January 29, 2012

Jan 30.

I'm remembering my Dad today.

He was never one for big birthday events. Last year's 60th bash was out of the ordinary, allowing his girls to throw a party to toast his life with family & friends. 

But in years gone past he wasn't one for a lot of attention or fuss in the form of birthday praise. I really liked that about him. Perhaps our early hand-made gifts taught him to lower his standards? A maroon & blue knitted glasses case will do that...

While I won't break with tradition & pour out a heap of glowing remarks about my precious dad on his birthday - he would shake his head & joke that nobody want's to read that! - I do want to mark the significance of today & the person I'm missing so very much.

Wayman was a unique personality that drew our family together & formed a unity that has continued-on in his absence... Dad's intense devotion to us girls, passionate enthusiasm for our husband's different spirits, & great love for mum was a treasured gift. And all founded on his salvation in Jesus - not as an after thought, but as an anchor for his soul.

Today I am remembering & missing so many things about Dad. Here I will remember just one to mark the day - he loved to know other people's stories. When I sit down with a stranger & ask about their lives I remember my dad taught me that. I can vividly picture him leaning-in to ask a question & listen with genuine interest & a desire to learn. He valued people.

I am deeply thankful for the Dad God gave me.


January 26, 2012

A Day Beside the Sea

{Brighton Beach, South Australia}
{A Saturday Afternoon}

In Days Past... This was the scene of many summer beach days as a little girl. Dad & mum would load up the car, with the vintage green & cream striped beach tent & a cooler of food, to drive 3 daughters to the seaside. 

I would sit in the back, hot & impatient*, itching to catch a glimpse of the blue sea down each suburb street as we got near.


Present Day... I still relish a day at Brighton, with it's long, wide stretch of sand & clear, calm waters. It is one of my favorite beaches to laze & soak, especially when it includes my love & a bundle of family members.

 {We did eventually update the beach tent; it still has the same ankle-catching strings that trip-up every unsuspecting small person.}

As we packed to leave & the sun was slowly making it's way to the ocean line, I couldn't help but have a moment of doubt about our return to land-locked TN...

I had to remind myself that this beautiful shell-lined shore isn't going anywhere, even if I am. It's a wonderful slice of what makes-up my Australian home, there for me to visit each & every time. I'm learning to appreciate the fond affections that come from long absences.

And yes, I do still get a little buzz when I see the bright blue slice of sea appear as we make the drive there.


{*Apparently 20mins to the ocean was just TOO much to bear.}

January 23, 2012

Sydney Scenes (part 2)

We climbed a bell tower. 
Can't say that's a common occurrence in my usual week!

 These are the little adventures that come with fantastical friends like Justin and game friends who don't mind a late-night climb (Rich & Kate, we salute you!)

I, for one, was not so brave. A little trembly at times, to be honest! My long dress & flip flops didn't really assist balancing on the old ladders, nor did my desire to snap pictures mid-climb.

Turns-out I have quite a crush on old, enormous, ear-splitting bells - they are a beautiful work of art, both to hear & see!


Two tiny spiral staircases & three ladders later, we were a-top the tower. After I'd recovered my composure & stopped the knee wobblies, it was breathtaking.
{Justin, Kate & Nate}
  {York St: old & new}

We spied on Sydney, in the warm evening air, from the bell tower of the oldest church in the city. Accompanied by Justin's historical gems & overall group wonder, it was marvelous.

And to know that age has not been a hurdle to the vitality & life within these church walls is even more marvelous!
{St Philips in the daylight}


January 18, 2012

Sydney Scenes

We crammed our Sydney trip full of all sorts, bits & bobs, people & places. Here is the first of a few snippets...

A Saturday morning date in The Rocks with dear friends.

It begins with coffee & sweet sustenance at Central Baking Depot. This is a new favorite - full of fresh-baked goodies straight-out of the oven right next to our table; great tasting coffee; an interior designed with the perfect mix between industrial & homely warmth.

{Nate & Justin. There is no explanation.}

And then a wander through one of Sydney's oldest, most interesting neighborhood's - winding through tiny streets in The Rocks; up countless steps; past old buildings; the new Sydney city & blue harbor glinting just in the distance.

{Nate & 2 of the kiddly-winks.}

I love this beautiful city & the friends that inhabit it!


January 10, 2012

Dialing back in

After a couple of weeks off the grid, we have returned to civilization! I wont lie, re-entry has been sloooow. Lazy summer days without an agenda & copious amounts of Australian chocolate have turned my brain to mush.

I will give this dear little blog my best effort & recap...

Despite a few nerves about this Christmas - reaching a milestone without Dad & reconnecting with family after a tumultuous few months - I'm thankful to say it was a joy-filled & lovely day. Three excitable youngins definitely help to keep things upbeat & boisterous - nothing like a few randomly fired nerf bullets to keep you on your toes!

We dined in style & abundance thanks to my talented mum & sisters...

  {I will return to this salad in a future blog. It's a winner.}

And the boys played in style thanks to Shano's adult-size go kart...

Post-Christmas we wasted no time in taking ourselves offline & into the pretty SA countryside for 2 weeks of reclusive vacation. It may be a humble abode & the water somewhat brown-ish at times, but our shack at Teal Flat, on the River Murray, is one of our ALL-time favorite places on the planet.

Here below - the summer-afternoon sit & gaze, evening banter & feasting; time with family & friends - sums-up our time, interspersed with small bursts of energy for wake-boarding & other youthful (foolish) water-sport endeavors. 

I wont wax lyrical about New Years Eve. It goes without saying that the turn of the calendar page was significant & very welcomed by all of us. Mum lit our sparklers & set-off a record amount of poppers (she knows how to part-y) & we raised a glass to a fresh set of 12 months.

In God’s hands we walk forward with hope & renewed wonder.