Sunday, November 14, 2010

the big five oh

Well, it started with an idea and here it is a year later and I'm still posting on my blog. My aim was to celebrate being in my 50th year with something different and new each week.... and that each week I'd write about it in my blog. That was my intention but it didn't entirely work out like that. The year started optimistically with me anticipating new things, with a sense of hope for my future. My sister, Karen's diagnosis with breast cancer kind of hijacked that. It became a year of knuckling down, gritting our teeth, pulling together and just trying to get through. For a while I didn't want to post at all but I saved them up.... so I did do a post for each week but not always on the week they happened.

Remember the balloons....

My blog has been an amazing journey... maybe not for trying 50 things - different and new..... but it's honed my writing skills. I have had to think about what I want to say and how I want to say it. It's enabled me to develop creatively. My photography has definitely improved! I'm still working on it, seeing what develops (sorry!!!). I've also been able to document some of my crafting journey, sharing what I've learned. I've been overwhelmed by the responses to what I've written, especially when I've really shared my heart. My blog was started just for me, so it means a lot to me that things about it would touch other people. Thanks for your comments and feedback. It's really encouraged me to keep going, keep writing and just keep living my life well.

I started the year with this Beloved tattoo - symbolising my beloved husband John, how I feel about God and how God feels about me. Throughout the year it has been a constant reminder that I am beloved. Every time I've looked at it, it has reminded me of all of that and it has made me feel really good (in the midst of some pretty trying circumstances)!! Now I want to add another facet to the beloved theme - that I feel really beloved by people.

Well I've reached that milestone - the big five oh! I've been thoroughly spoiled this birthday. People have given me very thoughtful, meaningful gifts that I will treasure forever. Beth got all the people coming to my party to contribute to a book - a treasure box - with photos, pictures, poems, anecdotes that communicate their thoughts and feelings about me. This has made me laugh and cry and reflect on the last 50 years. Even though I've had some really tough times, I see a life that's good... that's been lived to the full regardless of the circumstances.... a life full of love, laughter and gorgeous family and friends. And as I look back, I get a real sense of future for me too. The St Paul's staff got me a beautiful acorn necklace for my birthday. I love the fact that an acorn has the potential to grow a mighty oak tree and that even in my 50's I have sense of potential, new beginnings, ideas and opportunities (in me)!! Amazing! There were times when I never thought that was possible. I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation about the future and what it holds.

So here I am embracing and celebrating 50.... surrounded by amazing friends and family.... feeling so grateful, humbled, immensely loved and encouraged. Once again facing my future optimistically, with a real sense of joy and hope for my future.... this space.... I'll still be here!!

My gorgeous birthday photos were taken by Gavin Ho. Check out his beautiful work here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

rotorua (part two)

When I think of Rotorua, these images spring to mind....
(with a little bit of Holly added in!)
 boiling mud
...and that certain rotten, decaying, sulphuric smell. I'm not sorry that my blog can't capture that smell!!

But Rotorua is so much more than that. It is full of beauty - in the gardens, buildings, landscapes and on the water. It's the city of lakes. Here are some of the things that captivated me over the last week. You might have started to notice my passion for flags....

I like this one. It's slightly tatty.

The flower beds were plentiful and spectacular. A visual feast of colours....

Lovely vistas....

Friendly birds. This duck really wanted to be my best friend even though I had no food!

The beautiful natural Hamurana Springs. When I was a child we came here often. It had a restaurant, a booming kayak hire place and it was teeming with people - tourists everywhere. The restaurant is now an abandoned building and there is a air of neglect about the place. The spring, the walk and the river are still breathtakingly the same but I was the only one there.

My new favourite drink - the gingerbread steamer. I went back for it three times.... on three different days!!

I saved the best for last. My companion for the week - the lovely Lake Rotoiti. I have tried to capture her look at different times, with my first sojourn into night photography.....
and in the day....

It was such a lovely break away. I was able to completely relax and unwind. Over the week I felt like I reconnected with myself and God. As I headed back up to Auckland I didn't just feel like I'd had a holiday but that I'd had a complete rejig of my outlook on life. Thanks Rotorua!!


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