Monthly Archives: July 2015

Tuesday’s Quote #34 – Keeping an open mind

No shame in changing your mind! xx Rowena

Time for my thoughts...

“What is important is that one utilizes one’s intellect and not to be 100 percent sure about one’s convictions. One should always leave room for doubt.”

— Shirin Ebadi

Winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace prize, Shirin Ebadi also has the distinction being the first Iranian to be given the prize. She was a lawyer and judge, and has been noted for her involvement in human rights causes, founded the Defenders of Human Rights Center, but has been in exile in the UK since 2009 since her views on the Iranian government exceeded the government’s very limited tolerance for dissent.

This particular quotes resonates with me quite a bit. I get frustrated with those that think that there is something noble about never changing their opinions in the face of new evidence. Forcing ourselves to look beyond our own bubbles – to see what others see – is so important both…

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Stairways to Heaven: Stockholm, Sweden.

Don’t you just feel like climbing up these stairs would like you on some kind of magical mystery journey through the clouds to the sort of mysterious lands which were found at the top of Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree?

xx Rowena

inte fan gör det det

heaven!

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Acceptance?

For the last few months, I have participated in a monthly blog share #1000speak at http://1000voicesspeak.org/ This is a group of bloggers who are wanting to bring out the best in humanity and somehow make a difference.

This month’s topic is acceptance.

To say that I struggle with acceptance is the greatest understatement. I am outright oppositional, rebellious and fight it with every cell I’ve got.

Not that I’m a bad person or rebellious by nature. It’s just that I believe too much in the power to change our destiny, the future, the world within us as well as the world around us just to accept the status quo. It might be hard work and quite a lonely journey going against the flow sometimes. However, somebody’s got to do it and thank goodness, I’m not alone.

For many years now, I have wrestled with acceptance and, in particular, with the first verse of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

While this prayer is the foundation of the highly successful Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps Program, what’s amazed me is how much I could actually change. It was way beyond the realms of what I ever considered possible.

I have a severe chronic illness and yet I was able to learn the violin. I skied. Have now had over 20,000 views on my blog. Yet, at the same time, I found that despite my best efforts, there were things I couldn’t change. Straight after skiing down Front Valley at Australia’s Perisher Resort, I developed pneumonia and my auto-immune disease flared up and I went on to have chemo shortly after. That wasn’t part of the plan but I guess it just went to show me that I can’t control everything. That life does respond to a remote control.

Over the last 12 months, my views towards acceptance have been challenged again by the impact of terrorism in our world. Just over a year ago, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine killing everyone on board. This event silenced the world and we were united in shock and grief. How could this happen? Once again, our sense of security was at the very least challenged and the ground beneath our feet perhaps became a bit more uncertain…especially after terrorist sieges in Sydney, Paris and more recently events in Tunisia.

What can we as mere little people do in the face of such hate? How can we reach out to those who had so tragically lost loved ones and convey our deep love and our sense of solidarity? That although we’re strangers, that we feel such love, compassion and wished there was something we could do? How can we show that we don’t accept such acts of terrorism or violence when we might not have a voice?

It’s a challenge!

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

After the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the kids and I made a series of red love hearts which they cut out and taped onto paddle pop sticks, which they could stick in the ground like the red poppies we have on ANZAC Day in remembrance of those who served our country and in particular made the ultimate sacrifice. Quite a few of the Australians on board were either teachers or students and so we sent these hearts to the schools involved.

Our tribute to the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. We posted these hearts out to their schools and communities where we could.

Our tribute to the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. We posted these hearts out to their schools and communities where we could.

By sending these letters, we weren’t actively combating evil directly but we were doing something and I guess I made a bit of an unconscious decision not to forget those people who died on board Flight MH17. Not because I knew any of them personally but to say that it’s completely unacceptable for a civilian aircraft to be shot down NO MATTER WHAT.

But how can I do that? How can I just one little speck lost among the hundreds and thousands ever hope to make a difference when governments and political leaders with greater minds than mine struggle?!

The determination in our hearts can move mighty mountains!

The determination in our hearts can move mighty mountains!

That said, I don’t think we should ever underestimate the power of the human heart and how it can move mighty mountains and blow evil right out of the water! What the little people might lack in might, we can have in passion and determination.

Moreover, when all of us little people come together, we become a powerful force. We have days at school which require a gold coin donation and while I might put in a couple of dollars, as a school we might raise $700-$900.00.

That is people power.

Through blogging, I have also been able to see the power of “the pen” in action. Moreover, through 1000 Voices for Compassion, hundreds and indeed a thousand of us write about compassion each month and spend that time thinking and even putting goodness into action.

I have to believe that each of us is being that difference and making a stand against horrors which should never be accepted.

xx Rowena

An Oasis of Gold: Sunflower Seeds MH17

A sunflower
among sunflowers
in a sprawling field,
her face shines
brighter than the sun.
So glorious,
her luscious, golden smile
weaves its magic:
captivating poets, painters, dreamers…
as well as a wee child’s heart.

Stretching her green leaves
ever upwards,
her time has almost come.
Thousands of seeds
all set to burst
into the azure sky.
Spread their wings.
Fly around the world.
Grow new life.

Yet,
in her very prime,
when her seeds were all but ripe,
devastation hit.
Slashed from her roots,
brutally cut down,
all but decimated
by the exploding metal bird,
she was gone.

Seeds of hope.

Seeds of hope.

Her seeds scattered
across the scorched earth:
tears wrenched
from her broken heart,
fused with molten metal.
Once so filled with promise,
now,
they’re just
part of the wreckage.

Yet,
plucked from the ashes
and sheltered in the strangers’ hearts,
those precious seeds
flew to foreign fields.
Found life in the Australian soil,
where they now stand tall:
still captivating poets, painters, dreamers…
as well as a wee child’s heart.

Beneath the Southern Cross,
they stand…
Ukrainian sunflowers blooming
in the Great South Land.

Rowena Newton
19th July, 2015.

To read more about these sunflower seeds, click here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/seeds-of-love-plucked-from-devastation-flight-mh17/

A personal message from Sydney Morning Herald's Chief Foreign Correspondent,  journalist Paul McGeogh & Photographer Kate Geraghty who sent me the sunflowers.

A personal message from journalist Paul McGeogh & Kate Geraghty who sent me the sunflowers.

The Rainbow That Got Away!

Photography is like fishing.

There is always that perfect shot that “got away”. That idyllic moment you, for whatever reason, missed.

A few days ago, as I was driving home after the dropping the kids at school, I noticed the most intensely coloured rainbow arching over the beach. I absolutely adore rainbows and experiencing a sort of visual lust peculiar to mad photographers, I felt that tell-tale pitter-patter in my heart which was rapidly crescendoing into a frenzied explosion.

The colours were so intense but although I was completely intoxicated and absorbed by this stunning rainbow, my camera was at home and we all know about the fleetingness of rainbows and how quickly they slip through your fingers. After all, they don’t want to get caught…not even in 6×4.

Not to be deterred, I raced home and picked up the camera and the dogs.

Of course, by the time I returned, the rainbow was gone.

Indeed, it looked like it had never even been there at all. It had vanished without a trace.

Yet, there was still so much to photograph. The sky was a foreboding dark grey with a trail of pure white clouds scudding across and incredibly moody. Storm water had carved an impressive estuary through the sand and the beach had a raw, powerful energy and felt a little wild.

Bilbo fogging up the windscreen with angst while I photograph the rainbow.

Bilbo fogging up the windscreen with angst while I photograph the rainbow.

While I ran around taking shots, the dogs were still in the car as they’re not allowed on this section of the beach.

They weren’t happy!

While I was disappointed at missing the rainbow shots, I was philosophical about it all. Sometimes, you are just meant to feast on such things with your eyes instead of trying to recreate perfection and somehow lose the magic in the translation.

Jonathon Livingstone Seagull Opted to Walk in the Rain.

Jonathon Livingstone Seagull Opted to Walk in the Rain.

I called it a day and started driving home when I noticed the sun starting to force it’s way through the rain clouds with a determined, golden haze. My hopes raised a little. Sun and rain equals rainbows and as I turned into my street and threw a passing glance back at the beach, the rainbow was back.

Yes!!

The elusive rainbow finally captured over Lion Island.

The elusive rainbow finally captured over Lion Island.

One very quick U-turn later and the dogs and I were moving like greased lightening, albeit under the speed limit…of course!!

The rainbow was arched right over the top of Lion Island, which was shrouded in a foggy haze. Serenely beautiful, it was a veritable fairyland with an ethereal beauty!

Wow!

After I’d taken my shots, the sea gulls, which had parked themselves along the beach captured my attention. Perhaps, they were also admiring the rainbow. I don’t know. A few of them suddenly started taking off, so very much like planes on a runway and the seemingly ordinary took on a new serenity at that moment. They reminded me of Noah’s dove…except the rain hadn’t stopped!

Jonathon Livingston Seagull Finds His Wings!

Jonathon Livingston Seagull Finds His Wings!

Indeed, it’s still going and while it hasn’t snowed here, it’s snowed heavily in places which are usually lucky to receive a dusting.

So, you could say we’re needing a rainbow at the moment and I would love to escape to rainbow island if only there wasn’t the perpetuate battle between sun and rain.

Of course, in my idea of the perfect paradise, there is only sun!

xx Rowena

Reflections: 1st Anniversary Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

Yesterday, marked the 1st Anniversary of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over the Ukraine on the 17th July, 2014.

My deepest sympathies are extended to all those who lost loved ones in this disaster and our family sends you our love. I can’t even imagine your grief and yet, I have been deeply touched by what happened and wanted to honour those who lost their lives. They were simply everyday people traveling on board a plane like most of us have done at some time. Reading, eating, sleeping…they had no inkling of what was about to transpire. Meanwhile, family and friends anticipating their arrival home with great excitement, were absolutely devastated. They still are.

As you might be aware, I have written a little about this incident and recently received sunflower seeds, grown from seeds which were salvaged from the crash site. I will plant these seeds as an ongoing tribute to those whose lives were brutally cut short as well as a reminder to carry their legacy forward.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke

We usually struggle to know what we as individuals can do in the aftermath of such horror. Small and insignificant, it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed. That there’s nothing we can do. Yet, when you look at a tiny, little sunflower seed and realise all that it can become, it makes the impossible seem possible.

A personal message from journalist Paul McGeogh & Kate Geraghty who sent me the sunflowers.

A personal message from journalist Paul McGeogh & Kate Geraghty who sent me the sunflowers.

After all, that tiny sunflower seed not only grows into huge, glorious, yellow flower bobbing above the horizon like the sun. That one sunflower head can produce as many as 1000-2000 seeds. Each of those seeds can then go on and produce more sunflowers and before long there is a never-ending, golden field overflowing with golden flowers, floppy leaves and hope. Those sunflowers are an unstoppable force.

So is love!

Seeds of hope.

Seeds of hope.

Indeed, each of us has the same potential as that sunflower seed to be the difference and touch our world and be touched…not only by the sun but also by the tears.

We just need to plant the seeds and keep watering them with our love.

Of course, this won’t bring back those who died in this tragedy but that love can triumph over evil and hate…could this be their ongoing legacy?

I guess that’s what planting those precious sunflower seeds means to me.

Love and God Bless,

Rowena and Family XXOO

The Ultimate Lunchbox Cheese, Veg & Bacon Muffin

As if what to cook for dinner isn’t stressful enough, preparing the kids school lunches is the ultimate headache, especially if their school lunches keep coming home untouched and the dog needs to go on a diet.
While there is much discussion about childhood obesity, my kids are lean and my daughter actually is on a weight-gain regime. This means our kids need the full fat, the cheese and can have a bit of bacon without concern. Our problem is that they don’t eat, NOT that they over-indulge.
The other thing I’m now appreciating about our kids is that they’re not simply fussy but discerning. They both have fairly refined palates and can comment about particular tastes and textures, which is pretty impressive for their age. That said, I’ve worked in market research and so they’ve never got away with “yuck” or “nice”. They’ve always had to explain or walk me through why they’ve liked or disliked my cooking.
Lately, we’ve also been watching Masterchef where we’ve all been watching the contestants prepare their meals and then heard the judges reviews. Back on the home front, I have been elevated to Masterchef (or cook) and Geoff and the kids have become the judges. Unfortunately for the dogs, they were cast as “home viewers”, hungrily watching the action and praying for a few crumbs. Sorry!
So after all this Mastercheffing of sorts at home, it is hardly surprising that the humble sandwich isn’t good enough. They want more.
I made these on the run before school this morning as we’d run out of bread, wraps and the kids lunches had started coming home again. Of course, there were no guarantees they were going to eat these but they do love cheese and bacon rolls and I thought they’d probably enjoy this “healthed-up” alternative.

My first observation was that these went quickly and my son, fussy eater numero uno, devoured two straight out of the oven before he went to school. This is a glowing endorsement, as he is even very particular about the chocolate he eats. He did comment about the “garlic flavour” which was the onions so take it easy with the grated onion. A little bit goes a long way.The cheese was still hot and gooey. I had mine a bit later and again noticed the onion flavour but also the beautiful bacon flavour. The top was also pleasantly crunchy.
Yes, we will definitely be making these again and wanted to share our efforts on the blog.
xx Rowena

A look inside our muffins.

A look inside our muffins.



Cheese Veg & Bacon Muffins

Makes 12

Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
2 cups self raising flour

3 cups vegetables We used: ½ cup grated carrot
½ cup corn kernels
½ cup grated zucchini
a tablespoon grated onion (go light on the grated onion!)
½ cup finely sliced baby spinach leaves

1 1/3 cups grated tasty cheese.
½ cup milk
3 eggs
60g butter, melted
bacon pieces, optional
12 cubes of tasty cheese
fresh thyme, optional
Directions
1. Preheat oven 180°C (160°C fan forced) and grease a 12-hole (1/3 cup) muffin pan with cooking spray. I lined mine with muffin cases.
2. Take eggs out of the fridge. They fluff up better when beaten at room temperature.
3. If you are adding bacon bits, slice bacon into squares and fry in a large frying pan until crunchy. Put aside and cool. I use bacon with a bit of fat so it crunches up.
4. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and create a well.
5. Grate carrot, zucchini,onion and add to flour.
6. Finely slice baby spinach leaves. Add to flour.
7. Add grated tasty cheese and fresh thyme to flour mix. Blend well.
8. Melt butter in the microwave on high in a mug for around a minute and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
9. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs together and add cooled melted butter.
10. Pour wet ingredients into the veggie flour mix and stir gently with a large spoon until the ingredients are just incorporated. The flour should be mixed in and the mixture should resemble a batter. So, depending on the wetness of your veggie mix, you might need to add an extra splash of milk as I did.
11. Place a tablespoon of mixture in each muffin hole. Each muffin needs to be around the same size to make sure the muffins bake evenly.
12. Push a cube of tasty cheese into each muffin and spread mix back over the top so the cheese is “buried” inside the muffin. The cheese will melt during cooking and flow through the top, while leaving a scrumptious, cheese interior.
13. Sprinkle crunchy bacon bits over the top if desired. You can also stir some through the mix if desired.
14. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
15. Cool in the tin before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. That is, if someone doesn’t nab them while they’re hot. Mine vanished very quickly and this time it wasn’t the dog!

This recipe is loosely based on muffin recipes by Julie Goodwin and Curtis Stone infused with a bit of me. Next time, I’m going to try adding some olives and you could easily swap the thyme for fresh basil.

Bushwalking Through the Lens: Australian Style.

When you think of bush walking, you immediately think of feet, terrain and perhaps how many kilometres you’ve covered…especially if you’re the pedometer type.

However, isn’t bush walking more about what you see and experience and chance along the way rather than just reaching your destination. That is, if you indeed, had a destination.

We simply had two adults and two kids we’d just picked up from Grandma, a car and the camera. I should also mention that our daughter was wearing these roller shoe things which are sneakers with roller skates in them and from my thinking, ranked alongside high heels in terms of bush walking attire but she proved me wrong.

Who doesn't love to climb a tree?

Who doesn’t love to climb a tree?

With dreadfully cold, stormy and no doubt rainy conditions forecast at least for the next few days, Geoff thought we should make the most of the sunny blue skies and warmth while it lasted and see what we could find.

Even though it’s Winter, spotting some wildflowers came to mind and also taking in some of the scenic coastal views.

In awe of the soaring gum trees.

In awe of the soaring gum trees.

However, even though the kids do Scouts, it’s been awhile since we’ve bush walked and needing an easy trail, we were a bit stumped. I remembered seeing good views and wildflowers over on the road to Patonga. That was our general direction and we pulled over at the water tank on the way with very faded memories of a bush trail.

We were walking in the hills above Pearl Beach on the way to Patonga. We are across the water from Sydney's Palm Beach and about 2 hour's drive North of  the Sydney CBD.

We were walking in the hills above Pearl Beach on the way to Patonga. We are across the water from Sydney’s Palm Beach and about 2 hour’s drive North of the Sydney CBD.

Forgive us Father, we have sinned. It has been at least 11 years since we have done this bush walk and when we see the spectacular views and what we chanced across, it is indeed a sin not to be making the most of the incredibly stunning places right on our doorstep. We don’t have to spend a cent to get there. Well, just the petrol but it’s nothing like an International flight, is it? So easy to hanker after somewhere else and totally miss the treasures parked right under your very own nose.

Geoff

Geoff

Our bush walk begins at a huge old water tower parked on top of Mt Ettalong, about an hour North of Sydney and perched over Pearl Beach. It’s not a long walk and it has a clear designated path, not without it’s hazards and two official lookouts and various meanderings along the way. To be honest, we found it virtually impossible to stick to the trail as we were drawn off-track by wildflowers, views and incredible surprises. No, we didn’t see any kangaroos or koalas but there were other “personalities” to be found.

Wildflower

Wildflower

We’re perched on top of quite a hill and the gum trees with their undulating, twisting branches form a towering canopy overhead and I feel about the size of an ant as my footsteps crunch the leaf-litter underfoot and a musty eucalyptus scent fills the air. We heard the distant crashing of the waves down below and although we can’t see the Rainbow Lorrikeets, we can certainly hear them all the way from Pearl Beach. They’re having a very animated conversation.

What a breathtaking view: Pearl Beach & Lion Island.

What a breathtaking view: Pearl Beach & Lion Island.

We wander off the trail to a cliff lookout and I remember why we haven’t been hear for around 11 years. This is not the sort of place you bring young kids who love to run off and potentially over-explore the view. Too many cliffs, in other words.

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree. They might look cute and sound hilarious but they have the last laugh once they've snatched the snags off your BBQ!

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree. They might look cute and sound hilarious but they have the last laugh once they’ve snatched the snags off your BBQ!

Although we thought we might find a few wildflowers and of course the birds, we didn’t have great expectations about seeing anything out of the ordinary. While there are some wild kangaroos or wallabies in the area, you very rarely see them and there aren’t any koalas around as far as I know but after what we saw yesterday, I might have to revise that.

What's that hiding in the undergrowth???

What’s that hiding in the undergrowth???

We found echidnas on our walk. I am 45 years old and I’ve seen a bit of Australia and the Australian bush and I’m pretty sure the only other time I’ve ever seen echidnas was on a trip to Tasmania in 2005. That’s ten years ago.

Mister bravely patting a wild echidna. Watch out for those spines!

Mister bravely patting a wild echidna. Watch out for those spines!

So, you can forgive me for my skepticism when one or both of the kids shots out that they’ve seen an echidna. It’s like saying they’ve found fairies but much to my surprise, they were right. We ended up finding 3-5 echidnas all up. While we did see one scuttling through the bush after the camera battery had gone flat, they’d actually curled up under a bush with their spines sticking out like some wacky spiky plant and we were able to pat them. Wow. Talk about amazing. That sort of experience, being a real live David Attenborough, makes your heart pitter-patter!!

What a pin cushion!!!!!!!!!! OUCH!!

What a pin cushion!!!!!!!!!!
OUCH!!

However, after a whale hoax, I was again sceptical when Mister called out that he’d found a lyrebird. these aren’ exactly rare but I’ve never seen one of them before although we have heard one.

“Lyrebird Albert f 20091125 flash” by Peter Ellis – english wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyrebird_Albert_f_20091125_flash.JPG. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – /File:Lyrebird_Albert_f_20091125_flash.JPG

Wildflower known as “egg & bacon”.

We also had a bit of humour when we found a gumtree “bleeding” thick, red sap. When Geoff was a kid, he covered himself with the red sap and like so many Aussie kids, said he’s “cut himself”…a great prank!

Bleeding bark on a gum tree.

Bleeding bark on a gum tree.

Ha! “Bleeding Finger”.

Peering through the bush, we also spotted the home front and it was quite intriguing to see “our beach” from this new and fairly elevated perspective. We have a huge Norfolk Pine tree in our front yard and we did try to pick it out in the distance without success.

Looking towards Umina Beach, NSW.

Looking towards Umina Beach, NSW.

Almost sunset. Time to go home.

Almost sunset. Time to go home.

Can you guess you fancied me for dinner? Found in groaning with terrible tummy ache on the bathroom floor. Thought it needed a bit of a make-over for publication!

Can you guess you fancied me for dinner? Found it groaning with terrible tummy ache on the bathroom floor. Thought it needed a bit of a make-over for publication!

So, after stumbling upon so much beauty, the four explorers headed home determine to undertake further journeys to see what other surprises are right on our doorstep.

Have you explored your local area? What have been some of your favourite finds and please share a post or two about your adventures!
xx Rowena

Battling for A Little Respect…

Whether you call it disability, chronic illness, race, poverty, being different, special or unique; there’s no excuse for bullying, bashing and being outright rude.

You would think that supposed “weakness” would bring out the best in people with outpourings of love, compassion and support. That we would take those people doing it tough, usually through no fault of their own, into our hearts and just love them. Water them with the essence of human kindness so they could be strengthened, encouraged and nurtured to maximise an inner strength and shine like the radiant sunflowers, they, I mean, WE are.

Indeed, so many people I know who are living with chronic illness or disability, have an inner strength and determination which would humble an ox.

Yet, too often they are written off.

Or, they become celebrated for their incredible achievements as individuals. However, when you look around people living with chronic illness or disability, these feats are not uncommon. Indeed, they/we push ourselves so much further than the average Joe.

However, it seems to me that too many people take delight in bashing and putting down anybody who doesn’t fit into the straight-jacket of the perceived social norm.

You don’t even really need to be disabled…just having a bad day.

For so many, there is no “margin of error”. No compassion for difference or even an understanding that we all have different strengths and weaknesses.

We must all squeeze into that social straight-jacket no matter who we are or what’s going on and not flinch.
But tell me, who really fits into these suffocating confines and doesn’t twitch or suddenly feel the impulse to wriggle, scratch an itch or just plain run away?!!

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the movies to see the latest Disney classic: Inside Out. While this should have been a simple outing, as is often the case with me, it unraveled completely and I was freaking out.

For some reason, although I can write well and be an ideas person, I seriously struggle with the detailed nitty gritty. While trying to simply buy the movie tickets, I came unstuck. Indeed, as bad luck conspired against me, I sank deeper and deeper into what was rapidly becoming a never-ending abyss.

An incredible movie: A must See!!!

An incredible movie: A must See!!!

For starters, our son was also supposed to come to the movie but couldn’t get himself together in time and was left behind. Our daughter misses out on enough and I was determined to get her there no matter what. I’d promised to take her to this movie and after being sick all holidays, time was almost up. Nothing was going to stand in our way!!

So, while I’m standing in the queue, I check my wallet and realise the $50.00 note I’d expected to be there had gone up in flames and I had no notes. Not immediately concerned, I went to the coins. They can quickly add up. However, it was just my typical @#$% rotten luck that a very tiny paper receipt had wedged itself into the zipper and even applying brute force, I couldn’t rip it open. This is a very special handmade wallet I’d bought at Byron Bay so I wasn’t wanting to wreck it but with all this frustration, I was fuming.

Just to put you in the picture, we weren’t at some huge mega cinema in the heart of Sydney with extensive queues pouring out onto George Street. Rather, we were at our small, local independent cinema and there were only a handful of people in the queue with two people serving. It’s a very relaxed, chilled place with personalised service…everything but a pianist playing before the start of the movie.

By this stage, we were at the counter and I was funneling coins through the gap in the zip and was standing there like a kid who’d just tipped their moneybox all over the counter rather than a 40 something Mum, who isn’t on the poverty line.

In retrospect, I certainly wasn’t doing my deep breathing exercises…just the reverse. My stress levels had blown a gasket and I was all but paralysed and couldn’t think straight. My mind went absolutely blank and non function mentis. This is just the point in time where you are praying for someone, anyone, to come to your rescue. Ask: “Can I help you?”

Instead, this @#$% woman calls out from the queue: “Can’t you just hurry up?”

I explained, I think, politely that I have a disability and flashed my disability Companion Card and I can’t remember what she said next but I can assure you that there wasn’t one ounce of compassion in that @#$% and she told me I was making a fool of myself. To which I replied (thank you to three years of blogging which have sharpened my ability to express myself): “You don’t know how hard it is for me just to take my daughter to the cinema.” The girl serving directed the woman to the other counter where I’m sure she was quickly served.

At this point, I realised I was going to have to use EFTPOS. This should have been a no-brainer right from the start but there was a $20.00 minimum withdrawal and the ticket cost $13.00, which meant spending $7.00 on lollies. While I might spend that on chocolate at the supermarket, the thought of blowing so much money at the cinema just so I could get our tickets, flummoxed me. With the fumbling and foggy brain only getting worse, I resorted to EFTPOS and bought my daughter the Inside Out Combo. This includes a drink, popcorn and chocolate bar for some ungodly sum. She then chooses water as her drink, which might have been healthy but it’s the most expensive glass of water we’ve ever had.

Meanwhile, the woman who’d argued with me came and made a sincere apology, which helped but even an hour after the movie had ended, I was still feeling teary and shattered. Sometimes, it’s not just a matter of forgiveness. There is damage. She might not have swung a punch but her words were a form of assault and I was left feeling battered and bruised…not to mention DEFECTIVE.!!

Saying sorry can’t always undo the damage. It is done.

That said, perhaps she also has her struggles. Who am I to make presumptions… as tempting as it might be?!!
This isn’t the first time I’ve had trouble and it won’t be the last. While I could go underground, I will get back out there again. Have another go. That said, not everyone does. They’d much rather stay home and I really get that. It can all be too hard. There are just too many obstacles to fight.

When you reach out and touch someone's hand, you are really warming their soul.

When you reach out and touch someone’s hand, you are really warming their soul.

Well, if that’s you, I send you my love and an enormous hug. Together, I pray that each day with small, even tentative moves that we can find our way over the gap…even if it is just to remind people that you don’t need to be perfect to be a valued part of the human race!

You just are!

Love and blessings,
Rowena