 5:30pm.

The Sir Stamford Bar

Regretfully we retired to our rooms where we were supposed to be getting some sleep before our adventure the next day.

I couldn’t sleep.  Apart from being so ridiculously excited that I was in Sydney, at the Sir Stamford,  awaiting an amazing adventure,  about to check another item off my bucket list, waiting for someone to pinch me and wake me up. We had discovered at dinner that it was B’s birthday the week before.  She hadn’t told us so I sat up and knitted a scarf for B from a skein of yarn that I had dyed and spun. It was a superfine Australian Merino and was incredibly soft and luscious.

By the time I was finished knitting it was almost time to get up.  I managed about an hours sleep before being woken by the sound of a megaphone outside my window.

This was incredibly inspiring and certainly brought a smile to my face. What a fabulous way to start the morning. The woman on the megaphone was amazing.. She was encouraging as many individual runners as she could, yelling them that they looked great,  that they could do it,  that they had it in the bag.

I guess you’re wondering what the whole thing is about,  well it was the Sydney Half Marathon

Even more inspiring given what I, what we were about to embark upon.

Today,  this day,  will be just another day to millions of people.

For me,  today is something incredibly amazing.

For me, someone with Acromegaly, fibromyalgia,  hypopituitism,  arthritis, a spinal injury and more,  this day is a huge deal.  I’ve been told by my specialists that I should not be able to walk.  That if I survived this long I’d be in a wheel chair.

We’ve been through this before I know.  I don’t mean to bore you but there are people who’ve not read my history so to fill them all in and to give a picture of why this day is such a big deal for me, these things need to be repeated.

For those who don’t know,  some fifteen + years ago I began to experience extreme exhaustion,  unexplained weight gain,  unexplained joint pain, migraines,  sickness and more.. All tests came back negative and the consensus was that I was just too fat.  Lose weight they said but I couldn’t.  I had dieted and tried to exercise but despite all of this, despite following the diets to the enth degree and being in too much pain to walk. Despite blood test after blood test after blood test,  for so many years they just kept coming up negative.  The thing is,  they were doing the wrong blood tests.

Anyway,  it was finally established that I have Acromegaly and a pituitary tumour and I’ve been seeking treatment for that ever since.

Some people with Acromegaly don’t seem to experience joint pain at all but for me,  it’s beyond debilitating most days.  It’s exhausting and it messes with your hormones,  your mood,  your ability to think clearly, your outlook on life and more.  Throw in a couple more chronic illnesses and I have more days in bed resting,  surviving,  just trying to make it to the next day more than anything.

Well I decided recently that I need to see if I can push harder.  Not that you can push harder when you’re this ill. I have had a mind shift and as a result I’ve found I’ve been successfully overcoming more challenges than usual.  I can’t tell you why,  or how as I don’t really know. I’ve been taking cannabis oil and help seed milk.  I’m sure it’s made a huge difference to my quality of life because I haven’t been this mobile for years.  I do know that I’ve been trying to place more focus and empathises on the positives in my life.  I’ve been consciously removing toxic people from my life,  people who do nothing for me except make me miserable or depressed or even stressed and upset.  I’ve finally realised that I’m better than that.  That I deserve to be happy and content just as you do too.

So part of my new found positive life is checking items of my living bucket list.

That’s where we return to this tale.

I know it’s not a great photo but I just had to get a selfie wearing the world’s most plush robe

This morning I awoke early,  as mentioned earlier when I watched the marathon runners.  I showered and dressed,  made myself a cup of tea then made my way downstairs to the foyer to meet my friends.

Made a cup of tea before heading out for the day.

Together,  the three of us set of for a morning walk,  in fact one of us had already been up early and taken a stroll around the harbour.  It wasn’t me.

Obligatory tourist photo at Circular Quay. D and Me ūüėä

We walked toward The Rocks, stopping at Circular Quay for the obligatory tourist photos along the way before stopping at Guylain for breakfast.

Guylain for breakfast at The Rocks

I ordered a ristretto and a slice of toast. It was served as four slices of toast with Guylain chocolates on the side of course.

Naturally I struggled to eat just one slice of toast but I managed coffee and chocolate.

We finished breakfast and headed back to The Sir Stamford to collect or luggage from our rooms and place it all in the car.

We then headed back out for our long awaited adventure.  Well my long awaited adventure.  I’m not sure my friends were as excited as I was.  B has a paralysing fear of heights that I didn’t find out until we started climbing.

Can you guess yet what we’re doing?
That’s right!  My incredibly generous, kind hearted friends took me on the Harbour Bridge Climb.

Almost at the top. Never, ever thought I would get this opportunity.

I was terrified.  Completely terrified.

Not so much terrified of heights, although until recently I have been beyond terrified of heights.  I was terrified that I wouldn’t make it.  That I would hold up the rest of the group. Terrified that I’d run out of strength or energy or breath or that the pain would be totally overwhelming.

I didn’t.  In fact B asked me a couple of times to slow down because she couldn’t keep up.

I did get all wobbly and incredibly dizzy and disoriented a couple of times and feared I would not be able to continue.  I do know I pushed too hard and I’m pretty sure I was dehydrated too as you can’t take water with you.  There are about two bubblers strategically placed along the walk but I would have liked more.

We’re almost there. Not far to go now. My legs are well and truly burning but the view is amazing.

We climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

We did it together! The Three Musketeers ūüėä

We did it!

We made it to the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I did it with not only the help and support of two beautiful people but with two of the most important,  amazing, kind,  generous,  funny,  loving people in my life. Without these two I would never, ever have accomplished this long held dream or checked it off my bucket-list.

Without these two friends I would not be the person I am today.

You know,  they say that you need to find your tribe and until recently I never really quite understood what that meant. After developing friendships with these two,  I finally understand.

We did it! We all overcame a fear of some kind and conquered that sucker. We reached the pinnacle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Yep,  we did it!

Together we reached the pinnacle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  The most famous bridge on the most famous harbour in the world.

What an incredible experience.

What an amazing view.

What a once in a lifetime experience.

With immense,  immeasurable thanks to B & D. Without you both there is no way in the world that I would ever have accomplished this dream.

I did it! I achieved a long held dream and tickled another off my bucket list

Again,  a reminder to those of you who’ve been told you can’t do something or you’ll never be able to do something, please don’t ever give up on your dreams.  They are never impossible. Maybe incredibly challenging and currently beyond your reach but that doesn’t mean they will always be so.
What brings your soul joy?

Please take the time to leave a comment below and tell us what is on your bucket list or what you’ve managed to tick off your bucket list.

Posted in joy

Contentment 

I can’t remember a time in my life where I’ve felt so incredibly happy and content as I do right now.

To wake each morning and realise that the man of my dreams is still laying right there beside is pure bliss.

As soon as I realise he’s still there, my heart overflows, a silly smile breaks out across my face and my soul is crammed full of love.

I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I am the luckiest woman in the world, no I’m the richest woman in the world.

After being alone so very long, I am so incredibly happy and content with this truly beautiful soul.

My heart truly overflows.

Posted in joy

Finally Found

As many of you know, I’ve been alone for a long time.  Well it feels like forever to be honest.

For a few years I searched for my mate. I was convinced that there must be someone out there who gets butterflies in their tummy, who goes all weak at the knees whenever he sees me smile and who can love me for who I am, baggage and all.  
I searched for that man for so long. 

For what felt like an eternity. 

I had a list of character traits and conditions that I would accept In my mate and things I would not.  I searched tirelessly for this man for years, until one day I realised that he does not exist. Not that he can’t have all of the traits and conditions I was searching for but because I decided that;

  • No man could possibly love me entirely, 
  • No man would even be able to bare looking at my terribly scarred, damaged, stretched, unattractive body let alone touching it
  • No man could handle my mood swings, my depressive episodes, my struggles with PTSD
  • No man could ever love the mess that I am – physically and psychologically.  
  • No man could ever love and embrace my creative urges or my spontaneous need to explore. 

I would painfully witness people I know fall into dedicated, devoted relationships and I would then fall into a heap myself wondering why I can’t have the same. 

I began questioning myself. 

Am I that ugly that no man could stand to be with me or even look at me?

Maybe I’m ugly on the inside?

Why can “she” find someone to love her and I can’t?

I have been on a couple of dates the last few years. They never went anywhere but the consistent theme was that I’m “too independant” – pfft! Too independant! seriously ?!!

What does that even mean? 
If I even am a strong , independant woman, I would have thought it was out of necessity. I’m sorry but I can’t see the negatives in being independant.  Do these men expect women to completely submit to them and do everything they’re told? Maybe I’m way off. I don’t know.  

I reached a point in my life where I was exhausted trying to find Mr Right. I searched everywhere I could think of. Sporting groups, cooking classes, art classes, science lectures, museums, galleries, walking, cafes, pubs, clubs, bars and more but he was nowhere to be found. 

Even my children tried to find my Mr Right for me. 

Finally, due a series of unrelated overwhelming events, I quit. 

I quit searching for Mr Right.  

I became resigned to that fact that he’s not out there.  That he doesn’t exist. 

It’s been over six years since my husband walked out.  The husband who never really loved me and who never accepted me for who I am. The husband I never truly loved either.  Unfortunately we were both lonely and were desperate for companionship. Turns out that companionship was never enough for either of us.    

I make a poor choice in partners anyway so I guess it’s time to quit while I’m ahead. 

So I did. 

I quit. 

I quit searching for the man of my dreams. My soul mate.  My best friend. Instead, I decided to try to focus on me – trying my hardest to not be selfish of course.  

I began exercising regularly, I started physiotherapy in an attempt to improve my health, strengthen my muscles, increase my core .  I started leaning yoga. I walk every day. I take the time to stop and smell the roses. 

I spent my days creating a vege garden, walking, discovering myself. 

Guess what? As if by some miracle, it’s beginning to look like I’ve been found.

This post was written on the 5th December, 2016.

He’s been around for some time but I never, ever considered that he might dig me. 

I still remember the very first time I laid eyes on him.  He certainly captured my attention.  I did think that he was cute and I was certainly attracted to him but I constantly dismissed my feelings believing he would never be interested in me. 

I’ve  a feeling that he’s known all along. I certainly felt something and I’ve been watching him ever since.  Now that I think back to how he’s treated me, how he looks at me, how he’ll do anything he can for me. I don’t think I was ready before but now, here he is.  Sweet , kind, gentle, caring – waiting. Waiting so incredibly patiently for me to see him and love him entirely. 

He gives me butterflies. I want to get to know him better.  In all honestly, I just want to hold him in my arms and have him hold me in his.  I just want to get lost in his eyes and gaze into his soul. 

I really do believe that I’ve finally been found.  All this time I’ve been searching for him and he had already found me.

My someday and my someone has finally found me.  This wonderfully beautiful soul who strolled into my life and stole my heart. 

Do not ever give up on your someone.They are out there searching for you just as you are searching for them.  Wait for your souls to collide.  You’ll know when they do. For now,  learn to love yourself and focus on your well-being and you’ll be amazed how your soulmate will appear. 

Posted in joy

Relationships or Lack There of…

There are a few things in life that I struggle to get my head around.  Of course those things include war, politics, violence, animal cruelty, Human cruelty, stupidity, arrogance and so much more. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.  

Today, and the last few days, weeks, months or even years, I’ve been struggling to get my head around relationships, moreso my lack of relationship with the opposite sex. More specifically, my lack of relationship – with a partner.  

At the current moment (15th November, 2016) I’ve been single exactly five years and one day.  Sadly through no choice of my own. Admittedly, there have been times that it would be incredibly unbeneficial for anyone if I were in a relationship. I mean that first twelve months + that was the post separation fog was simply hell. The confusion, heartache, the betrayal. The trying to process what on earth had actually happened and what went wrong. I’m sure no man in his right mind would want to be involved in that mess and that I totally understand.   
After five years of self analysis and consultation with a therapist it has finally dawned on me that nothing actually went wrong.  We were just a bad fit.  I do believe that we both just didn’t want to be alone and as a result jumped into a relationship far too early.  I’m sure it didn’t help that I was diagnosed with an awfully debilitating, chronic illness just weeks after our wedding which caused my health to decline rather rapidly. There was a huge load placed upon his shoulders and not only was he suddenly required to look after me but he had my children to watch and care for and provide for as well. 
It became very obvious that he was not coping and instead of being my support, my love, my life, my everything through sickness and in health, he started to look elsewhere for support. My illness and the massive expectations placed on him so suddenly just became too much.  Of course none of this was helped by his decision to enter into an affair with another woman. 

I often wonder how unrealistic it was for me to believe that he would love me unconditionally through thick and thin for the rest of our days.  I also wonder if he ever did love me.  It rarely felt like he did, despite his generosity with material items.  
Lately I’ve been feeling incredibly lonely. More than I ever have.  I see people around me everywhere in loving relationships and I just can’t help but wonder why I can’t have that too.  Is it unreasonable for me to believe that I too deserve the unconditional love of another?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not through lack of trying.  I just don’t seem to be attractive to anyone.  Why – I’m not sure. 

I know I’m not stunning, in fact I am rather unattractive with all of the excess skin that I carry around after losing so much weight but I’m certainly not ugly. I’m not stupid, I’m not mean or nasty .  
I was hoping that as the days, weeks, months and even years ticked on by that I would become less lonely and more at ease with my own company.  I guess in many ways I have become accustomed to the latter. I do enjoy my daily walks, yoga, extra-curricular activities that I do on my own but I’m always, ALWAYS wondering what it would be like to have someone by my side. Longing for that relationship, friendship, partnership. 

Sure , I’ve been on a few dates since my marriage failed. Most of them were nice but most men also had a dark side.  An incredibly selfish, arrogant, shitty side to them. Maybe I’ve overlooked these crappy character traits in the past but not anymore. 
You know, the name calling, even if they do believe it’s in jest. The attitude, the arrogance, the not offering to help carry bags or hold the door open. Sure I can do these things on my own, I have done for years but some chivalry and manners go a very long way. 

The men that I can’t see a future with are the ones who just won’t leave me alone but the ones that I do see a future with, that are the sweetest, kindest, most gorgeous souls just don’t have feelings for me. 

Why does life and relationships need to be so hard?

There have been men that I’ve either dated or become friends with who’ve told me that I’m just too strong, too independant and too intimidating for them. 
What a load of crap! 

At first I thought I could see how I was too independent. Intimidating – give me a break! Strong – what is wrong with being strong? Do they mean physically strong because I’m really not that strong or do they mean mentally strong? I really can’t see what’s wrong with either of those qualities.  

I guess my problem is that I’m not a real girly girl. Well that appears to be a bit of a barrier anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I love to dress up in lace, silk and diamonds as much as the next woman.  I love having my hair and nails done.  I love good perfume, pretty jewels and gorgeous shoes. I just don’t dress like this every day.  

Most days I wear jeans and a T-shirt with boots or joggers or my active wear.  

These days I throughly enjoy physical labor, I love working and being outside in the sun and other elements and I tend to hang out with the guys more than girls. 
I  spend my days gardening, building, cleaning, making.  I’m a frontline firefighter and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.  I’m more than happy to get on the end of a fire hose , a rake hoe (McCloud Tool), the pump or even drive the truck (when I get my MR licence of course).  One of my favorite tasks is blacking out, turning logs, making sure the fire is extinguished, climbing in and out of the truck, dragging and winding hoses and ensuring there is nothing left burning, smoldering or cooking away.

Now that I’m healthier, I really don’t mind a bit of hard work.  I much prefer the company of the guys at the station because for the most part, there’s  no bitching, no back stabbing, no trying to push other women out of the way.  
I just don’t know. Maybe I’ve just become too fussy.  Maybe there really is nothing wrong with me rather they’re just isn’t anyone around.  

It’s become evident that I think way too much about the elusive partner.  There must be someone out there for me as I must be the right for him too. I just can’t seem to find him.  

I’m sure I’m not made to be alone for all eternity.  
I have given it some thought though, any potential partner must be understanding of my involvement in the fire brigade.  He must understand that attending incidents, accidents, fires and large campaigns are now a part of me and something I will not give up. He must understand that I’ve fought so bloody hard for a large part of my life to be there.  He must be able to tolerate me stumbling out of bed at stupid hours through the evening and early hours of the morning to respond to the pager. 

He is going to have to be some special guy to understand that.  To be tall, dark and handsome would be an added bonus. 

My knight in shining armor must be out there among all of the duds in tin foil.  

If you know where he is, please send him my way.  

I’ve been searching for him for way too long. 

Posted in 1000 People 1 Voice, Belinda Smith, Changes, Domestic Violence, Got Your Back Sista, Hunter Stadium, Melissa Histon, Purpose, Sista Code

1000 People 1 Voice 

Saturday I attended an event close to my heart, with great relevance to not only myself but to almost everyone I know either directly or indirectly.

The event was “1000 People 1 Voice” by¬†The Sista Code¬†to¬†make a stand against domestic violence.

This incredible event was the brainchild of Belinda Bow with support from the amazing people of The Sista Code.

Belinda Smith and Melissa Histon, the girls who started it all – Got Your Back Sista. Image by The Sista Code

It’s not too late to donate – you can go¬†HERE¬†to¬†do so.

Wednesday volunteers, I’m 3rd from the right. Photo by Grace McLean.

I had helped out a little earlier in the week by helping a team of volunteers pack goodie bags for the day.

Image courtesy of Heidi Alexandra Pollard
Team of incredible volunteers. That’s me, first on left. Photograph by Heidi Alexandra Pollard.

I’m not telling you this for the accolades or recognition – far from it. ¬†I’m telling you this to bring awareness to the exorbitant prevalence of domestic violence in today’s society. It’s time we made a stand and said NO to Domestic Violence.

An amazing sight 1000 People 1 Voice. Image Courtesy of The Sista Code

This last Saturday was the day we gathered with a huge team of incredible volunteers to help with this event.  I was tasked to help with handing out the pre-ordered t-shirts from the online registrations.

Got Your Back Sista – image by The Sista Code

I was trying to make an effort to compliment as many people as I possibly could so I was looking for beautiful smiles,  great hair styles,  gorgeous pieces of clothing or jewellery, anything that I could, to offer a ray of hope or sunshine into the lives of strangers by offering a compliment.  Of course there were many people who I missed, focusing on handing out shirts as efficiently as I could and ensuring that everyone was made aware that we would be filming all day.

Filming commenced early. Here is Helen Cummings. Image by Michelle Faithful

I was also incredibly anxious, not only volunteering and handing out shirts but incredibly anxious offering compliments so this was huge for me.
While I was pushing through my own fears and making an effort to compliment people, I spotted one lady who was approaching me with a beautiful,  warm smile, gorgeous strawberry blonde curls that shimmered in the sunlight and tumbled onto her face, illuminating her smile with a soft, inviting presence.

Before I could speak. ¬†Before I could offer her a compliment or even ask her what size shirt she wanted, ¬†she excitedly told me how much she loved the hat I was wearing. ¬†She loved the 1920’s inspired, cloche style hat with the big, black ribbon flower and the fact that it was her favourite colour – purple. ¬†She radiated as she spoke to me about my hat and her energy was contagious as she did so. I was a little thrown as I was preparing to compliment her, ¬†not receive a compliment first.

Here is an older photo of the purple, 1920’s inspired hat I was wearing

Finally I was afforded an opportunity to tell this lady how much I loved her earrings, how the colours and style suited not only her complexion but her vibrant, vivacious personality.

This lovely lady leant forward. She looked me in the eyes,  tears welling in hers and told me that was the most beautiful thing anyone had ever said to her.

I was perplexed.

How could a comment about someone’s earrings be such a beautiful thing to say?

They didn’t look to be anything overly special or intricate. ¬†They didn’t look like precious metals or gems. ¬†I did however think they were very well made. ¬†I thought to myself they looked handmade. ¬†They consisted of a large purple bead with a smaller orange bead above it that were attached to a shepard’s hook with a fishing swivel. The findings looked to be brass and the coloured beads looked to be glass, maybe even handmade, ¬†lampwork beads so the more I looked at them the more I realised they really were quite special.

As this beautiful lady looked into my eyes,  she went on to explain to me why it was such a beautiful thing to be said to her.

Those earrings were handmade by her sister. She chose those particular earrings to wear on this day to this particular event that was not only raising awareness of domestic violence but raising money to help support those escaping domestic violence.

She chose those particular earrings to wear on this day that her beautiful, beloved,  darling sister had made for her by her own two hands.  Her sister who was murdered at the hands of domestic violence.

I was stunned.

I was completely heartbroken for this lady.

I was lost for words.  Gobsmacked!  For some ridiculous reason,  I had not even entertained the idea that there would be people there who had lost loved ones.  I certainly had considered there would be people there who had escaped DV, but rather naively and stupidly,  I never even considered the alternative.

I apologised.  I told her I was sorry and she told me she was sorry too.

I wish I knew some words of comfort,  of support that I could offered her.

I was instantly wondering what exactly it is that I’m sorry about or for.

I was firstly sorry she had lost her beautiful sister.

I was sorry that the system failed her sister.

I was sorry that her sister endured the most unimaginable.

I was sorry that a huge part of her life and soul had been snatched from her.

I was sorry that a beautiful life had been taken by someone who had absolutley no right to do so.

I was sorry that I failed to even ask her sisters name.

I was sorry for so much.

I was so sorry for this lady,  for her sister, for their family and for all who knew her.

I was sorry for every single life taken, snatched from this earth at the hands of domestic violence.

I’m sorry just doesn’t say enough.

It’s past time we all made a stand against domestic violence and said NO!

No more!

Posted in Animals, Changes, Development, Flora & Fauna, Plants, Sadness, Spring

Spring Sadness 

‚ÄčSpring has sprung! 

I’m so excited I wet my plants…

I’ve been a bit down again lately.  Today was a particularly hard day after a few events over the last 24 hours,  that damn situational depression again I guess, either that or its that flea bitten black dog. 

As a result I decided today, the first day of spring, I needed to go for a walk, feel the sun on my skin,  the breeze tickling my hair,  the smell of the blooming wattle and enjoy what nature has to offer. 

The stunning visual and sensory displays she puts on each year, especially in spring are nothing short of spectacular. 
I await in anticipation for the smell of freesias to waft through the house signalling the first warm spring day. Thousands and thousands of freesias. I’ve loved laying down among them over the years and taking in their scented delights.

I enjoyed spying the stunning white native orchids that littered the floor of the bush,  nestled below the canopy. 

Seeing the prickly Eggs and Bacon cracking into bloom. 

Hearing the sounds of the birds, lorrikets,  king parrots,  rosella’s, kookaburras, noisey miners and the magpies warbling.  

It’s nothing short of bliss. 
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have grown up being surrounded by the bush. 

I’ve been privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to not only interact with but learn about our stunning native flora and fauna.  Over those last 42 years I’ve bought home, rescued and rehabilitated birds of all kinds,  magpies,  lorrikets,  king parrots, rosella’s,  kookaburras,  noisey miners, tawny frogmouth, butcherbirds,  not to mention blue tongue lizards,  geckos, bearded dragons,  skinks, legless lizards, red bellie black snakes, brown snakes, olive green tree snakes,  diamond pythons, whip snakes,  flying foxes, micro bats,  foxes,  ring tail possums, brush tail possums,  turtles,  frogs, bandicoots, antechinus, echidna, wombat,  and I’m sure many more. 

Over the last 42 years I’ve watched with heartache as parcel after parcel has been developed, birds,  animals and plants have disappeared. 

This is the very last parcel of bush that had surrounded or home for the last 43 years. 
Next week the bulldozers move in.  

My heart is broken ūüíĒ

Posted in Blessing, Domestic Violence, Got Your Back Sista, hope, Hunter Stadium, Melissa Histon, Say No, Sista Code

Got Your Back Sista

This Saturday I’m joining hundreds, even thousands of people at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle to take a stand against domestic violence.  

What better way to “Find Your JOY!”  

Thanks to the amazing people of The Sista Code,  especially Melissa Histon this event is going to be something incredibly special.  

You can either register to join us this Saturday at the stadium HERE or you can make a donation to this amazing cause. 

I spent a couple of hours this morning helping prepare gift bags for participants with a small group of about 9 amazingly kind, inspiring, selfless,  generous people at the stadium. After we completed the bags, we were given a tour of the stadium and walked out onto that field.  What an amazing feeling.  I am so excited for this event on Saturday.  

The event is to raise awareness and funds to help those escaping domestic violence.  Whether you’ve been touched yourself,  your sister,  your niece,  your daughter,  your mother,  your friend, even men you know. There is usually someone you know (whether you know it or not)  who has been affected by domestic violence.  

It would be really fabulous if you could join us at the stadium or make a small donation.  

Thanks for visiting my Fundraising Page for 1000 People, 1 Voice Say NO to domestic violence! 

Together we are raising funds to help victims of domestic violence start their lives again free from violence, with dignity and in safety.

You can sponsor me and leave a message by selecting the donate button above.

Thanks for supporting our efforts in raising money for women and children who have escaped domestic violence and showing that you say ‘NO’ to domestic violence.

From The Sista Code website – 

The spirit of The Sista Code is to uplift, inspire and support other women, including our most vulnerable sistas, those who have escaped a violent relationship and must start their lives again. As such, we have established the registered charity, ‚ÄėGot Your Back Sista.‚Äô 

Currently based in NSW, we work directly with domestic violence services and refuges, by referral only, to provide:

1. Assistance with sourcing and providing household items, household and personal starter-packs, clothing and furniture for women that are moving from a refuge to independent living.

2. A ‚ÄėBe A Sista‚Äô mentoring program to provide friendship and support to women who are starting over after escaping domestic violence.

So,  if you’re not too busy this Saturday, it would be really great if you could join us. Children are welcome and free to enter.  They’re will be a jumping castle and the Knights Development Squad there too. If you can’t join us,  please consider a donation of any size which will be accepted with enormous thanks and sincerity. 

Help me reach my goal of raising $150 for The Sista Code by following this link HERE