Tag Archives: love

Special Birthday Edition

I meant to get this post up yesterday, the 15th, which was my birthday, but didn’t quite manage it. 

birthday cards

This is a quick, unpolished post, the electronic equivalent of scribbled notes, but I had to write something about today because it was so beautiful.  I want to capture it and remember it always.

I am 33 years old today.  When I sat in church this morning, as Matilda, Christopher Robin and Harry trotted off to Children’s Liturgy and Annie happily defaced a Vinnies Christmas Appeal envelope, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my love-filled life.

roses from my garden

Last night, I had a group of dear friends over for a relaxed barbeque.  I had tidied the house and made it beautiful with fairy lights and candles and fresh flowers from my garden.  After we had picked at the last of the salad and the birthday cake crumbs, Mr Knightley lit a bonfire and we all sat around toasting marshmallows until the guitars came out.

I think it might have had something to do with the plastic cups of very lovely champagne (a Christmas present from her very generous student) that Lydia poured out liberally for all, or one of the most delicious and rather strong vodka cranberries that Lovely M kept making me, but I sounded AMAZING.  We all sounded AMAZING.  Like magical gypsy minstrels.  Those weren’t fumbled chords.  Those were highly sophisticated improvisations.  It. Was. Awesome.

By all rights, I should have felt rather poorly this morning, but I did not.  My children tumbled into bed with me and gave me presents and kisses.  My husband cooked me bacon and eggs (even better: he fed and dressed the kids!).  We got to church on time, too (this is big)

I was still feeling the love while Matilda, Christopher Robin and Harry walked slowly to the front of the church in the Offertory Procession with the other Children’s Liturgy kids.  Harry solemnly delivered the corporal cloth to Father Jacob and then swiftly ran away, first in the wrong direction, then turning and racing back, almost knocking the priest and half the gifts over in the process.  Annie, meanwhile had quietly progressed to colouring the hymn books.

I felt so good.

These aren't from my garden, but a present from Bess

Later that day, I would eat brunch with Bess and George, my old uni friends ; my parents-in-law would drop by with a lovely present and my house would be tidy (win); and I would have a delightful afternoon tea at my favourite place with my parents, and brothers and sister (Jan’s in England, but was there in spirit).

I was yet to be showered in presents (and so was Cindy, my twin, who turns 23 on Tuesday), was yet to eat delicious gluten-free cake, but I still felt so good and so grateful.

At the end of the day, I would snuggle up with my darling love (my new curling iron) and my husband and watch a movie so compelling I couldn’t blog through it and post this in time.

A day might come that’s not like this one at all, when I feel blackness and despair.  Maybe I might feel consumed by anxiety, like I can’t cope, like I always fail.

Perhaps it might not be blackness and despair, but greyness and blah.  I might feel numb to joy, like I’m just surviving in a bland world of sameness.  I might forget how to be happy and just settle for smug.

A day might come when I really need this post.  When I need to remind myself that things aren’t really all that bad.

Things can be pretty damn sweet.

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Look Look Look!

Here are some things making my house a lovely place to be right now:

roses

nasturtiums

Fresh flowers from my very own garden

sunflower sprouts

Sunflowers growing on my kitchen windowsill (these give me a ridiculous amount of joy)

paintings over piano

These paintings I bought last year from the doctors.  The artist’s name is Caz, and she exhibits her work in the waiting room of the big clinic.  While I’m at it, this piano gives me a great amount of joy also.  Our next door neighbour was cleaning out his garage and asked if we’d like it.  Did we what!  We have a REAL house now: we have a PIANO!

poppy1

This is the painting I bought first, for a ridiculous $20 (and here I was thinking I could never afford original art!).  She looked so lovely on the wall and yet so lonely that I thought I better go back and buy her sisters.

semi abstract art

poppy2

This one has “Poppies in the garden” written in pencil on the back.

The next time I went to the doctors I met their mother:

happy trees art

She was so beautiful. And HUGE.  But her price, though very reasonable for a painting that size, was well out of my reach.  Sigh,

For over a year, every time I visited the doctor, I would sit near her and look at her.  I don’t need to own this painting to enjoy it, I would think to myself, It’s just as beautiful here as it would be in my house.  And I would sit there looking at the painting feeling very virtuous and a tiny bit sad.

Around a month ago, I went to the doctors’ with Christopher Robin, who had split his head open at school and had it glued back together again at the hospital (that might sound like it might make a dramatic and interesting blog post, but, trust me, it was just a whole lot of scary followed by a whole lot of waiting in the emergency room – no real narrative structure there).   I needed cheering up so I found us a seat right next to my painting.  As I gazed at her, it struck me that there was something different about her – it was her price tag!  The painting had been drastically discounted and was now $120.  I called Mr Knightley, “I know what I want for my birthday!”, I announced breathlessly (my birthday was still several months off, but I was being organised).  Within a few hours she was on my living room wall, and it turns out I was wrong:  she looks MUCH MORE beautiful in my home than she did in the waiting room.  Look:

living room with painting

If I had commissioned this painting it couldn’t have looked more at home.

A lot of bloggers are talking about thankfulness at the moment (is it something to do with Thanksgiving? I don’t know).  I am thankful for my home.  If you could see the state it’s in at the moment as I blog amongst the toy-and-toast rubble, you might think that strange, but I guess I wouldn’t have mess if I didn’t have such a perfect abundance of food and possessions.  I’m going to finish this post now and give my beautiful home some love.

Just as soon as I convince Harry to stop riding the vacuum…

Clomp, Clomp, Clomp.

These boots are made for walkin'

Time for another God post. I went away on retreat last weekend and felt all peaceful and inspired. But, now, regular life is back again and I’ve just about forgotten it all and settled back into my usual habit of ignoring God until I need him for something important (like a car space at Chadstone). So I thought I’d better write this down quick before it all falls out of my head.

We were talking about one of St Paul’s letters (1 Corinthians 12: 12-31)  in which he writes about the church being like a body with many parts. Everyone has a different role to play and all the roles are important, no matter how humble.

I think I’ve spoken before about how I tend to struggle sometimes with the many invisible and menial tasks involved in my vocation.  Pegging out a load of washing does not really make me feel like I’m building the Kingdom of God.  It’s not like I’m a missionary in a developing country building wells or giving soup to the homeless or tutoring refugee kids.  But according to St Paul, my job is still important.  I think, as part of the Body of Christ, we mothers are a bit like the feet.  Not the most glamourous feature and often taken for granted, the feet just keep plodding on, supporting the rest of the body and helping it do what it does so well.  I think I’d find it easier to be a nice, loud mouth – shouting about my accomplishments and eating up all the recognition.  But God doesn’t call us to do what is easy, he calls us to do what we need to be whole.  So I’m a foot.   I could even take the metaphor further and suggest that it’s important to take care of our feet and have the occasional pedicure, because corns and ingrown toenails affect the whole body.  It’s easy to mistake playing the part of a martyr (which helps nobody, even though it comes with a bonus sense of smug self-satisfaction) with true selflessness (which is not too proud to ask for help).  I’m not so good at this – I need to give myself permission to put my feet up more (OK, I’ll stop with the overworked metaphors now, I promise!)

I love-love-love an article written by Rachel Jankovic called “Motherhood as a Mission Field”, in it she writes:

“At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.”

So perhaps, like Mother Teresa would say, instead of getting pre-occupied with the great things I am not doing, I should focus instead on doing small things with great love.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to peg out a load of whites for Jesus.