A Sense of Spirit · birthdays · gardening · Mum · sisters

My Sister’s Garden

A Rose for Mum.
Flowers for Mum.

On the morning of Monday, the 30th of August, 1993, I dropped my son off at school, saw my daughter into her pre school-class and with my nine month old baby I visited my mother for the last time. Mum had lapsed into a coma on the Saturday afternoon so we knew the end was near. Up to that particular morning, before leaving my mother’s bedside I could only say to her “see you later”. The thought of never seeing her again terrified me. On this day, twenty years ago today, before leaving her room I noticed a pulse beating in her neck, she was still alive. Then I said the words I had feared ~ “Goodbye Mum”, yet the words came easily; it was time for me to let her go. Later I was told that a nurse saw me leave the room. She went in to check on my mum ~ she had gone.

Today, as I think of my mother, the angel and guide of my life for the past twenty years, I would love to take you all for a walk with me around the beautiful garden of another very important woman in my life, one who also lost a part of her own soul twenty years ago today, my sister, Vivien.

Azaleas
Azaleas

“Daylight
See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . . ” ~ Memory from the Musical “Cats”, one of Mum’s favourite songs.

Cows across the road from Vivi's home. Such a beautiful view from her front door.
Cows across the road from Vivi’s home, grazing by the river. Such a beautiful view from her front door.

Having three sisters, all of whom were substantially older than me, may have robbed me of the fun times as a child of having sister’s for playmates, but the blessing it gave me was the joy of having three extra “mothers”.

Take a seat....
Take a seat….

Vivi is my closest sister in age, she is twelve years older than me, and it was Vivi who mothered me the most throughout the years when I was growing up. We even went through a stage when she spent a considerable amount of time yelling at me, as I rebelled against her when I was a teenager! Now that’s real love…. πŸ™‚

....we can read a story together.
….we can read a story together.

My own children adore their auntie. My youngest son Adam said to me recently “there’s nothing to not like about Auntie Vivi”, and I totally agree with him, she’s just wonderful.

A very pretty bird, one which I don't see at my place.
A very pretty bird, one which I don’t see at my place.

If my sister lived closer I would definitely see her more often. Vivi lives six hours drive south of me, so when Adam and I took our trip down south in late June I planned it so that we would be at Vivi’s place to help her celebrate her birthday this year.

This is a bird that stays put in Vivi's garden.
This is a bird that stays put in Vivi’s garden.

One of Vivi’s sons, his wife and two children came around for dinner. Vivi had asked for take-away Chinese food, which she doesn’t have very often, for her birthday meal so she wouldn’t have to cook on her birthday, so that’s what we had.

Keeping an eye on the time.
Keeping an eye on the time.

Vivi is a fantastic cook and can throw together a delicious meal in no time at all! As a child I loved sleep-overs at Vivi’s home as her meals were yummy, her beds were always soft and comfy and we did fun things together, like cooking and going shopping.

The Zen Garden.
The Zen Garden.

During another visit to my sister’s home just over two years ago, her grandson told me about all the fun things he and his grandma do together when he visits her. It was like deja vu for me to hear him speak. “I used to do those things with your grandma when I was a little girl too!” I told him. I’m not sure that he could quite grasp the concept of the age difference between me and Vivi though, and why I was a child when she was an adult!

Every garden needs at least one bird bath.
Every garden needs at least one bird bath.

The day I took these photos it was raining although the dampness did not put a dampener on the calm atmosphere in the garden, if anything the duller natural light and the raindrops created an even more ambient atmosphere. I can imagine how beautiful it must be on a sunny day. These photos were taken on a wet, midwinter’s day.

Vivi isn't a huge cat lover, so instead of Puss in Boots" she has "Frogs in Boots".
Vivi isn’t a huge cat lover, so instead of “Puss in Boots” she has “Frogs in Boots”.

I am definitely pleased with the photos I took that day and I just love the whimsical ornaments Vivi has in her garden. Vivi and her husband have lived in this home for around nineteen years now, the same length of time I have lived in my home, but I remember her previous home in the Blue Mountains which had a full-sized wishing well in the front garden. It was magical.

No chance of this slow moving guy getting too far away!
No chance of this slow moving guy getting too far away!

Our mum loved her garden and preferred large, brightly coloured flowers to the dainty, paler variety. Anything unusual caught her eye and she was very fond of cactus plants and succulents. One of her favourite plants was her Zygocactus and I was thrilled to see Vivi had one in a hanging basket in her garden. They are not a particular favourite of mine, although I think I should get one. They bring back wonderful memories of the excitement my mum showed when her Zygocactus flowered.

One of Mum's favourite plants, Zygocactus.
One of Mum’s favourite plants, Zygocactus. And the bird in the small cage is an ornament!

Vivi loves frogs! She has quite a few in her home and around her garden, ornaments that is. I made her a cross stitch of three frogs in lily pads a few years ago. It took me ages to finish but it was well worth the effort as it looked fantastic when finished and framed.

Frog art in Vivi's garden.
Frog art in Vivi’s garden.

Before the night of Vivi’s birthday was over, Vivi’s grand-daughter asked if we would like a photo taken together. Jess is a lovely girl, and at age nineteen she speaks with Vivi as if she were her friend and not her grandmother. Vivi’s eldest son and family couldn’t make it for her birthday, he has three children, two sons and a gorgeous little daughter. I hope someday I have the same close bond with my grandchildren.

Me and my big sister Vivi.
Me and my big sister Vivi.

Mum wasn’t overly fussed on the colour pink, she preferred yellow, but I’m still going to show you Vivi’s pretty pink Azaleas, and I will leave you with another verse of “Memories” from Cats, a song that my mum loved. I know she remembers, I know she loves us, I feel her with us; it seems like only yesterday I heard her laughter, felt her hands, combed her hair. How can it possibly be twenty years…..

Raindrops on the pink Azaleas.
Raindrops on the pink Azaleas.

“Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again…..”

I love you for Eternity Mum. xxxxxx

Australia · Changes · gardening · happiness · new beginnings

Allowing the Magic to Happen

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β€œLife is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu.

???????????????????????????????The days have flowed naturally forward for me this past month, in fact they have flowed with so much ease that I am wondering where the last month has disappeared to. It’s not a complaint, but more of a learning process than anything. I’m actually having difficulty in finding the words here to describe how I feel.

???????????????????????????????Resistance is subsiding. I would love to be able to declare that resistance has disappeared from my life completely, but there are still occasions when I will bristle slightly, catch myself and tell myself all is well. I have learnt how to calm any adverse feelings very quickly.

???????????????????????????????I’ll be the first to admit that the recent anesthetic I had for a small hospital procedure has played its part. For two weeks I floated through each day with my feelings wrapped in cotton wool. Without the thought stresses of everyday living my household chores were completed with ease, a raised voice didn’t bring any feelings of tension, so my world just wafted along on the late winter breezes.

???????????????????????????????In realising that my anxieties over any given situation would neither make nor break the outcome I could see the benefit in letting go, giving up resistance, staying calm, letting what will be ~ be. I would even go as far as saying that my calmness may have even neutralised situations where other family members were involved.

???????????????????????????????During my time of still being under the peaceful spell of an anesthetic I made the choice to continue this gentle life after the chemical cushioning had left me, to allow the magic of life to just happen.

???????????????????????????????Situations are what they are, people do not change unless they choose to do so themselves, the world continues to spin, night becomes day and day becomes night again. The sun continues to rise, the tides ebb and flow. Birds build their nests and look out for juicy worms to catch. A baby is born, someone loses a loved one. And these events will continue, day after day, whether I am stressing, or not.

???????????????????????????????This must be why there are people who become hooked on drugs or alcohol, I contemplate. When the cushioning is felt, it’s a feeling you want to have stay around forever. How sad it is though, when the addicts don’t realise that chemical substances will wear off, needing to be replaced time and time again. I wish for those people that they eventually can find the magic within themselves, without the chemicals.

???????????????????????????????Life experience has brought me to the place where I’m now at. The difficulties of life are our greatest teachers. If you have read my last two posts, you will know what I’m talking about, how resistance can take us to an unhappy place. Talking, honestly, the kind of talk in which we wear our heart on our sleeve to our loved ones is a great remedy.

???????????????????????????????Imaging the worst case scenario, which I did before my bliss-giving anesthetic, only to learn that there was nothing wrong with me in the first place was a real eye opener for me. Worry didn’t change the reality of the situation, but worry may, and probably would have, caused a major health issue. Who needs that?

???????????????????????????????We will always experience human feelings so long as we are alive. Joy, pain, happiness, sadness, we want to feel emotions, but what is worry, is it even a real emotion? I know it can be destructive, so I am working towards banishing it from my life completely. I hope you can do the same. Show worry, resistance and stress out the door; flow with the tides of life, accept and enjoy what is.

???????????????????????????????These beautiful kookaburras who came to my garden when we were digging around in the earth, waiting patiently for a worm or some other grub to show itself for them to swoop down and enjoy for their dinner don’t seem to have a care in the world. We have so much to learn from animals and birds. They stay calm, remain patient, don’t complain about the sun or the rain, cold or heat, and they don’t hold any grudges against that dratted bird next to them who catches the worm before they do!

???????????????????????????????We have the choice, we can choose to put our busy minds into neutral and allow the magic to happen. It takes practise, but it can be done. How cool is that? πŸ™‚

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blessings · daughter · photography

A Morning with my Grand-Pups.

An intense moment for Bella, the Border Collie and Porter, the Border Collie cross Cattle Dog.
An intense moment for Bella, the Border Collie and Porter, the Border Collie cross Cattle Dog.

Last week my daughter phoned me, quite early in the morning, to see if perhaps, just on the off-chance, I might like to go with her when she took her two gorgeous babies for a swim in the river.

We're a-ready......
We’re a-ready……

She didn’t sound too confident that I would say yes. I’m not usually a “make plans on the spur of the moment” type of person, but what she suggested sounded like fun, so around mid morning I headed off to her place, we loaded her babies into the back of her car and off we went.

......we're gettin' set.......
……we’re gettin’ set…….

A couple of days later, I saw that Kathy, at Lake Superior Spirit, was sharing photos and adoption stories of her own “grands”, Kathy’s being grand-kittens!

Go Porter!!
Go Porter!!

What is it with us women with grown children? Here we are referring to our children’s animals as our grand-pets! Is there a secret longing that we are holding deep within our hearts that perhaps this addition of fury-grands may soon lead to “The Real Thing”? Or are we collectively heaving a sigh a relief that these grand-pets of ours, if they give our own babies any sign of trouble, can be unceremoniously put out the back door to give our children some peace? We remember the trials we have been through with our own real babies!

I can do it!
I can do it!

It is so easy to recall the joy I felt when my children were on their way into my life, the anticipation, the planning, decorating the nursery, choosing baby clothes and contemplating names. What a joyful time it was. And yet I simply cannot get my head around the idea of having an real human grandchild, one without the fur!

No Bella, it's MY ball!
No Bella, it’s MY ball!

I keep on telling my children that I’m too young to be a grandmother, but that story is getting old, way too old, especially considering my eldest is now twenty-eight years old!

And I've got it! I always get it! Porter wins again!!
And I’ve got it! I always get it! Porter wins again!!

When the time is right for my children, when they can almost smell the soft scent of a baby near to them, when they long for the feel of a babies gentle skin touching their own and when they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are ready to love another human being to the ends of the earth and back again, then I guess I’ll be old enough to be a grandma.

Yep, Porter got it....again....
Yep, Porter got it….again….

But for now, like Kathy, I will enjoy the long-furred, heavy-breathing, doe-eyed, unconditional love of my two grand-pups, Porter and Bella. Oh, and did I mention that I have two grand-kittens too? Like Kathy said, “Gosh darn, the important things we forget to blog about”!

Now it's time to......Shake! Shake! Shake!
Now it’s time to……Shake! Shake! Shake!