Saturday, February 11, 2012

Welcome Visitors!

by Anna Campbell

It's just before Valentine's Day which is the big annual day for romance writers. So just for something completely different and to give you all a break from being showered in hearts and roses, I thought I'd talk about some recent visitors to my place.

For many years, I lived in a tiny little flat in Sydney with a beautiful view of the neighbors' toilet windows (at least it wasn't distracting when I was trying to write!). Anyone who visited had to sleep on the floor in the lounge. Which was certainly fun in a pajama party kinda way but not exactly grown up.

These days I live in a proper house on Queensland's Sunshine Coast which is a very pretty part of the world. These days I love to get visitors. I put flowers in their room - check out the flowering gum blossoms I put in for my most recent guests. I put chocolates on their pillow. I clean the bathroom that is theirs alone (now that's luxury! LOL!).

But lately I've had some visitors with no interest at all in a posy on the dressing table. Unless I happen to scatter some bread crumbs in the bedroom - and as you know, that's grounds for divorce!

Aren't these black swans gorgeous? They've been hanging around all summer and it's been such a treat watching them.

Before this, we'd occasionally get a stray pair flying in but they'd never stay. So when a pair turned up a couple of months ago, I assumed they'd take off again like all the others. But they stayed. And then they found two more friends. And now most of the time, I have six swans on the lake at the bottom of my garden.

How cool is that? They really are the most beautiful creatures. They're deep, inky black with red beaks and legs and pure white undersides to their wings (check out the guy having a flutter in the right-hand corner of this photo).

Whenever I see them, it feels like a lovely unexpected gift that I've done nothing in particular to deserve. I hope they stay!

So let's leave this Valentine's Day madness behind and talk about unexpected joys. When was the last time something or someone happened to you and left you feeling like you'd been blessed?


Betty Hamilton said...

Life and time have a tendency to help families drift apart. However, several years ago my sisters and I started getting together several times a year, meeting in different places to just celebrate each other and our sister/friendship. We hve visited in places as diverse as Jamaica, Florida, and Kansas! But the best part of all is being together as only sisters can.... truely a blessing.

Anna Campbell said...

Betty, what a lovely thing to do. I think you're so right - you need to make time to see the people you love or the days just dribble away. I haven't seen my best friend for ages - we're going to make a date in March to get together. We talk on the phone and via email but it's not the same as actually catching up face to face.

Debby said...

My daughters call as much as possible and I enjoy their phone calls. I am blessed that they want to call us all the time.

Laney4 said...

Hey, Anna!
Ever since Oprah had her viewers do Grateful Journals (eons ago), I have been able to find so many blessings in life, every single day. Yesterday would include: my daughter wanting to share some personal information; my husband walking through the door with a twinkle in his eye; my son finally sharing his work schedule with me (he has different shifts every day and has a schedule provided weekly, but it's been months since he's shared one with me); a lovely telephone chat with my girlfriend for over an hour; and the list goes on and on. Today I am blessed with great weather for when I go grocery shopping after lunch....

Kathleen O said...

I have always wanted to visit your part of the world and when I was younger I thought about moving to Australia.
It sounds and looks like a beautiful place to live..
This past Christmas I had the most wonderful gift given me, and so so unexpected. I have rent an basement apartment now in my 10yr in the house of a wonderful couple who are just not my landlords, but have become good friends. This year they bought me a 42" LCD Flat Screen TV for my Christmas present. I was so overwhelmed and truly blessed by their kindness and gift.. I am really Truly Blessed by moving away from my home to theirs and I have never regretted my decision. It was a big deal for me to move away from all that I had ever known. But it was the best thing I have ever done..

Virginia C said...

Hey, Anna C! Six swans swimming sounds lovely and peaceful : )

I met my best friend, Lisa, in high school, and we have been best friends for almost 40 years. She is three months older than me, so she hits all the milestone birthdays first--and I rub it in!!! My friend has not lived here in our hometown for many years, but up until last year, her mother still maintained their family home. Her mother has now moved to another state to be near her oldest daughter. Lisa, who is the youngest daughter, has had the task of coming back here to help sell the house and resolve any personal business issues. The family home is mostly empty now, and it makes me sad each time I see the vacated rooms. It was always a welcoming home to family and friends, and I spent many happy occasions there as guest. Not long ago, Lisa was in town and invited me to the house for dinner. With only a microwave and a cooler, the meal was very simple. The frozen dinners were awful, but the company was the best! We laughed for hours--the wine and chocolate cake helped to make up for the rest of the meal. You know someone is your best friend when time and distance make no difference to the immediate camaraderie when you see each other again. It's always been that way between the two of us, and I feel very lucky that someone who has known me that long still thinks of me as her best friend. Aren't I the lucky one?

Anna Campbell said...

Debby, how lovely that you and your daughters talk all the time. I still miss my long phone calls with my mum. We used to talk all the time too.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Laney, what a lovely list. I think it's so easy to overlook these daily blessings when really they're the things that make us happy in the long term. I'm actually having a FABULOUS day (and it's only 6:30 in the morning!).

Anna Campbell said...

Kathleen, what a lovely present. And how lucky you are to have found somewhere to live that you love. My home is SO important to me so I understand how you feel. I'm getting a lovely glow from all your answers - thanks, everyone!

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, what a beautiful post. And love to Lisa! ;-) I know exactly what you mean about seeing some people after a long time and it's like you've never been apart. I've got a few friends like that. One is a very good friend I made when I lived in England in the mid-80s. As you can imagine, with life issues and expense, we don't get together that often. But every time we do, it's like the friendship just picks up where it left off last time. She even said exactly that when she was out visiting me last April. It's wonderful to have friends like that.

Di said...

Aren't those swans lovely - it must be great to sit outside & just take in the view.
Last weekend I went to the movies (saw Big Miracle - highly recommend it) with my sister-in-law & another friend. When the friend got in the car she had two small bags tied with pretty green ribbon. The each had a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar with Chocolate. Recipes came too for using with fresh berries. Yum - it's great to have friends that share unexpected joys.

Anna Campbell said...

Di, what a lovely present from your friend. It's those unexpected and just right gifts that really hit the spot, isn't it? I'll keep an eye out for the movie. Yeah, the swans really do improve the view ;-)

Renee said...

While you have swans on your lake, in N. America I have a pair of mallards (I think they are going to be parents soon) and anywhere from two to 20 Canadian Geese that take up residence. Right now, we are in the middle of what our family terms the "Goose Wars." They are trying to decide who will mate with whom and where the nest shall be. Every year this has happened. Last year we had ten goslings who were absolutely adorable. We guard them just like the parents and proudly feel that we have increased the goose population. They were once endangered. Every year they make me stop appreciate life on our pond and how lovely nature itself is at any season!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Renee, how lucky you are to have wild geese on your pond. We have ducks, including mallards. They're adorable when they're ducklings too. Isn't it strange how the animals and birds on our patches become like family? So glad you're helping the geese get back off the endangered list!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, everyone, for swinging by and sharing your blessings. It's been lovely to read about them. See you next month!

marybelle said...

Recently I had a perfect day. It ran so smoothly, everything just fell into place. That day I felt truly blessed.

Michele L. said...

Wow! I love birds and your pictures are phenomenal Anna! Thanks for sharing!

A week ago, where I work at there is a gift shop next door. The lady who manages the gift shop asked me if I could fill in on Friday since she wouldn't be able to come in due to a dr. appt. She gave me more money than was necessary to work for 3 hours. I told her that it was way to much and she wouldn't take the money back. I thanked her and gave her a hug. God answered my prayers because the money Carolyn gave me was the right amount to pay a bill that I needed to pay off. It was a blessing sent from heaven!

Linda Henderson said...

An unexpected blessing for me is how well my granddaughter is doing. She had major surgery in early November and still has a trach and stomach tube. She is doing so much better than I would have expected. Bless her heart. She will be 3 next month. Unfortunately the tubes won't be out by then, but we are hoping for April or May.

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Pat Cochran said...

Recent blessings for me are also in the
medical field. In September, Ken had emer-
gency surgery for a perforated intestine.
Two blessings: the excellent surgeon our
primary care physician called in and the
fact that he saved Honey's life. In Octo-
ber, I had to have a breast biopsy (done
by the same surgeon) and the results were
benign. God blessed us all around!