Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Greetings

A heartfelt

Merry Christmas

and a

Happy New Year

to all of my blog friends - including all of those who have commented, visited, or intend to visit my blog in the

Seriously, I appreciate everyone who takes the time to communicate with me via this wonderful medium, and I look forward to getting to know you better in 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

AUSTRALIAN Christmas Carols

We are so familiar with the traditional Christmas Carols and songs with their northern hemisphere settings and talk of snow at this time of year. However, many people, including Australians, are unaware that we have a number of lovely Carols with a 'summer' theme, as it is now in the southern hemisphere. These Carols were written more than 50 years ago, but even today they are not played or sung nearly as often as they should be.

I'm sorry I can't provide the music, but simply reading the words will bring back memories of hot summer Christmasses, especially to Aussies living overseas.

May you all have a very blessed and happy Christmas, wherever you may be.


Across the plains one Christmas night

Three drovers riding blithe and gay,

Looked up and saw a starry light

More radiant than the Milky Way;

And on their hearts such wonder fell,

They sang with joy. 'Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!'

The air was dry with summer heat,

And smoke was on the yellow moon;

But from the heavens, faint and sweet,

Came floating down a wond'rous turn;

And as they heard, they sang full well

Those drovers three. 'Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!'

The black swans flew across the sky,

The wild dog called across the plain,

The starry lustre blazed on high,

Still echoed on the heavenly strain;

And still they sang, 'Noel! Noel!'

Those drovers three. 'Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!'


The silver stars are in the sky,
The re-gold moon I riding high,
O, sleep, my little one, sleep!
Once long ago against her breast,
A mother hushed a babe to rest,
Who was the Prince of Heav’n above,
The Lord of gentleness and love
O, sleep, my little one sleep.

The sleep boo-book calls across the night,
The brown moths flutter in the light,
O, sleep, my little one, sleep!
In Bethlehem long, long ago
When roads and paddocks gleamed with snow;
On this same night, that mother mild
Lulled in to dreams her Royal Child
So, sleep, my little one, sleep.


The North Wind is tossing the leaves,
The red dust is over the town,
The sparrows are under the eaves,
And the grass in the paddock is brown;
As we lift up our vices and sing
To the Christ-Child the Heavenly King.

The tree-ferns in green gullies sway;
The cool stream flows silently by;
The joy bells are greeting the day,
And the chimes are adrift in the sky,
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ-Child the Heavenly King.


Out of the plains the brolgas are dancing

Lifting their feet like war horses prancing

Up to the sun the woodlarks go winging

Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing

Orana! Orana!

Orana! To Christmas Day

Down where the tree-ferns grow by the river,

There where the waters sparkle and quiver,

Deep in the gullies Bell-birds are chiming,

Softly and sweetly their lyric notes rhyming

Orana! Orana!

Orana! To Christmas Day.

Friar-birds sip the nectar of flowers,

Currawongs chant in wattle-tree bowers

In the blue ranges Lorikeets calling

Carols of bushlands rising and falling

Orana! Orana!Orana!

To Christmas Day.


All the bells are gaily ringing,
Birds in every tree are singing;
Let us in the golden weather,
Gather Christmas Bush together.
Christ is born! The angels thunder,
Thru’ the Heavens their tale of wonder,
While we pluck for His adorning
Christmas Bush this hallowed morning.

Christ has conquered Evil’s power
Hear the bells rock every tower
Birds and beasts lift up their voices,
Freed at last the world rejoices.
Onward with triumphant chorus,
Following the road before us,
Singing thru’ the golden weather,
Gath’ring Christmas Bush together.


When the sun’s a golden rose,
And the magpie carols clear,
You can say, and I can say,
On the summer morning,
Here at last is Christmas Day,
The day that Christ was born on,
The day that Christ was born on.

When the wand’ring, lonely sheep,
Find at last a shady pool,
You can say, and I can say,
On the outback station,
Here at last is Christmas Day,
The day Christ brought salvation,
The day Christ brought salvation.

When the ranges turn to flame,
And the winds like trumpets blow,
You can say, and I can say,
Seven times and seven,
Here at last is Christmas Day,
The day that Christ came from Heaven,
The day that Christ came from Heaven.

But when summer’s shining moon,
Dips a silver chalice bright,
You can say, and I can say,
Joyously and airy –
Here at last is Christmas Day,
The day Christ smiled at Mary,
The day Christ smiled at Mary.


All the heavens are lit by a bright starry glow,
But the babes are asleep in the town far below,
They are sleeping and dreaming each one in his bed,
While the angels acclaim a Boy King overhead,
So Lulla, my love, O’lulla my love,
The King of the world’s coming down from above.

All the Boo-books are silent in willow tree glade,
And the night heron listens in star spangled shade,
While the moon like a sentry stands guard on the hill
But below in the town all the babes slumber still.
So lulla, my love, O’lulla my love,
The King of the world’s coming down from above.

There are lights in the heavens in praise of a King,
There is music triumphant, and voices that sing,
Till at last in the town far below them it seems
That the babes murmur softly and smile in their dreams,
Lulla, my love,
The King of the world’s coming down from above.


O who will come with me today
Across the hills and far away,
To find beyond the burning dawn
The little town where Christ was born?
This is no road for stumbling feet
To follow through the dust and heat,
But only those whose faith holds fast
Will find that little town – at last.
O who will come with me today
To find that little town where Christ was born?

We’ll brave the mulga plains by day,
Where streams have withered all away,
But when the summer night comes down,
In dreams we’ll see that royal town.
Come! Let us dare those grim domains
Where Drought the Red Marauder reigns,
Until we find beyond the dawn
The little town where Christ was born.


The trees are whispering a secret
From twilight to dawn –
The Lord who planted the bushland,
Tomorrow is born:
Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria in Excelsis,
Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria! Gloria, Gloria in Excelsis.

The creek that flows through the gully,
Chants under the spray –
The Lord of sea and the river,
Will come with the day:
Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria in Excelsis,
Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria! Gloria, Gloria in Excelsis.

The sheep at browse in the ranges,
Are murmuring afar,
Our shepherd from Heavenly pastures
Will come with a star:
Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria in Excelsis,
Sing Gloria! Sing Gloria! Gloria, Gloria in Excelsis.


Now once again it’s Noel time,
And ev’ry steeple rings;
The sun is like the great gold star
That led the Eastern Kings;
O come with me where hills are brown,
And Christmas Bush grows wild,
So we can make a Christmas crown
To grace a Kingly Child.

O let us seek in Noel time,
Through sunshine and through shade,
Until we find the Christmas Bush
His Kingly hands have made;
The fires are burning on the hill,
The smoke is coming down,
But Christmas Bush is blooming still

To make a Kingly Crown.


Christmas Day, where-e’er you be,
Light your candles on the Tree
Set it up for all to see
To the Lord of Light above
Like the birds in happy flight
Children dance in golden light
Deck the tree for their delight
On this day of Heavenly love
When the summer night is here
Like a lantern burning clear
Every window far and near
Shining forth its tree of love
Glory to the Heavenly name
Glory to the star that came
Over Bethlehem like a flame
Glory to the light above
Christmas Day, where-e’er you be
Light your candles on the Tree.


When the Christmas Bells are pealing
On this night of Heavenly love
And the summer moon is shining
Like a chalice far above
Let us seek with footsteps lowly
God’s own mother, Sweet and holy.

Up the hill that lies to westward
Down through gullies green with fern
Where a wattle tree is blooming
Where the creeks with starlight burn
We will find a bower shady
God’s own mother, Heaven’s Lady.

All the birds of all the bushland
Sing their carols sweet and clear
Sheep and oxen gather round her
Every beast from far and near
Come and kneel in bower shady
At the shrine of Heaven’s lady.

Queen of paradise and glory
Mother of the King above
Grant that we this Christmas midnight
May be worthy of His love
God’s own mother sweet and lowly
Guide our steps in ways most holy.


In the sky above the town
Golden sun gleams brightly down
Gilding every leafy spray
On this joyous Christmas Day
Every tree that we behold
Seems a tower of shining gold
All the land is burning bright
For the King of Heavenly light
Lift your voices, let them ring
Christ is King! this golden day.

On the ranges far away
Not one cloud is seen today
And the road through paddocks brown
Surely leads to Bethlehem town
Let us all as best we may
Journey there this Christmas Day
Through the land that’s burning bright
For the King of Heavenly light
Lift your voices, let them ring
Christ is King! this golden day.


As you sit by your wide open window
On that most blessed night of the year
And you look at your slumbering oxen
In the paddock the wind has burned sere
And you think of that old Christmas story
Of the beast and the Heavenly glory
You’ll remember it tells how at midnight
When the bells are beginning to ring
All the oxen kneel down in their paddocks
As they worship the Heavenly King
All the oxen so patient and lowing
Bowing down to the infant most Holy
While you gaze through the bright summer moonlight
All the pasture will glimmer like gold
And you’ll wait by the wide open window
Just to see if such wonders unfold
Just to see if the oxen are kneeling
When the Christmas bells all begin pealing.


Sun gleams bright, Hearts are light
Merry, merry Christmas
Bells ring out, children shout
Merry, merry, merry Christmas
Sheep in fold, Shine like gold
As the day is dawning
Riding by Stockmen cry
“Welcome Christmas morning.”

Golden Day, when we say
Merry, merry Christmas
In the street, where we meet
Merry, merry, merry Christmas.
And with pride, Fair and wide
All our homes adorning
Earth and sky, sound the cry
“Welcome Christmas morning.”

So with joy, man and boy
Sing with us together
On this morn, Christ was born
Merry, merry, merry Christmas
Raise the song, Loud and strong
In the shining weather
Joy bells ring, Christ is King
Merry, merry, merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Miracles

Next week, millions of people across the world will be celebrating the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ in a humble stable more than 2000 years ago.
Without trivialising this wondrous event in any way, I'd like to share my little miracle with you - the miracle of blogging.
My very dear friend, Kerri, who lives on the other side of the world from me and whom I have never met, sent me a photo of the shortbread she had baked. I told her that since she wasn't able to send me a piece, the very least she could do was send me the recipe.
The recipe arrived a few minutes later, and below is the result. So what is so miraculous about that? In more than 6 decades I had never made shortbread. Yes, I had sometimes thought about it, but that's as far as it got. Now, through the miracle of blogging and sharing friendship across the world, I now have a batch of very delicious shortbread for Christmas.

So thank you, Kerri (and Ross). Here is the tribute to you - before Richard and I ate it!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Home from the Hills

Thank you to so many people for their Congratulations and Good Wishes on our 40th Wedding Anniversary. They are appreciated - every one of them.

We had a wonderful few days in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. We stayed at the Bellbirds B&B, set amidst lovely gardens where the Bellbirds call all day and the frogs croak all night.

The unit was fully self-contained, although our delicious breakfast was cooked for us each day by our very friendly hosts and served in their beautiful conservatory.

Our attic bedroom was huge, and I really wanted to bring it back for the grandchildren to play in. It was fantastic and was so cosy when the dark clouds and thunder rolled in on Sunday afternoon, and down came the rain. I was hoping it would rain so that I could listen to it on the roof. It was so wet that evening that we didn't bother going to a restaurant for dinner. We stayed home and ate 2 peaches, plus a whole large apple pie and a bottle of cream. Yummy!!!

During the weekend we visited 2 spectacular gardens at Mt Wilson and the Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens. Shopped at the Blackheath Markets and were bedazzled by thousands of beautiful items at the Antique Stalls. We ate wonderful meals that I didn't have to prepare, saw magnificent scenery, took lots of photos, read books and had a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing time.

We don't think we'll wait 40 years to do it again!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Heading for the Hills

This Sunday we will celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary, and what better way to do that than 3 days at a lovely Bed and Breakfast cottage in the Blue Mountains.
Someone else to cook breakfast, lots of time to explore gardens and the mountain scenery, and discover some delicious little eateries! I'm sure it will make the last 40 years all worth it...LOL.
Indeed they have been worth everything - especially our four wonderful children and now 3 delightful grandchildren. The six different homes in which we've lived in 2 States, the friends we've made along the way, and the interests and experiences shared, including several overseas trips. The last few years in retirement have created an even greater sense of sharing and fulfilment.
We give thanks for all our many blessings.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Grandchildren - everyone should have some!

A visit to a local park on Sunday morning was enjoyed by grandchildren and grandparents alike. The simplest things can entertain children for hours - a wonderful thing to behold.
Water is always a great attraction for all ages.

"Now, what do we have here on this tree?"

A cicada. The noise of hundreds of these insects in the trees in the park was almost deafening. They make a noise similar to a cricket.

Adult cicadas emerge from capsules which are often left on tree trunks and branches....

.... where they can be collected by children and put to ...

.... decorative uses!

But some prefer to talk to a caterpillar on a stick.


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Monday, December 03, 2007

Contrasts in Clouds

Contrasting clouds in recent weeks, beginning with yesterday's sunrise.