Monday, 15 June 2015

Carrot, egg, or coffee bean?

Feeding the birds.  Making lasagne.  The bright coppery-red swamp cypress tree in the field just down from me.  All these things put a bright spark in my day.  I'm so grateful for them because it's little things like these which have really kept me going lately.  No matter how hopeless I have felt, no matter how dark and endless the tunnel may seem, there's nothing like an endearingly tubby sparrow hopping around on your deck to raise a smile, or a trio of stunning rosellas stripping seed pods right outside your window to make you feel blessed.

Has it really been two weeks since I last wrote?  So much has happened and for the first time ever I am completely unable to write about it.  I don't think I could find the words anyway.  Trust me, you're not missing anything exciting!  I wish you were.  But for once it isn't about money.  And I'm not ill.  Even so, the curveball which life has suddenly seen fit to throw my way has this time hit me fair and square in the stomach and knocked the wind right out of me.  Normally a situation like this would send me scuttling off into hibernation, spending days under the duvet indulgently wallowing in gloom and conveniently ignoring the outside world until I felt ready to face it again.  But this time I can't.  This time I have to face things head on.  I have to talk when I don't feel like talking.  Act bright and cheery when I feel like bursting into tears. Make myself productive when I can barely function.  I have to be strong and just thinking about it makes me want to scream.  I'm SICK of being strong! I want a holiday from being bloody strong!  

But right now, right this minute as I'm sitting here spouting off, this story has appeared in front of me. I'd like to thank a lady with a very uncanny sense of timing named Brooke:

Carrot, egg, or coffee bean?

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Well look at that right there.  Lesson for the day.  Jackie Gower you are going to stop whinging right now and be a fabulous water changing coffee bean.  It's a bit of a pain because right before this curveball came and threw itself at me, things were going so well!  I was positive, I was productive, I had things pretty well under control - but even though this current situation has nothing to do with money, indirectly it still does. Because when you get knocked for six, or undergo any sudden shock or trauma or change in circumstances, things can slide very quickly.  Life has a habit of going on around you even if you're not functioning yourself.  Bills still come out and at the same time your judgement is impaired, or you feel so low you develop a bit of a 'devil may care' attitude about money.  It's a pretty dangerous combination for your finances, a lot of damage can be done in a short time while you're completely oblivious and I have to try and get myself back on track and hold things together somehow before that happens.  The next month is absolutely vital because my interest-only period on my home loan has now ended, my interest rate is about to change and the bank manager is going to want to see me to discuss how things are going and what I want to do.  And right now, I have no flipping idea.  My ex-husband advised me the other day to 'keep treading water for a few more months' and whilst it's not ideal, I think it's probably all I can do.

But even though I might sound like a whinging old hag right now, there are still some wonderful things going on.  I've found it hard to write any blogs because I haven't been able to talk about what is going on but instead I have immersed myself in writing my first e-book and I am enjoying every minute.  It started off as one thing and seems to have sort of morphed into something completely different but I am loving every spare moment spent of writing it.  It is a very different side of me than you will have seen before but I hope you will enjoy it.  Watch this space, it's growing fast!

And on another cheery note, Liam the big fella is home from uni for a month!  It is so lovely to have him back, particularly this new, improved version!  This version can cook, do the dishes, clean up after himself - all the things I had tried to get him to do for 18 years previously and failed!  It's brilliant, I don't have to lift a finger!  Joking aside though, it truly is wonderful to see him so happy and we're all loving having him home.  Savvy chap that he is, he's just changed uni rooms from the single studio he was in to a flat with two other mates, knocking what could work out to be as much as a couple of grand off his accommodation fees over the next six months.  Amazing how resourceful one can be when needs must!


  1. My goodness. Liam is a splitting image of his dad!

  2. Haha yes he certainly is :) I think I may have finally learned how to reply to comments on this thing! Fingers crossed you can see it!

  3. An excellent metaphor on life!. Good article. Hope your e-book goes well.

  4. Very nice post, impressive. its quite different from other posts. Thanks for sharing.
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  5. Best part is that you're supporting real life! Shifting my way to The Coffee Bean! :D coffee shop