family

Holiday Planning

What is inspiring me today? Me.

Now that may sound a little conceited but I encourage us all to be proud of our achievements and feel inspired by our positive actions.

Today it is my  holiday planning that is particularly inspiring.

My husband and I recently travelled to England and Europe for three weeks. The research, bookings and planning I did before we flew out of Australia all paid off. Our tickets for museums, restaurants and tours were all valid. The accomodation I chose was all comfortable, clean and well located. The knowledge I gained before departure helped in our decision making when we had gaps in the day or the itinerary wasn’t quite thought through properly, ie promptly walking to the Jewish museum in Prague on a Saturday….what was I thinking?

Of course there are some things that you don’t think to research, things that you believe will be simple but  end up leaving you feeling a little anxious. Who would imagine that it would be difficult to get a cab in London at 4.30am on a public holiday? Thank goodness our concierge was patient and persistent. After several phone calls he booked us a private driver eliminating our anxiety about missing our flight to Stockholm.

Whenever I travel I do feel nervous that maybe I booked a ticket for an activity in a city we are visiting but on a day we actually aren’t there. What a nightmare. Certainly not the end of the world but it would be disappointing none the less. Thank goodness this has never happened.

I have organised several holidays now and I am pleased and proud, to say, I have done well with each. It inspires me to organise more holidays, not just for our family but for others too.

dscn9359  Salisbury Cathedral. I booked a tour of the towers before I left home.

img_0446 Rooftop waking tour in Stockholm booked well in advance.

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On top of the world

Today I am inspired by a photo and message I recieved from my daughter.

The photo is of her on top of Mt Titlis in Engelberg, Swiss Alps. Her caption simply said “On top of the world”.

What a great caption. It says so much.

Mt Titlis is 3,238 metres above sea level. To us Australians that is close to the top of the world. The highest mountain in Australia is 2,228 metres above sea level.  Mt Titlis is in the northern hemisphere, which to us Australians is also the top of the world. And then of course there is the feeling of elation as she looked out at nature’s beauty and as she said to me “The most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” She was on top of the world.

We feel on top of the world when our soul is filled with excitement, when our hearts are pumping with love and when we have a great feeling of satisification. We have achieved a goal. We are feeling incrediably lucky. We are on top of the world.

The photo and caption were beautiful and inspiring and a reminder that you don’t have to climb a beautiful mountain to feel on top of the world we just need to embrace life and the opportunties it gives us.

 

Turning 90

Today I am inspired by ageing. I know you are probably thinking that it is a funny thing to find inspiring  but if you age well there is much to be inspired by. This all stems from my attendance at a 90th birthday party yesterday. The gentleman who was celebrating his birthday is an inspiration. If I am like him at 90 I will be pleased.

He still has a great sense of humour, something I imagine helps one to accept that they are ageing.

He still attends the gym, something that certainly contributes to good health.

He still looks after the Church garden, something that gives him a great sense of contribution to a community he is proud to be a part of.

He still travels, although last year he didn’t renew his passport conceding that he is too old to travel outside Australia. Actually he admits he doesn’t feel he is too old but the insurance companies think otherwise.

He can still hold an intelligent conversation, something that keeps him connected with many of different generations.

There is also inspiration to be found in what he has seen in 90 years. If one reflects on what has happened not just in his personal life in his 90 years of living but in the world, there is much to gain inspiration from.

The changes in technology in his 90 years is incrediable. His great grandchildren take the television, the computer, the internet and the mobile phone for granted.  They would find it very difficult to imagine how their great grandfather entertained himself at their age.

His grandchildren have always bought their bread and milk from a shop. They can’t imagine a horse and cart delivering these everyday commodoties to their home.

 

The most inspirational thing is that he is happy and able to share these experiences and all with a smile. He will proudly tell you why he has chosen certain plants for the Church garden. He will laugh when he tells you about pumping weights at the gym. He will have a wicked grin when he tells you a joke.

He will share stories about collecting manure  from the delivery horses to sell to gardeners.  He will tell you about all the billy carts he built and rode.

He is 90. He has lived a full and eventful life. He has aged well. He is an inspiration.

 

Brothers Angels and Demons

Today I am inspired by a gig I attended on Saturday night: Brothers Angels and Demons.

It’s probably best I give you a little bit of background. I am a huge fan of the rock band The Angels. The first of their concerts I attended was in February 1981, the last time I saw them was in 2010.

Their lead singer was Doc Neeson. A charasmatic, mad Irishman who was the best front man ever (IMHO)! He left The Angels in 2010 to be replaced by singer Dave Gleeson, a singer I have never been a big fan of, hence why I haven’t seen the band in recent times. Sadly in 2014 Doc passed away after fighting brain cancer for 17 months.

The Angels were formed by Doc and the Brewster brothers, John and Rick. They had great chemistry on stage and wrote brilliant songs including this one.

 

John and Rick are the third generation of professional musicians in the Brewster family, however the first to play rock music! John’s son Sam is now a member of The Angels. So basically there are four generations of the family celebrating and enjoying music in the professional arena.

Because this band have always  inpsired me and given me much music pleasure I wanted to see this show. It has toured in Adelaide (their home town) and Sydney several times but only one other time to Melbourne. On that occassion I couldn’t attend. This time around I was determined not to miss the show.

Brothers Angels and Demons is the story of the Brewster family’s musical journey. With an MC to ask questions and prompt story telling, John and Rick share stories about their grandfather and father, about learning classical music and discovering Bob Dylan. Stories about writing songs with Doc, about nearly giving up on a music career and the highs of success. All of it very inspiring. They also share music.  The music includes a classical piece written by their grandfather, improvised music from their first professional band The Moonshine Jug and String Band, songs they co-wrote for The Angels and for their Brewster Brothers CD and songs that have inspired them.

Performing in this brilliant show with John and Rick are John’s three sons Sam, Tom and Harry. An inspirational show of a talented family who clearly not only enjoy music but appreciate what a great opportunity it has given them. If you are a fan of The Angels or simply Australian rock music, then see this show. It will inform. It will inspire. You will enjoy.

 

Sam’s letter to Jennifer

Today I am inspired by the lovely book Sam’s Letters to Jennifer. I finished reading this easy to read book on the weekend. It is written by James Patterson, who is better known for his crime stories than love stories, but he does not disappoint with this book.

Sam is Jennifer’s grandmother. She is unwell so Jennifer returns to the small village where she resides to be by her side.

The letters she has left for Jennifer to read are inspiring. They are letters revealing a deep secret. They are letters of hope. They are letters with lessons for Jennifer.

Jennifer is also an inspiring character. It was inspiring to experience the depth of love she has for her grandmother and it was inspiring to see her let go of the past and live the moments she was experiencing now. To fall in love again was a huge step for Jennifer but a rewarding one.

The two love stories, Jennifer’s happening in the book and Sam’s revealed through her letters, are beautiful love stories and give inspiration to anyone who needs to be inspired to fall in love and be true to one self.

 

 

THE BEEKEEPER’S SECRET

Today I am inspired by a lovely Australian book, The Beekeeper’s Secret by Josephine Moon.

Josephine Moon is an Australian writer who loves writing, to quote her, Foodie Literature. Her previous two novels are The Tea Chest and Chocolate Promise, also books that I can recommend.

The Beekeeper’s Secret is set in Queensland and is a tale of guilt, love, reunions, The Catholic Church and bees. Maria is the beekeeper living and managing a retreat whose profits are used to fund an orphanage in Cambodia. Maria, an ex nun, is enstranged from her family. Tansy, her niece, tracks her down and is determined to reunite her aunt with the family. But of course it is not all straight foward. In getting to know Maria, Tansy learns of her Aunt’s past, of her secret and her guilt, all whilst she is coming to terms with  some big decisions she and her husband need to make.

I love Josephine’s novels and this one did not disappoint. Josephine has a talent of bringing her love of food to literature. She researches her topics well, in this case bees. I did not read this book expecting to learn a great deal about bees, but that became an added bonus to this lovely story.

 

If one of Josephine’s goals in writing this book was to inspire her readers to be more interested and concerned about bees, then she has been succesful, with this reader at least!

My Mother-in-law

Today I am writing to you about my beautiful Mother-in-law, who sadly lost her life just over 2 weeks ago. She was an inspiration in so many ways but especially through the love she gave and her ability to cope with change.

Sixty years ago her and my father-in-law sailed from the familiar shores of England to a far off land, they knew very little about. They traveled to Australia with three young children with the determination to make the most of the opportunities promised in this country that would enable their children to have a plentiful life. I cannot imagine how frightening it must have been to sail away, knowing you were leaving, not only a familiar place but family and friends, that you were starting a new life in a young country with a climate dramatically different to what you were used to and no extended family to lean on. But she did. They all did and they not only coped, they thrived.

My mother-in-law has had to cope with the change that losing loved ones brings. Tragically her only daughter was taken away in a fatal car accident when she had just reached adult hood. The lose was great, the pain of her broken heart and grief with her always but she did cope. She thrived on the memories of a wonderful daughter, a happy girl/lady who was popular, hard working and beautiful. She missed her for the rest of her living days but learnt in time that life must go on.

When she lost her husband just a few months before their 70th wedding anniversary, we did not know how she would cope. Theirs was a solid love, a beautiful love of admiration and respect, their marriage one of the traditional roles of wife cooks and cleans, the husband works hard and keeps the garden neat. Of course her grief was heavy. There were nights when she cried herself to sleep but she did cope with this change, living in the family home right up until just 5 months before her own departure from this world.

My mother-in-law had health issues but rarely complained. She had aches and pains that occasionally warranted a moan but she shrugged and said “What can you do, it’s age I suppose.” She smiled whenever she saw us arrive in the driveway. Greeted us with the biggest hug and a cup of tea.

An inspiration to the end and continues to be each time I think of her and all the love and kindness she gave and the determination to make it through life’s changes. R.I.P.

My Nana

Today is my Nana’s birthday. If she was still with us she would be 107 but sadly we lost her in 1996.

My Nana was an inspiration to me. One of my fondest memories is having sleep overs at her place as a young child and having her tell me the story of how she saved the baby lamb from drowning in the channel. My Nana was a farmer’s wife. She loved the farm life. She loved the country and she loved the animals. Most of all my Nana loved her family.

My Nana suffered with bad health but her family inspired her to overcome the difficulties and pain associated with her ailing health. When feeling unwell she would focus on a family event or member to push her through the pain. She did this for me. I will never forget her proudly attending my wedding service and reception. I will also never forget her expressing her disappointment that I was not wearing a petticoat under my wedding gown!

My Nana dressed well. She always wore a hat to Church and her shoes always matched her handbag.

I will never forget the smile on my Nana’s face when I told her I was pregnant. This was the last piece of news I shared with my Nana. Weak in her nursing home bed my husband and I  paid her a visit to tell her our happy news. Within seconds she sat up in bed with a big smile on her face and with her usual loving way held my hand and said “that was wonderful news.” She then smiled happily at my mum, her only living daughter, a smile that said “you are going to be a grandmother it will bring you much joy.”

Less than a week later my Nana passed away. My loving relationship with my Nana and her smiling face at the moment of sharing our news, inspired me to name my daughter after her by using part of Nana’s maiden surname in our daughter’s name. George became Georgia.

My Nana was an inspiration. She was a strong lady in a body weakened by ailing health. She had a heart full of love, a smile full of happiness and wonderful stories to share. Happy birthday Nana.

An inspirational man and his garden.

 

DSCN7666

This flower bloomed in my garden on the weekend.

I don’t know what the flower is, but I do know where it came from.

I do know that the man who gave it to me was an inspirational man.

The flower is from a cutting from my father-in-law’s garden.

I took the cutting just after he passed away.

He loved his garden. He loved nurturing the garden.

He was an inspiration.

He devoted hours of his time to the garden and in spring it still blooms with color.

He devoted hours of time potting cuttings, nurturing the cuttings, selling and gifting the cuttings.

His inspiration goes beyond the garden.

But today it is his devotion to his garden and the results of that nurturing that is inspiring me.

CATERFLY, the strange fictional insect that inspires.

In 1979 my cousin and his girlfriend gave me the book Caterfly I loved it so much I kept it to re read one day. My cousin passed away last week prompting me to re read the book.
My cousin was a curious sort of person who was interested in people and their beliefs. He and I had a special bond and after  re reading this book and knowing what my cousin was like I appreciate the book even more and wonder if he gave me the book as a “lesson” from him about life!
It is a book about one small creature, a caterfly, searching for the meaning of life. It is a book about self acceptance and acceptance of others no matter how different they are. It is a book about believing, it is a book about searching for meaning. A book about having the courage to question and stand up for what you believe in and for yourself.
There are many beautiful passages in the book to reflect upon. There are many passages that make you go, yeah I know exactly what you are talking about.
It is a timeless book. It is an inspirational book.
I will leave you with this one passage from the book
“This is the truth – if I were to love anyone it would be you. I could be very happy with you, but not at this time, because I don’t know who I am, what I am or what my purpose for living is. How can I love with all of my being if I have not answered any of these important questions yet.”