Moments of a Possibly Dying Chic otherwise known as the Adventures of the Last Week of February

What is that smell?

It is my feet.

Hard working people, fun people and people with awesomeness dancing in their soul like Michael Jackson on crack have smelly feet. It is a fact.

Truth is I do not own many pairs of socks. They don’t like us here. I like bare feet. Bare feet and a nice Jimmy Choo do not mix. Neither do Kmart boots. Just saying. Information is information.

Polished floorboards and a soaring roof glide above like a church cathedral, of glass angles and the smell of the ocean is drifting through the wide open doors. It reminds me of my old ballet haunt. My children are laughing at some random joke they made, most likely inappropriate and just out of ear shot. He walks in and kisses me on the cheek, asking how many goals I kicked today. A little warm and fluffy ewok like animal otherwise known as My Dog licks my ankle. My heart gets big. So big it feels like it will take off like hot air balloon right out of my chest and my eyes start to water. It is too bright in here. So much light.




Will it leave?

Will it last?

Maybe that is not an ewok licking your ankle darling maybe its the black dog? He is here to ask you Who Do You Think You Are. You Cant. People Will Say Things. People Will Poke At You. Be Smaller. Cmon Turn Down the Volume on that Light. That Little Light That You Let Shine. No, surely not.




Fear knocked and the door, faith answered, and no one was there. Ah ha, I remembered we aren’t mates anymore.

Gratitude pops in for a cuppa and a squeezey hug. Fear is losing his grip people, he is losing his grip. Fear is a big ogre with nostril hairs so vile Roald Dahl would dry reach. The man has sold millions of copies of books. He would be a great judge.

There is a place we call cuppa snuggles. It is the time when all the ODonnell women folk make a cuppa and jump on my king size bed for gossips and chats, laughter and silly reminiscing. Remember the time Nanna spat her teeth out? What about that time we ransomed the dog for chocolate biscuits?

Sisters Friendship Ideas Imagination Creative Concept

Her and I stand and look at the ocean together and smile, it is happening. It is really happening. We spoke of this, we whispered about this place when we were smaller. When the world was big.



Mum, why can’t you?

I am so sorry, but I am really tired, it has been a big day, and I am a bit dizzy.

You have time for other people, but not me.

No sweet child, if you only you knew. All my love goes to you and your siblings. I do what I do for you. Your smile makes me breathe, and your heart is my treasure to protect. The universe gave you to me, and now I must give me to you. It is written in the stars and in our biology. We have been friends for eons you and me.

When they are so small and tiny they need you; when they are big and independent, they need you. Balancing…on a budget

I haven’t heard from you; you sound really busy. Things must be going well. You must be doing alright if you are in Point Lonsdale now, business is good huh? Its a bit far away from the go-to people in town though isn’t it? Oh well, each to their own.





That is correct.

Is this a hairdresser? We need a hairdresser. I do hope you are useful here.

No, its a social media wordsmith agency of awesomeness.

Least do no harm, that is my motto, this anti-seizure medication will do the trick.

Yes Ok Doc.

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Why am I SO HUNGRY, its the anti-seizure medication. That cow is making my mouth water. What the actual hell is going on? Put down the bacon. I said put down that bacon.

To be fat and live or to be thin and sick? That is the question.

Mum! Dad is going to be pissed, your dog ate his new Yukka plant.

For the love of Jehovah. Eye Twitch.

That bloody dog! Three dogs. Why do we need three dogs?

Its a pack thing. One needs a tribe and a pack. Now we have a pack.

Mum! Dad is going to be cross, your dog just ate his new socks!


The actual pair of glorious cotton foot pockets that matched had now crossed into the abyss of dark matter otherwise known as Kelpie.


I have never felt so inspired, your story, omg your story! I was so scared to put myself out there; now I know I can do it. I know I have to do it. Because my story matters. My story needs to be told, and I understand it isn’t just because its mine, its because it will help someone else, and that’s more important than being stuck in fear. It is about communication and human interaction. Smile. Yes my dear bright and shiny human, it does. You matter. You all matter. So much.

Chairs are pushed in, the looks on faces make my heart swell again. They heard. They felt, and they understood. These beautiful seeking, learning humans.

Planet Spectrum

Fear once knocked on this door but doesn’t any more; he’s gone up the road for a listening ear. He worked out his BS isn’t welcome here anymore.

Mum have I told you today that I love you? Would you like a foot rub?

Yes please favorite child, but first may I make you some pancakes?

Let’s turn up that French jazz music, how groovy is it?

You guys are seriously messed up, and lame. Who listens to Jazz Music and talks like that?

You once did before hormones took over you child.  This one still has at least a years worth of reciprocal love left.

Hey, Dingus, do you need me to get milk on the way home? (Heavens open, choir sings.)

Why am I so tired? I wish that nerve would stop twitching every time I exercise. It makes me nervous.  What if its the aneurysm?

Don’t think about it; it will go away.




It will just pop on you, exploding in your head bigger than the Sydney NYE Fireworks and Y2K back in the day, and Bobs your Uncle you will be standing there looking at yourself wondering what the hell happened and who’s that standing over there? Archangel Gabriel? Wow, you’re much taller than I imagined, Gabe those wings are working for you.

Did you come to meet me personally? What do you mean what am I wearing? I am stuck with this for the Afterlife? No, I did not know that there was a fresh hole in my pants near my… Bikini waxes are so yesterday…

My bad.

You really need to buy some better activewear. You old fave puma trackies and holy t-shirt are so gross. You are not a hot mum. What will you do if you actually die on one of these walks? You know how people are, they won’t stop they will think you are a homeless person. Of THAT ILK, the low brow type. You know what people think of homeless people. Except you and a few good eggs. You know what its like to have no home.

F%$k it, and f$%#, Lorna Jane.

Bikini waxes are out of fashion; bikini waxes are out of fashion.

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Monash University would like to congratulate you on finishing the first part of your certification.

Mindfulness. Breathe in. Breathe Out. I am that I am. This too shall pass. God give me the strength to move through this world and do not harm but to radiate all that is good and pure.

MUUUUUUUM! Do you shop? There is NO FOOD!


We would like you to get on board and donate your time to the cause; we only need you to drive over 6 hours to do it, it will be great for the organization. They need people like you.

My kids need people like me.

No, I do not want to lock the door and put on my sneakers. It’s Tuesday.  What! Is it Saturday? Oh wow, that went quick. Where are those Nikes?

Marlborough Sav Blanc

Tryambakam Yajamahe


Good morning Monday! ALARM SCREECH.

Read More From Ponderings….

Australia You Have Your Very Own ‘Yoda’!

 Over the last 50 years, there have been treasured yet humble contributors to our well-being and health. One such Australian has dedicated his entire life to the discovery, research, and formulations to support our health. He cannot levitate, or throw misbehaving Jedi across the room, he can, however, weave some pretty impressive feats. His name is Des Lardner.

Des LardnerThe beautiful landscape of the Wimmera is the home of Des Lardner’s Headquarters. Amongst the offering of therapies, organic food, consulting, etc. there is a Dark-Field Microscope for live blood viewing in the store. Giving practitioners and patient the ability to view patient’s own red and white blood cells in real time on an LCD screen. Sounds like Star Wars right? Nope, it is right in Horsham Victoria. Build it, and they will come here with people traveling Internationally and Nationally to get assistance. w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 31% of the burden of disease is preventable in Australia. Many Aussies recognize the need for health prevention, and while biological systems have similarities, each of us is very different in our body’s response. It is how we activate the most premium health in our very individual physical makeup that matters. Des Lardner believes that the focus on the history of medicine and reviving old formulas in combination with using more powerful herbs to good effect is a dynamic key to prevention. But more importantly? The knowledge needs imparting to young naturopaths and health professionals. (It screams of Jedi doesn’t it?)

There is a common thread in the diverse field of health that information needs to be hoarded and tucked away, a competitive field of “wellness experts” has instigated this trend. However, not this inspiring alchemist! 2018 presents expansion, Des Lardner, plans to get this lifetime knowledge out to those that need it while taking it to the Digital Space. While the format is still “under wraps” there is a buzz in the air, and it is contagious- (naturally!)

Des Lardner

He is the genius behind the natural herbal colic mixture, renown all over Australia for relieving bubs tums and Mum and Dad’s nerves, later taken up by a leading pharmacy chain. More than 103 products formulated by the dedicated consultant pharmacist and herbalist have hit the shelves. One of his most outstanding achievements was the discovery of 2 novel pain compounds in rose hips while studying his Masters at Sydney University at age 60. Did I mention the word impressive?

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Des now leads an entire team of qualified practitioners specializing in Naturopathy, Herbal Therapy, Sleep Apnoea (accredited services), Iridology, Nutrition, Homeopathy, remedial massage and cranio sacral massage as well as organic produce and products from food to makeup.

For more information about Des Lardner and his amazing use of the “force” for good health  go to:  or jump on Facebook and see:



You Are Not My Guru

Welcome to 2018.

Got a catch-cry thrown in your face yet?

Don’t die with your music in you.

Blah de blah. Pulease.

Ok, sure. Is that because I am filled with 2000 unplayed hits from 1976 to 2017 that have not been amped up? You’ve  heard it before.

People telling other people how to live their lives is not always great. It’s kind of hierarchal and patronizing. It’s kind of like sucking eggs. It’s a little bit of I’m better than you, like Tina Turner in a Bald Man’s Support Group. “I’ve worked out how to have a perfect life, I shall assume yours is worse than mine, so I shall tell you how to live it and you too can be like me.” Heard that old song? Enter Fade to Black Riff and Sinatra’s My Way- LOUD. Unless you are of course a self-help junkie.

Enter the commercial guru. I have news: you need to pay for self-help like a fish needs a bicycle. Good luck with that. It can cost you even more. Unless it’s a super good psychologist, those humans are worth their weight in Peppermint Crisps.

Ponderings Leaderboard

There might be an exception to the telling though. The telling of truths might need an ear. What if, just for a moment, someone had actually seen behind the curtain for a peek, a preview of the matrix and heard the warning call. Perhaps it is like watching everyone around you and you know there is a tsunami about to hit but you don’t tell anyone. You know it like you know how to count your fingers and toes that the water is rising and all of these people may suffer, they are oblivious to the life rafts tucked behind that tree, and you don’t even whisper a “look out.”

Now what? You don’t want to get preachy, you don’t want to tell anyone to suck anything, let alone an egg and yet here the burden of the truth sits in your lap. Quite heavy.

What if that little peek turned everything you ever knew on its head and inside out, leaving you with so many answers to questions and so many questions to answer?

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In the Western world, we are so hypnotized by the social rigmarole of expectation and reward that we sink into the achievement of it like quicksand. By doing this and not paying attention, you can slip.

If you are happy to live that quiet, calm and uneventful life, not noticing, then good for you. The world needs peace, tranquility and comfort. More of it probably. Comfort is the root of all yearnings. Since dwelling in caves, we have sought the soft bed and warm soup, cold water on a hot day, the soothing song of a mother’s love. Comfort is a psychological carrot dangling in front of our eyes. There is nothing wrong with it, so long as the chase for it doesn’t have us blindfolded.

Are you there God? It's me Rod.1

Many of us have a calling. Have you felt it? It sits deep down within us, it’s a path we are called to walk. Who calls it? Maybe that is your journey to discover. That’s not up to anyone to define for you. But it’s there, an intrinsic calling to go your own way. It might be all leading to the day you are at University as a 37-year-old, and you save a young man from being hit by a bus because in 10 years time he comes up with an algorithm saving lives in a hospital. It might be to quietly inspire others to be brave enough to grab onto love or something new. Or you might be a movie director in the wings, burgeoning to changing the world with a documentary up your sleeve. You could be a carpenter, a sheep herder or a mother of 4 and a wife to none. Who knows? You do. Deep down.

Don’t pretend it isn’t there.

It is.

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The problem lies in the lack of attention we pay to that whisper within. Filling one’s life with have-to’s that are mere echoes of our social environment’s expectations is as hypnotic and fulfilling as a hearty Italian lasagne. The essence of self-virtuosity will become a drug. Except for that niggle. It says “there’s more.” You ignore it at your own peril. Sometimes you might even project it onto others as a displaced issue. Because in that virtuous hypnotic everyday ordinary there are rules. Step up, don’t step up too high. Too much, but don’t do too much. Find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry… you get the drift.

For many, a negative health diagnosis brings the questions and answers on, flooding you with insights like that very tsunami. Sometimes it’s a death of a loved one. It can be a tiny peripheral spark of the divine that starts it. It might even be in the bottom of a cereal box. For some, it doesn’t come until the last moment of our stay here, because the music of the world was too loud for us to get our rhythm on. Sometimes it’s an 8-hour operation, and a peek behind the curtain…

Planet Spectrum

The world will tell you not to listen. It will beg you to be a part of its groove. He needs to get a job; he needs to do this, she needs to do that. She did what? Who told you that? Who says so? Find your rhythm and be accountable to it. If you want to live on a pittance and never work a day in your life other than to volunteer feeding the homeless while you live in a caravan on an abandoned building site? Knock yourself out. If you want to go back to university and become a doctor and adopt 150 labradors? Go for it. Or perhaps you want to have a career writing what you love, traveling and playing chess with your kids, baking cakes and selling tyres. Whatever it is, don’t waste that precious time you have here pretending the inner calling isn’t there, hiding from the whispers.

Dance in the quiet as much as you can until you can hear the formation of something. Spending time in solitude can do it. Walking in nature a LOT, or on the beach will do it too. Meditation and chanting are known to assist. Yoga and Tai Chi are rippers. Prayer is the big one. Many different amplifiers will help you hear the whisper. It doesn’t cost you a fortune; you don’t necessarily have to go to India and live with a guru for 28 nights (mind you I have heard it can be quite effective too).

A program on a cruise ship that cost more than a month’s wages with someone yelling at you using NLP and ABC won’t really do all that much in the long term. You have been provided with everything you already need to hear your own whispered tune. It won’t necessarily be an epiphany, it might be the tiniest step, the microscopic pinch of an idea but it will lead to a mighty treasure hunt filled with rewards that lift you up out of the mire and into the truth of everything you are here to do. Pay attention, write it down, be accountable and tap your foot. Watch what happens when it turns into a deafening orchestra.

A whole heap of space matter, minerals, and infinite energy went into creating your existence, so please use it wisely. Take it from someone who’s clock is ticking as loud as the rhythm, it will be worth every bit.

PS-, there are some lifeboats behind that palm tree.



Dear God, it’s me Rod

The final part of my interview with Fr. Rod Bower, we talk heaven, kingdoms, Shakespeare and prophetic wisdom.

Kirsten: So Father Rod, heaven. What is is all about?

Fr. Rod: We get obsessed with the how do we get to heaven thing? It’s become a Christian obsession!

Ultimately Jesus was only essentially concerned with one thing. That’s what he called, ‘Kingdom’. The Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven depending on which gospel you read, and that has nothing to do with the afterlife at all. People make that mistake. He’s a first century Jew; he doesn’t care about the afterlife and what comes with it. We have a system on how to get to Heaven and such, but they don’t.

Kirsten: So, it wasn’t relevant at that time at all.
HealthPost natural supplements and skincare

Fr Rod: It’s become a Christian obsession. It certainly wasn’t in the first century Jew or even possibly the modern Jew. First century Jews had this concept of time, which was the current time we are in,  and the time that is to come. And for them, that was one of the post-Messianic time. They were very caught up in the Messianic stuff. So, the world has a future of being that is different to what it is now, and that is in part only brought about by living it and saying, ‘the kingdom of heaven is here.’ It’s kind of almost here, and you can reach out and touch it, it’s kind of here, but it isn’t yet. So for me, part of that manifestation of the Kingdom is the social ethic stuff and how do we do things? And that’s the big question he’s asking.

Fr. Rod: I’m quite orthodox. I mean what I find with the conservatives who try to drag me down from time to time, is that they have an idea that there’s an orthodox theological line in the sand, you’ve crossed that, and therefore you’re a heretic. Many don’t have a deep questioning of what that particular doctrine REALLY looks like, where it came from, why do we have it, what did that mean in the 3rd century?

Kirsten: Yes, the cultural context of the Bible, do you find that people tend to generalize and they take it for today, and it has nothing to do with today?

Fr. Rod: Oh yes. Take the sexuality debate; it’s a classic example. The modern Bible translates a word as homosexual. It’s not;  you can’t translate that word like that. The whole concept doesn’t exist in the first century. And so people are thumping and turning up on your doorstep with their Bibles open to 1 Corinthians or whatever text they’ve found, and they’ll point and say, look it says ‘Homosexuals.’ And I say, No, it doesn’t!  



Kirsten: Yes,  it’s fascinating that people can take ancient text and wrap their agenda up within it. We’re such complex psychological creatures with so many different layers and levels; it’s a narrative between the line of virtue and excess, I suppose? Jesus was by all accounts a disruptor that challenged the status quo at the time, by asking those questions. I come from a bit of both Anglican-Lutheran hybrid, and in my experience, the Anglican Church can be very stoic and stiff upper lip, in many ways, and we haven’t always seen eye to eye, lol.  You come across as an incredibly warm and engaging person and very progressive. Has this always been a part you or is that something that’s evolved through your career? How have the heck have you gotten away with it?

Fr. Rod: My parents were graziers from country NSW in the Hunter Valley and so I grew up with a very conservative, nominally Christian Country Party environment, and indeed I was very politically conservative for a long time. I know that Tony Abbott referred to me as left wing, as he was wheeled out to counteract what I said about Mr. Dutton. But I certainly would reject that. I certainly am not a left wing. I’m a centrist. I grew up with very conservative beliefs. I remember there was a rejoicing in my family in 1975 when Whitlam was sacked. My father said, ‘if he hadn’t been sacked, the communists would come and take everything and blood would flow in the gutters.’


(Laughs) But I grew up in the Fraser Liberal years, and I became more aware of a centrist conservatism when I was in my early twenties.

Kirsten: Oh wow, that’s very passionate conservatism. So how would you describe yourself now?

Fr. Rod: I’m a fiscal conservative and a social progressive in that sense. My passion for marriage equality is not at all a progressive thing; it’s a very conservative thing.

I think marriage is important.

Kirsten: I have noticed that the message you’ve put across to people is to remember the very fundamentals of Christianity and if you do this, you’ve got the rest sorted out. It looks after itself, doesn’t it?  Hospitality and kindness and you know…

Fr. Rod: Justice!

Kirsten: Yes, justice! So marriage equality, talk to me…

Fr. Rod: Yeah, I have a very conservative view of marriage. I think it’s important; it’s one of the cornerstones of our society. And therefore, it ought to be available to any two adults who want to form a life together because I think it’s good for society.

Kirsten: I know for many leaders in the church you are held to account by your parish, you can’t just suddenly start jumping around changing things up. The church can be very staunch and unchanging and “color within the lines” so to speak in practice. So you must have a wonderful balance of respect from supporters within the Church community for you to be able to live-stream and be the way you are out there in social media- would you say this is true?

Fr. Rod: It’s been a very long evolution, and then you need a long period of creating trust and evolving together in mutual respect, to a point where the congregation can do what we are doing.


Kirsten: When they go, he’s got this?

Fr. Rod:  Yes, but we’ve had a small number of people leave. Over the last 4-5 years, as we become much more vocal on social issues, although we have had many more come. The congregation has grown substantially.  

So I have a congregation that doesn’t blindly follow what I say. They will question, and they will challenge, and they will say, ‘come on, maybe that wasn’t such a great idea.’

Planet Spectrum

Kirsten: Wow, so this means they’re really invested in the Church. That’s wonderful. There’s a relationship there.

Kirsten: So when was the first time you decided to put a sign out the front?

Fr. Rod: June 2013, Dear Christians People Are Gay, Get Over It, Love God.

It went viral and gave us a platform. Our facebook went from 150 to 3000 likes, and we thought that was a lot then! We have weeks of 2 million hits now.

Kirsten: This is both extraordinary and wonderful what made you decide to put that up?

Fr. Rod: It was a specific event, I encountered a gay man and went to give him the last rights. The idea that the family was afraid that I would judge this man, so disturbed me. Their fear of my judgment. I felt I needed to say something about that. It was a watershed moment, and it was a profound moment. It went crazy, and it hasn’t really stopped being crazy.

Kirsten: Your brave move to disrupt and create waves… it takes courage to do that. I am in awe of your bravery, within your backyard and the greater community. It reminds me a little of someone…

Fr. Rod: Well, you know it’s the prophetic voice. A prophetic voice is a disruptive voice. Traditionally in the 8th century, prophets, they were social commentators, they came into town they looked around and said if you keep going down this track, this is where you are going to end up. So it is a disruptive kind of ministry.

For example with refugees, if you keep treating them like this you re going to damage your corporate soul. You can’t do that; you just can’t.

There are three aspects to that kind of prophetic ministry.

1) You have to be prepared to live on the edges of your community, and I do, I live on the edge of the church.

2) You have to be really clear. You can’t prevaricate. You are not the academic that sees both sides of the argument, that’s a different kind of ministry. You have to be entirely clear on what you are saying.

3) You need to be prepared to be outrageous to be heard, and stand out. But it’s not about standing out for yourself. If you do that, you will come crashing down very quickly. The only reason you want to stand out is for the sake of what you are saying.

Kirsten: I think it is so important for religious leaders to do this, as it may encourage other people in positions of power to speak out. Right throughout history, religious leaders have been the social commentators of moral guidance don’t you think?

Fr. Rod: Absolutely. Look right back, to the civil rights movement, Martin Lither King was a, Christian minister, South Africa has Desmond Tutu,  an Anglican bishop, Oscar Romaro Maro, Gandhi… Go back into the anti-slavery movement that came with John Newton’s journey with Amazing Grace, he was an Anglican Priest, there are SO many.  St Francis is another,  hey even the boss himself! There’s a long tradition of the meddlesome clergy. I love a bit of Shakespearian reference. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?


Kirsten: And that dear Ponderers, is how I made a new friend and a new found respect for leaders with beliefs who are brave enough to speak out about moral imbalances and injustice. For it is this attitude and dedication to truth that keeps the balance, provides safety and clears the dark corners from shadows. You see I have come to believe that any areas in this world where power exists has the potential for personal shadows to invade and commit acts that are wrong. When light-bearers speak out and bring the glow to those shadows, goodness has a chance to prosper. Any organization where power exists, be it economic, personal, sexual or cultural there needs to be a leader of light to keep the moral compass firmly in position and help keep people safe.



Girl Boss

A few years ago now, a young writer who worked for an eco-mag got in touch with me to do an interview about my business at the time. When I read the article I was so taken with her work deciding then and there that this was one human to watch. A couple of years later and her journalism degree complete, the young woman who started to emerge was even more talented and dedicated. To put it simply, she is a marketing genius, a social media influencer and fashionista with a pedigree background in fashion and design. She is also the owner of the dynamic Melbourne Social Media. She is a a wordsmith, a sweetheart and a really nice human! I asked Renae recently what it felt like to be a girl boss. She smiled, and said “I hadn’t really thought about myself like that.” Humble and brilliant. Ponderers, I would like you to meet Renae Failla- A Girl Boss! 


I’m 22 and I can officially say that I am a GirlBoss. Funny word it is. Some of you may have heard it, yet, it’s only been in the past couple of years that it has really taken full force. 

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The Urban Dictionary defines a GirlBoss as “A woman in control, taking charge of her own circumstances in work & life. Someone who knows her worth and won’t accept anything less…She is empowering and inspiring to those around her. She kicks ass! A girlboss knows that if you don’t have big dreams and goals, that you’ll end up working really hard for someone who does.”

I didn’t realise years ago but now I can really recognise just how empowering that word is.


From a very young age, I was always drawn into the power of communication and
maybe a slither of the glitz and glamour of the Fashion Industry. The movie Suddenly 30 was released in 2004, I would have been 9 years old. The one thing that I took away from that movie -I wanted to work for a magazine. I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to experience the satisfaction of putting your heart and soul into a physical thing which women, young and old, would buy as an escape from the real world.

I loved to read – in fact, you would regularly find me with the latest version of a fashion magazine reading for hours. I would read cover to cover and run my fingers along the charming graphics and text.

Following this, The Devil Wears Prada came out in 2006. I was 11 year old. This has now become my favourite movie of all time. The drive, passion and determination of both Andy and Miranda motivated me. So I thought to myself I need to stand out from the crowd and I need to take every opportunity head-on! (the movie industry as an influence- who knew?) 

Year 9 was a life-changing year. I met a lady who fuelled my passion and helped me snag an amazing opportunity. She was my English teacher, lets call her Miss D. With her assistance I was offered work experience at Dolly Magazine in Sydney. I assisted with every little thing possible living out my real life The Devil Wears Prada dream, although I must point out that I had a very different experience than Andy.

Getting that working experience helped to evolve my determination even more, fuelling it with a design set out in my mind of what would come next.

I had my life planned out. I was going to finish my University Degree, get a good job and work my way up in the corporate world. I was quite happy with this plan and I was doing just that in a marketing assistant role.

Joseph Campbell said “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us,” I was forced to do this one day when an opportunity came my way that I never dreamt was possible. A lady whom I aspire to and look up to gifted me a business. That business was the product of a successful social media business. No strings were attached only a true belief in me and my writing. That business is now Melbourne Social Media and is one of the things I am most grateful for in my life.

I was told, “I wish that somebody had given me an opportunity like this when I was younger”. I was scared, nervous and excited at the same time but I knew that if I didn’t take it on I would not be living to my fullest potential. And so a piece of advice to all of you young budding dreamers out there, when someone believes in you hold onto that with all of you might because it is one of the greatest things of you will ever experience.

Everyone has a few rare pivotal points in their life. I lived through my two that have made me the person I am today and I can undoubtedly becoming a GirlBoss was the third.

I now work in marketing, alongside growing my new business every waking hour. Who knows what the future holds, but you never find out what the possibilities are unless you step into new spaces!

For more information about Melbourne Social Media visit or email Renae at

Ponder Kindness Part Two

There is nothing I like more than meeting a person who surprises you with a character that is refreshing and far from mundane. This interview with Fr. Rod has created a joyful series of conversations that spark the mind. The most refreshing facet of this man and his beautiful wife Kerry is that even though at times I am sure they fear the backlash that comes with being a messenger, they march on. They march on not because they revel in it. They march on because it is a calling. It is a calling that they cannot ignore. It’s the stuff that your soul emits in unison with your heart so strongly, that to ignore it would be emotionally dishonest. This is why the congregation has grown, this is why many Australians are intrigued and captivated by the message Fr. Rod echoes, its quite simple: compassion and kindness for everyone.  Not everybody agrees. Is it easy? No way. Is it worth it? Absolutely.


Planet Spectrum

This boy from the Hunter Valley, the son of conservative country party graziers is now the voice of many. In Part Two we chat about the lighter things in life; cubby houses, Lucifer, climate change, Netflix and so much more…

Kirsten: Ok, so now I am shifting the subject, but if there’s music that’ll get your foot tapping what would it be?

Fr. Rod: Can you believe I am not a huge music fan? (I audibly gasp) But, if there were one it would be Jazz. And improvised, very highly improvised Jazz. I think the biggest-selling Jazz album ever was Miles Davis and Arlo Guthrie, and they came together and basically just cut this thing like nothing in the day in these jams sessions.
I was actually out having drinks last Thursday night, and the guy at the piano was the guy who composed the music for the Compass documentary, and I asked him if he could play this because he’s a very clever musician. So he started playing it.

Kirsten: Okay, so I ask everyone this question as we always get the most interesting responses. As a child did you like tree houses or cubby houses? What would be your preference?


Rod: I’m a cubby house fan because I don’t like heights.
I can remember, we must’ve bought a new refrigerator or something at one stage when I was little kid. So, I created this cubby house out of it, and I spent a good couple of years in this box.

Kirsten: (Laughs) There you go.

Rod: But I did climb trees from time to time. I’m not fond of heights, though.

Kirsten: If you could meet with your 25-year-old self and give him a piece of advice, what would it be?

Fr. Rod: Don’t drink so much. Don’t waste a lot of time, money, and brain cells and use that money to travel. I kind of regret I didn’t, I should have. I had an opportunity to go overseas when I was 20, and I never did, and I still regret that to this day. I wanted to travel in my late twenties and early thirties.

Kirsten: What made you decide, was there a moment, was it a series of events, which lead you to be in service to God?

Fr. Rod: Well, there was no Damascus road. In fact, it was a long journey of resistance to an insistent call and people sort of encouraged me to be a priest and me agreeing at each step along the process to engage in that. At the same time, I was totally expecting that I’d be rejected by the Church and so I found myself, you know, the day of my ordination, not really understanding how I had got there. And there’s a sense in which I’m still in that process. I’m daring the Church to throw me out.

Kirsten: So I take it you’d have to walk a pretty fine line.

Fr. Rod: Sometimes.

Fr. Rod: While I’m accused of being progressive, I am, I think fairly theologically orthodox and especially regarding patristics in the early Church years. I know I’m not seen as orthodox by contemporary Protestant conservatives, but they’re not really orthodox in terms of the Great Theologians.

Kirsten: But I think too, one of the reasons people find you progressive is because you guys have a real social presence. You are literally streaming online. You’re on Facebook for starters and churches don’t usually have a strong following on social media. This is not your usual stiff upper lip, cause no waves Anglican church!

Fr. Rod: 150 followers is the average for many churches.

Kirsten: Exactly! You’re up front and center, you do it very well, but it’s also the way you explain theology. It’s very friendly, it makes sense, it’s logical, and it’s not stale. People want to listen to you.

Could you tell me a little bit about your passion for climate change?

Fr Rod: Yeah I have to say we have been very focused on the last few years on refugees. It’s taken over a bit of the agenda for obvious reasons, and in more recent times focus has been on the marriage equality debate. I am hoping this will be resolved quickly and we can get on with other things. Note: this interview happened before the wonderful marriage equality results

I mean, the climate is the ultimate question for us, for our generation, my children and my grandchildren’s generation. It’s going to be the defining subject over the next 100 years. It’s the defining ethical subject; it’s the defining scientific and economic question. It’s the new paradigm. We are the economic paradigm in which we have been in for the last 70 years. It’s crumbling after the GFC. We’ve propped it back up again, but it’s crumbling, and the emerging paradigm has to be the environmental and ecological paradigm. It’ll be the new economy.

Kirsten: The new economy?

Fr. Rod: Yes it has to be. It’s farcical to watch the old right clinging to their coal philosophy when even AGL are saying, um no, that’s old, that’s the old we aren’t interested anymore. They know money is in renewables and clean energy! You know we are so close to this renewable technology being introduced, so why on earth would you invest in coal fired?

But there will be ethical and moral questions to ask in this process, and I think this is where theologians need to be.

KM: You are bringing back the cool. Reminding us of why we look to women and men that question everything and bring our ethics and what we stand for to the forefront. Which leads me to this part of my questioning: Why is it seemingly so uncool sometimes to be Christian? I said to someone at a dinner party that it seems to be very zen and modern for people to be Hindi, Buddhist, or even Zoroastrian, Muslim, anything other than Christian. But it seems to be very uncool to be Christian; this seems a bit unfair!

Fr. Rod: Yes they seem to be the flavor don’t they? (Hearty laughter injected from my interviewee)

Fr. Rod: I think the life and teachings of Jesus, has an enormous amount to offer society. The basic doctrines of Christianity are an anchor that we let go of at our peril in that sense because we float off into this sort of nothingness. But I think we can get a bit obsessed with that side of things and not so much on the social ethics.

Kirsten: Outside of all of this theology, as a regular bloke, what do you like to do?

Fr. Rod: I don’t get much time to relax, it’s quite foreign to me! I grew up in an environment where you didn’t take holidays, and so my brain isn’t programmed in that way. Which is not a very healthy. I am not very good at relaxing, I try and take time each day to walk. I am 55 Type 2 Diabetic with high cholesterol, a very typical 55-year-Old Australian male. (more laughter)

I enjoy getting home, after a long hard day and having some cheese and bikkies, a glass of pinot noir; occasionally I get to veg out I will binge watch something on Netflix. I just finished binge-watching Lucifer.

KM: NO WAY! Are you serious? Ok, if you are watching that, I am so watching that! What did you think? (I am shocked, gaping like a goldfish and laughing).

Fr. Rod: Well it was challenging for a while because Lucifer’s Dad- God is portrayed as a very capricious character, very punishing and I was resistant to this! I am like: God’s not like this! He’s not like this! But the more I watched it; I think he is portraying God in a way in which many people see God. And while it made me uncomfortable, and I don’t believe God is like that I had to acknowledge that this is how many view God.


And you know, Lucifer is the devil, and he does kind of challenge in the show this idea of “the devil made me do it” type stuff. He comments that humans make their own choices and actions, his only job is to punish them, he doesn’t make them do anything. Not that I believe in that either, but I have found it challenging, thought-provoking. Its the antithesis of what I believe but it reminded me of how endemic folky religion is in our culture. Because that is what a lot of people believe. I am a Game of Thrones fan.

Kirsten: Now I like you even more. (grinning) This is my all-time favorite series. We actually have a GOT night at our house with friends and eat special dessert. Seriously.

Fr. Rod: I like Tyrion Lannister, he is the archetypical human in that he is carnal, but also has a social ethic, that he actually doesn’t want people to be hurt.

Kirsten: His transformation in the show is pretty entertaining and so complex!

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Fr. Rod: Yes, because he is vested in good, even though he is a drunken fornicator and even a user and abuser of women which I hold to be highly immoral and terrible. But his complexity fascinates me. I enjoy the religious metaphors in the show, the use of faith metaphor because I think that’s quite challenging too. You know, we are in the process of electing a new bishop… (and there might be a few GOT’s comments, as well as Dutton…I am leaving the next 10 minutes out, what gets said off the record stays off the record) (grin inserted).


The conversation continues in Part Three… where we discuss some serious business like Homosexuality, Kingdoms and that Heaven thing people get so hung up about.

Ponder Kindness

For those of you that have followed Ponderings over the last few years, you will know that my preoccupation with faith and the existential self-has been a big part of my life. It has been this dance that has grown into a study of religion and anthropology. I have often shied away from discussing it in more detail in this space because beliefs are so very personal and I don’t want ever to alienate my beautiful tribe of Ponderers. But a certain person came up on my radar that beckoned a bit more, capturing and challenging the hearts of Australia. But I will get to him shortly. Shall we bravely ponder?

In these years of seeking and learning, something has struck me, again and again, and that is how many of the world religions have the same stories, themes and metaphors (just different characters) and many of those involved in spiritual awakenings and happenings outside of themselves, across the globe, across thousands of years are similar. Stories of angels, of burning bushes, Damascus like happenings, wearied souls seeking solace in abandoned places away from people to have spiritual epiphanies, there are countless stories etched into our history.

Planet Spectrum

A few things get me perplexed in thought. Want to hear them? It has always intrigued me how science emerged from the belly of religious study, from humans looking outward and asking “where did we come from?” yet over the centuries science and religion have parted ways- at times fervently in angry opposition. Evolutionists can believe in God, but no one talks about it. Mohammed and Moses apparently both had assistance from Angels called Michel, and Jibrael (Gabriel and Michael -different spellings, but the same dudes with wings) but no-one talks about that connection.

Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern belief structures all over the planet going back thousands of years value much of the same fundamental questions and stories. When I was studying religions from around the world at University, I was gobsmacked. Why? Because in the genesis of these religions: the core sentiments are the same. Houston we have a problem. We argue over the right and wrong of it all. Yet it is marinated in the same concepts. Literally.

It needs to be said that people can also lose faith in those religions when those in higher positions of so-called authority let them down.

Abuse of power within any human organization exists and is destructive. Religion is no different. Some people are drawn to leadership so they can be more powerful than others, this is certainly true. However, the truth is: if you were to study every one of these religions they have episodes of power abuse in every single one of them over the last 3000 years. Why? Because humans are involved. Give me a group of humans and I will show you shades of morality in every degree that all form this human tapestry. The respect for everyone’s belief system falls out of favor at times; others are more PC, and acceptable, wouldn’t you agree? Some are popular, and some are not.


But what about the others? What about the leaders that have a calling to help humanity that is nothing short of inspiring?

The leaders that are not afraid to remind us of our ethics and morals as human beings on this planet? The moral compass bearers that are separate from state and carry the mantle, asking the ‘bigger’ questions about the condition of Humanity? Many of these women and men have spent decades studying the human condition, theology, the aesthetics of human goodness and not- so- goodness. They are often experts in the species we call human’s spiritual evolvement, going back thousands of years. They have that calling.

I first saw Father Rod Bower from the Gosford Anglican Church on Facebook, doing a live church sermon, and I was nothing short of captivated. This enigmatic man was calling for humility, calling for the fundamental rights of human beings to be respected. In Australia, we are quite fervent in our differing beliefs about “boat people” and refugees. The key piece of information people need to remember is according to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our measuring stick on Planet Earth, every human has basic needs, if you don’t meet them, you are in significant strife with the UN and in danger of moral corruption in the worst possible way. Something that Fr. Rod Bower is reminding us about recently, just this week he chained himself to our Prime Minister’s Front Gates in protest against current government actions with The Manus Men.

His flair for troublemaking is exemplary- the Gosford church sign out front takes the traditional messages of faith and turns them on their head. The original one that tickled the Nation’s fancy: Dear Christians, People Are Gay, Get Over It, Love God.

On another particular live stream Fr. Rodd spoke about getting the basics right. If we get the basics right like hospitality and kindness, the rest of human decency will flow and be activated. Like a true scientist, he was unpacking the ideology and examining the pieces. This was not fodder being jammed down one’s mortal throat for salvation, but something more.

It was when an atheist friend and I were discussing this clergyman going viral on Facebook that my friend turned to me and said- that guy makes me want to go to church, he makes me curious. It was at that moment I knew I had to chat with this man. So I traveled up to Gosford to meet with Fr. Rod on a lovely NSW sunny day and what transpired was hours of laughter, thought-provoking and interesting conversation, that I have put together in a 4 part series. I hope you enjoy it. It isn’t always as expected, and it verged on curious.

Kirsten: Father Rod, one thing that has me intrigued is how you contextualize and present your message. You’re a storyteller and a brilliant theologist. I’ve had 3 atheist friends see your stuff on Facebook and have said, ‘that guy would make me want to go to the Church.’

Fr. Rodd: (smiling) We have a lot of atheist followers; or so-called atheists.

Kirsten: The moment you have someone in opposition to your beliefs asking “what has this person got to say?” is a pretty cool moment to have. Have you had non-believers that have become curious about what you teach?

Fr. Rodd: (nodding) I mean we’ve 50,000 or something followers on Facebook. I’d say a good half of them would be, probably more than half would be very least agnostic. There are a couple of very committed atheists who comment regularly. It’s terrific.

I recently spoke at the Atheist and Humanist society at the University of New South Wales. I’m fascinated by atheism. In that, the God that atheists ‘generally speaking’ -have rejected is the same God I reject. I don’t have that God either.

Kirsten: Agreed! (I’m now grinning ear to ear because this conversation is getting awesome).

Fr Rodd: And that’s the version of God that everyone should reject. It’s variations on Zeus, it really is. The idea of God sitting on the Mount, manipulating the affairs of humanity, and most theists believe in that. It’s a concept that’s been justifiably ridiculed. As it should be.

Fr Rodd: It’s a far more sophisticated concept. I just get frustrated with the superficial; I’m not saying atheists are superficial, but there’s a superficial atheism that is Dawkins’s atheism. It just sets up this straw man and knocks it down, and that shouldn’t be atheism.

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Kirsten: Absolutely. I get incredibly excited about current science, and it seems, the more science progresses, the more it seems to prove the source of a divine architect. Or I love it when I read that Einstein and C.S Lewis started out trying to disprove the existence of a “designer” or an “architect” and could not. It hasn’t been done. Just because we don’t have the answers, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Fr. Rodd: Well I’m utterly fascinated by quantum physics.

Kirsten: Me too! (this is the bit where I have to restrain my excitement for the ME TOO moment lol)

Fr. Rodd: Because I think it is where theology and science come together, and it’s where science is almost forced to start to borrow theological language. I mean the big bang theory was first postulated by a Belgian Catholic priest, Father Georges Lemaitre and it almost required the mind of a theologian to come up with that. So that’s where I’ve been fascinated.

Kirsten: I can’t get my head around the fact that so many people do not realize that much of science was born in the church. The separation of science and theology intrigues me. The origins of science began within the Church. It was a man looking at the stars asking ‘where is God?’ that started this journey.

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Fr. Rodd: Yeah. All the great universities started as theological colleges essentially.

Kirsten: So, tell me, how did you go with the Humanist Society?

Fr. Rodd: We had a ball!

Kirsten: Do you get thrown some curve balls?

Fr. Rodd: Well, not really because I’ve thought a lot about that kind of stuff. I sowed the seeds of doubt in the atheism. (smiling)

Kirsten: (Laughs) that is brilliant. What fun. You had answers Father Rodd! You went in prepared lol.

Fr. Rodd: Once you get beyond the superficial atheism and join them in rejecting this, there are other concepts.

Kirsten: What are you reading at the moment?

Fr. Rodd: I’m actually reading a book, by Simon Longstaff from the Ethics Center. It’s just little vignettes on ethics.
Kirsten: So, I take it that you like moral philosophy?

Fr. Rodd: I do like moral philosophy. I think part of the passion I have around some of the social issues, refugees, and climate change come from that passion for social ethics—how do we best live together as human beings?

Part Two of our Conversation Next Week: Lucifer, Game of Thrones and Why First Century Jews got it right. Oh and Dutton, we can’t forget him.

For those who would like to assist in Fr. Rod’s current quest to help go to:

Close The Door Polly and Turn the Kettle Off.

To close the door on energy that does not serve you, and makes you feel less than- is OKAY- I have learned. You see; I was raised to believe that we must forgive everything. Every. Little. Thing. I believe this ideal was forged with good intent. However…

I took it literally and without really understanding what true forgiveness was. What ensued over the course of much of my life was a doormat mentality, often allowing other people to walk all over me often unbeknownst to them I am sure. A lack of respect? Possibly. People only do what they can get away with don’t they? Hmmm. Ponder.  

But it wasn’t because I thought I was less- than. It was because I believed in second, third and fourth chances. Treat other people the way you want to be treated. God knows I am sure I have had bad moments where I have unintentionally mistreated another human. I would hope to heck they would forgive me too. You see my reasoning?

I have always been good at identifying people’s pain. Happy people don’t treat others terribly. So therefore if someone was treating me like sh*t- I empathized, tried to understand and got on with it. To the frustration of others, it seemed.

That is until it started making me sick. Literally. Have you heard the lingo? Dis-ease. When the body is the opposite of ease. The Black Dog loves it, laps it up like mother’s milk and then some. That sneaky little guy sleeping under the table grows into a wolf biting at your carotid artery before you can squeal mercy. It does terrible damage. Because we humans have layers. Like Shrek, and we tuck them deep down for later on. So deep, we can even forget they are there.


Now as a person who has successfully shaken off the wolf, this is not something you want happening, particularly when your life has hit a crossroad of “uh-oh, might not be here for long, better sort my personal baggage stuff out.” Not to mention the fact that there is now NO ROOM for negativity. There is only room for real. For healing. For love. Yeah right. We are human remember? Skin and bone, flesh and faulted. This stuff isn’t like blowing a bubble with a good detergent. This is PURGING people.  

This discovery is where an interesting theory starts to gather potential in your soul. You can sit there and reflect on the “other person” or “People”  “making” you sick. Or you can take a look at the behavior around you and work out if it is heavy, if it is light, what can be learned from the situation and then take responsibility for your space. Then move on.


Because if you don’t, guess what happens? You allow yourself to become a victim. A ‘them’ mentality ensues, and this is very heavy, very unhealthy and unproductive. 

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Who knows who is right and wrong? It doesn’t really matter in the long run. All that matters is that it is no longer compatible to smiling, to laughing and to a lightness of spirit. It is no longer compatible with honesty and reality.  A weakness and degradation can set in, or the worst- being emotionally dishonest with yourself. Where you tell yourself pretty lies to hide the pain, you paint the black scuff marks of your life with glitter paint and call it forgiveness. This can be particularly hypnotic when the forgiveness echoes from a place from long ago. You simply must look after your spiritual and psychological health as much as your teeth, wearing clean clothes or washing your smelly bits.  Not in that particular order either. 

Genuinely unpacking moments and acknowledging them, wishing another human all the best and cutting the chords without negativity takes a lot. It takes personal permission. You aren’t doing anything wrong, wishing lousy health or nastiness on anyone. You are just saying internally and in your heart – goodbye, thanks for the learning, but I can no longer continue to drink this poison. Sometimes you can even cultivate a real sense of peace, the kind that lets you take a sweet big deep lovely breath. Occasionally you can also release with love.

You could really be doing that person a favor too, by releasing them from the hold. If you believe what many do- thoughts have power, thoughts are “things”, the last thing you want is to be shooting out thought arrows at other humans. Keep your arrows to yourself. It is so vital to our life to treat others without hurtful intentions. 

So, how to do it? How to move forward with grace? It ain’t easy. I am still learning every day. But I know someone who does know how to begin the process. Because this is what it is – that very chic word right now- Process. A series of moments that are stepping stones that lead to what one hopes for- an epiphany. Leaps can be uncomfortable, but they are so very necessary. 

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I spoke with Practitioner Des Carter. This man and his amazing family of healers (yup, there’s a tribe of these peeps) have been a part of our family’s health recovery for the last 10 years. I will leave you with Des’ words of wisdom. 

How important is it to forgive in our lives? For some people, it is relatively easy to forgive, but for others, it seems impossible and deep down resentment builds and life does not flow as it should.

The following prayer by St. Francis of Assisi shows us how we can cultivate the essential quality of compassion that can lead to forgiveness.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.

Where there is hatred let me sow love.

Where there is injury let me sow pardon.

Where there is doubt let me spread faith.

Where there is despair let me bring hope.

Where there is darkness let me bring light.

Where there is sadness let me bring joy.

Grant that, I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console.

To be understood as to understand.

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

In pardoning that we are pardoned,

And in dying that we are born to eternal life.

When we really take these words into our heart, the true meaning of forgiveness is revealed.

What does it mean to forgive?

Firstly it does not mean that we are approving another’s behavior in any way. What it does mean is that as an individual, we are able to free ourselves from the power this person’s behavior has over us. When we release this person from our conscious thoughts, we take back our power, therefore allowing us to be free. In freedom, we are able to really live our lives as we should. If we feel good about ourselves there is no room for anger, resentment or unforgiveness. We begin to attract positive experience to our lives, with value and appreciation of our true selves.

About Des Carter:

Des resides in Geelong Victoria, is an experienced Trainer, Kinesiologist, Reiki Practitioner, NLP Practitioner, Holistic Human Development Therapist and Meditation Teacher, who works in private practice. His passion is assisting people to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem enabling them to address personal issues in their lives.

Contact: M: 0432 925 063. E: W:





Inspiration to Outback- a journey

Having children often presents many changes in life, there is a whole new chapter in your personal story that reveals itself in many ways. But for one Australian mother, it brought a compelling journey into fitness and success beyond belief.

From the footpaths of her hometown Kyabram to the advertising banners on the side of Melbourne City Trams as the poster girl for fitness, Liz Sefton has achieved what I see as inspirational and motivating. These words can get thrown around a lot in the world, however, for this powerhouse Kyabramite, they are the perfect fit. The Ultra-marathon runner and passionate health advocate has a passion for helping those in her community in a way that echoes enthusiasm to everyone who knows her. It is Ponderings pleasure to present Liz’ story, as we know it will inspire you too. Why? Well, put quite simply- she’s a bloody legend.

"Six years ago, not long after having my second 
child, I was ready for a change. Initially, my goal was all about being skinny, being able to look good in a pair of jeans and feel comfortable enough to wear a bikini."

This prompted me to join a popular 12-week online transformation program. This was the start of my journey, with my initial goal evolving to be more purposeful and giving me the platform to achieve things I never thought possible in my life journey. I could now reach my own goals and at the same time be an example for others around me.

An interest in running ensued. A walk around our small country town boundary eventually built up to running it. From there my confidence grew enough to enter small fun runs, building up to a half marathon and then running my first marathon as a way to raise funds for my Cerebral Palsy afflicted niece, Amelia. If you had have told me that I would have run a marathon before I turned 40, I would have laughed.

After the run, I took a hiatus of sorts from pounding the pavement and instead concentrated on my journey. It was then that three like-minded ladies came to me with a challenge. A challenge which would not only see me running 250km over six days in the majestic Simpson Desert, but also make me an ultra-marathoner. This idea seemed so crazy that I thought why not? The Big Red Run would challenge me physically, mentally and spiritually but also allow me to raise much-needed funds for Type 1 Diabetes.

You never truly know what you are capable of until you push yourself to the limit. What better way to do this with The Big Red Run, a race with a difference. A combination of the remote location, breathtaking scenery, the people, volunteers, the participants, a challenge of mental and physical strength all contributed to making this adventure an experience of a lifetime.

I look back over the past six years with immense gratitude. The weeklong event of The Big Red Run provided much reflection time on my life journey. I felt total gratitude that I had taken a leap of faith all those years ago.

This path has enabled me to fulfill many goals, as well as being the catalyst for finding my life purpose. I’ve been able to go back to study and pursue my passion in health.

I’ve been able to become a committed fundraiser for various causes which enables me to serve others but has also seen me grow as a person, building my confidence, self-belief and communication skills. I have met amazing new people and made connections that I never thought possible. It is a fantastic feeling to have the community behind you.

It is through surrounding myself with this community that I am empowered continuously to be my best self. I’ve been lucky enough to have found an inspiring mentor in leading aromatherapist, self-care, and environmental health expert Kim Morrison from Twenty8 Essentials. Kim also happens to have set a world record in ultra-marathon running representing Australia! I was instantly captivated by her ethos, charisma, humor, and passion around the importance of self-love, and participated in her health and lifestyle education course.

Twenty8 has been such an integral part of my natural health journey and provided so much education about the power of essential oils, chemical-free living and self-care rituals. But even more so it enables me to belong to a team which supports and lifts one another up by connecting, caring, collaborating and contributing!

For me, it has provided clarity around who I am and what I am capable of. It inspires me to make a difference in the world in my unique way, by encouraging and empowering my children and other women to acknowledge their strengths and inner beauty through the rituals of self-care.

Over the past six years I’ve learned that no matter who you are, or what you are dealing with, you can achieve anything and create change once you start taking action, no matter how small. Give yourself permission! See it, believe it and just do it!”

“Set a goal to achieve something that it is so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time!” Bob Proctor

Ponderers you can see why I wanted to talk to this champion right? Liz Sefton is a living testament that with a crazy idea, a whole lot of passion and commitment you can achieve just about anything you put your heart into and the rewards are bountiful. Liz is the epitome of the Ponderings ethos- Inspire Reflect Prosper. She is a Qualified Food Coach and Health & Lifestyle Educator supporting clients in making step by step changes to their food and lifestyle so that they can permanently reach their goals.

For more information about Liz, her journey and her pursuit of Natural Health go to: The Nourishing Home Facebook Page

and her Instagram page

The Motorbike Chic Saving Lives

At a dinner party one night, a conversation started about an awe-inspiring surgeon who saved the life of a woman at our table. This surgeon was astonishingly passionate, friendly and warm, who many years later still cared for those she saved. The moment the table was abuzz about her, I knew I had to interview her. When I found out she was at the Alfred Hospital, the connection grew strong, and we went on a hunt to capture a moment of this incredible woman’s life and ponder with her.


Assoc. Professor Sue Liew holds the position of Director of Orthopaedic Surgery but most of all she holds the smiles and hearts of many she has helped in the intensive and incredibly demanding role of surgical lead. Deemed as one of the most intensely stressful and time-consuming occupations in the world, with a focus on Spinal surgery, lower limb reconstructive and complex pelvic surgery- trauma based orthopedics is not for the faint of heart.

The day of the interview arrived, and as I walked into the ward, everything started to feel familiar. The smells, the shape of the benches, the direction of the lines on the walls. I sensed a disturbance in the force. I had walked smack bang into ward 3East- Ground Zero for me, two brain surgeries and a place I had spent more time than I cared too. It was a place of incredible people trying to save lives- a place I feel so much gratitude for and yet it is a place of intense sickness and tragedy. At times when I visit there, I feel like I can almost taste it in the air.

Heroes walk the corridors, gratitude floats along stronger than antiseptic but so does the tears of those who haven’t made it. Such is the place of spinal and brain injury trauma. I remember on one visit I asked my admissions doctor if she worked in neuro- she responded that she could not, it was too tragic and depressing even amongst the wins. I know right? Whoa.

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As I seek out the location of Dr. Liew, the smells of the ward remind me of my sleepless nights and painful healing. The two people who died in my room. Right next to me. The man who was told he only had a few weeks to live and cried. He did not cry about his short life but for how on earth he would tell his children. The beautiful woman who reassured me that her condition was worse, and yet there she was still alive and fully healed. The nurse who visited me every night to talk to me about the wonder of Angels. The scent of hospital food trolleys sparks memories of vomiting uncontrollably and shaking from the drainage tubes that came from inside my brain. I want to walk backward quicker than a cat in a dog show. But then I remember that I am not here to have my skull cut open, I am not here to have a painful injection or procedure. I am re-defining my experience here in this place. I am here to step behind the curtain and spend time with one of the medi-heroes, the do-er of great things in a different capacity and I breathe out the jitters.

Susan Byrne Leaderboard

I put one foot in front of the other. I press the buzzer and a lady opens the door- with a huge smile and a curious look. Like she might not have been sure why I wanted to interview her. That’s a hero for you. They are often unaware of the awe that surrounds them. These ward wizards who have sleepless nights, rigorous hours, hectic meetings, helicopters landing by the moment with bodies broken from all over Oz waiting to be put back together again. The somehow, the paperwork, the board meetings, the director hearings, the research, professional development, the surgical meetings, the school drops offs, the family dinners, the family life- they don’t often have time to contemplate their wonder or bathe in the gratitude of those they have saved. There are so many ‘the-s’ but just not enough time. You get the picture right ponderers?

As I interviewed Sue Liew her eyes glitter with humor and interest. She is razor sharp and emits a grounded warmth. She is one of the first people I have interviewed that have enquired about me, and at times it felt like I was being interviewed- her interest in others and the non-self position was incredible.

There is a total lack of ego. Which without being unkind, I have to say is extremely unusual in a human with such a high position in medicine. So this is one chic I would love to share a beer or two.

K: So why did you become a surgeon?

SL: I like processes and systems – and was good at lots of different things, so I ticked off the things I didn’t like. I did engineering first, but once I got my hands in there, I couldn’t wait to become a surgeon, to fix things or be involved in active medicine. I loved surgery, it’s similar to engineering and reconstructing, you are rebuilding.

K: Thank goodness you found it. You have an impressive position and career, and this hospital takes in trauma nearly on the hour. It must be incredibly demanding and on-the-fly. It would be super demanding and disruptive to your personal life too no doubt.

SL: She smiles. (there are no words needed, we both get it).

K: You’re a woman in a very male-dominated industry. Have you ever encountered inequality directed at you? Did you have female mentors that paved the way for you?

SL: I have had all male mentors- I have been incredibly privileged and encouraged by male counterparts. I haven’t experienced gender inequality just encouragement- always. I know that might sound weird when you know, you hear about it happening so much in management positions- but I truly have had nothing but incredibly positive experiences. Does that sound strange?

K: I think that’s really refreshing, I like that answer.

Leaderboard Ponderings 2

K: Many people see surgeons and doctors as an elite kind of person of authority- often on a pedestal, and think money, prestige, etc. as well as heroic tendencies, but when I had to rely on this field to save my life I would often ponder about the surgeon. Like I have often thought that this person who operates had to spend years and years studying and researching, doing exams, doing assignments and thesis work, hours of interning, etc. to get to this point so they can save a life. A parent had to help pay a LOT of money to get this kid to a point where they are saving lives. What do you say to this?

SL: (Smiles- she thinks I am funny I can tell lol) Engineers, the finest minds now standing in an industry of prestige, once spent hours emptying ashtrays and pouring beers at the local. A medical degree does not support itself. Often they come from humble beginnings and well over a decade getting from a to b just to be able to work in this field.

K: So I take it you’ve had humble beginnings?

SL: Still do! (laughs) I came from very hardworking parents who valued education and opportunity. I worked my way through uni waitressing and was a barmaid in Werribee. There were times of confusion and lots of work. I was originally doing engineering at RMIT, then swapped over to Monash to do medicine. I hated it! Then I tapped into spinal trauma, and I secretly liked the challenge and became very focused- it’s like a vocation you know? It gets into your blood. I like to solve a puzzle and find a difficult diagnosis thrilling. But I didn’t always know I wanted to be this person, I just knew education was important. I think it’s important for people to know that you don’t always have the answers at the beginning! It can be a long road.

Ponderings Leaderboard

K: Does being a mother change you as a doctor?

SL: Well, my husband and I went on a holiday and came back and had a family. We had four kids between the age of 34 and 40. We called it the “fog” lol. Pregnancy does something that is for sure; it does something kind to you. Having children can give you perspective. I had a lot of support. My parents and my brother moved in with us into a bigger house, to help with the cooking and childcare. I breastfed all the kids for 6 months and had 12 weeks maternity leave. My husband was well established in his job too, so his position was able to support and was flexible. It helps.

K: What do you enjoy?

SL: Bikes, motorbikes.

K: Really!? That’s so cool. Is that the engineering mind coming in? For improvements and fixing things up?

SL: Yes! Reconstructive is like a series, an evolution of practices, forming a succession of surgeries and many hours re-building. Except you are working with people.

K: This has been the part I have heard so much about you, is your people skills! So often in a specialized area of medicine, people skills aren’t always the focus lol, would you agree?
SL: Well, the thing is, I am glad I guess that I get along with patients well. I see the mother, the brother, the sister and the child you know? (she shrugs humbly, but there is a strong connection here, you can see it in her eyes) But you know, so many of the country’s unique minds are incredibly focused on solving this one problem- or fixing this puzzle that is causing danger to a person’s life, they aren’t really thinking about how the conversation is going. They are thinking about the surgery or are compartmentalizing the systems and processes. You are sort of glad they have that kind of mind if that makes sense?
What about you? You seem to know a bit about this world? Do you have a medical background?

K- (laugh) no! But I have spent some time on this ward, and am happy to tell you I am glad I am here talking to you and NOT for the reasons I was here originally. (I then go on to tell her a smidge about my story on the ward- we know some people in common, and she extensively asks me about my life, we seem to spend a lot of time laughing and unpicking each other’s brain.) It turns out she is good mates with my surgeon number 2- who is a bit of a legend in these parts.

K: If you could have a chance meeting with your 25-year-old self what would you say?

SL: Oh boy. Really? Phew. Ok. I would say: do something you like, life has taught you that you end up wanting that anyway. If you do something you like- you will fall on the pathway easily and not so hard. You can go to bed knowing you are doing what is right for you. Find your own way.

K: Wow. That’s an entire story in one sentence!

SL: That’s not the half of it! (laughing).

K: Thank you so much for your time, this has been awesome!

SL: You and I should keep in touch, will you swing by and see me when you are here next?


The elusive far away creature ruling the intensive care trenches is this wickedly funny chic who likes motorbikes and was once a killer barmaid. I love it. She gets to save lives and be cool. Unfair right?