Sunday 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas to all

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas. 

As my regular readers know, my eldest son and I are members of the Mater Hospital Sing for Health choir which recently gave two Christmas performances on December 21st. I thought you might like to see some of the footage taken of us singing. Our choir is made up of Mater staff, patients, and volunteers who come together twice a year to perform in the Mater Mothers Hospital foyer. We are not professionals by any means but we have a lot of fun and have become like a big, happy family. It's known that singing helps to promote a sense of well being and our intent is to spread peace, love, and joy at the hospital. This year we also did a Flash Mob performance beside the Hudsons cafe which provides indoor and outdoor dining and is situated on the ground floor. The cafe faces onto Stanley Street which is always heavy with traffic throughout the day. We were all a little nervous as we'd never done a Flash Mob before but it all came together and we had a lot of fun.

This video is of the first song in our flash mob performance but, unfortunately, it's missing the very start of the song. We also sang White Christmas but, as yet, there is no video uploaded on YouTube.

Winter Wonderland
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

The Little Drummer Boy
(Bing Crosby and David Bowie version)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
(Mater Mothers Hospital foyer)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

Jingle Bell Rock
(part of our Flash Mob performance)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

Winter Wonderland
(Mater Mothers Hospital foyer)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

Bradley and I are already looking forward to getting together again mid-2017 for another performance with the choir.

On another note,  Christmas is a bittersweet time of year for vegans as we see the high cost that other sentient beings pay for the human festivities. My thoughts are with those animals today and I pray that, one day, times will change where people make kinder choices.  

Personally, this is the only way I would have a turkey for Christmas dinner 

Edgar's Mission is one of the sanctuaries I support so, in light of their most recent rescue, I thought it fitting to share their video here too. Such a beautiful rescue.

Love, Light, and Peace to all and may you stay safe this holiday season.

Friday 23 December 2016

Happy 18th Birthday, Aaron!

Eighteen years ago, in the small town of Kemmerer, Wyoming, I gave birth to my youngest child, Aaron. What an amazing journey it has been since.  I've included some snapshots of Aaron over the years since his birth. My apologies that the quality in some of the images is not that great.

Here he is at two months old 
I crocheted the blanket he is sitting on

My little beachcomber at around 2½ years of age

Around 3 years old 

His first day at Preschool

Poolside at around 4 years of age

His first day of Grade 1

Aaron loved going on nature walks with me 
We would always have our cameras at the ready

It has been an amazing journey and it has been a blast to watch him grow up. 
I'm so very proud of the wonderful young man that Aaron has become. 

Aaron and I at one of our many day trips,
This one was to Mount Tamborine

Aaron graduated high school last month. 
I'm SO, so proud! 

Here he is with his older brother, Bradley, on his school formal evening.

And with his Grandma.

Today, Aaron drove us to Wynnum at the bayside
to get out of the house for his birthday.

Afterwards, Aaron goofed around with Snapchat 

 Bradley was in on the fun too

It's been a fun day with pizza planned for dinner 
and also a toast to Aaron's 18th as he can legally drink alcohol now. 

And especially for you, Aaron, my beautiful boy. May your future be filled with many amazing opportunities, blessings, and much love. This song — one of my favourites — by The Pretenders says it all. The lyrics were written by the legendary Bob Dylan.   Click HERE to watch on YouTube if the video below does not work. 

Enjoy the rest of your special day, my son. Love you always. xo

And love, light, and peace to all.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Trees, teas, and butterflies

This time of year is always extra busy for me as I'm sure it is for everyone else too. Lots to organise and do. Bradley and I will perform in the 'Sing for Health' choir this Wednesday. We only had one hour of practice per week for five weeks with our choir master. We also practise at home when we are able. We will have a quick run-through of our songs just before the performance. Exciting and fun!

We will be singing five Christmas songs this year —
  • The Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth 
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel 
  • White Christmas 
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Jingle Bell Rock
I can't believe that Christmas is almost upon us. I confess that I'm not really in the Christmas mood yet. I find I get more into the Christmas mood after I've done all the Christmas food shopping and all the stresses that come with Christmas are out of the way. We no longer have our huge fiber-optic Christmas tree but I absolutely adore our little tabletop tree. I think it's SO cute!  

A few weeks ago, I was very excited to learn that I'd won a prize in a competition I didn't even know I was in. How about that?! Apparently, my Woollies Rewards card automatically put my name into the Twinings Tea Promotion when I'd bought some tea in my regular grocery shop. I was very surprised when they rang to congratulate me. A couple of weeks later, this Twinings Tea Chest came by courier. YAY!

I was then able to go to Woollies and select my own teas for FREE. Gotta love that! I do love the Twinings green tea and we have the camomile tea very night before bed. It really does help me to sleep better.  I don't mind a mint-flavoured tea either. Nice and refreshing.

I haven't been doing too much in the way of sketching. I did a quick pencil sketch of one of the Christmas trees on display at the Mater Hospital when we were there for choir practice which I've yet to put a splash of watercolour on.

I also added another butterfly — the one on the right — to the double-page spread I was working on a few weeks ago. This one is called 'The Redspot Sawtooth' and it's not quite finished yet.

I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches this week.  To see the work of other participants, please click HERE.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Butterfly sketches completed

We've been having incredibly hot, muggy days here in Brissie. We had another violent electrical storm come through last night and more are forecast for the coming week. Two people have been struck by lightning so far from two separate storms.  I do not like our summers at all. See yesterday's post to read about our own ordeal when caught in a violent storm last Wednesday.

Just a quick post today 

I finished off the butterflies I started last weekend.

They went from this 
a work in progress sketch of two butterflies

To this
one black brown butterfly with a bright yellow green design called Rajah Brooke's Birdwing. Also, a dark brown butterfly with some yellowish markings on the lower wings. This one is called The Red Helen
I was pleased with how they turned out. 
They are done with a mix of watercolours, coloured pencils, 
coloured ballpoint pens and ink pens.

I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches again this week. 
To see the work of other participants, click HERE.

Happy Sunday to all!

Friday 2 December 2016

Being caught outside in a wild, electrical storm

After heading home from choir practice earlier this week, we were waiting at the bus stop when a storm started to move in.  It looked quite menacing and daylight began turning to dark.  That said, I was hoping we would make it home before the worst of it hit — BIG mistake!

Dark clouds approaching bus depot

I snapped the photo below just before we boarded the bus. 
It was 3 pm in the afternoon and, yes, it WAS that bad!

side view of huge, dark storm clouds

The wild storm hit a few minutes after the bus pulled out of the depot.  It pelted us relentlessly on the ten minute ride to our stop. The other passengers were looking just as nervous as we were. It was eerily dark. The wind was very strong and gusty! The rain was unforgiving and we had no umbrella — charming!  To be honest, an umbrella would have been a hindrance for me considering I was carrying my own — very full — tote bag, as well as, Bradley's heavy back-pack.  I also had the task of guiding Bradley because his white cane was not going to be of much help in the hazardous conditions.  

When we stepped off the bus at our stop, we were soaked through in literally seconds.  It was a 10 minute walk home and I had to take my sandals off because my feet were sliding and slipping all over the place inside my sandals.   Thankfully, I'd made sure Brad's hearing aids had been packed away safely before boarding the bus. 

If you can imagine it, the walk home was quite scary for poor Bradley considering his blindness and hearing impairment, not to mention the fact that he has a fear of water.  It was slow-going but, about four minutes from home, I spotted our knight in shining armour.  Okay, he wasn't wearing armour but my wonderful son, Aaron, was running towards us with a large umbrella. Our hero! He took the heavy back-pack from me so I could manage with the umbrella which did help protect our heads at least. 

I was so relieved when we reached the shelter of the entrance to our house...our sanctuary!   

I learned a valuable lesson — 

Next time, DON'T trust my own judgement when it comes to approaching storms.  They can be unpredictable and some of them move extremely fast. We learned later that one woman was struck by lightning during that very same storm.  Thankfully, she survived.  Also, a 13 year old boy was taken to hospital after sustaining injuries when a large tree branch snapped and fell on top of him. You can read about both incidents HERE.

On top of that, I ended up with a sore foot which was twisted from all the slipping and sliding inside my soaked sandals.

We took a little while to calm down after our experience but I'm feeling very grateful that we made it home safely and in tact.

On a happier note —

Bradley and I just finished week three of the 'Mater Sing for Health' choir practice. Three more to go before our Christmas performance day. We always look forward to singing with the Mater choir as all the members are so nice and friendly.  Our choir master is amazing too!  The Mater choir performs twice a year and is made up of patients, volunteers, and hospital staff. It is now on its third year and we still have some of the original members,  including myself and Bradley.

We both hope the choir will continue for years to come.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!