Sunday 3 January 2010

Marie's Sunday Six Smilemakers

Welcome to my first Sunday Six Smilemakers post of the year 2010. Oh my it hardly seems a decade has passed since the millenium!! So much has changed for me in the past ten years that I hardly recognize my life as being the same! It's amazing when I think about it, and I'll have to do a post about it soon . . . but not today, for today is my smilemakers!

These two lovely gals make me smile . . . Sister King and Sister Chase, our two missionaries that are working here in the Tunbridge Wells Ward at the moment. We will probably be losing one or both of them soon as they've been here quite a while now and are due to move on and it will be sad to see them go. They just bring such a special spirit with them when they come to spend some time here at Oak Cottage. They are such delightful girls. They are doing a wonderful job here of spreading the gospel and I just know it is because of the special spirit that they radiate. People are just drawn to them. They work really hard, rain or shine, and are always smiling and filled with the joy of life. We love them so very much and are so proud of what they are doing here. I know that wherever they go to next, those areas will be truly blessed to have them, as we have been. Both have promised to come back to us for a visit when they finish their missions and I look forward to that, but in the meantime I am going to enjoy as much of them as I can before they leave!!

She'll probably be really gob smacked to see her picture here, but I can't begin to tell you how much this lovely little lady makes me smile. This is my friend, Angie, of Can You All Hear Me At The Back. I have known Angie for a few years now and was really priviledged to get to meet her in person earlier this year when she and her husband Keith came for a visit. This has to be one of the sweetest ladies on the planet, seriously. This lovely lady makes me smile all the time . . . I just love it when a text comes through on my phone from her. I know it will make me smile big time and we have so much fun texting back and forth. She is so witty and her joy of life so infectious! Her comments always leave me giggling, as do her posts. I am always thrilled when I see she has done a new one and I can't wait to read it. I know she has had to meet a lot of challenges in her life, but she has never let them hold her down or back. She is a gem, a true gem and ANGIE, YOU MAKE ME SMILE!!! ☺☺☺

This is a glimpse of my newest painting, The Little Things. It makes me smile. I just love it, and wif you would like to see the whole thing you can see it on my Blossom Times blog in it's entirety. I feel so blessed to be able to have the vision that I have when I do my little paintings and to be able to put them down onto paper. Todd gets a bit sad about them sometimes, because he says that I spend a lot of time doing them and they never seem to come to much in the way of sales etc. but I just tell him, like a writer who can't help writing, or a singer who can't help singing their songs . . . I am an artist who can't help painting and creating. The art of creation brings me so much joy and I wish I could spend every day doing nothing but paint and draw. Unfortunately we like to eat and so I must work, but maybe someday . . . my ship will come in. In the meantime, I draw and create in my spare time and I smile each and every time! I hope that when people see them, my paintings make them smile too, and I hope that one day they will make someone who can pay me big time to do them, smile in a very big way! Wouldn't that be grand!

I know I can never stay awake long enough to see them in real time, but the fireworks on New Years Eve always make me smile. I watch them on the telly and internet the day afterwards, coming from all over the world!!! I know . . . I kind of grumble on New Years Eve when the local ones wake me up at midnight, but I do like them . . . I really do! I just like them better in my own time and when I am awake. So there . . .

Today is Fast and Testimony Sunday at our church. The first Sunday of every month is Fast and Testimony. It is my favourite Sunday of the month because I just love to hear the Testimonies that people bear. We each have an opportunity, after the Sacrament has been passed, to go up to the front and bear our testimonies to all who are there. Some weeks it is hard to get a chance to go up and bear your own because there are so many other's going up, and other weeks there are not so many, but they are always heartfelt and beautiful and touching . . . no matter what, and they always make my heart sing and my spirit smile. I love Fast and Testimony Sundays, I really do. To be able to share with others these special things of the spirit that make your heart quicken and your soul soar is a pretty wonderful thing.

Being a Mormon makes me smile. It means taking your heavy heart to the foot of the Cross and sharing it with Christ, who can heal it and hold it and help you to let go of all your burdens and pain. It is the difference between walking in the dark and walking in the light. My faith enables me to walk in the light. It is partaking of the atonement and forgiveness, even when it hurts to do so. It is a life of service to others, which means that it is a life well spent and filled to overflowing with all the blessings that come from being in the service of our fellow man . . . It means spending 3 plus hours at church each Sunday, and loving every moment of being there, and carrying that special feeling that you have when you're there with you the whole rest of the week. It is knowing who I am, and exactly why I'm here, and where I'm going when I leave this earth . . . and by saying that I know this, it means that I KNOW these things. It is not just something I am saying. This knowledge is as much a part of me as my arms and legs or heart. This knowledge is my heart! Being Mormon is reading about Joseph Smith, and visiting angels and knowing in my heart that this really happened, it is true . . . and reading my scriptures each day and having them resonate with truth to my soul and speak to my heart. They wrap me in comfort and sanity, like a warm blanket on a cold winter's night. Being a Mormon makes me smile each and every day of my life. And that's good, very, very good. I wish everyone could feel like me.

And there you have it, my six Sunday Smiles, my first ones for 2010. Thanks all for putting up with me. You all make me smile too!!!

There is nothing my man likes better than a tasty pie supper. He is a meat and potatoes man through and through. A plate of pie with mash and gravy is the ultimate meal for him. He'd rather have that than champagne and caviar any day!! And I have to admit . . . so would I!! (yes, we're both really cheap dates!)

*Steak and Vegetable Pie*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

My mother could put anything between two pie crusts and we would scarf it up like we were starving. We were real pie people, and still are. This particular version of steak pie is delicious. I suppose you could just stew the meat and then add some frozen mixed vegetables to in at the end if you wanted to, but I love the flavour of the swede and carrots when they have been stewed along with the steak. It's all pretty scrummy!

1 1/2 pounds stewing steak diced
1 TBS olive oil
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and minced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 of a swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into small chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup slice button mushrooms (optional)
2 TBS flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
pastry to fit a double crust pie
(your own or store bought)
beaten egg to glaze

Mixflour with some salt and pepper to taste and coat the meat with this. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a lid, and when it is hot, add the meat and brown it well on all sides. Once browned add the onions, garlic and mushrooms (if using). Cook for a few minutes until softened and then add the swede and carrots. Cook and stir over medium heat for several minutes. Add th stock and thyme. Bring to the boil and then cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is quite tender. Allow to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Roll out 2/3 of your pastry, 1/4 inch thick, on a lightly floured board, rolling it large enough to line a 4 cup pie dish with a bit of overhang. Strain the juices off the meat, reserving them and then spoon the meat and vegetables into the pastry crust. Spoon a bit of the juice over top, just to moisten. You do not want it sloppy and you may not need it all. Save the rest of the meat juices to make a gravy to serve with the pie. Roll out the remaining pastry 1/4 inch thick as above, large enough to cover the top of the pie. Moisten the edges of the bottom crust and apply the top crust. Seal and trim the edges. Flute the edge as desired and then brush the top with beaten egg. Make a few slits in the top to help vent the steam.

Place the pie dish on a baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven on a middle shelf. Bake for about 20 minutes until the pie is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown. Serve hot, cut into slices with some nice vegetables on the side, potatoes and gravy.

Note - You can make a nice gravy with the meat juices. Just shake one tablespoon of flour in a jar with some cold water and then strain this into the reserved meat juices. Bring to the boil, stirring, then simmer for a few minutes, stirring until smooth and thick. If too thick, you can thin it a bit with some beef broth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. Keep hot and serve along with the pie.

Over on The English Kitchen today there's Bubble and Squeak, made from the leftover vegetables from out New Years Eve roast! Delicious!


  1. Good Morning Marie,

    I admire those of your faith. There may be some things I disagree with but the family spirit and devotion to God is so strong and palpable. As Martha says that is a good thing.

    Last night I pulled out some stewing steak to make a pie but other things have happened so I will try your recipe tomorrow.

    Have a good day.

  2. First Happy New Year to yoou. Lovely Sunday smiles today know Angie too she is a great inspiration to us all and she does make you chuckle too. Have a peaceful Sunday. Love Joan

  3. Just absolutely wonderful, Marie! I love it all! And that steak and vegetable pie---that's really speaking my language! I'd take that over something fancier any day! Love you tons--hope your Sunday is perfect in every way--off to bed for me now...but first, I think I'll go and meet Angie...!

  4. These are wonderful things to smile about Marie.

    I want that pie and gravy.

    Love Renee xoxo

  5. Happy Sunday! I do hope you keep those SMILES with you through the week. I loved seeing the picture of Angie. She is a very special person for sure. I've not had the pleasure of meeting her in person like you but love reading her blog.


  7. What a wonderful picture of Angie! I'm so jealous you get to text with her - I wish we lived closer. Wouldn't that be fun? blessings, marlene

  8. Thank you so, so much for your lovely comment Marie :-)I am being true to my Lancashire roots here - but I can never resist a good steak pie! We have a lovely garden centre close by called Willow Pool where you can sit outside in little heated huts to eat and they do the best pies - I have pie envy x

  9. Hi Marie, I just love all your little you know !!..if only I had a fortune I would be first at your door and all my friends would be so happy to recieve your lovley creations ! You should have heard the comments about the Christmas ones !!I have had a lovely day today starting with me giving our minister breakfast ( he had been to another church on this side of Bath and rather than go away back home for 1/2 hour he comes to me) before we both went to church this morning it was our covenant service one of my very when we re dedicate oursleves to our Lord...wonderful..
    Then up to Sarah and Johns for lunch what could be better.
    Much Love Sybil xx

  10. What a lovely surprise! My picture on your blog! One of your Smilemakers! I am knocked right over (figuratively speaking). Thank you for being a really good, kind friend. We may be miles apart geographically but in spirit we're right next door.

    love, Angie

    PS - Keith says he is going to try and make 'your' meat pie in the week

  11. Hello Dear,
    We just got home from Utah late last night. The trip home was long because of so much traffic. It took us hours longer than usual because much of the way from Las Vegas we only went 7 to 20 miles per hour. It took forever but we wanted to get home to go to church today and babysit Austin so we stuck it out.

    Your Sunday smiles always make me smile too. I love that sweet picture of Angie. She makes me smile too. I am glad that I got to know her though your blog.
    Of course being with the missionaries is special to me too. I love the spirit that they bring into our home.
    I marvel at your art work. It would put a smile on even a sour puss's face. You are so talented and gifted.
    Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. I have that same testimony. My membership in the chuch is a treasure to me too. It puts a smile on my face and in my heart. I can't imagine life without having a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    That steak pie looks so good....I must not look too close today since it is fast Sunday...but you can bet that I will make it one day soon.

    I send love and hugs and best wishes for the new year. XOXO Lura

  12. Made me smile too! I love to feed the mossionaries too, these gal's are so cute! It's been a great fast sunday here too! :D

  13. Great smilemakers! My daughter returned from a mission to Houston and I know for a fact these missionaries really do make us smile! I too enjoy Fast and Testimony meeting. The spirit is strong there and we're so blessed to hear others testify!
    Have a wonderful week!

  14. I'm so glad you had a lovely week Marie! Peter loves steak pie, in fact he loves all food! He didn't like olives until we went to the south of France last year - now he does! ~~Pat xx


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