Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Wednesday thoughts . . .

Hiraeth Hiraeth beckons with wordless call,
Hear, my soul, with heart enthrall'd.
Hiraeth whispers while earth I roam;
Here I wait the call "come home."

Like seagull cry, like sea borne wind,
That speak with words beyond my ken,
A longing deep with words unsaid,
Calls a wanderer home instead.

I heed your call, Hiraeth, I come
On westward path to hearth and home.
My path leads on to western shore,
My heart tells me there is yet more.

Within my ears the sea air sighs;
The sunset glow, it fills my eyes.
I stand at edge of sea and earth,
My bare feet washed in gentle surf.

Hiraeth's longing to call me on,
Here, on shore, in setting sun.
Hiraeth calls past sunset fire,
"Look beyond, come far higher!" 

~Tim Davis, 2007  

A friend of mine posted this on facebook yesterday and I was immensely touched by it.  As the child of a Military man, and the ex spouse of one, home was a place I spent most of my life longing for.  Home for me always was and is . . . quite simply . . .  peopleI suppose that is why I don't get "homesick" for places, but only for people.

Most of my childhood homes, or houses that we lived in do not exist any more.  There is no place I can return to and see the house I grew up in.   Except for one house which still stands, the rest are no longer in existance.   There is no place to return to.


They exist only in my memories and old black and white photographs . . .  and in conversations with people who lived in those same places and had similar experiences.

The place I lived the longest was a place called Greenwood in Nova Scotia.  And even our time living there was broken up.   We spent several years on one house, which was pulled down in the years since I moved over here to the UK, and a couple of years in a house in Middleton and then the remaining years in a house that still exists to this day.  These are the only two houses of my growing up years that are still in existance and they both look very different than they did back then.

Even in my last marriage, I was pulled from pillar to post . . .  forced to carry my home on my back like a turtle carries its shell. We moved 16 times in 22 years.  All of my children, with one exception, have chosen careers and lifestyles which afford them the opportunity to stay in one place . . .  places where they can put down roots.   Of my own siblings, I was the only one who failed to find roots.  Both my brother and sister spent most of their adult lives in one area.   I am the only nomad.


So that is why home to me is people and not places.  Home is where my mother lives, even though I have never lived there myself . . . it holds a huge chunk of my heart, a chunk which lives with her and my sister.  Home is with my father and my brother and his family.  Home is also contained in the small chunks of my heart which rest where each of my children and their families live.   Home is here, in this little terraced house with Todd and Mitzie.

Yes  . . .  there is a piece of my soul that longs to go back to those shadowy halls which exist only in the channels of my memory . . . a special yearning to return to a place that is no longer there.

But I find myself wondering  . . .  it is a yearning to return to a place . . .  or is it a yearning to return to a time.  Perhaps I will never know.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

If you find someone who makes you smile,
who checks on you often to see if you're okay,
who watches out for you and wants the very best for you,
don't let them go.
Keep them close to you, 
and don't take them for granted.
People like that are hard to find.

Spiritual Enlightenment

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In The English Kitchen today  . . .  a delicious "Green Peach Salad."   It's fabulous!

Have a wonderful day today!  Wherever you go and whatever you get up to, don't forget . . .

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And I do too!!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .

FOR TODAY, August 23, 2016

Outside my window ...
The sun is well up, but I have noticed the days getting shorter.  It is now completely dark by 9:30 at night and the sun isn't waking me up until about 5:30 in the morning.  I know it is a process which has been going on for weeks now, minute by minute, day by day . . .  funny how it sneaks up on you all of a sudden though!

I am thinking ...
We are driving to Rhyll today for a Zone Meeting.  It looks to be a sunny day so we will have great weather for it.  Bonus!  I am thinking about how much I love serving a mission and how much I enjoy the many ways we get to stretch ourselves in doing so.

In the Kitchen ...
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Leftover Meat Escallope.   A delicious casserole created using the leftover meat and vegetables from our roast dinner.   It's fabulous!

On my "To Cook" list ...

Pizza St Louis Style, found on Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.   I have wanted to try this for a while now!  It looks great!

I am creating ...

I really like this peasant top.  I can see it in all sorts of colours and it has three quarter sleeves.  Long enough to hide the bad bits, but short enough to keep me from feeling claustrophobic!  Found on Sew Different UK.


I also like this Alice Top, which you could very easily wear a longer sleeved t-shirt under.  Like a tunic.  There is a dress version as well.  Found on Sew Tessuti.


I also really, really like this one.  Found on  Wiksten.


Cat embroidery anyone?  From  Craftsy. There's dogs too.


Sweet!  From Flickr.   No pattern, just inspiration.

I am reading ...


The Sister, by Louise Jensen

Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan's home.

But something isn't right. Things disappear, Dan's acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace's mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

Oh, I do so love reading a good thriller novel!

I am looking forward to ...
We have a Ward (church) BBQ on Monday and they are having a GBBO cake competition!  But even better The Great British Bake Off starts this week on the telly!  Yay!

I am learning to ...
Still working on my calligraphy.  I keep meaning to take a photo to show you.  I will try to remember soon!

Dreaming about ...


Red and white cosy . . .

Flowered mats  . . . (source)


Old logs being used as garden planters . . .  sweet.

Pretty table linens  . . .


Red and blue kitchens  . . .

A favourite Quote for the day  . . .  

(¯`v´¯) `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸.
   •´¸.•~♥♥♥~•.~ ღϠ₡ღ¸.
              ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ. ( ¸. ❀⁀ ⋱‿✿“` * .¸.*
                                         ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ..

 Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it,
because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others  . . . 
~Martin Luther King Jr. 

 Makes me smile ...

One of my favourite things ...

Old cake tins. (source)   This one reminds me of one my mother had.  I think a Dundee Fruit Cake had come in it.  I expect she still has it somewhere . . .

Corners of my kingdom ...

Freshly laundered pillow slips and afghan . . . they smell so nice.  His 'n Hers.  I love my wee scottie dogs.

And that's my daybook for this week!

 ⋱ ⋮ ⋰
⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small *´¯`.¸¸.☆
 ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆

✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░░

Wherever you go and whatever you do, I hope there's a great day ahead of you! Don't forget!

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And I do too!!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Small and wonderful things . . .

"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.


Thanks to DVD's Sunday night is still  Downton Abby night.  We find ourselves watching these and our Call the Midwife DVD's over and over again.  We never seem to tire of them.   Even when we know what is coming next.   Well done is well done, and it never ever goes out of style.

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My daughter posted a video and a photograph of Maryn doing "Slacklining" on FB.   Slacklining is the activity or sport of balancing on a rope or strip of webbing that is fixed high above the ground but not stretched so as to be taut.  People do it over Cheddar Gorge, or so I have been told.  This line is only a few feet off the ground.  The video was so much fun to watch and I got to hear her giggle with joy on it.  That did this grandmother's heart so much good.  Last weekend it was a video of her riding her bicycle.  My little granddaughter is growing up so fast.  She will be starting school in another week or so . . .  yet another milestone reached.

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Love all my grandbabies  . . .  Cameron . . .

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Gabe  . . .

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Luke  . . .

My three "j's" . . .  Josh, Jon and Jakey . . .

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Lucy and Baxter  . . .

I don't think anything ever prepares you for feeling the love that you feel for your grand babies . . . .it is unique and out of this world.  I hate that I live so far away from them all.  My heart longs to have sleepovers and to bake cookies with them, to read them stories and to laugh with them, to cuddle them and to get sticky kisses.  Thankfully through the wonders of the www I do get to talk to some of them on occasion and we laugh about things like sticky pancake toes  . . .  but  I do miss out on all the cuddles and special moments between a nan and her grandchildren that can only happen in person.

Mustn't dwell on these things I know.  Instead must focus on the blessings of what I do have.

The blessing of instant communication.  I don't have to wait for months or years for letters to arrive.  And through the magic of the Internet I can actually speak with them face to face, not over the telephone, or not at all.   How the pioneers ever did it I will never know.  Things are so much easier these days in that way.  We are spoiled and we don't even know it.

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 The luxury of always having lived in an environment which is free from real fear . . . free from the terrors of war, famine and hunger and pestilence . . . access to basic free education, free and excellent health care . . . freedom of speech and religion . . .  to have never ever known what it is to live without any of these things which we all take so very much for granted.

 The luxury of being able to give something back, however small.

Gratitude.  Feeling gratitude.

 The luxury of having been born "white."  To never know the sting of prejudice, never to be held back because of the colour of your skin, or your race, or your religion or background.

I am a child of priviledge.  No,  I may not be rich in the things of this world.  But I am rich in the things which truly count and things which cannot be measured by the human eye, but only by the heart.

And once again grateful for the gratitude and in knowing these things, in recognising how very blessed I am and have always been.

To be loved by many.  To be able to love in return.

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Being able to look at life and my world with the perspective of abundance, instead of pessimism and loss.

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 Knowing the value of a new pair of shoes . . . and feeling appreciation for them.  I am grateful that I only have 3 pairs, for that is three more pairs than many in this world have.


Being able to see a field full of wishes instead of a field full of weeds  . . .


The blessing of being able to grow old, for there are many who do not get this gift . . .

My cup does runneth over.  God is good.

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today   . . .  Roasted Pork with Sage and Potatoes.  This was so delicious, I can't tell you. 

 I wish for you a week filled with abundance.  Please know that  . . .

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And I do too!


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday This and That . . .


We watched the most charming film last night.  Saturday night is becoming movie night in the Rayner household.  We use to go out to watch films, but more and  more we are just waiting until they come out on DVD or onto Netflix and we watch them at home.  Last night we watched "Brooklyn" on Netflix.   I had been waiting for a long time for this to come out where we could watch it and I have to say it was worth the wait!

This is the story of a young girl who leaves a town Ireland in the early 1950's to move to New York City, Brooklyn to be exact.  Its a fabulous film which even Todd enjoyed.  The era is captured brilliantly.  The acting in it is superb.  The characters are loveable and believable.  So very well done.  I would watch this again, actually and am pondering buying the DVD when I can.  I think you would all love it.  No swearing.  No violence.  One sort of sex scene, but very tastefully done.  No nudity.  Just a sweet, sweet movie.


The day started off with a Baptism in the  morning.    It began with somewhat of a comedy of errors really . . . with all sorts of things going a bit wrong, but ended up being one of the most spiritual and beautiful Baptisms we have been to in a while.  I love it when that happens.  We got to meet the three new  missionaries in our Ward, which was nice. We have two more from Brazil (making three now) and a lovely new Sister from Utah.  This is her first area.   All fabulous young adults and I just know we are going to enjoy working with them.  The Mission President and his wife also happened to be there, which I just  know we were all going in our heads at first, Oh no  . . .  everything it going wrong and they are here to see it, but at the end it was the best thing ever that they were there, because they got to see us all pulling together to make things come right and I know they helped to create the beautiful spirit that was in attendance that everyone felt.  We even had a woman show up who was not a member, but who felt so much of the spirit and the love of the members that I think she is interested in learning more.  Always a good thing.  I love it when that happens.  ☺


In the afternoon, we had planned to work on our acquarium.  It is only a small ten gallon one and a work in progress as we are learning new things all the time.   When we were setting it up we put in sand instead of gravel.  A huge mistake actually as we learned the first time we went to try to clean it.  So yesterday we bought new "gravel" for the bottom and set out to replace the sand.  This was a huge undertaking as we knew we would have to completely empty the tank to do it.   I wanted to do that anyways as I wanted to clean the walls.   We went to the Pets R Us to get the new gravel and I purchased a bucket only to be used with the fish, as well as a special side scrubbing tool.  We also got two brine shrimp to help with tank cleaning.   We have six fish in it now, our two platy's we started off with and four other ones. I forget what they are called, but they are silvery, two with blue strips and two with leapord spots, and they are like lightening, they flit about so quickly.  We had gotten some fresh water ready the day before to replace some of the water, as we knew we would have to.   It wasn't easy getting the fish all out of the tank and into the bucket.  We drained most of the water into the bucket until there was only a few inches left in the tank.  Getting them out was really hard, but we managed to finally.  As predicted the silvery ones were the hardest to catch.   We then drained out the rest of the water only leaving a bit and we were then able to get rid of the sand, clean the acquarium, dry it and then replace the sand with the gravel.  I took the opporunity to clean the filter as well.  We put it all back together and started putting the water back in and then the fish and then finally we  introduced our two new brine shrimp to the tank. They immediately went to work cleaning the water plant thingies we have in it and everyone has settled into a compatible companionship.  All is well.  We learned a few things also, so it was  a great experience all round.

We think in time we may move to a larger tank. We will see.  For now we are enjoying this small one and one of the platy's looks pregnant so that will present another challenge.  Watch this space!


My afternoon ended with a lovely facetime call with my dear friend Lura, all the way from California.  We have vowed to do this every Saturday if we can.  It was just wonderful to spend this time together with each other.  She is recovering from her latest gall stone surgery.  She doesn't even have a gall bladder, but her liver produces gall stones!  She is truly one in a million!  She is such an example to me of how to remain positive in the face of adversity.    I love her so very much.   What a blessing she has been and continues to be in my life.    Yesterday we were talking about how wonderful it would be if she and John were to come over to England for a visit, or vice versa if Todd and I were able to go to California.  For now these things remain dreams, but as we all know, you have to have a dream in order to make a dream come true!

Which brings me back to Ireland as I was telling her that it was much cheaper to fly from America to Ireland than to the UK.   We talked about how wonderful it would be for us to meet there and then tour Ireland together and had a good laugh thinking about us both kissing the blarney stone!

And with that I am going to leave you with a thought for the day . . . .


A picture one for today  . . .

Spiritual Enlightenment

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Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Chunky Peanut Butter Shortbreads!  Delish.  Oh by the way the Great British Bakeoff begins again this coming week!  Yay!

May your Sabbath be truly the delight it is meant to be.  I hope you all know and can feel that  . . .

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And I do too!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Christmas . . . its coming!


 I know what you are thinking . . .  Christmas?   It's still August  . . .  but if you are like me, Christmas always creeps up on you every year.  One day its the 20th of August and before you know it, Santa is harnessing up his reindeer.   There are only 127 days left until Christmas people!  I always have so many crafts I want to do, gifts and decorations I want to make and I always always run out of time.

Specifically I want to make some small collectables, etc. for the grandchildren.

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A few years back I made Santa Keys for them all.

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Last year I spent a lot of time making felt Christmas decorations . . . I want to do some of those again this year, except I want to start a lot earlier . . .

Here are some of the things I have found which really have my fingers itching to get started.


You know I have a thing for red and white polka dotted toadstools, right?   I found this pattern to make these sweet little ones on Etsy.   I think they are totally adorable. You can get sparkle felt at Hobbycraft.  I might get sparkle felt for the white bits. I think that would be really nice.


These mitten place settings are really cute also.   I love them.  If you knew well enough ahead of time, just who was going to be there you could embroider names on them.   (Martha would!) Then they could also be favors the guests could take home and hang on their trees after.


This was for sale in a shop, but no longer available.  How simple.   How attractive and how easy it would be to just make your own.


These felt bookmarks would make great gifts to slip into cards, or present to a loved one along with a great book to read.


I have about six of these all pieced together and waiting to be turned into stockings up in my craft room.   I have had them sitting there waiting for probably 20 years now . . .  Could this be the year I finally get at least a few of them done?  Well, you never know your luck!


Look at this beautifully quilted candle mat/table topper.   I found it on etsy.   I just love it and what a great way to get rid of some scraps.


DIY Peppermint Candles anyone?   How adorable are these!   A Pumpkin and a Princess.


And these from Delia Creates . . . . I have always wanted to decorate my mantle with a village . . .

Of course you could always take it one step further and  . . .


Stick them on a wreath . . .  glitter them, etc.  Thank you Martha.  Magic.  And I have a whole drawer full of Martha Stewart Glitter in every colour under the sun.


These ones are made from recycled Christmas Cards.  Two birds with one stone.  Found on Christmas Notebook.

 If I started now, I might have a village by Christmas.  You never know.


And every year since time began I have admired this  . . .  could this be the year I actually make one?  Hmmm . . .  I dunno . . . .


Mind, I've been wanting to make this forever also  . . .  choices, choices.   This could be the year.

Truth is I have a very craft soul and a mind filled with ideas, but time and money put limitations on all of my wishes in this direction. There are just not enough hours in the day to do it all.  I can tell  one thing for sure though, if I don't start now, nothing will ever get done, and so that is why I am thinking of Christmas in August.

I could easily finish at least a couple of things.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

I can choose to let it define me,
refine me, confine me, outshine me . . .
Or I can choose to move on
and leave it behind me.

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Raspberry Dessert Cake.  This is incredibly delicious!

Have a wonderful Saturday!  We are off to a Baptism this morning.  Todd is giving a talk on the Holy Ghost.  I love Baptisms.  Everyone I attend reminds me of my own.   Wherever you go and whatever you get up to, don't forget . . .

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And I do too!!