Thursday, January 31, 2008

Freedom. And a Mother's heartbreak...

Its a new school year. I've just taken my son back to school and I can tell you, it doesn't get any easier.

Contrary to this photo, my boy is now a tall young man of 15. Here in the photo he is a little man of 4. We were taking a walk in a nearby cotton field, near to where we were living at the time. The dog was a great mate, a Basenji called Outsider. The dog is no longer with us, as he was bitten by a snake many years ago.

As I gaze on this picture, it seems like a lifetime ago. Much has happened in our lives and this is a visual reminder of that.

Meanwhile, my son is happy to be back at his school. And that is a comfort to me I guess. Had I left a boy who was not happy, it would have made it all that harder. So, when I rang up last night to speak with him, the first comment I got back was "We've got so much freedom, mum!" It seems that now, they are of an age where they are treated with a bit more respect as well as being given more responsibility for themselves at school. They can now do their homework in their area, they don't have to get up out of bed as early, they don't need to do a roll call to go to meals. It is now highschool that he is in and he is excited about it!

I am excited for him too.

This is the time when you hope that your child makes the most of his school life, when he takes up any opportunity that takes his interest and that it is a rewarding experience. It is why we decided years ago to make the committment to boarding school for our son. Its a big committment but one that will be rewarding us all for many years to come!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Was a favourite Eric Clapton album of Mark's. But I digress. I am going to relate the details of 9th of December, 2007, as I'm sure that there are those who'd like to know how it went!

It was an evening that seemed to come together very smoothly. Friends were coming from Sydney and those who lived here were already confirming that they'd be there. It was looking to be a big night.

The day before, Saturday, was a huge day. Some great friends and I built a back deck on my house. Just in time for everyone to come and oogle! It certainly was huge event just in itself, especially considering that the deck is a massive 8 metres by 4 metres! And the fact that it all went together smoothly was also impressive. No hitches whatsoever!

Sunday was a day that held a lot of expectations, even though I tried my best to avoid having any expectations at all. I really didn't want to feel like the significance of the day was going to consume me and I certainly did not dwell on it. Just looked forward to sharing the day with some wonderful friends.

At church in the morning, I was invited up to give a brief talk about how the year had gone for me. I felt that it was a perfect time to put to bed some "myths" about me that had been circulating around the church community. It had been questioned that I was possibly trying to live out Mark's Christian walk. I actually agreed with this and explained why I agreed. It's not so much as my living out his walk, rather me living our joint ideas on our Christianity. Hey, its one reason why we married! We both had the same views on many aspects of Christian faith and so it would stand to reason that if one or the other was "left behind", we'd probably be reflecting that!

As I said, it's hard to just get rid of someone out of your life who has been there for a long time. As Mark used to joke himself, we'd been married for a million gazillion years! (Just exactly how long is that anyway!?) And I also said that I would be upset if people who knew Mark, looked at me and didn't see anything of him in me. It would mean that our marriage was not real and that we didn't live as "one" as we had originally been married as under the sight of God and in the view of His church.

I think everyone got the idea!

Sunday afternoon was the complete opposite weather wise to 12 months ago. It was overcast and cool. Not hot, dry and filled with the smoke from bush fires. A complete and utter contrast. As people gathered, friends arrived from great and small distance, the afternoon looked to be bigger than I'd even expected.

One great girlfriend had been working at something special of her own behind the scenes. She arrived and presented me with a large cardboard box, stating that she had wanted to commemorate the day herself in her own way. I opened the box and found it full of caps! They were all printed with the Top Gun logo and on the rear of the cap was printed "John 15:13", Mark's favourite Bible verse! The hats were awesome and well received by all! I think that it was terrific to see people wearing their Top Gun hats around on the afternoon! What an incredibly thoughtful touch to the day.

As the sun set and the people ate, I recall coming out at one stage to gaze down at those who'd set themselves up on the lawn. It was a very peaceful moment to me as I thought how much it was just as it should be. Everyone sitting around, eating, drinking and chatting together. Exactly as Mark would have had it himself! I was very proud!

Later, we got set up with the cinema equipment and though the rain tried to threaten, no one would be moved and sat through the light shower that came down! We just threw a tarp over the equipment! The rain cleared and I announced that I was going to show the slide show from last year, as after all, it was why we were there. Everyone went very quiet and I'm sure that there were a few tears as well as a few laughs.

Then, on with the show that everyone had been waiting for! TOP GUN!

Seriously, it had many of us reciting the lines along with the actors!

All in all, a great night had by everyone. A great way for everyone to remember a huge event that occured 12 months ago. An important time for helping others with their grief, as many still come to grips with the fact that the man that was such a huge impact in their life has gone on ahead. It will be a great day in heaven when we all get there because Mark will have done a wonderful job of helping our Lord to get it ready for us!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We Resume Normal Broadcasts...

Apologies to those of you who are visiting and reading. I have not been attentive to my blog and have not done many regular updates. I won't bore you either with a huge post about what has been happening, suffice to say it has been mostly all good!

However, I will bore you with my adventures on a Ride On Lawn Mower...

New Years Eve has fast become an annual event at friends where we race ride on mowers. It started a few years ago and is growing with every year, this year being no exception!

I was invited to bring out my mower as well and join in on the fun. And boy! What fun! Too much fun even!

Yes, I admit it, I am a total rev head. No apologies for that either!

Above is me on my mower. It's diesel powered and actually does a pretty good job of mowing the lawn. As well as racing, I also competed in a lawn mower tug competition. Of course, the diesel with it's weight and low torque did a very good job of pulling the competition across the line, no effort required!

We also came second in the Chicks Race and managed to come in the middle of the field in the Open Race. There were some very serious competitors in the Open class. Their mowers had been heavily modified and one was clocked at 43 kilometres per hour! That's very fast on something that was really only designed to mow the grass!

As well as Ride On Mower races, there was also some Watermelon Skiing for the kids which utilised two quad runners and two ski ropes and some wet plastic. In the end the kids were just as happy getting pulled along without having to try and stand up in watermelons. The kids were at it for hours and it was only dark that made them pull up!

The hardcore enthusiasts are already planning bigger and better things for the Ride On Mower races for next year. They're trying to get some races to happen during the year with the New Years Eve races being labelled as the Grand Finals. Should be fun!