Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life Changing News

Last week I received some life changing news. I am happy to tell you, the news is good news. :) In fact, the news is great news.

In a somewhat random and spontaneous 48 hours, I was told the executive producer and artistic director of the internationally renowned adult choir, The Australian Voices, were coming to my town to promote their current touring show, "Moon". After meeting with these amazing men to discuss the involvement of local singers in the opening number of the show, they informed me that they are also recruiting new members to join the choir. They asked if I would like to audition. I knew very little about them. I went home, logged on to their website, and did some research. I was inspired.

One of the main purposes of this choir is to commission Australian composers to write music for the choir, music about things which are iconic to our country. Then, they tour the country and the world singing this music. It's contemporary, it's unique, it's very complex at times, and very very beautiful. And it seems that while they do sing some more traditional, classical music, a lot of their contemporary pieces are very theatrical, incorporating elements of theatre such as lighting, projections, and costuming. Wow. I wanted to be part of it.

I spoke to Stuart. I spoke to my extended family. I had the full support of everyone. So, I went back to the theatre that afternoon, and I auditioned. It was gruelling. I had to sight sing a very difficult, chromatic passage the director had written on the whiteboard, having never heard the passage played. On my second attempt I sang it correctly! I also had to sing some difficult intervals, and in my best "choral voice" - no colour, no vibrato please - I was asked to sing our National Anthem. It was intense. I loved every minute. :)

They told me clearly that they still had a week of touring/promoting/auditioning to do, and very limited places to offer. I wouldn't hear anything for a week at least.

The very next morning I opened my email inbox and there was an email from the producer. The title of the email was "Welcome to The Australian Voices". I could barely breathe and I sat there for a full minute before opening the email! But it was true, my audition was successful and they were offering me a place in the choir!!! :-D I was (and am still) absolutely shocked!

I am so very very grateful for the incredible support my family and friends have shown me at this time. I have negotiated with the director of the choir regarding my availability for the remainder of 2011 (and negotiations will continue into 2012). He has been helpful and very flexible, understanding that I live 3 hours from the city (where the choir is based) and have very young children. My job now is to learn all my parts by myself, from home - no easy task I can assure you! The music is beautiful but a challenge to learn and to sing. I will be singing 2nd Soprano, which was my part when I sang in the Queensland Youth Choir for 7 years as a teenager. This whole process is bringing back fond memories of that time!

As for international travel, well I considered myself ineligible for that. However upon further investigation, and financial consideration, it seems I may actually be touring with the choir this year to Europe. Europe!!! And here I was thinking I wouldn't get overseas until I was in my 60's! Yes, they - sorry, we - are touring through Germany and France this November/December. The choir covers the cost of all travel and accommodation once in Europe. I will need to pay for my flights from and back to Australia, but if the tour is financially successful, the choir will reimburse members for flights also. The tour is for 3 weeks, but as my brother is getting married on December 10th I will only be going for the first 2 weeks. May I admit I'm grateful for that? 3 weeks away from my children would just be too long. In fact 2 weeks will be very very hard.

I'm going to have to fill my suitcase with photos of them! :( And already I'm planning to make a CD for them, with a spoken "letter" for them to listen to from me each day. And a half hour or so of me singing the sleepy songs I sing to them each night at bedtime. Hopefully this and a few other little things will help the time of separation which will be very different for us. My wonderful parents are going to help Stuart out with the care of the children - and thankfully, the 2nd week I'll be away is the first week of their summer holidays. Then I'll be home and we will be having a big family wedding and holiday time!

And I will have had my first experience of Europe. Singing. Music, travel, adventure.

God is so profoundly good, and surprising! Why he has considered me worthy and free to go and do this, I do not know. But I do know that before and after I auditioned I prayed over the decision - that it would be his alone. Honestly, this was not planned (at least not by me :)) so I didn't mind either way. He has allowed this. It feels like a beautiful gift and I'm blown away by the musical opportunities this choir will provide for me, whilst still allowing me live here in the country town where my children - and Stuart - are so settled and happy. To have all those big city opportunities without actually having to move truly is an answer to prayer.

Those of you who know me will understand that this is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone! The very idea of leaving my family and friends and travelling to a foreign country with people I don't even know terrifies me! So maybe God is going to use this to teach me and grow me. I imagine it will only do good things for my confidence - an area I've always wanted to improve in.

Praise God for life changing surprises!

Stay tuned for my next post - my 700th post! Please leave a comment here if you would like to contribute.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


One of the things Saraya really struggled with while we were homeschooling was a lack of little girls to play with and share life with. Most of the homeschooling families in our area have lots of little boys! And of course she has two younger brothers.

For Saraya, one of the best things about going to school this year has been making friends. She is a fairly shy little girl who certainly loves to bury her head in a book (and tells me she still visits the library to read quite often at lunch times), but she has connected with several like-minded little ladies who love to have fun and enjoy somewhat grown up, thoughtful conversation. :) Saraya's beautiful friend Suliana is one of them!

Last night Suliana came for a sleepover and the girls sat up to watch "A Little Princess", one of Saraya's favourite movies. I love it because the main character Sarah is such a model of courage and kindness, despite all she has to endure throughout the story. Then there were lots of games of hide and seek, drawing, reading and general girly giggling. They had a great time!

I'm so grateful for friendships, both for myself and my children.

Thanks to those who have already commented on this post. Please, if you ever drop in and read my blog, if you are a long-term follower or a brand new reader, I want to hear from you! It's a chance for me to discover who is out there, and for you to let me know what you enjoy reading here or have always wanted to know! :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Creative Opportunities for Elijah

Elijah Samuel is such a dynamic, creative little guy. No matter where he is..... playground, bathroom, dining table eating dinner..... he is bopping and grooving. He just has music in his veins, and he's seriously been like that since birth! He is still tiny for his age and I think of him as my little pocket rocket. ;)

He is studying jazz dancing this year in the best dance school in town. His teacher is amazing, very strict and expects a lot from the children - but they rise to meet the challenge. And he is loving it. A lady who came over recently asked Elijah "So what are you into Elijah? What do you enjoy?" His answer was "Dancing, suits and top hats". !

Recently at Prep, the two classes combined to perform a story dance to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Woah. Amazing stuff. It's worth seeing this for the costumes alone! I'm hoping a recording will be online at some stage so I can share it with you. The kids were divided into four groups - Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Elijah is part of Summer - he is the "Storm Master" who rises majestically out of a painted cardboard box, and brings thunder and lightning to the stage. His facial expressions were priceless! This is him in only part of his costume.

And with the little girl who played the bee in Spring. :) She too is a little dancer and they are great friends! So nice to see my boy coming out of himself more at Prep, happy to just be who he is and to have opportunities to grow and perform in the area he loves.

Thanks to those who have already commented on this post. Please, if you ever drop in and read my blog, if you are a long-term follower or a brand new reader, I want to hear from you! It's a chance for me to discover who is out there, and for you to let me know what you enjoy reading here or have always wanted to know! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Golden Day with William

Today I am really really missing my children. :( Saraya and Elijah are in school, and William is at kindy. And unless I pop out for a visit at school tomorrow (which I may well do), I won't see them until Saturday morning. I have a sinus infection too, and feel kind of lousy - and the weather is so bleak that I think it's adding to my blue feelings.

But yesterday - ah, yesterday. Yesterday truly was one of those Golden Days (despite the rain outside). Breakfast seemed leisurely, we had time to chat and read a few stories before taking the older two children to school. William and I met a friend and her son at the park and enjoyed a long walk (once again between showers!) while the two boys chatted to each other in their prams which was very cute.

We came home and had some fruit and set about finding all the little bits and pieces of toys to return to our wonderful Toy Library - then headed off to exchange them for some new ones. This really is one of William's favourite outings!

The next few hours were spent at home again, cleaning and washing (for me) and exploring all the new toys (for Will).

We had a break around noon and made a batch of hommus (great recipe). It turned out well and Willy and I enjoyed a hommus and crackers/carrot sticks/apple slices picnic on the kitchen floor. :)
We ended the day by playing the card game "What's Missing". Will loves games and is quite good at them I've found. The Toy Library stocks lots of these toddler/preschool games, and books too. I borrowed out "More Secrets of Happy Children" by Steve Biddulph for myself to read.

I feel so blessed to get this special time with my littlest boy. Love all my babies so much!

Thanks to those who have already commented on this post. Please, if you ever drop in and read my blog, if you are a long-term follower or a brand new reader, I want to hear from you! It's a chance for me to discover who is out there, and for you to let me know what you enjoy reading here or have always wanted to know! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rain in the Garden

We are having a very wet week here in south east Queensland. The late autumn winds are howling day and night, and the rain has been almost constant. I have managed a few walks in between showers, but for the most part William and I have spent the last three days indoors.

Yesterday I caught a glimpse of the front garden in the wet sunshine - the clouds had parted for a short time - and it looked so pretty I wanted to photograph it.

I don't plan on planting too much into the gardens as I'm not sure how long we'll be renting here. So far I've planted some lavender, strawberries, parsley, rosemary and daisies into the front garden beds. They're nestled among the petunias which were already there. I would like to plant sunflowers in the garden bed running alongside the house, and maybe a couple of pumpkin vines in the corner of the backyard.

With spring around the corner I may not be able to contain my gardening enthusiasm. But for now, we're happy staying cosy inside with warm cups of tea. ;)

Thanks to those who have already commented on this post. Please, if you ever drop in and read my blog, if you are a long-term follower or a brand new reader, I want to hear from you! It's a chance for me to discover who is out there, and for you to let me know what you enjoy reading here or have always wanted to know! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Picture of Peace

Breakfast over, little ones gone off to play, and only the sun shining warmly through the dining room window remained. The sun and a few stray dishes.

A picture of peace in my morning.


Thanks to those who have already commented on this post. Please, if you ever drop in and read my blog, if you are a long-term follower or a brand new reader, I want to hear from you! It's a chance for me to discover who is out there, and for you to let me know what you enjoy reading here or have always wanted to know! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

700th Post is Coming Up!

Oooo, I just noticed I'm only 8 posts away from reaching 700 posts!!!! Amazing!!!

So I wondered..... what should I post for my 700th post? Tell me, please. :)

I'm not going to run a contest where I choose one person - instead, for every comment left on this post, telling me what you'd like me to share / write about / post photos of etc. etc., I will do as asked. I will include what each of you asks me to, in my 700th post. Depending on the response I get here, it could be a mammoth post. :D

This will be fun!! Roll in the comments... and, go!

Edited to say: Thanks to those who have already commented. Please, if you ever drop in and read my blog, if you are a long-term follower or a brand new reader, I want to hear from you! It's a chance for me to discover who is out there, and for you to let me know what you enjoy reading here or have always wanted to know! :) Many thanks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Just Dropping In

Well it's 9pm on a Friday night and it's been a loooong week.

Monday through to Thursday was busy busy with the children. Aside from school, there were after school and evening activities every day! Very unusual for us and far too busy for my liking. But we did enjoy a visit from my parents on Wednesday which was great - they came up to see Elijah perform in a school concert Wednesday evening. It's nice for him to have their support. :)

This morning I woke up feeling a bit under the weather (run down probably...) so I've had a very quiet day. Aside from a short visit from a friend, I've been on my own and managed to watch the WHOLE season of Downton Abbey - have you seen it? It was wonderful! I'm just disappointed I have to wait until next year to see the next instalment! I had a long walk this afternoon and have done a bit of housework this evening. Time for bed soon.

I hope everyone's weekend is full of good things. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Favourite Kind of Tradesman

My favourite kind of tradesman visited me this week.

He doesn't charge a cent.

Fixes things I didn't even know were broken!

And is as cute as a button.

Thank you William David, I think I'll keep you!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Love to Write

I really really do. Sometimes I can't think of a way to coherently tie my thoughts together, so I avoid putting pen to paper..... or fingers to keyboard...... but not today. Today, I want to write. So I will.

It is Friday. It is late winter but already you can smell that spring isn't far away. The coming weeks will bring warmer weather and longer days. I'm looking forward to that. This has been a COLD winter - and this is a very very cold house. My next door neighbour Stan, a darling 90-something year old man who lives alone ("my wife died 4 years ago dearie" he told me through teary eyes the first time we spoke at the fence) tells me he has lived in very cold places in his life, and this winter Maryborough has been as cold as any of them. He is right. Spring can't come soon enough. These houses are built for summer's heat, not winter's chill.

This morning I determined when I woke up that I wasn't doing anything until I had finished reading Water for Elephants. I had planned to read yesterday but ended up having a friend visit in the afternoon and stay through until late last night. We managed to watch "Once" and "Julie and Julia" - both fantastic movies by the way! Julie and Julia is a must see if you're a blogger. ;)

So.... I read. I read and read and read. I ate some porridge and had my coffee..... 10am came around and still I read. I finished it about 10:30 - it was so wonderful, read it please!!

I got dressed and went for a blissfully uneventful bike ride round the park. I say uneventful because yesterday's ride was erm.... not. One of the pedals happened to fly off when I was half-way round the track. Thankfully I didn't topple or hurt myself (which would have been a typically me thing to do.... still, the pedal is close enough) - but as I rooted around in the grass looking for the lost pedal two pristine-looking joggers in their "proper" running gear jogged past me. "Ha, I'm ... I'm.... just having issues with my pedal" I stammered quietly as they glanced at me. They didn't reply.

Half an hour later I was home, having unsuccessfully tried to reattach the pedal and failed (you need a spanner or wrench or something - neither of which I own and certainly didn't have with me on my morning ride) so I walked the bike home, pedal in one hand, broken bike in the other.

A friend reattached it for me last night while I was teaching a singing student. And so this morning I was thankful to make it all the way round the riding track, and home again, uneventfully. It's a beautiful day outside.

Since then I have tackled some housework, begun my next book (Ahn Do's memoir "The Happiest Refuge" - he's an Aussie comedian and the book is highly recommended), baked a dozen raspberry and choc chip and a dozen apple and cinnamon muffins for the kids' lunch boxes next week, and tidied up the front garden beds a bit. They have flowers, strawberries and herbs planted in them, but they're not mulched so I'm having to pinch the weeds and grass out of them fairly often. Picked a bunch of petunias and daisies for the dining room table.

I then looked up the 2002 blog of Julie Powell which inspired the film Julie and Julia. It's fascinating! Wish I had time to read the whole thing - all 365 entries. :-)

And now..... well, I'm here, writing. Did I mention I love to write? If I could find someone to pay me to stay home and write all day long I'd be supremely happy. So long as I could break free and (be paid to) sing on stage every so often. Sounds perfect to me - any offers?

Alas, it is time to go fold the mount everest washing pile in my bedroom. Then a walk. Then roast a chicken and make a salad for dinner. Then coffee with my dear friend Petrina tonight.

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oh Dear...

... I have failed at regular blogging yet again.

Life continues on as always.

The children wake, I feed them, organise their uniforms and lunch boxes, take them to school, spend the day with William, pick up the children, feed them, help them with homework, readers, organise pyjamas, bath them, feed them .... I think you get the idea.

And of course there is the laundry and the grocery shopping and the meal planning and the appointments and just the things of life which soak up time.

And so blogging falls by the wayside, again. Forgive me?

In my *spare* time, I have been exercising rather a lot - walking from home to the lagoon / walking track nearby, walking the track, then walking home again. Every day in fact. And I just purchased a second hand bike so will be riding that a few days a week as well. William and I often walk to town too, to the shops or library or the bank. He always claims he will "walk please Mama, the whole way there" - then proceed to 'get tired' after 3 minutes. I always take the stroller for that reason. Never go on the word of the toddler. ;) After my gallant effort exercising pre- Music Man, I have gained a few kilos again. I'm determined to lose them!

Also, I have been reading. Have you heard of Mireille Guiliano? She wrote the popular "French Women don't get Fat", which I thoroughly enjoyed some months ago. I just read her third book, "Women, Work and the art of Savoir Faire", which I would also recommend. Then came "Oranges are not the only fruit" - a rather controversial novel which I wouldn't really recommend but did captivate me for the 24 hours during which I read it. I am now reading "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen, having seen the film a few months back. It is a wonderful book, highly recommended. :)

So begins my "weekend" tomorrow (Thursday), as the children spend the next two days with their Papa. I have plans to walk to town to market shop for fruit and veggies, do some cooking, laundry, teach four music students, have coffee with a friend Friday night, clean the house, take some walks and bike rides...... and read. And probably tackle some (much needed) piano and singing practice as well. All these things are good things, things I look forward to doing, and things which will distract me from missing my babies while they are gone. Most of all I look forward to Saturday morning when they'll come home again.

What are you up to this week? What are you reading?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin