Saturday, 25 May 2019

{Day 144} Diploma Complete

For the past 18 months I have been studying a Diploma in Community Service and as of today it is complete. Reflecting back at how I did this has me so so proud of myself. 

In the last 18 months I have taken the time to study, hand in all my assignments, online assessments  and achieve my goal regardless of..

  • My Daughter showing sexualised behaviours as a result of her being sexually abused in 2017. This was such a hurtful and hard thing to come to accept. I think we all as parents want to know that our kids are happy and healthy and we're raising them the absolute best we can so when this happened I felt like such a failure. She has since been attending CASA (Sexual abuse counselling) and has a school mentor. Being alongside someone you love trying to make sense of a situation she had no control of has been without a doubt difficult. Add panic attacks and anxiety to her symptoms and it becomes scary. We are both learning as we go but parenting a child of sexual abuse is so so hard and they tell me the worst is yet to come.
  • My Dad being diagnosed with Cancer. This was absolutely devastating news and with it my life began to snow ball. Spending time with him became my priority so studying around the frequent trips to see him and sit with him in hospital (sometimes for up to 3 hours at a time) became a weekly occurrence. I remember leaving after dropping the kids at school and barely making it home in time to pick them back up. But I know Dad valued this time with me and before I started working part time we did go out for lunch a few times and to the Markets together. He is getting too sick now but I'm glad I juggled my study to make that work. Time with him is so precious.
  • The end of a beautiful friendship. These few girls whom I once valued the opinions of and would have been there for no matter what, had their back and held their hands and hearts through life's toughest times hated on me publicly, intentionally made be feel belittled and as though I wasn't enough. They banded together to judge me, my kids and my life. To one of these particular girls I'd like to say this: You hurt me only because I valued you. You spoke ill of our friendship when we shared so many precious moments together. You left me at a time when I needed you most and although your words and actions hurt me and my kids - we learned how to protect ourselves from the hate and negativity we were going through and ultimately how to love and trust people again.
  • Organising the 2018 Bacchus Marsh Indigenous Football Round. This was such a big task and to do this completely alone I was tempted to throw it in. But as you have probably noticed by now, I am no quitter. So after receiving the community grant and collaborating with the local footy side I pulled off such an amazing day which had the footy club buzzing. Some community members had never in their lives encounter our culture so it was nice to share, teach and show off the beauty of our culture. I'm so glad I did it.
  • Health Issues. Just a few months ago I had lumps develop on my breast. For the weeks that followed as I underwent tests I was in autopilot with life changing thoughts going through my head. Thankfully, with prayer from my friends and church the lumps completely disappeared. Praise God!
  • Counselling and Support Groups. In certain aspects in my life I needed good counsel, I needed good friends from the outside to help me direct my life. I started seeing a counsellor soon after my Dad's diagnosis and within a few weeks I was prescribed medication. This medication still sits in my cupboard as I believe I have a Heavenly father whom promised that He would never give me anything I couldn't handle. With powerful prayer, good friends and a coffee catch up with a leader from our church now and then I am no longer needing a counsellor. 
  • Another Cancer Diagnosis. Completely out of the blue one day Jeanette (my eldest niece) received news that her father was in hospital so we made the 3 and a half hour trip down to see him as he is the father of all 4 of my sisters kids whom I have in Kinship care with me. The results come a few days later that is was cancer. Unfortunately to this day and now 4 trips to hospital their father Justin is still refusing medical care, still using drugs and alcohol and left the hospital with internal bleeding. Please pray for him.
  • Our Small House. 2 and half bedrooms to be exact. I share a room with my daughter, have a single bed about 30cms away from hers. As the kids get bigger and need their space this living situation is just not suitable. There is no space for a dinning table, a desk, storage options for the kids clothing or even a shed. I have been meeting with the kids DHHS worker, Child Protection and Housing to find a solution but after 4 years of absolutely nothing I reached out to our local MP for advocacy. With their help we have been offered a new house just this week. More details soon.. Watch this space!
  • Family Holidays. As much as you might think holidays are holidays, how could they possibly get in the way of your education? They really did. In summer we stayed at a few caravan parks just to escape the heat. Our small house also doesn't have sufficient heating and cooling so when we had a week of 40+ weather I paid big bucks just to leave home. At the time I also had to keep the kids cool and occupied and study in a small cabin. Not as easy as you may think.
  • The death of our Cat. A cat whom loved us and us him. With a love so big we couldn't bare to watch him waste away another moment. His presence in our home is still missed today.
  • Football, Basketball (x2 teams), Youth Group, Soccer, Tutoring, Volunteering, Church, School productions (incl drama, instrumental and dance) and culture commitments. Which all speaks for itself really. Also a graduation, a few grand finals and countless SSG (student support) meetings.
  • Pneumonia. I had pneumonia and was hospitalised after I came back from a 6 and a half hour drive from seeing the kids Dad in hospital. I had to get injections in which they accidently doubled my dose not realizing and I thought I was going to die. Studying was far from my mind at that point.
  • Chicken Pox. Diagnosed by a local doctor in regards to 3 of my youngest kids right in the last week and smack bang in the middle of my last (and biggest) unit only to find out after I'd handed it in that is wasn't chicken pox at all. FML. A whole week off school for eczema.. Thanks Doc!
  • And then we're talking Teens yeah? Melt down, power struggles, tantrums, emotions flying high and then low. I thought I hated the 3-4yo ages but that is nothing compared to the 13-14yo ages. and I still have another three to come. 
  • But by far the hardest was just trying to juggle laundry, good food for dinners (which requires cooking after a mentally exhausting day at work or studying), shopping, time with each child,  keeping up to date with kids parties and camps and excursions and underage raves and social lives.

 I felt completely exhausted 80% of the time and hated not being able to catch up with friends or what was happening in the world but I did it and Ii did it for me! 


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Sunday, 12 May 2019

{Day 132} "Mothers" Day

For most, a mother is their role model, someone to look up to, someone to aspire to be when you grow up and someone present, loving on you and sacrificing her joy for yours each and every day.
For me, my mother was none of these things. While she did birth me and we do share a lot of physical features and strong personality traits, my mother taught me how to be a mother in reverse! More like a “what not to do” and today I’ll be sharing on my blog how my relationship with my Mum helped me to become the Mum I am today.
Before I start understand this. My Mum is, was and always will be my Mum. She birthed me, she read to me and taught me to read, she taught me to pray, taught me to love and accept people for who they are no matter their flaws and she loved me. I never doubted this. Never.
 Although she is no longer in the present, she lives on in me and her grandkids. Things we do show parts of her even when we don't realise it.
For all that my mother was in the beginning, as time went by my Mum slowly lost who she was. I watched her go from a mothering mother to a complete stranger to me in just a few short years.
I will always cherish the mother I had in the beginning, the Mum who would plait my hair for school, buy me and my friends milkshakes after school and whom would sit by my hospital bed no matter what.
Once I turned 10, that mother was no longer. She was gone.
I understand now that my Mum endured a lot of identity issues growing up. She grew up the only black in her family, in her school and in her community. This meant a lot of racism, identity struggles and left her feeling weird to the point that she would try and wash the black from her skin. 
Mum found her identity being around other indigenous people and found love and acceptance in alcohol and drug users. By the time she was 17, she had fully rebelled from playing "Little miss perfect" and started to become careless and reckless. 
Although she had my sister while she was still a teenager herself, she continued to be reckless and careless, drinking and partying to numb the pain of growing up white yet feeling black. She knew that doing what she was doing would have her shunned from her family, but she found comfort in anyone who would listen and for many years that followed the drinking got more frequent and the drugs became the answer to all life's problems. To kill her loneliness was her need for love. She craved to feel loved and wanted and being very comfortable with her sexuality, she would often sleep with both men and women to feel comforted. 
With Mum there were no rules. There was no one she valued enough to want to stop her from the downward spiral that ultimately ended with her overdosing in 2017.
While I'm sure you have such fond memories of your mother today, in the years I most needed my Mum I was ashamed of her. The same lady that taught me right from wrong was Dr Shopping for pills her and her then husband would count out and halve on our dinner table instead of cooking dinner. Was in a severe domestic relationship that had her completely isolated and which nearly cost her her life on more then 7 occasions (that I was present for) instead of protecting her kids and raising them in a safe environment. Was completely disconnected from reality and hallucinating daily which impacted us not being enrolled into school, not learning any life skills what-so-ever and had us believing people where trying to kill her. Who was either drunk, stoned or both for the good part of the day - everyday impacting in us withdrawing from our relationship with her and relying on each other to survive. Who would become completely abusive and psychotic if she didn't have money or knew her drugs were running out in which she'd coach my brother and I to also get involved in going to the doctors, acting that we're sick so she could take her medication for herself and who would either love or abuse or sometimes both within minutes of a conversation with her which had us confused as to if she really loved us at all.
My Mum was the one at Centrelink, screaming and cussing the 19yo trainee for an EBT Card (Emergency Payment) while I stood out the front acting like I didn't know her. 
My Mum was the one who had a gun put to her head by the man she claimed to love only to go on to marry him. 
My Mum was the one who would abuse my teachers because there was no way her precious daughter deserved a C grading for an oral presentation she had to turn her music down for so I could practise it over and over in the lounge room. 
My Mum was the one at the pub punching on with bikers over a game of pool while we were home alone doing our homework and watching home and away.
My Mum was the one who burned the side of a child protection workers face on a BBQ hotplate when she refused her to see us kids for Christmas.
My Mum was the one who didn't believe me when I was abducted in Sydney in 2001 although I had called her and the police after it had happened.
My Mum was the one butt naked when I'd get home from school.
My Mum was the one the cops would tell to turn down the music which would have her waking up in the watch house each and every time - Did she learn though.. Nope!
She was also the one taunting the neighbour to call the cops.
My Mum was the one at the underage parties I had lied to her to go to; giving out drugs and alcohol to my friends. 
My Mum was the one that didn't show up for contact visits, didn't call and who didn't care to give explanations as to why to DHS while we were in care.
My Mum was the most abusive both physically, mentally and emotionally towards me to date.
Although this list could go on forever and ever and ever as to all the things she did and didn't do for me, My Mum still taught me how to be a good Mum. 
She taught me that I didn't like the kinds of people she liked, I didn't like the way drinking and drugs effected who I was as a person, I didn't like the kinds of guys she chose to date, I didn't like - or trust doctors, I did my own research, I thought for myself, I protected my brother from as much as I could and in turn now protect my kids from as much as I can. I am stronger, wiser, better, kinder, compassionate and unafraid of the world because I was forced to live in the most darkest parts of the streets around the mentally ill, drug dealers, users and abusers. There is nothing that scares me now.
So while I woke up this morning with not only my children but my sisters children bringing me breakfast in bed with thoughtful messages and abundance of love and hugs.. I know I am who I am today because of the strong woman that came before me. She was in no way perfect or anyone I aspired to be but I'm glad to have had her as my Mum. Because of her I have self love, self worth and unshakable self confidence. I understand mental health and the way drugs and racism take peoples lives and I have unrelentless strength and stamina.

~ Thank You Mum ~






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Monday, 6 May 2019

{Day 125} Reflection Sunday



Today, just like the last 4 Sunday’s, no part of me wanted to be at Church. Not because I don’t love God, or need God, or hate the church or find it boring or don’t want to see all our friends at church. But more because I have been living rather sinfully lately and I have been enjoying being a little reckless with my life. I don’t feel like I’m ready to confess and if I did I’d be lying to God because honestly, I’m probably going to show up to church, act like I have my shit together and walk out to re-do all the sinful things I know God would never want me to do. I’m not smoking or taking drugs or even drinking.. my sins are more hurting people because I myself and my kids are hurting. So I wait for the opportunity to speak my mind and don’t hold back. Everything that has been brewing since my separation from my husband 7 years ago that I wanted to say but never had the opportunity to say has come out these past few weeks without a filter. Everything I have wanted to say to my sister with the shit she has put these kids and I through these past 4 years has erupted and so has has all the hurt retained by my racist grandparents. I have turned into a lethal bitch and I feel relentless and gratified even though it’s totally against my belief in what Jesus would do. 

Although I’m glad to be getting all of this built up anger off my chest, I went to church today because as many mothers can relate, we need to do what’s right for our family, and as a family of 7, I can’t keep the kids from fellowship and the love of Jesus and his people so today even though a few of the kids also were reluctant we went.

Worshipping Jesus is just normal for me, I feel his love and his presence and love singing to him and for him. There is nothing better than praising and worshipping our king on a Sunday so with ease I give him my praises.

Today at church we had Pastor Steve Kelly all the way from Wave Church do a video sermon which totally resonated with me. 

His message was on Chapters. 

Chapters of our lives. 

His three points to this sermon were:
1.How we interpret the current chapter of our story will deter an the rest of the chapters. 

2.The best Christians always lead beyond their current chapters.

3.Some of the worst chapters end up being the best chapters!

I feel like my current chapter of my life is pretty self distructive. I am angry and lashing out at people who have hurt me but I’m not to let this chapter define me, it’s how I am and not who I am and more importantly it’s not my final chapter.

God knows me better than anyone and better than I know myself. I have had an unfiltered and brutally truthful tongue that has called people out since I was at a young age. I didn’t stop doing that until I gave my heart to Jesus and started understanding that everyone is already fighting their own demons. They face their own challenges in life and I realised that I didn’t want to hurt people, I became accountable and repentful of all the hurt I had caused over the years.

I guess, even though I have been enjoying taking all my anger and frustration out I need to remember who I am in Christ and who I want my kids to be looking up to. With so much pressure to be righteous and forgiving I am also human and hurt too. While the rest of my family can live unholy, unfiltered and without a care as to how their treatment of me and these kids effects us, I need to also realise I am a child of the most High king, I’m loved, set apart and need to flip the page to the next chapter of my life.. 

Thanks Pastor Steve for reminding me of that today! 

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Sunday, 21 April 2019

{Day 110} Easter






























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Thursday, 4 April 2019

{Day 93} Work Placement

Tomorrow is the end of my placement at West Care Foster Care in Melton.

While some students in my class have struggled and still struggled to find work placement, I had way too many options. In the end 9 organisations were willing to take me but it was one of my friends whom referred me to be a student at her workplace in the end.

Going in I was confident but a little nervous but coming out I am optimistic of my future. While I found that Case Management is not for me, while in my placement I was exposed to the gaps in the system, the flaws and the lack. With my passion being our indigenous culture, it wasn't long before I was seeing that most - if not all of the "Culture and Identity" folders on their system- with the exception of the 4 indigenous kids culture plans done by VACCA, were completely blank. I mean every single child has a folder for their connection to culture and identity and every single folder had nothing in it. It blew my mind that so many kids from a whole range of cultures in the system are losing who they are.

In the short time I was with the fostering service I like to think I made an impact. I created an internal folder with links to local indigenous organisations, events and activities as well as making a brochure for carers informing them of ways to keep kids connected throughout their time with them. This included significant days, medical and dental entitlements for the children as well as connecting them with indigenous community groups.

I wish I had longer at this organisation because the lack they have was significant. KESO's were no where in sight and children and families using their service have no connection to their ancestral lands and languages. All I could do was refer them but I would have loved to be a part of helping them get home.

So as I say goodbye to the wonderful staff whom have welcomed me, mentored me and were patient in allowing me to learn - I am grateful.

What a great first experience of work life I have had, as well as juggling full time study and the 6 kids. I cant believe I did it..

I'm not going to lie, some days were hard with kids needing me well after I was done with my day but every day I pushed through relying on God's strength top get me through another day. There were definitely early mornings and early nights and days I felt I had no more to give but I did it and I'm so appreciative to have some amazing kids whom helped out when I needed it, put a blanket on me when I fell asleep on the couch with all my paperwork on me or just made me a cuppa coffee when I was drowning in work late at night.
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