Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apple Is My Teacher


By Sharni Montgomery - please visit me sometime at Sharnanigans! 
I am convinced that on the journey of life we are thrown several character tests.
Opportunities or a run-in where our decision will either send us plummeting backwards (in which case the lesson usually rears its head again in another form) or flings us forward.
Sharnanigans was recently thrown an opportunity which I experienced as a test of my integrity.
A metaphorical ‘apple’, if you will.
I was honored to receive an email offering me an opportunity to write for a major Australian Parenting Website.
They told me that they had chosen my blog along with a handful of other “Australian Mummy Bloggers” that they considered to be a great contributors to the Australian online community. (yes my head swelled considerably)
The email went on to say that they would send me a massive hamper of deluxe products from a very well known baby product company.
I could either review the products or write about a special experience of motherhood and link my story to their site, have my site mentioned on theirs and display their ‘badge’ on mine.
There is no doubt about it, I was wrapped (and grateful) to be chosen for such an opportunity.
I throw everything I have into this website and opportunities that pop up as a result are virtual pats on the back.
After the initial excitement wore off I had a think about the offer.
I considered the moment when the Courier delivered me a big hamper of goodies.
Caught up in my self-importance I got butterflies in my stomach and may or may not have bragged about the prospect to friends.
This was my angel on one shoulder, devil on the other moment.
While I was drifting in Ego Heaven a familiar voice piped up.
It was Angel.
“Ummmmm… what are you even considering this for girlfriend? I have two words for ya :  Natural.Products ! Ring any bells???  Geeeez!
(she has a bit of ‘tude this particular angel, but I’m down with that)
Oh sheesh, that is right, I am on a quest to use all natural products for my son and have been reviewing them.
Why on Earth would I do a complete 360 and start plugging a brand that doesn’t comply with this?
Blogging without Integrity anyone?
As quickly as it arrived the fantasy of the Hamper arrival went into the dustbin.
I explained that I could not accept the gift of the hamper as I would not use these products nor write about them as they would present a conflict of interest.
I said, I would, however, be happy to write about a lovely motherhood experience and wear their badge on my website.
I lost the gig.
While this hurt my ego a bit initially, I gave myself a pat on the back because I had passed my own personal test.
I am quickly learning that opportunities come along often, some are ‘tests’ sent to challenge our resolve and personal integrity.
Whether we choose to be true to ourselves at these moments or get caught up in the temptation offered and ‘take the apple’ is one of the most common challenges we face as human beings.
I have spent a good chunk of my life feasting on the ‘apples’ that have been presented to me, without a second thought!
Looking back the ‘apples’ I consumed didn’t do much to keep the doctor away or my sanity intact but if you never accept an ‘apple’ you can never learn to knock one back.
Today I am proud of the fact that I saw this situation in a new light.
While this opportunity and hamper may have been a wonderful blessing for some, for me it was a test of my resolve.
Rejecting a hamper is No Big Deal or heroic effort but the exercise was beyond hampers, it was an excellent reminder and lesson to myself.
When all is said and done, it is the tests you set for yourself and your ability to pass them that matter.

Polishing the Dull Side...

I've been obsessing over the carpet in our home lately.

First of all, it's a light color. (not white, mind you, but a very light beige!) Second, we have 3 boys, 4 dogs and a cat. Third, the house is 11 years old.....high traffic, high maintenance for eleven years adds up.

I've cleaned it, and cleaned it.  And ....cleaned it some more.  It's really starting to show  the wear-and-tear.  While part of it doesn't look "too" bad, the few real stains that are present are way beyond ever coming out.  A professional steam cleaning isn't even going to help now...

To top it all off, the wood flooring that we have throughout the kitchen, dining and hallway areas are pretty beat up as well.  That either needs to be stripped and re-surfaced, or completely pulled up and done over.  After eleven years in our home - I keep finding so many things that are now either coming due for replacement, or major repair.  It's overwhelming, and I know there's no way we'll be able to tackle these kind of expenses any time soon.

I'm not looking for perfection here, but I do mind these things when they start to look dirty and unkempt.  I've known for a while that I'm a little obsessive-compulsive when it comes to organization and neatness, but I'm usually not too picky when it comes to the heavy cleaning.  (With three boys, I'm sure you could relate!)

Why am I writing about my dirty floors on a blog that should be offering snippets of positivity and inspiration?

Even though I have been unhappy with the way certain areas in our home are beginning to appear faded or dingy, I'm truly thankful that I even have a home to clean. I'm almost looking at those stains now as  "badges of honor."  With so many families losing their homes in this dark economic era (and some losing even more) I have nothing to complain about.  Reminders that a close and loving family fills this dwelling, those stains are starting to remind me just how fortunate and Blessed our family is to have a home to clean....

Even though their bedrooms constantly need vacuuming and dusting, my boys are lucky enough to even have their own personal space, and a bed to lie on.

Even though I cringe when I note the wood decaying under the dishwasher in our small, crowded kitchen, we are Blessed with a full pantry and refrigerator.

Even though we don't have the financial means to  create the landscape of our dreams, God continues to grant us the ability to call this little slice of heaven our home....and it is filled with love.

It's more than just your average "attitude of gratitude."  This has been a conscious decision on my part to face an otherwise depressing or challenging moment, and try to turn it into a reminder of truth.
My truth:  the worn-out carpet, flooring, paint, and fixtures of my abode have never defined those who dwell within.  Home is what you make it, and how you live it.

"If you can't see the bright side of life,
polish the dull side."

In a nutshell:  I'm rich!!!  :)

Pay it forward - Spread a Smile !

Photo courtesy of Google images.



Of the unknown

The untrodden path

The unscaled heights

The unexplored depths.



Of failure






Of loneliness






Of people

Natural calamities





Of being let down



Taken for granted.



Of the known

The challenges

The obstacles

The constraints.



Of so many things

In life

That dictates

The paths we choose.


What if there was

No fear?


What would

You do?

Where would

You go?

How would

You live

A fearless


Also posted on my blog.