Friday 30 January 2015

Day 30: "Heart"

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Today's theme: "Heart"
My fitness challenge: My goal was to do 3 x 30 supported pull-ups at Level 1 by 30th January 2015. And to write a poem everyday. 

TODAY I ACHIEVED MY GOAL! In achieving my goal I raised $758.50 for World Visions' 30for30 fitness challenge! I did 3 x 30 supported pull-ups at Level 1 by today, 30th January 2015. And I wrote a poem everyday. 

Yay! I achieved my goal!

Today's poem


it's still there
as are you:
as she is:
like sound
like sound.

It seemed obvious to me to do the 30for30  fitness challenge. As I said at the beginning, this year I turn 60 and my deceased daughter would have turned 30. I was 30 when she was stillborn. I was dreading the start of 2015, and 30for30 gave me hope, strength and focus - and yes, distraction. It also allowed me to turn my deep-felt empathy for other mothers, and other babies, to action. 

During the challenge my mother's Alzheimer's suddenly deteriorated and she had a fall on Day 28. On Day 30 she was in a difficult state, so achieving my goal was one of those life moments - great pleasure and deep pain. 30for30 helped me more than I can say. I am very glad I was able to raise funds to help infants in their first 30 days. Thank you World Vision.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Day 29: "Change"

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The Gates Foundation: 5 ways to save newborn lives for less than $5 a day
As I've done this challenge, I've learn new things, often drawing on my twitter feed for inspiration to bring to this Blog. This week Bill and Melinda Gates released their Big Bets for the Future, in the Gates Annual Letter 2015. It's an inspiring read. For a summary, see the video below.

They present the argument that the child death rate will be cut in half in the next 15 years.

They make a call for people to become global citizens and make a difference:

Click here
I have learnt during my 30for30 challenge, many things. With one more day to go, I am thinking about the next steps I'll take to turn empathy into action, as I have tried to do by raising funds for World Vision.

Today's Poem

with a break
of heart, and fear
this journey came.
Alice Walker whispered
"each one pull one",
packed her bags, came with me.
and I saw into the mud
where your feet walked
where my feet (shod) left marks.
i am bookmarked 
between poetry, keyboard, muscles, whiteness:
it is a small gesture Alice,
I pulled. And I pulled.

Merilyn Childs, 29/01/2015

Alice Walker reading "Each One, Pull One" from Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 

Alice Walker - 'Each one pull one' (poem) by mickeynold

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Days 27-28: "Daughters"

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Today's theme: "Daughters". Image taken from the article "Not without our daughters"
My fitness challenge: My goal is to do 3 x 30 supported pull-ups at Level 1 by 30th January 2015. And to write a poem everyday.

This post is dedicated to my mother Helen, as I am her daughter. Also to my deceased daughter who would have turned 30 in 2015 had she lived. Symbolically, to all daughters.

And to 8 month old Aria. May your journey be resilient, compassionate and hopeful.

My progress: Yesterday my challenge came uninvited. My mother, who has Alzheimer's, had a fall and was taken to the local hospital where it was found she has two "teardrop" fractures in her L1 & L2 vertebrae. These will self-heal, so she was back to her care facility by late afternoon. I spent the day caring for her at the hospital. My physical challenge was met by doing assisted lifting. I think had I not done the 30for30 challenge I would not have been able to do the lifting as confidently as I did. 

To day I went back to the gym, knowing I have only 2 days left in the challenge (oh no!!). I did a range of tasks designed to warm my shoulder muscles and build my resilience.

Oh and I achieved 1 x 10 at 75 kl lat pull-downs in addition to 2 x 30 at 62.5 

I am doing a combined poem for yesterday and today. [Edit: Can't get this one right.] [I think I am deeply hopeful and positive, despite life's challenges, so I find it hard to be a grump in a poem].

each week in my newsfeed:
"if you love your daughter hit share"
pisses me off.

My mother's daughter is angry
every time a pink puffed up smug
meme lands.
she says: love all daughters -
fight for them:
your daughter is alive, right?
fed? well-dressed? pink?
[My daughter is addicted to ice
My daughter is a sex worker
My daughter was kidnapped by ISIS and is a sex slave
I had to sell my daughter for the family to have enough food
My daughter's forced "marriage" is daily rape
My daughter was abused by her uncle
My daughter is starving
My daughter is gay, transexual, wants to be a man
My daughter is sick, disfigured, disabled
My daughter can't read
My daughter has a black dog calling]

Merilyn Childs 28/01/2015

Monday 26 January 2015

Day 26: "Australia Day"

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Today's theme: "Australia Day"

My fitness challenge: My goal is to do 3 x 30 supported pull-ups at Level 1 by 30th January 2015. And to write a poem everyday.

My progress: It's Australia Day, went to the gym early so I could hunker down with a rare beer in the afternoon. At the gym I did my usual routine, and managed 2 x 20 lat pull-downs at 62.5. Strength building- and to reassure my friend Liz, yes I did lots of stretching! There are only four days to go!!

Before I write my poem, here is a photo that has a great deal of meaning for me - taken from behind my mother pushing my son in a stroller, on Australia Day 1988 (the Bicentenary). We were heading towards the Aboriginal protest march agitating for better conditions of Indigenous Australians. 

Mum, January 26th 1988, walking with 100,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
We marched under the Teacher's Federation Banner.


Australia Day
A rhyming Australian poem,
A bush ballad forced into rhyme,
Rhythms so bad you could throw 'em,                                               
Then coooee! yelled just in time.


Nah, not putting my name to this! 26/01/2015

Sunday 25 January 2015

Day 25: "Going in the right direction"

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Where are we up to? Read

My fitness challenge: My goal is to do 3 x 30 supported pull-ups at Level 1 by 30th January 2015. And to write a poem everyday.

My progress: After today I have 5 days of this challenge to go. I'm on track, with a plan to do a bike ride before sunset. At present it is 4.30pm in the afternoon and still 33 degrees C. If I have to make a change of plans, I report it here.

Today's Poem:

sometimes it's hard to tell
the direction of good.
Bad seems visceral; vocal: like
Vlad with vampire teeth
on the blood of hope.
I weave garlic into chains,
ring bells, knot ropes
and throw handfuls of rice. 
(The last rather odd, but there you have it):
in search of sunlight.

Merilyn Childs 25/1/2015

Saturday 24 January 2015

Day 23-24: "The struggle against forgetting"

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Today's theme: "The struggle against forgetting"
My fitness challenge: My goal is to do 3 x 30 supported pull-ups at Level 1 by 30th January 2015. And to write a poem everyday.

My progress: I've been sad these past 2 days. Perhaps my poem "View" might give you a clue as to why. That said, I've done my challenge each day. Yesterday I walked 3 km, and today I did work at the gym. I made the following post on my 30for30 fundraising page: 
I am incredibly excited to say that on Day 24 of my 30for30 challenge I have achieved my fund-raising goal. Thankyou so much to my supporters, you are amazing! Your money is going to a wonderful cause. Follow my journey at And I don't mind more sponsorship either!!
I don't like sentimental quotes often posted in Facebook like "life is an up and down hill journey". Doh! But doing this challenge began from a position of sadness and strength, working together to make a difference. Sometimes that sadness is my biggest challenge. I tried to use today's theme to explore infant funerals in the developing world - but I found the exploration tough. I also kept coming up against a very western view of child death: lots of teddy bears. Lots of assumptions about the resources and infrastructure available.


For the first time Mum
your world
was nothing more
than an ice-cream bowl.

Merilyn Childs 23/1/2015

The struggle against 
When I die
my dust will be lain with yours
under the azaleas.
Passing strangers might say your name-
And: "Oh look, mother and child
Isn't that sad".

Merilyn Childs 24/1/2015

The title of today's theme is drawn from a quote in Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1999)

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”

Friday 23 January 2015

Day 22: "My feet hurt whah!"

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My fitness challenge: My goal is to do 3 x 30 supported pull-ups at Level 1 by 30th January 2015. And to write a poem everyday.

My progress: Today (22nd January) I did 2 flights at our local iFly early in the morning with my son, then stood all day helping him pack. By night fall my feet really hurt!! (I have feet problems made worse by the 30for30 challenge, even with great shoes and foot care). 

I started to think about pregnant women and children in the developing world, and their feet - something I had not really thought about before. I started searching for information, and found very little. But I did find the NFP Soles4Shoes, see video above, and visit here.


My feet hurt!
I've made progress, true.
But my feet hurt whah!
Yes, my feet hurt, whah!
I've got the sore feet ice-pack blues!!

lol, Merilyn Childs 22/1/2015