Serendipitous happenings

serendipity |ˌserənˈdipitē|
~ noun: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I love life and all it’s funny little ways. And I especially love serendipity.

So, I think you will remember my friend Alison who kindly wrote a guest post while I was under the weather when my uninvited guest Ross River was staying with me.

I met Alison online through a friend, who I also met online. Ah yes, those things we tell our teenagers about meeting people online – not a terribly good example are we?

When our son needed a place to stay in Sydney back in June, guess who put their hand up? Alison. After only ‘knowing’ me online for a couple of months, she happily welcomed our boy into their home and family for three weeks, something for which we will be forever grateful (and that’s not just rhetoric).

So after hearing time and time again from our boy about how well we would all get on with each other, when Alison said they were coming to Brisbane, we promptly invited them for a meal.

And you know what? Our son was right. They were every bit as lovely as he said, maybe even more so. It was truly like old friends getting together rather than strangers who didn’t even know what each other looked like meeting for the first time. We ate, drank, talked over the top of each other, finished each other’s sentences, played games, made fun of each other, Took It Too Far, sweetheart and generally had a ball.

And then, I got a double shot of Alison when we went for coffee today. And boy, am I glad we did. We were able to talk ‘shop’ and discuss all manner of writerly things that only other crazy writers understand (writers online girls, you so should have been there too!).

As I was feeling stagnant and overwhelmed by my quest for a first novel completion, Alison gladly bounced around ideas with me about how to get back on track, if indeed, that was what I wanted. I went there ready to bin, or at the very least, delegate to the metaphorical bottom drawer, my whole manuscript but after talking it over I knew that wasn’t actually what I wanted to happen.

I actually want to write the damn story. Alison and I (I include myself as I physically was there but really, she was coming up with all the great ideas) then nutted out a suitable ‘plan’.

And now I’m excited about my book again.

But more importantly, meeting Alison (and the wonderful family) has cemented the friendship that we kinda already knew was there but weren’t sure. Well, now we’re sure.

I love how God gives us just what we need, at just the right time – serendipity!

And just to complete the ‘silliness’ of meeting online, like the ‘youngsters’ do, we even managed to take a ‘selfie’. (It only took us eight goes to get both of us in the shot and looking halfway decent – pretty impressive, I think.)

Please come back soon, Alison and Co…we miss you already!


Spoiling the spoils

You may remember that we are growing some veggies etc in our little garden (go here if you want a refresher 🙂 ) One of the most coveted of our vast array of homegrown produce is the strawberries.

This is due to the fact that there is such a small number of them, the fact that we all love strawberries, and the fact that these homegrown ones are so super sweet and juicy.

So here’s what seems to happen.

“Oh look! A strawberry!” says random member of the family.

“Ooooh yum!” exclaim the other three members.

The prize is then reverently taken inside and placed on the kitchen bench, glittering with the promise of juicy sweetness inside.

There may then ensue a short but robust argument over who had the last one and therefore, whose ‘turn’ it was to have the one freshly harvested.

Invariably, the phone rings, the dog barks, a fly goes past and the participants in the argument are sufficiently distracted that the strawberry remains intact on the bench.

Later, I will place it up on the kitchen windowsill with the ripening tomatoes, saying to myself “Someone will enjoy that!” and get on with making tea or peeling the potatoes.

Allow three or four days to pass. Someone spies the strawberry, still sitting with it’s tomato friends and picks it up.

The difference is, now the strawberry is a dull, dark red colour and it may, or may not, have the beginnings of some lovely white fuzzy growth.

We love them so much and are so proud of them that we end up not eating them, that’s the sort of savvy farming going on at our place.

It struck me how we do that with other things too. An opportunity is soooo good that we spend so much time admiring it and oohh-ing and aahh-ing over it that when we finally do get round to taking it, it’s gone.

When was the last time you deliberated so much that the moment passed and you missed out?

Seize the day (or in our case, strawberry) when it’s there, fresh and full of sweet promise.

Go on! Do it!

What’s in a name?

Some of you may have noticed that when I post on blogs etc I go by the name Fandina.

I use it in my email address and for anything else when I don’t want to use my real name. I have had questions in the past, like “What’s a fandina?” And I am constantly confused when people’s emails bounce back to them because they have typed in ‘sandina’ and I think to myself, “How silly! What’s a sandina???” 🙂

So here is the story.

Once upon a time, there was a teacher aide who worked with children aged 3-5 with special needs. She loved it and longed to take them all home with her but after one failed attempt in which neither the police, the parents, or her husband were happy, she contented herself with just spending time with the children through the day at her workplace.

There came to be a little girl named Krystal who had messy hair, an impish grin and sweetness in spades. The lovely teacher aide enjoyed spending time with her and they would sing and dance and play all day (or at least until the big mean nasty teachers told them to do some ‘work’).

One day, the teacher aide noticed that Krystal didn’t call her by her real name. She called her Fandina. The teacher aide knew this was because they had their own secret faery language and felt privileged to have a new name bestowed on her. Fandina then casually mentioned how sweet this was to one of the teachers over a cup of tea and a biscuit.

“Mmmmmmm, very interesting,” replied the teacher. “Maybe we should get her hearing checked.” The teacher aide wasn’t sure if the teacher was referring to her or Krystal, so she waited quietly to see what would happen next.

The next time Fandina went to work, she was told that it had been discovered that Krystal had significant hearing loss and that was why she was calling her Fandina – not, as the teacher aide had thought, because they had a special, magical bond.

Fandina felt disappointed until the teachers threw her a big party with cake and candles and balloons to celebrate how wonderful she was in alerting them to the fact of Krystal’s hearing loss. The teachers and parents were all so grateful that they had a monument erected in her name and the Prime Minister came to shake Fandina’s hand and give her an overseas holiday as a reward.

Fandina, who goes by that name to this day, and Krystal lived happily ever after (even though Fandina has no idea where she is now or if she would even remember her).

The end.

Disclaimer: certain parts of this story may have been changed to make it more interesting.

Lykkelig Fars Dag

No, a toddler hasn’t grabbed my laptop and randomly typed in the title of this post….it’s Danish for Happy Father’s Day! And since that husband of mine is Danish (apparently), I thought I would salute him in his native tongue. NB. He cannot speak Danish and has never been there, but hey.

So today, if you haven’t already gathered, is Father’s Day in the great land of Oz.

After my last post – which you can read here if you like – among many other things, I have gained a renewed appreciation for the amazing father my husband is and how well he has raised and is raising our children.

A father is so vitally important – or insert, strong male figure there if applicable – to a child’s development, how they see themselves and the world, a role that is often overlooked by society.

My husband tells all our kids on a regular basis that he loves them. For our son, he showed him how to be a man, how to ‘feel’, how to express those feelings. He also taught him the worth of women, and how they should be treated. They are great mates and I just know that will steadily increase with time.

For our girls, he is constantly teaching them what they are worth, not only by how he treats them but by how he treats me (our 15 year old will often quietly say to no-one in particular “I’m never gonna find a guy” when he comes home with flowers for no reason or brings me wine as I recline in the lounge as he makes tea – yes, the bar has been set very high!). With lots of hugs, affection and verbal affirmation, he is building up in them the knowledge of how they should be treated by men, giving them the standards they should expect in their future relationships.

I think one of the big issues with girls buying into the culture we find ourselves in (again, read the previous post if you like :)) is that they have not been shown their real worth – by their mothers or their fathers. Men who opening objectify women will not raise girls who are certain of their intrinsic worth regardless of their outward appearance.

Men who respect, value and treasure women will raise girls who will respect, value and treasure themselves; girls who won’t feel the need to wear short shorts, short tight skirts and low cut tops, to gain male attention and affection. These girls will be full to the brim with good, proper male attention from their fathers that they will be far more choosey about which men they want to attract and enter into relationships with.

I am very blessed to have a father for my children who is as determined as I am to raise our girls to know their worth. Girls who are comfortable in their own skin, no matter what size it is. Girls who will refuse to ‘settle’ in relationships and who know that if a guy is attracted by short skirts and too much cleavage, he’s not even worth a second glance.

He is also teaching them to be strong, resilient, independent women who are keen to make a difference. Sometimes this is easier said than done, when they look at him with their puppy dog eyes and smile sweetly, asking for some sort of favour or purchase – Say no!! I silently cry. And usually, he does, but not always, and that’s okay too 🙂

So, yes, I and my children are exceedingly blessed to have him. And although today we gave him gifts to celebrate Father’s Day, it is really he who is the gift to us, one that we are very grateful he gives to us each and every day.

Oh and a happy Father’s Day to my dad – another outstanding man and father 🙂 You can read my post about him here.