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In those famous words of The Terminator…….I’m back!

Cotton Tree at Sunset

Cotton Tree at Sunset

It’s been a long time since I’ve written on my blog and once again a lot has been happening since my last post.

I’ve moved back to Queensland to the same area (more or less) that I was living in 4 years ago when things went pear shaped.

I’m within an hour of Ben and Lina and the kids which means I’ve seen more of my precious grandchildren in the last 3 months than I had in their lives previously ( well at least Abi’s and getting close to Connor’s). I also get to catch up with  Jacob and Mindy occasionally.

I’m back attending my old church and it has truly felt like coming home to be there. I’m involved in various activities and making some new friends and caught up with some old ones. I’ve done a little exploring and aim to do more and all in all am very happy here.

On the down side the RA has been playing up….seems like the stress of moving has caused it to flare up which isn’t good but it seems to be starting to settle down again so that is a relief. I’ve been taking it very quietly the last two days as I’ve succumbed to a virus and have a sore throat and am fighting off a chest infection.

The good side of that is that I’ve spent the last couple of days reading.

Do you have favourite authors who’s work you used to love reading? I have and over the last couple of years when I realised that they weren’t to be found in the library any more to borrow, I have started trying to collect a few by looking in second hand book stores and on ebay. I’m now the proud owner of nearly all of Mary Stewart’s novels.

Mary, Lady Stewart, née Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow (17 September 1916 – 9 May 2014), was a British novelist who developed the romantic mystery genre, featuring smart, adventurous heroines who could hold their own in dangerous situations. She also wrote children’s books and poetry, but may be best known for her Merlin series, which straddles the boundary between the historical novel and fantasy. Wikipedia.

I’m still looking for ‘The Wind off the Small Isles’. Unfortunately the copies I’ve seen so far have been way out of my price range however I live in hope and will keep looking. The only ones I don’t have are her Merlin trilogy. I’ve never really enjoyed them and of course they’re the easiest to find! Good old Murphy’s law again.

When I’m reading to relax I love things that are easy to read but hold your interest. I’m not into the Mills and Boone or most modern romances ( soft porn is what they boil down to and not my cup of tea at all). I love stories about people, light mysteries and Agatha Christie style murder mysterys.

Now that I have the Mary Stewart ones I’ve started on the D E Stevenson novels.

D. E. Stevenson (1892–1973), Dorothy Emily Peploe (married name) was a Scottish author of more than 40 light romantic novels. Her father was the lighthouse engineer David Alan Stevenson, first cousin to the author Robert Louis Stevenson. Wikipedia

She was a Scottish writer and her books are delightful stories even though they are very much of the era. It is interesting that some of them are starting to be republished so it appears I’m not the only fan!..Unfortunately it’s going to take me a long time (if ever) to manage to get all of them as many of them are WAY out of my price range.

Today I’ve been rereading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Farmer Boy’. I read this story to my sons a couple of times over the years and we always loved it. My goodness those people ate well…… the boys were fascinated by how hard they all worked too -especially the children. When we were dabbling in self sufficiency back in the 80’s I found it very useful for ideas about how to do some things too. Thanks to Google, today I’ve found out what an air castle is too. It was a sculpture made out of straw by Almanzo’s sister Alice and hung over the dining table where it quivered with the movement of the air. Thanks Google- I’ve always wondered what the air castle was.

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We don’t stop playing because we grow old: we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw

I’m having a bit of an identify crisis at the moment!

I turned 60 this year and due to lack of finances stopped dying my hair (gasp! horror!) which means I now have totally silver hair and it seems that since that happened people now categorise me in the old category. I mean immediately that the colour grew out I started getting asked if I had a seniors card and as I look in the mirror I don’t think that my face etc have changed that much…just the hair.

I know it’s a common problem that people these days don’t want to feel or look old and some go to great lengths to try to deny the passage of time (which I personally would never do even if I had the means –  is anyone really fooled by plastic surgery? However if that’s what you choose to do so be it. I’m not trying to offend anyone here)

The problem is that I’m in that in between land of not wanting to hang around with the oldies but not wanting to pretend that I’m younger than I am either. I think this is more of a problem when you’re single, as if you are half of a couple you have that built-in company and can go places and do things together.

Maybe this is a bit more of a problem in a smaller community too. For instance my Dad goes out to dinner every Monday night with a group of single acquaintances who enjoy spending an evening together and I know some of them are my age…..but honestly I wouldn’t want to be part of a group of 60 -80+ year olds on a regular basis in that context. I do socialize with a number of older people through my craft groups and church and throughly enjoy their company. One of my best friends is 81. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy mixing with people of all ages. Just that I am really feeling the lack of like-minded friends of my age group who still think young. There are a few couples that I mix with who are around my age and have similar attitudes, but not many and they are busy so I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I would like to. I had a wonderful time on the long weekend when I was a volunteer at the Black Stump Christian Music and Arts festival . I had an absolute ball on my time off checking out the different  musicians and groups. Two of my young single friends were there too and it was lovely being able to meet up with them and enjoy time with them. One of the highlights of the festival for me was dancing along when the Outback Hippies were playing. As I looked around there were people of all ages dancing and singing along too and it was one of those magical moments you wish could go on forever.

Most of my younger friends are busy with their families and I am so privileged when they include me in their activities. I also have a number of young single friends , most of whom live away from where I live. I am so grateful that they are willing to spend time with me when they can. It says a lot about what wonderful people they are that they make time for me.

I guess a lot of  the problem is that I haven’t fully come to terms with living by myself. Don’t get me wrong…. I enjoy the benefits of not having to consider another person’s likes and dislikes, of cooking or not cooking what I like when I want to, of only having to please myself – but at this point in my life I think I have come to the conclusion that the disadvantages maybe just outweigh the advantages. I have a number of friends of all ages and of course they all have their own lives to lead. I don’t want to be a needy burden to anyone. My health also means that at times I am not up to doing things and going places.

But…. I still long to be able to have the possibilities and energy and options that I used to have…..

I don’t think I need to turn into a little old lady in attitude and action but I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that I AM getting older.

Me in March this year

Me in March this year

Me 4 years ago

Me 4 years ago

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Highs and Lows

I’m currently part of a trial into a new drug for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. As part of this trial there are certain things I have to record each day on a mini computer thingy (don’t you love my understanding of electronic hardwear?). Apart from things like what time I woke  up and what time I took my tablets I have to try and record more subjective things like how long the stiffness lasted in the morning ( hard to assess and remember)  rating my greatest tiredness level and rating my highest pain level over the day.

Having to pay so much attention to how I’m feeling on a daily basis has really made me aware of the highs and lows I experience each day.

Take today for instance.  When I woke up  after a restless night I was horrifed to see that it was 9am. Definately a low!

I had to be at church by 9.30 ish as I was on the music roster this morning . Not only was I absolutely exhausted I had to throw together some things to take to a surprize BBQ birthday lunch for Shane after the service was finished. I skipped my shower as I figured I might go in the water later in the day if it wasn’t too rough ( we were told to bring our water gear ) then tried desperately to work out what to wear, butter a couple of slices of bread and grab a sausage and a drink from the fridge and get into the car and to church in time. Naturally when I’m  in a hurry the normally simple task of deciding what to wear becomes a huge problem and i ended up looking a bit crumpled as I hadn’t got around to ironing my linen skirt ( that’s what happens when you procrastinate). All in all I was feeling pretty flustered by the time I got there. More lows.

I love being part of the music team and the service nearly always lifts my spirits so I was feeling much better by the time we were finished. High.

We met up at Narrawallee Inlet for lunch-its a beautiful place and the picnic area is lovely with free electric BBQs to use. It looked like it was going to pour but turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon. I chatted and enjoyed the chance to relax with friends. After a while Shane and Emma’s little boy Jethro wanted to go to the beach so I had the joy of taking him there where I wrote his name in the sand and we drew pictures of flowers (he’s only 2).  I love the fact that Jethro knows my name and I get to spend time with him and his baby sister Annie . More highs.

As the afternoon wore on I went with a couple of others to the beach and the other Cathie and I squealed and laughed like teenagers as we gingerly ventured  into the water. It was cool but glorious once you were wet. The sky was deep blue, the ocean shades of blue and green then becoming clear as the waves ebbed and flowed on the sand. An eagle soared effortlessly overhead and it was one of those magical moments you can carry in your memory forever. I am so grateful that God made us able to appreciate the beauty of His creation! Absolute high!

Now as I sit at my computer typing this the exhaustion and discomfort are with me again . Lows.

Highs and Lows. The lows are made more beareable by the highs.

Services-Narrawallee-Inlet

 

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Memories of Christmas Past – 1961

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Christmas has always been one of my very favourite times of the year. Apart from the ‘reason for the season’ which is after all the most important thing of all to me as a Christian – I love the sights, the sounds, the smells and the excitment of this special time of the year.

I thought after the heaviness of my last couple of posts I might write a lighter one.

CHRISTMAS PAST -1961

The house is heavy with the knowledge of secrets hidden in special places. Wrapping paper crackles as presents are made into colourful parcels.Is it time to put up the Christmas tree yet? At last we dance around impatiently as it comes out of storage and the beautiful sparkly ornaments are unpacked and placed ever so carefully on the tree. We take turns hanging them and reach high to place them in just the right place. Oh it looks so beautiful !

The Christmas cake and pudding have been mixed together then baked scenting the house with their rich aroma weeks earlier and are now maturing away in preparation for their triumphant unveiling. My favourite shortbread has been made and is filling the biscuit tin. If I’m lucky Mum will take pity on me and let me have a piece or two before Christmas Day as a special treat. A few days before Christmas she carefully ices the cake  and places it in pride of place in the middle of the table in the dining room.

Nai and I have helped put up the decorations and spent hours folding crepe paper strips into chains to hang and we feel proud and excited as we gaze on the transformed loungeroom and dining room. Cards have been sent and are arriving from friends and relations both near and far and Mum has pinned them to the curtains in the dining room and placed them along the curtain rails in the loungeroom.

Will Santa bring us the present we have asked for? Anticipation builds and excitment fizzes in our veins. Nai and I try desperately to keep the secrets we have been entrusted with… it’s sooo hard and we listen to each other like hawks to try to head off any untoward slips of the tongue.

At last it’s Christmas Eve.

Mum is busy all day cooking and preparing the hot dinner we’ll have that evening. We get in her way and  exasperate her with our excitment and impatience. Funny I don’t remember her ever getting mad at us though.

Dad gets home from work and at long last we sit around the table and enjoy the traditional roast meal. After the washing up is done we watch a Christmas special on the TV. Nai and I stretched out on the rug with our heads propped up on our elbows. We are tired but so excited! Bed time at last. We put out some lemonade,a glass and a plate next to the Christmas cake for Santa and leave a carrot for his reindeer- I guess they must get so many carrots that they take turns in eating them ’cause I don’t think one carrot is going to go far with that many reindeer. We hang our pillowcases on the back of chairs  placed next to each other in the middle of the loungeroom….hopefully the next time we see them they’ll have presents from Santa in them. Dad closes the doors into the loungeroom….they can’t be opened now until the official opening in the morning and the patterned glass ensures that no amount of trying to see through by an early riser will allow any glimpses of the bounty within.

I toss and turn in bed. I get up and go to the toilet. I toss and turn. I get up to get a glass of water only to be sent back to bed with a stern ‘ Santa only comes when you are asleep -go to sleep!’ Suddenly the gray early morning light  filters through the curtains in my room. I get up and go into Mum and Dad’s room… “Can we get up yet?” Mum and Dad tell me to go and get Nai and they, poor things, drag thenselves out of bed. Goodness knows what time they got to sleep. They had to wait till Nai and I were asleep before they could do Santa’s work for him.

Nai and I dance around impatiently waiting for Dad to open the loungeroom doors.It seems to take forever for Mum and Dad to be ready.Finally they are opened and we can enter the room. There is a moment of stunned silence as we gaze at the beauty within. Presents heaped beneath the tree and pillowcases with interesting bulges delight our eyes….he came! Santa came! A quick glance at the dining table shows bites out of the carrot, a few dregs of lemonade in the glass, a big slice of Christmas cake cut out of the cake and crumbs on the plate.

Mum and Dad sit in the armchairs with a cup of tea while Nai and I take the presents out of our pillowcases. Our joy and excitment is loud – our delight fills the room. Then its time to open the presents under the tree. We take turns ….. waiting  to see how each gift is received. The pile of  paper grows and the air bubbles with delight.

At last we get dragged away to have breakfast and get ready for church. I put on the new Christmas dress that Mum has made me. It will be one of my favourites and I’ll remember it over the years.I feel very swish. The day stretches before me…. when we get home from church there’ll be our Christmas Day feast of cold meat and salad, pavlova and Christmas pudding, nuts,sweets and shortbread to eat. Christmas Carols will form a background to the day.Visits to Grandma and neighbours and time to play with my gifts. The Christmas telephone call to Nanny and Grandad far away in the New England. Leftovers for tea  and then to bed. Next year there’ll be a new baby sister to celebrate with as well.

Memories to last a lifetime.

I am blessed.

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