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We’re going on a three-month holiday

If God had sat me down a year ago and told me all that 2018 would bring, I think I would’ve done a Jonah. Made a run for it. Or perhaps just fainted. Or climbed into bed and pulled the covers up over my face. What. A. Year. And it’s only half-done! In two weeks, we’re going on a three-month holiday. It’s true! I’ve barely had space to let that reality sink in myself! Hubby has long-service leave and we’ve bought a caravan and are heading North where the sun shines warmer. We have no itinerary. The kids are sharing a bed. I have about three small shelves of space for clothing. We have no oven for baking cookies or sourdough. And we can’t wait! I won’t lie. The leadup has been a marathon. We have been pedalling hard and fast for a long time so that we have this luxury of time together. So many things to do. You know. Publishing a book. MC-ing at two fundraising dinners. Event managing at another. Day surgery …

Knowing when to send your cardboard castle to recycling

“Don’t come in, Mum!” “We’re making a surprise!” The door to my seven-year-old son’s room is closed and I’m leaning in, ear to wood panels, to hear muffled exchanges between him and his three-year-old sister. There’s the occasional screech of sticky-tape being pulled from a dispenser, the snip of scissor blades and rustling of paper, plastic and who knows what else. I smile and leave them to it. How I love it when they do this! When they talk in excited whispers, constructing Otherworlds, their imaginations swinging each other joyfully around. What I’m saying is, I love it when they play nicely without needing a screen of some description sucking energy out their eye sockets! Eventually, the door swings open and the two of them walk, slow as a bridal march, down the hall to find me in the kitchen. I drop the spoon of the pasta sauce I’m cooking and marvel at the castle they have created. The main fortress is made from the plastic package our new letterbox came in, with a central …

Help! I’ve written a book!

Hi lovely Faith Like a Mushroom followers. Eeeek! Exciting news ahead! And I want you to be the first to know! The news is this: I have written a book and it’s going to be published this year – with your help! FLaM is a compilation of my writings, artwork and photography, laid out like a magazine, and with lots of spacious pages so you can use it like a journal. But you know what? For once, I’m going to stop tapping on this keyboard and actually talk to you about it. Can’t tell you how nervous I am about this! Deep breath. Enjoy.   Find out more Has this piqued your interest? Even a little bit? Hop onto my campaign page: https://pozible.com/project/flam-magazine

“I am the bread of life,” he said as I pulled a loaf from the oven.

I reach to the top shelf of the fridge and grasp the jar, carry it to the bench and twist open the lid. There it is. Barely half a cup of viscous, off-white matter. I heave the flour bag to the benchtop and open its mouth, loosely fastened with a wooden clothes peg, to measure an equal amount into the jar. White particles fly around in the bands of morning light that spill between the slats of sleepy blinds. They settle into the folds of my fluffy white dressing gown, on eyelashes and in the wispy blonde hair of a certain three-year-old who is chasing cuddles. Water next. The same amount again measured carefully into the jar, splashing up the sides and swallowed into the parched flour. Then I stir, round and round, round and round, until it clings together. Making sourdough has become a part of my week’s rhythm. Usually we have two loaves freshly baked for the weekend, and I love nothing more than cutting off a generous slice, still just a little …

God a faithful father when parents gave terror, torture, neglect

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Chaya Rainbird shares a snippet of her story. Grief and faith have both featured in many seasons of my life. Sometimes it feels like a tug-of-war, other times like I’m walking many steps of grief to get to a new “faith landing” where I can look out the windows and see how far I’ve come. I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking at where I’ve come from. It certainly has shaped me and I’ve seen great healing. But I still carry a lot of grief from it, especially since becoming a parent. I’m not really sure what to call myself… a child abuse survivor? Abuse doesn’t really describe the pain and grief. Terror, torture and neglect might be more accurate. To have my own parents hurt my body and my mind so greatly, I don’t know if there are even words to describe that. To watch my siblings beaten and starved was another type of torture; my mind screaming that this was wrong, but feeling utterly powerless to help. I’m …

Bullied and teased to the point of despair

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Aaron Summers shares a snippet of his story. Throughout my school years, life was tough. I was teased and called many names; ugly, freak, you get the picture. I was a bully myself at times too. At the root of it was a constant struggle with self image. I didn’t feel I was good enough for anything or anyone. I felt that no one wanted to hang out with me, and that I was always on the outer. I remember tearing up my leavers dinner photos because I felt so ugly and down on myself. Depression got a hold of me and I was in a very dark place, in and out of church at Summerhill Baptist and Door of Hope. My mum encouraged me to keep coming along to church. It was a hard time for her, seeing me go through this, but she kept spurring me on. I was going home most days from school turning the lights off and going to bed. I’d just basically given up. …

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 …

Here’s how I’m shopping in 2018

Hello twenty-eighteen in all your glorious summer splendour! I must admit, from afar you looked like that glamorous mum at the playground the other day. Her skin was the colour of almonds and she wore a fitted knee-length skirt, milk-white cami and tan sandals that wound around her long, slim ankles. Her hair was swept into a ponytail, silky and caramel to just below her shoulders. I watched her, as I watched you, out of the corner of my eye, hoping she wouldn’t judge me in my ripped denim, thongs and t-shirt. I was intimidated by you. But then something happened. We talked. And she was sweet and she looked into my eyes and commented kindly of my children and we laughed together and I walked away chiding myself for being so shallow. So as I have eyed this new year, like a tray of 12 ice-blocks ready to plonk into the cocktail that is life, I’ve shed the fears. Because I didn’t achieve everything I hoped to last year, you know? I got disappointed …