Thursday, January 30, 2014

Just Twelve Months

I had promised myself I would continue posting - how quickly that little promise faded! Just twelve months ago - a whole year has passed and I barely thought of writing in that time. Oh yes, I've done correspondence, internet, emails, chats but the inspiration just wasn't available when I needed it.  So much has happened in that twelve months!  Not least of all my dear Mum finally passed to her eternal reward right at the end of September.  I had been to visit just a week before and felt she may not have long to be with us. Sometimes its not till after the event that we realise that God's timing was perfect!  

A very busy family year is ahead - visit to our son and daughter in love and their children in Texas, a new great grandson and a wedding - lots to look forward to.  I'm blown away by God's grace! Ever grateful!

Blessings to you all dear friends!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm back...

Three weeks seemed such a long time when we left - how quickly the time went while we were away. As the sole purpose of visiting Auckland was to see my mother, the first 10 days away saw us doing mostly just that.  We stayed with my brother and SIL who live in the countryside just north of the city so without transport except him to drive us, it was an enforced rest as well.  DH spent time resting and reading and I was able to catch up on my cross stitch piece which I have now almost finished. Because of a comment made by my SIL, I need to change my plan for making it into a cushion cover for my brother's 70th birthday. It seems he may prefer it framed.  I was planning to stitch our clan name in Celtic script however the space in the pattern is too small.  I'm thinking perhaps a small clan crest if I can purchase one, could be pinned to the space instead. I'll take a photo to show when it's complete.
We found Mum reasonably well and much the same as I had left her 6 months ago. Of course she was overjoyed to see not only us but also her 91 year old sister who had traveled many miles to visit - she had a number of 'out of town' visitors over the Christmas and New Year period.  It was unfortunate that about a week after our arrival, Mum became unwell and really doesn't seem to be much better. Tests were sent to the laboratory which all came back negative so the doctor doesn't seem to know what the problem is.  A week afterwards, there was an outbreak of novo virus which put the facility into lock-down with no visitors allowed.  The RN I spoke to didn't seem to think this was Mum's problem and when I made a phone call to her this morning she had been on a group outing yesterday so she may be improving a little. I do hope and pray so.
After 10 days with my brother, we moved 'residence' to DH's brother and his wife.  They live close to the water and because we weren't able to visit with Mum, we took the opportunity to have some outings.  We went to places we hadn't discovered when we lived in Auckland many years ago, had lovely lunches in some of them, drove to some beautiful scenic spots and saw the movie "Quartet" - what a hoot!   Loved it!
We took a trip to Matakana Village, about an hours drive north east of Auckland on the coast and spent a few hours wandering amongst the market stalls, having lunch then later a huge delicious ice cream made locally. We drove to Black Bay Sculptural Walk which is in a bushland setting where many local artists have displayed large sculptures. Boardwalk areas have been made through the bush which makes the hour's 'wandering' very pleasant.
Isn't it surprising how quickly one gets back into 'normalcy' after arriving back home? Grocery shopping, laundry, housework - I guess we wouldn't have it any other way would we?
Blessings friends!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

One more day...

One more day till the end of 2012. An eventful year?  Yes! The big '7 0' birthday,  the big '5 0' years of marriage, eldest grandson engaged, so much to be thankful for with all of our family well and happy. Sadly my mother was told she could no longer live alone and was moved from hospital to her new 'home' in an assisted living facility. On the last day of this year I will be winging my way 'across the ditch' to see her.

This past month has been busy - as it always seems to be leading up to Christmas but we've spent a very lazy week since the 'big day'. Reading and eating have featured large!  Now the task ahead is to shed those unwanted kilos which have sneaked up on me. 

I've recently had a real sewing (machine) frenzy and finished making some tote bags and hanging hand towels which have been given as gifts.  Now I must get on and finish the Scottish Thistle sampler I began at least 6 months ago.

My brother turns 70 next June and I plan to make this sampler into a cushion cover for him.  The chart is by "M Designs" (Thistle Clock and Sampler) and I am stitching it on a seeded oatmeal colour #14 Aida cloth.  I fear it will be the last cross stitch project I will complete as my finger joints are now very swollen and painful with Hebeden's arthritis. 
As I reflect on 2012, there have been so many 'showers of blessings' which have come from God through the Holy Spirit.  Some say twists and turns of fate - I say only a loving Heavenly Father could have planned them at just the right time. 
I look forward to what He has planned for me in 2013 and rest on His promise -  'for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' (Jeremiah 29:11 BNIV) My future is secure in Him.
May the blessings of God be with you also in 2013!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Am I ready for Christmas?

Tomato Relish is made...

Shortbread out of the oven...

Christmas pressies finished...
Is my heart ready to receive Him?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chit Chat

Last day of November!  I guess we all have a tendency to say 'where's this year gone?' and in some ways I feel that way too but I also can look back over the past few months and realise I've crammed so much into those days and weeks.
Today is the day I remember my youngest brother who passed away 5 years ago.  He would have been 64 today had he lived but he was a person who lived life to the fullest. He had travelled the world, loved the sea and its creatures, and was passionate about whales and dolphins and in the early '70s was an instigator of Project Jonah when the anti-whaling movement in New Zealand was in its infancy. Many times he frolicked with dolphins, they seemed to be a magnet to each other, them coming right up to him and nudging his face - wonderfully lasting memories we have on film.
So - one more month till we bring in 2013 - quite often so busy we reach Christmas day exhausted - but this year, I'm hoping for quieter days. Christmas gifts for the two little grandies already done - thanks to a well organised daughter - Christmas cake made 3 weeks ago - sweet!
The weather forecast for today and tomorrow is not so good though - we have a heatwave and no relief until Saturday night - meantime though I have a trim to my very 'out of control shape' hair this morning - and a 'Santa' beard to purchase (if I can find one). DH is being 'him' for our church again this year.  The 'suit' is one I made 30 years ago and is still in fairly good 'nick' but the beard has become rather tangled and 'itchy' to wear - so I'm on the hunt. Let's hope there's a few Christmas shops around that I can search through.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cockatoo Island

Woke to an abysmally dull and overcast morning - disappointment - afternoon outing with our "Top of the Hill" bunch from church looked unlikely.   As time drew near for our departure from home the sky brightened so with rain jackets packed we left for the railway station. An hour's ride into the city, a 15 minute walk to the ferry at Circular Quay and the sun shone and sparkled on the water underneath the Harbour Bridge. It was cool, but the 30 minute ride to Cockatoo Island was pleasant. Alongside at the passenger terminal was the massively large white  'Radiance of the Sea' cruise ship, and  passing under the bridge with myriad of yachts and other boats of all sizes bobbing in front and past us caused large waves to send our little ferry comfortably up and down. 
Cockatoo Island is within the Sydney Harbour, steeped in history but retaining all its character.  It was used as a convict prison between 1839 and 1869 and was recently inscribed on the World Heritage list because of its significant convict history. The Fitzroy Dock, built for the Royal Australian Navy, was carved by convicts in leg irons in the 1850's, often waist deep in water.
For many years the dockyard of the RAN, some 4000 men and a few women were employed on the Island during World War 11, building some of Australia's largest ships and its first aircraft carrier. 
With its remarkable historical landmarks and the worlds first urban waterfront campground, Cockatoo Island has much to offer both overseas tourists and Aussie dwellers alike. Recently it has been the venue of the Redbull X-fighters final and the Southern Hemisphere's biggest Street Art Festival, with the upcoming launch of the Cockatoo Island Film Festival.
Another half hour ferry ride back to the main terminal set us right below the train station where we boarded our transport back home.  We arrived a couple of minutes before 6pm, armed with our bundle of hot fish and chips purchased from the local 'takeaway'.
All in all, a very pleasant afternoon!
Approaching Cockatoo Island
Old historic homestead
View of the harbour from cells
 Old Jacaranda tree in grounds of historic homestead
 Back view of Harbour Bridge

 Spectacular Opera House right at the ferry wharf

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I seem to recall...

I seem to recall that I've said this before. In fact I'm sure I have - where has the time gone? No journal since I turned 70!  Was this just me being tardy or remiss?  Or was it a sub-conscious effort to not get any older? I'm not sure but I cannot get past the fact that it has probably just been plain old laziness that has prevented me from posting here since January.  If by chance it was my sub-conscious mind trying to prevent me from getting any older I can tell it right here and now that it hasn't been successful! (LOL)  For here we are almost at the end of another year and before I know it, I will be turning 71 - and no effort on my sub-conscious mind will ever change that.
I could say... where has the time gone?  But that would be rather boring and not at all entertaining for anyone who might chance upon this page - but then again, my life does tend to be fairly mundane - doing much the same things each week - but when I glance my mind's eye back through 2012,  I realise that there have been some times when life has sprung some surprises.
Many years ago we befriended a Korean family who had come to live in Sydney while the dad did 3 years of university studies. We have kept in touch over the years and in February they came back to Australia to be with their daughter when she married an Aussie fella! It was great to meet up with the family again and reminisce. In June, eldest grandson B22 left on a long-waited-for overseas trip along with his girlfriend and another young couple. In Venice while riding on a gondola, he 'popped the question' - and she said 'yes'! That was exciting news!
My mum turned 93 in May and was admitted to hospital in early July with a chest infection. She had taken a couple of falls at home during the early part of this year and it had been apparent to the family that she really should be in care. Time came when she was ready for discharge from hospital but the medical team felt she should not live by herself any longer - how sad to not be able to go back home where everything was familiar - but to be placed in a rest home where everything was strange and different. I was able to go to Auckland to close up her home and help resettle her and spend a few weeks visiting.  I am pleased to say though that she's now OK with it all, enjoys the meals and likes the staff who are very good to her plus she's now situated not all that far from where my brother lives - which is indeed is a blessing in itself.
Our friendly neighbourhood birds continue to come each day for their afternoon tea (or breakfast, lunch or dinner - whichever suits) and I continue to get pleasure from their visits.
Health wise, we've been fortunate this year - not even a sniffle! Life continues in much the same way - minding grandsons during school holidays - photography club - craft group - bible study - regular worship attendance - much to be thankful for - serving the Lord in my little corner - where He's placed me - and where He wants me!