"To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
~ Elliot Erwitt
I know it's "Wordless Wednesday" but, it needs to be said... These 3 beautiful girls have had their fair share of adversity & pain in their short lives but they can still smile, laugh and believe that wishes do come true!!
As all my blogger friends in the US celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I am reminded of my decision to live a life of thanks and to give thanks EVERY DAY.
Earlier this year, I came across a brilliant book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and her blog called A Holy Experience. I was challenged to start my own Gratitude Journal which can be found at the top of my blog. I have not managed to record something every day as I had planned BUT I have chosen every day to find something good.
Many of the photography challenges these last couple of weeks have had a theme of gratitude and I have been encouraged to take up the challenge again of recording the things I am grateful for daily, rather than every week. It really is amazing how choosing to live a life of thanks can change your focus. Keeping a gratitude list has been scientifically proven to decrease anxiety, enrich relationships & make you 25% happier! These last few weeks I have seen the proof of that in my own life.
You see, I live daily with chronic illness. I have multiple health problems; 2 heart conditions, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Chronic Neuropathic Pain, Neuromyofascial Pain Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, nerve damage to my neck, arms, my right hip & leg (from a car accident in 2009), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome... I live with severe pain on a daily basis. I am told I hardly complain BUT I used to cry out to God daily asking, "Why me??"
I raised my 4 children alone for 12 years (they are all adults now); my eldest son is a prodigal, my youngest daughter suffers anorexia... and I continued to cry, "Why me??"
My new marriage was falling apart after just 12 months and I was having huge struggles with my 5 step-daughters... and I cried, "Why me??"
I wanted to live daily with Thanksgiving... I wanted to live Eucharisteo!!
MORE THAN ANYTHING, I wanted life to be different, to be happy in the mess of ill health, lost children, a struggling second marriage, problems with step-children... I knew that the only way to be happy was to live in THANKS. So since April, I have been counting. I became slack for a while and only counted one a week but I am getting there! After reading Ann's blog over the last week of her trip to Ecuador with Compassion, I was challenged again to get back on track with counting the things I am grateful for daily.
Research has proven that living in thanks DOES change your life, decrease anxiety, improve relationships and make you more than 25% happier!!
Many of the circumstances in my life are still the same. However, living in Thanks, Eucaristeo, Gracias... I am happy again.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
I am thankful for my, now even LARGER, family. I am the middle child of 5 children, and have 4 children of my own, a son-in-law and almost 2 grandchildren (my oldest son has an 18 month old son, and a daughter due in December). My husband is the middle child of 5 children and has 5 daughters of his own.
My beautiful family (taken at my eldest daughter’s Sarah’s wedding on 27th March 2010) Back - Ben (now 20) & Daniel (22). Front – Bec (19), me, Sarah (27), Oscar (Sarah’s husband), and my wonderful parents.
My husband and his 5 daughters (taken on our wedding day 5th December, 2009)
From L to R: Jessica (now 16), Amy (23), Michael, Tamsyn (20), Lizzie (14), Kathryn (18).
- Photo credit to DeeZigner Images
My amazing best friend Nat & her husband Greg (Sept 2011) – Photo credit to RAD Photography (Bec)
Also grateful for more:
45.For rain to soak the dry earth. 46.For rainbows after the rain, signalling His promise. 47.For joy. 48.For 5 more daughters to love. 49.For time to breathe. 50.For time to love. 51.For time to laugh. 52.For time to cry. 53.For time to live fully in Him. 54.For blessings in time of need.
I couldn't resist posting the little Brushtail Possum for Fabulous friday this week. Just as we were getting into the car, I heard rustling above my head, looked up and saw it. He looks like he is smiling, but I think he is baring his teeth in an attempt to threaten me!!
And these skies for Skywatch Friday are from our trip up to Mt Nebo in the D'Aguilar Range. I havent been out with my camera this week.
The sun was just setting behind the mountain range... you can see a touch of pink on the left.
I have been waiting for this link up since last Thursday!! On our drive up into the D'Aguilar Range last week, we stopped for a coffee at the J.M Jones Tearooms and what a treat... I looked up into the Jacaranda tree and saw these cheeky Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.
Then this beautiful male Australian King Parrot flew over to the Jacaranda. What a photographic treat!! It looks like he has been in a fight!
The markings & colours are so striking... The male has a brilliant red head and breast, green wings, dark blue rump and black tail.
Not long after, a young female flew over. The female's colourings are quite different. Dull green body and head, bright blue rump and red underbelly.
The striped feathers under the tail are beautiful!
Inside the tearooms was a bucket of seed... and so a whole family of Australian King Parrots joined us.
LOVE those blues on the rump! Such striking colours.
Sorry for the extremely long post... I just had to share all these. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.
Last Thursday, my husband and I took an impromptu drive up into the D'Aguilar Range, north-west of Brisbane. It is a beautiful National Park area with remote gorges, open eucalypt woodlands, gum forests, subtropical rainforests, spectacular views and plenty of wildlife.
Here is one of the beautiful views taken from Jolly's Lookout.
As I looked out on this beautiful scenery, I was reminded of God's unfailing love, His incredible patience, His blessing of grace and His great faithfulness that is extended to us. We don't deserve it, but He gives it anyway.
This particular day marked a HUGE turning point for my husband and I in our relationship. And what better way to spend the afternoon than time alone enjoying & marvelling at God's creation.
Thanking Him for:
37.For the blessing of new found friendships.
38.For beauty all around. 39.For drives in the mountains. 40.For laughter. 41.For reconciliation with loved ones. 42.For new beginnings. 43.For forgiveness. 44.For His love, patience, grace and faithfulness even though we don’t deserve it.
We don't celebrate "Thanksgiving" in Australia but this year, due to my health & difficult family circumstances, I set myself the challenge to look for things to be grateful for everyday. I bought myself a wonderful book called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp which encourages reader's to create their own Gratitude Journal. I have included my own here. I am also following Ann's blog A Holy Experience and I try to link up with her on Mondays & Wednesdays.
Some days/weeks it has been a real struggle, especially with the stressful situations we have experienced as a family. I haven't managed to write something everyday over the last few months, as originally planned, but I am VERY slowly adding to my list.
I am however trying to see positives in every day, even if I don't write them down. It's amazing how changing your focus can lift your mood.
On another of this week's driving expeditions with my husband Michael, we found ourselves exploring the D'Aguilar Range, on Brisbane's doorstep. We drove as far as Mt Nebo with many stops on the way. Our last stop was at the J.M Jones Tearooms. While Michael was ordering coffee, I was thrilled to see a couple of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos in a Jacaranda tree... along with some more photography treats... but more on those when I link up with World Bird Wednesday.