All posts filed under: Encouragement

I didn’t know what MTB meant. Now I’m doing it.

We pause at the top of the track, checking tyres, shoelaces, helmet straps – but mostly – checking our resolve. Straddling the aluminium frame, my toes barely touch the dirt. The bike’s not mine. It belongs to a friend who’s about a metre taller. And we push away, coasting along the gentle beginning of a track that quickly hacks like the pattern on a heart rate monitor. My face is a muddle of adrenaline-fed joy and white fear, my mouth’s smile-scream catching the dust clouding around us. The Lego block tread of my tyres propels me over cobbled rocks, some splintered and sharp. Around the sweeping berms*. Over tree roots. A quick veer to avoid a blue-tongue sunning himself mid-track. Grasses and ferns lash at my legs. A joey darts ahead. The perfume of Peppermint Gum is intoxicating. Cicada song and the screech of rosellas compete with the whir of gears and our sporadic squeals as we hurtle along the rugged track. This is our first ride. My long-time friend and I thought we’d give …

You Forgot One Love Language, Mr Chapman!

I’d just done the groceries. I was standing at the boot unloading bags of shopping while simultaneously instructing Master Five to jump in the car, and placating Miss Two with offers of treats if she just sits tight in the trolley until I’d finished. It’s always a tricky moment that follows. Do I strap both kids into the car and make a dash to return the trolley, or do I juggle them there and back on account of the fact that it’s technically illegal to leave children alone for any length of time in a car, unsupervised? On this occasion, my dilemma was solved before I even had a chance to give it much consideration. A man walked up having just deposited his own trolley and said, “Can I return that for you?” Yes, I said, and he did, and I thanked him over and over, buckled the kids in and drove away feeling like singing. Something upbeat, you know, like from The Sound of Music. And it’s really odd, because I’ve thought of that …

My All Time Favourite Birthday Present

It’s an awkward thing, opening presents, isn’t it? Kids have this marvellous rite of passage to react authentically to the gift they have just unwrapped. If they throw it to the side or make some brazen comment like, “It’s just clothes!” – we laugh at them, call them cute for speaking their mind. But in Adult Land, whether it’s a wonderfully thoughtful birthday gift or an I-grabbed-it-from-the-newsagent-on-the-way-here gift, there’s a certain etiquette to be adhered to. The card must be opened first, for example. A comment on the wrapping doesn’t go astray. Some will employ humour by wrestling a little with the method of wrap adhesion (tape, string, staples…) before ripping the paper apart with childish gusto (delightful diversion tactic, really). There might be layers to peel back, building tension to crescendo as cellophane, bubble wrap, tissue paper and styrofoam are gently removed to reveal… what? The moment of truth: can you let your genuine reaction free? Or will you be needing those rusty high school drama class skills once again? It was my birthday today. Would you …

A Wild Child of God

I’m no footy head. I do read the newspaper, but to be completely honest, as far as I’m concerned it ends after the classifieds. What’s that? There’s a sports section? Nope. Don’t believe it. So it was hubby who alerted me to an article on former rugby league player Jarryd Hayne (aren’t we the stereotypical couple!). This guy used to play fullback for the Parramatta Eels here in Australia before deciding to switch codes and countries at the height of his career. He’s kind of a big deal. To clarify – for those who, like myself, start to glaze over when sporting acronyms are bandied about – Mr Hayne now plays for the 49ers, an NFL (National Football League) team in the US. Everyone’s been like, ‘Why’d you do that?’ And Hayne gave an answer recently for an official 49ers podcast. “Every person in the Bible got put out in the wild,” he said. “God wanted to test their faith and see what they would rely on. And I felt like that, for me, was …

The NY Resolution that Exceeded Expectation.

Flicking to my journal entries from this time last year was a deflating exercise – not only because there were so few pages to flick through, but because the scribblings under the heading New Years Resolutions were largely unrealised. I made some feeble initial efforts, but life shouldered in on these well-intentioned plans to build character, skill and achievement. Oh well, there’s always 2016! But I want to tell you about the one aspiration that did become a reality – and so much better than I could have anticipated. I love reading. For me, the holiday sensation comes when I am diving headlong into fiction narrative – from the comfort of an armchair, banana lounge or hammock. I read to escape. Which is why, pre-2015, were you to espouse the merits of so-and-so’s latest autobiography, self-help book or account of lifechange, my eyes would have glazed over. I wanted to like those books. I wanted to allow my life to be altered by them. I wanted to rave with friends over the way those books had opened …

Pack These Words for the Journey

We were sitting around on the grass under the lovely Spring sun, her face splashing all over us while, within eyesight, the kids squawked and imagined other worlds and pushed little bums down slides. Drinking up the bliss of adult company, we were a rabble of mothers comparing notes on parenting. Conversations like these lurch erratically from behavioural woes and toilet-training mishaps to school uniform orders and an amicable if somewhat competitive exchange of sentences that begin with, “My darling did the cutest thing…” This day, we were navigating the topic of sleep deprivation. Some of us have had a bad go thanks to certain munchkins who don’t understand the division of night and day – years after their entry. Others (myself included) have brains that fail to take the hint of lights out and body in horizontal position. The tips to counter insomnia were predictable: count sheep, think of the colour blue, take some sleeping tablets or do some, er, strenuous exercise before shut-eye time. But Kristy had a new one. “I tell myself …

Walk of Peace

6:15 the alarm screeches. And screeches. And screeches. I roll out of bed, pull on some trackies, a hoody, sneakers and walk out the door, at least halfway to consciousness. The birds are already awake. As I walk down into the Gorge, I switch off the music playing in my headphones, rip them from my ears and instead listen to God. “Be still and know that I am God.” Like a whisper spoken behind cupped hand into hair, he stills my mind and awakens my senses. A blue wren lands on the path ahead, his mate flirting nearby. Wattle trees punctuate the scrub with their sunny blossoms and the air is still. A jogger puffs by, “Good morning!” She’s one of only three people I pass on this pre-brekky walk. I’ve made the decision to get serious about my exercise, which equates to a couple of gym sessions and some early morning walks each week. When I set the alarm the night before, half expecting to hit snooze and miss the opportunity, I didn’t imagine this. This nourishing …