My Princess – 21 Today

On 26th May 1994, in the beautiful city of Darwin, amongst cool tropical breezes and gorgeous pink bougainvillea plants and frangipani scented air, a little precious bundle was born. At 3.20 in the afternoon a little girl came into the world. She was a very special girl, a DocImage177princess! My Princess – a wonderful gift from Heaven.

Our Princess was called Sasha, and  she was welcomed joyously into the world by her brother Wayne, her father and

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myself, who were so delighted to have this special liDocImage174ttle girl in our lives. I loved my beautiful little girl so very much from the moment I set my eyes on her, and refused to allow the nurses to take her from my room, despite the need to sleep. Her brother Wayne, who is 9 years older, also fell in love and became her bodyguard, a role he has not relinquished to this day.Wayne & Sasha

Princess Sasha attended Parap Primary School, Darwin High School and finally Bond University from which she graduated with a degree in journalism.

Life may not be the perfect fairy tale, but today, the world is her oyster, and as her mother I could not be more proud of the wonderful young woman she has become. Compassionate, caring and authentic, with a magic flair for the written word and a love of reading.

My little Princess have given me so much joy, so much pride and so much love. I could not imagine life without her and everyday give thanks that I was blessed with her beautiful presence in my life.

My 21st birthday wish is for my Princess Sasha to enjoy a lifetime of happiness following whatever rainbow she chooses to ride.

Love always,

Mum xxx

 

Happiness

“People will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”    Maya Angelou

Some people are naturally happy. I’m fortunate to be one of those individuals who is generally optimistic and happy. For others, it’s more difficult and that’s where small gestures can make a huge difference and, most importantly, we can all play a part in making our world a happier place. AAAhappy-2015-2

Friday 20th March is the International Day of Happiness and in the lead up I’m participating in a program to actively focus on creating happiness each and every day in some small way.

Happiness is a state of being and research shows that it is related to our connections with other people. It doesn’t mean having heaps of friends and being popular rather we are talking about authenticity. Check out the 10 keys to happier living.

Simple things that make me happy are hearing from my kids, chatting to my parents, exchanging news with my sister and brother and a gossip with old friends.  Out in the Blogosphere there are heaps of great posts that bring a smile to my face. Sharing posts, giving and receiving feedback and compliments all add to my happiness equation. Today I’ve enjoyed reading Weekend Edition by @suddenlyjamie – brought a smile to my face and a couple of EdwinasEpisodes which are always good for a giggle. I also love visiting Storyshucker by Stuart M Perkins.

Let’s all make a big effort, especially this week, to perform a simple gesture, give a smile or a utter a few words that will contribute to the happiness of those with whom we share our world.

Michelle

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY

It’s already Australia Day but, where I am, here in my little flat in Ecija, Spain, rugged up in 4 layers of clothing with the heaters on, it’s not yet the 26th. I am however reflecting on my journey to becoming Australian.

I wasn’t born in Australia, but then again, neither were so many others that call this country home. My entry to Australia was relatively easy as I didn’t need to sit any IELTS tests, apply for sponsorship or come on a boat seeking asylum. I am very grateful and blessed!

I first visited Australia as a 19 year old travelling overland from London to Athens on a bus, flying to Bangkok and Singapore to visit friends and family before landing in Sydney and heading to Canberra before eventually travelling up to Darwin to visit more family members. Little did I know that Darwin was going to play a big role in my future.

It took me a great many years to become completely comfortable living in a country that was so totally different to where I spent my childhood – the Middle and Far East – even though I went to the UK for my final years of schooling. I felt like a fish out of water for a very long time because it was so culturally different to what I was used to. I didn’t really identify as any particular nationality even though my passport said British, and I rather suspect, this was due to my global upbringing and not having a fixed home base. Home was wherever my parents were.

On reflection, I was lucky to have ended up in Darwin as it’s undoubtedly the most multi-cultural city in Australia, a real melting pot where everyone lives side by side and there are no enclaves of particular ethnicities.

Today, I most definitely identify as Australian and consider myself extremely fortunate to live in a country that offers wonderful opportunities and provides, a predominantly, safe environment for children, as well as a warm welcome to those who manage to make Australia their home, even if there are lots of hoops to jump through and things are not always quite as some of us would like them to be.

I applaud all those who work so hard to make Australia a better country.  I give kudos to those in our armed forces who fight to protect our liberty and our freedom and I congratulate all the wonderful people who have been honoured in the 2015 Australia Day Awards. It’s especially pleasing to see Rosie Batty, a domestic violence campaigner named Australian of the Year, her story is truly inspirational and shines the spotlight firmly on a topic that is all too often avoided.

Australia Day Ball 2012 with special friends
Australia Day Ball 2012 with special friends

I’m missing the Australia Day Ball and other festivities, both madcap and serious, but I will be bringing a little bit of Australia into my Spanish classroom tomorrow.

Thank you Australia for all you have given me. I am proud to call you home.

Happy Australia Day!
Michelle

 

VOLUNTEERS ARE PRICELESS….thank you all!

It’s National Volunteers Week here in Australia so I’d like to take a moment to give a public thank you & SHOUT OUT to all the fabulous volunteers around Australia.

Fabulous Volunteers
Maureen & Daryl Manzie, Michelle Hanton, Marco Montenuovo and partner Lara Riva, Peter & Helen Hazelman

People volunteer because they have a passion and last night I was able to attend the NT Volunteer of the Year Awards with our 2 fabulous nominees (Marco & Peter) and their partners.

Partners and family play a pivotal role in allowing an individual to be able to volunteer – so thanks also to all of them.

At Lifeline, where I am currently working, we could not exist without the selflessness and generosity of our volunteers who sort in the shop, drive the truck, answer the 13 11 14 crisis support calls and take on so many other roles.

I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many volunteers during the course of my career to date. Oxfam, St John Ambulance Brigade, NT Breast Cancer Voice, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Dragons Abreast, Dragon Boat Northern Territory, AusDBF, Melaleuca Refugee Centre and Lifeline are the main ones to date.  I have learnt so much by working with these amazing people.

Individuals do not volunteer expecting recognition but it’s always nice to be able to say ‘thank you’ in a public way and National Volunteers week is a great opportunity to do so.

Volunteers everywhere – I salute you!

Michelle