Giving

’tis the season…

Well hello festive season!

Yes, it is the 1st December, and we launch into the festive season…possibly the most stressful time of year.  But I love it!  I have always felt that Christmas time is like having a new born baby – it is an absolute joy and special time of your life, but you are just too tired and stressed to enjoy it.  Who agrees?

Each year I vow to enjoy it, but usually end up exhausted and stressed and can’t wait for it to be over.  But this year will be different.  This year I have a plan!

So what is it that makes Christmas time stressful?

Well, too many activities on for one.  Everything costs a bundle of money. And I am exhausted – not enough sleep, too much heavy food and alcohol and not enough sleep, and then add worries about the spending of money and remembering each activity.

So what is different his year?

I have done most of my Christmas shopping already, and have done mostly it online. I have also spread it out over a few months, so we don’t get one big financial whack.  We try not to go overboard.  Kids get a present from us, a present from Santa, and then a Santa bag/stocking with bits and bobs. So the boys shopping is pretty much done.  My side of the family is big.  We usually do a Kris Kringle, but this time we have decided no presents. So just the in-laws side to shop for.

I am really making sure I get enough sleep.  This is such a big thing for me as I can be such a flaky sleeper which can lead to all sorts of stress and anxiety (as well as being a result of all sorts of stress and anxiety – bitter cycle).  So for me at the moment, down time and sleep are important.  I like to be an early riser, so I am making sure my nights aren’t too late.

There are so many activities this time of year – catch ups with friends, work do’s, school activities.  I am trying to be mindful and make sure that I enjoy these rather than feeling exhausted.  The point about getting enough rest and down time helps with that.  I also drop activities if I can.  And whilst I would like to make it to all the work functions and consider many colleagues to be friends, when it comes to family and friends, the work ones go on the bottom of the list, and if they need to be dropped, they are.  When the kids say they are not keen on the school disco, I don’t push them to go; I just give a sigh of relief.

I am conscious of practicing mindfulness and gratitude.  I have spoken to the boys about the trap of getting caught up in the ‘season’ and at least once each day we need to stop, take a breath, and think about the things that we are thankful for. I am also very guilty of looking forward and not enjoying the moment.  I am always rushing ahead.  So this year I am deliberately practicing mindfulness.  Being in the moment, and enjoying the moment.  Enjoying my boy’s last year of primary school and his year 6 graduation. Enjoying what could be the last year that my baby believes in Santa.  Enjoying my big boy in his last days of year 8 before he moves into the boy-man world of year 9. Enjoying catching up with friends and appreciating them.

Part of practicing gratitude is giving.  It is hard to give when you feel you have so much to do and pay for at the moment.  It is not just Christmas, but all the school things that need to be paid by the end of the year for next year.  Don’t worry, I get it.  Boy do i get it.  But there are so many ways you can give.  Rather than buying normal cards from Officeworks to go with teachers gifts, I have bought cards from Christian Blind Mission (I try to buy them from different places each year – it was World Vision last year).  It costs the same as a card from the shops, but has a greater impact.  The cards I bought pay for the lenses that are required for cataract surgery.

I know this sounds easier than it really is, but being organised is a big one for me! I review the calendar several times a day and make sure I am on top of everything.  It doesn’t always work though – I thought the sports carnival was last Friday and was all prepared, but it is this coming Friday!  I was a bit disappointed not to get that out of the way! I do list after list – which teachers gifts and Kris Kringle gifts do we still need to get?  What activities and appointments are coming up?  Is there anything going on at work or work trips that will throw a spanner in the works? Where do I need to get others to help?

I am really trying to eat healthily.  Christmas time in Australia is good for that – great summer fruits and veggies, and lots of glorious seafood. And along with that I am actually planning to do exercise in December.  Hah!  We’ll see about that one.

I am deep breathing.  A lot.

So what am I doing this 1st day of December?  I am playing Chris Isaak Christmas Carols, having a coffee, reviewing what needs to be done today, and just enjoying the moment and the sunshine. Oh, and will probably put up the Christmas tree later! (And yes, I am not mentioning all the mundane crap about getting school uniforms and work clothes ready for the week, lunch box food, exchanging something that didn’t fit for Ed’s graduation clothes, getting the school booklist done and paid for, getting Ed to a party etc – everyone has all that stuff to do).

How about you, are you feeling festive?

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Advertisements

Sunday Chores…

Today is Sunday, and I have spent the day doing something that I have put off for the last few weeks. *ahem*, OK.  For the last few months…putting away all the clean clothes that sit in basket in the middle of our living area.  I think it is appropriate that they are in the middle of the living area, because it makes it so much more convenient to get pour clothes each morning. Friends talk about their ‘floordrobe’.  Well, this is our ‘basket-drobe’, though floordrobe sounds better!

It feels so great to have this all done. For a moment I am one of those people.  You know the people.  The ones that are organised with a clean house and they never have to apologise for it.  Are you one of those people?  But sadly it is short lived.  I have a load of washing in the dryer, and another in the washing machine…

Getting these clothes put away led me to cleaning out my wardrobe, which made me learn a few things about myself.

  • I have many pairs of pyjamas.  None of which I actually bought for myself.  They have all been gifts.  No more pj’s please.  And I still wear an old t-shirt to bed!
  • I must have the largest collection of Diesel jeans known to man (& woman). I have bought all these online because Diesel jeans from a retailer are ridiculously expensive. Of the approx. 7 pairs of Diesel jeans, I would say that 1 pair fits me.  And they are the ones I wear on a daily basis.
  • The collection of Diesel jeans is followed closely by my collection of white t-shirts. And yes, every single one has a stain that renders it useless for wearing in public.
  • I have also ended up with a big pile of clothes to go to the Salvos.  Most of those came from the Salvos to begin with, and the rest were hand my downs from my sister.  I like to reduce, reuse and recycle!

After weeks of struggling every morning to find clothes to wear to work, I was being reduced to wearing the same thing every day. I now know that I have heaps of clothes, and I actually know where they all are.

My fear is that in the morning I still won’t be able to work out what to wear to work, because I have too much choice!

What are you doing with your Sunday?

 

….Come on summer, start already…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Give a little…

I’m sure we all give a bit of money to charity here and there.  It could be giving money to the tin rattlers at traffic light, selling raffle tickets for charity, or sponsoring someone raising money for cancer research.

But it isn’t often that you get to see the actual results of your donation.

Well, this week I did, and it made me cry (as per usual).

I have been going through a spate of donating lately (I will list the causes at the end of this blog in case you want to give a little too!), so have sponsored a few friends, clients and family members in their various pursuits to raise money for medical research in lots of different areas. $10 here and $20 there.  And I hope that in my lifetime I see some sort of result for everyone’s time and effort.

A few weeks ago, maybe even a couple of months ago, I noticed something on Facebook about a New Zealand Dad, Robbie Ritchie, who had a life threatening condition in his brain with an 80% chance of having a brain haemorrhage. He needed an operation that could only be done at the International Neuroscience Institute in Germany.  The more I read about this family and their need to raise $200,000 to be able to go to Germany, pay for the operations and remain there for several weeks, I just felt that I had to do something.

So I donated my $20 and kept an eye on their story. I learned of all their fundraising efforts in New Zealand, their angst at leaving their little boys back home whilst they went to Germany and their nervousness on the eve of the operation.  I felt nervous for them too.

Well yesterday Robbie had his surgery, and he came through it all ok.  I breathed a sigh of relief for this family that I don’t know and never will know.

It was so rewarding to be able to see the result of the money I donated, even though it was a drop in the ocean of the $156,000 that they raised.

I will still continue to donate money to people who are committing their time and effort to raise money for a cause they have been touched by, but I will also keep an eye out for those causes that will have an immediate effect. There is nothing better!

Robbie Ritchie’s Story

https://www.facebook.com/RobbieNeedsHisBrainFixed?ref=ts&fref=ts

https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/robbieneedshisbrainfixed

http://fixrobbiesbrain.wordpress.com/

 

Other causes I have donated to lately…support them where you can…

 

http://relay.cancercouncil.com.au/2013/wagga_wagga_relay_for_life_67/Elders-Wagga-Wagga

Sponsor my sister Jane Whitlock and niece Ellie Taylor in Relay for Life…

 

http://register.gongride.org.au/2013-Sydney-to-Gong-Bike-Ride/natalie11479

Sponsor my colleague Natalie as she is riding to raise money for MS research…

 

http://ml14.endcancer.org.au/site/TR/Events/Melbourne2014?px=1036130&pg=personal&fr_id=1090

Sponsor my client Michele as she raises money to end Women’s cancers…

 

I am also part of a group of girls who get together every 6 weeks or so.  We each take $20 for the kitty (and a bottle of wine for the fun)…and when we get enough money together we donate money or vouchers anonymously to local causes.  If you are located on the Mornington Peninsula and want in on this one, let me know!

A few pics from our Sunday jaunt last weekend…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA