Sliding Door

It is 5:30am. She gets up, showers, blow dries her hair, puts on make up, eats a healthy breakfast and spends a few minutes checking emails and Facebook. Today will be a good day. It is a statement made! There is somewhere to go. something to do, someone to see. It could simply be an…

via Sliding Door. — The Mandy Diaries

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2016 … Focus! Forward! Future!

I spent New Year’s Eve at home – alone, because I have been suffering with a nasty virus that has struck me down in the most vindictive way.  It has pretty much taken away my voice!  Very harsh, I think.  Other may feel relief!!   Add to the virus, a jaggedly broken molar that could only be repaired yesterday, after happening 4 days ago.  While the tooth itself has not been painful, the ulcer it has caused, on the inside of my cheek is big enough to drown Dr Foster and sore enough to require every drop of pain medication he was carrying before he disappeared into that puddle, on his way to Gloucester!foster I spent New Year’s Eve thinking about what I have achieved this past calendar year of 2015 and what I want to achieve in 2016.  So here is what I came up with.

Firstly, things I achieved in 2015 …

  • I suffered from excruciating anxiety but I it didn’t kill me.
  • I could no longer maintain my job but I paid my bills.
  • I traveled to care for others when my mind said NO and I was surprised with 2 upgrades to Business Class seating on my holiday flights.
  • I was, at times, a burden to family & friends but my home was often full of visitors.
  • I buried my Mother-in-law and found I can do hard things, especially when you have a loving family around you that you never really knew existed.
  • I went to concerts, theatre, performances and sporting events, when I felt overwhelmed at the thought of getting there but I was constantly inspired by what I saw or heard.
  • I listened to familiar music that enveloped me with grief & memories too hard to bare but I discovered new music that healed and set me on a new and satisfying pathway.
  • I wrote my life into a blog to rid myself of feelings that were too hard to say and I discovered that others too, share these feelings.
  • I felt despair at the world and the way humankind treat each other but I found that there is peace in action – no matter how small the deed or contribution.
  • I often, could not see a light at the end of the tunnel that was my life but I continued the work with my doctors and therapists anyway and discovered that there is indeed a light and I can almost  touch it now.

So there you have 2015 – nothing really earth shattering but movement and that counts!

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2016 … What do I want from you?  Health?  Wealth?  Happiness?  Not really!  Simpler things maybe.

  • To continue to write and blog because those are actually 2 different things.
  • To read.
  • To listen.
  • To grow stronger in mind, body and spirit.
  • To spend time outside.
  • To love my body and care for it accordingly.
  • To participate in life not just observe it.

I am choosing “F” words for 2016.

FOCUS          FORWARD          FUTURE

Kitten forward

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2016.

Words … Forgiven not Forgotten!

Yesterday I sucked at being  adult and a human being!  I came home from my holiday feeling challenged by some parts of it; feeling unwell and with a broken tooth that has rubbed the inside of my cheek raw!   I took it out on those around me!  I totally sucked.  I was hurtful and dismissive and nasty and cruel.  I wanted to hurt and I did.  Why?  I have no idea why!  After months of working on the new story inside my head, I reverted to the old one and it felt so comfortable and it still fit so well, I just embraced that old story and I published it – full volume.  There are no paragraphs in this post because there were no paragraphs in what I said or how I said it yesterday.  I was a freight train …  running out of control.  I am ashamed.  I have regret.  I am sorry.  Today, the repair needs to begin.  I need to forgive myself for that train but I also need to own it because I could see what was happening but I allowed it to escalate anyway.  Today, I tell myself that this is not the end. Just another glitch in the story, all be it a rather big one.  If I can forgive myself, I can then ask forgiveness from others because words can not be forgotten – only forgiven.

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Christmas Love – From Me to You!

With just a few  hours until the magic of Christmas Eve arrives here in New Zealand, I am taking a moment to thank you all for supporting my writing and me this year.

The Mandy Diaries began as a therapeutic way of connection for me. It was a way of sharing and processing my thoughts and feelings; a way to look for and concentrate on the joy in my life. The Mandy Diaries, however, has become a healing passion for me. It is a place to tell my stories – as they are or were. To break down some of the stigma and myths associated with mental health issues. And to share my thoughts on current world events. I hope that you will continue to read, think, laugh, cry, grow and maybe even heal a little with me in 2016.

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The beautiful Pohutukawa tree known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.

As I will be spending the next few days at my Mum’s place and will not have internet – my prayer for each of you – my family, my old friends and my new online friends and readers, is that you would

  • Share a blessed and peaceful Christmas celebration with those you feel closest to
  • That you would hug those around you … not forgetting yourself because you deserve it
  • That you would give all you can to those less fortunate than yourself … be it by way of thoughts, words, prayers, or the giving of service or money

For those of us that cannot be with some of our loved ones because of distance, financial constraints, brokenness or death – I ask for a peaceful heart and sensitive, caring people around us, to understand those moments where we become lost in the crowd and choose silence or to shed a tear.  

So … remembering that Babe in the manger long ago, whose birth we celebrate.

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A very happy Christmas to you all!

Advent in New Zealand!

The time leading into Christmas is usually a time of anticipation but always coloured with sadness for me.  Another wedding anniversary is remembered – alone.  The shopping, wrapping and giving of gifts is done – alone.  Flowers are laid on a grave – alone.  Decorations are pulled out and arranged – alone.  Church is attended – alone.  This has been the norm for me for the last 6 Christmas celebrations.

This year, with the encouragement of my Boys, I decided to do something different …. so I have traveled to my childhood home, New Zealand, to spend Christmas with my extended family.

I have, so enjoyed the special Christmas touches in the homes I have been lucky enough to be staying in.  Some old and memory inducing, many handcrafted and made with love, all adding to the festive times being celebrated.

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The Christmas trees have been beautifully decorated, just waiting for the parcels to be added beneath their splendour.

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I have been blessed to be able to visit with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends from University days.  Some I have not seen for 30+ years!   How easily relationships return and feel natural!  Age has given us perspective and wisdom but has not lessened the memories or ability to laugh and love.

So as I prepare for a big family celebration this Christmas – I am truly blessed to not be alone!

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Come Lord Jesus Come!

 

 

I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

I am going home for Christmas.  Home to New Zealand, to join with my Mum, Sister, Brother and their families and grandchildren and in-laws.  I am excited to be flying off in 3 days.  I haven’t had many extended family Christmases over the years.  When married to a Pastor, that was our busy time and after those years, it was the most expensive time to travel – so it just didn’t happen.  In the 35 years I’ve lived in Australia, this will be only my third Christmas home.  So I am excited.

Kiwi Christmas

I have always referred to New Zealand as my home because that is my birth place but having lived in Australia significantly longer than I did in NZ, I know that Australia is my real home now.  My Boys are Australian and I always find that as much as I love to visit my beautiful country of birth, by the end of my trip I am ready to go Home!

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*Pavlova Christmas Wreath with fresh berries.

So I am excited for my visit but I can also feel the sadness creeping up on me, as leaving day approaches.  This will be the first Christmas since we became a family, that I won’t be with any of my Boys on Christmas Day.  Some of us have been apart previously, but I have always had at least one of my Boys with me.  This year I could have had all 3 of them with me but circumstances prevailed.  (Story for another post!)   So my Boys will Christmas together and I will Christmas in NZ!

Not that I have missed out.  We have already shared Christmas celebrations with 2 of my Australian families and their kids.

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Typical Aussie Christmas Day lunch.

And I hope to share some Christmas cheer with my BFF  before we go to spend  An Evening with Oprah tomorrow night.  Did I even tell you that? ….. Oprah and Me!!!!!!  Bucket list ticking off happening right there!

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But I digress … It was so great to see my Boys in the pool with our friends kidlets or twirling them around and around or just generally having fun. Backyard cricket was the game of their day – pool cricket was what they were taught by the 3 & 6 year olds last night!!  Surely, it seems only yesterday that they were the ones being tossed in the pool or enjoying their presents.

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So, I prepare for my journey home with joy and anticipation.  Looking forward to making memories and filling my heart with love and blessings.  But each day, I may just be caught in thought of what those gorgeous Men that Adrian and I made together, might be doing at Home?  Knowing they are there for each other and totally enjoying their special Christmas together.

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Illustration by Julie Vivas from the book The Nativity.

*Pavlova Christmas Wreath with fresh berries recipe here.