Monday, 15 December 2014

Keep Calm & Carry On: Tea & Biscuits

When I was young I didn't have a dream for the future. 
I never really even imagined what the future might hold for me & I had no idea what I wanted to "do" with my life. So I can only imagine that if you did envision a future for yourself as a young woman, it most likely would include getting married, or at least falling in love. I doubt that many dreams involve wanting to get married 5 times or facing 7 broken relationships & 3 miscarriages.
The month of December always finds us chatting & thinking & celebrating about how we met so long ago & how we've somehow made it to 34 years of being married.
It's a long time ago now, that we first met!
YFC trip Samoa 1979,where we met.

Many people gave us 6 months.
Had we understood the odds stacked against us we might have moved to another country, first off!
But we didn't & the trials have been enormous. But, no one else understood just how much we loved each other & how that would see us through, sustain us; be made new over & over.
A few weeks ago, a friend posted a link from The Business Insider (of all places). The article looked intriguing so Rob loaded it on to his iPad & we took it away with us when we went to the Waikato; the title "Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To Two Basic Traits"

The opening premise is this: 

"Every day in June, the most popular wedding month of the year, about 13,000 American couples will say “I do,” committing to a lifelong relationship that will be full of friendship, joy, and love that will carry them forward to their final days on this earth.

Except, of course, it doesn’t work out that way for most people.

The majority of marriages fail, either ending in divorce and separation or devolving into bitterness and dysfunction.

Of all the people who get married, only three in ten remain in healthy, happy marriages, as psychologist Ty Tashiro points out in his book "The Science of Happily Ever After," which was published earlier this year."

Did you hear that...3 in 10 remain in happy, healthy, marriages!!
So...what makes the difference?
It's actually really, really this study they conclude that it all comes down to kindness & generosity!
To me, it's a whole lot like "love your neighbour as yourself". It's in the marriage that we get a million opportunities to work out our own stuff; to learn to be kind to ourselves & to be patient with one another, to learn the language of attention & generosity; only then, can we make a half decent job of loving others in the "neighbourhood".
So right here in the middle of our messy, topsy-turvy, rough around the edges, unfinished life we chose to celebrate our love & be grateful.
We still find ourselves feeling timid & shy & not terribly brave (which frankly, is quite ridiculous!) but we managed to take ourselves off to West Quay in Ahuriri & to Mexi Mama for dinner last week.

 This seagull flew in with his catch as we watched.
The Mexican food & vibe were fabulous.
This old shipping warehouse vault had been transformed in to a quintessential Mexican shrine to St Thereses of Lisieux at which candles are lit each night at eight. 
 St Therese is also known as "The Little Flower of Jesus" so I guess it makes sense that they'd paint her with heaps of roses.
 It's such a nice time of the year to be grateful & celebrating...
but there's always so much to get done!
A lesson we learned a long time ago is: the imperfections truly do not matter. Just do the best you can & don't fuss. 
 Keep calm & carry on.
 None of it requires perfection just great kindness & love.
I have been putting together a random patchwork Sanderson tablecloth for some time now, not complete yet...we used it anyway.
We have very busy birds here you know...there was just no time to wash the outdoor chairs so we plonked down old towels & covered them with pretty vintage blankets.
We picked flowers from our own garden during the day.
Every year this rose Jubilee Celebration flowers right on time; a little later than all the others.
 A friend came to serenade us (well sometimes she's a friend when she's not dropping on the chairs!).
The accidental hollyhocks towered nearby.
 The 6th of December, our wedding anniversary was warm & fragrant.
 We'd been at Mitre 10 earlier buying potting mix & paint & admired the enormous pots of gypsophila (I was going to call it Babies's Breath but we don't want any of that now do we!) Rob managed to miss the cue but got it eventually & returned to bring one home. "So sorry", he said, "Please keep telling me & help me learn to be more romantic."
 We found this amazing green vase in Cambridge on our little holiday It'll be our celebration vase from now on.
 We took some tripod selfies so we'd remember our sweet time in the garden beyond the day.

 Borrowed he may be but nosey, non-the-less. Never one to miss a get together...
 our Charlie from friend from next door.
 Earlier in the day another lovely old friend Kerry popped in for a visit.
It's lovely to have old friends. They are so important.
We bought a wee gingery treat from the raw, vegan cabinet in a cafe in Matamata & loved it.
When we got home we had a go at recreating the flavours.
 They are so delicious you really probably should consider where to hide them before you even make them. You can find my recipe here: Really Gingery Ginger Snaps.
Goodness & now it's nearly Christmas!
Wishing you a December of sweet memories, kindness & generosity of heart...& a little peace.
Much love Catherine x0x0x


  1. You guys are so great! Happy anniversary month! I love your clothes, those green stem pants with a flowery top. Cute!
    I am happy to enjoy your garden! It is freezing here!

  2. Beautiful~ Thanks for sharing and Congratulations to you two for treating each other with respect... making your marriage last happy Holidays, Diane

  3. Absolutely lovely! Congratulations and best wishes for many more years of happiness.

  4. Just beautiful dear Catherine, I just loved the photo in the garden of you both smiling/laughing & looking at each other. I think you should frame that one, its so lovely & you both look so happy. Happy Anniversary for the 6th my friend :-) I feel like driving to Mitre 10 & buying myself a pot of gypsophlia ... Oh & while I am there, perhaps that beautiful rose you have in your garden :-)
    You are so right, kindness & generosity help with so many things. Being kind costs very little but can seem like asking the earth of some folk. Hope you have a wonderful festive season dear Catherine x0x0

  5. What a celebration! A marriage that lasts the test of time IS something to shout from the roof tops, so many don't last, which is very sad. Happy days to you both.

  6. Hello Catherine,

    Kindness matters. Absolutely loved this post. Saint Therese was the Saint's name I took for Confirmation.

    Happy days to you both.

  7. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post, you two are very cute.

  8. Wonderful celebration and lovely pictures. I adore Gypsophila, it is so gentle and kind.Merry Christmas Catherine, I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Shirley


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