Thursday, April 24, 2008

We All Grow Up Eventually

We All Grow Up Eventually

As most of you know, our family has been living in LA for the past while. We have loved our time here, it has been a great learning experience and we have met some extraordinary people. LA is full of diversity and truly gives expression to the vastness of humanity.

Throughout my time here I have come to know a great man who runs a business on the corner of our street. He’s a big man in stature and one of those kind eyed, teddy bear types. Yesterday I was in his shop and as usual we had a great conversation. He has a kind smile and always chooses his words wisely. You just know that he thinks deeply and considers things before saying them.

Over the months and through our many conversations I have always been curious about a certain tattoo he has on his left hand. I’m fascinated by what they call body art (tattoos) and the stories that go along with each permanent marking. Before you ask… I don’t have any myself!!!! I’m happy to leave that to others. Yesterday I decided to ask him what the sequence of numbers and letters meant. After asking, he paused and looked into the distance and said, “I haven’t always lived in a nice neighbourhood like this. My childhood and younger years were spent in some extremely rough areas of town.” I replied saying, “Enough said.” I knew my question had taken him to a dark place in his past that was riddled with experiences I have never known. I knew he was referring to his gang days. He chose to continue the conversation and he told me about bad choices he had made in his younger years. As he shared these stories I could see the pain written not only in ink on his body but in those kind eyes. He then began to tell me about the good choices he eventually started to make. His kind eyes met mine once again and he said, “We all grow up eventually.” I smiled and thanked him for sharing with me. I told him his story needed to be shared both to kids who are walking on the wrong side of right and to parents who’s hearts are breaking.

I left the shop with his words echoing in my mind, “We all grow up eventually.” A simple statement from a strong man who has probably seen more than I or even perhaps you can imagine. I thought his words needed to be shared to parents everywhere who hold concern in their heart for their children who are seemingly making wrong choices. Through this mans life be encouraged, keep loving and keep as close as possible because……We All Grow Up Eventually.

Susan xoxo

Thursday, April 17, 2008

World's First Pregnant Man

I feel compelled to comment with regards to a story that seems to have engulfed the media of late concerning the pregnancy of a trans-gender called Thomas Beatie.

Being a father of three beautiful children I think I am qualified to reply to Thomas Beatie’s statement that says “It's not a male or female desire to have a child. It's a human desire,"

While this may be true and accurate it was my wife Belinda that conceived, nurtured and carried each of our children for the term of her pregnancy. It was also my wife who gave birth to each of our children, and here lies the problem, my wife has the reproductive organs that allow her to become pregnant and carry a child to term as a male I do not have the necessary organs to conceive or give birth to a child.

While I can sympathise with the plight of trans-gender people and not at all wanting to denigrate them in any way, a woman having her breasts surgically removed does not make her any less of a woman or a mother and further taking testosterone to cause her to become more masculine in appearance does not make her a man or a father.

I can honestly say at no time during any of Belinda’s pregnancies, did I feel a was missing out on one of life’s great moments because I was a man and biologically unable to carry our unborn child. After all I was there at conception and would be there for at birth. Sure there many nights I would fall asleep with my hand gently resting on Belinda’s beautiful baby bump, knowing there was another heart beating in the bed with us... a life we had both helped to create. I massaged her back when she had back aches ,rubbed her feet when her feet were swollen, made here cups of tea and even drove across twelve suburbs one Friday night to get here favourite food that she had craving. But not for one second did I have even the slightest desire to physically carry any of our children for the term of a pregnancy that’s the unique role of a mother.

So this got me thinking about what it is that makes a father and what it is that makes a mother. Having been a parent now for 13 years and specifically a father to my children, there are defiantly roles in parenting that are better suited to men as are the aspects that come more naturally to women. This is not to say one is more important than the other, or that each role can’t be adapted to either parent. I am sure there are many single parents both male and female who can confirm this to be the case. To these single parent I have the utmost respect and admiration for them... parenting is hard enough (at times) when there are two people involved let alone having to take on the role of being both mother and father to your children.

I know there have been countless times in this journey of parenthood were Belinda’s maternal instincts have allowed her to see things that well, basically as a father and a man, I failed to see. Things that are unique about being a mother, the nurturing and protection that a child longs for when they are ill or have stubbed a toe while out playing. Sure men can be the one to nurture in those times but it's the mothers seem so much more self sacrificing and is willing to sit up all night to nurse an ill child, etc. Likewise there are times I see things as a male and a father that are unique to being a father.

My eldest son has just entered his teenage years and my second son is not that far behind. I know this time is where I need to stand tall for my sons, puberty, adolescence and finally manhood is the journey we are on now. This is a precarious time in this modern world we live in, they need me to help them navigate their way through these waters. Sadly so many fathers today want to neglect this role and prefer to be a friend to their son’s, one who is always liked, always the cool dad who lets them do whatever they want.

I remember being told a story by my hairdresser (he’s a man by the way) that encapsulates the father-son relationship really well. When my hairdresser was 18 he brought a hotted up Nissan that went super fast ~ the kind you buy when you’re 6 ft tall and bullet proof. He took it home to show his dad however upon showing him he discovered that his father was disappointed. Disappointed for a reasons but one being because his son had purchased his first car without him. His father had hoped he could have gone with him ~ you know sort of a father and son thing.

His father tried to keep his disappointment from showing and asked for the keys so he could take it for a ‘spin’. During his drive thoughts ran through his mind, he had to deal with a number of things, firstly there was the joy of seeing his son walk independently and his new found freedom - something he had been trying to instil since he was a child. In the same moment he felt grief. Grief because this was a moment he thought they would share together. Plus frustration because his son had chosen a 'hotted up Nissan'. The father had to make a decision, would he get out of the car and say, “ Well done son, what a beast of a machine you have bought. You’re going to be popular with your friends. Here’s fifty bucks go fill her up!” Or, would it now be his time to be the self-sacrificing parent and step up to the role of being the father. Would he make the hard decision and risk be disliked by his son and put up with the silence and tension at home for a while? Upon returning from his quick ride his dad got out of the car and said, “Sell it!” The son replied, “But why?” To which his father replied, “Because I said I would help you buy a car, not a coffin!”

My hairdresser told me that after this he didn’t speak to his dad for 6 months. He said that, at the time, he hated him for the decision he had made. However with hindsight being 20/20 and he now being a 27 year old man, he confidently confesses that his father did the right thing. He knows that in that car, at that age, he would have killed himself or worse…..someone else.

In that moment my hairdressers father made a decision that would change their relationship forever. These two men they went from being close to being alienated and at odds with each other. There was tension when they were together and tension, as we all know, has the ability to affect other relationships within the family unit.

Why did his father make such a decision? It’s simple really. He was a son once and so he knew how his son thought, he made the tough decision because he had been where his son was. He knew the mind of a boy becoming a man. Like most fathers he had been at his sons conception and birth, he had watched his son grow and he knew that it he needed to step up to the plate and sacrifice and be the father his son needed ... he did it because he loved his son and needed to protect him.

I’ll leave the fathers with this question, what choice would you of made? Sometimes being a father means sacrificing our own feelings and desires for the good of the next generation... our children. Sometimes we need to operate from the father’s heart and perspective, which only becomes real when a boy becomes a man and a man becomes a father.

By the way my hairdresser and father have a great relationship now.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Health and Fitness 08 ~ Update and Information

Hello all.  Just a quick update from the health and fitness desk of thefamilyroom!!!!
I am continuing on my journey and will hopefully do a Youtube video soon to talk about some of the things I've been doing. However today I wanted to quickly highlight our caloric intake.  I've been forcing myself to take a good look at my daily intake and I've been shocked.  I've discovered that I'm basically still eating like I'm a breast-feeding mother......that ended over 2 years ago!!!!! Yikes.

Below I've included a few points for you to ponder and in the days and weeks to come I will be sharing a few extremely shocking information about some of our daily intakes and 'treats' that will (if you're anything like me) leave your chin on the ground.

Here we go.  A few tips to help you shave a little weight off and continue on your own journey to health and wellness. (Note: this information is based on someone wanting to shed some unwanted 'extras' in a certain time period).

1. Stick to one serving of cereal. For most people, a typical pour of breakfast cereal is equal to two servings. If you're trying to lose weight, trim calories by accurately measuring one serving into your bowl (usually that means ¾ - 1 cup, however, cereal serving sizes vary so you must regularly check the package labeling on your favorite brands and varieties).

For those who eat a daily bowl of breakfast cereal, follow my lead, and you'll save about 150 calories by cutting back on cereal and at least 50 calories in extra milk every morning. That's 8,400 calories saved and 2.5 pounds lost at the end of six weeks!

2. Skip your late night snack. We all feel the need to munch in the evening, and although a p.m. snack can be perfectly appropriate (diet-friendly p.m. snacks should not exceed 150 calories), for many people, the evening tends to be the time of day we blow it on calorie overload - comfort food central; ice cream, cookies, potato chips, popcorn and more!

On average, people gobble down way more than 250 calories after 8 p.m. Exercise some willpower and skip your nighttime snack altogether. Sip an herbal tea, floss/brush your teeth and close down the kitchen for the evening. You'll save at least 250 calories each day and after six weeks, you'll have cut 10,500 calories and dropped three whole pounds!

3. Scratch the butter/margarine. Cut out a total of one tablespoon of regular butter or margarine from your toast, veggies, potatoes, dinner rolls, etc. each day. At 100 calories per tablespoon, you'll save 4,200 calories and drop over one pound in six weeks. What if you can't give up the butter or margarine? At least switch to a soft tub spread that says "reduced fat" and "trans-fat free" on the label - it's half the calories of the full fat versions, so you'll still drop over ½ pound.

4. Lose the mayo and cheese on your sandwich Omit the slice of cheese and mayonnaise on your sandwich (use mustard instead - only five calories per teaspoon) and you'll save about 200 calories per sandwich. If you eat a sandwich a day, you'll end up saving 8,400 calories and find yourself 2.5 pounds lighter after just six weeks.

5. Delete the extras: It's amazing how much extra food we can munch on without realizing it - a grab of this/that off our kid's plate, an extra packet of ketchup or salad dressing, a bite of your co-worker's dessert... before you know it, you've consumed an extra 800 calories!

Be super mindful and delete the "extras" and you'll be able to trim a significant amount of calories off your weekly total. Also, pay attention to your beverages (alcohol included) - as well as what's going into your coffee and tea. By trimming 1000 extra calories off each week (about 150 per day), you'll save a total of 6000 calories and drop 1.75 pounds at the end of six weeks!

Interesting stuff I have to say.....makes you think about that late night treat or the extra shake of the cereal box doesn't it....

Take care and stay well.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Day, Another Celebration!

After reading Susan’s blog yesterday, which I loved, I was inspired to follow her lead and share a few thoughts of my own.

The past few weeks have been eventful for our family, they have been weeks full of celebration of marriage, life, death (yes, even in death we can celebrate), new friendships and so much more. I must say I feel full and extremely rich and thankful to be exactly where I am right now in time.

Here’s a quick glace at what we’ve been celebrating:

• Four weeks ago I stood in front of family and friends and dedicated my life to the man of my dreams…..I got hitched and so far I love every moment of it.

• Two weeks ago I, with my family, celebrated my 22nd year of life. Birthday’s are always worth celebrating!

• This past Friday we celebrated my mum’s 50th year of life. She’s so excited and happy she keeps telling us she has at least 40 more good years under her belt.

• Sadly on the day of my birthday we were notified of my great uncles death so today I, again along with my family and friends, will celebrate his life and all that he was and did in this world.

• Tomorrow we will celebrate my parents 30th year of marriage. In this day and age this is a celebration that sadly not all will experience. We plan to ‘say it loud and say it proud’. They have made it and chose to keep going even when it was hard. For this I am forever grateful and I honor them for honoring their commitment to each other and to their three children who admire them.

These are the things we are celebrating. I'm learning more and more that everyday is precious. Every second of my life is to be cherished and used wisely. I remember in high school one of my favorite quotes was (and I can’t remember who said it) "a minute spent angry is 60 seconds of wasted happiness". How true...

I'm realizing that there is no benefit in holding grudges, getting revenge, being offended or being the one with the last, sharp word, it’s simply not worth it. Instead what I’m choosing to do is celebrate and cherish the moments I have. I have resolved to use my time wisely and as thefamilyroom crew always say, “let’s take time to smile, to hug, to give a word of encouragement and to slow down and BE and celebrate each other”.

Catherine Furukawa

Oh yeah, here’s an example of what I mean….. Today as I said good-bye to my husband he held me in his arms and told me that loved me. I'm so glad we said good-bye like that because we never know what the next moment holds for us. We used our moment well ☺

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Food for Thought.....

Below is something that I have read before and recently had it sent to me in an email. I thought I would post it here as a gentle reminder about what truly matters in life. Sit back, relax, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, put your feet up and ENJOY this little reminder.

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.'
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it . live it and never give it back.

Don't worry about who doesn't like you , who has more, or who's doing what . Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us and simply enjoy the days we've been given.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Cook Yourself Thin

Hi everyone

Well as many of you know I love to eat. I like all kids of food and don’t believe in dieting. However in keeping with all things yum, I have recently become a convert of a UK show called ‘Cook Yourself Thin’. There are four 30-something spunky girls who are either chefs or foodies and who show everyday women how to drop a dress size by tweaking the stuff they love to eat.  They also test popular diet products and bust the fake ones....very interesting!

If I miss the show, for whatever reason, I get inspired by their website which has loads of recipes that will inspire all of us to eat well and look after our bodies.  Click on the link below to check the site out.

The basic idea of the show is that you eat the stuff you love but these girls help find a way to use less fat, salt and sugar and reduce the overall calories ~ sounds good doesn't it?

Today I have made an amazing chicken soup and a great lemon cake which uses 2 whole lemons, boiled and smooshed, instead of butter.  Creamy is my favourite texture and butter would have to be one of weaknesses (yum all the way!) but these girls show you lots of healthy ways to get the texture and tastes that you love without as many calories.

The fact is that dieting is tedious and boring and doesn’t work in the long term ~ we've all tried something.  Statistics tell us that we will inevitably revert back to our eating habits that are engrained and the weight goes back on.  So, perhaps taking what we like to eat and making it better for us is the way to go to improve our health and shed a few pounds along the way.

Obviously moving is another key and we need to consume less and move more, but why not think about foods you love and think about how you could make some small changes that could make a big difference?  This approach works equally as well with the kids and we will share some familyroom secrets about this in coming posts....stay tuned.

Check the girls out either on TV or on the net, it’s a bit of fun….

Lv Jane

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Life Without Seat Belts ~ Philip Sohn

Well everyone it has finally happened!!! After much asking, encouraging and prodding thefamilyroom BOYS have finally stepped up to the plate. By that I mean my hubby Philip and Belinda's hubby Mark have, in one week, both given me articles for the blog. 

This is extremely exciting because for quite sometime now many of you loyal friends have been asking for something for the men. Well, here it is and interestingly enough it's not just for the men, the girls will enjoy their articles as well.  So sit back, relax and enjoy the first of (hopefully) many more articles from the BOYS!

Life Without Seat Belts

I'm old enough to remember: laying in the back window shelf...yup, where the speakers are behind the rear seats. Usually I would look up at the sky and occassionally, get car sick looking back at the vehicle following us.

Yes I know Princess Di would probably have survived, if she were wearing her seat belt, and Lord knows how many lives have been saved since the advent of mandatory seat belts.

I have a couple of pet hates: the big food/big pharma/big insurance conspiracy, but namely big insurance. I really don't like insurance companies. For those involved in that industry, or have benefitted from having insurance, I don't intentionally want to offend you.

Now insurance feeds off fear. ie. what if negative scenario analysis. Flood, fire, accident......acts of God. Where maiming gets you more money than dying........where they calculate odds to do with your life/death issues.

Yes, seat belts save lives. And your insurance is lower because of them......

But remember life without seat belts? Unbridled, carefree. Think about it. A life without fear. Full of hope. Full of faith. Full of peace.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Life as it comes.... An email from a friend

I received this email the other day and I thought I would share it with all of you (I asked for permission of course). As the title says, this emails exemplifies ‘life as it comes’. The email is from Michaela, whom you all know and love, to her friends and family, simply filling them in on life and asking her community to step up when life gets hard.



Email from Michaela to friends and family:

I hope this email finds you safe, happy and well.

Much ado about everything has been happening since the last update that I thought I'd share a little with you all so you can join our family in prayer. I'll make this a quick one.

Please pray for my younger sister who, for those who don't know, is living in the UK and has just had a new baby. My sister took ill the other day was rushed to hospital were, from what we gather, was in a semi-comatose state for 3 days and still has the doctors baffled as to why. She has come out of the woods (thank God) and is now responsive, but I would really appreciate your ongoing prayer for her, her husband and their three children for the weeks ahead when she will be in recovery. A BIG thanks to Evangeline’s brother and sister-in-law who kindly travelled from London to stay for a couple of days to help Luke out with things at home. Their five year old handled things fine, but their two year old lost the plot for a while and will hopefully be much better now knowing that mummy will be home soon. Their newborn was settled after realising that the bottle is now her new best friend. My brother-in-law is SUCH a good husband and father. Keep him in your thoughts and pray he will be strengthened during this time.

Just quickly, last week my 13 year old daughter Mannie flew up to Sydney to stay with my parents where she had a wonderful time terrorising Rocky (my youngest brother), playing with the last remaining chicken Blacky (Hero, Will's dog made a light meal of the other two Snowy and Teryaki and ate alfresco right outside the back door for the kids to considerate of him!) and visiting various friends and relatives. She told me upon arrival back in windy Melbourne that she didn't have enough time to squeeze in all that she wanted to do and see all the people she had listed...oh the life of a traveller...a teenage traveller at that! Thank you to everyone who managed to pop in and spend some time with Mannie, she really misses everyone, as family and friends are everything to her. She was also grateful to live the life of a jetsetter for a week. Heaven help me when she’s 18 and wants to tour the world with her girlfriends!

Melbourne had gale force winds last Wednesday and many neighbouring suburbs are still blacked out. We were spared which is just as well because I just bought a fresh tub of chocolate ice cream! With the weather so bad I panicked slightly as that was the day Mannie flew in. She was fine when I FINALLY reached her. What should have been a 30min trip took 2.5hours as many roads were closed due to accidents. Once I got to the airport and was told Mannie was not on her flight and they had no record of her flying as an unaccompanied minor. Of course after getting her to search another few hundred times, I burst into tears with my brother on the other end of my frantic phone call trying to calm me down and help me figure out what the mix-up was. Basically the lady at check-in in Sydney told her she didn't need to worry about giving her the already filled in paperwork, so she was never registered as an unaccompanied minor. So you can see how after being so late I kinda lost it. That aside I am happy to have my baby back home nestled safely into our cute little house that is currently being showered with autumn leaves...a truly gorgeous sight. Autumn being my favourite season will be captured on our new camera so I can email you visual updates of our adventures.

For all those who love Thai, I have discovered the best Thai food in Australia at a dinky little restaurant called The King & I, which is close to home. For the rest of you who don't really care, try not to be jealous that Koko Black is not yet in Sydney or anywhere else that I know of. It is a Belgium chocolate and coffee house which makes whatever you’re gourmet choice of coffee and the like taste like drive through decaf.

I'll sign off now. Thanks to all who have already committed to pray for my sister and thanks to all who'll begin. Knowing that you’re all spread across the world, but still a phone call or an email away helps during the rough patches.

Love to all,

My Favorites

Clicky Web Analytics