I’m just another girl, with a blog, spreading positive vibes by hugging the world one post at a time
Author: Kaylynn Rasmussen – The Melbourne Mormon
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah as a 5th generation Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Mormon, but I was not always the proud happy Mormon I am today. Life sucker punched me as a teen and I stopped listening to what was inside my heart.
I am an American living in Melbourne Australia with my agnostic husband and two kiddos. This blog has been my recorded journey of finding my muchness again in hopes to help others in finding their own muchness.
The muchness I am talking about is our gifts from God. We were all born with incredible treasures unique to only us. Our Father in Heaven loves us and misses us all every day—exactly how a parent misses their own child.
You are a child of God. You are important. You make a difference in this unbalanced world we live in. Your life matters. After all, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
I do not know one single person that has tested positive for COVID.
NOT ONE! That includes all my family and friends across two countries. I don’t even know someone that knows someone that has tested positive for COVID. I feel so far removed. But the morning news on replay keeps COVID front of mind. The bare shelves at the grocery store keeps COVID front of mind. The fact that nobody is allowed in my house at the moment keeps COVID front of mind.
I am hiding inside my house as if everyone around me has it. If I breathe the same air, I will die. That’s what my reality feels like right now, again.
I joke, but I do know how serious this is. I’ve listened to the devastation its causing my home country via my favourite podcasts. Entire families killed off by this coronavirus. My heart breaks and I know I am living among the lucky ones—the frustrated ones.
Officially we are in a second lockdown, well for Melbourne anyway. Australia had 191 cases overnight a few days ago—America the overnight numbers soaring over 35,000. But 191 was too many for Australia, especially since most of those numbers came from Victoria, the state I live in and since that day numbers have risen.
Don’t get me wrong.
I support this lockdown.
I want an excuse to close the world out.
Stop letting people in.
I’m an early riser.
My eyes open at 5 am, and usually, I am ready to start the day. But not today. Today I rose and went back to bed. Surprised my body let the sleep come again. I peeled myself out of bed close to 10.00 am, not like me. I had Vanilla Coke and lasagne for breakfast (don’t judge me), again, not like me. No morning walk, definitely not like me. It’s an off day. I’ve accepted it and so should you.
Nothing is normal anymore. Everyone feels it–an uncomfortableness that has spread right across the oceans.
Last week I was on a walk with a friend (when we were allowed to walk together), she took a phone call that she knew was coming. Her boss had to let her go again. Yes second time since COVID she was fired from the same establishment. She took it in her stride. She is beautiful and optimistic.
Now I am eating all the chocolate in my house. Everyone is panic buying pasta and toilet paper again. I need more chocolate.
The next six weeks we can only leave the house for the four following things…
To buy food.
Work. If you are an essential worker.
Taking care of the elderly.
They are pulling people over again but, this time the tickets are $1600.00 on the spot fines, not the $1,000.00 like before.
Schools are not officially closed yet, instead, they have extended the school holidays by one week. Teachers are due back next week to get organised, back to remote learning. Everyone knows it: some happy, some sad. I don’t know what I feel anymore.
My son’s sports have been so off and on that, I don’t even know what day it is.
During the first outbreak, I became a statistic of COVID, back in April. I’m a number among many other people that make up numbers. I’m not ready to share just what that is yet. But it’s been my reason for keeping the covers over my head, eating too much chocolate and lasagne for having breakfast.
Be patient with me. I need to be patient with me.
So it seems COVID is here to stay. COVID is our new normal. So chin up, take a deep breath in and let’s move forward. WE GOT THIS! Or at least that’s what I tell myself and what my friends have been telling me.
One thing for sure, I have enjoyed this much slower pace of life.
I feel like I woke up in some strange dream that I can’t get out of. A bizarre version of Footloose, where hugs are banned, not music. A real nightmare for people who thrive on connection. It doesn’t always have to be a physical thing, there are people I am happy not to hug, but nothing beats a long warm comfy embrace from someone who truly cares about you.
Hugging just makes the world a better place and to distance yourself from, well… EVERYBODY. It’s hard on everyone but especially huggers. But I’m learning how to adapt.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a cheerleader for STAYING AT HOME! I am embracing, STAYING AT HOME! I think everyone should be STAYING AT HOME if they can, where they can, when they can.
But I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, who are out there fighting this thing from the frontlines, all medical staff, grocery store workers, post office workers, pharmacies, teachers for a time and more.
Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.
Just like the business around us who are forced to close their doors (to save lives), we too have to reinvent ourselves. Like the airline workers, they are being trained to help out in the hospitals-cleaning and changing bed linen. Or the café owner who is still in business by selling their yummy bakery goods at a table in the front of their now-closed café. Or the famous chefs, who are now selling their delicious pasta online.
So now I send my hugs and love solely via texts messages, FaceTime and phone calls. It’s a bit like everyone has moved to their own country or planet.
The worry is real.
It’s a scary, uncertain time. I tell my kids that one day they will be able to tell their kids about all of this. As we stay at home and shelter our little ones from the big bad frightening news on TV, it’s almost like it’s not real. Like the whole world is on an extended ‘staycation’. Especially if you are lucky enough to still have an income and not directly know anyone who has contracted the virus.
But each morning I watch the 6 am news headlines, while my family sleeps, just to see what world I have woken up to. The world is changing hourly. And I especially worry about my loved ones overseas. Two of my siblings are nurses and many other family members work in hospitals. They are on the frontline in a country which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases world-wide. I’ve heard their war stories. It’s not pretty.
Just three weeks ago, I was out to dinner with two good friends. We caught up and had burgers in the city (such great burgers). We laughed, we hugged, we sat together as our mobiles kept dinging with new information. This was the day after the Grand Prix was cancelled. I think that’s the first time I really noticed the panic buying, the NBA cancelled the rest of their season. The Melbourne comedy festival, The Yackandandah Music Festival, Sydney Writers festival, all cancelled. Every gathering over 500 people, CANCELLED.
Just two weeks ago, there were 198,000 cases of COVID-19 in the world with less than 8,000 deaths. Today we have over 785,000 cases and 30,000 more deaths today. This thing is silent. It’s invisible and it’s shaping our future by the hour.
Just one week ago, the walking etiquette was to smile or say good morning as you pass someone on the trail. Now when I go for a walk, I cross the street or if I have to pass them, we give each other plenty of room while trying not to offend each other. And nobody was surprised when they finally postpone the XXXII Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July 2021. All you can do is smile and know that these are weird uncertain times and hopefully this will all be a thing of the past come September. Yes, September, fingers crossed.
Are you family-isolating?
Try to give each other space inside the house. Share Netflix time or leave someone home alone while the rest of you go out on your nightly walk. For those of you who celebrate Easter, decorate your house. Do Easter crafts. Make bread together. Go on bike rides and take selfies out in front of all your friends’ houses and send the photo to them later. Learn how to make pasta. Treat this time as a gift of being together.
Make cookies and drop them off at your neighbours’ house. Ring the doorbell just to make them nervous and excited all at the same time. I can’t tell you the last time my doorbell rang.
Reacquaint yourself with all the little things that make you smile. Like, have a shower with your favorite playlist turned up loud. Start a gratitude journal and write 4 things that you are thankful for, watch an old movie that you love and try not to cringe when they stand so close to each other and know that someday soon we will be able to have dinners and birthday parties and gatherings again. But in the meantime, tell me what’s going on at your house? What you are doing to keep smiling during this crazy. Let me know, I need ideas…
Here I am in a space I’ve not been in for years. Spending time with a dear friend from my Eugene, Oregon days. Both sharing our memories of Greg and who we both were when we first met 27 years ago.
I’ve come out of my hiding place–not that I was hiding actually. I was finishing off my final year of my writing degree. A lot has happened this year. Lots of good, lots of busy, lots of writing and loads of reflecting. And sadly, I lost a brother in September. My older brother, Allan. It’s been sad for all of us and being so far away and missing his funeral was extremely hard for me. His death came at the same time major assignments were due, but I pulled through it. I found strength within…again. Thank you to all of those close to me who checked in on me and helped me navigate through a tough time. You know who you are.
I think my last post was back in April this year–sorry. It’s been way too long.
For those of you who don’t know Greg, He was my first husband. (Yes, I was married before.) We got married young, well it didn’t seem too young to us. We were twenty-one but we only had a few short years together. I lost him when we were both twenty-four.
Greg died on 18 November 1995, a day I have re-lived, thought about, questioned, obsessed over, and re-arranged the events of that day in my mind for years.
On 19 November 2019, Greg will have been dead more years than he was living.
My friend, Michele is my validation.
She was there for me after the craziness of that night. She held me, she cried with me, she played with my hair and her heart bled along with mine.
She was there with me then, and I’m here with her now.
This year, I’ve been writing a lot, working on my story, working on my book. I’ve written a lot about my childhood, and Greg. It’s now that I am 48, it’s easier to look back and see just how 18 November 1995 shaped me over the years.
I’d like to share a snippet of that writing with you now…
Saturday, 18 November 1995
I hate baby showers and usually try to avoid them. I’m only here out of sheer guilt. I smile, I laugh, I play a few stupid games thinking about my impending exit. As I sit on the couch, I hear my own voice say to me, ‘You’re OK without Greg’. A thought that just randomly enters my head and scares me. Why would I think that I wonder. I look at the clock with a sickening feeling, 8.30 pm. I decide an hour and a half is long enough. I say my goodbyes and make my way to my car.
I’m a nervous driver, but I haven’t always been. Last year, I was in two car accidents, neither of which were my fault. Both drivers were intoxicated.
The first drunk rear-ended me while I was stopped at a red light. I walked away from that one, but our week-old wedding gifts in the backseat were a write-off, along with the car. Six months later, a second driver hit me while I was attempting to turn at an intersection. This drunk ran a red light too. He smashed into me on the driver’s side, causing my car to spin into a telephone pole. He didn’t even attempt to stop.
People came running over to help. I recall someone saying, ‘I’ve got to pull you out. Can you see the flames?’ I did see the flames, but I couldn’t register what that meant. My response was, ‘I have a husband.’ But my brain couldn’t remember his name. I was in shock.
The next thing I remember was seeing Greg’s worried face, waking me up with kisses in the hospital. He was in shock too.
I leave the baby shower and get into the car and pull up to the corner of an empty street. I look both ways, then again and once more, before pulling out onto the road. It’s a straight shot home, an easy drive, with Greg sitting next to me in the passenger seat.
‘There you are obeying all the speed limits,’ says Greg.
‘Of course, I don’t want to get into another accident,’ I reply out loud as if he were there.
I don’t think much of it. Maybe it’s a way to deal with the fear of driving on my own, imagining him there, keeping me company.
When I pull up to our townhouse and get out, Riley is meowing at me.
‘What are you doing outside?’
He starts to purr, weaving in and out of my legs, making it hard for me to walk. I scoop him up and cuddle him as I walk up the steps to the porch. I twist the knob, but it’s locked. Lights are on inside so I ring the doorbell five times fast and knock. ‘Greg, open the door.’ I let Riley jump down feeling annoyed about having to get my keys out of my bag. I unlock the door, drop my keys back into my handbag and call out to Riley to follow me. I turn the knob and step in, but the deadbolt is locked. Now I have to search for my keys at the bottom of my bag again, and I’m irritated. I unlock the deadbolt and open the door and walk into a wall of silence. Greg was just lying there on the floor between the coffee table and TV stand.
‘Greg, why are you on the floor? Didn’t you hear me knocking?’
‘Greg, are you sleeping? What’s wrong?’
I run for the phone. It takes me three tries to dial the number.
‘9-1-1, what is your emergency?’
‘I need an ambulance quick …something’s wrong with my husband. I just came home to find him lying on the floor. He’s not moving. Please hurry!’
‘Can you please describe him?’
I run over to him and kneel. ‘He’s on his back, legs stretched out, arms near his sides. His head is turned to his right, away from me, eyes closed.’
I hear her quick typing as I rub his hand.
The 911-operator keeps talking. I’m annoyed at her questions and spit out the answers as best as I can.
‘Are they coming?’ I yell.
‘Yes, I’m dispatching an ambulance now.’
I confirm the address.
‘Don’t hang up,’ she says. ‘I need to stay on the line with you until they arrive.’
‘Hang on, Greg. Help is on the way.’ I take his hand in mine. It’s cold, but his hands are always cold. I hold it to my chest, trying to warm it up and kiss it.
She reassures me they are on their way and asks if I want to try CPR. YES!
I know CPR, but I can’t think. She tells me what to do. I straighten his head and tilt it back. I lean over him then see a pool of blood. ‘There’s blood,’ I scream.
Then I notice something on the floor between his right leg and his right arm.
‘Kaylynn, I need you to check the doors and windows.’ She’s now worried about my safety. I put the phone down and run around checking, but everything is locked. The clunk of the deadbolt still echoes in my head.
‘No one else is here.’ I tell her
‘Kaylynn. They are close.’
I go back to Greg and try to wake him with my kisses. ‘I love you, Greg.’ I lay my head on his chest, craving comfort and reassurance from him.
It’s just him, me and the 911-operator.
Clarity comes, I sit up taking a big gasp in, staring at my tears on his T-shirt.
What if this is it?
A calmness comes over me.
Preparing myself for the worst, I talk to her.
‘I’m going to describe him, and you tell me what you think.’
‘He’s cold. His face is white, and he’s not moving.’
‘It doesn’t sound good.’ Then she says. ‘Kaylynn, they’re on your street.’
I open the front door to lights and sirens: three police cars and two ambulances. I scream, jump and wave. An officer takes the phone out of my hand as four big paramedics step onto my porch.
‘Get in there and fix him! Get in there and fix him!’ I’m screaming and crying standing outside the front door.
They come straight back out. I push the first guy back in. ‘You didn’t fix him.’ He falls into the others behind him.
‘I’m sorry, he’s gone.’
Everything goes black.
Thanks for reading…Here is a post about how Greg and I first met in high school. Let me know if you’d like to read more. xoxo Kaylynn
I’ve been a chameleon all my life changing my spots according to the environment I find myself in. I know when I need to be the funny one, the happy one, the supportive one, the one that takes the lead and the one that lets others lead. I have changed my stripes so many times that sometimes I even don’t know who the real Kaylynn is.
I have listened to the world tell me who I should be, I have listened to others and their opinions of me but when I sit with myself I can feel what direction my heart lies.
What do I want?
-I want to be in the presence of beautiful things.
-I want to be touched enough to bring me to tears.
-I want my heart to race so much that I need to gasp for air.
-I want to be a part of making this world a better place.
-I want to be involved with my community and volunteer my time and efforts for things that make a difference.
-I want to love my Heavenly Father without judgment.
-I want to laugh.
-And most of all, I need to feel.
-I need to live in a world where truths are shared, where hearts are touched and deep changes are made to the soul.
I am done altering who I am for the sake of making others feel more comfortable.
The insanity stops now.
don’t mean that to be harsh or seem that I am set in my ways without
compromise. It just means that I finally know the person I was meant to be.
It’s only taken almost 48 years to find her.
I laugh, I love and I live an honest life doing what makes me happy, saying what I know, sharing my truths. If I get hurt, I will act hurt instead of pushing it down and moving on. I will sit with the hurt and find a way for it to be fixed…if I can. If I hurt another, I will make amends. I will be the friend that has the courage to say what’s real. I hope I can say it with a whole lot of love and a big handful of friendship. I only want to surround myself with authenticity.
Why do we walk around thinking things about others and then avoiding them instead of sharing our insights to help that person become a better friend? Or worse engaging in conversations with others about those negative thoughts? Avoid gossip, it’s not good. Why not tell them how you feel? PERSON UP!
I am done sacrificing my muchness. I want my light to shine. My light is only ignited by how I feel on the inside. My outside is the megaphone for what’s happing inside. I want to live a life free of chains. Free of ‘have to’s’ and only full of ‘want to’s’. I am shedding the guilt and shame that have ruled my life. Most of it has not even been my guilt or shame, things others have placed on me. I am cutting out the cancers of my life. Toxins that have never brought me happiness. Why hold onto those things? Because of guilt? Pride?
GET RID OF IT. ALL OF IT.
Lighten your load.
PUT IT DOWN.
Learn to forgive.
Forgiveness is never for the
other person. It’s for you, a tool from God to help us move past the anger,
hurt or resentment that is holding you back.
STOP HOLDING YOURSELF BACK!
The only one who knows what you’re holding onto is you and if you don’t know what it is, then may I suggest you do some soul searching of your own.
This is a true story, she really is leaving. Today is the day when we drive almost five hours away, spend one last night together as a complete family in an Airbnb, then drop her off and (here’s the worst part) drive away.
How will I drive away? Well W will be driving because I’ve never been good at driving with blurry eyes.
As I type this impromptu blog post, my heart is crumbling.
My mothering-heart has two beats, her and him. My little man’s heart is breaking too. Tears last night about wanting to hang out with her and her friends…her last hang out, her last ‘playdate’ I explained to him. “But she never plays Mario Kart with me, mom’.
W is being strong but I know he’ll have his moments, not so public possibly.
Alpine Leadership School is the reason, an amazing opportunity. I am so proud of her. I am so proud of the adult she growing into. She’s funny, she’s clever and smart. She is so much smarter than I ever was at her age. That she gets from her daddy.
We get to pick her up on my birthday and bring her home…best present ever! But that’s nine weeks from now, but who’s counting?
She’s walking around our cold morning house in a blanket, singing, as she downloads the last few final songs she can’t live without. She’s happy. I’m happy. Music is the air in her lungs too.
She can’t take her phone. This is a great thing because when you live in your 14-year-old bubble, your phone becomes the only thing you see. Tunnel vision. Her heart is bigger than her phone, a meme, a gif. But sometimes she can’t see beyond her anime obsession.
Because she also loves her books, I don’t beat myself up as her parent. She has almost a whole suitcase packed of books. I lost count while helping her pack–this she gets from her mama.
We will be pen pals. She will learn to put pen to paper. 4 pm is when the post is delivered at the school. 4 pm will be a happy time for her as I will write her often, for me.
So if you see me around without my usual smile, give me a hug, I’ll need it.
Ever since I can remember, I have been madly in love with music. The melody, the emotion it can provoke and the lyrics…the words. Music has taught me how to love, how to feel, how to get back up and how to heal. Music has helped me find who I am.
Through the years, my taste in music has changed and we have more variety than we ever had before. More access to music without having to buy the album.
In The Beginning…
Music first came to me in my baby crib, a wind-up mobile overhead. I remember when I was a little older, the countless times I took a musical toy to my mother and ask her to ‘make it go’.
Then when I was old enough to wind-up the toys myself. I had one particular toy that I couldn’t get enough of. It was a box, a music box of ‘Jack and Jill’. You would wind the plastic knob until you couldn’t. Then the nursery rhyme would play out in visual drawings that scrolled along with the song until it lost its energy and another twist of the knob was required. I spent hours, hours listening, watching and singing ‘Jack and Jill’.
As the years pushed on, I got a tape recorder when I turned twelve (BEST PRESENT EVER!) I would spend hours (and I mean hours) listening to my clock radio. When a song would end I would race over to my tape recorder ready to push the play and record button simultaneously if the DJ was about to play a song worthy of my blank cassette tape. If the two buttons had been pushed, I would go around the house with a finger in front of my lips telling everyone in the house to be quiet because I was recording. I was very important and my tape was going to save the world one day.
Usually, after I had told them I was recording, they all came into my bedroom to hear what song made the cut with overly mouthed words ‘ARE YOU RECORDING?’ Pointing with big eyeballs as I still had my finger to my lips, shaking my head yes and eyes of death if they ruined my recording. If someone spoke accidentally, and they usually did. I would hit the stop show my exasperation and rewind the tape to find the spot where the last song had finished.
You always had to allow a few seconds of recorded emptiness between the songs. I learned after a while that I could hit play, record and pause at the same time, then when a song came on, I just had to release the pause button. A much better way to record without the clunk of the buttons being recorded on the tape.
Mixed Tapes People!
I got a little older and the cool ingenious invention of the ‘mixed tape’ was born. This was the grandfather of playlists. If you were lucky enough to receive a mixed tape (BEST PRESENT EVER!) then whoever gave it to you thought you were really something special. Like, I mean you were one of their number ones. Like, at the top of their friendship or crush list. I received a few mixed tapes in my time and I have given them too.
You would put your entire heart and soul into making one of these for someone. It could take you weeks, months especially if the song you were waiting for needed to first be played on the radio. But technology matured and the stereo with a double cassette player was invented. Dun Dun Daaa! This changed everything! You could record from a record to a tape, tape to tape and my favorite…radio to tape without being quiet.
Then hail the Compact Disc. The CD sort of chased away the mixed tapes for the technology junkies, you know the ones that were always jumping on the bandwagon for the next best thing. I liked CDs but mixed tapes still held a big place in my heart. I would walk around with my off-brand Walkman listening to my mixed tapes until I wore them out. Yes, they could break…sad but true.
Then the discovery of the Discman appeared…
Now you can listen to your favorite CD while walking around. It was bigger and chunkier than the Walkman but who cares! I got myself a Discman from a garage sale. By the time I got mine, people were starting to get sick of them. You couldn’t really run or exercise with a Discman because the laser could skip and scratch your disc. I think maybe some went back to the mixed tape, and then there were others who never left.
Hail The Digital Age…
Now years, many many years, have passed and the Y2K bug is a thing of the past. In October 2001 a company called Apple (the computer company) came out with a thing called the iPod! Say what? It was smaller and could fit almost your entire CD collection! My husband gave me my first iPod, a pink one, a second model they called the iPod Mini (BEST PRESENT EVER!). I was excited but had no idea what to do with it but I learned quickly how to download my CD collection onto this teeny little device. After that, I never went anywhere without my iPod and my book.
Then cell phones got more sophisticated and today at the touch or our fingers we can click onto a memory. Memories of the people we once were, memories of the people that once touched our lives, memories of the people who helped us become who we are, memories of the moments that made us who we are today.
A BIG thank you to my mom and dad who were lovers of music and always had it playing around the house. Love you both to the moon and back.
Here is a soundtrack of my life…
Put your headphones in your ears and settle back and enjoy this ‘Mixed Playlist’ for you. My favorites over the years, 50 of them actually, I had too much fun putting this gift together for you. Just click on the links. You’re welcome.
Oh! But wait, before you go, will you share a song or two with me in the comments below? What song makes you weak in the knees or has stayed with you over the years? I love new music…Thank you!
If you live in Victoria and you don’t know about the Yackandandah Folk Festival, you really are missing out. This place is magical in the ordinary sense. All its residents really care about the environment and show it in their actions. We can all learn from Yack…
In 2018, Yackandandah only had ONE rubbish bin that went to land fill! ONE rubbish bin for the whole year from a whole town. That is truly incredible!
And here’s what they do with the money the town makes from the festival…
In case you are not aware, Yackandandah is now the greenest festival in the country with a share of all ticket sales going to TRY. TRY is Totally Renewable Yackandandah and with the funds from the festival – and other sources, TRY has purchased solar panels for community facilities. With the funding provided Yackandandah now generates more than 5 times the power used during the festival.
They will be the first Victorian town to totally go off the grid. The term “off the grid” refers to living autonomously without reliance on a utility for power. Off-grid living is often ideal for rural locations where there is a lack of reliable grid access. Off-grid homes will require alternative power options like solar energy.
Yackandandah the music
SO you know now how amazing this sweet little town is but let me tell you about the Music Festival they created and have been hosting for past 22 years. My family and I have been lucky enough to attend the last three.
The Yackandandah Folk Festival sells out every year with two camping options in town. Quiet camping and loud camping, each set on a footy oval. Quiet camping is exactly that, where families usually camp and loud camping is where the artists are usually found strumming, singing and drinking into the sunrise.
Each year the festival is set up little different. There are anywhere between 9 – 11 different stages set up around town. Outdoor and indoor stages. Big stages, small stages. Some totally free and some you need to have the Music festival wristband for entry.
You buy a little program book or download the free app to see who’s playing where and who are they. I like a bit of a strategy going into it as it’s impossible to catch every act. So you’ve got to find your taste then soak up their talent.
I always fall in love with some incredible acts. Usually, their music sings right to my heart or makes my body want to dance. Last year it was Ukulele Death Squad. The year before that it was Les Poules A Colin a French-Canadian band that came over for the festival.
One of the best things is having access to these talented artists on the way to bigger pastures. After each set you can find them selling CD’s for $10-$20 and they will be more than happy to have a chat and sign your CD.
This year I even got several hugs and you know that makes me happy. I was in my element listening to beautiful heart-telling prose accompanied by acoustic rhythms. There were great places to get beautiful food but I just wanted something quick to appease my stomach as I ran to the next stage.
There were so many acts that turned my head. Lovely people with amazing music. I don’t buy CD’s from everyone. I have a budget I need to stick too (sort of) and my son obsess over how many CD’s I usually purchase. This year I kept the number from him but I’m happy to share it with you.
First my heart skipped a beat when I listened to the beautiful Maja, a Melbourne girl originally from Brisbane. She is young and extremely in tune with all the life lessons that have come her way. She learned things that took me 40 years to understand. Her songs opened the doors to her personal life with a welcome mat to brush your feet on before you came in and sat down in her world. Look her up. Incidentally, she is playing in Fitzroy on 16 April at The Night Cat. Please check her out on www.majaofficialmusic.com.
Melissa Crabtree with Dayan Kai
On Saturday afternoon, in the intimate Clarence Room, I had the pleasure of hearing the poetic prose of Melissa and Dayan. They have been playing off and on together for over 17 years. Both American and extremely talented. They are born performers and in an instant let you into their personal world with details of each song. They took turns singing their own songs while the other accompany with sweet harmony and Dayan plays a rainbow of instruments.
From the first strum of the guitar strings and their harmonized voices together I was captivated so much that when Melissa said: “the next song is about a river in Utah.” I put up my hand and said, “I’m from Utah.” I met them afterward to buy a CD and offered up my house for a gig in Melbourne which took place on Monday night. I was humbled to have them play in my living room for family and friends.
Dayan (and partner Maya) have gone back to Hawaii, however, Melissa is still here in Australia touring around for another month. If you are in Byron Bay next weekend, check her out…
On a little personal note, Melissa has had some serious unforeseen financial tour complications and is kind of stranded in Australia at the moment. If you have been touched by this post and/or her music feel free to make a donation to a traveling musician. The easiest way to make a donation is to go to Melissa’s “about” bio page on her website https://www.melissacrabtree.com/bio and scroll down past the bio and quotes and you will see a tab that says “donations”. If you click on that tab you can donate directly here. on her PayPal account at email@example.com
Also here are some links to their incredible work together… (here).
Today my lovely husband (the over returner) asked if I could return some undies he bought a little while ago at Costco.
“Sure. Where are they?”
He then hands me a plastic shopping bag with three pairs of used Calvin Klein undies. Clean but used. He’d only had them a few months when holes started appearing in the undercarriage area. I hesitate for a moment then grab the bag from him unsure of how I felt about it. I talked myself into it, he’s bought tampons for me over the years, he even rode my girl bike with flowers on the basket into the city to get it serviced. Now that’s love. Yes, I can do this.
I’m in line at the register. A guy with David on his name tag smiles. I walk up to him with my plastic bag of used husband undies. “Hi, I’ve got an embarrassing and bizarre return but I’m sure you have seen lots of weird returns over the years.” “OK,” says David hesitantly. “I’ve got a bag of undies my husband has asked me to return, but I promise they are clean.” David almost takes a step back from the register unsure if I’m joking around with him. “I’m completely serious. My husband bought these not long ago and holes have started appearing.” I open the bag to show him. He takes a peek but keeps his distance. No man wants to look at another strange man’s used undies. His uncomfortableness fills the gap over the counter between us.
David starts looking on his computer-register for the purchased undies. He can’t find them. That’s when I learned that even though my husband and I share the same Costco membership, we have different card numbers and the purchased undies where on his card. So David starts to scan my husbands card purchases.
“Are they XL?” David asks. I handle the undies looking for the tag that will reveal the size. Nothing. David is pointing and telling me where to look. Nothing. Finally I say, “How about we say they are XL.” “Done”, says David. And finally I can close the bag and we can forget the undies ever happened.
I make small talk as David does the paperwork for the return. “So what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever had returned?” I ask. “The return I just did.” We both laugh and I say I should have made my husband return them.
“Where is your husband?” at my son’s basketball training I tell him and I explain how I take my daughter to her ice skating lessons each Wednesday. “I would have made him take your daughter ice skating so he could do the return.” Then I tell him how my husband does lots of lovely things for me. Like purchase tampons. David said, “Buying tampons is nothing.” as he has me sign the receipt to complete the transaction after I tapped my card which made it heavier by $23.50. I thanked David and walked away from him with the image of my husband riding down Footscray rd passing other bikes on my baby blue vintage bike with flowers haloed on its basket. I smile. He loves me. I wish David the same sort of happiness in his relationship one day.
It’s come out recently in the news, that we had a man expose himself to some ladies walking around the Newport Lakes. This is where I walk every morning, by myself. With music in my ears, but never in the dark for safety reasons. But it seems it’s not early in the morning when you need to worry. This flasher works his magic after lunch time. Here is the news article from a few days ago. Since this was written he has been caught and locked up and Newport Lakes is currently rid of this flashing pervert.
What is so special about the Newport Lakes?
Newport Lakes is the best-kept secret in Newport and Williamstown and quite possibly in all of the inner west. It is my peace, my sanctuary and it’s only a 20-second walk from my front door. It is the reason we bought our home.
Twitchers come from all over the state to get a look at the rare birds that find their way to this peaceful special place. Walkers and runners pound the trails in the fresh air. Families enjoy balancing on the big boulders, that separate the two lakes, watching the wildlife enjoy their sanctuary. Newport Lakes is a very special place. It’s my families backyard. We’ve played too many games of hide-and-seek to count. A place that my two children are growing up in and one day will share with thier own children.
Newport Lakes Park is a bushland oasis created from a former bluestone quarry. The park is 33 hectares in size and has been extensively revegetated using native plants, with over 200 species of plants and 85 species of birds recorded here. The park has a picnic area, toilets, drinking taps and free electric barbecues. Dogs may be exercised in the Pavey’s Park and Picnic Area, the north west area of the park and in the Arboretum.
What is so different now?
Last month, I walked around completely clueless that there was even a threat inside my sanctuary. I pass the same people each day. We would share a smile and a ‘Good Morning’ simultaneously. Mostly older men breathing heavy out for a jog or a brisk walk. But sometimes you don’t see anyone because of the all the trails and pathways.
Now that the Newport Flasher has been on the 5 o’clock news, the community is talking about it. When I went for my walk on Saturday morning, there was something different in the air. The lakes were the same, the animals still scurrying in the bushes, the happy birds overhead singing their songs, the ducks doing their water skiing landings and me watching out for the two foxes that live in the area. The difference was those men, the same men I always passed, they seemed nervous as they passed me. No simultaneous ‘Good Mornings’ today. I said it first and they would give me the nod. These men who love the lakes as much as me, are now cautious over the recent flasher news I’m guessing.
They are not worried about being flashed, they are worried about being accused of being the flasher.
Since the whole #metoo movement, some good men are left unsure of how to talk or act around women and that’s all because of those other men who think they can have whatever they want.
A Story my good friend told me…
She asks me, “Did I tell you about the time I was cat-called last week?” She was walking home from the train station when a group of boys in a car yelled out to her, “Show us your vagina!” Now she could have been upset or disgusted like the rest of us, however, I love how her brain works. She is one of a kind and they broke the mold after they made her and that’s why I love her so much. Anyway, they call out “Show us your vagina!” She wants to yell out back “Are you sure? I’ve had three babies. Do you still want to see it?” Those silly boys had made her night and before she could yell out “THANK YOU”, they were gone. And she walked the rest of the way home with a sping in her step.
So what kind of a world is it now?
So we have a flasher in the Newport Lakes (x a million in the world), a car full of boys being boys (x 100 million in the world). We have 7.7 billion people in the world, every second person (a woman) is trying to figure out their place in the world. Now I don’t need to be cat-called by a carload of boys, or flashed by some pervert to make myself feel better about getting older. However, I don’t want those good men and boys out there to feel uncomfortable about paying a woman a simple compliment either. Nothing is wrong with giving up your seat to a woman on the train. Or opening a door. Men are unsure where they stand in this modern age of women finding thier voices and making them be heard loud and clear.
Another friend put it beautifully in some of his writing I just read this weekend. He was writing about an old boxing coach he had and what he learned from him. This line sums up so much about how things are today… “I learned about what it means to be a man in a world where masculinity is poisoning such concepts”
So what do you think? Tell me? Am I way off base? This is just my opinion and I would love to hear yours. This is also coming right off of my post about International Women’s Day.
And a big THANK YOU to the Friends of Newport Lakes and all you do to keep our land beautiful and all you’ve done to make it what it is today.
This is the talk I gave in church last Sunday. I just wanted to share it with you.
Morning Brothers and Sisters. I’m so excited to stand before you today. For
those who don’t know me, my name is Kaylynn and I’ve been a part of the
Footscray ward now for seven years. I’m married to a non-member and I have two
beautiful children who have decided they wanted to stay home with dad…for now.
I’ve been asked to talk about the Relief Society Moto and what it means to me
in my life.
The motto of the Relief Society, taken from 1 Corinthians 13:8, is “Charity
women to increase their faith and personal righteousness.
strengthen their families and homes.
See out and
provide relief for individuals and families in need.
stated “the object of the Society—that the Society of Sisters might
provoke the brethren to good works in looking to the wants of the
poor—searching after objects of charity, and in administering to their wants—to
assist; by correcting the morals and strengthening the virtues of the female
community, and save the Elders the trouble of rebuking; that they may give
their time to other duties, ect. in their public teaching.”
was proposed that the organization go by the name “Benevolent
Society” and with no opposition the vote carried. However, Emma Smith made
a point of objection. She convinced the attendees that the term
“relief” would better reflect the purpose of the organization, for
they were “going to do something extraordinary,” distinct
from the popular benevolent institutions of the day. After discussion, it
was unanimously agreed that the fledgling organization be named “The
Female Relief Society of Nauvoo”. Joseph Smith then offered five dollars
(worth $150 today) in gold to commence the funds of the Society. After the men
left the room, Eliza R. Snow was unanimously elected as secretary of the
Society with Phebe M. Wheeler as Assistant Secretary and Elvira A. Coles as
Treasurer. Emma Smith remarked that “each member should be ambitious to do
good” and seek out and relieve the distressed. Several female members
then made donations to the Society. The men returned, and Taylor and Richards
also made donations. After singing “Come Let Us Rejoice,” the meeting
was adjourned to meet on the following Thursday at 10 o’clock. Taylor then gave
a closing prayer. Of his experience Joseph Smith recorded: “I attended by
request, the Female Relief Society, whose object is the relief of the poor, the
destitute, the widow and the orphan, and for the exercise of all benevolent
purposes. … [W]e feel convinced that with their concentrated efforts, the
condition of the suffering poor, of the stranger and the fatherless will be
new organization was popular and grew so rapidly that finding a meeting place
for such a large group proved difficult. Under Emma Smith’s direction, the
Society was “divided for the purpose of meeting” according to each of
the city’s four municipal wards. Smith and her counsellors
continued to preside over the groups. Visiting committees were appointed to
determine needs in each ward. Young mother Sarah Pea Rich, wife of Charles C. Rich, recalled, “We
then, as a people were united and were more like family than like
strangers.” By March 1844,
membership totalled 1331 women.
This subject could not have had any better timing coming off of International Women’s Day last Friday. As my kids and I were getting ready for school on Friday, I hugged my 14-year-old daughter tight and wished her a happy IWD and told her I was very proud of her and how she was growing up to be a brave, strong, amazing woman. Then my son asked if there was an International Men’s Day? I cheekily said, ‘every day’. But then I explained to him how important this day was for women because of the history women have been through; how a long time ago (before Anne of Green Gables) that girls were not even allowed go to school because they were destined to just clean, cook and look after their families. How once upon a time women didn’t have the right to vote and how now the fight today is for equal pay. But it’s not just about that. IWD is all about recognizing the women in your life and how they contribute to molding who you’re growing up to be. So I told him to wish his teacher a happy IWD and we practiced him saying the mouthful. My son is in the back seat repeating the words and I congratulate him on getting it right. Then he said ‘No mom, I’m saying that to you.’…he’s catching on.
It’s so important to raise strong girls who will grow into strong women who are not afraid to use their voice. But it’s just as important to raise a little man who honors and respects women, especially when it’s hard for women to find that strength on her own. She might need a respectful man to help her find that strength.
Women are so important. More important then a clean house, a meal made, or makiing sure little teeth are brushed. Heavenly Father knew exactly what he was doing when he made us. We are daughters, sister, mothers, aunts, cousins, and wives but we are also complicated, moody, strong, soft and have superpowers.
The Relief Society was formed in 1842, 51 years before New Zealand became the first self-governing nation to grant women the right to vote, followed closely by Australia in 1902. The United States, Canada, England and many other countries did not follow suit until shortly after World War I in the 1920s. In Saudi Arabia, women were only allowed to vote in December 2015, less than 4 years ago.
On August 26, 1920 American women won full voting rights but the ground work started in 1840 and I know the women mentioned above had a big hand in bringing that to fruition. I stand before you extrememly thankful for those strong brave women.
We are part of a very progressive and oldest women’s organisations in the world where all women are welcome.
Being a part of the Relief Society has had a big hand in molding who I am today. I have sisters I can go to for help as well as give assistance when I think they need help and mostly it’s giving a hug (of course), a listening ear, or going for a walk but we are here for each other. Women are here for each other in ways that men can’t be. Some of us are all doing the same job or have done the same job; raising little people to be big people, holding a corporate job, trying to sort out the bumps relationship or trying to put yourself out there to catch a relationship.
Society is a safe space to share some of your deepest feelings, experiences and
spiritual desires. It’s comfortable like stepping into a warm bath or hugging
remember going to Relief Society the first time after I was 18. It felt weird,
award and full of old ladies. And it still is, I’m just now one of those
comfortable old ladies.
Being a part of this church has changed my life for good and being a part of the Relief Society has helped me change other’s lives for good.
I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.