my life in the land down under


Looking Back / Looking Ahead

Its that time again, when we tend to look back at what’s happened over the past year, and look forward to what the new year has in store for us.

I’ve appreciated reading other’s summaries of the high & low points of their year, so I thought I’d write a list of my own. Rather than letting the year fade into obscurity it would be good to remember and appreciate what 2012 held for me (or alternatively, be glad its over! though thankfully not too much of that). Some of these I’ve already written about in more detail, others may become blog posts in the future. Here follows a mix of good & bad:

Shared meals during the year with family, celebrating birthdays, Christmas and ‘just because’.

Missing other family members who live overseas, and appreciating the technology that enabled us to make a Skype call to some of them last week. It was a nice surprise for my parents, who didn’t know why we had invited them around!

The sad loss of my brother and sister-in-law’s baby at two days old (Elijah had Trisomy 18).

Extended family (and non-family) dramas and confrontations that I could have done without. Hoping 2013 is a year relatively free of stress in this area, though realistically we expect some of it will continue well into the New Year. I just need to learn how to deal with it more calmly!

The occasional coffee outings with a supportive friend; very necessary at times to keep my sanity. 🙂 Looking forward to more of these in 2013.

Injuries of various kinds, which made us appreciate parts of our body we would normally take for granted (e.g. shoulders, toes!).

The privilege of holding my nephew’s hand as he went under anaesthetic for surgery on a fractured toe this week. Even though I’ve worked in paediatrics for a long time and in operating theatre for a year (way back), it’s quite a different feeling when your own family is involved. All went well and he’s back home now.

The children’s ward where I work moved to a new environment mid-year; hopefully the last move for some time.

I joined a beginners’ quilting class back in May and started to make my first quilt, then attended a couple of quilt shows and had my eyes opened to the amazing creativity, variety of patterns and colour combinations out there. Later in the year I learned what a Postage Stamp Quilt was and participated in my first swap as a newbie – see Treasures in the Post and Treasures from Around the World. Progress on the Made with Love quilt has come to a standstill recently, but I plan to have a more positive report soon.

In May I also started this blog and have since ‘met’ other bloggers from around the world with shared interests. I have enjoyed their humour and been inspired and encouraged. Thanks to all who have read my posts over the year, liked, commented and followed. You are much appreciated!

We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in September.

Around the same time I joined a Christian women’s book group and read ‘One Thousand Gifts’ by Anne Voskamp; although I missed a few of the meetings I did finish the book and highly recommend it. I look forward to seeing what’s on the agenda for the group this year.

Early in the year I changed from a PC to a Mac computer, and felt as though I was learning a new language for a few months!

I learned how to use the movie capability on my Nikon D7000, and the Mac programme ‘Fotomagico’ for the first time to put together a fusion audiovisual (digital photo slideshow with music and video incorporated). Christmas in July has some of the images I used in the AV and gives the background story.

Over the year we have photographed hair models and family portraits, and learned more about drawing out shy children in front of the camera.

In early November, I attended a photographic convention out-of-town with friends from camera club, which meant being away from home for four days without my ‘other half’. The convention was great, but I missed him!

A Garden & Art Festival was held here in mid-November. Thanks to friends I received a free ticket for one of the days; we visited some beautiful gardens to which I did not do justice with my camera.

I resigned from the position of webmaster for our camera club website, after 11 years; the End of an Era.

I also decided not to renew my subscription to a B&W photography magazine after almost as many years. This doesn’t mean I’ve lost interest in B&W photography, just that I have quite a number of unread magazines and it seemed silly to keep buying them when I wasn’t keeping up!

My darling (he suggested I call him this rather than the impersonal ‘other half’) recently introduced me to the brain training website ‘Lumosity’ as an attempt to keep us young and sharp. Challenging but great fun. 🙂

With some help from a friend, we survived a swarm of bees which made their home in the wall of our house; see Bees in my Bonnet and Fake Rain.

Last but not least, we successfully raised and released a grand total of 128 monarch butterflies from caterpillar stage in November / December. I celebrated the 100th with this post. Our swan plant is slowly recovering and the next batch of caterpillars are growing up, but we’ve shut down the ‘nursery’ for now. I love seeing butterflies flying around the garden. 🙂


So goodbye 2012, welcome 2013.

Happy New Year everyone!

What’s on your list? I’d love to know! 🙂



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Instead of posting a Friday Focus today, I’d like to pay tribute to a wee boy with a fighting spirit.

Elijah James was born in Sydney on September 10th.

He defied the odds to even be born alive: Elijah had Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome).

Sadly he didn’t make it, leaving his loving family for a better place after almost 48hrs.

Don & Angie, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We didn’t get to meet Elijah here on earth but look forward to meeting him in Heaven.

We’re so glad that this life is not all there is; we have hope.

Cherry Blossom


Words II: To The Bride & Groom

Three years ago today, we organised a celebration in honour  of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. As we were planning the day, it occurred to me I should make a speech, as the oldest of their five children, and one of only two who were able to attend. It was an emotional time as my parents are getting older now and I appreciated that they were still around to see John & I married (my Dad walked me up the aisle in 2005 at the age of 81), and also that they were still together, when the divorce stats are so high. This was part of my speech:

It’s my priviledge to be able to celebrate my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary with them today.

Mum & Dad, we honour you for this achievement in a world where (if I have the correct stats) approx 50% of marriages now end in divorce. Having been married myself not 4yrs yet, I realize that it’s hard work sometimes, but definitely worth it. I’m blessed to be married to a man who treats my parents as though they were his own, and has played a huge part in organising today.

I’m also speaking on behalf of my brothers (…) and their wives and families who would be here if they could to honour you today. We thank you and appreciate you for the love, time, effort, & resources you have put into all of us over the years, and the example your marriage relationship has set for us.

Thankyou to those who have helped us in practical ways to make today a good one …

Thankyou to everyone who has come to join with us in celebrating today, some of you have travelled far and we appreciate your effort. It’s been a great opportunity for us to catch up with friends & family. 

… I would like to propose a toast to Mum & Dad. Please raise your glasses.

To the bride & groom…

When we asked them to what they attributed the length of their marriage, Dad paused for a moment, then said he thought it was due to the fact they loved each other.

50th Anniversary Wedding Cake
(photo by Bryce)

Although I had little formal preparation for marriage, I could liken it to my career – it hasn’t always been easy but I have persevered because its what I wanted to do long-term. Commitment helps you get over the short-term difficulties because you are looking at the big picture of the future.

The stitchery for the second block of my Made with Love quilt is now complete. The original quilt used the word Devotion, and I have replaced this with Commitment.

Happy 53rd Anniversary, Mum & Dad!

Second Word

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They said…

They said… you need to be more flexible.

They said… you need to drop what you’re doing and do fun things with your husband.

They said… the chores can wait.

And they told me stories of how their mothers were always cleaning house and never had time to do anything with them. Not that I fall into that category.

Anyway, with this in mind, we went down to the park to feed the birds.

Feeding the Birds

The Biggest Bird Gets The Food

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Moving Day Minus One

Kelly & Levi are moving house tomorrow, so tonight was their last dinner with us.

Tomorrow is also my birthday.

So John cooked a lovely dinner with help from Bryce – they wouldn’t let me participate – and the five of us shared a meal together. We even sat around the dining table, which is rare in our house! Unfortunately Bryce’s Kelly couldn’t join us this time. If you are reading this though Kelly, we missed you and hope you are having a good time & learning lots, wishing you safe travel home in a couple of days.

The dessert was especially delicious: a mix of raspberries, mango, banana, chocolate eclairs, passionfruit ice-cream & cream (did I miss anything?) – tomorrow will be a big day so we will need all the sustenance we can get. 🙂

Thanks to all tonight for good food, good company and fun conversation – and for washing the dishes!

I gave in and opened a couple of presents, but have saved some for the actual day and to share with my Mum who celebrates her birthday on Sunday.