Christmas Decorating

This year I managed to somehow enjoy the Christmas decorating process and I think it’s because I did not make it a task to DO, but a long drawn out process to enjoy.  Doing something small & Christmassy weekly extends the holiday joy, so I think this is definitely the way to do it.

Here’s our window, it’s coming together.

You will notice those snowmen are gone (they lasted less than 24 hours!), but I’m thankful for that. I love our replacement, so native, the kids LOVED putting them up, and are being very good about not touching this time.

I will concede that this window is pretty busy, but I don’t think I mind that. Christmas is all about masses of decorations, anyway.

And the greatest thing about all of this is: it’s totally handmade, and the kids helped with all of it.

We began with the paper chains. I cut strips of coloured paper, which we then glued around eachother to make chains.

We all played around cutting out shapes to make the snowflakes, and I managed to rescue most of them to make passable snowflakes.

The hanging decorations were easy.  I cut out Christmas shapes, Soph & I punched holes around the edges then I made pipecleaner needles, threaded some silk thread through, tied a knot in the end and they just knocked themselves out sewing through the holes. (I did do a couple myself, can you tell?)

The birds were are my favourite part. Like a flash of inspiration I had them on my mind to make them for this window. This bird (the red-browed finch) has been coming into our garden to feed recently.  They are a bird I’ve never seen before so they struck me immediately.  Their red and greeny/gold plummage is so Christmassy it must just have all connected in there somewhere.

I did draw the birds and coloured them in (just texta – nothing fancy), the kids coloured in cut out paper scraps for the branches and (two!) leaves. I’m very happy with the scribbled end result.  I didn’t want them to be perfect, I want them to look homemade and I particularly want them to look like the kids have chipped in, which they have, so it works for me.

Summer Snowmen

We did some Christmas decorating today. Very early, yes, but in my defence it was entirely unpremeditated. In an effort to keep the kids engaged & amused – a daily challenge – we began making paper chains. One thing led to the next & suddenly we were on to snowflakes, that led, naturally, to snowmen. Then before I knew it these things were up on the windows & ceiling looking suspiciously Christmassy. Well.

To be honest I’m not so sure of these lurking summer snowmen. They are highly inappropriate guests at an Australian Christmas, and stink of longing for what can not be (dreams of a white Christmas, anyone?), however the kids enjoyed making them and seem to be enjoying wrecking them, and so I don’t think they’ll be around for long. In the end I think I will replace them with a branch full of perching red-browed finches, a sweet bird which has been visiting my garden recently. Christmassy? Sure, why not. Seasonal. Australian. Appropriate.

Itchy feet (& a series of life mottos)

I am really itching to get on our bus and get going.

For a long while I have felt stuck.  Long since before I got married.  In fact my solution was: Get married! Sort of helped…only a little bit.

Twenty-seven has been a kind of milestone.  I’ve had my babies, been successfully married for five years now (successful: we are pretty happy, have done our fighting – I mean, we really did our fighting – and have lasted five whole years!), I have a firmer grasp on who I am, what I like, the things I am interested in, I am anticipating studying (and hopefully, this time, finishing) a uni degree, adventure is at hand, an adventure we are embarking on together, all four of us, all together, I’m smarter, more sensible, much more sensible.

I guess in life everyone is bound to miss out on something, the nature of our limitedness ensures that, but I seriously missed out on knowing myself.  I think that’s a big one, and through life perhaps I’ll make it somewhat of a catch phrase: ‘Know Thyself’…and perhaps also: ‘Do Not Marry Before the Age of 25!’.

I mean, I married because I was in love, with my first love no less.  But I was inexperienced and confused and lacked a definite identity.  We worked it out though (hence the fighting), but it has been a real struggle. Inside myself and outside in our marriage.  All good though, we’ve moved on and here we are, two babies later!  And now I feel I finally know myself.

So I haven’t done too badly.  But adventure is seriously beckoning.

I have lived in this town (Technically I live 20mins outside of this town now, and have done for the last five years, but in every way, but where I sleep and garden and park my car, I live in Canberra.) for over 21 years now, and have only done a miniscule amount of travel: 2 weeks down the East Coast, 2 weeks in Tasmania & 3 glorious, solitudinous months in New Zealand, only about a month out of those 3 months were spent fairly alone and seeing the sights, oh, but boy do I treasure those months, they were a glorious facing of myself with myself, and there really is not a prettier country on this planet in which to do that very thing!

After that trip I returned home, ready to keep flying, but instead listened to advice and stayed put…serious detour.  Catch phrase number 3: ‘Never Listen to Advice you do not Agree with!’  Thing is, I had never learnt how not to listen to advice. I’d lived my life listening to advice.  That voice in my own heart just confused me, that’s all.

Well, anyway, let’s skip ahead eight years, which brings us here, where I, together with my attachments, am getting ready to fly on.

We are heading around Australia in a bus.  Whoopee.

First step: Get a Bus License (which actually means a truck license)

Second Step: Buy a Bus

Third Step: Get rid of all unnecessary stuff and hop on said bus!

My newly qualified Engineer husband can make it functional, I can make it pretty, and we can all make it a home.

The only thing I anticipate missing is my garden. Family and friends, yeah I will miss them, but I feel that’s kind of a non issue in this modern era of multi communication models. It’s all too easy to come back…later…anyway.  I am more excited about being just us, figuring life out on our own terms, making an adventure out of it.

I am still absolutely desperate to travel further afield, Europe in particular, but I am quenching that thirst with a new hobby which I have discovered I absolutely love: Learning Languages.  I am learning French, next Italian, then Indonesian (I think) and so on.  Finnish is on that list, but it being a very difficult language, with some words being literally the length of small sentences (!), it’s on the backburner, that’s for sure.

Another lesson learnt in that regard, which will be catch phrase number 4: ‘Follow your Heart!’

Seriously, I have had French on the brain since being a teenager, but never did much about it, so at the milestone age of 27 I’ve finally picked it up.  I must say that finally having a smart phone and the use of an app: French in a Month, has made it a thousand times easier and more fun than it might have been otherwise. I am really enjoying it.

Kirsty Sword Gusmao learnt both Indonesian and Italian at university, an odd mix, but both, amazingly, came into use as she was assisting in the independenc of East Timor, work which led her to her husband the first President of East Timor.  So you never know where your peculiar choices will lead you. Choices which those around you may not understand and advise you against, choices which, perhaps, even you may not understand, but choices which your heart has directed. So, yes, follow your heart, please do…and I also will attempt to follow mine.

Mums Quilt

Mum made us this quilt for our wedding day, it’s coming up to five years this Saturday. Unbelievable! If I’m honest I’d say the first two years sort of crawled, the last three flew! That’s what kids do I guess.

Drip Drip

It’s been raining here, a non event most seem to think, but rainy days are my favourite days, freezing cold mornings only just slightly win over the rainy ones. I hate the heat of summer and I have sensitive eyes so the summer brightness kills me.  I am the opposite to most people.

What would we do without the rain?  My plants would survive, but not thrive, our water tank would never fill, the dust would never settle.  Rain is severly underated out there (like when the weather man says ‘another beautiful day out there today’, referring to the sunshine and ‘more miserable weather heading our way’ referring to the wet.), it seems it takes a minor miracle like the breaking of a seven year drought to make us Southern Australians appreciate the rain (unless one were a farmer and then I imagine you’d value the rain for what it really is).

No, rain is reassuring.  In this day of Climate Change (which is very real, I was a sceptic, but now am not) the rain brings reassurance to me. Things are changing, but (for now) they are still living.

Last night it was music to my ears to hear the soft & steady rain pattering onto the roof, flowing through the gutters & pouring into our rain water tanks with a gentle gurgle. That’s life, that’s beauty, that’s peace in the present moment.

I love nothing more than nature. I really do.


“Every religion in the world has had a subset of devotees who seek a direct, transcendent experience with God, excusing themselves from fundamentalist scriptural or dogmatic study in order to personally encounter the divine.  The interesting things about these mystics is that, when they describe their experiences, they all end up describing exactly the same occurrence.  Generally, their union with God occurs in a meditative state, and is delivered through an energy source that fills the entire body with euphoric, electric light.”

Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert

These words fit me where I am.  I feel that I am excusing myself from the expected norms of my particular faiths practice in order to personally experience the divine. Personally experiencing the divine has always been a very big part of the direction of my life. In fact I have experienced that energetic & electric sensation that comes with connection to ‘the divine’, I’ve also experienced it as a well, like a great tide of water, filling me up and spilling out through my mouth.

Heady stuff.

I like this next bit about Saint Teresa of Avila, I think I might look her up later.

“Saint Teresa of Avila, that most mystical of Catholic figures, described her union with God as a physical ascension of light through seven inner “mansions” of her being, after which she bust into God’s presence. She used to go into meditative trances so deep that the other nuns couldn’t feel her pulse anymore.”

My own mystical role models, who sit within the tenements of my own particular creed, are Agnes Sandford, Leanne Payne, Dorothy Sayers.  I’ve stuck with women as surely that is more realistic than attempting to approach life through a mans eyes, and they are there so why look further.  Oh and I’m also liking this Elizabeth Gilbert person. I’ve quoted her from her Ted talk about creativity in a past blog, and boy, that stuff has still stuck with me. I like it a lot.  I like her approach to life a lot, but I wouldn’t call her my guru or anything, not like the others.

Soul Mate

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.”

Richard from Texas

Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert

“Good grief,” I thought, “this describes Henry to myself.”

The next few words are more telling, however:

“But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah, too painful.”

Thanks for bursting my bubble, Richard from Texas.  I hate to say it, but you are right. It is painful and hard and requires a stiff upper lip and a certain amount of vodka, or perhaps just excess amounts of icecream.

And then a good run.