A little while ago I travelled to Cairns to visit family and ended up doing a couple of sessions while I was there. Could there be a more naturally grand and beautifully simple landscape to work in? I don’t think so. It was absolutely stunning.
I’m so thankful to my rellies for lending us their luscious cane fields to explore and I loved meeting Iona and some of her family. Here’s hoping I get to take photos in this tropical haven again sometimes soon x
When it was decided that Christmas would be at my house this year I got a little bit excited. Maybe too excited. I love to entertain but I don’t end up doing it too often so to have the ‘big day’ in my hot little hands was all too much. Wait, let me clarify – I love to DECORATE and set an atmosphere…and that’s about it.
After a couple of months of scouring the Christmas-crazed shops for the perfect table accessories it was about a week out from the 25th when I realised I should probably decide what to cook. My ‘slight’ menu procrastination resulted in my Dad driving to Ascot on Christmas Eve to purchase the last fresh, skin on, turkey breast in Brisbane.
Dinner turned out just nicely but all that really mattered was that the whole thing looked pretty. You feel me?
In all seriousness, we had a lovely time together as a family, celebrating our Saviour and reflecting on the year that was.
Tablecloth and Runner by Aura by Tracey Ellis at Myer
Pineapples from Typo
Gold Christmas Trees, Silver Trays and Candles from Ikea
Flowers from Northside Flower Markets, Centrepieces homemade.
Diamond Piñata homemade.
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This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NIV
I love the new year. With the ticking over of that clock we are suddenly free to step into all things…well…new. Adventures, risks, clean slates, disciplines – grand declarations that a new season has/should/will arrive.
But a new season can only arrive when an old one is finished. For some, 2014 was difficult. For others, the last ten years was difficult! To be honest, I am one who fits into that category. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve experienced inordinate blessing and happiness during that time too but life has been dotted with a fair amount of devastation. I can too often find myself looking back and wishing certain things hadn’t happened, imagining what life would be like, and even grumbling about the people who played a part in my deviation from what was sure to be a ‘perfect’ life.
The thing is, I believe that God has a new plan for me. At the very moment of my loss it was not those people or those circumstances that changed the course of my life, it was Jesus. At the very moment of my world being thrown off its axis, He stepped in and re-calibrated the plan…for the better.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
With that in mind, every time that we wish our life were something else, somewhere else – remembering, regretting – we are actually despising the new plan. The new, perfect, God-breathed plan that is laid out for us if only we would stop looking back.
So if 2014 was a tough one for you, this is your invitation to join me in stepping into the new thing. No ‘what if’s’, no looking back. No despising the new, unfamiliar, couldn’t have imagined my life would look like this, but instead leaning in and embracing the hope that is laid out before us.
Here’s to trust. Here’s to faith. Here’s to a new season.
From my new plan to yours – here’s to 2015!
Photos by Lana Bell Photography
There is no moment a wedding guest fears more than when the MC announces it is time for speeches. Here are a few tips to turn those long, dry monologues into meaningful, heartfelt moments you will always remember.
1. There are no rules
Wedding ‘traditions’ are quickly dying in favour of truly personalised events and I love it. All of a sudden we have been unleashed from the bounds of yesteryear and we are free to celebrate in a way that truly reflects us, and the speeches are no exception. You do not have to have the best man toast the bridesmaids. You do not have to let every lovely, dottery uncle or drunk groomsman take the microphone. You do not have to have speeches at all if you don’t want to!
If you do choose to go ahead with speeches, be thoughtful about who you ask to participate. Do they truly know you? Are they committed to ‘doing life’ with you? Will they speak life into your marriage?
2. Set some boundaries
Don’t just ask your people to give a speech and leave it at that. Preparation is everything so be sure to give them a few boundaries like these…
3. Open microphones are dangerous
I would always recommend that you don’t offer an open microphone (hello ramblers!) but if you simply must, make sure you give some clear boundaries and have a bold MC ready to steer the ship. The best way to do it is to let everyone know earlier in the night that you’ll be opening the microphone and if they’d like to participate they should let the MC know before the end of dinner. This gives them time to gather their thoughts, make them concise (in an ideal world) and be ready to go.
4. Brevity is golden
Of course, its your night and if you want speeches to go for two hours then go for it. But if you’d like your guests to actually speak to you again, I’d suggest keeping the sum total of the speeches to a maximum of 30 minutes.
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