Category Archives: beauty

measured words goes global…(not quite, just down the road and up a hill)

The lovely gang at Soul Survivor recently asked me to do a workshop at their annual festival, focusing on creative writing.  While I feel completely under qualified and overwhelmed, I love that they asked and I love that they see value in writing (creatively or otherwise).

I always find that when I am asked to speak anywhere – not that it happens often – it feels like an exercise in self-indulgence.  I seem to always find a way to introduce those things that are occupying my thoughts at that given time.

So with this in mind, the SS gang are likely to get a little glimpse into my struggle to find where beauty ‘fits’ in life and the importance of making time and space to find that which is beautiful.  And of course, how writing plays quite a significant role in that process for me.

Let’s plunge ourselves into the roar of time, the whirl of accident; may pain and pleasure, success and failure, shift as they will – it’s only action that can make a man [woman].

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

(and I forgot to mention – image from The Folio Society – amazing, amazing, amazing)

surround yourself with beauty…

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.This makes it hard to plan the day. E. B. White

I am slowly inching myself off the fence and down on to the side I want to live on.  And its the side where improving the world and enjoying the world are one and the same.  It is the side that says that beauty reflects more than superficiality.  It says that beauty and richness can be found in the little things and the little moments.   It’s the side that says we were created to improve the world, enjoy the world and care for the world.  And in doing so – beauty and fullness can be discovered.

At this stage it is complete idealism.  But its a place to start.  Something to aim for.  A choice to make.

surrounding yourself with beauty?

I have been thinking a lot about the idea that life is about richness and fullness. There are so many ways to interpret the concept of ‘life in fullness’, and of course it starts with family and friends and moments with the people you love.

I am also trying to work out how much it relates to the places and spaces we live in.

Part of my concern in ascribing to the concept is that often richness and fullness are equated with ‘things’ and acquiring more ‘things’, and I don’t want to be about that, and I certainly don’t want to advocate for that.  But I am discovering that there is also something very nurturing and enriching about surrounding yourself with objects that emanate peace and beauty.  And therefore  filling your life with beauty and richness.

Theologically there are lots of implications, which is also part of what I’m working through.

A friend recently lent me a copy of Sibella Court’s ‘Etcetera: creating beautiful interiors with the things you love‘ and I have loved flipping through her photos and explanations for why she creates particular spaces and the importance of personal treasures to make a space beautiful.   Below is a photo from her store which is opening in Sydney soon, it gives you a little taste of why I like the way she thinks!

And this divine photo from simple bluprint inspires me, makes me sigh with happiness, encourages me towards creativity and makes me wonder at its beauty.  Surely these are all good things?

So lots to think about (and lots to gaze at lovingly!).

common ground

Sometimes you meet people and it is difficult to find the common ground between the two of you.  Sometimes there is but a small crossover of ideology or interests or passions.  It is not a negative reflection of you or them, it’s just difficult to find common ground between you.

And then sometimes the common ground is vast and beautiful and beyond reason. 

I had breakfast this morning with three spectacular girls who I adore and it was a special treat for the four of us to get together. 

I savoured every second of it.     

These girls are honest and kind, beautiful and gracious.  Being near them breathes life into me and inspires me towards what I know is true and right.  

I have known these girls for over ten years and there is always the risk of growing apart.  But I think that I can safely say, this side of 10 years, that we will grow old together.  And the loveliest of things is that the common ground gets greater and firmer with every year.  For some reason, despite different interests, abilities and stages in life, it feels like our friendship gets better and deeper.     

I find it quite extraordinary that my life is full of these lovely people who speak truth and grace in necessary and equal quantities. 

I am sure there will be many more breakfasts to come and I am so unbelievably grateful for that. x


Nancy's Jewelry Jar

I don’t often do this, but this is one I am happy to make an exception for. 

One of my most favourite people in the world has recently opened an Etsy store.  If you are not familiar with Etsy, check it out.  Great for supporting small business while finding unique pieces of handmade art, jewelry, and pretty much anything you can think of. 

I have known Jamie (aka Ladyjamie) for a long time and she is a dear friend and among the most honest people I know.  She has a great eye for detail and beauty.  Her Etsy store is a lovely collection of vintage, unique pieces she has found or vamped up or made herself. Just gorgeous.

Check out her store at.


IMG_5277I was having coffee with a dear friend recently and she asked me what my girls names mean.  We had a fascinating conversation about names and how they become an intrinsic part of who you are and how you live.  (We also ate scones with peach jam and contemplated the lost joy of  a good Sunday roast! x).

Before each of the girls were born and we were going through the whole naming process, meanings became really important to us.  I know that for some people it is fairly irrelevant.  But we both believed that naming a child was a collaborative effort with God.  While we didn’t have any great flash of lightening moment and a burning bush (struck by the lightening!!) spoke and proceeded to tell us what to name our girls, we did believe that God was involved.  Names are powerful and they become part of who we are and how we define ourselves.  So we wanted names that we felt were strong and would help the girls appreciate who they were and how we, and God, saw them. 

Between the two girls we have grace, beauty, purity and one of the most beautiful places we have ever been!  Absolute bias aside, we see grace, beauty and purity in our girls and pray that their lives will defined by these elements. 

Fredrick Buechner puts it like this: ‘Buechner is my name. It is pronounced Beekner.  If somebody mispronounces my name in some foolish way, I have the feeling that what’s foolish is me.  If somebody forgets it, I feel that it’s I who am forgotten.  I can’t imagine myself with any other name – Held, say, or Merrill, or Hlavacek.  If my name were different, I would be different.  When I tell you my name, I have given you  a hold over me that you didn’t have before.  If you call it out, I stop, look, and listen whether I want to or not.  In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses that his name is Yahweh and God hasn’t had a peaceful moment since‘.

My name is a direct translation of the Greek word katharos (καθαρός) meaning pure.  I have a friend who only ever calls me katharos – and I love it.  There is something deeply personal about it and it also a very real reminder of who I am. 

I hope I’m not overstating it, but I do believe there is something significant in our names.  I hope so, espcially for my pure, beatiful, gracious girls.


I have been more than a little distracted by this whole root canal, crazy pain thing, but today something swiftly brought me back to a better place (ie. reality!). 

My girls (3 and 1) have new pink gumboots. And they are delighted.

They are positively overwhelmed with excitement about these gumboots. 

They must be worn at all times – inside, outside, during meals, pre-bath, post-bath.

So much joy. 

It is lovely and hilarious to watch.
















So much nicer to be thinking about the girls and their boots than some silly tooth! (also nicer than writing essays!!)


‘Beauty is to the spirit, what food is to the flesh’ – Fredrick Buechner.


I have been thinking a lot about beauty this last week- the absence of beauty and the definition of beauty. 


Autumn leaves, the smell of freshly ground coffee, my daughter’s giggle, lavender – all are beautiful, but all are subjective. 


The absence of beauty bothers me.

Moments of beauty breathe life into me. 


I live in an area which has recently been savaged by bushfires; horrendous, deadly fires.  And this week it snowed in these same areas.  In the blackest, fire ravaged landscape, there was snow falling. The contrast was startling.  Yet there has never been a more a literal example of ‘beauty from the ashes’.   


You don’t have to look hard to find beauty.  Sometime we just have to redefine our concepts of loveliness.


In response to some very ‘un-beautiful’ situations at my husband’s work, I made him this very beautiful cake. x