Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Time for a coffee break

"How do you like your coffee dad?"
and he would reply " hot, wet and in a cup!"
I still miss him terribly.
Oh delicious

I do so enjoy a good cup of coffee. Over the years I have had a fair few - and have even survived a period when I realised how dependent I had gotten on the liquid.

That happened quite by accident- both the addiction and the discovery, I might add.

Not realising how many cups of coffee I drank in a day but did know how much I enjoyed the experience I opted for abstinence one Lent. I would give up this aromatic, warm and delicious fluid for 6 weeks. I knew I would miss it - an offer I was prepared to make. Many didn't think I would hold out the 6 weeks- they were sceptical.  I didn't realise the impact it was going to have on me.

And what an impact it turned out to be. I suffered from withdrawal symptoms without at first realising that this is what they were. It was a hard road I travelled. Upon reaching my destination I vowed never to get myself that hooked on coffee again. And I haven't! It was a Lent action that did what it meant to do...made me aware!

Having a firm grip on the situation I now restrict my intake to two ( and on special occasions 3) cups a day. I even skip coffee days, yes I do.

Ten am... the ritual

Breakfast is a fading memory, chores done and a hubby who works from home. The hands of the clock point to the magical 10 o'clock and it is time to take a break- a coffee break. The best coffee breaks are with friends, neighbours or the possible tradesman who happens to be choring in our home at that time. In Nederland it is customary to provide the electrician, carpenter, painter, plumber or whatever - with sustenance.

We were to have company this I baked a yummy banana-chocolate- walnut cake to accompany the coffee. The house smelled so comforting and homely. We have only lived here a month and paint smells still linger in a few corners - but not today. Today it is the odour of fresh coffee and banana cake.

Habits and becoming addicted to them

I am quite the average person. Female, started on fase 3 in my life - almost retirement age. I am a believer, not only in God the Most High but also His people- those whose paths cross mine for whatever reason.

People, we human beings, are creatures of habit. We need recognisable patterns in our day to give us a grip on our world, on who we are and what we are about. When we let that go - as I did the coffee, we feel the effects. Need to find a substitute to fill the (large?) gap created when we drop something out of our routine. Instead of 10 am being a joyful moment in the day - it can become a torture time, an unhappy moment. I filled it with positive alternatives - as it turned out, things I still hold dear to this day.

On my own I could not have managed those 6 weeks and have come out smiling. I do not know why I chose the coffee. It just popped into my head. I am just so immensely grateful that I didn't have to walk that walk alone. Maybe the Holy Spirit guided my thought process - that wouldn't surprise me one little bit. What I am sure of is that He did help me take each step to healing and freedom from coffee.

It was Lent- a time of reflection and awareness. A time to reflect. Subject - for the choosing. And I discovered my relationship with coffee wasn't a healthy one.

But there are habits, or addictions if you will, that have a positive effect on ones life.

Like taking a daily walk. 
Reading the Bible every morning before your first cup of tea. Even while on holiday.
Praying before meals - including in restaurants and cafes.
Working through the list of names in the address book and calling someone each day, just to ask "how are you?" and spend some time with them, till you have worked through the whole list.
Sharing your smile with all those you meet.

Healthy habits that give clouds their silver lining. And instead of giving up such habits for Lent - maybe add another one for good measure.

Get your thinking caps on - 18th February will be here in a flash.
Will you be ready to give up something unhealthy - and add something positive to your life?
You will have 6 weeks to purge the one and get accustomed to the other!

Fasting can be a time when we do BOTH

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Counting blessings

...and we all get them in all sorts of situations and circumstances

Blessings to cherish

My life includes many a blessing. Even in sad moments, and if I was to take the time and courage I may add, I might see blessings which are sometimes hidden behind that dark cloud. When I do see or discover them I realise they are the lights that shine giving hope, bring healing and joy. Funnily enough that light is brightest when the times are darkest. Still, not easy to search for when burdened.

Today I want to share a wee part of my life - my blessing. They were all separate incidents till I completed the puzzle and saw the whole picture. Our blessings are generally connections or connectors - it is a human trait I think to see everything in pieces - except as a whole picture. God works in our lives - our WHOLE lives. We tend to take our life a snap shot at a time. Well, I used to anyway.

The first pieces of the puzzle

"Mum, you are oma!!" It was 1997. My son called from Australia ( to New Zealand) to give me the great news. Only I had no idea there was a grandchild in the offing. He explained after I had rediscovered my voice- " mum I have found the woman of my dreams. She is the love of my life. I want to spend the rest of my days with her." After a long chat I learned more about this precious
woman who was to be my daughter ( in law).

She had already been married and sadly her relationship stranded. In her previous situation she had suffered lots of grief. Now was her time to be happy. With my son. And although she was a few years older than he - they were and are a perfect match. I became oma to two lovely young boys and enjoyed the status enormously. I was the envy of friends and the first to reach this wonderful stage in my life.

Two grandsons, ready made. Gorgeous boys. Impish, sweet, sparky, gentle, loving and energetic. I loved them as an oma only can love her grandchildren.

Stage two - happy times met sad moments

"Mum just to let you know - you are to be oma again. We are expanding the family" Oh my joy knew no bounds.

The pregnancy had it's moments. They lived on a farm from the necessary services - but eventually all things settled. Then a dark cloud, my dad's failing health, interrupted the proceedings. I was devastated to realise I was to loose him. Also that he wasn't able to hold his first great grandson- a joyful moment he deserved to have had.

My son and his wife came over from Australia but unfortunately they were too late as the  moment they landed my dad died. Great sadness descended upon us all. My son who had hoped for his opa's blessing for the unborn child and his pregnant wife was truly saddened by his death. His love for his opa was genuine and ran deep. The day after the funeral they spent some time with my mum who embraced them and shared her love with them.

Watching from a distance

Things took a turn for the worse after returning to Australia. My daughter in law had to be hospitalised to protect the baby's well being (and hers). No email yet then, no skype. As they lived far from town - the distance travelled each day by my son was long and the months that followed were heavy going. The two boys were well taken care of - and visited their mum often.

In support I sent faxes daily, messages of love and support which were cheerfully received. Not only by my d-i-law but also by the staff who though this a wonderful way for me to be there - even though the distance was great.

The birth of their son was a happy moment. Not without tensions but all went well in the end. Joy of joys, and a gorgeous son entered our lives.

To be happy and to mourn

On my visits I enjoyed the company of the boys - each having their own distinct personalty. I got to know them better and better. You just don't realise how precious these moments are until life reminds you of it's fragility. The untimely death of one of the boys struck us in the very core of our being. A tragic accident which shook us on our foundation ended the life of Mitchell at the age of 17 in 2010. He may not be around to cuddle but in our hearts he will always stay. No one can take that away.

Déjà vu

Some time ago my eldest grandson met the love of his life - a young mum who had ended a unhappy relationship with the father of her two young children. I told my daughter in law - she was now an oma. Something she now realises how it had impacted on me al those years ago. This new situation made me an omaoma ( this sounds way nicer than great grandmother)

Recently I was told - "omaoma- we are to become proud parents of another child in our midst". Oh more joys and blessings. Life, full circle. Here we go again. My puzzle pieces all used up to make this picture complete. 

Is life perfect?

No, of course not. Oh yes it is. There will always be things in life we would like to happen in a way that fits our perception. No ups and downs, no unknown events or irregularities. Smooth sailing.

It appears that the expecting mum had a wee scare. Extra care is to be taken to protect this new life in being. Tensions because of the unknown events not te be controlled by us mere mortals cause other tensions. But that is no reason not to count blessings. However small or large.

I can now send emails and tekst messages and make use of Skype. Be there in other ways than in person. My blessings are in abundance. What a joy. What a miracle.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Time flies

...even when you are not having fun!

But in my case, it is all fun. Not simple, not without fatigue, down moments or pure dancing in the wind. But shifting has it's golden tint. Fresh and new we have started 2015 at our new address.

The boxes line the hallway and aren't all unpacked yet, the shelving in some cupboards haven't all be placed, the new set drawers for the bedroom is in a state of assembly, not ready for use however. Clothes still litter the floor.

View from  my office window
We have till Friday to empty the house of the rest of our belongings. We meet the buyers and Estate Agent there on Friday to do a 'check over' and read the meters. At 13:30 we hand over the key. Two weeks earlier than plannend. It suited both parties to shift the date forward. Did kinda stretch our capacity to stay afloat. But we coped, just.

January is in full swing and we are too. Today the technician arrived and installed internet. Our home is now 'connected' to the outside world. We have radio, tv, phone AND internet. We retired the old portable radio, decorated the wall with a flatscreen, booted up the computers and entered our codes for Internet. Hey bingo- it all worked. A few minor alterations and one hurdle to go - my printer can't find my computer - and we are airborne.

It excites me as well as unnerves me - this huge change in our situation. We have chosen for an apartment. Is this our 'last fase' we have entered into? You know, slowly letting go, that sort of thing. We are critical of the objects we save or discard. Who wants to find this or that once we are gone? Do we still need or will we read this or that? We have more nos' then yes'. Our space is a wee bit limited now - a house has more storage possibilities, a huge disadvantage for someone who develops sentimental value and showers it on gifts given, photos taken, dried flowers kept, baby toys nurtured and scrapbooks created. Have cupboard, loft or chest - will save! Oh danger danger!

Be gone.... you are no longer necessary or needed for 'later'. Yesterday I walked to a local primary school and left behind a few items I held dear from my teaching time. It sort of hurt and made happy at the same time. Hurt because I knew- no longer needed. Felt good because the teaching staff loved what I brough them for their students.

I need to 're-group'. Find my feet. A new schedule for the things that I need to do. It will take time to gather my wits and feel settled. Find a balance between work, home and play! But I will get there. The challenge is to keep sane, relaxed and calm in the process.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Week 1: 2015

The first week of - 2015 well underway.....

Wishing all my readers blessings in abundance, good health,  joys and laughter, and fortitude and wisdom for the less fun parts.

A clean slate.... A new beginning. And how will this year shape up for you?

Are you in the habit of setting goals, NY resolutions or take each day as it comes?

A few years ago I disciplined myself.... No commitments further that two weeks ahead. My diary had been nightmarishly full the previous years and I  had to disappoint people as I had booked myself up so far in advance that I sadly had to say no on quite a number of occasions for very special get togethers.

Once again, I have resolved to limit my engagements. It worked before, so is bound to again.

We have shifted home during this festive season. My aim is to 'get sorted' before Easter. A huge task believe you me! From a three level home to an apartment.

Writing routine to be re- installed, being very slap dash at present.

Wonder how my summing up - in December 2015 is going to shape up?

Happy days everyone....and see you again soon