Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random Memories...

Nomie is cooking. It smells so good! (tastes good too, pastry creations, yum)

The sweet smell reminded me of when I was a small girl and my Mum would bake raspberry shortcake tart with the lattice on the top. I used to help her put the pastry strips on the top. The smell was always good, and it tasted good too! My mum didn't cook sweet things that often, maybe that's why I remember when she did. I think it was before my sister was born, so I was under seven years old.

The other thing I remember from when I was young is mum buying me special treats if I didn't feel well. There was an English magazine called "June and School Friend" that she would buy me, and a Chokito bar when they first came out. I liked Wagon Wheels too. (chocolate has always been therapeutic)

Other times she would bring cakes home for afternoon tea, my Dad always had a sweet tooth, and I would get a chocolate eclair, my favourite. Dad loved vanilla slice and almost anything sweet really. I remember him making himself several jam sandwiches to take to work! (he was a carpenter, and was always tall and slim) Then when he got home from work he would snack on salami and cheese before dinner, he was always hungry after work. Sometimes Mum would make pikelets for dad after work, or waffles on the Norwegian waffle iron on top of the stove. Lots of jam and cream on the pikelets or cheese and salami on the waffles. My own family love waffles, gluten free ones of course!

We ate fairly plain but good food when I was a child, Dad didn't like spicy food (being Norwegian, I guess he'd never tried it either). On special occasions we'd have take away Chinese from Mee Sing at Lyneham, still there over forty years later and still run by the same family!! That's one tradition I have kept up, except we eat it in the shop because it tastes better that way ; ) We'd have fish and chips from the shop too, we loved fish and ate lots of it! Mostly what dad had caught himself, or Uncle Reidar (dad's brother) had caught, so it was usually fresh. Mum could cook fish very nicely. So could my Auntie Brenda, I do miss her.

It's interesting to think what variety we have in take away food these days in Australia; McDonalds of course, KFC, Kingsley's chicken, (and their awesome chips) so many international foods from India, Thailand, Japan (sushi, yum) Korea, Malaysia, Lebanon and Turkey, pizza of course and so much more. This country has benefited so much from migrants like my father over the last forty years, so wonderful to have such a wonderful range of foods to choose from and more and more gluten free foods becoming available all the time too. I guess no one could have imagined it forty years ago.

Back to the food at home. Norwegians love meat balls in gravy, served with boiled potato, carrots, cabbage and beans or something similar. (in fact it is now their National dish!) We had that often. Then there was the smoked cod. That was served with white sauce, potato (of course, everything is served with potato in Norway) and grated fresh carrot and greens. Dad like his smoked fish with white sauce piled onto thin crispbread and so did I ; ) Then there was the Australian touch, the roast lamb with all the trimmings! Sooooo good! Home made mint sauce and gravy, potato, pumpkin, onions, carrots, sometimes parsnips which I love, all baked and so delicious!

My maternal grandmother made memorable baked dinners too, memorable not only for the taste but for the size of the meal and her "eat everything on your plate" philosophy! She added so many vegetables that were unfamiliar to me and, being a quietly rebellious child, I was reluctant to even try them! Brussells sprouts loom large in my memory, I hated them!! I guess being forced to eat them did not encourage me to develop a taste for them, but by the time I was an adult, and my much loved Nan was in heaven, I loved them!

Food seems to be such a big part of my memory bank, and almost always associated with good memories (except for the brussells sprouts!)

The last memory I will share today is about my birthdays. Mum always asked me what kind of cake I wanted. I always answered the same; chocolate cake with cream in the middle and chocolate icing on the top (or was it the other way around? doesn't matter) It was a long time ago now ; )

Mum's cakes were always good, sponge cakes so light and fluffy. I loved the ones with whipped cream and fresh strawberries on them : )))

My Nan's cakes that I can remember were all fruit cakes, usually for special occasions and in my mum's big family (she was one of eight) there was always a special occasion. Nan made 21st birthday cakes, engagement cakes, wedding cakes, anniversary cakes and you name it cakes. I didn't particularly like fruit cake when I was younger, but I always ate the icing! Fruit cake was another thing I developed a taste for when I was older, and now the best gluten free fruit cake I know of is made by my dear friend Kathleen.

I started writing about mum and food because often my good childhood memories get clouded over, almost submerged, by the not so good ones and that needn't happen. Childhood should be a carefree time with many, many happy memories and comforting smells to remind us of them. I know it isn't always like that, but I do know my own children had the best childhood ever, despite many upheavals, and I can't help but wonder what foods they remember and what memories the smells might invoke for them. Maybe that's another blog in itself.

Thanks for taking this little journey down memory lane with me. What smells help you remember good times in the past? Please share them with me?

Chef of all the above, Naomi : )

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy 16th Birthday Miss B!!

 The gorgeous little Miss B

Just over two years ago Miss B came to live with my family. She was 14. So much has happened in that time!

There was the first year where she was going to high school, a new experience for me as I had home educated my other four children. This certainly was an experience for Miss B and for me!! I guess that's another blog post altogether!

When it came to Miss B's 15th birthday just over a year ago she knew what she had to do, she left school! A wise move and the beginning of her new life! She left behind painful memories of bullying (by students and teachers and by the system in general)and all the labels that had disabled her through seven different schools. She had never read a book, she didn't recognise the map of her own country, she had been denied an "education" of any description; unless the true curriculum was bullying, anger and incredible pressure to "fit in and shut up". At that they did "succeed".

Since then there's been a whole new world. A peaceful one with love and acceptance and wonderful learning opportunities and time to enjoy them. Books to be read, family tree to create and work on, cross stitching to learn and practice much of, piano and flute to play, tea to Adore ( and coffee too ( experiences like Floriade to share, holidays to plan, family and friends to love and be loved by, all the riches of a wonderful life!!

Miss B recently turned 16 and started a correspondence book keeping course. She wants to be a Book Keeper like her much loved and missed Mum. She has a gift with numbers. And an amazing memory. 

So the story is far from ended, but you can see where it's headed and it's all good!

Happy 16th Birthday Miss B, we love you and we are so glad you came into our family!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where Do I Come From?

I have been researching my family history recently. It's fascinating to find out the details of how and why my family came to Australia. I will share about my father's family first. My father was born in northern Norway (just 60kms south of the Arctic Circle) and came out to Australia in 1951 to work on a huge hydro electric scheme in the Snowy Mountains, only a couple of  hours drive from where I live now in Canberra. One his older brothers (he was one of eight boys) had come out on the great adventure the previous year.

My father was the youngest of my grandparents eleven children. My grandmother Julie, pictured above with me on her knee, was 46 when my father was born. I can't begin to imagine her anguish when first one son and then her baby left for Australia, possibly never to be seen again. Dad's brother Reidar did not return to Norway before his parents died in 1959 (Nils) and 1964 (Julie).

My father worked in the mountains with his brother until 1955 when they both came to Canberra. My father soon met my mother at a dance at the Scottish Australian "Burns Club"(named after Scottish poet Robbie Burns), and they were married six months later. Shortly after they boarded a ship to Norway where they lived with my grandparents, Nils and Julie, for the next two years. In March 1956 I was born in a small hospital in a town called Mo, not far from my grandparents home.

When I was 16 months old, in 1957, I came to Australia with my parents and we lived in Canberra.
I grew up here in Canberra and have lived here most of my life except for one year in Brisbane and three years in Sydney. I love Canberra!

My parents always told me they would take me back to Norway and in 1991 they did. You can imagine my excitement and I was blessed to meet most of my father's siblings although his parents had been in heaven for many years by then. I was able to visit their (and my) old home, now home to my cousin and his family. (he is in his late 70's now, his father was twenty years older than mine)

I can't tell you the emotion I felt when I stepped out of the train after the long journey to get from Australia to Mo. It felt so much like "home" to me, familiar and welcoming, after 34 years! Thankfully most Norwegians speak English, although Dad's older siblings did not, but it's awesome how a hug can communicate in any language. Their delight and great love for me and my children was obvious,  and with interpreters we communicated despite the language barrier! My children were 10, 8 and 6 and they were showered with loving attention, fabulous food and warm hospitality! It really did feel like "home".

All my Dad's siblings have gone home to the Lord now, the last one just last year. He was the brother closest in age to my Dad,  his name was Eilif and I had the opportunity to get to know him the most over three trips from the first in 1991 and then trips with my family in 2003 and 2005. He was so much like my father, two years older but fit and healthy and such a kind and gentle man. He was running marathons well into his 80's and had a full and active life many years after his wife had passed away.

I well remember his last words to me, he spoke quite a bit of English for one of Dad's siblings but was always a bit tentative with it. It was as we were getting in the car to leave him and shortly Norway behind and I know we both thought we would not see one another again in this earthly life (he was 84 by then) so it was quite an emotional farewell. He called out to me, in his best English, "I love you", and I replied in my Norske, "jeg elsker deg". He died suddenly early last year, after shoveling snow off his front path. He worked hard and was a kind man of integrity I was proud to call my uncle.

Families.....part of who we are and part of God's great plan for us.

More about my family next time and I promise it will be sooner ; )

love and blessings to  you all


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zoe Turned 27 on March 29th

Here is my beautiful daughter Zoe, about 2 years old and now. How blessed am I to have such a fine young woman as my eldest daughter! She has given me every reason to be proud of her!! I love you Zoe!

Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.
Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honor in her left.
She will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.

Proverbs 3: 13-18 NLT

Monday, March 15, 2010

Josie turns 25 today!

My second eldest beautiful daughter, Josie, is 25 years old today! She is six years old in one pic, my how she has grown up now ; ) There she is on her wedding day on November 22nd last year. Happy Birthday gorgeous girl!!! How I love you and miss you!

So blessed to be a Mum!

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23:6 NLT

Naomi turns 16 today!

My beautiful Naomi turned 16 today! What a blessing and delight she is, I just had to share her with you!

Photographed with love by Anna Tully at "Hillview", Canberra, Australia.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3 NLT

Friday, January 1, 2010

My First Blog for 2010

I wrote this yesterday to a young man who is a spiritual son to me. His real mum is in his country of birth, close to where Jesus himself walked this dusty earth.

I wanted to share it here because it speaks of all the things I hold dear and of my own weaknesses.

It is natural to look back over the last year on the first day of the new. I have many thoughts to share but I will start with this letter and wish you every blessing as you begin a brand new year with me, trusting for His strength and grace to provide all we need in every situation. Thank you for being part of my journey.

Dear Ryan, thank you so much for your kind thoughts and for your sincere desire to please our Heavenly Father. As you have already found, the closer you draw yourself to Him, the more opposition and hardship you will experience and as you are tested, you will become more and more like Jesus. It's not that God wants to test you, it is a result of being in the world, but not of it.

Sometimes it is our own human nature that is against us (emotions, thoughts) and we are our own worst enemies. Sometimes it is friends or family who are used to attack us for daring to be righteous. Sometimes it is strangers, an obvious spiritual battle they don't even understand themselves. Worst of all, for me at least, is other people who call themselves "Christians". They are the toughest battles of all. To stand firm in your faith against that kind of attack brings you closer to Jesus than anything else!

Jesus did not have an easy life. He was reviled, persecuted and wrongly accused, betrayed, abused and tortured, humiliated and scorned, but through it all He showed pure love and was always willing to forgive those who sinned against Him. This is the God who became man whom we love and obey, wanting to please Him more than any other, wanting to show others His love and compassion against all odds. We count it a privilege to serve Him and know our reward will be an eternity in heaven with Him.

I think we all need time out to look at our lives, reassess our priorities and seek God's will for our lives. That's a healthy thing to do Ryan. Then we just take one day at a time, trust Him and do what's right. Things like your car breaking down are a nuisance, happened to me last week, but they are also opportunities to remind us that we cannot do this life alone, we need family and friends to help us sometimes, so we do not get too proud for God to be able to use us. See it as an opportunity to trust Him and He will provide what you need! That's a promise!

One day at a time, rejoicing in His love and grace, knowing we are not worthy but He loves us and accepts us even though we will always be a "work in progress", in this life anyway!

Have a Happy New Year Ryan, do not be so hard on yourself and enjoy your life. Serve Him and show the people around you all the fruits of the spirit that are at work in you, love and joy, peace and patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. The last one is so important. I used to think that just meant not doing the wrong thing but now I understand it often means doing the right thing, even when you don't feel like it or it is inconvenient or difficult.

It's been my honour and privilege to know you Ryan, and it delights me to know you love the Lord as you do : )

God bless you and Happy New Year in Jesus name : )

love always
mum Lynn