Happy New Year!!!

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Happy New Year to all!

May this coming new year be filled with much happiness, ease, peace, smiles, snuggles and most of all love.

I will be bringing in the new year with my divine little soul – my son. This will be our first NYE together since he was a baby and I can’t wait to share this one with him. 2013 has been an extremely testing year for me, and I would have to say one of the hardest to date I have had to deal with.  I feel quite positive about 2012 with it representing my last year of study; my son finishes primary school;  my determination and motivation to get healthy, and well again and to turn fat into fab. I am also taking on the lessons I have learnt this past year and know I am now stronger than ever before.

If we only have one person in our lives that loves and supports us, I feel we are extremely fortunate, let alone if we have more. I am personally surrounded by the most amazing, inspirational, loving, caring, supportive people and I truly feel blessed. I would not be doing all I do and succeeding the way I am without such people in my life. I would like to publicly thank each and every one of you who has touched my heart, my soul and has helped carry me, love me and support me in this last year.

I would like to wish all of you a fantastic start to the new chapter in our lives and one year ends and another begins.  If we can all try and live in peace, do one to others as we would like done to us and cherish all the lessons we are thrown to manage, I feel this world we live in would be such an amazing place.

Love, light and peace until the new year.

Take care of each other – give that extra special someone another hug and bring on 2012.

Shelly xo

Ho Ho Ho…Santa is just a sleigh away

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How are you all feeling with Christmas only around the corner and the New Year is shortly to follow?  I personally am feeling exhausted and am looking forward to having some quiet time without the normal hustle and bustle of life, if only for a few days.

Time has got away from me of late and I have not been able to write as many posts as I would have liked and there is always too much to write than what time permits.  The one thing I wanted to talk about is how some of us, this time of year can really find it hard to make ends meet.  If you are anything like me, the last thing you want to happen is for your child to have any inkling into the despair one can feel, and for them to never feel like they have missed out.  This is certainly one promise I made to myself when I gave birth to my son and to date, he has felt he is the luckiest boy around. There are moments I have to express that times are tough; we cannot afford things, and explain that he never really goes without. My son also knows that the study I am currently doing, as well as the various jobs I am doing are for us as a family.  I feel this is important for any child, no matter what the circumstance is so that they do not take anything for granted. There are too many children out there who are unappreciative of what their parents do for them and what life offers them as a result.

My big tip for planning when it comes to Christmas is to take advantage of the mid-year toy sales where they offer you the option to lay-by to Christmas Eve.  I have done this for many years and it is the only way I can survive and manage the financial side of things with Christmas. I get much joy out of giving and even more so now when I have many friends with children who are like family to me and I want to spoil them. I know I don’t have to, yet I choose to and I love doing it. By taking the lay-by option, this allows six months to pay off your purchase.  Obviously you cannot go extreme and by the whole shop (although the temptation might be there), we do need to stick to our set budgets. I make a list of the children and family members I buy for.  When the catalogues come out, I browse through them to get an idea, sometimes I check with the parents to make sure I am on track and have a set amount to spend on each before I enter the store.  I also make purchases throughout the year (even if I can’t really afford it) when items are on sale.  Quite often you can get something that is worth double what you pay and for me; I get much pleasure in knowing this.  Start the collection early and do not leave it all to the last-minute.

I guess for anyone and even more so for a single parent earning the only income to support their family, that PLANNING is the key. It has worked for me and I feel it should work for others.  In saying all this, sometimes nothing can help ease the pain of not having enough money to pay the bills, buy the presents, and have the array of food on the table and so on. This year I believe has been one of the hardest for me financially in the 10 years of being a single parent. I cannot explain why as I am working just as hard, if not more. Perhaps it is because the price of living keeps going up yet our pays does not – perhaps it is because my son is getting older and along with this comes a higher price tag.  There are associations out there that can help you, if you feel you are in dire straits and even if it is only for now you are feeling stressed and unable to do it all.

To start with as I have found through research is to start with contacting local charities and civic organisations to find out if they offer an outreach to the needy during the festive season. Churches can also offer assistance and if you belong to one why not call them and see if they can assist you.  Local communities often have their own Christmas drive, maybe give them a call and find out more and follow the leads they give you. If family members or friends offer you assistance in any way, do not feel ashamed of taking them up on it as I am sure if the shoe was on the other foot, it would be you helping them.

Some of the associations I know of are:

The Smith Family

Centrelink

The Salvation Army

To be honest, this year for the first time in 10 years, I have had to ask for help and advice. I contacted the Salvation Army (Salvos) after a friend of mine who has done volunteer work discussed it with me. I was not aware of the help they offer and was surprised in how loving, supportive an open-minded they are.  The big advice my friend gave me was to not feel ashamed.  This is something I struggled with as I am a very proud and independent person. I HAVE to do things on my own and find it hard to accept help when needed.  It took a lot for me to call the Salvos, yet I did and when I visited them, I was greeted by volunteers who made me a coffee and offered me a chocolate or muffin while I waited to speak with someone. I was trembling with nerves and fighting the voice inside telling me I should not be there. I was questioning everything and trying to analyse the situation. It was like a battlefield within my head with two opposing sides having their say.  Once I entered the office and the woman introduced herself to me, I was reassured I was ok and that what I was doing was ok. The female volunteer praised me for all I am doing for my son and the life we are living and again like my friend said to not feel ashamed of being there.  She then added, “We are here to help and although we cannot always do all we would like, we will do our best and sometimes that is just to listen to you”.  It was further explained the different sorts of options the Salvos are able to offer someone who is in need. For example, helping to pay a bill (if the bill is overdue and you have already asked for an extension), they also offer food hampers, gift hampers for children, bits and pieces depending on what they have in their office at the time. As I was waiting for my name to be called and after I had my meeting, I noticed all the different types of people visiting the Salvos. There were young and old, nicely and poorly dressed, a mix of races and cultures which was lovely to see the Salvos did not discriminate against anyone.  If you are someone in need, it does not matter where you come from or how you look. Some people were popping in just to get a free cup of tea or coffee and to see a friendly face and have someone ask how they were.

I left the Salvos with the information I needed and felt a sense of relief. The visit did not answer all my questions nor did it fix all of my problems, yet knowing a place like this existed was a breath of fresh air. I discussed the experience with my son and expressed the hesitation I was feeling.  He said to me, “Mum I think you should feel very proud”. I replied by asking him why he feels I should be proud. He said “You have looked after me on your own without ever really asking for help in 10 years. I think you should be very proud of yourself Mummy”.  Bless my darling boy!

I don’t think shame ought to be an emotion anyone should feel regardless of whether we have only asked for help once or many times. There are organisations, institutes and people from the general public who are there to help those in need and want to help. This could be because of financial hardship, emotional issues, employment, or just needing an ear to listen and hear our voice.

On this note, I would like to wish you all a Wonderful and Happy Christmas and may the New Year bring much love, laughter, happiness, light and peace into your lives and souls. A new year can mean a new beginning, a new journey or chapter in our lives.  Let us not dwell on the past, or wish the future away. Let us live in the NOW and make the most of what we have and remember that there are people far less fortunate than us. If we have one, two or a handful of people around us who love and support us, then how lucky are we.

Take care until next time

Love and light

Shelly xo

What is “Family”?

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A couple of years ago, my son was in an emotional turmoil.  He was questioning “What is family”?

He didn’t understand where he belonged in the scheme of things.  He knew he had his Mum, Uncle and Aunties and all his cousins and special cousins BUT he felt incomplete in some way. I feel it was a stage in his schooling that made him question where he fitted.  He would cry, get angry and lash out with this confusion.  It was my aim to find something that could help him understand that “Family” is made of up of many dimensions and indeed a family and a wonderful one at that.  I searched book stores, online and anywhere else I could think of for something appropriate to help ease the pain he was enduring. There were books and articles for “My parents are divorced”- I didn’t get married to name one example and I could not find one thing that I felt was appropriate.

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With this in mind, I decided to write something myself. I would love to publish a book one day and I have all the visual in mind of how it would be displayed.  Pushing the goal aside I focused on my main priority which was to help my son in understanding the values of what family really means.  Through my poem it helped and he feels more love than anyone with the family he now recognises is his.
I would like to share this poem with you (it’s a work in progress) and I am searching for a title.  What would you suggest?

I know I am loved
This much is true
I’m normally so happy
But sometimes I feel blue

My Mum tells me I’m handsome
So clever and so smart
I have so many friends
Yet sometimes I get an ache in my heart

 I sometimes feel confused
And I often ask why
So many questions
But no answers so I sigh

I know we can be different
We are not all the same
Mummy says life can be like this
And I am not to blame

Mummy says we are normal
Just because there is only us two
Families are made up of so much more
And our family can be me and you

Some kids have two mummies
Some might have two Dads
There are some who are adopted
Or brought up by Grandma and Grandad

Mummy says that no matter
Families come in all shapes and forms
As long as there is love and security
There are no such things as a norm

I sometimes feel angry
And want to kick and scream
I cannot explain my feelings
And often it feels like a dream

I know Mummy loves me
Although I sometimes feel I am missing out
There are meant to be others who care for me
And with this I feel angry and want to shout

Promises are often made
Many times they are broken
I feel frustrated and let down
Like a bad dream and then I am woken

I still have questions unanswered
And maybe that is how it will be
Yet in my heart I now know I’m so loved
And feel lucky for all who are around me

I came across this article and wanted to share it with you. I feel it is a great reference in understand what family really is.  It is not so much who it should be, yet what we can supply for ourselves and our loved ones. As long as we can provide the main elements, we all can provide a “family” 🙂

http://singleparentsnetwork.com/Articles/Detailed/245.html

Why share what I know?

To write about the life of a single parent holds great interest to me as I live and breathe it every day.  I have experienced many aspects of single parenting both good and bad which has brought me much grief and happiness within my journey.

A single mother raised me with my twin brother and although I admire and respect her in so many ways, it was certainly not a position I wanted to find myself in. Before I came to the decision, and before I found the strength to tackle this journey of being a parent on my own, my first thoughts were I did not want to be a part of the statistics. I did not want my child to grow up in a single parent environment.  Something I have learnt and I stand by is that life has no guarantees. Ultimately, we have to do what is right by those we love and who we are responsible for as well as ourselves.

I have become someone who is assertive in life and I practice this nearly every day. I have found strength from being a single parent and know even at the lowest of times I can gather myself and keep going, because I have to. I witnessed firsthand a mother who overcame so many obstacles in her path to raise two healthy, loving and high moral children.  What is interesting is I have followed a similar path to my mother.  Not only by becoming a single parent, which obviously was not in my plan I have also taken on studies later in life as my mother did. I have created a career in which I am working towards expanding, and I have created an environment for my child I feel he appreciates and values.

Often people ask for advice and two common questions is how do I survive and how do I manage? Throughout my journey, I have had to search for answers and I have endured some horrific circumstances that have left me in a crisis.  In saying this, I have found benefits of being a single parent and one of these is the power within and the knowing that I can do this, and do it on my own.  Through my experience, I feel and hope others can benefit from my knowledge and my journey. I hope they may learn something, feel supported and not alone, and find strength and power within themselves.