Posted in Blogging

2021…

So, here I am at the end of another year, and I feel like it’s zoomed by. It’s been a mix of highs and lows with most of the highs being film related, and social times with friends. And the lows have mostly been work related. (Though not bad lows, just that they were challenging times, rewarding in the end though.)

I’m not even sure how to really describe this year, so instead I will share with you my annual “Best Of…” lists.

So, here goes…

Best of 2021

NB: Any music/TV shows/films mentioned here may have been released in prior years, but this is based on whether I newly discovered them this year, or they have had a big impact on me this year.

Book of the year: Once Upon a Time in the North – Philip Pullman Being able to dig deeper into Lee Scoresby’s story was such a joy, such a moving piece of work within the His Dark Materials universe.

Album of the Year: Tick Tick Boom/Encanto These two albums tie for different reasons.

Creative of the Year: Lin-Manuel Miranda – does this even need an explanation?

Band of the Year: Simple Plan (just) – to be honest they would always be band of the year…

Song of the year: Shiver – Ed Sheeran – This song is just so darn catchy

Worship song of the year: Hope of the Ages – Hillsong Worship, Reuben Morgan, Cody Carnes – this song came out at just the right time.

Christian Song of the Year: Jesus is Coming Back – Jordan Feliz – Amen!

Soundtrack of the Year: Tick Tick Boom/Encanto – I can’t choose between them as they sing to me in different ways.

Christmas Song of the Year: Merry Christmas – Ed Sheeran & Elton John – this song is just so much fun

Most Anticipated Release of the Year: Tick Tick Boom/Spider-Man No Way Home – TTB for reasons & No Way Home because I love spider-man.

Concert of the year: Johnny Young, Normie Rowe & Narelle Belle (as Karen Carpenter) – 17.12.2021

Movie of the year: Tick Tick Boom

Runner Up: Encanto

Honourable Mentions: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home

Movie Character of the year: Jonathan Larson

Actor of the Year: Andrew Garfield – for more reasons than one 😉
TV Show/Streaming Show of the year: The Falcon & The Winter Soldier/The Mandalorian/Home After Dark/Hawkeye

TV Character of the year: Hilde Lisko/Bucky Barnes/Mando
Sporting Moment: Sports was a thing?

Personal moments: Our new pastor and his family arrived safely in Perth at the end of November. I helped my bestie with her driving and she passed and got her Ps!

Memorable hashtags: #loveforLin #marlysinstaweek #adopteelife

~~~~~~~~

Top 25 songs of the year

1. Shiver – Ed Sheeran

2. 30/90 – Cast of Tick Tick Boom

3. My Own Drum (Remix) – Ynairaly Simo feat. Missy Elliott

4. The Antidote – Simple Plan

5. Carnaval Del Barrio – Cast of In The Heights Film

6. Bad Cinderella – ALW & Carrie Hope Fletcher

7. Hope of the Ages – Hillsong Worship, Reuben Morgan & Cody Carnes

8. Surface Pressure – Jessica Darrow

9. One Name (Ek Naam) – Selah

10. Undeniable – Josh Wilson

11. Keep the Beat – Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ynairaly Simo’

12. Jesus is Coming Back – Jordan Feliz

13. One More Song – Lin-Manuel Miranda

14. Louder Than Words – Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens & Joshua Henry

15. Running Out of Time – Cast of Vivo!

16. [wonder working] – All Creatures

17. Therapy – Andrew Garfield & Vanessa Hudgens

18. Weirdo – Beckett

19. The Family Madrigal – Stephanie Beatriz, Olga Merediz & Encanto Cast

20. House of the Lord – Phil Wickham

21. Visiting Hours – Ed Sheeran

22. Swimming – Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens & Joshua Henry

23. We Don’t Talk About Bruno – Encanto Cast

24. Scars in Heaven – Casting Crowns

25. Merry Christmas – Ed Sheeran & Elton John

Bonus: Save The City – Adam Pascal & The Cast of the Rogers! Musical from Hawkeye!

The books I’ve read this year

1. Re-read – His Dark Materials 1: Northern Lights – Philip Pullman [17.12.2020 – 9.01.2021]

2. Re-read – His Dark Materials 2: The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman [9.01.2021-5.02.2021]

3. Re-read – His Dark Materials 3: The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman [21.03.2021]

4. Evangelism – J. Mack Stiles [3.04.2021-4.04.2021]

5. Science in Early Childhood [5.04.2021-25.04.2021]

6. How to read the Bible for all it’s worth [2.05.2021-8.05.2021]

7. Lyra’s Oxford – Philip Pullman [9.05.2021]

8. Once Upon a Time in the North – Philip Pullman [9.05.2021]

9. Spirits of the Ghan – Judy Nunn [18.05.2021-30.05.2021]

10. Bad Clowns – Benjamin Radford [4.06.2021-5.06.2021]

11. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova [13.06.2021-2.07.2021]

12. Where is God in a Coronavirus World? – John Lennox [11.07.2021]

13. Killer Children – Danielle Tyning [17.07.2021]

14. Serial Killers – Nigel Blundell [17.07.2021-19.07.2021]

15. Narrative Apologetics – Alister E McGrath [30.07.2021-4.08.2021]

16. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World – Joanna Weaver [5.08.2021-7.08.2021]

17. The Bible Down Under – Meredith Lake [21.09.2021]

18. Finding God in the Lord of the Rings – Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware [10.10.2021]

19. The Story of Son – JR Ward [23.10.2021]

20. Prisoner of Night – JR Ward [23.10.2021]

21. Live Like a Narnian – Joe Rigney [3.11.2021]

22. The Royal Society – Adrian Tinniswood [6.11.2021-14.11.2021]

23. Seeing Further – Bill Bryson [14.11.2021-27.12.2021]

24. The Dogs that Made Australia – Guy Hull [28.12.2021-]

Posted in Blogging, early learning thoughts, work, working with children

The Quiet Days at Work

Savour the “Quiet Days”.  This is one of the biggest lessons I have learnt in early learning.  These days or even moments can often be few and far between, but they are as precious as the “Crazy Days”.

I used to get bored on the QDs, but after 11 years in the profession, I’ve reached a point where I can utilise them to benefit both myself, my team and the children that I educate and care for.  I haven’t quite perfected this, and I don’t think I ever will.  I do still get bored, sometimes.  It’s a work in progress.

 

NB: A Quiet Day doesn’t necessarily mean that there are low numbers of children; this is sometimes the case, though.

Here are the top 5 things I’ve found are beneficial to do on a Quiet Day:

  1. More one-on-one interaction with the children (on low number days)
  2. Getting to sit back and watch the children engage in their own play experiences without interruption; after all even on the days that seem quiet, quality learning is always happening.
  3. Quality team interactions
  4. Catching up with documentation and planning
  5. Cleaning jobs that don’t get done otherwise
There are evidently a lot more that can be done on a quiet day than what I’ve listed; however, those were what came to the top of my list.

 

I cherish the Quiet Days as they are the ones that often garner the most memorable moments for me personally.  Cuddles from the babies and toddlers; random conversations about Frozen or food with the older children; moments where I get to know my colleagues better; they are all worth the quieter moments.

What do your Quiet Days look like?

Posted in adoptee, Australian, Blogging, blogging the important stuff, film review, I don't write reviews, life, movies, my life, my thoughts, my writing, personal, Reflections

Being an Asian Adoptee in the Western World

Or: My journey as a Chinese born Australian who doesn’t see herself as Asian but, after seeing Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I realise a part of me deep down still has some strong connection to my Chinese roots.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Gif created by me. Credit: Marvel Studios)

That is one heck of a subtitle, hey? But, this is how I felt after watching this new entry into Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This is not going to be a typical review, and there will also be no major spoilers (probably), but fair warning I will be gushing a lot as my love for this film surpasses any other MCU film. Also, this post will most likely be all over the place. So please bear with me.

Continue reading “Being an Asian Adoptee in the Western World”
Posted in Blogging, my writing, poetry

Words By Me – A Poem

Something I wrote last year

I write words

Sometimes they elude me

They trundle down the black hole

Of my thoughts

Sometimes I can patch them together In a semi-coherent loop

Loop the loop

Sing a song of sixpence…

Wait, this isn’t a nursery rhyme

Why do rhymes rhyme

Language is a weird beast

It lets you feast on the thoughts

Of mankind

And then store them away

For posterity’s sake

Take the cake and eat it too

Have my words

Have your words

Send them spiralling out

To the world

And then peruse them

Use them

Throw them out

And start again

Words

By me.

⁃ M. Withey 2020

Posted in Blogging, movies, thoughts

The Lion King (2019) – Film and Soundtrack- My thoughts (aka don’t let nostalgia and perceived expectations take away from how good this film actually is)

Let me preface this post by saying this: The original Lion King will always be better than any other version, ever. Just saying. Also there will be spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the new film and you don’t want to be spoiled (I know, I know…how can there be spoilers if it’s a remake? Well, there can be because of new scenes or moments that weren’t in the original film…anyway, spoiler alert for those who mind…)

~~~~~~~~ Continue reading “The Lion King (2019) – Film and Soundtrack- My thoughts (aka don’t let nostalgia and perceived expectations take away from how good this film actually is)”

Posted in album review, Blogging, blogging the important stuff, Music, new music

DNA – Backstreet’s Back!

After twenty-five years this “boy” band does not disappoint. From the first note of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart to the final ring of Ok this album DNA gives me hope for the year to come. At least for the music landscape as a whole.

I must admit, I haven’t been a fan of the Backstreet Boys for as long as they’ve existed. Twenty-five years ago in 1994, I was nine years old and still listening to the music my parents listened to and hadn’t formed my own personal musical tastes as such. It wasn’t until BSB’s album Millennium was released that they really came into my radar. But, that cemented them in my mind if not quite my heart.

Every release since, I’ve waited with some anticipation for each one. But, it wasn’t until In a World Like This that I fully realised my love for this group. And now as DNA is released to the world, I reflect on the impact this group has made on my music journey as a whole.

But, before I get to that, my thoughts on the twelve tracks on this album.

  1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – When they released this track in the middle of 2018, I was so excited and ready for new BSB music. Though I didn’t love the song straight away, I do enjoy its strong beats and their dance moves in the music video.
  2. Nobody Else – it took a second listen of this track for me to appreciate what was being said in the song as the electronic tones jarred for me a little. But, when I concentrate on the harmonies and the lyrics, it speaks to me so profoundly.
  3. Breathe – one of my favourites on the album. BSB a capella will always be great as it showcases their harmonies so well.
  4. New Love – the subject matter of this song jarred with my sensibilities for a moment, but, it has a fun beat and a great tone to it. A good song to play in a club
  5. Passionate – this is such a catchy song, it makes me want to get up and dance, makes me feel so passionate too. Haha
  6. Is It Just Me – a more mellow track, still with a good dance beat
  7. Chances – This song. My heart. Enough said.
  8. No Place – I love the video the boys released with this song, a glimpse into their family lives. And importantly a singable chorus.
  9. Chateau – I love the simple opening with just the single vocals and keyboard chords. Then leading into the vocal harmonies. Beautiful.
  10. The Way it Was – I could imagine the boys singing this like old time crooners Jersey Boys style.
  11. Just Like You Like It – It feels like one of their songs from the Never Gone era.
  12. Ok – This song really concentrates on their harmonies and simple musical stylings with guitar and beats. And a beautiful way to round off the album

I love this album, I love how I can listen to every single track without skipping a song. It makes me think of another band that I can do that with. Simple Plan. Yes, I can’t not mention my all time favourite band, ever. Because, I think in a weird roundabout way, if I wasn’t so into 90’s pop music (of which BSB is the unofficial ambassador) when I was a tween/teenager I wouldn’t have been drawn to the pop tones of Simple Plan. And yes, they are more pop than punk, fight me.

I do believe now, in hindsight, that the Backstreet Boys have had more of a profound impact on my music journey than I used to think. Especially since I kinda had a song crush on NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye (and It’s Gonna Be Me) for a whole year. But, Backstreet Boys has lasted. I mean, they’re twenty-five years old! We enter their twenty-sixth year as a group, and that is amazing. And their music has featured on many a playlist of mine over the last two decades. That’s a long time. Only Simple Plan comes second to that.

And I’m hoping with the release of DNA that that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Backstreet Boys are definitely in my DNA.

Backstreet’s Back, alright!