Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Our move to NSW is now complete, and along with a new home, I have a new blog! 

I say 'farewell' to Pillars of Pine, and invitie you to follow my new blog, 'All the Rivers Run', at:

May God bless you day,


Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Would be Fun!

I don't often pass on many of the 'Funnies' that appear on Facebook, but we're having a lot of fun on FB with this one, and I just HAD to share it! 

Given that we'll finally have our own household mailbox after 20 years without one, I'm seriously considering doing this to one of our cats when we move, and see what happens - although, according to my friend Graham, I'm only allowed to do it if I have a video camera at the ready....

Have a great day!


So Long and Farewell

This week I was very blessed to share a special lunch out with friends.  We have a lovely day, and they wanted to make sure I knew I'd be missed, and share the importance of friendship.  I was also given this very special gift to hang on the wall in our new home:

They know me very well, don't they?  Thankyou, my dear friend, not only for the gift, but for pulling me through - I will miss you!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


One of my favourite saints is St Francis of Assisi.  'Make me a channel of your peace', says St Francis, and often I can be heard humming along to this popular hymn.  I strive to be a peacemaker, however, I often fail in my undertakings.  Still, I continue, and hope and pray that God knows my heart, and how I yearn for peace. 

For those of you who do not know the 'Prayer of St Francis', here it is.  It has become my life's motto, and all that I strive to be:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Below I pass on a post I came across tonight, taken from:  http://penitents.org/followfrancisarchives.html  

I found the post to be a very interesting read, providing much food for thought.

One of the most beautiful incidents in the life of Saint Francis is when Francis brought about peace between the mayor and the bishop of Assisi. It would certainly seem a strange situation where a man of God, namely the bishop, would be at odds with anyone, but that was the case. And that was because the mayor Lord Oportulo de Bernardo had defied Bishop Guido's orders and continued an alliance with the knights and nobles of Perugia in a class struggle against the commoners of that city. In other words, the mayor and knights of Assisi, by their actions, were prolonging a war among the citizens of Perugia. They were not making peace. So Bishop Guido excommunicated Lord Oportulo. Oportulo struck back. He forbid the Assisi merchants to sell anything to the bishop or to his household. The animosity between bishop and mayor had gone beyond all bounds.

Francis knew what hatred was all about. His own father had not understood Francis's desire to follow God, and Francis, in the rashness of his youth, had disowned his father on the steps of the bishop's house. Prior to that, Francis had fought as a knight in a war between Assisi and Perugia and had seen death and hatred close at hand. He wanted no part of it now. Years later he had traveled to Damietta to try to effect peace between Crusaders and Saracens, but to no avail. The Crusaders had been violent toward their enemies, so unlike the peaceful Francis. The sultan had told Francis that, if Christians were like the little friar, the sultan himself would have converted. Because they were not, the war between the pagans and Christians continued unabated.

Francis loved both the mayor and the bishop of his city. He could not bear to see them hating one another. So he, from his sick bed in 1225, called them both to a meeting at the bishop's palace. They agreed only because of their respect for the Poverello. When they had gathered together, Francis was not present. He was too ill to come. But his friars were there, singing the Canticle of the Creatures which Francis had composed. They sang through the haunting verses lauding the Lord and His glory, praising His creatures Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Fire, Sister Water. Their voices lifted as they poured forth the verse which Francis had composed specifically for this meeting:

"Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love and bear infirmity and tribulation. Blessed are those who endure in peace for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned."

The words struck the hearts of both men. Francis was calling them to pardon for the love of God. Lord Oportulo fell on his knees before the bishop, promising any atonement Bishop Guido would ask. Guido, in his largeness of heart, raised the Lord to his feet, apologized for his quick temper, and asked the Oportulo's forgiveness. The two men embraced, and peace was restored between them.

As penitents, we are called to be like Francis, like the friars, and like both bishop and mayor. We are called to recognize factions and to work to bring about peace between them. We are also called upon to make peace if we are part of the problem.

Sometimes endings are not as happy as the ending to this story, and that is because those who are at odds are not yet saints. Still, if we try to bring about peace and fail, we are not then allowed to wash our hands of the situation and go our way. Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies and do good to those who hate us. Our prayers may be the only good over which they have no power, for no one other than we ourselves can prevent us from praying for others. In the name Christ and of St. Francis, who gave us our Rule with its provisions in Article 26 regarding making peace with all, we in the CFP exhort all our members to attempt to be at peace with everyone and, if rebuffed, to bathe our enemies with prayer for their ultimate salvation. It is what Francis did. It is what Christ called us to do. It is what we have no choice but to do if we are to live our Rule in its spirit. May God grant us the means and the graces to be true peacemakers in His Kingdom.

Madeline Pecora Nugent

May God bless you,


Monday, November 12, 2012

In the Winter

In the Winter, we disappear from sight.
But in the Spring, we dance in the light.

by Lizzie Maher, October, 2012.

May God bless you day,


Friday, November 9, 2012

I Just Don't Know WHAT To Do With Them!

Well, what else was I supposed to do with the unwanted spray paint? 'twasn't me that graffitied the sheds and left 'The Mahers Rock' message - can't I just blame the kids?

And after all that - the question was - what to do with the old wooden cupboards that were sitting on the verandah? Ahhhh, nothing like a Mum with a massive hammer to take care of that - mwahahahahahaha! 

Now THAT was fun!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Goodbyes and Other Stuff.

As always, a big part of moving house is saying Goodbye to friends and family.

Recently, our concert band played at the Clare Show – our final performance as a part of the Clare Valley Concert Band.  We will so miss you guys!  We had a wonderful day, full of music, food and activities, and merrily blurted out all our favourite pieces:  Comedy Classics, Moondance, Viva La Vida, and of course, The Man from Snowy River and Lean on Me.

During the day, we got to meet an old childhood favourite - Humphrey B Bear!

At the end of the day, it was time for the ‘Young Farmers Competition’, and four of our members teamed up to enter – Andrew, Daniel, Orson and Sammi.  They did soo well, having to erect an electric fence, roll hay bales, put out a fire, and the final task was, naturally, a sculling competition!  Poor Orson had a little trouble with putting on his fire suit – clothes went on backwards, braces didn’t quite get there before the jacket, and so on – he was struggling, but it was most entertaining for the rest of us!  The sculling then proved to be an issue for Sammi, although my Daniel seemed to have no problems at all –  then again, he has had some practice lately at all the homeschool camps (soft drink only, of course!).

In the end, our team came in fourth.  Yes, there was only four teams – but they did put in a mighty effort, and not too bad at all for musos. 

Afterwards, we headed south to Adelaide for the evening, where, after dropping off Jessica and Daniel to a party, we enjoyed dinner with Orson and his family, and spent several hours chatting and enjoying each other’s company.  When I was finally able to tear myself away from the lovely evening, we headed off to pick up the others from the 21st, determined to get home early – it is a 3-hour trip back home, and already, it was around 10pm. 

Oh well, best laid plans!  We just couldn’t help ourselves, and happily gate-crashed the party, and had a great time!  It was my nephew’s 21st, and we enjoyed meeting many of his friends, and hearing some very interesting stories all about our Patrick, and many of his ‘extra curricula activities’.  The theme of the night was ‘the eighties’, so we fitted in very well.  At one point, my son Daniel was inside, and he suddenly heard someone take the microphone and begin blurting out ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll’ along with the music.  His immediate thought was, ‘Well, someone’s having a good time!’  I’m still not sure if he was disgusted or delighted to discover that it was, in fact, his mother – and yes, I WAS having a good time!  My sister-in-law and I were having loads of fun, hassling the young people and having very in depth conversations with them about who exactly should take that last piece of cheese – and how chilli flavoured cheese tastes nothing like apricot, thank you very much!

But all too soon, we decided we really must head home – and instead of our ‘early’ getaway, we ended up crawling up our driveway at 4am, completely exhausted, but still in a great mood – despite having to say Goodbye to our band, our good friends, and family members, it had been a wonderful day.


Monday, November 5, 2012

When God Speaks

Over the weekend, a man came to our house.  He had seen my sign on the local notice board, and had come to offer to take away any scrap metal.

Nothing remarkable about that, right?

And yet, as we wandered around our property and chatted about things, it became apparent that this would be no ordinary visit.

He spoke of his life, and of the tragedy of losing his 3 year old son, when he backed his car out of the shed and ran straight over his little boy.  He spoke of his grandson, now 3, and how preciously he holds his grandchildren, and all children, in his heart.  And we talked of how such pain never goes away, but how our awareness of life is so greatly increased because of our life's experiences.

And then, when he found out that we were a musical family, he pulled from the back seat of his car his very own poetry book, and delighted us all by reading the most beautiful poem that he had written about being a young man trapped in an old man's body, and how he had so much more life,and love, to give.

We spoke about our move, and the preciousness of life.  And then, he looked me in the eye, and said gently, but very firmly, "You know what to do, don't you, about those who won't accept you for who you are?"  And I looked at him, and I nodded.

How did he know to say that to me?  I had briefly hinted about some recent painful experiences, but no details, and he knew exactly what to say, and said the exact words I needed to hear at that moment.  I stood there dumbfounded for a few moments, totally overawed - it was as if God had spoken to me through this stranger. 

God has done some marvellous works in our lives these past few weeks - He had brought so many people to us, either in person or via phone or the Internet, who have offered us help, words of encouragement, smiles, hugs and most importantly, love. 

I have learned these past few weeks that God certainly does work through people, and He speaks through people.  And when God speaks, we need to listen.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yep, That'd Be Me!

Thanks to our friend Peter for sending this one our way - my children tell me that this one applies to me perfectly!

Yep, guilty as charged!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A LIttle Too Close!

Over the past few days, we've had a lot of time to further survey the damage caused by the fire.  Our poor trampoline is 'toast', as well as a few other items around the yard.

But the interesting thing was my deck chair.  I went to look for it, thinking it would be great to take it up to sit by the river, but all I found was old, metal bars.  And then I realised.  The deck chairs, which were on the verandah, had caught on fire, and their canvasses were destroyed.  But the remarkable thing was that they were leaning up against the wooden cubby house, and right next to an old wooden cupboard, which is more than past its time, and ready to be split up for firewood. 

In this photo, you can also see our dining room window - which gives you an indication of just how close we came to losing the house:

Our yard is littered with amazing sights like this;  someone was most definitely watching over us!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Update on our move.

Well, things continue to move along, and, after the excitement of the past few weeks, thing have been remarkably calmer these past couple of days.

I'm also feeling much more positive on a personal level, and feeling more than ready to leave the emotional 'baggage'  and hurt behind, and ready to begin a whole new life in NSW.

We had an excellent day today, taking several loads to the dump, putting aside a heap of items to be delivered to St. Vinnies, and clearning out two whole rooms.  We are getting there!  

Although we are all very tired, the excitement is building, and the reality of our move is truly setting in.  The children can't wait to get up there and see all their friends once more, and I am very much looking forward to visiting with my own friends up there, and being able to pop in for a cuppa on occasion, rather than invading their houses for an entire week when we make our 'Interstate' visits - how they managed to put up with us for that long is most impressive! We will forever be grateful to them all, and hope we can return some of their kindness by having them over to 'our house' for regular visits.

We just can't wait for the next few weeks to go by!  Here's more reasons why:

Every fortnight, we'll be joining in with a group for a shared dinner and prayer evening.

The Clarence River - our new home is right on the banks of the river, and it's going to be absolutely lovely to sit out the back and ponder away the hours while overlooking the water (and maybe, even do a spot of fishing!) 

Lessons at the Conservatorium: 

Helena - Private Lessons, Concert Band, Stage Band and Clarinet Ensemble.

Daniel - Singing Lessons, Vocal Group

Lizzie - Trumpet Lessons

and Me - Concert Band, String / Flute Ensemble, and I may possibly enrol for some private lessons as well. 

And Bill just may be joining the vocal group, too.

I also have a flute teacher lined up for Emily, as well as, of course, a brand new Sing Australia group for us all.

TAFE - it seems my daughter and my son will be attending TAFE next year, and fortunately, the Grafton TAFE offer some wonderful courses!  Helena's application is in, and Daniel is making the final decision as to which course he'll take.   They are both very much looking forward to taking this next step towards adulthood.  Of course, that'll mean that I'll be only homeschooling four next year - which will be quite an adjustment.

Scrapbooking and Card Making - I am already in contact with a few ladies in this area, and I hope to finally get my Kaszazz business up and running.  I look forward to running workshops and meeting a heap of new friends who enjoy using the 'creative bug' as much as I do!

Art and Craft fairs and opportunities - still following up on these, but again, have been given several leads regarding opportunites for art and craft around Grafton.  Several of us love to draw and paint, and my girls are very much looking foward to showing off their creative talents in our new home town.  

Edited to add:  Also mixing in with the Grafton Homeschooling Group!  How could I have forgotten to mention THAT??!!!

Won't WE be having fun????  

Just eight more rooms and two more sheds to clear, as well as about twenty cars to get rid of (I just HAD to marry a mechanic, right?), and we'll be done!


Thursday, October 25, 2012


Well, they say that ‘whatever can go wrong, will go wrong’.  It certainly seems as if it is our time for things to go wrong.

As you know, we are in the process of moving, and part of that involves sorting, packing, and getting rid of the rubbish.  We organised an incinerator, and for the past few weeks, have been busily burning off rubbish, old school books, broken furniture, etc. 

On Tuesday, we continued this process, and as usual, we carefully put on only a little at a time.  Once the fire had died down and was only smouldering, we stepped inside for a break.  I was tending to a few things inside, when I stopped short, as I smelled smoke, and thought that it was a little too much smoke for our small fire.  Then came the terrified scream from my 15 year-old:  ‘The yard is on fire!’  It sure was.  Racing outside, we saw that the fire had somehow escaped from the incinerator, and not only was the grass burning, but the pine tree as well.  As we grabbed water buckets, blankets, and whatever else we could find, we realised very quickly that there was no way we would stop this fire on our own (Orson – where were you?  Of course, by the time he put on his fire gear, I guess it would have been too late, anyway – he does have a few issues in that area (another story for later blog post!)). 

I ran inside and called the fire brigade and was just giving them directions when my daughter screamed, ‘it’s about to get the house!’  At that point, it was time to simply grab what we could, and run.  ‘Everyone to the bus!’   I grabbed my bag, my phone, and of course, my laptop (!) and was just running out the door, when my husband rang, and was merrily leaving a message on the answering machine – ‘Hi, how are you?  Anyone there?’ I grabbed the phone, screamed into it, ‘The yard and house are on fire – we’re getting out  - now -  I have my mobile!’, and slammed the phone down in his ear.  I haven’t actually asked him yet what he did or thought at that moment – must do that….  Poor guy, at the time he was 2000kms away, so unable to do anything but wait.

By the time we got to the cars, the smoke was so thick we could hardly see or breathe, and we all piled in to take off.  ‘Have we got everyone?’ I screamed, and my sixteen year old, who was busily still pouring water on the fire, thought, ‘Wait – you don’t have me’!  and dropped her bucket and ran.  I only found out afterwards that she had just dumped a heap of water over a bush that is right next to the house, and it had just caught on fire.  That simple act saved the house, for that bush lies directly under a wooden beam, which, if it had caught, would have certainly set the roof ablaze. 

With all the girls in the car, we called out for my son, not knowing where he was.  He, too, was busy pouring water over other items close to the house, when all of a sudden he realised that a tyre was burning right next to our other car, and the car was very close to catching fire itself.  He ran, jumped in the car, and drove straight past me and down the driveway.  With that, we slammed the bus door shut, and flew out the driveway as well, heading for the neighbour’s house.

The neighbours (who live about 1 km away), had looked up to see billowing smoke.  Fortunately, they had just fitted fire units to their utes, and quickly put them into action.  We met in their driveway, I shouted that everyone was out and safe, and they took off.  Their actions also saved our house, for they were able to spray water over the house and anything close to it.  I rang the fire dept again, and they said yes, a truck was on the way.

In the end, we actually five or six trucks from all the various local towns, as well as several police cars and water trucks.  The flames rose around 30 feet in the air, and they reported exploding fridges, sheds filled with flames, and burning cars.  But, they saved the house.  In a couple of hours, the fire was contained, and the trucks were able to leave.  They certainly were not happy with us for burning off our rubbish, and gave me and my son a terrible serving of abuse.  I could understand their frustration, but we were not burning in fire-ban season, it was not windy when we lit the fire, we had taken steps to ensure the area around was clear and we only burned in the incinerator.  Still, the police say that someone may need a ‘rap over the knuckles’, whatever that may mean – I guess charges may be coming my way – we shall see.

There used to be a heap of trees and bushes between here and that line of trees.

Apparently, the heat that came out of these fridges was unbelievable.
Jessica's car - first wiped out by a kangaroo, and now by fire!

Later that day and all through the night, we checked for hot spots and wandered around with buckets of water, and the neighbours continued to check with their ute as well.  During the night, shock began to set in, and understandably, there were several tummy upsets, headaches and lack of sleep.  By morning, I found I was short of breath and struggling to stand – it had certainly been an experience.

On examination, the electrician decided that power would not be restored to the house without a lot of expense and work, so for now, the house is without electricity, and given the age of the house, it may remain that way. 

Yep, I'd say this one is totalled....
As we inspected the damage that day, we found that one shed had been completely gutted, as had three cars.  But somehow, the house was saved, the main big shed (which was the closest to where the fire had started) was fine, as was our other cars and the shearing shed. 

I’ve spoken in recent posts about miracles, and I believe we just had our third one in a fortnight!  How our entire house did not go up is absolutely amazing; when we sped out the driveway, the fire was about to take it, and I was positive we’d be returning to nothing but a pile of smouldering ash.  But no, we still have a house.  However, with no electricity, we decided to move into my parents’ home, 15kms away, which has been standing empty since they made their move into the Old Folks’ Home a few months ago.  The plan now is to sleep there each night, and go out to our house to finish the sorting, packing and moving during the daylight hours.

Can I just say that I have the most amazing, brilliant, children?  Even in the event of a fire sweeping towards our home, they kept their cool, worked together wonderfully, and with cool heads, saved our home, our car, and even grabbed the dog.  The past couple of days has been an incredible experience – not one I’d like to repeat – but just watching them and realising just how much they have matured, even in that short space of time, has been an honour and a privilege.  And again, we have spent time in prayer together, holding hands, and thanking God for his providence once again.  

Bill's Tool Shed

Bill's Tools and Work Table

As if my last post on moving was not convincing enough, now we are certainly moving!  Our whole focus now is the cleanup and packing up, and heading off.  Bill left NSW the day after the fire, and is now back with us (praise the Lord!).  I still can’t quite believe we got through the whole affair without him, but, we did, and we are still standing tall.  And I discovered a strength within myself I never knew existed.  They say what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger – and this month, October 2012  – has certainly made me a much stronger person.  I think by the time I get to Grafton, I’m going to be the strongest woman out; maybe it’ll be my turn to sing, ‘I Am Woman’ at our next homeschool concert! 

We are alive. We are safe. And we are together. 

And..  umm..  I guess we’ve taken care of that yard cleanup.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Kaszazz Card Making

After all the dramas of the past few weeks, and with all the packing and sorting, we decided to take some 'time out' to do some cardmaking.  As many of my friends know, I am a Kaszazz Consultant, so out came all my Kaszazz products, and we set to work.

The girls were most receptive to the instructions, and soon we had some wonderful cards in the making:

For some, perfection was certainly an issue:

Others took the idea and got a little extra creative:

And in the end, we had a stack of beautiful butterfly cards:

Well done, girls!  Next workshop - using the EzyPress Die Cut machine - now that WILL be fun!


Left with No Doubts

Today, I am left with no doubts.  We are supposed to move to Grafton; God has chosen this path for us, and has shown us, without doubt, that it is where we are meant to be.  We have known for some time that were to move on, and for the past few months, Grafton has become the obvious choice – we tried Dubbo, Wagga, Adelaide, and other centres, but each time, the doors firmly closed, leaving us frustrated and confused.  But in Grafton, the doors swung open.

Firstly, the job.  We arrived in Grafton for our ‘holiday’, the Thursday before our annual homeschool camp.  Dear hubby, Bill, looked online for work, and found a job he thought he’d apply for.  He sent through his application on Saturday, had an interview on Monday, and was offered a weeks’ trial straight away.  Now, he has not started in that work as yet – due to lack of rain, current work opportunities are minimal (it’s at a lawn mower workshop), but he has been told once, and then again this week, he is at the top of their list, their employee of choice, and once the rain arrives, the job will be his.  And even if it doesn’t work out, Bill has a great sense of peace that there is a job waiting for him, and it will come at just the right time.

Next, the house.  With work looking promising, the hunt for a house began.  We applied for several, and were knocked back.  But all along, we knew that if possible, we did not want to go through a real estate agent.  So, we put up signs, and put an ad in the paper.  On the very morning we were leaving to come home, we received a text message about a house just 10 minutes from Grafton.  The house contained 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and overlooked the river.  We went to inspect it, and both Bill and myself felt such a sense of peace in the house, that we knew, despite the fact it was a much smaller house than what we have now, that it was ‘the one’.  It was also private rental, so no real estate agent, and was around $100 per week cheaper than any other house we had looked at.  Perfect!  And, after spending hour after hour filling out forms to apply for rentals, providing identification, proof of income, etc. etc., this house was offered to us on the spot – no application forms required – it was just ..  easy.

But as if that wasn’t enough, after being knocked back for so many other houses, it was as if God said, ‘and just to show you I mean it – here are three other houses for you’.  Yep, one was through a real estate agent, and two others were offered to us because of our ads in windows.  So in the end, we would have had a house, whether that be through the real estate agent, the signs in the windows, or the ad in the paper.

Anyway, we returned home to begin the packing.  The whole ‘removal truck’ thing concerned me, for we currently live in a rather rural location, and I wasn’t sure how to go about finding a suitable removal company.  One email later, I had a company willing to do it for us, and they so happened to have a truck coming through our area two days later, who would deliver the boxes.  We were on our way!

But you know, it seems that whenever God is doing something great in people’s lives, the devil is there, willing to do whatever it takes to prevent it.  And he has tried.  Some people began to spread lies and vicious rumours.  With great sadness, I told my parents and close friends the news, and the next visit to my parents turned out to be one of the most difficult days of my life.  They had both sunk into depression, and I left the homes terrified that one (or both) of them had given up on life, and were now simply waiting to die.  With the stress of it all, I collapsed, and nearly ended up in hospital.  My health has suffered greatly, and in the end, I was simply unable to move on the date we had set for the removal truck.  But, we packed anyway.  And my husband headed north with the truck, leaving the rest of us here to finish the packing, cleaning and sorting. 

Some wonderful friends then stepped in to help, although, they said, it would be with sad faces, as they would greatly miss us.  In the end, we had two families helping us out.  But in the two weeks that have followed, one family hit a kangaroo and totalled their car, leaving them unable to help, and the second family were rear-ended, leaving them also without a vehicle.  And so, we were back to just the children and I to complete the task. 

But, it doesn’t stop there.  First came the near accident that I wrote about in a previous post, where we nearly wiped out the bus (and ourselves).  A miracle of God saved us that day, and more were to come.  Earlier this week, we were driving along with my son at the wheel, when another driver turned without looking at a t-junction and nearly hit us.  My son handled it beautifully, swerving quickly to the left, and going out and around the shocked driver, who suddenly became aware of our presence as we darted around the front of his vehicle.  But the most powerful sign was today.  On the way back from Port Pirie, I took the wheel as my learner driver was feeling rather tired.  We were travelling along a straight stretch of road, when I looked up to see a taxi driving towards us.  Slowly and gradually, the taxi started to drift, and suddenly I realised, the driver was asleep at the wheel, and his vehicle was headed straight for us!  I slammed on the brakes and pulled off to the side of the road, but still he was drifting in our direction.  My son braced himself to rip the wheel out of my hands and take us further to the left, when suddenly, the driver straightened up and yanked the wheel to take him back to his own side of the road.  As he scooted past, we came to a complete stop – but he didn’t, and casually kept going down the road (thanks a lot!). 

And with great trials come great graces.  On Sunday, we were privileged and blessed to be able to attend the Port Pirie Cathedral for Mass and veneration of the right arm of St. Francis Xavier.  For an hour, we knelt in prayer, as well as praying before the relic itself.  It was a powerful morning, to be sure, and I left with a sense of peace and purpose I had not felt for weeks.  I knew God was about to do some marvellous works in our family, and all we needed to do was just keep going.  And he has.  Over the past fortnight, He has shown us marvellous works, protected us, and taught us powerful lessons in trust.  He has shown us things that normally we would not see; let us know some of what awaits us in Grafton, and shown us perhaps a little of the unexpected.  .

And now I realise.  Situation after situation, disaster after disaster, and there is no doubt.  We are supposed to go to Grafton.  There are those who oppose it, and those who are definitely making things difficult for our journey.  But there are others who have encouraged us, held my hand, and threw their arms around me.  Some have helped us here, and others and have supported us across the miles. And I have learned the true value of friendship, and who our true friends are.  After today, I am left with no doubt.  Our family will be in Grafton, and we will arrive with joy and thankfulness, and no-one, not even the devil, is able to stop it, because we have God on our side.  He is the one who has chosen this path for us, and we will follow wherever He leads.

May God bless you day,


St Francis Xavier, Pray for Us!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Midnight Assassins

Well, it's midnight!  And the Midnight Assassins have been hard at work.  Although there have been a few changes to our original plans regarding dates and such, the boxes still needed to be packed, as the truck arrives at 6am tomorrow (er...  make that today).

The last box has officially been packed and sealed, much the relief of the packing team:

Next step - dismantle beds, grab a little sleep (and yeh, probably in that order), and pack that truck!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Hand of God

Now here’s something I’m not going to miss when we move:  Dirt Roads!

In all seriousness, today nearly saw the end of all my worries.  It had been raining, and as we drove into town along our dirt roads, our bus hit a soft spot, and was sent zig-zagging out of control for about 250 metres.

We slid directly for a clump of trees, and just as we were about to hit, the bus scooted off to the other side of the road, straight for another tree.  But somehow, we again managed to miss that one, and once again, the bus slid over to the right side of the road, heading yet again for another bunch. Twice the bus was completely sideways.

All the time, I was praying (loudly) for heavenly protection, and Bill was silently at the wheel, keeping as calm as possible, correcting the steering wherever he could.  I truly thought, though, that this ‘was it’, and I remember at one point, as we plummeted directly towards one tree, that all I could think of was my orphaned children. 

And yet, somehow, we managed to not only survive, but to miss everything – every tree, every curb, and every dry spot that would have otherwise made controlling the vehicle impossible.  We did take one branch off of the middle tree, but apart from that, our harrowing ride came to an end at the end of the hill, when we calmly and slowly turned the corner.  At that point, my husband turned to me and simply said, ‘Good Prayer’.  Later, we went back to view the skid marks - and were absolutely amazed at how close we had come to not only the trees, but to the edge of the road, where each time, somehow, the bus had missed the edge by a hair's whisker, and changed direction.

Do you believe in miracles?  I do.


Friday, October 5, 2012

An Empty School Room

Our schoolroom, usually completely crammed with books, resources and whatever else will fit, currently looks like this:


And our Living Room looks like this:

Why?  Because we are packing, and we are moving house!

We are currently on an incredible journey, where as a family, we have learned much about trusting in the Lord, stepping out in faith, and building our family relationships.

Although we had not originally planned to move so far north, in the end, we have decided to move to Grafton, NSW.  The removalists arrive with the truck on October 16th - so we have just over a week to have everything packed and sorted.

It all still seems a little surreal - we have talked about moving for the past couple of years, and seriously for the last 4-5 months, but talking is one thing, and making it happen is quite another! 

On our recent holiday to Grafton, Bill picked up some work in nearby Coff's Harbour, and the house-hunting began.  We were knocked back on several houses that we applied for, but all along, I had hoped we would be able to find a house to rent that did not involve a real estate agent.  We've always had private rentals, and life is so much easier that way! 

A dear friend suggested I put an ad in the local paper, and on the morning that we were leaving to come home, we received a text message about a 4-bedroom house near Grafton.  We drove out for a look, and later rang them to say that we would like to rent it - and they agreed to have us!  It's a beautiful house on the Clarence River, and just minutes from Grafton.

After all these years coping with only one toilet (to share with our seven girls!), I'm delighted to report that we also now have two toilets, and two showers!  I know that may sound funny to some, but it's one thing that has been quite a challenge at times - so it's delightful to finally have a house with two!

And, we have music teachers!  Grafton has a lovely Conservatorium, and while we were there, we met with the staff and teachers, and we are very much looking forward to being involved with their various bands and ensembles.  We will also be involved with the local choir, and look forward to meeting with our new group soon.  As well, there are several art & craft groups, and I'm already in contact with a few ladies who are involved with scrapbooking, whom I am looking forward to meeting face to face once we arrive.

We also have the bonus of having several other homeschooling families in the area, and we are all excited to get to know these wonderful people more.  And, I have two nieces just a couple of hours north of where we will be living - so maybe I can finally find some time to spend with them as well!

How it all worked out is a long, wonderful story that is still unfolding;  and as I am able, I will share some of the exciting developments, especially in the area of our faith, friends and our family;  our relationships with God and with each other have absolutely blossomed these past few weeks / months, which has been very special to witness and to be a part of.

For now, though, it is back to sorting and packing, and making ready for our move!

God bless,


Monday, September 3, 2012

Our Wonderful Digital Artist

Copyright Clickcritters.com 2012

One thing I've always tried to teach my children is that, despite any difficulties or your own limitations, you can do whatever you want to do, and be whoever you want to be.

Our Adnil Press business is one example of this - despite the fact that we live in a very rural location and have limited resources, over the course of the past twelve years, we have worked to build up our business, and in doing so, have secured several international printing contracts, including of course, our exclusive Australian contract with IEW.

Well, it seems all that encouragement is paying off. Our darling 15 year old dd is now our one and only 'working' child.  She has a passion for digital art, and has impressed one business so much that they are now buying her art for their online site!  This week, she received her first payment, and has stepped into the world of professional digital artists.

I also received a lovely email from the owners, who praised our girl for her talents, and indicated that they are very much looking forward to working with her.  Usually, they only purchase art from experienced artists who are at least 18 years of age, but her work impressed them so much, that they wanted her to begin with them straight away.

Congratulations, sweetheart - we hope it will be the beginning of a wonderful career!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Phonetic Zoo - Review

Here's a fantastic review of one of our more popular programmes:  IEW's 'The Phonetic Zoo':

No-Nonsense Spelling Curriculum -The Phonetic Zoo (Review) 



For ordering details, see our site, at:  Adnil Press - The Phonetic Zoo.




Have a great day!




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eighteen Years Old!

Our only son, Daniel, turned eighteen today!

It was a quiet affair - just a simple cake, and a ton of junk food, then off to choir - but he's looking forward to the party we are organising for him in one month's time. 

It has been an absolute delight to see this young man grow and develop over the past few years, and we are certainly never short of entertainment whenever he is around!

He is currently deciding what he will do next year, after he finishes year 12, but whatever it is, and wherever he goes, we will most definitely miss him. One thing is for sure - he has the confidence and the ability to do whatever he choses with his life.

Daniel, we are very proud of you - Happy Birthday!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thinking About Moving

Hi all. We are considering up and moving our family. For 20 years, we have lived in (well 15kms out of) a small town. There are no other homeschooling families in our town, and no other large families. It's been tough, and we've been very isolated, but we stayed because I had (have) a responsibility to my ageing parents, and we have been blessed with a large farm house and very cheap rent.

However, both my parents are now in the Old Folks' Home, and so we are now considering moving. As well, the children are now older, and opportunities are scarce - there is no doubt that all the children will eventually have to move far from home for any sort of employment opportunities, or to study. As it is, we now have to do a 350km trip (each way) once per fortnight, just so my daughter can have a clarinet lesson - I am completely fed up with the isolation and all the travelling, just for a basic thing such as a music teacher.

But where to go? That is the question!

Here's what we are looking for:

Somewhere with a small-to-medium population - around 20,000 would be ideal.

It'd be nice to have some other Catholic families around - ideally, a thriving Catholic Community would be ideal.

and it'd be nice to have some other homescholers around!

We'd also need a great post office and an office supplies store for our Adnil Press business - and somewhere that services photocopiers.

We're not into sport, however, we are into art and music. Music teachers, opportunities for concert band and / or ensembles, and a choir would be wonderful.

Opportunities for art would be also wonderful - perhaps somewhere with a local art gallery, and a few art and craft groups around the place.

One sport we do like, however, we do like ten-pin bowling - so a bowling alley would be good.

Some sort of higher-education opportunities. Not necessarily Uni, but TAFE or equivalent.  Music again comes into consideration here, as my 16 year old wants to follow music as a career, so she'll be needing opportunities to study and follow her passion.

It'd be great to have a larger town or city within driving distance - up to 300kms, so we can travel for any specialists or other services if need be.

And most definitely, I want to go somewhere with trees and greenery! Rural SA is so brown and dry most of the year.

We'd most likely be looking at a rental property - preferrably a farm house within 10-20kms of town. It'd need to be about 4 bedrooms, as we still have 6 at home, plus the business. I'd like to think we could purchase a property, but with dear hubby unemployed, that will not be likely.

Now, after reading through that, if anyone knows of such a place, please feel free to make suggestions! It's all wide open at this stage - maybe northern NSW? Maybe closer to Adelaide? Maybe near Perth?

It'll be interesting to see where we end up!

Prayers for the Lord guide us in this decision would be appreciated. Thankyou!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

And the Winner Is.......

Thankyou to all who entered into our 'Free E-book Competition'!

All of  the names were entered into the List Randomizer at Random.Org - and the winner is:


Congratulations, Fiona!   Please email me (adnilpress@ozemail.com.au) within 48 hours, and I shall send you details on how to claim your $30 worth of e-books!

We'll be having more competition and giveaways in the coming months, so stay tuned!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our own Young Rural Ambassador!

Just how many highlights can there be to one day?  As a family, we have certainly had a fabulous time in the past few hours!  Today we attended the Crystal Brook Agricultural Show.  Our Concert Band was booked to perform for the most of the day, so first thing in the morning, we packed up our instruments and music, and headed out the door.  Arriving at the show (on time, I might add!) we set up our chairs and stands, and proceeded to play.  As always, ‘Moondance’ and ‘Aladdin’ proved to be most popular, as well as ‘Comedy Classics’.  

Of course, there were several breaks during the day, during which we were able to wander around and view the stalls and the exhibitions.  My 16-year-old and myself had several entries in the art & craft section, so once judging was complete, we headed for the pavilions.  Helena’s artwork was most impressive, and I was the proud mother, who received several comments from random people, congratulating me on how talented she is.  Here’s her 1st prize entry of a portrait of David Tennant as Dr. Who:

All in all, out of twelve entries, she received:  4 firsts, 3 seconds, and 4 thirds!

As for myself, I had entered several paintings and drawings in the art section, and  several scrapbooking pages and cards in the craft section.

My results:   

Art Section:  4 firsts, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds.

Craft Section:  2 firsts, 1 second, and 3 thirds.

Of all my entries, my personal favourites were a rural scene, which I completed in pen and watercolour, my coloured pencil gate, and a scrapbooking page featuring our ten-year old, Aimee.




After lunch, it was back to performing more classics such as ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ and ‘The Man from Snowy River’, then once again, we had time to wander around the fair.  Something I had been looking for was a new hat, and Helena, too, had been searching for a hat that would suit the ‘jazz musician’ in her.  And, we found both!  So for our final set we donned our new purchases, and played the rest of the set out in style.  

The afternoon break also saw the ‘Intermediate Rural Ambassador ‘ competition.  The band members suggested to our Daniel that he should enter.  It was a bit of tongue-in-cheek, as they did not expect him to actually do it, but once he discovered that the organisers did not, as yet, have any entries, and money would be awarded for prizes, he was in!  He then dragged Helena into the competition as well, and before long, other people joined in as well.  All the entrants filled in a form that stated their names, age, location, school, and their hobbies.  As each name was called, they then proceeded up onto the stage, where they answered a few questions in front of the judges and the crowd.

Then it was time to wait and allow the judges to make their decision.  The runner-up was announced first – Daniel Maher!   Of course, we all cheered, as did ALL of the concert band – a band member had taken out second place, and everyone was most impressed!

After another few minutes, the announcer declared the winner of the competition to be:  Helena Maher!  You can just imagine how the band cheered, and how proud her parents were at that moment – with two of our children taking out first and second place!   Helena then received her ribbon, and they both received their prizes - $40 for first, and $20 for second.  Of course, I did suggest to Helena that she could, therefore, pay for her own hat, but sadly, she did not agree…


And then it was time for our final set.  By now, it was very cold and windy, and threatening to rain, but somehow, we didn’t seem to notice – it had been a very good day!  But the surprises were not yet over.   Once we had finished and packed up, we headed once again for the pavilion to pick up our art and craft entries.  We then discovered that Helena had won the trophy for her art section, and was presented with a limited edition, ‘Year of the Farmer’ gold-plated coin.  By this time, Helena’s name was becoming very well known, and she even came across people talking about her as she wandered around the show, speaking about how lovely she and Daniel were (just one more ‘proud parent’ moment).  And people were also stopping me as I walked, and congratulating me on my talented children. 

As we headed for the bus, I decided to take one quick look at all the animals that had been entered into the show – cute puppies, cats, rabbits and the like.  Now, you’ll understand how funny this is when I say that yesterday, I had decided that we would not buy another dog until at least Christmas – and probably not until we had made a firm decision as to when, and if, we were moving house, or staying where we are.  But, there were puppies!  Yep, I was gone, and of course, the children heartily agreed with my choice!  I had always wanted a border collie, and we found a border collie cross – hey, close enough!  So, we parted with the $80, and brought home our newest family member – Crystal (so named because we bought at the Crystal Brook Show).  Needless to say, our family members who had stayed home for the day were most delighted when we arrived home!  

Isn't she just adorable?  (And the puppy is cute, too!)

So just how many highlights can there be in one day?  Quite a few, it seems - And now we even have a Young Rural Abassador living under our roof!