About

When I began these sketches in words and pictures, I understood at once, “This is very much important for me.”

Wife of an IT analyst and programmer, a brilliant photographer, composer and singer.  And loves me with 31 years to prove. The mother of seven children. They’re the thrills-and-sticks seven bunch in my life.

It’s all right for all moms to swell with pride.  Because children are the biggest part of the memoirs we write about. Memories I’m about to paint with words and pictures that have become all-time favorites of mine.

It’s time to move on. Someday my children will want our stories for their own parenting and grandparenting. Or they might not. But I think of the old sages’ wives and mothers passing on to their children, “All thy children shall be taught of the LORD.” Isaiah 54:13

I’m much older. My children grow. And I’m much better at remembering many teaching moments in the years of life in our country-cottage home. With the freedom of new perspective I enjoy, what better times to write our stories for many more fun days ahead?

 

If Walls Could Speak

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The walls hear.  They talk, too. No, I’m not cuckoo.

Thoughts we think permeate  the walls. Stories we make and tell write the walls. Of course, I’m talking idioms and I know why.

I think I have a good handle of things I hear and see.  But sometimes, a little.  I grow older. My kids mature. I  learn to see with understanding what people mean. Asking and asking more questions to clarify a little child’s or a teen’s thoughts does give a little breath of fresh air into my being.

Understanding is the moment of relish of meaningful purpose within me. Most of the time, clarifying and letting them know their limits and setting boundaries on how far they can try their luck. Good luck with that, kiddo!

When children want to talk, jumping into conclusions is the worse thing we will ever make. So, with better judgment, I trust my quiet walls to keep me at bay to listen harder. And plan a strategy on how to answer.

Growing older and wiser–yes, ‘wiser’ is the right word– pictures of memories of life build up.  String over to hang on the walls of what-nots of day-to-day. Of course, we learn from the good and the bad.

The walls remind me of me. You know, some kind of protective shield around. Walls that hear and echo back the thoughts to the free-thinkers, and the not-so-free. No judgments, no noise, no jumping to conclusions. And keeping the balance between permissiveness and no-way-joses to sooking and whining to get what they want. Just understanding every minute that quickly comes and gently goes.

I’ve heard of the old sages’ ancient tales, stories, proverbs, and psalms. They fill the   imagination with wonder and life! The classics woo the ears with love stories and godly romance. G.A. Henty’s stories of wars and revolutions gun up for adventure with young boys. The academics… meh… they’re good, too.

Oh, yes,  adventures of bravery and trust, especially in the summer bush fire seasons. The children hear about the wall of snow from our English Readers we read aloud.  And filled with wonder and trust in their little hearts. Walls hear prayers, murmurs of fear and rumbles. But these human little wonders ask, “When is the next fight and rescue?” Because Dad reads Ellies and the Young Warriors.

It hears–beyond the walls–when little ones dream their dreams at night. My house hears in the dark behind closed wardrobes and bookshelves laden heavily with red and golden gilded books.  It can hear breathing and life! And Daddy’s James Taylor and Dave Grusin old time favorites.

Hear through the smudged walls. Reminders that they aren’t grime and dirt that classify toxic or deadly. But of some marks of worries and struggles. But they’re gonna be alright, “B’cuz, “Mom’s in control,” like the brick wall to rest our backs on.

You stare at the walls. And then, move your gaze into the view just outside the windows. You see trees and clouds, tall green grass in winter, sometimes heavy rains in Autumn. Darkness at night– no street lights. Just stars and the moonlight surround the bush and the woods that gather around the house– beyond the safe wall of our little home.

Actually, these are real. I just happen to journal them and put them into words. And I see the pictures and sketches before my very eyes.

 

Funny: “Your memories trick you into believing you’re normal.”

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The most telling signs of old age is not caring anymore.  Getting older, things get pretty good and easy-going. Seasoned. Done well!

Blah! Humbug! to the younguns who-know-everything— that dictate to you how to think and how to grow. That’s according to their own book of knowsall. I laugh, of course, because their ideas are quite funny.

Does it  annoy your kids  when you talk in your normal crackling old voice, “I remember when…” ? (Lolz!)  The ones I care about (see I still care?), I store ’em—the good stuff– to memory. They’re the good memories that keep hopes, strengths and dreams alive!

That’s the joy of getting old. Memories are a good thing. It’s perfectly normal to welcome them in our thoughts, in the halls of our perfectly normal minds.

There’s happiness  about being free, older and  surprisingly, prettier.   Because we  can. And, I can be– quite uncaringNot to fuss about anything is the old motto we used to tell our own kids when they were little.

Why do we even train our kids to care much? When in fact, we knew that when they get older, they would care lesser and lesser?  Mind boggling.  Truth is, we didn’t know that fact about old-age back then. So, all good.

Seriously, not-care-so-much is a normal, logical response to getting ‘old’.  It’s a response meaning: “I’ve arrived”,  “Done that. Been there. Suck it up. Learn from me.”  You know, about the things we worried about when we were young-er.

After years of putting off own goals, dreams, plans for others– kids and hubby– it’s  time to enjoy  our own dreams and purposes God designed mothers to enjoy. I’m sure that’s The Plan God reserved for mothers who have given their lives put on hold– for their kids. Enjoyment doesn’t always surround mystifying grandkids. That’s only a small part golden-years of life.

Doing something say– a long trip, cruise, graduate studies, inexpensive vacation house in the county, learning to dance, learning Krav, publish books, keeping the old house, let-me-be in peace, earn money to help someone close to your heart— anything you put into your bucket list is awesome!

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I’m beginning to rock in this time of my life. No, not rock-the-boat kind of rock. Well, maybe.  But that’s a problem I don’t carry anymore. In the normal, logical sense of maturity. There’s no time for sulking.  We’ve  got a normal life ahead, deary old readers; and, to you,   young readers, while you still care and worry so much.

I assure you, you don’t have to worry about dear old-momma-old-wifey. She’ll be just fine! And is happy.  Memories are perfectly normal. And it’s all good to hold on to them— write them, sketch them, paint them beautifully the way you see  them.

Well, old friend, you may be alone. Lovely Christians misjudge you.  This path you have dreamed of finally taking?  It doesn’t matter, really, about what they try to make up or paint  old mothers like you and me.

All our  lives, we’ve been around wonderful, intelligent, respectful little kids and a perfectly perfect husband. In their eyes,  we always fall short. That’s okay. Can’t win ’em all. But who cares anymore? It’s either he cares little or cares a big deal about how you feel, that makes him true to himself.

So, if to anyone who believes that getting old is one foot to ‘the grave‘; you think that’s normal?! Notcuckoo doodledee?   They’d better have their minds reconsidered (checked) before God, who gave you your whole being– mind, body, heart and soul– for an important purpose.

To me, old friend,  being old is to do His purposes– the reason why God is keeping you alive– it’s to live it, for goodness sake!  You are meant to be  wiser, happy and  blessed in life and do good. And enjoy life while you’re at it.

There is time for everything. Hold on to those mem’ries. And now, dear old friend, we’re in it!  Let’s walk it.

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The Sentimental Paint Story

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The painting happens. “A nice town invaded by graffiti vandals,” adds my son. I asked him to jump in the idea prompt. Just kidding. After 18 years, the little cottage–my country home– kisses goodbye to pastel colours that charmed every room in the house. Memories of those walls will just ‘have to go flitting in the clouds‘. Like a twinkling of an eye. Well, not just yet.

I’m very happy with the new change. Clean-washed and repainted, thanks so much to my beautiful oldest daughter. I like the new one main drabby color– beigy-cream, I think. Years ago, I had dreamed of bright yellow-green on one wall of my lounge room. Before the overhaul repainting, every room had its special light shade. Light rose-pink. Pale purple in the bathroom. Light fresh avocado. Fade sky-blue. “Eewww!” somehow, older kids’ opinion on color scheme suddenly matter?

One of my children never noticed. Because bookshelves that poised our gold-gilded classics hid the walls. The truth is, only the panelled walls in the library. The pale pastel still showed in the lounge and dining. And those walls spoke memories over the years. They’re not some kind of stuff playing in my head. They’re real. They’re good stories for memoir- writing. Have babies. They grow.  Live through oopsies of parenting. Time will come we’d say to ourselves, “Those weren’t made-up stories of life as mom! And I would simply replace them with new ones? With what?”

This is what’s so good about blogging and growing with years. Writing memoirs and storytelling no matter how embarrasing they seem in people’s eyes. To me, they aren’t. Whether I’m 50, 70, 90 or 100, I delight myself the freedom of reminiscent thought, reflective wishes, and reachable hope of retirement plans for my future. They’re all good for my soul, as I see them.

‘Sentimental’ fondness of happy memories grow with age.  Growing old with them does not wedge towards ‘nut-case’.  You wouldn’t call Jesus a ‘mental case‘ on his sentient Jewish family line He never rejected. He wasn’t a psycho reminding his Jewish people to ‘turn back’ to Yahweh of their ancient father Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That was his FB_IMG_1515250012509.jpgheritage! Just random thinking.

And yet, we henpeck a mother who simply finds happiness in the life stories she already has. (Just hasn’t got around writing them quick enough). Some day. But today, she enjoys the gift of her own freedom and time– reminiscing life stories of her 31 years past. This very moment forward, this mother is doing something about it.

It’s just simply the joy of a dream– different from the group-think anyone wants her to play along to make everyone happy– just because ‘she is old and frail‘?

Right now, this Mom is painting parts of the stories of the little cottage that’s old and rustic. And when that’s done, it’ll be for the world to love to know. And I’d sit back– viewing the looking-forward-to sunrises and sunsets with my gorgeous husband, holding hands, smiling on… over my perfected espresso coffee.

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Westside view from our little house cottage loungeroom and dining.

Jamming on the Piano Keys

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Photo taken from our dining room. Copyright by GAHenty

Jelly or  jams became, at some point, a  favorite spread. Hubby and I pick blueberry jam anytime.  Marmalade for me on breakfast sometimes.  Wholemeal fresh bread was never without peanut butter and jam. Or thick small blobs of creamy golden butter on my fresh bread.

I seldom, or once in a blue moon, made jams. I knew how to. But I couldn’t bother with preserving fruit and cooking them into jams. Besides, our boxes of fruit always emptied even before they could be saved for jam-cooking.  Thankfully, ladies at a local church sold them at their church’s op-shop or thrift store. Berries, apricot, peach jams filled the shelves and  baskets with those home-made dainties. Once every first Saturday of each month, the ladies sold in market fetes.  I’m a stickler for “buying her food from afar.” Which it isn’t  bad for a  traditional-mommy-foresight.

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A neighbourly couple brought us bags and bags, usually buckets, of apples, quinces, pears and peaches. All from their harvest.  On the other side of our fence, were olives trees, and netted apple orchard.  They gave us 5 liters of  first-cold-pressed olive oil. Priceless!

I love the simple and easy life in the country!  The treasures of memories when jams were food usually found on our homemade bread, spread on children, and on piano keys.

It’s sticky job parenting children.

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Like You: A Mom and a Storyteller…

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Like you, a mom and a writer—failure and success stories mean so much. They’re all too important events to miss out on– no matter how old, or awfully embarrassing to remember, or we cringe at the thought about how-stupid-I-must-be-to’ve-done-that! We just hope that a son or daughter doesn’t remember a lot of the oopsy parenting we do the best we know how.

Stories of our lives are all part of living. I’ve not adopted, and never will, the barely-getting-by mentality and complaining. That’s NOT how living means to me, thus far. So, I try to instil that meaningful existence to my children. Our life in our little house on the hill, as we stamp the name with emphasis, meets a lot of challenges to step up the contentment issues with a little bit more perseverance, and a touch of looking back how God led us to this house.  Seeing 10-35  more years ahead having this little cottage of a house on the hill—with free space, trees, fauna, and full sunrise and sunset views– I wouldn’t exchange this life for any house in the suburbs at all.

Anyhow, stories do trail us through the years. Back then, now and future stories. What’s important is, the lessons learned from them are things that make us better and lovelier, of which, no one can negatively say otherwise about us.  And we’ve grown more passionate on the things we fight for our children we love— for the pursuit of happiness, security, teaching wisdom, and faithful God-loving adults our children will grow up to be.

Yes, parents need growing up, too. And in my grown-up opinion about our own parenting, everything will suddenly make sense as we witness our children parent their own kids. Watch and see.

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What is it With Boys?: It’s not all about Mom and Big Sisters

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Picture of our kitchen window at sundown

Some children run everything around the house. They run everything except errands.  Half-truth. They run in the house, on the deck, up and down the trees, out the yard, at the dam… everywhere. Because they’re boys.  And the appeal of housework, well, good luck with that!  Ask me if my boys ever run me exhausted and crazy? Their third sister, they do. Like wild and insanely (she’s the clean-house freak).

From ages, three to seven, my boys and their younger sis wash and dry dishes on roster. And still do to this day. Part of the washing is play. Part of the play is chatter. Part of the chatter is squeels (noise!). Most of parts of the chore is when Mom gets all the stuff into her memory as she looks on and watches. They’re so cute! Looking on was more amusing because water and soap suds to them is so much more fun. I’ll mop later when they’re asleep.

That’s okay with me and the older sisters, so long as the dirty dinner pile diminishes, or gets cleaned. The cleaning up and flooding around the sink, wet wooden floor after will just have to pass our checklist of Done-list-for-the-day.

When we see our boys– sweet, happy, creative in their own way, innocent–  I can’t help wondering and wishing– I wish I were a child. Do you?

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Kangaroo by the kitchen and dining window in the mornings.

 

 

 

 

When Mommyhood Makes Sense

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This is going to be too painful to write. But I’ll give it a long shot.

I climbed up those darest places of parenting-look-outs.  High grounds. Mountaintops. Those felt good. When reality hit ground, it felt good going back to the clouds. How did I arrive to that part of the detour?— From down-to-earth, gut-feeling parenting of my own unique, specially adorable children?!

Self-imposed peer-pressure.  Families at church dens (abbr. 4 denominations, no pun intended) seemed to have it all– calm, collected, and fine-looking prim-and-proper children. I tried looking neutral in such gatherings; avoided detection that my envious, bruised heart raised and nursed. But my face inflected with gravity of “wanting,wanting...” what these perfect families had.  I climbed to higher grounds in search for… parenting clones…

I admired these families to the utmost. To the point of losing my own admiration for my own children. My own children— whom I had always fought for, protected, sheltered and treasured!   Whom my adoring eyes and wholehearted loyalty belong to.  From me—their one and only own mother!

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I’ve awakened. Thanks to my forgiving children. They kept trying to figure out their mother. What a shame it had been that my children had to go through that!  But thanks to my own beautiful Mom, she said to me, “Don’t stress so much. Your face will go so ugly.” And I never want to look so ugly! Oh, my-my! Stress-filled dilusions of parenting wore me out. Literally.

I came back from my long overseas vacation– resolved to LET GO. What my Mom said made sense. So, from henceforth, I made up my mind.  Here it is: I will never try to fix what ain’t broken. My children were never wanting fixin’-n-repairin’.  Just lovin’ n’ enjoyin’–  living life— no matter how difficult, painful, hard life is— I’ll do the best I can to love my kids for who and what they are.

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Sand and sea motions. I admire and salute mothers who constantly love and care, even on the brink of drowning.  But they always swim above the surface. Never dropping out.  Mothers who are experiencing tremendous ever-widening gulf between them and their young ones. As if a boat is drifting away from shore. Whose special children are drifting into some strange, terrifying world within.  And these dear mothers cannot follow, as much as they try to.

Adolescence.  I’ve learned that this is the outspoken reality when children start bringing up their parents.  I learned that my children, as they grow older, they do come to a point of certainty that they will never be as stupid as their parents. Oh, yeah?!

Are there ways and methods that work? Some days that do? Most days that don’t? Parenting methods keep evolving, changing and we keep exploring. Especially when we are mothers of several individuals of free-thinkers. Of creative-in-their-own-world kids in our families.

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Yesterday, I was deep in thought about this blog. How am I going to write about the deeper heart and soul of parenting? How can I relate with my readers and with wonderful mothers whose experiences are far, far beyond or behind easy and smooth-sailing?  With many mothers who are experiencing emotional and physical hardships? Who are experiencing  an ever-widening loneliness for their loved children, as if a ship is drifting away from shore? Drifting into some strange, terrifying world of unexplainable reality in their special children’s lives?

I guess, mothers of all kinds– mothers of uniquely different state of emotions and mind– we make our own sensible understanding of our own moment-by-moment better-judgment-gut-feeling parenting.

So, please let me know,  how do you make sense being the mommy that you are?

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Inside the Forest There are Many Birds

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Randomly thinking about that Chinese proverb on children’s cunning abilities, amazing talents, and exceptionally skillful ingenuity.  Thanks to them,  mommies tend to be on top of things in topping up our awesome mommy-powers — honing in our children’s in the right direction.  Sometimes, trial-n-error method seems to work, trying to make sense of our parenting skills. The things we say, and do, at face value– sometimes, without putting careful thought in them and then later, doubt ourselves.  But, the sun always shines the next day is the motto for wit-preservation. That mommy-sage reality works pretty well.FB_IMG_1515253150016

Many mothers doubt their abilities. But few have misgivings about their importance.  A lot of us keep learning. A lot of us act on case-to-case-at-a-time-of-crisis. From toddlies’ potty training to getting something done, if ever.  Often, days and weeks of half-dones do not pass a perfectly clean checklist.  It just stays in our heads– wishful thinking heads.

I’ve resolved that: so long as healthy, nutritious meals are served in generic to-the-dot-perfection,  I’m okay with this skill of “one or many birds in my nest.” Thank you to my older daughters who have been awesome help with keeping their social skills among themselves quite wholesomely.

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Beyond the clearing behind the old cottage, “The Woods” has earned a special place for explorations, adventures and walks. The children romp there, climb trees, gather branches and twigs.  Many kinds of birds flock there.  Crows, ravens and cockatoos aren’t among the Aussie birds we welcome in “The Woods”. But  we can’t fight natural habitat. So, we learn co-habitation with nature.

Mommies’ and children’s creative natural bent– at any time in life —  where we are at any allowed moment– is how we thrive best. Be the best. Think the best in every situation in a way you understand what “best” means to you.