Thursday, November 16, 2006

Through Times of Change

...A strand of DNA

"There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to harvest,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild,
A time to cry and a time to laugh,
A time to grieve and a time to dance.

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4 NLT)

And sometimes it all happens simultaneously!
Such is my life; always colourful, never boring.
Praise God!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Inner Strength

Since my trip to the Eastern States, family and work have been quite intense and taken my focus, but I intend posting regularly again. Thankfully, God is dependable in providing my inner strength and peace.


If you can start the day without caffeine,
if you can get going without pep pills,
if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy
to give you any time,
if you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when,
through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
if you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
if you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
if you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
if you can face the world without lies and deceit,
if you can conquer tension without medical help,
if you can relax without liquor,
if you can sleep without the aid of drugs ~
Then you are probably The Family Dog!

~Author Unknown~

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Attitude of Three Hairs

There was once a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

"Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today," so she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw she had only two hairs on her head.

"HMM," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today," and she did and she had a grand day.

The next morning she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw she had only one hair left on her head.

"Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and it was a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.

"YEAH!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Remember you may not be able to control what someone says or does or some of the situations that life throws you, but you can sure control the way you react.

~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


...The heavily loaded Boeing 767 soared smoothly home. Two and a half weeks have passed since I set out from Perth, and now as we fly westwards, we break through Melbourne's winter blanket of fog and low gloomy clouds, towards Perth's winter crisp blue skies and warm sunshine. There is still little or no rain in a drought that extends throughout the country, and which is desperately in need of extended soaking rains.

Sandwiched in the middle seats over the wings I could see nothing, but I was compensated by comments of a young lad of about 5 years who was sitting with his mother across the aisle and behind me. The bright young boy was fascinated by and giving a running commentary of every aspect of the flight to his weary mother who soon tired of answering. How I would have enjoyed sitting next to him, interacting and sharing in his enjoyment of flying!

Maybe when I'm zipping around the skies as an old-age baby-boomer traveller, he will be on the flight deck, weaving us through the stars...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

To sleep or not to sleep – that is the question!

Tonight I fly to Sydney on the 'Red Eye Special', four hours across Australia from coast to coast in the wee hours of the morning. Most people try to get a few hours' sleep, but it may be more comfortable for them if I try to stay awake. Can't risk another 'dream scream' on Qantas!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Treat anyone?


The first good rains of winter after the long, dry summer and autumn have also brought some surprises. The power lines are heavy with dust and blackouts have occurred; electricity surges have been common this week and we've blown four light bulbs in our house in just over a day.

This evening, I stood at the front door a number of times, calling for our cat to come in from the dark and rain. Another light blew, outside the front door, and though I could hear Angel I couldn't see what was causing him to drag his feet. Then, with a sudden spurt of energy he leapt over the portal and into our darkened hall, frenzied feet scrambling and slipping on the tiles.

Shutting the door behind him, I entered the lit dining area ahead of him, innocently joking, "What's all the fuss about, puss? Where's the mouse?"

With perfect timing and all the characteristics of a good discus thrower: rhythm, precision and power, Angel executed his final turn and let his prize fly neatly through the darkened door into the light, to land right at my feet!
His trophy gifted to me?

… a bedraggled soaking-wet RAT!!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

In the Karri forest

...Beautiful Karri Valley Resort on Lake Beedelup near Pemberton,
less than 4 hours South of Perth.

We have just returned from three restful days in this peaceful garden of God's creation. One day we kayaked to the hidden corner of the lake, close to the base of the Beedelup Falls, the next walked the track around the lake to the falls. Birdlife was prolific with waterbirds, cockatoos and parrots to name a few. This area is one of three National Parks (Brockman, Beedelup, Warren) in the Pemberton area, through which the Bibbulmun Track passes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thirty-five years on

...I have by good fortune come to learn of the existence of a mural "Touched by Fire", by Vietnam veteran Derek Walsh. The mural is 12-metres long and depicts the Australian experience in Vietnam. The picture above is just a small section. The art "shows the faces of those 504 young Australians who paid that terrible price in defence of their country".

On June 12, 1971,my only brother was killed in Vietnam in the last weeks of his second tour of duty. He was only 26 years old. Though 35 years have passed, I miss what might have been had I had my brother around to be part of my life. My adult sons grieve the loss of their uncle in their lives too, even though they were born several years after his death. It is sad John never knew them nor had the chance to interact in their lives and enjoy recognising some shared family traits!

John lived life fully and left a plethora of memories of wonderful practical jokes, often embarrassing for Mum and Dad but amazingly hilarious to his little sister (me). He would be delighted if he knew the re-telling of his antics has given much joy to my sons as they grew up. As they don't have a sister, I thought it safe to include tales of his original ideas for teasing and tormenting me, which they took special delight in hearing! And so my brother's memory lives on perhaps even more admirably after death.

But I can't help wondering what it would have been like if he was still here...

Fast Food Fattens Feathered Friend!

This morning, while on leave, Barry and I had breakfast at McDonald's. Hopping heavily under the outdoor tables was a willy wagtail, by far the plumpest I have ever seen. Now what does that tell us about a regular diet of fast food scraps!

Monday, June 12, 2006

An Encouraging Word

Several words of encouragement lately, one sincerely given by an unknown visitor to my blog (thank you, Leslie), have fanned the flame of my desire to express and share myself through blogging. After another bumpy patch in life, it's time to declare the bruises healed, and get going again!

Here is an entry that I had begun but not completed:

8th May
Remembering Mum—it is 10 years today since she graduated from this world to her reward. Dad and I visited her grave and we shared memories. I miss her physical presence but still feel our closeness in spirit, and need only the stop and think, "Now what would you say to me in this situation, Mum?", to hear her understanding voice in my mind, or to recall her wisdom, loving attitude or humour that she had communicated with me so many times during our close friendship of my lifetime.

Each year Mother's Day falls on or within a few days of this anniversary. I am filled with gratitude for the gift of my Mum, but am now more aware that I am the focus of Mother's Day for my two grown sons. That is both joyful and painful...

Today was a good opportunity to tell Dad that I loved and appreciated him and was grateful for these last 10 years when we have grown in our relationship in new ways. God is good!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Forgiven - but not forgotten!

At last Angel has forgiven me
for what he believes was my 'dirty trick'.

He is greeting me again when I come home from work,
but he won't come out from the bushes…

'till I have walked away from the car…!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


It is said cats have very long memories, and it is going to take Angel a long time to forget my introducing him to the new car.

One of life's small pleasures is to find Angel waiting at the top of our driveway each day as I come home from work. Like many pets, he knows the sound of my car's engine and gives the impression that he has waited expectantly and is very glad to see me return.

After several days of no show or welcome for me in my new car, I thought I would introduce him by way of a tour of its interior. He walked and climbed throughout, sniffing the upholstery and each fitting, then tested it for size by stretching out on the back window ledge. He finally decided to claim ownership with an attempt (albeit very short-lived!) to sharpen his claws on the upholstery, and prepared to exit.

'A successful exercise,' I congratulated myself, as he unhurriedly stepped from the car with great cat decorum, tail held high and firm to show his approval and that he was in control of the situation – for all of several seconds, till I shut the door and somehow set off the alarm system! The sudden, loud,
shrill wailing sent Angel flying off into the bushes, dignity shed with a sharp kitty expletive!

I tried apologizing, but the family's laughter did nothing to help, and I had to suffer feline dirty looks for the rest of the day...!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

My Dad's Gift

I did not know this time last week
It would come up my drive, this silver streak;
More class, more doors, more power to steer

And lots more room in boot and rear.

March seventeenth this gift was given

And at my home it is now livin'.

So filled with joy I might implode,
I am the Princess of the Road!
So each time as the motor I start,

I will thank my Dad with a grateful heart.

For not only am I blessed by my Father above,
But my Dad has said, “You are worthy of my love.”

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Thank you, Graham!

...(Photo used with permission)

Graham, tonight you celebrate 25 years' hosting of Radio 6PR's Nightline. Congratulations! I am one of thousands of listeners who celebrate many, many years of sharing several evenings a week with you. Thank you to your beautiful wife, Merle, and your sons for their sacrifice so that others' lives can be enriched.

Your compassion, generosity of spirit, and wonderful sense of humour draw folk to you and you have become a friend and companion-on-air to so many, including myself. As a broadcaster
and Baptist Pastor, I believe your openness, healthy larrikinism
and compassionate attitudes help break down barriers and open a way for many to know God.

Graham, may you host 6PR's Nightline for many years to come. Together with many others, I continue to pray for you and your ministry through radio.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Hairy Moment

The mention of the delightful delicacy of pig's trotters on a talkback radio interview jogged a memory from my childhood with my brother. During school holidays Mum would take us into town - Melbourne city in the 1950's - for a treat. Those were the days when newsreels ran continuously all day in small cinemas, screening cartoons, news clips and a longer feature, and you could come in or leave at any part of the cycle. Passers-by might drop in to escape the summer heat for an hour or two, as would office workers during their lunch hour, bringing their sandwiches. Eating while watching was an accepted practice, though done reasonably discretely.

Money was tight, but Mum knew where she could buy an economical meal of pig's trotters, cooked and sold ice cold in their own jelly, and they really were delicious. Carrying one each in our own individual bag, we'd feel our way into empty seats in the dark cinema, settle, then reach into our bag to pull apart and eat our pig's trotters.

Yes, I remember very well the last time we ate pig's trotters at the newsreels. It was the time when I reached into the gelatinous treat in my bag, produced a pig's trotter, and in a clear child's voice in the dark, loudly announced to all and sundry: "
Yuk! Mine's got hairs on it!!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

When I have no answers...


From The Message Bible

Job 38: 1-41
And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:
"Why do you confuse the issue?
Why do you talk without knowing what you're talking about?
Pull yourself together, Job!
Up on your feet! Stand tall!
I have some questions for you,
and I want some straight answers.

“Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you'll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,
and tucked it in safely at night.
Then I made a playpen for it,
a strong playpen so it couldn't run loose,
And said, "Stay here, this is your place.
Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.'

"And have you ever ordered Morning, "Get up!'
told Dawn, "Get to work!'
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked--
they're caught in the very act!

"Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things,
explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?
Do you know the first thing about death?
Do you have one clue regarding death's dark mysteries?
And do you have any idea how large this earth is?
Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.

"Do you know where Light comes from
and where Darkness lives
So you can take them by the hand
and lead them home when they get lost?
Why, of course you know that.
You've known them all your life,
grown up in the same neighborhood with them!

"Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
for the downpours of rain, and charts
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
so they're carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
the mother of ice and frost?
You don't for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?

"Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters,
or distract Orion from his hunt?
Can you get Venus to look your way,
or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play?
Do you know the first thing about the sky's constellations
and how they affect things on Earth?

"Can you get the attention of the clouds,
and commission a shower of rain?
Can you take charge of the lightning bolts
and have them report to you for orders?
What Do You Have to Say for Yourself?

"Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis,
and storm-savvy to the rooster?
Does anyone know enough to number all the clouds
or tip over the rain barrels of heaven
When the earth is cracked and dry,
the ground baked hard as a brick?

"Can you teach the lioness to stalk her prey
and satisfy the appetite of her cubs
As they crouch in their den,
waiting hungrily in their cave?
And who sets out food for the ravens
when their young cry to God,
fluttering about because they have no food?”…

Job 39: 26-29
"Was it through your know how that the hawk learned to fly,
soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts?
Did you command the eagle's flight,
and teach her to build her nest in the heights,
Perfectly at home on the high cliff-face,
invulnerable on pinnacle and crag?
From her perch she searches for prey,
spies it at a great distance."…

Job 40: 1-5
GOD then confronted Job directly:

"Now what do you have to say for yourself?
Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One,
into court and press charges?"

Job answered:
"I'm speechless, in awe--words fail me.
I should never have opened my mouth!
I've talked too much, way too much.
I'm ready to shut up and listen."

Copyright © 1993, by Eugene H. Peterson

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Of Quendas and Skinks

Unusual experiences are all in a day's work when your office is on a university campus away from the city. Greeting and side-stepping a quenda before entering the office is definitely more pleasant than dodging cars and pedestrians.

The quenda wetland is on private hospital grounds adjacent to the university and its conservation is a joint project between both institutions. The quenda (a species of bandicoot, which until fairly recently was on the threatened species list) frequents both campuses.
One used to occasionally join staff for lunch in a bushy outdoor area, but he hasn't been seen him since Ross stopped bringing his banana sandwiches!

Back at home, this poor little skink came inside to explore and found himself tied up in a tumbleweed of cat fur which had gathered on the hall tiles. His appearance was that of a cottonball with legs and tail! After I spent a good ten minutes carefully disentangling each of his little legs and toes, I placed him gently outside, glad that he hadn't been stressed enough to lose his tail.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Please don't feed the seagulls...


The jetties at Fremantle Boat Harbour are one of Perth's most loved places to relax and revive from the heat of the Summer's day.

After work this evening my husband and I headed down to Cicerello's for a serve of their world-famous fish'n chips, wrapped up in paper and eaten with the fingers. We chose a table outdoors on the verandah overlooking the harbour, and were entertained by the gentle boating activity.
The fish'n chips sure tasted good! We lingered to soak up the salty sea air, revitalizing ourselves with a gentle visit from the Fremantle Doctor [cooling, afternoon sea breeze]. Then the sun set and we watched a 'floor show' of changing hues of colour on the clouds and their reflection from the water.

A million dollar experience, right here on our doorstep, and costing just $10.50 with free parking! Just one thing though...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Scream!

OK, this is just too good not to record on my blog. The following article was published on 'Inside Cover' of The West Australian newspaper on 19th September 2005:

"A WA [West Australian] woman aboard a Qantas flight from Tokyo to Perth made quite an impression on passengers and flight crew.

"Noella had already flown 14 hours from Alaska and was determined to get some shut-eye on the final leg.

"She had no idea that as she drifted off she would soon cause terror at 30,000 feet.

"'My sleep was deep enough to have a very vivid dream,' she explained. 'I dreamed the plane had landed in Perth and was being locked up in a hangar for the night and because my friend and I were still sleeping we'd been overlooked.'

"In the dream Noella decided to take a deep breath and scream as loud as she could so airport staff would know she'd been locked in the hangar.

"I did and when I woke flight attendants had gathered around me," she said.

"Passengers the length of the plane heard the enormous scream and went into justifiable panic."

Unreported was that this occurred in the middle of the night when most of the passengers were sleeping. The flight attendants were very attentive, and good natured enough to forgive me for the busy time they had attending all the call lights and settling everyone down again!

Making the Most of a Soggy Bottom

Today, to finish off my end-of-year break from work, I plotted a treat of several hours at a popular outlet and clearance centre. Starting with a good-sized cappuccino coffee, I settled comfortably on the coffee shop lounge chair and reached into my bag for my book. Horror of horrors! I brushed the cardboard coffee cup and upset the entire contents into my lap, soaking shirt, thighs and bottom! Hot rivulets of coffee began streaming on the soft vinyl lounge beneath me.

After mopping up, I nonchalantly made haste to the centre's restrooms
, leaving a dripping trail behind me. But dozens of shoppers' eyes directed their attention to my soggy mess when one of the coffee shop staff chased after me, loudly calling: "Hey! Did you know you've left your handbag behind!"

Wouldn't you know it, there was a long queue for the rest room, and by the time it was my turn I had been observed and contemplated by all. Sympathetic looks queried: "Have her waters broken?", changing on noting my maturity to: "Poor soul must have a problem with bladder control". More eyes kept joining the end of the queue as it edged towards the few cubicles and I knew there would be no privacy for rinsing out the spill.

Now I am not one to retreat from life's challenges, so I considered only two options. I could (1) buy a change of clothes from one of the clothing outlets, or (2) visit the clearance bookshop where I could happily lurk and be entertained amongst the shelves and tables of books till I dried out.

Two hours later I returned to my car, head held high, stained but dry, and with a nice little pile of good books. Cost less than a new set of clothes too.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Beginning the Rest of My Life

New Year 2006 has begun with none of the drama of other years; 2 days down, 363 to go!

A year ago, only 6 hours into 2005, I had already dealt with two emergencies. After a distress call at 2 a.m., I made a trip to the hospital emergency department to collect
our younger son, now stapled together following another dramatic event initiated by the fearlessness of youth. A few hours later, followed a phone call from my elderly Father with pain, delirium and other distressing symptoms caused by having swallowed a live red back spider a day or two earlier. Most likely it had bitten him internally, perhaps several times, on the way down. And so the year continued...

Highlight of 2005 was exploring a bit of England, a tour in Europe, and stopovers in Dubai with my husband, our older son and new daughter. We had some great times and made some great memories. I experience trips in thirds: one third the excitement of planning and anticipation; one third the actual experience; and one third the reminiscing, when even the bad bits, relived with a bit of creativity and humour, become highlights to relish and share with friends.

Unplanned was my undertaking 2 trips to Alaska, one in March, the second in August/Sept. By the most direct route from Perth, Western Australia, this is 40 hours in transit each way. I expect I will write more about this in future blogs.

I go into 2006 giving praise to God for His love and many blessings in my life.