If you’re at all interested in part of the next chapter click the link below.
Somedays you wake up and you know something has changed.
Today was one of those of those days and just like a light turning on in a dark room, I realised a door was about to close and another would soon open. Since leaving Australia some months ago, the journey has been an interesting one, in that every time I approached my blog page with the intention to write, no words would come and yet I had so much to write about. My heart was full, is full, with adventure and discovery, a new land and stories. Stories I want to share, but no. I just could not.
Today tho, it became clear. I saw a door opened for me – to close. Now, that may sound strange. I’m showing up here to say goodbye, farewell and on the other hand – ‘hello’! I’ll still show up here, now and then, but i’m officially moving
closing a door – opening a door
out with the old – in with the new
I guess you could call it a RESET
You may have heard me speak about this thing I’ve had brewing behind the scenes. A story, A song, A picture I’ve had for so long – I’ve not known how to unpack it nor have I had the confidence to do so. Today something changed.
Let me explain.
Today, my fellow dreamer (hubby) and I drove off to see a little more of this land that lies under the long white cloud and I began to say out loud “I think it’s time to leave my blog and head over to my new one,”
“what new one?”
The one I’ve been working on and hiding for too long – it’s called…
this is my story, this is my song
It’s been sitting, bubbling, brewing, building, waiting patiently for the right time and at the same time I’ve been writing writing writing – trying to get all these words, our story onto paper, into a book. For some reason, I just knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the time was right to press the RESET button. I’ve still work to do and my perfectionistic nature wants to over ride ‘creative faith’ by whispering ‘NO not yet’, but I’ve heard
“when the noise of what you want to do becomes louder than what your doing then it’s time to move”
So baby steps will do – time to step out into the unknown. It scares me no end but I’m compelled to move and tho there be no end of excuses I could find to talk my self out of it
If I am to live me best life,
I need to move …. I MUST MOVE
It was not surprise then, that today’s road led us to something new, something significant. The sun was shining brightly, unlike yesterday, when everything was grey and uncertain, including me. But today, as we drove down ‘State Highway 2’ looking for a new cafe, I babbled on to fellow dreamer about the noise that was humming in my head. Fellow dreamer, also filled with with similar stirrings, babbled back and together we were one happy ‘babble’ of hope and excitement until we eventually arrived.
We found our Cafe in the little town of Pukehou not to far from the little town of Otane. We stayed there, young honeymooners, many moons ago.
Cottage Cafe – Seemingly Insignificant – Truly Enlightening
Earthy, organic and emanating warmth, it seemed to make our babble keep bubbling. It was as if we’d found a treasure or at least a sign. Something about this place seemed to be speaking to us and in time I may share that story. It was not by chance that we were here. As we sat at moss covered tables, warmed within by homemade fare and warmed without by golden sunlight, I sensed this place would be part of the new and a place we’d be coming back to.
Light bulb moments, connections and confirmations were going off like fire crackers and making something come alive in both of us. I love this.
So soon, very soon you’ll find me somewhere new
It’s an exciting journey waiting to unfold with stories waiting to be told.
I do hope you’ll join me.
Farewell my cottagedreams, I’m laying you to rest – at least for a season, trading you for something ‘new’ and in some way, although I’m sad to go, I think I may be trading my sorrows for joy.
If you had told me five years ago that I’d be doing what I’m doing today, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Some moons ago, when we left our safe home, I was thrust into a whole new world. I quickly found myself needing to be the bread winner as my man fought for his life. I slipped into the 9-5 but still dreamed of doing something a little more creative than selling drugs over the pharmacy counter. It just wasn’t cutting it but I had no choice but to soldier on.
Until one day, when a door unexpectedly opened and I became a part owner of a business called The Long Table Perth
I can’t believe how quickly our business grew and at the same time, I did too. I was stretched and when I thought I’d been stretched enough, I was stretched even more. We became a great team, my partner and I. We both stand amazed at the favour we have been given.
I’m not saying it was an easy ride. Anyone working in the food industry will know that “easy it is not!” After the honey moon days I began to wonder why on earth I was doing this? This wan’t quite what I had in mind…but then again, nothing in this life had been, so why was I surprised? I questioned…why am I doing this, what’s the point? I’m tired, stressed and this was not on my radar?
I felt a still small voice say “You don’t need to know why, just go with it.”
Have you ever been in a position like that?
It’s a little unerving. You feel unsure as you take faith steps, one by one.
It was like this for me. Then, almost suddenly, I could see a purpose in all this Long Table goodness.
I sensed a repositioning for purpose and at the same time knew the Master Builder was growing my capacity. Somedays I felt totally inadequate, out of my league but over time my confidence gained strength. I began to believe in me (thanks also to my business partner (pictured below), you have been an integral part of that)
So we come to October. Spring season for events and its been crazy. Crazy good, but crazy busy. I’ve been running back to back events, managing staff, handling admin and prepping food and while my business buddy is taking a well deserved rest I’ve run from pillar to post running this business of ours. It’s not ideal but what I have learned is that I’m strong, I’m capable and I’ve got what lit takes to do this.
October has been a blessing and I’m grateful for the opportunity to see what the Master Builder has been up to and as I prepare to leave my loved Long Table in capable hands, I know I have been well equipped for my next season in Aetoeroa.
Take courage, take those faith steps. You never know where they may lead you.
Today I’m lying on my bed when I’d much rather be out in the beautiful Spring sunshine soaking up it’s warmth, admiring it’s beauty or maybe pottering in the spring garden but sadly my body is unwell and demanding rest.
The up side is I’ve time to ponder, so ponder I do. It’s finally apparent that the season has changed and there’s no doubting ‘spring is here’. I can hear the birds singing alongside the hum of neighbours chattering on their decks nearby.
Little buds and occasional flowers have suddenly appeared on stark branches displaying a beautiful contrast and the miracle of new life.
The thing is, just weeks ago one would have thought those branches were dead and nothing good would come of them but we knew to wait, not touch the old lifeless limbs and suddenly beauty has sprung forth all in its own sweet time.
So my pondering takes me to us, maybe to you, to the seasons we can go through.
In all honesty I think most of us are uncomfortable with the ugly, deathly, dormant stages of our lives and perhaps even with the lives of those close to us. We want movement. We want change and resist the waiting, thinking this place is too ugly, not good enough and worry that good things are passing us by.
Not willing to just let seasons come and go, we tend to get in the way of ‘process’. The very process thats fashioned, yes fashioned, to bring about something more beautiful than if we’d forced the change.
Let’s not, in our eagerness to speed things up, create unnecessary ‘around the mountain’ experiences.
Today, as you go about your life, I hope you can find some joy in the place you find your self in, even if it seems like you’ve been there been forever. Something is happening within your seemingly dead branch. Know that this lifeless place is written in the DNA of the original plan and the road you walk is leading you to a better and brighter you.
Stolen moments and little getaways are so important. Family is important.
So couple of weeks ago we set on a weekend adventure to visit our bigger three.
First a flying trip down into what we call “exile” where offspring number four resides with her man and two little ones. Jumping in the car, hubby puts on his laid back vibes and we’re off driving deep into the South.
Breathing in the cool forest air, playing with little ones amongst the trees and listening to the sound of birds singing makes us come alive. Creative souls inspired.
Our hearts fill with delight and we’re just a little sad we don’t get to do this often enough.
Cares of our city life can dampen our adventuring spirit – too quickly we find ourselves tired on a conveyer belt of life thats hard to stop.
When we do rewards are invaluable.
Creativity comes alive.
Time to breath.
Time to ponder.
Time to connect.
And precious memories are made.
Little hands Little feet.
Experiencing the unexpected like Tulips in bloom.
We stay a night, leaving early and set off to visit offspring five and three not so far away.
Our first stop COFFEE
Sitting in Merchant n Maker watching our big boy do his thing.
He’s seamless in his ability to embrace the crowd and pump out copious amounts of coffee. We’re proud of his venture at Maker Espresso – roasting his own coffee.
Order Great Coffee Here Sunday morning on the beach where papa bear, although sad not to be surfing with them anymore, was more than happy to photgraph them at his favourite old spots.
A final celebration that left us tummy and heart full knowing our next visit would be to see the soon expected arrival of grand bubba number three. Time out to make memories with our little family in the South.
Life as we knew it changed in 2012.
Suddenly the road ahead became obscured, like looking through the windscreen when the rain is pelting down. Everything blurred. Our plans undone, our view hidden. Then confusion came running, wanting to wrap is spindly arms around me as I struggled with ‘what now?’ My little cottage dream shattered, now floating out to sea and on the incoming tide came unwelcome feelings of abandonment when, for a moment, I forgot who I belonged to.
Has God really let this happen to us?
Perhaps you’re going through the valley, trudging over a mountain, going through the fire and you’re asking yourself those very words.
I can’t answer that but I have to believe that God is good and he is kind and although, for us, things didn’t go as we’d planned and yes, “life, was nothing like the brochure”. Deep down I knew God would make good out of our misfortune.
We set off into unchartered waters, holding tightly to hope and words from the good book penned for our help. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
To be honest, more than five years on, this season continues to be anything but easy. After wading through painful goodbyes, leaving our ‘familiar’ some years ago, we look set to venture into the unknown yet again. All those feelings are rushing back like a flood gate opening after long rains. Oh how I long for smooth sailing.
Days of faith are often overshadowed by hardship and heaviness. I struggle to make sense of it all. We share our story and it seems almost unbelievable, like one of those bad knife adds – you know the one I mean, the one where they promise you a bonus deal with your purchase. Except this wasn’t the ‘extra blessing deal’ – this was the ‘you’re getting an extra trial deal – another trip down the valley deal’ and perhaps we’ll ‘throw in a little walk through the fire deal too!’ So ridiculous that we learned to laugh in the face of it.
We heard “Count it all joy” genuine words spoken to comfort by dear ones trying to understand. We learned quickly that it was best to smile and offer thanks. Sometimes, lover and I would come away and look into each others eyes, through tears say, “I see you, I see you.” It sounds very dramatic now, but at the time this line from the movie “The Avatar” became our ‘catch cry’, calming our inner turmoil and telling us “ it’s going to be ok”.
So today, if you’re finding it hard to understand why your life isn’t quite like the brochure – I want to say “I see you”
“I SEE YOU”
Wherever you’re at, what ever you’re going through – I want you to know ‘you are seen’ and you’re journey is not insignificant. Take the life line. Believe that God is good and although it might not seem like it when you’re wading through mud, stumbling through fire, trust he will bring you through.
Can my words help you while you walk through your valley? I hope so.
All I can do is bare my heart and tell you I’ve struggled too, really struggled but I’m still falling into Him. I want to say “it’s ok, you’ll get through this, but maybe only on your knees. This may be your Valley of Baca – your Valley of Weeping.
Tears “out” will keep your heart soft and water the parched ground trying to take over your soul.
and tho I’ve cried a thousand tears and still I cry, I can’t help but look to God. He’s been there too often to know that he wont show up again. The author and the finisher of my faith. The beginning and the end. The Alpha and Omega. He’s got this. He’s got us.
My prayer is that the blessing of God will continue to flow over you and as tears fill your pools, springs will come up in your desert, wastelands will become watered fields, flowers will appear and you’ll singing again. Songs of Solomon 2:11-12
A few words I penned just yesterday
Recently I had the great privilege of spending a few weeks in Italy investing into a dream I’ve had for some time. Some years back I’d stumbled upon an Aussie girl living in Italy. Lisa kept popping up on my FB feed and I soon realised there was much more to this lady than the pretty pics she posted of her home in Florence.
I keenly read and followed threads like a regular social media stalker. Turns out this lady was the writer of a book I’d pulled off the library shelf years earlier, in my pursuit of all things Italian. I would read any historical non fictional story I could get my hands on just to feel a little bit closer to a land I’d fallen in love with.
Death in the Mountains is the true story of the murder a peasant farmer in the mountains of Casentino, Tuscany, in the winter of 1907. It’s an easy and interesting read, one full of history and most enjoyable.
All that aside, I also found Lisa Clifford, ran a writers retreat in Italy. Instantly, I began to dream of one day being able to attend such a wonderful experience. Two things I loved all rolled into one. Italy and Writing.
Dreams do come true and if you read my previous blog you’ll know that yours truly got to go to Italy again and to The Writers Retreat. Pinch myself – it’s true.
It’s been almost 8 weeks and so much has happened, including a trip to New Zealand with two of my beautiful five for a very important family gathering. Impeccable timing. Sadly writing has ground to a halt and my book put aside.
So how does one gain momentum after such a slump. I came home filled with purpose and anticipation ready to swing into action. Pursuit of a daily writing routine foremost in my mind faded and gave way to family. Busy days spent with children and their offspring, extended family, The Long Table and did I mention dog sitting.
This is just what everyday life looks like when ‘the excitement fades’. If I am ever to arrive at completion what must happen now is plain hard work.
After the wonderful experience The Art of Writing produced I wrote up a storm. Admittedly I was alone in Italy and it was easy to write without the distractions of the daily grind.
I thought I would automatically slip into a new rhythm. My excitement and enthusiasm was palpable. Alas, as much as I love this writing, it’s going to take a lot of organisation and determination to get this baby back in the air and land it safely on the shore of ‘Completion’.
So my friend, even against the odds, fan your dream, into flame. It’s a gift to you and others.
I don’t really know where my love for Italy began, but as I walked these beautiful ancient streets, I was enthralled by beauty and history all rolled into one.
Church bells rang out Ave’ Maria and caused my heart to sing, making me want to spin with with excitement. Sheer overwhelming joy of being in such a place, history set within church walls, ancient stone streets but then I remembered, thought to myself “get a grip – you’re a middle aged woman, those days of innocent twirling should be long gone?”
Walking into another Cathedral it was all I could do to stop myself singing. Words bubble up from somewhere deep inside me and ‘I can’t stop the music!”
Sometimes, just a song of deep reflection rose from within. I felt the sense of awe, holy reverence surrounding a place, but on other occasions, I felt a strong urge to shout out, “JESUS IS ALIVE, HE’S ALIVE — DON’T YOU KNOW HE’S ALIVE ?”
I sing it out inside my head, in argument to death and doom splattered over walls, sepulchres, hidden graves. Perhaps I’m seeing it wrong? Perhaps they never knew a resurrected Christ.
My inner twirling ceases and I am sad. Sad that this is all that’s left of what truly happened all those years ago.
But there was this one day, when I stumbled into a church somewhere in Rome, I felt peace and even a little inside twirl brewing. My eyes turned left and I saw the towering picture of a beautiful angel leaning down to touch a little child. My ears inclined to a still small voice I know well, and in a voice that sounded just like mine I heard these words.
“Remember, I sent an Angel that day. Touched your shoulder, just like that, just like the picture painted long before you stepped foot here. I foreknew you. Knew you’d need that touch to carry you to where you are now, knew this moment,” and there was more.
“a little girl named Stephanie fell over in the street – an angel picked her up that day and stood her on her feet….”
Right there in that ancient church I’m met, reminded of the poem written one night by my dear Mum.
My eyes filled with tears and I knew that God still inhabited those places, maybe not all of them, but some and He still met with people as they came and went. Always waiting, always watching. He saw bended reverent knees, tears in wooden pews and He came, He comes.
Child like faith, oh how we need that and a heart willing to twirl, you’re never too old.
I’ve decided I don’t much like Rome in the summertime. I guess it’s not really summer yet but it’s hot, hot hot. Tourists following those dreaded flags walk en’ mass, blocking little cobbled lanes and I’m glad I’m not one of them.
Eventually, I settled for an afternoon spritz, just to catch my breath.
It’s a sad state of affairs when you’ve got a few hours to waste in Rome and you don’t want to be a tourist. I walked my weary legs of yesterday after arriving around midday.
Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Della Republica, Santa Maria degli Angeli (Maria’s church of the Angel I guess), a look over the walls into the Roman Forum and, at dusk, a glimpse of the Colosseum to name a few. A coffee standing at the bar in La Casa Del Caffe and I was done. Done and dusted.
I slept in Hotel Giorgina, sounds pretty I know, but it was old, plain and definitely in need of some love. But the room was clean and I was thankful for a bed, clean and comfortable.
So here I am this morning, biding time til my train leaves for Fiumicino, trying to block out sounds of cars, buses, horns and Italian gibberish. My ‘dolce’ looks more like tile than an apple cake and my coffee, small, long gone.
I’m pondering the past weeks, here in Bella Italia. Amazing weeks, Italian – God weeks that I’m still trying to digest. He really is everywhere and even in my rushing yesterday he quietly came to whisper in my ear again. I see you, I’m in this.
Grateful for time to write, this book, almost done, and I can feel his hand leading me to uncharted waters. This time safer ones and I’m ready to go, not only home, but to where he leads next.
I’ve spent the past weeks running out early every morning trying to beat the birds to my fig tree and most times I have. I’m blessed to have figs, figs in plenty after what looked like an ominous early sign of NO FIGS – WHAT NO FIGS!!
I was a wee bit worried. You see for me, I look for God everywhere, yes everywhere. Was God trying to say something and if He was, then what?
He speaks to me in the little everyday things I do. I’m always listening, leaning in to Him because I need Him more and more. My once strong self has finally come to know that with out him I’m pretty lost. All human strength aside. He makes me whole, He completes me like no other (sorry my love – you do too but it’s just a different kind of completeness.)
But it’s God, it’s He who completes me in a most satisfying way.
I hear his still small voice – I’m at peace.
I can walk through the valley and find my way in the storm. I’m at rest.
So I carefully watched that fig tree to see what would happen. That first little fig just dissapeared, vanished without a trace along with all the other little buds. I was taken aback. You can read about it here.
When weeks later I noticed a new batch of buds forming I was more than happy. I could already see them on our Long Table. I thought of our journey over the past few years. The ups, the downs and remembered the moments of pure joy that came when I saw the light of a little fruitfulness coming our way only to be suddenly plunged back into despair and those familiar feelings of hopelessness. It was then I heard a little whisper and felt Him say “I’m still working on your behalf even when you can’t see me – just as you tend the fig tree you can tend the opportunities that are coming your way. You can enjoy an abundance of more than just these figs.”
Music to my listening ears. But what did it mean?
I’d been talking with my sister about our arduous journey and mentioned my daily lessons with the fig tree. A few days later while off off talking to “G” as she called him, He led her to a passage from the bible….
Proverbs 27:18 Whoever tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who is attentive to his master will be honored.
I liked that. I liked it even more when days later a few interesting opprotunities came our way. I’m tending to them now, honouring Big G and trusting He’s in this and that he’ll give me the strength and wisdon I need in the process. He’ll give me the capacity to increase my ability to ‘tend’.
I’m expectant and ready for the fruit that comes from these opportunities.