looking forward to a new year

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It's nearly the new year. 2016 is just around the corner and I can't wait to leap in and see what it has in store for me. I wrote about some of the good things and the changes that 2015 brought with it, so I am keen to see what lies ahead. I'm not usually so positive about where I'm heading, but this year it just feels right to look forward instead of back to what has been and gone.

when the kids came home for Christmas

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A week or so ago I wrote a post here about the anticipation of having our adult children and their spouses come home for Christmas. Christmas is now behind us and they've left to go back to their own homes and lives....but not before I do a recap of what this family Christmas meant to me!

this is what CHRISTmas is all about

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Sometimes in all the hustle and bustle of Christmas it's good to take a moment to remember why we celebrate this special day. I saw this beautiful and moving clip on Youtube and had to share it because it is what the CHRISTmas story is really all about.

a midlife Christmas

I think as you grow older your christmas list gets smaller and the things you really want for the holidays can't be bought.

I think I am on the same page as most women my age when it comes to Christmas - it's not about the presents or the colour co-ordinated decorations or the carols or the Christmas lights, what Christmas truly is about is family. The nativity family and the joy of a Saviour born to save the world, but also our own little families that gather together to celebrate this special time.

suffering from a bad case of P.O.P.D

the perfect Christmas - and I'm just a little POPD

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw a quote (on Pinterest of course) asking for forgiveness for the person's OCD problem. I thought that I was the only person around with OCD - Obsessive Christmas Disorder. I can't help myself... I like my Christmas tree to look balanced and colour coordinated - with a different colour scheme each year. I'm not a decorator or stylist by any means, but I have a very orderly mind and there are certain things that are required when putting up the tree.

when the "kids" come home for Christmas

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I've always been guilty of wanting a Very Brady Christmas - it's one of the first things I ever blogged about because I've had to learn the lesson that real life Christmas and Brady Christmases rarely intersect. I've learned over the years to accept whatever I can get in family time over the holiday break and be grateful that I see my children for whatever time they can fit me in.

fake it til you make it

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The expression "fake it til you make it" was something I heard back in the days when I worked at a government call centre. Because it was the government, there were always changes to policy and new stuff popping up every day. It could all be a little daunting at times. Team coaching was a big part of the culture of the organization and this was a catch cry that our team was taught.

an excuse is worse than a lie

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An interesting thing about having my mother staying with me is seeing how my values have changed over the years. Every so often she will say something from a world view that is completely alien to me, one I realize that I grew up with but have moved on from as I have become my own person.

looking back before looking forward

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The end of the year brings with it a time of reflection and I'm sure there will be a lot of blogs looking back over the year that has been and almost gone. I think it's good to look back in a positive way - not to regret what's happened, but to look at how far we've come over the 12 months that have passed.

keeping the connection alive

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I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my mum is staying with us for a month or so after having knee replacement surgery. It has been a steep learning curve having her living in our (previously) empty nest and it has made more of an impact on my relationship with my husband than I would have expected.

beginnings, middles and ends

Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle. Jon Acuff

I have been a fan of Jon Acuff for many years - his "Stuff Christians Like" blog was one of the first blogs (in fact it was THE first blog) I ever read regularly. He has since moved on and done lots of other amazing stuff - but in that blog he often came up with some excellent one-liners and the quote above was one of them.

where I'm from

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A few months ago I read the poem by George Ella Lyon titled "Where I'm From" and then found that it had been used as inspiration for a writing exercise. There was a template presented here that gave a starting point and I couldn't resist the challenge to try my hand at it too.

simple and to the point - no more shrinking!

most of my life has been spent trying to shrink myself....less needy, less me....  Daniell Koepke

I'm not going to say much in this post, I think Daniell Keopke says it all. If you've got a moment, read the quote above all the way through, it is the summing up of how I have felt all my life - always making myself less to fit in with the expectations of others. I've come to see my midlife as my time for claiming back who I truly am - the real "me". The words "I am done shrinking" is what my life now is all about.

"My thoughts matter. My feelings matter. My voice matters." This is so true and so profound and simply states what life is about for me today. No more seeking approval from others and no more choosing to shrink myself to fit in their little boxes. No, I am doing my best to be the authentic "me" who is brave enough to say "take me or leave me, but this is who I am!"


a lot can happen in a year - it's my first blogiversary!

a LOT can happen in ONE year! My blog's first anniversary

I can't believe that it's been a year since I started this blog! The time has just flown past and what started as a place to put down a few thoughts, has turned into one of the most enjoyable things I've ever done. Who'd have thought that something so straightforward could have such a positive impact?

it's not the problem, it's how we deal with it

nothing good ever comes easy

This week's #Friday Reflection is: "Reflect about or champion a cause close to your heart"

I thought I'd write a little bit about how things are going with the little boy I mentor through a program called Kids Hope. This is a program that links a church with a local primary school and the school chooses children who would benefit from some one to one time. The church provides the volunteers, who each get matched up with a child for an hour every week. A small amount of time that can make a real difference in that child's life.

sometimes you need the patience of a saint!

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SAINT OR SINNER?

Caring for an incapacitated mother can be very good for building up those quality character traits that you didn't know you were lacking in. I always assumed I was a relatively patient human being - not a Saint, but not a screaming loony when dealing with the quirks of others. That was until my mother moved in for a few weeks!

4 new hats to wear while I'm a carer

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WHEN YOUR MOTHER COMES TO STAY

There was a big change in our peaceful empty nest last week.....my mother moved in with us for a few weeks while she recovers from knee replacement surgery. She lives alone in the city and there was no way in the world I would let her go home on crutches! This decision has brought with it a few changes in my usual routine.

7 things about me

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This week's #Friday Reflection is: "tell us 7 things about yourself" so sit down and grab a cuppa while I dredge through my life history and try to come up with seven things about me that won't bore the pants off you while you're reading them!

we were made for so much more

The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it, but to soar, stumble and flourish as you learn to fall in love with existence. We were born to live my dear not to merely exist. – Becca Lee

What a beautiful quote! This sums up perfectly the lessons I've learned over the last few years. Life is not about just enduring and getting through each day. This way of thinking can settle into our minds when a few things go wrong and before we know it we are trudging through life thinking that is what living is all about.

Instead, we can choose to learn from the setbacks and get back up and reset our focus and find joy in the rest of life's ups an downs. So much depends on our attitude and expectations of this life we have been given to live.

Let's "soar, and stumble, and flourish" and live this life to the fullest before it's gone and it's too late. Merely existing is not enough - I'm aiming to thrive!

memories of being a young mum

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As I look at my grown and flown adult children, I have moments where I slip back in time and think about them when they were little and how naive I was as a new mum. I'm a fairly logical and ordered person and I assumed parenting would be a straightforward exercise of a + b = c. In other words, love + discipline = perfect offspring. Little did I know......

how I'm becoming an enthusiast for life

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I've read many, many articles on "finding your passion" that tell me that my life is not complete unless I find something that I am completely passionate about. I think there is a lot to be said for swapping the word "passionate" with the word "enthusiastic". That way you can embrace lot of different experiences without being zoomed in on just one.

do I have the right to write?

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There are so many blogs out there written by people who have exciting or dramatic lives. People who have experienced loss, or pain, or passion, or innumerable life events that I have no claim to. When I think about these writers, I wonder if I have the right to write too?

the invisible woman revisited

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This week's #Friday Reflection is to "revisit an old post" and I suppose by inference, to reflect on it and see whether anything has changed. So I chose a post I wrote back in February about the phenomenon that is the "invisible" middle aged woman

my favourite age is ~ Now!

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

Getting older has a lot of little niggles that go with it......the body isn't all it used to be, the hormones are running all over the place, I ache in places I never gave a thought to, I'm putting on weight without trying......and so the list goes on.

Sometimes I wonder if things were better in my 20's, or 30's, or 40's when my body was younger and life was sometimes easier. But when I stop to actually think back to what my life was like during those decades, it would be nice to visit for a day or so - but I wouldn't want to turn back the clock and live there permanently.

Midlife is a really good time of life - there is freedom and time to myself, and still plenty of good times to be had. It's a great stage of life to be in and I actually do think that it is my favourite age. Maybe my 60's or 70's will be even better, but for now I'm content with where I am and that is a real blessing.


what was true then is still true now

They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny. Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder was a very wise woman - she lived through some very austere times and yet she and her family survived and thrived. I still remember where she describes her excitement and pleasure with what she and her sister received for Christmas when they were living in Kansas....

my top 5 resolutions for a regret free life

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

Life is short and it's too easy to let it run away from you while you are trying to be all things to all people. As a woman I think it becomes a snare and an obligation where you can allow yourself to be taken for granted and lose yourself in the process.

We forget that we have choices - more choices than women our age have ever had. It's time to use those choices to decide how to spend the years ahead wisely. 

ticking stained glass off my bucket list

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

Last week was my birthday and my present from my lovely husband was a two day stained glass/leadlighting course. I have wanted to try my hand at this for years but never had the time or the opportunity. Both of these came together unexpectedly and off I went in trepidation to see if my complete lack of crafting ability extended to this too.

what brings a tear to your eyes?

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This week's #Friday Reflection question was: "what brings a tear to your eyes?"

I wracked my brains a bit over this one because I don't cry very much at all nowadays. Then I thought back to my life a few years ago where I was crying all.the.time. I was having a big hiccup in my marriage, I felt irrelevant as a mother because my children were independent and living away from home, I hated my job, and so the list went on. Then things changed.....

I get to decide who I am

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

I'm not sure how the younger generation got so wise, but this quote from the lovely Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) is so relevant to how we should be living our lives.

It has taken me 50+ years to stop letting other people direct my life - to know that I don't have to answer to my parents, my peers, my husband, my children, my co-workers, or anybody else for that matter. The one and only person who decides who I am is little old (well not too old!) me.

Knowing who I am and I what I want out of life has come a little later for me than it has for Emma, but it's not too late and I intend to take full ownership of my journey and the type of person I am and the legacy I want to leave, and I'm happy to take my inspiration wherever I find it - thanks Emma!

celebrating "delicious ambiguity" for my birthday

celebrating "delicious ambiguity" for my birthday

It's my birthday today - I had to pause to think how old I actually am - I'm sticking with "early 50's" for now because I still scrape in! Birthdays are a time of life where you stop and take stock of where you've been and where you're going.......and that's something that I'm still trying to work out. I know where I've come from but I'm still figuring out where I'm ultimately headed.

three midlife affirmations

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This is a little mantra I found in passing on Tumblr - nobody seemed to attribute it to an actual author (other than 'unknown') but I loved how profound it was and how it spoke to me the moment I first read it. So much of it resonates with how I'm trying to live my life.

there is so much more to life than a job

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

I worked full time last week while my co-worker was on holidays - visiting her daughter on the other side of the country. It's only been five months since I left my old job where I worked almost full time, but after only working two days a week for these last few months, I certainly noticed the impact of working Monday to Friday again.

what does your soul look like?

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This week's #Friday Reflection is: "What do you wish others knew about you…"

I think my answer would be that I wish they could see my soul and know what is at the heart of who I am (not the superficial physical 'me' that they see on the surface). But the question then becomes....."what does my soul actually look like?" 


Happiness is letting go

Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is." - Mandy Hale.

So many people are unhappy because they don't believe their life is turning out the way they'd planned it. They had hopes and dreams and visions of grandeur that are slowly fading into the reality of day to day life.

Midlife crises occur when people stop and take stock of their life and realize that it is never going to be what they had imagined - they will never achieve all the goals they had envisaged. They will never be as rich, or famous or whatever as they'd assumed they'd be by this point in time.

Maybe there is a different type of midlife crisis - one where you stop and think to yourself how good life is despite not being the life you had planned for. Maybe things haven't turned out quite the way you expected - but they are still pretty darn good and when you look at things with gratitude you come to see that there is a lot of life worth celebrating and being happy about!

leaving the chaos behind

I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction.  ― Melody Beattie

I grew up in Australia in the 1970's. While lots of girls my age were out experimenting and having a good time, I was being the good daughter who did what she was told and made sure I never overstepped the line. I grew up in a chaotic family with a narcissistic father, a complicit mother and rules that changed regularly - all in my father's favour! It made life very difficult for us all.

going with the flow versus micro-managing

You are trying too hard!! Abraham Hicks

One of my biggest faults is my need to micro-manage every detail of my life. This includes what I'm doing at any given time and also the people who are around me. It kicks in big time when I'm facing a new situation or something a bit scary - its seems to be my go-to method for dealing with stress.

walking the line when dealing with ageing parents

the hardest part of growing up is realizing your parents are growing old

We've just spent some time with my in-laws trying to find them a possible house to move to now that they are getting old and frail. The only fly in the ointment is that they still see themselves as sprightly sixty year olds - which is as far from reality as you can get.

circuses, monkeys and a life motto

"Not my circus......not my monkeys"

This week's #Friday Reflection is "the words or motto you live by is....."

And my answer is the quote above - "Not my circus......not my monkeys" which is apparently a Polish saying that basically means "not my problem."

I discovered this quote on Pinterest (oh how I love Pinterest!) and it has stuck with me ever since, probably because it spoke volumes about my approach to life and the changes I needed to make.

never apologize.....

Never apologize for your age, your body, your opinion, or your past.

I have spent way too many years saying "I'm sorry" for way too many things! At times it feels like I've used it as a punctuation mark or a way to excuse having an opinion on something that might be different or less acceptable.

Part of this is the baggage that comes from being a woman who grew up in a conservative, male dominated home. Part of it comes from being a people pleaser. Part of it comes from lack of confidence in myself. Part of it is feeling that my opinion doesn't really count in the grand scheme of things.

But midlife comes with a few bonuses - one of those is that I don't have to apologize as much any more. I can accept myself and my opinions - I know I have worth, I've put in the hard yards and I'm entitled to speak up. I also know that I am more aware of when to keep my mouth shut - so if I think I have something worthwhile to say, then I don't want to have to feel apologetic for speaking out. A considered opinion has value - and so does the person giving it - and that would be me!

living and loving the afternoon of life

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Getting older is something that happens to all of us. Many in today's world are doing all they can to fight the process and stay young. It all comes down to appearance for them and trying to keep the ageing process at bay. Perhaps a better way to approach life would be to get on with living it so well that you don't notice you're getting older.

how do you define abundance?

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I was thinking about what a rich and meaningful word "abundance" was......and then I got to thinking how the meaning of "abundance" changes depending on your world view and what you consider to be important in life.

we interrupt this blog with a very important notice!

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Yes! I'm going to be a Nan - it's officially up on facebook so I can do a shout out to Nana-dom! What more can I say other than I'm stoked that our son and his lovely wife are having our first grandbaby - due April 24th next year.

becoming a not-too-crazy cat lady

home is where my cats are - finding out I'm a cat person

This week's #Friday Reflection topic is: "Reflect on how having a pet has changed your life"

I spent the first half of my life thinking I was a "dog person". I grew up in a 1970's home with the prerequisite dog and a budgie (all Australian kids have a dog and a budgie at some stage) and it was the same with all my friends - I didn't know a single person with a cat.

opening up like a rose

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A wonderful quote that inspires me - if my life isn't opening up at this stage, then when is it going to get the chance to do so? I'm taking every opportunity that comes my way to bloom! I want the second half of life to be about growing and opening up and finding my real purpose.

The second half of life can see people close in on themselves and distance themselves from the world around them. That's not for me, I want to expand myself and embrace change and find my place in this society we live in. To be open to new experiences and to not be judgemental of others and their choices.

choosing to say no to self pity

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My husband has this D.H. Lawrence quote as the screen saver on his computer. It's a reminder to him that self pity is a human condition and one that we need to combat wherever possible. Nobody likes a light sucker and nobody wants to be around someone who is always feeling sorry for themselves.

3 nitty gritty life lessons

This is life. People will screw you over. You’ll fight with your family. You’ll witness things that will change you forever.

How many truisms are contained in the words above? Somewhere along the way we were told life would be easy and smooth sailing on a balmy day. Somebody forgot to mention the nitty gritty details that make up part of our lives.....the bits that build character and stop us becoming too smug. Three of those things I've listed here.....

four months down the track in my new job

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People often talk or write about new jobs and new adventures and the excitement that goes with them - or (in my case) the low grade terror of launching into the unknown. You don't always get an update of how the journey has progressed and whether it lived up to the initial hopes and expectations.

impossibly easy apple roses

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I'm not the world's greatest cook (not even the world's not-so-greatest cook!) So desserts aren't usually something I try my hand at very often. I have a couple of go-to recipes that are fairly fail safe and I use them most of the time. But it's Saturday and I thought I'd step out of my comfort zone and try something new and share it if it was successful.

successful parenting 101

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This week's #Friday Reflection is "Is motherhood how you imagined it?" 

I guess my answer would be "yes" and "no"....... "yes" because I am extremely proud of how my children have turned out and how independent and self-sufficient they are. The "no" part is the little bit of my mother's heart that wants to hold on long after my children have grown and flown, where I still want to be a major part of their lives. The whole idea of successful parenting is learning to detach and most of the time I manage to do it quite well - there's just a little twinge now and then!

for the love of jigsaw puzzles

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The latest craze for adult stress relief is colouring-in. It seems like every woman and her dog has jumped onto the colouring bandwagon. The young guy at the supermarket checkout even told me he'd just bought an adult colouring-in book from his local bookstore while he was away on holidays. Then he started waxing lyrical about the specific brand of colouring pens he needed to buy to be able to do the tricky bits with!

have you ever "ghosted" someone?

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'Ghosting' is a term being thrown around on the interwebbities a lot lately. Apparently it's the new way to leave a relationship without suffering the pain and embarrassment of actually having the "it's not you, it's me" conversation or writing the "Dear John" letter.

feeling like I'm seventeen again


I am not a big fan of high school reunions. I went to a large high school in the city and I've never been back for a reunion. I still keep in touch with a few of my friends from those days via facebook but as for the rest, well I haven't missed them in the last 35 years so I doubt I'll be in a hurry to see any of them again! But there is one type of reunion that I never miss and they are the ones organized for the youth group I attended as a teenager.

speaking life into my marriage

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When you've been married for a very long time you come to realize how important it is to invest in the person who you have made a life long vow to. It's so easy to take each other for granted and to not show appreciation. It's also easy to make "funny" comments about the other person that can be hurtful or unhelpful.

being content with less than you expected

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

This week's #Friday Reflection was to choose a quote that has touched me this week" and I thought of the one above about contentment - such an overlooked emotion in today's "give me give me" world of discontent. It seems everyone is looking for the next big promotion, the next big holiday, the next big romance or the next big crisis to keep things exciting. People constantly complain about the cost of living and how much they need to earn to live a life that they think is satisfactory. Contentment gets lost in the process.

choose to be happy

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

I loved this quote from Joel Osteen. So often we let our happiness depend on our reaction to the others. If thy do something awful, unkind or are just plain thoughtless, we let that drag our mood down. 

Now that I'm in the second half of my life, I don't want to waste time being sad or bitter. I want to choose happiness as my first response to everything. I want to learn to let the actions of others wash over me and not drag me down with them.

Life is indeed short and I plan on choosing happiness as often as possible!