Sunday 25 April 2010

Marie's Sunday Six

Welcome to my Sunday post of smilemakers, that wonderful ending (or beginning, depending on how you look at it!) to my week where I get to dwell on all that is good in my life. I always struggle just pinning it down to six. There are so many blessings in my life and I am so very lucky to have a mind and heart that is able to seek them out and to accept them for what they are! Everyone has blessings in their lives, but not everyone is able to see them. I am a very lucky woman indeed because I can and I do!!

Sunny days and blue skies made me smile all week long!!! Oh what a beautiful spring we are having. Some days it was not so warm, as there was a very cold wind, but the sun kept shining and it did my heart good. It is always so good to see the sun shining brightly after a long cold winter and we have certainly had a doozie of a winter this year! Worst on record for over fifty years they said. This sunshine and the warmer days are long over due and I have relished each and every one of them!! Here's to many, many more!!

Long walks with my sweetie pie! Because of the nice, dry weather we have been having, Todd and I have been able to go on nice long walks just about every day!! Sometimes even twice a day! Todd and I have always enjoyed going for walks. That is one of the things that we love most to do together. We always hold hands. It is so nice to have a companion in life that I can do things with, that I can enjoy just being with. We do not have to do anything special. We just have to walk. We don't have to go anywhere special. We just have to walk. It is a blessing to have a special person in my life that I can just be "me" with and who understands who I am and why I am the way I am, and who loves me for the "me" I am!!

There is a wonderful program in my church called the Visiting Teaching Program. It is more than just visiting another sister in the church or sharing a thought with them. It's about connecting with them, supporting them, forging relationships and making friends. I was not able to really participate in the program fully when I was down South. I had very limited time when I was not at work because of the hours I worked, and because of the other demands on my time from my employer. I missed it so very much. Oh . . . I did regularly send out letters and cards to some of the inactive ladies in my Ward, but it was not the same as being able to visit them face to face and connect with them. Each month my own Visiting Teachers always found the time to come and see me, and I loved those visits so very much. I always felt bad though that I was not able to do the same. I am so happy now to be able to participate fully in the program again and to be able to go out and visit my sisters in the church!!! Visiting Teaching is one of those special activities that blesses both the giver and the receiver, and I am so very grateful for it! To be able to do it again makes me smile!

Working in the garden again makes me smile! We went yesterday and got some baby cabbages to plant and some other seeds. We filled our hanging baskets with petunias, and our pots with geraniums. We planted a salad garden . . . we covered our baby plants with all the little bottles from the water that I drink each day. You just cut the bottom off and discard the lids. They make excellent little cloche's to help to protect the plants until the danger of frost is past. The plant can breathe through the top opening etc. You can make really big ones using really big water bottles, like the ones at a water cooler as well. It feels good to be able to dig in the earth. One never feels closer to God than when in a Garden. I wonder if this feeling hearkens back to when Adam and Eve were in the Garden and they walked and talked with God??? Who knows!! I only know for sure that it feels good to get my hands dirty and to be doing something to help to provide sustenance for Todd and myself. We planted cabbages, carrots, beets, two kinds of beans, peas, butternut squash and courgettes, oh . . . and the salad garden! Fingers crossed they all do well!!

Talking on the phone to Lura! That always makes me smile! With her having gone on country wide jaunts, and me having moved halfway across England, we had not been able to talk on the telephone for a number of weeks! Talking to Lura on the telephone has always been one of the highlights of my weeks. We do not talk for hours and hours, but we enjoy every minute of the time we do have together on the phone. It is always so good to hear each other's voices and to connect in the special way that ware able to! Finally this week we were able to talk to each other again and it was wonderful to hear her voice! In truth she is never very far from me, as I hold her in my heart, but sometimes it's really nice to have tangible evidence of our wonderful friendship in the form of a voice connection! It would be even nicer if we lived in the same neighbourhood, but I reckon we will have to wait until the eternities for that. I think we'll have to request adjoining mansions when we get there! Do you think John and Todd will be able to stand it?? Well, I reckon so! If they can put up with us now, they can do so even more so then, coz they'll be perfect you know! And so will we! I can't wait to be able to wow Todd with my younger, more beautiful me! He won't be so shabby either! Ohh, that's another thought that makes me smile! ☺

Getting stuck back in to creating makes me smile!! I have had such a productive week this past week . . . making dolls, painting, planning, sorting out my craft room, etc. Nothing else to show you just yet, but soon . . . I love creating things, I really do! Whether it be a cake, or a batch of cookies, or a doll, or even something so simple as a folded napkin . . . I get ever so much pleasure from it all! I hate it when real work gets in the way, I really do!!

Being able to "feast" on the word of God makes me smile. I just love the scriptures and my reading schedule had been off somewhat with the move and all. It was so good to get back on schedule this past week and begin my daily feast again! I always feel such a special connection with my Heavenly Father and with my inner me when I am able to totally bury myself in His word. They speak to my heart in a way that nothing else does. No matter how low I may be feeling, or how lost . . . I can go to His word and it reaches out to me in a special and profound way. Even if you were a person that did not believe in God, I truly believe that you could read the scriptures and find food for your soul amongst the words on their pages. There is so much truth there, so much wisdom, so much sustenance . . . in a world that appears to be getting ever increasingly unstable . . . it is wonderful to be able to cling to the stability of God's word, and allow it to nourish me. I am so grateful for that. The scriptures make me smile.

Feeding the missionaries makes me smile in a very big way! We were finally able to have them over for supper one night this week and I loved every minute of it! I didn't do anything fancy, just plain old sausage and mash with onion gravy, some vegetables on the side, and apple pie and custard for dessert! It's not really about the food. It's about having them here in our home. They always bring such a special spirit with them and it is good to be able to sit around the table and drink it in! I miss having my sons and daughters close by so it is nice to have these young people in our home and to be able to spoil them, if even for only a short while. If I had a son or a daughter on a mission, I would love to know that wherever they were the members of the church were taking good care of them and I love to know that I am doing something to help these sons and daughters of other mother's out, even if it's only by giving their bodies nourishment and encouragement. I know that some days they have a really rough time. Not everyone out in the world is kind to them, and it is sometimes very wet and cold and unwelcoming . . . I love to be able to provide them with a loving haven, even if it is only for an hour or so!

With all the warm dry weather we have been having, I have noticed the ants are back!! I have only found a few in the kitchen, but it drives me up the wall!! I hate having ants in the kitchen! I know they are not dirty, but even so! Yesterday I read online that they don't like cloves or vinegar so I am busy washing my counters down with vinegar and water and the floor too! I also sprinkled a line of cloves across the door way from outside into the kitchen. I hope that it works!!

On Sundays, I like to pop something into my crock pot in the mornings before we leave for church. That way when we get home there is always something tasty waiting for us to eat! Last week I made this delicious Crock pot Beef Stroganoff. Oh my but it was some good. We had it with rice, but it is equally as tasty with buttered noodles. In truth I would prefer to have the noodles, but you know Todd . . . he is not a pasta man. He's probably love this even more with mashed potatoes, but we had rice.

*Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Deliciously tender pieces of beef in a tasty mushroom sauce. Serve with rice or noodles for a tasty and easy meal!

500g of beef stewing steak
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
500g of closed cup mushrooms, wiped and sliced
2 TBs cornflour
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
6 TBS water
freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS Dijon mustard
150ml of sour cream
1 TBS fine chopped fresh dill

Cut the beef into thin slices across the grain. Mix together in the crock pot along with the onions, mushrooms, cornflour, water and onion soup mix. Season with some pepper and salt if you think you need it. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the meat is tender. Stir iin the mustard, sour cream and dill. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with rice or buttered noodles. Delicious!

Note - You can also cook this in an oven proof casserole dish at 180*C/350*F. Add an additional 250ml of water and cook, covered for about 2 hours until tender. Stir in the mustard, cream and dill and continue as above.

After working in the garden all morning yesterday, I made Todd a tasty BLT Panini with Cheese for his lunch! Check it out on The English Kitchen!


  1. Thank you once again for the smiles. My Sunday has not been good. So thank you for lightening the load.

  2. I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one!

  3. I've bookmarked both recipes from today's post..YUMMY!!! I know I will try both esp the crockpot recipe, I LOVE a good crockpot recipe.

    You seem to be settling in cozily and happily, and I am so pleased and thankful for you :-)

    Have a wonderful Sunday!

  4. May your life continue to be filled with lots of other simple leasures.

    Happy day.

  5. I didn't know ants don't like cloves. At this house we rarely see them indoors but at our other house we used to get them,lots of them. Keith's mum did too and she used to swear by giving them a good talking to and telling them to clear off. She swore it worked every time! Unfortunately Keith finds them fascinating and loves to watch them heaving a crumb across the floor.

    Silverfish used to be a nuisance when we had a coal fire as kids. They're not really fish of course but little silvery creatures that dart about. I haven't heard of them for years.

    I think part of the reason some people are unkind, rude even a lot of the time, when Mormon Missionaries come to the door is that they don't understand how they come to be doing what they do. I'm not a Mormon but for sure these young men and women can be sure of a Christian welcome in this house.

    love, Angie xx

  6. I loved reading all of this, makes me feel peaceful. I wasn't able to go to church today, I am having a hard time getting well. My blood count is still down and I seem to catch everything that comes along...soon I hope!
    I'm so glad all is going well for you and Todd..wish I could go along on those walks! Have a good Sabbath ya :D

  7. you always have so much to smile about! i too love the visiting teaching program-i love the visits, i don't see how anyone can't(especially when they come with treats-i'm so bad:) lol. and i love the opportunity it gives me to get to know new people and help others. such an inspired program!

  8. O Marie, can Jim and I live on the road on our mansion with the four of you? I appreciate the unity of sisters in the gospel so much. I have become a follower of Julie H. and I just love how we are all so similar in the things we love.

    Have a great week!

  9. I love your Sunday six, Marie, have a lovely and nice week my friend. Sendyou huggs and kisses, gloria

  10. I am smiling because I finally got to log on and visit you again at Oak Cottage. As I told you on the phone I am having a hard time getting to your blog. My computer lands on Oak Cottage and then freezes. It is driving me crazy. It is like I am at your front door but can't come in.


    I appreciate all the kind things you say about me. I feel the same way. I am glad that we are only a phone call away. It lifts my spirits to hear your voice... and Todd's too. You are both dear to me. I believe, like you, that one day we will be neighbors...if not in this life, in the next. I think we are eternal friends and have known and loved each other long before we met on our blogs.

    I am happy for all of the smiles you have had this past week. I share most of those same joys (except for taking walks with I too love visiting teaching... and the scriptures... and our sweet missionaries coming to dinner. Life is good.

    Well I must say goodnight. I hate to leave Oak Cottage in fear I won't be able to log on again.... but I think positive and hope to drop by again tomorrow.
    Much love and hugs, Lura


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