Be Present

It's the final day of 2016 and at a time when everyone seems to be making resolutions for the new year I can only think of one thing to be conscious of - being present.

There really is no other way to be. If we are not present then we are not existing to our fullest potential. The only thing for sure is now. It is in each and every moment that we have and not a second more. Sure we can make plans and have goals and hopes for our future, but if we are always wanting and always waiting, then we aren't really living.

So in 2017 I am going to strive to be more present. I won't always succeed. I'll still over-think things and be anxious and have fears and complain about things I don't have - I am human. But I will strive, I will remind myself and try really, really hard to be present.

I am thankful for...

  • Friends who listen and reserve judgement
  • Three giggling children who jump on beds and leave Vegemite fingerprints wherever they go
  • The opportunity to be creative and gift others with something they will cherish forever
  • A patient husband who is encouraging and supportive
  • Relationships, friendships, those who I see often and those who I see once a year
  • A healthy mind that works and questions and wonders
  • Hot tea sipped on a comfortable lounge, overlooking gloriously, lush trees
  • A family home filled with passion and fight and love
  • A strong body that sees me through

Merry Christmas to you, my readers. I am thankful for you also. See you in the new year.
 xx Katrina


 'Here is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. 
We need the mud, in order to make the lotus.'
                             - Thich Nhat Hanh

I like to reflect on things and when I look back over the year that has been, I see many challenges. 2016 was a challenging one and one that has certainly made me stronger. It has changed me, shaped me into a different version of myself...a better version. 

This has been a year where relationships have strengthened. A year where I've put myself ahead of other things and taken care of myself. This year, I have become more authentic in who I am and in the friendships I have. 

As Christmas arrives in only two more sleeps I find myself feeling thankful. Content. Blessed. Strong. Creative. And yet, I feel a sense of sorrow. I fear for our world and the world my children are to grow old in. We are blessed beyond measure here in Australia and in this home of ours, where children are healthy and the fridge is stocked with food. I am well aware we are the minority, us folk with houses and beds, hot water and food. Us folk who fill our trolleys to the brim and write 'wish lists' for Christmas. If only there was a way for all people to feel joy. If only every heart knew love. If only generosity was a way of life and GIVING was a priority. 

I sip my hot tea and wonder how and if and when...

All of the lasts...

What a big week this is. A week of lasts. I'm not very good when it comes to 'lasts' to be honest. Being so sentimental I find myself over thinking things and becoming emotional.

Tomorrow is Master Five's last day of preschool. And every year, everyone says it and this year it feels especially true - how fast has 2016 gone?!

This morning I watched Master Five sing songs and perform with his friends. He smiled and sang and did all the actions and it was during their performance of 'I am Australian' that I felt that familiar lump in my throat. That lump that says 'he is growing up'. That lump that tells me time is fleeting. That lump that will miss this amazing nurturing environment that he's had three days a week.
I felt myself becoming desperate to hold onto these days, this moment.

The preschool played a slide show of all the beautiful children telling the camera what they'd like to be when they grow up - and there he was, his happy face beaming on the screen as he said 'I want to work at Sydney Zoo with all of the animals.'

Today he wore a Batman costume to preschool and sang 'Ging Gang Gooley' and in a matter of weeks he will wear a school uniform and an oversized backpack and that lump in my throat will return.

Santa Claus

I've been reading a few articles lately, including this one and it would seem that many parents out there are agreeing that lying about Santa is just not the way to go.

The thing is, I don't want to lie to my children, and I don't intend to (in a black and white sort of way). The world is full of grey area and I love seeing children's imaginations run wild and free with no limits.

A middle ground (for now) and something The Husband and I are doing, is being a little more conscience about the way we talk about Santa and Christmas with our children. We don't want to build the idea of Santa up into something really big and all consuming and yet we also don't want to say outright that he doesn't exist! It's just not that black and white for us. Our children are still very young (7, 5 & 2) and they love the idea of Santa and Elves and The North Pole. We read Christmas stories and watch Christmas movies with them and the majority of these books and movies are about Santa Claus.

Last year we started a new, slightly adjusted Christmas ritual of Santa bringing only a few small stocking fillers and the remainder of gifts were wrapped under the tree from us, Mum and Dad. We will be doing the same again this year. We hope that by doing this, the main focus isn't on what Santa brings but rather the pure and simple act of giving. The joy will still definitely be there come Christmas morning, I guarantee it.

We have mentioned to the children in the past that Santa may not just be one person doing it all alone, but that it is many people working together to bring joy at Christmas time. Santa can represent joy and giving and the spirit of Christmas. For now, we think this is a suitable explanation, and it seems to suffice. In the years to come we will be prepared for more questions and to tell them the truth about Santa Claus. Of course, truth can be told in many different ways and I would hope we could explain it in a way that is fair and truthful, but gentle and considerate.

Here are some ways I've read parents tell their children the truth...

"The idea of Santa is many people helping to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, and Mum and Dad are a part of that. You can be a part of that too."

"Santa represents joy and giving. It isn't about a man in a red suit, it is about what he represents."

"The magic and spirit of Christmas is always going to be special and wonderful no matter who does the giving. Everyone can play a part in keeping the spirit of Christmas alive, it isn't all about is about so much more than that..."