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Are you exhausted? Throw yourself an end of year party for one!

Motherhood is both glorious and deeply painful. Next year my youngest starts school and it feels like my husband and I have been counting down this moment for a lifetime. 
 
My second born is only four. She thinks she is twenty-four until a crowd of people surround her and then her four-ness overwhelms and she runs back to me. 
 
Two weeks before my firstborn arrived earthside; I was made redundant from my job. A job I devoured as a young adult and matured into middle age. A position that I gave everything I had and a little more. The rude shock into motherhood took my breath away. 
 
My husband and I discussed over and over throughout our nine months of being pregnant what going back to work would be like for us all. And then that day. The day that I sat on my bosses couch eight months pregnant with no option for maternity leave, confused with what was to come next. 
 
The harsh awakening into Motherhood has been the making of me. As I tried to regather my sense of self in the midst of rolling transitions, I found a new me awakening and another me that was desperate for just one night’s sleep. 
 
Time moved slowly and my second child came to sit on my knee. A moment of promise fulfilled, a little girl, with a smile that transfixed even the most hardened heart. Throwing myself into Motherhood, I didn’t miss much from my work life anymore, except those moments of finishing well. 
 
The satisfaction of sitting at a table acknowledging the goal we had kicked together — those moments at the staff Christmas party where laughter overtook the spectacular failures and the sense that I was a part of something so much bigger than myself. 
 
I have realised as the 2018 year closes on my seventh year of Motherhood, that I miss that sense of team, reflection and the finishing out of a year well. 
 
Last week my husband and I spoke about this strange longing I had in my heart. I longed for a sense of understanding. I was looking for a moment acknowledging that another year had passed and a new day was dawning. 
 
My husband is my north and always brings a guiding hand of wisdom with the perspective he brings into my life. He looked at me with all sincerity and said: “Babes you need to throw yourself an end of the year work party.” A moment of finishing, in the midst of a motherhood journey that seems like it is never going to end. 
 
At that moment I realised this is what I already do. I just needed to allow myself the grace to celebrate another year of Motherhood done well.
 
You see; Motherhood is a deep privilege to me. I stand at the school gate, very much older than the other Mums around me. I didn’t give birth to my first child until 36 years of age. Every year until that day of promise fulfilled had been a year, where I wondered whether it was even possible. 
 
When I was 27, I sat on my bed, desperately overwhelmed at the state of my singleness and barren womb. As I sat there in the beginnings of summer, I wrote a list of things that I wanted to do before going to heaven — Seventy-Five, random and dreamy thoughts, to bring a sense of fulfilment into this season of waiting. Of those seventy-five things, one of them was to be married and the other to give birth to a child. The other 73 things were wild, brilliant and so very stretching. 
 
I went off on my merry way, and as Summer turned into a New Year, I started a tradition that has held me so secure in the crazy transition from being single to married, from mother into Mum of two. Each New Year I sat with the beauty of the season and asked myself a series of questions to help me let go of the old and step into the new. I have now asked myself the same series of questions for the last 15 years. 
 
Questions like:
 
What is my character? 
Who am I?
Who is my community?
What is my contribution?
 
Helping set a context for the year that is to come and the life that I am living that is so very ordinary and daily. 
 
If my 42-year-old self, could saying anything to my 27-year-old self I would say this; “Thank you for taking the time to create a ritual that would hold you steady in a season of intense challenge and change.” 
 
I realised at that moment with my husband that the party I had been looking for, was a moment of silence and reflection in a very loud life with two small children. 
 
A couple of moments to celebrate the silent victories, those moments that no one would ever know about when I surrendered my will again and stood completely humbled in the midst of a shopping centre meltdown. Those times when I disciplined my child with kindness, to grow an amazing citizen of the world, even though saying no, was the hardest decision I have ever made.  
 
Here is how I throw myself an end of year work party and retreat for a few hours to find perspective in the never-ending workload that is the task of a Mother. 
 
Each New Year, I find a cafe. 
Each New Year, I get a babysitter.
Each New Year, I buy myself a lovely drink.
Each New Year, I ask myself a series of questions and allow myself the space to find the answers. 
Each New Year, I celebrate the wins, and I acknowledge the losses. 
Each New Year, I throw myself a little end of year party by myself. 
 
Over the years I have created this little downloadable tool, to help you have an end of year process and review. To find yourself in the midst of this season of giving endlessly to others. An opportunity as a Mother to find your vision again, within your role as a Mother but also as a daughter, an artist, a dream maker, a partner, a creator and friend.
 
When was the last time, you took a couple of hours to write, find vision and let go of the year that has passed?
 
This coming New Year season, in the aftermath of Christmas and the burgeoning promise of a new year beginning, why don’t you throw yourself an end of year party by yourself or with your closest friends and allow yourself the sheer beauty of finishing what has been a crazy but beautiful year. 
 
Sometimes being a Mum is just hard and it’s not because you are doing anything wrong. It is one of the hardest jobs of all. And we need to take the time, to ask for what we need. 
 
This year I am looking forward to my end of year work party of one. 
 
How about you?
How do you celebrate the closing of another year and the awakening of another?
You are all my heroes, the Mums in the trenches, facing another spilt drink, a tantrum at the checkout and one more request for a drink at bedtime.
DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY TODAY FOR $16.95 and just let go of 2018.
 
Amanda Viviers
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The Art of Reminding Ourselves How Far We Have Come

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A little black moleskin journal has travelled with me on many a plane trip. It has been tucked in my back pocket as I walked distant places and lately, it has gotten a little dusty. One could say even cynical. The elastic has stretched out of shape. A little like my body. The edges are a little worn and bent out of shape. A little like my heart.

There is something so comforting, however, to sit with the letters I have penned to myself over fifteen years.

Last week in the trenches of school holidays and winter, my husband asked me to do something really simple. He said “Babe, write a list of all your wins this year. Everything; your parenting wins. Your writing achievements. The times when you said yes when everything in you wanted to say no, you know all the little things.”

And so I did.

I wrote all the things that made me smile. Like the moment when we finally got our daughter back on the toilet and my sons face when he started Tae Kwon Do. Planting herbs in our very own garden. my list went on and on. Simple, private little wins that only our family could have celebrated. As I sat on our bed, with my list written on a simple piece of paper, a smile rose from within.

Just one step closer. One foot in front of the other. Finding perspective in the midst of letting go. Again.

The next day I went on a treasure hunt to find this journal. Each year on the 31st of December since 2004, I have written a word that describes and sums up the year just gone.

Words like;

Tough

Inconsistent

Rewarding

Peace

Intense

Stretching

Dreams Realised

Hope

Dislocated

Distracted

Vulnerability

Grounded

As I remembered all the different seasons that have come and gone over the last fifteen years and the art of remembering moments of victory and the feeling of utter lostness blossomed across the tension of years.

Prayers answered,

Prayers left hanging.

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Space and time help us to remember moments where we were rescued in the midst of our trembling ways. Depth and story reconnect us with the breadth of what really is important. The art of reminding ourselves of how far we have come. Memorial stones of faithfulness where we have travelled the valleys and landing in spaces where the majesty of the One who has gone before us and brought his weaving colour in the midst of our canvas.

In this little memory keeper, I write every year the lesson learned. I also write the high point of the year, the low point of the year. Then I write myself a little note to remember.

A long time ago a leader, a fearless man named Joshua, came to a place when he was spent. He had seen years upon years of war, famine and fighting. They had waited for forty years to see the realisation of their hopes and toil. Miracle after miracle. The story that begot story after story. The rolling stone of faithfulness in the midst of season upon season, that could have easily been forgotten once revelling in the promised land.

So this leader of thousands commanded his troops to set upon a mountain top twelve stones, so that generation after generation would never forget the faithfulness of the one who had rescued, came close and stood from afar. He asked twelve leaders to carry memorial stones up mountains and place them one upon the other. So future generations we look at them and ask why were those stones there and what is their purpose.

The art of reminding ourselves how far we have come.

Do you feel dislocated?

Do you feel unsure?

Do you feel disconnected?

Find a way to reconnect with the stories, tales and adventures across of long period of your life and remind yourself of how far you have come. Reconnect back with your story from fifteen years ago. Remember what it was like back then and set yourself a memorial stone.

Then turn towards the future remembering the times that you have overcome and breathed deep in the satisfaction of a new season. This winter, find your voice my dear friend and remind yourself of how far you have come.

It is a powerful way to recalibrate your tomorrow. With the memory of the ways, you have been shaped by your yesterday.

Amanda

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Rediscovering Your Vision and Voice

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It was a cold Autumn morning, much like the weather today here in Perth, WA. I had a little newborn baby and a story that made my throat tighten. I sat in our little apartment by the sea and my heart heaved with grief from letting go of the season that had just passed.

My husband walked in the door with a sneaky smile and glint in his eyes. With a Tiffany bag hidden behind his back, he presented me with the gift of necklace with a key on a long chain, that has become my constant companion ever since. As he gave me this gift he whispered: “Babe, the best is yet to come”.

I wasn’t ungrateful for the season of Motherhood that had been sprung surprisingly into my life, it was the letting go of the person “who I was in a previous season”. The girl with the career, the titles, expectations, responsibilities and the car parking space. When I worked full time, I understood what my role was. I thrived with my KPI’s, I strengthened under mentors and leaders, it was where I really found my voice.

What happens when the season shifts and we let go of everything that held us secure?

Your big shift could be chronic illness. Your season’s end could be redundancy. Your career change could have been burn out.

My question for today is this…

Have you ever felt the silence and grief of letting go of a season that was?

I have had and it nearly broke me.

Here are three ways that I have learnt to rediscover vision and voice in seasons of change.

Firstly,

We need to realign our reliance on others to give us our sense of security. It is so easy to base our perspective on what others think of us to get our confidence and voice. In this new season of rediscovering my vision and voice, I have had to readjust how much I rely on others to affirm my sense of purpose. I love it when Paul a writer from the New Testament says it this way.

Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Philippians 4: 11-12

Contentment with our little or a lot is an ever-shifting balance. We need to ask for feedback and we all need encouragement to step into our greater tomorrow. When we rely on these voices, however, to be our anchor, in times of storm and change, when those voices are no longer available, we are like a boat in rough seas, trying desperately to find the shore again.

Secondly,

We must be willing to constantly reinvent believing that the best is yet to come. I have seen many people become extremely stuck when a season ends. Unable to reinvent what the discovery of their purpose and voice looks like for tomorrow, because they are facing the past rather than the future. When we can only see the fulfilment of our dreams and promises by the way it was outworked in our past, we become very stagnant.

This quote challenges me deeply.

When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettled ways as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision. This is normal. This is natural. This is change.

Jeanette Winterson.

Any change is relentless in its overwhelming unsettledness. However, every time I have surrendered to the power of change in my life positively I have rediscovered my voice and vision in ways that I have never before. Are you willing to reinvent your life? I mean everything? Then maybe on the precipice of this awakening, your voice will be strengthened like never before.

Thirdly,

Who do you rely on to begin again? For me and my house, we seek a Greater voice. Every time I have stood at a door wondering whether it will open when I seek the perspective of a higher power, the peace that surpasses understanding is always overwhelming. That is the power of inspiration. A breath of wisdom coming from a greater knowing of the future and its power. I believe strongly that the best is yet to come because I believe that my life and its vision and voice was designed with purpose.

Rely on God to begin all over again, every day as if nothing had ever been done.

CS Lewis

The key that my husband gave me reminds me daily that there is never a dead end in the Kingdom of God. It is an unfolding, miraculous journey of hope and discovery. Every time that we think something has ended, it is the seed that brings the beauty of tomorrow.

Are you in a place where you can see no beauty in this season?

Firstly, realign your reliance on what others say about you. Take the time to strengthen and remind yourself of your strengths.

Secondly, reinvent your perspective of the power of change in your today.

Thirdly, have the courage to believe and trust in a greater perspective, one that designed and perfected you, before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb.

These three simple truths will profoundly shift the way you enter into seasons of change.

What if this season could be the greatest shift and adventure of your life?

With love

Amanda

Ps- If you are in Perth and have a couple of hours free on a Saturday afternoon, come and join me with this small, personal workshop. The whole idea is to spend a couple of hours, working on our vision and ideas for the future in a super creative and fun way. Come and have coffee and cake with me, I’d love to meet you.

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Making home the safest place on earth.

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MICI MAGAZINE

February rocked me like I’m not sure anything has before. Moments, memories and reminders of the past came knocking and I stood there at the door completely surprised by their arrival. I didn’t realise becoming a full-time School Mum, would require so much emotion and intention. I kind of expected a quick transition, lots of cafe time and a whole heap of silence.

Have transitions like this ever left you reeling?

Unsure of who you can trust and what is fact versus the rolling hills of movement and change.

March found me human again and each day I have been unpacking what it means to walk my family through difficult seasons of change.

We have all been there. The seasons when we would rather stay in bed. When the thought of showing up for our friends and family is overwhelming. We send sharp replies over text, we pull away hoping our closest people don’t notice and more than ever we seek comfort in the mundane.

My husband and I have been reviewing our intentions in this season around the sacredness of space and safety in our home. Creating rhythms that keep our fortress safe and knowing that once again we will rise.

This sounds so very intense, but maybe my little being away from me five days a week has created the space that I required to really unpack the pain left dormant from the past. Maybe facing my primary school once again every day has confronted my forty-year-old self, with thoughts from my five-year-old self. And maybe giving myself permission to fall apart when my little person doesn’t need me as much anymore.

Today as we drove home from school in the rain and my mind swirling with questions, I remembered the foundation that my little home is built on.

Safety,

Our Fortress,

Expression,

And Creativity.

Comfortable Silence,

Allowing ourselves to unpack and recover,

Warm blankets,

And Kind Words.

Hearts Raw,

Cuddles and Candles.

Soft, Gentle Words,

Faces and Eyes that Smile.

Sorry’s that tumble quickly,

And tallies of wrongs not counted.

Just like my Father in whom I trust and rely upon. When people confuse me and let me down, He is my fortress, He is my deliverer.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”

In these days when we find it difficult to know which way to turn and how to recover from the weight of our season. What if we created a fortress, full of light and love?

What if those closest to us, became our hiding place, rather than the people we hurt with our words?

What if encouragement became the bedrock of our homes, building up, rather than tearing down?

What if we were the ones that made our homes the safest places on earth?

Amanda Marie

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I love humans

I love humans

Yesterday was a bizarre old day with many a challenge. The greatest one being we seemed to loose a poo. Yes, you read that right. Maybe four and a half years of having two little cling on’s roaming around everywhere with me has casued this, but my blog has now sunk to new levels.

The case of the missing package began when I was having my five mins with Kym. She is one of my coping strategies as a Mum and most days we have a five-minute phone conversation. Yesterday I needed my five minutes. I wanted to talk about something other than aeroplanes, nappies, trains and shopkins. And especially I did not want to talk about the potty, the toilet, wiping your bum or flushing the toilet, singing a song that included washing our hands and be on our way.

I snuck away into my bedroom for five minutes of peace and as I popped my head around the corner, I saw that there were remnants of the former present, left as a clue that a game of poo and seek would now be required. I quickly said goodbye to my friend after only three minutes with Kym and ran quickly to check my new lounge room rug and breathed a sigh of relief.

My rug had survived another near tragedy and I began to search. I looked in every corner, in every toy box, I searched under the rug and offered bribes to both Miss nearly two and Mr four and a half. The case of the missing present lasted for three hours. Three long hours of searching every single corner in my house, with the case remaining left unsolved.

It wasn’t til late last night as I shook my head in confusion that it dawned on me what might have happened to the unwanted load. Maybe she took it off to its rightful place in the bathroom and flushed away its existence.

No.

Couldn’t be.

Could it.

I have been teaching her this for the last three months.

Did she actually “gasp” do what I had shown her?

As I laid there in absolute shock, I quickly thought about this little scenario. How often do I believe the very worst, than the best possible explanation for one’s behaviour?

In life, I think we might be saved a whole heap of worry, fear, searching and procrastination if we just believed the best, rather than the worst. We live in a world that is unravelling at its seams and every single day we are bombarded with problems and justified arguments, sad stories and divorce.

What if we just believed the best case scenario and worked the rest out later? With our children, with our husbands, in our workplaces and schools.

I love what Audrey Hepburn says;

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn

I am starting to realise there is so much more that I believe in, than what I hate. But so often I am inclined in this season to swing straight to the tragedy, than believing the very best.

I love humans and I want to be known for loving them right down to their very ordinary moments. I want my kids to know that they are loved, that they are accepted right now, even when they do the craziest stuff.

Why didn’t I believe that my daughter would do something as simple as the things I had already taught her too?

Why do I often go straight to worse case scenario and spend my whole afternoon looking for something when the answer had been just so simple.

I am learning a lesson from the case of the missing poo…Maybe I should believe that the very little, seemingly ordinary and repetitive moments with my little humans is actually sinking in.

Maybe, unless I find her little package somewhere like at the back of the pantry.

But for now, I am on a mission to believe the best, rather than exploding into the worst case scenarios. Every single time.

Hilairous.

And so very sobering.

Happy Tuesday my friend,

Tuesdays are for dancing

Amanda