Tuesday 8 February 2011

The Simple Woman's Day book

FOR TODAY, February 8th, 2011...

Outside My Window...

It's cold and dry. We have had terrible winds these past few days, but they seem to have did down now. The wind just whistles down the chimney of the fireplace here in the lounge. It creates an awful racket and makes one feel a lot colder than it really is!

I am thinking...
About God's Divine Signatures in our lives. I have been reading a book about them by Gerald Lund, and I am getting a lot out of it. Everyone experiences these special blessings in their lives. They may just think of them as lucky co-incidences, but really it's God's way of answering that age old question . . . "Heavenly Father are you really there?" I can think of a really powerful one that I had in my life. It was when I was researching the church back in the winter of 1999. I had been in a Mormon Chat room, stirring it up like a hornet's nest, using the stick of anti-Mormon Doctrine. Of course nobody knew who I was. I had been doing this for days. I always came away afterwards very impressed with the respect given to me from the people in it and the sensible answers they gave to my awkward questions. On one particular day I remember getting down on to my knees afterwards and asking Heavenly Father . . . "If this is true, send me a book of Mormon." Nobody could have been more surprised than me when less than 24 hours later there was a knock on my door. I opened it to find two missionaries standing on my doorstep. They were as surprised as I was, when I asked them if they had a Book of Mormon for me. They had been on their way to a zone conference when the spirit had told them to stop at my house. Co-incidence? I think not. Divine Signature, surely!

I am thankful for...
My Heavenly Father's love. No matter how many times I may fail, I know he loves me still. I see this special love evidenced, every day of my life.

From the kitchen...
There is not a heck of a lot! I haven't been doing a lot of baking! I'm trying to cut back.

I am wearing...
A nightie, some jim jam bottoms, my robe. Layering to keep warm.

I am creating...
Still working on new designs. I haven't yet started my doll's house but plans are beginning to take shape in my mind. I did do a little painting yesterday. I used water colours this time and not entirely happy with the way the colours turned out. What do you think? Constructive criticism only please!

Also, I am really excited . . . but here's a sneak peek at what I've been doing! Yes, it's one of my stamps. I can't wait to see the rest!!

I am going...
I have a fasting blood test this morning and then I am doing some visiting teaching this afternoon. I have a Primary Presidency Meeting tonight. Tomorrow Todd and I are driving to Scunthorpe to go to Angie's funeral. I still can't believe she is gone . . .

I am reading...

The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, by Ann Weisgarber
A stunning read, with more than a nod at Steinbeck, yet enough distance to place the writer in her own territory. The two settings, Chicago and South Dakota, convinced me of their authenticity immediately. The family grabbed my sympathy from the opening scene and every character is clear and well rounded. Unsurprising, then, that this novel took seven years to write. Wild as it was, the American west was also a peculiarly democratic place, as a black man - or even a woman - was entitled to stake a claim. Still, there are few black ranchers in the Badlands of Dakota in 1917 where Rachel DuPree and her husband Isaac farm 320 acres of tumbleweed.

"I hated the Badlands," Rachel laments, "the bigness of it, the never endingness of it, the lonesomeness of it, the weight of my hate bore down on me."

Her story, shortlisted for the Orange new writers award, is a catalogue of drought, dirt, expiring cattle and still-born children that makes life in a Steinbeck novel seem rosy. A thoroughly engrossing read thus far. I highly recommend.

I am hoping...
That we have fair weather for our trip to Scunthorpe tomorrow. It will be the first time we have left Mitzie for this long. I am sure she will be ok as she does go all night without our having to get up to put her out, but I know she will be lonely and bored. We won't be able to linger long afterwards and will have to pretty much leave straight away to come back, but it will be worth it as I want to be able to say goodbye to Angie in the proper way . . .

I am hearing...
Early morning sounds . . . the house cracking and snapping as it comes alive. Clocks ticking. Walls creaking . . . cars passing by the front of the house . . . the honk of the taxi's horn. The world is coming alive. The birds are singing more and more in the mornings . . . a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

Around the house...
Not a lot to do really. We've been really good at keeping up lately! My craft room on the other hand . . . I need to get in there and organize it . . . again!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
My biggest one is to get that doll's house together so that I can begin playing with it!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Snow drops, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. I do love them so . . . every winter they push their little white heads up through the cold dirt of the garden . . . towards the strengthening heat of sun. They are a wonderful sight to see . . . can the crocus and daffodils be very far behind? I think now!

And just as a closing thought for today . . .

When the dark is at rest, the light begins to move.
~The Secret of the Golden Flower

A reminder to us that when we allow the minor irritations in our lives and our sorrows to take over, our light dims. We must learn to put the bad aside, in it's proper place, and let our light's shine with healing power.

And there you have it . . . my day book for this week. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!

Here's an old favourite of mine. I haven't done a lot of baking lately. (Trying hard to be good) I hope you'll forgive me! I borrowed the picture from Taste of Home. This is a favourite winter treat of ours though. Pears and cranberries laid to bed beneath a blanket of crumble, and all in a delicious pie! Wonderful!

(Photo courtesy of Taste of Home)

*Cranberry and Pear Crisp Pie*
Makes one 9 inch pie
Printable Recipe

Delicious cranberries and pears topped with a lovely crumble topping. Wonderful!

5 cups sliced, peeled, fresh pears
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups frozen or fresh cranberries
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup flour
1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell

For the crumble topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
3 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 TBS cold butter

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Get out a baking sheet. Put the unbaked pastry shell onto the baking sheet.

Slice the pears into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and the vanilla. Stir in the cranberries. Mix together the brown sugar and flour. Sprinkle over top of the fruit and gently toss together to coat. Spoon into the pastry shell.

Mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon and sugar for the topping in a small bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the fruit. cover the edges of the pie loosely with aluminium foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the edges and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer until the filling is bubbling and the crumble is nicely browned. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Serve with some vanilla or maple walnut ice cream for an extra special treat!

Cooking in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Hawaiian Sausage Casserole!


  1. I do love the photo of the snowdrops Marie, I have a wee clump quite nearthe back door they are growing at teh base of a clematis in a big pot..I got so excited when I saw them the other day and yesterday they were actually nodding their wee heads in the gale force winds..
    I am not so sure that you card is so "real" done in the watercolours, I do love the quote though..
    So glad you are going to Angies funeral and will be thinking of you all. I know you will take the love of all her blogging friends with you to pass on...
    Much Love Sybil xx

  2. Snowdrops are such brave little flowers, leading the way to Spring.

    I love your stamp, can't wait to buy her:) Your picture is lovely but does she look a bit "flat"? Maybe thats the watercolours, not being a painter...

    My thoughts will be with you and Angie's family tomorrow, travel safe.



  3. I agree gals. There is no *sparkle* like there usually is with my paintings. I need to re-do it like I usually do my pictures! Thanks for your input!

  4. I think the girl is too orange in the painitng and it looks flat if that makes sense?

    Please whisper goodbye to Angie for me Marie...my heart is still oh so heavy...

    P.S. will you actually be on QVC?? holy moly!

  5. I know Lyn, it scanned that colour. The real one isn't that orange, but I can't get the true colours to show. Wierd. I, myself, won't be on QVC (as far as I know), but my stamps will be!

  6. I think your illustration is very sweet, Marie! But do rather agree here--there seems a bit too much orange-ness and flatness?? Sooo exciting about your stamps--it is too tremendous--HOORAY! Very glad to hear you're going to Angie's funeral... she'll be happy you did. :o) LOVE YOU LOTS, dear friend ((BIG HUGS))

  7. Hi Marie, Love your thoughts...especially the miracle story. God's signature surrounds us. Part of my daily prayer is that I will not be blind to them. I desire to REJOICE over each one. Thank you for sharing your Rejoicings.

  8. Well I hate to be the dissenter here but I love that little girl with the orange hat. But then those are my colors and I think she is precious.

    But I can tell you are a little down from your writings but then who wouldn't be with a beautiful friend just passing. The fact that you are creating during a time a sadness is very smart, it is one of the ways to over come grief. Maybe you should do another that reminds you of Angie!

    But again I love that little orange hat, her cute hair and the rest of it. In fact, may I be so bold as to say she is my favorite of all I have seen.

    Love, B

  9. I too love your sweet girl. You have a creative touch and to me she is just right. I wish I could share the shenanigans going on here with my grandson bouncing in his little chair... he is just having a blast. I don't have to entertain him at all. What a joy he is for me to watch. I'll be praying for you that the weather is just fine and you have a safe trip to the funeral. Take good care!

  10. Marie I'm so glad you're able to go to the funeral. I hope that you will tell her family that there are many of us all over the world who loved her dearly. blessings, marlene

  11. There are those days when you really need to feel a lift and you warmed my soul with light tonight. I have been feeling sad about some family circumstances and your thought put things in perspective for me.
    I loved your conversion moments. Indeed it was a divine signature. I have that book by Gerald Lund and it is next on my reading list.
    I really know how hard it is to leave your pet. I try not to go for more than 6 hours. Our two little dogs do well but I think they lay by the door until we return. They are so faithful and loyal.
    BE safe traveling to the funeral.
    The book you are reading looks interesting so I will add it to my list.
    Marie, you are so talented I loved the sneak peek.
    Blessings to you! LeAnn


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