BY Amanda

05/01 Direct Link
A picture might "paint a thousand words" as the song suggests, but words, if used properly, can paint the most amazing pictures. The written word, in the absence of visual cues can be an amazingly unique and intimiate experience that transports us to a place within our imagination where no one else can go. A conversation with someone can inspire, empower and encourage, or conversely devestate and destroy the listener. The responsibility we have should never be underestimated. Am I a builder or a wrecker? Do I inspire or devestate? Such are the unique power of words.
05/02 Direct Link
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are not some of my favourite things, but I have many others. Each time I write I realise how lucky I am. I have so much, I am so blessed! An attitude of gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to ensure happiness. We can focus on what we have, or what we don't have. One promotes happiness, the other sadness. It is not possible to focus on both at the same time. The choice is ours, as are the consequences. The way I handle my challenges and difficulties defines my character.
05/03 Direct Link
It may sound simplistic but to a large degree, I am who I choose to be. I have the remote control for my life and my emotions. Every now and again there are unguarded moments when I hand that over to someone else and let them influence who I am . Luckily I have wonderful friends who inspire and encourage, on those occasions, letting them in is really positive. On other occasions, when I let someone elses anger affect my mood, when I rise to the bait, then it isn't positive and I pay the price. But its my remote control.
05/04 Direct Link
So, what are some of the things I choose to be thankful for?

I am thankful I can see. 

The view from the top of the hill as I drive down to work always makes me smile, as I drive home I'm often entranced by beautiful blue skies, stunning cloud formations tinged with the greys, oranges and pinks of the setting sun. I live in a land with breathtaking views, stunning sunsets, and magnificent oceans. I'm blessed to see the delicate formation of flower petals and the industry of insects as they scurry along oblivious to my presence.
05/05 Direct Link
I am thankful I can hear.

Not only am I blessed to see the smiles on my grandchildren's faces, but there is no other sound that is as infectious as them giggling. One cannot help but smile and feel gladdened.

I'm thankful to lie snugly in bed and listen to the wind howl through the trees, the rain on the roof and the birds sing.

I'm thankful I can hear my conversations with friends, and that I can hear my children tell me they love me.

And, I'm so thankful for music.

Yes, I'm very grateful I can hear.
05/06 Direct Link
Who can walk down Rundle Mall and not be seduced by the smell of freshly baked cookies in David Jones?

Bouquets would be sadly lacking if one could not smell the delicate fragrance of a rose, the heady smell of jasmine on my neighbours fence, or the chrysanthemum pinned to my dress on mother's day. Christmas would not seem the same without the smell of cinnamon and pine needles.

Freshly baked bread, bacon sizzling in the pan, the vinegar on my chips that makes my mouth water even before I taste them.

Yes, I am very thankful I can smell. 
05/07 Direct Link

Anyone who looks at me would instantly know that food and I are friends! I became more aware of this when I realized that I had basically described my recent holiday in terms of the things I'd eaten. I eventually rewrote my entries so they were more truly reflective. So, it comes as no surprise that I'm grateful I can taste.

How sad it would be if we couldn't taste food. Imagine biting into a delectable feast and tasting....nothing, the disappointment of being tantalized by the smell but then not being able to taste.

05/08 Direct Link

They were going down the road tonight towing his car when the other cars stopped suddenly in front of them. As they braked the trailer fishtailed violently before jacknifing and propelling the towed car into a tree. After seeing his life flash before him, he stopped, took a deep breath and thankfully realized that while he was a little shaken, he was okay. The driver was unhurt and there was mercifully minimal damage to the car. So, today, I am overwhelmingly grateful that my son is safe and well. I am thankful for my precious family!

05/09 Direct Link
No entry about the things I am thankful for would be complete without mentioning my friends. They are such an incredible blessing in my life. God does answer prayers but it is usually through another person. In my case, He has been overly generous when blessing me with friends. Those special people in my life, whom I am closer with than my own family have a profound impact on my life. Those friendships are sacred and eternal. They inspire, encourage, comfort and advise. They mourn when I mourn and rejoice when I rejoice. I'm very, very thankful for my friends.
05/10 Direct Link
I'm thankful I live today. A hundred years ago I'd probably have died about 10 years ago. My eyesight has been poor since I was a child, so I'd have spent most of my life significantly disabled. A hundred years ago women were treated little better than slaves. There was no electricity, which means no airconditioning, no ice, no washing machines, and heaven forbid, no hair dryers! There were no innerspring mattresses and very few creature comforts, and no Fruchocs!! There was however an abundance of fleas, diseases, premature deaths, malnutrition, body odour and bad breath. 2010 isn't so bad!
05/11 Direct Link
Whenever I get on public transport, it is like an invisible sign appears above my head that reads "if you smell, are demented, or lonely, please come and sit next to me. Please tell me everything about yourself in minute details. Please feel free to belch, pass wind and violate any other boundary of personal decency that I might hold dear." I've seen drunk cut off the tops of their fingers, been spat at, groped, verbally abused, trod on and felt nauseated by the overpowering stench of body odour and bad breath. So, I'm thankful I have a car. 
05/12 Direct Link

Even though its hard work and stressful at times, I'm really thankful that I'm able to study. There are so many places in the world today where people are just struggling to survive; they don't even have a basic education, never mind being able to study at university level. I learn new concepts all the time. I understand myself better each time I finish a subject (which is kind of cool when you are studying psychology) and each day there is a new challenge and a new perspective. My life is full and rich, stimulating and engaging.

05/13 Direct Link
He comes bounding down the driveway, running around my feet and inbetween my legs; his tail wagging so hard he finds it hard to keep his back legs on the floor. He is beside himself with excitement and happiness.This is the typical scene that greets me when I go to visit Monte, the Maltese terrier. My friend thinks I'm visiting her, but Monte is convinced he's the reason I'm there. From fetching the toy, to the cuddle and eventually settling on my lap to feign sleep, it's an undeviating ritual I'm content to perpetuate.
05/14 Direct Link
I love my office at work. That might seem like an odd statement but I am here a lot. It's filled with memories and love. The photograph I took of Windsor Castle, the pictures of my grandchildren, the vase from Bali (a gift from one of the doctors) holds my whiteboard markers. My business card holder was another gift, as were the flowers, the framed pictures, the stuffed WWF Urangatang and the trophy with the minature kitchen utensils and clock on my filing cabinet. Each one tells a story of kindness and love.
05/15 Direct Link
Today, I'm overtired and grumpy. To be fair, there's a lot of stressful things happening, but they didn't just occur today, and didn't seem as bad yesterday. I don't have enough time for everything that needs to be done urgently and there are some people who are really upsetting me at the moment, but all of that was there yesterday too. The only thing that has really changed is my perception. But today, the thing I'm most grateful for is that its nearly over!  Tomorrow will be different - it always is, and I'll be stronger.
05/16 Direct Link
With a nice, warm bed to crawl into and the healing balm of sleep, the world usually looks a little nicer the next day. Then there's good friends to chat with. A problem shared etc... I said that my list of things I'm thankful for wouldn't be complete without my friends, and this month they've well and truly earned a second mention. I faced a demon head-on yesterday and I'm proud of myself. I was surprisingly calm, even though I had a minor meltdown later, but, with a little help from my friends, I did it! 
05/17 Direct Link
We've worked really hard over the last couple of days to get the house spick and span for an inspection. It looks pristine - well, as pristine as you can reasonably expect with exams looming in a couple of weeks, two children here all weekend and both of us working full time. Anyway, the house is clean and tidy and "feels" lovely. I am very lucky to live here and to have such a lovely home. We inherited an unbelievable mess and it still needs a lot of work, but bit by bit its getting there.
05/18 Direct Link
After a hard days work I had the bright idea of a counter meal. The steak looked good. I thought I'd chewed it properly but I missed a vital and stubborn piece of sinew. I realised this as it lodged in my windpipe cutting off all air entry. After what seemed like an eternity I managed to expel some air projecting the offending piece of meat unceremoniously onto the floor, much to the delight of the inept onlookers who had stood by watching me turn blue! Its amazing how much I take breathing for granted.
05/19 Direct Link
There's a lot going on right now and I don't know how people who don't pray and don't know someone is listening manage to get through the tough times. I'm glad I don't have to find out. It is wonderful to know that I have a Heavenly Father who really knows me and cares about the things that happen to me each day. He cares about how I feel, what I need and what I'm experiencing, and He understands in a way that no one else can. That's amazingly comforting. He hears and answers my prayers on a daily basis.
05/20 Direct Link

I'm thankful that I understand the purpose of life. I know the answers to lifes most puzzling questions - who am I? Why am I here? What happens when I die? There are so many in the world who can't answer those questions, but I know who I am, I know why I'm here, not just alive, but here in Adelaide in 2010, and I know what happens when I die. Some may suggest this is just a belief, but I passed the belief stage many years ago. I have no doubts, its as real as any other fact I know.

05/21 Direct Link
I confess that I am now struggling to find more things that I'm grateful for, and I'm a bit disappointed with myself. I have so much. I live in an amazing country, with freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to pretty much live the way I choose. I have a family that I love and who love me and exceptional friends. I have all the modern conveniences that weren't around years ago, plenty to eat and safe shelter, and I'm struggling to think of new things. But wait, perhaps I just did.
05/22 Direct Link

The network is down and everything has ground to a halt. I can email but I can't save anything to any of the network drives, so I can't even really cull my emails at the moment. Its very frustrating. My first introduction to computers was at school when they gave me some large cardboard cards and I was instructed to colour in the dots so that they could be sent off-site to a huge processing plant. Then we progressed to having a huge room on-site. These days my laptop is completely portable. All great until the system goes down.

05/23 Direct Link
I spoke with a lady today who has recently moved from Venezuela. She has gone from a vibrant, integrated community to Adelaide surburbia. Here the neighbours are reserved rather than inclusive, the children play in back yards, rather than the street, she has a car instead of public transport and her life is very different. She worked fulltime at home but because she still hasn't quite mastered English she's not working. She tends her pot plants and renovates her house to keep herself occupied. I admire her spirit and her determination to succeed. She is quite inspiring.
05/24 Direct Link
As I ring my boss to give her an excuse to leave a meeting early I'm reminded that honesty isn't an exact concept. Am I being dishonest? No, I'm just ringing her, but is it implicit rather than explicit dishonesty? Probably.

When I don't want to hurt someone's feelings and so I tone down how I really feel - is that dishonest? Again, to some degree, possibly, but what good would it serve to be unkind?

I know some who are so brutally honest that they are uncomfortable to be around. I don't think that's admirable, there needs to be balance.
05/25 Direct Link
I struggle with change, particularly imposed change. The hospital is going through a period of "encouraging" us to make more healthy choices with our food. Now, if you really wanted to encourage me, you'd make healthy food competitive in price, portion and appeal to unhealthy food. But perhaps that is too simplistic. Their solution has been to removed pretty much all unhealthy food and charge an absolute fortune for the unhealthy alternatives that are left. Now food is zoned, green for good foods, amber for "not-too-much" and red for "you're-going-straight-to-hell for eating this"
05/26 Direct Link
If I were organized it wouldn't make any difference what they offered at work because I'd bring my own food, and save myself a heap of money in the process. But, as hard as I try I can't seem to get my act together. I start off at the beginning of the week with breakfast and lunch all packed (I never eat breakfast before I leave) but I'm lucky if I make it to Tuesday with the same commitment and by Wednesday its a lost cause and I'm resigned to scowling as I rebelliously enter the red zone once again.
05/27 Direct Link
While I'm on my figurative soap box, who falls for the advertising crap about healthy foods?
Most low fat foods are packed with sugar and most low sugar foods are packed with artificial preservatives and huge amounts of fat. The fruit juice, packaged in its yuppy square bottle has almost as much sugar as my can of soft drink, and most muesli bars are worse than a piece of cake.

I'm really not anti-health, I'd like to enjoy my life for a few more years yet. This is about choice rather than dictatorial compulsion. 
05/28 Direct Link
What a day! I attended court this morning to rescind a bail guarantee for a family member. It was an exceptionally horrible experience. Sitting in a dock with a judge firing questions at me isn't my idea of fun. I don't often feel as if I "fit" these days. I don't drink, don't smoke and try (albeit I fail quite often these days) not to swear. I value honesty and integrity and virtue. The world seems to have gone quite mad. It feels like every man/woman for themselves, without a care for who is hurt along the way. 
05/29 Direct Link
Yesterday started out quite stressfully, but today was better. I feel immensely privileged to be able to study and gain knowledge. To do so in the company of a friend with the same goals was an almost perfect day. I might struggle to fit everything in, but at least when I go to bed I've done my best. I've taken each moment and tried to live it to the full. My hope is that I'm a better person for it and as a result my little corner of the world will be a nicer place to be a part of.
05/30 Direct Link
My 2 year old grandson taught me how to play today. I'm not really very good with children and I worry they will be bored. I never really learned how to play as a child, in fact, it wasn't really allowed. While babies are fine, in fact they are gorgeous, little children frankly scare me and I'm much better as they get older. So, today I learned to blow bubbles, dance with the Wiggles and play unmelodic tunes on the guitar. Perfection was not required, but fun was mandatory. A perfect day, we laughed, played, hugged and ate doughnuts. 
05/31 Direct Link
I feel as if I have blinked and May has evaporated before me. So much has happened. 

I've faced demons and risen stronger because of it. I'm a week away from exams and calmer than I've ever been at this point in the semester (hopefully that doesn't mean I'm about to fail). I've loved, laughed and cried. I've helped others where I could and been the recipient of wonderful kindnesses. 
I've really enjoyed focussing on how blessed I am. I think we take our good fortune way too much for granted.

Its been a good month!