Festooned with love

August 28, 2010

I feel so festooned with love by my Father, my Family and my Friends. When a small team of us went into Hindu villages in both Sri Lanka and India, what kindness was lavished upon us with garlands of flowers placed around our necks. Festooned is a great word which to me represents more than a design of a flower bunch but exuberant, over the top kindness.

In the days following Mike’s death, the door bell would ring several times a day and often it was Interflora with extravagant flower arrangements. 

Garlands of Love

The lounge room was soon so full we spilled over into the kitchen, then the hall and on up into our bedroom. The strong scented aroma throughout the house was beautiful. We were surrounded by festooned love. Single acts of thoughtful love that became synergistically atomic.

Can you believe the girls had me crying on the plane at the love expressed to me for my 50th.

50th at 37,000 feet.

Typical Kathy had not only brought fine glasses to drink from but a selection of my favorite cheese and cheese cake. And so with the party table set, I opened my present from the girls to find a book containing family photos with notes, comments and explicit communication of love from the girls to me for memories and characteristics they like in me!

Words are limiting to communicate the festooned love I experienced yesterday afternoon by family and friends for a surprise party here in Brisbane. 

Surprise 50th Party

 Festooned love is so pleasant to be the recipient of. My Father has blessed me with an exuberant wife, awesome family, and friends that should really be refered to as family!

Psalm 149 God delights in his people, festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!


A love letter from Laura to Akila

August 24, 2010

The girls have given me one of the most precious presents any dad could wish for, a book they made of photos and their comments and thoughts about our relationship.

But this is a copy of the birthday card Laura sent to Akila.

A Love Letter…

The Grassy Road That We Walk Together

A Love Letter from One Sister to Another

 Dear Akila,

I write this because I want you to know how much I love you and care about you. I know that people do not see what we have and at times we may not realise what we share; but I hope to make it clear that no matter what mountain is put in front of us I am here for you and it is an honour to walk hand-in-hand along this grassy road with you and have God as our guide. For every mountain that has come and every mountain still to come, know that I love you ever so much.

A lump in my throat has formed as I type these very words. I want you to know that past all the typical sisterly issues, I love you very much. I never got the chance on Earth to tell Mike just how much I loved him; only in my dreams, now, have I had such a pleasure. Paper may not last forever but words do and therefore I want you to know that I love you and if anything happened to you I truly would be heartbroken, just like I have been with Mike. Akila I love you. I feel the lump in the throat and the tears down my cheek as I express my love for you.

Oh, holding you tightly in my arms as we walked closer to our brother, who lay in a deep sleep in his coffin, was a moment I will never forget. Do not underestimate the power that relationships can have on people. I do not think you realise just how life-changing that moment was, as a sister, when I held you in my arms to physically walk you towards Mike. Akila, it took us 45 minutes to walk 2 meters- keeping my eyes on you for those full 45 minutes and holding you tightly, keeping you safe was something I, as a sister, will cherish till the day I die and may even take with me to place at the feet of our God when we reach the Kingdom of Heaven. I love you and Mike so much. The three of us in that room, together, gave a sense of unity; even though his spirit was not present. His legacy remained.

It was always the three of us… always. All our midnight picnics; our passwords to enter our secret clubs; dressing up as the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty; having Sports Days in the back garden; being on a team to play board games against Mum and Dad- it was always the three of us. So then to have that last moment in that room together, him in a deep sleep and you and me watching over him, was such a beautiful conclusion to a brother-sister relationship. Oh how I love you both.

I get teary when this topic is mentioned because it means so much to me and at times I do not know what to do with the truth… So here it is: I am telling you that I love you and always will!

Akila, our relationship is very unique. No matter what anyone tells you, you are extremely unique. No one will ever go through exactly what we have gone through in exactly the same way. Our love is so special. Your story is matchless. The timing and the emotions we felt at certain times make up who we are. Our experiences we have faced mould us into who God wants us to be. Everything that has happened and will happen in your life has been for a reason. Live wisely and allow God to mould you; then finally, one morning, you will open your eyes and realise that you really are God’s daughter- a princess of the living God. You will see that you are so beautiful because you will have been true to yourself and will have allowed yourself to be YOU… no one else.

Akila, I love you. Never forget what the three of us have written together because you may find that one day you will need those memories to get you through something difficult.

Open your eyes. Look next to you. I am here. Look up. God is even closer! Now, look behind God. He has the gates of Heaven awaiting you. Within those gates, Mike waits for us.

I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday, Akila, and I love you so much!

Love from your sister,


P.S God told me to tell you that Mike loves you too…

What a blessing!

August 22, 2010

My lovely women!

We head off today for several weeks in Australia. What a riot that we leave on 22nd and arrive on 24th, my 50th is on 23rd so spent the entire time at 33,000, with the girls stapped into seats so they have to be with me the whole of my B’day! Lets see if we can get some of the other passangers in the party mood!

Nick too celebrated his 50th this week and what a joy to meet up with Scott after 26 years! We all have given up 6 packs because we decided to have the whole barrel!

Scott, Graham, Nick, Mark

Scott is a professor of wine, Graham a Maritime Officer, Nick a successful stock broker and then me!

ALthough I am less emotional about Mike, I find tears welling up about going to Australia without him and so will pop by myself to his grave to say bye. Its a silly thing but it does feel very strange he is not with us on this trip. The girls arrived back from Holland on Friday and have been washing and packing since. I put out Mike’s boggie board thinking that the girls would want to surf with it but they dont. I am sad but it would only be for nostalgia and a pain to carry.

I am a blessed man and thank God for my family and you all my friends. You all mean so much to me. It blows me away at the love you all show. I have some very thoughtful cards, people dropping off Champagne and TXT’s etc. It means a lot to me, Thank-you.


August 20, 2010

My Buddy and I on our last visit 2005

Kathy and I were walking in the park this evening thinking about this time last year, and I realised these days I  am totally numb of emotion. How bizarre to go from such deep emotion to void of feeling. In many ways I either take issues relating to Mike in my stride, or many of the 1st’s are passed.

Its been very hard for Kathy packing for Australia without Mike. For her Australia is home. She was always proud to show the kids various places and longed for the day we would all live there. Shattered dreams bring tears for her.

You helped me bury my buddy

August 13, 2010

Was yesterday the final “1 year ago today”, I think so but then again this journey has lots of surprises. Its so surreal to realise that on the 12th we put my buddy in a hole and walked away. One of the most horrible activities any person can do. But I didn’t want to focus on that side yesterday. The girls tried counting people in photos of that time at the crematorium. They got to 200 and gave up. We as a family send a very big thank-you to you all for helping us on that day. Many of you were not there physically but watched on the internet or where there in prayer.

Thanks for walking the journey

This past year we as a family have so appreciated our friends who have walked with us along the journey. One piece of advice I gave to my mate Dave when his beautiful wife Linda went to join Mike was ‘dont go it alone”. I had the privilege to be in Finland in July. That country is covered in pine trees and one day I watched a tractor with well designed equipment not only cutting the trees but processing them into logs. Pine trees grow very close together and use each other for protection and help when a storm comes. If a pine tree is out by itself, due to the shallowness of its roots and type of soft wood, it is likely to be up rooted if a storm appears. Pine trees grow together.

Thank-you to all you friends and family who allowed me to lean on you when this storm hit. One of the most precious memories on that day was carrying the coffin with my brother Chris the opposite side. Sam, the funeral director told us to put the hand on the others shoulders. I couldnt reach Chris like that so we put our arms around each others waist. Wow was that such a comfort at the hardest time. 

Leaning on friends

Standing on the shoulders of those who went before us and providing the shoulders for those who come after us.

August 10, 2010

My buddy Mike and friend Nick introduced me to the Les Paul Guitar. Les Paul died at 94 in 2009. We would not enjoy rock & roll or Eric Clapton if it wasnt for Les Paul. Radio 2 had a wonderful program on Les Paul tonight.  Whilst many of us would not give a second thought to Les Paul, its important to think we are  “standing on the shoulders of those who went before us and providing the shoulders for those who come after us”



August 10, 2010

A Grace Disguised - J Sittser

I have mentioned before some of the books that have been very helpful over this past year. ‘A grace disguised’ by Jerry Sittser is in my top two. I have had to by 3 copies as I keep giving them away! Im now reading this for the 3rd time also and he had a quote in there this morning that is so thought-provoking. “The person who has forgiven, lets God run the Universe”. They let God administer justice and distribute mercy at his will. Akila had to forgive God for taking Mike. I have had to forgive people in work. The consequences of some actions are so devastating. What makes it more painful is when there is no justice here on earth. Sittser lost his wife, mother and daughter to a drunk driver who on a technicality was not prosecuted. The vengence and anger whilst natural was going to destroy what he had left.

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