Sunday 27 September 2009

Marie's Sunday Six . . .

My goodness, but the weeks don't half roll around quickly! Here it is Sunday again and time for me to reflect on all the goodness in my life! Actually, I do that every day . . . but Sunday's are an extra special time, when I get to choose a few of the more special things to share along with you all.

This first one is something I have known for a few weeks now, but only now am able to pass on. As you know my eldest son and his wife are expecting a new wee one in February, but now I am able to tell you it is a boy! Yes, another grandson is going to be added to our family tree. For some reason they didn't want me to tell anyone what it was but now I've been given the go-ahead so I can shout it from the roof tops. IT'S A BOY! Yes, a wee brother for little Gabriel. As Lura has said to me . . . time to make another sock monkey!

Sunny autumn days. We've had a really lovely autumn thus far. I know it is early days yet, but this past week has been lovely and warm and sunny. When I compare that to the first year I spent over here, it's been just gorgeous! My first year here in the UK was miserable, weatherwise. It literally rained every day. I was beginning to think that I was going to be developing webbed feet! Warm and sunny days mean that I have been able to go for lots of long walks and I don't know . . . the world just seems nicer when the sun shines, don't you think?

I've been working and developing some new patterns for dolls to make from my characters that I paint. It's been fun and I can't wait to get started sewing. I used to sew an awful lot before I moved over here to the UK. My sister and I used to both sell our creations at Craft Fairs. What a fun time that was. I loved getting to spend a whole day with her like that from time to time. It didn't really matter how much we sold . . . the best part was being together. I can remember one day when we spent the whole day making Amish dolls together. That was fun as well. The clothes were really complicated as they were authentic, with the right amount of folds in the aprons, dresses, etc. I still have mine. They hang on my Amish Peg Hook in our entry way. Every time I look at them, I think of my sister and the times we spent together.

This week I have had to prepare my last lesson to teach in the Young Women's Class this morning. I am being released, which is kind of sad, but also means that I will be able to devote myself more fully to my calling as a Seminary Teacher. As I prepared it, I reflected on the many lessons that I have taught to our girls over the past 3 years, and the happy times we have spent together. I will miss them to be sure. It is kind of a happy/sad time I suppose. There is no other way to describe it. I know I have felt really stretched to the edge over the past year with having to fulfill two callings in the church so it will be very good now to be able to devote myself to just the one . . . but I will still miss the girls.

This week I found several of my old prayer journals from when I was married before. As I read through some of the pages I felt a bit sad, as they were filled with tender longings of a woman who wanted nothing more than to be loved by her husband and to be able to share her faith with him. Why did that make me smile? Well . . . that was a prayer that was answered, although not in the way I expected it to be. I asked for a husband to share my faith with and a husband to love me, and well . . . I got my Todd. It is sad that the old marriage had to end in order for my prayers to be answered, but I am glad that they were answered all the same. It makes me so happy to be able to share my life with a man who understands and shares my innermost thoughts. It feels so good to be able to kneel together in family prayer and take our concerns and our joy to the Lord as one. It's funny how life works out sometimes. We just never know what is around the corner. Family Prayer makes me smile.

This is my youngest son Bruce. He was about 6 years old in this picture. It was taken at school. Many years have passed since then as he will be 21 this December. This past week, he finally got his date for when he is going to be going to St Jean, Quebec to begin his Military Training. He will start on November 1st. I know he is really happy about this, even though it does strike fear into this Mother's heart. I am proud of him and the decisions he has made in his life. He has grown up to be a good man and I know he will do well. Funny how joy often comes tempered with sadness. I am very happy for my son and proud of him, and yet at the same time I am afraid for him and what the future might hold. Once again I guess that's where prayer comes in . . . and faith. It is a very good thing that he wants to serve his country in this way. That does make me smile. I am trusting in the Lord for the rest!

And for an extra smile . . .

My good friend Lura, who has not been feeling all that well these past few weeks due to some horrible kidney stones, is starting to feel better. That really makes me smile. I just love Lura so very much, and I hated to know that she was in so much pain and feeling so ill. It's been hard being so far away and not able to do much for her, except to pray (which I know is a big thing, but still . . . I am sure you know what I mean!) I am very happy that she is beginning to feel better. Lura always makes me smile. She makes lots of people smile. She is just a wonderful, generous and loving person who brings a lot of joy to others. I am so blessed to have her in my life, and to count her as a good friend, and I am so grateful that she is beginning to mend and feel better. I love you Lura!

And there you have it . . . my sometimes quirky, always wordy, Sunday Smile Makers for this past week!!

I love Autumn Cooking. I know . . . I love cooking any time of the year, but after a summer of salads and such, it is nice to be getting back to cooking some of the more rustic dishes, like this delicious Beef and Barley Soup. Rib sticking and nourishing and good, good, GOOD!!

*Beef and Barley Soup*
Serves 6 to 8
Printable Recipe

Nourishing, tasty and easy to make. Perfect for these cooler days we've been having.

2 TBS oil
1 1/2 pounds stewing beef
3 salks celery, chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup pearl barley
4 cups water
2 tins of beef broth ( 14 1/2 ounces each)
2 tins of diced tomatoes in their own juice ( 14 1/2 ounces each)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups frozen green beans
1 1/2 to 2 tsp hot pepper sauce
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the meat and cook, until dark brown. You may need to do this in batches. It should take 8 to 10 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the celery, onions and barley to the pan. Saute until the onion is golden. Add the water, broth, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, bay leaf and garlic. Return the beef to the pot. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the barley is thoroughly cooked. Add the hot pepper sauce and simmer for an additional half hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaf and serve in heated bowls. This freezes very well.

*Note - you can add other vegetables as you wish. Corn is very good as are peas and okra. Dried mushrooms are also an excellent addition. Soak for half an hour in some boiling water and add, along with the broth. Delicious!

How about some tasty Ploughman's Muffins to go along with that delicious bowl of soup??? Hop on over to The English Kitchen and see how I turned a tasty English Lunch tradition into a muffin you can hold in one hand! Scrumptious!


  1. HI, Marie! A very happy Sunday post here... and happy food for fall too--soup is perfect for just now! Sneaking in to visit while I could having a cup of tea. We're starting fall clean-up in the garden today--lots to do! Wishing we had some of your soup and muffins for later! Hope you're having a good weekend there, dear friend. Catch up with you more soon. LOVE YOU HEAPS!! ((BIG HUGS))


  3. We just never know how God will answer our prayers...your story reminds us to simply have faith that His will, will be done in His time! God is good!!!

  4. Dearest Marie,
    Thank you for your kind words, your concern about me, you love and your prayers. These things have been with me this week and given me strength. I love you too.

    I love the picture of Gabriel holding your sock monkey. How wonderful that your little grandsons have a piece of you near them to hold and to love. I am sure that the new little lad will be just as fond of his sock monkey after he joins your family in Feb.

    I know how you feel about being released...I have felt that way each time I am released and called to a new responsibility. I know that you will miss the girls and they will miss you. Will you get to have all of them in your seminary class? I hope so.

    I am feeling better and getting stronger each day. I tried to make it to the Relief Society world wide prodcast last night but by the time I showered and washed my hair I was too weary to go. I am glad that I could watch it at home but I missed the fellowship with my RS sisters.

    I am going to try going to church today. I am up and dressed. I will attend Sunday school so I can hear John's lesson and YW with the girls. Then we will go out to Mindy's ward to attend the primary program. That is a lot considering that I have been in bed for 8 days but I think I am up to it.

    Again thank you for your concern and love. You are very dear to me. Love, Lura

  5. Marie:

    I've really been taking time to find the good things in life lately. The little things that make you smile. This post is lovely and made me remember what makes me happy.

    Also, let me say, that soup look so delicious. So warm and comforting. I also enjoy the "cooking season" of Autumn.


  6. Oh are getting released! That is OK but I know how you feel. Hopefully some of your seminary students are your girls! I just got called to RS Sec't...I probably already told you but I have been so busy getting everything organized. Also the death that wrote about last week was the father of my dear friends and RS Pres. Now her mom is living with her and has come down with pneumonia. Poor is not just raining it is pouring on her! So I haven't been at the computer as much as usual lately.

    Love your Sunday Six. Congrats on your new grandson to be, you son going into his military service, your new sewing projects and especially for having an answer to your prayers of long ago.

    Have a great week!

  7. What a great list for your Sunday Six! My mom is one of my favorites as well- smile!

    I have a question... do you sell your sock monkeys on your Etsy? I call Calan my little "chunky monkey" and I think having his own little monkey would be so cute!

  8. I stopped by your blog to verify that you were still hosting your Sunday "theme day".

    In case you aren't sure why I would do that, please first go here:

    and then read this one:

    I see that you are still doing it, so I shall leave you on the lists :-D

    Cheryl B.

  9. Hello Marie, yay for another grandchild, and yay for sock monkeys! After reading you for a year or so I've finally decided to join you here in Bloglandia, so do send along any tips and advice you may have :)

  10. For some reason I stopped reading my regular blogs. I suddenly wondered how you were getting on today and I can't believe I've been away so long. I love your blog and admire the happiness your faith brings you. Your blog always brings a smile to my I'm sure there was a recipe for your mom's hot milk sponge I was going to try :)


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