Friday, December 31, 2010

a year in sentences...

JANUARY.. New Year Revelling..
first of all I had to put my New Years eve slippers on to go out and celebrate the coming of this New Year..

FEBRUARY.. the broken wing..
can you see the missing wing?

MARCH.. wash away my fears..
what a day. nothing happened

APRIL..Easter Thursday...
yet another simple day for me * a blackbird sat in the old apple tree and listened to me as I talked to it

MAY..the month of Mary....
May 1st, the month of Mary & my first full day at Villa Maria

JUNE..don't give up on me....
at the moment.. I am in quiet time

JULY..tempers run high, lost things, oh my ~ telling how it is in my life today. ..
they say that selling & moving house is one of the top things on the stress list.

AUGUST.. Farewell to Inglewood....
I was excited, at last, moving to Villa Maria! something i had dreamed of for weeks..

SEPTEMBER..a day out in the city...
my friend Peter, supports a charity called the Lantern Club

OCTOBER..every picture tells a story...
I thought I had better tell of our weekend away because before you know it, I will be off on a real walkabout to Uluru & Kata Tjuta

NOVEMBER...dinner under the stars..
the Sounds of Silence dinner, was more than I could even have imagined

DECEMBER...introducing Uncle Brian..a member of my family who I don't usually share with the world ...
I grew up with an Uncle who was 'simple'

well there you go.. a year of my blog.. another year.. going into my 6th of blogging.. who would have thought I would still be here?

I must say, reading back over my blogs.. I have had some very, very profound moments.. as I read my words.. I was thinking to myself: 'did I write this?', expecting at any moment to read someones name in recognition of words.. but no, they were my own.. WOW

what was your past year like?...the first sentence from the first post of each month ~ share with us..

[tomorrow, I will be back.. a new look, a New Year.. and one year older..]

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

more signs..

today on my early morning walk, I found a four leaf clover. I wasn't looking for one, but as I walked along the grass foot path, I glanced down and spotted this leaf..

[what does this mean?]

Villa Maria has been un-decorated after Christmas.. resting until the New Year.. thanks tons to each of you for your support and love shown to me.. will be popping by blogs during the next few days..I am so looking forward to 2011 - it is all good. I can say from my heart, that I treasure each of you xoxo

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the post christmas blues - every body hurts... sometimes....

[my youngest grandson, Charlie - 15mths old]

everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes [R.E.M.]

I am sure there is a song about the emotional blues that are experienced after Christmas.. if not, then there should be. Am I the only one that came crashing down on the day after Christmas.. a day that is known as Boxing Day in Australia.

I had a big crash this year.. and it is still going on..

this is the first Christmas without my son here.. and my heart aches. I spoke to him on the phone but that is not the same..our family is changing..

Christmas morning breakfast was different. where I use to entertain up to 10 friends with a lovely civilized breakfast, this year people could not come.. some popping in for champagne and orange but didn't eat.. at 10.30am, Joe and I sat down to a cooked breakfast by ourselves.. [it is time to rethink for next Christmas]

I cried all day on the 26th.. and 27th I took to my bed. with a book. Dark Night of the Soul by Thomas Moore. a book that does help me through these times. but still the absolute loss, sadness, ache deep within my soul.

I usually fight it.. but this time, I am trying to go with it, to take heed of Thomas Moore's words. God seems far away - that is normal.. although I am told He/She is with me always. at times like this I feel all alone. candles are lit, oils burn in my oil burner. a rug is wrapped around me.

at times I feel guilty for being sad.. I have many blessings I know - but all my life I have shoved the sad feelings down, forced myself to smile a manic smile.. and now the sadness is is coming up.. through the centering prayer I am doing.. things are being brought to the surface to heal.. and I am grateful for that...
and like I said, my blessings are many.. a safe port in this storm:

my four grandsons: Jack, Thomas, Charlie & Harry

last night I had a dream... I dreamed that I picked up 5 gold coins... and a little while later I discovered that one had turned into a medal of Our Lady.. a gold medal of Our Lady.. what does that mean?

Friday, December 24, 2010

an Hello & A Christmas Blessing all rolled into one..

a blessing from Sister Jacinta Shailer who runs a Cosmology group once a month..

May the hope of this Sacred season settle in your soul. May it be a foundation of courage for you when times of distress occupy your inner land.

May the wonder and awe that fills the eyes of children, be awakened within you.

May it lead you to renewed awareness and appreciation of whatever you to easily take for granted

May the bonds of love for one another be strengthened, as you gather with your family and friends around the table of festivity and nourishment

May the coming year be one of good health for you. May you have energy and vitality. May you care for your body, mind and spirit.

May you daily open the gift of life and be grateful for the hidden treasures it contains

May you go often to the Bethlehem of your heart and visit the One who offers you peace. May you bring this peace into our world.

I have been absent from blogging.. not sure why - but a contemplative time for me at the moment.. a time of facing things and dealing with them... i miss blogging & I miss my blogging visits and friends.. I will be back after Christmas and will pick up where I left off.. and come visiting you too

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas has come to Villa Maria Blog, ooh and a little road trip..

in celebration of the Season.. a new look, but for a short time only

today we travel down to Victoria, on the bike to attend a Harley Davidson owners group rally... staying in what is called the 'High Country' of Victoria, the snowfields.. where it snows in winter.. Joe & I are staying in a gorgeous French-style chalet: ANDRES ~ but after last night, I have a fear in my soul of getting on the bike.. Mum carried on a little when we said goodbye - crying that she doesn't know what she will do if something happens to us while away...the fear-mongering of my childhood coming back to haunt me. all night I tossed and turned.. and truthfully, I am dreading getting onto the bike..this is where my faith in what will be, will be comes into the fore... keep me in your thoughts, surround me with Angels.. I feel sick.

oh and before I go.. I discovered a gorgeous blog through my friend AnnieElf... a Virgin a Day... I was going to join in her gorgeous task.. but while I am away here is my offering:

[Australia's 2010 Christmas stamp]

Sunday, December 5, 2010

introducing Uncle Brian..a member of my family who I don't usually share with the world

I grew up with an Uncle who was 'simple' - well, that is what it was called back then... other names followed: mentally retarded, slow, mentally handicapped. we as children, just accepted him as he was.. growing up, sometimes friends made fun of him.. fear of the unknown I guess...but sad, all the same. I always defended him.. I didn't see him as any different. he was just Uncle Brian. when he was a teenager, he ran away to join the circus.

Uncle Brian is now 72 and lives in a nursing home, where he is safe and looked after. 'clean and fed' as my mums says...My mum had to put him there when my Pa died and no-one could look after him.. she still has guilt pangs about that decision, but it was really the only thing we could do...he has been there for 12 years now I think.. I don't get to see him much. He is like an 8yr old boy in an old man's body. as a child, it was like having a friend to play with when we went to visit Nana...

yesterday, I went to his Christmas party with my mum ~ Santa came and there was lots of party food..

.. their reunion was moving to say the least

they both had tears in their eyes as they hugged each other

they hadn't seen each other for a year

he still thinks I am a little girl - he told me that 'I was marked for life' when he saw my tattoos.. he also told me I was putting weight on... he is a sweetie.. very positive about life and comes out with the most amazing cliches when speaking of life..

I truly am blessed that he is part of my life. thankyou God.

what has been happening at Villa Maria?

the wreath is on the door..[the door will eventually be painted aubergine]

I also hung one on the front fence..

it has been raining.. like tropical rain. a sign of global warming perhaps?

the hydrangeas are absolutely brilliant. huge, huge flower heads - I guess that drastic pruning I gave them when we first bought Villa Maria, has paid off.

Joe has just about finished painting the rooms. the kitchen splashbacks are tiled. lovely big tiles in a pale blue with rust colour flecked through them. ..

thankyou, thankyou so much for all the words of wisdom in my previous post.. I anguish about revealing things like that - but I am so glad I did.

Monday, November 29, 2010

notes and babblings

the retreat had a bigger affect on me that I expected. [hence the quietness here at Villa Maria]. I have come to a real state of peace within. this could also be because of the centering prayer that I do daily, that I go to a spiritual counsellor weekly or that I go to Mass nearly every day... I am very lucky to have the opportunity. a block away is our church,[St.Thomas Aquinas and the Angels Guardian], so I can walk there and back... of course, I am in fear of being labeled a bible basher.. much like when I was a young teenager.. and I also feel the need to explain which is why this post is beginning to become a babble of explanations. why do I feel the need to do this? no idea.... all I know is that this peace is like pure heaven for me. I am settled, comfortable and yes, at peace. I go to Mass and I cry.. I feel my heart chakra swelling. I am less angry.. all is well in my world...

from my journal:

while I was on retreat, reflecting on my spiritual journey, quite often the issue of fear came up for me in my thoughts and journaling. fear of not being accepted.. this could stem from my teenage years of feeling as if I were the odd one out. I was quite a serious and 'soulful' girl.. not at all like the normal teens.. and I was laughed at and ridiculed and most times not accepted as one of the gang. so I shunned Jesus.. and became one of the girls... and it went on into my late teens as a young mother and early twenties... not being 'religious' because it was not cool.. but always deep in my soul was the yearning..
and the past few years of searching & delving into other beliefs.. has brought me full circle. back to my strong yearning for God...... I haven't given up my love of the Wheel of the year - I can still follow that but I must finally accept that I am a follower of Jesus. .. and still there is a resistance in my very being.. but also, a welling up of joy in my heart

even now when i read this journal entry, i have the Jesus aversion... fear of being branded a religious nut, a bible basher.. the need to explain.. *sigh*

so what has been happening at Villa Maria?

gardening on the weekend, bought me back to my groundedness...

I weeded and mulched and had a thoroughly lovely time in the garden. cucumbers are forming on my vines and the tomatoes have flowers. basil, eggplant, capsicum and pumpkins plants are all thriving. I have hydrangea flowers coming on the bushes and lavender spikes in abundance. gardenias and geraniums are promising gorgeous bouquets for summer.

making my traditional Christmas cake...

a swig or two of brandy for the cake, not for me.. [I tried Brandy once - thinking I was very sophisticated, sipping it from a brandy balloon in front of an open fire when Joe and I were away on a romantic weekend.. sipped once and just about fainted from the fumes !!]

stirring wishes, love and dreams into each slice..

and the first Sunday of Advent..

[on Saturday, after dinner, Joe & I went for a long stroll - gathering green bits for my advent wreath. it is not perfect by any means.. but when that candle is lit - it looks divine]

the first Sunday in Advent.. a gorgeous cool, misty mountains day.. the first candle lit...
sharing thoughts from a friend:
Advent is to be used as a time of preparing to give birth to the Christ within, to prepare every cell of our bodies to carry the Light of Christ that has come into our world. Prepare ye the way of the Lord is a phrase we hear and say a lot during the Advent time. With each week that we increase the light symbolically with our Advent wreath and Altar, we have an opportunity to allow more Light-Flow into our world through us, the living incarnate word Jesus left behind to do the work..

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

my retreat - with my God

it all seemed so romantic & exciting when I booked the retreat last week - then the panic set in. Even on the trip down to St.Mary's Towers, I could have turned around and gone home. many times.

dinner at 6 then Mass.. once that was over - we were in silence and left alone til morning
FRIDAY NIGHT from my journal: I miss Joe and feel lost & sad and feel like crying. I sit here wondering what I am supposed to be doing. the weekend stretches in front of me like a gaping hole.

Saturday: early morning walk. the air was slightly crisp. the sky already a dazzling blue. as I walked down the path, a feather had been placed on the ground [I like to think by the angels]. a sign to me that I was in the right place at the right time. I was in awe of the sacredness & quietness of this place. feeling blessed to be here. I walked and felt tears welling up - not for the reason that I first thought [of being alone] but because at that moment I truly believed that God loved me. I felt it in every cell of my being. Ants busily made their nests, magpie babies chased their mothers with that constant calling that they do. I wondered if it drove the mother birds insane. Birds sat in trees, at one time many of them sitting in branches, singing like a choir. I stood, listened and watched.

it feels very odd to be in the presence of other people and not speak. I feel rude at times. not even smiling or making eye contact. but in another way, very reverent. we all go about our business, some opening curtains, making breakfast as if we are all on separate planes of existence.. I am beginning to enjoy this .....
I love God so much. sometimes it makes me cry

St Marys Towers is absolute pure silence. no music. no tv. total stillness. that is what I wish to achieve & have in my daily life. of course, that is not possible because I am married and have a family. so how can I bring this into my daily life so that it works for me?

each day we had a Mass - and I had many opportunities to sit with Jesus in the many prayer chapels

it was if all my prayers & wishes had been answered - sitting in a circle of women- hearing of love & the Divine. candles & music that stirred my soul. in a very simple way, living in a convent - the life of a contemplative...but best of all


ever since I was a little girl - ever since I can remember, I have had a burning desire deep inside to find God. sometimes it is not as strong as others, but it always resurfaces. this absolute yearning.

natures Golden chalice

forget about yesterday - do not worry about tomorrow - but live this day as a person of faith

the Holy Spirit Tree

seeing the bottlebrush pods - a reminder of my childhood. God's way today that showing me that he was there then and is here with me now - constant.

statues of Mary

and simple shrines.. it was all like heaven to me.

on the weekend, I realised that I am a christian mystic [or rather, aspire to be one]. it is no good running anymore from this Jesus aversion thing that I have been avoiding for such a long time. it is time to embrace this - I was at such peace on the weekend just by accepting who I am and what I believe. Reading Carl McColman's book: Christian Mysticism, helped me tremendously over the weekend.
I struggle with knowing how to pray - centering prayer is easy for me to do.. i love it.. but how do I make my whole life, my whole day, a prayer? how do I hold the world in prayer?
I gained a spiritual director & once a month I can go back to St. Marys Towers for a day of solitude and silence and meet with my spiritual director - it is just a dream come true.

Monday, November 15, 2010

yes, I am home

[a vignette that I focused on while eating my meals in silence]

so, so much to absorb at the moment. some of my retreat will remain private - between me and my God, but eventually I will share the photos that I took on my last day - on an early morning walk... and some few snippets from my journal but first of all I want to ask: prophesy?

remember this collage from a few months ago?:

notice the building in the background of the collage

notice the similarity to the building in the collage... - so many things in the collage above are very similar to my weekend away. the woman in the front was very similar to many icons shown in our talks in the morning and my room was upstairs [notice the stairs and the bed] - the plant in the front was similar to many around the property - the door at the top of the stairs was similar to the entrance door to the building.. and I did quite a bit of work on my inner little girl. was this a prophecy or something my soul knew was going to happen? I like to think so.

each morning the priest Fr. Naughton held Tai Chi under the arches. He wore a beret.. he was a beautiful soul - and the love of God permeated his being. I felt so loved when in his presence.

now see below the collage that I did after the first one..

notice the man in the center.. surrounded by women.. the retreat was a woman's retreat for contemplation..
do you see a resemblance to the Priest in the man with the beret? and the many aspects of me that I took to the retreat..

ps: I loved it!!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

leaving the Red and plants of the desert ~ a story in pictures

Sunday morning dawned and our 6 day visit to the Red Centre of Australia came to an end. Early that morning, I woke and took myself off for a walk to a sand dune, to greet the day and to connect for the last time. to just be.

the first thing I spotted was this:

a Sturts Desert Pea. a sign from my childhood. a good sign with nice memories of my dad.. when he was younger, he was an interstate truck driver & once he came home with tales of the outback and photos of these desert peas. this was the first one I had ever seen in reality.. it was stunning and breathtaking and I can understand how my dad felt when he saw the desert covered in them.
[and what a perfect coloured flower for today - RED - for Remembrance Day - the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18). Each year Australians observe one minute silence at 11 am on 11 November, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts]

the air was still and crisp as I walked through the red desert sand.

~ there are PINK flowers

and Yellow - a desert hakea - the colours were brilliant. and I mean that literally.

a desert raisin - traditional food of the Aboriginal people

the desert OAK - our very own wise trees - some that I saw were over 800 years old - a spot, in the age of this ancient land.

the desert bush plum, another traditional food - the fruit has 8 - 10 times the amount of vitamin C to an orange

and spinifex - the roots of this were chewed by the native people and used as glue to make baskets - the glue has been proven to be stronger than superglue - amazing what God's garden gives to us - if only we had that knowledge to use for much is lost.

I sat for while on the sand, eyes close just breathing in the stillness - meditating and feeling the grounding energies coming up through each chakra until it bubbled up through my crown and over me like a waterfall.. it was a divine, sacred moment for me. I was one.

time to leave the desert

a four hour trip home - we were upgraded to first class - a nice ending to a fantastic time away..

see you when I get home!

so that is my time away...

Villa Maria continues to be beautified.. our stove is here, new windows were installed just after we arrived home. I have not been dealing very well with all the moving, male energies coming in and out - it is like a revolving door..our light fittings went in yesterday and our carpet has been ordered.

I am off to my silent retreat this weekend and am still a little afraid.. of being alone I think. I have alot of wise advice from friends and have printed that out when those panic attacks set in..
I am also seeing a counsellor to help me with anger, bitterness, frustration and impatience that has been rearing it's ugly head lately..- it is time for me to work with this..

I have been doing centering prayer daily - bringing me closer to my God. at the moment, I am at peace with my soul journey. a good thing.
"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)