mum's rants New Zealand

A Thoughtful Christmas in New Zealand – South Island

I know you are cold. I know you probably have snow.  I love snow.  We love snow.  I tell you it seems that most of the Christmas songs are about cold weather and snow.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere it would be quite weird and probably a bit scary if we had snow on Christmas.

christmas water fight

So, instead of snowball fights we will need to make do with water fights.

Some sadness when I was watching old friends greeting each other and thinking of my old friends on the other side of the world.  Especially sad thinking about our son and daughter–in-law on the other side of the world.  At least they are with my sisters and brother and mother.  That is right, I rather miss them too.  I miss them all, I miss you all.

Talking with some people that don’t celebrate Christmas.  Makes me think about it.  Do I think Christmas is a good holiday? Is it about Coca-cola?  Is it about a good man that used to give gifts to orphans?  Is there a bishop in there somewhere?  Is it simply a materialistic buying frenzy to keep our struggling economies afloat?  Is it about Winter Solstice?  The shortest day of the year?  The hope that the days will get longer.  That the sun will return.  I remember the first time my son saw a sunset.  He cried, yes he really cried.  He thought the sun had gone forever.  He thought it would never come back.  He thought we were doomed to live in darkness. I wonder if that was why there was the great celebration on the shortest day of the year? I wonder if they believed that their celebration, with all its hope, was responsible for bringing back the sun.  Actually, seems like it might be quite an appropriate day for the Christians to have their celebration of hope right alongside.  Hmmmmm. Am I going too far with this?

christmas hat

christmas ninja

christmas ties

In our family, we try not to get carried away with the Christmas materialism.  We haven’t the money or the space to waste.  But we do love to give gifts.  We love to receive them.  We love to make those we love happy.  Hard to avoid all the rubbish advertising likes to throw at us though, eh?  In our family most of our gifts are hand crafted gifts of the heart.  What fun.  Another thing I think about is – what other holiday do you get the joy of giving and receiving gifts at the same time?  Where the attention is not on one but on all. Lovely, isn’t it?christmas stout

Weeks before Christmas Gwennie and I were sewing, Tamara was painting and Andrew was brewing down in Waipara while Lizzy was cooking and Abi was discovering in Wellington.

christmas mince pie

Days before Christmas the family gathered.  The Fish were caught and smoked, more cooking, foraging and sewing.  Friends came around.

santa brings bunnies

So what did “Santa” leave you for Christmas.  I bet it was nothing like what he left us.  Andrew and I awoke to do our quick organization duty on Christmas morning. The kids try to pretend they are still sleeping so we can feel not quite so bad about sleeping in again. We noticed a special gift left by some stranger – no doubt a stranger that wears a warm red coat and hat .  It was 5 dead bunnies waiting for our Christmas Dinner.  OK, I know a bit strange but what did you expect – a new lounge suite?

christmas kahawai

Andrew had loads of fun delivering his Christmas Stout that he described as “Christmas in a bottle” and the Kahawai he and Abi caught, I cleaned and he smoked on the roof of our truck.

christmas boxes

During the next two days the following gifts were also delivered to our truck – hand crocheted Christmas stars, bbq meat, bags of vegetables and fruit, a box full of bread, another box of juice, shrimp curry, homemade tomato sauce, fig truffles, mushroom fritters, homemade stuffing, homemade quince cordial, photos, bottles of wine and home-brew beer.  Uuuuuh yeah!!!!  Can you believe it.  Of course, I am sure you know what the best gift of all is……


Even though we are strangers in a foreign land here (Yes, Andrew is a New Zealander but we are on the SOUTH Island and he is from the NORTH Island.  Obviously, A HUGE difference)…Sorry to break that lovely train o thought…. where was I …. Oh, yeah….FRIENDSHIP… What a great gift!!  I am sure that you must know by now that our greatest joy of travel is the amazing people we get to meet as we travel.  Every one unique and beautiful in their own way.  Each one sowing gifts in our hearts. Gifts of joy and beauty, hope and justice, wonder and celebration.  We get the honour of calling way more than our fair share ‘friend’.    Thank you for accepting and loving us as we are with all of our strange habits.

Thank you old friends for staying by our side in Spirit so many years.

Thank you new friends for the opportunity to see new beauty in the world through you and your lives.

christmas jojo

christmas love

christmas malaysia

We are rich beyond measure because of you.


One Big Family

Here we go the Cosper side of the Jonesberry family. A big group huh.

Some of my favourite memories from this Christmas. Holding my new nieces and seeing my kids do the same. Thanks, Eric and Jenny, for being such nice relaxed parents that you let us hold your beautiful treasures, Lola and Grace. Playing games. Working a puzzle with my sisters. Baking cookies with family.  A great heartfelt conversation in front of the family photos with my brother, Eric, and my sister, Pam. We learned new things about our family past and our individual reactions to it.  Seeing all our kids together. Spending a lot of time with my sister, Pam, and her family. We are a year apart ,in age, and inseparable when we were younger. I think the closeness of our relationship gave us the courage to become complete opposites in our teens. Now that we are all grown up we are able to not avoid our differences, or each other because of them, but to enjoy our friendship in the celebration of our differences.

mum's rants USA

Dancing Skeleton’s at the Christmas Table

It is early Christmas morning. I am the only one awake. We have been having such a great time with my family. The month has just raced by. You know, we haven’t gone back home for Christmas in America for 10 years. The last time the kids have been back was about 5 years ago. Yeah, I know, we should come back more.

So, I watched the sun come up, laying on the floor with my family in my dad’s study. Thinking about the talks, family dynamics and the individuals. We are quite a diverse lot. I am the oldest of 4 kids. We have gone on to collectively bring 16 grandkids into the family. I want to go off into multiple tangents of wonderful and serendipidus experiences at this point but I am determined to stay on target so I can get breakfast started.

This is my thought.

At these family gathering points we contemplate family history.

We laugh and play.

We reminise and cry.

We give and receive lots of hugs and kisses.

At least in my family.

Inevitably skeletons come out to play with us. You know those skeletons most families keep shoved in the closet. Well, ours seem to like to come out and dance on the table. Some seem scandalous to us and we have a childlike giggle. We like to think of it as a knowing smirk but it always becomes a childlike giggle.

Some skeletons make us want to cry. Some make us angry.

It is the angry part that woke me up early this Christmas morning. We have a choice you know.

One of the biggest wounds in our family happened about 25 years ago. We have talked in detail about where we were and how we have reacted. The wounds still seem so fresh.

If we allow the anger to continually visit the fountain of youth we give it power over us. Power to control our lives and our destiny.

The deal is, if we are completely honest, we get angry because love has made us vulnerable.

I choose love and a life of trying to live in that love rather than to live a life of bitterness and anger.


Canoeing, Feasting and After Eights for Christmas

Well, tried to post this up and lost everything. Here it goes again.

How are we doing? Soggy, soggy, soggy. We are so soggy. Did I say we were soggy? It is still raining, and raining.

Was not so sure how this Christmas would be. You see, we were supposed to be in Morrocco! Spending Christmas with our dear friends the Carters. We were kinda bummed. However, this Christmas turned out to be wonderful indeed.

The river bed that was empty when we first arrived was full and fast and ready for white, oops brown, water rafting for Christmas Eve and the sun even came out for a few moments to celebrate. I must confess I wimped out on all the fun. It may not look it but it was seriously COLD but the kids didnt seem to notice. If you look close you can see that where the small waterfall is behind Andrew is supposed to be a bridge. Now, a few days later, the water has gone up so high that you cant see the bridge at all.