motherhoodfaithfitness

sharing the joys, triumphs and struggles of faith, family and fitness!

Lent: the fast is finished!

My 40 day Facebook fast is over! Hooray…I think? I did cheat a bit in the last 2 weeks after my son broke his arm and went into hospital (twice), it was easy to keep relatives informed and then once you’re on there, there’s all sorts of gossip to catch up on! 😜 However during this time of abstinence, I did succumb to the evils of the “Frozen Free Fall” game my 10 yo daughter installed for me. Those brightly coloured crystals sure were seductive! I spent lots of time on the game over a couple of weeks, until I came to my senses and deleted the time wasting, life sucking game off my phone! Isn’t it funny how we often replace one unhealthy addictive habit with another one so easily, or maybe that’s just me? 😳
So now Lent is over, Facebook is back! But I want to restrict my use to a more healthy level. Any suggestions?

While I was off Facey I did have more time to read, play with the kids and just be a bit more hands free. I want to maintain that space, it felt good. To be honest, trawling through the newsfeed is sometimes enough to make you depressed, envious, discontented, and just plain angry, unless there are weddings, celebrations and babies…and even they can become a source of angst, with comparisons and family debacles following.

Did you observe Lent this year? Did you manage to go the full 40 days without chocolate, tv, beer, social media etc?
Would you do it again?
I really like the idea of Lent and now have a year to think about next years theme.
Of course Lent is just the lead up to the most important season on the Christian calendar, from Maundy Thursday to Resurrection Sunday, Easter is a wonderful time to reflect, meditate and celebrate God’s love for us! (And eat chocolate 😜)
Our family had a wonderful Easter time, we went to church, we read stories of the first Easter, had a chocolate egg hunt, a family meal and get together, and enjoyed the glorious Australian sunshine! (And I managed to squeeze an 8km run in too! 👍🏃)

For Banksy fans, here is one of his latest pieces

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(link if you’re interested in this interesting story of public art and who should own it)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2H0cPTE9DVs

Ownership rights aside, I think this is a beautiful painting that both challenges and encourages me in my quest to live a little more Hands free

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Sports day ‘Moments that matter’

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If you are reading or have read Hands free mama , you will be familiar with the term ‘moments that matter’, or the even more fleeting and unique ‘sunset moments’. Today I was blessed to experience several!
It was Miss 10 and Master 5s Sports day, I had swapped work days, made sure Bub was in child care and with much excitement, (read ‘stress and panic over missing shoes, slow drivers, traffic and oversleeping’) we were on our way to School Sports Day!

Some of today’s beautiful moments:

-Seeing my daughter caring for her little brother, making sure he was ok when she saw him sad.
-Seeing the pure joy on my son’s face when Daddy turned up.
-Buying the kids a decorated cookie and popping it into their bag as a recess surprise
-Watching my daughter overcome her fear of hurdles and want to do it all over again
-Running in the 800m with my girl and her friend who were worried they wouldn’t finish the course, they grinned the whole way round!

These are some of the many proud mama moments, which I will ponder and cherish in my heart tonight.
My heart is full of love for my beautiful family, and I am especially blessed that Daddy was able to come down for a while and support his little team, I know it meant so much to them and me.
We’re on each other’s team!

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Seeing ‘Moments that matter’ as I become a Hands free mama

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Hands free Mama is a book I’ve been reading for a few weeks and tonight’s chapter on ‘Seeing life through undistracted eyes’ was very timely.

How many times have I looked at my children and not really seen them? Found a pile of engines on my lap and have no idea when and which child put them there? Taken them to a swimming class and although I sat dutifully on the side not actually been present at all?
I know I’m not alone, lots of my mummy friends are in the same boat of ‘multi tasking, being too busy, juggling work and home, stressed out, trying to do it all, and get it all right’ stage of parenting, especially those of us with big families.

In her book Rachel Macy Stafford encourages us to write a list of ‘Moments that matter’ in our Hands free journey.
I have really tried to focus on being more present and notice the small things around me that are important and yet so temporal.
Here are a few of today’s moments that matter.
– Feeling both little chubby arms hugging me tight around my neck in the morning when I get my boy out of his cot. He gives amazing cuddles already!
– Watching Mr 5 read a book to Miss 10 after dinner time, marveling at not only his reading skills, but her tenderness and patience as she helped him with some tricky words
– Listening to my Hubby, Mr 20 and his best friend read Pilgrims Progress together, each taking a turn at reading the classic, their deep voices, laughter and earnestness.
– Not just hearing, but listening to Miss 17 tell me about her maths test, her worship band practice, her teacher’s year 12 advice, plus the all important question ‘what you wear to your formal?’, compared to ‘what you wear to someone else’s?’ (it’s an education!)
– Teaching my littlest boy how to build a train track, pretending to be the Fat Controller, making Donkey kong sit in a truck and seeing the delight on his face at the crashes, the different voices and the races the trains have together.

These are just a few of my moments today. I’m sure you can all think of a few in your household too. It’s an exercise in slowing down, breathing, observing and drinking in these moments. Blink, check your email, update your status, take a selfie, watch a funny video…..and we may miss them, and sadly they may never happen again. I know….because I have missed SOOOOO many meaningful moments that I will never get back, but tomorrow is a new day, and it will be full of treasured moments, I just have to be present and seek them out!

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Hands Free Mama…the first week

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This is the book I had been so excited to read, but knew for a certainty it would require guts, honesty and speak
some home truths into my family life.

I confess, I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, messaging, internet and a plethora of interesting apps on my phone, ranging from my fitness pal, to spark recipes, from eBay to Thomas the tank engine games.
I can sometimes waste so much time flitting from app to app, social media to the weather forecast, head down immersed in the information my phone feeds me, all the while missing what’s going on in the same room where I’m sitting.
I need this book! I have 5 children, a hubby and two dogs all vying for my attention, and often they are competing against a YouTube clip, a work or ministry email, or a friend on Facebook. Now I’m not going to be going all Amish, reverting to writing letters and deleting my Facebook account, but I need to find the balance…this is where this book will hopefully shine a little light!

With anticipation I got out my new journal and started…
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the Hands Free pledge,
Here is an excerpt…

“I’m becoming Hands free.
I want to make memories, not to-do lists,
I want to feel the squeeze of my child’s arms, not the pressure of overcommitment…”

“I’m letting go of distraction, disconnection and perfection to live a life that simply, so very simply, consists of what really matters.”

I really do want these things…can it really be as simple as turning off my phone?

The first challenge is to switch off for set periods of time a day, for 30 mins, for an hour. To make that conscious decision to push aside the distractions and concentrate on what is truly important in your life.

This is my first task…and I’m really trying to be aware of the times I can check emails etc, I’m putting my phone into my bag when there is homework to help with or choir songs to listen to,
It’s a start….
I’m hoping that this awareness will lead to me having more time to enjoy my children, and be really present in their lives. To read an extra book at bedtime, to sit on their bed and chat about their day, to notice their faces when their favourite show comes on tv or they learn a new word.
The pay offs are going to be huge!
Ok I’m logging off now…

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Hands free, Rockin legs n abs mama!

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Two new challenges for this month
1. Rockin legs n abs by Cleo the Hurricane
2. Hands free mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

Both challenges are going to be incredibly hard, one will challenge my body to be stretched, strengthened and flexed, the other will help me to let go of the distractions that rob me of time with those I love.
So it is with trepidation and excitement that I start this journey, come with me if you will 💖

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Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

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I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to go into this year refreshed, more present and mindful as well as all the other hopes, dreams, goals I would like to work towards. My first thing I need to work on is my lack of sleep. I tend to stay up late watching tv, playing on my phone, looking up YouTube clips, reading articles on all manner of interesting but sometimes inane subjects, and then at 5.30am my dear little man wakes up ready for the day! Now this isn’t so much of a problem in school holiday time as I can go back to bed when he does, but I go back to work next week and that just isn’t going to work! So my goal this week is to start going to bed earlier and get my phone switched off, allowing me 30 mins of reading, prayer, reflection time before sleeping…
Night 1….in bed by 10.45pm, woke at 11pm to an almighty thunder and lightening storm, I love lightening and was so tempted to get up and watch the light show, as my hubby was. But then the ‘visitors’ starting arriving in my bedroom….my 5 year old came in, hugging me tight, so we talked about how the fields needed rain and prayed the rain would reach the bush fire affected places, we watched a few lightening bolts and agreed it was a marvellous beautiful sight.
Next came the dalmation, she’s a silly old doggy who’s petrified of storms, so she settled down next to the bed, peeking up at my son and I whenever the thunder roared. Then came the baby, brought in by his daddy, for a big cuddle. So by the time we actually all got to sleep it was almost midnight….mission early night derailed!
Next night, I turned my phone off at 10pm, ✔️ for me!
At 10.30pm after a little read I settled down to sleep. 10.36pm baby is crying…went in to settle him, went back to bed, 10.47pm more crying…up again…this went on…. And on….long story short my dear bub cried on and off all night, we found 2 big molars coming through so I’m guessing they were the reason for the crying.
So much for early nights and waking refreshed…pass me the coffee and energy drink today!
As for tonight….I might get into bed at 9pm!

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Where to from here?

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Sometimes I feel like this little chap, the whole world is going on around me and it can feel quite overwhelming! I want to sit back, watch the big kids play, reflect and ponder, before I leap into the playground of life once more!

It’s 2014, time to release the old and embrace the new…unless the old is good, then hold fast to it!
Some 2013 stuff I’m carrying with me into this year and beyond….

-My family and friends, that goes without saying, but I hope this year will be about taking more time with those I love, being intentional with the time we have together and really listening to them (a skill I definitely need to develop)

– My faith, praying that this year is a year of deepening in my spiritual walk, (again, learn to listen Louise!)

– My training, running and pole fitness, I love the challenges, fun and sense of accomplishment in these activities, as well as the beautiful new friends I have made through these pastimes.

– My love for chaplaincy, I am excited to be entering my 5th year as a Christian Pastoral Support worker at a local primary school. Supporting the children, parents and staff here is truly an honour and blessing.

So I’m holding fast to that which is good in my life, but also have some other dreams and goals for the coming year….

But let me just ponder them a little more before I share.

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Relaxation, reading, running, reflecting!

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How I love holidays, the lie ins, the chance to watch movies, the sun baking….oh hang on, that doesn’t happen here, does it?
Holidays have very high expectations, the snaps we post on Facebook are often the highlights of a very stressful day. A day where baby wakes up at 5.30am, the children are bored by 8am and the wine is calling you from the fridge at 11am!
I have tried to let go of expectations this holiday, to slow down, enjoy the board games (that often end in tears from the ‘loser’), to try to find 5 minutes of quiet time and not resent the interruptions after 45 seconds.
My holiday highlights reel looks quite impressive so far, a 5km run along the bike track, a walk to some gorgeous waterfalls with the whole family, ice cream with the bub, coffee at a cafe with hubby, a few chapters of my book read, and some bargain buys at a local op shop. We have been to the park, played dominoes and Lego creationary, spotted kangaroos, deer, cockatiels, kookaburras, and parrots. It truly is a lovely place, which is why we make the long journey here every year. But amidst the joy, lovely family moments and fun, there are children who whine and whinge, fighting siblings, a pile of unending dishes to wash, a hubby very cross with his beloved cricket team doing so badly, and a baby who has decided he doesn’t want an afternoon sleep!
Family life! It is my joy and pain, my true love and source of great frustration.
The book I am reading has a very relevant passage for me
“Each moment is an opportunity-to be generous, to show compassion, to say a kind or encouraging word. Do not miss the moments; they pass us by so quickly.
The ordinary moments-family dinners, time spent with your children in the park, quiet times with God- may seem insignificant, but over a lifetime, those moments amount to something extraordinary.”

“For this I was born” Brian Houston

Reflecting on these words today has encouraged and blessed me, I may not get it all right all the time, but I can try moment by moment to listen, love, play, and be present in the family and world I have been placed within!
Happy holidays xxx

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More advent-ures of Elwyn and Elsie

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This week we have helped the children in our house donate outgrown clothes to Goodwill, written and posted their overseas Christmas cards, decorated a beautiful real Christmas tree, baked brownies for the new neighbours, bought a couple of gifts for the Kmart wishing tree appeal and made a cup of tea for mum and dad! We’ve been busy little elves, and we have a few more adventures planned before we hibernate for 11 months. We hope the values we have brought to the household will remain with the little ones (and the bigger ones too) Love is Kind!
From Elwyn and Elsie Elf

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A time to work and a time to play

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Finally, term 4 is over and as a school chaplain I get the summer holidays off. I finished maternity leave in January this year when my little baby was 6 months old so it’s been a year of struggling to manage the work/home life balance. Now with (paid) work over for the year it’s time to play!
I must admit I find it difficult to switch off work mode (this includes boring menial housework too) and actually ‘play’, but I’ve made a list of the activities I’d like to focus on this summer. I’m going to try to do at least one a day, and not just the regular ones I find easy (like eating) but the ones like, playing games, going to the beach, reading stories with the children, exploring, and turning my phone off to read a book, a real book, one of many I have sitting on the bedside table for months and months.
My children are still small and I want them to remember their mum as someone who wasn’t too busy to play with them. I’ve got a long way to go, I’m an impatient, grumpy, selfish mummy at times, and when I hear myself scolding them for wanting my attention, I feel sad and disappointed in my mothering. But today I took them to the beach, wrapped presents and read a bedtime story, now I just have to work on doing it all with grace and patience!
My prayer tonight is ‘love is patient, love is kind, Lord please fill me with this love, and help me to be a patient, kind, playful mum, wife and friend’
Tomorrow we’re going out together to the Christmas tree farm, then the “wonderful” task of decorating the tree begins, (yes I’ll be completed stressed out and will have to ‘fix it up’ when the littleys go to bed). Love is patient, love is kind, help me to play!

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