So Very Thankful!

I have had the most amazing year! It started with a trip to Palmerston North, New Zealand, for the birth of Robin’s and my fifth grand child Ella in February. Then in March came a trip to Sydney, Australia, for the birth of our sixth grand child Luke. And following that in April our seventh grand child Sophie was born in London. Yes that’s right! Three grand children in three months! How often does that happen?

In May I had another trip to Sydney to catch up with that lovely new grandson, as well as two sons, two daughter in laws and three grand children, including Luke.

In August five of us left New Zealand for Poland. We had a wedding to go to! Second son Daniel was getting married to Marysia and nine family members were travelling over for the celebration. That meant I was meeting up with Matthew and grand daughter Casey, and Ben and Chloe from Sydney, as well as travelling with Robin, Judy (my sister), Len and niece Teresa. And, we were meeting little Sophie for the first time!

We stayed in Poland in a Palace! It was a fabulous place. Somewhere buried deep in my blog (around August 2014) is a picture of the palace. The wedding was amazing!

From Poland we went to Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. This was all part of an ‘Insight Vacations’ tour called ‘The tour of the Balkans’. It was a marvelous experience and fully covered in previous blog posts as well!

After the tour I flew to London (alone) and arrived on the 15th of September. The rest of my family who did the tour flew back to New Zealand. I have had the most amazing three months here looking after my grand daughter Sophie while her Mum and Dad went to work. And I have made the most of that time! I have connected with a local Church and the super friendly people there by attending some Sundays, but also by taking Sophie to their playgroup most Friday mornings. It has been great! I also took Sophie to the local library most Wednesdays for music and movement in French! I loved it, and so did Sophie. That child just rocks to every beat of music with a huge smile on her face!

At every opportunity I went into London to ‘Hillsong London’ church and I would spend the whole day wandering around the popular tourist spots in the city. I spent a couple of Saturdays in the city as well so I could see everything! I have thousands of photos! I also took Sophie into London and met up with Dan and Marysia. After work we explored London by night. So completely different than during the day. The lights and sights are superb!

From the 4th of November until the 26th of November, my sister Judy came over from New Zealand to holiday with me. The second weekend she was here we flew to Switzerland for three days. We stayed in Zurich and discovered the city. We also did a tour of wonderful Lucerne and then went up Mount Pilatus by the cog railway. Oh my goodness those places are a must to visit! I have loaded heaps of photos here on my blog as well. Go have a look and be inspired to go there yourself! You won’t regret it!

Judy and I also went to two shows, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Billy Elliot’, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We wandered through museums, shops, the winter wonderland and went on the London eye together. So many fun and memorable moments!

Dan and Marysia also took me to Oxford, and then Judy and I to Winchester to see the Christmas markets there! So many wonderful, amazing experiences! And it hasn’t ended yet! On the 19th, Dan, Marysia, Sophie and myself are flying to Sydney and meeting husband Robin, daughter Jessica and her boyfriend Conner who are flying the same day from New Zealand. We will all be staying with eldest son Matthew, Rebekah and grandchildren Leeara, Casey and Luke. And eldest daughter Joanna who is in Sydney already, waiting for us to arrive! We will be meeting up with youngest son Ben and Chloe before they fly to New Zealand to meet Chloe’s family for Christmas. We will be having a fabulous Christmas in Sydney together! It certainly will be a time of celebration.

When I think of all that I have experienced this year and of the wonderful provision from God to be able to do it all (and an understanding, loving husband), I feel amazingly blessed! I feel so full from all of the most wonderful experiences and relationships in my life, and feel so emotionally satisfied and happy. Sometimes I feel like my heart could burst withย  joy from all these experiences ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I am not sharing all this to show off, or to make you feel jealous of me, or to make you think that I am perfect, have an amazing personality, a great character, are better than others and somehow deserve this life. I am human, I make plenty of mistakes and I fail at times, my life hasn’t always been this wonderful in fact it has had many troubles. I am only in this place at this time because of my gracious and merciful God!

Here is the reality of my life, and a little of my past and the sadness I have experienced….

In 1989, when I was 33 years old, I was living in a half finished house and I was solely paying the weekly mortgage payments. I was a single mother of four young boys and I was supported by the New Zealand Domestic Purposes Benefit, which was barely enough to survive on. My ex-husband had left me and the boys and he wasn’t making life easy. I was continually under pressure to ‘hold it together’ for the sake of my children especially when their emotions were also in a mess. They couldn’t really understand the changes that had happened in their lives, and to be honest neither could I.

Emotionally I was a wreck! Not only was I suffering huge rejection from my ex-husband, but I also felt rejection from those who thought I was somehow not worthy of their friendship any longer as I was now a solo mother. I had lost the title of being a wife and had also lost status in society, as I was now officially on a benefit! Some women couldn’t associate with me any longer as somehow I became a threat to them. As a single lady, I was seen as available, I could maybe attract interest from their husbands (even though I had four children). From men, they felt it would ruin my reputation to be seen with me? Of course, having suffered the devastation of a broken marriage I wanted to go break another marriage and cause damage in their life as well! Really? And being a single women with four children, it actually hurt to be with couples and see their happy family, knowing our little family was broken and suffering.

My ex husband played the blame game often (of course it was all my fault), and I developed the habit of needing to defend myself both to him and to the many he had convinced of his innocence, and to our past friends. And I’m not saying that I was completely blameless, but I was completely faithful!

Divorce leaves behind broken lives! And it can take years for those lives to be restored. And even when you think you have it sorted, something happens and before you know it, you find yourself back in the middle of an emotional crisis again! And as a survivor, you do get yourself back on track eventually, but it is a process, believe me. And I have fallen many times over the years. I am a whole lot better than I was, but it is still very sad how deep rejection, or the feeling of being unappreciated, can wound the very soul of a person! It’s also very sad to suffer at the hands of those who have never experienced the hardships of divorce and all that goes with it, and they cast you aside when you show any degree of weakness in your emotional life. I take hurts very deep, and have reacted upon that hurt spirit, rather than see myself as God sees me… totally loved unconditionally, and totally understood. And, I have had prayer and ministry for the brokenness, and I believe that God has helped me incredibly. The upsets from the past come further and further apart now and are much less severe.

As you would know (if you have read ‘About me’ here on my blog) I am a Christian. I know the love, value, acceptance and belonging that comes from receiving Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.ย  I know peace and joy, and I live a very rich and fulfilled life. I’m not saying that if you become a christian, you will have problem free living. I haven’t had life easy as a Christian, but I have a God who says ‘Cast your cares on me for I care for you’. And He never fails to bring comfort and joy. Yes… it is well with my soul! That doesn’t mean that the echoes of the past don’t come back to haunt me, and that you forget the events of the past, but with God’s help you can forgive and the memories are much less painful.

Many years ago a lady came to me in church, and said that she felt she had a scripture for me. It was Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,โ€ declares the Lord, โ€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Well I think God has blessed me with the reality of that scripture for a few years now but even more so in this year. Yes I am so very thankful for the wonderful year I have just had and I thank God daily for it! And I am so thankful for my wonderful family who I get to share this life with. And, I am also so very thankful for the friends I have, who have stood by me and loved me no matter what, and still encourage me to be the best me that I possibly can ๐Ÿ™‚

I love you all xoxoxo

I wonder what God has in His plans for us in 2015!

Isaiah 61:3 To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of dispair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

The Wedding!

What a day! It was just perfect! I haven’t the words to describe just how wonderful it was. Dan scrubbed up great! Marysia looked gorgeous! Casey the flower girl, and the men looked fabulous. I guess it will be easier to just show you a photo or two…

Daniel and Marysia... So happy :-)
Daniel and Marysia… So happy ๐Ÿ™‚
The men of the day
The men of the day, plus an extra (Nick)
Three of my boys with the beautiful bride!
Three of my boys with the beautiful bride!
Two beautiful girls! Grand daughter Sophie and her caregiver for the day :-)
Two beautiful girls! Grand daughter Sophie and her caregiver for the day ๐Ÿ™‚
Gregory (Marysias brother) Richard (Marysias Dad) and Daniel
Gregory (Marysias brother) Richard (Marysias Dad) and Daniel
The Bride and Groom sit on chairs as they say their vows :-)
The Bride and Groom sit on chairs as they say their vows ๐Ÿ™‚
And look at Casey! Just beautiful....and cute :-)
And look at Casey! Just beautiful….and cute ๐Ÿ™‚
Daddy and daughter
Daddy and daughter
Youngest son Ben with Chloe :-)
Youngest son Ben with Chloe ๐Ÿ™‚
Brothers and sister in laws :-)
Brothers and sister in laws ๐Ÿ™‚
Close up of Matthew
Close up of Matthew
Gregory and Marysia, brother and sister
Gregory and Marysia, brother and sister
Cheers! Vodka shots!
Cheers! Vodka shots!
A very happy Daniel
A very happy Daniel
Richard escorting Marysia to be married
Richard escorting Marysia to be married
The reception tables
The reception tables
Casey and Felix and another cute little girl
Casey and Felix and another cute little girl
The wedding venue, Accommodation part
The wedding venue, Accommodation part
The first dance :-)
The first dance ๐Ÿ™‚
A selfie with Judy :-)
A selfie with Judy ๐Ÿ™‚
Cutting the cake
Cutting the cake
The cake
The cake
Pawlowice Palace. We stayed here for three nights, It's an amazing place!
Pawlowice Palace. We stayed here for three nights, It’s an amazing place!


My eldest son Matthew and his youngest daughter Casey xxx
My eldest son Matthew and his youngest daughter Casey xxx
The amazing Ballroom!
The amazing Ballroom!
Matthew and Ben (inside the Palace)
Matthew and Ben (inside the Palace)
Marysia's lovely parents :-)
Marysia’s lovely parents ๐Ÿ™‚


Last day at home…

It’s 7:45 and I’m still in bed, but definitely not sleeping or relaxing. I’m thinking about the thousand things I still need to do today. I need to get up! But, I do have a list! I love being able to tick off jobs as they are completed and then knowing I am fully prepared for our holiday…. Hopefully!

Mostly I am excited! Eeeee! I have just finished checking Facebook and Snapchat, and have seen photos of my family and their travel shots as they make their way to Poland. Matthew, Daniel and Casey are driving from London to Leszno and they crossed from the Uk to France via the Euro tunnel early this morning. And they are now in Germany!

Looking very excited! Casey and her Dad Matthew ๐Ÿ™‚

Visiting ‘The Shard’ in London

Waiting to board the train at the Euro tunnel.

On the train!!!

A stop for refreshments in Brussels ๐Ÿ™‚

And now they are in Cologne Germany!
Meanwhile Ben and Chloe have arrived in London and are staying on for a few days while Ben has some work to do. They fly to Poland later in the week.

Don’t they look very relaxed! Lovely ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, I have to wash my sheets and remake the bed! Clean the whole house including the bathroom! Print out travel documents! Phone Visa! Fold heaps of washing! Pack my bag! Prepare a meal for us and my two Aunties for tonight! And… The list goes on!

I really wanted to finish my crochet blanket before I left but will have to leave it at this stage until I come back home in January!

It can wait! But getting up can’t!

I leave New Zealand tomorrow!

Wedding in Whangarei

All I can say is…’How refreshing!’

We have just arrived back home from a lovely weekend away. A weekend that has been planned for approximately six months. One of my best friend’s daughter had fallen in love with a lovely young man, and this weekend was their wedding, and we were invited. We had a little way to travel but it was worth it!

Our trip

Rebecca, the bride had just finished her second year of teachers training and still has one year of study left. Roland, the groom, had just completed his training to become a youth Pastor. So as you can imagine money is tight. But, they are very much in love and could see no reason to delay a wedding…they were committed to each other for life!ย Just look at the love in their eyes for each other!


Now the wedding was definitely a wedding made on a tight budget, but in my opinion, it lacked nothing. It was a wedding full of meaning, joy, love and a real delight to experience. A very blessed event!

It was an open ceremony held in a local park. The setting was beautiful. A lovely arch was built as a background to the altar, and a wishing well for gifts to be deposited. Very sweet!

An amazing setting! Simply beautiful :-)

We were all invited to bring along a picnic and blanket for the reception. And everyone did just that. With joy and happiness and lots of laughter, we all sat around and ate our picnic tea together, with the bridal party sitting just along from us. It was perfect! The weather was warm and sunny, the surroundings picturesque, and the atmosphere delightful. You could just feel the support and love for both Rebecca and Roland. Everyone helped to make this day a delight to remember.


And we had a reason to dress up and have a weekend away! It will certainly be a weekend to remember. I feel very blessed to have shared in the whole experience.


Rebecca and Roland…I admire your decision to get married, and I also admire the fact that you didn’t waste money on lots of unnecessary trimmings. Your wedding day lacked nothing. It was a fabulous day and a very well thought out meaningful wedding ceremony.ย We were all able to contribute and help to make your day special, even if it was just by bringing along our own little picnic. Many people contributed one way or another and that’s the way it should be. Why get married and start the marriage with a huge debt that is caused by the wedding day. There was no alcohol, no loud music and no raised voices. The whole experience was simply lovely!

Yes….How refreshing!!

I LOVED it all xoxoxo

Ben and Chloes Wedding

We have just arrived back home from Featherston, where we celebrated the wedding of Benjamin (my youngest son) and Chloe. What an amazing day we had. Everything was beautiful and went perfectly to plan. They are now enjoying their honeymoon and the beginning of life as a married couple. I pray they will be very happy together and will have the grace to love each other always, the committment to stand by each other through every season of their lives, and that they will experience God’s blessing in every way. I love you Ben and Chloe xx


So….With Japan now having a massive earthquake followed by a very destructive Tsunami, Robin (my husband) has been hot on the trail of working out why???? He has put his theory on his blog and now spends hours searching the web for more info. Along with his previous passion of proving theย ‘global warming’ย  belief wrong, we now lead a very interesting life! I sit on my computer doing this blog, facebook, ย and then also fit in my passion for scrapbooking and mainly music, while he sits on his computer doing his blog and further searching and listening to scientists around the world. We do sit in the same room though and still share meals and coffee breaks. Hehe….actually it works quite well! We are both in our mid fifties, and I seriously wonder what the next decade will be like for us! Joanna also shares our lounge room and as she is on her second year of nursing, she also sits at her computer and studies. Jessica sits at the BIG lounge table and does her homework, along with keeping up with all her friends via facebook or texts! And….I know that if any of our boys were home, they would be sitting with their laptops as well! We are quite a technology focussed family really. Matthew’s life is Business cost anaylsis via a computer program. Daniel designs and markets Samsung laptops. Simon writes songs and raps on them viaย the computer, and Ben sells computer games via itunes eg. his new game

On Wednesday we are heading down to Ben and Chloes wedding in Featherston….yay…I can’t wait. They have been going out for 6 years and have amazing lives individually and also together. Ben with his computer stuff and Chloe with design and modelling. They live in Sydney and are travelling to New Zealand on Tuesday. Ben was his friends best man only one month ago here in New Plymouth. Here is a photo of them both…

Aren’t they a gorgeous couple. I’ll be adding photos of their wedding as soon as possible ๐Ÿ™‚

On the 26th of March I am heading off for a 2 week holiday in Sydney catching up with Matthew, Rebekah, Leeara and Casey…and then the last week, Ben and Chloe as they should be back from their honeymoon. I am so looking forward to seeing everyone again. It’s so sad that it takes a holiday overseas to see family and yet also exciting to be travelling!

But, back to reality. I have so much to do for mainly music before I take off for the wedding and holiday. Mainly music theme day is the first week back and it needs to be organised before I go. So, I need to get planning and preparing!

Lets hope there is also better news concerning Japan and their nuclear woes next time I write. It is such a worry for all! And after so many have already died ๐Ÿ™