Fibromyalgia: My Health Journey

Recently I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a multi system chronic condition that is characterised by chronic widespread pain, extreme fatigue, brain fog, digestive complaints and depression. For a sufferer of Fibromyalgia, stress is a major driving force in exasperating symptoms. It is a lifelong condition (there is no cure) but with a range of therapeutic care, symptoms can be managed and even improved. It sounds like a lot, and it is. It has felt like I’d stumbled into a dimly lit tunnel filled with physical and psychological challenges coupled with medical puzzles that needed a large brains trust to solve. I’ve been in this tunnel a long time, but have now stepped into some sunlight. Rather than being completely devastated by this diagnosis, I felt a huge sense of relief, validation and overwhelming gratitude. For my persistent struggle with extreme fatigue, insomnia, digestive complaints, low moods and pain have for the past 7 years made me question my sanity, and doubt my capabil

Weakness as my witness.

When it comes to raising teens, I’m becoming a seasoned traveller. The journey with them throughout high school is quite the emotional rollercoaster. With the desire to raise a young adult better prepared to face the demands of the adult world, it’s no small job to get them across the Year 12 finish line. In the 10 years I’ve had the privilege of parenting teens, I have observed there are some commonalities in the challenges they face. One being, that many young people desire the approval of their peers… standing out as different is something they avoid where possible. Another being, that grades and comparison to peers can become a personal definition of success or failure - no matter how much you tell them it is not. As a mother, I not only want to have words of wisdom for them, I also want to model to them what a life looks like that is shaped and defined by Christ and who I am in him. But here lies a struggle for me - the older I get the more I am aware of my weakness, sometimes to

A new perspective in grief

Typically, the beginning of a new year has always prompted in me a fresh resolve to begin or recommit to a resolution that fell by the wayside long ago; usually a casualty of the inevitable hurly burly of life and the big beautiful mess that it so often is. The turning over of a brand new calendar page will evoke in me an optimism for the year that lies ahead. I am an optimist at heart and therefore am hopeful that a new year will be a little better. Summer has naturally been a time to take stock and plan for the year ahead.  However, this year I’ve approached things very differently. The events of the past 18 months have left on me a big heart wound. Last year was filled with so much sadness and grief, one does not simply turn the page and move on as if all that was in the past has no lasting impact on the present. While the end of a year naturally brings to a conclusion some things, feelings and emotions are a little more elusive to box up. Rather than resolving to do and be someth

Losing my sister.

Where do I even begin? It has been seven weeks since my sister Esther died. It was just over a year ago when she found out she had bowel cancer. Since her shock diagnosis, it has been an emotionally intense year of watching and supporting her through the brutal demands of battling stage 4 cancer. I’ll never forget the night when she rang to tell me her news; it’s impact so visceral it changed how I looked at life and my relationship with her. I couldn’t help but think this kind of news can change the course of a families life and it was at that point I resolved to treasure and make the most of whatever time I was gifted with her. As I pen these words I weep; the grief is raw and deep and the recent memories painful. However, I want to write, I need to write. I have had essays cooped up inside of me all year, pushed down deep, mindful of not wanting to insert myself into a story not my own. For in many ways it was her story, her journey, her battle. I was just her sister; a close friend

The date night we needed to have!

Six weeks ago my husband had a new proposal for me, which at first took me quite by surprise. He sprung the question on me one evening while I was cooking dinner for the family; “Would you like to do the Marriage Course?” (Our church was offering this opportunity. The format… 7 date nights, over 7 weeks focusing on 7 areas of importance to building a healthy relationship.) My first response to this unexpected question was “Why?”; we’ve been happily married 22 years and in that time have grown a lot. We’ve worked through many challenges, raised four children, and experienced the highs and lows of married life. After 22 years we know one another really well! His response sold it to me.” Even a good marriage can do with a tune up.” We were married young, and started a family soon after. We’ve spent the majority of our marriage raising a family, and time for ourselves has been fleetingly snatched between the constant pressures of children and work. However, what was once a distant reality

Hello Again!

Where do I begin… it seems too long since I’ve put my thoughts into words and shared them with others. My last post on this platform was to announce the launch of my own website Resilient Parenting; which was a writing project I pursued until 2020. My final piece of writing was a humorous encouragement on how to survive lockdown… little was I to know at the time of writing that it would be my final post. I was suddenly swept up into a surreal world of pandemic and extended lockdowns, home schooling 4 kids (one who was doing year 12), study and pastoral care work and generally trying my hardest to keep the family happy and healthy. Since then a whole lot of life has happened. My eldest 2 have finished school and are now working, studying and driving; generally more independent! We’ve had a child move out of home and then return again. We’ve moved and bought our very first home. I’ve finished my study and my pastoral care work. I’ve had extended times of poor health, and spent a lot of t

Are you a good listener? The art of holding your tongue.

I’ve been treating myself of late to watching previous seasons of The Crown (a Netflix drama) in anticipation for the new series about to air. In one episode, the Queen was bemoaning to her mother, the fact that she felt ill-equipped to converse with the many educated people she was required to meet. She acknowledged a desire to be able to talk more intelligently about matters of science and philosophy, instead of being confined to talking about dogs and horses. Her mother’s response was to say, “You know when to keep your mouth shut; that’s more important than anything.” The conversation is then interrupted by the announcement that the Prime Minister wants to speak with her, to which her mother rudely quips, “You can smile politely while he drones on.” When it comes to talking with my own children, I confess that I find keeping my mouth shut extremely hard to do. It’s not a skill I naturally possess. For me, it requires much effort to refrain from speaking; taking more mental energy a