Categories
Christianity

6/52 on celebrating a life

I spent quite a bit of yesterday afternoon with tears in my eyes. Together with what felt like hundreds of people, we celebrated the life of this amazing man, Richard William Whittington.

I met Richard and his beautiful wife Colleen on their return to Australia from South Africa, in 2002. We attended the same church – Chesed – on Friday evenings in Nambour, and he quickly struck me as an amazing man of God, one who ‘walked’ the talk.

It was a beautiful service, full of touching memories. And so uplifting! The thought that Richard is not dead, but alive and with our Father, whom he served so faithfully while here on earth. A true ‘celebration’ of a life well lived.

And to celebrate this life with old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in person, in well over 18 years! What a blessing they all are to me. Sure, we’ve kept in touch via Facebook, virtually witnessing life events and the like, but to see them again and feel the warmth of their hugs was to be transported back in time again.

What a special afternoon; one which I have stored up in my heart. I am so blessed to have known Richard – and blessed still further by my God for his putting such amazing people in my life! I treasure them dearly.

I wish for you a week of remembering, and catching up with, such precious people in your own life, dear Reader.

  • KRidwyn
Categories
family anecdotes teaching Work

3/52 Final day before the chaos

Yes, that’s right. The 2024 school year starts back tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful holiday… not the least of it due to family gaming time.

Decades ago now, Hubby was an addicted gamer, to the extent that I was a ‘computer widow’. Since I couldn’t beat him, I joined him, and once multiplayer games became a thing (yes, I did mention ‘decades’, didn’t I) we had some pretty amazing sessions, some of which bordered on the truly epic.

Fast forward to sometime in 2021, I introduced our son to Caesar II and the Age of Empires franchise. Fast forward again to the 2023 / 2024 summer holidays: we had our own Mum-Dad-two-teenagers slaughterfest on AoEIV (Anniversary Edition) where it was me getting slaughtered, Hubby barely hanging on, and our daughter (who’d only just started playing two days earlier) just narrowly being beaten by our reigning champion son. Hours and hours and hours of fun was had! And humbling experiences too, I must admit, for me, as well as Hubby…

Seeing my little computer villagers building castles got me inspired to also spend some time re-reading one of my favourite trilogies: The Heaven Tree series, written by Edith Pargeter (who also wrote as Ellis Peters, of the Bather Cadfael series). The protagonist is a master mason who dedicates his life (literally… he gets killed as soon as its done) to building of a castle on the English border with Wales. It’s a magnificent story, and the writing style is sublime 🙂

And then, to bring it all ‘into the real world’ as it were, this showed up in my Facebook feed:

What a simply stunning piece of architecture! Isn’t it inspiring that someone had the courage to design such magnificence – let alone the bravery of the people who built it (and maybe even, who lived there!)

Anyway, I just wanted to share these thoughts with you, some reflection time, just prior to heading into the chaos of this school year.

Happy first week back of school, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
Random thoughts Reading Writing

2/52 Home again and being introspective

I both love and loathe writing. Like the nursery-rhyme girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when [it] is good, it is very, very good; but when [it] is bad, it is horrid.

I was pretty excited last March though, to be so near the end of my Justine Browning journey I was ‘querying’ agents, and ‘in the trenches’. Then a hiccup regarding word counts hit – at the same time as I received a huge pile of English drafts to read and return to my high-school English classes. Enter my first overwhelming encounter with my darlings’ use of ChatGPT, and the world of AI writing.

And I lost it. All motivation. All hope of ever ‘making it’ as a published author. Because seriously, what even will the publishing industry LOOK like in ten years, with AI now here, and here to stay?

Admittedly, life also got a heap busier with my Mum deciding to separate from my Dad, but there you have it – the series of inciting incidents which brought my 2023 writing journey to a screaming halt.

But this year, I’m determined to look on the bright side. Intentionally. And I couldn’t help but laugh when “Goodwill Librarian” posted this, this week:

 

And that was all it took to shake me from my self-imposed writing paralysis. Because I could see clearly how words are important! I should know – these past school holidays I’ve read more books than I’ve read in simply AGES! Other people’s words – their viewpoint on this incredible thing we call life – has been important to me. And who’s to say that my words might indeed be important to others?

Hence this return to my poor neglected blog. To eke out some words and fling them into the ether, with nought but the hope that someone, someday, may stumble across them and read. Maybe even comment!

And even if none do, the externalisation of my thoughts into text is good for me. Straighten out my own understanding of my personal world view, as it were. And ‘there’s a spider in your bra’ is certainly so disparate a response to ‘undress me with your words’ to what I could ever conceive, that it’s good for me to realise and understand this!

I hope you smiled like I did at that meme. And have a great week, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
Blogging challenges family anecdotes Writing

1/52 Memories, from Melbourne, with hope

And so it begins; my first blogpost of the New Year. And I’m in Melbourne, which apparently used to be called Batmania prior to being renamed back in 1837.

(And no, although it’s amusing to think of a black-winged crime fighter controlling the convicts in this area of Down Under, apparently it was named after John Batman, a leading member of the Port Philip Association and the person who negotiated a treaty with the Aboriginal elders to purchase 600,000 acres… so nothing to do with DC Comics, Inc.)

But discovering this fact the other day got me thinking about the past, and how so much of history gets forgotten, both intentionally and accidentally.

I met a lovely lady last night – my cousin’s mother-in-law. It was her 76th birthday party and our conversation had moved onto the topic of tattoos. I related the story of one of my family member’s, who’d faithfully kept a diary – until the day his girlfriend at the time found it, read it, and used it against him. Unsurprisingly, he’d decided to stop journaling, and ink his memorable events onto his skin instead. I’ve always wondered if this second method resulted in lost memories. And this saddens me.

2023 was one of those years which I’m glad has ended. And although I could blithely say “I could happily forget whole chunks of it” I know that, should I *actually* do so? Sure I’d be more free-from-pain than I am right now, but I’d also no longer be me. Our memories are what makes us who are we – and there’s lessons I learned through those painful 2023 experiences that I’m glad I won’t have to re-learn.

So here I am, starting 2024 more despondent than I can ever remember being, but intentionally trying to look for snatches of hope for a brighter year. (They *do* say when you’re down, the only way is up, right?) And hope, after all, is all we need, yes? Aren’t there a plethora of films out there whose entire premise is that hope is stronger than hate, or fear, loneliness or depression?

So that’s how I’m looking at 2024. One day at a time, one hour at a time. Trying to see the good, rather than focusing on the less-than-good of the recent past. Moving on, moving upwards. And recording it in words here on this blog, which I’m grateful to be able to do. Not everyone feels they have the luxury to record their thoughts in text, after all.

So. Here’s to a hope-full week ahead for us all, dear Reader, and I’ll see you next week 🙂
⁃ KRidwyn

PS Just cos I can: the doubledecker bus I rode from Tullarine aitport to Melbourne CBD. The last time I rode on a doubledecker was in 1980 in London!

Categories
family anecdotes Life momentous events

Final milestones

Years ago, prior to children, I couldn’t imagine myself as a mum. Truth be told: I still can’t! And yet, I am. Muddling through as best as I can, and making mistakes left, right and centre. Sorry, kids.

But time passes and things get easier (or, at least, more routinized) and then you realise you can’t remember what life was like before the kids were around. Or in primary school. Or in high school. Or university, et cetera.

Me and my family? Well, Master almsot-12 – my youngest – is about to graduate Primary School. Seven scant weeks after, he’ll be the only pre-teen in my house. And just 16 months after that, all three will be teenagers (and yes, I’m already noticing the grocery bill…) and the eldest will be driving and in her last seven months of school.

Wait, what? Seriously?

Life’s going too fast!

Yup. Breathe. It’ll all happen, and it’s all survivable.

*deep breath* *take a moment*

Well, back to my point – because it’s been quite a rambling one this morning – my little man graduates from Primary School in two weeks. Hip hip, hooray!!

Well done, little man. Congratulations – you made it! I love you.

 

Categories
momentous events teaching Work Writing

Grammar rules :)

My childhood memories are few and far between. I’m not entirely sure why, just that they are. But a couple of things stand out from Primary Schooling: learning how to thread a sewing needle in Grade Four, and – even more significant – spending several weeks in Grade Five, copying down spelling rules from the board and listening intently to my teacher as she explained them, and gave us examples. I remember thinking, “This is it! The key to getting things correct from now on! This is what I need to know!” I was so pleased. I’d figured it all out – and I was only 10 years old.

Those lessons were so clear, so concise. “I before E except after C” and so on. Later, in University, when I realised I’d need to teach grammar to my high school English students, oh! How I wished I’d had similar instruction in grammar!

Well, wish no more. I’ve found it. Short, easy, and – most excellent of all – a detailed study of the parts of speech. And the best bit? It’s an online textbook which my students already have access to! So I’m kinda mandated to teach from it, so the parents get their money’s worth. Cool, huh?

So here I am, week by week, learning about classifying adjectives and participles, gerunds and articles, so I can teach them with some authority… and I’m loving it! Finally, something in the world makes sense again!

Now I know you’re all thinking: well, sure. “I comes before E except after C”, except…

… except when your foreign neighbour Keith leisurely receives eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty caffeinated atheist weightlifters. Weird.

… unless the efficient concierge of the priciest Ancient Glacier Hacienda serves a society of proficient scientists studying a species with insufficient consciences leading to racier piracies. Lunacies.

… unless you leisurely deceive eight feisty caffeinated foreign heirs to forfeit their heinous sovereign conceits, and (of course)

— unless you’re an eight-year-old planning a heist to seize a surveillance sleigh owned by a sheik at a reindeer farm. [@jjhartinger]

So yes, I agree: there are many exceptions to spelling rules. And little KRidwyn wasn’t to know that the dozen or so spelling rules I was taught in Grade Five weren’t the be-all and end-all to life. That disappointment came later.

So until this crushing disappointment arrived, I was happy in the knowledge that regarding the correct spelling of all words, there was boundary line there; that I knew where it was; and the learnings I’d been taught fit nicely and neatly inside that area. It was good, life was good, and the world made sense.

It was only afterwards I realised exceptions existed. “I comes before E except after C” often… but not always. There were limits to what I’d been taught. The learning was adequate, but it didn’t cover all possibilities, all potential situations. There was more learning there which I needed to know.

Aside: according to Kris Spisak:

At the moment, I’m sitting in a similar ‘sweet spot’ regarding the online grammar program I’m teaching my students. I don’t yet know its limitations; it seems comprehensive enough, and that’s just hunky-dory by me. If I don’t know it, I don’t miss it… until my horizons expand again, either willingly or unwillingly. But at the moment, I’m happy – and that’s enough for me!

Have a happy day yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
family anecdotes

47/52

A tale of three photos:

October 1:

November 17:

 

November 21:

Sigh.

Here’s hoping your week was more photo-worthy, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
family anecdotes Random thoughts

41/52

A friend convinced me to roller-skate with her recently. Haven’t done *that* in more decades than I care to remember! It was rather confronting…

 

but I managed to stay upright for the entire session (almost 2 hours!) and I was immensely proud of myself for such an accomplishment. Perhaps it was the lucky orange laces?

Anyway, have a accomplish-ing week yourself, dear Reader!

KRidwyn

Categories
family anecdotes Random thoughts

10/52

Kids grow up. So slowly you don’t notice when you’re with them

Minute by minute, hour by hour, day after day. But then you lift your head out of the trenches and realise that years have flown. Suddenly it’s not sleepovers, it’s Youth Group; it’s not The Wiggles, it’s Beyoncé. And you sigh and ask ‘what next’?

I had one of those moments recently. I knew one cherub had switched from Minecraft to Ark, but the change several months ago didn’t impact me until she told me one evening, “What I really want to do is teach you how to play Ark on the (Nintendo) Switch.”

Huh. Hold me back.

This game, from what I could tell, seemed like Minecraft with dinosaurs, with a dash of the breeding from DragonMania thrown in. Not really interested… especially when my Nintendo Switch time had to that moment involved learning Splatoon – badly – and playing Zelda, death of the Wild – also so badly my children loved watching to laugh at me about how slow I was to do anything. (And how many times Leaf died, but that’s another story.)

So I sighed, and said ‘okay’ and watched her face come to life.

And it hit me. THIS was her passion. At the moment, it’s this game. And she wanted to share it with me. Instant transportation back to her younger years when she’d bring me a dandelion flower or a lizard she’d caught. The same light in her eyes, the same grin; the same joy flooding through me because I am so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful daughter who loves me and wants to do stuff with me.

So Ark? Yeah. Not the biggest fan – but now I want to play it when she asks, so I can play it with her. Because she’s an absolute angel and I love her to pieces.

And that – doing stuff you’re not really interested in because the benefits so clearly outweigh any other objection? – that’s my thought for the week.

Have a blessed week yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
my novel-in-progress Random thoughts Writing

1/52

I’ve decided, instead of New Year’s resolutions for 2019, to try implementing two pieces of advice I’ve been given in the past several years.

The first was from a nurse helping me through depression following the birth of child number 2. Her piece of advice (among many others, most of which I use regularly) was to have realistic expectations – for myself, as well as for others. That’s a tricky one for me – but one I’m going to try to remember in 2019.

The second was a few years ago, from New York literary agent extraordinaire, Janet Reid. She wrote a blogpost responding to a question I’d sent her; the gist of her answer was for me ‘to focus’. Again, something which is going to require more than a little training, for those of you who know me IRL… but something that’s worthwhile, I think.

So in 2019 I plan to ‘focus’ on my writing. The novel-in-progress, that is, not my blog. Hence the plan to post photos each week. Starting with this:

 

The view from one of my early-morning writing spots. Peaceful. Quiet.

Amazing, hey!

Anyway, here’s wishing you a wonderful week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn