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Family Life

phone-camera-photos

Recently I saw a television show where people called in experts to help with their hoarding problems.

I watched with a dropped jaw as they revealed room after room full to the brim with STUFF. Things they have grown attached to, things they can’t let go of. The root of their hoarding sounded like fear talking: “What if I need it again someday? What if I miss it when it’s gone?”

I have never seen myself as a hoarder. Go through the photos on my computer though and my little “hoarding” problem quickly shows up. Two weeks ago, I started creating a photo book of our 2017 and it proved to be a painstaking process to go through all the photos of last year and select only a few to display. Along the way an all-too-familiar pattern emerged as well. Less than happy faces, fake smiles and 7 photos of nearly the same thing, all taken in an attempt to get the best one. My memories were clouded. Instead of remembering the happiness, I remembered the effort it took to get that one perfect shot. I started thinking that maybe I want to start having happy moments in real life instead of fake happy memories to refer to one day.

I realised too that I watched so many of my children’s big moments i.e. running races and winning awards happen through the lens of a camera and in the process completely missed the utter joy and pride in their faces. And this saddens me a bit.

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choosing-love

I sat there trying to process what I’d just heard.

Everyone was standing, singing, but my legs wouldn’t carry me.

“Everything is either love, or fear of loss” he had said. Wow. Never had I heard all of life explained quite so simply before. Never had I realized every decision and emotion in my past had been motivated either by fear or love.

We don’t often have guest speakers at our church, and I am so glad Ted Dekker was invited that morning. He had such a shocking perspective on life, that just made so much sense. It was both new and 2,000 years old, like climbing into teachings I had heard a thousand times before yet hearing them for the first time.

As Ted was telling stories, I couldn’t help thinking about my everyday decisions, and emotions:

In the morning, I rush my children and I feel stressed. Why? Because I don’t want them to be late for school. I’m afraid they will be late for school. And I don’t want them to become adults who are late all the time.

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shadow-step

I discovered a new song this weekend and it instantly became a firm favourite.

You might know it too, “Shadow Step” by Hillsong United.

Driving in the car listening to this on top volume today (I was by myself and it was pure bliss), it made me reflect on the meaning of the “shadow step” in the song. To me it was symbolic of stepping into a shadow, an unknown area, a new place, not yet sure what you’ll find or if it is going to work, but trusting God with the process.

I could relate this back to motherhood immediately.

Are we not always operating in shadow steps when it comes to raising kids?

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motherhood-journey

When I first gave birth to my son just over eighteen months ago, it was a mixed time of overwhelming joy and utterly mind-blowing chaos.

I’m just going to say what all mothers come to learn: Nothing – no third trimester sleepless nights, no parenting books, no sage advice nor all of the wisdom in the world – can prepare you for the complete insanity that is parenthood.

A friend of mine just had his second baby, another little girl. I asked him how he and his wife were adjusting to a two-child life and, as most parents do, his response was predominantly laughter. (I reckon that the amount of laughter grows with each new child born into a family, representing both the inflation of joy and the increased levels of crazy with each addition.)

That naturally led the conversation to the question that most expectant mothers want to ask and all current mothers love trying to pinpoint.

He asked me, “What do you think was the most unexpected thing about becoming a mother?”

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research-prepare

When I’m faced with something new, I research.

I gather all the possible knowledge and tales of experience I can carry. Books, journals, magazines, people, Google, are all valuable resources.

When I faced parenthood at a young age, this was my tactic. Learn it all. Download the intel and execute exceptional parenthood.

It may seem that I grasped at a semblance of control over the uncontrollable for the illusion of being prepared. It did give me some peace though, and it armed me with some tools to use in moments that were beyond me. Most used was prayer; my mantra was a prayer for knowledge, wisdom and patience. I begged for the way to know what to do, the best way to do it, and to grow some capacity to withstand the struggles.

The thing that the research didn’t prepare me for was the overwhelming love.

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creating-vision-family

Do you have a vision and a mission for your family?

Recently I was driving in my car when I heard someone talk on the radio about an exercise they once did in which they had to think about and write down the dreams they had for their children. Of course that was only one half of it, the more difficult part came when they had to think about how they were doing in raising their kids in such a way that those dreams could become a reality.

Immediately I began thinking of the own dreams I have for my two boys and in the following days I kept on coming back to this talk and pondered on these dreams, eventually writing them down and critically evaluated them. This led to a big light-bulb moment for me.  I had to be honest with myself and admit that I could do a bit better. (No, I am not feeling guilty about this, simply inspired to change it for the better)

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embracing-mediocre

My Instagram feed is like my wardrobe – eclectic.

There’s no one particular theme to the accounts I follow. I tend to gravitate to those whose creativity, or style, or perspective, or habits, or environment, or language inspire me.

Then there are the simpler accounts, casual personal accounts like my own, owned by wonderfully mediocre women like myself. Who take the photos with their phones, some snaps blurrier than others and the kids are usually dressed by themselves and not a sponsor* (*If you’re a brand who sends clothes to InstaMums for features– holler, my kids are size 3, 7 & 8).

These unprofessional, personal, heartfelt accounts, I think, are imperative to my Instacommunity.

They remind me of games I might like to play with my children again, or a beach I haven’t visited in a while, or give me insight into what a Northern hemisphere Christmas must be like. They also aren’t polished to the point where I wish my life or house or kid’s wardrobe was more like theirs. Their spaces and days are similar enough to my own. It’s a little bit of ordinary that I need to see, so that I do not get trapped in the habit of comparison. As I frequently tell my children, “comparison is the thief of joy” (Thanks Theodore Roosevelt).

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network-marketer

The following words have been on my heart and mind for a long long time… But fear of judgement has kept me from sharing.

Today, I’m jumping in! I often say fear is never a good reason to not do something, so here I am, walking the talk and doing it scared!

Hello, I’m Keren, I’m a mom, homemaker, registered nurse and… network marketer.

EEEK! See what I mean?

Now you wonder how in the world a reasonably intelligent, somehow articulate adult woman would fall into direct sales?

Here’s a short version of my story, and how I became a network marketer:

We arrived in Tennessee in April 2013, two young children in tow, with no idea of what to expect. It quickly dawned on us we were earning a bit less than we were in good old Perth, and our expenses were much higher. Doesn’t take a genius to do the math: I needed a job!

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in Family Life

The Place Where I Belong

at
belong

Growing up, I never felt like I belonged.

Anywhere. Not because I was weird, or shy, or couldn’t make friends.

Nope. I had numerous friends as a kid and teen and young adult, because I was funny and loud and listened and adapted to any group I found myself in. People thought I belonged with them, they enjoyed my company and found my story fascinating.

But the truth is, I never did belong. I knew it – they didn’t.

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