Monday, May 1, 2017

8 Tips to Prevent Child Abduction

This is not click bate,  here are eight (8) really important lessons to teach our kids about safety and what to do to prevent child abductions.  It and has been applied to real life child snatches that I have investigated, or researched.




So buckle up and let's get our safety on.

Tip One:  STOP REWARDING YOUR KIDS WITH JUNK FOOD

Apart from the obvious health concerns, predators will use chips, lollies and ice creams the same way that parents may bribe and reward: as an incentive to do what they want.  Be careful with the lessons that you are teaching.

Tip Two:  TEACH YOUR KIDS TO SCREAM AGAIN

If you hear your child screaming because they are hurt, or being hurt, don't 'shush' them up.  Instead address the reason that they are screaming.   The scream is their go-to alert system, and instinctual way of facing down fear.  Give them sports and activities where this is encouraged.  If they don't use it, then they will lose it, and this is not a survival skill that you want to die.

Tip Three: SECRETS ARE ONLY FOR BIRTHDAYS, NOT BODIES.

Abusers use threats and intimidation to keep children compliant.  Things like, "Don't tell mummy or daddy about our secrets or I will....".  The next time you hear yourself say "Shhhh this is a secret..." reinforce the learning that secrets are only for birthdays and Christmas parties, and not for bodies.  If a secret feels bad, it is not the kind of secret that you keep.

Tip Four: EMBARRASSMENT makes good victims.

If you are embarrassed about your body, bodily functions and sexuality then you are teaching your child the emotional tools that predators will use to to foster their silence.  Tools like shame, guilt and fear.  If we continue to teach our children these dysfunctional emotions then we are creating a fertile ground for dysfunctional sexual behaviours - whether that means your child will be more likely to be a victim, become a predator: or in fact, both.  Learn what are normal sexual behaviours of children and what are red flags for abuse so that we don't project our own sexual maturity onto a child's normal development or curiosity.  For example: a red flag for abuse or inappropriate exposure is when children pair sexual behaviours with adult framed sexual words.  This is now a major concern with children as young as 7 being exposed to online porn.

Tip Five:  THRASH, SHOUT and JUMP about.

Punching and kicking in a traditional martial arts setting have been proven in U.S. College Studies to slow down victims of sexual assault.  There are far more bio-mechanically efficient ways for a child to instinctively and instantly become slippery hurt machines. Big movements like thrashing the head, pumping the arms and stamping the feet.  Couple that with a ear shattering yell and your child will no longer be seen as the 'best' victim.  A test you always want them to fail at.

Tip Six: NEVER LEAN INTO A CAR WINDOW - FOR ANY REASON.

If someone strange pulls up in a car beside your child, teach them to TURN to the rear of the vehicle AND RUN.   It will buy your child some time, or hopefully, make them a less attractive target.  It is good practice for us all to take leisurely runs and walks on the footpath that faces toward traffic.  Then it is obvious if a car is pulling in toward you.

Tip Seven: GET RID OF THE 'Our Family' STICKERS FROM YOUR CAR.

Scratch those suckers off right now.  Stop advertising what precious cargo is within.

Tip Seven:  THE BOGEYMAN IS A MYTH.

The reality is that your child will rarely be snatched by the bogeyman that lurks within the recesses of their fears.  Your child is most likely to offended against by someone that they know, or has been invited into the family to a position of trust.

This is most certainly the case when parents estrange and during custody disputes.  This is the time that your child is most likely to be abducted: by yourself or your partner.

It is better to teach children that everyone is human, but sometimes some humans make our tummies feel funny, and this is an early warning system.  Talk to your child about trusted humans, and humans that make us feel bad, and give them the time and space to tell you if someone makes them feel bad.

The greatest gift we can give our children is to be free of fear and brimming with self worth.  The child that grasps for love and attention - from anyone, for any attention, whether it be positive or negative - is also the child that becomes the 'good victim'.  And the only way to teach your child self love is to practice tolerance and unconditional love for your child - and for all humans.  Not just some humans.  But all humans.
No name calling.
No hate.
No fear.
Just Love.

Oh yeah, l have also reached the learn-ed realisation that kids never listen to their parents.  That's where I step in.   My kids don't listen to me either, but by some divine providence your kids will.  So send them to me....



https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01KK9RUGM/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb


BRAVE kids self defence - more than building muscles, but also building big voices and bigger hearts.







Monday, March 13, 2017

What predators look for when you post photos of your children.

Posting seemingly innocent photos of your child or teen has a sinister outcome that you may never have considered.

WARNING: 
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS ADULT CONCEPTS AND EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS


Your child or teen could be a poster child for a pedophile ring - and you may never know.
Australia made world news in 2016 with a website trading explicit photos of local school girls.   The site even had pages dedicated to local Brisbane and Gold Coast high schools and fan pages - offering money to men who could find more explicit photos of their favourites.

Attempts to close down the site have been thwarted in a brazen disregard of the law.  And these girls, whose images have been used without consent, could be to this day, oblivious.

Police CANNOT ALWAYS LOCATE YOU if photos of your children have been found to be used in connection with pedophile rings.  Due to the ability to mask IP addresses and identities with overseas servers and false identities it is not always possible to link an identity to these photos.  There are even sites dedicated to teaching online predators how to cover their tracks.

A photo of your child could be part of a pedophilia ring that has been uncovered by Police, and you wont even know about it.

The Task Force I worked for busts pedophile rings - and makes arrests of pedophiles in our neighbourhood.  This article is an insight into what they do, and how close to your home they come to arrest offenders.



A pedophile or predator will not play fair, nor think like the average person.  They therefore look at images and their erotic 'potential' differently to how the average population does.

Here are some things that pedophiles may find attractive when looking at photos on social media:

  • The obvious stuff - like children in bathers, underwear, having a bath, or in a state of undress.   Even well placed emoticons covering your child's genitals can be photoshopped off and genitals photoshopped back on to increase the 'value' of the photo. You can take me to South Bank beach at Brisbane on any given day and I will be able to point out lone males taking photos of children.... your children.   And yes - Police do patrol this and regularly confiscate cameras and phones.  I have seen it happen meters away from parents and they are completely and utterly oblivious.  The Police do not have to approach the parents, because it is not an element of the offence to have a complainant.  Importantly, there is rarely time in these situations to locate and talk to the parents about what has just happened - Police are too busy dealing with the offender.
  • The less obvious stuff that predators find irresistible: like photos that they can alter to make your child or teen look they are part of a sexual act.   These photos can be altered to have a male person in the photo in a state of arousal.  Or they can simply overlay a lewd comment so that the photo becomes a pedophile photo 'meme'.
  • Children of social media celebrities.  The more photos posted, and the more coverage the images gain, the more likely they are to come to the attention to pedophile groups and be subjected to their monstrous conversations and attentions.  Similar to a teenage crush of a pop star, these photos become a platform for imaginings, fantasies and lewd behaviours.  The internet has now allowed predators to openly discuss their fetishes, and because they have the support of their monstrous tribe, they now have a place to 'normalise' and 'strategise' dysfunctional thoughts and fantasies.

Things to consider when posting photos of your children:

  • Is there enough room to 'superimpose' another figure into the image?*
  • Are they in a state of undress (even with emoticons placed modestly - these can be removed and body parts can be photo shopped in).
  • Do you have a public social media page?  Pedophiles can develop 'child crushes' and the child does not have to be posed or in a state of undress for the photo to become a commodity.

*  I used to pray that when I saw a photo of a baby in a nappy and a sexually aroused man in the image that the image was 'superimposed'.  I didn't always receive this comfort from the government classifier or the photographic specialists.   This is is the horrific reality of child sex crimes and trafficking in the 21st century.  There is one photo in particular that I remember which causes me pain daily - a 6 month old in just a nappy with the most beautiful angelic smile laying on a bed - and a naked man entering the babies bedroom.   This child looked like my babies - your babies.  And the horror that I could not reach through that screen and save that child scratches at my brain.

Things to be considered with your teens social media images:

  1. Duck faces and posed photos are used as baseline trading images on predator sites.
  2. Swimwear and underwear shots become more valuable.
  3. If their account is public then the predator 'ring' can approach friends (or enemies) of the teen and pay money for more explicit photos.

It has taken over a decade for me to write this post because I know that I will have re-visted images and situations from my career that haunt me.  There was a time when I would physical hit my head and moan to stop the memories - but I hope that I have now developed better coping strategies.   I now have a practice of offering it 'up', or surrender.  I take the time to do a short meditation where I hand the image and the horror over.  This then allows me to focus on the present.   If it re-surfaces I repeat... repeat, repeat repeat - just like my rules of self defence.  Because to submit is not an option for me - or my children.

If you have been affected by this article please make an appointment with your GP.

Or ring lifeline.  Or the sexual assault helpline.

Here are some things you may need to know when reporting sexual abuse.


Empower yourself and your family with an online interactive self defence e-book.
Because self defence isn't something that you had 'wished' you had learned.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Women killing women - by silencing their voice.

One in three Australian women will be in a battle for their life against an ex or current intimate partner during their lifetime.  It becomes a fatal battle when the woman is strangled or smothered (because, can you believe it, they are trying to shut us up????) or when they are bludgeoned to death.  This is the common way for a woman to die at the the hands of someone that was, once or currently, claiming to love them.

Australian women die when they try to use their voice.



We are all guilty of being at a party and watching a violent argument without stepping in.  Listening to a neighbour being berated and threatened but we decide not to call police.  Because we have all been conditioned by that little Australian voice that says, "it's none of your business... stay out of it.... they are just drunk...".

Our conditioning starts in the classroom.  From the earliest age little girls are repeatedly praised and rewarded for being quiet, conscientious, listening, participating...  Little boys are expected to be loud, rambunctious, active.   When a boys academic ability naturally kicks in, they receive the academic accolades, and the girls are left with the residual messages of, "you have to be quiet, conscientious, and listen more if you want to receive recognition of this stature again".  And so the conditioning is ingrained.  It is further ingrained when we look at the traditional sports and recreational differences between girls and boys - girls dance and perform, are graded on perfectly slicked hair buns, silence, weight management and demure outward presence and a pleasant smile.  The gentleman run, kick, shout commands, tackle, grunt, throw, defend.  Their voice is a mark of their strength.  Their leadership.

Women are taught to make themselves as small as possible... make yourself smaller on that bus seat, lose weight, cross your legs, don't lose your temper.  Don't let your daughters get under anyone's feet.

If I had a penny for every woman who said, "I would like to train with weights, but I don't want to be bulky" I would retire.  Because God knows, you don't want to be physically dominate, do you?  That would be too much for the world to bare.
Australians left an indelible mark on the world stage by being the first country, in the world, to be more fixated on the colour of their first female Prime Minister's pubic hair, then her intellectual and political contributions.
And I witnessed educated women joining in on that conversation.  I saw the pleasure and venom with which they jeered at her.  Like returning to a 1980's school yard and dragging new girl off the popularity perch, so the boys won't take their attention away from the resident preening cool girls.

I will say no more on that.

No matter your political background, nothing screams 'insecure' and 'bigoted' more than people using name calling rather than rational intellectual and political argument.

Which I think our education system fails poorly in cultivating.  Who here has done courses on argument, reasoning and critical thinking????  Right.  Que crickets here.  Teaching people to think for themselves.... mmmmmm..... I wonder what would change if that was the basis of our school curriculum?

But name calling.  Australians are gold medalist in that.

But it is not my intent to bemoan and gesticulate.

My intent is this:
Before we as women silence other women with glances, behind hand whispers and social exclusion... could we perhaps teach our daughters there is another way? To teach them that we are all connected,  and when united we cannot be hurt.  That we will not give away our power by allowing others to hurt us.

Could we re-learn to use our voices?
Could we question our use of 'outdoor voices' and 'indoor voices' with our children, before social conditioning means that they have forgotten how to use their voice, when they need it the most?

Could we eradicate shame and guilt, and make these statement sentences a tool on a young girls tool belt that she brings her no embarrassment, only boundaries?  Sentences like:

  • No stop
  • I need some help today
  • I deserve respect
  • I am your equal
  • My feelings are valid
  • I deserve to be heard
  • Put on a condom
(Ladies, I teach teen girls that if we aren't mature enough to insist on a condom, then we are not mature enough to have sex).

It is not enough to stop the hands that beat us down.  We as woman must stop with our own judgement, reach out and lift up the voices of ALL woman.

We all know when our words come from a place of fear, and we know when our words come from that expansive, warm, tingling place of connection and inspiration.  Everyday I am working to come back to that, instead of that fearful, spiteful place (I fail quite regularly, but to ere is human).

When I teach you and your daughters, that is the place I want to open and ignite.  And then I watch it catch like wildfire as social conditioning is questioned, and connections and protections are cultivated.

Be that torch - you are that torch.  Don't silence women.  Give them a safe place to use their voice, and teach them the difference between words of fear, and words of truth.  This is how we shine light into the violent world of darkness.




Have you or a friend experienced a life threatening situation?
Are you looking for strategies to empower yourself and regain a sense of self and safety?
RAVES self defence now has an interactive e-book.




Saturday, April 30, 2016

Should our kids show anger? And for how long? Knowing this could save lives.

How long is a child allowed to outpour anger?



According to the clinical poineer of palliative care and emotional intelligence, Dr Kubler-Ross:
15 seconds...
15 seconds! 
That is a flip flop long ding dong time for any parent in the firing line.
But it is now recognised as on of the greatest failings of Western social conditioning to discipline our children to suppress emotion in favour of social convention. 
Teaching our children healthy outpouring of the natural emotions: fear, anger, grief, jealousy and love - is a sure fire why to raise a healthy, productive generation and short circuit our violence fuelled, emotionally crippled community.
If we don't teach out children that anger is an ok emotion and it is ok to display it - safely - then we get teens and adults who spontaneously rage. This translates to one punch killings, domestic violence and active shooter massacres.
  • Jealousy turns to possession.
  • Grief becomes depression.
  • Fear becomes obsession. 
(Did you like that? That is the result of a double shot coffee).

Could teaching our children to be angry change our poor domestic violence record?

We could, quite simply, change the world by teaching our children it is ok to be angry, and show them safe ways to discharge anger.
The buddhists uphold the same belief - to be childlike is to be god-like.
So the next time you encounter a moody person, or deal with a tantrum, or  find yourself simmering in an unexplained mood... let's ask ourselves how we provide safe havens for the children and people in our lives to outpour emotion (safely).  Do we afford ourselves the same safe, judgment free space to allow emotional recognition, and in turn, spiritual growth? Do we acknowledge our anger, or suppress it and push it down into a furness where the pressure is building and seeping out of structural weaknesses?

Anger is ok... rage is not.

#‎DVmonth‬ starts with teaching emotional intelligence.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Why American self defence is irrelevant to Australians (we even spell it differently), but every American should learn it the RAVES way.

Australian self defence SHOULD to be taught differently to the US.  But Americans would benefit greatly from the "Ossie" style of RAVES self defence.


Please note the iconic thongs and singlet of our 'bogan attacker'.  No hoody, or high top boots on this dude.
He is true blue.














































Here are some reasons: 

Australians look out for each other.  We do not have to yell "FIRE" when we are being raped. Australians will listen - if you know how to get above the industrial noise and complacency that urban living has created in our busy lives.  

And we need to be taught HOW to protect other people, while keeping ourselves safe.  This is an easy skill... and should be taught from an early age.

Mace, pepper spray and guns are illegal to carry in Australia: and like our football, we don't need body armour.   The number one reason you should not rely on weapons, alarms, sprays and powders are: they are largely money making gimmicks that feed off fear and insecurity, and if you don't know how to use them correctly, or freeze, or can't find the bloody thing, then you have wasted precious moments trying to retrieve it, and will fall prey to fear.    

I teach you to use tools readily at your disposal (your voice, hands, knees, feet - BRAIN!), without years of martial arts practice, and without needing strength and brute force.  And the options taught are limitless!  They are limited only by fear, which is the greatest tool in my arsenal.... my ability to dissolve fear and ignite your fight.  With escape options fear goes out the door unlocking your brains to access intuition, power and prowess (all the ESCAPE drills that I teach will come flooding back).

I will teach you the RULES of RAVES self defence.  RAVES RULES use the logic of physics, the mechanisms of the human body and brain, and draw on strategies and thought processes that survivors of rape and extreme violent crime (and even natural disasters) have used to turn from victim to victor.




Just a few of the crucial RAVES rules, follow them for escape success.
Underpinning these rules is the concept of KISS.  A dualistic concept that only a female can understand and teach.  Read more about the concept of KISS here.

But most importantly, I will teach you skills to respond quickly, skills to empower yourself and your family.  Check out my book "Empower Yourself" - an interactive online self defence e-book.  If you read it - you may never need it... and then, my job is done.


Have you or a friend experienced a life threatening situation?
Are you looking for strategies to get empower yourself and regain a sense of self and safety?
RAVES self defence now has an interactive e-book.



www.sweatdepot.com.au home of RAVES self defence

Friday, March 11, 2016

Do you have a defiant child or teen? I have a little meltdown strategy....

So, Madonna had a custody dispute with her ex-Ritchie over their son's refusal to live with his Mum anymore.

So it went to court.


At the basis of the argument, would be the rationale... 'Does a 15 year old get to decide his fate?"

Yes?  No?

Let's look at the assumptions behind this argument:

1.  That the mother has a right to parent a child?
2.  A father has a right to parent a child?
3. The child has the right to tell one or both parents which parent they prefer to reside (predominately) with?

Let's look at the behaviours behind these assumptions.

Would Madonna have taught/ shown her son that he was:
  • very special
  • his opinion was valid
  • that he could do, be or have anything he wanted in this world.
Madonna may be able to say, yes, she has taught her son some of these realties.  Or, maybe we can assume that Rocco has seen his Mum's mega success and what behaviours she uses to take what she wants, when she wants it, because that's how highly motivated people roll.  

She may have taught her son that it is ok to ask for something, even if it hurts someone else's feelings.  Or maybe, even despite it.  Or maybe, even to hurt someone's feelings.

Should she go back through time and change anything - HELL NO!!!!  That's ridiculous.  Children are sent to us as our greatest teachers and our best reflection of the reality that we create around ourselves.

So before we judge our children's behaviour, or force them into a state of submission or compliance, could it be helpful to see what our children may be seeing and replicating in our lives?  Because there is only one person I can change in this world... me.  I am the only person who I can control.  And that is a fundamental truth.  As it should be.

So, a parent who says, "I have been through so much, I deserve so much better..." will be given the ironic manifestation of a child that grows and says to that parent, "I deserve so much better.... (than you Mum/ Dad.)"

Is that wrong?  No.  Nothing is really wrong or right, if we look a the assumptions behind most of the arguments that we have with each other (or with ourselves, in our head).

So I teach something special at Australian day care centres as a strategy to this defiance - otherwise know as a 'tantrum' in the early education world.  If you have a toddler having a meltdown, you have to try this, get down on their level and say, "Yes, this made you angry.  Gosh dang it.  Stomp and shout.  Let it out...."

Or another great example, "Suzy has the shovel and bucket, and you wanted it!  I know how much you were enjoying it.  Oh no!  You can have a cry, and a shout.  That's ok, let it out!"

No judgement, no lectures on the virtues of sharing to a two year old that has just pee'd their pants, is dehydrated, and wants a hug or a cool fan but doesn't have the words to tell you.  Leave those lessons for later when they are dry, cool, hydrated and calm.

Just sit with them in their defiance.... and watch it all ebb away.  Without you being drawn into the drama.  Because if we do get drawn in... what does that say about our love of drama?  Am I right?

Get through this parent: we need you in the front line.




www.sweatsystems.com.au.  
Tackling the big stuff that makes everyone poo in the nappies: like tantrums, personal protection and sexual assault prevention.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Meditations from women: more than ' just' Mum's.



Women - we wouldn't be here without them, and we certainly wouldn't have had clean faces/ clothes and full tummies without Mummy's ointment spat on hankies and stashes of food in oversized handbags.

I honour all the woman in my life with a series of their heartfelt quotes. No hallmark bullshit with this series - because there is nothing photoshopped about being a woman and a mother.

There are so many hidden stories here. Background stories of relationship breakdowns; mothers, fathers and children being taken from our lives too soon, escape from violence, working 12 hours a day and struggling to get back to the war-zone that your home has become.... but these are background, invisible stories. See if you can reach behind the heart of these wisdoms and see the experiences that have shaped the words. 

The older I get the more I realise that suffering is grace. The 'poor me, poor life' fist pumping I did in my youth is being smoothed away. Being a woman involves suffering, but grace is the lesson that I continually learn. I wouldn't change a thing. I also love to hear the hidden messages behind every souls words. We are so lucky to peak into the soul of these words:


Jodie (Mrs Murray) a Mum who shows me how to be a real Mum.... 

When I was exasperated at the exponentially increased workload of holidaying with multiple children Mrs Murray shared her Mum's saying: "ahhhhh, it's all about the shared memories."  I can quite honestly say this reassurance has saved me (and my children - and my baby daddy) from toppling over when it all got too much.
"Know your own heart and mind, always trust your intuition, love fully and courageously, feel your strength deep in your being for it is gentle and powerful. Above all - never, ever give up (or lose your sense of humour)" Meredith aka Goddess Edwards

"'Being a mum is the toughest job on earth'.
(Having) two daughters, first birth at age 19 second at age 36... both extremely difficult births. Two generations of vast difference at being a mum. But once you're a mum, everything, the whole world changes. You give everything to your kids and go without so they can have everything you didn't have. Love, kindness, friendship and support until the day that you die.
I want to live to age 86 because my youngest daughter will be 50 and hopefully by that age she won't miss me too much. I didn't have the love and support from my mother as long as I can remember so when she passed at age 88, two years ago, I didn't feel too sad, isn't that just awful?
So what I am trying to say is love your kids and your fur babies... with all of your heart and soul. We brought our kids into this world and we suffer pain, anguish and happiness every day. Our kids hate us from time to time and we quarrel over the dumbest things but then it is all good again. My kids said that I am strict but fair. 
I guess I have done the right thing. One is now 43 - a policewoman for 24 years. The other is 26- a RN in a cardiac unit. Both have gone to uni and now the youngest is doing her masters. I made them both get a part-time job when they were 14 1/2 so they could understand the value of me giving them $20 to go to the movies etc. They both soon realised they had to work hard for 3 hours to make that $20. The both have their own properties and money in the bank and have got their shit together.
I almost lost my eldest when she was 22 to a massive brain haemorrhage. That was the toughest time of my life. That is when you really feel the knife entering your heart and twisting. Thank God, she made it but I have never been the same since. 
Love for your kids is always unconditional, look after them and treat them with respect, kindness and support and they will always be there for you..."
Helen Joachim: my 'Mum' when I was in the Police Academy. We were in a squad together.  
This is a photo off us 'living in' 1995.
Helen was very kind to a very young, very naive, very unfit little girl (me). She introduced me to fitness. Her eldest daughter (in photos above) was a really young police officer that graduated a few years before we did! Yvie suffered a massive brain haemorrhage a couple of months after we got out of the academy. It was a bit of a sliding doors thing for me..... It rocked my world so much I stopped drinking, and started devouring natural therapy theories because I couldn't reconcile that a 22 year old Police woman was in a coma (because of the shift work and lifestyle of Police at that time).  
Here's the freaky bit. Mum (Helen) was with me during our first autopsies at the academy - about a year BEFORE her eldest daughter lapsed into a coma. I remember her gently volunteering to dress a very young girl at the morgue that had died (HERE WE GO) of a brain haemorrhage due to a freak fall. Helen was so gentle, and while us young peanuts where freaking out at touching a dead body, she was graceful and angelic - combing the dead child's hair and arranging the sheets for when her parents would 'view' her. I could feel Helen's heart wrapped protectively around the lifeless girl. This was my first lesson of the boundless love of a mother for ALL children. Helen aka Mum shaped me... profoundly.
"Love yourself so that you can love others. Look after yourself so you can look after others."
Jodie Chambers
"As soon as our little people come into the world, your needs/wants become second priority (or third or forth!) & that's ok. You wouldn't have it any other way & it's not even something you consciously do - you just do it because that's what unconditional love looks like. There may not be a reward at the end & there's often not much thanks along the way because that's what unconditional love is. What mums do is usually only noticed when it's not done! The little people we are entrusted with to nurture & grow through life & the unconditional love we show will teach them how important it is to love with no conditions. Being a mother is the hardest job in the world but also by far the most rewarding.

My favorite quote that gets me through all sorts of situations is: 'This too shall pass.' Sometimes things seem overwhelming & there might not feel like there's an end to sleepless nights, cleaning up mess you didn't make, troubles with friends, homework, taxi-ing between multiple events.... but there is & it passes. This quote helps me get perspective when things seem way out of control." Deb 'Muscles' Jeffers
Lesley Phinn on how a fight with breast cancer meant a fight live to see her children grow up:

 "Last year I learnt a lot about me and the people around me. I learnt that things DON'T happen for a reason, bad things just happen. Don't dwell on why it happened, just get up, face it and deal with it. The people in your life who truely care about you will be there with you for all of the bad and the good. You don't need to go find those people they are people you already know. Look forward with these friends and not back. Live your life now." 


 I love the photo above of Lesley with a shaved do. Lesley's beautiful flowing strawberry hair was her crowning glory - but I believe it is THIS haircut that made her enormously sexy. Raw, exposed, feminine, conquerer. Rrrrrrrrarrrrrrr.

"I haven't learnt to but you need to look after yourself as well as your family and staff for self preservation or self care. I'm very bad at it - recharge your batteries and power up, refuel your energy, catch up with your friends - don't see it as a luxury! Which I do and feel guilty for even thinking about it!!"
My Fee


"In a world where we measure beautiful with duck face selfies, filters and cosmetic accessories, don't be beautiful. Be brilliant! Have a brilliant brain and flood it with knowledge. Teach your sons and daughters to be brilliant, see brilliance and love brilliance."
Bear Bum, my little sister and scary high school teacher

"Motherhood....my greatest challenge yet. Some days I feel like I've got it in the bag, other days I'm treading water and learning lessons. But that moment when they are all tucked up in bed at night and the house is silent, I feel accomplished and know I can do it all again tomorrow."

Karen "Sizzle'' Stevenson - she claims to not be a wordsmith. I think she is a magician.
"BEING A YOUNG PARENT MEANS WE MET A LITTLE EARLY. BUT IT ALSO MEANS I GET TO LOVE YOU A LITTLE LONGER. SOME PEOPLE SAID MY LIFE ENDED WHEN I HAD A BABY, BUT MY LIFE HAD JUST BEGUN. YOU DIDN'T TAKE AWAY FROM MY FUTURE, YOU GAVE ME A NEW ONE." Joey Johnson - mother at 17, and still mother to us now (and I think exile sums it up perfectly for me Joey).

 "Tomorrow is never guaranteed, live for today and appreciate the little things, they often turn out to be the big things."
Lisa Jane: a daughter who misses her Mum.


"Only worry about what you can control.... Which is pretty much nothing except your attitude. Realise that shit happens, often very literally, don't sweat the small stuff, which is 90% of stuff, then take a deep breath, make like Tay-Tay & Shake it off. Take solace in the fact that far less capable people than you have managed to keep small humans alive, all you need to do is just love the crap out of them and yourself. You've got this mumma."
Shannie.

"No matter what you do, as long as it comes from a place of caring and love it is right. Nob
ody has the right to judge you for trying!.....
And your health is your most prized possession.  Without it you have nothing." 

Tall Jan aka Shannies Mum (see above).


"I've been formulating a response about the need for self-care, but it just wasn't coming together.... Then this popped up today and says everything I wanted to!!"  Melissa Straughton - my high school best friend.
"Since becoming a mum, the biggest change for me has been replacing judgement with kindness and compassion. Especially towards other women, but most importantly towards myself.
The following quotes (from women!) explain how I feel as a mother/woman/human more eloquently than I ever could."
Nicki 'HAB' Zaini - she once said to me, 'when you have babies you see beauty in ALL BABIES....' cause that's how her kind heart rolls.







Dear Mum,
Thank you for making dress up costumes for a fuller figured dwarf child, coloured popcorn and mending my thumb worn dummy blankets while I was at camp.
You raised 4 children single-mighty-fistedly from the day that Bear Bum (to my left) was born, and never: drank wine or coffee, had a 'girls weekend', a 'date night', no babysitting, no child support, or custody sharing, or a wee by yourself. Never. Not one single day. And all on the extravagant wage of a casual at Franklins Brookside.
No respite: except for maybe a sneaky, filthy 'Porkies' VHS you watched with Aunty Dawnie and Mrs Hilton after school drop off. Disgraceful.
Recently you lost your Mum, my Grandma.  And I am sad for you, and a little sorry for myself, because she was one of my favourite people in the world.  She loved me when I was unlovable.  And I miss her.
So I write this because I don't want both you and her to go unrecognised - before it's too late.  You hang our moons, and you light the stars for your grandchildren (all 4000 million of them).  
Love your second (and now favourite) child, Erin.


Luke 6:43-44: For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.