One of my favourite days of the year


 
I love spring, always have. 
The promise of warmer weather, the beautiful flowers blooming,
everything seems a bit brighter and more colourful after our long cold
winter.  When I was younger, I used to
have a job working for a company that sold tickets, and at that time, we sold
tickets to Canberra’s Floriade festival. 
I was young, at uni, and for the few years that you had to pay to get
into Floriade, I worked as a box office supervisor.  My job was to wander through the gardens
between all the gates and make sure our staff were doing a good job and the
customers were happy.  It was the most
wonderful job.  I got to have a month
outside in the sunshine, breathing in the beautiful colours and sights of the
tulips and daffodils, eat icecreams and socialise with all different types of
people.  Who could ask for more? 
I have always loved going to Floriade.  But about 7 years or so ago, my husband and I
heard about a hidden garden just north of Canberra that was said to far surpass
the beauty of Floriade.  Surely not!  We decided to check it out and I’m so glad we
did.  We now have a tradition of going to
the Tulip Top Gardens every spring, and it is one of my favourite days of the
year. 
The gardens are absolutely stunning.  And people are right, in my opinion, it is
far better than Floriade.  There are not
the massive hoards of people all trying to get in each other’s way to take a
photo.  It is a beautiful garden, not
just garden beds.  The garden is nestled
in a hidden valley, there are lovely big trees, fruit trees in blossom, amazing
tulips and daffodils, green grass and relaxing music piped through the
trees.  The owners thoughtfully scatter
garden chairs around so you can relax in different parts of the garden, and the
price of entry includes a sausage sizzle and free tea and instant coffee all
day.  We generally also take a picnic
lunch and have the most relaxing day, not worried about having to rush.  I thought for today’s post I would let the pictures
do most of the talking:
Since our son was born, I have had a picture with him each
year at the Tulip Gardens, and I love looking back at the photos to see how he’s
grown.  I love now that our daughter has
come along and is in the photos too. Looking back I can’t believe how much my hair has changed!! The pic from 2012 is missing but here’s the ones we do have:
2010
2011

2013 
2015

2014

2016
So, if you are looking for a beautiful day out, consider the
Tulip Top Gardens.  I don’t think you
will be disappointed! 
Until next time, 
E xx
PS – this is not a sponsored post. None of mine are – yet! Although I am open to being paid to talk about things I love 😉  ;), 

The missing piece

The missing piece

Complete a jigsaw puzzle, flip it over (carefully) and write a message on the back, then take it apart and mail it to a loved one or acquaintance who loves puzzles, so they have to put the puzzle together to get your message! (It might be helpful to let them KNOW there's a message to find!!):  
I have been struggling a bit lately with inspiration for
what to write here on my little blog, wondering why the ideas aren’t
coming.  I’m not the kind of person that
writes religiously every day, but when I want to write it seems to just pour
out of me.  When I decided to start this
blog, I thought that I would aim for two posts a week with a Wise Words Wednesday
in between.  But even two posts lately have
seemed like too much. 
Maybe I’m just feeling a bit worn out and taking the
pressure off the writing will help inspiration to return.  We have had a very busy couple of
months.  August is birthday central in
our house, we have a LOT of birthday’s to celebrate, which is so much fun but
can be exhausting by the end of the month. 
I have been working hard to get my daughter settled into childcare,
which has been an emotional and exhausting slog, but we have recently turned
the corner and she is now happy to play there for the day.  We are also at the end of a busy school term,
and I think I’m a bit worn out with all that we have been packing into our
lives.  I wouldn’t change any of it, but
I think we are all ready for a bit of rest and rejuvenation. 
I am very much looking forward to the school holidays and a
bit of a coastal break we are planning with the kids and my parents.  I feel like it will be exactly the reset we
are after. 
I think perhaps I need a bit more time for the “Creative”
bit of Creative Calm Connected.  I think
I’m doing pretty well on the Calm and Connected fronts but the creative seems
lacking.  So I think for a while, I will
concentrate on that.  I will aim for one
written post a week, and use the time I would have otherwise spent writing on
doing something creative.  Maybe I could
even post about those things!
I have been slowly gathering a list of creative things I would
like to have a go at:
  •    I half completed a photography course at the
    beginning of the year; I would really love to jump back into that and start
    making time to take some fun photos.
  •    Santa bought me a sewing machine for Christmas
    last year, and last week I finally got it out of the box.  I am looking forward to having a go at some
    sewing.  My first project is a simple
    quilt I am going to make.  I got some
    fabulous fabrics at the recent Lincraft and Spotlight sales so I’m really
    looking forward to trying some of that each day as my little one sleeps. I have
    also promised to make my big Sister a bag and have bought some pretty material
    for that.
  •     I have half-finished crocheting a cushion cover
    my son asked me to make him.  I am
    enjoying making it and it looks pretty fancy for my beginner abilities!  I think I will take that with me to finish
    off on holidays.  I find it relaxing to
    do while chatting and it is nice to have something to do with my hands.  I find it really helps on days where my
    anxiety rears back up again.
  •     Our son has asked if he can change his room
    around.  I think what he means by that is
    to redecorate, and I think it is probably time. 
    He seems to have outgrown Winnie the Pooh and I think he would love a
    Star Wars theme.  I am going to have fun
    redecorating with him, allowing him to bring a little personality to his space.
  •     I have discovered bullet journals!  Have you ever used one?  I am excited about it because I LOVE lists
    and it is a way that I can be a bit creative while keeping all my lists in one
    place.  Go here or here if you want to
    find out more about bullet journals.  I
    am just in the early stages of setting mine up but I am really excited about it
    already! 
  •     I also feel like I should start dedicating some
    time to the novel that I’ve been saying forever that I would like to
    write.  Now that our baby is going to
    childcare one day a week, I am taking on a short shift at Pilates that day, but
    I could use the time around that shift to dedicate to developing my
    writing. 

So that seems like the beginning of a good plan to me.  What do you think? What do you do to
re-energize your spirit when inspiration doesn’t come?  Comment below or on the Creative Calm
Connected page on Facebook.
Oh, and I have had a few people saying that they have tried
to leave comments on the blog but they don’t get posted.  I am following up with Blogger (the hosting
platform) about that.  I have no idea
where they are going or why they aren’t being posted.  I will let you know as soon as I have found
an answer for you.  Please keep trying, I
love when people comment.  It is good to
know that I’m not just talking to myself!
Until next time,
E
xx

I
How do you move on from something like that?

How do you move on from something like that?

Hemingway. Maybe the only quote I could ever see myself having for a tattoo. We are all broken...that's how the light gets in.:

Following my post about Hannah, a couple of beautiful people
in my life have had the courage to ask a little bit more about my story.  I understand that it can be hard to bring the
topic up, and that the conversations can be hard sometimes.  But I admire their courage in asking,
listening, empathising.  A common element
in these conversations has been my friends wondering “so how did you get
through it?  How did you move on so that
you could go on to have another baby? I thought if they were wondering, you
might be too, so here’s my attempt at answering.  Maybe by sharing, I might reach and help
someone else who is struggling. 
The short answer is, it is complicated, but you move on one
minute at a time. 
The long answer is…..
It is a complicated process. 
In the early days, there were a lot of times where I just wanted to curl
up in my bed and never come out.  Some
days, that’s what I did.  And I was so
lucky to be able to do that.  My husband,
parents and best friends stepped up and helped out so that if I was having a
day like that, I could.  They took care
of our son so that I had the space that I needed to grieve. 
My OB’s surgery referred me to an excellent psychologist I
worked with for quite a while.  It was in
those teary sessions that I came to understand and accept how I was feeling and
developed some tools that allowed me to focus on the present and ride the waves
of grief until I was able to cope better on my own. 
Even with that work though, there was a part of my grief
that had turned into a very thick dark cloud that wouldn’t shift.  I thought it was just my “new normal”, that
this was how life would feel forever from now on.  But then I also started having panic
attacks.  I convinced myself that I was going
to die, I would get this terrible pain in my chest, and have no breath and the
world would close in on me and the noises overwhelmed me and I just couldn’t make
it stop.   One day my GP gently asked me if I thought it
might be time to have some help with that. 
He explained that this didn’t need to be my new normal, and so I started
on some medication that has stopped that cycle of anxiety and depression.  And I am so grateful that he helped me make
that choice.  It gave me the breathing
space to clear the fog in my mind and start to work on coming back to life
again. 
I took them up until the second trimester of my pregnancy
with our daughter and slowly weaned off them so she wouldn’t experience
terrible withdrawals when she was born. 
But, the panic attacks started coming back after she was
born.  So, I am now back on them
again.  I recognise the signs in myself
now that point to me needing some help. 
And now, I’m not afraid to ask for it. 
The help and support of those close to me really had a big
effect on my recovery.  I have a
beautiful circle of chosen family who never strayed far and are always there
when I need them.  Often just turning up,
or doing things that needed doing.  But
sometimes I would need to ask for help. 
With practice, that gets easier to do. 
People are always happy to lend a hand if you are struggling.  No one likes to know that anyone isn’t coping,
and I’ve found that their support was probably the biggest factor in me being
able to move on. 
I have learnt so much about myself, my family, and others
during this journey.  I have learnt that
I am stronger than I think I am.  I have
learnt that if I can get through that, I can get through pretty much
anything.  I have also learnt that I am
vulnerable, and that is ok, because with my chosen family around me, together
we are strong enough.  I have learnt that
there is a place in my heart that will always belong to my babies.  I have learnt that it is uncomfortable for
many people to acknowledge our losses. 
It is also uncomfortable for many to be close to someone who is
grieving. 
These types of experiences are, in a strange way, positive,
because when you hit rock bottom, when you are cracked right open, then your
light can begin to shine through.  I
believe there are two types of people, those who choose to be cracked and
broken, or those that allow their light to shine through the cracks.  I chose and continue to choose to live my
life in the light.  I know and lovingly
accept that we need to allow ourselves to feel grief, sadness, despair at
times.  But we also need to find a way to
keep living.  I was so lucky, because for
that time where my light went out, those close to me shined theirs so I was
never in total darkness.  When I had no
energy to go on, they were strong for me and let me lean on them. 
There is no one else that can share your pain.  You have to go through it.  You have to ride the wave of grief.  Each person experiences the pain a little
differently, and that is ok.  We need to
accept that and allow each other the space to grieve how we need to. 
There was a scene on one of my favourite TV shows recently
(Call the Midwife), that I think sums it all up nicely.  A grieving woman asked a trusted friend how
she might move on from the death of her fiancé. 
The friend said “my dear, you just keep living until one day you are
alive again”. 
And that’s pretty much what happened for me.
So if you, or someone you know is struggling through some
sort of grief, depression or anxiety, reach out to them.  Let them know they are not alone.  Be strong for them on the days they can’t
be.  And be close by so that when they do
start feeling alive again, you can help them start building happy memories to
fill the big empty hole in their heart that has been left by the grief. 
Until next time,

E xx