May 2014Life Love and Hiccups: May 2014
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Friday 30 May 2014

Weekend Rewind Blog Hop - The Meeting With A Psychic

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I had a psychic come to my home last night to do some readings for a group of girlfriends and I.

I know it is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love that kind of stuff, you know the spiritual / spooky / and unknown.

The first thing she told me as soon as she walked into the house was that my late Father in Law was with us and that he wants us to put up a photo of him because there is not a single photo of him on display in our house.

She was right - there is no photo of him... but there will be by the end of the weekend. I will see to that cause you don't mess with the in laws right?


I have had a lot of questions going through my mind lately and I have been looking for answers and confirmation that I am on track and doing what I am supposed to be doing with my life.

I mean no one really has all the answers do they?

But sometimes it is nice to get a little direction and even if it is all just mumbo jumbo, I do believe in the power of the mind and the ability to manifest our dreams and desires and that if you hear something good and you believe in it, you can make it happen.

Did I get the answers I was hoping for?

I think so... well mostly yes.

One of the things I actually didn't ask about (but she told me anyway) was that I am indeed with my soul mate in this life. Me and my hubby are totally meant to be and she can see us being together until we are very very old and beyond.

Well that was pretty darn awesome to hear and although I have suspected (pretty much known) for ... oh the past 20 years that Carl is my soul mate, it is nice to hear from someone else that they too believe that we are destined to be.

I was also told that I have nothing to worry about with my boys and that they will be AOK in life. In fact they will be more than AOK.

That was totally one of my questions. It is every mother's question isn't it?

She also told me that although she knew that I desperately wanted a girl, I was sent boys for a reason and
in particular my youngest boy. But it won't be until he is older that I come to understand why that particular boy was sent to me.

To learn patience perhaps?

I didn't dare say that out loud.

To be honest, I don't really care what the reason is because those boys are my world and the most precious gift my husband and I could ever hope for. Reason or no reason. Map So tomorrow is the big day - we are filming the pilot for the TV talk show.

I spent the afternoon tearing my wardrobe apart looking for the perfect outfit and then out of pure frustration, headed to the shops looking for that something special. You know that one special outfit that will make me feel brave and courageous and fabulous. I have enough nerves about not falling over my own feet on set tomorrow without having to worry about what I am wearing and how I look when I am sitting next to the insanely gorgeous Catriona Rowntree.

The psychic told me I won't fall over though.

Man I hope she is right.

Have you ever met with a psychic and did they tell you anything that later came true?

Don't forget to join in the linky party and link up your favourite post from the week.

Link up your favourite post from the past week and then pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella)Sonia's blog (Sonia Styling) or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic
It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

I Mean Who'd Have Thunk it?

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First of all can I just start by saying I KNOW THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS THUNK MUM.....

But something really exciting happened this week at Casa de Hiccups.

Something that had you mentioned this to me even less than a year ago I would have laughed at you, run off and changed my pants and then come back and laughed at you some more. Because you see it seems that this shy anxiety ridden nut job (aka me) has signed up to film a pilot for a new TV talk show.

I Know. I Know.

There will be no hiding in the bathrooms and breathing into paper bags for me this Saturday because I have agreed to sit in front of a live audience and discuss various topics including what you would do if you were caught having nookie by your kids.

Laugh away my lovely friends, or oven better come and laugh at my expense this weekend in real life if you are in Sydney, because the production company is looking for fabulous people like you to come and be in the audience and discuss this with us in person!

I have included the details at the bottom of this post for you, so if you are keen come along and join in the fun and throw a little moral support my way. Hey tickets are free and there is a free BBQ!

Man this has been a year of big changes for me.

Who would have thought that a mid life crisis would lead to something like this? I mean a maxed out credit card, new hair do and new neurosis - YES, but this is beyond even what I could have dreamed up. Seriously, who'd have thunk it?

I made a promise to myself last year on the eve of my birthday in Bali,  that in the coming year I would face my fears. I vowed to get in the ring with any new challenges thrown my way and trust that the universe will lead me in the direction I am meant to go in.

Now I have no idea if this is the direction that is mapped out for me long term... but I sure as hell am excited to give it a try in the meantime, and hopefully until I know, not make a complete ass of myself.

For those of you who can't make it this weekend, I would still love to hear from you via the comments...

Have you ever been caught in the act by your kids? If so, what did you do or say?

One Of THOSE Awkward Conversations

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I remember all too clearly the night when one of my boys came downstairs crying because he thought he was growing a baby in his testicle. It is burned on my frontal lobe.

I also have a very clear memory of the questions that were fired at me at nano speed as we drove to school, and how straight after drop off I was forced to go the local book store to buy some of those books about where babies come from and boy stuff.

To top it all off I was the one who had to organise the family meeting to have 'The Talk' and I was also the one who had to do pretty much all of the talking because my husband was sitting there trying to hide his sniggering behind a cushion he was holding to his face.

Awkward much?

Yep it was, but I at least had a little warning that day to prepare myself and we got through it with the help of some helpful books, a couple of coping cordials (aka vodka and sodas) and the old one two skip a few technique of working our way through the more embarrassing pages in the book.

Look I'm no prude. I'm totally happy to tell my kids all they need and want to know about sex.. when they are 30.

Jokes... kinda.

But I was thrown for a sixer when my oldest son came home from school last week and informed me that they had a sex ed class at school that day.

"Ewww really?" was my somewhat immature response. "And ummm how did that go for you?" I asked him.

"It was OK, a bit embarrassing cause some of the girls were sitting there giggling the whole way through" he told me as he busied himself buttering some toast and not making eye contact.

"Oh really. Wow that's sooooo uncool. What did you learn about?" I asked as I busied myself picking fluff off a cushion and also trying not to make eye contact.

"Oh you know stuff - boners and Master-baiting (sic) and wet dreams"

Cue the uncool sniggering and giggling from me because clearly I have not progressed much beyond 12.

"Yeah? Wow. Good stuff. Glad you had a great day at school today mate, I have to go and ummm re grout the toilet... or something like that" I mumbled in what I can only guess was genuine shock as I headed for the safety of the bathroom were I could sit and think and absorb what he had just told me.

It's not that I am embarrassed to talk about those kind of things with my son.... OK yes I am a bit cause well I don't have dangly bits and boners and stuff.

It is more the fact that he is twelve. TWELVE!

Surely he should be learning about colours, shapes and animals and be busy practising his cutting out or something other than talking about boners.

ohhhhh Alright. I know I am trapped in some kind of denial and that there is a part of me that wants to believe that my oldest son's fave show is still Bear in The Big Blue House and that he will want a choo choo train cake for his birthday, but come on... there was no warning people. Nothing!

No crumbled up letter to retrieve from his bag that was informing us our kids would be discussing this stuff. No note to sign to acknowledge that we could very soon be facing some very awkward follow up questions.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Although I am somewhat grateful for the fact that someone other than me has now addressed the topics that were on the pages that I managed to skip without him noticing during 'our talk', I have to admit there is a small part of me that is a little peeved that we were not given any kind of warning that this discussion was going to take place.

The melodramatic drama queen in me feels like she has been denied some kind of parental right by not being told beforehand that my son was going to be talking about this kind of stuff at school in front of his peers. The same drama queen needed a little heads up you know!

Yep I am most definitely going through the denial stage about my kids growing up. It's just that they grow up so quickly and well I don't know, twelve just seems soooo young and I want my kids to be kids to be sweet and innocent and not thinking about sex and stuff for as long as possible... and I am going to go and stick my head back in the sand. It's calmer down there and less awkward.

Do you think we parents should have some kind of say about when our kids get told about this kind of stuff?

Does anyone else feel our kids are growing up too quickly these days?

Am I in complete denial about what our kids already know?

How young is TOO young to talk about sex with our kids?

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Once Upon A Time There Was a Neurotic Neat Freak

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Once upon a Time there was a neurotic clean freak.... and that freak will be played by me in this story OK?

You did know how totally neurotic I am about my home didn't you?

Well if you didn't you do now!

I am totally OK with other people's messes, just not my own. So much so that I cannot even begin to think about working, cooking, watching TV or lying on the couch doing nothing more constructive than flicking through a magazine imagining my furniture and stuff in other peoples homes, without having the space around me in some kind of reasonable order.

Which when you think about it, could actually be a good neurosis to have if I am in one of my can't be assed moods, as I could just let the house go to the dogs and then claim insanity when I'm questioned why there isn't any dinner or a deadline isn't met.

I think this condition of mine is a result of a traumatic childhood experience, where I once watched my mother fall to the floor, a completely shattered woman who was unable to speak or move from the fetal position.

The cause of her awful distress? My bedroom.

I had a cleaner once to help me control my issues and Ohhhhh - she was divine. I loved her, wanted to marry her or at least have her adopt me or move her in as some kind of in law.

I also have cleaning charts.... I know right. My life is seriously SO exciting *ahem*.

Anyways, I am over at Kidspot sharing my neurosis I mean cleaning charts and devotion to keeping a tidy home in part of a weekly series dedicated to umm devotion to keeping a tidy home.

Come on - we all have our things!

Pop on over if you are inspired or simply fascinated by my weirdness. Either or.

A Totally Rad Birthday Party - For BIG Kids

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I went to the most fabulous birthday party on the weekend for a gorgeous friend Virginia. But this was a birthday party like no other I have been to... except I think when I was about 7, but even then it wasn't as good as this one.

I knew from the moment I received the invitation that this was going to be the birthday party one does not want to miss.

You see this was a party with a twist. This party would see 18 giggly boisterous and totally tipsy women stepping back in time and heading back to school. Art school no less!

Yep Virginia was holding her party at an art studio where us the guests were adorned with hilarious aprons and fed copious amounts of cocktails and nom noms before a paint brush was placed in our hands and we were asked to create a special artwork for the birthday girl.

How cool is that?

I mean seriously - what a totally awesome idea for a birthday party.

After cheering each other on and letting our inner Picasso wannabes go to town, Virginia presented us with these...

These were the mother of all goody bags. These gifts for her guests goes just a tiny part of the way to explain what a truly generous and beautiful person Virginia is.

These were the goody bags that leaves all goody bags for dead and Virginia had spent God knows how long hunting down the most hilarious treats to go into them.

There were all the faves we remember as kids - Cobbers and Golden Nuggets, Fags and Choo Choo bars! OMG do you remember Choo Choo bars?

And there were the treats that can be described no other way but legendary. I mean Bochox for crying out loud - the ultimate natural filler! And anti ageing pills that insist that you take them with cake.

Pure Genius!

With school done for the night, it was time to head off to dinner for more fabulous food, drink and plenty of off key singing and loud laughing.

The incredibly thoughtful attention to detail Virginia had put into this planning this special celebration didn't surprise me at all, for there is one thing I already knew about Virginia, and have known for quite some time now - this is a woman who loves life and embraces it with open arms and an open heart.

She cares deeply for both friends and strangers, she loves wholeheartedly and as I listened to the stories about Virginia shared amongst her friends that night, there was no doubt in my mind that this woman is loved just as deeply and wholeheartedly in return.

Happy Birthday Virginia. May you always live your life with such joy and wonder.

In fact, may we all.

Monday 26 May 2014

A Quick & Easy Washi Tape Project

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Sometimes my Martha Mudguts alter ego goes all feral inside of my head. 

She starts chucking felt balls and washi tape all over the joint before holding me at ransom with a loaded hot glue gun and insisting on being let out immediately to craft some shit. 

It's usually when I am supposed to be doing my BAS, meeting a deadline or folding the 7 baskets of washing on my dining table that Martha likes to make an appearance. Some would call it inconvenient, but I prefer to think of her timing as conveniently inconvenient. Whatever. 

I can always count on an appearance from mad Martha to satisfy my hunger for a juicy proCRAFTination project. 

I have a box full of paper-mache letters and numbers in my craft cupboard.


I have a mountain of paper-mache letters in my craft cupboard which are breeding like rabbits. Seriously - I think those paper-mache shapes are having sex in there or something because every time I look there are more of them.

I have no idea when this addiction started, but it has been brought to my attention that every time I spot them in a craft store or $2 shop, I start bundling them up in my trolley like they are Almond Magnums on a red light special.

You can never have to many of them... Almond Magnums that is. But apparently you can have too many paper mache letters and numbers.

The only thing that rivals my paper-mache breeding program is the washi tape. Man that stuff multiplies quickly. Now combine all this crafty randiness with my ongoing devotion to ampersands and things are starting to get out of control here people.

Martha insisted this project was necessary to control the paper epidemic that is threatening to invade my office.

I was all "Who am I to argue with you Martha? Pour me a vodka and let's get to it."

About 20 minutes from start to finish - that's all it took. Martha was satisfied and went quietly back to her corner and I had myself a cute little ampersand thingy that does absolutely nothing, but gave me something to admire whilst I got on with what I was supposed to be doing in the first place.

What's your weakness? 
Do you have a collection that you never actually set out to collect?

Friday 23 May 2014

Weekend Rewind Blog Hop - The Remarkably Unremarkable Week That Was

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There are some weeks that are kind of  "meh", you know uneventful and nothing really memorable about them. Just as there are some weeks that suck big time and you feel like the universe and everyone in it is conspiring to drive you completely insane.

And then there are weeks that are remarkable for no specific reason. Kind of remarkable for being unremarkable if you know what I mean. A run of relaxed days that leave you with a feeling of content and joy and gratitude that you are you and this life is yours.

I have had one of those remarkable weeks and as I write this post I feel relaxed and positive and sooooo incredibly grateful for.... well pretty much everything really.

Yep I am feeling THAT damn good.

Slap me now!

After starting the week with a funeral, one could be excused for expecting that the next few days would be sort of crappy. In actual fact they turned out to be as far from crappy as you can possibly get.

This past week for me has been full of surprise opportunities. Exciting new projects that are bubbling away and beautiful slow days where I have simply pottered around doing stuff, attending to stuff and just organising stuff in a totally non urgent way.

No rushing and no stressing. Just quiet pottering.

So NOT crappy.

For the first time in a long time, I feel back in control of things. I didn't even realise just how out of control I have been feeling lately until I had a week of calm to gain some much needed perspective.

We are over all the bugs and lurgies (touch wood) and I'm on top of things work wise. The kids are happy, the hubby is a lovable hunk and the laundry baskets are empty.

I'm in control and for me the feeling of being in control brings with it a sense of freedom and a lightness to the way I can move through my day.

Seriously, even the dogs were looking at me like they were thinking "WHO is this impostor?"

Now you know I am relaxed when a whole week goes by that my head doesn't spin around and I go psycho at stupid little stuff. I mean even the awful woman who cut me off at Kiss and Drop and stuck her finger up at me in front of her young daughter and my boys, was not worthy of me working up a sweat.

I know right! I'm not sure who was more surprised at my lack of reaction - the boys or me!

It is usually when I have some free time on my hands that I end up taking on a whole load of extra work or over committing myself to random things. I say yes to everything and everyone, start panicking and then suddenly I find that the lightness is gone and I have morphed back into a complete stress head again.

This week was different.

I was determined to keep the calm and I made a conscious effort to pause before I responded to requests for anything that required my time. Even better is that after I paused, more often than not I ended up saying no.

No is my weakness that I have been working on lately and holy shit balls, I can actually do it.

I can say no and I can say it without feeling wracked with guilt afterwards.

Kind of...

Progress people. This is BIG progress.

And so today was all about wagging. I skipped work in favour of ending the week lunching with a couple of gorgeous girlfriends. We sat in the sun with our wine, ate good food, gossiped, shared the stuff in our heads and laughed. Man did we laugh. It was truly the most perfect way to end a remarkably perfect week.

Carefree and loving life at the moment you guys. It is such an awesome feeling.

I truly wish that feeling for everyone.

How has your week been?
Are you any good are you at saying No or are you a bit of an amateur like me?

Link up your favourite post from the past week and then pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella)Sonia's blog (Sonia Styling) or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic
It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Make Your Own Linen Spray

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I'm being forced to pull the purse strings in again. 

I have to, we are about to enter a busy time of the year where we are smashed by birthdays and bills and I have to be all responsible and grown up like and stop spending money on frivolous things.

Problem is I really like frivolous things. I like to waste money on little bits and pieces for our home that look good and smell good and make me smile. 

Like Linen spray.

Yep, you read that right. Linen spray is one of those things that makes me go all *insert goofy crossed eyes* "mmmmm that smells good". 


Whatever turns you on right?

So I emptied the last of my Crabtree and Evelyn Linen spray the other day and instead of buying more I resigned myself to making my own cheapskates version. In actual fact - this was the easiest thing to make like EVER and I think my version smells better than the shop bought one so Slap me Silly and Call me Billy - Martha Mudguts for the win! 

I recycled a Murchison and Hume Spray bottle that had also run out *sob*. I am ashamed to admit that I am such a sucker for packaging, so the key for me to be happy with a DIY creation is to use a bottle that I love and am happy to have on display.

I three quarters filled the bottle with water and added about 10 drops of Green Tea & Lemongrass Oil. I adore that stuff and could sniff it till the cows come home.

See! What did I tell you - easy as!

Actually I feel like a bit of a fraud because its that easy. Like I should be steeping tea and crushing lemon grass instead.

Of course you can add any fragrance you like to it and you don't need to just use it on your clean linen either. I like to spray it on the couch and bed spreads too.

I told you - I like nice smelly stuff!

A lavender mix is perfect for beds and my boys used to have a bottle of that with an anti nightmare spray label on it and we would spray it on their pillow before they went to sleep.

I've decided to make a whole batch of this stuff up as I'm thinking it is the perfect hostess gift to give or little pressie for your kid's teachers come Christmas. You could even co-ordinate it with your DIY Candles for fragrance layering.

Nice one Martha!

Just make sure you give it a shake before you spray to make sure the oil is mixed well.

I am going to be busy trying to make my own DIY versions of cleaning and homey products over the next few weeks so I can save some more bucks and I will share any of the successful ones with you :)

I have already made some DIY air fresheners which you can check out here if you are interested.

Happy sniffing lovelies.

What's your guilty pleasure you buy for your home? Could you make it instead?

Wednesday 21 May 2014

How To Build (or Fake) Confidence

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I love confident people but if I'm being totally honest with you, I'm kind of in awe of them, envious even, because they are everything I would love to be, but I'm not.

It's one of those tricky things - confidence. You can fake it on the outside for a while, possibly even convincing others along the way. 

But for those of us who are pros at faking it, you will know all too well those butterflies that go to town on your stomach, and the racing heart and sweaty palms you get before you meet new people or do anything outside of your comfort zone.

I have two very different sides to my personality.

One is awesome at faking confidence. That side of me has learnt how to take a big breath and walk into a room full of strangers and act like it is the most natural thing to do even though I am dying a thousand deaths inside. Sure she talks too loud,says the wrong things at the wrong times and often (and I mean often) makes a complete arse of herself, but hey, she is doing better than the 'other me'.

The 'other me' is super busy hyperventilating into a brown paper bag in the bathroom just down the corridor from the room full of strangers. The 'other me' has Buckley's chance of having any fun, because half the time she cancels on people and the other half she simply refuses to come out of the bathroom.

My lack of confidence is not just limited to meeting strangers. It can strike me when I am sitting behind my computer screen too. As I type away on my keyboard, post a photo on instagram, or simply comment on something, there is often a little voice inside that is bashing me with comments like "What did you write that for? That's so dumb! And as if anyone really cares what you have to say anyway!".

That kind of lack of confidence is the most threatening in my humble opinion as it is my own ego turning on me.

It's hard enough in a world where complete strangers can be unkind, but to beat myself up too?

Wow! Way to go!

I'm not alone in my lack of confidence, I know this for a fact.

It is one of those things that when you open up and start talking about it, so many people relate and are all "OhmyGawd me too!". Even my kids are lacking in confidence, although one of them also seems to have mastered the art of faking it like his mother.

I figured it might be helpful if I share some of the confidence boosting tips I have learnt in my years of faking it... you know, just in case anyone reading this also happens to have an ego that likes to rough them up a bit too.

When you are nervous, your breath becomes shallow and you breathe faster. You lose carbon monoxide and start to feel light headed and giddy and even panicky. Slow it down and focus on your breathing. It will relax your muscles and provide a sense of calm. Its much easier to face a difficult situation when you are calm rather than a nervous jittery wreck.

Wear something you are comfortable in, something that makes you feel good about yourself. It is a proven fact that wearing an outfit that you feel good in naturally improves and boosts your confidence. You have enough going on inside your head with out feeling self conscious in an outfit too.

No seriously, tell that voice in your head to take a freaking hike. That voice isn't real - it is your ego and when your ego feels threatened it goes on the defence and attacks it's host - you! The power of the mind is an incredible thing - it can make you or break you and the sooner you realise that you are NOT actually your ego, the better. Eckhart Tolle explains it best in his book "The Power of Now" - he tells us to look at that voice in your head as you would look at a child being naughty. Don't judge it or belittle it, but don't reward it with your attention either. Eventually just as naughty kids do when you ignore their bad behaviour - it will stop what it is doing and start to behave.

There is nothing more exhilarating than facing a fear and winning. You know that rush you get when you do something you are afraid of? That is adrenalin, and adrenalin is a brilliant confidence booster. The more fears you face, the more confidence you will naturally build. Even taking baby steps is a win and can change your mindset. Eventually you will start believing that "If I can do that then I can do ANYTHING!"

Smiling in a stressful situation actually helps to lower your heart rate and stimulate more positive emotions. It also makes you more endearing to those around you so that others will be naturally drawn to you. Nothing makes you more confident than having someone by your side, so start smiling for yourself and any other nervous individual looking for a friendly face to stand with

Your ego loves to diss a compliment because then IT is control of you. IT will tell you if and when you have done something worthy because IT has the power over you. Well bugger of ego! 
Gracefully accept that compliment and then use it as a weapon to beat that rotten ego over the head. 

You know how good it feels to give a compliment, so don't you deserve to feel good by receiving one too? 

Um the correct answer would be yes!

Instead of starting of any situation with a negative though, flip it around expect the positive. Instead of assuming that people won't like you or will think that what you have to say is stupid, simply start by assuming that they will and go from there. It's a much better place to start from than the alternative.

When you have a victory, no matter how small, reward yourself in some way. Do something nice for yourself. Building confidence is hard work and you have done good - you've earned it.

Trust me when I tell you - I am no expert as building confidence, but I am flipping awesome at faking it when I have to. These tips are simply things that help me when my confidence is in the gutter and as Problogger draws closer I will be using them like there is no tomorrow.

I have committed to going, and I WILL go. I just WILL. Although I may need a little coaxing out of the bathroom.

Are you one of those confident people I envy so much or do you have to work at it too?
Any confidence boosters you can share with those of us who need a little in this department?
Going to Problogger? Fancy sharing a paper bag and bathroom cubicle with me?

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Signs from Beyond...

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I hate funerals.

Actually that is a pretty stupid statement because I mean really... WHO freaking loves funerals?

Yesterday we farewelled a precious Uncle - my Dad's brother, and all I kept thinking about throughout the day was just how lucky I am.

A few weeks ago when my Dad was in ICU, a funeral was the thing we feared most. And although I am so saddened by the loss of such a special family member, I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful to still have my own Dad with me.

From the moment I opened my eyes yesterday morning I was filled with dread about the day ahead.

It's the pain you can feel at funerals that I dread most. The agony you can see in the eyes of those left behind. The sadness as you watch them they say their goodbyes. The longing you can feel in their smiles as they talk about memories and good times, and the remorse with which they hug people that they haven't seen for so long and probably wouldn't have seen if it were not for such a reason as a funeral.

I have been fortunate enough that I have not had to attend many funerals so far in my lifetime. I can only count 4 actually - which at age 40 is quite a blessing.

When I do attend a funeral, I have this weird thing I do where I look for little signs. A little message from the one we are saying goodbye to. I'm strange like that, but I am sure it is something I inherited from my late Aunt who would totally be doing the same thing.

Yesterday I looked, and there they were - a few signs that gave me my reason to smile and cleared the fog of dread I woke with.

As we waited outside the chapel for the others to arrive,  I was thinking about how final death is. You know you die and then that's it - thanks for coming, the show's over... and then I turned and saw a young Dad feeding his new baby, and it reminded me that with death comes life and hope and wonder and new beginnings.

We never really die do we.

A sign? I'll claim it.

Notorious for being late to things, my hubby and I were determined to get to the service on time, especially as we were taking my Mum and Dad with us. By miracle of miracles we got there with plenty of time to spare.

It wasn't until 10 minutes or so later as we sat waiting for the others to arrive that a whole load of mourners solemnly exited the church behind a casket, and we realised we were sitting outside the wrong chapel. Worse still we were sitting right in front of the hearse in which these poor people were about to place their loved one. We were FRONT ROW. With no choice but to quietly excuse ourselves from the crowd of mourners and walk right through the middle of them all to go to where we were supposed to be.

A sign? Oh heck - my Uncle had a wicked sense of humour so I'm claiming it.

I was asked to do the reading at the service and determined not to let emotion get the better of me and stuff it up - I practised my reading over and over again the night before.

Literally minutes before the service started, the priest changed the reading on me and showed me the new pages I was to read with very clear instructions to "read this bit, not this bit, read these two bits and this bit but definitely leave this bit out as it is for when we do a funeral for a priest who has passed".

Of course - I stuffed it up and as I began reading about how our dear Uncle had dedicated his life to the priesthood  and I heard the quiet mumbling of the priest behind me, I realised that 'Oops clearly that was the bit I was supposed to leave out'.

My Uncle would have roared with laughter at me turning him into a priest at his funeral. He was a good man yes - but saintly? Ummm well NO ONE one in my family could ever claim to be saintly.

So I had my signs.

I asked and I believe I received and with that we said our goodbyes.

Now I have to give my family credit - the Irish in our blood ensures that no one dies without a few drinks being cheersed in their honour.

After the funeral we dutifully did our thing and gathered together at a pub that was once owned by our family - the Greengate Hotel at Killara.

There we sat and laughed and drank to happy times. And there I captured something special - my Dad and his one remaining sibling Jim, messing around like a couple of young hooligans. Pulling faces and laughing and doing EXACTLY what my own boys would have been doing had they been there.

Age and death doesn't have the power to break a sibling bond - life does though... if you let it.

As I looked across the table to my own brother, I made a promise to myself that one day when we are old and grey, I will ask our children to take a photo of us acting like two young hooligans, just like my Dad and his brother.

Until then, I hope to attend as few a funerals as I can possibly get away with and I will continue to look for signs from beyond.

Do you look for signs at funerals or after someone has died?

Saturday 17 May 2014

Run For Their Lives

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Losing a child is my biggest fear in this life. It is something I cannot even bear to fathom and my heart literally breaks into a million pieces whenever I hear of another family suffering. 

Certainly NO mother should ever have to say goodbye to their child in the way that Lucy did when her precious daughter Sienna passed away at just two and a half years of age.

"Sienna was a perfectly normal child in every way" Lucy tells us. "If anything she was super energetic"

Sadly though Sienna was one of the 1 in 10 000 child that has neuroblastoma - the number 1 cause of Kid's cancer deaths.

Cancer spreads very quickly in children as their cell renewal process is the fastest. However, due to a numbers issue, our children do not currently represent a  "priority" for drug companies, so research has been far slower than it should have been. 

A fact that Lucy refuses to accept. "I know in my heart of hearts that if more money had gone into neuroblastoma 30 years ago Sienna would be with me today - and that is just so hard to know - but knowing it means that if I raise money now that hopefully children diagnosed tomorrow will be saved."

Tragically we cannot save Sienna, but we can help Lucy in her fight to save other children, and it is within everyone's power to help... 

Lucy is the event director for The Neuroblastoma Run 2 Cure which will be held in The Domain and the Botanical Gardens on 22 June, with all proceeds going to Children's Cancer Institute and Cancer Council NSW for research into neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma almost exclusively strikes infants and children and is the third most common type of childhood cancer, after leukaemia and brain tumours. The average age of diagnosis is just 2 years and aggressive neuroblastoma carries a survival rate of only 50%. Neuroblastoma is the leading cause of death from cancer in children under 5 years.

Events include a challenging 10km run and 5km run for keen joggers, followed by the Little Heroes 1km – which is a fun, easy walk around The Domain for children aged five and under with their families.

 “We’re encouraging Little Heroes participants to dress up as superheroes - in honour of those we have lost, who are battling the disease, or who will be diagnosed,” Lucy told me.

The Little Heroes 1km focuses on little children helping little children, as neuroblastoma is tragically the number one cause of cancer deaths in children under five.

Families will be able to make a day of Neuroblastoma Run 2 Cure, with children’s activities including face painting, a kindy farm, pony rides, a jumping castle, soccer and rugby from 10am – 2:30pm in The Domain.

“It’s up to us to give children with neuroblastoma the chance to live,” continues Lucy. “We don’t need a miracle for this to happen – just more research.”

Please consider taking part in this special day or even making a small gesture of a donation. 

The event details are as follows:

Date:  22 June, 2014
Location:  The Domain & the Botanical Gardens
Events/distances: ·         7:30am: 10km run    ·         9:00am: 5km run   ·         10:30am: Little Heroes 1km