Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

It’s been a big day. Woke up to discover my dream job for 2011 had been advertised on Monday, with submissions of applications by close of business YESTERDAY! (That’ll teach me for having a husband and two daughters all having birthdays this past week, and so not turning on my computer as much, won’t it!)

So I applied anyway. And then felt depressed all day. Youngest is teething (and whingy), middle child has a rash over her entire back from the neighbour’s over-chlorinated pool (and MEGA whingy) and eldest is… well… she’s just too like me on every day of the week, so we butt heads anyway. A LOT!

Hubby has been out at a staff retreat for the last few days, so he arrived home tonight. Just as I discovered a colony of ants were playing at falling out of the lovely home they had made in my cathedral ceilings, all over my lounge room. Over chairs, over cushions, over the inevitable collection of toys that accumulates throughout the day. Over literally everything. Yay. But thanks to my lovely twitter support group, a #virtualtweetup, and a pretty massive #sugarhit, I feel as though I can focus enough to blog for the day.

Hmmm… that’s right. My topic: momentous event in my life number four. The first time I felt ‘released’ from the emotional prison that was suffocating me. And again, I should probably fill in some details as to how I arrived in that prison in the first place. So settle in… this may take a moment or two…

Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post, once upon a time, I helped to lead a cult. Really? Yes. Really. In my second year of my B.Ed at Griffith, Mt Gravatt, I was sitting on the grass near the bus stop when a girl several years older than me walked up and, out of the blue, invited me to a Bible study. Shocked? Yes! Because how was she to know that, not 30 seconds earlier, I had just finished praying that I might be more committed to my Saviour, and that I would find the way to do this.

Long story short, I ‘studied the Bible’ with her – and her fellow “church” members – for the next ten days, a couple of hours at a time. (Wow! I must have had SO much free time on my hands back then!) By the middle of the studies, I could see where they were heading. Verses from the Bible had been chosen, and were studied in detail, in such a way that the proof was irrefutable – I was NOT (as I had thought all my life) saved, I was NOT a Christian, and only by joining this “church” would I then become a Christian, and be saved. Tell me tell you – I fought this and fought it! What they were saying was absolute anathema… but in all of it, I had to keep going back to the Bible. Seeing the words. And agreeing with their point of view, even though I didn’t want to, because, really, there was no other explanation. So I joined. And a few months later, moved out of my parents, into a “sisters” house, renting with other girls from the “church”. By Semester One of my third year, I was ‘in deep’. I had virtually lost all contact with my non-“church” friends, and my family. By the end of that semester, I was one of the two Interns. As in, the leader of the “church”, Jordie Barham at that time, and his wife, Paula, had one assistant (Intern) each, and together, the four of us led the whole of the Brisbane “church” – almost 200 members at that point in time. I had decided to postpone Semester Two, in order to devote 22 hours per day to my ‘work’, and I joked how I would tell my parents that it was just for the rest of the year, rather than (as I had planned) for the rest of my life.

But by September, I was completely burnt out. I had not yet succeeded in ‘being fruitful’ (converting someone through to “church” membership) and the Internship was stripped from me and given to another. A month or so later, I feigned illness on Sunday morning, and while everyone else was at church, put through a distress call to my parents. They picked me up, drove me around to the three different “sister’s houses” I had lived in and left possessions at, and then took me back to their house, before the others in the “church” were any the wiser. And then we all ignored the phone, which rang off the hook 24 hours a day for the next 4 days or so.

Still, I had left physically, but not left mentally or emotionally. I knew that when I had left their “church”, that I had walked away from my salvation. That I had turned my back on God. That I was going to hell. And I remained utterly convicted of that fact. Nothing could convince me otherwise. After all – I had seen it for myself, in the black and white words of the Bible.

I finished Uni and got married. I then fought constantly with my husband, as he, a Christian, couldn’t understand how I could be that ‘stubborn’ about my opinion. And then the inevitable happened. After two and a half years of marriage, we split up.

A week later, he came back. To find me as unrelenting as ever. I KNEW that I was going to hell, and nothing he could say or do would change that. He virtually begged me to go to marriage counselling. I agreed, but with the attitude that ‘nothing will change. They can’t convince me otherwise. I know it. I’ve seen it.’

So anyway, we went to counselling. Another couple, Graham Ballam and his lovely wife, the Baptist pastors at Victoria Point (where we were living) had one session with us. Just one. And then said, “You (two) don’t need marriage counselling. No – marriage counselling won’t work. Instead, you (Ceridwyn) need counselling. To get this wrong way of thinking out of your head. Because you’re wrong. What you believe. It’s wrong.”

My response? Sure. Bring it on. We agreed that I would go through ‘studying the Bible’ with them, each and every session, and I knew, I just KNEW, that by the end of it, I would have convinced them that they too, were not saved, not Christians, etc.

So it started. And it continued. And for every SINGLE verse, I explained the verse how the “church” had explained it to me. And then we would go back to the original meanings of the words themselves, in Hebrew and Greek, to the nuances of the verbs, to see whether the explanations provided by the “church” matched up with the reality of the original Hebrew and Greek words. And while the majority of them DID match up, there were one or two discrepancies. Maybe just in the ‘present continuous’ form of the verb being used, rather than what I had been taught, but it was enough. I saw a chink. A glimmer of light. And that was the beginning.

It took the best part of a fortnight. Hours and hours of debate, intense scrutiny of those same Biblical passages that had so convinced me of my hell-bound future. But it was worth it. By the end, I could smile. I could feel a peace that I hadn’t felt in years. And I felt, again, some hope. Again, just a glimmer… but it was a start. A release. I emerged from that prison a stronger person for being in there – and even more convicted of my God, and my salvation. So although I had endured quite a few years of being ‘bound and gagged’ (to quote the title of one of my brother’s movies), there was an end. A wonderful, wonderful end. Which, as it always does, resulted in a new beginning. Phew.

Well, that’s probably it for today. And I’d say that long enough too wouldn’t you agree?! Thank you for reading, and I’m heading back to say goodnight at that #virtualtweetup now…

 

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I’ve just recently started seeing the value in long term commitments. You see, I suffered (and sometimes still do, to be truthful) from pretty major depression as a teenager, and quite literally believed that I would never see January 1, 2000. I had worked out that I would be 26 years old, and, as I could never imagine myself EVER being ‘that old’ (“HA!” my brain is saying now,) I just assumed that I wouldn’t be around. That I’d be dead by then.

So, seeing 2000 was pretty momentous for me. But not enough to make the list I’m starting today: the six most momentous events in my life (to date). And the first would HAVE to be the day I commenced the long-distance “marathon” I hope to finish only on the day I die. (Which will hopefully be many, many, MANY years from now! I’ve kinda gotten used to this whole ‘living’ bit!)

The 18th of November, 1995 dawned just as the day before it had, and the day after it would. Nothing momentous there. I was up early, full of adrenalin and my brain working overtime with those “last minute” things which absolutely HAD to be done. Then it was a quick dash (no, I didn’t speed!) from the family home at Eight Mile Plains to the Stradbroke Ferries Water Taxi at Cleveland. Arriving with a couple of friends with a few minutes to spare, we clambered aboard the 6am Taxi and spent twenty minutes being jolted across to Dunwich. Once there, we made our way to the first of three destinations for the day. Meanwhile, up the hill, in the green house with the stupendous view overlooking the whole of the Bay, and the mainland from Coolangatta to Coolum, more people were busy, getting ready for the day’s activities. An informal bus service was set up, from the house down to the Water Taxi terminal, to collect the many visitors that would be arriving, and bring them either back to the house or take them to the second destination. Which itself was also a hive of activity – being decorated with flowers, ribbons, and candles, ready for the midday celebrations.

By 8am it was starting to heat up. So much so that by 9.30, it was raining. Enough to dampen the spirits of others, but not mine. I was determined that nothing could spoil this day for me… and sure enough, the rain stopped well before 11, leaving a cooler day and enough time to dry out the ground prior to the big event.

By midday, everyone had arrived that was meant to, and all had been transported to the second destination. St Marks Anglican Church – a tiny wooden building on the road north. It had louvres for windows, and each louvre was a different colour. “Perhaps the Australian version of stained glass windows?”  I joked later. Still, everyone was there, milling around, catching up with old friends and acquaintances, and meeting new ones. By 12.10 Pastor John Geoghegan could be seen checking his watch. He then started pacing from the altar to the front door, looking earnestly. He was there, ushering the last of the stragglers inside, when he caught sight of the car. He happily turned to the church and announced, ‘Well – Ceridwyn IS here’ and then took his place back at the altar.

Steeping out of the car in my dress and heels, veil over my face, I remember I couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. My father took my arm, and as the flower girl and bridesmaid walked ahead, I thought to myself, “Well – this is it!”

It’s now over fifteen years later. I’m 36, and on the 18th of November 2010, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. No, it hasn’t always been easy. Some of it’s been downright TOUGH. But without that first day, I wouldn’t be sitting here now, on the 18th of January 2010, proud of the longest commitment I’ve ever had. (Well, with the exception of being alive, that is.) Without that first day, I wonder if I would indeed lived to see January 1 2000, even. Looking back, I’m very glad I DID live to see it – and glad that I’ve seen every day since then, too!

Well that’s it. The most momentous event in my life. My wedding to the man of my dreams (yes, literally!) on the 18th of November, 1995. A brilliant event. One I’m so appreciative I’ve experienced. And I hope you don’t mind my sharing it with you today.

So – any thoughts on YOUR most momentous event?

Just thought I’d look up the meaning of that phrase ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’. I mean – I kinda knew it meant ‘to openly display your emotions’, but I just wanted to check. Didn’t know it was from the Bard! But it was used with a negative connotation – the devious Iago, in Othello, planned to fake it.

People say I do this. Wear my heart on my sleeve. For real though, not feigning it! (I think!) Which I guess  can be a good thing. Yes, I’d be hopeless at poker (BlackJack is the game I’m addicted to, anyway – again, another story for another post!) but on the other hand (Tevye‘s singing in my head right now…) I’d like to think that I’m someone that others can trust. That isn’t fake, or so reserved that it’s hard to get to know me.

So the word for today, Day 6 of 7 posts on ‘Important Words in my life”, is ‘open’. And yes, I realise that in yesterday’s post I made mention of bi-polar disorder. Which doesn’t seem to have much at all to do with being ‘open’, except for the fact that I tend to be open about my emotions. And it’s the scope of my emotions that make me sometimes believe that I might have tendencies toward bi-polar. As in, I fit that nursery rhyme down PAT “When she was good, she was very, very good. And when she was bad, she was horrid!” My default position is to vaccillate between being euphoric and hyper-positive about everything (I prefer this state to the other!) and being depressed. I’ve never been officially diagnosed, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if a diagnosis was positive, were I to take the test. Not that it worries me too much. Early in 2009, I spent some time seeing a psychiatric nurse, and the techniques she taught me have helped tremendously, so I am immensely thankful for that!

Anyway, I feel as though I’ve waffled enough for today. And I’d like some sleep in case my boy starts screaming again in a few hours…

Thanks for reading!

 

I’d say that today’s offering is the one word most people use to describe me. Organised. Which can be a good thing – if kept in moderation. If taken to its anal-retentive extremes however, as I admit to sometimes, it can (I’m sure!) be pretty bloody annoying for those around me – especially my poor long-suffering hubby and three kids!

Let’s focus on the positives, though. Being organised can mean that your life, (and others too, don’t forget!) runs more smoothly. At least, that’s what I like to think. And I’m always wanting to be helpful! Hehe.

I mentioned in an earlier post all I was involved in last semester. I ran myself ragged, and lived on adrenalin. (And chocolate!) But I survived, as did my children and (amazingly enough!) my marriage – just – due to my organisational abilities. Which I guess I’m pretty proud of, even though I sometimes dwell on the negative and berate myself for how badly I let things, relationship-wise, slip on the home front.

So yes, I guess any list of seven ‘Important Words in my Life’ probably wouldn’t be complete without including this one. But I guess it’s not something I’m particularly proud of, as this seems (to me, anyway) to be turning into a pretty blah post. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I’m exhausted from a VERY long day, so shall leave this for now and tomorrow regale you with my notions of bi-polar disorder…

Stay safe, dear readers!

As the Bard had Hamlet say, a few hundred years ago, “though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down”. The written word can be so powerful. Truth needs to play a balancing act with tact. Words, words, words. They’ve been on my mind of late, and not only since commencing blogging 19 days ago. (Only four more days and it’s a fully fledged habit, isn’t that right? They say it takes three weeks…)

@fionawb used her 12 posts in #blog12daysxmas to regale us with 12 important words in her life. Graham Kell, my pastor at Chancellor Park Community Church, mentioned yesterday that the 2010 Word of the Year was ‘App’. Both of these got me wondering about the application of important words in my own life. If I had a ‘word of the day’ each day, what would it be? Could I find seven words important to me, enough to fill a week’s worth of posts? I didn’t know, but I’m planning to find out. And by the end of this week, we can all see just how well I went! So. The ‘Word of the Day’ for today? Day One of seven ‘Important Words in my Life”…

Integrity. A concept I like to think that I live my life by. “My word is my bond.” I want to be a person who is trustworthy. If I commit to something, I want to be able to see it through, “come hell or high water”. I guess it stems from my pride, which I have in spades. (And yes, I know that that’s not necessarily a good thing.) But be that as it may, I’ll keep my word once I give it. And hopefully, that’s not so bad. (And on another ‘word-related’ thought, I thought it’d be fun to include a few clichés in my writing this week. How many can you find?)

Anyway, that’s it. My Day One offering – integrity. Tune in tomorrow for Day Two’s word… and have a lovely day today, dear readers!

 

The Roman Empire. 350AD. Constantine’s legacy is being fought over by his three sons. The new state religion, Christianity, is fumbling to find its feet, as civil war rages across the known world.

Ancient Rome – the setting for my forthcoming novel. Forthcoming, as in: conception has occurred, but I’ve barely reached the end of the first month of the first trimester. And considering conception occurred a few years back, it will most likely be a number of years before the ‘possibly-getting-close-to-being-published-now’ stage. And yes, I feel guilty about that. In our instant society, it seems as though to take your time over something is an indication of something being ‘wrong with you’. Which is sad, I think. (But possibly accurate in my case, anyway!) But it’s true though – how often do modern writers produce at least a novel a year – or if not, then one every few years? Actors are known for what films they have released, and how regularly they work – musicians, too. In fact, I would say that most industries are the same, as it’s a symptom of the time, not of the media. We’re an instant, output-based world now, and the days of a novelist spending years if not decades agonising over a manuscript, are long gone. Which is a pity. But still…

This post is the first of four on ‘places I want to visit prior to death or rapture’. D’Oh! Can’t visit Ancient Rome. Bumma! So I guess modern Rome will have to do. And once there, I guess I’ll just have to do the touristy thing and visit all those places where the ‘Ancient Rome’ has been preserved. Further research on my novel. I want to walk where Theophilus walked and see what he saw. Maybe not smell what he smelled, exactly, but at least be able to imagine it!

So why Ancient Rome, exactly? Well, I first fell in love with the historical novel when I spent many an hour with Brother Cadfael as a teenager. Being half-Welsh myself, I felt a connection with Ellis Peters’ creation, and developed a fascination with her ability to conjure character profiles and detailed storylines from historical figures and factual events. And Rome of 350AD? Well, I’m a Christian. And for almost a decade now, I’ve been interested in the Hebrew Roots of my faith, and the growth of the ‘Church’ in the West, particularly from the time of Constantine onwards.

So yes, that’s why Ancient Rome – or Rome, at least – makes the list of Top 4 places to visit. Tomorrow’s destination is closer to home. Well – it’s in Australia, anyway. So stay tuned, dear readers, and have a lovely rest-of-the-day!

 

I can’t recall coming across many sarcastic songs. But I think I’ve just realised, at the age of 36, that “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which I had always thought of as a beautiful love song, is one such song. Over the past twelve days, I’ve looked at each and every gift, making comment on the meaning behind the gift, and the possible intention of the giver – the so-called ‘True Love’.

Initially, I was impressed at his pragmatism. He gave gifts that showed his understanding of the real world. That relationships need practicality too. The partridge and pear tree, both edible, came before the two turtle doves – symbols of devoted love. Hens and more edible birds followed.

As the days went past, the ‘True Love’s organisational skills impressed me. Not only was he able to source some pretty interesting gifts (geese that always laid, swans known for their singing ability) but he also managed to get a LOT of them. Six geese per day, since Day 6, means (let’s see my maths skills in action again, shall we…) that today we now stand at 42 geese. Seven swans per day since day 7 means 42 of them too. That’s a lot, in my opinion. Finding them, purchasing them and organising them all to arrive on the exact day that they were needed, would have been a task-and-a-half as well, I’d say.

But then the sheer enormity of her household started making more and more of an impression. By Day 8 we were adding people. Milkmaids (with cows, I’m assuming), then ladies dancing, then leaping lords (which again would have been a difficult find!). And finally yesterday, we added musicians. Eleven bagpipers would certainly add to the cacophony.

All of which led to my change in opinion. From incredulity, to suspicion. (Okay, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I’ll admit it. Took me til Day 11.) With that much noise, I’m now of the opinion that his intentions may actually have been the opposite of what I had originally thought. I’m starting to think that he may not have been particularly fond of the singer – rather, he wanted to give her a mental breakdown. My proof? Circumstantial, I admit it, but still. Today’s gift is drummers. Twelve of them. All drumming. What’s the bet that they don’t just perform one song?! So by now, we have… 12 drummers, 22 bagpipers, 30 lords flirting with 27 dancing ladies and 40 milkmaids (and I’m guessing, at LEAST 40 cows), 42 swans, 42 geese, 40 pheasants, 36 blackbirds, 30 hens, 22 turtle doves, 12 partridges and 12 pear trees (well… at least they’re quiet!)

Now I don’t know about you, but that to me sounds as though he has had a bit of an agenda, and disguised it with supposed kindness. Sneaky. Underhanded. Not the nicest person you’d want to be your ‘True Love’. So all in all, I’m left feeling rather disappointed. I hadn’t expected that this process would end up as a bit of a downer. Sorry, folks.

On a happier note though, I must admit that I’m very glad I joined in this #blog12daysxmas challenge. I had expected it to be a more difficult task, blogging each day, than it was. Maybe it was easier due to holidays, or something, but now that I’ve started, I’ve decided to continue blogging. And I like the idea of using a ‘list’ on which to structure my writing. @haikugirlOz gave me the idea, actually, tweeting about Wilsons Promenade – a place I’d love to go to, but haven’t. (Yet!) So that’s my plan. Starting tomorrow, I’ll work through the Top 4 places I’d like to visit one day, and why. Stand tuned for Ancient Rome, this time tomorrow! Have a lovely rest-of-the-day, dear readers!!!

The pipes, the pipes are calling… For today’s gift, the second last, the true love adds eleven pipers to his collection of partridge, pear tree, two turtle doves, three hens, four blackbirds, five pheasants, six geese, seven swans, eight milkmaids (and accompanying cows), nine ladies, and ten lords. Just what I’d need, were I her. Imagine the ruckus, the sheer density of sound assaulting your ears on a minute-by-minute basis. Add in the sound of a bagpipe or eleven. Wow. Pretty insane.

I have suffered from the odd headache (or several) in my life. Actually, that’s a bit of a massive understatement. I used to get headaches very frequently. A stress thing, combined with a LOT of lack-of-sleep thing. At one stage, my daily dose of panadol stood at 8. For days (actually, more like weeks) on end. Then I went and had acupuncture on my shoulders / upper back / neck, for a pulled muscle. About three weeks later, I realised that I hadn’t touched the panadol packet for ages, and worked out that my last tablet was the day of the acupuncture. So you’re reading the words of someone COMPLETELY sold on the benefits of needles. Just so you know.

Anyway, I would say that the singer may also need some pampering after being around all this noise. I’ve listened to someone playing the bagpipes close up, and it was loud. Ever heard that joke, “Why do bagpipers march when playing? To get away from the noise!” Well, I get that. But to have eleven pipers close by, and presumably standing still? Well, I’d be hoping that the tune they were playing was a short one. With no encores.

I know… that’s pretty harsh, and it sounds as though I’m not too fond of the bagpipe and its resulting sounds. Well, I’ll admit to the harshness, but I’ll negate the opinion. I actually love the sound of a bagpipe. But eleven may be too many. And when that gets included to the bird calls, the cows lowing, 32 milkmaids nattering with 27 dancers and all of them flirting with the 20 lords, I’d say the resulting noise would be fairly cacophonic. Makes me wonder why the true love was sending them. (And tomorrow we’re going to get drummers added to the mix?!) Maybe we’ve got it all wrong, and he wasn’t devoted to her at all? Rather, he wanted to break up and was devoted to the idea of sending her insane? Hmmm…

Oh well. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Have a lovely rest-of-the-day!