Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Happy Birthday Sam!

Sam has wanted to be a redhead for quite a while.  I don't know if it's an influence from her favourite childhood movie, Disney's "The Little Mermaid", or not.  We watched that SO many times...she loved it!

Little elves...

Christmas morning...

Christmas Eve at the shopping center with a couple of angels...

Friday, December 21, 2012

For Andrew...

You were born 6 weeks before me and were the boy next door.  We crawled together, sucked on the same toys, discovered how to walk together, played together whenever we could, learned to swim together, had our first year at school sitting next to each other.  Our families all crammed into your mum's station wagon many times to go to the beach or on a picnic or to a park and that funny time when we all went to see the Pope and we were supposed to be quiet and listen to the mass but we just ran around all silly at the big oval.  We often got in trouble together, we giggled and thought we were oh so clever.

I remember....and I thank you for those first 6 years of memories before our family moved away.  Although we still saw each other, it grew less frequent with the years.  Our mothers remained close friends and I stayed in touch with you via them.  We lived on opposite sides of the planet and then opposite sides of this country.  Those childhood bonds were faint, but unbroken.  You were my first best friend.

So now you are free...no more pain.  Thank you for the special role you had in my life.  I'll never forget you.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Saw this sign at a coffee shop...love it! 
We sometimes hang out with friends at 'Rainbow Beach'...such a beautiful spot and yes, the sand really is that white.

AJ & Sam...gosh she's looking so grown up! 

Nicholas' new eyeballs

Halloween...making vegan 'eyeball' cupcakes to take to a party..

AJ thought this sign suited him perfectly!
                                                                   And ...yeah....

...ha ha ha...  let's not be too serious!

Feeling Love in the face of Fear...

At 8:30 in the morning a couple of weeks ago, I parked my car outside of a jewelry store that was not yet open for trading as I needed to pop in to a place of business just across from there. I know that there was a sign stating that the car parking spots there were for those particular businesses, but I did not think that parking there for two minutes or less before trading would bother anyone. I was a little pressed for time as I had to take my daughter to an appointment so I was trying to be efficient and park close rather than at the back of the building and having to walk around.

The owner of the jewelry store pulled in and parked right behind my car as I was getting out of my car. I will note that there were two other spaces assigned to his particular store. He asked me to see that those parking spaces were ONLY for the shops along that little strip and that, if I was going to the business just across the lane from them, then I would have to go and park around the back. I said "but your shop isn't open yet and I'm going to be no more than two minutes". He didn't care and insisted I move my car. I could have kept going, and maybe even said that, with that attitude, he could be sure that I wouldn't be back there to consider being a customer.

I didn't though. I looked at him and just saw a man that was full of fear.

For one deep moment, I sensed it strongly in him...all of the reasons that he came to have that attitude, so protective of three little car parking spaces, his business, that things would be taken from him. So fear driven.

Before I turned to get back in my car to move it, I smiled at him and said "okay...you have a nice day"...and I meant it. I sent him love, and then I moved my car around the back of the complex. I just knew that the day was unfolding as it should so I said a quiet "thank you" to the Spirit guiding me. I wasn't concerned about being late for my daughter's appointment, I felt that it would all be okay.

I walked back around to drop off the thing that I needed to, which took only a minute, walked back around to my car, and then got green lights all the way to the appointment and actually arrived there early!

Thank you Spirit for guiding me today, for showing me a different way to deal with potential conflict, to not be attached to the physical nature of it, but to see beyond it to the fear driving those actions

Don't judge us...

(...another post that I wrote about 8 months ago, but didn't quite finish...)

We went to an op shop and when we walked in, the lady behind the counter said "isn't there any school today?".  AJ said "we homeschool".  "Oh" is all that the lady said.

We looked around and gathered up some general bits and pieces.  It was an older shop, with manual bookkeeping and the lady serving us wrote the amounts on a piece of paper.  She turned the piece of paper around to AJ and said to him "here!  You do this!".  AJ had been standing next to me, but paying absolutely no attention to what had been going on as he was looking at something else.  He said gently "what?".  The lady demanded "you do this!".  AJ again "what?".  I said to him "she wants you to do this sum for her".  The lady quickly said "well!  He said he homeschooled...I thought I'd have some fun with him!".  I said "he doesn't have to do that".  She said "I guess he's not up to that then." (Inferring that he didn't know how to do the sum.)  If I hadn't already paid, I would have walked out right then.  I was a little in shock to be treated like that.  And who thinks that forcing children to do math is FUN???!!!  Of course AJ could have done that if he had wanted to.  Who was SHE to test my child?!

Summer took something over to our neighbour at home.  When she didn't return soon after, I went looking for her.  I saw Summer and our neighbour outside talking to some other people.  I went over, chatted briefly and then left with Summer.  She told me that our neighbour had been asking Summer about school..."how's your schooling going?"..."how's your long division?"  WHAT???!!!  Excuse me...I was tempted to go back and ask her how HER long division is?!! 

What is it about homeschooling that makes some people suddenly become the judge and jury for our children?  Why do they think they have the right to test our children?  Why is the ability to do math a benchmark for the kind of people my children are?  Ask them what are they excited about?  Ask them are they happy?  Better off, don't ask them....just observe them...see how they can talk to anyone without peer restrictions....see how they stop in the middle of a crowded shopping center to rescue a dragonfly that has somehow been trapped inside...see how they jump in and help with a wide range of household tasks....see how they can work together and help each other...see how they know how to ask for things that they want and help in finding creative solutions to achieving those things...see the joy in them when they "get" a new concept because it actually makes sense to them, not because they were forced to learn it.

....I was a bit fired up when I wrote that!  Several months later,  I think I'm a little more forgiving towards others now who get a bit nosy.   Perhaps it's their ignorance, or maybe they are just interested in how homeschooling actually works and assume it's just like school, but at home (it is like that for some families, but not us),  and they are curious about how that works because maybe they would have loved that for themselves.  I still will not tolerate my children being disrespected, but I am curious about why people behave the way that they do.  We don't face these kinds of situations very often, but we're getting better about turning it around when we do.  If a shop assistant asks one of my children to do a sum again, we'll say...very gently...."do you need help with it?".  Or instead of answering a question outright, like the long-division situation, we'll just turn it right around and say something like (gently) "why do you want to know?....Do you need help with your long division?", or just say something random like "oh that is so much fun to do!".  I want my kids to be respectful and to maintain their joy.  I am amazed by how naturally they do both when treated with respect and allowed the freedom to express their joy! 

Before Speaking...

I have often found smalltalk...well, a little challenging. There are some people that it just seems easy with, the conversation just seems to flow. We connect and can talk about any subject either lightly or in depth.  Some others though, I find myself scratching for something to talk about, sometimes finding myself saying things that just seem 'not right' for me. Afterwards I might think "why on earth did I say that?". I assume that the other person might think that I am not interested or even maybe not interesting if I don't have a lot to say. It's getting to the point where I am preferring to avoid some social settings so I don't have to be involved in conversations that seem the same repetition of meaningless drivel. (too harsh?)

I am very comfortable with myself and with my silence...when I'm by myself. I'm learning to be comfortable maintaining that in a social situation. I love this quote by Sai Baba:

"Before Speaking, Ask Yourself:

Is It Kind?

Is It Necessary?

Is It True?

Does It Improve On The Silence?"

I choose to live this! 

However the question does arise...just what DO you speak about in random social situations?  Do you really have to say anything if you don't feel inspired?  Other people may feel uncomfortable and say unkind things behind my back.  Who knows...maybe they already do?!  What others think of me in none of my business!  I can only be in control of ME....my state of mind....my inner peace....my balance...  and when I can do that, I believe that I will radiate the Love and Peace and Joy that I am feeling.

I found this other great article on 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Speak if you are interested in another opinion.  Worth a look!

.... I actually wrote that post earlier this year.  I've grown quite a bit since then and I no longer judge myself for what I do or don't say.  Wow!  I had forgotten that I used to do that!  It was great to read this post and see how far I've come!

Swell times....

I just found the draft of this post sitting in my post list.  I started it ages ago and was going to put a bunch of photos on it but I was having trouble with Picasa so I put it aside and, well, I didn't get back to it and I'm still not happy with Picasa so I'll just post it as it is.  I am toying with the idea of posting on here more regularly again so there may be more pics more often. 
Nicholas at roller skating
The next photos are a few that I took at the recent local SWELL sculpture exhibition which is held annually along a beach near us.  The WOW sculpture was very popular with photographers...

The kids liked the whale fin sculpture...

But their favourites were the series of five little people that were made by our friend, Leonie Rhodes..