Friday, March 26, 2010

2 x 2

Today I went to two birthday parties to celebrate the birthday person turning two. It's a really momentus occasion. In the year that's passed, you've lived half of your life. You've achieved massive milestones (walking, talking, independence....) and grown a whole heap. It really is something worth celebrating!
So in the morning I was at Mission Bay with Ruby's family and friends. The theme - pretty, pink and butterflies....

Happy Birthday Ruby!
Then in the afternoon I drove out - way, way out into the country to celebrate Lewis' birthday with his family and friends in Kaukapakapa. The theme - cowboys, cake and cars!

Happy Birthday Lewis!
Even though both parties were different theme-wise, they were similar in so many ways....

  • both sets of parents had put in a lot of time and effort to make each party really special.

  • lots of people gathered to celebrate how far the birthday people have come (in their action packed two years) and everything that makes them special.

  • everyone wanted the best for them and to show them how much they are loved.

  • all the presents were thoughtfully chosen to suit their particular personality and interests.

  • we were all keen to sing "Happy Birthday" and eat cake!
It has been a privilege to be part of these little people's lives over the last year or so and I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with them. I bet Lewis loves cake just as much when he's 21! It will be interesting to see where Ruby stands on pink when she's 21.......

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Last Saturday Holly, Beth, Mikey and I headed down to Cambridge for a family wedding. My niece Rochelle and her partner Tony were getting married. Yay! I was looking forward to a weekend away and catching up with John's family. The wedding was held at Sarnia Park. A stylish, elegant property in the heart of the country.

It was a perfect day - warm with clear, blue skies. The ceremony was outside in one of the gardens. It was a stunning setting for a beautiful, somewhat emotional service. I loved Tony and Rochelle's letters to each other. Neither knew what the other had written and there were tears shed all round as the celebrant read them. After the ceremony we chilled out, soaking up the atmosphere and generally enjoying the day....

Highlights of the day.....
champagne and ice cream for afternoon tea
croquet on the lawn with Miriam and Claire
chats with family and new friends
amazing reception - delicious food and beautiful presentation
the speeches - so touching and emotional
Cole - beautiful guitar solo in the ceremony and great job as mc
Rochelle and Tony's fantastic wedding dance - polished with a spectacular ending
crazy dancing on the dance floor
Mikey's surprise stint playing guitar with the band.....
The gorgeous couple - Rochelle and Tony Dickson.
Thanks for sharing your special day with us.
It was a real privilege to celebrate with you.
As you can see, Mikey had fun in the weekend.......
Parting snapshots....

The photos are from a variety of sources - Beth Peters, Holly McIvor, Tony Dickson and me!

Friday, March 12, 2010


How many times can you go to a t-shirt website and be reduced to tears? Not often, I'd guess. But threadless is not your average t-shirt website. I first came across it through Andy at work. He has a graphic design background and a great design aesthetic. He was wearing all these great t-shirts with original fresh designs..... and they were all from threadless. Then other people started popping up in new t-shirts. All of them had great graphics that were original, eyecatching, clever and often quirky... and they were all from threadless!

So I had to check them out.....

"Threadless is a community-based tee shirt company with an ongoing, open call for design submissions." People are invited to submit designs and also to send in photos of themselves wearing the designs. It does have a collaborative community feel, with a high level design ethic. The range of designs are amazing and I felt a bit overwhelmed - spoilt for choice. There were so many that caught my eye, made me laugh or just made me think. Which leads into the tears....

This t-shirt design is called Juliet by "Designer of the Year" Lim Heng Swee. He wrote a blog about the design inspired by this poem....
The birth of a butterfly
By Aline Martins
It's weird to notice how light comes during the night
How a smile comes with tears
It's weird how a storm can make the land fertile again
How simple steps can make a dance
Everything is change
And... then amidst all this darkness...
It came slowly, passed by as a breeze
soft, evolving my hectic nights
And night after night it came back, with agile fingers and broad smiles
to plant in me, a hope that for a long time had been broken
I looked for memories that were forgotten
Feelings of past lives soaked in tears, but still I threw my net and got
that single drop of the sea, that was waiting for me
I held it carefully as a diamond... how could a diamond be so fragile?
Then it vibrated and as a reverse tear, it went up through my face
entered the windows of my soul and installed itself in my heart
After a long sigh, the world became a rainbow. The pain was gone.
I could feel that breeze within me, as arms
Was it spreading inside me? I can't be that big...
So I had to get rid of things I didn't want anymore
And in a frenetic whirl of colours and horrors, I tried to create space
But there was nothing left. So I entered my own cave
organised the mysteries of my soul
Maybe, that thing that grew within me, could find it's purpose
The breeze became a storm of kisses and smiles
A storm that raised seas of tears
An earthquake of senses and touches
And there as a metamorphosis, between earth, sea and sky
I could understand the alchemy that was happening inside of me
A butterfly was born...
In my back, the most delicate wings... unique, as I had never seen
And tonight, I'll fly high, in search of my spring of inspiration
It can be anywhere, doesn't matter it's name
I'll recognise it when I see, for it is mine and it is part me
If you love t-shirts and you love design, check out

Thursday, March 11, 2010

city lights

Last Saturday I ventured out with some "youth" to take part in City Lights. We rose early and met at St Paul's. After a brief poll, the consensus was that most people would normally have been in bed at this time on a Saturday! But here we were, up and ready to go! We jumped into the cars and headed up to the Urban Vineyard church to take part in a day of City Lights community projects.

City Lights aims to raise awareness about our local communities and the way we reach out to practically help those around us. On Saturday three groups gathered in different parts of Auckland - central city, south and west. We had a discussion about our motivations to serve and in particular our motivation for taking part in something like City Lights. We referenced Philippians 2, focussing on the verses "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of others." Our group was also struck by the following verses that describe how our attitude should be like Christ's, in that he was fully God but humbled himself as a man, taking on the nature of a servant, being obedient - even to death on the cross for us. Wow! What an example to follow. It was interesting to come to the conclusion that our motives are always tainted by the fact that helping others makes us feel good but to do it any way. To not be put off by Christ's amazing but seemingly unattainable example but to keep serving and bringing back it to God. Just give it a shot!

The girls and I went to the Bethany Centre to do some major hardcore gardening - clearing bushes, removing tree stumps, weeding, generally transforming a couple of areas of the garden. The girls gave it all that had, working tirelessly for four hours. Even though they were pretty exhausted, they were amping to do some random acts of kindness. We bought 60 ice blocks then descended on Grey Lynn Park to give them out. People kept asking the girls how much they were and were pretty blown away when they found out they were free. Several people said, "You've really made my day!"

So after our intense discussion earlier about our motivation to serve, I was blown away by the hard work and generous attitude and spirits of the gorgeous girls that I had the privilege to hang out with for the day. They ranged in ages from 11 to 15 and they gave their all! They spent their whole Saturday working very hard to make other people feel good. And we had fun! I could not think of a better way to spend my Saturday. Thanks girls. You are beautiful inside and out!

lantern festival

Beth, Mikey and I wandered along to the Lantern Festival on the Sunday night. We went early, when it was still light to have a look around and enjoy some tasty treats for dinner. It was lovely to be there before the crowds. It was the start of a beautiful evening, still very hot at 5 pm. We got a chance to peruse the abundance of food and market stalls. Beth and I bought some beautiful looking rose blossom tea and resisted the temptation to buy polar fleece panda hats. They looked cute at the Lantern Festival, but really where else would you wear them?

We purchased dinner and took our noodle boxes into Albert Park. There were so many families, of all sorts of nationalities, eating dinner and enjoying the spectacular, colourful sights that the Lantern Festival has to offer.

The futuristic, robotic stilt walkers had the children fascinated. The children would tentatively approach, keeping a safe distance, then move up closer when they felt it would be okay. The stilt walkers took their roles very seriously, momentarily freezing into position, then reaching down to shake the children's hands.

Best $2 I ever spent? Hiring two Panda heads for Beth and Mike to wear for a photo opportunity. You might have noticed that there's a bit of a panda theme here. Beth loves pandas. It all stems back to some panda ornaments and a panda brooch from her childhood...... Such a cute Panda couple!

We came back later in the evening to check out the lanterns in the dark......

....and to see the spectacular firework display that marked the end of the Lantern Festival. Beth has set it to music. Check it out on the Lantern Festival post on her blog. It's very beautiful!

So that's the Lantern Festival - a crazy, busy, stimulating visual and sensory experience that can leave you feeling a little overwhelmed and suffering from people overload! Will I be back next year? Definitely. It's a one of a kind celebration of the diversity of Auckland set in the very heart of the city. Magical!!


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