Saturday, January 31, 2009

A cool, rainy Saturday

Last night we had friends over for supper and they only left at 11.15pm! We are both getting far to old to stay up so late and today are finding that we are all just enjoying a relaxing day, except for poor Elizabeth who is working.

I have managed to get some more scrapbooking done. I am working on Christmas 2008 photos and also my Blissings album, which is now up to date for January 2009. It is a lovely project and I am looking forward to looking back at the end of the year.

Our garden is flourishing again after a week of intermittent showers, keeping it lovely and cool as well.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cleaning House

I know that I have a fairly clean house in comparison to many people and a 'not-so tidy' one compared to others. This morning as I was pushing the 'dead elephant' (vacuum-cleaner) - a phrase from a dear family friend; around the house I began to wonder how many times everyone cleans each week. Do people have set days to achieve set chores, or are you the kind of person that just achieves what needs doing?

My God-child is the most amazing housewife ever! She was brought up in South Africa with a full-time maid and on her first visit to us in Australia did not even know how to do much basic housework - sorry Tam! Since settling in Australia, getting married and having two beautiful children, I can confidently say that she puts me totally to shame with her beautiful, tidy, organised home. Of course, like us all, she hates housework, but still achieves the most incredible results.

I have had friends whose houses were the most welcoming chaos, where there was always something yummy to eat and a kettle on the boil, but you had to move the piles of washing to find a place to sit down and often perched your cuppa on the ironing board. Yet, you were always welcome.

Tonight we are getting friends over for dinner, so an extra special few things were cleaned, a little extra dusting completed and also another item off my achievement list, this time the children's bathroom cupboard and drawer.

I am not a big fan of cleaning, but do love the look, smell and feel of a cleaned house. Tell me how often you clean!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What makes me proud?

I have been very blessed in my life by my amazing children. Each of them is uniquely gifted and have provided me with so many opportunities to reflect on the blessing that they bring to my life.

As an expectant mother, I always knew that I would love the child that I carried, but I never knew that I would be so proud of them. I did not think that I would look at them as individual human beings and be honoured to not only know them, but to be able to claim kinship with them.

Today it is Matthew's turn to make me proud. It all started last year, when one Sunday night he informed me that he needed to write a speech. I flipped as I thought he had forgotten a homework assignment. As it turned out, he needed to write and deliver his speech as part of his application for the position of Middle School Captain.

Matthew's speech was amazing, it was filled with humour and delight and he managed to deliver it in the most amazing manner. He had staff and students in the palm of his hand and outshone so many of the other candidates. Voting took place and after a very long wait, he found out at the end of last year that he had achieved the honour of Captain.

Today was his official induction into the position and during a lovely ceremony he spoke with eloquence and confidence, giving his oath of office, smoothly without even referring to the paper provided.

Our family is so proud of this amazing young man, he is on the verge of adulthood and carries himself with dignity and maturity. He has also managed to retain his wonderful sense of humour and also just be our Matthew.

I am proud of my son for giving something a go! For deciding to make a difference, not by moaning about the situation, but by standing for election and deciding to be the School Captain that he wants to be.

I am proud to be his Mom, well done Matthew, I love you.

Induction of Middle School Captains 2009

Matthew and Madeline - Middle School Captains
After the induction, they jointly lit a school candle to symbolise the 'light of their leadership'.
Mrs Gagliardi - Head of Middle School and Mr Switzer - College Principal, with our two Middle school leaders.
A very proud big sister and me, standing with Matthew and Maddy after the ceremony.
The entire Middle School leadership team, house captains, chapel captains, enviromental, cultural and academic, plus Matthew and Madeline.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do word choices matter?

Yesterday I decided to make a list of things I wanted to achieve today and in the next week or so, but really did not want to create another Chore list! So I decided to call it my Achievement list! It sounds such a silly little thing, because yes, it has a list of chores on it, but in so many ways it is not a chore list, but rather a list of things that I want to achieve.

Ivan's boss decided to hold an 'Advance' rather than a 'Retreat' and we all laughed at the silliness of his words, but when you begin to think about how you approach something, even the words associated with it, can influence its outcome. So to 'Advance' and plan the future rather than attending a 'retreat' with its backward word focus, maybe will help.

Positive thoughts, create positive outcomes!

Today the children all got up early - 6am wake up call! I made Ivan, Elizabeth and Matthew 'Humpty Dumpty Eggs' for breakfast with fresh juice and started their day with positive words, laughter and healthy energy-sustaining food. They were then all assigned tasks to help me start the day and by 7.30am when they left, all the little tidying up things had been achieved!

Today I can now focus on some of the bigger items on my achievement list - I have already tidied out 2 kitchen drawers, a quick 20 minute task, that means so much. I have great upbeat music playing 'Robert Palmer' and am going to clean house, iron and start the school year with a positive message!

What words do you chose? Be positive!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day of Blessings - Second Blessing

My second joy today was sharing the wonderful experience with Elizabeth as she purchased her first car. She has saved so hard for a year to get a really big deposit and today had the JOY and PLEASURE of picking it up.

Throughout the last few weeks, we have worked together to arrange her loan, insurance and so many other parts and today, we shared the fun of going to Blue Ribbon Honda to pick up her Honda Jazz, GLI, automatic.

The gods looked down on her and the sun shone as the rain clouds cleared enough for her to drive home, without getting a single spot of rain on her car.

We rearranged the garage to allow her to fit it in just perfectly and she has decided to even give it a name. She said that like Jack Sparrow, said in Pirates of the Caribbean: It is more than a car (ship) - it is FREEDOM! So her baby is called the "Blue Pearl"

My special girl, I wish you safe driving, a clear road and no traffic cops ever!!! ENJOY!

Day of Blessings - First Blessing

Today Matthew and Sarah had their first full day back at school for 2009.

Our Sarah is in her final year of Primary School and is now the 'big' kid on the block! She has a substitute teacher for term one, as her teacher is taking long-service leave. She will have a male teacher all year, first with Mr Morrow and then Mr Sternberg. Her new teacher seems very nice and although her very best friend, Amy is not in her class, she had a really good day.

Matthew arrived at the car bubbling and joyful, having met up with friends at morning tea and lunch and seemed really happy with most of his teachers.

2009 is going to be a busy year for both children, with Matthew hoping to play cricket and of course all his duties as Middle school captain. Sarah will be taking flute and piano lessons and is hoping to participate in concert band. She is also trying out for softball this term, so I think we are all going to be really busy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day

The 26th of January is quite a special day for Ivan, Elizabeth and I, as we became Australian citizens on this day. We were lucky to attend the ceremony at Brisbane City Hall and finished the day with a visit to the beach.

Australia became our home in October 1992 and we became citizens in January 1995. We left South Africa for a safer life and Australia has given us a good one.

As a family born in many locations (Ivan - Northern Ireland, Beverly and Elizabeth - South Africa and Matthew and Sarah - Queensland and Victoria, Australia); we often wonder where we belong. Our many moves have left us feeling as though we are children of the world rather than of any single place.

My soul belongs to Africa, to the dry, dust that you can only breathe as you step off the plane in Johannesburg. I feel the connection, but the years of troubles and fear have meant that I can never again claim it as home. Australia is my place of residence, it is the country where two of my children have been born and the place that I call home. The one country however, that I fell in love with, was the USA. Our three years living there were amazing and so often I hanker to return.

Yet, today as always on Australia Day, I am thankful and grateful for such an amazing country, where people are equal and free. Where my children can be safe and grow up in health and have a good education. Australians are very blessed and I am thankful to be one as well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My gifts!

All my lovely gifts from Ivan and the family.
My fun purple boogie board - now I can play in the surf with the children.

New gel-pens and highlighters for Uni!
I also received a lovely card-making set and stamp set from my friend Michelle.

Birthday breakfast in bed!

I woke this morning to hear my lovely son, making me French Toast! He did not know quite how to do this, so got out the recipe book, and followed the instructions, creating a wonderful breakfast for me! Thank you Matthew!

Today is my Birthday!

I am 45 today!

I am so blessed and lucky to be celebrating my 45th birthday in good health and wonderful spirit. I am alive and healthy, I have the love of my family and the joy and blessings of amazing friends.

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful wishes, for the gifts and just for encouraging me to be happy and fulfilled.

A couple of years ago, I faced birthdays with trepidation in the fear of growing old and 'unattractive' and yet, today I feel amazing. I have learnt to love and honour ME! I have realised that I do know what I am doing and I have so much still left to do. I am going to grow younger in spirit each and everyday and never age in attitude. This alone has given me the gift of acceptance and self-delight.

My 45th year is like my first step into adulthood once more. I am embarking on a new journey; one of self-discovery through learning, new experiences and challenges and I am excited and ready.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Book review - Stephanie Meyer

I have just completed Book Four of the new Stephanie Meyer Vampire series. The first book 'twilight' has been made into a motion picture and the power and beauty of the film is amazing. The aura, music and photography create a mystical, beautiful world where fear is not overwhelming, but rather envy for the life of the Vampire. I walked out of the film thinking:
"I wish that Edward (the main character) loved me like that!"

As Elizabeth had read the first book, Sarah and I devoured it in a matter of days for her and hours for me. We then went on the hunt for books 2, 3 & 4! Of course, they have been totally sold out, but on Tuesday we managed to find a copy of them and we all started reading.

It is a powerful, gripping story of the supernatural, a world of beauty and desire, difference and power, yet so human in its telling that I have not put it down for the past two days. In fact this morning, Elizabeth and I looked around the house and went - Oops! Better clean up and do the dishes! Sarah is totally absorbed, she has read book 1 in just over 2 days and book 2 in less! She is now reading book 3 and Elizabeth book 4.

This is a series that I will read over and over again, the characters are real and wonderful and the writing powerful and gripping.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


At the beginning of this year, Michelle, Julie and I started our Blissings project. For a keen photographer, scrapbooker and 'Pollyanna' like me, it sounded like a breeze. I would easily be able to take a photo every single day to capture my 'Blissing' for the day. I have discovered that it is not that easy!

So many times I find myself so busy with the day, actually living that I forget to take the time to count or even notice the good things. I have found on a couple of days that I have got to the end and thought now what could I have taken a photo of today. Luckily and 'blissedly' (yes I know I am making up new words); I have only missed one day so far, and have decided to write about the day instead!

The days that are successful are days when I concentrate from early on to try and find a photo for the day. I guess that is the secret of the whole project - It is not actually the photo, but rather the process of focusing on all the wonderful good things that I have in my life.

I have a photo for yesterday of all the children's school books, waiting to be covered and sorted. Now that was a bit of a chore, rather than a 'blissing', but the fact that we have enough money to send the children to a great school and to buy them new books, pens, pencils each year - that is truly the 'blissing!'

Today it is just 6.05am, I have made Ivan's lunch and he has left for the day. I woke at 5.30am with him and must admit that getting up was not a blissing, I just wanted to stay in bed sleeping. But, now just 35 minutes later as I sit and write and realise what a beautiful morning we have, I realise my life is filled with 'blissings'.

What will yours be today?

Monday, January 19, 2009

World Vision

For years Ivan and I have talked about sponsoring a child through World Vision and somehow we have never taken the time to just do it! Well this year, we made the decision and committed to doing it!

We involved the children and between us all, we decided to sponsor a girl from South Africa. The connection of course, being that both Elizabeth and I were born there and that we have seen the poverty firsthand.

At first it was very difficult to go online and 'almost shop' for a child to support, but then we decided to try and find a connection. Finally we found a little girl, 9 years of age called Thobile, who loves skipping rope. It turns out that she is Zulu and lives less than 100km from where I was born. The Universe connected us together.

Yesterday, we had the joy of opening our World Vision Sponsorship envelope and finding all about Thobile. She loves skipping and was born on November 11th, 1999. It felt as though we had adopted another child into our lives.

The joy on our three children's faces, especially Sarah, was reward enough, yet we also know that we will be helping a community and one day, may even get to visit Thobile if we go back to South Africa for a visit.

Our next task is to write her a letter and tell her all about us.

Well done World Vision for your wonderful efforts around the world and thank you for the gift you have given us, the gift of finding JOY in giving.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Settled at last!

We have now been back in Brisbane for 4 years and I have realised over these holidays that we have settled! It has been very hard to settle this time and now having lived here almost the longest that we have lived in one place, I realise that I have been waiting to move.
I have not wanted to make friends, put down roots, or even think that this is home, because we always - Move!

I now however, have a small group of friends, a large group of lovely acquaintances and the children really belong to their school and University. I have also now committed to Uni, and to just belonging. Ivan loves our home and the area we live in, and we no longer think about where we will be next.

We seem to be planning for the long term in this house, suburb and place. It is an interesting shift in consciousness, as up until recently, I could not picture staying forever. Maybe, we wont? But then again, maybe we will?

I feel settled and now want to build a life, friendship circle, family and future in just one place. I still want to travel, but realise that I can probably achieve this with 'trips' and won't have to move to see the world.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

University Student

As told in my post on Thursday I have been accepted into the University of Queensland as a student. I am planning to do a BA majoring in English and Religion.

Now that is probably a strange combination for most people to get their heads around, but I am in the wonderful position of being able to study for the JOY and love of learning and unlike I did 26 years ago (Oops!), not for a career. So I have decided to chose subjects which interest me.

I have also decided to do 3 subjects this first semester and have chosen:

Creative Writing Narrative
World Religions
Meditation and Soul Journeys.

I am so excited about the whole process, just doing something stimulating and different is going to be fun.

Now I will spend the next few weeks, planning and organising my life, so that it all runs as smoothly as possible and that I will still be able to be a full-time Mom (my first and most important love, besides my love of being a wife of course). Then late February will attend orientation and start at the beginning of March.

I am truly blessed and grateful for my life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hello World!

As of this morning I am officially a registered University of Queensland Uni student!
My offer came through from QTAC and I accepted!
I am registered to start a Full-time or Part-time Bachelor of Arts program at the University of Queensland in March 2009!
I cannot believe it, I am so exited!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesdays - Pay it forward!

This morning I had the JOY of reading my friend Michelle's amazing website as I do every morning and I realised how amazingly talented and gifted she is! For over 10 years I have watched her in admiration, seeing how she lives her 'talk'. So many of us have thoughts and ideas that we would love to try, but seldom have the courage. Michelle has taken her life and lived her dreams, both little and big and inspires so many people around her to do the same.

Last year she inspired me to start this Blog! I thought that this would be such an easy thing to do, because of course Michelle writes inspirational messages to us all each and everyday. I have now been writing since September and realise that the work and effort that she puts into her Blog is amazing. There is always something positive and uplifting to read, beautiful photos and craft ideas to admire and inspirational ideas for us to do in our lives.

This morning I am tipping my Angel-wings to my friend Michelle and her gift of 'Paying it forward' Every day Michelle, you pass along to all the readers of JoyExpress your talents and gifts, so today this is all about you.

I would like to recommend this amazing site to anyone who would love to start their day with inspiration and love.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday musings

I have been wondering today what makes the difference between a 'flat' day and a 'perfect' bubbly day! I really don't know? Today for no known reason I experienced a really flat day!
I woke up tired and disconnected, I felt as though I had not slept enough, although I had slept at least 8 hours.

We planned and executed a family orientated day, playing games with the children, watching a movie together and still I felt as though I was walking through treacle! Finally, I gave in and retired to my bed for a sleep. An hour later, I woke still groggy, but got up determined to make a yummy dinner.

Lots of water, salad, a little protein in the form of some BBQ sausages and everything seemed set and then the bubble arrived, in the form of a giggle and laughter. My little Sarah decided to play in the sprinkler from our water tank and was jumping over the spray. Ivan decided to join in and the two of them were gliding over in fairy poses and laughter. It lit up my soul and my day seemed so much lighter and better. Not just from that moment onward, but the entire day!

How did such a little thing, change how I have thought, felt and see the entire day, I realise that my thoughts do dictate my feelings, but I would have sworn, that my thoughts were positive all day. I now realise that the single item missing from this morning that changed it all, was laughter and joy! The day felt like a drag because I succumbed to the idea that I was tired.

So laugh a little each day is my new recipe and laugh early each morning!

Wishing you all a joyful, laughter filled Monday.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Absorbing sunshine!

It is 6.30am and the sun is shining!

We have had quite a few days of cloudy, overcast skies, with no rain. It has kept the weather cooler which has been a blessing, but waking this morning at 6.00am to blue skies and sunshine made me realise how much I have missed the sun! I know it will mean a far hotter day today, but these first few early hours are just beautiful.

I am taking advantage of the peace and quiet to answer emails and write on my Blog, but the sun is calling, so am planning to take my Orange Juice and breakfast out into the garden and soak some sunshine into my soul!

It will be my Blissing today, to just be warm and refreshed by the sun!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I have just had the joy of taking both Elizabeth, Sarah and Sarah's lovely friend Amy to see this beautiful, romantic, vampire movie! Not that sounds like a true oxymoron, but it was beautifully filmed and portrayed.

It is such a funny feeling to have added Sarah to our 'club' of romantic women! For the last 5 years or so, Elizabeth and I have enjoyed each others company as we have journeyed into the genre of romantic literature and film. Now Sarah, my 'baby' is on the verge of joining us as women of this world.

There is nothing nicer than to sit with our 'sisters' and exclaim over a beautiful tear-jerker, or a romantic novel, that moves your soul. Novels that spring immediately to mind are Cross-Stitch and the entire Jamie and Clare saga. Yes, girls - Jamie is still mine! Or maybe Pride and Prejudice written so long ago, but still beautiful today.

I have to add that young Robert Pattinson as Edward the 17 year old Vampire (Cedric Diggory for Harry Potter fans) was just beautiful and I would happily be 'bitten' by him. Sarah thought it very funny, that Mommy called him a 'hunk'.

As girls together, the four of us, experienced joy and laughter and the romantic love of a wonderful movie.

What a Blissing!

Thoughts create feelings!

When we experience feelings both positive and negative, we don't often relate them to the fact that they are the result of a thought or thoughts, but this is the case! Once I realised this, I also realised that by changing the thought, I could then change the feeling!

Deciding to focus my daily thoughts on the positives in life has created a profound change in who I am and how I function in life. Yes of course, I have sad,angry and negative thoughts, but I have learnt to recognise and acknowledge them very quickly and now no longer allow them to take dominance and indulge in the 'feelings' that always came with them.

Also by just recognising the negative thought, I have realised that I can take away all its power. I can acknowledge that something has annoyed me, without slipping into the total annoyance. I am annoyed and then I let it go, so that I can live my life in Joy and Peace.

It is not a simple act to allow these thoughts to filter through, but we only have our own lives to live, we get to chose what we do with our day, with our time and also with our thoughts. By choosing to allow the Joy into our lives, we get to give out only Joy.

So today I wish you all 'positive' thoughts and wonderful feelings.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good manners

The last few days I have been able to observe all the years of parenting that I have given my Elizabeth. At nearly 19 years of age, I have watched her conduct herself in such an amazing manner as she has negotiated her way towards buying a new car.

Everywhere she has gone, she has left behind a trail of people blown away with her maturity, amazing poise and good manners. The bank manager, even went so far as to tell Elizabeth how impressed she was with her and then to give me the compliment for raising such an impressive young lady.

I know as we walk through the parenting mine field each and everyday, that we often wonder will we step on the mine, or in times of frustration, actually just push our kids on top of them.

I have tried beyond all else, to teach my children to show respect for others and treat people just as they would hope that the world would treat them. Such little things such as a lovely smile, a please or thank-you and a genuine touch of manners, improves life so much and it costs so little.

Apparently, I have succeeded!

A New Car!

How did I get to Wednesday morning and not even get near my Blog or emails?

Life seems to have taken on a 'life' of its own (sorry about the pun!)

Elizabeth has been looking at cars for the past two days and trying to organise the best deal, of course I volunteered to help - I love cars. I had forgotten however, just how time consuming this whole process can become, so for the last couple of days. We have lived, eaten, dreamt and spoken about little else except her car. I am now over it completely.

Anyway the upshot of all the hard work, is that she is likely to be buying herself a Honda Jazz! It is a trendy, but safe little car. Perhaps, one up from the normal 'first' car, but she has settled for safety and a long relationship with it, so has gone that little extra.

Today she is working, so a bit of a breather from the issue, but tomorrow we will go and do the 'final deal!' So far we are doing well with our negotiations!

Look out world, this girl could soon be the proud owner of a New Car!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


A peaceful day!

Sarah had a friend over to play, so I hardly saw her. I also realised that my two older children are both almost adults. They decided to head out to the shops together. Matthew has an EB games gift voucher that he wants to spend and Elizabeth needed some new socks. So I gave them my grocery list and car and off they went. It seemed so strange and wonderful at the same time.

Ivan spent most of the day gardening and I pottered. Just answering emails; working on my CM order for January and reading a little. Watched a bit of cricket and spent a perfect restful Sunday.

I hope you had an indulgent Sunday however you spent it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

An early comment

6.00am and I have had time to sit and answer my emails in the cool, quiet of my study. The window is open and the smell of roses and freshly cut lawn is wafting through the window. The sounds of the doves calling to each other, the Butcher birds and the calls of the lorikeets is the music to which I type.

This is my favourite time of day! I have time to think and be by myself; I am neither wife nor mother and not cleaner, taxi driver or any of my other persona's. I am just Me!

I love sitting writing or working on the computer early in the morning, my thoughts flow freely and I have time to just wake up slowly, enjoying the peace of the morning.

However, you wake up this morning, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Today's post is late - I know!

Christmas is over and all the decorations are packed away! It normally takes at least 2-3 days to put everything up and lots of days to get it all away, but with a lot of hard work, lots of help from Matthew, Sarah and Ivan we have even got our lounge back clean and tidy and this is such a lovely feeling.

I love having my house decorated for all of December, but I always feel that the New Year has finally begun, once the tree is down and everything cleared away.

Today I counted my second Blissing, yesterday I celebrated ME! I decided that without Me, my life would not exist, so in order to do a Blissings Album, I would need a photo of me. Today the photo that I have taken is of my beautiful home, in the form of my tidy and clean lounge. To acknowledge the hard work, but also the beauty and pleasure of my home.

Are you counting your Blissings? It doesn't have to be a huge project like our 365 photo album, but each day, find something to acknowledge the gift of your life and count your blissings!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Some of my goals for 2009!

These are mostly my craft/hobby goals, which are easy to think about and plan and achieve, they just take time!

1. To take a photo everyday for my 'Blissings' album and to acknowledge and be grateful for the things that make me Joyful.

2. My first scrapbooking goal for 2009 is to scrapbook all 500 photos of Christmas 2008!

3. Send out a card each and every Tuesday to someone to keep 'Simply Angels - Pay it Forward' going. To share the Joy!

4. Make the cards I need for No. 3.

5. Write more inspirational poetry and get it out into the world via my Blog!
Happy New Year!

Did anyone notice that last year was one second longer? I heard that we were getting one extra second added to the year, to keep the world in time! It made me wonder about time and how we perceive it. As a child a single day can seem like a lifetime and a year - well that is an eternity!

Years lasted forever, they started just after Christmas and the New Year and really got going when we went and got our new school shoes and lunch boxes. As Mom started covering school books and buying our new school uniforms for the year, we realised that the year was well on the way.

Then of course the first day of school. For me this coincided often with my birthday, so it was a sweet/sad moment. Holidays were over but being one of those strange children who loved school, I was always happy to head out in my new shiny shoes back to school!

Time was ruled by Monday-Friday weeks and then the end of each term. A holiday to set our body clocks to. My life still runs by the school year and last year for the first time with Elizabeth at University I realised how much things would change once all three no longer were at school.

Mid-year came along with cooler weather and then living in the Southern Hemisphere, soon the spring flowers and blossoming warmth of Spring. As the end of each approached it was signalled by study, exams and of course all the Christmas preparations.

Time itself was not significant, I guess it still isn't? Each day is and can be the same as the day before, what makes it different is what we do with that day. Is it a work/school day? Or a festival or celebration day? A weekend or a holiday?

Today is no different to yesterday, it has the same amount of hours and yet we celebrate it as a new beginning - New Year's Day!

My thought through all this musing is this:

Chose to live each day as a celebration, it is your life gift! Count it as your blessing and know that when you lay your head down to sleep at the end of it, you have lived a special day!