Saturday, February 28, 2009

A birthday, a picnic...

Today was Jamie's birthday.  So what better way to celebrate it, than with a picnic! a river somewhere...

With my feet feeling happy.  A welcome break from mid week busy-ness...

A chocolate/coffee birthday cake (you guessed it, baked by me in Meile)! (Forgive the tongue)!

And a beautiful birthday wish from his wonderful Mum.  Who scanned in and sent this photo of Jamie (blonde wild hair) and his fine older brother Cameron when they were little, not too long ago...

And I can understand that the photos taken today, for a birthday picnic will one day be of a time long ago when we all were younger...  Remember to make your days positive and meaningful so as to make wonderful memories for a time beyond now.

Happy Birthday Jamie!

Shell xx

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Canberra Show

Being a pioneer farming family, The Tullys always go to The Canberra Show held on the last weekend in February.  It is always a gorgeously fun day.  Where you trawl through endless stalls of innovative gadgets, (and some not so...), get handed flyers for things you don't want, wander through pavilions showcasing perfectly harvested vegetables, admiring the winning pumpkin, capsicum, tomato!  Gaze lovingly at beautiful handmade quilts, cross stitches, photography, costume design, pot
tery, wood work; and get inspired to enter something of your own each year (but never seem to do it)!

It's always crowded and hot, as you make your way to look at perfect specimens of livestock, and give them a friendly smile as you walk by.  The smell of cow sheds, and horses is so wonderful, and while not too far from what we actually have at home, I always take a moment to appreciate these beautiful creatures at the show, where I may overlook or forget to marvel at them in the everydayness, of home...

We take the kids to the baby animal sheds, where hundreds of children are squealing with delight at puppies, and kittens, lambs, rabbits, (to name a few), and Sean's favourite (and my favourite photo of the day) the pigs!

"Yay I'm a Llama again!  No, wait..." - you'll get that if you've ever seen Disney kids film The Emeror's New Groove.

And finally you walk through the side show, and buy the children show bags before heading home with sore feet, a little sunburn and a great time had by all!

Shell xx

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Blessing

I am tonight struck by something I have seen of a BBC television program called 'The Monastery".  A reality TV experiment whereby a Monastery in Sussex, England opened it's doors to a BBC camera crew and five modern men (who are mostly not Christians), but who are interested to understand what has drawn it's inhabitants to the monastic life.

There are three episodes which have inspired and got a hold of my heart.  It thrills and excites me to see God using these beautiful Monks to wake up the hearts and spirits of the five visitors, and through them, the collective audience of the show.  

At one amazing moment in the last episode one of the monks gave a blessing to one of the visiting men.  I have commandeered a computer tonight in order to share it with you; as it has touched something in my heart which I know gives me strength and courage to face my days closer to the Lord.  May it do the same for you.

May your soul calm, console and renew you,
May the light of your soul guide you,
May the light of your soul bless the work you do,
With the secret love and warmth of your heart.

May the day never burden you,
May dawn find you awake, alert, 
approaching your new day with dreams,
possibilities and promices.

May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.

Shell xx

Monday, February 23, 2009

Miele's Maiden Voyage!

Since writing you last I have had my new oven installed!  Finally...

I saved up some money late last year and bought (on sale!) a Miele oven, Fisher and Paykel ceramic cook top, cute little range hood, and Ikea cupboards and bench top to put them in!
It was a much needed expense, as I did not even have an oven for many years in my little 1940's kitchen, complete with the original fire fuelled stove top which you can see in the background of my recent upgrade.

The aim for me, is to complement my vintage home with tasteful modern touches which do not detract from the quaint beauty of it's personality.  I am so excited to have made a tasteful renovation to The Green House which has always been it's name.  I shall post again when all the finishes have been completed.

Almost as soon as the electrician left I fried myself an egg on my new hot plates!

And today I baked myself a cake in Miele - my new, and delicious friend!  This is how the story unfolded...

Shell xx

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mellow greetings, and coffee house murals...

Mellow greetings to all, and sincere apologies for my recent lack of correspondence.  My computer is in at the Mac doctor, suffering battery "issues" and a kaput disk drive.  I have been left to wonder the world wide web armed with only my iPhone (ain't it rough) or any unattended computer at that I happen across!

I have been thinking up posts over the last few days, taking photos of this beautiful world where or whenever and the opportunity presents...

I have been playing a lot of piano, preparing for the new album, finishing off Bridges and second Verses, Outros and In...  Now, the above photo reflects absolutely none of the text below it so far until now.

The above is a gorgeous mural on the wall of one of my favourite coffee houses in Canberra.  I have been enjoying coffee in the presence of this South American looking expresso inspired picture for many years, and I noticed the other day that the shop is soon to be renovated and the mural will be gone.  So I had to take a photo of it to show you while I could.

I love the woman's hat, dress, and the red rose between the couple.  The expression on the waiter's face, and the overall colour scheme just makes me feel warm and comfortable and like, coffee!  I hope there will be something even more wonderful there soon to replace it, but I am disappointed to see it go.

I remember many conversations I have had there underneath that picture.  The sight of it makes me think of many things past, and I like the memories.  Many spirited, passionate, difficult, wonderful, political, personal and spiritual discussions have been conducted there over coffee with trusted friends, dear family; many more will come, and none (like this mural) will ever be regretted or forgotten.

Shell xx

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Tonight I go about my evening, but with a flutter of impatience and excitement inside...  My dear friend and darling husband is due to arrive home tomorrow after having been weeks away with work.

I am not inclined to give any notice to Valentines Day, and the folly of red roses and Hallmark cards, as I believe everyday is this special day with a special friend.  

A warm smile, to me is more thoughtful than a red rose; and a respectful regard and honest friendship, more telling than a card with a pre-printed message.

The is no harm of course in these things between lovers I suppose, but the point I wish to make, is that there be true love in between any, or all of the above exchanges.

Goodnight dear friends.  I wish you love.

(photo by Anna Eliza Tully)

Shell xx

Thursday, February 12, 2009


In this little book, I am compiling.  

All songs on the short list for my new album.

This short list however, is running awfully long!

I cannot wait to give them the voice they deserve.

And hoping you will love them, as much as I.

Shell xx

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


As I play piano late into the night,
when poetry is easy, the house is quiet,
Tea cup full, my heart welling with things to say;

As I search for my "genre" in the market place,
For my "peer group" in the music world-
I find myself without such virtues,

Sometimes a little bit alone with my songs.
Always sure though,
of their worthiness to be heard,
And of my willingness to give them flight.

So far above glitter and red carpets is true sensitivity!
Is unfailing artistry.
So like a shoe maker makes shoes;
Late into the night, I make songs.
Without the need for genre, friends, even fans,
With passion, with pleasure,
With everything I am,

Shell xx

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All the small things...

My sister-in-law and I spent this morning bagging up clothes for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.  The children helped me sort clothes into sizes and organise them into bags etc.  I tried to think, if I was that mother who had just lost her home and everything in it, what would I need for my children (knowing it would matter most, to have them clothed and comforted).  It felt good to help out in a small way...

I did some baking, one of the first cakes I have ever made!  Having only just acquired an oven.  I made this delicious banana loaf.  Recipe, (and convection microwave oven for that matter!) courtesy of a much beloved sister-in-law.

Perhaps I didn't need to take several photos of the thing, but I was rather proud of it's perfection!  

Funny how taking delight in all the small things,  and doing lots of small good deeds, can somehow make you feel a little more certain that all will be well.  "A merry heart, does good like a medicine" says the bible.  So eschew all worries, and work on the light in your heart.  Keep it on through fear, and doubt and pain.  

And let us pray for Victoria; and for each other, through whatever struggles that may be facing us.

Shell xx

Monday, February 9, 2009

The very thought that one day here,
The next day gone,
Is just too much, and all too real to hear.

And here, I sit in this charming room,
While theirs is burnt to the ground.
It's just too much, to hear!

But who cares of me!
Matters not a wit what I can or cannot bear!
I can offer nothing but a prayer;

Bigger than you or I, is He.
Greater than fire, and wind and sea...
Having heard my prayer, explains to me-

That He is outside of our days,
Inside of our hearts,
He has built us a new home...

And never again should I think,
That ever were we really here,
And never will our souls be gone.

Shell xx

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Delights, (and sorrowful drawbacks) of the Australian Summer!

Delighting in Summer can be easy on one hand, and sorrowfully difficult on another.  My heart and prayers go out (in spiritual express post) to the families and communities who have lost loved ones, and homes in the Victorian bushfires.  Every Australian fears this at one time or another during our long relentless summers, I am so sorry for those who have experienced this recent tragedy.  All I can make of this is that we live in a fallen world where God allows things to go horribly wrong sometimes...

I feel reluctant now to relish the delights of Summer, but here goes...

I have delighted in receiving handmade cardboard fans given to me by my children;

By making the best of scorching afternoons when all you can do is sit down and delight your mind with episodes of BBC classics;

Summer produce, like large, home grown curly lebanese cucumbers, lemons, cherry tomatoes, and very ripe bananas - which are just begging to be made into banana cake! 

I take delight in long, lazy dinners outside with chilled juice, fresh salad, brown rice, and spicy baked chicken cutlets.

I hope to not trivialise the tragedy sweeping through our sunburnt country at the moment.  When I began writing this post I was only thinking about the delightful side of Summer, but upon hearing the latest death toll and devastation report today I/we are forced to also reflect on the sorrowful drawbacks of Summer.

God bless all who have been involved.  Victoms, their families, the fire fighters, the servants and the heros.

Shell xx

Friday, February 6, 2009

Today, renewed!

The last few days I have been a bit of a bore...  

I have been missing my friend in the worst way, he has been in The Philippines for the last two weeks with work, and remains there for just more than another one.  I think a combination of the heat, the mosquitos, sleepless nights due to heat exhaustion and babies waking have been wearing on my composure.

I am today however, renewed!

Why you ask?

I decided to stop it!  Putting to the test my own council that defeat is a choice, today I decided to overcome my inner struggles.  Bless this life, honour my Lord with gratitude, service, and love.  I am no good to anyone around me if I behave otherwise, and if I behave otherwise, I cannot respect myself!  

Anyway, enough of me...  I thought I would republish some of my favourite photos from previous posts for a fresh, bright look at what I call this beautiful world.  Nothing to the next one though I suppose, but for now this will have to suffice!


This beautiful winter tree;

Watching the sun rise on Mt Painter;

Tulips (I am the yellow one!);

Sunshine, my house, and baby Tara;

Produce from my own garden;

Central Park, New York.  My friend there with me (and baby Sean).

Shell xx

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Martin Chuzzlewit

I have just finished watching this wonderful BBC adaptation of Charles Dicken's Martin Chuzzlewit.

Absolutely marvellous!  Poetic, entertaining and meaningful.  This story reeled me in with it's wonderful characters, took me completely into the story and caused me to forget the outside world while I was there...

Forget hollywood.

Give me the BBC!

Ah, the gift of a story teller so brilliant as Dickens always astounds me.  Not to mention the gifted people at the BBC who put these classics together, with casting so perfect and acting quality so high.  It is a true blessing for somebody like me, who unfortunately donates little, to no time to the pleasures of reading (*naughty girl*) so without adaptations of the classics such as this, (and so many others) I may not have had the pleasure of escaping into such worlds.  

I am inspired to sing and play after enjoying something as wonderful as this!  And to recommend from my heart, that you should go get it, enjoy it, and be inspired too.

Shell xx

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Gosh.  It's hot.

No breeze in the evening, little cool air in the morning.  I believe we are in the thick of the Australian summer...

I am praying for a storm, a cloud, or at lease a new summer dress to offer relief from the monotonous heat!  

I am however enjoying my piano on these hot days when one has to avoid the outdoors until about 8pm.  I have been commissioned to write the music which turns my client's beloved poem into a wedding song.  Which is a precious task that I have enjoyed.  I like that my craft can be used behind the scenes for a song I won't even perform, this different kind of gig still earns me a little pocket money and makes me feel like the working songwriter I am, and blesses people on their special day.

I am compiling songs for my new album, and thinking it's going to be a very real, poetic, acoustic and melodic little thing, which I am eager to start recording!

I am sitting in front the tennis, (a newly converted fan of the sport), with one eye open and one shut.  Tired, contented, missing my friend in Manilla.  And gosh.  It's hot!

Shell xx