Monday, 31 August 2015

Small and Wonderful Things . . .

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"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard

A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.

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Three handsome grandsons enjoying the remainder of their summer holidays.   From left to right that is Josh (7), Jake (5) and Jon (9.)  And what better way to enjoy it than with some ice creams!

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They love them dipped in sprinkles.   To me, it would be like eating an ice cream dipped in gravel  . . .

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But these lads are loving them!

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And I am loving "THEM!"  My son got a new camera and he is taking some brilliant photos with it.  We spent quite a while talking on facetime yesterday.  (Why do I always look my worst on that thing!  Someone should invent a selfie stick for the iPad so that you don't always have to hold it on your lap or in front of you at an awkward angle!)

This is a photo he took of a fox down by the bridge to PEI, (PEI side) early yesterday morning just as the sun was coming up. I think it's just brilliant.

And this is one he did of a lighthouse.   If I am not mistaken this looks like the same lighthouse his Great Grandfather was the lighthouse keeper of . . .  but I could be wrong.   I think my son has inherited my artistic eye.   That makes me smile.

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I am loving these end of summer pics.  That's Cameron (2) and Maryn (4 1/2) also enjoying ice cream, albeit theirs is in a bowl.

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Little boys and dirt go together like peas and carrots don't you think?  He's growing like a week.  I wonder how long it will be before I finally get to meet him in person . . .  sigh  . . .

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I love this one  . . .  I think it's very poignant.   I wish I had photos like this of me and my dad . . .

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Personality plus here.  I think someones vivacity is shouting out loud and clear here!

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Oh how I love them  . . .

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I did this late yesterday afternoon after I had my weekly phone call with my parents.  Todd was watching icky men movies . . . pirates and stuff.  Blah!  And so I thought I am going to go and colour and so I did.

And that's my small and wonderfuls for today.  Last one for August!  The next one I do will be in September.  Hasn't the summer flown by quickly?

A thought to carry with you through today . . . .

“God doesn't care nearly as much about 
where you have been as He does about 
where you are and, 
with His help, 
where you are willing to go.” 
~Jeffrey R Holland

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Coq au Macon Rouge.   A fancy way of saying Coq au Vin.

I hope your day and week ahead is filled with a multitude of small and wonderful things. don't forget!!

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And I surely do too!


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sunday meanderings of the mind . . .

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“We all cling to the past or long for the future, making us unavailable to the present.” ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh 

How many of us do that.  Spend our days thinking about what we are going to do when our ship comes in, or dreaming about the summer holiday that is awaiting us several months ahead, or worse yet . . . worrying about what is going to happen in the future if this or that takes place???

When we spend all our days worrying about or worshipping what may or may not be tomorrow, or in regret of the past or what has already been, we risk losing our today.

I may look like a dawdler when I am out walking. I walk rather slowly, and I try to take in each moment of the journey, each step of the way.  Part of the reason for that is because of my arthritis . . .  but a larger part is because I am just enjoying the journey.  My eyes and ears are ever alert to all that is happening around me.

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Nothing escapes my watchfulness and my life has been blessed tenfold by the observation of something even as minute as a small feather caught up in a branch of  a bush or a hedgerow. If I listen very carefully I often can hear a woodpecker off in the distance hammering away.  I can still remember how excited I was when I heard my first cuckoo and realised just how very much they sound just like the clocks!

I breathe in the air about me. Some days it smells fresh and clean, especially after a rain . . . other’s there is the tell tale smell of wood smoke in the air, or even coal  . . . especially if it has been a cold night . . .  and I think to myself . . . how wonderful.

During dusk at the end of a day, I can hear the birds twittering away as they get ready to bed down for the night. I can almost hear the mother birds cajoling the wee ones into the nest, nagging and making sure that they have brushed their teeth and taken their baths before they settle in.

Oh, I know that is a fanciful thought, and that birds really don’t have teeth, but I do like to imagine it so. Sometimes on a summer night the air is filled with the whoosh of bats as they come out in the dusk, playing out their magical aerial ballet over my head . . . their day is only beginning as ours is starting to wane.

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I love to look up at the darkening sky and see the branches of the trees in relief against it. It is a pattern that changes with the seasons . . . in the late Fall it is all bare branches and the odd errant dry leaf . . .  dry and wrinkled and stubborn.  In Spring it is unfurling buds and then a cacophony of leaf. They make such pretty patterns against the dusky sky. The colours of the sky are magical ranging from deep purple to reds and golds, all depending on the day we have had.

I guess it is getting older that has taught me to relish every moment and squeeze them for all the delight that they hold . . . even the tears. Although I am not a really old woman yet, I am old enough to know the sting of regret and the pain of should have’s and did not’s. You cannot change the past, nor can you predict the future. All we have is the here and the now . . . and if you make the here and the now the very best that you can . . . if you be the very best person that you can be right now . . . if you make the very wisest choices and decisions that you can make today . . . if you cherish every moment for what it is and who it is and where it is . . . then the future will take care of itself.

Let it be. . . Live now.

"Therefore I say to you, 
do not worry about your life, 
what you will eat or what you will drink; 
nor about your body, what you will put on. 
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 
Look at the birds of the air,
 for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; 
yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not of more value than they?” 
~Matthew 6:25-26 

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I had some spare time yesterday and I managed to pop out another little painting. I think I may have sold her already, so finger's cross.  The safety inspection for our rather old car is due any day now!  God is good!

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Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Lemon Madeleines.   Tasty little lemony puffs of air!

May your sabbath day be richly blessed.   Whatever you get up to, don't forget!

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And I do too!!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

These hands of mine . . .

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I have a pair of hands, and although they are something I have taken very much for granted in my life, they have served me well. They are starting to look a bit older now. I can’t really put my finger on it but, they just don’t seem to look as youthful as they used to. The skin seems somehow less taut and perhaps they are a bit more wrinkled looking. No age spots yet . . . I am dreading those, for I know they can‘t be too far in coming. They have been a great help to me in my life, and seen me through many times, both good and bad.

I’ve used these precious tools to reach out and grab hold of life. As an infant, these hands helped me to reach out beyond the sphere of my existence and to explore and learn about the world around me. My fingers were one of the first things I learned to put in my mouth, followed by my hand. As I got a bit older my hands were what helped to prevent me from getting really hurt when I was learning to walk and would fall upon the floor. They were important tools in helping me to learn how to feed myself and become independent. With them, I learned to tug on my clothes, and do up my buttons and tie my shoes for the very first time.

As a very small child my mother taught me how to put my hands together, bow my head and pray, so they have been instrumental in helping me to commune with my Lord, and even now when I listen to a very spiritual piece of music that touches my heart I like to raise them in the air and somehow feel as if I am able to touch the hem of His garment. They have helped me throughout my life to feel closer to my God.

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With a pencil or a crayon or a needle and thread I have learned to create and make tangible the songs of my heart and the inspirations of my soul. My nimble fingers have produced many a thing of beauty, be it a story to tell my children, or a cake or a meal to celebrate a special day or occasion.
I’ve used these hands to stroke the cheek of my lover’s face and to hold him close to me. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I loved and was loved. As I got older they helped me to comfort and hold my newborn child, and then to teach and guide my toddlers and then teens, however clumsy and inept they might have seemed at the time. These hands have been tender and firm, strong and sometimes weak.

These hands have written letters to family, neighbours and friends, stories for my children, and now my grandchildren.With these hands I write to you each morning and share with you the secret ponderings of my mind and my heart. I've used these hands to wave goodbye a thousand times, never knowing if I would ever again see the person I was waving too. I have held them up in joyous greeting after long separations and in grand reunions.

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My hands have held lovers and children and now grandchildren. They’ve wiped the tears from a child’s tender face and heart. They’ve consoled family and neighbours and friends. They’ve shaken with anger and fear and covered my face in sorrow and despair.

These hands have been dirty, and cut, scraped and swollen, tender and sore, yet still they serve me.

God willing . . .  they have a goodly number of years left in them yet. They still have many miles to go and many trails to follow, many experiences and trials still to help and guide me though. They were with me in the beginning helping to lead the way and they will be with me at the end . . .  helping to lead the way. They are the mark of where I have been,  and the signpost of where I am going . . .  and they will be what I reach out and touch the hands of the Saviour with when he finally leads me home . . .

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There was supposed to be a Baptism this morning, but it's been cancelled.   There is another street display in Chester and we will be going into the city to do that.   I enjoy the street displays.  I hope it doesn't rain!

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

Father, I am well aware
I can't make it on my own,
So take my hand and hold it tight,
For I cannot walk alone.
~Helen Steiner Rice

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Easy Peach Cobbler.

 Have a fabulous Saturday no matter where you go or what you do.  Don't forget!

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And I do too!!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Friday Finds . . .

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A few of the wow moments and things that I find each week that tickle my fancy. They might even tickle yours!

I can't believe that this is my last Friday Finds for August and we will be into September in just a few days!  The month has gone by really quickly!

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From Creek Line House, a tutorial on how to mop your floors.   I didn't know there was a wrong way, but this makes sense!

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From The Bold Abode, the natural way to freshen a room.   Who knew it was so easy!

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This was a gift that was made for a teacher, but it would be such a nice gift for a family member or friend if you did it just a tiny bit differently.   From Everything Pink.  It's a money book, filled with quotes and good things about the recipient.

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This fabulous Artist has all sorts of printables for free.  Her name is Erin Lee and you can find these things on Art by Erin Lee.

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A HUGE collection of all things fall from crafts to printables and recipes.  From On Sutton Place.   A veritable wealth of ideas!

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A free pattern for a crochet hood.  I Love this.   Found on  Yarnspirations.  I am not a real hat lover, but this I think I could cope with and if I am going to be out and about this Winter doing missionary work, I will need something to cover my head.

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I normally wouldn't have two crochet things in a row, but I am in love with this blanket of many colours.  Found on According to Matt.  (I love this blog!)   What a great way to use up scraps!

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You all know I adore anything Scandanavian stule.   I found this on how to decorate your home in Scandinavian Country House Style.   Wowsa.   From Inredningsvis.

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From Home Stories A to Z, 42 ways to decorate with scrapbook papers.   I love scrapbook papers.  But I don't really do scrapbooking.

And that is my Friday Finds for this week!  I hope there was something of interest here for everyone!

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

God is not proud . . . 
He will have us 
even though we have shown 
that we prefer everything else
to him.
~C. S. Lewis


In the English Kitchen today  . . .  Itty Bitty Brownie Bites.  So good!

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Have a fabulous Friday!  I have another busy day ahead.  Don't forget!

And I DO too!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Five things about me . . .

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 One of my earliest memories is of sitting in church and looking at my hand.  I can remember being able to see a slightly glowing but blurry outline around it . . .  bordering each finger, down my hand and up my arm  . . .  and thinking to myself . . .  "That's my spirit."   Yes, I have always been a very spiritual person.  I have never doubted that we are much, much more than what you see on the outside of anyone.  I've also been able to see that glowing outline around other's, an aura as it is called.  And sometimes I see colours.   You may be cynical about such things and think they are not real, but they are real to me.

And that is number one in a five things about me post.
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I've always been a person who prays.  My mother taught me to pray.   From "Now I lay me down to Sleep," at my bedside when I was a very young child, to my personal prayers and conversations that I have with God today through my Saviour Jesus Christ . . .  I have always been a praying person.   There was a time when I did not think that any of my worries and concerns were important enough for my Heavenly Father to care about . . .  but that never stopped me from praying for others.  I have always believed in prayers and answers to prayers.  I am so grateful that I came to a place where I finally learned that my worries and concerns mattered also, even the smallest of them.  I do not know where I would be without prayer.  It embroiders every minute of my every day.

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I believe in living life with gratitude.   No matter what, there is always something to be grateful for.  I firmly believe this.   It may be very difficult sometimes to see the silver lining  . . .  especially when your tunnel seems very dark . . . but experience has taught me that it is always there and that eventually I will be able to see it.   I trust in the goodness of God and I know and firmly believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  When the rain starts falling I know that things could always be a lot worse, and so I am able to find strength and beauty in the rain.  What I see as my worst moments may well be the equivalent of  someone else's best moments.  I know that to be true and knowing this helps me to be grateful for even my very worst of days.

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A spoonful of sugar always helps the medicine go down.   I am a woman of great faith and trust for sure, but I also have a very whimsical side.  A side that believes in fairies and elves . . . in magic and happily ever afters.  I saw my very first Victoria's Secret store yesterday in the Trafford Center.   The underwear didn't draw my attention so much as the wings . . .  those feather angelic wings.  I would LOVE to have a pair of feather wings . . .  and I would wear them.  Maybe not outside my door because I am not quite that bold . . .  but I would certainly wear them around the house for sure.  I wonder what Todd would think?    haha   He'd probably just shake his head and keep on keeping on.

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I'm a daisy picker.  That is a person who is able to pick out the good from the bad, to see the wonder in all things, to be able to find the miraculous in the seemingly ordinary.  A half full glass kind of girl.  A Pollyanna.  I am grateful for my ability to find the daisies in a field filled with thorns.  For my ability to bloom wherever I am planted.  To roll with the punches.  No, I am NOT cheerful 100 percent of the time.  I have my boo hoo moments also.  But thankfully they are few and fleeting, and I've always bounced back quickly.  There is great healing to be found in tears.  They are the balm of gilead.  They help to water the daisies.  They help to wash away the cobwebs, and after the rain . . .  always the sun, and if you are lucky maybe even a rainbow.

And that's my five things about me for this week.

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Hooray, we were able to get Todd's iPad back and working and he didn't lose anything he had on it.  When we got to the Apple Store, there was no record of his having an appointment with an engineer so he had to stand in a queue for a while, but eventually he was seen to and they were able to get it up and running.  Thank goodness.  The alternative would have been that he would have been able to replace it with a new one for £199, which, although a very good price for a new iPad, would have been far beyond our means at the present time.   God is good!

And I finally got to see the Trafford Centre.  I would call it jaw dropping.  I would definitely recommend you click on the link and read a bit about it.   The food court looks like you are on a cruise ship.   Seriously.   I've never seen anything like it before in my life.  Even the toilets were magnificent.   I walked and walked and walked.  My right hip and both knees were protesting last night when I got into bed, but it was worth it.   I am so thankful to the Johansens who drove us there.   They had been there a couple of times before and their driving us made things so much easier.  I repeat, God is good!

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 I just have to share this picture of these amazing Sister Missionaries we get to work with here in our Zone.  (Chester/Wrexham)  From left to right . . .  Sister Walker, Sister Brill, Sister Barlow and Sister Gregson.   These young ladies are the best.

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And then we have Elder Singsam (from New Zealand)  Elder Dadd (from Weymouth) and Elder Atkinson from Utah.  I don't know where Elder Thomas was.   I promise you that's not him in the Roman Centurian costume!

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Sister Johansen from Utah.   I love her so much.  She's become such a great friend.  I will surely miss her when she goes back home next July.  She and her husband have been a great support for Todd and I and are just the best Senior Missionaries.

I just had to show you these photos of these amazing people we get to work with!  They make me smile.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

The more you give,
The more you get  . . . 
The more you laugh,
The less you fret!
~Helen Steiner Rice

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In the English Kitchen today . . .  Chicken Tostadas with a Mango and Strawberry Salsa.

Also Lemon Curd and Raspberry Pots.  Easy peasy!

 Have a fab Thursday!  Wherever you go and whatever you do,  don't forget . . .

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And I do too!