Gold Coast

Passion

Let passion be at the centre of your life.

Let passion be at the centre of your life.

Do you have a passion? A passion to write, to paint, to create something the world needs? Have you followed that passion?

My passion started in year one at school when I opened my first reader. Who were the people on the page and what was their life like? It sparked a curiosity in me that has been with me ever since. In year four I walked into the library and I found rows upon rows of books. Intimidated by seeing so many books, I stepped cautiously into that world of silence. My pulse raced as the different coloured spines drew my attention. The more spines I looked at the more overwhelmed I became. How I was ever going to read all those books? My teacher assured me I only had to read the ones I was interested in and it would be a good idea to read something outside my interest every now and again as I grew older, she said.

I took her wise words to heart and I lost myself in the world of words, characters and foreign lands. This passion for reading has led me to write and now writing is as much a need for me as breathing. The simple task of sitting at my keyboard and typing words or using a pen, which I often do, puts me into a different level far away from my everyday life. You could call it escape, but that's what I want to do: help my readers escape from their everyday struggles and take them on an emotional journey where they will become good friends with my characters so that they live in their hearts for a very long time.

My next novel, Mr Bojangles is the sequel to African Hearts. I've been writing this story on and off while I wrote Dusty. Justin and Kizza floated into my mind every now and then reminding me their story wasn't complete. I pushed them back saying I wasn't ready, but they insisted it was time, so here I am enjoying being with them as they take the next step into the future out of their village, Gumboli to Bond University at the Gold Coast.

My process with this novel has been different. I've made notes whenever Justin and Kizza have entered my conscious and taken time to write a few scenes. This week I looked at these scenes in detail and discovered they don't fit the story I want to tell. These young people aren't just learning about medicine, they are learning about themselves and growing in ways they had never thought. They are young people with loving hearts and the desire to be loved by their peers. This need for acceptance challenges them in ways that have surprised me. Their presence is so strong now they have overtaken the story showing me their journey into the future instead of me writing the story.

My passion for writing this story is well and truly on fire and is all consuming so that I now can't not write the book. Has your passion taken hold of you and consumed all of your waking time? Is it a passion or is it something you think you'd like to do because you've seen others doing it? A passion will grab you and it won't let you go no matter how hard you try to push it away. A passion demands attention and you had better give in to it and follow it, otherwise you will be miserable. Are you feeling lost and irritable and unable to focus? I used to be like that when I was in the world of numbers. It has taken me a long time to take that numbers shirt off and put on the words shirt. It feels good in my words shirt. I've come home and I've settled in with Kizza and Justin and I have accepted they have as much to teach me as what they will learn on their journey.

So what's your passion? Are you following it? What's stopping you? Start making small changes toward your project and eventually you will find your passion shirt is just the right fit for you. I'd love to hear how well your shirt fits in the comments below.

 

I'll Meet You At Hachiko

Hachiko monument, Shibuyu

Hachiko monument, Shibuyu

When I went to Japan  I didn't expect to hear about the faithful dog, Hachiko. It was a story that brought tears to my eyes and I want to share that story with you today.

Hachiko, a homeless, Akita breed of dog, came into Professor Hidesaburo Ueno's life one day in 1924. Hachiko became his loyal companion. Every day Hachiko met his master at Shibuya station where the professor stepped from the train after his day's work at Tokyo University. In May, 1925 Professor Ueno died of a brain haemorrhage. Hachiko waited for his beloved master every day even though in the early days he had no food. People who got to know Hachiko knew of his master's fate and brought food for him. Hachiko continued to wait for his master until his death in March 1935.

A film titled, Hach: A Dog's Tale, was produced in 2009 to make this true story real to movie fans. The monument is a favourite place for people to meet when they arrive in Shibuya. The station is a busy place. The Hachiko memorial is an outstanding landmark that had me thinking about loyalty. Can we humans understand the loyalty of this dog to his master? What was the instant connection starting the relationship that kept Hachiko coming back to greet Hidesaburo every evening and even after his death?

I have a connection with a special friend that started way back in the early eighties when we met in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. She now lives in Melbourne and I live in Gold Coast. We are always there for each other when we need to talk. We have been through high and low times. We speak on the phone often and it is a deep connection that takes us to a deep level with each other. She is my confidante, my sounding board to try out new ideas and most of all she loves me for just the way I am warts and all. I know I will be loyal to my friend until the day I die.

I believe this is the connection Hachiko had with his master, although the level of loyalty Hachiko and his master shared may be on a level I will never understand. So when you and I are meeting up in Tokyo meet me at Hachiko in Shibuya.

I'd like to hear about the special relationship you have with your pet or friend. What is that special something that means so much to you?

 

The Long Road to Reading and Arithmetic

Pyjama Angels...changing young people's lives.

Pyjama Angels...changing young people's lives.

Hello, I'm a Pyjama Angel. I want to tell you about The Pyjama Foundation and the fabulous work it does with foster children.

This is an official poster of The Pyjama Foundation. The purpose is to raise awareness of the difficulties experienced by foster children and how this impacts their learning. This Sunday, 24th March, The Pyjama Foundation is conducting its major fund raising event for the year in Queensland with The Long Road event. This event involves non-competitive walk events throughout Queensland and Sydney. If you want to be part of this worthwhile event register here today: http://thepyjamafoundation.com/downloads/reg-long-road-home.pdf

It's going to be a fun event. I'll be attending the Gold Coast event bright and early on Sunday morning walking and chatting with other participants.

The Pyjama Foundation assists children in foster/statutory care. These children often come from traumatic backgrounds and have a hard time trying to understand and where they fit in the world. The Pyjama Foundation has started a literacy and numeracy program for the children. For one hour per week, a Pyjama Angel visits the child to help them with reading and/or their arithmetic. Apart from being a mother, it is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Every week I sit with my special child and I help them with their reading. There is much sharing about our day and what we are interested in, and then we read and play games or make up our own wacky stories. To share with a young mind is beneficial to their and my own creativity and it's my way of giving back to my community. These children desperately need to be able to read and understand basic numeracy, like every other child, but it is their circumstances that make this road more diffcult for them.

If you don't have the time to walk this Sunday, perhaps you would like to help this organisation achieve their financial goals by giving a donation. Thank you. These children need these basic skills to ensure they have a future.

Summer 2013

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

I thought I'd share some photos of my favourite place where I walk regularly: Burleigh Heads. The weather has been rough this summer, so much that I haven't been in the surf. Not only have the wild storms washed a lot of the beach away, but the water is now brown from the silt that has filtered down from the Nerang and Tweed Rivers. At first glance the eroded beaches are devastating, and the rough seas make surfing and swimming conditions dangerous. This photo taken from the headland near Burleigh Hill was the most tranquil I'd seen all summer. The photo was taken just before the sun set. You can see the gold sunlight touching the tips of the waves. It was a great place to meditate.

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

 This photo shows some of the erosion of the beach at Burleigh Heads. Because of the protective Burleigh Hill this area wasn't as badly affected by the recent rough seas, however Surfers Paradise and other parts of the Gold Coast experienced major beach erosion with up to three metres and more washed away. The beaches are slowly recovering and the council is working hard to repair the devastation so that we have lots of sand again for our Easter tourists.

The cyclones wreak havoc along our coastline during the summer, however within a few months of normal conditions our beaches will return to their former beauty. There are a lot of similarities between how nature repairs the land and how people's hearts and minds are repaired after they have been through a storm. In time peace will come again. The important thing to remember is that there are lessons to be learned from the difficulties we experience. We often come back stronger and better equipped than before for the new challenges that are ahead of us.

How about you, are you battling a storm at the moment? I'm encouraging you to accept the storm and work with it, for in time it too will pass.