Monday, 25 September 2017

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.


Listening to the dawn chorus as I type.  It actually starts before the sun begins to rise.  When I get up it has already begun . . .  a few notes here and there as if the birds are tuning their instruments . . .  by the time the sun has begun to show its light in the early morning sky all the instruments are tuned and they are serenading me with a rhapsody of heavenly proportions.  It is just beautiful. I never tire of it.  Never.

  

Being able to renew my Baptismal Covenants each week as I partake of the Sacrament and ponder the Saviour during its blessing and passing. The promised blessing of the sacrament is that "We will always have His spirit to be with us."  I love that.  I love knowing that His spirit can always be with me. I love the Saviour with all of my heart and then some.  It is very difficult for me to put into words exactly how I feel about Him and about all that He did for us. It is overwhelming and humbling.  That I can physically participate in this simple act of partaking of the sacrament each week as a symbol of my remembrance of Him and my desire to be like Him and follow Him, is a very special thing to me. If for some reason I miss church, I always feel a bit bereft . . . 


Being asked to give, and giving . . .  the closing prayer at any meeting is a special priviledge and something which brings extra blessings into my life. When I first joined the church I used to worry about being asked and dread giving any kind of prayer publically . . .  just shy I guess.  As I have grown in the Gospel I have come to realise that it is an opportunity to do something really special and to share something really special.  I was asked yesterday to give the closing prayer at the end of Relief Society and I said I would love to say it, and I meant it.  Knowing I am giving the closing prayer means that I pay extra close attention to the lesson which is being given and don't allow myself to become distracted by every day thoughts that might cloud my mind or other things that might be going on in the room.  A lesson in which I have been asked to give the closing prayer for is always one that I will remember well. It is an opportunity for me to give an audible personal thanks to those who have taught me and to my Heavenly Father, and an opportunity for me to be able to ask a blessing for those who could not be there.  Oh, I can do those things anyways I know, and I do . . .  but to be asked to do so publically every now and then is a special thing for me, and no longer fills me with fear or embarassment.

 

Over the past month Todd and I have been re-listening to some of the conference talks from the last General Conference in preparation for the bi-annual Conference which is coming up this weekend on Saturday and Sunday.  As we were have listened we have been inspired again and again and reminded of just how blessed and special these occasions are and how much we gain from them spiritually, emotionally and personally.  I was inspired earlier this month to make more of an effort to keep my Sabbath Day in a holier way . . .  and I have felt a special blessing for doing so. Oh, I have always sort of kept it holy for sure   . . . but making an extra special effort has made it even better.  Today all over the world, the Sabbath is not being kept as a special day much.  It has become just another shopping day for many.  It was not so very long ago that none of the shops would be open on Sunday.  Sunday was a special day and an actual day of rest.  In my childhood years, almost everybody went to church on Sunday.  It was a day which was marked as different from every other day of the week.  A day when family made an extra special effort to be together and to do together without the impingement of the hustle and bustle of the world.  In our efforts to keep the Sabbath Day holy this month we have refrained from the overuse of social media, instead using our iPads to read the scriptures or do other things which can help us to feel closer to the Saviour.  Doing family history and updating our family records as we can.  Watching and listening to wholesome content on our stereo and television. Truly inviting the spirit into our home rather than the world.  It has made a huge difference. I know on Saturday what I need so that I don't run out of milk or whatever on Sunday.  I have no need to shop on that day, or venture into the crowds of people and traffic.  Other than going to church we have spent our days peacably and feel much better for it.  The Sabbath day was made for man, to be a day of renewal and peace, a calm for the soul. 


Getting to talk to my mom on the phone.  It is such a blessing to me and I hope to her. We really enjoy these times together.  I love my mom and I hate that I live so far away.  I am so grateful for the blessing of the telephone and being able to share these special conversations with each other. I dread the day when I won't be able to call her anymore, but I won't think about that. 

  

Dark Chocolate covered Ginger.  I treated myself to a small pot of this ages ago.  I love the stuff and every once in a while I enjoy a piece.  I checked this morning and I only have one piece left in my pot.  Time to think about getting another one. 

  

Two of my boys enjoying a day of sunshine at the pools.  Its hard to believe that it is still this warm at the end of September!  Love their smiling faces.  Love these two joys. Love that they still do so much together.  I hope that they are always close. 


Life is good.

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.°It is not what you do for your children,
but what you have taught them to do 
for themselves,  that will make them
successful human beings.
~Ann Landers .° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ • 



In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Escalloped Runner Beans and Potatoes. Simple and very tasty.  

I hope your week ahead is filled with lots of small and wonderful things.  Don't forget along the way . . .   

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And I do too!

 


Sunday, 24 September 2017

Things that make me happy . . .


In a world thats going increasingly nutso, today I am going to dwell on things that make me happy. 


Seeing these smiling faces makes me happy.  As a mom it does my heart a lot of good to see my daughter and her children so content and happy with life.  Amanda, Maryn and Cam.   Cam, those baby blue eyes.  Maryn, that sweet smile.  Amanda . . .  that contented and full of love for her family face.  Sweet.


Knowing my mom and dad are both happy and that my sister is there for each of them makes me happy.  I love my family . . .  my mom and dad, my sister and brother. They are a unique combination which blesses my life in countless ways.  We all share a history and a memory that we share with nobody else.  An eternal connection that is special and priceless.  Being a part of a family makes me happy.


Mmy children and grandchildren all make me happy. Seeing their smiling faces. Knowing that they are happy, and healthy and content.  All these things make me happy.  I love my family.  I hate being so far away from them, but it is what it is.  These are special people in my life and I hope they all know that. 

  

Getting to share my life with this guy.  That makes me happy. We get along so well.  We hardly ever disagree.  He has annoying habits and so do I, but we love each other enough to be able to overlook them most of the time.  He's my Honeybunch, Sugarplum Pumpy-umpy-umpkin, my Sweetie Pie, my Cuppycake, Gumdrop Snoogums-Boogums, and the Apple of my Eye. He's just really, really dear to me.  I love him so.


How could this little lady not make you melt.  Love her to bits.  She is my constant companion when I am working in the kitchen or taking food photos.  That's because she loves food.  She is a foodie just like me.  She sleeps next to me on the floor on her bedtime bed at night.  I can reach down anytime and tickle her ears.   Sometimes I worry that she doesn't get enough exercise or play time because she is with us two old fogies, but . . .  she is loved and seems happy enough.  Even though her eyes look sad.  She is a very happy doggie.  She adores my friend Tina.  She almost goes ballistic when Tina comes in. She is just over excited to see her.  I think the feeling is mutual.  Tina loves her too.

  

My faith makes me happy. I love the Saviour.  I love my church and its leaders. I love the other members.  I love getting to go each Sunday and partake of the Sacrament and renew my Baptismal covenants.  Everything about it makes me happy. Sure, I wish that my family were also members, but that is up to them. Its their choice.  Just being a member myself makes me happy and sharing that same believe system with Todd makes me happy.  Anything else would be icing on a very tasty cake.


The act of creating something new where there was nothing much before makes me happy.  Be it knitting or crocheting, drawing, painting, writing, cooking, baking . . .  creating  makes me one very happy person. I like to be doing.  Something. Anything.

  

Watching old movies makes me happy.  We watched this one last evening. Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn, William Holden and Humphrey Bogart.  There is nothing really nasty in any of them, and the good guy always wins.  There is usually a happy ending, not always, but usually.  No sex, just crashing waves. No violence much to speak of. No swearing, not ever. Just entertainment.  Some people think old movies are corny, but I think they are lovely.  I have always loved them.  Audrey Hepburn was such a stunning beauty.   


I would love to have seen this gown in colour . . .  indeed all of the clothes  that she wore in this film in colour. Look at that waist . . .  there's nothing of it.  Stunning. Simply stunning.


Of all the rooms in our house, our bedroom makes me the happiest because it is exactly how I want it to be.  I do have new lamps now, not those ones in this photo, but everything else is the same. This room makes me happy just the way it is. 

  

Its true.  This lovely exchange we share each day with me writing, you reading, your comments.  You all make me happy.  Thank you all so much for your faithfulness and the part you play in my life. I don't take any of you for granted.  I wish I could give each of you a big squishy hug. You're an important piece of my puzzle! 


And with that I best dash as I need to start getting ready for church.   I hope you all have a sweet, sweet day.   

  

Be Happy.

 

In The English Kitchen today   . . .  Cottage Pudding.  A simple lemon cake, served cut into squares with a buttery Lemon & Nutmeg Sauce spooned over top.  What's not to love about that!  Happy, Happy!

Have a great Sunday, don't forget . . . 

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
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And I do too!  

 


 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sometimes my mind rambles . . .


Most fruits and vegetables are grown within a covering . . .  a skin  . . .  which needs to be peeled away if we are to enjoy the sweetness and ripeness within the skin.  Take the banana for instance  . . . I could never imagine eating the skin.  It would taste terrible, but  . . .  peel it away,  and something quite tasty is laying underneath. That terrible tasting skin protects the sweetness inside from its very birth until the fruit is ripe enough to be eaten and the skin peeled away.  Leave the fruit in the skin for too long however . . .  and the fruit will begin to degrade and break down, until it is no longer of any use or edible.

There are a multitude of ways that this might speak to the human condition and journey, but really I think the most important allegory you can align it with, is the way in which who we are grows within the covering of our will . . .

 

Will, or agency as it were, is something we are all born with.  From the moment we take our first gasp of air, we are on a journey of growth and becoming, and who this will be, is largely determined by the covering of our will, our agency . . .  the choices that we make.

We protect our little seeds of effort, desire, curiosity and passion nestled within the covering of grand design and ambitious plans, which . . .  more often than not, have nothing to really do with the sweetness and ripeness of what finally grows within us. Just as an ear of corn cannot mature unless it is covered for months by its husk while it incubates, we need to incubate who we are beneath the layers of who we are yet to become. 

I think this is the natural process of life . . . 
the way things are meant to
be and to go
... 


Most living things need a protective container in which to grow. 

We can hurt ourselves however, if we allow ourselves to stay within our protective container for too long.  We can go off  . . .  begin to spoil . . .  rot as it were, if we stay wrapped up within old plans once who we are inside has matured and ripened.  I believe that is why change is good. Change is the impetus which enables us  to break free from that which covers us and holds us back.  Change is what allows us to become and to fulfil the full measure of our creation.

You will never become a writer/painter/dancer/etc.
if you always stay within the
protective covering
of the dream
...

 

There comes
a time when you need to break free 
from the dream and push it into a reality, if that makes
sense.  And I really hope that it does.

The most humbling part of this exercise however is that, although we need to make plans and work towards goals and dreams, possibilities  . . .  none of it can prepare us for the actual moment that goal/dream/possibility becomes a reality. None of it can prepare us for the moment we actually ripen.  Once the dreams fills out like mature fruit, all of our fantasies and ambition fall away like useless skin, their purpose having been served.  Like the silk that keeps the corn shiny, all our delicate dreams of tomorrow have served their purpose. 


The truth is however, that it is not so much the destination that counts, but the journey which we took to get there, and how we took it.  Choices determine destiny, and when we make wise ones, the journey and the destination become much, much sweeter. 

I can't help but show you this.  When I saw it I cried.  This is the almost final front cover of my cookbook. Of course the author name proper has to be put on and there needs to be capital letters fixed on the subnote to the title.  I think it is beautiful and just what I was aiming for.  The dream is coming ever closer to the reality and I am filled with excitement and . . .  I'll admit it . . . fear.  It is a most curious combination.  It is surely a dream that I have had for a very long time coming true, but at the same time my heart is filled with doubts and dread . . .  what if it doesn't do well, what if nobody likes it, what if it is a big flop, what if, what if, what if  . . . 

It all feels very surreal,
I feel a bit like a pretender to the throne.
I think I need someone to pinch me.

A thought to carry with you through today . . . 

.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.°Keep your face always towards the sunshine,
and the shadows will fall behind you  . . . 
~Walt Whitman  •。★★ 。* 。

Spiritual Enlightenment 
 

In The English Kitchen today . . .  a delicious Carrot Cake Roll.  Monique pointed me in the direction of this tasty cake and Todd is very happy that she did! He adores carrot cake.
Have a beautiful Saturday, no matter what you get up to.  Remember you are not alone!

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and I do too! 


 


Friday, 22 September 2017

My Friday Finds . . .

A few of the things I find each week that inspire me to want to do better, to create, to become better, to read more, to watch, to just DO something! Things that delight, inspire, and bring me joy.  Maybe they will do the same thing for you!


It won't be long.  When I lived in a house with a wood stove, this was simmering on the back of the stove pretty much all the time in November, December, January.  Smells heavenly!

  

Free Witches Tea Party Printables.  Why should kids have all the fun? Up To Date Interiors


Rice Crispie Monster Treats.  Cute!  From One Little Project. My monster bark last year was really popular, and I am sure these will also be!


Cool Creativity. 10 free crochet pillow patterns.  


London Fog Vanilla Bean Shortbread.  I adore shortbread.  These look delicious. From The Cafe Sucre Farine.  


That Vintage Life. 11 Genius Kitchen Hacks you wish you had known sooner!  Some of these are brilliant! Like the foil on the end of the celery.


Handy Dandy Chart on how to cut a recipe in half.  From He and She Eat Clean. A free printable.


10 Halloween Party Games.  Just in case.  You never know when you will need party games. From Play Party Plan.  


How to make a makeup bag, from DIY Joy. 

 

The View from a Great Island.  Whole Grain Oat Rolls.  These look fabulous! Whole grain is good!

  

Cleaning Tips Roundup from Apartment Therapy.


Free to Use Collage sheet printables from Mary Watkin on Flickr. 

 

Crochet Zone.  A free pattern for a pocket placemat.  Love this. 


I could not find a source for these, but they are so cute and look very easy to make. 

  

Festive Sheep Ornament. Again, I could find no source.


Leaf Window Clings.  From Kids Craft Room.  


Paper Haunted House Lanterns for Halloween.  From Inner Child Fun. Free printable templates.


Free Printable Menu Planner.  From Little Coco-nutty.   


From Shape.  Gentle Yoga Poses to help with Insomnia.  


Graceful Little Honey Bee.  Love this. A lot of this is common sense.

And those are my finds for this week. Hope you found something useful.  I know I did! 

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.°Children need at least one person in their life
who thinks the sun rises and sets on them,
someone who delights in their existance,
and loves them unconditionally.
~Pam Leo  •。★★ 。* 。 


 

In the English Kitchen today  . . .  Creamy Reuben Soup. Tasty tasty!  Simple too!

Hope you have a lovely Friday.  We are off to the Horseshoe Pass with our friends Tina and Tony and so far so good, the weather looks lovely!  Don't forget along the way of your today! 

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═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════

 And I do too!