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Could it get any worse?….

Life certainly has a way of presenting us with challenges. As I consider where I am situated in my life right now I cannot help but wonder how great it would be if I had the ability to rewrite my life somewhat. These past two months have been the most challenging by far and to put the ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak, the challenges have only increased.  So much has happened that the reason for how I am still standing lead me to the one person who has written my story. Not only has this person written my story but he has provided me with stores of strength and courage to keep going despite all of the twists and turns that have come before me one by one. This person is Jesus, Gods one and only son.

I gave my heart to him when I was only 17 years of age.

Today happens to be week 8 on this journey. Without going into too many details the main part of this story is that my husband of 27 years and I are separated. Not too many people know about it except for closet family. I’ve chosen to share this information about my life with you as my purpose for this blog page was to be real and transparent.

As I write this blog I am aware that there would be many other people experiencing a season such as separation. Due to the circumstances it has meant that I am in another state away from all of my adult children who I love with all of my heart. Only my youngest is with me. This season has shown me how important family truly is. My family here in Canberra have been extremely supportive. They have seen me at my worst. They have carried me through one of the hardest times ever. Being around my family has helped me get through the past two months. While my heart aches for all of my adult children I have come to accept that there is no other way through this situation right now. In previous blogs you can read about some of the emotions I have had to go through. It is not a pretty time. It is a roller coaster of emotions and circumstances ….

Can it get any worse? Yes it can and yes it did.

As you can imagine when you are separated there are several changes and disruptions that take place. For myself it has meant that my studies have been put on hold for a certain period of time. It has meant that I have had to organise my own finances. These finances of which I am grateful for is what I call ‘my peanut budget’…

My youngest had to start school completely new. This was incredibly painful for him. However he has overcome so much and has made many new friends. Being in a different state and separated means that I have had to organise my own accommodation as well. This in itself was a huge challenge. As most owners prefer tenants who are employed. While I have my ‘peanut budget’ sufficient to pay my way it tends to put you into a category in which a lot of people prefer to overlook you. After brainstorming one night I decided to attach a cover letter providing a short story of who I was including a photo of myself and son. In the next lot of applications I attached this cover letter which clearly paved a way for a YES!!!

So how did things get worse?

The day before I was to go and pick up the keys to our new place of venture, I was visiting a church very close to where I was to be living. Everything was going great and I was content to call this new church, our new church. My son and I made our way out of the double glass doors feeling happy and then suddenly without warning there was a step that I didn’t see. All I felt was my ankle twisting with a jolt. I immediately collapsed onto the ground.  I lay there on the ground in immense pain and great shock. I felt dizzy and unable to see clearly. As I lay there the past two months just flashed through my mind and I wondered, why this? Haven’t I been through enough already!!!!  I had never done anything like this before. No injuries. Yet here I was on the ground surrounded by amazing people who had rushed outside to help me. Eventually I was capable of being carried back inside the church and was waiting for my sister to come and get me. She took me to the local hospital. After an x-ray they confirmed that it was a bad sprain and a small fracture.  The physiotherapist put my foot into a moon boot and so this past week I have been moon walking around my new place.  Thanks to the help of my lovely mum and dad who helped me pick up the keys the day after the accident.

My son had to miss a week of school as I can’t drive. Fortunately school holidays have now started for him. Having been separated so recently and then physically injured really does put an interesting twist into my life.

In the midst of all of these challenges I have managed to find some positive thoughts to keep my mind from heading into horrible places. There are always positives in every situation. The positives are that I have a loving and caring family who I get to spend time with. I get to spend time with my parents and my three sisters!!! I’m learning to do things I have never done before by myself. I’m learning to be grateful and thankful for what I do have despite the many things that have changed. And even most importantly I am learning to trust the one that has written my story, trusting that everything is in his hands and he goes before me each and every day.

Life is very real at times,whatever battle your facing just remember that you are not

alone in those battles.

The one that created you goes before you and provides everything that is necessary to

keep you going, even if it means just one day at a time.

 

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ThOse stEEp cliMbS

ThOse stEEp cliMbS

As you get older it seems that there are steeper slopes to climb. It’s not that you don’t have them when you are younger; I think that perhaps you are more equipped to handle the pressure. There is a treadmill that I often use (not as much as I should) which has a setting and you can adjust it so that you are walking on an incline. So rather than just walking or jogging on a flat surface using the incline gives you more of a workout. Personally I have only used the incline a couple of times as I don’t really like it that much. You see I am not that ecstatic about exercise it isn’t something I am all that passionate about. While I am completely aware that exercise is healthy it usually takes me a lot of psyching up to get me to actually workout. It tends to happen in spurts, so for me that can mean regular exercise for a couple of months and then stopping for some reason (excuse) or another.

The steep climbs we have in life often feel as though everything is working against us, so it takes a lot from you to keep climbing. Physically when working out on an incline you get exhausted a lot faster than walking or jogging on a flat surface. I would think that more muscles are being worked on at an incline setting, although I am no fitness expert! These steep climbs in life happen from time to time and they do tend to take more from you than what you would perhaps want to give.

These steep climbs also feel like you are swimming against the tide,  as though for no real reason you find yourself in situations in which it seems everything is working against you. It may last a couple of days to a week or sometimes for a few months. When you are in the midst of it all you can feel is pain. It could be in your marriage or another close relationship with siblings or family. It could be your finances, there may be more bills coming in then there is income for a period of time. This in turn creates more pressure as you may be constantly swimming against strong currents that are trying to push you back.

Personally I would rather have life flowing smoothly in every single area, yet this is not the reality we face. As much as I don’t get excited about the incline setting on the treadmill I don’t get excited when I feel as though I am climbing another steep hill again in my life. These steep climbs in life take perseverance, as you know deep down that you can’t or don’t want to go back to where you were so you must keep GOING….

In a marriage both partners can feel that they are climbing A steep hill with no end in sight. As I mentioned earlier the older you get these steep climbs take more effort. You might be more sensitive than you used to be or you may not be able to handle pressure the same way as when you were younger. I know that for my husband and I since we had four children under four some decades ago, we now have four adults working their lives out at the same time. Both of us can feel the weight and pressure of their maturing process. Every parent desires the best for their children so you may find yourself walking up a steep hill with your adult children as they are working their lives out, phewww.

On these steep climbs you may need to get rid of baggage so that it doesn’t make it worse! Old behaviours or old ways of doing things may not work in this season or this climb, so there might be some adjustments to be made in order to keep climbing, releasing the extra weight off your shoulders. In the same way athletes wear certain types of clothing that help them move faster in their sport. Their clothing is specially designed to minimise any resistance to improve their time and result.

Married couples going through changes in life both physically and emotionally need to adjust their routines and perhaps even their communication. What may have worked when they were younger may not work at an older age. While both go through the aging process differently they can feel the same pressure as they are climbing the hill of ‘midlife’. It can be such a vulnerable time that quite some effort is needed to avoid jumping off the hill and leaving your partner there. In the heat of the moment we may feel like giving up yet the truth is that you will eventually begin the descent back down the other side. Don’t we all prefer that side of the hill as the pressure is lessened instantly and you almost feel like you can start running? Suddenly life feels easier again and what was working against you isn’t affecting you the same way anymore.

Life is a journey that continues despite the flat roads, the bumpy roads, the hills, the obstacles, whatever it may be at any given moment in time. Life might run smoothly for a while and then you may be back to the steep climb, either way it is good to remember that it is a part of the journey. It is a process that cannot really be avoided as much as every cell in our body screams against it.

Sometimes I have even stopped during a hill climb and sat there for a while (and prayed) just catching my breath and then getting back up, dusting myself off and continuing the journey. The main goal is to continue on in the journey and remember that while someone you know might be happily walking the flat road right now  (slightly jealous) and enjoying their season in life your time will come TOO. We cannot control what the road is going to look like or how many hills we may have to climb, but be encouraged every hill you climb gives you strength and endurance and even more wisdom for the next climb that comes your way.

Happy hill climbing my friends you will get to the other side

 (Speaking to myself too)

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Sparks or no sparks on Valentines Day..

♥♥♥Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It is a special day of romance in which couples indulge in chocolates and cuddly teddy bears adorned with hearts. The evening sets the scene for an intimate candlelit dinner for two with menus that have been tweaked a little to inspire and savour that sweet moment of love. Shops everywhere accommodate for this love fest selling anything with hearts on them. Bouquets of flowers are crafted with the finest of nature’s beauty in preparation for the arrival of Romeo who wishes to melt the heart of his special Juliet. Lovers find themselves carefully selecting from hundreds of Valentine ’s Day cards to declare  their unending love.  The choices of cards are endless catering to the simple messages of “I will love you forever”, to the more poetic Shakespeare inspired love notes.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated by many couples at different stages of their relationships. There will be the first timers experiencing the joy of butterflies and long lingering eye contact whilst frozen in a moment of togetherness oblivious to the existence of others outside their cocoon of love♥.

There will be the newlyweds reminiscing about their wedding day and engaging in tender conversation about the future they dream of making together♥.

Couples with children have made special arrangements with sitters to take the time out and enjoy the quietness of just the two of them♥.  Sighing in relief that they can now eat a gorgeous meal with no interruptions or parental demands placed upon them for just that short while.

The midlifer’s have enjoyed many Valentines Days in times past♥. As they sit together surrounded by all of the different couples celebrating Valentine’s Day they may find it challenging to have a conversation. One of the partners may be consumed with thoughts of worry and concern over their adult children whilst the other may be contemplating what the future holds for them in terms of financial security and work. When a partner has struggled with health issues amongst all of the other possible pressures it is easy to understand the temptation at that point to question where the special spark has gone that had once been present. Frustration and emptiness knocks on the door and introduces themselves to the midlife couple.  There may be deep hurt to process as life has taken its toll and the sense of drive and focus that they once both shared has vanished somewhere into the past! As both partners experience a variety of emotional and physical challenges it almost seems unfair that an enormous amount of commitment is now required in order to connect.  They are faced with what seems like a mountain of rubble and stress that has impacted their relationship.

Being in a marriage or long term relationship certainly can test the commitment when life’s trials and difficulties  pound on each partner like huge uncontrollable waves.

Last year as I was studying a particular unit in Psychology I came across some information that I thought to share with others who may be wondering where their spark or passion has gone in their relationship.

The information or research I found was titled Classifying Love. In an effort to classify love researchers have found that there are two different types of love. The first type of love which is usually experienced at the start of a relationship is called “passionate love”, the other is companionate love. Companionate love refers to deep affection, friendship and emotional intimacy. At the beginning of a relationship “passionate love” is at the top of the list and then overtime it begins to diminish. Passionate love is discussed as a wildly emotional condition with intense physiological arousal and absorption in another person. Researchers state that “passionate love” tends to make a comeback on occasions throughout the relationship.  Companionate love is at its lowest in the beginning yet it tends to grow over time and is the glue that holds a relationship together (Burton, Westen & Kowalski 2012, p. 740). Companionate love overtakes passionate love.

In Midlife it takes commitment to grow in a love that is based on deep affection, friendship and emotional intimacy♥. At certain times the commitment can be stretched outrageously and may show signs of failure.

Who would argue against a passionate love relationship 24/7. That concept is not realistic despite the mixed messages we may receive watching a romantic movie. Romantic movies portray love passionately. We can get confused about relationships if we measure or compare it to the 90 mins of passion and love on a t.v. or movie screen.

True love is not based on feelings alone as we would like it to be. Yes we recognise that the feelings are the strongest at the beginning of a relationship however feelings change when pressure and stress enter through the door uninvited and as it progresses to a long term relationship.

This Valentine’s Day if you find yourself questioning the absence of sparks don’t see it as  failure. Consider the season you may be in at the moment. While it may require more of you in terms of commitment than you have energy for,  I trust that what I have shared with you today will inspire you!

Don’t be too hard on yourself or your relationship if you are struggling to hold it together in a difficult season.

The absence of sparks is not the sign of a bad relationship it is a sign that you are in a different place  requiring more effort and work which  will include rewards along the way♥.

Happy Valentine’s Day ♥♥