Saturday, 31 October 2009

Sunday thoughts . . .

"My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane."
- Robert Frost, My November Guest

Ahhh . . . November, November . . . it is hard to believe that we are already in the month of November. Where has the summer gone . . . can it be that autumn is already halfway through? And yet . . . as I look around me the evidence is there, plain for me to see . . . the quickly emptying branches of the trees . . . ground sodden with fog and rain . . . dry seed pods of the summer's plants, the only evidence that they once were . . . nights that come dark and early . . .

This is the month that I started my journey of living over here in the UK, some nine years ago now. I landed on these green and verdent shores on Halloween and was married on the 11th of November. (I thought that would be a hard anniversary to forget!) I have had ever so many blessings heaped upon me these past nine years, and I am truly grateful for each and every one of them. I do live in a lovely place, with a warm and comfortable home, a loving husband, an adoring dog and a very satisfying job. It is good to dwell on all that is good in my life . . . I know the fleetingness of happiness . . . and the solidness of joy . . .

Sometimes my heart lays heavy like a stone in my chest, though . . . and I need to turn to my Heavenly Father and ask for him to heal the hurt that lays there, seemingly unmoveable. It would be wrong of me to pretend that all is light and gay in my life, for that is not always true . . . I, too, have my sorrows and regrets.

Today I am feeling them . . . my baby boy is off to bootcamp and I was not able to really speak to him before he left . . . and share my heart and feelings with him, and he has requested that I not contact him whilst he is there, so I don't even have an address to contact him on . . . it makes me sad. Divorce is a nasty thing . . . it destroys families in the worst possible way. It puts walls between people who should love each other, no matter how hard you try to prevent that from happening . . .

I have one son who hates my faith . . . who sees that as having been the reason for his parents breaking up, even though nothing could be further than the truth. He doesn't understand that when he hates my faith . . . he hates the very essence of who I am. That bruises my soul in untold ways.

I have a younger daughter who, for whatever reasons . . . they are her own . . . has chosen to cut me out of her life completely, and so I wait and devour every scrap of information about what is going on in her life . . . and pounce upon even the briefest message she deigns to send my way on facebook, holding any and every word close to my heart, and wishing it could be different. Praying for a way to break down the wall that seems immoveable and solid between us, but not knowing where to begin tearing down the bricks that built it . . . because it is all a deep mystery to me, this unwillingness of hers to forge any sort of relationship between us . . . and I don't know where to begin . . .

Even my oldest daughter no longer wants me to call. Her life is too busy and full . . . she says. She has no time to talk on the telephone . . .

I can feel them all beginning to pull away from me, and I am at a loss as to how to prevent this from happening. It rocks the very core of me from time to time . . . times when I can't push it down and away . . . times like now . . . this morning, when my feelings seem raw and tender and it feels like even the briefest touch upon them will break my heart open like a melon that falls to the floor, and the tears come, and my soul aches.

My oldest son is the only one that really seems to care, but then . . . he is the one who is most like me. Sentimental and caring, with a heart as big as the world, and vulnerable to all the slings and arrows that would try to penetrate it. I know he has been hurt too . . . with the splitting apart of this family . . . but he is too kind to want to bruise me with his thoughts, and so he keeps them to himself.

I know this is deep this morning, and not my usual Pollyanna self . . . but this is me keeping it real. This is why my faith is so important to me, why I need my Heavenly Father and His healing touch so very much. He is the God of healing hearts and new beginnings, the source of comfort and joy and truth and light. When I feel bruised to the very core of my being . . . it is in His arms I seek my comfort and it is in His arms my soul finds rest . . .

It will be ok tomorrow . . . after all . . . this is the month of Thanksgiving . . .

*Boeuf Aux Carottes*
(Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots)
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

THis is a lovely meal that requires very little effort. You end up with meltingly tender beef in a rich broth, all sweet and buttery from the carrots. I served it with a celeriac/potato mash and some lightly steamed haricots verts. (green beans, lol)

2 TBS extra virgin olive ioil
1.5 kg rolled beef brisket
1/2kg of carrots, peeled and trimmed
150g bacon lardons
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 spring of fresh thyme
1 small leafy celery stalk
2 cups dry white wine or unsweetened apple juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F.

Heat 1 TBS of the oil in a large roaster on top of the stove. (Use one that has a lid) Add the brisket and brown it slowly on all sides. Once browned, remove it to a plate and seasont it generously. Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the roaster and add the carrots, 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are browned. This will take 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Put the lardons and onions into the roaster and cook them over high heat until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, beef and carrots. Pour in the wine or juice and add water almost to cover. Bring to the boil, skimming off any foam that may surface. Top with the lid and then pop it into the heated oven and r5oast, covered, for 3 hours, turning the meat at least once during that time.

Remove from the oven and take the meat out of the liquid. Let reast for about 15 minutes, before cutting into thin slices to serve, accompanied with the carrots and lovely juices spooned over top. Delicious!!

In The English Kitchen today . . . Portugese Custard Tarts.


  1. Can you establish some kind of relationship with their Father? Perhaps he can help you mend the feelings? Do they read this blog? Reading your words I can feel your pain and longing.

  2. Marie, I'm so sorry. I know how much heartache there is when family members shut each other out.

    I'm praying for you & your family, my friend.

  3. Children can often break our hearts and even though it hurts you can take comfort in the fact that you gave them life and as every good parent knows we also have to give them wings. Letting go and moving on is not easy but you will have to do that in order to move forward. Don't despair what we truly love often comes back too.

  4. Marie I send you my love and hugs and prayers. I wrote to you earlier about my problems and you were so wise and caring. It is so hard to not have our children with us and I know just how important that is to you and the LDS. You have given your children wings and direction and hopefully they will fly back to you. I also pray that your son is safe through training and deployment.

  5. Sending you a big (((HUG)))! Praying for you and your family, I know what divorce can do. We are dealing with one stepdaughter who has not even spoken to her father in 3-4 years. Heartbreaking indeed. Give it all to the Father - he knows just what to say and do to heal. Much love - Raquel XO

  6. I'm so sorry your heart is so full and heavy today, Marie. I'm glad you can write about it so honestly, though. Hearts do soften and change, and I'm so glad I know that you know where to turn for peace and comfort. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers today, Marie.

  7. Oh, Marie! How I wish I were there right not to give you a big, big ((HUG)) How sorry I am that things have fallen apart so with your children, that they are not adult enough to move past and go forward and chose a life with you now. I pray that it may never be too later... I know how much this weighs on your heart and mind. I am glad your one son at least is in your life, and in a positive way. Sadly, as with all relationships, there has to be some mutuality--both give and take. But they are your children, and I know that no matter what happens they will always live in your heart, as they should. I just hope fences can be mended one day. Also prayer for your son now off to bootcamp--may he be safe in training and deployment. I arrived in Norway in the winter! Yes, the winter...crazy, or what?! hahaha...So I know how you are feeling now, the nostalgia of it all. Very much with you here with this heartfelt post... :o) Thinking of you my very dear friend, and sending you much ((LOVE & HUGS))

  8. I'm so sorry for your heartache, Marie. I will keep you and your children in my prayers. I'm glad I found your blog. You write beautifully and the pictures are so serene. Praying for some of that peace and serenity between your family members.

    You are the English Kitchen! I didn't make the connection. It is my new favorite blog:)

  9. Dearest Friend,
    On this fast Sunday morning I am fasting and praying for you. I got a minute to check your post before church because I forgot to change our clocks back last night and our time changed today giving me an extra hour. I was up and showered before I realized I was an hour early. After getting ready I came to visit you.
    I am sorry for your grief. My heart goes out to you. How I wish that things were different between you and your children. They are missing so much not realizing who you are and gleening from your love, goodness and wisdom. I know that this breaks your heart. My children are almost my whole world. I can not even fathom how bad I would feel if I were in your place..... you say...God knows all. He knows your pain and your love. Jesus knows the pain of rejection. He knows your heart. The gospel is true. The things you bare testimony to are real. The pain and hurts of this life are but for a moment. Endure well dear day all will be made right. I love you so much and so do many others. It is not the same as the love you yearn for from your children but at least you are loved and treasured by those of us who really know you. One day, if not in this life in the next, all of your children will know who you really are too...and they will love and honor you.
    I am sending my best hugs and wishes your way today. My love and prayers are with you. Lura

  10. I feel for you, dear friend, the heartache you are going through. Children can be very hurtful, and who knows what lies there father may have told them after the divorce. My prayer is that the Lord will step in and heal these relationships as only He can do. Keep praying, and never lose hope.

  11. {{{{{Marie}}}}}
    Your post hit me so hard..... It is very difficult when our daughters grow apart from us. I am blessed to speak to Amanda once a week on the phone, but I must say once she left for college, she more or less let me know that our communication would be on her terms. I think in our case she was trying to help me cut the apron strings because she knew how wrapped up I was in all her activities in high school, and I actually had to learn to divorce myself from her... and have no expectations what soever... it took years, and now I can say that whatever happens to come my way is just a wonderful experience. With them living so far away I know that I can only really count on seeing them once or twice a year, outside of a quirky dinner out like last weekend. But it was so hard because my mom has always expected me to be there at all times and I have honored that for her sake. I tell you life isnt fair... this is a very different generation... kids whisking off hundreds of miles away living separate lives from their families.... and my concern is with just how horrible the world around us is... My tendency is to circle the wagons and draw close... but that is when we just have to leave our chidren to God. I pray for you, dear friend... and for your daughters. I pray particularly that they realize their deep need for a great faith in their maker and his Son and that through their great need they will learn to lean on you, their wonderful mother... God bless you, dear, and I will keep you in my prayers.
    PS such great words of wisdom hae been expressed by the commenters.. all of which love you as much as I do! Youa re a very special friend and blogger.... I must tell yoiu when i told my mom that I had a friend in England praying for her she jsut blossomed with joy o think such a thing was possible... so just think.... All things are possible with God!!!!

  12. the American Girl2 November 2009 at 01:53

    Dear Marie - My heart hurts that your children treat you this way. An earlier poster said it best - family has the ability to cause unbelievable heartache...although the family experience should be the exact opposite. All you can do it continue to reach out to them and shower them with the love of God. He commands us to do that even in the face of adversity. Loving through the pain hurts, but can be even more rewarding b/c you would have learned to love no matter what! God be with you and hopefully one day your relationship with your children will be mended. I do so ENJOY your blog. Each day I look forward to reading your encouraging thoughts, seeing your beautiful paintings, and drooling over the yummy recipes!! God bless, tAG

  13. There are no easy answers in this sorry old world. And we have to rejoice in what is good, honest, loving, etc...and often we receive the most from those who are not kin, I have found. Those unexpected people who love us as those we birthed should.

    I think it is just plain hard these days...and you are not alone. No matter how much you have sacrificed for and loved someone in no way means it will be returned. Or that they will feel sorry for the least not while we are still living. I am 57 and imagine you, like me, probably do think more about the days you have left. We have already lived the bigger majority of our days. And as moms, it is only natural we would want to have the connection with our offspring.

    We moved from Wa. state to NC over 6 yrs ago now. Hoping we would see a little more of our son and family, who had our only grandchildren at the time. We live now about 45 minutes away via freeway. But we see them seldom. And because I finally refused to keep going to HER parents for all holiday and birthday celebrations, because we basically never saw them otherwise and it is not fun to only see them we have seen them less. But that is ok. With time, such things become a "distant grief"...yes, we know it is there and some days feel it more...but most of the time, we go on with life and basically don't even notice. We think there are more changes coming (we may move overseas to work)...and this NOT seeing them will make that more bearable.

    (((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))) to you Marie. Keep on being kind and sweet...and I would not try to phone, etc. I have a daughter in Seattle too that we see seldom and don't hear much. I have cried my tears too. But I do the best I can to NOT BOTHER any of them. I kind of wish that there was an organization to help those of us who would love to "be family" and don't have find others who are also lacking as we are. I saw a quote someplace from Hubert Humphrey that has stuck with me, "Oh my friend, It's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left." And Marie, what a warm, caring, lovely place you have created here online...for so many of us to come and be comforted. Thank you so much!! You are doing well, my dear, with what you have left!! And encouraging the rest of us in doing well with what we have left too. I was sooooooooo close to my Mom too, but have had to come to realize that I will never have with my children what I had with my Mother...because I won't live long enough now for that to develop. I have done all I can. So now I must do the best I can with what is left!! I hope you can find ways to keep on blessing your son who does want contact with you!! And you can pray for the others and love them anyway. They have no choice over who we love!!

    BLessings, Elizabeth

  14. I just found your blog and really love your writing and pictures. You live in such a beautiful place. And to have been raised in Nova Scotia...That is my dream to some day visit there. My heart goes out to you in your heartache. Sometimes all we can do with loved ones who turn away from us is love them and pray. You will be in my prayers.
    I am fairly new to blogging and am looking for new friends. I would love for you to check out my blog.


  16. Marie,
    You always touch my heart. I too have a daughter just as yours. The Lord had me to start praying for you and your children as I pray for mine. I know the word says to bear each other's burden Galations 6:2 - so I will share your burden and pray. I know and understand your pain. But Jesus knows all about it and how to mend it.
    Blessing, Hugs and Love,

  17. My heart hurts with yours Marie. Children can hurt us more than anyone; my own have done it often lately and it makes me wonder if I too hurt my parents this way. I hope not and I pray not. I've lifted you up to Him today asking for peace for you. blessings, marlene

  18. Marie, I cannot even see through my tears to respond. I love you and I am so sorry for the pain which I find absolutely unimaginable. Hang on to the light of Christ with both hands and heart. There is always hope...never give up your faith and hope. Sending you lots of big hugs!


  19. We have no children Marie so I can only try to imzagine what you must be going through. To feel such rejection must be awful. All I can do is send you love and hugs, xxxx


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