Friday, January 27, 2012

Fly That Flag

Yesterday I shared my table with 10 Aussies. We celebrated Australia Day with the traditional lamb bbq, marinated in Mediterranean herbs and garlic. We feasted on the iconic pavlova, dressed with baked peaches and plum syrup, gifts from our backyard fruit trees. 

Around the table, a blend of cultures and characteristics mixed in a unique fashion we like to call True Blue. My kids are half Greek, half Slovakian. Our friends' children are the happy blend of an Aussie/English...with a hint of Belgian dad, and their gorgeous Nigerian mother. Each one of us, stamped with our own heritage. Each one proud to be Australian.

All the adults at the table have tasted life outside this country. We know we are blessed. We live a life of privilege, and it's marked on our passports with one word, Australia. We don't take it for granted, especially me. 

I gave birth to one of our children during my Beloved's year of consulting in Thailand. Unlike his Aussie-born big sister and brother, our third baby arrived in a Bangkok hospital. Just like them... he was already an Aussie. Born Australian by Decent, his nationality fixed by my own, he was and always will be an Australian citizen. While his birth certificate is in Thai, all his documentation, issued 11 days later states he belongs to me and his father, and has the right to call himself Australian. 

And with that right, comes identity. 

So we embrace the blessing of being Australian. We'll keep our flag strung between the peach and nectarine trees a little longer and give thanks we are free to do so.  Nothing can dissuade us from expressing what's in our thankful hearts. We know who we are, and we are happy to show it. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Best Ever Banana Cake Misadventures

I was hoping to start 2012 with a fancy new blog template and other goodies to match my new tag line, The Heartbeat of Yesteryear, but somewhere amidst seaside holidays, Christmas festivities and summer fun... my good intentions got 'lost in the mail.'

Stay tuned though, as they say, and I hope to have more about that, someday soon......

In the meantime, there's much to be said about the slower pace of summer. Fewer alarms ring, fruit falls off the trees before we get a chance to eat it, and my favourite... longer evenings equal walks through shaded streets with my Beloved!

In the early days of this year I baked a family favourite, Marble Swirled Banana Cake. Marbled with chocolate of course! Is there any other kind? That's it, up there. Photo-prettied by my dear daughter as we watched it cool on the bench. After we all sampled a piece, I packed it into the car for a quick weekend trip to Phillip Island.

That night, my family declared it the BEST banana cake I'd EVER made and before the sun had set, half this cake and most of our milk had been gobbled away. If you're a cook of any kind, you will know how good this feels... as you smile and tuck your cake under it's blanket of plastic wrap.

Not good, was how I felt the next morning, when I discovered the kitchen swarming with ants, all celebrating the New Year, in and around my best ever banana cake.

Gone.  Lost.

Destined for ruin even before it had a chance to live a second day. Plans to feed my kids more of this deliciousness, disappeared as quickly as it took to push the remainder off the plate and out the back porch.

I watched as seagulls made a meal of the spoils I had not fashioned for them.

But not to be completely lost, the cake lesson served its purpose. More spiritual than culinary, I realised afresh, not all our plans will eventuate as we imagine. One day we will receive accolades for a job well done, the next, we will bury our mistakes. Some plans will bear fruit, others will die unexplored.

Our plans should never sit in a cold slab of stone. God knows infinitely better how things should turn out, and He has plans of His own for us too.

We can, and should, plan. But we must commit all things to Him and be prepared for the course He allows. It's in our best interest. He is, after all the BEST at making things happen as they should!

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 
'Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'
Jeremiah 29:11