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BY Amanda

01/01 Direct Link
First day of the new year. Welcome 2011! Like most of the people I know I have some goals to achieve before you have ended your reign and we usher in 2012. This year, I've made concrete plans to ensure that they occur. That's progress! I've spent the day with a friend who is struggling with a recent marriage break up. Hardly surprising as they were together for 37 years. As we talk I'm reminded of myself, wanting experience without pain, wisdom without experience and peace without a price. I smile, encourage and reiterate that is not how it works.
01/02 Direct Link
Sometimes I really wish I could include pictures in my posts. I'm looking at an idyllic view from the top of the hill. The water in the bay is a clear, crystal blue. The children are splashing happily in the water, while mother's lie on the beach, decptively appearing to view the scene with sleepy disinterest, but in reality ever watchful for any signs of danger or distress. Families walk past in bathers and thongs, carrying their towels as they head for another perfect spot. The sun warms my back and tans my face. It's just a perfect day!
01/03 Direct Link
I awoke to the sounds of the birds welcoming the day. We're on holiday and its our last day. Everything appears more poignant and pronounced this morning. The day has honoured us with beautiful, clear skies, a gentle breeze and welcoming sunshine that is warming without the all too familiar bite that comes with Australian summers. It has been a mild summer so far and the leaves and grass are still green, which adds to the charm and beauty of the day. The light dances off the ocean and I feel happy and hopeful and enchanted.
01/04 Direct Link
Today was a day to address fears; to formulate realistic plans and to then move forward. It's been challenging but I feel better for the process. So often I tend to be anxious about things these days that I would have glossed over in previous years. The drama always seems to settle and it appears that the only thing that is still turbulent is my emotions. I need to focus more and trust more. I need to stick to my plans and not be distracted. I've planned for the worst case scenario, now it's time to return to valued activities.
01/05 Direct Link
Is there life outside a text book? I catch a glimmer of it every time I look up. It invites me to follow, enticing me with smiling faces, laughter and easier days. It beckons me with promises of a clean, tidy house, time with family and friends, a social life and a life of order. I staunchly remind myself that I will visit it in due time, but for now there are other goals to achieve, other paths to take. I take a breath and return to my book. I'm content in the reaffirmation that this is right.
01/06 Direct Link
It's crunch time and I'm feeling despondent and stupid. I hadn't thought that the emotions would be so poignant, but they are. Did I expect it to be easy? Was I so incredibly naive? Did I actually have the gall to think I could do this? What was I thinking? I stepped outside my comfort zone and have gone too far. This isn't uncomfortable, its devestating. But only if I let it be. That is my choice. I still have the remote control for my emtions. It is a choice, even if sometimes that choice feels like an automatic response.
01/07 Direct Link
Enjoy your victory because it will be the last one you will have. I will not let you do this to me again! I'm sick of living our lives around your drama's and the line in the sand is now drawn. Cross it again at your peril. I am retreating long enough to regroup and be stronger. This isn't defeat, it's a tactical response, albeit a painful one. I am now wiser, and will be stronger, so you would be smart to beware. Every dog has his day and you're on notice - the next couple of years are my day!
01/08 Direct Link
Today we walked by a beautiful set of ponds. Stopping, bread in hand, we were surrounded by birdlife; ducks, ibis, pigeons and a few others that mesmerized me with their diversity but I haven't a clue as to what they were. We visited companionably as we fed them bread and they vied goodnaturedly for the best spot to get that extra piece. Once our offering was devoured they returned to the water, but as we walked downstream they followed us waddling from one pool to the next and then swimming quickly to catch up and continue our visit. 
01/09 Direct Link
The 2 wards that meet in our building alternate annually between 9am and 1pm meetings. There is considerable discussion in January about who prefers morning church and who prefers afternoons. As someone who has a staunch preference for afternoon church this is my "off" year as I come to terms with no more Sunday morning sleep ins for another 12 months. I do however, now get to have an afternoon nap and that is quite nice. It's a small price to pay for the knowledge and comfort that I have and the blessing of worship.
01/10 Direct Link
Today was my first day back at work since before Christmas and I found myself wishing I was at the start of my holiday rather than at the end of it. The spring cleaning I had naively hoped to accomplish predictably didn't happen, however, I did manage a short break away which was lovely. I always seem to manage to find more tasks than time! Luckily today wasn't frantic, and after I'd replied to the 200+ emails in my in-box it wasn't so bad after all. It's a shame I have to do it all again tomorrow.
01/11 Direct Link
I need to learn to worry less. I'm not sure how one does that, but I need to find out. Usually the things I worry about either don't happen or aren't as bad as I thought they might be. Even if they are, worrying about them doesn't help. So, how does one not worry without not caring? Ellis would suggest that there are healthy positive and negative emotions and while concern is healthy worry is not. He would suggest that in order to have healthy emotions one needs to eliminate demands, shoulds and musts. I wonder if he perfected it?
01/12 Direct Link
There are times when people hide behind the truth in order to just hurt another. Today it was with some sadness (and anger) that I stood helplessly by and watched someone do just that. While I was initially incesed by the attack, in hindsight, the really sad thing is not what it does to the recipient, but what it does to the perpetrator. Each unkind act that we commit changes us. It makes us less sensitive, less empathic, less concerned with our fellow men and less responsible. While my friend will recover, her assailant may naively continue the downward spiral.
01/13 Direct Link
I wonder if I will ever make as much sense as he does? I know psychology is much more than counselling, but when we speak I feel as if I am in the presence of a master and I'll forever be playing catch up. In a way that's really good, because it means that I will always have him as a resource to learn from, in another way, it makes me feel quite inadequate. However, at the very least it inspires me to try to do better, to know more, to be more balanced and gives me a wonderful example.
01/14 Direct Link
I really enjoyed just being domesticated tonight. I had planned to go to the movies, but, decided I didn't have the energy to go out again. There were lots of little tasks that I haven't managed to get around to lately and tonight I managed to finish at least half of the "outstanding"  list. Then, thanks to the wonderful world of technology, I watched a movie on my lap top. That's a new experience for me, I guess I'm not as technologically advanced as most of the people I associate with. Nevertheless, it has been a really nice night.
01/15 Direct Link

I went to the art gallery today. I haven't been there in years, and I've been promising myself that I would go for some months, but it is one of those things that I just haven't seemed to be able to fit in. When I had the time it wasn't open and when it was open, it didn't fit into my schedule. I don't pretend to appreciate the more modern specimens, they seem to lack depth, skill and effort in a lot of cases for me, but the classics transport me to a world of wonderment. They were truly magnificent. 

01/16 Direct Link
It's been a wonderful day! I love Sunday's. It's a time to reflect, to reassess and rejuvenate. A time to reaffirm my faith and to spend time with family and friends. Today, everything just seemed to work well. The scriptures I read seemed to take on a new meaning, I spent time in prayer and reflection that left me feeling renewed and invigorated, more centred and calm and the evening was spent with a close friend and a wonderful son. We watched a fabulous movie called Legacy, which is so inspiring and reminded me just how lucky I am.
01/17 Direct Link
Monday again, and just two more weeks left in my job before I return to the Emergency Department. I'm starting to organize things, pack up, and prepare for the move. In my mind there are some things that I've already left, things that I now am not concerning myself with at all, content to leave it for my replacement. Other things are taking on a more urgent note as I ensure that they are addressed before I leave. I can't think about my life back in Emergency yet, I'm not ready for that. It still feels like a step back.
01/18 Direct Link
It has been a perfectly wonderful day. Stunning blue skies were complimented by a warming sun, with just enough breeze to make sure the temperature was perfect. As I drove to work this morning I felt enticed to just keep driving and I felt the normal rebellion at the thought of being cooped up in an office. I even heard the birds singing. It would have been so easy to find a grassy spot and hibernate. However, I accomplished all my tasks at work and came home to a relaxing night, good food and wonderful company. Bliss!!!
01/19 Direct Link
There are days when the world is not a very nice place. Today is one of those days and I am left feeling sad and disillusioned. I'm usually a very upbeat person who tries to see the good in all things. That doesn't mean that you don't acknowledge the challenge or the bad, of course you do, because otherwise you live in a fairy tale world that isn't real. But, once the acknowledgement has occurred its important to focus on the positive. But, today, there has been so much bad that it's hard to find any good in it all!
01/20 Direct Link
Thankfully, moments pass and situations change. Today, my natural optimism has won through again and I am feeling better. I am certainly not looking through rose coloured glasses; the world has not suddenly become "nice" overnight, but I can put things into perspective. The world does not revolve around my challenges. The sun will still rise and set tomorrow, the flowers will still bloom, the sky will still be a beautiful blue. All these things are sent to give me comfort, encourage me appreciate beauty and most importantly, inspire me to look up and and view things outside myself.
01/21 Direct Link
 One week to go before I go back into my old role in the Emergency Department. I'm not entirely sure how I feel. There is a big part of me that is really sad, part of me is confused and some of me is happy to return to old friends. The politics that are occurring at the moment are not pleasant. I'm not very good at politics. I don't really have the time or the energy for them and I don't cope with confidentiality for it's own sake. I guess under those circumstances I'm probably better back in ED.
01/22 Direct Link
Today was an extremely amusing and interesting day. I encountered a long time friend's new girlfriend. Her behaviour was territorial to say the least. I figure there were 3 ways I could look at this, with amusement, compassion or anger. Mostly I've chosen amusement, although if I were more noble compassion would have won. At least it wasn't anger. I wish I could have found a way to reassure her that I'm not a threat, but I doubt she would have listened. She is extremely insecure and for that I do feel genuine compassion. But, it was kind of funny.
01/23 Direct Link
I have a friend who is going through a pretty tough time. Her husband has recently had a stroke and she is still reeling and trying to find her feet. He's an awesome man, usually so full of life with a sharp wit and intellect. While he will fight with everything he has to recover, we all know that some of the damage will be residual. That is pretty sad. My friend is an amazing, inspiring person. She is a true matriarch who quietly, and unpretentiously draws her family together, inspires excellence and encourages positive changes.
01/24 Direct Link
There's something wonderfully novel and liberating about coming home from work and having the time to cook a meal and then have free time. Tonight I caught up on all the ironing and then visited with a dear friend.  I felt as if I'd had a whole weekend off. I'm beginning to wonder how I will fit study in again, and the truth is that I won't if I continue with my current lifestyle. Soon, it will be time to be more disciplined, restrict leisure time drastically and focus on study, but the change is lovely for now.
01/25 Direct Link
It was about 7 years ago that I recovered from a terrible bout of depression and began to explore what I should do with my life. Each day I would pray that God would tell me what He wanted me to do,and each night I would be sad when it felt like the heavens were silent. If the truth is told, I guess I wanted God to direct my life because I had no idea what I should do with it. My children had grown up and moved away, my marriage had failed and I'd lost everythign I owned.
01/26 Direct Link

There came a day when I realised I'd been treading water for months and if I didn't find some direction and meaning for my life soon then depression would once again take over. I prayed fervently for some help and direction and the response was anything but what I had expected. I realised through a very sacred experience that this life is an amazing gift, and it was my task to show God what I was willing to do with His gift, rather than wait for Him to tell me what to do.

01/27 Direct Link
That moment changed my life. I realised that I had been extremely ungrateful, in fact, I'd been pretty blaze' and complacent about the amazing gift of life. Now when people ask me why I'm so driven, I smile and tell them that life is for living. I don't try to explain the rest, most of them wouldn't understand. But each day I try to show gratitude for this day of my life. A day I will never get back. Each moment, each experience is a one-off. There will never be another moment just the same as this one.
01/28 Direct Link
I had contact with two friends today whose attitudes were almost polar opposites. The first has children who are beginning to assert their own opinions. They are not doing anything terrible, but their mother is full of despair.

The other; an elderly woman who is almost housebound. She has multiple illnesses and can barely walk to the door without difficulty. Her outlook on life is amazing. She is so grateful for everything. We listened to classical music, shared a cup of herbal tea and she listened in rapture as I described a recent outing.

What a contrast!
01/29 Direct Link
I went to a workshop today for an acapela choir and spent the whole day singing. It was awesome!!! There is something so special about music. It touches body and soul. For me, it is akin to breathing. A day without singing is a day where something is missing for me. Whenever I seem stressed or things are getting on top of me, I have a very wise friend, who simply asks "when was the last time you sang"? Usually, she is spot on and I haven't found time for a few days. But not today, today was perfect!
01/30 Direct Link
My grandmother used to tell me that the older I got, the more quickly time passed. In my youthful naivety I used to smile indulgently and secretly think that it was all a bit silly. After all, isn't 24 hours still the same amount of time no matter what age you are? However, now that I am a grandmother, I find myself challenging the logic. Is it really 31 years since I initially held my firstborn, and when did he become the man I see in front of me, now a father himself? And where the heck did January just go???
01/31 Direct Link
The last few days of January have certainly left their mark. With temperatures in the low 40's the state has been struggling to cope with the searing heat. Although I faithfully applied sunscreen I felt burned in the short drive home from work proving that sunscreen is no longer the optional extra of my childhood - the sun has changed. Even the gardens of avid gardeners are struggling with the high temperatures and everything looks "thirsty". It is hard to believe that a month ago we were bemoaning a cooler Christmas. And so January 2011 passes...