birthdays · dad · gratitude · happiness · Mum · sisters · spiritual

Our Cups Runneth Over with Love and Laughter

Many years ago my mother slipped on a wet floor at the local butcher shop, later learning that she had broken her toe. As Mum related the story to family and friends over the next few days, she would erupt into fits of laughter, tears streaming down her cheeks and hardly able to finish her story.

The reason for Mum’s hilarity was simple. The butcher who had attempted to help her up off the floor after her fall was around five-foot-nothing tall and perhaps weighed eight stone, if he was lucky!

Mum imagined what a sight it must have been, with this tiny gentleman (of course he was a gentleman, he was helping a lady!) helping a substantially larger woman up off the slippery floor!

And that, in a nutshell, was the story of my life, growing up with a mother who could always see the funny side in any situation, no matter how serious it may seem to others.

To quote an overused cliché, my family have always seen the cup as being half full, rather than half empty!

Today has been one of ‘those’ days, a day when I have spent a good deal of the day reflecting on my family life. By “family life” I am referring to my first family, the one I was born into.

There were six of us originally – Dad and Mum, my three big sisters and me. Half of them are no longer with us, but half of us are still here! And the three of us remaining sisters still share the laughter, still share the memories of the good ole days and are still there for each other, through the good times and the bad.

The sister who isn’t with us any longer would have celebrated a mile-stone birthday today. She’s been gone for over four years and sure, I miss her. Some days I feel downright angry with her, for bailing out on life and leaving the three of us!

But when I think about my biggest sister, the things I remember the most are the good times, days when we were happy together, when we shared the laughter, when we laughed so hard we cried! (It’s a family trait, you know, this crying laughing!)

I remember her when she was full of life, and joking, finding the funny side to every situation, no matter how serious it may have seemed. What I don’t want to focus on is the memory of my sister being a dead person, when her days of life meant so much to all of us!

Did I say before that my eldest sister was no longer with us? That must have been a Freudian slip! Of course she is still with us, just as our Mum and Dad are, still sharing the tears of laughter with us, still guiding us through life, still loving us.

First Family Bonds don’t break that easily, not in my family, anyway!

And the love and laughter that we have shared, and are still to share, has our cups filled to overflowing. 🙂

Photo credit – Gadget Lab.


Mum · nostalgia · pies · traditions

Traditions. And Mince Pies, Just Like Mum Used to Make.

Christmas Wreath

“‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”~ Clement Clark Moore.

As I hung the Christmas wreath on my front door this year, I tallied up the number of years I have done so. This will be our seventeenth Christmas in our home and we have continued our families Christmas traditions throughout the years.

Some may find family traditions boring; I find them comforting and familiar and I look forward to repeating our old traditions each year and adding new ideas into our mix of celebrations when the fancy hits us.

One tradition that my mother repeated annually was to make her famous and much-loved-by-her-family Mince Pies every year.

I have continued making mince pies myself every Christmas myself, although I have always made the pastry using butter; Mum used lard.

This year I opted for a change and made my mince pies “justa lika Mumma use to make”, (as they say in the spaghetti sauce advert, however, my Mum wasn’t Italian, so perhaps that line isn’t appropriately used in this case!)

My Mum was a Cheshire born girl, with a Manchester born Mum whose entire family were Yorkshire born and bred. Mum’s very broad northern English accent was hard to understand at times (even for me, her own daughter!) I’m uncertain whether it is my maternal families trait, or a Yorkshire family trait, to religiously follow family traditions the way we do. Either way, it’s traditional, so we do it!

Being true to old tradition, this year I made my mince pies using lard, just as Mum always had. It’s such a simple recipe – 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 125 grams (4 oz) lard and 1/4 pint of water.

Mince Pies

In previous years I have been known to make my own fruit mince, (Mum called it “mince meat”) although this year, as time did not permit, I bought a very reliable, traditionally English brand of mince, which is almost a good as home-made.

There’s nothing like a mince pie made with pastry using lard to bring back memories of Christmases long gone, but not forgotten. And the best part of it all is that the new (old) version of lard pastry seems to be a hit with my family too!

Christmas Eve

Now, with food for tomorrow prepared, kitchen tidied, decorations hung and everyone in bed, in the words of Clement Clark Moore, I will bid you a “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

daughter · gratitude · happiness · Mum · son · traditions

Mother’s Day 2011

A recent photo of me with my two beautiful daughters, Hayley and Emma.

Mother’s Day comes and goes on one day of every year, year in and year out.

In a perfect world, we would show appreciation to our mothers every single day of the year. I for one didn’t realise the extent of my own mother’s feelings toward me and my sisters until I actually became a mother myself.

When I finally “got it”, (better late than never!) I constantly tried to show my mother the total appreciation, love and gratitude I felt towards her.

The “job” of being a mother isn’t an easy one. If you do not have children yet, and do hope to be a mother one day, if anyone ever tells you it’s easy being a mother ~ they’re lying!

When your new, precious little bundle is placed into your arms for the first time, with the flood of love and emotion you feel for your precious newborn baby, you may be fooled into believing that that’s as good as it gets.


Being a mother of four myself, I have learned that the first love you feel for your baby is only the beginning. The love just grows.

It can sometimes be an overwhelming love, distorting your usual calm and sensible demeanor, reducing you to tears. Other times, your love for your child can rage out of control, as you feel total panick for the well-being of your child, who doesn’t always make decisions for their life which you would regard as well advised decisions!

When your child finally reaches the ripe old age of eighteen years, a time when they are “mature” enough to head out into the world all alone, making their own decisions for themselves, you may be tricked into thinking you can stop worrying about them, finally.

Wrong, again!

Three of my four children have passed their eighteenth birthdays now. Take it from me, you still care, you still worry, you still wish for your child the most wonderful life, filled with amazing people.

To all of the mothers out there, who one day took the giant leap of the ultimate responsibility on earth by becoming a mum, I wish you the happiest of days on this Mother’s Day, 2011.

We all deserve a day to put our feet up and relax, don’t you think?

daughter · Mum

Being Authentically “You”

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”. ~  Sir Walter Scott (1808)

When my eldest daughter told me that she had realised she was copying me, when making choices for her own life and had stopped doing so as she wanted be authentically herself, I couldn’t have been happier.

I asked her whatever had possessed her to want to copy me in the first place, and she told me simply, “Because I love you, I guess”.

There is an old saying that ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery’, but how much imitation is too much?

Think about it carefully. Do you really want the responsibility of knowing that there is someone out there, who is not truly being themselves, because they are imitating you?

Or would you be content to spend your own life living as another person would have you live it?

An innocent act of admiration for someone in your life can lead to a web of deception, a web that you may not even realise that you have got yourself caught up in, until one day you wake up to the fact that the person who is living your life, isn’t really you.

I know this to be true, as I’ve lived the “lie”, albeit an innocent lie, but none the less destructive.

Throughout the month of March, the theme at the Calm Space was “change” and I submitted my article to Karen rather timidly, with the content being so personal.

There were two deciding factors on why I finally decided to allow Karen to publish what I had written. One – Karen told me she loved the article (and it always helps to know the Editor is happy!)

My second deciding factor was that I realised that someone who reads my story may actually learn something, and benefit from the mistakes I have made.

My message is an important one. I do hope you will read my article at the Calm Space, “Living the Richest of Lives”.

“Your experiences are not limited to what you have created in the past”. ~ Gary Zukav

floods · Mum · Tweed Valley

My Country

There’s been an awful lot of rain in my part of the world lately; rain, along with cooler temperatures.

Some areas of Queensland have flooded, while others are on flood alert.

The roads in northern New South Wales, where I live, are full of pot-holes. Apparently, the Tweed has been listed as a disaster area.

The rain is predicted to continue. Already it has been gauged that Australia has just had the wettest spring on record. Many of the dams throughout the country are full to overflowing.

An Australian politician has even declared, “This is a disaster of biblical proportions”.

Is there any good news?

Okay world, that all sounds like bad news. So how about some good news? Isn’t this a blog about “Everyday Inspirations”?

Yes, we’ve had a lot of rain, mostly in the sub-tropics (where I live) and further north in the tropics.

It’s summer, the cyclone season, the wet weather season. This is typical summer’s weather for these parts.

What isn’t typical is the cooler temperatures. Do you hear me complaining? Not a chance! We get enough heat in summer, on a regular basis. These cooler days are pure luxury!

The dams are overflowing. For many years, up until just recently, most areas that I know of, on the eastern side of Australia at least, have experienced water restrictions, due to drought. Livestock and plants have gone to God, due to lack of water.

We should be dancing and rejoicing in the rain!

The rain has prevented the usual outbreak of raging fires throughout the country. Hallelujah!

Has it always been this way?

During my lifetime I have lived through both fires and floods. My family was evacuated from our home when I was ten years old. We lived in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, an area prone to fires.

From nature’s point of view, fire is necessary to rejuvenate the bush!

From a human point of view, fire is destructive. It takes lives. It burns down houses. My Godmother and a close friend’s home were both destroyed in the aforementioned fires, but they survived. So I’m thankful.

When choosing an area to live in, isn’t it wise to find out if flooding is likely to occur? Or if the area is prone to bushfires? Or if venomous snakes have been sighted in your area? Or if the local aeroplane flight path goes over your home? Or if the during the burning of the sugar cane, ash is likely to litter your back yard?

That’s Australia.

Australia is Australia. It’s a harsh country. And that is the way it’s always been.

One of the most famous Australian poems is “My Country”, written by Australian born Dorothea Mackellar in the early 1900’s.

A rather lengthy poem, containing six verses, Dorothea began writing the poem in 1904, during a bout of home sickness. She was travelling through England and Europe and missing her homeland.

The poem was first published in the “London Spectator” in 1908, by its original title, “Core of my Heart”. It was republished in Australia at a later date and has been a favourite with Australian’s ever since.

The first verse of the poem refers to England. This is the second, and most famous verse of “My Country”.

“I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains

Of ragged mountain ranges

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons

I love her jewel sea,

Her beauty, and her terror ~

The wide brown land for me!”

~ Dorothea MacKellar (1885-1968)

If you would like to read the full version of “My Country”, it can be found on the Official Dorothea Mackellar Website.

Wikipedia also has further background history to the poem, along with information on Dorothea Mackellar herself here.

A Diverse Climate.

Australia has always had, and no doubt always will have, a very diverse climate. When you call Australia home, you learn to live with it, you get used to it, and yes, you love it!

P.S. The photo credit for today goes to my Mum. Yes, that’s a fifteen year old “me”, as my family prepared to batten down the hatches at the store we owned, in Murwillumbah, Northern N.S.W.

I was heading to our neighbouring business, (either to ask for or offer help, I don’t remember which). The river, only approximately 50 metres away was predicted to break its banks at any time.

My mother’s contribution during this time of crisis? Taking photos for posterity, of course! (I wish she were still here today to thank her!) 🙂