words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “love”

Find your bliss

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My daughter made this for me last year.

As I sit here and write this, I am surrounded by a myriad of things.

There are reminders of my children — photos of them when they were younger, their first drawings, paintings they did for Mother’s Days past, handmade coasters and little notes they leave on my desk from time to time.

There are also books. Lots and lots of books on my desk. Some I have read, some are in the ‘to-read’ category. Some of them are related to my work, and some of them are for pleasure. Books give me a lot of pleasure.

I also have calendars, a diary, planners, paper, journals and lots of pens.  I love to plan and be organised. And being an old-fashioned girl, I like to do it the old-fashioned way — using pen and paper.

My favourite coffee cup sits on my desk, next to my hand cream, a candle and my ipod — things that I use on a daily basis.

Also sitting on my desk is my training program for the next 12 weeks, along with the goals I have set myself.

QUESTION: What do they all have in common?

ANSWER: They all make me happy.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

Each day, we have choices to make. Very few of us are free to do whatever we like, whenever we like. We all have responsibilities and things we have to attend to on a daily basis — whether that means going to work to earn our living, raising a family, caring for loved ones, ferrying kids back and forth.

However, there is something that ALL of us can do to bring a little happiness to our days. Even if it is only having a coffee in your favourite cup, or listening to your ipod while you clean toothpaste off every surface in the children’s bathroom.

We all have different things that we love. Things we use, things we do, life choices we make that keep us happy.

We may not always understand why something makes someone else happy, but that’s okay.

For example, I don’t understand what part of bike riding is enjoyable. All I seem to get from it is a very sore backside. However, friends of mine are avid bike riders. They just about live in lycra. It’s their thing, their passion. One of my friends rides “Around the Bay in a Day” every year. That’s 250km in a day ‘for fun’. And he rides his bike from home to the start line, and then home from the finish line. So that’s more like 300km. I don’t get it. I admire him, but I don’t get it.

Just like some people don’t get why I love to lift weights. In some ways I don’t get it either. In my younger days I hated weight training. I would start a program but I would perform it half-heartedly, always having an ‘excuse’ not to do it. As I got older I knew I really should incorporate it into my exercise routine, if I wanted to stay healthy but I kept putting it off. When I was ready to tackle it, I told my trainer that I hated weights and that she would have to make it interesting if I was to stick at it.

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I had to include my son’s art work.

More than two years later, I now lift three times a week (soon to be four – WHOO HOO!) and I love it. In fact, I live for it. I love getting strong. I love feeling my muscles working. I love setting goals and working towards them. I love the place I have to go to in my mind before I lift something heavy. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from lifting something that I thought was too heavy. And the masochist in me loves the sore muscles over the next two days.

(Some of you won’t get it. That’s okay.)

It’s part of my bliss. It’s also something new that I have found that I love.

But it’s not all of my bliss.

There are lots of other things that make me happy, some of which have made me happy for years.

Bliss for me is reading a book while enjoying a good red wine.

It’s a good coffee and some dark chocolate.

It’s planning and making lists and writing with pens and paper.

It’s a day on my own, just for me.

It’s a relaxing massage. Total bliss!

It’s cuddles in the bed with my kids.

It’s a great conversation with a good friend.

It’s sitting at my computer, free to write what I feel like.

My favourite beach.

My favourite beach – Caloundra.

It’s watching the ocean crash on the rocks.

It’s sitting in front of a campfire and laughing with friends.

It’s a warm bath at the end of a busy day.

It’s sitting on the couch, watching a great movie with my husband.

And it’s definitely all the reminders of the two little people in my life.

Bliss can be different things for different people. It’s not our job to judge whether the things that make others happy are good or bad, right or wrong. We just need to accept that sometimes other people do ‘crazy’ things because it makes them happy.

We all have a chance to have bliss in our days, even if it is only for 10 minutes.

The trick is working out what makes you happy, and working it into each day.

Where do you find your bliss?

follow your bliss2

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

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Those you love are never far away

Pa and Nerissa

My grandfather and I … 16 years ago.

This past weekend, our family enjoyed a quick trip to QLD for my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary. It had been a long-time in the planning, which meant that family from around the globe could come.

Firstly, my husband’s oldest brother and his family from Cairns. The last time we saw them was over six years ago. My husband’s other brother and his family live in QLD, but we hadn’t seen them for almost two years. Then there was an uncle who came from Scotland who we hadn’t seen in a few years and another aunt and uncle from New Zealand who we hadn’t seen since our honeymoon, 16 ½ years ago.

Needless to say it was a houseful of people, brought together because we were celebrating a special milestone. And while it was a very busy time (we were organising and catering for the celebratory lunch), it was also a great time of catching up, swapping stories and lots of laughter.

Our kids were particularly excited to see their cousins. Their oldest ones from Cairns are now adults (18 and 19), so they were keen to see ‘how big they really were’ as last time they were together my daughter was 2 ½ and the older cousins were about to enter their teenage years.

They were also excited about seeing their other cousins whom they hadn’t seen for about 18mths. Closer in age, they always get along like a house on fire.

I expected the weekend to be busy (after all, we were flying in on Friday morning and out again on Sunday morning and in-between we were catering for and organising a lunch for 42 people). I expected the weekend to be fun. I expected that there would be a lot of celebrating and I expected to see some familiar faces at the celebration lunch.

However, there were two guests I didn’t expect to see — and the fact that I saw them both on the same day, out of the blue was quite amazing to me.

The first was my grandfather who passed away just over 10 years ago.

No, it wasn’t a ghostly apparition. My mother-in-law had a photo she had taken of Pa and I, 16 years ago — shortly after Nan had passed away. She said she thought I would appreciate it more than she would. She was right. What a special photograph.

My grandmother, mother and aunty are all in this photo.

My grandmother, mother and aunty are all in this photo.

The second person I didn’t expect to see came along with a guest of the party. A lady called Judy, came up to me with a photocopy of an old photograph and asked me if I recognised anyone in it. To my astonishment, there was my Nan smiling out from the picture. It was a much younger version of her, as the photo was taken in 1962. On closer inspection, my mother and my aunty were also in the photo!

Talk about being gob-smacked!

Two guests from my past, but two very important people in my life, who had influenced me greatly as I was growing up. Two people who I miss most days were there with me unexpectedly. And it brought a smile to my face.

Since they have both passed away, my grandparents ‘pop up’ unexpectedly every now and then. Sometimes their ‘visit’ coincides with a significant event or date and other times, they appear out of the blue.

Just to remind me that those you love are never really far away.

 

 

Nerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

“I only belong in your heart”

Laura at 6 (with no front teeth)

One of my favourite pics of me and my precious girl on a Prep Excursion to the Zoo. I love it because her smile is so big (and gappy!).

I looked at my daughter’s face as tears welled up in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong.

“I don’t want to go to school because I don’t feel like I belong there anymore,” she cried as tears rolled down her face.

“Of course you belong,” I said. “You’re an important member of your class and the whole school.”

“No, I only belong in your heart.”

Then she sobbed.

My beautiful 8 year old daughter, then told me that a group of girls at her school wouldn’t let her play with them. According to her, they were being rude and telling lies about her. And so, she felt like she didn’t belong there anymore.

After we had talked a few things through, I asked her what she meant when she told me she belonged in my heart.

She replied: “Because we are connected, heart to heart.”

Now to explain to you what that means, I have to take you into a world of Barbie movies. I know, I know — Barbie movies are not award-winning material. But my daughter loves them and one particular movie is very dear to her heart — and mine.

It’s called “Barbie and the Diamond Castle”. Basically, it’s a story of two best friends who grow flowers for a living. They both love music. One day they find two heart-shaped stones which they turn into necklaces to symbolise their friendship. One of the songs they sing during the movie is about their friendship and the chorus goes like this:

I feel connected (connected), protected (protected), it’s like you’re standing right with me all the time.
You hear me (you hear me), you’re near me (you’re near me),
and everything else is gonna be alright.
‘Cause nothing can break this, nothing can break this, nothing can break this tie.
Connected…

This song is one of ‘our songs’, and my daughter still loves to sing it to me, in full.

The reason this song is so special for my daughter and I is we first saw this movie when she started school. That was a very emotionally draining year for the whole family, as my daughter cried every day for three months. Every day. Some days the teacher had to prise her from me, which was not pleasant for any of us.

But through it all, we used to remind each other that we were connected like the two girls in the Barbie movie — even when we were apart. We even bought one of those ‘best-friend’ necklaces in the shape of a heart that you split in two and give to your best friend. She would go to school wearing her half under her uniform and I would wear my half for the day. It was our way of ‘being connected, heart to heart’.

Three years later, she was standing before me, with tears rolling down her face, telling me she belonged in my heart because we were connected.

She knew that no matter what happened at school, or anywhere else, that she would always have a place in my heart.

I wasn’t happy to hear that she was feeling so upset. But I was happy to know that she feels like she ‘belongs in my heart’, regardless of whatever else is taking place around her.

Happily, that day in the playground was a ‘one-off’ and she is back to playing with her friends and going to school with a smile on her face.

But it was a valuable experience for her, to not just ‘know’ that she was important to us at home, but to really feel and believe that she can always count on us to make her feel special, loved and cherished.

Forever connected, heart to heart.

My daughter found this rock a few months ago. When she picked it up, it broke in her hands into two pieces. She gave one half to me and kept one half for her to remind me that we 'are connected'.

My daughter found this rock a few months ago. When she picked it up, it broke in her hands into two pieces. She gave one half to me and kept one half for her to remind me that we ‘are connected’.

Side note: For those of you interested in the rest of the Barbie movie plot, the two girls stumble across a girl called Melody who is trapped in a mirror. She tells them a story about how she lived with three muses in the Diamond Castle until one day, one of the muses turned evil because she wanted the music to herself. The other two muses hid the Diamond Castle before they were turned into stone. So of course the two girls head off to stop the evil muse, before she finds the Diamond Castle and destroys music (and the world). And of course, everything works out in the end.

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

‘Love them in your heart’ — the art of friendship

Life is better with friends

How many Facebook friends do you have? Do you even know? Are you even on Facebook?

Now I’ll ask you a different question. How many REAL friends do you have? I’m tipping the answer to that question is significantly smaller than the number of Facebook friends you have.

Friendship initially seems like such an easy, simple, pleasant concept. People are either your friends, or they’re not.

However, recently in our house, we have been having discussions with our kids about what REAL friends are, and it’s proving to be quite an important topic.

Some of the concepts we have discussed include:

  • Real friends look after you
  • Real friends can be honest with you, even if it means they might hurt your feelings
  • Real friends try not to hurt your feelings when they are being honest with you
  • Real friends want the best for you
  • Real friends, can be jealous of you, even if they try really hard not to be
  • Real friends speak kindly, not rudely
  • Real friends can say things rudely without meaning to
  • Real friends can be good friends without having to play with you, see you and talk to you ALL the time
  • Real friends can like different things to you
  • Real friends try to be friendly all the time, even if they don’t want to spend time with you at that moment
  • Real friends make you feel good about who you are
  • Real friends understand when you don’t want to do the same things as them
  • Real friends take turns (e.g. let each other share the decision of what they are going to play, etc.)
  • Real friends stick up for you when others are being mean (or at least try to)
  • Real friends are there when you need them NO MATTER what.

I’m sure all of you, having navigated the friendship pitfalls of childhood and adolescence, have a reasonable idea on what friendship is. After all, hindsight is a great teacher.

I mean, it is now very obvious that certain people who were my ‘friends’ at primary school, only seemed to be extra friendly leading up to their birthdays. Hmmm. Not true friends.

And those people who always seemed to have a jealous or cutting remark when I achieved something, were not REAL friends. Real friends may have felt jealousy (after all we are all human), but would never have cut me down in that way.

There was also a girl, who was extremely friendly when our parents were around, but at any other given moment, was a nasty piece of work. Definitely not a true friend!

However teaching your own kids about friendship is a different matter entirely.

During these discussions with my kids, many questions about friends have been asked.

  • Why do kids say mean things?
  • Why doesn’t so-and-so like me?
  • How many best friends do you have (meaning me)?
  • When do you know you have a best friend?
  • How do you get a best friend?
  • What is better — having one best friend or lots of good friends?
  • Do you have to have a best friend?
  • How can you and so-and-so be friends, if you don’t see each other a lot?

While I do my best to answer them, an answer always seems to lead into another question.

However, I have concluded that we can’t really teach kids about friendship. Nor can we create friendships for them. Sure, we can help facilitate the friend-making process by organising play-dates, parties and sleepovers, but it is really up to the individual children whether they choose to be friends or not, and how close that friendship is going to be.

Rather than teaching, I think our role is showing our kids what friendship can be.

For example:

  • Some people are your friends for life, no matter where they live, what they do, or how often you see them
  • Some people are your friends simply because you share a common interest, sport or hobby
  • Some people are easier to talk to about certain things than other people. This doesn’t necessarily make them better or worse friends, just different
  • Some friendships last for a short-time, until life circumstances come along to change that (i.e. moving away, going to different schools, or simply growing apart)
  • Some friendships are forged quickly and others grow and change more slowly
  • Some friends are easier to be around than others
  • You may ask some friends for help but not others
  • You can consider some people closer friends than others
  • Sometimes family members can be your friends
  • Sometimes friends can do the wrong things, but if they are truly sorry, (or ‘love us in their heart’, as my daughter puts it), we can forgive them and still be friends.

While there are no hard and fast rules about friendship, there is one thing I believe to be true —

—     You have to be a good friend to have a good friend.

The cupcake

Last week, my children’s school had a special ‘Winter Lunch’ day at the Canteen.IMG_1823

For $7.00 (or was it $8.00?), they could order a hot roast beef roll, two mini cupcakes and a can of drink.

My 10-year old son was on board with the offer. (Awesome! That means only packing half a lunch box the night before. )

My daughter was not so thrilled. “I don’t like hot roast beef rolls. I just want the cupcakes”. (Damn! That means I have to pack the full lunch box).

Of course she only wants the cupcakes. She hates meat! $7.00 (or was it $8.00) for two measly cupcakes that were most likely to be the awful, dry, tasteless ones available in the supermarket. So I said no. “No, I’m not paying all that money for two little cupcakes.”

She was devastated.

When I asked her why she was so upset about not getting a lunch that she didn’t like, she replied, “I’ll be the only one without a cupcake”.

Oh dear.

So I quickly promised that I would make some cupcakes the day before the ‘Winter Lunch’, so she would definitely have a cupcake in her lunchbox — and one that would taste nicer than everyone else’s and would be bigger.

That put a smile on her face. Phew! Problem averted.

For a week or so at least….

You see, the day before the promised cupcake, turned out to be a very busy day. I won’t bore you with the minute details of my life, but needless to say, baking cupcakes was the last thing I wanted to be doing, or had time for, for that matter.

I really must be more careful about what I promise.

But a promise is a promise. And it was all tied up (or iced up) in a single solitary cupcake. If I had promised to bake cupcakes, then a bought one — no matter how expensive or which exclusive bakery it may have come from— simply wouldn’t do. So during the course of the mixing, and baking and icing and decorating, (which were all interspersed with other pressing chores), I wondered: how many other seemingly mundane, ordinary things in our lives represent something more than what initially meets the eye?

You see, to everyone else, that cupcake was just that — a cake. Nothing more than flour, sugar, butter, eggs and milk, with a bit of icing and sprinkles on top.

But to my daughter, it was a promise fulfilled. It was the security of not being the only one without a cupcake. It was more evidence that she can count on me — that my word was worth something. And it showed her that I loved her enough to squeeze in yet another task in my busy day, because it would make a difference to her.

When I asked her on the way home from school if she enjoyed her cupcake, she said “Oh yes Mummy. Thanks so, so much for making it!”

And so with a smile on our faces, we continued our journey home, where a container of cupcakes were waiting.

After all, you don’t bake just one cupcake, do you?

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