Two RoadsDuring our life journey we come to many cross roads.
Sometimes it is easy to make the decision as to which one to take.
Other times the selection can be rather confusing.
Clarity is often not as great as we would like and we have to take risks.
Jump into the unknown.
Scary stuff!

It’s very scary at times not to be able to see the end of the path we are on.
In fact if we could I am sure we would retreat fast!!
My journey came to an abrupt crossroad on February 18th 2013.
It was like I’d hit ahandheld-stop-signsign – smack in front of me.

I crashed straight into it.
I lay in the middle of the road reeling from the shock.

With my classic PTSD responses I did several things.
I fled, hid, retreated to my sanctuary – my bed.
I froze, time stood still and the world carried on in a whirl around me.
I fought.
I fought so bloody hard.
I exhausted myself.
I was a ball of confusion as I processed it all.

The journey from then on has been incredibly tenuous.
Lots of ruts and complications along the way.
But as my friend Bob encourages I have been slowly turning my vision toward living.
I cast my eyes back and see the roads of my journey weaving, looping, converging, but none of them straight.
Along those roads I have experienced more pain than I could’ve ever thought imaginable, I have learned more than I could’ve ever conceived.

A dear friend just sent me this message today, it touched my heart so deeply that I need to share it here.
“For some, suddenly they find themselves on a road that is not of their choosing, a road unknown they must travel alone. They travel naked, no suitcase of preparation to hand, constantly assailed by travelers offering garments that are ill fitting and uncomfortable.  Attending to those who join them then leave, turning back to their “place” Having no “place”. Eyes set on the path with no end in sight, and no sight to see, eyes in the back of their head their only vision, looking back, looking back, looking back, then suddenly traveling, walking on alone. When does this road not of ones choosing open out to something more?  When warriors walk it.  Walk on Raewyn I have utmost love respect and admiration for you. Your Tim would be just so proud of you.”

I am now standing at a new cross roads.
One where I am feeling exhilarated, excited, and energised.
Exciting to venture out into the unknown.
I am standing strong, displaying all my scars with attitude.
Completely unafraid – well almost 😉
I am becoming healthier emotionally and physically and mentally.
Tim was right.
He said I could do it and I am.
Rest easy my love.
I am OK!
I am a warrior!
A warrior princess embarking along a new road – one that I have not traveled before.
And it feels so right 🙂


Uber exciting stuff!!

My past week has held so much excitement I can barely contain myself.
I have made some wonderful connections.
All have been totally unplanned.
They have all been so empowering, so strengthening, so encouraging.
There is something wonderful about connections between women of kindred spirit.
The gelling is so uber cool.
As most close to me are probably aware, I am passionate about working with sexual assault and abuse victims.
As a survivor of sexual abuse, and a crisis support worker for victims of sexual assault these connections have been incredibly moving and very very inspiring.

My first encounter was when I had the privilege to attend a forum which my daughter and her husband were speaking.
I slightly selfishly just wanted to go to hear my family speak, but I was blown out of the water completely by the content from all speakers.
It was an absolutely brilliant evening.
The event was to raise funds for Amie Paulet from The Collab Nation  to travel to Bangladesh as part of her/the work that will see them partnering alongside women in the garment industry in Bangladesh.
Amie hosted and prompted responses from the panelists creating raw real conversation around sustainable and ethical business in today’s world.
On its own it was incredibly inspiring.

But my excitement came from discovering women at the gathering connected to Bridge The Gap Project.
Emily was wearing a stunning very individual jacket which of course my mixed media eye was immediately drawn to.
I was keen to hear more about what was behind these art works and Emily happily filled me in on the work of Amanda Betts.
The work is diverse in nature but ultimately is supporting youth at risk and sexual abuse victims, empowering them in an enriching & creative way.
The back of this jacket rocked my soul – loved it so much 🙂
You can see two of the jackets being worn in centre of this photo.
Each item of clothing is created by or for the person and tells their story in such a beautiful way.
And they get to wear it.
It empowers them, helps them to grow above their abuse etc, helps them stand tall and strong.
After the forum was over I discovered the woman behind me was the one who was creating these jackets.
Sera has put her own label Selector Clothing on hold for a wee while to help with this project.
An awesome women, such a privilege to meet her.
We had such a great connection, initiating an ongoing friendship.
The lighting wasn’t great but we got some photos before the night ended.
Amie, Sunniva and two of their tribe
Sunniva and her proud mother xxxx

The next day I flew home, landed running.
Straight back into life in the fast lane.
My 10 days holiday was quickly on the other side of the horizon!

I was invited to two events over the next two evenings.
The first was to reveal a friends AC Cobra which he has been building for past 30 years!
Needless to say it was a wonderful evening.
I even got to sit in the drivers seat!img_1151
Now I know that the car is amazing, but I am not a petrol head so my enjoyment during the evening was connecting with a new friend.
We had such a great time, coffee dates have been planned.

Then the following day I was on the pager for work.
I had a pre-scheduled client to support through her L3 Police interviews.
I was slightly daunted as the little I had been told prior sounded a bit too close to my personal story.
Wasn’t too sure how I would deal with it, if I would trigger in any way.
But I put my professional hat on and fronted up at 8:30 ready to do my job.
I was blown away.
She was an amazing, strong, empowered, woman, and once again we connected on a very meaningful level.
Often in my work the clients are so damaged that it is emotionally draining, but this time it was so positive.
She was working through her healing journey, knew what she had to do and she did it and she did it damned fine!
So proud of her.
Her attitude uplifted me so much.

Then that evening I took two of my team mates and drove out to Motueka to hear Louise Nicholas speak.
Motueka SASH had invited her and there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity.
I told my pager to be very quiet, I didn’t want to miss a thing!!

Louise stood and quietly told her story.
I have read her book. Seen the movie. Watch ‘The Louise Nicholas Story’ here if you haven’t already see it.
I know her story too well.
But to hear Louise tell it in person moved me to tears.
Louise is a beautiful woman.
I really respected the way she relayed her message.
She taught me such a lot.
She has always had my utmost respect.
But after this she has my heart.
This woman has mana.
She is lovely, she is awesome, she is – just Louise.
I was rapt to talk with her afterwards, looking forward to a coffee date next time we meet.
Cant beat those coffee dates 🙂

And that was the culmination of 48 hours of amazing connections.
Just so buzzy about it all.
The excitement comes from seeing so many positive happenings coming from such crappy stuff.
Looking forward to see where the future takes me in all of this.

Soul restoring


Life’s noise is deafening at times.

Overwhelmingly so in fact.

To have an opportunity to remove myself from the noise is rare.

It is also incredibly scarey because I had to leave behind responsibilities.

Many responsibilities.

I had to trust.

Trust that my world would not fall to pieces without me.

Trust that the ones who needed to would step up.

I walked out, stepped out, with not just a little trepidation…..

and trusted.

And they have stepped up.

And the world hasn’t fallen over, or stopped without me.

And I have stopped, and found a small corner of another world that has granted me time – and peace.

Such a quiet, healing place.

A place where I have no history.

A place where I can just be.

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You are Special


With around 10 suicides a week in New Zealand, the highest rate being in our Kiwi youth aged 15-24, it seems that it has almost hit epidemic numbers. As well as this, intentional self harming injuries have brought over 2500 admissions to our hospitals each year.

It has been personally confronting to be to be dealing with these issues first hand on the home front and in our close community over past months.

For my/our generations these behaviors are almost bewildering. We struggle to understand the ‘why’ behind our kids feeling the need to harm themselves, or comprehend the distress which our modern lives have left our kids with no where to go except to end their pain with such finality.

Several months ago when I was buried  by the overwhelming distress of dealing with teen depression and anxiety I received an email announcing a seminar which sounded very interesting. I did some research and decided to sign up for it. I was doubly fortunate when my work decided to assist me to attend. I’d originally wanted to go for myself personally to learn to help my own kids, but was soon being confronted with these issues at work so signed up wearing several hats.

Then earlier this week I received a devastating message that a friend’s son had ended his life. This news just gut smacked me. I felt sick, numb, and so much grief for his family. I know what it’s like to deal with sudden traumatic death. I’ve walked that journey. It’s so bloody hard. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. I know now nearly 4 years on that there is light, there is healing, that there is no forgetting the pain but we become stronger & bigger than the pain.

But this is the very beginning of his family’s journey and the pain is huge, overwhelmingly immense. No words can make any sense of their loss. Like me and mine, they just need love, wordless love and the allowance to grieve as they want for as long as they need.

Today I attended the seminar. It was very timely. Because everything was so raw and immediate I gained way more from it.

Dr Kirsten Davis, a clinical psychologist from Auckland spoke on ‘Managing Risk in Young People’. It was one of the best seminars I’ve attended. She taught us about effective assessment and therapeutic strategies for suicidal and self-harm behavior. She was an excellent presenter, using stories that were real and relatable. We did a lot of role play to reinforce our learning.

I was encouraged to learn that many of the strategies I had instinctively employed recently were actually ones she was teaching us. I can now build on those in the future with the information gleaned from her experiences.

Ultimately we all need to be heard and our emotions validated.  We all need to feel special.  We have to stop being too busy. Go hug your child. Focus on the person in front of you. Let them see you are really listening, that you do care enough. Build hope, nurture dreams. Open communication lines, listen – really listen. And don’t be afraid to talk about suicide & selfharming.  Stop allowing them to be the elephants in the room. Honest and open discussion can allow them leave of absence by helping our young people learn new ways to alleviate their distress.



My Canvas

A satisfying morning.
Began with an early cardio session at the gym.
Followed by a planting session in the garden.
Last weekend I had acquired quite a few more hellebore and some grape hyacinths which I was over the moon about as they have been rather hard to find.
I had an hour up my sleeve plus there was rain forecast so I decided to plant them.
When I planned this garden I had not thought of hellebore but I am so delighted to have gathered such a wonderful selection – they should be absolutely beautiful next season.
I have surrounded the young weeping maple with them so the colour contrast should be stunning.img_0579
I spread the grape hyacinths into three areas and as there were a lot of teeny tiny bulbs in each container I should have a heap to move around next year.
Now grow my darlings, grow.
Grow strong and grow gorgeous and grow colourful.
I love my little kiwi 🙂
He looks so at home amongst the Chatham Island Forget-Me-Nots which are flowering beautifully.
They are doing so well I bought a few more 🙂img_0582
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I must find a neater way to leave my hose, but we haven’t had enough rain over the past months to allow me to put it away.
I guess once the gardens get more established I won’t need to water them as much.

My front door – so pleased with the hanging fuchsia baskets.
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And this wonderful splash of brightness below them.

I’ve also had some fun pruning back the lemon tree.
Unfortunately this area seems prone to scale on the citrus trees and I need to give this wonderful gnarly old thing another spray as it is covered in it again.
It was a good reason to thin out the branches again though as it had really bounced back from my initial pruning session.
It was very pleasing to see some new growth on this abutilon.
I was given it a few months ago and had to cut it back really hard to fit it in my car and I thought I might have killed it.
But this is very promising 🙂
And over in the back corner some Choisya ternata is doing very well.

I’m not one that wants to spend all my time in the garden working.
But I have been enjoying the planning and the landscaping.
I’m wanting to create a garden fitting the age and style of the house.
Ultimately it is helping to restore my soul.
Filling my artistic needs as I use it as my canvas.
Most of the plants I am choosing to plant have a special place in my heart.

“He Walks With Me (In The Garden)”
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The son of God discloses.

And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

He speaks and the sound of his voice is so sweet
The birds hush their singing
And the melody that he gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

I’d stay in the garden with him
Though the night around me is falling
But He bids me go through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling…

Knowing I Will Be OK


I have experienced a LOT of internal confusion and debate over the past 3 years & nine months as to how my future is going to pan out.
I know firsthand that life is incredibly tenuous.
For a long time I have felt uneasy and scared as to what my future might be like.

But I have finally reached a place.
Turned a new page.
A blank, clean page.
I have a freshly sharpened pencil.
I am about to begin writing a new chapter.

It is actually rather exciting to be embarking on a different journey.
It has taken me a long while to bury the hopes and dreams from my past life.
I have had to work through the grief of the loss of all of those.
It has not been easy but it has been a journey of healing and learning and discovery.

I now have the beginnings of new dreams and new ideas and new hopes………
Life is awesome and it is going to be even more awesome.
I am happy.
The darkness has lifted.
A new day is dawning.
I have absolutely no idea where it is going to take me but actually I don’t really care.
I just know
I. Will. Be. Okay.img_0272

Self care

Since I have moved to town and begun working with vulnerable & abused women I have been introduced to the notion of self care.
In our training we were taught that self care is vitally important.
After so many years of putting myself and my needs second, or third – actually probably more than 12th in line this was sort of a new concept for me.

I have spent so many years being strong, the one that everyone depends on, the one that gets things done, the busy one.
I didn’t realise until about 5.5 years ago when my brain said enough and I had a major breakdown.
I had no idea what was happening to me until a friend asked me a question.
Do you think you might be depressed?
Seriously  – me depressed!
I dont ‘do’ depressed!
I haven’t got time for that nonsense :-/
But, her question & concern stopped me in my tracks and I took the plunge and went to my Dr.
That in itself was a major exercise at the time.
Anyway, the upshot was, for the first time in my entire life I was able to tell someone about the extensive sexual and emotional abuse I endured for over 10 years of my childhood.
And from there I began my healing.
It has not been easy, it is never easy to open old and deep wounds and expose them.
In fact it is very scary.
I was, and am, a mother of many, and a wife, running businesses alongside my man.
Life was busy.
I had not realised that busyness is one of the ways that abuse victims ‘use’ to ‘forget’ what has happened to them.
Not that you ever ever forget!
Life didn’t get any easy with this disclosure, in fact it got a hell of a lot harder.
My journey of self discovery has been incredibly tumultuous.
I have discovered who my true friends are.
Part of my self preservation has been learning to close the door on those who can’t or won’t support me and to embrace those who can and do.

My therapist has been flabbergasted over the years as one historic trauma after another is disclosed as well as more stress and trauma that has occurred along the way since then.
She commented to me one day that my PTSD was incredibly complex.
I picture my traumas over the years as pieces of string, they have knotted together and through time have wound themselves into a very big ball of string.
Hence the name of this new blog 🙂
I am slowly unraveling and dealing with each piece, unknotting, unraveling,  and using them to weave a new garment.
My new garment is going to be stunningly gorgeous and of course the predominant colour will be Orange 🙂

So back to self care.
For me this has not happened overnight.
It has been quite a journey.
Slowly slowly, baby steps, three steps forward and one back, sometimes it has felt like four back!!

My self care began with mending my mind.
Learning how to process what has happened, how it has affected me and the way I deal with situations and then to relearn new ways, more healthy ways of approaching similar situations.
This takes time and I am ever so grateful to have found a therapist who has worked with me gently over the past 5 years.

Physical rest has also been important.
I have pushed myself for so long, the subconscious need to keep busy to bury everything sort of busy.
When Tim was killed my body stopped.
I was literally unable to do anything but go through the motions.
I stopped cooking, reading, listening to music, art……
I literally shut down and spent most of my time hiding in my room watching brainless movies.

Then I ran away.
I took my two youngest and we ran away.
It really wasn’t a conscious decision.
It just happened, but it was a good happening.
We spent most part of a year on the move.
We had some amazing adventures and did some much needed bonding and healing.
It was a very precious time for us all.
It resulted in us moving to town and away from my most recent pain of losing our main man.

One of the first things I did was to apply for a partially voluntary job with SASH Nelson.
It was pretty daunting applying for the first job in nearly 40 years.
But the cool thing was that I was accepted to be a part of the Crisis Response Team.
Becoming part of the team has played a huge part in my healing journey.
My team mates are the most awesome girls, they have become members of my new Village.
It was through this job that I have learnt much more about the importance of self care.
Plus I am able to help support others because I have an empathy and understanding with them.
And helping them is helping me – win win 🙂

And now to now!
Where am I at now?
Well, I am kickin’ arse.
I am so incredibly proud of myself.
I still have down days, days where the tears rule, where I hit the floor in a sobbing heap.
But those days are less frequent.
I have days where I am incredibly lonely, but I am learning to reach out.
I am in a much stronger headspace.
And being in a stronger headspace has given me the ability to focus on my physical being.
Living in the central city on the flat has allowed me to gradually build up my fitness levels.
Due to a lot of injuries both historic and recent my body has been rather battered so walking has been good therapy.
I have restored my soul by wandering around the river and roads with the puppy, discovering new places and friends.
Recently I felt in the right place & ready, so have joined up with a local gym & pool.
It is 10 years since I did any serious gym work.
I have really enjoyed going down there first thing most mornings and getting a good cardio session going.
The trainers have put together a programme for me in the weights room, and after just a month I am feeling so damn good.
I am not focusing on weight loss, just getting my body toned and functioning again.
Yesterday I was very conscious that all my jeans were getting very loose and quite baggy – not really the look I like – so I popped in to see the girls at JeansWest and they helped me find some new jeans.
Unbelievable – I have gone from size 14 down to size 11.
I haven’t been that size in about 28 years!!
This morning, I am feeling really buzzed from my Vitamin G(ym) fix this morning.
In fact I am feeling frickin’ fantastic  🙂
This self care stuff is actually pretty damn good.