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.



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!


Today I am inspired by friendships. One of the most valuable things in my life are my family and my friends.

I am inspired by the love and warm feelings felt by the friends that are in my life daily. The bond.

I am inspired by the connections with friends whom you may not see very often but when you do there is no awkwardness. It is comfortable, as if  we are frequently in each other’s company.

I am inspired by those who I barely know but welcome me with open arms.

All of these frienship types I have experienced this week. Today I am grateful I have experienced them and confident that I will again.

Talking on the phone with life long friends. Sharing our joys and concerns.

A text message out of the blue from a dear  friend telling me she is having surgery. That she was unsure about sharing it but then knew she should.

Lunch with friends we haven’t see for two years. Greeting each other with a hug. Chatting, sharing stories of our girls, sharing food and wine. Promising not to leave it two years before our next get together.

Friends whom I have an online connection with, who are connected through our admiration for one rock star. Friends who I have meet in person just one other time, welcoming me with a smile, introducing me to others, dancing and singing together in a night to celebrate the life and music of our idol.

There are strong friendships, there are frienships based on a common interest. There are life long friendships and friendships that hang around for a season or a reason. Friendships change with time. Some disappear, some become stronger, others static.

To me friendships are not just inspirational but necessary. They bring joy, love, support and learnings into my life.

Friends; a valuable aspect of my who I am.


Inspiration from a homeless man

This morning I read a small piece on Philani Dladla, a young South African man who has turned his life around through book reviews. I found it so inspiring I want to share the story with you.

Philani Dladla, also known as the Pavement Bookworm, grew up in KwaZula Natal loving books but after he moved to Johannesburg to find work he started using drugs. When he could no longer pay his rent he was forced to start living on the streets.  He noticed that many beggars were getting money for nothing and decided he would be different and offer something for money. That something was books and reviews.

He started selling books that he had read and offering a book review with the book. He priced the books according to how much he enjoyed them. The more enjoyment he got from a book, the more it would cost you to buy it. He soon became known as the Pavement Bookworm and his small business started growing.

With this new level of self esteem, some motivation and a lot of self help books, Philani decided to stop using drugs and help others. He used the money he made from selling books to buy soup and bread for the homeless. Soon after he decided to share his love of books with underprivileged children by setting up a Book Readers Club in a local park where kids were hanging out waiting for their parents to finish work.

He would give the children books on the condition that they came back to him to share what they learnt from the book. The children and Philani not only read together they discuss their hopes, dreams and challenges, but most of all they support each other through the tough times.

A story like this, a man like this, gives us hope for the homeless and the drug addicts. Life can be challenging for everyone, but especially these people. If something as simple as the love of reading can turn their lives around, that is fantastic, to share that love and help turn other lives around, is inspirational.

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.

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.”


Last night I was very fortunate to have celebrated my 50th birthday with beautiful family and friends. All those that were there (around 50) have inspired me in some way.

Two of my friends, whom I have known for more than half my life, made beautiful speeches, as did my father and husband. I was left speechless. Something this morning that I am still a bit overwhelmed by but also a bit disappointed that I couldn’t say more. I was inspired by the words said and the memories evoked, so much so I couldn’t respond sufficiently.

How have my friends and family inspired me? Mainly by just being by my side.  Some since childhood, some only in the last few years.

The things we do together, the chats we have, the interests we share.

Some have inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. I still can’t believe I white water rafted in New Zealand, this is way out of my comfort zone!

My daughter inspires me every day with her commitment to study and read. I think I may have originally inspired her to read!

My husband inspires me every day with his encouragement, love and support.

The gifts I received reflect the connections and inspirations.

We do not need to look at the famous or the classics for inspiration. Some of the most inspiring people are those we spend time with everyday.