last-days-pregnancy

The duration of my first pregnancy was 37 weeks and 5 days.

He was healthy and ready to go at early term, catching us pleasantly off-guard. The bags were packed on the day with me calling directions to my patient husband between contractions. The car seat was installed and the pool booked all while I labored. We had to stop for petrol on the way. It was an adventure – the final adventure we travelled together before we became a family of three – reaching a climax at the arrival of a little son, so keen to enter the world that he arrived the day before the baby shower.

Fast forward two and a half years and baby number two is incubating away, hidden in that secret place.

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crying-babies-cry-heaven

Flying across an ocean is a great equalizer.

Everyone is uncomfortable. No one can really sleep despite their body’s cry for rest. The food leaves everyone feeling hungry but also, without desire to eat what is handed to them. And, at the end, we all walk away feeling dirty for no particular reason other than the air which leaves us all inexplicably musty. 

But what I find most interesting about these flights, is the way people interact with the little ones around them. 

I have never flown across an ocean with a small child, but I have many friends who have done it alone; going to or from visiting a deployed military spouse. And I applaud them.
I applaud them because it takes courage to walk down an aisle with a rambunctious toddler and face glaring eyes, annoyed by simply the presence of a child.

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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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in Faith

Dear God, I Give Up

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dear-god-give

Dear God,

I give up. This life is hard. I am tempted daily to fall back into the sin where you found me. My words are used, not to encourage and build up, but to try and assert my agenda, my rightness, and to pursue my own selfish desires. Instead of being busy about your work, I’ve hidden behind my me time and busied myself with silly, temporal pursuits.

You’ve called me to reach out my hands to the poor, but instead, I’ve grasped tightly to my material possessions. You’ve called me to love others before myself, but I’ve instead spent days conniving how to get them to love me as much as I love me. My time has not been offered at your feet, but on the altar of consumerism, narcissism, and intellectualism.

But God, I’m giving it up again today and placing it at your feet. 

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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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business-measuring-success

Soon after we married, my husband left his job to start his own business.

He is equipped with a head for numbers and always wanted to be business owner.

I, on the other hand, don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body, but I did what I could – I encouraged, listened, and continued working. Then we had a baby and I landed my new favourite job as a stay at home mum.

The business started to gain momentum. Increasingly surrounded by the jargon of the small business community, I began to notice that much of what was being talked about in business was also quite relatable to my new stay at home mum role. Four years on, I still wouldn’t claim to understand most aspects of business, but pottering the periphery has often surprised and challenged me in motherhood.

Early in the business journey we were given an exercise from a Business Coach to write down daily KPIs.

I recalled those annoying sales targets or “Key Performance Indicators” from past retail jobs- numbers like overall sales, number of items sold per customer or amount per transaction. As a sales assistant, KPI’s were used to give me an idea of what to aim for to make the manager happy.

I had certainly never considered applying a KPI to my day as a mum.

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new-years-resolutions

If I had to confess my true gifting in life, it would be writing lists.

Writing lists is my forte, my jam, my favourite thing. If I could create a list that starts with, “write a list”, then cross it off, my life would be complete.

Every year, as far back as I can remember, I write a New Year, New Me-style list that exceeds all hopes and expectations. It’s the usual suspects; every year I aim to be thinner, more fit, more organised, speak a new language, stick to a budget, read 145 literature books, travel to 27 countries, drink 30L of green smoothie every day and teach my dog how to speak Spanish.

What I don’t love, and is not my gifting, is the hard work that it takes to make those resolutions…resolute.

I love being thin, but mate, I love doughnuts. I want to stick to a budget, but Kitchen Warehouse is having a sale. I want to get fit, but it’s too hot to walk today. I want to travel, but I just spent all of my money at Kitchen Warehouse.

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