... Living inspired by the beauty of life, one post at a time.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Love


Wow, what a year 2012 has been. The year is about to draw to a close and as I look back, I marvel at all the things that have occurred. Each year presents us with new opportunities to grow and learn, it never ceases to amaze me that there is still so much to discover about life. When I look back on all the ups and downs of a year gone by, more than ever I realise that a deep and abiding love ties this life together. A love for family, friends, passion and purpose - gently pulling me along this journey of life. 

Love leads us along pathways of hope. Love is where we flourish - that unconditional pulling together of our heart and soul can change us in deeply profound ways. Love can be all encompassing and consuming, all at the same time! It holds us fast in its embrace, keeping us safe ... and it allows us to fly higher than we believe is even possible. Love is patient and kind, it is not envious or boastful. It does not bring dishonour or lift itself up over others, love is not self seeking. It keeps no record of wrongs but rejoices in truth. Love seeks to protect, trust, hope and perseveres no matter what! 

Love can be a valley gorge, deep and wide or a swiftly running river with swirling undercurrents. I realise however that love, our human love is so very imperfect. More often than not our love is flawed in ways we cannot imagine. Fear, the antagonist of love can hold us tight in its embrace. Its grip is suffocating and lifeless, squeezing love out of our hearts and souls leaving us cold and afraid. It leaves us alone, barren and empty. If there is more fear in my heart than love, then my love suffers. It fails to thrive. Yet, there is a love that drives out all fear ... a love that can cover a multitude of sins. A love that extends grace and mercy when hurts run deep. 


If we allow it to, love can change us!

'Perfect love drives out all fear.'
 1 John 4:18



'If you know what changes a heart, you know what changes the world.' - Marianne Williamson.

Looking forward to this next season with an ever present hope in my heart.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Finding time

I love this time of year, the traditions, the celebrations, the family time and the opportunity to reflect on another year gone by. In the midst of christmas preparations, excited children and the general craziness that christmas brings, I sit and contemplate the meaning of it all. This amazing life that we get to live is a beautiful gift. I think about purpose and destiny and how it is like one of the colourful presents wrapped so neatly under the christmas tree. My heart and soul are quickened by the thought that destiny is a gift, my gift waiting to be unwrapped. I think about how I only have this moment, this time to tear off the layers keeping it intact and to hold it fully in my hands with pure giddy delight. If only I had just a little more time.

The years fly by so ridiculously fast, and sometimes I wish that I could just snatch up this constant ticking. How I would love to bottle it up for a while longer so I could twist off that lid when I needed it most and pour it generously over my life. Oh, how nice it would be to give just a teeny bit more to the moments we want to cherish forever or to that endeavour that we have only just begun. 

Time is elusive, we can't hold it or scoop it up. No matter how much we try to hold onto time, it continually slips through our fingers. We mark time by seconds, minutes, hours and days. Seasons come and seasons go and still time marches on. Relentless in its pursuit ... counting out our days, our years and our time here on earth.


Time stands still for no man, 
It is no respecter of persons!

Time sweeps you up,
and pulls you along.
It marches to a steady beat,
You must keep up!

Time is good to us when we carefully plan ahead, map out our days and schedule events. Like clockwork life goes round and round, rolling on and on. Marking out our existence, it chimes aloud the next milestone or the next momentous occasion. We march to the steady beat of its drum. What happens though when time is lost ... or stolen? or when time escapes us or is wasted? 

Can we take back time,
or make up for it?
Can time be found
... or recovered?

In this fast paced, crazy and frenetic time that we live,
In this jubilant and festive season now upon us,
I eagerly look forward to unwrapping just a little more time!  

'There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.' - Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Believe, Hope, Dream


Believe, hope, dream, dance in the daylight … live in the moment … laugh out loud … eat chocolate … cherish your girlfriends … breathe … sneak small moments of solitude … let no one break your spirit … love with open arms … laugh some more … believe in the amazing woman you are … never ever give up. – Lisa Pollock

These are the words scrawled across a gift that I gave my daughter as part of her graduation gift. The moment I read these words I just knew it was THE gift I had to give. The significance of the words held me fast. Having already weathered some of lifes storms and knowing how the days of life can unravel with sudden momentum and tangle us in unbelieveable knots, I wanted my girl to hold onto some thoughts that could knit together a tightly woven fabric of hope that will keep out the cold when the storms of life are threatening her horizons. I want her to know that there is a way to do life well.

A way to face life,
A way to hold on.
A way to cherish this life,
however it unfolds!

To believe … hope … dream,
ALWAYS!

To dance in the daylight,
to celebrate life.

To laugh out loud,
to cherish the little things.

To let no one break her spirit,
to remain unaffected.

To love with open arms,
to embrace wholeheartedly.

To never ever give up,
to fight for what she believes in!

     to celebrate everything that truly makes living this amazing life, beautiful!


As my daughter begins to journey out her own life, (separate from mine, aahh!!)my mothers heart longs for her to do well and to hold fast to what is true … to navigate this life, her life with blessed assurance. I want her believe that anything truly is possible, to hold fast to an unwavering hope (for it really is an anchor for the soul) and to dream big for it is in dreaming that we give permission for the hidden things deep inside to be breathtakingly revealed on the outside.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The end is in sight!




This week my daughter will complete her final week of school ... and I am so not ready for this!
Needless to say she is excited ... and I wish her all the best.
Love you to the moon and back my beautiful girl.
I am so proud of all that you have achieved ... and who you have become.
Congratulations on being awarded the best film for 2012 - you rock!



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Parable of a seed

My daughter is about to graduate Year 12 ... I can't believe the time has gone so fast!

The teenage years have been fun, frustrating (on both parts)
 ... and full of angst, 
as any parent of a teenager would know (and understand!!!)

Training up a child in the way that they should go is not easy ... it requires fortitude way beyond yourself. Fortunately, somehow we found our way through the ups and downs of 
teenage-dom. We have come full circle and what has been sown over the years is now being drawn upon - the harvest is ready - almost! We are nearly there.

Over the years, the seeds scattered ...
(sometimes it seemed like it was all a bit hit and miss - a seed thrown here amongst the ground of independence, a seed flung over there in the soil of rebellion) ... and yes, some of it fell by the wayside. Some seed fell on stony ground (and at times on a hard heart) ... some seed was swallowed up and choked by the weeds of the world - doubt and unbelief grew in the parched and dry places. BUT, some seed nestled down in good ground. It took root in love and grew with hope and purpose.

Now I watch her digging deep within herself and feel my heart swell with pride ... because I know how far she has come. The battles that have been won and the fears that have been overcome. It feels good to watch your own flesh and blood begin to flourish and watch the harvest being reaped. I cannot explain how I really feel ... words do not really express the depth of feeling, suffice to say it truly is AMAZING!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

in the light of truth

Truth .... is bittersweet!!

Like medicine,

 it can be bitter to swallow 

but its benefits are powerfully healing.

It is health for your heart and soul!

The truth really does set you free ... 

and that is sweet indeed.

Truth is sincerity in action and in deed.


 The truth is never easy to hear. Whether it is personal or about those in your world, it can cause you to stop in your tracks and rethink how you should proceed. How do you shine light on the truth and bring wholeness and hope while deception abounds?

More often than not, the truth - our truth is concealed by misperceptions and misguided realities. 
The truth can seem messy, maybe it is messy because it is tangled up in our feelings and emotions. 
We can truly believe  something or feel something to be true .... but does this make it true?

The truth can seem right until the spotlight shines deeply within and reveals something entirely different. We can be easily contained by that which presents it self as truth, but is really NOT truth! 
So how do you truly discover the truth?


It comes as a shock to find out what others think or 
how judgements are being made! Right or wrong it can be very painful. Yet, honest truth brought in love has the power to change. It can bring new direction and fresh perspective. It can heal the heart and make it whole.

If you are a truth seeker and seeking the truth ...
do not give up because the truth is, that in the end it really will set you free and it will ultimately liberate your very soul!

Let the light of truth give you the freedom to fly higher than you could ever imagine!

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
~ Martin Luther King Jnr
           
“Let us rejoice in the truth, wherever we find its lamp burning.” 
~ Albert Schweitzer

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mission accomplished

One afternoon this week we were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of this little guy in our back yard. (I think the stork might have dropped this little bundle in the wrong nest!)

Actually, we think a crow ungraciously removed him (out of his little home in the old eucalyptus tree over the fence) and in the ensuing struggle dropped him in our yard. After a bit of frantic hopping and plaintive chirping (and a great deal of panic from the kids intent on rescuing the abducted chick), he finally curled up in a tightly wound ball of fluff and feathers, closed his eyes and shut out the harshness of the world. ('No, he is not dead' came my gentle soothings to an overwrought child.)

Then, when he had calmed down, our rescue mission began. My panic stricken daughter gently picked him up and cradled this scrap of duck down. Embracing him in the palm of her hands, she held him close ... sheltering him from harm. Carefully he was bundled into an abandoned shoe box and delivered safely to the animal shelter. Mission accomplished!

Afterwards, when we had traipsed home and ended our little rescue operation ... my heart was distracted by a thought. My soul became suspended on a nudge willing me to pause.
I  marvel at this gift of serendipity entwined with ribbons of grace and favour, my heartbeat races a little faster at the thought that suddenly cuts me right through. 
This is how He reminds me that he is there, always there in the storms that gather incessantly, in the dark clouds that loom ominously  ... there is a waiting, an intentional watching over ... for the heart in need of hope, the soul finally staying before the scooping up and holding close of delicate fragility. 

Much later I wonder at the lessons that come so unexpectedly. 
Do I always see the message in the mayhem? 
In the small things that flop in and flutter around me, 
in the here and now ... am I truly aware, 
awake to the seemingly insignificant 
so full of heavens fervour?
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Extension tasks for 'Highly Able Students'


Farmyard Antics
I am a teacher, this is my job but it is also a calling. I am called to this sphere of influence. There is nothing I love more than growing young minds and taking students on a journey of discovery. I really do have the best job in the world!

Our goal this term was to expose our 'Highly Able Students' (Those students identified as working significantly above our grade level expectations and showing proficiency and ability in one or more academic areas) to content beyond the borders of the regular school curriculum. This meant extending thinking and investigations to broader areas of learning in student directed and teacher facilitated tasks.

This term our Integrated Studies unit explored the topic - 'Life on the Farm'. In order to expose students to a broader theme I thought it might be fun to investigate micro habitats. So, our students investigated other types of farming and ant farming proved most popular! ... and ended up being the easiest to implement. (It was also highly successful - if not somewhat challenging... collecting ants became a lunch time obsession for all our Grade One students!!) 

During the term we ended up purchasing ant farms for each of the Grade One classrooms so students could study a micro habitat in a more in-depth and hands on way. As part of the whole class learning process we developed a schema chart of things we already knew about general farming and things we were discovering to keep track of what we were learning. 

Extension students added learnt facts to our slowly growing 'Tree of Knowledge'.


Students were encouraged to put together an annotated diagram (prior knowledge, showing us what they already knew about farms in general) before they set about gathering information on their chosen area of interest and undertaking more in-depth research. We were delighted with the effort of our students who happily put together posters and Power-points (at home and in class) to share at our grade level assembly. (Purposeful show and tell can be very informative!!) 

Throughout the term we worked on a variety of 'Higher Order Thinking' tasks with students presenting what they were learning to their peers along the way, becoming resident experts on their chosen topic. The flow on effect saw other students in the class also engage in their own discovery learning which was celebrated at regular intervals. Having a real purpose (creating the ant farm) and audience (their peers) meant that students were fully engaged in learning processes as they analysed, synthesised, created and evaluated what they were doing. 

Some very interesting facts were discovered along the way about these amazing little critters as students showcased their learning alongside the formal school curriculum. (Did you know that an ants sense of smell is just as good as a dogs!!)


Drawings of ant delicacies in the jars - Investigating what ants like to eat!
Investigation - What do ants like best ... sand or soil?
At the end of the term students reflected on their learning, discussing and highlighting factors that impacted on an animals habitat, suggesting ways to better improve the needs of living things ... and most importantly life on our ant farm to ensure continued survival of the species!

Click here to go direct to this blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Treasures of the soul

Treasures of the soul - Precious memories

          Memories are treasures of the soul kept safe in the depths of our heart. - k.weight

These photos brings back such sweet memories because my little munchkins are not so little any more. It just feels just like yesterday and if I shut my eyes I can still picture them. Laughter and giggles ... sweet sloppy kisses, grubby little hands and tiny wee bodies that fit snuggly into my lap ... ahhh, how I miss these days.

"Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” 
Kevin Arnold.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Learning to draw

Teacher Talk - Grade One


Drawing with little people is so fun. They don't have preconceived ideas about how things should look. They don't over evaluate their work and are proud as punch when they are done. I love that I get to encourage creativity at its best - colour, style, freedom, possibilities, purpose ... and yes, this is my real every day life,  it doesn't get better than this!

This term in Grade One we have been learning about farms and micro habitats. Just for fun we had a go at drawing a few farm animals to develop our artistic skills. 
Drawing a cow seemed like a good place to start. I showed my students how to follow the step by step instructions on the media screen in the classroom and then I had a go on the whiteboard, showing them how easy it was. They loved how simple it was to add detail one step at a time. Not so overwhelming when we can break it all down into bite size pieces. (Even for me!!!)

My students were rather impressed with their efforts. I loved seeing the awe on their faces as they discovered that they can draw better than they at first imagined. Their little faces deep in concentration were a delight to behold. I encouraged their efforts, reminding them that creative ability developed with practice. My affirmations opened up the next bout of frantic scribbling as they tried to get the form they were drawing down on paper. They revelled in this ability to create, to cause something to take on shape from somewhere deep inside of them. As I watched the creativity in progress, I paused in the uncharacteristic lull of the classroom and contemplated the creative force within all of us. 

How is it that such creative capacity slowly goes to sleep over time? Why do so many of us think we are not artistic ... or creative ... or imaginative, when we are born with this limitless potential?

It reminded me to purposefully embrace this way of living, teaching and being. To capture, celebrate and cherish the gift of infinite originality and unique individuality!

So, embrace the creativity that makes you uniquely individual!


Later I showed them how to use pastels to build up the colour on their drawing using a few different techniques. We began with blending two colours in the background and later added detail to the image bit by bit.

Not bad for little people .... 
and below are a few more we had a go at drawing too.



'A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament ...
the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.' - Oscar Wilde


More Tales from the Classroom here.

Linking up with Studio JRU

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life is like an onion

"Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.' - Carl Sandberg.

Now isn't that the truth!

Just when you think that you have skinned and peeled as much as you think is humanely possible - off comes another layer of personal vulnerability.

Sometimes bad things happen!

Then,
over time the pain is peeled away very slowly. 
Bit by bit the flesh is exposed.
 The fumes of disappointment make us cry. 
Sometimes it takes our breath away.
The heart ... our heart is carefully revealed.

And, 
when all this peeling is finished,
that fleshy part is added to a dish.
It is fried up and seasoned.

Finally, 
it is mixed in and combined to the other ingredients.
Delicious and unique flavours begin to emerge. 
The simmering compliments and adds to the aromas.
The taste is sensational ... you are sensational!


No matter what has happened to you 
or where you find yourself today,
there is hope ... a hope for your future. 
All your experiences make you who you are. 
Use what you have to bring out your best!
Flavour the world with the delectable you.

'The pain of change is uncomfortable for a short time, but the pain of staying the same lasts a life time.'

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bold and Brave


Image Source

Watching my children experience the ups and downs of life has brought a new revelation about learning by trial and error and the expedience of valuable life lessons. 

Life is indeed a great teacher!
A trial comes, an error is made, a lesson is learnt ... 
and in the process character is forged. This trying, testing and proving of one self during threatening winds of change can shake and intimidate.

Helping my children to navigate their own trials has helped me contemplate the significance of the storm! 

More often than not it is in the trial that we truly grow ...  a trial is an opportunity. Seriously, it is true! Trials offer us the opportunity to learn in very profound ways, lessons are learnt that might not necessarily be discovered otherwise. 

I am fully convinced of this because, I have grown through pain, heartache and loss. I wish I could say that my deepest heart change and personal growth happened during happy times or during the easy moments of my life, but it just isn't true. Pain is a great teacher, it is a lesson that leaves us marked to the core for a very long time. Somehow, in this very place we learn and grow. 

After all, if we didn’t have pain or trials, would we learn?, would we change? ...  or be motivated to change? It is in these broken places that our heart and soul seems to grow the most. 

How we face and navigate the trial is the determining factor between an opportunity lost ... or an opportunity won. The squeeze in that moment pushes us to the precipice of our vulnerabilities and fears. In that moment we can take flight or stand and fight!

Amidst the greatest trials of life, I have learned to stop running from it and turn to it. Outrunning an approaching storm is futile. 

To face the storm head on and fail to wither at its ferocity is audacious and courageous - it is bold and brave!

Entering the storm based on a deep conviction, firmly rooted in an unwavering faith changes everything. I discovered a quietness deep inside the eye of the storm, a stillness and calm of magnificent proportions - a peace of overwhelming depth and dimension. It truly transcends understanding, amazing ha! ... and it is in this place, surrounded by this All encompassing peace that brings me to my knees and fills my heart with unending gratitude.

Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Message in the sand


This month was my daughters 17th birthday. To celebrate we took a trip out to Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef. My son wrote a message in the sand ... to his sister!

Sometimes it is easier to say what is in our hearts by scribing it out ...  and allowing those we love, to read the message deep layered within our heart, to take in the full impact of the words ... truly heartfelt words, by seeing them for ourselves. 

Happy Birthday darling girl. xx

Monday, July 30, 2012

Living inspired, always


There are moments in life that keep you captivated forever. Moments that change you in unexpected ways. The memory of that moment swirls across the canvas of your heart, always. 

The setting sun over an African grassland, the mingling of destiny and dreams - Captivating!

capture, celebrate, cherish
What inspires you? 
Capture, celebrate and cherish your life.
Leave your link in the comment bar.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Beyond


On Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. This weeks prompt is .... Beyond!

So here I go ....
Beyond the horizon lies a shimmering sea of endless unknowns,
it stretches wide and expansive, much further than the eye can see.
Somewhere out there over that forever calm of ocean depths
lies our beginning and our end ... it belongs only in this world. 
Constrained by all earthly dimensions ... we reside here for a time.
Our life, this life ... is for a moment, 
a vapour in the wind - here and then gone. 
We toil and churn this life away, 
always busy, way beyond what we imagine 
is necessary or even possible. 
But someday, one day ... we will embrace a new beginning. 
One that has no end, for those of us who can see beyond
this life ... and this here and now.
We begin again.
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can


Growing up can't was a dirty word in our household.
I was always pulled up on it and made to change my statement.
My Dad would remonstrate ' There is no such thing as can't!'

I begged to differ!!
As a child this was frustrating. I checked the dictionary
and .... it was in there, a contraction of I CAN NOT!

However
As an adult (and parent myself), 
I am so very grateful that this way of seeing things 
was so firmly entrenched in my thinking.

Because, eventually the message sank in and established a way of living that has forged and fashioned who I am today.
It helped me to overcome great odds, to persevere when the going got tough. 

I learnt to live over, not under
above, not beneath
higher, not lower
grounded and not airy fairy!!

So
I am currently finding myself journeying 
down the same path with my children and turning their cant's into cans.

They are not very impressed!
(I understand their pain.)

But 
 with the benefit of hindsight, I will continue to lead them
(and if necessary push them)
to believe in their dreams and that anything truly is possible!

Just because I can!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Enough already!!

It is that time of the week to write for five minutes straight from the heart, with no over thinking or editing - no going back, this is the hard part! Linking up with the Gypsy Mama for a bit of frivolous fun.

It has been a big week ... which is an understatement. This week means I am back to school and teaching Grade One, with all its fun and challenges and already I am calling for another holiday ... 
ahhh!!! 

It has been a big week, but truly I am up for it. I love teaching Grade One, and watching the little tackers grasp the English language(Which is seriously, no mean feat!). I love the awe in their faces as they listen to stories read aloud and beg for more, especially when little boys who play rough and squirm in their seats besiege me to read just one more story. 

In all honesty, I love it!
Yes, it is tiring - so very tiring! BUT, to see the delight ... the pure delight of a face lighting up and connecting the dots, developing such raw and pure potential, can there really be anything better? 

So, when I say enough already! When the day is done and I'm dragging my feet, enough is really not close enough. There is so much more to do and learn and become. There really is not enough time in the day to impact a life, change a destiny or realise a dream ... BUT,  I really will try!
Five Minute Friday
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