Friday, 30 December 2011

The Ungrateful Within

I am not a big fan of Christmas. But this year I loved it!

Selfishly, I did not have to share my family with anyone. We did not have to drive for four to five hours and sleep in one or the other parents house and hope that we were not upsetting someone. We did not have to do lunch here, breakfast there and dinner somewhere else. We did not feel like we were possessions being tossed, pulled or shoved.

We had the privilege of being a family at home in our own home; just the four of us and Charlie the dog.

We were supposed to be joined by some friends (who we knew wouldn't) because they are far too selfish and wanted us to come to their house. We have young children who want to enjoy their toys, their children are grown up and we spent 13 years at their house for Christmas. Besides since they both have lost a licence for DUI it really doesn't even require a discussion for them of who is designated driver!

Alas we were the bigger people and went to their boxing day party and unlike them I brought my children and taught them how to behave. My girls have manners and know how to act. Their teenagers have no manners, no graciousness and certainly are not grateful or respectful. Not even a thank you for the little gift the girls bought them. These are teens who can't make their own lunch, tea or breakfast and can't even cook toast! What hope is there for them in the real world? The evening was pierced with ungrateful comments about the very flashy coffee maker in their kitchen.

"I wanted a juicer! Does this look like a juicer?"
"I only drink flat white, not fancy coffee, why would I want this?"

The fact that these two have the most toxic of relationships makes the above discourse seem friendly, but the sheer lack of gratitude astounds me.

Moving on to the next bunch of ungrateful people - in laws! We bought them a calendar of the girls, some doublemint gum which you have not been able to get for years and they used to use at tennis all the time and they had extra large gifts for their birthdays this year, which was also to form part of their Christmas gifts. Several hundred dollars worth! Apparently though, that was not good enough.

Really! These are people who have everything and need nothing. Again where is the gratitude for the thought? I thought of many of my clients who would be alone, sick, lonely, hungry or harming themselves, wouldn't they love to have any of this? I sometimes wonder if they are not in some ways better off for never having had any of the wealth which brings this ungrateful behaviour to the fore!

Me, well I was spoilt. I have my family back and that in itself is enough. I finally got a Wii and well it is harder than I thought! I also now have a new sound dock as my children have commandeered my Bose sound dock in their bedroom.

I heard from my sister in law, just a text. But I was glad to know she is okay and my mother in law and her husband cooked her lunch on her birthday.

We have money saved and gifted to do some concreting of one shed floor. We caught up with friends and it was a great relaxed time.

I appreciate the time I had with my family and our friends who came to join us later. The joy in seeing our girls and their little mate Jackson rip through the house and backyard and have a ball jumping on the new trampoline (which by the way was easy to put up!). The house was easy to tidy and the kids hardly made a mess, which is in itself another gift!

So as the year comes to a close an my journey is travelling in a positive direction, I would like to take the time to wish you a Happy New Year. May it be safe and filled with hope.

If the past year has not been what you want, create yourself a better year. Take charge of your destiny, steer the carriages the way you want them to go.

Will I travel this way next year? Well who knows.....with a masters degree in process and a Managerial position requiring systemic change and data analysis and political pushing, I may not have time. However, the Gratitude Train has helped me get back on track and I hope that if you are off course that you too will find your way.

Sunday, 18 December 2011


Well it is Christmas the most wonderful time of the year! Who sang that ridiculous song? I bet it was Frank Sinatra!

I find Christmas hard. I am not sure why, so I began to reflect. Last year I was still separated from my husband, but we spent it together as a family at my mums. That in itself is a colossal effort. She spoke to my daughter like a piece of dirt and very much reminded me of why I had a hard time growing up. No one speaks to my child like that.

I am still reeling from the affair, even though it is long since over, I wonder, I doubt, I wish hindsight would just get out of my sight!

My sister in law, or should I say ex, it would be her birthday this Saturday and I would reach out, but can't as I don't know where she is at with the family, me or anything in life. I told her some honest thoughts earlier in the year about how she MAY be perceived through the things she was writing to the family and wanted to protect her from the crap that they all put me through. To protect her was not my role, I see that now and hope I didn't make it worse! Last I knew she told someone that we weren't talking. I took her off my FB page to protect myself from knowing anything and having to lie to anyone. I am hopeless at lying as you would know from my post on Being Authentic.
I took her off as I myself was also not in a good place and just needed my energy for myself and my struggle with PND.
So I wonder about her and how she is finding the "single life". Is it easier for her as she has family who will help, or is it harder or the same?

In the type of work I do I see so much misery at this time. It is hard to switch off from that when you have an overdeveloped sense of  empathy. I wish that I could erase the misery from so many even for just a day, but then that is really about how I feel and would probably be worse for them long term.

I am grateful for so much too and that is where I realised I should focus my reflection. I am grateful to have my family back together and the opportunity to work on that.

I am grateful for two beautiful and individual children.

I am grateful for some truly awesome friends that I have had since high school.

I am grateful to be part of an awesome work team and have brilliant mentors around me.

I am grateful to be healthy.

I am grateful to be me and living the life I do.

My journey is taking me where I need to go.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Winners are grinners!

This past week that has been the absolute truth.

Despite a rough (will be for a while) ride in my reluctant journey into management, there was a silver lining; many prompt responses for attendance to my next meeting - small things make me happy in this job!

After a day that seemed less than happiness on Thursday, with hubby having to take the day off due to a sick little Miss 4 for the second day in a row, I just felt flat. Mother guilt had set in, end of the working week, knowing that I had a deadline to make some curtains for the Miss Ella Skye Backyard Dreams Project and that I should not have changed the colour scheme so late; the house was scruffy and the washing was thankfully not too far behind.

Then I did my e-mail check once the girls were in bed and the house had a run through tidy up. I had won the DirtGirlWorld Grubby giveaway from Childhood 101 with the amazing Christie Burnett. So now my two little "Dirt Girls" will have some new CD's and DVD's for when it is too hot this summer or too wet in the winter! I was thrilled, I WON - woo hoo.

Then I did the inevitable and went online to Facebook and to Childhood 101, got sidetracked and went back to my e-mails. Then surprise number 2 for the night......Pinky McKay, yes the famous author and mother of five and a nurse to boot, liked my comment on her Facebook page. Well actually she didn't like it, she commented below and said she loved my comment. It was a huge thrill and an honour. Further on she also agreed with another reader and I about our views on the bias towards mothers in their role, rather than it being a familial focus.

I then had the honour of being the cubby house queen and waving my magic over a plain little cubby house in a plain little backyard. Now my part was easy sort of ( I had never seen the cubby before mind you). The hard yakka the other team members had to put in though was well rewarded by a fabulous looking garden that was friendly to the needs of a disabled child and her family. It was a job well done by all and then others pitched in more and more towards the end of the day. The excitement and apprehension grew and then came the reveal at about 8:45 that evening. Ella was "wow", jumped on her trampoline, loved her fairy garden and new tea set and table and chairs and walked into the cubby and said "Oh WOW". She was in awe and I was rewarded with something money just can't buy- pure gratitude from the purest of children.

Her mum and dad loved it too, lost for words and a little wine weary they could not believe what we had done for them. I was invited back the next night to share this with my girls who helped me shop and sew. For the first time my 4 year old did not take 2 hours to warm up - she was straight in there and playing- double happiness for me! See my previous post AMAZING to understand what this is all about

So I am still on my grinning high, how can I not be. I see on Facebook the fabulous work we all did for one family who just needed a break and asked nothing of it. We sent them off on a trip for the day with day spas, cars for the dad, picnic lunch and wineries and a splendid meal at A Hereford Beefstouw. We helped some people, raised some serious cash and did some good old fashioned "lending a hand".

For more information and pictures see:

For the fabulous Childhood 101 site here is the link, boredom will be a word of the past and no electricity is required for many of these great learning activities.

So I will grin away and know I am the luckiest person in the world this week. It is not the first time either, did I tell you about the time I won a new Dyson vacuum? No, well maybe another time.

Until my next who knows when post, stay happy, on track and grateful for all the little things we have, because from little things - big things grow!