Monday, October 31, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 8

A picture that shows your true self

Well, my 'true self' is many things, so I thought these photos might sum it up well:

I am a child of God through the waters of baptism

I am a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, aunty, godmother

I am a wife

I am a mother

I can get moody/sooky!
(my aunty dug this up from our 1988/89 trip to the States!)

And yes, I can be silly!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 7

A picture of somewhere you've been

I haven't been to many places in the world, but I have been to the USA a number of times. The above photo was taken on our 2004/05 trip, where we toured A LOT of the States in just 4 weeks. As you've probably figured out, this was taken on Ellis Island, while we visited "Lady Liberty".

Whilst in the US during this particular trip, we also visited:
LA (taken outside Disneyland)

Missouri (Tower Rock, on the Mississippi)

Washington DC (this is Capitol Hill)

Colorado & New Mexico (part of an Indian preservation)

The Grand Canyon

Las Vegas


Saturday, October 29, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 6

A picture of your favorite memory.
Wow! A really hard Photo Challenge today! As I think back on my life, many images flash before my eyes: the birth of my daughter; seeing my daughter in my womb for the first time via ultrasound; the day I found out I was pregnant; my wedding day; the day I met my husband; all the trips visiting my family in the USA; all the youth camps I went on as a teenager; how do I choose just one?!

So, I've decided to cheat a little and post one of my favourite pictures of myself:
This is a picture of my beautiful black Labrador, Tess. She now lives with my brother (when we moved to Adelaide, the place we were moving into was too small for a dog, let alone a Labrador). Anyway, I love my hair in this picture and the smile... and Tess sat still long enough for us to take the picture! When this picture was taken, we were living in Adelaide... we'd come back to Melbourne to celebrate my 30th birthday and Tess came and stayed with us at Big Spring's parents' house, where we were staying.

I'm disappointed that the photo has turned on its side... a flaw of blogspot that I haven't yet been able to fix... as you'll see in a number of my posts!

5 Minute Friday: Relevant

On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.

We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.

I hope my wonderful aunt won't mind me quoting her from an email... she has summed up relevant very well in regards to worry and how relevant it is:

(background: she sent my daughter a recordable book from the US to here in Australia. It had taken awhile for it to arrive and when it finally did I asked if she'd locked it.)

"Yes I did lock it. At first I was fearful that I might accidently lose it, or for some reason it malfunctioned after reaching you, but then I realized that I could re-record it any time. (probably better the next time) I’m so glad it finally arrived!

I was really beginning to worry it might have gotten lost somewhere, but once again I realized that I could send another one if that happened. (Do you sense a trend here? I’ve recognized the past few months the small things I worry about and have tried to rethink them. I’ve known for years that there is nothing in life that I can truly control, except my attitude. Everything else is usually based on what I want or wish to happen and when it doesn’t I get frustrated, forgetting to realize that my loving Father sees the big picture which includes everyone else and their wants and needs also. So, when I start worrying about anything, I try and ask myself, “Ok, what if that happens – what will you do?” Then I usually conclude that it’s not worth my effort of worrying about it --- there are better things to think about)

I loved reading that... it's something I really need to start using as my default thinking. It begs the question "is worry relevant?" My mind sways both ways. I think the conclusion is yes... sometimes worry is good/relevant, but if there's nothing you can do about a situation you are worried about, then worry is bad/irrelevant. That's not to say that we can actually help worrying (it's just part of our instinct!), but we need to try and curb it a little and even put our worries into the hands of our loving Father!

Playing along with Five Minute Friday

Friday, October 28, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 5

A picture of something you can’t imagine life without.
My faith in God. Perhaps that sounds a bit predicable and boring, but it's true! There have been times in my life when I've thought that if I wasn't a Christian, I don't know how I'd get through a certain situation. It's hard not knowing what our future holds, but it always gives me some sense of peace, knowing that God knows and I can put my trust in Him. It doesn't mean I don't worry, but in the back of my mind, I know that God is in control.

This picture was taken in North Adelaide, when we lived there while Big Spring studied to be a pastor. It's St Peter's Anglican Cathedral. On a side note, I worked for the Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese (church) when we first moved to Adelaide, and our offices were opposite
. I took this picture on one of my many walks around the area.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 4

A picture of something you hope to never experience again

Spending the night on an airport floor! When we were in the USA in 2004/2005, we flew in to Cincinnati to catch a connecting flight to St Louis to see my family. Unfortunately because of a severe snow storm, flights were cancelled and we had to spend the night in the airport. What made it worse was that it was the 23rd December. I was so worried that we wouldn't fly out on the 24th and I couldn't think of anything worse than spending Christmas Eve in an airport.... thankfully we were able to get a flight out at about 9am on Christmas Eve, so we all had a sigh of relief when the plane actually took off!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 3

A picture of something you'd like to do again

In July a few of the girls from church went on an overnight trip to Port Douglas and we had so much fun! We didn't do half of what we had planned to do, but we still had a ball... a few of us have been talking about a night away again, but just haven't gotten around to organising anything. I can't wait until we go again!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Witnessing With My Keys

When I was in the States in 2004/2005, my mum and I took a helicopter ride over and through the Grand Canyon. It was the most breathtaking thing I had ever seen and brought tears to my eyes to see God's awesomeness in all its glory.

Anyway, there was gift shop selling the standard souvenirs such as magnets, stickers, keychains etc. Looking through the keychains, you could buy them with names on them. Of course, I couldn't find my name - I never do (!) - but I came across one with "Jesus" on it. So I decided to buy it.

I've had it on my keys for years now and never had a comment about it... until tonight. I filled up the car with petrol and went in to pay. As I was swiping my credit card, I put the keys on the counter and the keychain happened to fall upright, with the name facing the attendant. He reached over and tapped it, but didn't say anything and kept working as usual. When the transaction was complete, we did the usual pleasantries and just as I was about to turn and walk away, he said: "Bless you."

I responded with "thank you" and walked back to my car, feeling uplifted and happy. Only 2 little words, but they have so much meaning and change any mood in an instant. And all because of my keys!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 2

A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest.

My 'Big Cuz', Tammy! She's like the sister I never had. The whole Pacific Ocean and half of the USA is between us, but we have a special connection, a bond. The above picture was taken the last time we were together - for Christmas last year, when we visited them on a holiday. We didn't get to spend a lot of alone time together to catch up, but the day we were flying out, we took a car drive together and it was wonderful. We always laugh and laugh and laugh until our bellies ache, no matter how long its been from when we saw each other last.

The above picture was taken on a surprise trip to the States in 2007. The Pacific Ocean is behind us and we were on a driving holiday while I was there. Again, lots of laughter!

The above picture was taken on our 2004/2005 trip to the States. I hadn't seen Tammy since 1997 and wondered if we would have the same connection as the last time we saw each other. I was still quite young and thought maybe as an adult, we might have changed our relationship. But no... Tammy and I clicked and it cemented for me, just how much she, and the rest of the family, meant to me. Very sad to say goodbye to them when we had to leave.

The above picture was actually taken in Australia on Tammy and her husband, Bryan's trip to Australia in 1997! Here we are somewhere along the Great Ocean Road. I was Tammy and Bryan's chauffeur for their trip and of course, we had so much fun together! We were in the car a lot of the time and would find it hard to drive when I would be crying from laughing so hard! Good, brilliant memories!

The above picture was taken on our first family trip to the States in 1988/89. I think this would have been the first time I met Tammy (I had been to the States when I was 16 months old with my mum, but I don't think I met her then). Both of us were so very young then! The 2 boys are my brothers, looking very impressed and the 2 younger girls are Tammy's nieces (her brother's kids). Tammy has always been very fun-loving and entertaining, with a larger-than-life personality so right from the first time we met, she's always had a place in my heart.

So, we have only seen each other 5 times, but those 5 times have been very precious to me. Thank you, Tammy, for being the wonderful you that you are!

Monday, October 24, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 1

A photo of yourself with 10 facts...

Fact 1: It's very hard to find photos of me, let alone ones that don't have Little Spring in them as well... hence why I've used an old photo from my webcam.

Fact 2: I've often taken pictures of myself with the webcam as an alternative to using the mirror, to see what my make up and/or hair looks like!

Fact 3: I get very homesick for the USA... even though I've never lived there (all my mum's family are from there, hence the connection).

Fact 4: Growing up with my parents, I only lived in 2 houses until I was 18 and moved to Melbourne. Living in Melbourne, before I was married, I lived in 5 different houses/units. After getting married, my husband and I have lived in 9 different houses/units. Therefore, I'm a pro at packing, moving and unpacking!

Fact 5: Since I was about 5 years old, I'd get a toy rabbit of some sort from Easter Bunny/Mum every year up until my first Easter with Little Spring... and I still have ALL the rabbits (residing at my parents' house)! Now Mum has continued the tradition with Little Spring.

Fact 6: Big Spring and I met on RSVP, an online dating site. My profile name was "femalecuteandsingle". Unintentionally, we were married exactly a year to the day that Big Spring first made contact with me. It was also my mum's birthday!

Fact 7: My very first job was cleaning a chemist at 12 years of age. I got a whopping $2.50 an hour! Until I went on maternity leave, before having Little Spring, I'd always had a job... except for 1 week when I lost one of my jobs and was looking for another.

Fact 8: I have now lived in 3 States of Australia and visited 6 States/Territories. I've never been to Western Australia or Tasmania.

Fact 9: I've been in at least 16 States of the US (there could be more, but not sure which ones!).

Fact 10: I've only been on 2 continents and in 5 countries (Australia, USA, Canada, Mexico & Fiji).

Who Am I?

Want to know more about me? Check out my new tab! I love exploring "blogspot" and all the things I can do! Stay tuned for my Mission Statement and other pages!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Turn My Back For 1 Second...

I was watching an episode of "According to Jim" today, called "All the Rage" and unfortunately can totally relate to the first 1 minute, 20 seconds of the show:

I get the house completely spotless and it feels so good, but I turn my back for just one second and life happens (a 2 year old and and husband... and yes, I cause it as well!) and suddenly my nice shiny and clean house isn't so nice and shiny anymore! It's so frustrating, but I'm slowly learning that the only thing I can actually change in this scenario, is my attitude!

A show of hands who can also relate? :o)

Growing Up

My little girl is certainly growing up!

I took this picture on my first official 'main' grocery shopping outing with Little Spring, when she was 10 days old.

Big Spring took this picture on our latest grocery shopping outing as a family, with Little Spring now being 2 years old.

Can you see any differences? LOL My, oh, my! It's hard to imagine how much she has changed... of course, that's nature and all part of growing up, but it's amazing to look back on baby pictures of Little Spring... in some, she is barely recognisable as the same little girl, and in other pictures, you can recognise the same looks that she still has now.

When Little Spring was a wee little thing, I had people comment "Oh, look how small she is! You forget how small they are!". And I thought that I couldn't possibly forget how small she was when she was born - she's my precious little angel and will remember everything about her. 2 years on and what am I thinking? I can't believe how small she was... and can barely imagine her being the small little baby she was, until I see the pictures!

Thank you, God, for my precious little bundle of joy and thank you that's she's growing up... just as she's suppose to!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Beyond

On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.

We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.

It's hard to see beyond the "now". To know what's around the corner, wondering how things will end up. We have friends in the same position now, as we were this time last year... waiting to find out where the church was sending us/our husbands as soon-to-be newly ordained pastors. It was hard to put our trust in God, knowing that He could see beyond and we just had to rely on Him. That's easier said than done, and giving that advise to them now "Rest assured that God is walking the path with you, and in fact has already walked it and knows exactly where you will be... it's really hard not knowing but my biggest comfort was knowing that God already knew. We are certainly praying for you. God bless! xxx". It seems kind of shallow when we found it hard to believe it ourselves last year!

I love the Footprints in the Sand Poem. It helps to remember that even if you can't see beyond, when you look back you'll see just one set of footprints, where God carried you.

So, even if you can't see beyond, trust that God is already there, waiting for you!

Playing along with Five Minute Friday

Friday, October 21, 2011

Quitting Motherhood?

Thanks to the gypsy mama for her post "For the days when you want to quit motherhood". She wrote it a week ago, and I'm still catching up on reading posts from blogs I follow regularly!

Her words were ones that I need to read, hear, absorb. As mothers/women, we aren't know for standing up and saying how hard it is... we just talk about the good times and keep up the appearance of our 'perfect' life for everyone else. Which isn't helpful because every other woman then feels that they are alone in how they are feeling... such a perpetual feeling of 'I'm the only one', 'I can't possibly speak to anyone, less they judge how inadequate I feel.' Know the feeling? I certainly do.

So, right here now, I'm saying: motherhood is hard! There are times when I want to quit my job, my 24/7 job. Gypsy Mama summed up my feelings pretty well, so take a look at her post for for a more detailed description!

With no sick leave, no holidays accruing, on call at all times, where are the benefits? Well, my daughter is the benefit.

I am so thankful for the wonderfully supportive husband who helps me raise my little angel. So yes, my life can be hard as a full time mum, and thank you to all the other mums/moms out there who admit it, but when I see Little Spring smile at me, or come and give me a cuddle on my leg, or kiss my arm, head, cheek, etc, just because, I melt and decide that I wouldn't give motherhood up for anything... until the next time I'm feeling exhausted, irritated, moody, upset... you get the picture! When I'm feeling like that, I need to read Gypsy Mama's post and know that it's okay to feel like that, but to take up her suggestions... on a side note, I do have her suggestion #5 down pat " Chocolate"!

And the most important thing that I often forget, but should always remember? I have the ultimate support in God... He's just that prayer away (actually, He's not even a prayer away... He's here right now, prayer or not!).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Words to Blog By

I enjoy reading "Denise in Bloom's" blog posts. She guest blogged on another blog page (Taradara) in September and I'd book marked the page until I had a chance to read the post because it had me interested... I finally got around to reading her post and found some lovely wisdom in her words.

Denise wrote about "10 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Blogging". Here's what I got out of the post:

Number 2: Write a blog Mission Statement. A little while ago, I blogged about not being focused and I guess, not really having a blog identity (the big question: "Why am I blogging?"). I like Denise's Mission Statement idea... once I get a chance, I'll sit down and write one and add it to my blog, both for people to read a little bit about me, but also for me to really decide what my blog's all about and get focused.

Number 5: Use Twitter & Facebook... but not to compare. Denise wrote "We start seeing what everyone else is doing and its hard to keep up. Soon we can feel defeated when we watch people with larger blogs and more followers than us doing things we don’t seem to be keeping up with." It was nice to hear someone else feels the same way as me... it's okay not to have as many followers as others (I know that the number of my followers does not reflect the number of readers... but even if it did, I have to ask myself... "does it matter?"). It comes back to my comments on Number 2... why do I blog?

Number 6: Plan and then plan for change. I can certainly relate to that! The blog is an ever changing entity... hence why I changed the name of my blog and started a fresh back in June. I didn't just change the name and look of my blog though... I started a fresh with a whole new one - the one you are reading now - "Forever Springtime". A few months on and I'm still really happy with the name! I just need to get focused (refer to notes on Number 2, again... I really need to write a Mission Statement!).

Number 10: Balancing blogging time with family time. So many things to take out of the wise words of Denise: "I have had to work to keep it all balanced, but I remind myself every day that my family is more important than getting up another blog post. You do NOT have to blog every day to be successful. Step back and enjoy the ones around you first, live life to the fullest, and you will be more inspired in your blogging!" Some thoughts on this (there's a few!):
  1. I should always prioritise my family over blogging... my family are my life and if I miss something because I'm too busy blogging, I can't get that time back, but I can always postpone blogging until later... the internet isn't going anyway!
  2. When I do prioritise my family and life above blogging, I shouldn't feel guilty about not having blogged for days, or weeks, or even months. This was a HUGE revelation for me, and even a huge relief! Whenever I haven't blogged for a while, I always felt bad and guilty because I felt that I was letting my readers down by not having written something for them to read in a while. No more guilt!
  3. By living life and ensuring I prioritise my family, I'll more likely stumble across something inspiring for my blog that I can share with my readers!
With that said, it's time to finish this post and go live life, without "BNG" (Blog Neglect Guilt)... *giggle* I just made that up!

My gorgeously wonderful family to prioritise over blogging and to not feel BNG while spending my time with them!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brown Paper Packages

I love getting snail mail... and when it comes in the form of a parcel, it's even more exciting! Yesterday a package finally arrived from my Aunty Ellen, who had sent it from the States a number of weeks ago. I was expecting a special present for Little Spring inside, but was pleasantly surprised to find something in there for me as well!

Firstly, the parcel came as a "brown paper package", but not tied up with string! After unwrapping that, I found a gorgeous box which I can think of many things to use it for... inside the box was Little Spring's special present - a book that's recordable, so she can listen to the story anytime... being read by her Great Aunty Ellen. How sweet, and amazing, is that? Something to certainly be treasured! Even though Aunty Ellen lives so far away, her voice can be heard at any time by opening a book! Such a thoughtful present!

The rest of the box was filled with measuring cups and spoons... when Aunty Ellen found out I was making so many of her mom's recipes, she said that she would bring over some measuring cups and spoons when she next visited so that I could use the same quantities that were originally used (even though the recipes work with the metric cups and spoons). Anyway, it was a lovely surprise to find a set of each in the box for me! Now when I'm baking, I can use my Grandma Ellie's recipe, my Nana's mixing bowl and my Aunty Ellen's gift of measuring! Such a family involvement, without actually having my family physically here! (wouldn't that be lovely, though!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ready for Pool Time Fun!

Now that it's coming into wet/summer/hot season in Cairns, we thought it time to invest in some pool toys and other items to enhance our pool time experience:

Toys for both Little Spring and Mummy & Daddy!

Little Spring LOVES the independence her floaties bring! And Mum & Dad love not having to hold her 100% of the time while in the pool!

Little Spring showing off her kicking!

Little Spring & Mummy showing off their new bathing suits! (Little Spring now smiles automatically as soon as the camera comes out... I don't need to tell her to smile anymore! LOL)

Little Spring enjoying a ride on "Hippo", another way of being independent in the water!

We've all spent a lot of time in the pool this last week and a bit... it's been lots of fun and each day the water's been getting warmer, so the initial climb into the pool as gotten much easier! We love how much Little Spring loves the water, especially when she has the floaties on. She really kicks about and moves around in the pool. I'm truly amazed at her confidence!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Family Reunion

Little Spring and I travelled to Victoria for a Hartwich Family Reunion for a week & a half and had such a wonderful time. We caught up with a couple of friends in Melbourne, before driving to Hamilton for the big event... here are some highlights:
The Reunion Cake - The Pauline Ship (which the Hartwich's came to Australia on)

The Hartwich Family Bible - from the 1500s

Little Spring and her 2nd Cousin (they only met for the first time that weekend and got along with each other so well!)

Poppa hanging out with his favourite little granddaughter!

First Picture Ever of the 3 Lusterman Generations!

A Final Picture of Little Spring with Nana & Poppa Before Driving Back to Melbourne

Little Spring Hanging Out with Her Cousins on the Spring Side

Merchandising Anyone?! (All these things were available for purchase in honour of the family reunion - the Family Tree Book, Mugs and Pens (the place mat was free!)). So, not a small event - there were 230 people at the dinner on Saturday night!

A bit of family history for anyone interested - Michael and Eva Hartwich (my great, great, great grandparents arrived in Australia (from Prussia) in 1846. They have 5,701 direct descendants (this figure would be higher, but we don't have all names). They settled in Bethany, SA, before moving to Hamilton in the Western District of Victoria (where I grew up!). All my Hartwich ancestors are buried in the Lutheran Cemetery, Hamilton:

Grave of my Great, Great, Great Grandparents and Great, Great Grandfather (Johann Carl Hartwich)

Grave of my Great grandparents (Johann Diengott "Dingo" & Anna Auguste Hartwich)

Grave of my grandparents (Carl Oscar "Charlie" & Doreen Mary Hartwich)

I'd seen the first 2 grave stones pictured before and thought they were probably some distant relative... little did I know that I descended from them! The book is full of history and I'm really enjoying learning about my family and reading some interesting stories! Fascinating, in fact!

Home Improvements 2

Big Spring and I were busy yesterday, converting our 'dumping ground/junk yard':

into a proper storage area, as we'd planning to do since we moved in:

It was a big day... grocery shopping in the morning; dropping that off at home; heading off to Bunnings to buy the shelving; bringing it home and clearing everything out of the storage room; constructing the shelves (by the 5th unit, we had the assembly down pat!); and putting everything back in the room, in an orderly fashion! So, a big day, but so satisfying!

While posting on more home improvements, I thought I'd also show you the indoor/outdoor area update... we stored the tinnie off site a while ago, so the room's been converted for a while. We had planned to make part of the area an entertainment section, but have decided to just keep it as a huge play area for Little Spring for the moment: