Photo-A-Day: Circle

I have missed the last two days of my Photo-A-Day blogging. I have kind of felt like my life is not my own, and so just couldn’t get near the computer for long enough to write anything.

Today, however, was nice and relaxing. We began the day with our regular church service, spending time worshipping the Lord. Then we invited my brother back to our home for lunch.

Thus we spent the afternoon circled around the round camp fire in the back yard, deep in conversation and fellowship with each other, while sipping hot teas and coffees and dipping our Tim Tams. As time passed, my sister joined us and eventually my sister-in-law as well. Almost all of my family circle — apart from my parents who are on holidays.

I love these times of sitting back with my close relatives, catching up on our lives and laughing together over memories. We often begin to discuss theological questions as well, providing stimulating debate and conversation.

Finally the circle was broken as one by one they drifted home again, leaving me to ponder what I would cook for dinner, and how I would organise my children for school tomorrow. I guess it will be fish and chips tonight … around our square table. 😉

Published in: on 29th April, 2012 at 8:25 pm  Comments (3)  
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Photo-A-Day: Black & White

This is one of my favourite photos of my little girl when she was less than a year old. She and the two-year-old aboriginal girl were playing together on a flooded road in Darwin’s outskirts. Forever after we’ve always called this photo “chocolate and vanilla.” I believe it was the indigenous girl’s foster mum who came up with the title, followed by an infectious giggle. Ah, the wonderful memories we have of that family …

Black and white look so great together, like they belong next to one another. Such a contrast. The white shows just how dark the dark is, and in the same way, the dark shows just how bright the white is. Polar opposites and yet somehow tied together.

One of my favourite “black and white” occurences is in piano keys. I think of that song Ebony and Ivory. The keys can play music in perfect harmony, the black and white together. Yet, in society we have good and bad and don’t always seem to be able to get along. Good and bad, wrong and right — another way black and white is used — dark being evil and white being good, in an ever-clashing battle for supremacy.

Then, of course, there is the black and white of print on paper. Once again, the two in perfect harmony, can take us to other worlds, and magical happenings beyond our imaginations. Or they can take us on a journey of self-discovery and change. The scope is as endless as the two are separate in the colour spectrum.

We can learn a lot, it seems, from black and white. Do you have a favourite black and white picture or story?

Published in: on 26th April, 2012 at 9:43 pm  Comments (4)  
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Photo-A-Day: Something You’re Grateful For

Today, I am grateful for heat. Today, when the temperature gauge barely hit 15°C (59°F), rain and hail has poured down all day, and an icy wind has been blowing, I am extremely happy to have a heated home, warm slippers and hot coffee.

In a world where we have central heating, instant kettles and gas ovens, it is hard to imagine how long it would take to warm oneself in the Victorian age, or earlier. Stoking fires and  boiling water would have taken much longer.

Say, my experience today, for example. I had to dash outside. In the minute or less I was out there, my clothes were dampened severely, my hair dripped with water and my feet became numb with cold. Fortunately I was able to escape into a house already warm from the central heating and soon I was thawing out.

Now, if I had lived two hundred years ago, I would have had to start a fire and stand in front of it for a long while to get dry and warm. Perhaps I would have even changed my clothes to feel dryer as well.

When I think of the effort it would have taken to warm up back then, I am truly grateful for the modern conveniences I enjoy. What is it you are most grateful for?

Published in: on 24th April, 2012 at 5:33 pm  Comments (4)  
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Photo-A-Day: The Last Thing You Bought

Today I took my big girl to see Titanic in 3D. I loved this movie so much when it came out and I wanted to share the experience with my daughter.

I first watched Titanic as a newly wed, along with my sister and brother-in-law. I remember being so caught up in the love story and enjoying every minute until it hit me — this really happened (not the love story part – the Titanic part). Fifteen hundred people died in a senseless tragedy that really could have been avoided. That realisation in the midst of the screening hit me so hard, I began to cry. And not the usual silent-tear-trickling-down-the-cheek kind either. I was actually sobbing. My hubby, hero that he is, offered me his shirt sleeve to wipe my eyes.

Of course, we have just commemorated the 100 year anniversary of this tragedy, so everybody is talking and thinking about the Titanic event once again. But, it was a catastrophe of such magnitude, how can we not let it touch us or move us? So many souls were lost, many probably to a godless eternity.

It moves me again, to spread the message of Jesus’ salvation wrought by the cross, because you never know when such a tragedy might strike again. Even in recent years, we have seen natural disasters aplenty, with thousands of lives lost. It is an easy thing to become numb to all the suffering, but I don’t think we can afford to. If we don’t care, how will we ever step out and try to make a difference.

As Jack says in the movie, “I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.” Here’s to making it count.

Published in: on 22nd April, 2012 at 8:34 pm  Comments (4)  
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Photo-A-Day: Bottle

I went to a wedding today. I love weddings. I could have easily blogged about a wedding. And it was a wonderful wedding too. But there were no bottles in sight. Not one.

So, this post is inspired by an idea I got when reading a friend’s blog a couple of days ago. She asked me about a souvenir. It made me think of my favourite keepsake of my favourite place — central Australia.

In 1995 I toured Australia with a worship band. I already knew I loved the ‘red centre,’ having already been there in 1983 with my family, and again in 1987 for a school camp, so I determined this time to collect some of that amazing soil and keep it in a bottle.

That was over fifteen years ago, and I still have it. I love the depth of colour in this sand from the centre of our beautiful country. It is colour that glows red in the sunset (much like that picture of Uluru at the top of my background design), in stark contrast to the blue sky and ghostly white of the gum trees. I could stare at that kind of scenery all day. Especially if I were sitting at the top of Kings Canyon — my absolute favourite place on earth.

If you could be in any place on earth, where would you choose?

Published in: on 21st April, 2012 at 7:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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Photo-A-Day: Something You Drew

I’ve never considered myself to be an artist, but I do have the occasional urge to draw or paint. When I think about it, I realise I come from a great heritage of creative people. Godly people too.

I remember my grandmother used to paint. This is a painting of hers I have kept. It was unfinished, but it reminds me that we are all unfinished works of art in the Lord’s hands — until, of course, we meet Him in eternity.

So, with her blood flowing through my veins  and my mother’s blood after her, who loves to write poetry and stories,  and often played piano when I was a child, I have inherited a good chunk of creativity. And, it seems, my children after me have inherited their own artistic slant. One of them enjoys drama and writing, another loves all kinds of drawing and painting, and the third seems to have a penchant for making up songs and dancing.

My own oil pastel creation.

Added to the creative side of our heritage, my ancestors number among them missionaries and ministers, and so I suspect comes my influence to serve the Lord in whatever I do. I pray that same influence overflows next to my children. I want to be amazed at what they accomplish in God. My heart swells when I think about this heritage piling up in the generations behind me, perhaps it all makes an impact on the future ahead…

How has your heritage impacted you?

Published in: on 20th April, 2012 at 6:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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Photo-A-Day: Orange

My kids suggested I should take a photo of carrots, because ‘Harry likes carrots’. Can you guess I have a house filled with One Direction fans? I just rolled my eyes and thought of something else.

Orange is not one of my favourite colours. I don’t like it on clothes, or on furniture, or paint or … basically anything indoors. But I don’t mind it so much in nature. Especially in Autumn. This is the time when all the deciduous trees begin to drop their leaves and lots of vibrant colour displays down all the local streets.  Just magical!

But it is interesting to note that most deciduous trees are not native to Australia. I suppose they were brought in by our early immigrants who wanted a taste of home, perhaps so they wouldn’t feel so far away. If they looked out of their cottage windows and saw the orange leave, they could probably imagine their old home to be just around the corner.

Now those deciduous trees are everywhere. It is hard to imagine a landscape with only green leaves in every direction, they are part of us now. I suppose that is how a new culture is created to, as parts of each nationality’s home is integrated into their new land and society. After two hundred odd years of added ingredients, we now have the multiculturalism that is Australia. And I am proud to call it home. 🙂

Published in: on 19th April, 2012 at 6:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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Photo-A-Day: Hair

Before my hair cut

When I was a little girl, I remember watching those shampoo ads where the model’s hair was so shiny, shimmering like satin, and wished my hair would look like that. I loved my long blonde locks, even though they were dead straight. My mum, on the other hand, always wished we had curls – she had a thing for curls – but her hair is naturally straight, too.

The ill-fated lock of hair from that day.

As I mentioned I enjoyed having long hair. But, when Dad took us for a three-month journey around Australia, Mum decided it would be easier if we all had short hair. So, off my lengthy strands came. I was twelve. I hated my new short hair. I thought I looked like a boy. I kept a lock of my hair that day, and I still have it, tucked away in the back of a photo album.

My daughter's gorgeous hair today.

Many years have passed, but I still love long, shiny hair. One of my daughters has strawberry-blonde hair with lighter streaks through it. It feels like silk and shimmers in the light. A few months ago it was almost down to her waist. Can you imagine how I felt when she expressed a wish to cut it short? I think I relived my horror hair cut for a moment. Thankfully, she only wanted a few inches off.

But, it all made me realise how much little things in our past can trigger an emotional response in our present lives. Do you have a childhood memory that still affects you today?

Published in: on 18th April, 2012 at 1:18 pm  Comments (2)  
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Photo-A-Day: Flower

Just as I mentioned about sunsets displaying God’s glory yesterday, I think flowers do also. In fact, so much of creation sings His praise, it’s hard to miss it. I only had to go out into my garden to find some very pretty samples of the beauty of flowers.

Of course, being a patriotic Australian, I do love our Aussie natives. This Purple Cloud Callistemon or “bottle brush” was specially picked by one of our daughters who loves everything pink and feminine. The flowers do have a magical colour and this plant has flourished in our back yard.

Then, my hubby pointed out his chillies. The flower of that plant is quite striking if you look closely, he told me. And yes, it is rather pretty and purple (and only the size of your thumb nail), even if it produces tongue-burning fruit which I cannot see reason to eat. Well, each to his own I guess.

These blooms are only part of the beauty that surrounds our home. If only it were July or August, then I would have taken photos of acacia flowers, “wattle,” in their canary-yellow, downy splendour. Can you tell they’re my favourite? When a flower blooms it is like God blowing a kiss from heaven, He is rather romantic like that. 🙂

Do you have a favourite flower? What makes it special to you?

Published in: on 16th April, 2012 at 7:20 pm  Comments (4)  
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Photo-A-Day: Sunset

I was looking forward to this photo topic. Sunrises and sunsets are my favourite times of the day. Today’s sunset was not overly exciting, but over the years I have seen some pretty spectacular skyscapes. It is always a household tradition, if one of us (usually hubby) sees a great sunset or sunrise, to call everyone out for a look and a snapshot.

Then there are those kind of sunsets you wait around for, such as a sunset on Uluru. Nothing quite like it, with the red glow seemingly emanating from the rock. Or, the sunset on the beach at the Mindil Beach markets, or even in Broome. Watching the sun dip below the horizon while the golden rays reflect off the ocean is hard to beat.

To me, sunsets and sunrises are like God’s living artwork. Forever changing in their colours and shapes. No two sunsets are ever the same. So, I sit and say, “What are you going to paint me today, Lord?” He never lets me down. Kind of like a love letter in the sky. No-one can do it better. Creation displays His glory in living colour. How can one doubt that He is real when you see that incomparable artwork splashed across the heavens?

“The heavens declare the glory of God;  the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” [Psalm 19:1 NIV]

Published in: on 15th April, 2012 at 6:46 pm  Comments (4)  
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