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Small mercies, angels, and my own slice of heaven!

Proudly broadcast by... Love Bytes Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ok, so here's the thing, everybody who reads this and pretty much everyone who walks into our shop, knows that financially, we are up the proverbial creek. Last year was tough, but this year, well, this year we have reached a new level of "toughness", I am thinking that from here on in, I will refer to this year as our Hells Angel year - the year that the tough got tougher, the year that we went to hell and back, and the year also that were Angels on my shoulder sharing with us small mercies along the way that have allowed us to come through it, and retain, what little sanity I still have.

You all know about the "hell" aspect, so I won't bore you by going into that again, instead, I want to focus on the "angels". These angels have come in many shapes and forms; the living, both near and far - namely the likes of the girls at Skout (you know who you are!), and people like the beautiful Miriam at Bubba Chenille, in the spirit form (perhaps this is something I have manufactured as my own way of dealing with things) of my Grandmother whom I just *know* has been sending small messages of support to me to help get me through. I feel her hand on my shoulder (figuratively!) every time I get to the check-out at Coles, needing to buy emergency supplies of toilet paper and sugar and butter, knowing that I only have $29.60 in my bank account and the total comes to $29.56.

I *know* she was there when we discovered at Rainbow Beach a few weeks back that there is no fuel available after 6pm. For sure, she was the one who somehow allowed us to drive the 90kms along the beach to Tewantin, safely, anxiously watching the fuel light the entire way, and allowing us to finally find a service station at 9pm at night! That night was so scary for us - the thought of running out of fuel whilst driving on the beach with our 5 kids in the car, and the tide rising, is not something I want to experience again in a hurry!

A few weeks ago, I was driving the kids down to White Water World to enjoy their final day there before their annual passes expired. I left it late though and had to make a stop at Yatala to pick up some stock for the shop from a supplier there. During the drive along the freeway, I noticed a really cool yellow Jeep directly in front of us. I made particular note of it as I had originally mistaken it for a Hummer, and my kids love Hummers! At one point, I changed lanes and noticed that there was a black commodore to the right of me, the yellow Jeep in front and a red car on my left.

So, I took the exit that we needed to head into Yatala, picked up the stock and upon re-entering the motorway, we discovered that the previously flowing traffic had ground to a complete stop. Cars and trucks were banking up everywhere, with many deciding to pull out and speed along the inside emergency stopping area to get closer to the next exit and off the motorway. We crawled along like this for about 45 minutes, a few metres here, stop, a couple more metres there, stop. I was so frustrated, knowing that the kids would only get about 2 hours at White Water World and lamenting my stupidity of stopping at the supplier on the way there, rather than on the way back. We were only like 2 km away from our destination for Pete's sake! A distance that should have only taken us a few minutes, now dragged out to an hour!

Then, finally, up ahead, I saw the lights of the police cars and the reason for the bottle-neck. There was, of course, an accident. As we neared the accident, my heart literally skipped a beat when I saw a yellow jeep, laying on its side across the middle of the road. In the bushes, turned around so that it was facing the oncoming traffic, was a black commodore. Further ahead, was what was left of a little red hatchback. There were people laying all over the road, and another lady was sitting up, being interviewed by police. Others were still in the cars, awaiting assistance.

This scene, was one that we see frequently when driving up or down the Coast, however, it really hit home this time. EVERY vehicle that had been driving along side of me was totalled. I still am struggling to comprehend what the consequences could have been for our family had I NOT exited to visit our supplier at Yatala. Every one of my babies was in the car with me. Steve was at work that day. Can you imagine if he had've received a phone call telling him that the six people he loves most in the world had been a part of this scene?

THAT day, I KNOW I had an angel looking out for us. I am certain of it.

And whilst I am being all ethereal, I'd like to talk about our shop. It truly is my very own little slice of heaven right now! I have no idea how long we will be able to maintain our store. I am hoping above hope that the angels will continue to carry us in their wings and allow us to keep Ankle Biters open, but if not, at least I have been able to enjoy a Christmas season in our store that is nothing short of beautiful right now!

This is a, erm, "creation" that the kids and I made together & they are hanging from the ceiling, all over our shop!

Our Christmas "tree" - not your traditional tree, that's for sure! I picked it up second-hand from Ebay for about 10 bucks! Not all of the lights work, but it has character!

My display of En Gry & Sif hand-felted Christmas ornaments, looking gorgeous on our little white tree!
Merry Christmas! These gorgeous stick on letters are from Fiona Kate.
Our little white tree again, this time, naked, in our window display and sitting on a very cool storage box by Fiona Kate!
My favourite thing - our Teepee!
Gorgeous, Christmasy, Bubba Chenille...
Our beautiful, recycled timber mirror...
Looking through the glass at one of our window displays...
Another of our window displays...

We chose to forego the traditional star or angel atop of our tree, and went for the next obvious choice, a bright red butterfly, of course! ;)

All the priiitty fings in our shop!

And so, whilst I am counting my lucky stars that I have managed to be sheilded by angels through-out this very crappy year, and that I even have my very own little piece of heaven in the Ankle Biters store, I am also now hoping that the angel will visit us once again, this time in the form of the accounts department of Qld Electricity.

I have made a decision, when faced with a moral dilemma, that we would not pay our very overdue electricity bill this fortnight, as Christmas is looming and we have yet to buy our kids even one gift between them. We have had a Wii on lay-by for sometime now but haven't yet made any payments on it. So, with tomorrow bringing us our final pay day before Christmas, I am hoping that my choice to pay off the lay-by in place of paying our electricity bill will not result in our being without electricity come Christmas day. Wouldn't that be fun? A brand new Wii and no electricity to play it! Eeek!

I am sitting here right now, staring at an unopened envelope in front of me from Qld Electricity. I have been procrastinating on opening it all day. So, now, we can collectively open it together...
....Hmmmm, I am so wishing I hadn't done that - "It is essential that you pay your overdue bill by 18 Dec 2009 so we can continue supplying energy to you. If you are experiencing financial hardship, and cannot pay the outstanding $728.63 within 48 hours, please phone this number."

Ok, so guess what I am doing tomorrow morning? Let's hope I have one of those angels with me, in some form or another. It IS Christmas afterall, I only hope that I can convince them of it. If you don't see a blog post from me in the next fortnight, you know why!

And here's the silver lining - at least we can take the kids to our shop, and use the Wii there if worse comes to the worst, as our Electricity is included in our rent for the shop and it won't be disconnected! :) And, thanks to the generosity of the awesome members of Skout, and Chrisco Hampers, our pantry is brimming with Christmas goodies that will ensure that our Christmas lunch is a yummy one!

So, whilst we are spreading the Christmas cheer, here is a shot of Keegan and Zali who were bestowed with the honour of placing the star on our tree at home this year:

At the beginning of this post is a pic of a little felt angel ornament that we have in store. She looks so content, and simple and unassuming, and seemingly at peace. She is the metaphor for what I hope our life becomes next year - content, simple, unassuming, and peaceful. I am hoping that next year, is the beginning of a new wave of happiness for our family, a year of peace, and small mercies, and one that allows us to heal the affects of the "hell" component that we have lived through this year.

My family and I have our fingers and toes crossed that next year will become our "Angel" year (sans the "Hell" prefix), and that we can put this "Annus Horribilus" (thanks to the Queen for that term!) behind us. With 7 people, 4 chooks and 1 dog in our house, that makes for a lot of fingers and toes, so here's hoping. .... and if we can start the year with electricity to our home, well, I for one, will be taking that as a sign that our angel is at work and that good things will abound in 2010!
We are also crossing our digits for our friends in the Bolt family too. As of tomorrow, a selfless, hard-working couple and their 9 children will be officially homeless. It seems as though their angels are holding back for some reason, but they need their help NOW. If anyone can do anything to assist them, please don't hesitate to offer it. You can read their story on Cate Bolt's Blog. , but be prepared for tears, it is a tough one to swallow.

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