Packing Bags Again…12 sleeps!
Given that Larrie and I hail from two different countries, and from places that are about 12000 km/8000mi apart, across a massive expanse of water known as the Pacific Ocean, it is not surprising that the “LD” of our “LDR” will have a permanent place in our day to day
Every day, I ache about being away from my home country and culture and not being a part of daily life with my children and new baby granddaughter, or being close enough to visit my mum, sis, bros etc. Don’t ever underestimate the other ‘LDR’s in your life when contemplating such an up-ending, up-rooting move.
Anyway… joy of joys!!!
Larrie and I are travelling to Oz in just 12 sleeps!!! Hallelujah!
And for the first time, we are actually going to travel together! ( at least, one way) I am going to stay longer than he.
Music DownUnder I am sure there will be music and singing but I don’t know all the details yet, so you’ll have to watch the calendar for whatever we may be doing in our southern jaunt. We do have a seniors gig for Sept 18, with our mate, Col Atkinson… this image is from late last year.
Family Time, family time…and more family time.
Two of my beautiful sons are celebrating 26th and 29th birthdays, so we’ll be gathering at my mum’s in Sydney for that special occasion. I will O-Ding on everyone as much as possible!
This is from my sons’ birthday last year, at their dad’s, in Sydney. Four of my five gorgeous gifts from God… from left , Matt ( 26 on 15/9), Paulie ( 29 on 17/9), Parrish and Sarah “Possum”. Paul is a miracle, as he was confirmed dead by two doctors in the womb at 10 weeks after a widespread abruption in the placenta-it detached from the uterine wall. But God resurrected him!!! Hallelujah!
So, these are the plans. We have been keeping busy with singing at senior centres and the Cinema Grill in Alameda, doing CPR classes and for me, the odd blog and painting…AND growing our garden! Check out our tomatoes!
And it’s harvest time!
Next time I write, will likely be in Oz…can’t wait!!!
Blessings in the name of the Lord Jesus!
Our Fourth of July Holiday Our Fireside Romance had a lovely little break away from the Bay Area over the July 4 holiday.
We have friends that have a nice cabin in the woods on Lake Almanor, some 260 miles from our door. It was a lovely drive once out of the traffic and get on Highway 5 heading north.
Seeing pockets of gum trees along the went made some locations look reminiscent of home, although they lack any of the accompanying wildlife I’m used to. Our trees love the hot, dry climate of the west slightly inland from the coast and benefit greatly from a good burn-off. The East Bay Area never really gets that hot, constantly tempered by winds and/or fog, but there are tons of gum trees. Whilst they flourish through a good burn and their oil acts as combustion liquid, the native trees do not replenish so well.
One thing the road trip lacked, giving it away as NOT being Ozzie, was the absence of something “BIG” lol.
Many of the pit stops on the Pacific Highway, are the milestone icons, such as The Big Banana, The Big Medieval Knight, The Big Avocado, The Big Pineapple, The Big Prawn and The Big Merino Sheep, just to name a few. As well as, The Dog on the Tuckerbox and The Black Stump. Attractions that grew up very organically within the local communities where they are encountered.
Larrie at the Big Banana and beneath the Big Prawn.
Of course, there are natural landmarks, fields of sunflowers full of glorious gold and green ( which just so happen to be Australian National Colours-even though our flag is red, white and blue!) We caught some great sights of the very tall, snow capped Mt Lassen, throughout our trip , but we also encountered a lot of smokey haze from one of those fires in Yolo County, obscuring hills and mountains on all sides of the vast valley plains.
We weren’t away for long and I had my heart set on seeing a sunrise on the water, since I hadn’t seen a sunrise at all since leaving home five months ago…and I was used to watching almost every day, and frequently over the Pacific Ocean. I was up early enough to enjoy two of the three mornings and had to walk a 30 minute down hill and 40 minute uphill trek to get them! Always worth it.
Our friends had a 4th of July party on the middle day which kept us busy from early till late. We had music and I videoed these three brothers (Bucky, Denny and Dave May), who were most entertaining. Our hosts videoed a little of us as well.
I collected a lot of photographic content for creating some momentos, and maybe gifts, but am yet to paint anything. Still, this is a version of a momento! 😊
Below is one popular view for local artists and their en plein aire adventures which I hope to capture in water colour as well. ( Will let you know when I do!)
My takeaway from this blog is…don’t wait to go away to enjoy the beauty around you. One thing I noticed is that I enjoyed being to relish the different conditions, but I take time every day to soak in and savour God’s creation wherever I am-sometimes from a simple flower, or fluttering butterflies, or beautiful skies. Whether tiny or vast, such things are so easily missed in the busyness of many peoples’ days. I make a point of looking for them!
Create beauty in your own little corner-just for you and God to share-your secret place, secret garden. Using your imagination to escape to a beautiful place, right where you are, has been proven to be the ‘stuff of holidays’. People who practice creativity do it as a lifestyle, losing themselves wholeheartedly in an expressive endeavor or project-however small. This is attested as having the affect of a holiday, disconnecting us from the cares and stresses of the days in which we live.
The whole hearted aspect is the critical component.
My challenge to you: take a holiday daily. Set your clock for however long you can give yourself, select a positive focus or activity (ANYthing) and get to it, abandoning all thought for everything else till your allotted time is up. Increase your time whenever you can.
Take note of the effects on your soul and psyche…and please…
Tell me all about it!
Just to build another layer on our romantic story and gather the little community that were there that first night, as well as draw in all the newcomers of The Fireside Lounge Open Mic phenomenon, we are going to have a theme night on our July hosting. On the last Wednesday, July 25, we are going to have a Favourite Duo night. Dress up as and/or do a duo tribute to your favourites.
This ought to be a fun night.
Some of the duos that have been a part of our relationship and regular set list are, Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack, James Ingram and Patti Austin, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell-plus, we have made duets out of songs by Al Green, Smokey Robinson , Outkast and our original songs.
I’m not gonna say who we’re going to pay tribute to-it’s a surprise, but I am looking forward to it!
And so, just as a sample of what we do sometimes, here is our take on Prototype, which we learnt so we could sing it as some friends, an Ozzie and an American, could walk down the aisle to it.
It was their request and just one of the ways we can use our music to benefit others’ in their relationships as well.
This blog touches on the themes we’ve been looking at previously, but with a twist.
In earlier posts, I spoke of how music can help with the nurture and connection of long distance relationships by aiding with the creating, storing and retrieving of memories and precious moments in our stories. (Of course, you don’t have to be at a distance to enjoy such benefits). I also wrote about how we can use creativity to express uniquely personal aspects of our affections and joint experiences using small artworks and books.
In this post I want to share how these same things can do even more than create beautiful memories or fan the fires of romance and generally be used to build and strengthen relationships. They have potential to heal and restore them as well.
In a recent post for one of my other sites, I wrote a blog called In The Beginning, God Created…and I quote from that when I say, Creativity is the bridge between us that designs connections and links that draw us out of ourselves and into another.
Using music or art or text or craftsmanship of any kind, we can communicate wonderful things that would be almost impossible to express easily in a conversation. If a picture paints a thousand words, then, such things spell out volumes of content. In addition, sometimes due to circumstances, conversations are unlikely or seemingly impossible. Looking for other methods takes creativity.
It’s Father’s Day in the US tomorrow. (Not until September at home in OZ). I wrote this song from the seed of an idea about an estranged relationship. As it unfolded, it spoke more and more deeply to my heart. It ministered to me. It was, and is still, a prayer.
It continues to hold relevance across more than one relationship. It’s a song of accepting responsibility and forgiveness and restoration. It feels like a theme that will see me out the rest of my days. It is the song of the Prodigal returning to his Father.
I pray that as it is played, others like myself will be drawn back and restored to fellowship in their relationships beginning with their Heavenly Father, where they can find healing and forgiveness out of which to address all the others.
When Jesus told us the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and all your strength, he followed it up with ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.
When you love God with all your heart, you are then equipped to find the resources within you, to love others because you have known the way God has loved you. Loving yourself doesn’t bring this capacity…loving God does.
And now that I think about it, creating as a way to show my love for someone has been pretty much the way for me all my life!
Necessity is the mother of invention, they say and I believe both my parents have said this! ( Must be where I got it from! lol)
Having limited economic resources meant that my never ending parade of ideas and extended ideas, required other means if they were to find fruition.
That must be how I became the ‘recycling queen’ and why I always have an odd stash of assorted boxes, tins, envelopes and mailing boxes, magazines, cardboard rolls, tissue and craft paper, fabric, ribbons, electrical wiring…- and just as often as not, gathered, rather than bought. Recycling materials to me is not ‘cheap’, or a sign of poverty, but very much about creative innovation and especially clever.
If the ideas were interesting enough, the recycled element only made them better!
Naturally, no opportunity presented a stronger desire to produce something wonderfully different and personal than a family members’ birthday, or Christmas!
Add to that, sustained stretches of being separated at different times from so many of my family for varying periods and reasons-so, I was always full of longing to tell someone how much I thought of them and loved them and prayed to God for them. Nothing has changed. 🙂
These days, receiving anything via snail mail is a treat, but to go that little further and make it preciously personal somehow-that’s where the value really kicks in!
The joy in giving this way cannot be computed! I can’t even begin to tally the value of all that has come to my heart, in understanding how to impart true value to those we love and hope to train up well thru this priceless jewel we call creativity. By living this way, I came to see how beautiful memories are created and even more importantly, treasured and stored in full hearts, as sacred and deeply loved. And I managed to teach my children the value of the same and they make their own beautiful lives the same way.
In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon wrote, By wisdom , the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding, He set the heavens in place;
By His knowledge [the word for science] the mountains were formed and the clouds let drop their dew. Pr 3:19-20
I love thinking about this verse, and how God established the water cycle and astronomical navigation systems (!), but even more incredible is this: By wisdom a house is built By understanding it is established By knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures…. Pr 24:3-4
When I read this, I realized that my Creator God had given me access to very same stuff He used for all of Creation, so that I could create my own little world to share, in and through my household, and that the treasures are all about the enriching of the relationship experiences that connect us.
What higher honour and purpose could their be for creativity, if not love?
Only that which is of love is going to last, anyway…but we can get into that next time!
Have fun creating!!!
And please share some of your creative stories! ( they don’t have to involve the Arts 🙂 )
I used other creative arts and crafts as well-and still do. For me, creativity is a strength and this is the way I keep things fresh in my relationships. (It was how I kept teaching my children values and life lessons too. I taught them how to see things differently and look deeper.)
I took lots of photos of Larrie and I together because these were what sustained me whilst we were apart. Often whilst we were together, I didn’t get time to view them or do anything with them, but when I went home- I did. ( hence the video above)
Tip #2 ( #1 in earlier post) Keep the memories tangible. Make an album of photos, or “A Little Book Of Memories”- in this way, you are reliving it and fanning the flame till you meet again. Send it to your love.
Or share what is happening in YOUR world, so that they can be part of it too. This is good for keeping a healthy balance in your present life as well. Compile a visual album of the songs you shared.
Here’s the latest ‘little book’ I made for Larrie.
We couldn’t be together for Valentine’s Day, and as he had just come out to Australia, the Nov/Dec before, I used those experiences and made a special album of highlights.
Did I mention how much I love making books!
Come on, now.. share your story 🙂
Larrie and I used music in so many ways to connect with each other, even over the thousands of miles/kilometres of oceans.
For example, we gave each other private concerts! 🙂 -as you can see in this photo. Couldn’t work in harmonies due to the delays, but we had fun trying sometimes.
So, in the video above, in order to capture and highlight a visit to Australia by Larrie, I compiled our moments into a video slideshow and added the track of a song that we now do together. Ordinary Miracle by Sarah McLaughlan. Originally, rather ethereal and light, and part of the soundtrack for Charlotte’s Web, I made it a more syncopated and upbeat song of joy for the miracle of every day. Then, when Larrie heard it, he added what he calls the Oakland Stroke and that took the form of a gospel style praise ending-which suited me perfectly!
The song, itself, served as part of the memory of our creative time together, but even if you have a special song between you and someone you love, you can do this, or something like it. This was recorded several years back and I think we have developed it greatly since then, but it’s still part of our journey, just like this.
We took this photo the day we recorded this song, a day before I left for home and some other photos are included to give our friend, Jonny Otis some credit!
And the rest were taken whilst sharing our adventures in Oz, when Larrie came to see me, in Sept/Oct 2013 and met family and friends. It became a special kind of album that we could relive our ‘holiday’ through, even though once again so far apart.
But you can use all the arts to keep the fires burning!!
Even though this was a digital delivery, it was a timely investment, made up of countless moments.
In my next blog, I’ll show you some other ways 🙂
But in case you missed the download from last week… here it is.