Saturday, 26 March 2011

"Honey, I'm home!!"


Do you remember The Flintstones?

I loved that show!

Every night, Fred would come home from work, walk through the door and yell at the top of his lungs "honey, I'm home!"

Well my Mr. came home last week. Hopefully, it is the end of his three week earthquake assistance work. The city of Christchurch needed him more than I did but I'm so glad I get him for a bit now!

I'm not convinced in the age old 'distance makes the heart grow fonder'. I did a long-distance relationship for over a year when I was younger and I found out the hard way that 'distance can makes the heart grow independant.' But that's another story.

It felt odd having my husband back. When I kissed him, I was sure it felt different (I even asked cheekily if if he had been practising while he was away)! And his hugs felt different too. It wasn't different bad, I just think I'd forgotten exactly how it felt to have the man I love hold me in his arms.
So I'm not sure on the whole 'distance makes the heart grow fonder' thing.

Have you reacted to the 'honey, I'm home ' with loving arms or have you wondered who the stranger is?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Seeking out Beauty

There is beauty to be found and moments to be had.

Am I ready?

In the middle of the desert, when you are empty and thirsty, there will be an elim, your little oasis.

I know. I have strumbled across mine at times.

Sometimes they are life-refreshing. Three months after my Dad passed away, my man proposed. God met me in my desert that day.

Other days, there are snippets of beauty which are little but just as significant. Like the $2 coin to be found at the bottom of your handbag or the lady who stopped me on the side of the street last week to tell me she liked my dress.

Today, I will seek out beauty.

It will not evade me. I will find those precious moments. I will allow my soul refresment. 

And I will remember this tulip; it was taken on a magical day. A day where time stopped still and God captured my heart with flowers and picnics, sunsets and rolling waves. The next day I lost my Dad. But today's story is not sad. This tulip is forever my reminder that there is pure joy to be had. Now seek it...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

COOK ME: caramel popcorn

I love popcorn.

Why? It is super healthy - if you can resist adding toppings like caramel!

I can't. So here it is. The best caramel popcorn recipe. My best, that is.

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup popping corns (more or less)

Caramel Topping
  • 100g of butter
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 nuts (I used chopped peanuts but you can use whatever or nothing!)
  • 1/4 cup of golden syrup (optional)

  • baking tray
  • baking paper

1. Heat oil in large pot on low-medium heat. Add popcorn and put lid on (important!)

2. While popcorn pops, melt butter and sugar (plus syrup and nuts) in pan on low heat. If you don't use syrup you might need a bit more butter.

3. Once popping starts slowing (or the pot fills up in my case), take off heat. Pour popcorn onto a baking tray lined with baking paper/grease-proof paper.

4. Once sauce is saucy and all melted together, such as...

5.  Pour caramel sauce over popcorn. Now you have an option: to toast or not to toast! It is like one of those storybooks I read as a kid, where you choose the ending. You can either wait for the sauce to harden, then skip to step 7, or you can continue to step 6...

6. Put tray in oven and either grill (very quickly) or cook at 140-160 degrees C until sauce hardens. Don't turn your back or you will be hoping the hubby or flatmate offers to do dishes!

7. Ummm...enjoy!! (Can be kept in airtight container if you are not as greedy as I am!)

"Today" I said "be thankful, heart!"

Pause. And think.

Whoa...that didn't feel normal!

Does anyone else feel we live with the pressure to be busy 24/7 and run around making things happen?

This morning I paused and made some room in my heart for thankfulness.

Cellphones.I spend alot of time hating them but my Mr. is away right now helping out with earthquake response and I am so grateful that at the end of the day I can hear his voice down the line.

Pretty Things. I love this carved lady with outstretched arms. She was given to me by someone special and I love that her facial expression changes depending on the light and the angle from which you view her. We all have little things around our houses which are dear to us right?

Books. Such an example of power through words. I am reading For Better: The Science of Marriage and what an eye-opening read. Before we got married, many people made doubtful comments about our marriage lasting because of our age (me 22, him 26). I wish I had read this back then!

Cauliflower and pumpkin. Normally, thankfulness would not extend to these two veges. However, I am headed to the hospital next week and I am banned from all fruit/veges/grains except for these two veges for a period.

Bubble wrap. I just learnt that the inventors actually came up with it, originally, as wall paper. Awesome!

Rain. Today is rainy and it is my day off. Perfect to inspire me to do some of my corrospondence study and perfect to remind me to rest. Besides I always think rain is God showing us how his grace is always afresh. 

Good deals. I love deals and discounts, bargains and sales! Today I found myself a cheap movie ticket deal online. Which is perfect because I am off to watch the King's Speech on Thursday. Yusss!

Photo memories. Photography came about as a result of mistakes and experiments as various men dabbled with numerous chemicals (yikes!). Yesterday was my Dad's birthday. He would have been 57 today but we lost him far too early in 2009 to suicide. The pain is still so raw but I have photos that I cherish and I am unbelievably grateful that someone invented the ability to capture a moment forever.

Monday, 21 March 2011

DIY I AM: project photo card

I loved the idea of using these unique DIY photo cards as wedding invites and so I made quite a few. We ended up making booklets instead but I still love these cute cards!

Collect the following:
  • 5 1/2 inch x 8 1/2 inch card 
  • 4 inch x 5 1/4 inch card for overlay
  • photo (cut to 3 1/2 inch x 4 3/4 inch)
  • ribbon
  • hole punch
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • craft knife
  • photo dots/glue

1. Fold larger card in half, along the short side. Put aside until step five.

 2. On the underside of the overlay card measure a 1/4 inch margin in from each side and draw lines with pencil. Score or fold (and then fold back to flat) along the pencil line. (see photo left)


3. Next, grab that craft knife and from each corner of your pencil lines, slice across to the other corner. (see photo left)

4. Near the corner of each 'flap' punch a small hole (I used the end of the craft knife). You should have four holes.


5. Grab the photo dots or tape or even glue...and fix the overlay onto the front size of the card you folded in step one. Press it down firmly. (see photo left)

6. Open the flaps and just slide the photo in.

7.  Thread ribbon through the punched holes and close the flaps. Tie in a cute bow

8. Write your message on the inside of the card.

Tadaaaa! Now it just needs posting!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Only Way Out

Have you ever found yourself in a place that you feel you can't get out of?

A group of us went for a five hour adventure following a river into a chasm. It was totally isolated. Getting into the river was no trouble. We walked deep within the chasm for hours, clothes soaked but driven on with chocolate-infused energy.

Eventually the river got deep, really deep. The men went on ahead, only to discover it got deeper and colder and darker. Steep rock cliffs lined us, either side. This place of beauty, this magical place suddenly has us trapped.

I've been thinking that life is sometimes like that. Lately, I feel as if I have been trapped doing the same thing over and over again; going deeper into a hole that I can't seem to escape. Mr. and I have been fighting, over stupid things, but we can't seem to get out of the rut. I've been lazy, but it seems too hard to exercise so I stay on the couch. And I've wanted a change of scenery, a new hobby or the like, but I'm not sure where to begin.

Sin can also be like that. It's appealing and comfortable. There is a way out but it's really difficult to even spot it. And when you do, it is a frightening move. The path out never seems easy. In fact, sometimes it seems it would be easier just to keep going forward the same direction and hope an better option comes along.

Well it didn't for us that day. We had to back track for a while before we finally came to an area that we thought we might be able to scramble up. It was going to be tough and it evoked fear just thinking about it. We were tired and cold and each of us were really on our own because no one could pull the other up.

We started climbing. We were on all fours for most of it and immediately my hands and knees were grazed. I was afraid of falling backwards and I was shaking.

At one point, once we got out of scrub and into a steep, gassed incline we were forced to stop. In front of us was a steep drop, followed by another climb. Behind us, if we could get back without falling, was the chasm and the uncertainty of another path out. We continued forward.

It wasn't easy. I was incredibly scared. And tired.

But that feeling, when you almost reach the top and you look back at how far you have come is pure joy. And you can't believe you almost choose to go further into the chasm.

This is me, as I realise that I almost out of the worst part. I was incredibly happy to be in the sunlight again!

I think I would do well to take the experience that day and apply it to the life chasms I find myself in. I need to remember that the climb out of a hole is never easy but there is pure joy and freedom to be found once you find yourself standing at the top of the hill.

Friday, 18 March 2011

1.4 Billion and Counting...

One night, one presentation, changed my life. What Hugh Evans has to say is not especially new and he is not yelling louder than any other NGO or organisation out there. But it is compelling and it did remind me that we live in a big world. 

My world is easy. I am blessed beyond doubt. But 25,000 people die each day related to hunger ( There is one quote which echoes in my heart...

' Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? ' (proverbs 24:11-12)

Defined by a Tree

There is a large totara tree that stands on Waiheke Island and it has come to symbolise our relationship, our marriage.

It's hardly surprising. When Mr. and I first became friends I asked him to sketch me a tree, which I stuck on my walls for years. Even when I moved houses and was in a different relationship, I still kept that drawing in a box. So fastforward four years, Mr. and I are engaged. We have discovered we both find trees captivating and so, to celebrate a year we head to the magical Waiheke Island. We find this totara tree and spend a while getting photos, yet to realise this exact tree will come to represent 'us'.

It was our wedding symbol...

...from invites, to programs, to seating boards..that tree just kept creeping in!

There are some cool things about the totara tree:

  • it is known for it's longevity
  • it is very resistant to rot
  • it is durable
  • the Maori prized this tree over any other in the New Zealand forest due to its usefulness
  • it was used as a source of shelter, food and medicine in earlier times

I hope our marriage can take on some of these attributes!

If this represents us, what defines or symbolises you?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Oh, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.

No wonder the world called her Mother Teresa. And I complain about people having trouble with spelling my last name!

I've been mulling over Mother Teresa's words. She says so many things that, if I lived them out, they would be life changing.

I've had this quote on our fridge whiteboard for weeks now. I think it is time to take action and my plan is to start small this week:

  • txt, call or write something loving to my man once per day
  • drop some baking and food off to my friends
  • take half an hour to myself & treat myself
  •  be especially cheerful on Monday at work
It seems too simple but I think Mother Teresa would probably say 'then there is no excuse for not doing it!'