Tag Archives: Family


dsc_0018We recently celebrated my youngest’s 21st birthday.  I’ve already written about 21st birthdays in New Zealand, about how they’re meant to be a time of affirmation for the past and a “we believe in you” moment for the future.  Meg’s birthday was all that and more.

For weeks leading up to the party I was trying to organise in my head what I would say when it came time for speeches. There were plenty of stories to tell but in the end I wanted to share how thankful I am.  That her birth coincided with our move to New Zealand.  That our completed family has been blessed with 21 years of love, laughter and so many happy memories with the family and friends who came to celebrate with us on the night.  I looked at my strong, loving and confident daughter and saw reflected in her the love and support provided to us all.

Milestones offer an opportunity to reflect on our past, and it’s essential we do it with kind eyes.  No-one’s life is perfect and it’s important to acknowledge the challenges as well as the successes.  Our memories provide the foundation for hope in the future.

Happy 21st birthday to my darling daughter and happy 21st anniversary to our family life in New Zealand.


Little Altars


I was turning on the lights in my office this morning just before the sun came up and was struck by the realisation that I have created little altars around me.  In what looks like clutter there are stories and connections to people I love and who love me in kind.

A friend’s first painting gifted to me for my birthday.

A photo of my husband from our early courtship in Alaska. He’s lost in contemplation while the sun frames him on a rock in the middle of the Chilkoot River.

A mermaid from Rene, who died too young from cancer.  It’s message, “Impossible is a word you humans use all too often” corresponds with the bumper sticker nearby, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Gentle reminders that our lives are meant to be defined and fulfilled by our own expectations and not those of others.

A pair of Groucho Marx glasses from Dad’s 70th birthday.  Dad used to joke that he didn’t need Grouch Marx glasses because he already had the nose and mustache to match him. When five of us arrived at the airport sporting a matching set he laughed so hard he actually cried.

Two florescent butterflies from the World of Wearable Art Show in Wellington when Rene’s husband, Dave, won the Supreme Award with his ‘Lady of the Wood’. Thousands of the butterflies were released at one point in the show and fluttered to the ground glowing in the black light.  It was magical.


To my left are family photos and a sketch Meg drew for me for Mother’s Day when she was 10 along with love notes and a plaque “I (heart) My Mum.”

Centre stage is “How to Really Love a Child” and the messages still resonate:  “Be there…search out the positive…open up…express your love…a lot.”


Nana’s candy dish which sat on her coffee table, always filled with lemon drops for visitors.

A salt crystal candle sent by Susan to help heal my bruised heart after experiencing one too many deaths in a short period of time.

Ellie’s tea cup, crafted by our old neighbour, Tom.

And our sugar jar.  When we travel our family likes to have a competition to see who can collect the greatest variety of sugar packets.  It reminds me of past travels while still having room for future adventures.

These are altars that reflect my connections of past to present in where I’ve lived, what I’ve done and who I’ve loved.

Life happens; love makes it worthwhile.