Monthly Archives: February 2016

Welcoming Your Little Sister…10 Years On.

This week we are celebrating our daughter’s 10th Birthday and that specialness of “turning double figures…at last!

Ten years is an entire decade. So hard to believe both that so much time has passed and that there was a time she wasn’t here. Life before kids is getting harder to remember these days!

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Miss Aged 4 Weeks. The shawl was made by my mum’s sister.

In the process of putting together a slide show for her birthday, I stumbled across a letter I’d written to her brother three days before she was born. I’d forgotten all about it although that’s a very me thing to do and I do remember thirsting for information about how to help number 1 child adapt well to the arrival of number 2. Mister was almost 2 years old at the time and so had no hope of understanding my letter at the time but it was intended as a kind of apology for down the track or perhaps an insurance policy. Sorry we screwed you up kid but we did our best at the time.

Jonathon & Amelia Jan 2007

Kids learning how to cook January 2007.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s:

Mummy’s Letter to Mister  February, 2006

 Dear Mister,

It’s now only 3 days until your baby sister arrives in the world and our lives are changed forever.

 I know we didn’t ask for your opinion, but we wanted you to have a sibling, someone to share your life with…birthdays, Christmases and all those multi-coloured memories. We understand that there will be times when you wish you could just send your sister back and be the centre of our universe again.

However, I think we all need the depth and texture that comes with being part of a family. You need to learn to be a part of a community and learn to give and take. It’s also great to have someone to play with and have fun.  We hope you and Miss have some wonderful, wonderful times together as well as with us, your Mum and Dad.

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Mummy & Mister 2004 four weeks old. Photo: Mark Revello.

 You were our first born, our superlatively gorgeous little man. I will never forget the very first time I saw you and the love, which flowed from my heart like a mighty waterfall, such powerful, amazing emotions. Like a bud transforming into a flower, we’ve marveled at each small step you’ve taken and I have photographed what seems like every minute during your first year. These were not easy times as your father and I were lost in the dark grappling to find a light switch half the time. We hadn’t had much experience with babies and nothing can really prepare you for the enormous changes. Yes, it is all worth it and you are a wonderful little man but there have been times where it would have been nice to just return to sender and return to a relatively carefree existence. But, like being an only child, it would be a life without the depth, the meaning, the grappling and most of all, the love and deep emotional connection that you can only have with your child. You are our flesh and blood, our breath, our life. You just can’t fathom what that really means until you have children of your own. There is work, achievements, goals and then there’s life and you have given us life (even though it feels like we had a life before you arrived and have now become walking zombies).

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Mister aged 2 with his new sunnies.

 I wanted to acknowledge this crossroad in all our lives. I am the first born in my family and experienced years of bitter resentment. Some degree of jealousy is inevitable but I want you to be happy and we want you to have someone to share your life with and not just be an island. That means sharing centre stage with your so called rival. However, we have more than enough love for both of you and when it boils down to it, your sister is your nearest ally. It really is us against the world….definitely NOT us versus each other!

 I will be honest with you and say that I have my own reservations about adding to our family. I have struggled looking after one of you at times and I hope I can be fair and equal and not play favourites. I worry about how you will cope without me while I’m in hospital and wonder whether anyone else can really know your intimate requirements the way your Mummy does. So much of the time, it has just been the two of us and while that has been lonely and isolating at times, you have grown into my companion and we’ve gone to the beach and the reptile park together and enjoyed our own universe. I will treasure those moments as the chaos of a new baby and the business of life takes over. I know I will find it hard to let go of that but I remind myself that we are adding, not subtracting to our family and soon the four of us will feel like it has always been.

 So, as we’re about to embark on this next stage of our journey together, let me remind you just how much I love you and that you’ll always be my Little Man!

 With much love and God’s richest blessings!

 Mummy xxoo

Bilbo + Amelia

Diversity…Flash Fiction.

Mirror! Mirror!

Rosie looked into the mirror, trying to understand her complex features. Blond, blue-eyed yet coffee-toned …there was some hushed story about Grandmother or Great Grandmother coming from India. Mum always insisted that they stay out of the sun. Why? Rosie couldn’t understand. If only she’d been allowed out in the sun, she would’ve had the best tan. Gone black. Even though she was only little, Rosie knew there was some unspoken story.

Now, middle-aged, married with three of her own, she knew. Had no shame. She stood out in that sun until her skin turned black…a proud Arrernte woman.

Rowena Newton

February 17, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story of a character who is diverse. Who is this person? Does this character know, accept or reject being perceived as different? As writers, consider how we break stereotypes. Tell you own story of “otherness” if you feel compelled. Or, select a story of diversity, such as rainbows revealing gold. How is diversity needed? How is your character needed?

Respond by February 23, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

Introducing Kerry, who though sight-impaired has real vision. A vision which includes fling the flag for people living with disabilites and I echo her views xx Rowena

#1000Speak for Compassion

We are continuing our Guest Post series, with a post from one of our most committed and enthusiastic members, Kerry Kijewski. Kerry is a writer and blogger, who was born visually impaired.

In this post, Kerry writes about how she experiences different kinds of compassion from people because of her blindness. She explains why she’s happy to receive compassion, but not pity.
KKijewski.headshot

People stare, but that’s okay because I can’t see them doing it anyway. It’s those I’m out with that can’t help noticing. Sometimes they enlighten me, but most of the time I am sure it is easier just to bite their tongue and say nothing. Sometimes, however, their indignant reactions on my behalf make me aware of the fact.

Toward me directly, I would say I receive only compassion and kindness. It isn’t proper, in 2015, to treat someone with a disability with anything less than that. Sure, the cases of…

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Boarding the Coffee Express.

Today, we’re having a bit of a quickie. Coffee on the run. I’ll be able to have a more leisurely chat during the week when we’re not madly trying to get ready for the coming week. It’s Sunday night here and our weekend is almost over while for some of you, it’s just beginning.

Yesterday, marked the 1st Anniversary of 1000 Voices for Compassion, a blogging movement working together to nurture the very best in humanity. It rose out of terrorist attacks Paris and has subsequently supported diversity and acceptance, creating a blogging village with such a strong sense of belonging and acceptance. Here’s my anniversary post: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/happy-birthday-1000-voices-for-compassion/ I strongly encourage you to get involved! Be part of the change!

A few months ago, our hard drive had a serious fail and I’ve slowly been cleaning up the files. It’s been quite daunting both due to the enormity of the task but it’s also quite emotional as there is clearly a gap. Stuff is missing. Given my usual avoidance tendencies, waking up to the potential severity of the problems isn’t something I’ve wanted to face. However, I was looking for some sailing photos and ended up doing a major overhaul where I saw so many beautiful photos of the kids when they were small:

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Bilbo + Amelia

School has been back for a few weeks now. While I would like to say we’ve settled into the new routine, reality is only just starting to hit. The initial novelty is being replaced with last minute homework projects and a pretty grueling schedule of activities.Yet, the chaos is lifting and I’m starting to see clear blue sky and a time where I’ll be able to put down my own roots and know what I’ll be doing this year.

This week I felt drawn to write about the need to protect the privacy of children from an unlikely source…their parents. How many blog posts and print stories have you read where parents name, photograph and then go on to discuss their private issues for all the world to see…Autism, Aspergers, bed wetting, over-eating. If anyone else put out these details about any child, they’d be in court but for some strange reason it’s okay for Mum and Dad. Odd! Why is the media paying for these stories? Read more Here.

Speaking of children, this week I also heard a beautiful song Infinite Child and had to share it and the inspiration behind it. Almost 4 months ago, a 10 year old local boy was tragically run over and died and his brother, Fletcher Pilon, sang this song as a dedication on Australia’s Got Talent.

I am still finding it odd that the weekend flies past so quickly and we’re getting ready for another week before we’ve even caught our breath. Those Summer holidays were so good. Why did they ever have to end? Yes, I know my eternal Summer would leave most of you in a Narnia-like perpetual Winter and it has been too hot here much of the time. Yet, it’s so relaxing to just be and not have to be somewhere! Not that I don’t work hard but I do like being a free spirit. Turn time off for a bit. You know how long that lasts of course…hence the fantasy!

How has your week been? What have you been up to? I look forward to popping round to catch up!

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster Part-Time Monster. Here’s the Linky.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday…1000 Voices for Compassion.

Twelve months ago, I joined up with an incredibly inspiring group of bloggers rising up against terrorism and hate in our world with a bold new project…1000 Voices for Compassion. This group seemingly sprung up after the terrorist attacks in Paris, bringing together bloggers from all around the world, who fought and continue to fight for all that is good in humanity.

Flowers at midday

Flowers Martin Place

My interest was also driven by a dreadful terrorist siege here in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, which shut down the CBD and saw two precious people killed. Sydney-siders rose up and left flowers in Martin Place by the thousands just like thousands took to the streets of Paris marched, many under the banner: “Je suis Charlie”. I was stuck at home with a broken foot unable to pay my respects, feeling incredibly powerless and indeed shell shocked. What had happened to our beloved Sydney?

give peace a chance-yoko ono-lennon

These acts of a few were horrific but the incredible response of the many said we do not accept such hate.  At the time, it really did feel like we needed another Woodstock. A new John Lennon to “Give Peace a chance” or perhaps even that the second coming couldn’t be too far away.

For me, 1000 Voices of Compassion met that need.

Back then, I knew nothing about blog shares and like-minded bloggers coming together regularly in online forums of sorts. However, I loved what I heard and joined to do what I know best…wielding my pen. I’m not too good with a sword and would no doubt injure myself in any attempt to save the world. Chop off my own foot! That’s not going to help anyone.

Jean Julien Peace for Paris

Jean Julien “Peace for Paris”

1000 Voices, therefore, provided me with a vehicle, a way for me to feel like I was doing something towards building a more diverse, inclusive community where people from all walks are valued, respected and embraced. I felt less alone. Less paralysed. I could do something. In my usual fashion, I could write about it. Moreover, through writing about the need for compassion, love and understanding in our world, instead of promulgating hate, I felt like part of a wind of change. That in the spirit of the pen being mightier than the sword, that words expressed via the pen, pencil or keyboard, could be mightier than the bullet.

I remember the excitement, the buzz as our very first 1000 Voices posts went live and what it meant to be a part of that. It was electric. I felt like I was joining a modern day Woodstock. We were taking a stand! We were one but we were many.

That was just the beginning.

On the 20th of every month since then, we’ve come together and shared our posts about various aspects of compassion.

The theme I probably found most moving and just incredible was Forgiveness, which was our theme for January 2016 link. This felt like the equivalent of feasting on superfoods for my soul and I felt so enriched. Incredibly blessed. My post Forgiving the Unforgivable addressed my struggle to forgive an auto-immune disease which has ravaged my life.

Right from that very first blog share, being part of 1000 Voices for Compassion has seriously opened my eyes and dramatically expanded my world. I am no longer just an Australian sitting in my chair in Sydney. I have become a citizen of the world with friends scattered yet bound together, all over the world. That’s such an incredible thing and I find myself telling my family about my friends in London, Paris, America like they were living next door, even though we’ve never met. Our world has become so much smaller and incredibly intimate

Through 1000 Voices for Compassion, we have indeed created our own village, which might seem a bit utopian but it is real.

I now tell my local friends that I’m part of an international group of bloggers writing about compassion and while that certainly sounds impressive, I’m quick to let them know that it’s a group anyone can join. It is not exclusive.

How many clubs let you join where they don’t care if you’re turning up in your pyjamas for a chat?

This is my kind of place!

What has being part of 1000 Voices of Compassion meant for you? Please leave a link and also mention a favourite post you’ve written or read.

Love and Blessings to you all!

xx Rowena

Rowena sun

Together we can spread more light throughout our world!