Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Storms are brewing ...

Actually they have arrived. It is truly winter weather with stormy winds, rough seas (the waves are literally blowing offshore) and a good excuse to rug up, stay indoors and get crafty. I am loving this time to myself. I have put aside my studies as they were getting a little stressful, and have TWENTY weeks to myself to create, stitch, snooze, snack, and rub my expanding belly.

Try taking a photo of yourself trying to look natural. Impossible. But here I am with my woolly green beret, favourite jade necklace (thanks Mum) and my leather cuff I made last month. A dab of lipstick because I had coffee this morning at Aunty Daisy's with good friend Wini.

Of course, I feel goofy posting photos of myself but I know my family in Oz ponders my wellbeing, so this is for them mostly.

The view from our dining room. That is not a bird, it is grass that's blown onto the window.

The tree out the kitchen window is swaying madly. I loved rainy days when I was a kid. I lived with my grandparents who had a tin roof, the rain literally beat down and we would spend time indoors playing cards, reading books and making stuff. I am adamant that the tv not rule our house and lately have had lots of tv-free days with the kids during the school holidays. My eldest son loves reading and we growl him because now he won't put his books down. My youngest can't sit still but loves playing games and because he is learning to read, puts his new skills to the test reading instructions and copying words down in his writing books.

My gumboots wait by the door for me to go pick up Marcus from school or brave the beach. I bought Marcus new school shoes for $20 from the Warehouse and got these for free! Don't you love that - I do!

My new red boots. I finally put my last black pair to rest after three years full time service. These are my new snazzy ones gifted by my mum last month. (I know, I know. Everyone wants a mum like mine.) Honestly, my old shoes were down to their last wear, and boots are a prerequisite to living in a wet, windy city. Add to that my pregnancy and the overwhelming desire to look and feel good, and these boots are justified. Better be, they weren't cheap.
And then there are these ... my new heels. I LOVE THEM because I can run in them (if I wanted to that is, which I don't). So comfy and styling. Made by none other than Doc Marten Shoe Co, I went in to find boots but they were too stiff and not comfy at all. These however were begging to be brought home. I always wanted Doc's, my only other pair were second-hand gifted and owning a brand new pair has always been a dream. I have only waited 17 years!!! These are my 'going out' shoes, although I have been known to trot around the house in them when no-one is looking. Check out the details on the heels - aren't they divine??? I can hear you style-queens drooling ...

I am twenty weeks pregnant and went for my scan last week. Husband took the day off and was more excited than I was. He had a tear in his eye when he saw the baby on the monitor. He is a big heart on legs for sure. Of course our five year old was there too which kinda squashed what could have been a few poignant moments. We almost missed the radiologist telling us the gender of our new baby because Marcus was talking so much and getting his hands all over my stomach to touch the gel they use, and trying to shake my belly so the baby would move. He wanted to know if it is the same as his hair gel! Phew ...
So imagine our surprise when we discovered we are expecting our THIRD son! OMG. I instantly groaned and thought "Oh no, more holes in the walls and smelly puppy-dog boys rooms and puddles beside the toilet." My husband leaned over and went "There goes any hope of us ever having a tidy house." I laughed because we seem to have only one recipe. Mind you, I love my crazy boys dearly but I was ready for a different kinda surprise, you know, a GIRL one. A mate that wanted to craft and bargain hunt and do chick things with. Boys just want to go to the skatepark. My husband laughingly said, "Shall we try again?" I said, "Not with this wife!" Perhaps polygamy has some benefits. Still I am happy that this baby is all intact and apparently larger than normal. Interesting because I am eating the most healthy food I ever ate and drinking screeds of water.

No cravings here. Well except to create handmade gifts and things for the upcoming Crafty Market at our local art gallery Pataka, here in Porirua (16 August 2008). I made the cuddle monster below for my friend Chrissy's son, Israel. I hope he likes it and it doesn't scare him. It's made out of random vintage wool fabric and buttons, and machine stitched.

CUPCAKE anyone? How about these nifty little pincushions using store-bought felt that was on sale for $3pm, some embroidery floss, a few beads and some pins on top. These cost next to nothing to make and the best part, they are fashioned around bottle-tops like the ones on coke bottles. Thanks to Jan Segrest over at Craft Stylish for a great online tutorial, I am going to find it hard to part with these little beauties at the craft market. Here is the link if you wanna have a go ... http://www.craftstylish.com/item/945/how-to-make-pretty-pincushions

So this little fella sits on the window sill in the lounge while outside a storm whips up the country. Sitting alongside him is a piece of driftwood I picked up off the beach because it looks like a gulls head.

Here is a wee cane Moses bassinet I picked up last week at the Salvation Army Family Store for $15. A bit battered and currently stuffed full of sewing paraphenalia, it is the first baby thing I have purchased. I am looking forward to op-shopping for baby clothes and dyeing them myself. Clothes are so expensive and the kids all end up looking like clones. Plus I love the idea of slow-fashion - quality goods that go the distance. My sewing skills are rough-as, but I'll give it a go. I put funky patches over my son's jeans last week (was up til midnight sewing on Island designs and handmade pirate patches) - they are a labour of love but he's proud of his styling clothes that his mama remakes.
Well, now that I have more time, I look forward to blogging a little more. The sudden surprise / shock of finding myself expecting again has eased into a rather blissful state - as I hope you can tell by this latest post. I look forward to your feedback and comments. Much thanks for those who both comment and those who email me. Your responses have been a great source of encouragement. Looking forward to touching base again soon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Almost another month has gone by ...

Self-portrait time.

The South Island viewed from Titahi Bay beach north end platform. We have some beautiful vistas. It's pretty cool to stand on the North Island and view this.
The south end of the beach where we usually play and explore along the rocky coastal area.

And the north end with a glimpse of Mana Island in the foreground, and the South Island in the background. It never ceases to amaze me that our kids will one day think of this place as their childhood home. No matter how where I live, or what beach I stand on, there is always one place in particular that calls to me ... Ahipara or the 90-Mile Beach where I was raised. But that was my home, not theirs. Ko Titahi Bay te kainga for my boys.

Acoss the road is the wonderful Aunt Daisy's cafe, a new and loved icon in the Bay. Thank God for Aunt Daisy's. It has given the Bay a touch of 'Cuba Street' goodness way out here in the burbs. Yet it is full of nostalgic retro goodness and yummy food and coffee. I love drinking from vintage china tea cups and having a date scone. I met with my friend Cheryl last week and while I waited tried to wade through some of my art book work that is due. We had a lovely catch up time with the sounds of Bob Marley in the background and the regular flow of locals coming for their morning fix. If you are in the Bay, you cannot pass this place up. Or else.

This past weekend, our local city gallery hosted a textile extravaganza in conjunction with it's current textile exhibition. As part of our group project, my colleagues and I organised a display of our work as textile students. The project was titled "Making our Mark" and was designed to show our semester's work of surface exploration. I hope we smash the myth that we are only about creating costumes for shows and competitions. Having said that, we were surrounded by lots of textile specialists all displaying their expertise in various forms. Guilds, weavers, lacemakers, dyeing specialists, and artists all filled the gallery. There was definitely a buzz in the gallery and I appreciated the public's interest in my work. I also attended a Shibori dyeing workshop with local craftswoman Kathy Mclaughlin on Sunday who kindly demonstrated different techniques. I must admit though I get a bit iffy about chemical dyes but for sure, the esults were stunning.

Yes 'Kiri' (or 'Skins') put in another appearance this weekend alongside other colleagues work. I was encouraged by how many people commented on this particular piece. I was reluctant to spend much time at the gallery, being the weekend, it's a busy time in our home but in the moments I managed to get away, I was happily surprised with the interest it generated.
Details of my stitched 'hikoi' containing dyed samples of silk from my kainga, Porirua.

Three coconut shells buttons I salvaged from Trash Palace to represent my three kids (ok, so one is on the way) and the stitching is the tracks we leave in the sand and along the hills as we explore our environment.
Almost another month has gone by ...
since my last post. My friend Trisha grumbled she was tired of seeing John Pule's big ole self on my blog. It's funny isn't it, how some months I can't wait to write and other months it's like drawing blood from stone. It's almost schizophrenic sometimes - days where life carries on as normal and then those other kinds of days ... the ones that force me underground, to slow down, breathe and wait for things to pass. Not quite depression, not as debilitating but still a little scary, like being dunked underwater and waiting to be let up again. Still I have learned a lot over the years, what makes me tick and how I impact those around me. How to take care of myself when I need to and ensure that I inform others where things are at for me. I am spending lots of time on my own (which is kinda unusual for me), quietly and gently picking my way through each day.
Thank God babies continue to grow without my need to think or feel or do anything. I am still in the first half of my pregnancy, only just and I have lots of good thoughts now about this new person coming into our lives. I am still not resigned to a whole lot of things but I have a confidence regarding the future that is firmly entrenched in my faith in God. I have battled with all my pregnancies which seems a funny way to put it but it is a fight of sorts. One where I cling to my faith that 'all will be well' when it doesn't seem that way. Hope I guess.
Still I have two gorgeous sons who are growing into lovely funny men. That's how I see them. Not stuck in childhood but one day becoming amazing men who will contribute positively to this world we live in. I often feel a bit odd because it doesn't seem the normal thing, not to be 'happy, happy, joy, joy' regarding being pregnant and babies. Heaven help me from the other kind of woman who also think we should be all working, studying, running marathons and raising families without any kind of let up. I have met proponents of both parties and have not found them helpful. I am daunted, daunted by the incredible responsibility that falls to us to be stewards of these small children. To do them no harm, to raise them well and securely and lovingly, to be role models and mentors and teachers and carers, and to inject lots of fun and enjoyment into the experience along the way ... It is a big job. I never feel quite prepared. The evidence speaks otherwise however in that our kids have amazing reports from their teachers, they are popular amongst their peers and we enjoy them immensely.

I was speaking with some close friends recently and knowing my childhood story, they think it may be remnants of my childhood trauma that contribute to my experience of feeling 'invaded' and 'put upon'. As a child I was surrounded by a few unsavoury and unhealthy characters who left me with a lot of baggage to deal with as an adult. Much of that has been dealt with through therapy, self-awareness and the largest measure, spiritual growth (FORGIVENESS). I could buy them a coffee now and sit with them, forgive them and bless them. Sounds pretty unreal but's it's true. The anger and bitterness is no longer in me. It's just on the rare occasion like this, where I find myself in a situation where I have no control that other feelings arise and almost consume me. Fear and helplessness rank high amongst them, which is odd because my life is pretty spectacular by all counts. My husband is incredibly supportive and we have never been closer. We have enough money now to live week to week so the financial pressures we once experienced have lessened. Our health is good. Our home is lovely. Our kids are fine. Yet I have days where I am feel like I am swimming through molasses even though NOTHING IS ACTUALLY WRONG. Bizzare.

Being a trained counsellor and having been in practice I recognise the signs. I am on some levels able to continue to function where once I would have come undone and remained undone for months at a time. This is not a sign of weakness. Many of my past clients would feel shame for not being able to cope. However sometimes our bodies or minds or both will shut down without us seeming to be able to do much about it. This is actually a coping mechanism. A chance to take a look at our lives, take stock and make changes that will be kinder on ourselves.

I read a great article in 'O' magazine (yes, Oprah's, I got a stack of them from a library sale for 20c each). The article discussed our fear of doing 'nothing'. Yet ideally it is what most of us strive for. Time to be, time for ourselves to do what we wish to be doing. Most of us fill up our lives with work, computers, relationships, phone calls, tv, and in general busyness. The more modern efficiency gadgets we have, the more we cram into a day.

Take art school for example. I have always loved to create. I love creative folk. I love creative atmospheres. Still I can sometimes use the busyness it can bring to avoid doing the other things in my life I need to do as well.

A form of 'being' I enjoy at the moment happens in the middle of the night. I often awaken because I cannot sleep or need to pee or need a drink or have a book I cannot put down. I love to lie still and sometimes feel a glimmer of movement in my belly. It is very grounding to feel that little life in there and wonder about it. Funny because lying in the next room are two very real little boys, but this one is more mysterious. I lie there wondering what blessing is wrapped up in this baby. Are we having a boy or girl? (I honestly don't care but the dynamics of our family will certainly change if it's a girl). How will this baby impact the other two? It's such a private thing pregnancy. I always get rather introspective.

So next semester (which lasts from July-November), I am going part time in my studies. Richard breathes a sigh of relief, he knows my desire to stay connected but he also knows better than I can judge anyway, this is a good move for all of us. I need time to myself, space to 'be' without having to conform to any pressures. The only deadline I have room for currently is this baby's birthday.

Amidst all of this the creativity has continued to happen, albeit fragmentedly. I have to admit I have ceased to allow pressure to motivate me. If people pressure me, I can feel my heels digging in further. Such a change from my 20's when I was so eager to please. I remember thinking older women were difficult and stuck in their ways, but now as I approach 40, I can see why. Still I love fun and that keep's me sane. I love a good laugh, a good read, a good day off to lounge around in pj's with the kids and watch movies, a good cuddle with my gorgeous husband, a fun day treasure hunting along the shore.

We are currently going to a church in the city called Arise. We have been welcomed warmly and enjoy the youthful atmosphere. A little different from our last church. Having met with the leaders of this church, and we are confident of their love for God and their people. They have big hearts and a giant capacity for spiritual growth in this city. That much is certain. We also attended the local Salvation Army in Tawa and enjoyed the community feeling in that church too. The children enjoy the programmes each church has to offer. I love meeting Christian folk and seeing all the good things God is doing through His people all over this city.
We also farewelled two very loved people in our lives this past week. Our former pastors, Coral and Campbell have moved on to new pastures in Auckland where they will no doubt continue to impact the nation we live in. We also got to hang out with many old friends and in a way say our own goodbyes. It was seriously the closing of an old chapter so some sadness was involved yet still the excitement of what lies ahead for all of us remains. Our lives are better for knowing this couple who inspired us, led us and loved us. We pray for their journey ahead to be all it can be.
My husband and I have been united in prayer and heart about the calling we feel God has on our lives. We are prayerfully seeking guidance for our futures and the theme seems to be 'waiting'.
I love the scripture in the old testament book of Isaiah ...
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up on wings like eagles. They shall walk and not grow weary, they shall run and not faint."
Proverbs also says ...
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."
So lots of wonderful changes this year, some that leave me breathless, others that leave me comforted. Mostly though, I have a very real sense of finally feeling 'present', no longer living in the past, not so much governed by what will happen in the future. But most definitely a sense of doing today well.