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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Holiday Time Again!

Yellow Flower Macro
round yellow flower
I'm going to be heading off on holidays shortly. I probably won't be posting anything here for the next 2 weeks at least. Hope you enjoy your Easter break, and feel free to browse the archives while I'm away. There are 256 posts to date - if you run out of pictures, let me know!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Golden Flower - He is Risen! (Happy Easter)

Happy Easter!
(Yellow-Gold Flower Macro)
yellow gold flower petals
Happy Easter everyone! For anyone who's have been fasting throughout Lent, Easter is a double celebration - no more penance! Well, not quite. There's still plenty of opportunity for good works, but now is the time to rejoice in the Resurrection of The Lord.

I can tell you that one of the things I'm personally looking forward to is being able to eat chocolate! Of course, everyone eats chocolate. "Easter Eggs" are perhaps the best-known symbol of Easter, at least in Western society. But have you ever wondered why? Is there a reason for eggs on easter, or is it just a chance to eat lot's of chocolate without feeling guilty?

I mentioned this last year in my Easter post. Easter Eggs are firstly a symbol of new life, which is the key message of Easter. But they are also tied closely to the traditional observance of Lent. NewAdvent.org explains:
Because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, coloured red to symbolize the Easter joy.
So there is a reason for eating eggs at easter! It's meant to symbolize both joy, and new life. When somebody points out that you're eating too many eggs this year, you'll be able to tell them exactly why. Try it - you might surprise someone with your knowledge!

But most of all, I hope you will be able to spend this Easter with your family and friends, and experience a truly joyful season, for it is a season of joy.

Happy Easter!

More information:
Easter on Wikipedia
Easter on NewAdvent

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fire and Ashes

Flames in the campfire
flames in the campfire
This photo of flames at a campfire is particularly relevant to today, being Ash Wednesday. Wikipedia says:
Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance.
You may have heard the saying "dust to dust, ashes to ashes". This is taken from the words spoken during the placing of the ashes. The actual words spoken are "Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return." And I like the Latin translation: "Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris."

Today is a day to look at our lives, remember that we are merely mortal, and take time to realize our greater purpose in life. In the Christan calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a 40 day period of prayer and fasting leading up to Easter.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Australia Day - Answers and some History

An Aussie Sunset!
Australian SunsetSo, you've all had a go at the Australia Day Quiz? If you haven't, there's still time - before you continue reading this post, checkout the quiz page, and then drop by and leave a comment to let everyone know how you went.

For those who've completed the quiz (whether you're from Australia, America, or elsewhere) - How did you go? I have to admit - the first time someone asked me these questions, I pretty much failed! It's amazing how so many of us Australians have so little knowledge about our history. Yes, I did throw a few hard ones in there. But I hope none of you chose "Jack Sparrow" as the Captain in command!

Well, without further ado, here is a full listing of each question, along with the correct answer. Enjoy! =)
  1. What do we remember on Australia day?
    Correct Answer: The raising of the British flag
    The raising of the flag was the official symbol proclaiming British sovereignty over the Eastern coast of Australia. We celebrate this occasion on January 26th every year.

  2. Where did this happen?
    Correct Answer: Port Jackson
    When the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay, the intended settlement location, they found it unsuitable for living. They travelled a short distance to Port Jackson, where the flag was raised.

  3. In what year?
    Correct Answer: 1788
    This is a confusing one! You've just gotta know this. Everyone I know tends to get this confused with 1770, the year when James Cook "discovered" Australia. Just remember all those 7's and 8's and you'll be fine!

  4. Who was in command?
    Correct Answer: Captain Arthur Phillip
    Captain James Cook was the first European to explore the East coast of Australia, Captain William Lawson is fictionary, and Captain Jack Sparrow has yet to command an entire fleet.

  5. How many ships were in the First Fleet?
    Correct Answer: 11
    This is another one you just have to know.

  6. Which one of the following ships was NOT in the First Fleet?
    Correct Answer: The Endeavour
    Ok, so everyone got this one, right?
    The Endeavour was Captain Cook's ship during his first voyage. All the other names are actual ships in the First Fleet.

That's it! I hope you enjoyed the chance to test your knowledge, and maybe even gain some on the way. A huge thanks to all those who answered the quiz - and for any new people, please do leave a comment - no matter how short - to let me know how you scored!

More resources: Australia Day, Captain James Cook

Monday, 26 January 2009

Australia Day Quiz!

dandelion flowers

What is Australia Day?

Think you know Australia? Try this quiz to check your knowledge of Australia Day, our national celebration. Please do "Have a go" and let me know how you scored in the comments section. Full answers will be disclosed tomorrow! Update: You've got 1 more day to finish the quiz - answers coming 28th Jan.
(Note: If you are viewing this in a feed reader, you may need to visit the site to see this quiz)


1. What do we remember on Australia day?








2. Where did this happen?








3. In what year?








4. Who was in command?








5. How many ships were in the First Fleet?








6. Which one of the following ships was NOT in the First Fleet?








Tuesday, 6 January 2009

On the twelfth day of Christmas....

12 Drummers Drumming
twelve drummers drumming

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

We've reached the Epiphany, which is the last day in our song - the Twelfth Day of Christmas. The "twelve drummers drumming" in today's verse were chosen to express the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.

For those who haven't been following, in my first post I explained that the popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was actually first created as an educational song for young Christians. At a time when it was illegal to practice the faith, this song was used as a "coded message" to convey truths of the faith. During the past twelve days I've outlined each verse of the song, and what the hidden meaning is. So here's a recap on all the verses we've had so far:
The Twelve Days of Christmas

twelve drummers drummingTwelve Drummers Drumming
The "twelve drummers drumming" in today's verse were chosen to express the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed (see above).

eleven pipers pipingEleven Pipers Piping
The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

ten lords a-leapingTen Lords a Leaping
The "ten lords a-leaping" represent the Ten Commandments.

nine ladies dancingNine Ladies Dancing
The "nine ladies dancing" are symbols the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

eight maids a-milkingEight maids a milking
The "eight maids a-milking" reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

seven swans a-swimmingSeven Swans a swimming
The "seven swans a-swimming" refer to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

six geese a-layingSix geese a laying
The "six geese a-laying" are symbolic of the six days of creation, the biblical account in which God creates the universe and it's inhabitants.

five golden ringsFive golden rings
The well-known "five golden rings" represent the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah or the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

four calling birdsFour calling birds
The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

three french hensThree french hens
The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).

two turtle dovesTwo turtle doves
The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.

a partridge in a pear treeA partridge in a pear tree
The "partridge in a pear tree" is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them.

The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.


Now we've finished the twelve days of Christmas, and celebrated the Epiphany, Christmas is truly over! I hope you all had a great Christmas, and are enjoying a safe and blessed New Year. I hope also that you've enjoyed this series of posts. I've gone slightly off-topic from nature photography, but the next post should be back on focus! And now when you sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" you'll be able to remember that the words you sing actually have a meaning - and maybe even impress people with your new-found knowledge! =D


This post is one of a series explaining the Twelve Days of Christmas. During the series I've shared information about each verse of this song. I hope you'll find the "coded" meanings as interesting as I have! For more information, you can also check out
appleseeds.org and CIN. Pictures from AtHomeWithGod.com

Monday, 5 January 2009

On the eleventh day of Christmas....

eleven pipers piping

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Today is the second-last day in our song - the Eleventh Day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.



This post is one of a series explaining the Twelve Days of Christmas. Over the next day of the Christmas season (ending on January 6th "The Epiphany") I'll post more information about the following verses of this song. I hope you'll find the "coded" meanings as interesting as I have! For more information, you can also check out
appleseeds.org and CIN. Picture from AtHomeWithGod.com

Sunday, 4 January 2009

On the tenth day of Christmas....

ten lords a-leaping

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Today is the Tenth Day of Christmas, the third-last day of the season. The "ten lords a-leaping" represent the Ten Commandments. Special merit for anyone who can remember all ten in order!



This post is one of a series explaining the Twelve Days of Christmas. Over the next 3 days of the Christmas season (ending on January 6th "The Epiphany") I'll post more information about the following verses of this song. I hope you'll find the "coded" meanings as interesting as I have! For more information, you can also check out
appleseeds.org and CIN. Picture from AtHomeWithGod.com

Saturday, 3 January 2009

On the ninth day of Christmas....

nine ladies dancing

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Today is the Ninth Day of Christmas. Only 4 more days until the Epiphany! The "nine ladies dancing" are symbols the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.



This post is one of a series explaining the Twelve Days of Christmas. Over the next 4 days of the Christmas season (ending on January 6th "The Epiphany") I'll post more information about the following verses of this song. I hope you'll find the "coded" meanings as interesting as I have! For more information, you can also check out
appleseeds.org and CIN. Picture from AtHomeWithGod.com

Thursday, 1 January 2009

On the eighth day of Christmas....

eight maids a-milking

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Today is the Eighth Day of Christmas. The "eight maids a-milking" reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.



This post is one of a series explaining the Twelve Days of Christmas. Over the next 5 days of the Christmas season (ending on January 6th "The Epiphany") I'll post more information about the following verses of this song. I hope you'll find the "coded" meanings as interesting as I have! For more information, you can also check out
appleseeds.org and CIN. Picture from AtHomeWithGod.com