Archive | April, 2016

17th April…

18 Apr

Yesterday would have been my Nanna’s birthday.  She loved community, believed in caring for others wholeheartedly and, along with my Pa, would be the first to open their home to someone else for a meal, a coffee, a chat or all of the above. Nanna didn’t always have it easy, and amongst other medical concerns in later years, suffered from multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow). If I think of some of the various cancers that have touched my closest friends and family the list is fairly varied…. Multiple myeloma, bowel, prostate, breast, renal, lung and skin cancers of various forms. You see, cancer doesn’t seem to discriminate, and I bet you know a person or two who have had to face these challenges too.

I think my Nanna would have liked the way my day was spent yesterday. I got to spend the day with about 50 quality people.  Some were friends, some I’d never met. But all gave up a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon to participate in barefoot bowls and while they were at it raise a few dollars for cancer research.  I really want to thank them for that. They didn’t have to be there, they didn’t have to buy a sausage, and sure they didn’t have to buy a raffle ticket. But they did… and they did it with a smile on their face.  I’m thankful for every single one of them. Because on our own, sometimes our efforts seem fairly futile, but when we combine our strength and our resources we really can achieve so much more.

Every day when I go to work I’m reminded that there are so many people battling disease. Cancer features very prominently on that list. Someone recently asked me if cancer research still needed funding – and it’s a reasonable question given that there are many treatments available these days. My response is that it absolutely does.  There is still so much unknown about this disease. There are still so many forms of this disease. There are still various types of cancer where the prognosis is extremely poor and where treatment seems to buy time but not a cure. There are some really clever people studying these diseases, and making these connections, and I will do all I can to continue to support them.

On the last weekend in October, I will be swimming (1.5km), riding (40km) and running (10km) with the Smiling for Smiddy Noosa Triathlon Team.  Together we aim to raise $300,000 for cancer research.  As we do, I guarantee that I’ll be thinking of those I love who have had to battle this disease, and I’ll be praying that we can continue to find treatments and cures for cancer. Because an Olympic Distance Triathlon is a challenge for me, but it’s nothing compared to the challenges cancer patients have to face.

Right now my mind is willing and my body is semi able. Come October I’ll be fitter and stronger and I’ll be ready to have another really good go at the Noosa Triathlon, and while I’m at it, combine with the efforts of others to raise some good coin for cancer research.

So thank you. To those who have supported us to date. To those who supported us yesterday. To those who will continue to support us in the future. We are so incredibly grateful. There are so many places and people and causes that are worthy of a few dollars, and we appreciate that you sent a few this way.  No donation is too small (or large for that matter), together we really can achieve more.  Should you still wish to do so, there is plenty of time to donate – please follow the link below to our fundraising page:

Smiling for Smiddy – Tri-ing our best for Rita

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Siblings

12 Apr

So today Facebook reminded me that 12 months ago I missed an extremely important day. National sibling day… well in the USA anyway… so clearly I missed it again this year (for the record it’s April 10th). While perhaps this day is not widely recognised in Australia, I’m going to recognise it in my life today.  Because I may be biased but I think my brothers and sisters rock…. So without further ado let me introduce you to them (and this has to be brief because I have a university assignment I’m meant to be doing right now).

David. He’s the oldest, so for me he’s always been there. He’s 37 and a Pharmacist. He’s been dealt some serious blows in his life as his health has been far from perfect. But, he has pressed on, in adverse circumstances and when life seems to keep throwing punches, he’s kept going when I’m sure I’d have given up.  He’s my go to man if I want one of those bear hugs – you know the ones that last for about 10 minutes (and it’s not even awkward)…. Only catch is I have to fly a few hours to get there….He’s got the biggest heart you’ll find. He’s kind, generous, a great listener and compassionate and would go out of his way to help you out – even if it was to his own detriment.

Then there’s Helen. She came two years after me, so she’s 33. She’s a Sonographer by trade – one of those people that can make sense of those black/white/grey fuzzy screens on an ultrasound. She’s one of those people who just seem to be so good at everything…. and if she wasn’t my sister I’d be super jealous… but I love her so much that it doesn’t matter. She’s creative, a great caterer, cake maker and craft queen. If you want an event organised or a room or house decorated she is the one you want (oh sorry, she’s retired….) But more importantly if you’re looking for someone who is going to build your faith then she’s my go to. She’s rock solid. She is the kind of person I want in my corner in life, she’s a prayer warrior. She is loving, caring, generous and always thinking of everyone else. I love her to bits.

Then there’s the baby of our family – for a time I called him Small Fry. Peter, 31. No greater champion will you meet. He’s an OT by degree but has been doing a fairly okay job in management (did I mention he took out the Australian Institute of Management Manager of the Year award…. Yep – best manager in Australia right there…!) Life has dealt him some serious blows in the last few years. But I see him stronger than ever before (and his physical strength is going to catch up again!).  When it comes to getting on a bicycle you wont beat him – especially if there is a mountain involved – I dream of being 1/8th the cyclist he is. I admire him for all of this. But, I also admire him for his faith. He’s pressed on, and dug his roots in deep when the path has got really rocky. He is the first person to direct you back to God, to encourage you to find a relationship with him, and to answer any question you might have about it. He’s faithful, caring, kind, quiet but confident and displays an inner strength that is evident in his actions. He’s a trooper!

While I’m on the subject of siblings I also inherited a few more along the way. The above are “just” the ones I scored because I was born into a great family…

Narelle – married David and has been a part of our family since 1999 (I’d do the maths but I’m on a deadline here…). She’s just finished her conveyancing study – champion effort to do that while working and being a wife and mother!  She has learned through rough times what it means to marry “in sickness and in health” and she’s stronger for it (well she said that once anyway… 😉 ). She’s a good listener, kind, generous, and she’s also a great decorator (not sure if she’s retired like Helen or not…). I admire the way she can gently pull up beside you and encourage you. They’ve got two amazing boys – Tim and Josh (it’s not national nieces and nephews day so I don’t have to write about them now… which is a good thing because I’m running out of time…).

Scott joined us in 2004 when he married my sister. He’s a Clinical Psychologist. You’ll often hear me say that Scott is an incredible bloke – and I’m confident that others would say the same thing. While I’m sure his training helped make him a great listener I’m pretty confident he already was. I’ve never heard the guy raise his voice. He’s quiet, but that doesn’t mean he’s not taking everything in. He’s wise, kind, caring, and he’s a guy of integrity.  If you want gentle guidance – with wisdom and love, then this is your man. He’s one of those quiet achievers. I also love his dry sense of humour! Oh and he’ll leave you for dead on a trail run… and he’s pretty decent on a bicycle too!! He and Helen have also blessed us with two bundles of energy and joy in Izzy and Annie.

Mandy joined us in 2007 when she married my brother. She too is a Clinical Psychologist and I’ve been known to joke about the fact our family must be a little broken if we need two Clinical Psych’s to fix it!  Seriously though, Mandy is a gem. She’s a pocket rocket. She’s full of fun and life. She’s my shopping go to (hey it’s been 3 years about time we went out again)… she’s a style queen and she just knows what works. She too has learned about marriage in sickness and in health and I love her for being there for Peter. Again I think of attributes like great listener, kind, patient, caring, loving, encouraging and joyful when I think of Mandy. She may have been the last to marry into our family but it feels like she’s been a part of it forever. She and Pete have blessed us with Jos and Emmie – two more gorgeous kids I’ve not met (oh except maybe for Tim, Josh, Izzy and Annie….)

And I also can’t go past the two siblings I gained when I married Dave. Keryn and Ian. Keryn is Dave’s sister.  They are the kind of people I would describe as kind, generous, genuine, solid, community minded people. They’ve taken in many an exchange student, and Keryn’s care for educating the next generation of people has taken her to various places around the world. Ian cares well for those who are not as fortunate. They have cared for Dave’s Mum so well, and we’ve been so grateful for their assistance and wisdom in many aspects of life.  Of course I have to mention Brett, Michael and Shannon – the nephews and niece who aren’t much younger than me so I missed their growing years – but they have all turned into incredible adults.

Okay – the 30 minutes I gave myself to write this is up… so I have to finish it here (and hope this is not full of spelling disasters and autocorrect gems….).

My siblings wouldn’t be here without my incredible parents (that’s a whole other blog) and my husband Dave (again… no time to go into this today…). I’m blessed to be surrounded by a great support network and enjoy doing life’s ups and downs with them all.

 

Joshua 24:15
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”