27 July 2011

Would you like to....


When I originally wrote this post I'd waxed lyrical about Captain V helping the 'Middle Sized Gift' to prepare for her upcoming high jump selections in the District athletics competition.

That was before I read an article which began with the line

"You know your childhood is over when your parents sell your trampoline.....".

Quite unexpectedly a flush of mixed emotions came rushing to the surface and I quickly grabbed the laptop and am now retyping this for you whilst I sift through my feelings.

I'm finding it difficult to truly articulate everything that is coursing through me and it might be easier to ask a question instead - how long has it been since you've enjoyed doing something joyfully childlike?

Jumping on a trampoline...

Giggling like a loon over something that truly tickled your fancy...

Swinging with your legs high in the air...

Having a pillow fight...

Blowing bubbles...

Coasting down a hill on your bike - no feet on the pedals...

I guess it might depend on whether you have children in your life - they seem to keep the spark of childhood innocence alive - but it might also be influenced by your frame of mind, no matter what age you are.

Now of course synchronicity is my middle name* and in addition to reading the aforementioned article I was also gifted with delight when I saw the following image posted by Georgie on her blog yesterday.....


Isn't it fantastic, joyful, happy-making?

Immediately upon seeing it the phrase 'Jump high for happiness!' came into my mind.
This was quickly followed by "What a great idea for a blog hop!" and perhaps a terrific way to prove positively that we are keeping our inner child alive.

So what do you think?

Would you be interested in taking a photo of a high leaping friend, loved one, pet or even an inanimate object and sharing it with your own readers and fellow Gifters under the banner 'High Jump With Happiness!"?

Maybe you could even be clever enough to capture yourself doing a 'Happy High Jump'.

What I'm thinking is that if I get 10 eager 'jumpers', we'll start a regular segment where we'll share our high jumping, happy-making photos with each other each week.

If you're keen let me know and a jumping we wll go!

* Of course it isn't - Felicity Synchronicity Serendipity would just be too tricky to fit into the tiny section for 'Name' on my passport but I'm sure you get my drift.

26 July 2011

Thoughtful Words...


Yesterday my gorgeous friend Jeanette shared this quote which she has on the bulletin board in her study.
The words immediately inspired me to create a card of my own to share with you.

I took this photo at Cotton Tree Beach which is one of my favourite spots along the Maroochydore River where the calm waters of the river and the clear ocean flow merge.
I've sat in this exact spot many times to read, draw, have a chat or simply close my eyes and soak in the sunshine and it really has been a place of peace.

Thank you Jeanette for sharing your gift of thoughtful words.
My hope is that this gift keeps giving by resonating with and inspiring our Blogerista friends today.

25 July 2011

Which Direction?

Happy Monday beautiful you!
I'm easing back into my blogging and will be departing from the regular gift giving format for a while whilst I do so. Today I thought you might like it if I shared a snippet of my daily ritual with you.

Beside our front door is a hallstand upon which I like to display flowers and little vignettes to greet our visitors. 
It's also a place to pop my gorgeous sun hat and a home for a book of meditations that I read every day by Danielle and Olivier Follmi titled "Buddhist Offerings - 365 Days"
Each page has a quote to 'think upon' teamed with a beautiful photograph & even though I'm not Buddhist I do love the wisdom contained in the meditations.

I thought that today's message has particular pertinence for us as Blogeristas and I've illustrated it with the most wonderful artwork by Texan artist Danny Phillips.  I hope both resonate with you....


Simplifying our lives does not mean sinking into idleness, but on the contrary:  


Getting rid of the most subtle aspect of laziness: 
the one which makes us take on thousands of less important activities. ~ Mathieu Ricard


Which direction are you going in today? 
Which path will help you to keep you focussed and help you avoid those 'less important activities'?
Having worn a deep groove along the last path on the signpost I can't say that I recommend it and hope to spend more time today stepping out along the "Happy Trails".

I hope you'll join me there!

24 July 2011

To My Lovely Friend Jane....


Today marks the first blogoversary of my dear Blogerista friend Jane from "Planet Baby".
I hope that you will join with me in sending her warm wishes of congratulations {in French if you will - she's a huge Francophile}, she is a true treasure of the Blogiverse.
If you haven't met Jane yet then please pop on over, I guarantee you will be so pleased that you did.

Happy day dear friend, I'm feeling like my sparkle is returning and I hope to be sending out my regular gifts your way very soon.

22 July 2011

You Say Potato I Say Po-Tart-Oh!

You've seen them.

You've drooled over them.

You've no doubt indulged in them.

But how do you pronounce their name?

That's right I'm referring to the humble macaron.


They may be full of sugary goodness and bring a smile to your lips & twinkle to your eye, but when it comes to telling others about them do you find that they manage to tie your tongue in knots?

Well fret no more dear friend, in lieu of our regular 'Word of the Week' I have a simple explanation for you by way of the genius Adrian Fernand of "I Do Believe I Came With A Hat" fame.


So there you have it - the mighty delicious and not-so-tongue-tyingly tricky macaron! 
Although I must say that the macaroon is also a favourite of mine with a short, sweet coffee.....mmmmmm.

Before I scoot away, I'm wondering ..... are there any other everyday words that are regularly mispronounced or pronounced differently in different places?

20 July 2011

A Beat For You....



Hello wonderful you!
I hope that life is treating you gently and you've had your eyes and heart open to moments of serendipity.

Music has been a real blessing to me of late and I've been playing a huge selection - from boppy songs to start the day through to gentle classics to ease everyone through the 'witching hour' before our evening meal.
One of my favourite artists is Adele. I love the power in her voice and in this tune it really is showcased beautifully.
The video has been choreographed with great styling and although the lyrics aren't necessarily uplifting I do love the beat...if you know the words you'll understand that this is a little ironic.

I hope to be sharing more than just tunes with you soon, but until then I send you the biggest of warm hugs from my home to yours,

15 July 2011

A Musical Thank You...



Hello friends.
I send you a heartfelt thank you for all of your warm wishes and lovely notes relating to my last post.
This gorgeous video found at 'The Experts Agree' is my way of returning the positivity.
I hope you have a brilliant weekend to look forward to with many gifts of serendipity scattered throughout.

11 July 2011

Of Friends and Unexplained Absences...


A warm hello from my my home to yours. 
It's a gorgeous sunny winter's day in my pocket of the world and although we had a brisk skip from the bed to the bathroom this morning, it's shaping up to be a 'cracker' with blue skies and not a skerrick of wind.

July has been a bit of a topsy-turvy month so far and I feel like I haven't been the best of bloggy friends with my correspondence, neither replying to the notes that you've so kindly left here or popping a message on your own posts. Please know that I have been visiting your spaces when I can and although I haven't been commenting often, I've tried to keep up with what you've been doing. 

To everyone who left a message on my previous post I send a heartfelt thank you. Your thoughts were truly uplifting and my family have read them too which has been a special gift in itself.

Those of you who have been following along for a while will know that I'm working my way through a journey with anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue. This can be a nasty combo but one I know is shared by many.  Over the last couple of weeks I've hit a bit of a snag and I've had to put my energies into my everyday life leaving me with less time to expend in Blogland. Although there's nothing to be worried about, I wanted to share this with you as I truly believe that the more people who stand up and acknowledge mental health issues, the less stigma will be attached to them and hopefully we can all live in a healthier, happier, more accepting community. Fingers crossed I'll be 'back on track' very soon sharing the gifts I know you love to receive and that I love to share. 

On a brighter note, I would like to welcome my newest 'Gifters'. 
Thank you for jumping on board, you are amongst a group of 362 discerning and truly wonderful people and as I'm all about creating a community of like-minded friends in this space I'd like to introduce you to a small group who are my Blogging Besties and whose spaces are 'must visits'. 
This list could actually be MUCH longer as there are many of you who whom I'm so happy to call 'friend' but the following girls are truly glittering gems in my treasury of Blogerista friends:
  • The gorgeous Jane who shares my love of words, stationery, all things French and much more. This wonderful lady is truly my greatest gift since starting my blogging adventure, I could write a whole page about why you should visit but instead I suggest you pop on over and say "Hi".
  • Naomi who is a source of great reassurance as I wend my way through the maze that is step-parenting by sharing her own tried & true tips gleaned from thoughtfully raising her own seven cherubs. Naomi has so many wonderful features on her blog but I love her current focus on happiness, you must stop by if you haven't already. Today's post is truly poignant reading.
  • The amazing and inspirational Maxabella who serves up great conversation at her place whenever you visit and is hosting THE most amazing giveaway - click 'You Must Enter' on my sidebar...
  • Jennie my indomitable, clever, and wholly creative friend who inspires me at every turn.
  • Cate alias Mrs Busy, if you think your life is a whirlwind of activity, you'll find a soulmate here.
I hope that your week ahead is a bright one filled with many gifts of serendipity, unexpected and lovely and I look forward to catching up with all that you've been up to.

02 July 2011

My Beloved Grandmother Verlie


In any persons life there will be a handful of people who truly nurture and help to guide us along our life paths and shape us into the best person we can be.
I have been very fortunate to have had wonderful role models in my own life and am very proud that I come from a heritage of strong characters.

Of these my Maternal Grandparents figure highly.
In my earliest childhood, my Grandparent's farm was a wonderland and although I have clear memories of being chased around the yard on my chubby little legs by turkeys there is also a colourful patchwork of happier moments that I can draw upon too.

Waking to a warm fire in the kitchen hearth on their farm.

Churning butter from the milk we'd gathered from the dairy cow.

Steam coming from my mouth and nose as we climbed the hills to collect mushrooms which Grandfather Bob considered an 'exotic' thing to eat!

Rolling out biscuit dough with a huge old wooden pin and relishing the sweet warmth emanating from the oven. Then of course eating the delights that had been made, my Grandmother was an award winning biscuit and slice baker and there was always something delicious kept in the tins in her pantry.

Spending lots of time in the garden gathering blooms, planting and picking vegetables, harvesting fruit  and of course inhaling deeply. My love of gardens and beautiful flowers was born here. Arranging the gathered flowers in a variety of special vessels - again my Grandmother won many prizes in the local show and beyond for her flower arranging skills.

Going to the hen house in the late afternoon to see how many 'treasures' had been left for us. Eating these golden 'googy eggs' with buttery toast soldiers - mmmmm!

Exploring the treasures kept in 'the shed' and the various display cabinets inside their home - learning about the trophies and pennants that were stored within.  My Grandparents were keen sportspeople and played well into their 90's, they also won prizes for their wheat crops and for various assorted other skills such as fine neeedlework, baking, knitting, flowers...the list goes on.  Grandmother won several prizes at the Sydney Royal Easter show.  As you can tell I am truly proud.

But it wasn't all about prizes they were very connected to their community involved in various societies and organisations in their little town of Grenfell.  They worked actively to provide 'Meals on Wheels' to people several decades younger than them, were very busy with charitable work for their church and for many years Grandfather was the curator of the local historical society.

Grandmother gave and nurtured within me a love of words. We used to play scrabble together even when I was little and I was always amazed at her huge knowledge of vocabulary as she completed the daily newspaper crossword.

Visiting their home was always a source of great excitement [especially when we moved over a thousand kilometers away to live in Queensland]. I will always remember the thrill of sitting in the back seat of the car as we made our way down the lane that lead to their home in town and the joy of seeing them and jumping out of the car to give them the first of many hugs.

They grew a huge rosemary bush outside the back door and Grandmother Verlie would often dry her tea towels on it. This was also the place where we parked our car and we would inadvertently rub against it when scooting past, so the smell of rosemary will be forever intermingled with my Grandparents.
They had a great habit of having a rest in the middle of the day. In addition to their healthy eating, limited intake of alcohol, regular exercise, myriad interests and connection to their community I believe that this was one of the contributors to their long and healthy lives [both exceeding well over a century of full lives].

At the end of the day [after an early meal] they would retire to the lounge to enjoy what Grandmother referred to as their 'sessions' and you & I would call TV viewing.  Grandmother would sit under a tall lamp and either knit, crochet or needlework and Grandfather Bob had a great recliner chair which I loved to snuggle up in with him.  After an hour the habit was for Grandfather to go and get a piece of fruit [they lived in a wonderful fruit producing area] and I loved to share the apple snakes [skins] which he peeled with a well worn paring knife. Sometimes he would also bring in the old orange 'sweets' barrel and the kids would eagerly dive our hands in to pick out a treat....or two.

Once it was time for bed I would scoot off, clean my teeth and then dive under the big feather quilt that I do believe may have been as old as Methuselah himself.  The sleeps I had in that bed were sound with lots of contented dreaming.

Our visits were never long enough and I would often sob as we drove away back down that little country lane.

Very shortly I will be making my way back down that lane and along many others in their little town as I return to pay my final tribute to my Grandmother Verlie. You see she passed away peacefully in her sleep last night, bound finally to reunite with my beloved Grandfather Bob.

Mixed emotions course through me but overwhelmingly I am grateful.
Grateful for a wonderful role model.
Grateful that she had my gorgeous Mother and that I share her genes.
Grateful that she lived a long and fulfilled life.
Grateful that I have such treasured memories.
Grateful for setting me on my wonderful life path.

Vale Verlie Eve - you are a much beloved and treasured person in my life.

01 July 2011

'Six Senses' Tour - Paris

Hello friend and happy July!
If you've been following along for a while you may have got the hint that I do enjoy all things French and that it's a dream of mine to travel to [or even better live in] France 'one day'.

My parents are actually doing this very thing right now, travelling through the Dordogne Region sampling all the treasures that it has to share before making their way to Paris...sigh!

If you're like me sitting at home dreaming wistfully of a little escape and would enjoy a slice of French fare, you're in for a terrific treat today.  We are truly fortunate to have Emma Burgess as our 'Six Senses' tour guide whisking us through the multi-sensory delights of my most esteemed of all cities - Paris.


Hi. My name is Emma and I'm delighted to be taking you with me on my 40th birthday tour of Paris.
My husband knew that I'd dreamt of visiting this amazing city and surprised me with the tickets to Paris on my birthday - what a man!
We travelled in April this year and it was all that I'd dreamt of and more: a heady whirlwind of visual beauty, delightful treats, romance and love.

I was beside myself with joy when the gentleman stamped my passport on our entry to France and I hope that you will likewise enjoy receiving your stamp in your Blogging passport as a fellow 'Travel Gifter' today too.
So let's begin the tour!


I HEAR

  • The words of Jean, our tour guide as we feast on Monet's garden, pond and home
  • My breath as I inhale the splendor of Monet's water lillies in the Musee d'l'Orangarie


  • The sirens of police cars as they zoom through the streets
  • The turning of wheels as bikes ride by
  • The splash of water from a bucket
I TOUCH
  • Crisp antique linens at Clignancourt Flea Markets
  • Flakey pastry on the chocolat croissant and wrap my hands round the warm mug of cafe creme
I SEE

  • Delectable treats.
  • Amazing window displays.
  • Palaces and gardens at every corner.
  • Children playing and elegance.


I SMELL
  • Little dogs as they walk briskly past with their immaculate owners
  • Bread baking in the evening and we join the long line of locals waiting for their fresh baguette
  • Fragrant strawberries from the fresh food markets
  • Boiled eggs and petit fours as I sit in a cafe and my mouth waters
  • Sweet smelling roses

I TASTE
  • Macarons for the first time. They are nothing like I've ever tasted: a treat with a crisp outer shell and soft, meringue inside that melt in my mouth
  • Chocolat to die for after I unwrap the present
  • Soup de jour as we rest for luncheon after shopping at 'Merci'
  • The best chocolate ice cream ever!

From the moment I arrived I was overwhelmed by the feast of visual beauty at every turn.
I hope, through some of my photos and this tour, you have been able to enjoy the feast too!


Oh Emma...Merci! Merci! Merci!

I know that there are many francophiles amongst the gorgeous 'Gifters' [winking at you lovely Jane in particular] and after taking this tour I'm sure that you've probably created a few more Emma.

If you are eager to learn more about Emma's holiday in Paris, pop on over to her gorgeous blog.  
You will find it replete with images to delight and beautifully crafted script to entice you stay and explore.
You may want to gather some refreshments before you click on over as you may be there for a while.
Make sure to say "Bonjour" and introduce yourself as a fellow 'Gifter' and please leave a note {either here or there} to let Emma know what has taken your fancy on today's tour.

So as we count down to Bastille Day on the 14th of this month, I'm sure you would agree that this has been the perfect tour to get our minds {and hearts} racing towards all things French

Mum & Dad if you're reading this, could you please take some video footage of the cobbled lanes and wonderful vistas whilst exploring this most glorious of cities? That will be a gorgeous gift indeed.