Sunset Reflection

We celebrated Christmas early this year because a few family members will be away on the day. Two weekends ago, my siblings and their families came to our home for our usual Christmas get together. It was a beautiful day, very relaxed, with an abundance of delicious food, lots of chatter, children, and presents.

The gang with the oldies hidden at the back where they belong.

The gang with the oldies hidden at the back where they belong. Photo by Cindy Townsend

This weekend, we enjoyed an early family Christmas dinner with our children. Once again, the weather was perfect, the food plentiful, and the company great.


Christmas Dinner Photo by Cindy Townsend

I don’t belong to any religious group, so for me, Christmas is about traditions, and giving, and the love that seems to infuse the atmosphere at this time of the year – people shopping, looking for the perfect gift for their children, friends, and family, strangers wishing you a Merry Christmas with a smile, the decorations, and the cheery Christmas songs ever present in the background. It all makes me happy.

Over the years, as my children grew up, we established some family traditions that have become an important part of our our Christmas dinner – Bon Bons which require us to wear silly paper hats, the pudding cooked in the cloth and served with brandy custard, the candle in the centre of the table, glace fruit, and Cadbury’s fruit and nut mix with added bullets, M & Ms (red and green), and the obligatory ‘guess the colour’ clinkers. This year, the clinker colours were used to predict the sex of our soon-to-arrive grandbaby – I think a boy won. Not long now until we discover if clinkers have super-predictive powers.

Clinkers - Green for a boy, pink for a girl

Clinkers – Green for a boy, pink for a girl

Another important tradition we include in our Christmas gatherings is to play John Lennon’s song, Happy Christmas (War is over), with the volume turned up so we can all sing along.

“So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, a new one begun.”

The end of a year prompts me to reflect on the past twelve months, and although I don’t blog often, I do enjoy being able to look back over the year’s posts to be reminded of some of the small things I may have forgotten if I relied on memory alone.

However, today I found an interesting post in Anushka’s blog, Into Mind, suggesting we reflect on the past year by answering the fifty questions she’s posted. I liked the fact that they weren’t questions about what I did, or where I went, who I was with, or what I got. They were questions about how I felt. It was insightful to look at my year this way and sometimes challenging, but generally satisfying. And it was useful to seriously think about my answers and what I’d like to address differently next year.

The best question was no. 21 –

  • What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?

The answer to that one was easy, because the repeating underlying theme in my life is elation. I’m thrilled each time the fact that I’m here in Australia is reinforced. The time spent with my family, the friends I’ve reconnected with, the wildlife in my garden, the magnificent sunsets, and my home, are among the many reasons I get a buzz these days – I dreamed of this for so long when I was in Scotland, and now it is real, but the best part is that the reality is so much better than what I imagined.

I feel blessed.

However, reflecting on the year has also helped me see a way forward, because in all the busyness of my life here in Australia, I’m not making enough time to write, and that doesn’t feel right. I want to amend that in 2015, but I don’t want to lose the positives that this year has brought me. It won’t be easy, because my life already feels full, and there’s the added bonus of an expected new member to the family – my first grandchild – to consider, but it’s important to try.

Maybe I’ll discover that I don’t need to write anymore, or perhaps I’ll find a way to have it all. Why not?

What I know is that my life is living proof that dreams do come true.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with family and/or friends. Soak up the love and enjoy.

Merry Christmas Photo by Cindy Townsend

Merry Christmas
Photo by Cindy Townsend

13 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Julie, Love your comments about your life and the way you celebrate Christmas. And I enjoy seeing pictures of you and your family. I’ve printed out the 50 questions to think about.
    I do hope you don’t give up writing!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.. Ann

    • Thanks, Ann.
      I also hope I don’t give up writing,.but sometimes I wonder why I’m not making it more of a priority. I know when I get down to it and do it, I enjoy the process, so I need to keep that uppermost in my mind. Wish me luck.

  2. Thank you for sharing your wonderful Christmases! And congratulation on the new grandchild to be! I think traditions are so important and as my family transitions into the next stage of our lives- grown kids with kids of their own- I hope that we will be incorporating some new traditions into our holidays. Merry Christmas!

    • Congratulations on your grandson, Kat, and thanks for popping by. I don’t incorporate tradition into many parts of my life (I suspect I’m too lazy), but it has always been important at Christmas. I guess as our children make families of their own, we will happily expand our traditions as well. I’m sure you had a wonderful Christmas, and hope the new year is good to you.

  3. Such an uplifting blog! Your Australia posts always make me happy for you, and feel your joy in being truly home at last; and the photos illustrate the blog so beautifully. Difficult as it might seem now, making a space for your writing in the full life you have created may be more important than you realise. You have such talent, and to let it rust would be a sad thing, imo. Can you schedule half a day a week for it to start with, do you think? Enjoy the holidays, and welcome the new year with justifiable anticipation! Love from Suzanne and Jean.

    • Thank you,Suzanne! You flatter me. I’m working on thinking about the best way to get me to factor in small increments of writing time into my week to begin with, and see how I go. Should I be asking you how you are going at doing the same? 😉

  4. Pingback: Beginnings | Juli Townsend's Transition to Home

  5. Such a beautiful post!

    I enjoyed reading of your family traditions. I was in the States visiting family for a month in November/December and cherished our American Thanksgiving traditions. Then back to Norway to enjoy the new traditions we’ve combined and created here.

    And now, I’m anticipating new traditions being created again with changes coming up, probably this year. Your blog, outlook, experiences, writing have given me hope and ideas for those changes.

    I hope you’re able to continue with your writing in your schedule. I also wish you much joy with your new grandbaby! Happy 2015!!

  6. Thank you, Cindi. I seem to missing out on your blog in all my business. I will go and investigate it now, I’m intrigued about the changes you might have coming up this year. When you’re an expat – most changes are exciting.

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