Category Archives: Healing life stories

Our Australian Christmas 2016

Christmas was filled with sun, sand and happiness and lovely gifts.

We caught up with so many family and friends and Jason, Karen, Tahlia and Caxton were here for a very special Christmas morning.  A night boat trip around the canals to see the Christmas lights was a highlight.
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 Christmas morning the sun shone through the window and the seagulls made a racket hoping there would be some interesting treats later in the day. They were not disappointed. Santa bought bikes and under the tree were toys and games. Wrapping paper was quickly torn away to reveal hidden treasures.

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Boxing day both our sons and daughters -in-law were with us plus Alan’s sister, Betty, John , Carol-Anne and Margaret.

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We cut the cake from my Book Launch. At the book launch on the 11th December Wendy Dunn presented me with a fantastic book-shaped cake with the front cover of Something Missing proudly displayed on top. I couldn’t bear to cut it so froze it to share with my Queensland family.gold-coast-family

New Years Eve we were caressed by the last rays of the evening sun and joined other families sitting on the sand to watch the sun slowly sink beyond the blue waters of Port Phillip Bay. Later, jet skis dashed past, well out of the way of the many swimmers enjoying the welcome coolness of the water. Children played cricket until it was too dark to see the ball while others enjoyed the swings, slides and other activities at the beach-side Keast Park foreshore playground.

In the darkness at home we lit a brassier filled with pine cones, ran along the sand waving sparklers in either hand and popped party poppers. The multitude of  colourful streamers covered our outdoor deck.

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How wonderful to start a brand new year. It feels like opening a special new book with empty pages just begging for some interesting events to be recorded.

May 2017 be a year of fun, good health and happiness.  With fingers crossed we all made New Year resolutions. Hopefully they will last…at least until February.

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Happy New Year to all fellow bloggers.

May all your writing dreams come true in 2017.

Mentone Public Library supports local authors

How fortunate we are, in the city of Kingston, (Victoria, Australia) to have someone like Julia Reichstein to support and nurture local writers. Via her Author for All Seasons events at the Mentone Public Library , she not only showcases local writers, but also supportive organisations such as the Mordialloc Writers Group.

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This group meets every second Tuesday to workshop work in progress and has seen both my novels in their raw form.

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For over twenty years, creative writing teacher and author, Mairi Neil has been the founder and mainstay of the group. Her editing expertise is legendary. Through her tireless efforts many local writers have had their stories published in the eight anthologies produced. I count myself fortunate to be amongst them.

I was delighted to be with her and members of the group to showcase our latest anthology of essays, Kingston Our City.

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Julia also invited me to give an author talk on Saturday, 26th November 2016 and has sent out fabulous flyers showcasing my book cover for my latest novel to be published this year by MadeGlobal Publishing.com. Another Victorian author Wendy J Dunn has had her third historical novel Falling Pomegranate Seeds published by MadeGlobal in 2016.

book-cover-new Something Missing is about Diane, a naive young married woman who knows that there must be more to life than hairdressing and mothering and needs to discover what it is. When she meets in outback Australia, an older, ‘educated’ American she is attracted by Maggie’s self confidence and broad literary and general knowledge. Diane instigates a pen-pal relationship in the desire to absorb wisdom from Maggie and her knowledge of the world. Something Missing is a story about growing up, growing old, of love, lies and reconciliation.

To promote and publicize this latest novel, Julia has already contacted a long list of local and wider Melbourne media. Fingers crossed they all respond and accept the challenge. The Mentone Public Library is at 36 Florence Street, Mentone Vic Australia 3194. You can see the work Julia does for the community and the aims and focus of this library at the following internet sites. http://mentonepubliclibrary.blogspot.com.au/
http://www.mycommunitylife.com.au/Community/Mentone-Public-Library

Below is the flyer she has sent out for me.

MENTONE PUBLIC LIBRARY
PROUDLY PRESENTS
“AN AUTHOR FOR ALL SEASONS: SERIES SIX”

WITH AWARD-WINNING LOCAL AUTHOR:

Glenice Whitting

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https://glenicewhitting.wordpress.com/

Glenice will be talking about the process involved in publishing Pickle to Pie (Ilura Press) and her latest novel, Something Missing by  MadeGlobal Publishing.com.

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MENTONE PUBLIC LIBRARY SPEAKING DATE:

Saturday, 26th November 2016
Entry:
Gold Coin Donation Welcome
Please RSVP by: Thursday, 24th November 2016
Bookings Required:
Phone: 03 9583-8494
Email: mentonepubliclibrary@gmail.com
Mentone Public Library…Where Print Becomes Personable

With people like Julia, Mairi Neil and the Mordialloc Writers Group writing is no longer a solitary occupation. It is a shared experience with like minded people who care.

Sally Morgan: My Place and False Heritage

Some books go straight to your heart and inspire you to work harder, try harder.

Lisa Hill’s Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at wordpress ANZ Litlovers 2016 | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog made me think about the book that gave me the confidence to embrace creative writing. It was Sally Morgan’s My Place;  the story of being part of an Aboriginal family who, due to the shame attached to being aboriginal in Australia, ensured that Sally grew up believing the family came from India.

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My ancestry was German, but until I was in my twenties I believed our family came from Belgium. When my father  died I couldn’t sleep. Every night was spent sitting at my computer trying to recapture in words so many of the stories he had told me (after he turned eighty) about his life as the first child of German immigrants born in Australia. Stories I felt could be lost forever if I didn’t commit them to paper..now. But the fear was always there. Would I be a good enough writer? Would the family understand? Would anyone be offended? How truthful could I be?

It was then that I read My Place and it struck a chord.

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If Sally Morgan could write in a down to earth manner the story of her aboriginal family life and denial of ancestry, well, so could I. With renewed confidence, and after many years, Pickle to Pie was finally born.

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Synopsis of Sally Morgan’s My Place. This is a story of a young Aboriginal girl growing up to false heritage and not knowing where she is from. Recounts of several of Morgan’s family members are told. The story setting revolves around Morgan’s own hometown, Perth, Western Australia, and also Corunna Downs. Morgan has four siblings, two brothers and two sisters. She faces many challenges, such as fitting in at school, getting good marks for acceptance in University, and living life without her father.

Looking at the views and experiences of three generations of indigenous Australians, this autobiography unearths political and societal issues contained within Australia’s indigenous culture. Sally Morgan traveled to her grandmother’s birthplace, starting a search for information about her family. She uncovers that she is not white but aborigine–information that was kept a secret because of the stigma of society. This moving account is a classic of Australian literature that finally frees the tongues of the author’s mother and grandmother, allowing them to tell their own stories.

About The Author

Sally Morgan is an experienced author and photographer. She has written more than 250 titles for both children and adults. Her main interest is in the natural world and environmental issues, but she writes on all science and geography topics. A former teacher and chief examiner for A level biology, she is now a full time writer, When not writing, she helps out on her organic farm in Somerset.

Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers 2016 | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Asylum Seekers and Refugees Recipe Book

Asylum seekers and refugees have a wealth of culture and many recipes to share.

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They also need all the help they can get and many ethical people are finding ways and means to promote their cause. Ilura Press have published Every Bite Takes You Home and Lisa Hill’s wordpress post at ANZlitlovers is a review of the book Breaking the Boundaries, Australian activists tell their stories,

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Edited by Yvonne Allen and Joy Noble the book, Lisa’s blog, and Every Bite Takes You Home are an interesting exploration of the refugee crisis and all cast a positive light on the asylum seekers/refugees debate.

Last  Wednesday I went with Mairi Neil to the Kathleen Syme Library in Carlton, Victoria, Australia to help Ilura Press celebrate their publication of their fabulous story/recipe book. I was delighted to see that all profits go directly to assist asylum seekers and refugees via the organisations, Stand Up, ONDRU, and Foundation House .

Every Bite Takes You Home invites us to share in the journeys of sixteen remarkable asylum seekers who have found a home in Australia. Each person’s unique story, blended with the memories of their favourite recipes and traditions, reminds us that food can unite us all, generating acceptance and understanding across diverse cultures and societies.

David Manne – Executive Director RILC said, “These are intimate accounts of remarkable resilience, courage, and survival—giving a powerful voice to those who have so often been rendered voiceless in our community.”
Sabina Hofman and Christopher Lappis of Ilura Press are the most ethical people I have ever known. What an amazing experience it was to have them publish my novel, Pickle to Pie. They produced a high quality book I was proud to hold in my hand. They have carried on their tradition of quality and attention to detail in Every Bite Takes You Home . Any home owner would be proud to have it grace their coffee table. 

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The authors of this beautiful book are Gaye Weeden & Hayley Smorgon with photography by Peter Tarasiuk & Mark Roper

“All the elements combine: the stories, the portraits, the photos of food, the recipes, the layout and design, to produce a book of heart and soul.”
Arnold Zable – Author; President of International PEN Melbourne.

 

All author and publisher profit from the sales of the book will be donated to STAND UP, ONDRU, and FOUNDATION HOUSE to directly assist asylum seekers and refugees.
 

After tasting some of the recipes last Wednesday I can’t wait to try some on my family. Australia has gained so much from the influx of people from different countries and the result has been the inclusion into our menus of many culinary delights from many nations, ie  Italian, Greek, Egyptian, Asian to name a few. In my youth it was meat and three vegetables at most meals and spaghetti came in a tin. Now fresh pasta, ravioli, rissotto and spaghetti bolognaise, along with many exotic Asian dishes are regular favorites at the family dinner table.    Let’s celebrate our Australian cultural diversity and welcome asylum seekers and refugees with open arms.

PURCHASE A$62 (HARDCOVER)

End of Life Nursing

This is a follow up post about an important aspect of life. Death is inevitable – none of us will escape it. How we end our lives is important, not only to us but to our families and that may mean having a palliative care nurse help us on our journey. Palliative Care is not about dying but about living with a serious
illness. Dr Susan Bardy’s books Caring vs Curing and Choosing End of Life Nursing deal with this often buried subject and I have posted her words below.

Dr Susan Bardy, RN (Ret), PhD (UniSA)

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My background in palliative care consists of 22 years active clinical
work in the Mary Potter Hospice at Calvary Hospital, North Adelaide.

After a long, nearly fulltime employment as a registered nurse, I
attended university, graduating with two degrees that led to ongoing
postgraduate work.

After retiring in 2006 I concentrated on completing a
PhD in the area of palliative care. I have enjoyed being a full member of
the Palliative Care Council SA for its entire existence, and have followed its
progress during my clinical years.

After graduating with a doctoral degree I offered to be involved with the
workings of the Council in a voluntary role. The result is speaking
engagements representing what is now called Palliative Care South
Australia Inc, which is headed by Tracy Watters as CEO and Dr Mary
Brooksbank as President.

Palliative Care is my passion that did not diminish after leaving clinical
practice. By choice I was a bedside clinician, which I think is easily the
most satisfying role that a nurse can take on. Now meeting people in the
community my main objective in talking about Palliative Care (PC) is to
reassure them that PC is not about dying but about living with a serious
illness.

Many illnesses, such as many cancers, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron and Parkinson’s diseases can become chronic.  Palliative care offers a complimentary caring model alongside traditional medical involvement.
Palliative carers concentrate on making possible quality living with an
illness that often takes some time before it becomes life threatening.

Palliative care of the disease is effective by offering comfort measures. These
include emotional support, dietary advice, physical exercise or even
beauty advice for women. And all this while active treatment is still in
progress. The whole family unit feels the benefit by becoming familiar at an
early stage with the philosophy of Palliative care.

Later, when eventual deterioration of the sick person comes to pass, as it
inevitably will, this type of care will be acknowledged as a treatment
component of the actual disease. The extended family then will readily
accept the support of this specialty. Death is inevitable – none of us will
escape it. Ending life with a terminal illness is a slow lonely process.

My research addressed the question of why some nurses chose to work in the
field of palliative care. I am one who willingly stepped into the role of being
with patients at their most vulnerable time – when diagnosed with an illness
that eventually becomes life ending.

My studies reflected on the role of the Palliative Care nurse. My doctoral research question asked how and why my nursing transformation came about. What was it that influenced me to move from a curing model to comfort caring only?

My motherʼs unexpected death with cancer was responsible for showing
the way. She died in the hospice unit of the hospital where I was employed.
Sitting by her side showed me another aspect of nursing that attracted me to
a career change. I transferred to the Hospice after mother died and
remained there for twenty years. Acute care of patients taught me much
about nursing but did not satisfy my wish to give effective personalised
patient care. It seemed that there was never enough time for the often distressed
patient.

Hospice nursing was different. There, arranging a pillow and moistening a dry lip was one of the most significant care issues. Working in the hospice I learnt to
embrace notions of clinical competence, a sense of calling, compassion, empathy, and comfort with death and personal mortality.

In the hospice I experienced the power of interpretation that holistic care
brings into play and is at the heart of the palliative approach. Coming from
acute clinical nursing I stopped and asked myself what was it that I
brought with me to the care of dying people. The research had a number of
the answers, and in the meaning making process I was joined by a
group of palliative care nurses. They helped me to explore the coming to,
and being effective in, a care model that does not have an expected
positive outcome.

Findings of my study presented attributes that best describe palliative
care nursesʼ qualities, and that are essential building blocks of nursing
patients with time-limiting illnesses. These qualities are in part innate and
personal but a number of the following attributes are acquired by experience
at the bedside of sick patients. I find them valid and a true picture of my
and colleagues experiences:
1. Comfort with death and dying
2. Comfort with personal mortality
3. Intensive caring
4. Companionship with suffering
5. Emotional strength
6. Non-judgmental understanding

In essence, the principle dynamics affecting nurses to take on palliative
care is that often they are not comfortable with the disregard some
general nursing practitioners for the holistic care of patients with life-limiting
illnesses. This was demonstrated by interview results where a number
nurses spoke of the way they felt extremely comfortable in hospice units
where there was time for whole person care of their patients.

What now?

After my many years of practice across the nursing profession, my
wish now is to be in the community. I wish to share my knowledge and
practical experience by comfortably speaking of palliative care as a branch
of health care that is there to give a helping hand to people with serious
health problems.

I am grateful to Palliative Care South Australia Inc. who gave me the
opportunity to join in being a frontline promoter of an important health caring
model.

The next World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is on October 8th 2016

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Caring vs Curing

An email arrived from Susan Bardy, a fellow PhD friend from Adelaide. It bought back so many memories of an unexpected friendship and an exciting conference in Illinois USA.

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Susan Bardy is a palliative nurse devoted to the care of people who are nearing the end of life’s journey. Her thesis, Caring vs Curing is being published by The Australian Theological Forum and is available at a reduced price via the order form below. Knowing Susan it will be an empathetic, thoughtful and excellent book, not only interesting to read but one you will want to keep in a prominent place on your bookshelf .

ORDER FORM
Caring vs Curing
ISBN 9781925309300
Name: _________________________________
Institution: ______________________________
Address: _______________________________
____________________ Postcode: ______ Country:______________
Telephone: _____________________________
Email: ________________________________
􀂉􀀃I would like to order _____ copies (PRE ORDER PRICE AUS $20
until 30 May)
(+AUS $6 Postage and Handling)
TOTAL AMOUNT: _______________
PAYMENT
􀂉􀀃I enclose a cheque/money order made out to ATF Ltd
Or Charge my 􀂉􀀃Master Card 􀂉􀀃Visa
Card Number :
Expiry date: / 3 digit security code:
Signature:__________________________
Return form by fax or post:
ATF Ltd
PO BOX 504, Hindmarsh SA 5007
Ph: +61 08 8232 2093
Fax: +61 08 8223 5643
Email: hdregan@atf.org.au

keynote address

When I was studying for my PhD in epistolary fiction at Swinburne University  in Melbourne we were expected to attend and present a paper at two overseas and two national conferences. When I heard of an amazing conference to be held in Illinois USA, I knew I had to attend. However, no one else was going and I ‘d never been overseas on my own before.  My mind raced through all the ‘what ifs’ until a friend gave me Susan Bardy’s email address saying, ‘She is a wonderful woman, a marathon runner, who is a nurse and is also studying autoethnography’. I contacted her and we hit it off immediately. We agreed to meet for the first time at the conference at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign.

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As per usual I was trying to travel on a shoe string. The fares alone to the USA cost a fortune but because all the USA university students had gone home for the summer break , for a pittance I could stay at the university student village.

The trip to the conference meant I had to travel with only carry on luggage from Melbourne to Los Angeles, catch a domestic flight to Chicago and straight onto a flight to the twin towns of Urbana-Champaign in Illinois. After travelling nonstop for 35 hrs I arrived about 6 pm only to find myself at a tiny airport with no way of getting to my accommodation. The only taxi was quickly grabbed by weary travelers and I was saved by a friendly couple who gave me a lift to the student digs. They even let me use their mobile phone to ring security to come and unlock the front door and let me in.

To say that my room with shared bathroom was sparse was an understatement. There was nothing in the room apart from a bed and mattress. No jug or even a blanket. Later, I managed to borrow a blanket from the security guard. However, I did have the bathroom to myself because the room next door was empty. The view from the window was lovely but I would have killed for a jug to make a cup of coffee, or to pour hot water over two minute noodles.

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The next day was free for me and a treasured writing friend and her husband took me out for the day to lunch in a house in an Amish Community.

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I knew Susan was arriving later that evening but we hadn’t worked out where or how to catch up with each other. When my friend took me back to where I was staying in Hendrick House we pulled up behind a taxi. I just knew it was Susan as soon as I heard her deep Australian voice.  We were inseparable from then on.

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The email that arrived said, ‘I must come over to see you sometime in the year. I Imagine we will talk until the cows come home’

Professor Ian Maddocks my palliative care examiner noted that my writing should be widely read as it’s value is in bringing ‘new notice’ to my message that would bring added knowledge for all health professionals and carers. In fact by giving talks to community groups I found that the community at large benefits from knowing what to expect.I stress how quality of life can be enhanced with care that is holistic no matter how close any one is to end of life. My idea in doing the PhD was to share what I learned over 20 years in caring for people with life threatening illnesses. The books are going achieve that I think.

The books are in final print at present and the order forms are the way to get them now. After publication it will be online. I will keep in contact with you and let you know developments.

It has been a long time between drinks. I wonder how you are and what
you are up to these days? I am now a member of Rotary International through my local club and I speak with local clubs about palliative care.

My book is being launched in Adelaide on May 22nd 2016

Congratulations Susan. 

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ANZAC DAY: Memories Impossible to Record.

Sometimes it is impossible to record family stories. Several years ago, I was relaxing with my uncle under a shady tree and asked him to tell me about his experiences during the second world war. He looked at me long and hard, finally shook his head and said, ‘You should not have to live with those images. Never ask me again’. This same uncle when asked a question about the life of his older brother, since passed away, said,’If your father didn’t tell you, then I’m not going to.’

When you get answers like this it is time to forget that you are a writer, forget trying to record stories that may be lost forever and to respect the right of others to own their own stories. However, do write what you can to keep family stories from disappearing.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them                  

In Australia and New Zealand, as the last post sounds at the dawn services on the 25th April these lines taken from the poem For the Fallen Poem by Laurence Binyon – The GreatWar 1914-1918 are spoken at every ANZAC ceremony. In Australia’s Returned and Services Leagues, and in New Zealand’s numerous RSAs, it is read out nightly at 6 p.m., followed by a minute’s silence.  It is a time of reflection, a promise never to forget those who lost their lives. It is part of my life, my web of memories.  I stood beside my father in front of my mother’s coffin, his military training obvious in the set of his shoulders and his grief stricken, tear-less face. He lived by the saying, what can’t be cured, has to be endured. I will always remember hearing him promise her ‘At he going down of the sun and in the morning, I will remember you.’

 

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Laurence Binyon’s poem begins:

They shall not grow old as we grow old. Age shall not weary them or the years condemn 

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Another story is about Harry (Pop to us) Whitting who served in France during the first world war.  He was one of the fortunate ones to return home. Gassed in the trenches and suffering from malnutrition and an ear infection he was sent back to Australia on a hospital ship. He met Elsie (Ma) at an army hospital. She was a seventeen year old nurse and Harry was presumably eighteen but Pop Whitting lied about his age to enlist in the army. They fell in love, married had five children and celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. He never talked about the war but a large picture of him in cavalry uniform hung in the hall of the rambling home in Edithvale. Aged 86 he was weary and the years had condemned but he was still a jovial cockney lad at heart. However, he no longer looked like the vigorous young man in the photo .

 

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A war memorial stands in the centre of a grassed reserve at Beauty Point, where the Patterson River flows into Port Phillip Bay at Carvvrum, Victoria, Australia. I remember when there was a discussion about moving it to some other place so the prime piece of real estate could be developed. The community uproar and disapproval was overwhelming.

 

Research revealed in 1915 six local firemen went off to war together-but only one returned. In 1921 that man launched a public appeal for the funds for the statue and inscribed base. It was imported from Italy and cost 340 pounds when the average weekly wage was just four pounds a week. Bought with public funds, the ‘Little Soldier’ does not belong to the city of Kingston. He belongs to the people of Carrum and cannot be moved without their consent. Our solitary soldier still stands in pride of place as a mark of respect for those who have lost their lives .

Incensed by the mere thought of moving the monument I decided to write a story from an elderly woman’s point of view.

My Soldier

ANZAC day. The last post has long sounded. The plaintive call lingered in the early morning mist and slowly died as the first flush of dawn lightened the sky. The speeches are over, marchers gone. I bend to touch the delicate blossoms placed at the base of the tall granite column. Blossoms that will soon fade and die. Red roses, bright camellias and a handpicked bunch of hardy daisies that will outlive the others by a mile. How many years have I come to this spot? Too many to remember. Beauty Spot, it is called. An integral part of Carrum, right on the mouth of the Patterson River. A place where mothers bring their toddlers to play and fishermen sit on the low stonewall dreaming of the catch of a lifetime. There is the fresh clean smell of salt and spray: a fitting place to close the eyes and dream of what might have been, to remember the handsome face, coiled puttees, khaki clad faded figure in the ornate frame over the fireplace.

The diamond you slipped on my finger that wintry night in June flashed promise and hope. The dream of manly boots next to my fluffy slippers. A line full of nappies and a cradle to rock. The joy of a family to cook for, a family to love.
That last night we danced and clung to each other before we hurried home to the rented two-roomed flat. The next morning the gate squeaked and I wept into my pillow.

I quietly read the words forever-inscribed in stone. To the imperishable memory of the soldiers of this district that gave their lives… Simple heartfelt words from a grateful community. I am always surprised at his simplicity. This is not an ostentatious crowded statue with flags flying and rifles raised in anger.
Here is one solitary soldier standing upright and alone, hand gripping his rifle barrel, the butt resting on the ground. At ease, but ready and waiting for…, what?

I have never known war, but when I gaze at him I can smell the acrid smoke, hear the whistle of shells and the cries as mates fall. I have lived my life under sunny skies and yet I can identify with his quiet sadness, his overwhelming sense of loss. The telegram read, ‘We regret to inform you that corporal T K Wells VX1068 of the AIF Infantry…’ I thought of planting a tree. At least then there would be something living and growing.

Recently I drove in heated comfort past an Avenue of Honour where row upon military row of silent trees flashed past in the khaki haze of a misty morning. Tall old trees, some over fifty years, planted when young soldiers fell. They no longer stood at the edge of endless paddocks. Ballarat was running out to embrace them, to include them into the teeming life of what is now a city. There were so many trees. Each one a son, daughter or husband and I saw the ghosts of their kin stretching back as far as the horizon. Like a stone in a pond, so may lives caught up, like mine, in the far-reaching circles of the wars to end all wars.

I was shell-shocked for months until it finally seeped into my unwilling brain that you would never again be by my side, your arm around my waist as you kissed everything better. But life goes on and I have known love. Not your love but the worn tartan slippers beside mine in front of the dying fire are comfortable.

I shiver as I gaze up at the long list of names etched into cold stone and run trembling fingers over the rough rock. So many did not survive to witness this new millennium, to drink in the beauty of spring blossoms, or to come here year after year. I gaze up at his strong young face and wonder what he would think of my knotted veined hand pressed against my heart. Time shall not weary them…
The glow in the west bathes him in gold as I sit and dream. And there’s talk about moving him. Some people want a car park, others, townhouses with sweeping bay views. Cart him away to some easily forgotten spot? Over my dead body. I’ll not let them take my soldier. Not this time.

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The shrine of remembrance and the eternal flame Melbourne Victoria, Australia

Quotes to live by

To be your own person takes courage and determination
To be who you want to be takes dreams
To live life to the fullest takes love.

I don’t know who said this, but I often refer to this quote when feeling down or when life has taken an unexpected turn. It has the power to lift my soul: to inspire me to keep going, to take one step at a time until the emergency has passed and life is calmer. It reminds me of all the good things to aim for and to live life with love.

It also reminds me how powerful and inspiring words can be.

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Happy writing

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Isabelle’s Cafe La De Da

Isabelle’s annual Easter Cafe La De Da raises funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. 

Isabelle may only be seven years old, but when she was five she decided to follow her parent’s example and find ways to help others in need.

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The Children’s Hospital in Melbourne Australia  improves the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents through healthcare, research and education.  It is an amazing place: bright, cheerful and giving the best care and attention possible to very sick children. Their motto seems to be,

The impossible will be done immediately, miracles take a little longer. 

But the hospital is always short of funds to help desperately ill children.

la de da

Three years ago, Isabelle’s imagination sparked when she watched the TV  coverage of the Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.  Seeing children in wheelchairs and suffering from so many disabilities saddened her. She wanted to do something to help.  The idea was born to have Isabelle’s pop up cafe.

She decided to call it, Isabelle’s Cafe La De Da. The name makes me smile. In Australia, the expression la de da is used as an expression of derision directed at affected gentility or pretentious refinement. You are being very posh, up-market and putting on the airs and graces. It means you can dress up, wear all your bling and celebrate. Family and friends  would have fun gathering at the house for good food and hot coffee knowing all proceeds from the day would be sent to the Royal Childrens Hospital . The family also decided to save every spare coin to be counted at the end of the day and added to the grand total. They had a large wicker basket full.

stuarts pic

Cafe La De Da opened its doors for business on Easter Friday with a vast array of delicious Easter treats. Isabelle took the day very seriously. Everything had to be just right. Dad, in his chef’s apron, would cook an all day breakfast for the many family and friends who called and participated. The main food was followed by an amazing array of muffins, macaroons, stacks of pancakes plus scones, jam and cream. Her Mum would bring out her best china and ensure the guests had everything they wanted. Isabelle would be maître d and welcome people when they arrived, take orders for coffee, and offer treats. She tempted us with chocolate bunnies, brightly coloured Easter eggs and delicious macaroons.

friends

Everyone was having a great time and Isabelle was free to experiment. The result was an offering of hot scones covered in raspberry jam, smothered in cream and topped with brightly coloured chocolate smarties. Does it get any better than that? Just in case you are inspired to make a batch of scones and have Devonshire tea with your family and friends,  here is a quick and easy recipe.

DT@The Victoria Room Tea Salon #5

Quick and Easy Scones

3 cups SR flour in bowl

2 tabs sugar

Pinch salt

 

Melt 50g butter in saucepan

Add 1 cup milk

Whisk in 1 egg

Add this to flour mixture

Quickly make into a stiff dough (may need a little extra milk)

Place on floured bench & quickly knead, cut into shapes with a cutter or a glass. Brush with egg and milk

Place on floured baking tray and pop into hot (250) oven for 10-15 mins

Serve with raspberry jam and whipped cream (multi coloured chocolate smarties optional) Makes 18 med sized scones.

isabelle

Last year, Isabelle received a certificate acknowledging her donation of $485.00. Her Mum and dad framed it for her and it held pride of place on the tablelast year

yum

This year (the third year she has run this fundraising event), with huge support from her staff, family and customers, she managed to raise a whopping $708.10 for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, an increase of 46% on last year, and a total of $1,433 over the last three years.

Children learn from the example set by their parents. Isabelle has great role models in her life and it is wonderful to see her develop into such a caring soul. I feel she also believes The impossible can be done immediately, miracles take a little longer.

Good Friday Appeal 2017

The 85th annual Good Friday Appeal on Friday 25th March 2016, brings together the community to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital.

The strength of the appeal lies in the thousands of volunteers who give freely of their time and their talent. Many groups and organisations fundraise throughout the year, in order to publicly present their grand totals during a live telethon broadcast by Channel 7 on Good Friday.

The Channel 7 telethon is an opportunity for people to view the miracles performed at the hospital, to ring through their donations, and in many instances hear their contribution acknowledged publicly.

Royal Children’s Hospital | Give that they may grow!

Happy Easter to you and yours

bunny

Reading, Revitalising, Regenerating

Often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one that has been opened for us.      (Helen Keller)

Recently life has been filled with frustrations; organizing new cards, finding old receipts and worrying about replacing the stolen new car. Our family and friends have been absolutely wonderful and so supportive. They shine a bright beam of love into our lives and we feel so fortunate to have such positive people around us. They are the door that has been opened to us and we appreciate each and every one.

But sometimes something will unexpectedly trip you up and forces you to look at the closed door. My dark blue backpack was discovered under the water at the end of a jetty. It has been there for two weeks. Discarded. Thrown away. The things that supported me and my life, considered worthless.

In that pack was my reading glasses, spare pills, writing pad, the pen inscribed with my name etc. Everything smelt of black mud, death and decay. Unable to be resurrected everything had to be abandoned, tossed in the bin, removed from my life. I have washed a black pashmina shawl and a folding shopping bag four times in strong detergent. They are hanging on the line in the vain hope that sunshine, rain and wind may take away the smell of decay. Fingers crossed.

So what has pulled me out of the morass in my mind and allowed me once again to see the open door? A writing friend asked me to read a draft of her latest novel to see if it is ready to move forward on the road to publication. Reading the 324 pages gave me the space I needed to regain my perspective and reset my thinking from negative to positive. I gave myself permission to leave everything unattended while I read Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The duty of Daughters by Wendy Dunn . I found myself immersed in a 15th century world of power, courtly intrigues, life and death drama, failed relationships, love and redemption.

How magical reading is in times of stress. It transports us to another time and place. A good book entertains, a great book entertains and informs.   It can change our perspective. By the end of the manuscript I was thankful for what I have and the life I lead. After all, a robbery is insignificant in the overall scheme of things. Distressing? Yes. Devastating? No. It is simply a hiccup to be managed, dealt with and forgotten.

purole flowers