There comes a time when there is merit in reviewing a lifetime of habit. Coffee. I have been drinking coffee since I was a senior in high school. Apart from the nausea driven months of pregnancy when i couldn’t stomach it, coffee has been my constant companion. It is difficult to imagine life without her. But recently friends and family have stopped drinking coffee due to health issues and a determination to improve stress levels and sleep quality. This has caused me to reflect again on my relationship with Ms C. I am defined by my love of her. I am a coffee drinker, I drink good coffee, not the instant stuff. I am part of the world domintion of take away, keep cup, coffee in hand at work, in the car and by the sports ground.
They say practice what you preach.
Do it. Just do it.
I know this week I am far from that goal. My intentions of writing here regularly have already been swamped by extra work and family demands. My commitment to writing and doing something I love seems to wane under external pressures. I am not fighting for the right to have me time and pursue something that I know is good for me.
Yet here I am in an awkward before school moment writing. I have been up since five this morning to assist Miss 15 get ready for a school excursion. My brain is on, I feel wired.
But here is the thing – there are competing ideas swirling in my brain and I feel like a kid running around with a net chasing butterflies that continue to escape. Each idea is elusive, close but not really in my grasp.
I am reminded of Dr Adam Fraser’s The Third Space. I have introduced this to my year 12 students and encouraged them to apply the idea. In fact I am sure I have blogged about this before.
Now it is time for me to find that third space.
So this is me back from a long break from blogging.
Did I stop writing?
Did I have head space for blogging my thoughts?
Sometimes. But I was committed to other blogging and writing pursuits that somehow got in the way.
Why are am I blogging again?
I am carving out me time and believe it or not, the blog is a segue to relaxation. Blogging helps me feel productive and that I have achieved something. I enjoy sharing ideas, encouraging and challenging others on their journey.
Will the blog look different?
Honestly, I am not sure. Blogging is an organic process. I don’t have a blogging schedule and a social media consultant and a book deal. So I don’t have external pressures and deadlines to meet. I know some of you enjoy reading my ramblings. I invite you to comment and dialogue with me, partner with me as we do life together. With partners and kids and expectations and ambitions.
Three days ago I wrote a blog post on a research education blog I have slowly been cultivating over the last year or so. It is a space for me to reflect on my reading and research for my PhD. I rarely connect The Jester Flys with this humble little 7mouths2feed because I know my audience is quite different. But today as I sat in Church, I was overwhelmed by the connection between my life and that blog post.
I had written about hope, the hope that teachers hold close.
“Hope that we can make a difference. Hope to support young people on their learning journey. Hope that they will understand. Hope that they will grow in independence and knowledge. Hope that will unlock something and that it will usher in a lifetime of learning.”
There it was … hope. I realised that I needed to see and remember and recall the hope I have in faith in God. The assurance of His Love, the peace that I experience in this life, the comfort, the hope in future grace. But to say I got there because of something that happened in church alone would be inaccurate. I share this now because I have connected the dots and want to be frank about the way I see God at work, in spite of my hard heart and incapacity to hope.
In the last week, in the midst of busyness, flu and a house full of sick kids my man and I watched this talk from Tim Keller about identity.
It offered me a new framework for thinking about my life, my purpose and my identity.
Then an overdue phone call from a close friend reminded me of my need to be in relationship with people who will encourage me, support me, challenge in my faith. Not in how I will spend my money, how I will advance my career or what Netflix series I should watch. But how I should live my life and be real. I needed more of God’s word in my life.
I then flicked through my Shereadstruth app and was reminded of Proverbs 1:7 – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Finally, my man shared with me a great presentation from The Austin Stone Community Church. The Stone’s teaching has been a source of regular encouragement for us, but their home and their missional life is far away in Texas. You can get a sense of these stories here.
I was moved by people sharing their story, sharing their hope in the midst of pain and loss and suffering. This story in particular. I was moved by the way people responded to those needs. They offered hope, they showed love and they served.
Reminding myself that I was a part of something bigger than me and that God had a plan for me that was larger than anything I could ever imagine, reminded me that there is hope. Hope in a future in which I am loved, assured and forgiven.
I see Hope in a new light today. Hope underpins all that I do, all that I am. As a wife, mother, daughter and friend; in my role as educator, researcher, coach and counselor. Hope is something I want to hold on to. Hope.
What words can you see in this word target? I am too lazy to find as many words as I can. I prefer to find the 9 letter word. But it has been years since I looked at these crazy language games.
This term I have returned to the classroom. That is right that fabulous space where I play teacher and a group of students come along to learn. Together we enter into this journey to learn about our subject, about the world and about ourselves. I had forgotten how amazing this job is, how complex, multifaceted and demanding. My head is spinning with stories, ideas and experiences. And somehow I have come alive, again.
I am thankful for work that challenges and energizes me. Privileged to be working with young people and delighted that my own little people have risen to the challenge of the new school routine with their Mumma around. Life is busy. Life is good.
If you have been reading this but secretly also calculating what the 9 letter word is, it is wallpaper. Enjoy. x
Pokemon Go is sweeping the world. What is it you ask? Haven’t heard of it? This interactive game for your smartphone engages players with a hunt for Pokemon in ‘real life’. It uses Google maps to take players on a journey through urban and rural landscapes on a large scale treasure hunt. There are incentives along the way to win more and collect extra Pokemon paraphenalia.
My daughter asked me the other day would I miss wearing jeans?
Yes, I said emphatically. Yes I would.
I am returning to work. Regular paid work. Not the flexible kind of a researcher or consultant. And as a result I have to wear regular work clothes.
My interpretation of professional dress has certainly changed over the years as my style, my budget and my commitments have changed. But what is true is that I will miss my jeans. They have become my uniform. I wear them for comfort, I could walk miles in them, I wear them summer and winter. In fact when I really stop and reflect I am always on the hunt for a new and better jean – more shape, more whiskering, lower waist, higher waist. And I love a vintage jean for that slightly worn in feel of the denim. Could it be that jeans are my happy place? Maybe.
I need to find my work wear equivalent. What do you wear to work?
This first image of Linda Burney, newly elected female Indigenous MP in Australia is engaging. The pointed finger and her stare, one eye slowly shutting. I saw the image on Twitter and can only assume it came via a media outlet in the days following July 2, 2016 election. What is she saying?
The second photograph capture a girl alone – lost, lonely or walking alone. Away from everyone and everything. What is she thinking?
The final picture is taken by the official White House photographer, a candid image of Barack Obama running in a hallway with a dog – his dog? What is he doing?
Images are powerful. Each one tells a story. What is your story? What makes you STOP?
Holidays are time to unwind and relax. If you have been following this blog over the years you will know that holidays and I have a strange relationship.
When I first had children I kept planning holidays that looked like grown up vacations, with plenty of books, time, wine and a good balance of exercise and recreation. The reality of early wake ups, afternoon naps, nappy changes, food and needing to entertain kids (in a strange and sometimes hostile environment) made for a grumpy mummy and a less than good holiday.
As the family got older and grew in number we discovered that beach holidays worked for us. There was always something to do at the beach. The beach. Swimming, long walks, collecting shells, whale spotting, fishing, rook pool gazing, sand castle making……there was everything for everyone. Now we have young adults in the family there is surfing and stand up paddle boarding too. Not to mention the endless photo ops for everyone’s social media feed. Apparently selfies and sunsets are the go. Just saying.
So this last week has been a holiday for all seven of us. And we had what the little people call a real holiday, we took a plane somewhere. We live 3 hours away from a capital city so flying anywhere takes an enormous effort. The road trip to get to the airport is momentous. Then there is the flight and the hustle for the the best seats and being the first to collect the luggage from the carousel. But you know what? It worked for us. All seven of us could carry our own bags and hand luggage. There were no nappies or needs for extra snacks. I was hands free on our journey and for a moment I did relax. A glimpse of what was to come.
We had a great week in Sydney. There was sun and warmth and lots of walking around beach cliff tops, meandering in local cafes, ferry rides and the odd museum and gallery. We spent time with family and dined with old friends. And we had time to read. And reflect.
My man had told the family in jest that this holiday was about ‘healing’. We all laughed at the time. But I think that is what the holiday did for us. We all had to work together to accommodate seven individuals with different desires and needs, we lived in a new space, navigated public transport and learned to slow down.
And as we immersed ourselves in a new place and allowed time to soak into us, creativity is reborn, new dreams, ideas and hopes.
Here is to more holidays that heal. S x