Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Old Father Time!

An old man stepping slowly towards the end of his time, not sad, but experienced and ready to leave.
This is 'Old Father Time' as we leave 2008 on the last day of the year.

It has been an amazing year of learning and growing for me. I have learnt to allow myself to grow, seen the beauty in the world and realised that I alone have the power to chose how I live this amazing life that I have been given.

I am excited about next year, but today am reflecting on my achievements.

I am happy to say that I like myself more at the end of this year than I did at the beginning! I find this very interesting, as I know that I have not really changed, but my thoughts and energy towards who I am - Has! Wow, just a thought can change a life.

I feel more alive, young and in my skin! Does that make sense? I began the year in fear of another 40-50 years of the same daily grind and now I look forward with eagerness to so many years of life; of joy and learning.

My family is strong and wonderful. My three amazing children are a blessing that I count every day. I will be celebrating 20 years with my special man in March and I know that I am truly blessed in this relationship.

2008, has been a good year for me. I will be sad for the first time in a long time to say goodbye to a year. I am joyful that I got to live this year and there is a sense of nostalgia that I am letting it go. Amazingly enough, I can let this year go with peace in my heart. It has lived its time and can pass peacefully into happy memory - no regrets and no unfinished business.

I guess Old Father Time can say goodnight!

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year's Eve, be safe, be happy and find your Joy and Blissings!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Busy Day

Hello again! (1.00pm)

I started my day this morning with a delightful swim with Elizabeth and my Mom, the water was absolutely delightful. This was after an hour of dedicated tidying up of my computer files; a little blogging and some emails.

I have given Sarah an hour piano lesson and played a duet with her (her on her flute and me on the piano - playing Scarborough Fair). We worked through the first 30 pages of the piano music book, she is just amazing!

Matthew and I then had a few rounds of golf, a couple of games of ten pin bowling and finished off with tennis and boxing. And to think I have not even left my property.

Yes, you guessed it, I have had the chance to try out the children's new Wii, it is FANTASTIC!
I don't like to try new things, but decided to give this amazing thing a go! I love the golf and the tennis has worked up quite a sweat, I reckon I can lose all my Christmas weight just playing games with the children.

It was fun just to play! If your children have a Wii, I can recommend having a go, it is good, honest fun, with lots of laughs!

Email messages!

What do you do with your email messages?

This morning I decided to try and clean up my Inbox and also Sent messages, well I had over 2000 messages in my Inbox and over 1700 in my Sent box - Oops!

I began by deleting all the useless ones, you know those stock standard messages from organisations that you belong to, then I began by deleting everything that was not from 2008, this still left hundreds, so took it one step further. I have decided to delete everything except essential emails regarding business and emails from Nov/Dec 2008. I must admit this was very hard to do. I am a hoarder, especially of knowledge and words and so I need to figure out a way to keep my emails. (any suggestions?)

My Sent Items Box was amazing, so many emails to friends and this is the one that is the most difficult to clean out. I have held onto many emails as I have realised that they are almost a diary of my life. I have a very special friend who I email almost everyday and just spending a few minutes (no it took longer than that) reading some of the emails I have sent over the last year, tell a story of my life.

As it is 30 December 2008 however, and we are about to enter a New Year, a little cleaning is in order. I like starting the New Year clean and tidy, organised both in the physical and mental realm. So today I have cleaned out just a little! Do you tidy up your life before the end of the year?

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Christmas Pics

Sarah with her beautiful new flute and me with my amazing candle holder from Ivan.

Matthew getting his computer, his excitement was wonderful.

More Christmas photos

Elizabeth and Matthew getting controllers to play on the Wii and Ivan giving Matthew his new Canadian T-shirt.

A shaving kit for this coming year and Matthew giving me 3 Suduko books to keep me occupied while I wait for him and Sarah after school.

The Christmas Week

Saturday (today is Monday), I got the children to clear all their presents out of the lounge into their rooms. I am always amazed how such a large pile of gifts can be absorbed into an already full room, but they seem to blend in quite easily. I managed to do some washing and also sweep and vacuum the floors, so at least the house looks quite tidy.

I then had great fun sorting all my books onto my bookshelf in my room and in fact have started reading my novels already. Much to Ivan's dismay I have read the first one in my new series by Kate Forsyth and am onto book two.
Ivan enjoyed watching his new DVD series from Mom and Dad - Life in cold blood by David Attenborough and the children all indulged in various games. Elizabeth had to work Saturday so I moved her things into her room for her.

Yesterday was our games day! We first all played the new version of Scene It (a movie DVD game). Then a great new Australian game called 365 days, it was fun as the questions relate to your own life and sometimes you can escape a hazard if you have achieved something, or have to take a hazard as you work through 365 days.

Ivan set up his new swing ball and Sarah flew her remote helicopter, then WAR was declared with the water guns. I had the most amazing advantage as Ivan had bought me a water gun this year. It is the first time (as an adult) that I have had a water gun. Mine was so much better than all of theirs, so I had the upper hand, until Ivan decided the hose was much better. We all had lots of fun in the pool for a swim.

Today the sun is out and beautiful as I sit and type at 5.47am, the house is quiet and cool and it is lovely to be alone with my thoughts and reflections. Christmas 2008 has been joyful and happy and I am looking forward to this lovely New Year Week.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Elizabeth getting her special gifts, look at the excitement with her Nintendo DS.

Sarah and Elizabeth wearing their beautiful necklaces that we bought at the 'Handmade Expo' and also their Angel pot-pouri dolls.

More photos

Sarah got a Fairy Floss machine and of course I got a wonderful CM album for my Bliss album. (Remember this is for the photo a day of things that make you thankful/joyful.)

Matthew giving Ivan his gift, a little mini-golf set for those boring work days.

Lots of presents

From Ivan a new series of books by Kate Elliott and from Elizabeth some beautiful Ken Duncan Placemats.

Matthew and Grandad, a puzzle of course and a Tupperware Hamburger press for Granny.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Photos

Wow Look at all those presents!

Opening stockings at 5.25am and even Abby got a present a huge big bone!

Happy Boxing Day!

Today is a wonderful day for indulgence!
Christmas Day is always so busy and such fun in our house. We started really early yesterday, yes Ivan woke before 5am and we were up and our first photo of the children opening their stocking presents shows the clock at 5.25am.

We had such fun this year (as always, I guess!), but it seemed really special this year. We spoilt the children again! What's New! Books were the order of the day, after Ivan stopped off at Barnes & Noble in Stamford, Connecticut in November. He came home with a spare case of books, so Elizabeth and I will be busy reading for months. I received some lovely novels and also some lovely New Age books. My favourite book however, is one from the British Museum in London that Ivan bought for me, it is a book of "Classical Love Poetry." Taken from beautiful poems written through the ages, really special.

Elizabeth at nearly 19, is in heaven with her Nintendo DS and the new book "Twilight", Matthew of course was totally spoilt getting his own laptop computer. I am really happy with this, as now I can have my computer back again. Sarah got a WII console and games and the children have had such fun together playing on it. Grandad even had a go at the Boxing game! We also bought Sarah her own flute, she has been playing at school now for a year and is doing really well, intending to keep this up, so we gave her a beautiful new flute for her present.
I am happy! I am filled with peace and joy, love for my family and joy at giving and receiving some wonderful gifts.
Photos will follow in the next couple of posts, so look out!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

To all my friends and family, Merry Christmas to you all.

We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and hope that Santa brought you all that you wished for.

I have been totally spoilt and have received some beautiful and amazingly thoughtful gifts from my children, Mom and Dad and most especially my beautiful husband. He labelled each gift to a different Angel - The studious Angel; The creative Angel; The Angel-Angel; The Christmas Angel etc etc and each gift belonged to the theme of the Angel. I am totally blessed and honoured.

So wishing you all a special time today.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The magic of email and the digital age

Today I have been opening emails every time I switch on the computer, wishes of joy and celebration for Christmas.

It is wonderful to be able to share with friends from all over the world, just at the touch of a button, I even got an email from the USA early with photos and everything, which just brought a smile to my face.

Yesterday I had the joy of receiving a CD with photos of friends we have not seen in over 10 years, I love technology!

My thoughts are now turning to tonight and tomorrow, to the bubbles that simmer gently inside right now, but that are linking up and will soon bubble forth with joy.

I have prepared all my veges, made the Brandy butter - Yum! The sauce for the prawn cocktail, and am now about to dig out the beautiful Christmas dinner service. In the past few years, we have found the hours spent preparing for Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, have freed us up to enjoy the time with the children and of course our own pressies.

As a last thought (well that is if I don't think of one or two more), I must admit to being so excited about the gifts that I will be receiving this year. Elizabeth is old enough that she has gone out and used all her own money to buy gifts, hardly anyone asked me for a list, and so I have no idea just what will be under the tree for me tomorrow. I know that my greatest JOY has always been giving on Christmas day, but tomorrow morning, I think that I am going to experience the JOY of receiving!

So once more, Merry Christmas to one and all.

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve and of course Christmas Day to each every one!

Elizabeth and I had a morning photo taken together. She is working until 3.00pm today and boy oh boy it is going to be busy. We dropped her off at 8.00am and by 8.15am the store was 5-6 people deep. She is all dressed up for Christmas though and has a lovely group of people to work with.

Today is our Christmas preparation day, all the veges get peeled, and the breadcrumbs made. We enjoy time together swimming and playing games and then tonight we have the fun and delight of opening the overseas and special gifts from friends.

I hope you all have a wonderful, joyful and amazing Christmas.



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Whirling and Twirling

In recent years I have seldom worn skirts, preferring the comfort of shorts and long pants. Yesterday however, I found the perfect skirt. Although, I have not been actively looking for a skirt, it has been in the back of my mind after a recent conversation with Ivan. He said he could picture me as a Uni student with long flowing skirts, leather sandals and beads. This of course is that skirt. The colours are magnificent and I now own three amazing tops to go with it. This is because I was totally spoilt by my lovely husband who after seeing me in the skirt took me back to the shop to get a couple of tops - A long-sleeve silk top, a short crop top and jacket and of course my 'Whirling and Twirling' outfit.

Matthew, a wonderful photographer came outside with me into the garden and took these lovely photos of me whirling and twirling. The clothes and my long hair make me feel free and happy. I feel as though I am changing daily. 2009 is going to be a year of adventure and new knowledge. A year of change for the better!
So as I whirl and twirl through the next few days up to Christmas, yes it is Christmas Eve's eve, I am loving life. Only 2 more sleeps and then it is Christmas day - Yippeeeee!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Musical

I decided to act on my impulse and desire and also the prompting from the Universe to attend a Christmas carol/nativity service.

Yesterday our lovely neighbour Maureen came over with our Christmas card and an invitation to attend the Heritage City Church, Christmas play. I had previously found the service online and it looked fun. So at 6.30am this morning I woke the children to many groans and grumps and we all headed out the door just after 7am for the 8am service.

It was a modern musical with some beautiful singing and carols and so enjoyable. The children and I enjoyed it and it has put us all in the Christmas spirit. We then did McDonald's breakfast and have come home and played the board game 'Articulate' and Charades.

Ivan meanwhile, has been determinedly wrapping up 'all' my gifts for Christmas, it sounds wonderful as he is still busy.

Wishing you all the joy of Christmas and remember that the story of the birth of Jesus is a beautiful new beginning and as the play said today: "We get to choose how the story ends?"
Do you believe?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Ivan finished work yesterday - Yipeeeeeee!!!!!

The magic part of this morning is that he has gone to drop Elizabeth off at work and then has gone Christmas shopping all by himself for my presents. Ooooh that is so exciting! It is funny, I would rather have one very small gift that he has thought of, bought and wrapped himself, than 100 gifts that I have given him ideas for. Life can be so busy and stressful, that sometimes we lose the magic of just looking for something extra special and wonderful for each person. We also fall so easily into the trap (well I do) of wanting to get everyone, everything that they have asked for. Which of course, as usual I have done.

I have also had a wonderful morning reading Michelle's JoyExpress, she has so many lovely Christmassy posts that I am completely in the mood.

Yesterday, Matthew and Sarah helped me make another 11 dozen Christmas Mince pies, it was fun and yummy! The first batch were completely demolished already, which is wonderful as so often we end up with Christmas goodies left over.

Today I am going to make some savoury 'curry mince' pies to eat with drinks. These are our favourites and although Mom has given us 3 dozen, Matthew managed to eat almost a dozen yesterday, so today he has offered to help me make a huge batch, just for him and a few of course for us. It is going to be really good, as he is doing Home Economics as a subject next year, so is going to learn to make the whole thing from scratch - should be fun.

Only 5 more sleeps until Christmas. So merry 'Bubbles of Christmas' to you all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas bubbles of happiness!

In recent years I have experienced a few flat moments at Christmas time and seemed to have lost a little of the magic. As a child Christmas was so magic and special, the house was always filled with love and laughter, friends and family. We seemed to share and do some much during the December holidays and even as I grew up and had my own children the magic was always in the air.

The last couple of years have just seemed less magical and I have not been able to figure out what is going on, so I have been giving it a lot of thought!

This morning I realised that to experience the magic bubbles of Christmas JOY, you have to work really hard at it! Now that sounds really strange, but it is like the everything in life, what you put in - is what you get out.

When I was a child, my parents made Christmas magic! When I grew up and had children of my own, I made the magic happen for them. Now as they are growing up, it is so easy to let the magic slide just a little. Work pressures of recent years have meant that Ivan has worked up until late on Christmas Eve every year and is hardly rested or relaxed by Christmas morning. We have lost the time and fun of putting in all the work, to make it magic. We have not been to a Christmas Carols concert or a Nativity play in recent years.

So I am in search of magic Christmas Bubbles! I am putting on my Cd's really loud, turning on my lights on my tree every night and just celebrating the JOY of Christmas. Today is Ivan's last day of work and for the next few days we will relax and work a little around the house, getting everything ready and then Wednesday next week, look out - Christmas will be bubbling out of our home.

I hope you find the JOY and bubbles of Christmas, if you can't find any this year, I am sending you all a heap of them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Christmas Story

Have you sat down recently and thought about the Christmas story? I bet most of us adults have not. I heard that an Australian scientist has now studied the skies and found out that we have the date all wrong and that we should be celebrating the birth of Jesus around April or June or some other date.

I guess if you live in Australia, December 25th, does seem kind of wrong to be celebrating a 'traditional' Christmas. We don't have cold weather and snow and our houses don't look like traditional little village scenes. But, when I sat and thought about it neither did the time or place of Jesus' birth look like that either.

His birth took place in a country without snow and the houses/inns did not have lights and tinsel. In fact he was born in a 'lowly stable' with only his loving family. Strangers took him in and came and visited him. His birth was shared and celebrated with the love of strangers.

The Christmas story holds a magic for me. I love the traditional children's nativity story. Whether it is the 'modern' version that we saw the Prep children perform at school this year. It had Angels with mobile phones - trying to call the shepherds. Sheep that got herded onto a long-haul and had to move out quickly to avoid the traffic on our local 'Ipswich motorway'. And a rock band (including lots of Elvis impersonators) celebrating the birth of Christ. Our laughter and joy, watching these amazing children is the true spirit of Christmas.

I love attending church to see the nativity play, to often see a newborn baby taking the part of baby Jesus and children that have practiced for months to present something special for us all.

So when you celebrate Christmas this year, will you celebrate with gifts and food alone? Or will you remember the reason that we celebrate. The reason that God sent his only son to be born among us, with love. To teach us that no matter what we do in our lives, he is there and we only have to turn to him and ask him for forgiveness and the joy and love of an amazing birth is ours to celebrate.

I wish for all of you the magic of the Christmas Story in your house this year. I hope that you can all recapture the special feelings that once touched us all, the magic of a special birth. The birth of a child and the birth of Joy and Hope.

This year along with our traditional reading of the "Night before Christmas", we will also read the "Christmas Story". Sarah asked us last year to please buy a copy, as this was the reason that we had Christmas and you know what? Our beautiful youngest child was right!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Joy of Handmade

Today Elizabeth and I shared the 'joy' of sewing a handmade apron!

As a young girl I learned to sew, first at Girl Guides, learning to sew on buttons that even the Troupe Leader could not pull off, then from Mom as she made me clothes and also at school. In home economics I learnt to make a dress, zipper and all and even got to parade it at the Home Economics showcase. I remember clearly getting my very first pair of high-heel shoes to wear with it - I was just 13 years old.

As I got older I tackled some amazing projects, making myself tailored jackets and trousers, tops, skirts and even amazing evening dresses. When the children were little I sewed for them making them some favourite tracksuits. Time however, grew short as our lives got busier. Clothes became cheaper to buy than to make and I found new and wonderful hobbies to keep me busy.

The sad part of this shift, was that I forgot to teach my three lovely children, especially my girls to sew. Elizabeth won the Home Economics prize at school, despite my lack of attention, but the sewing bug did not really bite until a couple of weeks ago.

This year I made two Christmas aprons as gifts and Elizabeth was enthralled. She picked out her own material and today the two of us sat down together. I bought an identical one to hers, as my old one is looking very sad and faded. My idea was that I would do every step on mine and she could copy. It turned out wonderfully!

We had two hours together of Mother-Daughter time, laughing and chatting, teaching and learning and the end result is an amazing young lady in a beautiful Christmas apron.

The smile says it all!

One week to go!

Today is December 17th and when we wake up a week from today it will be Christmas Eve. In so many ways this is the most special day of the year. Of course it doesn't really beat Christmas Day, but I love the anticipation the most. The idea that 'tomorrow is Christmas' is just delicious.

Normally Ivan works for a half-day on Christmas Eve, but this year he is going to be home with us, having started his leave on Friday. Our first chore of the day will be to drop Elizabeth off at work, yes she is working. For the newsagent it will be a busy day of last minute shopping! She does however, finish at 3.00pm to allow her to join in our festivities.

Then Ivan and I will slip through to the butcher to pick up the two Turkeys we have ordered. One is for Christmas dinner and the other will stay in the freezer and we will have it on New Year's Eve. I will have made sure that I have all the groceries, so that we can avoid the shops, but I am sure there will be something that I will have forgotten.

We will pick up a few bags of ice for the eskies and all beer, wine and soft drinks will be moved out of the fridges, to make space for food.

Between Ivan and I we will peel all the veges for Christmas dinner, including a huge pile of potatoes (he is Irish). I will make the bread crumbs for the stuffing and also the brandy butter for the Christmas pudding.

We will tidy up the house and the patio, doing last minute chores and then indulge in some swimming and games with the children.

Christmas Eve, Mom and Dad will come up and we will share a BBQ or a light supper and spend a few hours around the tree, sharing laughs and stories. I will read "The Night before Christmas" now 3 versions. The traditional one, the Aussie one and a beautiful African version my brother sent me a couple of years ago.

The children will place their gifts under the tree and then I will send them to bed, hopefully to fall asleep before midnight, because we all know that Santa does not call at houses where children are awake. Oh yes, I forgot- the children will also put out Christmas mince pies and a beer! We have no alcohol restrictions in this house and Santa we are sure gets very tired of milk.

I am getting so excited, as we only have one week to wait. I wonder what your traditions are for Christmas Eve and day. Whatever you have planned I wish you the wonder of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A special Christmas Letter

Just over 16 years ago I left my home in South Africa and moved to Brisbane, Australia. For those of you who know me, you will realise that this was the start of a lot of moves and travels. This meant that I lost contact with a lot of the people I had known in my childhood and early adult life.

At the time Elizabeth was just 2 years of age and I did not know a soul in this big new world! I decided to join the local health centre for both company and of course child-rearing information and started going along on a Tuesday morning. On my very first visit, I sat next to a beautiful lady with an accent that I recognised - she was from Sunderland, UK the place where my Mom and Grandparents had been born. Her name was Colette and she had a lovely daughter Lara, who was just 6 months older than Elizabeth. The two girls hit it off and so did us Mom's and over the next few years we spent many happy play dates together.

Colette soon added another little girl to her family and I had our son Matthew, we asked Colette to become Matthew's Godmother and she graciously accepted. Unfortunately, not long after this John, Colette's husband left his position at the university in Brisbane and they returned to the UK.

However, despite the years and the distance we have kept up a wonderful tradition of an annual Christmas letter. I always wait with anticipation as Colette has the most beautiful calligraphy handwriting and I recognise it immediately.

This morning there was a special surprise for me as I opened my morning emails. Colette has sent me a 4 page epistle with family news. I printed it off, the only way to read her letter and she said there is also a card with a CD of photos in the post, so I am looking forward to that. As I read all her news, I thought of all the years of friendship that we have shared.

Friends come in all shapes, some you see every week; others you talk to on the phone regularly; or email everyday; some you even get to spend time with on holidays. And then there is a friendship like I share with Colette, a 'once-a-year' friendship, something special and valuable and I will always treasure it.

The Joy of a Christmas Letter from a friend is better than all the gold in the world and once more we connected together and shared a special moment. So until next year, I will hold all our news and then just before Christmas we will write again and share the friendship we started 16 years ago.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Workshop

We had our last Christmas CM workshop of the year at the local RSL club yesterday. Mom and I settled quickly into our pages, note the tidy space before we started, I did not take one later in the day - too busy enjoying my pages. I managed 14 pages and finally completed the last few photos of 2006. Yes, I know that I am behind the times! My final number of pages for the year 439 pages plus a storybook album.

In 2009 I am going to focus on finishing all of 2007 and 2008 photos - my official goal! I have completed Jan - March 2007, plus our massive USA/Canada trip of August 2007, but still have oodles and oodles of photos to do.

I also have two other major projects for 2009 and that is a Primary School Graduation album for Sarah of her school life up until now and for Matthew both his Primary and Middle School albums. This year I will need to have my camera with me often at school events as Matthew takes up his role of Middle School Captain. So I guess I had better start planning.

For all my CM partners, thank you for this wonderful year, for your support and encouragement and for all the fun we have shared.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas baking

The sweet smell of Christmas Baking!

Ever since I was a little girl I have made Christmas Mince Pies. We use a home made pastry recipe and jars of Robertson's Fruit Mince. I have about 12 flat pastry pie trays, that make the perfect size mouthful of crumbly pastry and delicious warm Christmas mince.

I always make the pastry first and put it into the fridge for an hour or so to firm, just a little. Then using a very old Tupperware shape cutter, cut out a round shape for the base and a star for the top. Mine went missing on our return from the USA so I had to use Mom's this year.

This year was wonderful, as all three children for the very first time were completely involved. I rolled out the pastry and cut the shapes. Elizabeth filled them with fruit mince. Sarah put the tops on them and Matthew painted them with egg white and was in charge of getting them into and out of the oven. Also the photography!

The house fills with warm Christmas smells, we all pinch pieces of raw pastry to eat, a Christmas CD echoes through the house and we laugh and chat. This year our production team was so efficient that we managed to make 10 dozen - yes 120 mince pies in just over 1 hour. It was wonderful. Of course, we only ended up with 9 dozen after all the tasting that occurred, just to make sure they were well cooked!

Below is the recipe for you if you want to give this special family favourite of ours a go!

Christmas Mince Pies.

2 cups flour

225g butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons cold water

1 Tablespoon vinegar

Yolk of an egg

(Keep the white for painting the tops)

Rub in butter with flour and salt, beat egg yolk, vinegar and water together.

Add to dry ingredients and make a dough.

Wrap and place in fridge for about an hour until firm.

Roll out on floured surface, cut out shapes with cookie cutter, and place in flat cookie/muffin tin.

Fill with fruit mince, use water to seal tops and paint with egg white.

Bake at 220 degrees (200 fan-forced) for 10-15mins or golden brown.

Enjoy with your family and friends.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last minute shopping.

Today I am going to go out really early and hit the shops for my last minute Christmas shopping that I need. Luckily I know exactly what I want to get and then I am going to come home to finish my gift wrapping.

Ivan has just one more week left at work and then we are going to have four glorious weeks at home with him. We are planning to do - 'nothing!' Doesn't that sound wonderful! I want to take the children to the beach for a day, not a planned day, but just one where we wake up early one morning and decide to head down to the beach. I would also like to take a picnic up to our favourite spot and maybe a walk in a rain forest bird watching.

We have a beautiful swimming pool and lots of wonderful things to do at home as well, so are all going to enjoy the refreshment and relaxation of just being together.

I am beginning to get really excited about Christmas Day, just think 2 weeks today I won't be sitting at the computer talking to the world, I will be sitting next to my tree, sharing fun and laughter with my family, sharing the magic of Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas lunch

Today I am going to our end of year Creative Memories Christmas lunch. Our consultant group is getting together at Elinor's house and all bringing along a plate of food to share. We are also bringing along our ideas for Christmas borders and fun for our Sunday workshop.

It will be a chance to share inspiration with other creative people, share a few laughs and indulge in yummy food. What more could a girl want?

So often at this time of year, life is busy and chaotic, but this year life is flowing smoothly and gently, maybe a reflection of my peaceful state of mind. I am hoping that I can keep up this condition, although my 'to do list' is growing. Maybe I need to work on that a little more.

So short and sweet, hope you have some fun today, whatever you are doing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cuddle time - not computer time.

My beautiful daughter Sarah has just walked into the computer room and wanted a cuddle. Now I get very little time on the computer, as Matthew is always wanting to play games or maybe Sarah, so these mornings as I sit and Blog are very important to me. Normally I get up extra early to enjoy the peace and quiet before anyone wakes, to allow my thoughts to roam and be creative, sometimes writing poetry, answering emails, or just writing Blog posts. I love this time of morning when I can be alone without the demands of being wife, housekeeper and mother.

She stood with her arms out and I immediately said "Sweetheart I have given you a cuddle already - this is my computer time" to which she replied "Well Mom, I am interrupting your computer time for some cuddle time."

Wow! It hit me! I was turning down my beautiful little girl's cuddle to commune with a keyboard and screen. I swung the chair around as quick as I could, held out my arms and wrapped them around the most precious thing in the world, my little girl.

I know that there will come a time when she is too busy or maybe to far away to reach out her arms for me to cuddle her. One day there may be someone else in her life that she will reach out to, for comfort or with who she will share her joys and tears.

So I realised in that brief split second that I am going to reach out and cuddle each and everyone of my children as often and as long as they need and then add a whole lot more cuddles just for me.

The lesson that I have learnt this morning as I sat here wondering what 'inspirational' message to pass onto the world is that there is always time for a cuddle. It will not be the amazing 'poem' that I have written that Sarah will remember, or the fantastic Blog post, it will be all the cuddles and the knowledge that I never turned her down.

Do you take time to cuddle your loved ones? I guess it will only take a second or two, or do you do the dishes, answer the phone, watch TV or work/play on your computer?

Take the time for a cuddle today - both parties will walk away renewed.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude for 2009

A very good friend of mine "Angel Julie" sent me an email a couple of days ago that has completely inspired me. She had read an article in which a lady described her "Blissings!" - no the spelling is not wrong! These are her moments of bliss and her blessings combined - see the quote below:

"As part of a personal project to improve my 'attitude of gratitude' I took a photo every day for a year of something I was thankful for. At the end of the year I compiled the collection into a photo book for my children. I'm now into my second year - it had become addictive"

WOW! For everyone who knows me, this is totally up my alleyway. I love my photography, love my memory albums and for years I have worked on an inner project of finding something to be grateful for each and everyday.

So for 2009, I am starting an "Attitude of Gratitude" album. I am ordering a very simple slip-in type album from Creative Memories, called a Picfolio expandable album that holds 5 photos per page, or 4 photos and a journalling box and each day I am going to write my gratitude journal on the pretty journalling box, take a photo of something that I am grateful for; something that makes me laugh or smile or something that brings me joy.

At the end of next year, I will own an "Attitude of Gratitude Album" a keepsake of 365 wonderful moments in my life, that will reflect the joy of being alive, all my blessings and allow me to let go the difficult/problem/worries of the world. Help me to share the 'blissings' that we all have.

I would like to challenge all the readers of my Blog to share in this wonderful idea! Imagine what a world we can create if everyone let go the negatives, let go hate and brought into the world, peace and harmony. Start with your own family, share the message with friends and strangers and as you take your daily photos, share your gratitude for the wonderful life you have and live.

Remember today is also "Pay it forward Tuesday" - share the joy today. Send a friend or stranger a card or an email message, telling them how much you appreciate them. Tell them to "Pay it forward", so we can share the Joy of living.


Monday, December 8, 2008

What to write?

Red or Green?

I think Green for a while then maybe some red.

Green is for Christmas but this year it is also for the garden. We have had such a wet summer that our lawn and garden is green, green, green! The ground underfoot is marshy and wet and even more rain is predicted for the next day or so. Everyday Dad empties his rain gauge and records the totals and so far for December we have had almost the same as the whole of December last year. I have managed to fertilise the lawn twice and the grass is so thick underfoot that it is like a cushion. We now have a jungle of plants and trees and I cannot keep up with the height of my roses, which need a good prune back already. Nature has treated us so well this summer. We have been blessed in that although so many around us have had storm damage we have been left relatively unscathed.

Now for the Red!

Celebration time. We finally had Ivan's P.A. and her husband over for dinner on Saturday night and it was such a lovely evening. I always know when an evening goes well, they did not leave until 11pm and I had not done a single thing in the kitchen. That meant that I was sitting enjoying the company, not hiding in the kitchen getting things done. This lovely couple have just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary - I am always in awe of these achievements.

It is nice to entertain and relax, the benefits are lovely company, great food and a nice tidy house!

We have a lovely week ahead! The children are on holiday and we are going to make Christmas Mince pies, so the house will smell like Christmas. I have ordered our Christmas and New Year Turkeys and although Elizabeth has to work on Friday and Saturday, she will be home with us for the rest of the week. Ivan has just 10 days left at work, so we will support him through that, as he is more than ready for his 4 weeks leave.

Our pool water is warm and really lovely to swim in, so if we get a few dry days I think we will be enjoying some family fun.

However, you plan to spend this week, I hope it is enjoyable. Don't let the Christmas rush and chaos spoil the joy of this special time of the year. Remember, according to an Australian Astronomer, we are celebrating it at the wrong time of the year anyway! So celebrate with laughter and joy.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Tinsels or Baubles?

Our local radio station was running a phone-in poll to decide whether tinsel or baubles made the best Christmas tree and it got me thinking about people's Christmas trees and decorations. Our tree has no theme or colour co-ordination, instead it is a mixture of memories. Every decoration has some sort of memory and many of them would not even be classed as true Christmas decorations. We also do both - the tinsel and the baubles.

I love the shopping centres who do elegant themes of colours and each year the decorations change. I guess like clothes if they change the themes and colour schemes we will be tempted to go out and buy new 'stuff'. Last year the theme was purple - I must admit that purple is my favourite colour, but it just did not do it for me. A white tree with purple decorations was just not Christmas.

I love the traditional green 'artificial' tree! Ours came from the USA and stands 7.5ft tall, with the Angel on top, she nearly touches the ceiling. I have never really wanted or liked 'real' trees and even when we lived in the USA was not really tempted to get one.

We have also decorated the rest of the house this year, with lots of tinsel, my Christmas village and all our other special decorations. What is your Christmas theme? Do you have a big or small tree? Is it co-ordinated or chaotic? Whatever it is, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season and enjoy decorating your homes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Life's lessons.

Today our beautiful Sarah learnt one of the hardest life lessons - That is the lesson of disappointment! Her bid for Junior School Captain was not successful, but she more than won the prize in my eyes. She handled her disappointment with dignity and maturity beyond her years. She congratulated and hugged her friend Charlotte who won the position. Some of the girls were in tears and Sarah even spent her time comforting them. These actions alone show me that she is ready to tackle anything that life can throw her way and will flourish and grow over the next few years, to be the amazing young woman that we see emerging.

I also saw Matthew perform at his very first official function today. He, along with Madeline, gave a lovely speech to the graduating Year 9 cohort and also spent a lot of time helping the Head of Middle School, set up and tidy up. I received so many lovely compliments about his manners and behaviour and everyone is looking forward to watching him grow in his leadership next year.

I am unbelievably proud of both Sarah and Matthew as they complete Year Five and Year Eight respectively. It is their final years in their respective sub-schools next year, so will be an exciting one for them both.

We can relax and enjoy the holidays now. Yippeeeeee! No more school lunches or school run for 6 weeks. No more school uniforms to iron and no more early mornings. Elizabeth is old enough now to get herself up and off to work and Ivan is always happy to make his own breakfast and lunch. So my plans for tomorrow - A long lie-in!

Washed out!

It rained again last night and we were totally washed out at Sarah's presentation night. We were all trapped under cover of the Chapel while a huge storm hit. It past in just 20 mins but by then the grounds, chairs, stage and entire place was awash with water. Also another front was moving in, so despite all the preparations and efforts of the staff the evening was cancelled.

They did manage the firework show, before we all dashed for the cars and hurried home.

So today I am attending the 2008 - Year 9 Farewell Service at St Pauls Anglican Church. Matthew and Madeline will be giving a farewell speech and then I am heading back to school for Sarah's presentation morning and party. A day at school. Then it is farewell to friends and teachers and the end of a great year.

Sarah will move into Grade Six, a senior in the Junior School and Matthew into Grade Nine, a senior in the Middle school next year. We are looking forward to a busy and successful year for them both.

Look out for some photos in the next Blog post.


Monday, December 1, 2008


Thanksgiving Turkey! This year we have followed some of the wonderful traditions that we learnt while living in the USA. First of all we had Halloween and this weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving. It was really just an excuse to have a Turkey with Stuffing and remember all the things we are thankful for.

Firstly I am thankful for the wonderful man in the photos above. His love and his care of me and his family is something for which I am grateful everyday. For nearly 20 years he has loved and cared for me and I am most 'thankful' for Ivan.

We spent most of the day decorating our tree and the house and now it is 'beginning to look a lot like Christmas!'. This is my 'most favourite' time of the year and for this I am truly thankful. I love the spirit of Christmas. The times we lie in the dark looking at the tree, listening to Christmas music and sharing time together as a family. Of course Christmas day is my 'bestest, most favourite' day of the whole year.

The next thing that I am truly 'thankful for' is that my Dad (who went into hospital yesterday with severe chest pains) appears to be doing okay. I am thankful for the nurses, doctors and all the staff who have looked after him so well. Hopefully they will now do some tests and find out what is causing the problems.

Although I am thankful for many things this year, the most important things are my wonderful family (especially my beautiful children); my special friends and for all the peace and joy that I have in my life.

Take some time today to find some of the things you are thankful for, it is amazing when you take the time to just acknowledge them out loud, how many you can find.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Finally finished!

10 Secrets for Success and inner peace!

When I first started my blog I talked a lot about this wonderful book by Dr Wayne Dyer. I tried to take each secret and break it down to share what I had got out of it. Time and daily life seemed to get in the way and I lost the momentum, to finish reading it and also to blog about it.
A couple of days ago I found the time to finish and I want to share with you a little more.

To recap:

Secret one: "Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing."
Secret two: "Don't die with your music still in you."
Secret three: "You can't give away what you don't have."
Secret four: "Embrace Silence"
Secret five: "Give up your personal history."
Secret six: "You can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it."
Secret seven: "There are no justified resentments."
Secret eight: "Treat yourself as if you already are what you'd like to be"
Secret nine: "Treasure your divinity."
Secret ten: "Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you."

Each of these very simple and yet profound philosophies has given me something. They are easy to read and understand and yet not so easy to live. The days that I have successfully lived one or more of them have been wonderful days.

I have realised that I can choose how I live each and every day and in fact each and every minute. I can wake up each morning and say:

"Good morning God!" or I can wake up and say "Good God - morning!" I know which one will give me the better day.

The best is treating myself as though I have already achieved that which I wish to achieve! I wanted to lose some weight about 6 months ago. So I put in place all the things that I needed to do this. I believed that I would weigh 5 kilos less by Christmas. I still had to do all the hard stuff, like not eat so much, exercise etc. But now just a few weeks out from Christmas I am down over 4 kilos. I believed and it happened. We can achieve anything that we truly want and believe, if it is the only thoughts that we think. We can put in the work required with joy and inspiration and it will happen.

And finally, avoid thoughts that weaken you. Forgive yourself, release any guilt from your life. You cannot change the past, you can learn from it and move forward with positive uplifting thoughts that will empower you to success. Don't be apathetic about life and things, these thoughts lead to despair. Be positive, live your life, you only get one chance at it - and it truly is beautiful.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Middle School Captain

Middle School Co-Captain for 2009.

Mr Switzer principal of WMAC congratulates Matthew on his appointment as Middle School co-captain for 2009.

Matthew and Madeline Middle school captains for 2009. Matthew is thrilled to have Maddy as his partner. They have been friends since Grade 5, when Matthew arrived at the school.

The school and chapel captains for next year. The blessing for Matthew is that he is also very good friends with Kristy-Anna and Kurtis, so between these 4 young people, they will lead the middle school next year.
Today I had the very proud moment of seeing my beautiful son Matthew given the leadership position of middle school captain. He had given an amazing speech at the end of term three and had been waiting anxiously for the announcement. This should have occurred last week, but the storms washed out the event, so it was with baited breath that we waited for the announcement today.
Our family had wonderful front row seats and when Matthew's name was announced, I punched the air with excitement. I guess, some people would think that I should have been more restrained, but I am thrilled and proud of our wonderful son. Congratulations Matthew, good luck and may you have an amazing experience next year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time to think

Today after school drop-off, I will be coming home to an empty house. I don't have to go anywhere, I can just come home. I have lots of chores to achieve, like a whole basket of ironing, 2 baskets of washing and of course tidying up. But, I am not going to be rushing anywhere. For the first time in about a week, I will be coming home to silence and some time to think!

I realise that at this time of the year, I rush around a lot, trying to get everything organised for Christmas. I always have my carpets cleaned, house sprayed for pests and of course achieve the impossible, by attending every school activity with the children while doing Christmas shopping.

I seldom have a day of quiet, a day to meditate or just a few hours of total silence to find some peace and refresh my energy levels. So today I am dedicating to quiet, maybe some soft inspirational music, maybe just silence!

Then I am going to stay quiet and think about my wonderful life.

Christmas is now less than a month away. We are putting up our tree this weekend, I am almost finished doing the Christmas shopping and next week the children go on holiday. Madness I am sure will rush in again soon enough, but as I sit quietly now at the keyboard, only the sound of the birds and my fingers tapping on the keys, I relish the sound of silence.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Every mouth has a silver lining!

Ever since Matthew was very small, we have had to spend a great deal of time at the dentist/orthodontist. It has been really hard on him, having so many surgeries and subsequent braces, expanders, more braces etc, etc. His pain tolerance level is so high that it is almost dangerous! He is stoic and brave and I am immensely proud of him.

Today was another visit into the Royal Children's Hospital in the city for new braces. We had a 90 minute drive in the traffic and then almost 2 hours in the dental chair. His expander had to be removed and the new braces fitted. By the end his mouth was very, very sore.

The 'silver lining' to all of this of course is that we get to have some very special Mom/Matthew time together. Over the years, I have got to know my son, we have shared hours of chatting in the car, always have a treat lunch together when his appointment is over and just share some laughs and fun together.

Today we did some Christmas shopping, how cool to have a whole morning with my teenage son and us both enjoy and love the time together. I am so proud of him, grateful to the amazing medical staff who have worked miracles and to the Universe for the silver lining of his inner and outer beauty.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Affair of the Heart

During the last few months I have experienced a huge awakening of consciousness, I have realised that I have only one life to live and I am the person that has to live it. Along with this 'rather serious' awakening, I have come to realise that I do not often express the needs and desires that I have, as then I may be disappointed. Now that was a really sad realisation!

I have a wonderful life, I have an amazing husband who I have loved for over 20 years, 3 beautiful, loving and talented children. I live in our gorgeous home in Australia - a pretty good place on Earth to live and I have my health, more than sufficient wealth (of course I would love to win the lottery - who wouldn't?) and family that I love and who love me.

One of the things that I have realised is that life had become a chore! I had to get up clean house, iron, take care of children, manage finances, etc. etc..... I had lost the fun of living. So I decided to change.

My brother sent me a wonderful email a few months back about achieving 'your desires', it was inspirational, but of course the secret what "What did you want to achieve?" I did not know. I suddenly saw myself as a 'nearly 45 year old' and dreaded the thought of the next 20 years of doing exactly what I was doing every single day.

So I decided to change! I decided first of all, again following an email, this time from my friend Michelle, that I was going to set a goal of 101 things to do before I die! I must admit I am only up to around 11 items at the moment, but this is sort of the exciting thing, as I can keep adding to my list. The first and most important item I decided was that I am going to live until 101 at least. Just giving myself permission to live that long was exciting! Now I have almost 2 lifetimes ahead of me and I had no idea what I was going to do!

As you all know by now, I registered to attend University next year. I began really working on my poetry, I am writing, scrapbooking, creating cards, spreading the joy of life through 'Simply Angels - Pay it forward' and really feeding my creative side. I am living.

Now for the focus of this blog: I decided that I needed to have "An Affair!" I remember so clearly the wonderful, amazing feeling of being in that first flush of love with my husband and I miss that. Yes, I still love him with all my heart and even on a far deeper level than before, but we have lost the "Affair" part of being in love. So I told him that I was going to go out and have an affair to capture that magic again. The best part was that I had found someone to have the affair with - yes of course silly people - it is him!

I decided that we need to date, we need to see each other as strangers who we need to pay attention to and to get to know. Just by having an affair of the heart, we can recapture the magic and special attention that 20 years of marriage can dull. I looked at my wonderful man and saw the person I fell in love with and realised that it was worth just that extra special attention.

So I am going to wear make-up, dress up pretty, go out to lunch, catch a movie. Have a special picnic and find all the time in the world for my new 'love affair'. I managed to do it 20 years ago and now I have all this life experience to give, I think I can do it again.

Can you?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Raging rivers

Elizabeth and I standing next to the Bremer river which runs through Ipswich. It is in full flood and many local business's including a scrapbooking friend have been totally flooded! She lost 9000 photos which were on her computer - so back up your files and photos everyone!

Our local picnic spot, completely under water.

This is the Brisbane river, close to where we live at College's Crossing, Ivan usually drives across this road to get to work, but now it is under 1.5m of water.

The dogs were having great fun in the water, it was running so fast though, that any sort of swimming would be unbelievable dangerous.