WRITING TIPS | TRAVEL TIPS | THE QUIET CORNER | EARLY READERS | FAVOURITE RECIPES | THE CENTRE OF THINGS

Flower Girl
Launched September 4th 2010

Flower Girl shines a candle of hope in great darkness. Based on a true story of sexual abuse, this inspirational book speaks for the legion of victims unable to voice their secret tragedy. Read more about this new book on the Flower Girl page.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT FLOWER GIRL


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Ocean Wave

I dance before you on a summer's day
And lovers look
Their eyes transfixed
To watch my graceful ways
They stare at me
They pay me heed
Yet all the while they speak of love
As if I wasn't there
Soft voices echo overhead
Sweet words, adoring someone else
A whispered promise
‘I love you'
Young hands entwine
And still they look
They smile, they kiss and search my depths
As mesmerized they stand
The moment gone
They turn their backs
Will they remember me?

I danced today
I'll dance tonight
Until the end of time
Till tides stop turning
Sun stops burning
I am Ocean Wave


To and fro I gush and ripple
Wind rides with me
Sands receive me
Moonlight on my face
Shores embrace me
Bidding welcome
Gently tugging at my finest lace
Back I go to join my brothers
Tossing, bobbing, ebbing, flowing
Crashing, pounding, rocking, rippling Endless splendour of the sea

~MB


I Know a Land

I know a land of thick, red dust
Where lizards roam the Earth’s parched crust
Where eagles soar and dingoes stalk
Where desert winds blow back and forth

I know a land where deep, blue seas
Embrace the beach and stir the breeze
Where children romp on golden sands
Creating castles with their hands

I know a land where cattle graze
Where farm dogs yap through summer’s haze
Where sheep all flock beside the dams
To rest a while, to bear their lambs

I know a land with treasures deep
Beneath the rock, the soil, the creek
Where some have rushed, their stake to claim
To make a fortune, rise to fame

I know a land where truth is known
Where harvest springs from good seed sewn
Where honour’s prized, where mateship’s strong
A place to love, to share, belong

I know a land of drought and flood
Of surging strife and loss of blood
A place where some have lost their way
Where God’s shut out, where evil plays

I know a land – Australia fair
With room to move and some to share
We raise our flag, we pray for peace
Please, mercy stay and warring cease

~MB


This side of Christmas

You can see it in the faces
Gritting teeth behind the load,
Hauling goodies in for Christmas,
Double parking on the road;
Kiddies clutching onto Grandma,
Mummy in the lay-by line,
Daddy’s home unearthing Barbie
And we hope the weather’s fine.

Hurry, hurry – hold the parcels.
No, you’re not to look inside.
Get yourselves lined up with Santa,
Comb your hair and smile real wide.
Oops, the cherry bag is splitting –
Can you help me pick them up?
Please! I need your help, don’t argue!
Oh, I’ve really had enough!

Grandpa said he’d get the mangoes
And a bunch of Christmas bush.
Do you think he will remember?
Don’t you let me see you push!
‘Molly pushed when you weren’t looking
And I really hurt my knee’.
‘Sorry, Mummy’, came the chorus
As they grabbed balloons for free.

Over there – that’s Grandma singing
On the seat near centre stage.
How she loves to sing the carols –
Such a great voice for her age.
And she reads the Christmas story
When they’re all tucked up in bed,
Even making donkey noises
Like the one that Joseph led.

There is so much to remember
At this happy Christmas time,
Like the carrot-eating reindeer,
Holly wreathes and church bell chimes.
Will the star do one more Christmas?
Have we bought enough to eat?
Do we have a stash of batteries?
Have we counted out the seats?

Posties speed along in helmets
Bringing cards to wish us well,
Little kids write notes to Santa
And what stories they can tell!
‘I’ll be good, SO good, dear Santa,
Sure, I’ll pack up all my toys.
You won’t even recognize me,
I’ll be such a sharing boy.’

When the note is sealed and posted,
When the Christmas tree is up,
When the party food is eaten
And our stomachs say ‘enough!’
Then I really start to wonder
Where is Jesus in all this?
Isn’t this HIS happy birthday?
Did we give our King a miss?  

~MB


How I love the sea. Here is another poem, written to remind me of a special visit to the headland at Urunga, NSW.

Wave dance  

A long hot day, an ocean breeze,
A pink zinc nose, a summer sneeze,
A thousand footprints in the sand
Where beach greets sea and sea hugs land.

A joyous walk through fresh salt air,
A playful wind toys with my hair.
A day when cares seem far away –
Oh Summer would you care to stay?

I walk the length of golden sand,
A few sea shells clutched in my hand
And now and then I take a glance
In awe, to watch the great wave dance.

The ocean roars its thunderous song
And rolls right back where waves belong.
It seems to me that God has drawn
His boundary line where waves perform.

The vastness of the deep blue sea
Appears remote, and yet I see
My feet are swathed in cool white lace –
The after-wash. The wave's embrace.

Come twilight, Summer's blazing heat
Cools down – the sun has turned its cheek
To light the day across the sea
In countries far away from me.

Walk on some more, but please don't miss
The splendour of Sun's final kiss –
Horizon bathed in majesty.
God's masterpiece for you and me.

~MB


Who paints the leaves?

The crunch of leaves beneath my feet,
A picnic lunch spread on the seat –
What bliss to feel the golden sun
And know that Autumn has begun.

The green of Summer packed away,
It's gold and burgundy today.
A fashion statement clothing trees,
Their leaves a'dancing in the breeze.

Who took the time to paint the leaves? Who sent the breeze? And who believes
That every season, leaf and flower
Reveals God's splendour, love and power?

The seasons come, the seasons go,
The sun comes up, the flowers grow.
Who tells the trees to grow so tall?
Who tells the snowflakes when to fall?

Who stays the waves, to bid retreat
Then kiss the sand and bathe our feet?
Who orchestrates electric storms?
Who starts a heart as baby forms?

If wisdom gained a whole life through
Was put to test by me, by you,
We'd falter from the very start
To fathom God, to know his heart.

In pride we go about our days,
Denying God, withholding praise,
Content to stumble, starved of light
Until we kneel and praise his might.

Our Heavenly Father made it all
And longs for us to hear his call
To come and lay our burdens down,
Receive his gift, return his crown.

~MB


Smile

Have you ever thought what a smile can do Just the briefest nod, or a howdy-do?
Have you ever walked through a city street Seeing no-one's eyes, seeing no-one's teeth
For with heads bowed low, looking straight ahead
There's a kind of hush in the somber tread.
Have we lost our smiles, are we so unsure? Could we find one smile, maybe three or four?
If we took the time, could we find one face
Worthy of our smile, worthy of our grace?

~MB


Hope  

To see a way forward
To lift up my head
To wake in the morning
Relinquishing dread
A glimmer of hope
On the saddest of days
A light in the darkness
To see through the maze
A shield of protection
And faith in my heart
A path pointing ‘this way'
With focus to start
One day at a time
With a small song to sing
A creed and a promise
To which I can cling
I'll climb my high mountain
I'll not turn away
My hope is in God
He'll give strength for today

~MB

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITING TIPS

A few things I have learned along the way:

  • Don't go anywhere without something to write on (I used a lipstick on a serviette at one time – don't let the word escape)
  • Network. Network. Network. Don't use people – use situations to broaden contacts, possibilities and leads.
  • Listen to children. Play with them. Hear their heart messages. Listen to adults - hear their problems, concerns, interests. Learn how to talk as children, teenagers, adults and elderly people.
  • Become a people watcher. Eavesdrop on arguments, romantic encounters, customers at the checkout, kids on the playing fields, road drivers, flight attendants and professional people. Don't forget to observe the way young and old talk to animals, especially their pets.
  • Study body language – frowns, tantrums, sighs and laughter. Watch facial expressions and note characteristics of individuals. Build a bank of movement and appearance.
  • If you can't sleep, get up and write it down. Take a half a cup of ‘sipping hot milk' as my mother used to say – does wonders.
  • Write when the mood is right. I don't write well at prescribed times. I also have many other interests besides writing. When the ideas flow, down tools, and put something down on paper, however scant the notes.
  • Place yourself in the scene you are trying to describe. Enlist all the senses to bring the reader to the very moment.
  • Don't be disappointed if those close to you don't catch the extreme excitement of your writing. They have their lives too. It's not “all about me”. Enjoy others' achievements as well as your own. A happy balance is worth striving for.

Steps to self publishing:

  • Make it a priority to submit error-free copy.
  • Spend time developing “the look” desired. In my case I wanted a hard back quality gift book with endpapers complementing the cover and style. I searched many recently published books to determine the style of the internals, the page layout, index etc.
  • Foster honest, open communication with the person allocated to follow through on the publishing project.
  • Obtain three quotes. Study these. Cheapest is not always best.
  • Obtain a realistic delivery date.
  • Work on a target market.
  • Investigate local press advertising – get all necessary facts together and give these to the journalist – prevents errors.
  • Be prepared to describe your book to whoever asks – neighbours, friends – everyone deserves an intelligent answer and the practice increases confidence.
  • Be prepared to gift a copy of your book to all who assist in its promotion, eg the journalist, the person who writes a Foreword or gives you praise on the back cover blurb etc.
  • Plan a book launch if this is appropriate – keep the date open until the books have been delivered.
  • Wait till you are thoroughly prepared before inviting the press to cover your story. Consider other forms of coverage – local radio stations, noticeboards, bulletins etc.

 

TRAVEL TIPS
  • When ironing for your holiday, place tissue paper or greaseproof paper between ironed garments.
  • If space is short, try rolling garments into crevices, especially T-shirts, underwear and knitted garments.
  • Shoes placed in separate plastic bags are much easier to pack.
  • When making your holiday list, remember the layer system – clothes which can be peeled off when hot or added to in cooler weather.
  • Soft bags for toiletries are much easier to pack than those with rigid exteriors.
  • Small plastic bottles for shampoo, conditioner and make up items are worth organising – think about the duration of your trip and trim these items down accordingly
  • Pack some quick dry garments and a small elastic line or two for bad weather – a seersucker shirt and set of extra light underclothes can be invaluable here.
  • The modern shorter sports socks cut down on bulk.
  • Whether the bag is a large one or simply an overnighter, his and her side pockets are a worthwhile idea – I use the ‘my side of the bed' position so we can find things quicker.
  • Flat sunhats are wonderful to fold into luggage spaces.
  • Consider a flat dispenser pack of wipes – the type young mothers use to wipe fingers. These can polish an apple, clean a spill, give you a sense of cleanliness when handling money and so on.
  • A slim stainless steel hot drink flask can save money and offer refreshment when hot drinks are not readily available.
  • Take charge of your own itinerary wherever possible. Intelligent stopovers can save an extra night's hotel tariff when combining tours and flights.
  • When holidaying with friends, a Kitty arrangement works very well when visiting the supermarket (everyone contributes similar amounts as necessary). Take the time to document hire car and accommodation expenses along the way so everyone knows the tally.
  • Planning a lengthy overseas trip? A good idea is to work out a mix of accommodation and mode of transport. Budget so you can afford a balance of quality and economical stopovers. Break up the way you travel for optimum enjoyment – some air, train, ferry, bus/coach, hire vehicle travel.

 

EARLY READERS

It's never too early to introduce your child to books. When our own children were small we would cuddle up on the lounge and read picture books. When barely sitting up, we would have a little one each side and one on mum or dad's knee. We've encouraged the same with our grandchildren and have an easily accessible bookcase groaning with children's books. There's always a new book to check out at Grandma's.

The thirst for books is established very early at our house. Reading time is a special time of closeness and the positive experience grows into a healthy urge to explore the printed page. A picture paints a thousand words.


 

FAVOURITE RECIPES

Chocolate ginger log (celebration dessert)

  • 2 x 200g packets ginger biscuits
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 50 grams slivered almonds
  • Dark chocolate to shave over finished log
  • 4 – 6 pieces of chocolate ginger, halved for decoration

    {2 level tablespoons ginger marmalade
    {1 large mug strong/double strength coffee
    {2 tablespoons red wine  

Whip cream. Combine last 3 ingredients while coffee is still hot. Place in a flat wide dish. Quickly dip both sides of each biscuit into the combined mixture, spread with whipped cream and arrange on a rectangular serving plate. Repeat. When several biscuits are dipped and spread with cream, stand up on plate and arrange in rows. When all biscuits are in place, smother with cream and spread all sides. Mop up excess juices with tissues or a paper towel and decorate with slivered almonds, shaved chocolate and ginger chocolates. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

Note – plain chocolate biscuits can be substituted for ginger biscuits if desired. In this case use a berry jam instead of ginger marmalade and omit the chocolate ginger garnish.

Chocolate Bavarian Pie (the ultimate celebration dessert)

This recipe is an old family favourite (imperial measurements)

  • 9” baked pie shell
  • 2 slightly rounded teaspoons gelatine
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup grated or chopped dark chocolate
  • ½ pint cream
  • Grated chocolate for decoration  

Sprinkle gelatine over ¼ cup cold water to soften. Heat milk until film forms over surface. Beat egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla until thick and creamy. Beat small amount of hot milk into egg mixture. Stir egg mixture quickly into remaining hot milk, cook about 5 minutes on low heat until mixture coats a metal spoon. Stir in gelatine and grated chocolate and continue cooking until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat, cover surface with waxed paper and allow to become cold at room temperature. Whip cream. In a clean bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Fold half whipped cream into chocolate mixture and egg whites. Pour onto pie shell, top when smooth with remaining cream and decorate with grated chocolate. Chill.

Cookie crust pie shell:

  • 1 cup sifted plain flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup or 4 oz butter, grated or chopped
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla  

Combine flour and sugar. Cut in margarine until like breadcrumbs. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla. Mix pastry with hands until well blended, pat evenly into 9” pie plate. Bake 400 degrees F electric for about 10 minutes or until light golden colour. (Mixture is so soft it cannot be rolled – just pat into plate.)

 

THE CENTRE OF THINGS

 

Recently my husband Nev and I traveled to The Centre and the Outback of our wide, brown land. The following are some highlights.

Uluru, NT Kings Canyon in background

The Rim Walk, Kings Canyon, NT ‘The Unique Egg' – a sample of Steve Margaritis' emu carving at St George, Qld

‘Walking Together' memorial, honouring memory of pioneer women. Two girls of indigenous and non-indigenous heritage walking together in friendship. Australian Stockman Hall of Fame, Longreach, Qld Valley of the Winds Walk, Kata Tjuta, NT

Kings Canyon, NT Clydesdale ‘Digger' returning Nev & Maureen to Kidmans Camp, North Bourke, NSW

Simpsons Gap, NT Standley Chasm, NT Kings Canyon, NT

 

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