Photo-a-Day: Your Reflection

I was very inspired by my dear friend over at Ink Dots, who completed the Photo-A-Day challenge in March (check it out). Her photos were great, but even more I appreciated the truths she drew from the everyday and mundane. So, that will be the challenge for me – to see what significance I can draw from each photo moment.

I’m not a big fan of mirror-gazing. Five minutes is more than enough time for me to spend there, doing hair and makeup, unless there is a special occasion on. I know others who love to see their reflection much more than that – and our reflections are everywhere. When looking for a photo opportunity, I noticed my reflection in windows and screens, even the brass door knob on my house.

But, for me, I am more concerned with the reflection of the inner-me. On that I will spend hours – combing out the knots in my attitudes, smoothing over deep lines of discontent, putting colour on my words so they encourage others. I want to reflect Jesus in me, like the moon reflects the sun. Not, as this photo shows, a foggy resemblance, but a clear and bright picture of who He is in my life.

What image do you reflect?

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” [1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV]

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Published in: on 1st April, 2012 at 5:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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History in the Making (the week that was)

Star date 10.03.2012

Photo by DuJuan SylvesterDid I just say that? I mean 10th March, 2012. That’s what comes from a certain family member watching episode after episode of Star Trek Voyager, while I wander around the house aimlessly, trying to figure out how NOT to watch more of this Sci-Fi epic. Not that I don’t enjoy it. I just don’t want to spend all evening on it.

My poor children have been assimilated. My seven-year-old tells me he “will not comply” or that there has been a “plasma explosion.” I suppose resistance really is futile. Sigh…

The song most often in my head this week (besides Voyager’s theme music):  Any song by One Direction. Unfortunately my oldest girl has apparently acquired the One Direction Infection . So, when there is no other media playing in the house, she has that music on, and therefore I wake up with their music in my head. Aaarrrrghh!

In between all this madness, in my blissful hours between five and six AM, and days when all members of the household are in different locations, I have taken a break from my current WIP to catch up on some other writing projects. I have given this blog a facelift, which I am quite impressed with, if I may say so. I have caught up on a promised review and some old emails.

AND I have been editing Black Forest Gold, which is hopefully due out later this year. I have re-written the ending, ruthlessly cut a few pages from the middle and am in the process of re-working the beginning. Most people gasp when I tell them this, but it comes with the territory and my novel will be all the better for it in the end – I promise. 🙂

Published in: on 10th March, 2012 at 9:28 am  Comments (2)  

November Adventures

I apologise for there not being any posts on this blog for the past couple of weeks, but there has been much taking place – primarily the launch of my new novel, Ellenvale Gold. So here is an update of what I have been up to since the beginning of November.

On the 5th of November, I held the launch of Ellenvale Gold at Parable Bookstore in Victoria. My husband and I dressed in nineteenth century costume and tried not to smile for the many photos our friends wanted to take. My hubby was excessively convincing as an 1800s gentleman. (I kind of wish he could dress like that all the time!) The launch was a great success and I felt very encouraged by the support of friends, family and the store which hosted the event.

Afterwards, my children got into the historical theme and tried on our costumes. We thought they looked great. By popular demand, my husband and I dressed in the costumes again for church the following day, in spite of the 30 degree Celsius heat. That afternoon we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.

A few days later, we packed our family into our sedan and drove two full days to the Gold Coast in Queensland, where my family enjoyed playing on the beach and spending hours in the swimming pool, while I attended the Word Writers Fair closer to Brisbane.

Friday night I enjoyed the CALEB Awards dinner where I happily cheered on fellow writers as they won awards in their various genres. It was a pleasure to meet authors I had not met before, except perhaps online, and also to catch up with those I have met before. It was a wonderful evening! My friend and fellow writer, Paula Vince, took out the Fiction Prize as well as the Overall Prize, for her book Best Forgotten – so well deserved!

The fair on the Saturday was such a wonderful time of learning and fellowshipping with other writers. I even met some authors who live within half an hour’s drive of my home. Amazing! I’m looking forward to catching up with them again soon. The Sunday involved a marketing master class which I learned a lot from and must now put into practise.

With the conference over, I enjoyed time with my family at SeaWorld on the Gold Coast before we headed south to Port Macquarie where my in-laws live. We had a relaxing time catching up with them, and my son had his seventh birthday while we were there. He was treated to a boat cruise and had the chance to steer for a bit. He told me it was a 10/10 birthday.

One more stop on the way home included a visit to the rest of my hubby’s family where we had an early Christmas get-together. Now we are home again and trying to get back into routine. If only holidays could last longer…

Published in: on 24th November, 2011 at 5:47 pm  Comments (4)  
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The Life of a School Teacher

In doing research on anything historical for my novels, I often come across very interesting and amusing details about our past. As I read another blog post earlier this week, I remembered this morsel I had sitting in my drawer which I picked up at a historical museum. I have seen it in other museums since, but I always love to read it again. I hope you will find it as fascinating as I do.
 

Rules for teachers 1872

1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, trim wicks and clean chimneys.

2. Each morning teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.

3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they attend church regularly.

5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the bible or any other good books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.

9. The teacher who performs his labour faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five pence per week in his pay, providing the board of education approves.

It seems a male teacher would have to be a regular church goer to get the best opportunity of finding a wife. I never knew going to a public barber shop could give rise to suspicion! And if you were a woman, you clearly had to choose between a career and marriage. How times have changed, and yet our teachers still have a difficult career.

Published in: on 8th July, 2011 at 6:51 am  Comments (4)  
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A Wordy Gift

I recently celebrated my fortieth birthday. My very thoughtful sister came up with a gift idea that she knew would appeal to me. She asked my dear friends and family to write some fiction about me. They were nothing short of brialliant – in my eyes anyway – and I thought I would share a few of them with you.

Princess Amanda

Princess Amanda was in a wonderful mood. It was the middle of October and the sun was shining and the birds were singing as they cared for their newborn chicks, and the sides of the track she was riding on were full of wildflowers in full bloom. She looked over at her sister Rebecca, who caught her eye and they shared a smile that only two sisters sharing a private joke can share.

They were riding back to the castle from the most wonderful picnic on this glorious spring day, and to the sisters, the best part hadn’t even happened yet. In company with them were their ladies in waiting, and ‘the boys’ as they called them. There was of course one particular boy that Princess Amanda could feel herself pulled toward. It was a feeling that she couldn’t quite put her finger on, and even after plenty of ‘under the bed covers’ giggling with her sister, she was still trying to run from the feeling that she could only describe as a building love for Prince Morry. It was of course, Prince Morry that would be at the unfortunate side of the sisters’ joke.

Prince Morry rode his horse like a man show was born in the saddle, and he felt it was his duty to gloat about this skill at every opportunity he could. It was the sisters’ plan to put him back in his place.

He rode up to Princess Amanda, strutting like the peacock he sometimes pretended to be. “Princess Amanda, I believe you need to watch something.”

“Oh really Prince Morry? And what would that be?”

“I think you’ll know when you see it.” And with that he rode back to the other ‘boys’ which laughed at some joke he said.

“Do you think this will work Rebecca?”

“Of course it will. We’ve been planning this joke for ages. Do you know how hard is was to get the stable boys to agree to this? It’s perfect.”

“I hope you’re right. And I also hope he doesn’t break his neck.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. He knows how to ride that horse so well, I’m sure he’ll have learned to know how to fall off it without breaking anything.”

“You’d better be right. I don’t know what I’d do if he got hurt.”

“You worry too much Amanda. He’ll be fine.”

Just then Prince Morry rode ahead of the others, turned around and started riding back. All of a sudden, he slipped his feet out of the stirrups, stood on the saddle and rode right up to Princess Amanda.

“So what do you think Princess?”

“Very clever Morry! Why don’t you get down before you break your neck?”

“I will, just one more thing.”

He rode away again, sat down and leaned over the side and started to reach under the saddle. It was just then that somehow, the saddle strap broke and he fell to the ground. This brought rapturous laughter from the two princesses and the other ladies, as well as a few chuckles from some of ‘the boys’, although one of them did go over to help him up. He got up groggily and looked down at his saddle girth and held one of the broken ends up to everyone to see.

“Very funny…! Who on earth would cut through half of someone’s saddle girth?!”

“Well I thought it was about time you came crashing back down to earth! Are you ok?”

“I’m fine Princess Amanda, no thanks to you!”

“Well that’s good. Maybe you’ll learn to check your horse better in future?”

And with that she rode off with the rest of the ladies leaving the Prince to go and find his horse.

                                                                                                                                                                                         RP

Published in: on 7th May, 2011 at 8:29 am  Comments (5)  
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The Resolution Round-about

It’s the time of the year when people make their New Year’s Resolutions. Of course, the most common resolutions are: spending time with family, getting fit, quitting smoking and/or drinking and losing weight. I like to set goals for the year ahead, but I do not usually call them resolutions.

I kept a regular diary between the ages of fourteen and seventeen, and for a bit of a laugh I went back to read my goals…er, resolutions (as they were back then) for each year. At the end of the year I went back and ticked or crossed each one according to my success…or not. Here are some of them:

Jan 1985

  • I’m not going to be weird. (Failed. I have now embraced my uniqueness. :P)
  • I’m going to keep my room tidy. (Failed)
  • I’m going to try hard on the piano. (Passed)
  • I’m going to be sensible in class and leave the mucking around for recess. (Passed)
  • I’m not going to talk about (a certain boy) any more. (Passed – but what a crack up!)
  • I’m never going to listen to the radio again. (Passed – well for that year anyway.)

Jan 1986

  • I’m going to jump for every opportunity I get for singing. (Failed)
  • I’m going to get stuck into my piano and do scales every day. (Semi-passed)
  • I’m going to try and keep my room tidy. (Semi-passed)
  • I’m going to OVERCOME all my problems. (Semi-passed)
  • I’m going to serve God in everything. (Passed – according to my own judgement anyway.)
  • I’m going to get a job and a keyboard. (Got the job, not the keyboard.)

Jan 1987

  • I’m going to live for Jesus. (No review, but I believe I tried.)
  • I’m going to keep working toward my music ministry.
  • I want to get myself a keyboard. (Not sure if this is the year I got one, possibly.)
  • I’m going to do really well in year 11. (Passed)
  • I’m going to keep my room tidy. (Since it’s still on the list, I guess I failed again.)
  • I will start playing piano in church. (I believe I did…and didn’t stop until just this month.)

Jan 1988

  • I’m going to work really hard for my HSC. (No review again, but I did do well.)
  • I’m going to work really hard on piano. (I actually think I let it slide a bit because of my HSC.)
  • I’m going to keep my room tidy. (Probably failed – but I have trained myself now – it’s my kids who have the problem these days.)
  • I’m going to get even closer to God. (I’m sure I tried.)
  • I’m going to keep working towards my ministry in music. (I’m sure I did.)
  • I’m going to be very organised. (Not sure if this was a success or not – I am definitely organised these days.)
  • I’m going to get my Learner’s Permit! (Passed)

 Does anyone else have a record of old goals/resolutions they have made in the past? I’d love to hear you share. 🙂

Published in: on 30th December, 2010 at 9:20 am  Comments (1)  
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Silly Seasonitis (Part 2)

So, it’s the 1st of December, and things officially go into Christmas overdrive–at least in my house they do. Hubbydubs put Chrissy lights up out the front last night, so they were happily blinking at the neighbours strolling past (as if they need to be reminded Christmas is only a few weeks away)! The tree’s going up tomorrow along with all the deccies.

The next twenty-four days are going to fly by at break-neck speed, I am sure. There are parties here, break-ups there, shopping everywhere, and that is all around everything we normally do in a day! Seriously, I have to plot out every hour of every day between now and then, or I will miss something or someone important (which I already did last week). Good thing I like making lists.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love the memories we make with our family on Christmas day and the joy on my kids faces. It’s just the lead up that is insane. But amidst all of the madness, I always take the time to remember why we do it all–the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. A gift like no other. There, just that thought settles me straight away. Everything comes back into perspective and I smile at the busy weeks ahead.

How do you deal with holiday stress?

Published in: on 1st December, 2010 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Silly Seasonitis?

Ever had one of those weeks where everything’s just a bit off? Not functioning on all six or whatever cylinders?

Well, that’s my week. Just can’t seem to focus on anything. Then I find that song from High School Musical running through my mind: “Gotta get your head in the game, gotta get your head in the game.” (And I’m not even a big fan of those movies.) Even my subconscious is trying to tell me something!

Monday night, I completely forgot about a meeting I was supposed to attend. Like, it vacated my brain around lunch time and never entered it again until someone reminded me the next day. I have no reasonable excuse. It was written in my diary and on my whiteboard. I just plain forgot.

I’m supposed to be writing blog posts, editing one manuscript and writing another, but my train of thought won’t sit still. The air-contidioner is too loud. What am I going to speak about on Sunday? I need to sweep the floor. What were the lyrics of that song? When will I do my Christmas shopping? I wonder what is happening in Mrs Such-n-such’s life. An hour of reading Facebook pages and photographs later and zeesh, look at the time! I have to pick up the kids from school.

It seems the only thing I can think about for long enough is why I can’t concentrate on my writing. Is it Silly Seasonitis kicking in? Is it hormonal? Too much chocolate/caffeine? Not enough chocolate/caffeine? Perhaps it’s just too much crowding in on me that my head can’t get a rest.

Whatever it is, I hope it passes quickly! (Any remedies welcome.) 😛

Published in: on 24th November, 2010 at 10:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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Children’s Logic?

Today is my number one-and-only son’s sixth birthday, so I thought I should write about him.

As some of you may know, we’ve been through a rather tough month with my father having major heart surgery. (This is a picture my boy took of Dad and me before the surgery.) He is almost ready to come home now and is looking much like his old self, thanks to a lot of prayer. But, for a while there it was a little hairy.

It was interesting noting my three children’s responses.  The oldest became quiet and sort of retreated within herself a little. The middle child went on with her life the same as always, but talked about her opa when she needed to. Number one-and-only son was obviously under duress, but only showed it by biting another child in the schoolyard. Yikes! He was much relieved to see his opa standing and walking again recently and is looking forward to him attending his party.

The funny thing was, he was very determined to see Opa’s scar. The scar that ran down the middle of his chest. When I first told my little man that Opa had been sitting in a chair one day, his response was “But Mum, remember I have to see his scar!”

“Yes, buddy, I know. But, that scar will be there forever, you have plenty of time to see it.”

“No, Mum! I have to see it while he’s still lying down!”

Amusing as it was, I still don’t understand his thought process. I wonder if I ever will… 🙂

Published in: on 17th November, 2010 at 11:35 am  Comments (1)  
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Blunder Road

Life is an adventure. At least, sometimes I just have to tell myself that in order to remain in a pleasant frame of mind.

Last weekend, my mother and I made a trip to Brisbane. You’d think it would be a simple matter. Catch a plane, hire a car, attend seminars, catch plane home again. But no, it turned out to be more like a comedy of errors in the end.

Firstly there was the missed flight. There was nothing we could do, of course, the matter was completely out of our hands. A truck jack-knifed on the freeway and the police completely shut down said road. We took the first exit, but in spite of our best efforts we were late by five minutes. Thus we spent a whole day sitting in the airport cafe, conversing with each other, and watching TV cameras looking for passenger’s stories for a show. Well, we had one, but we were not brave enough to say so.

Finally we got to Brisbane and hired our car. I chose not to get a GPS as I had printed some maps. Hello! That was not sound judgement at all. We only made three trips where we didn’t get lost. Thankfully, I had my laptop with mobile broadband to get us back on track–but not until we had driven up Blunder Road several times–literally and figuratively.

In spite of our obstacles, we had a wonderful weekend. Now those of you who saw us walk in late every time know why! Feel free to laugh at me. I have learned my lesson. Next time, I will just get the GPS. Although, I did see a roadwork sign that said “Ignore your GPS”…  😛

Published in: on 10th November, 2010 at 7:29 am  Comments (1)  
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