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Santa, a homeless man and a box of ice creams

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imageYesterday I had the most surreal morning and it involved Santa, a homeless man and a box of ice-creams. A regular old morning down in our coastal suburb turned somewhat strange.

My son had a little bit of cabin fever, so I decided to take him down to our local shops for an ice-cream. We walked through our local Woolworths and bought a box of ice-creams and I silently said ‘God what am I going to do with the rest of these they will melt?’

As I walked outside of the shopping centre, an old man came up to me and asked ‘Where did you get those ice-creams from?’ I said ‘In Woolworths, would you like one?’ With tears in his eyes, he looked straight at me and said ‘Thank you, I would love one.’

I walked away thinking ‘That was very strange, but I’m sure that he was lonely and just wanted someone to talk to.’

As I walked towards my car, I felt a little guilty that I often don’t take time to respond in simple ways like that, but wanted to live more generously this Christmas. As I arrived at my car, I looked through an alleyway and saw a young homeless man sitting in a hoodie, with a sign that said ‘I need money for accommodation’.

I took a deep breath and put my children in their car seats and wished my Body Builder was with me. He would have walked over straight away and given the young man some money, but I was like ‘God I can’t do this, by myself with two little children.’

I sat in my car and thought, but I have a box of ice-creams.

Maybe I could give him an ice-cream. Just as that thought was passing through my mind, the most random thing happened. Out of the alleyway came travelling a big princess kind of carriage, with two big horses and Santa.

Santa rode his carriage straight past this young homeless guy and flung a bunch of lolly pops at him. The young homeless person stood up and limped over and collected all the candy. It was at that moment, I knew I needed to be brave and go and talk to him.

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I drove over, asked him what was happening and he said ‘I need twenty more dollars so I have somewhere to sleep until my next pay day.’ I gave him the twenty dollars and asked if he would like an ice-cream.

He took two.

Then I drove away dazed, turned the corner and there was Santa and his sleigh, trotting down a suburban street (probably on his way to an event or something) and my two-year old was spellbound.

We stopped the car, Maximus jumped out and Santa launched lolly pops at him.

Max was like Mum, ‘Is it Christmas?’

I said ‘Yes babe, this is what Christmas is all about.’

Noticing people, helping those with not much and special memories that will never be forgotten.

As we get swept away in the hype this year, let’s be brave and walk down alley ways and help those who don’t have much.

Everyday, Ordinary encounters, that make Christmas forever memories.

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I am writing each day of December following the prompts from Life Captured Inc. Go back to December 1 to start the journey afresh.

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Otis Redding, bring me some soul…

chirstmas oneEvery, single time I hear Otis Redding sing, I want to lay down on my driveway and stare at the stars.  When I was eighteen, I had a little obsession with Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison and a vinyl record crush on Otis Redding. (One day if I ever get little cat or dog for my family they will be called Otis and Van.)

There is something about a little soul music, a glass of wine and a fruit mince-pie that eases Christmassy goodness into my life. If I am feeling a little sad in May or April, you can secretly finding me putting honey in my coffee and cinnamon on top of the foam and cranking out some Christmas tunes.

My all time favourite Otis tune is White Christmas, but Merry Christmas, comes a close second.

When I hear this song, I find myself nostalgic remembering all those Christmases when I dreamed of having my own family. It is like every Christmas I was reminded what I didn’t have and I so desperately wanted to find it.

Otis makes me so very happy but at the same time a little sad. I feel sad because from the age of eighteen till thirty something, I was single. As the years moved on, the nostalgia increased and I watched everyone hanging out with their families and I so desperately longed for one of my own.

Year after year, Christmas Eve was the hardest. I dreamed of a white christmas somewhere romantic sometime, I thought about pretending to be Santa Claus late at night with my husband and I watched the Christmas Carols on Television with tears streaming down my face, more times than I would like to admit.

Therefore, I will never take for granted how long I waited and prayed for my little family at Christmas. I will never forget and I will always be grateful for the little things, even when Christmas with children is so very different to my vivid imaginations.

Otis you remind me, how long I waited.

How long I waited for my Mr.

How long I waited for my littles.

How long I waited to read the christmas golden books I collected year after year.

This year each night in December as I read my little man my Christmas book collection, I will be reminded that good things indeed come to those who wait.

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Ps: I made you a Soul Christmas Spotify list. Merry days.

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I see you.

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Late night inter-web scrolling left me feeling a little numb last night.

I remembered this morning though, reading another parenting article which shamed me (sorry), encouraged me with three things I have to say to my child everyday, for them to be a good human.

One of which was this ‘I see you.’

What an unusual thought.

I see you.

Of course I see him. Of course I see her.

They are both in my face every waking moment and sometimes moments when I am sleep walking around as well.

These words kind of echoed and made a memory in my heart, so I have been musing over them all morning.

Today marks the first of December and I am attempting to finish the year well, by using these writing prompts to capture moments and create lasting memories with my littles.

Describe a moment from today that you want to always remember?

There are many already and it is only 8.58am.

The moment when he tasted chocolate from his first advent calendar and then proceeded to have a major melt down because he wanted number six now as well.

The deep breath she took as she floated off into her morning sleep, snuggled perfectly under the pink blanket, so soft and all-consuming.

The moment I stood in the shower, washing away the weariness of the early, early morning, feeding, playing, changing, mummy-ing, convincing, face-timing, train building, kissing, goodby-ing and texting my dearest ones.

When I found the words ‘I see you’ tumbling out of my mouth to a tantruming two-year old, who was frustrated as my attention was distracted by his newborn sister.

Everyday, Ordinary Moments, that I will one day wish back again.

Memories of a very first Christmas,

Longings for Michael Bublé playing carols over breakfast,

Moments of beauty amongst ruins…

This morning before 9am, I have contacted a friend who was holding her husbands ashes as she decides where they may rest, a friend who is away with her husband’s family as they grieve the loss of their sister, chatted over text with a friend whose birthday it is today, someone who broke up with a boyfriend last night, read an email from an older friend who lost her husband a month ago, who received the crocheted blanket I sent her. Everyday stories, that required acknowledgement and memory making.

The stories go on and on, and they linger longer.

Everyday moments, when people share their stories.

‘I see you.’

I see you friend who is hoping for a Christmas miracle,

I see you Mum who is tired from a night of broken sleep and restless baby,

I see you beautiful woman who is contemplating divorcing her husband,

I see you.

Every one of these stories is present today in my everyday moments.

Memories I don’t want to forget.

Memories, mixed with opportunities to acknowledge the stories of hurting people, hidden in everyday moments, awaiting discovery.

Seeing someone is as simple as acknowledging them in your life.

I see you this Christmas, even when you would rather forget these everyday, ordinary moments this December.

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Christmas Countdown

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The Christmas Countdown has begun in my home.

I haven’t put my Christmas tree up yet or succumbed to my obsessive desire to play my Christmisification list off spotify, but I did smile as I walked through woolworths this morning and a carol was heard by my wandering heart.

I spent the morning with my Mum and a few friends learning some new ideas for gifts this Christmas. My mum inspired a great love of the beauty of Christmas and all things homemade from a very early age.

She is a firecracker, always learning and so generous with everything she gathers. Just one year ago today I launched a little online ebook all about Christmas ’30 merry days.’ I dedicated it to my Mum and her amazing creative legacy.

It has 30 different Christmas homemade gift ideas and many links to Christmas creative websites.

With 44 days till go to Christmas, it is now time for this house to get making.

I am not that interested in the overwhelmingly gross commercialisation of this special holiday but I love people and generosity.

So you will find me crafting, giving, sharing and loving.

We have launched a new subscription option here on Capture on the front page. I’d love you to join the creative conversation.

Happy Days.

Let’s get creative this Christmas and share the beauty of the season.

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new traditions

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Every year I try to find a new tradition at Christmas. Its something I have done for a long time. This year I came acrross a recipe in a magazine for a Christmas Bread called Stollen. I have researched it a little and found the most delightful story and today I have tried to make my first batch of Stollen. If it works out well, I will do some more and give to my neighbours as a little thank you/ hello/ i like you present this year. It is a surprisingly easy recipe and aside from the dried fruit quite low in sugar but rich in Christmassy vibes.

Long before the Romans occupied parts of Germany, special breads were prepared for the winter solstice that were rich in dried or preserved fruit. Historians have traced Christollen, Christ’s stollen, back to about the year 1400 in Dresden, Germany.

The first stollen consisted of only flour, oats and water, as required by church doctrine, but without butter and milk, it was quite tasteless. Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht requested of the Pope that the ban on butter and milk during the Advent season be lifted. His Eminence replied in what is known as the famous “butter letter,” that milk and butter could be used to bake stollen with a clear conscience and God’s blessing for a small fee.

Originally stollen was called Striezel or Struzel, which referred to a braided shape (a large oval folded in half with tapered ends) representing Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothing.

Around 1560 it became custom that the bakers of Dresden give their king, Stollen a Christmas gift.

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In 1730 Augustus the Strong, the electoral prince of Saxony and the King of Poland, asked the Baker’s Guild of Dresden to bake a giant stollen for the farewell dinner of the Zeithain “campement.” The 1.8-ton stollen was a true showpiece and fed over 24,000 guests. To commemorate this event, a Stollenfest is held each December in Dresden.

The bread for the present-day Stollenfest weighs 2 tons and measures approximately 4 yards long. Each year the stollen is paraded through the market square, then sliced and sold to the public, with the proceeds supporting local charities. Although there is a basic recipe for making the original Dresden Christollen, each master baker, each village and each home has its own secret recipe passed down from one generation to the next. There are probably as many recipes for stollen as there are home bakers.

New Traditions

Here is the one I have tried out this year; Available to download for free stollen recipe

I hope you have enjoyed reading and researching my new Christmas Tradition as much as I have.

To celebrate 48 hours till Christmas Eve a little special on my Christmas book ‘Capture: 30 merry days’

Happy Days.