Ten Years Today

Psst if you have found your way here from FMF – this weeks FMF post “TRY”can be found here

Welcome to my  Five Minute Friday,

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This weeks prompt word: Ten.

Oh these prompt words they take it out of me

Five Minute Friday – Sunday here now.  I wrote this yesterday after I noticed the day’s date on my computer

It’s ten years today since we moved into our house – our first home – we moved in full of dreams and big plans and to quote myself “some we have seen through, some we are still working on and some have sat back and laughed at us” Ten years – gone in a heartbeat. Ethan was just a baby and Olivia not even with us yet. She arrived just in time for our second Christmas and I thought all of my Christmases had come at once. She would stare at me with her deep dark eyes as if asking me “who are you” “why am I here” and I’d try to explain it to her. Now almost nine I’m sure somedays she knows more of the answers than me.IMG_2772

Grown now from babies into children that are still a wonder to me and I wonder as we all do constantly how did it happen – how did those years slip by so quick – where did they go. But even while they were still little, with those round gorgeous cheeks and dribbly mouths, pushing each other around in the dolly stroller, both squeezing into the baby bath together, both screaming in unison, high and ear piercing if I was ever going anywhere without them – even then I knew “these are the days”. The days to grab and cherish and take notice of because they’ll be gone in an instant as they all are. And they were. They don’t slow down or hang around so that we have a decent chance to marvel and wonder. So I only hope I kissed them enough and cuddled those little squishy bodies enough and read bed time stories enough, I hope those little hearts knew how much they were loved.IMG_2774

I know for sure I messed it up a lot, lost my temper far too much, was busy too much. I wonder as well about the odd sense of guilt that hit’s me sometimes and always bring a sting to my eyes – like I somehow should have slowed the day’s down, and made them stretch out farther than I did. Like I could?? and did I do enough, did I make it count enough, do I remember enough. The intention to appreciate all I have have is a good and Godly one but guilt isn’t – it’s draining, it steals from today and I’ll never remember enough.

I know that in ten years time I’ll look back at now – with my girl 8 and my boy not yet 12 and think – oh my you had it all then – I’ll marvel at how small they look in photos and how cute they are and maybe I’ll ask myself all the same questions – – –

This is the real
This is the real “Before” shot of the paved area that you see in my post A Good Twenty Minutes.

Right now though – I’ve got today. Today – I can take notice of and be thankful for. Today – I can love them.  Today –  I can look on and handle fondly for all it contains – the goodness and the grumpiness. Today I can enjoy and marvel over my children and bicker with them as well for sure at some stage. Today I can take the pressure off trying to do it all  and making it all count  – it counts just by being. It’s a gift and I can just do the best I can in this moment I have.

Thanks so much for reading today. Hoping my 5 minutes that stretched into 15 made sense.

If you have a moment you can read a little more of our ten years here.

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It’s Just Another Day

And then this goes and happens

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And small comforts

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Washing and winter sun

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The garden – unruly and messy yet glorious

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This guy IMG_2508

And these threeIMG_2007

And this girl  – no wordsIMG_1189

Spicy soup

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And dinner outsideIMG_2439

And oceansIMG_2445

And sunsetsIMG_2475

And being togetherIMG_2197“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life.  Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears.  Show them how to cry when pets and people die.  Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand.  And make the ordinary come alive for them.  The extraordinary will take care of itself.” William Martin

Tracey xx

I’m linking this post up with Sundays Down Under. Click on the button to find out more and to read other posts in the Link Up.200x200

On heart makeovers and handsome fellas and falling in the “crik”

Hi and welcome to the second part of my  Calamity Jane themed post. If you haven’t read part one just scroll on down or click here.

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Now if that cabin makeover in Part One doesn’t do it for you then maybe a good heart makeover will. All the best movies have them and there are a couple going on here of course.

We have Katie – the pretty one in this movie that all the fellas are after but she’s so sweet and lovely about it you don’t want to kill her. Pretty or not she’s pretending to be someone she isn’t and scared to death that the real Katie won’t be enough. Sound familiar? But then Calamity being the good egg that she is tells her “ just do it your way” and Katie does her thing her way and brings the house down.

IMG_0558 My sister’s a good egg too. Just a week or so ago she said the same thing to me – so here I am telling you my story, writing my blog my way, following my heart.

Then there’s Calamity herself – she’s her own unique blend of gorgeous and gritty, a gun toting, fiery tom boy, hilarious, brave, fun and a total mess.

IMG_0554Her emotions get the better of her every time and she’s secretly in love with a man who can’t see past the grit to the girl. When Katie comes along in all her womanly loveliness, Calamity is reminded of the woman that just might be hidden underneath her mannish clothes and the rough talking, hard riding exterior. The challenge then is how to be truly herself – how to let the girl come out – not by being someone she isn’t – but by finding her own balance of feminine and feisty, girl and grit. And there it is – the struggle of finding our own rhythm, of following our own dream without falling foul of other peoples expectations and without cracking under the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect or the pressure just to do it the way everyones else does. And of course as it goes when your trying to find your feet and find what fits for you – you mess it up and make mistakes and end up face first in the “crik”. Story of my life

IMG_0601Your picking yourself up and wiping the mud off your face and feeling stupid for even trying – – – and there’s always an audience!!  I can’t ever manage to make a fool of myself in the privacy of my own home. But theres nothing else for it but to keep going. Despite the set backs and self doubts you know your on the right path and that you somehow feel more alive doing what your doing and there’s no way you want to go back to playing it safe..

“So you fall down and skin your knees now and then, get thrown for a loop by your own self doubts and collapse in a screaming heap occasionally – well your in good company, – we all do it – that doesn’t count us out – – – -that just means we are alive and having a go”

Heart transformations – Gods in the business of them. He takes the best of us and the worst of us and does more with this mixture than we would ever dream for ourselves. He know’s what we can become when we give ourselves a chance, swallow our pride and do it afraid. He completely gets us, He’s in the before shot and the after shot and right beside us for the bit in between.

So now to those handsome fellas – well I got me a couple of those around here. One I married 12 years ago and if truth be told, in keeping with the Calamity Jane theme, there’s been times I’ve wanted to pull out a gun. To quote myself “he’s unique, he’s a challenge and he is in every way the one”. While I was looking around for a tall smart looking solder in a blue uniform with shiny brass buttons – a pastor or preacher at least – I almost didn’t see the wild and woolly cowboy that sidled up beside me not really wanting to be tamed but wanting a chance at love and life and a family all the same – just like the rest of us.

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Wedding Day

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Most days.

Who knew the answer to my prayer would just ride up on his motorcycle one day and wander into the church where I had been cooling my heels for longer than I would have liked and I almost missed him cause he wasn’t in the package I thought he would be. That rough and ready cowboy turned out to be a gentleman, a good egg (another one) and just right for me. Not perfect, just  trying to get it right like all of us and a gift I will never stop being grateful for. My chance at life and love and family too. Now we have a handsome little fella running around – just turned 11 the very image of his Dad – all boy itching for adventure, wanting to buck the system even now but with a softness of heart that will take him a long way. We have a beautiful girl as well – a Katie – just turned 8 – who sings and twirls and giggles and dreams her way through life. She is as sweet and as kind as they come with just the right amount of feistiness that a girl needs these days.

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IMG_2313P1010727 The bank balance is still up and down, some day’s despite my best efforts the house still looks like looters have been through and most of the time we feel like we are just muddling through it all.  But we look at these children, at what God has blessed us with, at these amazing little people running around our house and theirs no doubt –  we feel like the luckiest two people in the world.

IMG_0867Thanks so much for reading. I would love to hear some of your story so please feel free to leave me a comment.

My next post – the beauty of a quick fix.

You can read my latest Women Connect posts Dwell and In All Things here.   A snippet from each:

Dwell – – – See our wayward thoughts tell giant tales of woe, they exaggerate and embellish and down right lie. They draw us in and they never let the truth get in the way of a good story. They are cruel and tortuous, they don’t relent or cut you a break and the odds always end up stacked against you and – – – we can’t see God from there  Read More

In All Things – – – Being content and at peace and satisfied whatever the circumstance ? It’s not our natural tendency is it? Not when what IS doesn’t line up with what we think it should be or what we expect it to be. I hate to say it but in my time I’ve done my fair share (and then some) of whinging and complaining and grumbling to God and anyone else who’d listen. Trust me it’s a good way to make yourself completely miserable. It’s a good way to miss the hand of God at work in your life and it’s not somewhere you want to stay long but God meets you even when your cranky at Him. Read More

Thanks for reading

Tracey xx

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Calamity’s Cabin

The first part – – –  on five minute makeovers, old movies and living the dream.

Lorax Quote

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become” Dr Suess – The Lorax   (Source – The Nesting Place  by Myquillyn Smith)

Ever fallen in love with a movie simply because of the house that’s featured in it or better yet because of what they are doing with the house? And when the house transformation reflects a good heart transformation –  you’ve got a winner in my books. My very favourites – Cross Creek with Mary Steenburgen, Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane and well this one – just for fun Calamity Jane with Doris Day. Old fashioned and cheesy maybe  but one of my all time favourites ever.  I’ll confess straight up when it comes to the movies I am a bit old fashioned  – I love a good romance a happy ending and if there’s a song and dance routine going on –  all the better. You can keep your shock and awe type fillums – give me real people making a mess of life and love and finding their way through and give me the dream at the end of it too. For me this old movie has got it all – and in spades.

 Theres singing and dancing, romance, jealousy, handsome fellas walking around, gun slingin and horse wranglin and theres a last minute twist in the plot when you think its all gonna go pear shaped – – – but the best bit, my very favourite bit ever – the cabin makeover .

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I told you it had it all.

In this scene Calamity – generous and kind hearted but clueless about how to live like a lady – invites Katie to come share her almost derelict cabin. Katie is horrified at what she finds but showing some grit of her own she convinces Calamity that all it needs is a “woman’s touch”.

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So with Katies eye for pretty they start cleaning and organising and polishing and painting, old furniture is getting a new lease on life, curtains are being hung, plants are being potted, pretty things are being set around, and they never hit a wrong note once.  Within the course of five minutes Calamity’s dirty and dilapidated old cabin is oozing with girlish charm and loveliness – a pretty and cozy home – there’s the dream right there and I want to move in.

And it all looks so lovely  and with so little effort – – – – only in the movies!!

 – – – a “calamity” – an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster  – – – – sounds like your average DIY project to me.

You see – it doesn’t get done in five minutes or even in five weeks sometimes, its messy and exhausting, paint gets spilt and walked all through the house, you hit your thumb with the hammer, it takes at least three goes to get those curtains to hang right, and twenty more nail holes than you need to get your gallery wall just how you want it and theres no singing and dancing going on unless you’ve opened a bottle of “special” lemonade mid project. It usually looks a whole lot worse before it looks better, your finger nails are wrecked and you maybe haven’t showered in a while but – – –  love it – absolutely, worth it to make your house your own – definitely, – – – – exhilarating to see what you can do when you have a go – always.

Nine years ago we bought ourselves a little cabin too. We moved in – full of big plans – some that we have seen through, some that we are still working on and some that have sat back and laughed at us. For the most part money, time and skill have been in short supply – seriously short – but I found you can get a long way on just a little bit of each of these when you throw everything you’ve got directly at it. It takes longer,  it takes every ounce of patience and perseverance at times, your forced to rely on wits, creativity and elbow grease far more than you would like to and you find yourself shopping at garage sales and op shops a lot more than Ikea and Freedom Furniture but  – – – it makes it interesting and  I found out this too – the dream happens along the way – you don’t have to wait till the end. The really good stuff goes and happens right in the middle of the mess and the busy and the dodgy bank balance and the half painted rooms.

Our little girl was born about 18 months after we moved into our house, right when we had it all pulled apart and our business was going belly up fast and everywhere I looked there was another project to be completed. We brought our little bundle of girl home just a few days before Christmas so Ken decided that was the perfect time to start building a pergola on the back – did I mention I  had just had a baby and it was two days before Christmas – oh yes and it kept raining torrentially, the dogs wet and hairy kept running into the house whenever I opened the back door and I was having the whole family come over on Christmas eve – – – – awesome – – – – but what I remember most is it being the sweetest most lovely  time ever. I had this little girl in my arms and a little boy running around who earlier in the year had spent weeks on end in hospital with a broken leg. My house was full and I was the happiest woman in the world – kinda frazzled, kinda overwhelmed and totally numb from the waist down but happy.

Thank God for sisters that just come and help and Granddad’s that arrive with delicious German sausages to eat and husbands that drive to Bunning’s at 4 o’clock on Christmas eve to get a tree, and five minute movie makeovers that make you dream  – thank God for it all – for the happy ending right in the middle – along the way.

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IMG_0769The entrance to our little cabin. In the interests of being real – what I haven’t shown you here are the bit’s needing a little more than a “woman’s touch” – the missing tiles , the loose screen, the eaves boasting two different colours and the balustrade that needs another coat of oil. But this little part says “Welcome”

 You can read  the second part of this post  – on heart makeovers and handsome fellas and falling in the “crik”

Also you can read my latest Women Connect post Just a Minute here.

I’d love to hear from you so please leave me a comment on favourite movies, the story of your house or anything really.  If you’ve enjoyed this post please share the link with anyone you think might like it. You can also subscribe up the top on the right using your email address. My latest post will be delivered direct to your inbox. 

God Bless

Tracey xx

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The Funny Thing about Camping

 – – – and other things I learnt on our camping holiday

Well you may say that the words camping and holiday have no business being in the same sentence together  and you may say there’s nothing at all funny about camping  . Mostly  I’d agree – – the 50 metre round trip to the “amenities” isn’t particularly funny, the  slow and illusive leak or I should say leaks in our air bed so frustratingly not funny (three patches and still we were slowly sinking each night) and flying bugs that land in your hair are also not funny.

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So what was funny – – – Daddy hitting is head on the lantern hanging from the middle of the tent at least three times every night very funny, my boy tripping and doing a spectacular nosedive into the tent also very funny  – and my kids think that Daddy creeping around outside the tent at night making snarly scary monsterish noises is hilariously ear piercingly funny.

— and the four of us being together when we are so often apart – – – well thats luxury.

So to what I learnt – different can be good and “not what you expected” can turn out better than expected.

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See we usually do our christmas holiday camping at a really beautiful on the ocean  park with oodles of organised activities for the kids, space aplenty and views that you could stare at forever. Thing is I forgot to book this year – not sure what happened – I think most likely I spent too much time staring out my kitchen window dreaming about this blog – and by the time I rang she was all booked out and as expected so were most other places. My only requirements – green grass and a nice pool and BBQ area – everything else was optional – so I finally found us what may have been the last remaining camping spot on the NSW south coast that fit the bill. I knew it would be no match to what we were used too, I knew it wouldn’t be as picturesque, I knew it wouldn’t have all the usual kids activities – – – but what I didn’t know was that it would be better – that in fact it might be our best camping holiday yet. Amazing.

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Still we had our Griswold type moments – when the directions to the camp site led us directly up the hill and away – – – miles away from the beach and again when we drove slowly around the park and realised that the small patch of grass wedged between two caravans on our right was actually our camping space. There was a collective cry of “is this it? ” and everyone looked at me. Olivia almost immediately swung into holiday mode and went to play on the swings. Ethan not so resliant – he’d been saying for days how much he hated camping (in fact it was the first thing he said to me every morning). He was horrified, refused to get out of the car and then being older and wiser than all of us asked “Mum did you ever think there might be a reason why this place wasn’t booked out” He had a point. But there was nothing else for it, we were there, we were paid up for a week and we were gonna make the best of it and have some fun whether we liked it or not – so we told Ethan to get over himself and we set up the tent.

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On the plus side the spot was lush and green and flat – last year I slept downhill for a week – so I was ahead already but the really nice thing we discovered was this – without all the organised kids activities to distract us we ended up spending a whole lot more time together – you know – sitting, talking, laughing time – together. Again amazing. We ended up going to the beach more, we discovered a beautiful rock pool area where we played and snorkelled all day and then all the next day too and Ethan told me it was the best and loveliest time he and I had ever had together –  worth it – I think so.

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We played Rummikub, (now that was funny) made pizzas that we cooked in the outdoor pizza oven (I told you it was a good BBQ area) and we each came up with names A – Z for a pet pig which Ethan in his dreams thinks we should have. Thats 104 names we now have to choose from.

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So it was no five star Hawaian holiday resort (which is what Ethans tastes seem to run to these days).

The accommodation was definitely “cosy”

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the meals though were not award winning

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and the dining experience not fine

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but the sun was warm and the sky blue

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the water cold

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the coffee hot and the mornings soft and quiet

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the ocean relentlessly beautiful

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not having to watch the clock or divide time –  divine

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and us being all together – a sheer luxury.

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God Bless and Happy New Year

Tracey xx

Some thoughts on the new year in my next post.

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