Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mothers are like....Garlic.

I have a gift.
It is a curse or a blessing, which ever way you choose to look at it.
It is that I constantly see household items and can't help but relate them to motherhood.

I have fun letting my thoughts run wild as I spend time each day pondering different items and coming up with ideas on how I can use them to help me become a better mother and wife. 

Recently my thoughts turned to Garlic.


Garlic is a strong-smelling pungent-tasting bulb, used as a flavoring in cooking and in herbal medicine.
The cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked), and have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.

The papery, protective layers of "skin" over various parts of the plant are generally discarded during preparation for most culinary uses. Unless you are Jamie Oliver and can't be stuffed!


Now, how does this relate to motherhood:

Being a mother is a great work. It takes spunk, intuition and great judgement. We work on trusting our instincts, we try new ideas and test experiences that will best suit our family as we go.

Just like cooking.

A clove of garlic is small and may seem insignificant in a recipe but once you have tasted it's flavour you can tell when it is missing from a meal. As mothers we may feel small and insignificant but we are powerful and have great influence over our families and children. When we are gone {or feel missing in action} the whole house can fall apart and we are sorely missed in our efforts and guidance.

Sometimes as mothers we get fired up, we become 'raw' and lose our temper or our vision and at these times we are spicy! We are pungent and the fumes exposed are intense, deep and fierce.

Our attitude can affect the whole family, sometimes bringing it down. We influence the spirit of our home and when we are strong in the wrong way we become overpowering instead of empowering.

When we use just enough 'flavour' to run our homes and influence our family we can mellow and sweeten the tone of our home. This happens when we understand our role, know who we are, rise to the challenge of what we need to do and out of small things help to make great things happen.

We become the icing on the cake, the cherry on top and just the right ingredient our family needs to function on a healthy level.

We can be the medicine our home needs. By giving of ourselves and our unique gifts we can be the balm to heal wounded souls, the soft voice that calms nerves, the remedy for all injuries and the kind hearted support a loved one needs.

Just like garlic needs time to release its flavour - so do we. As we grow and progress into the role of mother we become more comfortable, confident and consistent with our mothering. We learn to let go of those protective layers and reach a stage where we can share, expose and open our hearts to be the best mother for our children.

Like one clove of garlic has a powerful affect in a dish of food so can we as individual mothers make an impact, change, modify and transform our families.

Like a cluster of garlic when a group of mothers is united in their commitment to be wonderful, inspiring and dedicated in nurturing their children and take the time to support each other in that role, we can be even more powerful and influencial with our sweetness and flavour.

Knowing that we are not on this journey alone brings peace and courage. I so love our little group of 'Mother Hearts' who link up each week. I love the friendship we share and the support we give each other. I look forward to seeing how you are going in your homes, how your hearts are feeling and the words of wisdom you have to share.


In my garlic research I also discovered that there are different types or subspecies of garlic, most notably: hardneck garlic and softneck garlic

I will leave it to you decide which one you feel you currently are! 

Personally, I have been feeling a little stiff~necked myself and in desperate need of a massage to soften those muscles :) This will be the last Mother Heart link up for the year and I will start them again in the new year. I think we all deserve a break to play, enjoy and cherish ourselves and our cherubs over the Christmas holidays. By the way I am trying it as a 'thumbnail' version so you can add a picture to your blog link to see how it goes.


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So here are the guidelines for Mother Heart:
1. Link up your post about motherhood
2. Grab the Mother Heart button and post it on your blog
3. Grab the code if you want to join in the blog hop
4. Leave some comments on other awesome mummy bloggers posts
5. Have a laugh and a cry and enjoy being a mother!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Surviving Breast Cancer - Hatiheri

 

Recently I was asked to speak at a graduation for business women. I know I was shocked too!
I met some wonderful, positive, motivated women there. One of the gorgeous ladies I met was Tish.

She is a Breast Cancer Survivor and small business owner. I was so impressed with her zest for life and business idea that I asked if I could share it here on Seven Cherubs. I love to support women who are trying to help others and who are an inspiration in how they spend their time and focus.

Here is a little about her and her business:
Tish was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January 2009. Her first surgery was in February 2009 and quickly followed by a second surgery also in February 2009. Chemotherapy started in March 2009 with her final chemotherapy in July 2009. 

Her first radiation session was in August 2009 with final radiation in September 2009. Tamoxifen started October 2009. All treatments were at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

It constantly amazes me how fast Cancer can change your life. The speed with how treatment takes place and the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental preparation that immediately needs to be addressed blows me away. I so admire women who fight it, live it and with courage do all they can to rid it from their bodies.

For Tish her tumor was close to her chest and heavy, thus pulling on her breast from the inside and creating a "dimple". She couldn't feel a lump, and neither could her doctor but thank goodness her doctor did his job and sent her to a clinic (although she had to wait 2 weeks for the appointment) for a mammogram, which led to an ultrasound and then a core needle biopsy - all on the same day!

"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 at age 34, many friends sent me beautiful 
scarves as a thoughtful gift. Unfortunately, many of the scarves, although gorgeous, 
were impractical for several reasons." 

These are not things you usually think about until confronted with the reality:

  • the material was too thin, even when doubled over - you could see my bald head!

  • the material was too slippery - I couldn't tie it and it wouldn't stay put with no hair to attach it to

  • the shape was too rectangular or long - so I couldn't easily make it into a headpiece

  • the shape was too small - so I couldn't tie it on securely

  • the patterns were bright and cheerful - but didn't match anything in my wardrobe

  • the patterns were attention-grabbing - and I didn't want to draw attention to my head-wear

  • the scarf was small or narrow - and left the back of my neck too exposed

  • the scarf had tassels, which although pretty, were impractical

During chemotherapy and radiation she suffered from many side-effects including ongoing fatigue. Other side effects included: inability to think straight, word loss, nausea, constipation, achy legs, achy joints, dry eyes, body hair loss, body hair thinning, mucositis, neutropenia, blotchy rash, hot flushes, oral candidiasis, loss of (some) tastes, odd metallic taste in mouth, burnt feeling in mouth, depression, anxiety, radiation burn, tinnitus ... basically, it was not pleasant!

 Tish looking awesome with her new look!


In rare moments of lucidity she thought of how her situations could be improved. Apart from the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation, her main concern was the new experience of being bald. It was not just the feeling of looking different but also the little things like being cold on the back of her neck, and not having protection from the sun, wind, stray branches and cupboard corners.

 
Last day of Chemo! 

Thus Hatiheri was born. 'Hatty-Hairy' {Tish} has first hand knowledge of being bald due to chemotherapy and knows exactly the unique challenges this brings. When Tish did feel ready to go out in public and later returned to work part-time she had difficulty finding a scarf that matched her wardrobe. She did not have the energy or interest in matching her wardrobe to a scarf. That was the last straw and she decided to create beautiful, easy to wear head scarves that were suitable for both indoors and outdoors.

These scarves are reversible and come in a variety of colours.

 

Her website has a list of resources for family and life after cancer support,

a shop to purchase scarves, and her personal treatment photo's from her Breast Cancer experience.

 

Tish feels that these scarves filled her own need and hopes that others will benefit from her experiences. She does not feel joy knowing that others are suffering but feels joy knowing that she can hopefully help someone out.

Her website is: HERE

Her facebook page is: HERE

 

* I was not paid in anyway to do this post. I think Tish is awesome and wanted to help others. I also love to give meaningful gifts at Christmas and thought this might be helpful to some women. Lastly, I just wanted you to know that Tish has a wonderful head full of curly hair and is looking stunning!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happiness 11: Forgive others

If you are new to my blog I am working my way through my happiness list. 
I am searching, looking, trying and learning different ideas that make me happy.

I started out with a list of 100 ideas that I borrowed from someone else.
Now I am being brave and creating my own list.


Number 11 ~ Forgive others.

I have discovered over my 35 plus years that forgiving others brings happiness.
It brings peace of soul, peace of mind and peace to the tongue.
It is hard to do but so worth the time and effort.

It is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
We all have flaws and we all make mistakes.

Many times when I was younger I was offended by someone's words or actions.
I would carry the anger around inside of me until I felt I was going to explode.

Now that I am a little older and hopefully a little wiser, I know that it is not worth remembering and festering about. It is a waste of my time and thinking of ways to get someone back or thinking of how terrible a person may be is not going to bring me any happiness at all.

From sad experience I have discovered that waiting for someone to apologise before you forgive them can mean that you are carrying around a grudge to the grave! Waiting for others to make the first move in the forgiveness area is a slow miserable process and taking it into my own hands has lead to happiness and joy.

Why is it that the things in life that are often the hardest to do bring us the greatest joy?

I know that: 
In a large family, forgiveness is practised daily.
In a marriage or relationship, forgiveness if often practised daily. Sometimes several times a day!
As a mother, forgiveness can be practised daily ~ towards children or yourself.

I also know that:
Just because you forgive someone, it does not mean you need to trust.
Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

They are very different and apply to very different situations.

I know for sure that:
Forgiveness is possible.
It does bring peace.
It is necessary for happiness.

This my favourite clip about forgiveness.
It makes me weep and gives me hope.

                         

Of course I am going to do a post about:
Forgive yourself
stay tuned!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

motherhood and personal sacrifice

Being a mother requires sacrifice. In many different forms.

We labour consistently day by day trying our best to run our homes and help our children to be educated, confident, self motivated and happy. We work hard to help them be free from trials and challenges and to develop the special gifts and talents they posses.

We love, encourage, praise, teach and help strengthen our children 24 hours a day.

Often at great personal sacrifice.

Since becoming a mother I have struggled with personal sacrifices.
Some of them I was happy to make, others have been hard to give up.

As a young mother my days were spent rushing from one nappy change to another, from one feed to another and from one tantrum to another. I hardly had a moment to sit down.

These were exhausting days.

The demands were physical. Getting down on the floor and getting up from the floor 100 times a day. Carrying children around on my hip all day. Lifting children into highchairs, swings and onto a change table left me feeling worn out and physically spent.

I had to sacrifice my time, my sleep, my eating, my private quiet moments - heck! my private toilet moments and any relaxation time I wanted. Life was full and busy.

During this time my personal sacrifices {although difficult to make} were replaced with treasured cherub moments that took my breath away and made my heart melt.

Sweet sloppy kisses, tiny hands holding mine, a hug from a little one who holds on tight, a loving look right in my eyes, a smile for the first time, a cheeky look that shows personality and babbling talking that runs on for days!

They were all worth it.


To sacrifice is to give up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. Personal sacrifice takes it to a new level. It gives it new meaning and commitment.

Motherhood is a sacrifice.
It is important and a worthy pursuit.

The greatest work we ever will do is within our own homes. 

As I reflect back on those early years of rushing and mothering, the memories I have are not of the things I missed out on doing but of the wonderful heartfelt moments that my children gave me. They have been a gift to me, they have helped shape me into who I am today, they have taught me to love, to cherish and to laugh.

The personal sacrifices I made seem so small compared to the blessings I have gained.

I want to share with you a clip from Catherine Arveseth who is an inspiration. She went from being childless ~ to in four years, the mother of five children, including two sets of twins.

Catherine struggled with infertility and on her blog shares how this time in her personal 'wilderness' helped her to see motherhood differently. She also shares some of the complexities, joys and coping strategies that help her live and love her busy life as a mother of five.

Her awesome blog is found here at: Wild and precious and this time lapse video is a must watch.

Ahhh! the memories....

                         

Now onto the linking love. Here at Seven Cherubs we love to promote motherhood.
We love to connect mothers through their hearts.

I love to write about it and encourage other mothers/parents to write about it too!

I love to read and learn what thoughts you have in your hearts and to see how you are going with your cherubs. So join in, link up and take the time to leave some encouraging comments for other awesome mothers out there who are trying to be the best mothers they can be.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

100 free family activities

Sponsored by Nuffnang

As the Christmas holidays are fast approaching and I am still having trouble accepting that we are in December! I have been pondering over what free family activities we can do to keep our family and visitors busy for the many weeks we have at our disposal.

This Christmas we will have 8 adults and 14 kids staying at our house for a couple of weeks. With the oldest child being 12 and the youngest 2. We will also have 3 sets of twins in this lot. No! twins do not run in our family - but guess what - they do now! It is going to be jam packed with fun and noise!

We have some super-dooper activities planned to keep the kids entertained such as:
So you think you can dance night, nature appreciation walks, nativity play night, family soccer and cricket games, Wii family challenge, backyard sleep out in the tent {for the kids of course!}, family secret service day and Minute to win it games.

After doing some research on what we are going to do and thinking about what we love to do, I decided to put together a list of 100 free activities I would recommend for your holidays:
  1. Visit the playground
  2. Go for a bike ride together.
  3. Have a sleep out in the backyard.
  4. Do chalk drawing in the driveway.
  5. Wash the dog or chickens! (A neighbor's dog if you don't have one!)
  6. Have a family sleep out under the Christmas tree.
  7. Build a Cubby house with blankets and sheets.
  8. Get out the the family photo album and remember.
  9. Research your family history online.
  10. Visit the Genealogical library.
  11. Visit the local community center.
  12. Play hopscotch.
  13. Clean the house together (Have a pick-up party.)
  14. Make up a play.
  15. Fly kites.
  16. Go on a family trip/historical excursion.
  17. Visit a nursing home.
  18. Make a collage out of pictures from old magazines.
  19. Set up a lemonade stand on a warm day.
  20. Shoot hoops together. 
  21. Draw pictures of members of your family.
  22. Tell stories around a campfire. (Or at the barbecue?)
  23. Make miniature boats and float them in some water.
  24. Write letters to grandparents or other family members.
  25. Play hide and seek.
  26. Make a family calendar for next year.
  27. Tell scary stories (With lights out.)
  28. Go for a hike.
  29. Learn how to use a compass.
  30. Learn to play an instrument together (if you own one).
  31. Have a family disco or dance contest.
  32. Listen to classical music and take turns saying what it sounds like.
  33. Attend free community concerts or listen to a local band.
  34. Organize a community clean-up.
  35. Visit the library.
  36. Have a talent night.
  37. Paint a picture.
  38. Visit the beach and go swimming.
  39. Learn about plants at the botanical gardens.
  40. Pick some flowers.
  41. Learn sign language.
  42. Try a new recipe together.
  43. Read a story together as a family.
  44. Learn the Morse code.
  45. Go bird watching.
  46. Watch an old movie together.
  47. Visit the countryside.
  48. Create with recycled materials.
  49. Write out your dreams and goals.
  50. Bake cookies or bread.
  51. Make homemade jam.
  52. Take treats to neighbors or friends.
  53. Plant a garden.
  54. Start a family choir.
  55. Start a family journal.
  56. Go to a museum.
  57. Take a nature hike.
  58. Play cards.
  59. Start a family exercise group.
  60. Sing (in the car).
  61. Visit a local bookstore or library.
  62. Make crafts together. Give them away.
  63. Make Christmas ornaments together.
  64. Write a story together.
  65. Go fishing.
  66. Play touch football.
  67. Have a culture night. Make a meal and learn about another culture.
  68. Take photographs.
  69. Invite friends over.
  70. Do yard work together.
  71. Play Frisbee.
  72. Make your own family cards for the holidays or birthdays.
  73. Play chess, bridge or checkers.
  74. Go camping.
  75. Go for a long walk.
  76. Play charades.
  77. Do a rain dance.
  78. Go around the table after dinner and have everyone say what they love best about each other.
  79. Climb a tree.
  80. Watch the sunset.  
  81. Watch the sunrise. 
  82. Make up a word search together.
  83. Have a picnic. (If it's raining, have a picnic in the family room on a blanket.)
  84. Have a patriotic night about your country. 
  85. Have a first-aid night. 
  86. Learn what to do if you are lost.
  87. Have a budgeting class. 
  88. Have a family afternoon sleep.
  89. Have an etiquette night. Practice your skills over a formal dinner.
  90. Talk about drugs.  Do role-playing.
  91. Have a friend come and discuss good nutrition and health practices.
  92. Make playdough and create.
  93. Jump rope together.
  94. Look for shapes in the clouds.
  95. Start a family collection. (coins, rocks, stories, dress-up, clothes, treasures).
  96. Have a bubble blowing contest.
  97. Lay outside at night and stare at the stars.
  98. Wash the car.
  99. Make a family cook book.
  100. Have a family treasure hunt. 
Feel free to copy ~ paste and print!

I am hoping to cross off a few of these activities over the holidays and can't wait to see the kids {and adults} having a blast together as we celebrate Christmas and all the joy it brings.

 {Sleeping out in the lounge when we put new carpet in the house. We have had several requests from the kids to replace the carpet again they loved it so much!}

What do you get up to in the holidays that is free?

This post was sponsored by KIA. To celebrate KIA’s value cars, a website has been launched so you and your family can get some great value offers and deals. Check out my favourite deal for this week: Purchase the Patiomaster HD 4 burner BBQ for only $499 and receive a BONUS 3 piece outdoor setting valued at $149! BBQ Galore at "www.getmorevalue.com.au"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

courageous parenting

Recently, I have met some people who have been shocked that I have seven children.
Actually, to be honest every where I go I meet people who are shocked that I have seven children.

It is mind boggling to them that I would even attempt to raise that many children and have questioned me on the why? and how? of it all.

I have so many answers to these question's {which I think I should delve into another time} and one comment that I hear often {besides are you insane, crazy and amazing!} is that I must have courage to have such a large family.

Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.
It is to find strength in the face of pain or grief.
It is doing what is right and letting the consequences follow.

When I started out wanting to have a big family I did not feel brave or strong or courageous.
I did not feel I needed to have a strong pain threshold or to be acquainted with grief and suffering.
I had no idea what was in store for me and ignorance was bliss in helping bring children into my home.


After having my first daughter, I knew that having a large family was going to take courage.

I would have to face my fears of what others thought of me, said to me and that I would need to deal with the emotional, physical and mental pains that came my way the best way I knew how. I knew I was going to have to stand up for what I believed was right in mothering my children and to stand alone if I needed to.

"What the world really needs is courageous parenting from mothers and fathers...
who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand." 
Larry Lawrence.

This led me to brainstorm about what courage we really need as mothers and parents.

it takes courage to bring a child into the world
it takes courage to share your body to give life
it takes courage to face the unknown of birth
it takes courage to accept the cherub given to you
it takes courage to open your heart
it takes courage to let go
it takes courage to ask for help
it takes courage to learn new skills
it takes courage to teach and train
it takes courage to give up your personal time
it takes courage to speak up
it takes courage to intervene
it takes courage to trust your instincts
it takes courage to say no
it takes courage to say yes
it takes courage to turn off the tv and computer
it takes courage to protect your family time
it takes courage to believe
it takes courage to listen closely
it takes courage to counsel without fear of offending
it takes courage to be not afraid
it takes courage to warn
it takes courage to address problems
it takes courage to follow through with consequences
it takes courage to support each other {as parents}
it takes courage to wait up late for children
it takes courage to respect their feelings
it takes courage to not over schedule
it takes courage to love unconditionally
it takes courage to do what is right
it takes courage to stand alone against peer pressure

I love a quote by Joe J. Christensen:
"parenting is not a popularity contest."

As much as I love my children and it is important for me to be great friends with them, I also understand my role is to parent them

I have had many days where I was seriously out numbered with resistance in the values I was trying to teach, the discipline and consequences I had to follow through on and in protecting my family from too many good choices. I have faced many lessons the hard way on what is going to work for our family, felt like the most unpopular mother in the world and discovered the importance of not taking words, looks and attitude personally!

With young children we need courage to:
let them learn, play and explore
to let them grow and develop and 
to discipline.

With teenagers we need courage to:
set standards, stand up for them and protect them
to prepare them and warn them of life situations and
to love them unconditionally.

With adults we need courage to:
step back and support their choices
to provide words of wisdom and to let them learn from their own mistakes
to cherish their achievements and be actively involved in their lives.

As mothers we are courageous, we face challenges on a daily basis.
They come from inside our home and from outside it.
Decisions are constantly before us and we wisely try to direct our family the best way we can.
Our role is eternal, divine and essential.