Chapel of Sand

Predictably, a love fest.

Baby toes were sugar-coated in fine white sand and elbow dimples were smeared with sunscreen. We sat in the pool till our fingertips were crinkly, and laughter splashed like water around us. Six children and four adults meant most of the time was spent on duty, yet the whole weekend was settled and peaceable.

No church service for me this Easter, not like last year's epic event.
This year a different me walked alone along a deserted beach,
and sang a silent song.

This year I stepped down an aisle of remembrance, in a synagogue of nature between the foam and the tidemark. I collected shells like glossy beads, warm from the ocean's hand and noted with sadness the polluted shore. I was stepping through flecks of tar and over torn plastic bags and bottles. It seemed so wrong, the offal of industry strewn over the purity.

To me it spoke of my concept of salvation.

As I stepped over blackened, torn waste pressed into the sand, and got myself a pair of tar-stained feet, I felt a sense of something beyond what this keyboard can translate.

Something of a tender love for a ruined and messed up world.

And it was good.



We are leaving this morning for a few days away,
to this...

As I remember Easter on a beach in the South China Sea,
I will stare at the sand and contemplate that
there is One whose loving thoughts towards us
outnumber these grains.

If your soul is dry,
may you find quenching.
If your questions are endless,
may you find peace.
If your longing is deep,
may you find completeness.
If you have little,
may you find much.
If you are lost,
may you be found.
If you are cold,
may you be warmed.
If you are hopeless,
may you be restored.

And if you feel alive and joyous,
may you look for one who needs what you have.


A Beautiful Dozen

You are an amazing kid M1.

Each year that passes never ceases to surprise us with how much fun you are to have around. Your humour is quick, your quirks are adorable and you are one of the kindest girls I know. Your bedroom is still messy, I don't expect that to change anytime soon. You are a morning person, I expect that to change anytime soon.
You have an unquenchable appetite for junk food but will eat whatever I ask you to, with the exception (still) of sausages, bacon and ham.
You are smart, practical and yet walk with one foot in la-la land.
'Earth to K?' we say.
'Oh, sorry, I fazed out for a while there Mum'
You are responsible, yet get mighty distracted :)
especially by technology.
Thank goodness though, my tech angel,
you have sorted out the stereo, dvd, tv, cameras, phones, thumb drives and computers for me endless times. Sometimes I have no idea what to do and you lie there, twiddle a few wires and fix what isn't working.
You are creative, dynamic, like bold bright colours but nothing fussy.
You have always steered clear of makeup and jewellery.
That hasn't changed, you are frilly-phobic.
You love Snoopy, Cola Mentos, music and art.
Homemade hamburgers for dinner tonight as per your request,
and a family dvd night.
Your party is at an art studio with a pottery firing oven,
then returning home to make pizzas,
watch a dvd and have a sleepover,
complete with midnight feast.
You are careful about your friends and don't get hyped up by much,
and even when concerts are all the rage and there for the taking,
you say, 'nah, maybe next time round. It's not the last world tour so and so will be taking. I'd rather go with the right people.'

Don't worry, I'll stop here and not share all your secrets ;)

Except to say,
Happy Birthday my sweet girl who is taller than me.
Love you xxx


One Five

It has been nearly twenty years since I was a fifteen year old with acne, glasses and braces.
Twenty years since reading that green felt tip penned on a desk that tilted my world.
"will you go out with me?"

You traced the space you wanted a ring to sit on my wedded finger.
We were in a classroom, cleaners sweeping the concrete floors around us.

I smiled and shrugged.
Inside I knew it couldn't possibly happen.

We were kids.

This was the beginning of learning not to listen to reason.
For fifteen years over we have celebrated reason defied.

We did marry,
on a scorching African morning
in a tiny school chapel.
I carried creamy buds of tuber roses and vivid magnolias,
wore tulle and slipper satin.

We were kids.

That was before we had lived on 3 continents.
Before we had 3 children,
a big waggy dog,
and an impressive collection of suitcases,
hellos and goodbyes.

That was before we came face to face
with the grown up versions of who we have turned out to be.

I didn't write an anniversary post on the real day,
as I wanted to have the words to say
the things I felt.

But the more I know about life,
the more I realise I don't know.

Some things are unutterable.
They refuse to be herded into sentiments.

Somethings just are.

You, my dear, are one of those.
You have slipped beyond my language grasp
to live under the breath of my heart.

You are bone of my bone.
And I am who I am because you are.

Do we always see eye to eye?
Do I like that?
Am I sorry for the silly stuff?
So much.

Do I love you?

Very. Madly. Deeply.

'Came but for friendship, and took away love.'

Thomas Moore


Hangliding Heart

This week I have missed my kiwi-land.

I have missed my jeans and leather boots,
fantails, and tuis in the kowhai blossoms,
my soft cherry wool scarf,
my hairdresser,
crisp rose apples
and autumn's brightness.

Probably more than anything,
that easy familiar concept of home,
friends that are family,
family that are friends and
my knitting of belonging just there.

When the missing comes,
and its not too often,
I just let it blow me
on gusts of memory.

And when all the winds have died down,

I paint the barn,
methodically landing my homesick-glider,
bringing myself back to terra-firma,
one tiny action at a time.
Moisturise, prime, foundation, blush.
Words hang around me as my hands are busy,
the printed names of cosmetics:
chocolate shimmer ink,
champagne quartz,nectar,
frosted lily and ginger rose.

I make my bed.
It orders my soul.

Then I head downstairs for a hot cuppa in my best mug,
composed but cradling an tiny weeny pebble of ache,
that to be honest,
I am in no hurry to lose.

I have a favourite chair to curl up in,
and sip my tea slowly,
walking myself down from the lookout.

To the space I find myself in now.
Not ordering wood and stacking it for winter.
Not buying the latest Donna Hay
or making pumpkin soup.
Not blowing on my hands watching kid's soccer.
Not watching the trees turn gold.
No dragon-breath,
no misty hills,
no woodsmoke at dusk.

Yet when I have all of that again, one day,
I will miss this.

I am trying to live without longing.
To live with elastic contentment,
and for the most part,
I can.

It's just that some days the stretch snaps,
the glider flips on the breeze
and I am helpless with the remembering.

Maybe tomorrow, or next week will be better
and I will crow with excitement with the
wonder of the now.

Just not today.


Best Recipe

How to have the BEST day:

  • Discover a new friend. Learn new ways of greeting said friend at decibel levels that the put the entire island's defense force on high alert. Try not to feel a little ill all day each time you remember. Try to uncurl toes which seem permanently crunched in horror. Stop yourself from seeing imaginary new friends in every packet, jar and bowl.

  • Make sure the dog widdles in a child's bedroom and steals and chews and slobbers over her entire soft toy collection. This is an important step. It paves the way for the encore with a steaming pile of number 2's later on that afternoon, on a fluffy bedside rug.

  • It is a good idea to combine the worst possible I-will-not-get-ready-for-school behaviour from your nine year old. Especially enhanced if you can orchestrate a 5.30am wake-up from both her and the 3 year old. This really adds a unique flavour to the mix I find.

  • Have an overtired tweenager return from 5 days away in Malaysia on school camp, staying in a tree house. It helps if she comes back with a bagful of soggy gear that smells like it has been buried in a swamp for a week. And a temper on her like an injured water buffalo. And a cold/sore throat rounds things off nicely.

  • Discover the 3 year old has tipped grated parmesan cheese and chilli powder onto the kitchen bench and mixed it up in great swirling patterns. Scoop her up and head for a bath before she rubs it in her eyes.

  • Notify dog that now is a good time to stand and lick the kitchen bench.

  • Find water for the coughing dog.

  • Dash back upstairs to haul yelling child out of bath and deal to her offering floating in the water. Disinfect.

  • Clean kitchen floor/bench/dog.

  • Supervise homework, post-camp strepsils/panadol/clean clothes/food.

  • Breathe. Laugh, shakily at first but soon you'll get the hang of making sure it sounds more sincere.

  • Crawl into bed later, much later. Discover someone ate a nutella sandwich and gecko flavoured cookie in your bed. In between your white sheets. Cry just a little. You have to save some tears up for the next day.

  • Drift off into a jerky sleep, filled with weird dreams and grin with undisguised pleasure when child 3 snuggles in at 5.30am in a few hours time.
Honestly, I have tried this method. It really works. You will have the most fun you could possibly, possibly imagine. Try not to shout "Are you kidding me?" too many times. It spoils the moment.



Sandy, salty, sunblock smeared offspring

are the bees knees.

I mean, what's not to love?

The overheating grumps,
the wish-list for lollies from the beach shop,
the squirming away from firm sun block applications,
the towel squabbles,
the sizzling hot tarmac on bare feet,
the noses turned up at green coloured hot waffles
(which looked weird but tasted great),
the public toilets (enough said),
the walk back to the car with dripping wet hair, knotted with sand,
and the sniffles.

I just love it.

And the two big M's are on school holidays for 2 weeks.


(I promise, I do actually love them to bits.)


Mum's the Word

Someone special has been in our guest room for a couple of weeks.

She returned home today, and we are feeling the loss,
for there is no-one quite like your mum.

She was an absolute hoot, up for anything and bubbling with energy.

She licked a few things into shape, including the dog, who learned to walk obediently and gained a few well needed pounds under her nurturing eye.
While I was away in Cambodia, she quietly completed the war effort in toilet training M3, which is now fait accompli. THANK GOD.
Plus she babysat the M&M's while Greg and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary,
away for a night in a proper grownups hotel.

We absolutely wrung the most out of each and every day,
and now she can fully picture the world we live in,
just as I can picture hers.

But my world won't be quite the same for a while,
without her here in it.

Miss you Mum xx


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