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The Emerging Chook

Healing, dealing and emerging.

Dear Mum,

It’s been 948 days since you took your last laboured breath. Since I gently moved a piece of your fringe from your forehead and laid a sweet kiss there. Since I held your hand and told you I loved you and said good bye for the last time.

I can’t believe that it has been this long.  The days and weeks and months at times have gone so painfully slow. But there are days and weeks that have gone by in a quick blur. The birthdays and Christmases come around too quickly. So quickly that I’m often not prepared for them and then they leave me feeling empty. The birthdays and Christmases have not been the same without you mum. Gone are the fancy birthday cakes you would make for the boys, and the glasses of wine we would share in celebration; or for any occasion really! I want you to come back so we can do this again. I don’t want to just remember; I want to feel it again. I want to feel you, hug you, hold your hand and talk to you.

I miss talking to you and I struggle to remember how your voice sounded.  I often think of things to call you about and then remember that you won’t be there to answer. There are things that I want to ask you, your advice or opinion, which you often gave to me without even asking!  I also need to ask you where the old board games are and the tin of Lego that we had as kids, as we can’t find them.  So if you can send me a sign, I would appreciate it.

I hope you don’t mind that I am doing all this writing about you.  After you left I felt so lost and sad and for so long didn’t really feel I could talk to anyone about how I felt.  I had so much bottled up inside me that I couldn’t even find the happiness in simple daily life.  In hindsight I probably should have seen someone or confided in a friend, but I didn’t really know who; and to be honest no one really wants to talk about death and grief.  These are things that I would have spoken to you about mum, like we always did.  We talked about all this stuff before you died. We had so many frank discussions about it; but none of it prepared me for when you were gone.  That’s why I started writing, I could finally let it all out, in written words as I find the verbal words hard.  I can write how I feel so much better than I can say them. There are some things that I have written about that no one will ever see; but I needed to get that out of my head to feel freer and lighter.

The other thing I am struggling with mum, is where you are.  I’m sorry that I don’t visit the grave often, but when I do, I don’t feel you there and I feel I’m only going out of duty.  I look for signs that you are near, but find none. I get frustrated as others see their loved ones in butterflies or dragonflies or flowers. I don’t.

But a friend recently told me that the signs you are sending are in way of new friends that have come into my life over the last year. They are people you have sent to me to care for me physically and mentally. They are the people that have helped and guided me through my writing and allowed me to deal with loosing you.  They are the people that pulled me through the darker and sad times and are now helping me forge forward into new experiences and relationships.

As I have said before I struggle with this stuff, the signs and spiritual side of things.  My heart challenges my head every day; but I am choosing to believe in this sign. In my heart this feels right and I can visually see and talk to these people.  My heart is winning over my head for this one.

Thank you for doing this for me mum. Thank you for sending these people to me.  Thank you for seeing that I needed help and continuing to look after me. I hope you are proud of what I have done and will continue to do with The Emerging Chook and sharing all the wonderful things that you did in your short life.  This is my way of keeping you alive every day in my heart and thoughts.

As I sit here mum and write this letter to you, I have tears running down my cheeks. They are tears of gratitude for everything you did for me and the things you are continuing to do.

I love you to the moon and back.  Where ever you are, please keep watching over me.

xoxo

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Still Waters – By Camilla Noli

Disturbing, and at times unbelievable. Chilling and confronting.

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This book is narrated by the main character (whose name ironically is not mentioned at all throughout the book).  She is in her 30’s, and in societies eyes your typical career woman, wife, lover, and she knows what she wants.  She thought she wanted to be a mother, she thought she had the maternal feelings within her to do this job well; but she didn’t.

She is married to Daniel who has a great job, wife and life; and she is mum to Cassie a headstrong and typical terrible 2 and baby Zach.  Her life has been turned upside down and motherhood is not what she expected and she is not feeling the love a society tells her that she should for her children, one in particular.

She is deeply sleep deprived and exhausted.  She is showing the signs of what this is doing to her both physically and mentally.  She is jealous of the relationship between Cassie and Daniel, and she is jealous of the life that her husband has, that she now hasn’t, in her role of mother.

She has disturbing thoughts, so disturbing that at times I had to put this book down to gather my thoughts before I read on.  She commits the most unthinkable crime. She has no remorse for it, she only sees how this will make her life better again; to get her back to how it was before motherhood.  She wants to get her identity back.

I openly gasped throughout this book at some of the acts and thoughts that she has; but it was deeply thought provoking about how we as mothers deal with losing our identity when our children are born. How we cope with severe sleep deprivation and how this effects out mental and physical state. How children effect out marriages, friendships and careers.

What is discussed in this book is seen to be taboo subjects. I think that is why I found it quite confronting.  It is things that go on often behind closed doors in the dark of night for mothers who just aren’t coping; that can’t get help or realise that they need help.

It is a challenging read and one that some people will find emotionally stressful an too close to home.

I’ve rated this book /5

(PS – I have this book if anyone would be interested in reading it, let me know).

What are you reading at the moment?

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11 Interesting facts about Easter

Easter is upon us already and we are a quarter of the way through the year, eek.

For many people Easter is a deeply religious event; for others not that way inclined, it is a celebration of chocolate and hot cross buns!

I’ve had an interesting few hours doing my research for this particular blog.  My initial thoughts were “what are some interesting or fun facts about Easter?”  So I googled exactly that; and here are my top 11 facts. (I take no responsibility for the correctness or incorrectness of these facts.  It’s what Google told me 🙂 )

  • Did you know that the worlds biggest Easter egg weighed in at 7200kg and measured 10.39m in height.  It was taller than a giraffe and heavier than an elephant.

big egg

  • Did you know that some European cultures allow men to go from door to door and whip any women that they come across? Apparently any woman who is hit will be blessed with beauty, health and fertility for the  coming year.
  • Did you know that Easter Trees are a big thing in Germany?  They are often decorated all year round and added to every year.

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  • The word “Easter” is derived from “Eastre”; the Anglo-Saxon goddess of sunrise and spring; or light and dawn. There is also mention of being the goddess of fertility and due to the nature of hares/rabbits breeding (like the term “they are breeding like rabbits”), she has been associated with them.  This is why rabbits are so plentiful at Easter.
  • The largest Easter egg hunt took place in Florida on 1st April 2007 where 9,753 children searched for 501,000 Easter eggs!
  • In Norway, it is popular to read a detective or crime novel over the Easter long-weekend.
  • “The White House Easter Egg Roll” event has been celebrated by the President of the United States and their families since 1878. I wonder if we will see Trump on a roll?!!

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  • We all love a chocolate Easter bunny,  apparently 76% of us bite the ears first, and 5% go for the feet and the last 4% chomp off the tail. Not quite sure what the other 15% do?!
  • The date of Easter can be traced back to the time of the Roman Empire; Emperor Constantine ruled that Easter is to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon, this is the day of maximum light – 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of moonlight.
  • For Christians, Easter symbolises the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his death by crucifixion.
  • A campaign was started in 1991 by the Anti-Rabbit Research Foundation to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby, which is an endangered species.

bilby

What do you do for Easter?  Are staying home or going away, being with family or friends or enjoying your own company; or even working to look after our sick and elderly or our pets?

“Happy Easter”

The Things We Keep – Sally Hepworth

 

Wow, wow, wow!

Ok. Have I got your attention??

This week I delved into the world of audiobooks.  Why, you may ask?  Well, I’ve been having a problem of late with some of the books I’m borrowing from the library.  A few of them have been new releases which incur a 2 week maximum hire before you have to return.  Some of these books have been long and I’ve not been able to finish them, leaving me frustrated. I’ve then been buying them on my kindle to finish, which is becoming a costly exercise.

I then had a brainwave, I would download an audiobook and listen while I was walking and driving – the problem here was that to buy and download a best seller was pricey too – the one I wanted was $45!!!!

However, at my last library visit, I was scanning through the Audiobooks on CD – not the same as having it on my phone; but I do spend about an hour a day driving around, so I grabbed one – The Things we Keep – by Sally Hepworth.

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In the space of a week, I have listened to 17 hours, 8 CD’s of this truly heartwarming story.

The story revolves around Anna Forster, who at 38 is slowly loosing her mind and memory to Alzheimers. With the help of her family, she moves into an assisted living facility – Rosalind House; chosen by her brother as it is the only facility that has another Alzheimer sufferer of similar age.  His name is Luke; or “the young guy”.

Also new to the facility is Eve Bennett, a single mum who is newly widowed.  She comes arrives as the overqualified but desperate cook and ends up becoming the person that understands Anna the best.  She struggles with the moral dilemma of the relationship between Anna and Luke though. Her heart tells her one thing while her head, boss and Anna’s family tell her something else.  She puts a lot on the line to follow her heart.  All this goes on while she is trying to get her own life back on track after she found herself at rock bottom.

Eve is mother to vivacious 7 year old Clementine.  She is feisty on the outside, but on the inside she is grieving the loss of her father and struggles to come to terms with what he did that lead to his death.  She is subjected to some schoolyard bullying because of what her dad did; but is such a sweetheart to the residents that live in the facility.  It is great to hear part of the story through the eyes of this youngster.

The audiobook is narrated through the eyes and chapters of Anna, Eve and Clementine.  All having their own thoughts and emotions, they are weaved beautifully through their lives at the facility.  The voices change with the characters, and I loved the expressions used throughout, it really added to the listening experience.

Anna’s story is so moving. I’ve not experienced anyone with dementia; but this gave me a real insight into what it might be like to live with it or love someone that has it. Her story is about love and hope. It’s about overcoming obstacles that are so desperately hard to overcome and being trapped in your own mind. Its about being with “the young guy”; about Eve’s role in making sure they are together.  There is also tragedy in Anna’s world. Suspected suicide attempts leading to broken bones and fractured hearts.  I was constantly deep in thought about what I would do in this situation or how I would react to situations if I was the family member on the outside.

dementia

The lives of the remaining 10 residents at the facility are developed supremely throughout the story of Anna, Luke, Eve and Clementine. Along with the staff and the extended family members; there are some real characters that bring light and humour. There is so much compassion and wisdom, and the life lessons are many.  I found myself making excuses to go driving somewhere just so I could listen to more of the story. I found myself thinking about the characters long after I got out of my car and turned the engine off.

This is by far the best book I’ve finished in a long time.

Am I sold on audiobooks – YES.  I’m definitely a convert for CD’s the in car. I’m continuing to look into what I can get onto my phone to listen to at a reasonable price. I’m not paying $45 for new releases – no way ho-say!!

This story gets my first /5

Do you listen to audiobooks? Can you recommend any to me?

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I ate a whole packet of lollies today!

I ate a whole packet of lollies today! In the space of the 3 minutes from the shop to my house, I had ripped open the packet and devoured half of the sweet, soft snakes. (Yes snakes even though I have a snake phobia – these are the good guys 🙂 )They were delicious and I literally couldn’t stop myself from continually reaching back into the packet. When I pulled into my garage and turned my car off, I gave myself a talking to, folded the packet up and “hid” them in the console. I’m my defense these lollies are “all natural flavours & colours”, made locally in Adelaide and proceeds support a fantastic local charity. That makes it ok, right?!

3.10pm came around far too quickly and I was back in the car again to do the school run. It takes me 15 minutes to get from home to school and the packet was calling my name. I’d not thought about the lollies all day, I wasn’t craving them at all. I couldn’t see them while I was sitting inside working and they were hiding in my car.  Out of sight, out of mind). But, when I opened the console to put my phone in, there peeking out from behind the headphones for the DVD player, was the corner of the lolly bag. I have no self control, instead of leaving them there until tomorrow or even the next day; I opened them and ate the rest on the way to school. I have a problem with opening packets and not finishing them. Lollies are my vice.

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I have had a love/hate relationship with food and my body pretty much since I was old enough to know about body shape and body image. I am your typical pear shape, smaller shoulders and waist and large “thunder thighs” as I would call them. I thought that I looked like I had tennis balls in my thighs.

I remember as I transitioned into adolescence that I would stand in front of the mirror and punch these “tennis balls” to try and flatten them. I would rub them in the hope that the fat would re-distribute somewhere else into my legs.  I would exfoliate to the point that my legs were red raw in the hope the tennis balls would go away. I even remember “strapping” my thighs with glad wrap to smooth them out so I would look flat and smooth in my jeans and school pants.  I would wear anything that covered my bum basically.

Nothing worked, so next I focused on the food. I went through a stage that all I took to school in my lunch box was 2 apples,  and then by the time I got home I would devour what goodies mum had been baking. I often blamed mum as she had the same shaped body as me.  Occasionally I would then go and make myself vomit. Then the cycle started again.  I spent a lot of time comparing myself with the other girls in my class at school; the ones that were academic, sport and popular. I wasn’t really any of these.

Moving through my 20’s and 30’s I was never really happy with my weight; or in hindsight, my “tennis balls”.  I could never get clothes to fit properly, so would always wear long cardigans or “suck me in’s” if I was wearing a skirt. Damn they are uncomfortable.

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These decades I went through the “Try most weight loss program stage”.  These included:

  • Weight Watchers – counting points. The only program that I was able to lose weight for some period of time without starving myself.  I got down to my goal weight a few times, but was I happy – no. I looked gaunt and my “tennis balls” were still there.
  • I’ve done shakes, a few different brands; one for breakfast, one for lunch and then gorge at dinner as I was so hungry.
  • Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation – completed it once, started it 2 other times.
  • Shannon Ponton’s 10 Week program – started and didn’t finish
  • Paleo – stopped and started so many times it’s not funny
  • Plain old counting calories
  • Slimming tablets and teas
  • Any diet that was listed in New Idea or any magazine really – Drop a Dress size in a week etc.
  • Numerous gym challenges, walking races, half marathon training.
  • Cleanses, detoxes – anything for a quick fix, only to realise after a few days that it wasn’t going to work.
  • Magic lotions and potions.

body image

It wasn’t until I hit my 40’s where I really discovered that I needed to ease up on myself, mentally.   The turning point in my thinking was when I attended a workshop called “Body Image Movement“.  It was founded by Taryn Brumfitt, whom I’d heard about through my photography networks and I started following her page.  I related to her straight away.  You see, she was in a similar situation to me, not loving her body; putting it through the extremes to get what she thought was going to make her happy (she entered a natural body building competition); only to find that it was not making her happy and it was not a realistic ongoing lifestyle.  At this workshop there was also a nutritionist and a Psychologist. It was eye opening.  They spoke about eating mindfully, wellness, and the psyche behind poor body image.  Something clicked for me. I had a light bulb moment.

 

From that day, I wasn’t getting as hung up on my body. I had grown 2 children in it. It was fit and strong. No longer was I in the mindset that I needed to starve it or work it to the bone at the gym or pound the pavement for an hour a day 6 days of the week.  I had to nourish it and look after it.  I wasn’t fueling it properly, and that is why I was feeling crappy.  Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still up and down like a yoyo (they are delicious too!) and all over the place.  Some days I’m in the “I just want to loose a few KG’s” stage.  And other days I feel on top of the world; full of confidence and loving myself sick!

There is so much “information” out there about what we should or shouldn’t eat and I do still occasionally get caught up in the latest fad.  But generally, I am kinder to myself. I rarely weigh myself as I know the number fluctuates week in week out depending on what time of the month it is and how the hormones are travelling.  Instead I choose to live. If my favorite jeans are feeling squishy, or I look at a photo and think “gee that is unflattering”, then I pull back on the treats and snacks and wine. I know this what causes the “blah” feeling.  I choose to not forgo cheese and wine on a Sunday night; enjoy my take away or eating out at a restaurant with the family.  I choose to have pizza if that is what is for tea.  I choose to be mindful with my other meals. It might be green smoothies or clean eating.  It’s like a 80/20 – 80% of the time I’m good; 20% I let loose.

body hating

For me it’s about moderation, mindfulness (yes I know that word is a bit wanky, but it works!!), setting a good example for my kids and living life. I have other things that I want to consume my time with, and worrying about my body isn’t one of them.

What are your favorite lollies?

 

 

 

Inbewteen Days – Vikki Wakefield

I had the pleasure of meeting Vikki and spending time with her recently while attending her workshop on “Beginnings and Endings”.  The workshop was brilliant; although I did learn that the beginning of my book/manuscript that I’m writing is considered a “no go” in the industry – back to the drawing board for me!

 

Vikki is well known in the industry for her genre – Young Adult (YA).  Her books are directed towards readers from 12 – 18 and into early 20’s.  As I’m “21”, I felt right at home reading this book.  This is the first YA book I have read and to be honest I was a bit sceptical that it was going to be a bit “childish”; but I was left quite astounded by the story and craft that Vikki used to write this book.

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The book revolves around the main character “Jack” – short for Jacklin; who lives in the dead beat town of Mobius.  She is 17, with the attitude to go with it.  She has issues with her parents and lives with her sister who has a big secret. She has dropped out of school and spends her time in the local grocery store and with a character “Mr Broadbent”, who had mental issues. When she isn’t there, she is up in the local forest or hanging out at the old run down Drive -In.

Teenage love is a theme that is used throughout the book. Jack questioning what love is, how it works, why it makes her feel or not feel things. It’s quite the mystery for her.  As she struggles to find the answers to the many questions she has, she goes about building new  and unexpected friendships and mends damaged, old ones.  All Jack wants is to be loved and appreciated and she is sick of waiting for that to happen.

Jack also spends time questioning relationships in general, with her “boyfriend”, a man she befriends that lives in the forest nearby; and her old neighbour who returns for the Christmas break.  She is rebellious as most teens are; but she also has a heart of gold. She just struggles to bring the 2 together and be happy.  She has the whole heart V’s head dilemma.

As a teen in this stage of your life, there are many things that are questioned, I saw my teenage self in some of the situations and could relate to Jack’s questioning and feelings of thinking you are loosing everything. But there is also a message of hope and faith throughout the book that is delivered beautifully by the character that is living in the forest.

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I really enjoyed this book as an adult and I would recommend it for readers of the Young Adult age group, both female and male.  The male characters in this book as just as strong as the female ones.  Vikki has really documented the true male awkwardness of this age group, individually and how teen boys react around each other; but also how teen girls can react to situations and peer group pressure.

This was a quick and enjoyable read that really filled my heart and took me back to my teen days.

/5

 

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Chance Encounter

I had a chance encounter or coincidence or a “it was meant to happen”  moment today with mum’s oncologist.  I hadn’t seen her since the day mum decided to stop her treatment and live her remaining days with quality, rather than in a chemo induced sickness that wasn’t working.

We first met mums Oncologist, Dr H (I’ve shortened her name as I’m not sure if she would be ok for me to use her full name or not), very early on mum’s and our cancer journey.  The moment I met her I recognised the familiar face as she had also been the treating oncologist for another of my family members (who also sadly passed away but from breast cancer).

Dr H isn’t someone that you would look at and think was an oncologist. To be honest, I don’t really know what they are supposed to look like. Perhaps someone in a white lab coat with grey  curly hair and looks like a scientist? I don’t know.  But she surprised me.  She was “normal”. Dressed nicely but not to the nines; had kids similar ages to me, so probably wasn’t much older than me.  She was someone that told you how it was, no fluffing around or beating around the bush, just straight to the point. This is why I likened to her immediately. No bullshit, just how it was.

This was especially the case for time I made an appointment with her to have the “how long is a piece of string” discussion (see previous blog post).  She laid it all on the line for me, answered my hard questions with truth and honesty; that is what I asked of her and she didn’t shy away from that.

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Mum and Dr H had a love hate relationship over the enduring 3 or so years of treatment. Mum with her stubborn streak often telling her point blank that she wasn’t doing something; didn’t want to hear something she had to say and telling her point blank how she felt.  Dr H in return told mum directly the whys, hows and whats – point blank.  I think this is why they got on so well.  They were on a level playing field.

Dr H established “Restore Program“,  a series of wellness and support care workshops for cancer sufferers. This was a program that mum wanted to be involved in, but was unable to attend any of the workshops.  Mum’s charity of choice at her funeral was for Restore; she wanted any donations made to go to this much needed and highly regarded program.  This was a true indication of the bond that mum and Dr H formed and the respect they had for each other.

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So my “moment” that I had this morning took place at my gym.  Today was the first session I had planned with my Personal Trainer and we decided 9am was the best time.  I normally go in the evenings, so this was a bit of change of routine for me. I arrived about 10 minutes early and started warming up on the cross trainer.  There was another trainer and client doing a boxing session that I was half watching while trying not to fall off the trainer.  When it finished I took a glance at the client and wondered if it was Dr H as she looked familiar.  I quietly asked the trainer if it was as I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  She turned around and we immediately recognised each other straight away.  I felt terribly overwhelmed that out of all the thousands of patients and families she must see, that she remembered my name and mums.  I had to get off the cross trainer at this point as I was wobbly and getting teary.

Her next comment blew me away.

“I was only thinking of Leoni and you just this morning.  I was trying to thread a needle to sew a button on, and I thought of your mum and all the sewing she did; and of you and how you were getting on. And now you are here.”

I was in awe that her trying to thread a needle bought a memory of mum. I was in pure wonder that she had thought of me only hours earlier and then by coincidence I was there, and she was there, unexpectedly at the same time. I had tears in my eyes and we had a sweaty hug.

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What does this mean?  I have no idea! I’ve said before that I struggle with the “spiritual” side of death, and why things do or don’t happen.   When I googled the words “coincidence spiritual” I ended up on Deepak Chopra’s web page where he describes “Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny.”  I don’t know what my true destiny is. But I do know that there have been many people come in to my life since mum passed that have guided me and impacted my life significantly. They have been instrumental in pulling me out of the darkness and sadness; and they have been gently taking me towards what I am doing now.  Is this what my true destiny is?   It strengthens my resolve that there is something there.  I do believe that things happen for a reason, that you meet people for a reason and you lose people for a reason. There is always a reason and it might not be clear at the time; but when I sit and look back I can see it.  I wonder what my coincident today means? This is the question I will continue to ponder until I have the answer; however long it takes for me to find.

Are you a believer of coincidences and fate; of things spiritual?

 

 

 

 

Rachael Johns “The Patterson Girls”

This weeks book review has been written by my very first “Guest Reviewer” – Michelle Boyd.  Michelle is a talented blogger, cook, book worm and all round nice chick.  She heads up her own blog – Wednesday Night Super Club; and runs a successful coffee van business – Barista in the Sun.  This week she is reviewing “The Patterson Girls” by Rachael Johns.

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Four sisters return home to Meadow Brook (a fictional small town in rural South Australia) in a family-focused narrative to assist their father run the business of a country motel. Their mother has passed away and their father has found the small business a bit much to keep up, so the girls return home.

The book opens with the four women flying into Adelaide airport to meet their Dad. Lucinda is working as a teacher in Perth with a FIFO husband, Abigail is a concert violinist playing in London, Charlotte is from Melbourne where she works in a café and is known as a bit of a hippy and Madeleine is an obstetrician in the US. The four girls are different in so many ways but all share the common love for each other.

Rachael weaves a thread between the girl’s backstories and the present day to day of being back in their hometown. Their father has run into some debt and the service has been slipping so the decision is made to sell the motel. As the girls pack up their mother’s treasures they uncover a story about a curse affecting the women in the family and Charlotte is affected by the uncovering of this story the most.

There are arguments among the family as they deal with being back in familiar surroundings and all does not run smoothly with the women struggling with their own issues and their father’s problems at the same time. The book explores the bonds that sisters have; and the arguments felt really familiar to ones I have had with my family.

On a personal level, I loved the familiarity of the location as I could mentally picture where they were due to my own country home being in the general vicinity. I really enjoyed the book with the exception of the character of Abigail, the violinist who has fled London after a disaster with the orchestra. I couldn’t connect with this character and her decisions at all and found her story-line to be a bit far-fetched. It didn’t put me off the story overall, I just skimmed over her parts.

This was my first Rachael Johns novel and I’m sure there will be many more as I found myself wanting to read late into the night as I became entrenched in the story. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves rural family sagas.

/5

If you would like to be a “Guest Reviewer” please let me know, I’d love to have you on board!

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Stuck in a Traffic Jam

I’m stuck in a traffic jam. For as far as I can see in front of me there are cars and trucks banked up bumper to bumper; and the view in my rear and side view mirrors are the same. I’m stuck, literally. Can’t move forwards or backwards or even to the side. When I do move forward it just a tease, only a metre or so; then I come to a stop again.

My fingers are tapping impatiently on the steering wheel to a song that I’ve never heard before; tap, tap, tap. I look up. A friend told me that I need to look up at the sky more often; to see and feel the beauty and calm that that moment brings.  The sky is filled with grey, grey and more grey, 50 Shades even?!  Grey clouds for as far as they eye can see. Some are very dark with the threat of rain and storms; while others are light and fading into the horizon.

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I glance over to the car on my left. It’s an old red commodore from the 80″s or 90’s. It sounds like it has a hole in the muffler, but I suppose that’s how the rev heads like their cars to sound.  There is an Elvis doll sitting on the dash. One of those that dances when the car is moving, now it is still while we wait. There is a young chap, in his mid 20’s, I would think in the drivers seat, looking at his phone. I wonder what it is on his screen that has captured his attention. Facebook or Snap Chat or something else.  What do men in their 20’s look at on social media? Perhaps he is looking at photos of his girlfriend; after all he does have a smirk on his face.

 

The car next to me on the right is your typical family SUV. Dad is in the drivers seat and is staring out his window at I dont know what, deep in thought with a frown of disapproval etched into his brow.  It looks like he is ignoring his wife. She is staring out the passenger side window, displaying the obvious body language of giving him the cold shoulder. I wonder if they have had an argument? I wonder what it was about. I wonder if they will kiss and make up when they crawl into bed tonight. In the back seat there is a cute little bubba in his capsule, fast asleep and oblivious to it all.  Squished against the window is the cutest little face staring back at me. I think she would be around 3 or 4, cute blonde curls and blue eyes with what looks to be Vegemite smeared on her face.  She has been licking the window and is now using her little fingers to draw circles in her spit. Just delightful.  I give her a smile and a little wave and she pokes her tongue out at me, not so cute and innocent after all!

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Speaking of pulling faces and poking tongues out!!

The car in front of me is a pink mini, with “P” plates.  Pretty awesome car for a chick!  There are 4 young “ladies” in the car, I’m guessing late teens, school leaver age, round 18. All with high pony tails or messy buns and off the shoulder tops.  There is a Katy Perry song blaring and I can see heads bopping and arms flaying to the beat of the music.  Staring at me through the back window is a huge German Sheppard (or Alsatian), I never know how to tell the difference. He literally takes up the whole area of the boot hatch, with slobber all over the window and eyes that are pleading with me to save him from Katy Perry and the singing/dancing girls!

In the car behind me are a dear old couple, most likely in their 80’s.  He has his Sunday Suit on, a lovely grey colour to match his thinning comb over hair colour and style. He has a moustache of the same grey colour which is neatly trimmed and is wearing a lilac shirt and a navy blue tie.  He looks very dapper.  His wife is also dressed to the nines. A lovely floral what I assume to be a dress, with a pink cardi covering her arms.  Around her neck hang 3 strands of shiny pearls. They are chatting animatedly, with the wife using her hands as she talks, much like I do.  I watch them for a while in wonder, what their life has been like. They look so happy and carefree and I catch them glancing lovingly at each other, my heart melts. It reminds me of my Nanna and Poppa, in photo below.

Hessy041

Further back, in my side mirror I can see a Harley Davidson. It’s sitting on the white line between the lanes, contemplating whether to scoot through the traffic or not.  I can hear the low rumble of the bike over my music and Katy Perry blaring from in front of me. The driver is clearly impatient, he is revving the engine and slowly starts to walk his bike through the cars.  I can’t see his face from his black helmet, and his visor is down. He’s only wearing a black tee and jeans with white street sneakers.  He reminds me of Jax from Son’s of Anarchy and I hope he doesn’t get caught in the rain.

As I sit here in this traffic jam, I’m comparing it to the days, months, year or so after mum died. During these times I often felt I was stuck, or stopped, not able to move forward or back. Then the grief lifted slightly and I was able to inch forward, get my bearings and stop again.  I felt the frustration from being stuck, like in a traffic jam. Frustrated because I didn’t know what was ahead of me that was blocking my road. Frustrated because it wasn’t clearing quick enough to allow me to get where I needed to go. I knew where I wanted to go, where I needed to be; but it was just a slow, painful journey.  Those days were dark too, like the darkness in the clouds. The people in the cars around me, I relate to as well. They are my friends and family around me during this time; that I was looking out to, they were stuck as well and dealing with their own stuff; or on the flip side, they didn’t have a worry at all.

The young man makes me wonder how my boys will be at that age; and the young “ladies” in the car in front of me remind me of my teenage years.  The family next to me make me appreciate the relationship I have with my husband; and the elderly couple in the car behind is what I aspire to be in my later years.  And the biker; he reminds me that there is always a way through a traffic jam.  You don’t have to sit there and wait for it to clear; you can push through it; weave your way through the obstacles and come through the other side. You just need to be brave enough to get on the bike.

File 24-03-2017, 11 27 47 AM
Me on my bike 🙂 

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