Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Counting Sleeps!

Not long to go now!!  The kids (and 'big kids' alike!) are counting down to the 25th!!  I've found myself jovially crooning (to the cats, the kids and the dishes!) the old Christmas song...  


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!"

Writing cards to their friends!
To me, Christmas represents one of the greatest ‘faith, hope and love’ explosions in my calendar, where all three merge in a collision of all things soul-satisfying!



This time of year takes me back to the sweetest awakening of my own faith journey, and the telling of the most magnificent love story ever, creates an excuse to share love with all around me, in actions, time and thoughtful gifts... Moreover, with 2011 popping its little head around the corner, there’s a sense of another 'blank canvas', with hope for all the possibilities of the year to come.   No wonder we all feel like partying!?! :-)
December in the Richardson house...
...usually consists of rehearsals, The Messiah, carols, a messy house, unweeded veggie patch, concerts, baking, shopping, wrapping, more rehearsals, more shopping, school BBQ’s, end of year parties, did i mention the messy house... Ok, so it does have its frantic moments... and I think I might have mentioned that my house is messy. ;-b   Nonetheless, we always make time to do some fun things with the kids as we prepare for Christmas together. 


Our first tradition is to set the tree up in November! 
Lily, Beth & Joel
decorate the tree!
I know, it’s early, but we figure that as soon as the Pageant has been through town, it’s fair game to pop the tree up.  Handel plays in the background while the three-hours of tree-trimming begins.


Chris and I usually finish the day with a sip of port and a fruit mince pie! *BLISS!*   A sip of port and mince pies are thoughtfully left out by the kids for Santa on Christmas Eve as well! Consumed as he (SHE!!) watches the carols and wraps the last of the presents!


Joel with the beginnings of the
Gingerbread house!

This year, Bethany made paper chain decorations to hang around the house, and Chris became the engineer/architect of the family ginger bread house efforts. The kids made their own 'Advent' calendars this year with nice things they can do for others each day... We've had fun!



We’re blessed to have such a large extended family so Christmas festivities are normally spread over three days!  After which, we’ve promised the kids to go camping on the East Coast for a couple of weeks in the New Year.  The kids LOVE it, and I usually take my art supplies, and journals, and take time out for me too... to begin to create and dream of what I want my world and coming year to look like. 


I’ve so often found that dreaming fresh vision creates hope in my world... and I relish this time away to refill my 'tank'!  I encourage you to do the same over New Year... Don’t look at your world now, or count the failures of the past.  You don't have to go away, but clean-slate it.   Go somewhere quiet, grab a cuppa, get yourself a new journal, and begin to dream...
Dream for every part of your life, and what you want it to look like, without limitations. Your home, marriage, children, family, health, relationships, work, your aspirations, goals etc.  One year from now, five years, ten years...  

I'm learning not settle for life on ‘default’ settings, but to aim to live with a sense of deliberacy - to live by ‘design’.

I pray your New Year will be filled with 
peace, hope, joy and all things wonderful.
So much love to you...  
and Merry Christmas!
Amy x

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kittens, Books and Games!


It has been ages since my last entry to this, my public journal!  My laptop has been on hiatus, and our lovely ginger cat D’Artagnan had kittens, which have further added to the fast pace and excitment of the traditional Richardson December!
D'Artagnan and Pixie
D’Artagnan had four gorgeous little darlings, three of which are about to be given to their new homes... and one of which my husband begged to keep!   In keeping with the French Heroic theme, little ginger has been named “Jean Valjean” from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables - at seven-year-old Bethany’s suggestion.


"Jean Valjean was of that thoughtful but not gloomy disposition which constitutes the peculiarity of affectionate natures."  
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, Chapter Six

And yes, Mummy D'Artagnan has a boy's name! The sidekick to The Three Musketeers, in Alexandre Dumas' classic novel, we thought HE would be a great sidekick to our little Musketeers... BUT at about seven months old, HE was acting out of character, at which point our vet advised that SHE is on heat.  Hmmm.  Was a funny day.

Alas, a few months later, and Pixie, Pippin, Flower and Valjean (also affectionately called 'Jinji' by my youngest daughter, Lily) have graced our home with their presence...
and their need to be toilet trained.

A Christmas blog is definitely on my growing ‘to-do’ list, (as is making a present for Emma Burgess’s new baby Charlotte! Sorry Emma – before she turns One, ok!?) but I thought I’d break the blogging drought with a little game!

The aforementioned Emma of the sumptuous blog, Family Home Living, tagged me in a ‘get to know you’ game! 

So, here I go...

What's the one thing you can't stand?
Kitten faeces.  Everywhere.  
(But they're so cute... Noses are held, but grudges aren't... for long!)

If you could go back to your childhood, which cartoon character or TV show would be your favourite?
I loved Get Smart, and always wanted to be the elegant and sophisticated 99.

What is something you do or have done that would surprise a lot of people?
Hmmm... If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise!
Can’t really think of anything!
Oh.  I once had a spiral perm.

Do you believe in ghosts?
No.  In a realm we can’t always see, hear, and touch?  Yes.

When you go to a shop, what's the one thing you can't stop yourself from buying more than one of?
Ribbons and Buttons. I have more than I’ll ever use!
...oh, and anything, anywhere that says “50% off the reduced price”.

If you could go back and relive one day in your life, what would it be?
Saying goodbye to my Nan.

What is the funniest story you have about your significant other?
I think I tend to be the proverbial goose in the family, and Chris, I have to say, sits soooo darn close to unfailingly perfect it's NOT funny!  Please don't ask him the same question! There are too many of my 'OH DEAR!' moments on catalogue!

What is your proudest moment of being a parent?
Being a mum is such a privilege and source of joy! I am daily proud and thankful for my three little bunnies! Proudest when I see them make great choices, even when they don’t think they’re being observed.  
I occasionally (!) catch them being affectionate with each other without cue or prompt... and it delights my heart! Yes, they’re normal siblings, and unprompted affection is sporadic, but all three seem to be remarkably compassionate individuals. Outside of our home, and without pious agenda, they are often found making friends with kids who have been left out of schoolyard games for one reason or another.  This makes me proudest.

Now over to you!
I've tagged a couple of my friends... enjoy their blogs - I love them! 

Erica Keen, of Been and Done, has the most amazing heart for developing countries.
An extraordinarily creative girl, (yes, though she’s younger than me, I still want to be like her when I grow up!)  The profits from a lot of the beautiful things she makes go to support her work in Africa.

Megan Sayer of The Big Bad Book Review is a Writer, Reader, Editor, and Blogger in I’m-not-sure-which order!  If you’re into all things reading/writing, stop by her blog!

Till next time,
Amy
xx

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fearless Creativity (Pt. 2!) - Never say Never!

So... more than once I might have said that I would rather watch paint dry than learn how to knit. 
My mum tried to teach me once, and it was sooooo tediously boring watching her 'cast on' that I thanked her for curing me of my fleeting fascination with the creative artform.

But I was walking through a haberdashery store a couple of weeks ago, and something beautiful took my eye.  It was a ball of wool.  So fascinated was I with this remarkable ball of wool, that EVEN though I'd vowed never to knit, I purchased it.  Just to look at. 
Beautiful pinks and greens entwining, reminding me of sunset in a forest.  
No.  Not to knit.  Just to look at. :-)

But a strange thing happened one evening.  All it took was a Jackie Chan movie and a peaceful house, and the fascination became Youtube-ing, and the Youtube-ing became... a scarf.

Albeit a few dropped stitches, and a few rows of 27 instead of 26 (?!), but definitely wearable?!
A bit proud of my efforts!

Next stop... playing the bagpipes. 
Uh...Ok. Not today. 
But I'm learning not to say 'never'.  ;-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fearless Creativity

So here I am. My first blog entry.  Like starting a new journal, I always have a slight hesitation to write something on that first page.   Why is that?  Well, I've never liked my handwriting for a start.  But is it a level of self-consciousness perhaps? Perfectionism? Fear that what I have to say may not be considered valid?  


True that the very thought of blogging your own thoughts publically as though others may get something out of them, may be a little narcissistic... or is it?  Perhaps to continue to think like that is the very "full-stop" of creative flow.


One thing I am learning is about the process of "Fearless Creativity". 
What if creativity and expression really could be fearless?


I believe that the world was created.  I know, that statement alone leaves me wide open for debate among the masses.  But taking that notion even further, I also believe that we have been created in the image of The Creator.   I believe that every person has an essence of some kind of creative expression in them. EVERY PERSON, whether realised or dormant, has the propensity for soul-satisfying creativity.  The only hindrance is usually fear. Fear of failure. Fear of judgement... the list goes on.


Try it. Grab yourself a big blank canvas.  Splodge up your paint brush with colour.
Now... Where do you put it!? Where will that brush touch down? What will you paint?
Sometimes, it's not about Art. It's about fear-defying.  JUMP IN THERE with your little paint brush!? Who said it had to hang in the Louvre? Have fun! Create something unique! Freedom hangs in the balance!  (Throw it out afterwards if you have to!) but don't let fear rob you of that joyous and wreckless abandon, that pleasure of creating.


It was a few years ago that this revelation first hit me.  If creativity is what makes me feel most alive, then luxuriate in it.  If mothering, mother creatively. If running a business, (which I was at the time) do it creatively.  Spend your creativity, like a millionaire intent on going broke. Lavish it around. Be wreckless with it.  Don't live in fear of the critics. What you have to say is unique to you. If it resonates with others, that's great!  If not, you've lost nothing, AND gained your creative freedom.


St Iranaeus, an old French Saint said in about 185AD,
"The Glory of God is man fully alive."
I think he was onto something.
:-)