Thursday, December 12, 2013

The little girl in me

The little princess was cute, and she knew it.  And she remembers when that particular currency lost it's value (around age 4).  The new currency was 'being good': doing as she was told, being 'clever' at school and helping at home.  But the new currency wasn't about who she was, it was about what she could do.

She remembers discovering her parents' tape collection and playing ABBA on the stereo and dancing with complete abandon.  Until she realised her dad was watching and despite his pleas for her to continue, she was too self-conscious.

The little girl had also loved to sing, and remembers performing her shy rendition of 'Little donkey' one Christmastime for adult acquaintances.  When she was a little older, she discovered that apparently her parents no longer rated her voice as very good, a brother was touted as being the better singer.  Looking back, the comparison was completely unnecessary, but the temptation to categorise seems to have been too great for them to resist.

The little girl was astute, she picked up on what was said, and what was implied.  She molded and camouflaged herself into the position allotted to her.  She desperately wanted approval.  Unfortunately approval meant silence; a no news is good news kind of a deal.

Now, Princess Morag has a little princess of her own who loves to dance and sing.  What a joy!  What a wonderful thing to celebrate and share.  The princess is rediscovering through her daughter, how delightful little girls are.  She knows this is the truth, yet there is a commentary tape that plays in her head, with barbed and snide comments, that threatens to taint those precious mother-daughter moments.   But the princess is determined to escape from the lies that have infiltrated her consciousness.  She proclaims that those automatic thoughts deserve automatic extinction.  She declares that the attitudes that stink be replaced with gracious incense.  The princess may have been small but she was NOT like the fragile Christmas ornaments or a snowflake so easily melted.  She was, and is, like a little candle burning in the night.  She might be hiding inside her grown-up body, but she has power and perseverance.  Keep her shining Lord.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

permission to...let the tears fall

The princess has never cried so much as she did in that counseling room.  At times, she felt outside of herself looking on at this woman who was a weeping mess, and she thought "wow, what a fuss!"  Tears had always been greeted by her family as a sign of her being 'too much'.  But there, in that room, in the presence of an empathetic soul, she could finally shed so many tears that she'd kept inside for so many years.  And they weren't 'too much', they were 'just right' even if her counselor did gently wonder at how many tears there could be!  They were the silent expression of pain and grief and longing.  And when met with tenderness, they were the most healing relief.

The princess used to laugh when she cried - it was a learned response from example and reaction.  It was a cover.  She has learned not to do that anymore.  She also wants to analyse her tears, and find out why on earth she is doing this strange thing called crying.  But sometimes it doesn't make sense, other than the fact that she is full of emotion, and it has to get out somehow.  At the beginning of advent it seems like tears are coming easily.  Having tried the analytical route and come up with a few ideas but no real answer, the princess is instead going to give herself permission for it just to happen.  The tears aren't for anyone, she is usually alone when it happens, they simply are.

It seems that many different things bring the tears, and not just sad things, but things of beauty, tenderness, innocence, longing, music.  The princess is no longer rock-like, for others to lean on.  She is more tree-like; she is still dependable but she can move, and swaying in the wind of life, she is allowing her tears to fall as the leaves do in the autumn season.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fly - five minute Friday

Five Minute Friday In less than a month I will be flying home.  It has been more than two years.  Excited doesn't completely cover it.  In this season of Thanksgiving I am very glad I get to fly instead of travel by road or rail across a continent before sailing a large ocean.  I'm hoping we don't get sick.  I'm hoping being cooped up in a small space with a five and a six year old doesn't test the sanity of me, my husband or the other passengers too much!

Scheduled air travel will be turning 100 years old on January 1st.  I'm dismayed that ticket prices have risen so much in the last 10 years.  I am thankful for the Christmas gift of these plane tickets - they are absolutely priceless.  I will be flying home to cuddle my baby nieces.  I will be flying home for Christmas.  I will be flying home to be reunited with my family and friends.  I will be flying home to discover how much I've changed and what has stayed the same.  I will be flying home in the knowledge that God is with me whichever continent I am on.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Thanksgiving still feels like a new holiday to the Princess.  In the old realm, Sir Rianus would cook up a turkey dinner and it was fun - but as there was no collective celebration in the culture, it didn't seem like a particularly special occasion.  In the new realm, this is not the case.  'Holidays' seem to be a big deal and must be followed.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to create a tradition within the new realm when splitting time between two splintered halves of a family across the years.  Coming so late in the year, the Princess finds it difficult to identify Thanksgiving as a harvest meal.   The pilgrims arriving in a new country - yeah she understands that part! And the giving thanks - that is becoming an essential habit of her daily life.  She is happy to join together with others to praise God for his goodness.

Friday, November 15, 2013

5 minute Friday - tree

She and the tree were the constants through three seasons.  Under it's branches I nervously waited for the door to open.  Desperately wanting to be there, but part of me ready to run.  The leaves and the tears fell.  It looked empty and I despaired during the dark days.  When spring came with the blossom, there was warmth and some hope bursting forth.  But fear and anger would sweep in sometimes like the wind and the rain.

Basking in the sun, bright green leaves on the tree, the news came that brought the end.  I'm sure the tree is still there bearing witness to more lost souls knocking on the door.  Where is she?  I don't know.  But I miss her.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"be yourself"

"be yourself".  It's a common maxim.  However, the Princess's first reaction was to feel angry and frustrated which leads her to suspect it might be more accurately described as a simplistic platitude.

For which self should she be?

Should she be her best self: full of optimism and wisdom and faith?  This is the self she normally brings to the blogging world.  But what of the other selves that she has?  Her worst self is full of self-loathing, self-neglect and wallowing in self-pity - she doubts that many people want to see that self.  Having been relatively disengaged from community life in the last couple of years, Princess Morag has become far more acquainted with that worst-self, and led her to the conclusion that she can't even trust herself anymore.

Looking back, she can see how she developed a false-self while growing up.  There were seeds of her true self there, but they were connected by a web of confusion.  When she expressed negative feelings, they were corrected for her and renamed as less offensive conditions such as "tiredness", or "grumpiness".  Anger and frustration were not allowed and tears were "being silly".  Being highly sensitive she quickly learned to cover up those emotions and hide her own feelings behind concern for others.

When she tried to voice her interests they were quickly dismissed and she had to make do with the activities that had been prescribed for her.  Despite successful surgery, she remained "the sick one", "the one to worry about".  At the same time, she was to be the listener, the soother, the helper.  She was good at those roles, and still is, but fulfilling a role is not the same as being yourself.  In 'helper mode' the princess is charming, and flexible, capable, easy to be around.  Slipping into character comes naturally, but at a price.  Her real self is forced into retreat and observes this 'other person' that she has become and feels small, squelched and helpless.  For the princess at heart is still a child, maybe even a baby.  But babies can't look after other people, run the show, and make sure everyone else is ok in order to be deemed acceptable.

Even in friendships it was difficult to bring out the real self.  When Princess Morag was at school, she would watch as other girls somehow knew how to have fun, and wondered why she didn't know how to do that.  She sadly accepted that being the serious, sensible one was her lot.  In later teenage years, she observed her best friend taking advantage of a freedom she had that the princess would not attain for a long, long time.  Not only was the princess trapped within a family environment that did not allow her to rebel, she was emotionally regressed by her parents divorce and did not have any desire to do teenagery things.

College allowed the real self to be born through freedom of choice and real friendships.  Unfortunately, she was not matured by graduation and the real world outside of the protective college bubble blew in a cloud of depression and storm of anxiety to plague the following years and the real self was buried once again.

The neglected real self has been trying to get attention for quite some time, often using dirty tactics after so many years of being ignored.  The real self loves music and dancing and singing.  The real self is able to be happy, but also has a lot of grief.  She cried for hours in counseling, without any words really to explain why.  She is determined.  She is intelligent.  She keeps looking for a safe place to come out.

The real self want to know who she belongs to, where does she fit in to life here on earth in the body of Princess Morag?  Recently, the real self has been reverberating during bible study, as Princess Morag discovered that in the eyes of God she is a precious child, indeed she is a princess, and she is a bride not just in the eyes of Sir Rianus in the year 2005AD.  To revel in those roles as her real self, not just as a momentary private fantasy is a challenge, but one that brings a smile to Princess Morag's face and a stirring of dignity in her soul.  The false self is always anxiously searching the faces of those around to check she is performing adequately; she is never satisfied because she is never perfect.  The princess wants to be the self that is loved to the marrow of her bones, deemed beautiful in the eyes of the only one that matters, beheld and beloved for all of her heart, body, mind and soul.  She wants to don the cloak of grace, the gorgeous tiara that was exchanged for the ashes of her previous existence and enter into the kingdom of real life.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Five minute Friday - Laundry

The laundry is like a Dr Seuss book - it's here, it's there, it's everywhere!  Clean, dirty, not quite sure.  Big socks, little socks, always odd socks.  No washing machine in the apartment.  Quarters and effort required.  But thankful for the brilliant sunshine and zero humidity, great drying conditions.

Unlike in the baby years when all those tiny baby clothes were hung on indoor racks and I was 'helped' in my task by little hands and a dehumidifier stopped our house growing so much mold and the windows steaming up!

The giant clothes I don't have to worry about, he does those himself.  But I like to pair his socks and put them away for him, it's just a little thing, a way to be a wife.  I sigh over his inability to ensure the dirty socks make it into the laundry basket, but it's just a little thing, common to most men I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I am from the land of green grass...

I am from the land of green grass, and rain and eating lots of potatoes,
From hanging the washing outside in hope, watching the clouds.

I am from the middle of the family, sandwiched between boys.
I am from the posh school, the local school and the oldest university.

I am from the children's hospital, scarred but made well,
I am from the hairdressers, long hair, now bobbed.

I am from the broken home, the truth made known,
and behind it confusion and lies?

I am from my new family, two children of my own, scarred again.
I am from a spark of new life, covered in darkness and crying out to God.

I am from the old realm, living in the new, wondering where is the green?
Scorching sun, blue skies and rarely a cloud, mountains that are rocky or covered in snow.

I am from a place of self-sufficiency searching for the one who can help.
I am from loneliness and feeling forever unknown.

I am from friends left behind, sisters in spirit and love.
I am from grief over relationships that have died and memories that hurt.

I am from that land of pomp and circumstance,
Of two flags of allegiance, and the poet well-known.

Where there are castles and cathedrals of ancient stone,
A long history of people with grudges they have borne.

Where religion matters but hearts are not considered
Where prejudice is passed on along with ignorance.

The land where alcohol is the answer and drugs the solution.
The land I wanted to leave behind and the one I miss terribly.

synchroblog from Shelovesmagazine.

Monday, September 16, 2013

birth story haiku

Inspired by Jennifer Fulwiler

Baby #1
planned caesarean
too much morphine, I’m woozy
then breastfeeding hell

Baby #2
baby 1 got sick
c-section on not much sleep
gorgeous baby girl

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Princess Morag has a love/hate relationship with her feet.  She loves one and hates the other.  The right foot, despite it's small size is pretty normal looking and that's good as far as Princess Morag is concerned.  The left foot, well, that's a whole other story.  The princess noted, as a teenager, that he feet and ankles would swell if she had to stand for a long time.  It didn't cause much trouble, but she was diagnosed with primary lymphoedema and warned against any kind of trauma to her foot, or it might lead to permanent scarring/swelling.

Then Princess Morag went to work at summer camp in the USA and a mosquito, or some other bug, decided to feast on the top of her left foot.  The Princess didn't know anything was wrong until suddenly it was bruised and swollen and red, and she went to the hospital to be told it was an infected bite and she had to rest it. Following this infection, her left foot would swell to a greater extent than her right, so it became her "bad foot".  It has caused people to stare, exclaim and point out it's size, much to the princesses displeasure.  She is not keen on drawing attention to herself, so this kind of negative attention is particularly unwelcome.

For the last five years, or maybe more, Princess Morag has endured the private shame of knowing that the already 'bad' foot, was embarrassingly also home to plantar warts/verrucae on it's sole.  It was quite easy to just pretend they weren't there, until more recently when they spread.  Princess Morag procrastinated for a long time in making the appointment with the podiatrist.  And then he said he might have to cut them out!!  Princess Morag did NOT like that idea.  She spent the summer trying to find some courage, and finally made the appointment.  They had become a little painful, so getting rid of them now seemed like a good idea.  Thankfully (maybe) the podiatrist decided to try acid treatment first.  But now her left foot is a gross, painful extremity and Princess Morag is unable to perform all her activities of daily living with ease.  Standing on two feet is something most of us just do without thinking, ditto for walking.  But when it becomes painful and difficult, you realise how much you have been taking for granted.

Princess Morag wants to say sorry to her left foot, for saying it was 'bad' and for calling it 'fat and ugly'.  Because all this time, it has still been performing pretty well, allowing her to stand and walk with ease.  She hopes it will make a full recovery.

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's like potatoes

Princess Morag has entirely changed her view on rain.  The old realm was a rainy, grey place, and she agreed with the general consensus that more sunny days and blue skies would be nice.  But since living in the new realm where sunny days and blue skies are the norm, she now holds the view that rain is awesome!  Rain, in fact, indicates God's blessing.  And when you live without it, you start to feel a little desperate.  There have been days where the princess has woken up to grey clouds and gone about her day very happy as a result.  And the next day, when inevitably the blue sky is back, she actually feels disappointed!  And on the handful of occasions that it has rained, she might have rushed outside in excitement, called her children out, and danced with them in the rain!

The earth needs rain, and when there isn't any, man manufactures a replacement a.k.a 'sprinklers'.  So then you can grow plants and have green grass, but the areas that the sprinklers don't reach remain brown and dead looking.  Anything that is manufactured to mimic God's blessing doesn't quite make the mark.  It might satisfy for a while, or give the appearance of something that is good.  But it's not good like the real thing.
When the princess sees photographs or film of the old realm, she gushes about how green it is, in much the same way as she used to mock people of the new realm doing.  But now she understands, now that she lives in the desert.  The old realm has the real rain and you can tell by the lush green grass and trees, and dark brown earth and grey skies.  The whole palette of the natural world there is different. And the princess misses it.

When she was growing up, Princess Morag ate a lot of potatoes.  They were standard dinnertime fare, almost every night.  When she left home to go to university she chose not to eat potatoes very often as she was sick of them.  Pasta and rice, these were much better she thought.  Until a decade later when she pregnant with her second child and suddenly potatoes were awesome again - she had been missing out, all these years of not bothering with potatoes very much because they had been under the curse of the familiar.  Don't discount those things that are commonplace.  Be grateful for them.  If you didn't have them, you might miss them very much.  You might be avoiding a blessing when you scoff instead of embracing the everyday goodness.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A mother's lament

"What happened to my baby girl?"  Princess Morag asks.
She got these legs now, instead of stumps!
She answers back and shrieks at taunts.
She's starting school!!

Her brother will teach her what to do.
And she'll make her own way at the same time.
She'll make new friends, and write all her letters.
She'll play outside and walk to the lunchroom.

When she gets home Princes Morag will hear,
that she's done this and that, and what the other girl said.
All the things her brother doesn't bother to tell.
But at night she'll want to snuggle the same
And all tuggled together she'll be a baby for a moment again.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Give me a proper cup please!

One of Princess Morag's pet peeves is having to drink coffee from a disposable cup!  Even a travel mug turns out not to be a great substitute as it tends to be very plasticky.  Really the only thing coffee should be drunk from is a proper cup, made of china.  In the old realm, this is how coffee was generally served unless you specified that is was 'to go'.  Here in the new realm, this is not the case.  In some well known coffee establishments there are no proper cups in sight - aah!  

So Princess Morag tends just to make coffee at home, and now that she is selling direct trade, freshly ground, delivered to your door coffee, maybe recreating the coffee shop experience at home might just be the way to go.  Unfortunately it means she has to wash her own cup afterwards, but at least she will be treated like a grown up and allowed a proper cup!!!!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

me too Glennon!

Princess Morag has several blog crushes.  The biggest of all is probably Glennon Melton.  The other day G posted/tedx-talked: All I ever needed to know I learned in the mental hospital.  And Princess Morag can testify to the same experience, except she worked at the mental hospital so there is slightly less stigma attached.  When she was supposedly an 'allied health professional', Princess Morag learned about these mysterious things called 'anxiety' and 'confidence' and most odd of all 'assertiveness'.  She also met people who were profoundly depressed and felt a disturbing connection to them.

Princess Morag learned a lot of things in school.  She was very good at school.  It was easy.  She knew what she was supposed to do, and she did it.  But at the same time she was pretty frustrated at learning a lot of stuff that she knew was never going to be useful in life - imaginary numbers??  Really?  Imaginary people in books, she liked them, but imaginary numbers seemed a little unnecessary!   So Princess Morag knew maths, chemistry, biology, geography but where was she supposed to have learned about these things called feelings and helping other people deal with theirs when she had only just discovered that she had them too!!

The Princess's feelings had been buried for a long time, apparently they were inconvenient to other people when she let them out, so she tried not to do that.  But she was like a magnet to other people's feelings, she could sense them, and people would talk to her about stuff that was going on with them.  Including, rather inappropriately, her parents while they were separating.  So psychology had been the subject she was desperate to study and the mental hospital her first choice of place to work and she probably couldn't explain exactly why, except she was curious and she wanted to help people. Turns out it is hard to help people when you've spent your life ignoring your self.  Those feelings that were buried start escaping and then the Princess found herself crying at the dinner table every night, with her new husband looking on, confused.

Thankfully there is this magic thing called counseling and the Princess's boss referred her to the hospital counselor and there Princess Morag was able to unburden herself of some tears and feelings in a place where it was ok to do so.  Princess Morag used to joke that her job at the mental hospital was mostly "taking crazy people to the park".  She then swapped that occupation for "taking her two children to the park" - it didn't feel much different.  And most recently of all she started "taking her crazy self to the park" - are you sensing a theme?  When the Princess was an Occupational Therapist, she knew her job was mostly common sense but it turns out that common sense really isn't very common at all.  And learning about anxiety and confidence and assertiveness, well, those things are all to do with being HUMAN, and giving people respect for being alive, and showing up, whether that is at the park or any other location.

Friday, May 31, 2013


At the beginning of the year, Princess Morag felt kind of expectant about 2013 (but not in the same way as she was at the beginning of 2007 and 2008!).  She felt as if God might have a plan for her this year, and she really wanted to know what it was but she seemed to still be in a season of waiting so she memorised the following verse

" I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5.

Part of this new year process was also a consideration of what an appropriate word of the year might be.  The princess pondered, and then there was a whisper of a word: launch.  She did not know what this meant, and at first was a little scared because she thought of a rocket launching and that seemed a bit too violent and exciting for her life at this time!  Then she realised that there were other types of launches - like boat launches, which seemed gentler, and book launches which seemed altogether more her style!

Fast forward to the beginning of this month of May, and the Princess is getting tired of waiting and is discouraged in many ways.  She is encouraged by scripture to "laugh at the days to come" (Proverbs 31:25) and to trust that "God shall supply all [her] need" (Philippians 4.19) and then, at last she finds it.  The thing that will fit into her life and her personality and fulfills her hope in his word.

Princess Morag new official role is to bless.  How awesome is that?  And to encourage shopping?  Well, that shouldn't be too hard!  And she now has a role other than mother, which after five years full time feels GOOD.

Check out what the Princess is up to here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good vs real

The Princess read this article today and it got her thinking.  She has spent most of her life trying to be "good" - to please people, to make sure she is liked.  When she was at school, this was somewhat successful.  Her teachers consistently praised her work and seemed to like her.  But this kind of success backfires as it meant that her peers were not so keen on the 'teacher's pet'.  But here is a shout out to all the teachers out there during report-writing season - Princess Morag's almost sole source of self-esteem came from her school reports.  Thirteen years of reading "mature and conscientious" helped her to believe that maybe she did have those characteristics.  However, underneath that mature and conscientious nature Princess Morag really wanted to have fun (but didn't know how).  She was "good" but she wasn't real.  All this time she has been hiding, even from herself.

Friday, April 26, 2013

the longest day

Princess Morag remembers those looooong days (and nights) when the young master and maiden were babies and the feeding and changing and rocking and feeding and changing just never stopped.  This week Sir Rianus and the Princess decided to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary by getting some sort of virus that made them feel quite nauseous.  It's more romantic than it seems as it brought back memories of the first two trips they took together when they were dating.  These trips were far more intimate than they should have been in all the wrong ways!  And feeling sick did make their 'special day' seem never ending!  In fact the whole week has felt that way to Princess Morag as she has continued to experience symptoms and the usual antics of the children seem to increase in irritation value.  There have been cute moments, such as the young maiden bringing her "tuggly toys" to sit beside the Princess and comfort her, but the Princess is hoping that the lingering lurgy, as Sir Rianus coined it, will soon no longer be a feature of their lives.  Let the days be short and merry, not long and nauseated....please!

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." 2 Peter3:8

Friday, April 19, 2013

emotional manna

Sometimes the Princess gets bloated, and thanks to having two babies, in two years, by two c-sections her stomach muscles are not exactly resistant and so she tends to look pregnant when this happens.  Princess Morag also gets emotionally bloated, and when trapped wind or trapped emotions sneak out, it's kind of embarrassing.

Recently Princess Morag has been looking for, and recording the emotional manna of each day.  She suspects that the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert didn't get much indigestion.  Being sustained on the weird new bread that was fresh every morning, they were able to get on with their wandering.  Princess Morag finds her manna in fragments of her day - today the maiden was excitedly blowing bubbles and there was enormous peace in that - a reminder to be still, and know that God is with us.

Princess Morag also received a package today.  The gifts for her children and the words on a page brought laughter, tears, joy, relief and love to her soul.  There is much power in gift-giving, in generosity and the ability to receive.

Princess Morag was also nourished by the artistic creations of her children, inspired by their lack of self-consciousness in  what they were doing and their lightness of heart.  She delighted in their talent and did not think to compare it to anyone else's.

God told the Israelites that they could not store their manna for the next day, except for the day before the Sabbath when they were to collect twice as much.  And so it is with the little things that 'keep us going', they cannot be saved, but they can be treasured.  The little maiden will be one day older tomorrow and soon not so little anymore, but the Princess is trying to trust that there still will be manna, it might look different, but will hopefully be just as sweet to savour on the day it is given.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Safe space

Princess Morag wonders where is your safe space?  Recently the Princess was inspired to create a sensory retreat for her kids in the bottom of their closet.  And the young master caught on with the concept thanks to the Dinosaur Train episode in which Mrs Pteranodon sends all her children away to find a 'calm space'.  When his sister has been crying recently he wants to make her go into the calm space but so far she has resisted his command!

Today Glennon was asking how we can keep our babies safe in this world.  The princess has taken this question to heart since her offspring arrived because from the moment they are conceived a mother's heart is full of anxiety for them. And she knew that her fear could rule their lives and Princess Morag didn't want to live in fear, or her children live in the shadow of it.  It seems to the princess that to be known and loved and accepted are the prerequisites for being able to take reasonable risks.  The princess put herself in a precarious position once when she was a teenager and is thankful that no harm was done to her.  She thinks maybe the people who take risky risks are testing how far they can go, because they want someone to catch them, they are not at all sure that they can count on others; if they come to harm then what does it matter if nobody knows or notices or cares? There is no safe space to turn to.

On the other hand, if there is a safe space, if there is someone who will catch you when you fall, you can try flying and keep trying even if you keep crashing to begin with.  What can be more dangerous than living a life of love?  Where is the safe space you can retreat to when it threatens to crash down on you?

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.  Psalm 16.1

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5. 1-2

Saturday, April 13, 2013

hoping better

Princess Morag gets frustrated with her husband quite often over his pessimism.  And has always thought of herself as an optimist.  But recently she's been struggling with that idea.  Probably because she has been living in a bit of a dark cloud despite the sun shining on her every time she leaves the castle apartment.  She's been reading the bible and considering God's promises to his people.  He seems pretty keen to give them good things.  At the beginning of the year the Princess was trying to hold on fast to those promises, that 2013 would contain good things for her and her family.  Four months later and optimism just doesn't cut it.  She knows what she needs is FAITH.  Whenever she tries to figure out with her little human mind, how things are going to work out - she gets stuck and goes round in unsatisfying circles.  She knows deep down that God is a God of surprises, that he does the unexpected, that he makes a way where there is no way.  So her efforts at foretelling the future are futile and disheartening.  And even the things she hopes for are probably not on the same wavelength as what God is thinking about.  Most of the time her optimism reaches the extent of hoping for a little bit better than the worst case scenario. And when she suspects that God might have bigger plans she gets scared and hides.  So hiding in a back room like the disciples did even after the resurrection, she is waiting for something to happen. And she's struggling to trust that whatever happens whether within the realms of her imagination or not, it will be for the best.

..." a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God". (Hebrews 7.16)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

nurse for the day

Princess Morag has been stressing out lately about what she's supposed to be doing with her days. What is her priority? Today even before events unfolded she stopped tying her thoughts in knots and figured it had to be her children. Sometimes (most of the time) the Princess makes things way more complicated than they need to be. So right now she is holding her feverish four year old with satisfaction because there isn't anything better than snuggling with her daughter even though she does wish for her to be well.

Monday, April 08, 2013

doctor death threats

Healthcare is different in the new realm.  Princess Morag isn't sure she likes it.  Nobody really calls the Princess on the telephone, so it was disturbing to get a call.  And then another call after she ignored the first one.  This is how it goes - the doctor tells the nurse to call, the nurse calls to say the doctor wants to order blood tests, she isn't even very nice about it, the patient is supposed to comply.  The thing is, these are 'routine' blood tests and the Princess isn't feeling very compliant, especially when she knows that it is going to cost her money.  She also feels quite rebellious towards medial professionals in general.  She doesn't always believe that 'doctor knows best'.  What if the doctor has a big ego or is covering his own back or is just trying to make some money?

Due to her ignoring the problem, hoping it would magically go away, the Princess received a letter.  It was quite shocking.  "I informed you that it was necessary to get certain tests done.  I strongly urge you to proceed with this without further delay.  Your neglect in this matter may result in missed diagnosis, resulting in grave consequences, including disability and death."  Princess Morag did not expect such a strongly worded admonishment over a few routine blood tests.  She's still quite unimpressed over the whole matter.  It makes her anxious for a number of reasons - she's rule-breaking by not doing as she was told, the doctor is saying it could be a matter of life and death and she's really a bit scared of dying, and she's embarrassed by the whole thing snowballing into a big deal.  And if she's the 'customer' in this situation, why are they not being more polite?

Princess Morag isn't going to be a 'good patient', it's a rubbish role.  Patient-centred care is a strange myth that is banded around by allied health professionals and completely ignored by most doctors.  Princess Morag knows that she isn't very good at self-care, but she isn't fond of being bullied either.  She's not ill, so she doesn't want to go to the doctor - simples!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

feeling at home

Princess Morag, Sir Rianus and the small people celebrated Easter at the church where the latter three were baptised.  The young master complained that he didn't like that church, as it was too big, Princess Morag was apt to agree.  There were many family members and friends to be visited over the long weekend so returning to the current castle apartment was a relief.  But Princess Morag felt most at home when this morning she was sandwiched between her two children.  The fruit of her womb on either side, she sighed savouring the sense of belonging together before getting ready for the resumption of routine.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

small things, big victories

Princess Morag is having one of those days.  When life is just plain hard.  When doing small things: like eating, and breathing, and driving safely - these are accomplishments.  And doing bigger things that take courage: like making a phone call are victories.  Holding herself together enough not to cry (well, at least in public) takes great effort and getting out of bed required more strength than anyone would know.

Monday, March 04, 2013

maiden wishes

Princess Morag has been pondering what she wishes for her daughter. And concluded that when one thinks of such things, it is not just about the future of her little maiden, it will naturally reflect the things she wishes for herself.  So in the darkness, with her daughter snug beside her, she hoped for these things:

  • that she would know she is loved
  • that she would not fear her own anger or other emotions but accept them for what they are trying to teach her
  • that she would follow God's leading in her life.
Life isn't often like a fairytale, but Princess Morag hopes that her maiden loves the Prince of Peace and King of Kings above all others.

" Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save...Blessed is he whose help in the God of Jacob, whose hope is the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the LORD, who remains faithful forever."  Psalm 146:3-6

Thursday, February 21, 2013

letting go

Princess Morag is trying to let go of something...someONE.  It is hard.  Especially when that someone has been important for so long.  But there is hardly even anything left to let go of.  When she pictured her hand letting go, it was dust that escaped.  The life of what she was holding on to was long gone.  So she is handing that person over to the Lord.  And trying to count all the blessings who are IN her life, and are good.

"You are my Lord, apart from you, I have no good thing."  Psalm 16:2

Monday, February 18, 2013

when "enuf" is enough

Princess Morag remembers a piece of composition she did when she was seven or eight years old.  She does not remember anything about the particular piece of writing except for one word.  She was attempting to use the word 'enough' in a sentence, but was frustrated in the process by the fact that she could not for the life of her remember how to spell the word.  In the end, she purposely chose to spell it phonetically "enuf", because she decided it was more important to finish the story than be stuck on the one word.

When her work was given back to her, and the word spelled correctly in red pen by her teacher, Princess Morag was relieved.  She now had the answer to her frustration, even though she was annoyed that she had not remembered on her own.  She had the answer now....and that was enough!

Somewhere in life along the way following this incident, Princess Morag picked up the idea that purposely making a mistake (even if necessary) was almost criminal.  And to receive correction, was a shameful experience.  This kind of perfectionism is not helpful in any area of life.  It serves only to paralyse and create pain.

The eight year old Princess Morag understood that making a small error (even on purpose) might be necessary in order to finish the story.  She trusted that this error would be corrected and that such correction would be for her instruction, and therefore good.  Is it possible to relearn the faith of a child?

"She obeys no one, she accepts no correction.
 She does not trust in the LORD,
 she does not draw near to her God." (Zephaniah 3:2)

Monday, February 11, 2013


Princess Morag has never mourned an animal before.  When she was a kid her goldfish died, while she was on holiday, so the neighbours bought a new one.  When she found out the story, she kind of wished they hadn't bothered and she doesn't remember when the new one passed on.

But Goldie; this is different.  Goldie greeted her arrival in California 11 years ago with enormous enthusiasm followed by noticeable jealousy that she was no longer the 'girl' in Sir Rianus' life!!  And she chaperoned the Princess and Sir Rianus many a time while they were still courting.  Goldie was a pup until old age caught up with her and she could no longer run and jump without pain.  Although, she did still surprise everyone with a burst of energy when the small ones were running around and she couldn't help but join in with the pups!

It will not be the same without her.  Rest in Peace sweet dog.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

stuff and boxes

There was a motivation - family coming.  There was a deadline - that day.  So Princess Morag finally did something about the boxes of stuff that had been sitting on the coffee table, embarrassingly for the last five months, since they moved in.  "It doesn't have to be perfect" she told herself, "just better than it was".  And it is better than it was.  However, now there are two full boxes, and two empty boxes on top.  But they have been rearranged so it is no longer the first thing you see when you walk in the door, and it does not obscure the view from the kitchen towards the door, so Princess Morag is more able to see people when they walk in.  

The two bags of too-small clothes were swapped with one bag of fit the children/won't fit in the already too full drawers/closets.  And new Valentines' stuff in new Valentines' baskets were given even though last years are still lingering around.  Old stuff, new stuff, too much stuff. 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

fictional friendships

Through her whole life, Princess Morag has sought distraction, solace, companionship and pleasure through reading.  One of her favourite authors from adulthood has helped her to celebrate this particular penchant for fictional community.  Alexander McCall Smith says that it is a "pleasant club to be a member of" when we are "linked by our friendship with a group of fictional people".  So this post is dedicated to Princess Morag's favourite fictional people on the page:

  • Henrietta Hedgehog and the other animals of Greenglades Wood (Susannah Bradley)
  • the girls of the Chalet School (Elinor M Brent Dyer)
  • the inhabitants of Narnia (CS Lewis)
  • Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery)
  • Harry Potter and friends (JK Rowling)
  • the residents of Scotland Street (Alexander McCall Smith)

Please comment below with your favourites.... :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

speaking the truth

Princess Morag's children speak the truth.  Sometimes it's not exactly what you want to hear:  "Mummy, you have a crinkly belly button"!  But Princess Morag knows not to take offense because it wasn't intended to be offensive, it was just an observation.  This is helping the princess to be better at hearing and speaking the truth without attaching judgement to it. Her daughter is not saying that a crinkly belly is a bad thing, it's just a crinkly thing, and that's true.

As they grow up, Princess Morag wants to help her children grow in the godly principle of speaking the truth in love.  Which does mean considering the feelings of the person you are speaking to.  The truth is a very powerful thing, and will sometimes cause offense, so we do have to be careful.  But that is not to say we should hide from it, because then we do not really live, and do not really want the best for those we care about.

"Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church."  (Ephesians 4:14-15, NLT)

a time to dance

Princess Morag has an inner dancer.  She doesn't get out much due to some excruciating self-consciousness.  But when the princess allows her inner dancer to come out, she normally has a lot of fun (along with some anxiety symptoms that sometimes get mixed up with the feelings of fun).  Princess Morag asked for a dance game for the wii for Christmas so that she could dance in the privacy of her own home and have fun without the added adrenaline of an audience.  And it is good.  She is learning to allow herself to be happy and feel like a teenager again (but a happy one, not the fairly angsty one that she was all those years ago).  Princess Morag is not very good at being happy, so this is part of the strategy to get better at it.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.....
a time to mourn and a time to DANCE...."  (Ecclesiastes 3)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

beautiful grief

Princess Morag went to see Les Miserables again last night.  She didn't cry quite as much, but that meant that her vision was better to notice more small details about the film. She was struck by the beauty in the moments of grief.  When Marius was singing 'Empty chairs and empty tables' there was such beauty in his face and voice and tears.  What makes something beautiful? Princess Morag wondered.  And later she wondered if the answer might be when that something is pure, when it is truth, when it is love.  And grief in an odd way celebrates all those things.  It commemorates the good times that were shared with a person, when there was a soul connection with someone, when there was love.  And in the words of another song at the end of the musical "to love another person is to see the face of God".

It is in losing something or in longing for something that we appreciate its value.  So sometimes grief for something one has never had is a gift more than instant gratification would be.  Does Eponine know how much Marius' love is worth in her unrequited relationship more than Cosette knows it in its fulilment?  Princess Morag's heart has always echoed much more in 'On my own' than 'A heart full of love'.  She knows what it is to recognise when the love she has longed for is not possible and to grieve for it; to be counted upon by the one she loves and longs for, but be simultaneously overlooked.

Loving someone who doesn't love us back in the way we want hurts, but it makes us cry out to the author of love, and in our pain and grief there is somehow beauty - it is God's promise to us:

"to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes" Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

magical mess

Princess Morag is tired: hoping-she-isn't-sick tired.  So she was quite dismayed that the children's room had toys strewn all over the place and really really wished their was a more magical way to tidy the mess than physically picking it up herself.  She had attempted to create a sense of responsibility in her offspring and threatened to throw away the toys if they weren't picked up.  Today this did not have the desired motivational effect.  Instead of hurriedly picking up, her five year old declared himself whinily "tired" and when her angry outburst obviously made the whole situation much worse, Princess Morag resorted to giving up and comforting the boy with the tired tantrum wishing that she had a house elf to save the day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

clickity clack

click, click, click....It's the cyber equivalent of hitting her head off a wall, and Princess Morag knows that but figures her fingers won't bruise from the mouse but her head probably would on the wall.  She knows that the connection she craves is not going to be found through the mindless clicking but it is hard to pull herself away from the screen.  It is easy to get confused since so many spiritual resources are now located on the computer - her daily devotional in her email inbox, the biblegateway website: every version at the click of a button, and various Christian bloggers inspire and encourage her regularly.  But still......she clicks and is unsatisfied.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?  Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)

Monday, January 14, 2013

She reigned victorious

Princess Morag wasn't sure about Christmas season 2012.  Forget three wise men, what about three sets of grandparents to deal with!  It went more smoothly than she had feared, and her travel agent duties she discovered, are easier to handle on the phone than the internet.

Visits to the underwater animals, and the dinosaur skeletons seemed to keep everyone, no matter what age, pretty happy!  There were lots of presents given and received, and shopping trips made until the car was brimming on its way back to the middle of nowhere.  The grandparents from afar made the trek to the humble hamlet in the desert and Princess Morag hopes they returned to their green land with a good report.

Receiving visitors from her homeland was something to rejoice when they brought good tidings and treats from whence they came.  However, when it was time for them to leave, they took that refreshment of spirit that came with their voices and familiar way with them, and Princess Morag found herself quite bewildered once again to be living in a place so foreign.  Yet overall, she entered 2013 in a contended spirit and with hope for good things to come.

You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance.  Psalm 65:11 NIV