Thursday, 14 July 2016

Earth wisdom

Throughout the tapestry of her life there had always been a thread of loneliness, in every relationship, encounter and memory, for as long as she could remember. She felt a deep yearning in her soul of a great purpose but the specific detail eluded her. Her purpose in life was something she couldn’t grasp. This knowing without really knowing kept her feeling slightly aloof from those she loved and liked, until she met him.

Together the loneliness dissipated and the need to understand the greater purpose no longer seemed quite so important.

“Let’s just do it Lach, come on it will be fun,” Jas excitedly declared into the still and peaceful room.

It was a sleepy Saturday afternoon in a quiet country town.  Lying together they could hear a housemate doing some dishes, the churning of an overloaded top loader washing machine, the occasional car driving past, the sound of a lawn mower in the distance and the high pitched protests of tired children fighting.  Then of course there was Costa, breathing heavy next to the bed, as he patiently waited for somebody to stir and maybe take him for a walk.

“Do what?” Lach sleepily murmured.

“Travel around Australia together. Let’s just quit our jobs, sell our stuff and drive around Australia,” in that moment, right then and there Jas thought it sounded so easy and brilliant.

Lach’s practical brain still worked well even in a relaxed and semi-sleeping state.

“What would we travel in, how would we pay for it, where would we go first, where would we work?” he rattled off a long list of practical and perfectly legitimate questions, while Jas who was getting overly excited by the idea was waving her hands around saying “Oh I don’t know, let’s just do it”.

Lach, trying to hide his own excitement at the idea, conceded “Righto, let’s save our money and plan to leave in a year, on one condition”.

Jas was still caught up in her own fantasies, planning more persuasive arguments and nearly missed the fact that Lach had just agreed.  The conversation had just unexpectedly, and positively, accelerated and Jas wasn’t keeping up, she didn’t know what to say next.

“Did you hear me Jas, on one condition,” Lach repeated.

“Oh, sorry babe, what is the condition,” she said, still stunned.

“I want you to marry me before we go”.

Jas prided herself on being a level headed, sensible, educated and fairly rational young woman but in that moment she forget herself and squealed.

She sat staring dumbly at Lach, she was thinking to herself “This sort of thing does not happen to me. This is what happens to beautiful people, or rich people, or interesting and famous people but not me. Is it a joke? He wouldn’t do that, would he?”

Before she could still her racing mind and gather her thoughts enough to speak Lach reached over with a big smile and playful pushed Jas onto her back, looking intently into her face, his eyes filled with laughter, love, hope and a bit of fear.

Jas, trying to gain a little bit of control of this situation, used her hip to rock Lach upwards and pushed him onto his back. She looked at him and asked earnestly “Why, why would you want to marry me?”

“Because I love you and if I have to carry this ring around in my bag any longer my nerves will give me a bloody stroke”, Lach hopped up and in one step was over at his bag reaching in for something. He knelt beside the bed, opened the ring box and revealed a sweet diamond cluster ring. Jas cried, taking the ring, she slipped it onto her finger and she kissed her fiancĂ©.

After nine months of living like hermits and scrimping and saving every single cent their trip was finally a reality. At work Jas had printed and laminated the motivational sign “Laugh more, live longer”, and arriving home with a bottle of chilled champagne, she grabbed three glasses, raced out and stuck the sign inside the bus and declared “Now it is ready”.

Lach and his Dad, Bede, stood back from the now complete project and shook hands, and then reluctantly and awkwardly embraced. The father son duo had worked on renovating the bus and the end result was terrific but Bede knew his beloved son would be driving off into the sunset with no real plan to return.

Meanwhile Jas excitedly opened every cupboard, sat on every seat, opened the microwave and loudly announced “This is more exciting then when I got Strawberry Shortcake for Christmas”.

“What about when we got married”, Lach retorted and Jas dismissively and playfully said “Oh yeah and that too”, giving her husband a sideways grin.

Just weeks later, after most of their possessions had been sold and the rest placed in storage, they turned the key in their brand new home. It was the most surreal feeling and amongst the excited goodbye hugs, calls of good wishes and teary waves that feeling of loneliness began to creep into her consciousness once again. However, the anticipation and excitement on their very first night of camping alone was exhilarating and enough to overshadow any feelings of doubt.

“Well Mrs Milton, I am off to catch you a fish for dinner” and then in his very worst Neanderthal impersonation Lach added “You, woman, must prepare vegetables”, and he walked, more quickly than usual, towards the river.

“Whatever! I’ll wait and see if you catch anything first Rex Hunt” Jas yelled after him, as she reclined in her swanky new camp chair to read her book, and she cautiously opened her heart just a little more and let the feelings of happiness and joy wash over her soul.  

Only minutes later she looked up to see her hunter-gatherer husband wrestling with his line that was very obviously snagged, and giggling to herself she thought “It will be sausages for dinner tonight”.

Not too much later Lach returned heading to the back of the bus and loudly pulled out the old gas barbeque, but after a packet of matches and still no flame he banged around in the bus for a while. Jas then heard him open the microwave and soon she smelt the familiar scent of cheese and chives pasta and sauce.

She couldn’t help it, she laughed at him, Lach leapt out of the bus and picked her up, carrying her towards the river pretending to throw her in. She laughed loud and big and again let the love wash over her completely and the quote “I just wanna go on more adventures, be around good energy, connect with people, learn new things, grow” raced into her head and tickled all her senses. Right now life was better than she ever imagined possible and their journey was just beginning.

Each day of bliss was followed by another and another. The sense of freedom and excitement at the start of each day never got boring. They created and shared wonderful moments and memories together.  Days spent swimming in crystal clear beaches on the south coast of New South Wales, riding bikes through the historical regional townships of Victoria, stopping continuously to admire the endless beauty of the Great Ocean Road and surviving restless nights in the potentially murderous roadside camp sites.

It was on the Nullabor Plain that the spirit of the country started to become undeniably noticeable.

One night, not far from the West Australian border she stood barefoot on the earth. A surge of ancient and wise energy came from the dirt and moved through her body. She had never experienced such raw spirituality, especially not generated from the ground. In that moment an appreciation of the spirit of the country began to awaken in her.

In the setting sun Lach was walking towards her, she wanted to tell him that she had a revelation, that she felt so loved, deeply loved and accepted by the land but before she could speak Lach had his own announcement to make.

“Don’t go to the toilets, they are chock a block of crap, stinks to freaking high heaven in there.  You’ll have to pee behind that tiny bit of scrub over there”, which for some reason he thought was amusing.

Jas smiled to herself , up until that very moment she always assumed spiritual awakenings happened in Churches, or at retreats, or at the very least in a room with some incense, but no, wisdom can come to rest on your soul in the most unusual and unexpected places.


It was right there that her thinking shifted forever. The barren and relentless Nullabor Plains had tugged on her heart and pulled a thread in what she had always held as true. As her feelings of loneliness started to unravel she caught a glimpsed at the truth. Life really could be good and abundant and fun so long as she always kept her feet firmly planted on this great and ancient land.

Friday, 3 June 2016

What if my life is a direct result of lyrics from songs of the 90's

Maybe it wasn't Mum and Dad, or the schools I went to, or my childhood experiences that have made me the adult I am today.

Just maybe I am the direct result of a bunch of lyrics from the songs I listened to for a decade, or more.

Last night I had a revelation that the music you listen to  really really matters, so this morning I woke up and deleted most of the current pop music off my daughter's iPod and replaced it with great classics to help guide her in life. She is only eight so I got away with it and she thinks ABBA is cool so we are sweet, for now.

I went to the school musical on the weekend and the basic premise of the play is the 'popular' senior girls at a high school form a pop-band to win a Talent Show title and a three year music deal and when the boys find out they form a rival pop-band. It was set in the 1990's - awesome!!

As the music played out I knew all the song lyrics, word for word (I was in High School and University in the 1990's so a huge part of my life), it was such fun.  I began to think these songs may have played a major role in the formation of my thoughts and beliefs and possibly influenced some major decisions in my life.

Can't Fight the moonlight for example, could be responsible for my great love and respect for the power of the moon, check out these lyrics:
Underneath the starlight - starlight
There's a magical feeling - so right
It'll steal your heart tonight
You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know
But you know you can't fight the moonlight

My addiction to self-discovery and self-love, constantly improving my understanding of how my mind works and trying to be my most authentic self, probably comes from Mariah Carey and the song Hero:
There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul

I like to talk waving my hands around and adding expression and emphasis for effect, I like to tell stories with just a touch of exaggeration and I think, for that, I can blame Boyz II Men, how dramatic is End of the Road:
When I can't sleep at night without holding you tight
Girl, each time I try I just break down and cry
Pain in my head oh I'd rather be dead
Spinnin' around and around
Although we've come to the end of the road
Still I can't let you go

I live fairly independently, we live a long way from family, I like to think I can do most things on my own, I find it hard to ask for help sometimes, often to my own detriment and if I don't want to be somewhere or do something then I am gone, I think MC Hammer might be behind this:
I told you homeboy (You can't touch this)
Yeah, that's how we living and you know (You can't touch this)
Look at my eyes, man (You can't touch this)

The idea of settling, of this being as good as it gets, frustrates me, I feel we are always stretching, improving, growing and check out the lyrics to Moving on Up:
Cause I'm moving on up, you're moving on out
Movin' on up, nothing can stop me
Moving on up, you're moving on out
Time to break free, nothing can stop me.

I also believe that little by little, step by step, day by day if each one of us does good we can change the world, through constant commitment small actions lead to big changes and what if this 'wisdom' comes from New Kids on the Block:
(step)
(step)
(step)
(step)
(step by step)
Step 1: We can have lots of fun
Step 2: There's so much we can do
Step 3: It's just you and me
Step 4: I can give you more
Step 5: Don't you know that the time has arrived

Then of course I love to laugh and have fun, there were so many good fun songs in the 1990's like Teenage Dirt- Bag, Too sexy, Who let the dogs out. Songs that don't take themselves seriously and are sung and danced for fun, pure fun and silliness.

I am writing this a little bit tongue-in-cheek and just having a bit of fun, but maybe you might like to check the music you have playing in your office, home and car just to be on the safe side!!

I'd love to know some of your favourite songs from the 1990's.

I got highlacked by anger but laughter grounded me


.

Oh my goodness, I took life way too seriously this week and it hurt my soul and made me tired.

When my life motto comes from planet Sark "Saunter slowly in the sun, eat chocolate cake, and carry a blanket so you can nap", seriousness just doesn't sit well with me.

I know life is serious sometimes but I am a little bit embarrassed about the issue that made me take life so seriously. The school Principal announced he was cancelling school girl netball ... and we love netball and we love(d) our school.

We love the game, we love the community, we love playing for our school and it was unceremoniously being taken away without consultation and that made me really mad and deeply sad.

It seemed like a great injustice was taking place and resistance was called for. It was a terrible decision that impacts not only our school community but the health, social and economic fabric of our wonderful district. School girl netball is a forty year tradition in this district, it is inclusive and it is very affordable, it is really really fun, and the decision maker(s) didn't seem to give two hoots.

For me life is about relationship and netball was a place where many great and diverse relationships were formed and strengthened. I could not find peace so I did what I do, I wrote a lot of letters to the Principal, the Mayor, the newspaper, the local member, and shared my concerns on Facebook.

Writing always makes me feel better but not this time, the fury kept rising. Even after an hour and a half of Radiant Light Yoga I could not find peace. I think I contaminated the energy in the yoga room too with my negative vibes ... oops.

However as the sun rose this morning my soul felt lighter. The problem is not solved but last night we went to the school musical and as four big-hearted, semi-talented teenage boys stood on stage singing and dancing to "I'm too sexy for my shirt" the anger faded, when the senior teachers sang "Teenage Dirt Bag" my spirits began to lift.

I was reminded again that life is fun, being funny is awesome, light-heartedness is a good thing.

Smiling and laughing centred me, it gave me a bit more clarity and perspective. Feeling part of our fun school community again made me happy. Seeing students shine joy and fun was fabulous.

There is always going to be seriousness in life, it is absolutely unavoidable.

We are called to stand up when we see injustice and wrong-doing.

We are called to be the light of this world and it is our intent to fight the good fight and finish the race.

We are called to use our blessings to bless others.

But seriously, I don't need to take life too seriously because none of us get out of here alive.

I need to remember to laugh, and find joy and look for the miracles and the magic and the kindness and the softness because these are the things I love.

So even though I am still really mad about school girl netball being dumped, and I really do not agree with the decision, I am choosing the higher perspective. I will be part of the solution with other proactive and passionate members of the community and I will probably make fun of the Principal behind his back, because it will make me feel better because I am a mere-mortal after all, and surely Principals are totally accustomed to that :-)

So as I skip off merrily to enjoy today I am sending you all loads of light, love, laughter and blessings
Justine x

PS If you agree with the decision to dump school girl netball please do not comment on my blog ... it will cause me to judge you unfairly and unkindly and I don't want to do that!!


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Go with the flow

I often run out of puff ... today is one of those days.

Like everybody living in a busy world I have a million things circling around my head, a long list of 'to-do's' and the spinning merry-go-round of life keeps on turning.

I love my life. I am proud of how we live.

We try hard to live with intention and we try to make conscious choices all the time, and try to avoid  living on auto-pilot.

We are conscious and committed to learning  new and better ways to do life, to help make the world a better place, but the journey is slow and continuous.

Often what is important to us as a family, and me as an individual, is at odds with what our society tells us is important, It takes constant energy to stay true to what we believe, and to also let our knowledge and beliefs continually evolve and grow.

We have clear goals that we are working towards but sometimes it is tiring and feels like too much and not enough all at once.

In order to live the life I want, I require quite a lot of rest. It appears I need more rest than my husband, children and most people I know. But that is okay I think.

We live in a world where rest equates to laziness and I feel this. I often feel guilty about the amount of rest I need so I tell myself my body needs to rest on a biological or chemical level so my cells can keep doing what they need to do so I won't get cancer. Disclaimer this is based on no medical knowledge at all. This is just how I justify my need to rest, to myself ... so silly but it works so hey.

At the beginning of the year I chose a sacred word for 2016, a word that would help me set my intent for the year ahead, and after much prayer and meditation my word was flow.

This year I want to go with the flow more, listen and respect the rhythm of life, let go of constant expectation and to discover the joy in the moment.

I have not done this exceptionally well in every instance, I am still me after all with a lot of learnt behaviour under my belt. However I have honoured my 2016 sacred word and intend to do so even more as this year continues.

This morning I took some time to rest, and the word flow rested on my heart again. Despite the massive list of jobs I 'should' be doing, I went with the flow and listened to a fantastic talk by Tsh Oxenreider on the art of simple living, living holistically with your life's purpose.   I am super keen to read her book "Notes from a Blue Bike" which will require me to rest even more so I can read it. Yay!

Now, almost three hours later I think I am almost ready to brush my hair, clean my teeth, get out of my track suit pants and head into 'the real world' to complete at least three tasks on that pesky 'to-do' list.

I would love to hear your thoughts on rest and its value and importance in your life.

With much love
Justine x

Monday, 16 May 2016

Time is the most precious gift

Our free range chickens and our first ripe orange in 2016
Time is possibly the one thing each and every person on earth has an equal quantity of.

The number of minutes and hours in each day does not change no matter how wealthy, how important, how old or how tall we are.

No matter where we live, how many children we have, the colour of our skin, our level of education, nothing changes how much time we have in each day.

The saying "The best things in life are free" is not entirely true because the greatest gift in life is time and it is priceless.

When somebody spends time with you, or takes time to do something for you it is costing them their time that they can never recoup.

No matter what they do they can never get that time back again.

Time is the most amazing and generous gift.

I saw something recently on Instagram that said "I have never bought anything with money. Everything I have was bought with pieces of time I sold from my life to a job that will never have paid enough when my time is up".

Time is this uber valuable commodity that we have limited access to, who knows when our time will be up, and we choose what we do with it each and every day.

The very first trees being planted in our orchard in 2012
Our little family dreams of living a more sustainable low impact life together, building this takes time.

We are trying to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. To live in peaceful dwellings, creating an undisturbed place of rest, sowing our seeds and letting our animals range free (paraphrased from Isaiah 32:16-20).

In hot old dusty Roma growing anything takes a lot of time, but we are certainly making progress and it is so deeply rewarding and it is a fun way to spend our time on earth.

We have helped and witnessed hundreds of trees grow, and we have seen many many hundreds die.

The sense of achievement we get when we harvest anything we have grown is overwhelming, and therefore must be shared on social media.

We eagerly await the day when we can share our produce with friends and family and when more people can come and share in this amazing place to draw near to mother earth.

The capacity to grow and eat our own food, a practice that would have been part of every Australian life until maybe a generation ago, is exhilarating.

We are learning new things, appreciating new things and witnessing new things everyday on this little journey of ours.

Like today for instance, when I went to buy a cauliflower from the supermarket and it only cost me $4, it blew my tiny little mind. For us to grow our own cauliflowers from seed takes many months and daily love and tender care and here is one for $4. If I calculated my time into the production of our half a dozen annual cauliflowers they would cost approximately ten thousands dollars!! If I had never grown a cauliflower it would not be possible to recognise how insanely cheap this was.

Time is a marvelous thing.
Don't take time for granted.
Time spells love.
Don't sell your time too cheaply.
When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something, or someone, else.
Time is limited.
Love is all that matters.
Time waits for no one.
Enjoy your time.
Recognise the true value of time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on time.
Much love
Justine x

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Life is good

This is our dog Minnie Mae and she is filled with joy, it is like she literally bounds around all day projecting the positive affirmation "life is good" into the universe. As a result she does so happen to live a good life.

I don't bound through life with the same unbridled enthusiasm as Minnie Mae but whenever I utter the words "life is good" to people outside my little tribe I often get a look suggesting I am less intelligent, and perhaps uneducated to hold such a childlike view.



I get responses like these:

  • Oh yeah, maybe for some
  • It is alright for you to say that, you aren't dealing with tragedy or grief or homelessness or depression or illness or domestic violence
  • Really, yeah it might be alright for you  

 No matter what I see and hear I just can't help but feel in my heart that life is good.

I am not denying bad and evil exists, it does, in bucket loads, bad things happen to good people, I know that and it saddens me.

Yesterday I saw a little girl at Breakfast Club eating her free cereal and drinking her milk with such ferocity, it left me wondering how hungry she must feel most of the time if she comes to school with no breakfast.

Or knowing that there are small girls and young women trapped in sex slavery, kidnapped or tricked, beaten and raped until their soul is destroyed at the hands of heartless, awful greedy people. Life is not good to those poor sisters.

When I think of the massive number of worldwide refugees, people forced to flee their country, or the asylum seekers locked up on a Manus Island, living in fear. The disturbingly high rates of domestic violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol dependency, increasing suicide rates, the list goes on.

There is so much bad in the world, terribleness at every turn, on the radio, on the television, on social media in the newspapers, in our neighborhoods, schools and on the lips of people we talk to.

So why do I still feel that life is good.

God says "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".  We have all been born with this knowledge coursing through our viens and it is in worship, prayer and living life in constant relationship with God that this knowledge grows and strengthens.

I am confident nothing good can come of focusing on the bad, it will make your heart harden, you will become a bitter, cranky, withered up person with all the joy and energy sucked out of your soul.

You know that song "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones" ... I don't want dry bones.

To love magnificently in the face of all the bad is surely powerful and wonderful.

"The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground", I want to be a little love nut holding my ground and eventually become a big oak, surrounded by other big oaks that have all grown from love.

Surely this will make a better world, if more of us believe life is good, if we feel safe and loved we will all make kinder and better decisions and choices that in turn will make life good, not just for us but those around us.

So are you a love nut that will hold your ground, do you want to live life like Minnie Mae, full of joy and wonderful anticipation of all the great blessings that may be coming your way today. I'd love to hear from you.

With much love
Justine x

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The loveliness of holidays

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" Psalm 19:1

We have just had a week holidaying in Brunswick Heads NSW and it is spectacularly beautiful, it is easy to appreciate and acknowledge the handiwork of our creative and artistic God when beauty abounds so profusely.

When the waves break on the edge of the water and stir up the sand, it honestly looks like golden glitter. The water is so clear and warm and the waves so soft that as you dive beneath the surface it is easy to imagine you are a mermaid. Everybody was happy and friendly, there were smiles galore. The diversity of delicious food created from fresh, local and organic produce was simply breathtaking. The live comedy show we saw had us laughing until it hurt, you know that almost out of control, tears streaming down your face, child like amusement. 

Get this, they even have wine on tap at the very awesome Hotel Brunswick. Every day we spent at The Bruns was magnificent and every experience we shared was memorable.

After this perfect time of bliss and happiness I took some time to reflect on what I had learnt over the week so I can bring some of the wonderful joy from holidays into my every day world.

Friendly people are awesome
Do you know the saying "Life in an echo, what you send out comes back", well obviously I was deliriously happy while I was on holidays and it felt like absolutely everybody else was too. It seemed everybody wore a smile from ear to ear, every person seemed friendly and chatty. Was this just how I was seeing the world through my rose coloured glasses, was my heart so full of love that it didn't really matter what anybody else was doing because all I could see was joy. or is everybody just genuinely happy at Brunswick Heads. 

Either way it proves how important it is to be aware of your own state of mind, and the benefits of surrounding yourself with happy people and enjoyable experiences because it really does impact on your perception of reality. 

Live music, local beer, sea breezes and dancing children are a wonderful combination and a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon
Hotel Brunswick is set outside under enormous poinciana trees surrounded by lush green hedges, and there is wine on tap, say no more!! We had a wonderful afternoon, however it is just one of the many reasons I could not live in Brunswick Heads, I think I would quickly become a regular at that pub.

Some things just happen on holidays, and that is okay.

Beach towels are no longer cool ... apparently
We watched in awe as we saw beautiful people, both men and women, gracefully walk from the water to simply pick up a wrap of some description off the sand, skilfully drape it around themselves to become a stylish dress or masculine scarf and then leave smiling and laughing together.

Us on the other hand arrived at the beach with two beach umbrellas, four beach towels, sand toys, snacks, sun screen, drink bottles and a whole lot of noise. Nothing happened gently or delicately and we left as chaotically as we arrived, but with a few extra special shells.

It really is nice and fun to see how other people do things. Maya Angelou said "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better". There is always so much to learn, experience, observe and enjoy and going away on holidays often provides a wonderful opportunity to expand our minds and see and experience new things that will help us do better in our own day to day life.

Everybody really is beautiful
Sometimes I can forgo getting into the water because it just seems too hard by the time everybody else is in, plus my swimmers are just some bargain bikini I picked up last holidays, they don't really fit properly and I need to apply so much sunscreen before I go swimming ... blah blah blah.  This year I got in the water, repeatedly and thank goodness I did, it was supremely divine. It made me relax and cool and happy and as I looked around everybody on the beach did look beautiful. No matter what their body shape, or swimmers, or hair colour or skin tone ... every single person who was enjoying the water and the sun and living in the moment radiated beauty and joy. 

I am sure there are plenty of other things I avoid in life because I think it is too much effort or I'm not good enough or I don't have the right clothes. Whatever, such lame excuses and I am just robbing myself of joy. When you jump in, experience all that is on offer, it really does not matter your ability, you outfit none of it ... when you are being true to yourself and having a red hot crack you are beautiful. "To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others, You need to accept yourself" Thich Nhat Hanh

Even if you don't post it on Facebook it still happened
Say what now ... I do not believe that!! I tried so hard to live in the moment, not take too many photos, just share and experience with those I was with, without any need to share it with the world. FAIL ... I failed big time. I really truly tried and did not post anything on social media whilst I was on holidays but the minute I was home I just had to brag, I had to show my photos ... sorry.

Thank you Brunswick Heads for the wonderful holiday, we absolutely loved it, we felt truly blessed to visit this magical part of the earth and God willing we will be back again, soon xoxo





Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Celebrating Jesus, love, girl power and the moon this Easter

I love Easter for so many reasons, it demonstrates the intense love God has for us and it represents forgiveness and hope like nothing else I have every experienced.

I love the 'Journey to the cross', it is deeply powerful. Starting with Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday followed by six weeks of readings that focus on the vital ministry of Jesus while he walked this earth. Then Palm Sunday, the Last Supper all as we move closer and closer to the profound moment of the resurrection. Each individual celebration having its own meaning but together they culminate to a crescendo-building occurrence, when it is announced "He has risen".

Secondly, I love that women feature significantly in the Bible at Easter. In our culture the women’s stories in the Bible have taken second place to the interests and needs of male biblical writers and male leaders in Christian churches, but at Easter women feature prominently and that makes me really happy.

The Gospels agree that at the most difficult moment in the Christian story, when Jesus hung on the cross exposed and suffering, it was his women followers who remained with him when everybody else had left. Then they helped Joseph of Arimathea take down his body and lay it in the tomb before dusk fell. The Gospels agree that, at the cross, there was a collection of women who had followed Jesus, some who had followed him all the way from Galilee.

It was women who came to the tomb first, the angel spoke to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, and said "Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen".

Then in Mark 16:9 "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared to Mary Magdalene". God does nothing by accident, so the fact that women played such a vital part in this world and life changing moment in history is very pertinent and profound.

I also love how the date of Easter each year is based on the first full moon after Equinox. Perfect balance between heaven and earth, a beautiful unison between spirituality, nature and mankind and a sign of respect for the astrology elements. It is wonderful, everybody can look up at the sky each night for the week leading up to Easter, seeing the moon get bigger, creating anticipation for Easter Sunday. It is all inclusive and just magnificent.

I love listening to the beautiful and powerful songs of Worship about the Cross, Calvary and forgiveness, I adore having an excuse to eat chocolate and it makes me smile big as I watch our children excitedly hunt for Easter Eggs.

My prayer is that each one of us, no matter where we are, how we celebrate, or who we are with, that we will all experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ this Easter.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

It's the vibe ... no that's it ... it's the vibe

You can relax, sit down, take a breath and seriously don't worry ... be happy.

Take time to smell the roses, slow down and look at rainbows, stop and hear the birds singing. 
Laugh, smile, let the tension be released from your shoulders.

Rest assured all is well.

When Dennis Denuto says in The Castle "it’s the vibe, and…no that’s it…it’s the vibe. I rest my case".  This one statement "it's the vibe" was a profound insight about the meaning of life.

Life ... it's the vibe, I rest my case.

Recently I have attended the funerals of two beautiful women who lived long loving and fruitful lives.  At both funerals the thoughts and memories shared by their relatives focused on what the women loved doing, the funny and quirky, the loving and kind, the exciting and fun, the memorable moments of their life.

The people who attended were a reflection of the kind of relationships they had nurtured and treasured in their lives.

Neither funeral focused on the mundane tasks of life, nobody mentioned the things these ladies couldn't do, nobody talked about the people who didn't love them.

Nobody mentioned the size of their house, or the type of car they drove, nobody mentioned how much money they had in the bank. At both funerals the careers of the women was mentioned but in relation to how their healing and teaching qualities featured in all aspects of their life, not how many hours they spent earning money. The Committees both these women served on were mentioned, but not the hours they spent at meetings or fundraising but rather the valuable contribution they helped make to their community.

Nobody mentioned the lawn mowing, the dishes, the washing, the vacuuming, the bill paying, the crying, the worrying, the days nothing got done, the bad fashion choices or the bad hair days ... nobody.  

It gave me great hope that on that day, when our friends and relatives gather to celebrate our life and share their memories of us, it is all about 'the vibe' of our life.  The guiding principals we use to make choices, the way we treat people, the way we love and what we do for fun and the trips we take and adventures we have.

People remember us when we are happy, doing the things we love, being with the people we love and when we are being our most authentic self, this is memorable.  

It is our hobbies, our creative pursuits, what we do with our free time, how we speak to people, the kind and generous things we randomly do, these things are what are remembered.

So if we want our funeral, and ultimately our life, to be good we need to spend time investing in the things that matter.  Do more of what makes us smile, do more of what makes our heart sing, spend more time with the people we love.  

Use our time on earth to plant seeds of love.

In the Bible, Jesus says "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly", John 10:10. 

So there you have it, live your life abundantly, love deeply, have fun, be silly, dream, imagine, do all you can to enjoy the gift of life, for it is a gift.

It's the vibe that matters, everything else is subaltern, inferior, lesser, petty. I rest my case.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

A life well lived

Today our family mourns the loss of a wise, loving Grandma and Great Grandma, a beautiful lady who loved her family and lived her life well.

Kindness, love, gentleness, patience and peace were her trademark traits and the seeds she has planted live on, not only in the hearts of her decedents living now, but those not born yet, those who will follow us.  Is there anything more beautiful or meaningful than to pass down such worthy attributes to those who are yet to come.

It raises the question of what does it mean to live a life well?

I have been blessed with a depth of amazing role models, so I have witnessed lives lived well.

For me a life lived well means to live in loving peaceful relationship with God, my family, my friends, my community and my world.

For me, the fruits of a life lived well are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gifts bestowed upon us by God and lived out, little by little, each and every day.

Knowing what it means and looks like to live a life well does not mean it is easy to do.

No siree.

It takes every day bravery and courage to live a life well.

It means not quitting, it requires staying in the arena even when you want to run. It means you need to keep dancing even when the music changes, and it changes regularly without warning.

Little by little, step by step, building strength, gaining wisdom and increasing faithfulness is what creates a life well lived with eternal worth and lasting contributions that benefit future generations.

In my life the people who have lived a life well have all had a profound relationship with Jesus Christ. This faith has meant they have walked through pain, joy, tragedy, triumph, heartbreak, terrible mistakes and wise choices, soul penetrating love and despairing loss and the whole gamut of ups and downs that life on earth gives us.

It means that at times they celebrated and other times they just survived, but they did it and they did it well.

Step by step, little by little they did it.  They lived life well.

I am proud to love, and be loved, by amazing people, who I admire and respect and who I know have prayed for me, and my family, in the dark of night when everybody else is asleep, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

Today our minds rest on Grandma, on all the wonderful times we shared, the cups of teas, the biscuits, the unconditional love bestowed upon each one of us.

We give thanks that her soul will rest in peace, she is reunited with Cec, and she no longer feels pain or sheds tears but rejoices knowing that she will share eternity with Jesus.

To a life well lived, in loving memory of Granny xoxo




Monday, 29 February 2016

That in itself is a tremendous thing

Friendship, I am blessed to have known it and I treasure my friends. To me the value of my friends is far above rubies.

I grew up loving Anne of Green Gables.

In real life, our beloved dogs are named Gilbert and Minnie Mae as a testimony to my love and devotion to Anne and one of my all time bucket list wishes is to visit Prince Edward Island.

An aspect of the early Anne of Green Gables stories that I adore is Anne's loyal friendship to Diana Barry.  She loves Diana with her whole heart, she is her bosom friend. "A bosom friend" Anne explains to Marilla is "an intimate friend, you know - a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul".

I never thought Diana was good enough for our Anne, but after Diana is invited to tea with tragic results and the girls are forced to say an eternal farewell there is no denying their love for each other.

 ----
"Ten minutes isn't very long to say an eternal farewell" said Anne tearfully. "Oh, Diana, will you promise faithfully never to forget me, the friend of your youth, no matter what dearer friends may caress thee?"

"Indeed I will," sobbed Diana, "and I'll never have another bosom friend--I don't want to have. I couldn't love anybody as I love you."

"Oh, Diana," cried Anne, clasping her hands, "do you love me?"

"Why, of course I do. Didn't you know that?"

"No." Anne drew a long breath. "I thought you liked me of course but I never hoped you loved me. Why, Diana, I didn't think anybody could love me. Nobody ever has loved me since I can remember. Oh, this is wonderful! It's a ray of light which will forever shine on the darkness of a path severed from thee, Diana. Oh, just say it once again."

"I love you devotedly, Anne," said Diana staunchly, "and I always will, you may be sure of that."

"And I will always love thee, Diana," said Anne, solemnly extending her hand.
-----

Are you crying .... oh my goodness I am!!  The point I was trying to make, before getting deliriously swept away in the beauty and romance of Anne of Green Gables, is friendship is such an important aspects of life.

Sometimes I find my life quite repetitive, very similar tasks over and over.

Also my life feels quite mundane, I am committed to loving my God, husband, family and planet but there is nothing headline grabbing about this, it takes a lot of small acts of kindness that I hope will one day add up to a life lived with love.

However, if I were able to line up and parade before you MY friends well .... I know you, and in fact the world, would be impressed.

My goodness, the people I get to call friends are the finest folk you could ever hope to meet.  They have strength of character and determination of iron,  their hearts are as big as the ocean and they love beyond belief.  They are passionate and caring and kind and funny and hard working and beautiful and I love them so.

Yes, I am bragging!!

My friends include my husband and children, my Mum and my sister, my nieces and the crazy people that choose to love me even though they really do not have to ...mwah xx

There was a time in my life when I was reckless with friendships but no more.  My friends do truly mean the world to me.  They shine bright sparkly glitter on even the dullest day and I feel truly blessed and to know and love them.

I do not want to give the impression that there are hundreds of people in this clan I talk of, probably be lucky to be pushing twenty and some friends I see daily or weekly or monthly or annually, but this does not have any effect on the depth or importance of our friendship.

So I would like to make a toast to all the Anne and Diana friendships out there, may your friendship live long and prosper.

Your friends should
motivate and inspire you.
Your circle should
be well rounded and supportive.
Keep it tight.
Quality over quantity,
always.
- simplereminders.com -

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Come, sit a while, and listen to your soul speak

Hello sweet souls

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth ... And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2). 

This is how the Bible starts. God spoke everything into existence ... 'and God said' ... from animals to oceans, from stars to humans, and the moon and the sun. Then on the very last page of the Bible Jesus says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelations 22:13). 

This, to me, demonstrates that there has always been, and will continue to be, a spirit element to absolutely everything. The Spirit of God is in every single thing and every single person, from the very start until the very end.

This spiritual wisdom is ours for the taking, it is free for us to receive, if we quiet ourselves enough to hear it.

I absolutely love the spiritual aspect of life. 

In my Applied Science studies I had the opportunity to learn about Indigenous cultures, and I found the spiritual aspects of cultural studies fascinating.   

Indigenous people across the globe believed that animals, plants and everything else possessed a spiritual essence, and this belief was so fundamental to every day existence it was taken for granted and so they often didn’t even have a word to describe it.  

In Hawaiian Mysticism mana is a life energy that flows through all things and is highly individual and the Arapaho Indians believed all plants are our brothers and sisters and they talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.

Today at Church I witnessed the Holy Spirit working as members of our congregation were incredibly encouraging towards each other.  There was a lot of ‘Great work’, ‘I really love how you...’, ‘Thank you’ and this isn’t really a common occurrence in our small country Church and it was beautiful and uplifting to witness.

I witness the Holy Spirit whenever I see somebody doing what they truly love, whether it is teaching or preaching, creating or growing, encouraging or loving, nurturing or providing.  When anything is being done with great generosity and kindness and love you know it is the Holy Spirit, because the fruits of the Spirit are ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (Galatians 5:22-23), without the Spirit these things are incredibly hard if not impossible for us humans.

I feel the presence of the Spirit in many ordinary moment, whether I  am in nature, when my bare feet or hands are in direct contact with earth, sand or sea;  or when I am with those I love most or at Church or when I pray, meditate, or when I am smudging our home or at any time at all really.  Yet when I am stressed, worried, fearful, scared, angry or tired the Spirit seems much harder to hear.

My hope is that increasingly more of us will open our hearts and minds to the power of the Spirit, more of us will take the time to be quiet and listen to our souls, that more of us will be able to live our abundance and all of this will soon come to influence the way we manage our environment; the way we love, raise and educate our children; the way we build our economy and the way we interact and exist together locally and globally.

Poet nayyirah waheed writes:

do not disrespect your heart, by
hearing what it needs, and
giving it the opposite.


I have much hope for the future, I hope this era of denying the Spirit is coming to an end, and my prayer is that we listen more closely to our heart, and have the courage to acknowledge the power of the Spirit in our lives. 

Written with much love

Justine xx

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Love the one you're with

Hello sweet angels of the earth

My mind is all higgledy-piggledy so I go outside and walk on the earth .... and unexpectedly the thunder rumbles and the rain falls ... a passing thunderstorm and I run in the rain and stretch my arms up to the heavens and I let the fresh sweet smell of rain on hot earth fill my senses and it is a beautiful unexpected gift.

My heart is filled to the brim with the message of love the one you're with.  Love the earth you are standing on, love your body, your skin, your thoughts and love your partner and your children and your friends and your community and your Church and unreservedly love this time right here right now.  Love the one you're with, cross the line, reach out, open up and love where you are right now.

I don't think this means settle for where you are, I don't think this message equates to this is as good as it gets,i t doesn't mean don't question the status quo absolutely not.

Be thankful today so you can appreciate all that is still to come.  It means if your heart is filled with love you can appreciate all the good in your life, you can make good choices and sound decisions.  It means you will feel good and people you meet along the way will feel good for spending time with you.  It means the world will be a better place.

Our time on earth is a passing gift, a time to live and grow and love and enjoy.  So many people have trodden on the earth before me and they will continue to after me and I don't know how long I have, nobody does.  I want to spend my time planting seeds of love and joy, because I know these seeds will grow and the harvest will be reaped for generations to come.  Galatians 6:7 "Don't be misled -- you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant".

Every time I watch an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? an Australian television documentary series on SBS I am astounded at the effect the experience has on all involved.  All of the celebrities are deeply moved when they uncover the actions and life experiences of their ancestors, many of whom lived hundreds of years ago, still impacts on the everyday life of people today.  Not only do we reap what we sow, so will our future descendants, what you think, say and do really does have long lasting consequences.

Feelings of inadequacy still creep in for me, I feel like I should do more, my house should be tidier, I should work more hours and earn more money.  Sometimes I get filled with fear about silly things like superannuation and university fees for our children and needing more clothes or shoes or a new car but this is just the message large corporations and the government are compelled to relentlessly repeat so they can make money - it is not a message coming from love rather it comes from greed and fear.

So on this beautiful Friday can I encourage you to catch your thoughts and words, and take time to love the ones you are with today, tomorrow and every day there after.  If you are in a place where this seems excruciatingly impossible call on the Lord as Psalm 34:18 says "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit".

May you experience an avalanche of ordinary moments this weekend that fill you with love, and may you take the time to appreciate and treasure each one.

Written with much love
Justine xx

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The beat of angel wings

I love!!  I love love.  I love to surround myself with love, people I love, places I love, I feel incredibly blessed, and sometimes deeply drained, because I regularly feel overpowered by feelings of love. I love!!  I also get furiously mad, I get filled with such anger and frustration.  Sometimes I want to yell or push or smash or retaliate or hurt but thankfully mostly I don't because love triumphs, mostly.

I genuinely believe we can live a life overflowing with love, God chose to create us out of his great love "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). Love can hurt, badly, when we have it, when we give it completely and it gets snatched away, and out of fear of loss or hurt or pain or of the unknown or of rejection we simply withhold our love, we try to keep it on a tight tether, maybe try to keep the upper hand, try and stay in control, maybe we hold back as a survival mechanism.

Love to me is soft and gentle and good, and should not need to be withheld ever.  It brings with it joy and sadness, it brings with it triumph and loss, it brings with it a myriad of feelings I am unable to articulate but each one worthy of being felt and treasured.  I have witnessed the deepest heartache and pain the loss of a child has caused, but would that parent ever wish they never loved with their whole heart, never.  I have seen a devastated spouse bury their true love, on bended knee crying and wishing for just one more day.  Do they regret one ounce of the love they shared, I doubt it.

Has anybody ever said "My greatest regret is that I loved too much"?

I try and imagine love as soft and gentle as a butterfly, it can not be captured or held against its will, it can not be manipulated or bought or sold, love is in the rhythm of our bodies, it is the beat of angel wings, it is not of this earth, and it is magnificently gloriously wonderful and bold and ever present.

I am loving the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed and one of her poems reads
if you are softer
than before
they came
you
have been loved.

We are loved, it is infinite, we are surrounded by pure loving energy, each one of us can access and live in this love we just have to want to feel it.  To be vulnerable, to open our hearts to it, to speak it out over our homes, lives, family and friends, it is free for us to share and give and gracefully receive, it is in words and deeds, and in places and things, it is abundant.  It is a choice, love is a choice.

So my prayer today is that all of us choose love, set it as our highest goal, our most revered ambition, that we let go and fall into the loving arms of our Creator, that we see love swirling around each one of us, being breathed in and out, opening out our chest and letting love flood in to fill every part of our physical being and to just be a little bit softer, on ourselves, on those around us and on our planet.

Go softly my love xo

Friday, 5 February 2016

Five things I have learnt this week

Mahatma Gandhi said "Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever".

My sister, a teacher, is always telling me about how anything in life is possible if you are committed to learning.  She is not necessarily talking about studying a structured course or the type of learning that will get you a certificate to frame and hang on the wall, rather the every day learning that comes from having an open, interested, alert and engaged mind.

Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a turbulent year for me in terms of spiritual growth, breaking down long held and unhelpful paradigms and planting the seeds of my dreams in the soil of reality. So it seems it will be the perfect opportunity to track some of my learning along the way.

1/ Psalm 34:3-6 says " Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.  The poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles".

I am not sure I had read this before this week but I love it ... there are so many more beautiful lines in the Psalm "Seek peace and pursue it" and "The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit", 'Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good", it is full of love and hope and reassurance and it has been a real blessing for me this week.

2/ I attended Radiant Light Yoga for the second time and it was truly amazing.  I have never experienced anything like it.  For just a few minutes in the 90 minute session I felt a soul soothing happiness, a total release from the pressure of life and it was magnificent.  I can't wait until next week.

3/ Rain makes us happy.  It truly does, it is renewing and uplifting, it brings hope and joy and the promise of new life and prosperity and  abundance.  It cools everything down and settles the dust of the land and the spirit.  Awww sweet sweet rain how we love you so.

4/ Wise and kind friends are golden.  This I already knew but I was reminded of it this week.  Proverb 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another", who we spend our time with can deeply enrich our lives and kindred spirits are nourishing soul food.

5/ When you photocopy documents to be certified make sure it is an absolutely true and correct copy without even a full stop missing, otherwise you will not get your document certified.

Life is more exciting and interesting when you are always looking for new things to learn ... my sister is definitely right.

Have you learnt anything this week you would like to share?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

You can't handle the truth

Tonight after the rain, the stars were out, the crickets chirping and the frogs croaking, I walked up our driveway crying out loudly because the words my daughter said to me before she went to bed were straight from my heart and I hated hearing them from her.

At dinner tonight I asked our eight year old if she had been asking another little girl in class for answers.

Well what followed was a bunch of excuses, tears and dramatics about not being able to concentrate, not knowing enough big words to answer the question, not being allowed to go on the computer all the time ... she was obviously getting desperate to avoid being blamed for something.

I tried to explain she wasn't in trouble I just really wanted her to answer her own questions and use her own mind.  I didn't care if her answer was wrong or right just so long as it was hers.  I went on to say she was amazingly clever and creative and thoughtful and could answer any question any way she wanted to.  Please I begged just use your own mind. I believed every word I was saying, I was speaking absolute truth.

A lot more tears and hugging and she said 'I am not clever Mummy, I can't answer the questions, I won't get it right' and at that she sobbed rolled over and went to sleep.

I tried to shrug it off, that she was just tired and emotional but five minutes on and I was crying.  All the time I tell myself, I am not clever at anything, I can't do it, I can't do life as well as those around me, I am a failure and I am worthless.  My own insecurities that I try so hard to hide and mask I have inadvertently, through actions and deeds, passed them on to our precious daughter.

I walked up the drive crying, looking up to the stars, calling out to God about all my failings as a mother, wife, individual and I cried really really hard and hoped for answers.  After a lot of wrestling I turned and walked home and I knew, the only way she will ever feel worthy is if I feel it and demonstrate it first.  No matter what I say to her she is somehow seeing straight past the words to my thoughts and heart and she is cutting straight to the crux of it.

I don't know how to feel worthy, I try genuinely hard, I have every single day of my life, I have tried but I just don't feel it.  I do know I am God breathed, I know that Jesus loves me, I believe I was created in God's image and I am somehow part of His perfect plan.  I know these facts in my head, but I still do not feel worthy, it is not a truth I can easily accept but tonight demonstrated  how absolutely crucial it is otherwise I am going to accidentally burden our children with similar unhelpful and untrue worries about their worth.

And so this parenting journey continues ... it is so raw and honest and soul wrenching and challenging on every level and I just need to be real with myself before I can pass on any real wisdom to our babies and it scares me because I don't know what real is, what if I can't handle the truth.

Friday, 29 January 2016

May this home be firmly built upon faith

We have spent these past summer holidays in some beautiful parts of Australia with people that we love dearly.  Now we are firmly deposited back home in Roma and I must admit I sometimes ponder why we love living here so much, and a lot of people ask us often 'Gawd ... why on earth do you live in Roma' {grimmace face}?  

It is remote for us (I don't think we have another blood relative within about 800kms and it is hot a lot of the time, really hot and dry.  Our garden has a lot of fleabane weed which is proving near impossible to kill, we have planted hundreds of trees which take ages to grow, if they survive,  because it is so hot and dry and freezing cold in winter, and we still have so much work to do on our little property to bring our dreams to fruition. The vision is GRAND!!  

I admit to dreaming about living in a cute cottage in the breathtakingly beautiful hills of Bellingen, or just somewhere that is a wee bit cooler and greener and within maybe 200kms of the beach.  Why do we feel most complete and happy living at Herbgully in Roma? 

There are so many reason we continue to happily live here, the gorgeous country school our girls go to, the passionate, kind and very proactive teachers and parents, oh and the girls dance teacher and singing teacher are both overflowing with kindness and talent and give of their time so generously and the volunteers who teach them touch football and netball are the best.  They have so many opportunities to learn and grow and express themselves freely and they are loved.  Our Church, oh my goodness our Church is beautiful and the Church family that exists within its walls we love with all our heart. We have celebrated numerous baptisms, Christmas and Easter Services and birthdays together.  We have been through pain and disappointments and frustrations and grief but we keep doing life together, it is real and hard and teaches us about faithfulness. 

The people we have met during our time in Roma are some of the most inspiring, kind, loving and funny friends we have ever met and just this week I have met two more beautiful souls who are sharing their knowledge and wisdom with me.   People come and go from Roma all the time, which has caused us much heartbreak because we have loved many of them deeply (you know who you are) but we will be friends for life and we look forward to meeting those who we will cross paths with this year. 


The beauty of Roma is not instantly apparent, you need to look for it, you need to slow down and feel it, you need to take the time to love the people, you need to choose to see the good and the positive. This tough climate breeds tough people so it can seem harsh and off putting to begin with but the strength of spirit is second to none. The circumstances that bought us to Roma twelve years ago are funny and very hard to explain and I believe it was deeply spiritual.  
I don't know much about the ancestors of this great land but I think they were probably very happy, strong, healthy, wise and content here before the invasion, and I think they may have lived good lives and their energy remains in the earth.  

Then there is the town name itself, Roma.  Roma was named after Lady Diamantina Bowen (Contessa Diamantina di Roma), what a magnificent name that has great and powerful energy. Diamantina was described as "pretty" but tempered perhaps by the remark "her beauty being in her expression rather than her features", just like Roma the town.  She was described as slender but graceful and coming from an aristocratic family she had a privileged well-educated upbringing.  She could play the piano and sing well.  Diamantina spoke English well but with a slight accent and it is claimed she spoke with her husband at home in her native Italian. All these wonderful qualities have been bestowed on our town because of the name.

Considering only about 8000 people live in Roma obviously a vast majority of people do not feel the same as us, we love doing life in Roma and feel incredibly blessed.