Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".

Welcome!

Welcome!

Monday, 26 December 2016

As 2016 comes to a close

Can you believe it is nearly the end of 2016 already? 2016 has flown by so quickly. This is the time of the year for looking back over the past year and planning for the future. We've had a few changes in lifestyle in 2016 as my husband retired at the beginning of the year so there has been lots more time spent enjoying time together - a year of reconnecting for us. 

I hope that 2016 has been good to you. 


This time of year I also take the opportunity to thank you my dear readers, as without you this blog just wouldn't be. You have helped me to continue to write down my thoughts and share my photos, and I hope you have enjoyed what I have shared. I have certainly enjoyed our conversations  and connecting with you through your blogs. 

It is eight years since I tentatively started my blog in July 2008. My posts have evolved over that time and I have made many wonderful connections all over the world. I am grateful for the way blogging has expanded my world.  One benefit of blogging for me is that it has become a diary of sorts for me, a great way for me to document, and look about over, our journeys, activities, special moments and thoughts through my photography and jottings



This is the way my blog for this week started last week, but then over the last few days as I went about preparing for Christmas my thoughts went in a different direction as I thought about the people in my life who are going through grief, stress or trauma at the moment.

My friend whose divorce came through a few weeks ago, our neighbour whose husband passed away from cancer on Christmas eve 2015, my brother-in-law whose brother passed away a few months ago, two friend's whose mothers passed away this year, a friend who is caring for her very ill mother in Esperance, a friend who is desperate to reconnect with her daughter if only she knew where she was (please make contact), my blogging friend who recently had encouraging medical reports on her cancer journey, and another blogging friend who has had multiple health issues during the year. 

But there has been joy too for some of these friends welcoming new life into their families.

A shared my poem - The Ghosts of Christmas Past - in my last blog. You can click here if you missed it - Christmas is a time for family


 And I realized that I have much to be grateful for. 

Time spent with our family and two grandsons. We are so lucky to live close to our son and his family so that we can be a part of our grandsons lives as they grow up.  They lost their other grand mother not long before our second grandson was born, and I've always felt her absence in their lives.

My husband and I lost our remaining parents in the latter half of 2014, my father in September 2014 and my mother-in law on 26 December, but since then we have celebrated new life within my sister's family -  the birth of three grandsons, a wedding and another baby on the way.  

I read recently that it is very important for us to mourn, but then turn the page and concentrate on the living and celebrate life. How true these words are.

 
 Time spent with friends. We especially enjoyed a couple of holidays this year with friends at Coral Bay and camping north of Broome. 



Being a part of three vibrant groups through writing with the South Side Quills, photography with the Photography Group of Bunbury, and dancing with the Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company. Very different groups, with very different people, and all adding something to my life, skills, outlook and stretching my confidence. 

South Side Quills launched their first anthology in August, and Sol y Sombra won their section of the Eisteddfod in June. 


 The opportunity to travel through our magnificent country. We have had various trips from only a few days to 6 weeks this year. If you go to the INDEX in the top tab, you can go to the links there to read blog posts from our travels. Western Australia is so vast and so varied in landscapes. I feel so lucky to be able to explore it.


The opportunity for personal growth through attending artistic workshops, facilitating photography workshops, portrait shoots for family and friends, and a food photography shoot.  I was very excited when one of my portraits appeared on a cd cover.

Since my retirement I've enjoyed attending various art workshops and trying new things, but I have also had the opportunity to facilitate workshops too - which has tested and added to my confidence. It is amazing what we can achieve if we just take that first step. 


The opportunity to photograph our amazing wildflowers, especially varieties new to me. I am passionate about wildflower photography, and with thousands of varieties in Western Australia, how lucky am I?

Grey Leafed Bottlebrush -Dryandra 2016
 In June I experienced the totally unexpected thrill and excitement of having my wildflower photography noticed by a national magazine - Australian Photography. 



 Health, a comfortable home, a loving and supportive family, learning from others and the opportunity and time to connect, indulge passions, and explore learn new skills and pathways.
 
This blog post has turned out very different to what I had at first intended. I thank you for taking the time to stop by and for being a part of my world.  You can connect to any of my old posts through the side bar or via the INDEX in the tabs at the top of my blog. 

 You might also like to visit my travel blog - Tour Western Australia

kangaroo paws flowering in my summer garden

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to whatever link-ups below that are operating this week. . Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

 

Mosaic Monday 
Life Thru the Lens 

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
 
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
The Weekly Postcard 
Sky Watch Friday



 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas is a time for family and sharing


Christmas is nearly here again. This time of year I think a lot about those who are missing from my family Christmas table. My husband and I have lost both our sets of parents over the last few years.  In December of 2014, a couple of months after my father passed away, I wrote a poem "The Ghosts of Christmas Past". It was printed in my writer's group anthology, The Runaway Quill, which was published this year (you can see a pic of it in the sidebar). Recently I heard from one of our members that a friend of his who is a church minister in Adelaide in South Australia will be reading it during his Christmas services. This has made me feel extremely happy and humble at the same time. I know at the time I wrote it my writer's group said that many people would be able to relate to my poem. I have decided to share it with you here, as I know that we all have someone missing from our table at this special time when families come together.  

This is my Christmas gift to you, my dear readers. I have very much appreciated your support throughout the year, and I wish you all very happy Christmas spent with those you love.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past
Jill Harrison
                                                                                     
Christmas only comes but once a year
It brings with it joys and tears

As I go through the motions of gift buying, decorations
And planning menus
I am thinking of those who will be missing from my table for the first time this year
They are the ghosts of Christmas past.

My father hanging Christmas lights in the pine trees at our front gate
The carol singers under our corner street light.

I lay in bed wondering how Father Christmas could possibly come down
   our kitchen chimney and through the little doors at the front of our Metters Stove.
But he did – because the carrots and cake were gone in the morning.

The excitement of seeing my new big doll Lucy under the Christmas tree.

My mother dishing up the Christmas pudding with the threepences hidden inside
Her Christmas carols that filled the house.

The long Christmas table at my Aunts
With aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents
And silly hats.

Summer heat and laughter,
Playing under the sprinkler on the back lawn,
And laying on the cool passage lino with a new book.

The simple pleasure of humid summer evenings on the back lawn
   looking up at the stars.

As I hang the special Christmas baubles on my tree
And light the candle of remembrance
I look into the eyes of my grandchildren
And I see the ghosts of Christmas past.



And some photos from Christmas past - With my Mum and older sister at a summer holiday cottage at Safety Bay 1958, with my Dad going to church, with my sister and my big doll Lucy, and with my sister at a summer holiday cottage at Palm Beach in 1962. We had shirred front bathers - did you? 

I think my Dad was the first in our area to hang Christmas lights in our garden. We had two huge pine trees at our front gate where he used to hang them. We lived on a corner, and had a street light, and I remember the Salvation Army coming along on Christmas eve and singing Christmas carols under the light. I have such special memories from those childhood Christmases

And some beautiful music from Enya - The Spirit of Christmas Past.

  
 In Australia we don't have a white Christmas as it is the middle of summer, but we do have a native Christmas tree which is absolutely brilliant this time of year.

 Below is the Australian Christmas Tree - Nuytsia floribunda - which was named the native Christmas tree by early Australian colonists because it bursts out in orange blooms in December.
 The nuytsia tree is the world's largest variety of mistletoe. They are hemiparasitic plants, and grow by attaching themselves to host plants and draw water and nutrition from the host. ABC net - Australian mistletoe

Have you done your Christmas baking? I must start this weekend. Here is a simple recipe to spread some Christmas cheer. In the Australian summer we often hope for a cooler day on Christmas Day, although many people go to the beach in the afternoon or on Boxing Day.  I have memories of my Mum and Aunt cooking a traditional baked Christmas dinner (we blame our old English heritage for this) in a wood stove while it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in our kitchen.  

Whilst I still cook a baked Christmas lunch, it is nice to have some simple Christmas recipes that don't require cooking, like this one - Mini Christmas Puddings. 

 
Honestly this recipe is so easy and so yummy!

All you need is:
1x800gm fruit cake (any plain wrap supermarket brand is fine), 180gm dark chocolate - or use a mixture of light and dark chocolate, 1/4 cup brandy (or substitute with orange juice), white chocolate melts and red and green glace cherries to decorate (or you could use jelly fruit lollies).

Crumble the cake in a large bowl, melt the chocolate, and mix with the cake, and add the brandy. Mix well and then form into balls with your hands. Place on a tray. Melt white chocolate bits and drizzle over the puddings. Use glace cherries cut to shape to decorate. 

Tip - only pour white chocolate over a few at a time as it will set very quickly and you need to stick on the glace cherries before the chocolate sets.  Store in the fridge.  Enjoy!



Do you have a special Christmas memory or recipe? Perhaps you would like to share in the comments. Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. 

Have a wonderful week.  I wish you and yours a joyous and peaceful Christmas, spent with those you care about.  For those of my readers who don't celebrate Christmas I wish you peace and happiness. 





I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

 

Mosaic Monday 
Life Thru the Lens 

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
 
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
The Weekly Postcard 
Sky Watch Friday

 ps - I have finally succumbed and I'm now on Instagram - please click on the link if you'd like to take a look - Life Images by Jill on Instagram

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