Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

Skywatch Friday – sunset @ Freycinet on Christmas day

January 15, 2011

A new year, and a resolution to blog more frequently!

And what better way to begin 20011 than with a Skywatch Friday photo or 2… or 4…

Sunset @ Freycinet, Christmas day 2010

Sunset @ Freycinet, Christmas day 2010

We spent two weeks in Tasmania in December – our first visit.  It was special for many reasons, not least of those is that we nearly cancelled the trip 2 days prior because of some health issues I am dealing with.  But – we went, it was wonderful and we hope to visit again soon.

As well as Hobart, Cradle Mountain and Barnbougle golf course, we had 4 nights at Freycinet Lodge in Freycinet National Park.  On Christmas Day we drove up the coast (in the hopes of getting mobile phone reception so that we could call MissN who was in China on exchange) to picnic at Binalong Bay at the southern end of the Bay of Fires.

Binalong Bay

Binalong Bay

Our lunch was a picnic comprised of fruit and pastries from breakfast, cheese and a bottle of pinot noir we had bought at Freycinet Vineyard a couple of days before, and chocolate from the Christmas stocking (we didn’t exchange gifts this year).  We watched some locals dive for crayfish and abalone and later drove as far north as the Gardens.  (This area has been affected by flash flooding – the same weather system that has devastated SE Queensland, northern NSW and western Victoria – this week).   We did manage to get to speak to MissN on our way home (there is reception at Bicheno).  She was waiting (in the cold – it was about -2C there) to get a table at Pizza Hut in Tianjin with her exchange buddies.  A very different Christmas for her too!

Dinner was at the Lodge – a rather uninspired buffet.  But we had the view.. and the sunset.

Here are a couple more.

Sunset Coles Bay, Freycinet

Sunset Coles Bay, Freycinet

Coles Bay

Coles Bay

A blessed day.

You can enjoy hundreds of other gorgeous sky photos here.

Jude 2

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Blessings in the mail

May 6, 2009

The last couple of weeks have been a bit blah. I had a headache the day after we got back from Hong Kong.  It lingered for almost a week.  A virus, no doubt. Post holiday blahness prevailed.  Blah blah blah…

What cheered me was two parcels that arrived in my PO box from different internet friends.  I’m in a secret angel swap in my quilting list.

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My gorgeous angel blessed me with a butterfly frame, a stitchery pattern, a beautiful “wallet” I am sure she made herself  (please teach me how to sew see-through vinyl!) and a fat quarter.

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I will have to decide what to use the wallet for. Perhaps earrings? Perhaps for embroidery-on-the-go?

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The second pressie which arrived the next day was a CD of John’s Gospel narrated by Max McLean.  I forget quite how I won this but it was a giveaway at Chris Gallagher’s blog. Thanks muchly, Chris, for mailing all the way across the Pacific! John’s Gospel is my favourite and the melliferous voice of Max McLean is wonderfully soothing and inspiring at the same time.  What a way to drink of the living water!

Thanks angel and Chris!  You brightened my week considerably.

Until the day

March 25, 2009

I’m feeling depleted emotionally, mentally,  spiritually.  I need to focus on what will uplift me and renew my resources.  So let me share three sources of nourishment for me today.

A dear internet friend has This is a day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it Psalm 118:24 as her email signature.   I received a couple of encouraging emails from her but what especially blessed me was the challenge in that Scripture to choose to rejoice in whatever circumstances my life presents to me, and to give thanks for the myriad blessings of each new day.   And that reminds me of a song:

Sydney weather is glorious right now.  If anyone out there is planning a trip to Sydney, plan it for late March.  Sunny warm days and cool nights.  It’s perfect.  Want to see what our weather is doing?  There is a harbour cam here.  This cam is about 10kms further east than where we are (we live between the city and the Olympic site close to the harbour and about 15kms from the coast) but the weather is the same!

On Sunday night at my church, this song sung by Michael and Kirsty and  accompanied by harp and flute, was part of the communion meditation.  It was one of those services when the presence of God was so very powerful as to be almost palpable and I came away refreshed by streams of living water.  The song “Until the Day” is from the Compassion Art CD.  I think I will be buying the CD!

2008 – What are you grateful for?

January 8, 2009

Did you have a good 2008?

John Alan Turner challenged us to create a list of the highlights of 2008.  Like many of my friends and family, we had a difficult 2008.  Some of my  friends have blamed the alignment of the planets.  I just blame life!  C said he was grateful 2008 was over.  For some close to me, 2008 was a nightmare, and a nightmare that isn’t over yet and won’t be for a long time.  However, 2008 was also a year of amazing blessings.

Some of my blessings (which I am choosing, rather than highlights) in no particular order, were:

  • Our family subscription to the Bell Shakespeare Company.  This was nominally MissN’s 2007 Christmas present (she shrieked with excitement when she saw the tickets, and shrieked even more when she realised there were tickets for 3 plays, not one), but in reality a family present.  We especially loved Hamlet.  C wasn’t feeling well for the last play (and Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome was very bloody so it’s best he wasn’t in the 3rd row!), so we invited one of MissN’s friends (the only one who also loves Shakespeare).  She coped with the buckets of blood!

    C and MissN

    C and MissN

  • Dolce, MissN’s adorable cat, continues to be a source of amusement, delight and comfort for us all.
  • My baptism on February 17 (my mom’s birthday!) at my new church.  My journey to baptism had been a very long one – it probably began when I was 20 and the church I had grown up in wouldn’t marry us.  I will write about it.  Soon.
  • My spiritual support groups – my new church, my new connection group and my Wednesday morning ladies Bible study group from my previous church.  The Prayer group at MissN’s school, which I will be co-facilitating this year.  Pray for me!  My many dear brothers and sisters, friends and mentors who are always prepared to listen, comfort, encourage and pray with and for me. (You know who you are!)
  • Closer relationships with my siblings.  We had a wonderful Christmas with my brother and his wife and daughter in Brisbane.  christmasdinnerIt’s so cool having some relatives in Australia now!  (They arrived from NZ in 2006 and spent Christmas 2007 with us in Sydney).  My sister and other brother are in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively, and C’s sisters are in the UK.  The 4 of us are in much closer contact by phone, email and IM.  Facebook is wonderful (all 4 of us are now on fb) – Iam connectedtoo with my nieces and nephews and enjoy their pics and a snippet of their lives, albeit at a great geographic distance.
  • Being awed by the patience and forbearance C has shown and is showing since he had his cataract surgery and detached retina last June/July.  He still has markedly reduced close (to 10m) vision and further surgery is possible (luckily not invasive).  He has been inspiring in how he coped with the 10 days face forward following the detached retina surgery, the uncertainty of what degree of sight would be restored and the trails of life with always the wrong glasses at hand and an inability to see much of what we take for granted.  (We give thanks for the iPod he bought just prior to his first surgery! Podcasts kept him going!)  He shows the same patience with me!  I am blessed (and I would say he is a hunk but it would embarrass MissN so I won’t.)
  • My beautiful daughter has amazed us with how she has matured, grown strong and resilient and managed to achieve some stunning school results with not much effort, despite a very difficult year.  She is witty, dramatic, caring, insightful and great fun.  Most important of all,  she is loving.  I am blessed (as is C) by an incredibly close relationship with her. And – she is a great cook!
  • My blog (begun in April) has been a creative outlet for me and has connected me with so many new friends.  It has crystallised my attention on my interests (cooking/birding/sewing/reading) and I am pursuing them more avidly as a result of blogging about them.  My blog also been a way of thinking of God in all I do, of being aware of the spiritual nourishment that is everywhere, if we open our eyes, our ears and our hearts.

What are you grateful for?

Life wasn’t meant to be easy

July 5, 2008

It’s tough.  Health issues.  Relationship issues.  Emotional issues.  Financial stress.  Mortgage stress.  Fuel prices.  Rising prices.  Prices.  World food shortage.  Global warming.  The future.  Our kids. Their problems. Their future?

We were never promised an easy ride.    But I guess without trials and testing we don’t develop character, are never stretched to grow and learn and become more compassionate, more resilient, more loving human beings.  But that’s little comfort in the midst of hard times.

What can we do to get through the arduous times?  Live each day as a gift.  Each day IS a gift.   Talk, laugh, sing, dance, pray, enjoy the sunshine and the rain.   Nurture and value each other and ourselves.  Give thanks for our many blessings. Remember the hope we have.   Celebrate with each meal.

That sounds trite but the little pleasures do add up.  Real food.  Cooked with love.  Real coffee.  Music which lifts the spirits.  A fat sun-warmed purring cat. (Or dog or or child grandchild – but of course, children and dogs don’t purr!)  A hug and an encouraging word.  A meal eaten enjoyed outside in the sun, or the cool (whatever you need!)

I recently bought a 2kg bag of sweet potatoes and we have enjoyed a number of great dishes.  Some new, some family favourites.  I don’t recall where I got this recipe.  It’s a satisfying, healthy, honest, simple-to-make but complex-in-taste, delicious salad.  It’s a meal in itself but those of you who are meat-addicted could add some crumbled crisp bacon or a grilled minute steak or even some lamb kofte.

Sweet potato and chickpea (garbanzo) salad

Peel and cube a couple of sweet potatoes, toss with oil and put in a baking dish.

Drizzle with sweet chili sauce, then roast.

Toss (when cooled a bit) with a tin of drained chickpeas, some onion (either finely sliced red or spring onions or shallots) and baby spinach leaves or other dark leaves (rocket is good too).

Add the dressing of your choice. I use extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some chopped garlic.  The original recipe suggested a yoghurt dressing, but that would negate the taste of the caramelised sweet chili sauce, I thought!

Toasted pine nuts are a nice addition too!

More sweet potato recipes to come!

A song which has lifted my spirits this week is Love Came Down by Ben Cantelon.