Friday, 28 December 2012


One of my favourite words.
What is it?
baggage, really.
We all have it, whether we admit it or not.
I discovered "chimidunchik" in a book called "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lasser.
She tells a story... 
"There's an old yiddish story, a bit slap stick of course, about a man who gets on to a crowded train & all the seats are taken except for the seat next to one particular man..he asks him if he'd mind moving his luggage so he can sit down, no after a while he asks again but still he gets no response, by now he's fuming so he starts yelling at him "move your chimidunchik, move your chimidunchik!" still the man does nothing so the annoyed passenger picks up the bag & throws it out the window, turns to the man & says "there what do you think of that!!??" The man shrugs & says it wasn't my chimidunchik."

Did you ever think about what your chimidunchik looks like?
No, of course not, you've never heard of such a thing until this minute, right?!
But think about it..
Is it a crazy huge container full of all kinds of random useless/toxic junk?
Or would that be all neat & tidy, labelled, categorised & orderly?
Or just maybe, you are one of those rare people that has managed to come through life..
   bearing only the lightest of luggage, filled with happy memories & good legacies.
 If you're wondering what on earth I'm talking about, then this post probably isn't for you.

Some of us have been loaded up with baggage so high we can't see if the sky is blue or gray & the crazy part...most of the stuff doesn't even belong to us, only, no-one ever told us that we didn't have to store it nor carry it for some one else our whole lives.
Every object has a story, a bit of history & got given to us or collected somewhere in the journey.
I guess, I've been on an unpacking mission for the last 23 years.
When I started out my life looked a lot like the picture above, only the room was about 10 times as full. One day I began to really look at the conglomeration & I realised that it was nearly all, really ugly, dumb stuff...
 not mine,
 & that's not mine
 & neither is that!
So, I started throwing it OUT &/or giving it back!
 I soon discovered, not many people are too keen on you doing that.
 They'd rather you just kept all their crap & didn't tell, even when the stuff is suffocating you & there's no room left for you to live your life around it.
I have found that when you don't own your own stuff; face the pain & the failures & the broken-ness, then most likely, your children will have to wear it or your grandchildren will suffer & have no idea why.
Through the years I've been told to "pull my socks up", "just try to be positive..focus on all that you've been given", "be grateful", "let it go", "just give it all to the Lord", "just relax!".
I have also heard a million times oh "yes BUT children are SO much more resilient than you think".
 No-one blames their autistic child for being autistic, or an asthmatic daughter for her condition so why do kids from broken homes so often get left to fend for themselves?
The mess is not there fault!
I was born a long time ago, to young, unsupported parents who failed to find their way in marriage or draw the threads of family together. Before it barely began, the family was shattered & broken & I was subsequently left without any sense of value or knowledge of my place in the world.
In the interim decade before I left "home" I was largely displaced & mostly miserable & I shall simply say that my step-mother's mantra "if you haven't got anything good to say DON'T say anything at all" didn't work out well for her, or for me.
I married at 19.
Life was immensely better for finding a soul mate.
 Rob & I muddled along together learning & loving & growing quite well for a decade or so & I felt reassured that life would improve for me now that I had a kindly christian mother-in-law, but sadly, it turned out that she was more toxic than anything else I had ever encountered.
I did all the good things like praying a LOT, being nice, forgiving, accepting...did I say being nice.
It didn't work..I got sick & stayed sick.
And nobody cared.
I lost two decades of my life.

And then I timidly, quietly started blogging &
soon my darling husband gave me a little camera
& then something remarkable began to happen..
At the beginning of 2012 a brave woman wrote & owned these words:

"liberate - grant freedom to; free from confinement
set free
free, release, rescue, save, deliver, discharge,
redeem, let out, set free, let loose, untie, emancipate,
unchain, unbind, manumit

so I am ready .... 
ready to liberate from:

any chains that are bound around me
carrying the burden of other people's choices and actions
things I cannot control,
worry about what others think of me
unnecessary expectations of myself and others
worry that if I do it ... it could be all wrong
prejudices, negative thoughts, the gremlins
worry of "not being good enough"
jealousies, all the "shoulds" that I lug around day to day."

And I said yes..yes that's for me too.
It's time...time for liberty.
Largely because of you (& a very good homeopath) kind, sweet, friendly sisters,
 I have found the voice, the courage & the inspiration to live this..liberty.
Thank you!!!!
I want to hug you all & shout thank you!!!!!!

Funny though, even as I write this, I "hear" a knock at the door & I go to see who's there, only to find an old familiar suitcase. I lean down to pick it up & stop abruptly, oh my goodness, I nearly bought it back inside; just in time I doesn't belong to me, it isn't mine...

 & I turn & walk away.
I can now stand at the threshold of a brand new year with gratitude in my heart & in the knowledge of a new, gentle confidence that everything will be alright..
I call it intentional grace (thank you Angela).
Intentional grace will be the "colour" of 2013 for me.
If you read all're amazing!
Thank you & bless you!


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Garlands of Stardust

I've been thinking this week...
that the very best way to come to Christmas...
is like a child.
In fact, there's just no other decent way to turn up to the event.
Adults seem to regularly get themselves overwhelmed, underwhelmed, stressed & disillusioned...& sometimes a little confused.
But kids...they are just full of bouncy, can't-wait-wonder & anticipation.
I also figure, that babies don't care much for presents.
I imagine Jesus wasn't all that thrilled with the gold or the myrrh & frankincense...pfff!
But it doesn't take long & even by that first birthday children have become enthralled with the whole gift thing: scrunching the paper, blowing out those candles & all the fuss & laughter.
I wonder..what might delight the Son of God...wearing nappies (diapers) on his first birthday?
Through an odd chain of events, I found this wonderful picture at a twilight garage sale on Wednesday.
Utterly enchanting.
It's by Daphne Allen.
She had the sweetest imagination...A Christmas Dream, in fact.

Little angels presenting the Christ child gifts from heaven on his first birthday
Angel-made garlands of stardust & golden sparkles of sunlight.

When published in The London Illustrated News, it was said of this picture:

"Our Artist has let her fancy play round the notion that on the Christ Child's first birthday the little angels gave Him all that was most beautiful to deck a tree.
 First the stars played their part, each giving out a gleam which was transformed into a little star to shine on the branches in place of candles. The angels made garlands of star-dust, and gathered icicles and frosted fir-cones and sprays of ivy, sparkling dew-hung cobwebs and grasses and shining silver threads of rain, and glowing, many-coloured bubbles floated up from waterfalls. Brilliantly-coloured little birds came from the far places of the earth and hovered about the tree like living jewels, and bright butterflies, moths and dragon-flies joined them. The angels gathered ripe, glowing fruits, nuts and berries, and from the sea and running water they took the golden sparkle of sunlight and silver shimmer of the moon."

I will forever remember this story when I see a beautiful Christmas tree.

I have also been thinking this week that Christmas can be such a hard time for so many people. There is so much loss & suffering & loneliness & sometimes there is so little hope. Those who have lost their children recently...
hearts breaking..
Many thanks to Jo-Anne Coletti for the use of her poignant & beautiful photo.

For those that have lost loved ones there can be such an ache & emptiness.
Christmas-time can also be the hardest time of the year for some.
I found this beautiful poem on tumblr the other day. 
It's written by Tim Chambers.

Wing’s of the Angels

A gentle wind blew cross the land
Reaching out to take a hand
For on the winds the angels came
Calling out a child’s name.
Left behind, are many tears
Loving memories of the years
Of joy and love, a life yet lived
And now to God a child is sent.

On angel’s wings, a heavenly flight
The journey home, towards the light
To those who weep, a life is gone
But in God’s love, ‘tis but the dawn.

The Vision (another of Daphne Allen's pictures) found here.

Safe in tender care.

Only children could present the Christmas story quite like this..I do so love this very Kiwi version.

Yes indeed...may your Christmas be joyful, peaceful & bright!
Thank you so much for popping in. It is such a delight to have you visit me here. You can visit with Floss & other friends here.
With every blessing to you & your loved ones.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Two Babies, Three Visitors & a Pohutukawa Tree

It's summer in the garden..
 the petunias are incandescently lovely, the feijoa trees are flowering..
 There is so much colour & vibrance all around.
All this has rather bamboozled poor Mole as he was quite sure that he should be mellow & sleepy & tucked up inside at Christmas-time & he's having a difficult time adjusting to the notion of Christmas in summer. .Just yesterday, we discovered him fast asleep in a chair. He'd acquired himself a night cap (in fact a tiny sock that Fynn left behind one Christmas as a baby) & snuggled down to listen to the concert programme on the wireless & in no time at all he was snoring his wee head off. We decided not to disturb him..let him sleep, let him sleep.
"After all the best part of a holiday is not so much perhaps to be resting yourself, but as to see the other fellows busy working".
Ratty has been such a delightful house guest & being an agreeable sort of animal he has happily taken to doing a little laundry for the three, which has kept him quite busy indeed.
Toad has fallen in love with the red contraption & he is most convivial & popular with the other animals...they all cheered when he entered the room inviting all & sundry on a bumpy ride to beyond & back. He was overheard to be saying "Well, well, perhaps I am a bit of a talker. A popular fellow such as I am - my friends get round me - we chaff, we sparkle, we tell witty stories - and somehow my tongue gets wagging. I have the gift of conversation. I've been told I ought to have a salon, whatever that may be."

Toad was finding the sunshine just a tad overwhelming but we soon remedied that..
 with a small parasol.
He was really quite ecstatic when he came upon his great, great uncle Hubert in the undergrowth.
The toys are having a marvelous time.
So while they were all busy, I found a little time to make some delicious Christmas Stolen.
It's such a joy to make. You can find my recipe here.
 Made with quark & yeast required.
This year I soaked the fruit in orange juice for several hours first & added extra red cherries for colour & yumminess.
Actually, a Kiwi Christmas is largely defined by the colour red & not just fancy red tractors!
Red pohutukawa trees..
They especially love to grow near the sea.
This lovely old pohutukawa tree is outside the Cathedral in Napier.
Red feijoa & bottle brush flowers have the birds & bees a humming.
What a surprise to see horses clip clopping by on Saturday morning. We were careful not to let Toad see them or he might have been off out the gate after them.
It was this jolly road that Betty would cross every single day to see us. 
This morning he didn't make it so well.
(yes, gender issues)
Clipped by a car & badly injured he managed to get himself to our back door.
There was lots of knocking on doors & gathering together to try & help poor Betty/Rosie/Boots, but he was gone. We sent him off with his adopted owners wrapped in an old blanket & laid in a washing basket. Sam (turned out was a friend of our daughters) returned the basket later in the day & gave me a lovely poinsettia. I gave her white sweet peas & a big hug. 
And then all we have are memories.
And kindness matters such a lot.

Our guests have asked again about the two babies & the mangers in our little nativity.
They do seem to have a lot of angels watching over them all.
And here is the answer..a chicken soup story that touched my heart some years ago.
It is now my favourite Christmas story.
I think I will go on sharing it forever:

Two Babies in a Manger
In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments, and a large orphanage. About one hundred boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994. Time for our orphans to hear for the first time, the traditional story of Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following the instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady threw away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blankets. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their mangers as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about six years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young child, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings very accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?'"And Jesus told me, 'If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me.' So I got in the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me that I could stay with him—for always." As little Misha finished his story his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him
And I asked him.."If I bring you a soft & gentle heart will that be a good enough gift?"....

I was so delighted to find this song on youtube.
I feel fairly certain you'll have not have heard this particular Christmas song before.
Hope you like it.

Thank you so much for calling in. Hope you're managing to hold all the good & simple joys close to you in this busy time. More advent thoughts just here.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Auspiciously Beyond the Wild Wood

From the confines of the small & much traveled box, could be heard a muffled & insistent voice..."I do most certainly recall your very words. Now, did you, or did you not, say.. that "The Wide World was something that doesn't matter, either to you or me. I've never been there, and I'm never going, nor you either, if you've got any sense at all?"
 "Yes, yes, alright, I did indeed say that very thing" came the tired & wearisome reply.
 "See, I told you you were wrong. We have had the grandest, longest, most superlative adventure...ah! oh do get off my leg Ratty...ouch! Don't you agree Toad?"
 Phew that's better..oh my, whispered Mole. "Ratty, Toad where in the world are we now?"
 Greeted by friends & refreshments after their long & strange journey from Darwin, Toad's pride was still smarting from reading the label on the box they had come in.."toys!!!", he exploded "TOYS" before he remembered his manners & lowered his voice a notch. Ratty was a little distracted wondering if he could be so forward as to ask for a bath this evening, he really did want to wash off that baby lick, very friendly, friendly indeed, but he'd felt hot & sticky & a tad uncomfortable ever since the squeezing episode.
A small wander around their new lodgings soon had the three friends abuzz with speculation. "Why look", cried Ratty it says "The Christmas Story". 
 "But where in the world is the snow & the Mistletoe?" mused Toad.
 Well it looks like Christmas they all agreed & there are animals that look a lot like old Badger about.
"In fact, I feel awfully much at home, just right now, sighed Mole in deep contentment..I think I shall be very happy here for the rest of the World Wide Adventure...isn't that right Toad?
 But he wasn't listening, oh no, Toad's busy mind had wandered off, now captivated by the red vehicle that they had arrived in..dreaming of driving free & fast once more. "Do you have country-side here", he abruptly enquired, vividly envisioning a fast ride in a red machine.
 But it wasn't traveling in fast machines that Mole was thinking of; it was something else very large & red & juicy indeed!
 He began to squirm with anticipation & delight...oh Ratty do look!! Giant strawberries!!
Everyone stood stock still as a strangled squeal could be heard coming from the kitchen. "Whatever is the matter now?" Pop asked Toad, rushing to his rescue. The poor thing was quivering, mouth flapping, shocked & rooted to the stool he had clambered up on to have a look over the top. "Oh you really are too nosey for your own good", Pop declared, "That's just the new plug for the sink. You silly old thing!!"
 A rather blanched & subdued Toad was then quietly escorted to the back garden for a breath of fresh air. It wasn't long at all, before he had quite recovered himself & his curiosity. Much to his glee he had discovered yet another fancy contraption, soon he would be wild & free & roaming once more.
  Now, where had he hidden his sunglasses? He would most certainly be needing those on the open road.
 After a hearty supper, it eventually grew dark & at last the three were convinced that the world had not turned upside down after all, but there was in fact, such a thing as a summer Christmas.

 "Why ever do you have two babies & two mangers?' Ratty enquired of Pop. "Ah, now that's a story for another day" came the reply.

 So with the promise of vintage picnics & feasts galore..
Ratty helped a tired & very satisfied Mole find his way to bed, all the while muttering quietly over & over 

Good night sweet friends...sleep well x0x0x0
vin mag archive limited

I shall not be surprised if you are feeling a little bamboozled!  The Willows left Pom Pom way back in September last year, the 16th to be precise, for a Gand Tour Of The Whole World. You can find their retrospective itinerary here. They will be staying with us for Christmas before making there way home on a big jet plane.
Can you believe it..they have arrived in Aoteoroa (The Land of The Long White Cloud) on the

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