Wednesday 30 May 2012

The Way . . .

As most of you know the church that I belong to recommends that families set one night a week apart from the rest of the week to do something together as a family   It's called Family Home evening and it is normally a very special time which can help to bring family members together and strengthen their love for each other, help them draw closer to Heavenly Father, and encourage them to live righteously.  

All the members of our church are encouraged to do so.  A family can be any group . . .  from a mom,dad and children . . . down to a group of singletons that simply enjoy getting together.  Normally it is held on a Monday evening, unless there are reasons why it can't be.  Todd and I use Monday evenings as our special time.  Most members do.  There may be some who can't because of work comittments or other things and so they may hold it on another evening.  The only important criteria is that you set apart one night for yourselves as a family and that you use it in a way that will uplift and enrich the group as a whole.

We normally play some games, or watch a good film . . . a film that will make us think and ponder . . . a film that will uplift and leave us with something that can help to make us better people in some way.

This week we chose the film, "The Way," starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Estavez.  It's about a father, played by Martin Sheen, and a son, played by Emilio.  They are somewhat estranged in that the father is a highly professional opthamologist, with very much a career oriented life . . . the son, a college drop out who left to explore the world.  One day as the father it out on a golf course, playing golf with his professional buddies, he gets a telephone call.  It is the Police from  the South of France telling Sheen that there has been an accident and his son has, unfortunately died, whilst walking the El Camino de Santiago, (The way of St James).  Of course this is stunning news and Sheen travels over to France to bring home his son's body.  He then decides to walk the Camino himself . . . finishing off the pilgrimage his son started.

It's not a flash film, or a film with a big budget and special effects and lots of action . . . but it is a beautifully done film about a father coming to terms with his son's untimely death against the backdrop of one of history's most revered pilgrimages.

When one thinks of a pilgrim, normally one would associate that with a group of religious fanatics in hair shirts, flagelating themselves whilst dragging a cross miles and miles down a dusty road, but as this film shows . . . walking the El Camino can be quest about anything . . . and you needn't be a catholic to do it.

As a gypsy says to Sheen, late in the film . . . "It's not about religion," after Sheen tells him he is not a religious man.  And indeed the three main characters in the film which attach themselves to Sheen's journey are an overweight Dutchman who is simply making the walk to lose some weight and become more attractive to his wife, an Irish Writer with Writer's Block who is doing it in hopes that the solitude will jog something in his brain and release the block . . .  and a middle aged Canadian Woman coming out of an abusive relationship on a quest to give up smoking.

El Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage route to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. Tradition has it that the remains of the apostle St. James are buried there after having been transported by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain and buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.

From one of its most popular starting points, St. Jean Pied de Port in southwestern France, El Camino stretches nearly 500 miles to Santiago (another popular starting point is Roncesvalles in Spain). Pilgrims, or peregrinos, as they are known in Spanish carry a document called a credencial, a pilgrim's passport, that receives an official St. James stamp from each town or refugio at which a pilgrim has stayed. It serves as proof that a pilgrim has walked El Camino according to an official route, and also is necessary if a pilgrim wants to obtain a compostela, or certificate of completion of the pilgrimage.

We found both the film and the devotion of those that walk this pilgrimage very inspiring and uplifting.  Much of the scenery in it was quite simply stunning, and we felt that the story line was excellently presented and executed.  One really felt for each of the characters.  I was sorry when the film ended and I found myself wanting to know more . . .

A good friend of mine is actually doing this in a few months time, and I applaud her for her determination and tenacity . . . my prayers will be with her every step of the way.  I admire her for that.  I don't think it is something that I would ever be able to do myself, but in my heart I like to think that I could if I really put my mind into it . . .

Afterwards as Todd and I sat and talked about the film, it came to me that our lives are kind of like a pilgrimage aren't they???  We are all on a journey back to our Heavenly Father . . . and along the way we happen upon boulders or stumbling blocks . . . things which may cause us to falter and slow down, indeed some of us encounter things which may completely take us off the path entirely . . . but we keep moving forward don't we . . . because that is the only way we can go, the only way we are going to make it to the end.

Alone the way we have our "passports" stamped, and our souls are marked with lessons learned, and experience . . .  and obstacles conquered.  It is a pilgrimage taken in the heart . . . and hopefully at the end of the journey, as we fall into our Heavenly Father's loving arms,  our passports will be stamped with the words . . . "Well done my son (daughter) . . . well done."

See the film.  You will be touched and inspired.

Here's something that I put together yesterday morning. I am teaching a class on Thursday Evening at our church on "Creative Writing and Journaling." In our church we are taught that we should each journal our lives in some way . . . it may be through blogging, and then creating a book from our blogs, or by actually writing in a journal each day, keeping a diary, scrapbooking etc. I did this little journal book as an example to show the ladies how simple it can be and how easily done.  This one didn't cost very much and only took a few hours and it is basically the history of how our family came to be.

And then of course . . . like always, I cooked a bit.

In The English Kitchen today . . .  Easy Stovetop  Granola.  A delicious way of enjoying your oaty granola in the summertime without having to put on the oven.

Hope you all have a fabulous Wednesday!  Something to make you think the rest of the day:

"The test of thankfulness is not what you have to be thankful for, but whether anyone else has reason to be thankful that you are here."
~author unknown

Tuesday 29 May 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, May 29th, 2012...

Outside My Window...

It is overcast and a bit cooler.  It's early yet and could go any way . . . we sure have had a few lovely days over this past week.  It's due to change soon though.

I am thinking...
Today my eldest son turns 37 . . . I was sitting here last evening and I said to Todd, "Anthony turns 37 tomorrow . . . How did that happen?"

It seems like just yesterday he was my baby boy, and now here he is 37 years old, the father of two children himself, husband . . . provider for his own family.  He owns a house.  He works at a prestigious University, servicing their computers, and is finishing his own degree part time.  He is good people.  That's all I ever wanted really . . . was for my children to be good people, happy and for them to love the Lord. Job done . . . 
I'd still like to know, however . . . how on earth did I get old enough to have a 37 year old son???

I am thankful for...

 I am thankful that I am 56 years old and still around.  I hope that I will be around for a good while longer!

From the kitchen...
I've been a very good girl lately.  I am not indulging myself so much these days.  I am also thankful for that!

I am wearing... 

Pink M&S nightie and I'm in my bare feet! Sweet!

I am creating...

 I have a few irons in the fire.  

Still working at crocheting this afghan.  It's coming along very nicely. My colours are sllightly different than this.  I couldn't get the yellow yarn . . . so instead of yellow I have a light orange.

I need to clear some space around my sewing machine up in the craft room.  I couldn't sew in there right now if my life depended on it!

Of course, I also have a few little drawings running around in my head as well.  They're just waiting to pop out and I hope to get at least one done later today.  Oh . . . and I'm working on illustrations for my next cookbooklet, "The Great British Picnic."  In the meantime, the Tea Party one is still available.  You can access it in the kitchen!  It's in the upper right hand column.  It won't be on offer for much longer.  I'll soon be taking it down, so if you wanted one and haven't gotten around to it yet, you'll have to act fast as before you know it . . . it will be gone!

Oh, and I've been also asked to do a display for in our Relief Society Room for the month of June!

I am going...
I have the daily reading lessons of course and thenThursday evening is our Relief Society Additonal Meeting.  It's a Dr Seuss Night.  We're doing a few activities based on some lines from his books.  It should be fun.  Then of course this is the Jubilee weekend, so there will be lots going on with that and today the Olympic Torch is coming through Chester, so that's pretty exciting as well!!
I am reading...

Catching  Fire, by Suzanne Collins
This is the second novel in the Hunger Games Trilogy and I am quite enjoying it.  Katniss and Peeta are going back into the arena for a second time to play the Hunger Games, only this time their competitors are not young people from the other areas such as themselves, but also winners of the Hunger Games through the years . . . so each is a very well trained killer.  It's every bit as good as the first novel, and I am enjoying it very much!

 I am hoping...
I am hoping that this tickle in the back of my throat doesn't mean I am coming on with a cold. I hate spring colds . . . 

I am hearing...
Nothing new really. Mitzie is snoring away on the sofa. The keys are tapping. The birds are singing. The odd car drives by. The clock is ticking. I have a country music station playing on the radio on the computer . . . a typical early morning.

Around the house...

Put your hand up if you'd like to have your own chickens!!  I know!  I would too!  I think it's the country girl in me wanting them . . . but as Todd says, and quite rightly so . . .  it's hard enough to get someone to watch Mitzie when we go away . . . never mind a yard full of chickens!  So, as much as I would love to have them . . . it shall have to remain a dream.
One of my favourite things . . .
I love aprons, although I only ever very rarely wear one.

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

I have always loved aprons.  Not really flouncey ones, but good old fashioned ones. I think it's the June Cleaver in me wanting to come out!  Actually . . . if I had the figure for it, I'd dress like a 1950's housewife.  I love the style of that era.

Something new about me ...
I was once totally infatuated with a man I'd neven ever met, and he was yonks and yonks younger than myself.  I think though . . . in retrospect . . .  that I was actually more in love with the idea of being in love.  That is such a heady feeling, but it's not real is it.   

One of my guilty pleasures ...
I love bacon.  I know it's bad for you, but . . . I love it.  Back home . . . way back when . . . in the early 80's we used to be able to buy home smoked bacon from a butcher not far from where I was living.  It was the best!  I still think about it.

Source: via Kassey on Pinterest

As much as I love bacon however . . . I don't think I'd ever cotton to this . . .whatever will they come up with next???

Pet Peeves...
Young people that take the seats on the bus reserved for the elderly or the handicapped, and that then don't get up and give up their seats when someone who obviously needs it more comes onto the bus.  Oh, and I hate it when people without blue badges park in the handicapped parking spots so that people who really do have a blue badge have nowhere to park close to where they are going.

 Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Source: via Heidi on Pinterest

“Love is the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is not found only at the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arched across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, and neighbors! Love, like faith, is a gift of God. It is also the most enduring and most powerful virtue.” 
~Gordon B Hinckley, 10 neglected Virtues that will heal our hearts and homes.

It's the one thing we cannot live without.  Babies waste away without it . . . the human heart turns into a stone without it.  We all need love in our lives.  Love comes in many shapes, sizes and forms.  It is not infatuation, but a virtue which transcends race, age, gender, religion . . . to me there is nothing more beautiful than an elderly couple who still love with a love that has grown beyond the passions of youth . . . into something which is eternal and steadfast and true.

As a closing thought I would like to leave you with this:


“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving , and tolerant with the weak and the wrong.  Sometime in life you will have been all of these."
~Lloyd Shearer

Tis that old judge not, lest ye yourself be judged thing.   We need to be move loving to each other . . . end of.

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!


Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a delicious Warm Potato Salad with a Spring Onion, Caper and Mint Vinaigrette!  Deeeeeeelicious!


Monday 28 May 2012

Simple faith . . .

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet I know how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if a chart were given.
~Emily Dickenson

I cannot remember a time in my life when  I did not know that God was in His Heaven, or that Jesus was His son.  They have always been very real to me.  I may not have known in my younger years, that I truly mattered to them . . .  at least not in the way that I know those things now . . . but they have always been real to me, as real, as real . . . as real as can be.  I have never doubted their existance.

As a young child I was sent to Sunday School each Sunday morning.  Oh how I loved to sing the songs . . . songs about sparrows falling, and Jesus loving me.  I adored the Bible stories and ate them up like candy.  I never tired of hearing them again and again . . .

I was with Noah when he built that Ark.  I heard all the jeers of the people in town as he drove in the nails.  I understood why he did it.  I never doubted for a moment that he had been commanded to do so by God.  I marveled with him as the animals began to arrive and I sorrowed with him as he had to watch the people of the world drowning.  I rejoiced with him when the dove brought back the Olive branch.

I felt sorry for Job, as he lost, one by one . . . everything he had.  I had no doubt he was a righteous man . . . for I have always believed the scriptures too . . . and I marvelled at his wondrous faith.

Then too there were the stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego . . . and Daniel in the Lion's den . . . David meeting Goliath . . . Joseph and his coat of many colours . . . Queen Esther . . . the stories were endless, and I wondered at each of them, amazed at the power of God to work in people's lives, and the power of people, ordinary people to have such faith as these, and I strove to have that same faith and I did . . . and I do.

The scriptures and my faith in them and my Heavenly Father have always been a beautiful tapestry which has been woven into the fabric of what is my life.  I cannot imagine a life in which there is no faith in a higher power.  Without faith . . . how can there be any hope . . . where is the love . . .

“Hope is a leg of a 3-legged stool with Faith and Charity.”  ~President Dieter F Uchtdorf

Faith contributes to the form and content of ideals that guide the aspirations we each harbour for our own lives . . . and it affects the way we regard and behave with respect to others.  A human being without faith, without reverence for anything . . . is a human being morally adrift in a sea of hopelessness and instability . . . which we are now seeing manifest in the world around us.  One only has to think back to the London riots of last year to see how far adrift society has gone . . . and, if anything . . . it helps me to value the faith that I have even more for the treasure that it is.

Oh . . . I know there are people out there who poo poo at the church I belong to, who think it is a cult, or something which is totally unbelievable and so far out in left field as to be a complete lie.  People who may think that Joseph Smith was a total charlatan, spinner of lies and tall tales . . . weaver of mistruth.  There are people who believe that we have been deceived by Satan and, having been wound up in his web of deceit . . .  are now doomed to an eternity in hellfire and damnation.

But . . . how can this be so if our God is a heavenly, merciful, loving, caring and charitable and perfect being, who wants only for His children to return back home to be with Him???

Have they ever stopped to read the Book of Mormon with an open mind, and a seeking heart????  Have they ever stopped to listen to ponder and study the words on it's pages . . . to study the history of it's beginnings in an unbiased and open minded manner . . . to get to know the people who belong to this church, and search out the leanings of their hearts.  These are good people, happy people . . . a loving people.  People who are not afraid to live what they know to be true in their hearts, and to stand by it, come what may.

Have they ever stopped to ask themselves . . . why would Satan inspire a book to be written which totally upholds and speaks only of the divinity and power of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father, which decries Satan and all that he stands for?  When they point at Joseph Smith and ask why would God use an un-educated farm boy to fulfill his purposes for these latter days . . . why do they not see that when you look at the history of the people that God has used all through the ages to fulfill his purposes, he has used young and untried boys such as Daniel and David . . . Joseph of Egypt???  Simple people, from humble means and backgrounds . . but people with a pure and simple faith and belief that anything is possible and a desire to obey.  Do they not see that when God sent his son to earth . . . our Saviour and King . . . that he did not send him to a palace to be pampered and coddled, but to a simple family with meagre means, a lowly stable, and a hard life.  This is a story that repeats itself again and again in the scriptures, and why not in these latter days???

Does something have to be truly ancient in order to be believable????  Must prophets always have long beards and have been dead for thousands of years????  If we matter as much as they say we do to our God . . . why would He not still speak to us, and guide us with his presence????  If the end is nigh and close to hand . . . and the bible makes it very clear that we are in the latter days . . . why would he not raise up a prophet on earth to gather in his flock and to guide them back towards home before it is too late????

Like the Bible, the central theme of the Book of Mormon is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are over 160 passages in the Book of Mormon that speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. There were 22 men named in the Book of Mormon who saw Christ. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned on an average of every 1.7 verses. The New Testament mentions a form of Christ’s name on an average of every 2.1 verses. The name of the Savior appears nearly 25 percent more frequently in the Book of Mormon than in the New Testament. When we realize that a verse usually consists of one sentence, we cannot on the average read two sentences in the Book of Mormon without seeing some form of Christ’s name. Why would Satan inspire the writing of such a testimony of one that he hates?

"He is Lord" rings loud and clear from its pages like a London cathedral choir harmonizing on a Sunday morning. The sound is resonant throughout the book’s pages. The Spirit’s witness is there. That same Jesus which I discovered in the Bible as a small child all those years ago . . .  is also present in the pages of the Book of Mormon.

I am so very grateful for my faith, which grown through the years,  has allowed my heart to be touched in amazing and beautiful ways.

"They, the two sticks, shall be one in mine hand."
~Ezekiel 37:19

I am also very grateful for an open mind and a seeking heart, which was not afraid to embrace something new or to pray about where it led me . . . and then, having prayed . . . to embrace the answer, and have the strength of conviction and the faith to live it.

Sorry for being a little deep here this morning . . . but it is what's been on my heart.

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." 
~The 13th Article of Faith, to read them all look here.


Sunday 27 May 2012

Sunday this and that, oot and aboot!


What a gorgeous day we had again yesterday. Todd measured the temperature in the shade and he said it was 22 as far as he could tell. The temperature measurerer thingie didn't go past that number, so it may even have been warmer! I only know for sure it felt like S-U-M-M-E-R!!  Looks like the sun is out again today as well!

We took ourselves off into the city for a couple of hours.  We thought it would be a great day to do that, what with the nice weather and all . . . plus the races were on, so we knew it would be entertaining as well, and we were not wrong in the least.

I love Chester so very much.  When we lived down South for those 7 years, I often longed to come back here.  I really missed it.  I often said to Todd that if we could take our whole church Ward from Tunbridge Wells back to Chester to live, that would have been nirvana.  However we couldn't and when it came time for us to move back, it was a bit of a wrench to leave them all behind . . . we still miss them . . .but we so love being back up here!!

It was literally bustling yesterday!  I love a city that is alive with colour in all shapes and forms, don't you?

Everywhere we looked there was red, white and blue . . . all in preparation for the upcoming Jubilee, don't you know . . . this is a big week for Chester.  The Olympic Torch is coming through on the 29th, and then of course there are the Jublilee Celebrations at the weekend, it's all go-go-GO!


The shop windows were all decorated with red, white and blue.  I  liked the Marks & Spencers one the best.  They always do their shop windows up so nicely for every occasion and I think they have really done the Queen and the country proud this time!  It is really difficult to get good pictures of shop windows . . . there are always reflections in them, but I thought this turned out pretty good nonetheless.

WE have a really posh hotel in Chester called the Chester Grosvenor.  It also has it's very own shopping precinct . . . for the well-to-do, of course . . . there is usually a really posh doorman standing outside waiting to escorte guests in.  I didn't see him yesterday though . . . he must have been on his tea-break!  I've always told Todd that when we win the lottery, we'll stay there until our posh house is ready for us.  Of course you must buy a ticket to win . . . but the dreams are free are they not?

In any case . . .

Their shop windows were decorated for the Jubilee as well . . . but of course in a much more elegant manner, as you can see.  The other window had an older queen in it and more un-affordable jewelry.

These two lads are often seen in the city singing their hearts out of a Saturday.   They're quite good really.  I think they must do really well.  I think Chester has exemplary buskers.  I really do.

There was bunting and flags everywhere.  That is the Jubilee Clock you can see up on the East Gate of the wall.  It was put there for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, I think.  It's quite beautiful actually and a wonderful focal point of the city.   I think every visitor to Chester has their picture taken under it!  I know I did all those 12 years ago when I came over for my first visit!

I just love the architecture of Chester City . . . with all of it's black and white Tudor buildings . . . tastefully mixed with classic modern bits.  It is a very old city, and that is the feeling you get when you wander it's streets.  Some are still cobbled as well, which, while not all that easy to walk upon . . . do add a bit of charm, to an already completely charming space!


Chester is arguably the richest city in Britain for archaeological and architectural treasures preserved to this day from the time of the Roman occupation. Originally the fortress site of the 20th legion (Valeria Victrix) it was charged with suppressed the uprising of the army led by the warrior queen, Boadicea, the town being known then (c. AD70) as Deva, and soon became a major trading port. Its massive harbour and border position made it one of the finest strategic outposts of the Roman Empire. Long after the Romans had gone, during the Dark Ages, Viking raiders arrived in their long boats along the same route. After the Romans withdrew circa AD400, the prosperous city fell prey to marauding Danes and Saxons and was virtually derelict by 900.


The Normans reached Chester circa 1070 and a revival began, Chester Castle was built, housing Hugh the Wolf, First Earl of Chester, nephew of William the Conqueror. By the Middle Ages, Chester had become an affluent and prosperous port. It was during this time that the famous Rows were built. so that by the 13th century, it had again become a centre of shipping trade, a port serving Scotland, Ireland, France and Spain. In the 14th century began the Mystery Plays and pageants for which the city became famous. Henry VIII granted a charter in 1541 and made Chester a bishopric. By the 15th century, the Dee began to silt up and gradually, the seaborne trade died. Impoverished by this natural action the 1640s brought devastation during the English Civil War, with the city under siege for two years until starvation forced surrender.


But throughout this chequered history, the Roman walls remained virtually intact. The walls extend in a 2 mile circuit and give a vivid reminder of what a medieval fortified town was like. In the Middle Ages, several towers and gates to the walls were made: the most important of these was at Eastgate, now astride a main throughfare and crowned with an anachronistic clock commemorating Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee (1897). By the 1700s, the River Dee had changed course and the port had silted up. The walls were no longer needed for defence and were restyled into the pleasant walkways that we enjoy today. The Industrial Revolution brought canals, railways and roads. It was during this time that many important buildings were restored.

The most distinctive medieval feature of the city is The Rows. These are double-level walkways with a continuous line of balconies and with shops at street and first-floor levels. The Rows are unique and were certainly in existence in the 14th century.  Just another part of Chester's unique charm!

It was very busy in the city yesterday.  everyone was out and about enjoying the sunshine and the races, etc.  I took a short video of this fabulous Busker down near the city hall.  It's only about a minute long, so turn off the music below and have a peek if you want to.  He had sooooo much energy!  He was helping to raise money for the Help for Heroes.  (A charity which helps out Soldiers and their families.)  He wasn't quite Michael Buble, but he sure was entertaining!

All in all we had a fabulous time in the city . . . enjoyed some sun, had a nice lunch, watched some very entertaining Buskers and just plain had a nice couple of hours together.

It's very special to be able to share the things you love with the one you love!

After we came home, Todd did a bit of work in the garden and I did a few more illustrations for my next cookbooklet.  I did this little mini car out and about in the country with a family inside on their way to a picnic.  The quote says:  among the delights of summer were picnics  to the woods

Todd says it's his favourite of all that I've ever done.  I do rather like it myself.  He is always saying I paint too many little girls.  I guess he was glad to see that I had done something completely different I guess!  I might offer this one as a card as well.  We shall see.

I also did this one, which I think may be on the back page of the cookbooklet.  I'm not sure yet.  In any case although it looks very simple, this was far more challenging than the car one!  It's not that easy to keep everything where it's supposed to be and I had a hard time making the crown show up well.  I suppose had I gone to Art College, it would all be a doddle for me!  However I didn't.  Most of the time I'm just  flying by the seat of my pants! Learning and discovering new techniques . . .  things that work, things that don't work . . . what I can and cannot do, etc.  as I go along!

All in all it was a fabulous day yesterday from start to finish . . . We ended the day watching the Eurovison Song Contest until it was time to go to bed.  I don't know who won, or anything . . . but what I did see, was . . . umm . . . errr . . . interesting to say the least!  And yes . . . entertaining!

Here's how we began the day . . . 

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Breakfast Batter Puddings.  Scrummy with fruit!

“Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things."And the greatest of all good things is God.” 
~President Dieter F Uchtdorf

For each of you I wish a very sunny, blessed and soul enriching Sabbath day!  May you be fed with much more than Sunday Lunch.


Saturday 26 May 2012

Poetry Saturday . . . On Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might
one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at
the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in november, we tripped lightly
along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth
of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not
making hay . . .
O I loved too much and by such by such is happiness
thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign
that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods
of sound and stone
And word and tint.  I did not stint for I gave her
poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds
over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her
walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay . . .
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the
dawn of day.
~Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh (21 October 1904 – 30 November 1967) was an Irish poet and novelist. Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, his best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poems Raglan Road and The Great Hunger. He is known for accounts of Irish life through reference to the everyday and commonplace.

Patrick Kavanagh was born in rural Ireland, the fourth of ten children. His grandfather was a schoolteacher called 'Keaveney', which a local priest changed to 'Kavanagh'. The grandfather had to leave the local area following a scandal and never taught in a national school again. Patrick Kavanagh's father was a shoemaker and farmer.

Kavanagh was a pupil at Kednaminsha National School from 1909 to 1916, leaving in the sixth year, at the age of 13.  He became apprenticed to his father as a shoemaker and worked on his farm. For the first 27 years of his life he lived and worked as a farmer of a small holding. He was also goalkeeper for the Inniskeen Gaelic Football team.  He later reflected "Although the literal idea of the peasant is of a farm labouring person, in fact a peasant is all that mass of mankind which lives below a certain level of consciousness. They live in the dark cave of the unconscious and they scream when they see the light." He commented that though he grew up in a poor district "the real poverty was lack of enlightenment [and] I am afraid this fog of unknowing affected me dreadfully.

You can read more about this Irish Poet here, if you wish.

I found this poem quite interesting.  It made me think of a love affair gone badly.  Lord knows I've had enough of those in my lifetime!

It looks to be another gorgeously sunny day today!  We sure have been having some lovely weather these past few days and we think to take full advantage of it.  I am glad the sun is shining today as the Youth at our church are having a car wash to raise funds for some activity they are planning.   I hope that they do well.

We plan on going into Chester city today to have a boo around.  I hope my knees will hold out.  I love to do these things with Todd, but at the same time I hate to think that I hold him back from enjoying life as he wants to.  He would never complain . . . mind . . . perhaps it is just me . . .

In any case, whatever you do today, wherever you go, and however you spend your time . . .

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

~an old Irish Blessing


Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a Spring Salad of Mixed Greens & Goats Cheese Bakewell "Truffles" , with a Cherry Balsamic Dressing!  It's a recipe I have devised for a contest.  Let me know what you think!


Friday 25 May 2012

Friday Show and Tell . . .


Yesterday was such a gorgeously beautiful day that we decided to take ourselves off . . . out and about on a little  adventure in the car. We ended up in my absolute most favourite place on earth (next to Vermont), a little village in Denbighshire in North Wales, called Llangollen.  I know . . . I have taken you there before, many times . . . but do let me take you there again.


Llangollen is such a beautiful little village . . . filled with quaint shops and beautiful buildings.  It doesn't seem to matter what kind of day it is, weatherwise . . . it is always filled with people and sight seers.  It bustles.  And never more so . . .  than on a sunny and warm spring day.


One of the first things we always do,  is to stop and have a drink and a cake at this lovely tea room.  If we can we like to sit outside.   We sit and dream of being able to buy a house here, which we know will never happen in a million years . . .  but a dream is a dream, and we all have them do we not?


And then we walk down to the bridge,  and spend a few minutes gazing down at the rail station . . . and up the river.  There is an old steam railway here and we keep saying that one day we are going to go on a journey up into the Welsh Mountains on it . . . and perhaps one day we will.  That is a dream that is well within our reach, and we really must do it, before we can't do it.


And then . . . we take a walk down the footpath that flows along side of the river.  It is a lovely, easy walk . . . down a winding path that weaves it's way along the river bank . . .  with the sunshine dappling it's music down upon your heads through the branches of the trees, which arch majestically over top . . . the sound of rushing white water glancing off  your ears . . .  birds trilling, bees humming . . . the sounds of laughter, and joy . . . so, so very wonderful . . . 


You never know what you will find here, and it does not seem to matter how often we have walked down this same pathway . . . we always discover something new.  Yesterday it was this caravan that someone had painted up to look like a tiny cottage.   It was sweet and so very . . . quaint.  One could almost picture using it for a guest house . . . and imagine the thrill of being invited to stay in it overnight . . .


I am a real nature lover and I do so enjoy all the greenery that manages to grab a toe hold in just about any place it can in this beautiful country . . . like these wild ferns which were growing in just about every nook and cranny  along the stone walls . . .


Or the forget-me-nots which were blooming profusely on the banks . . . reminding me that yet, once again, I had forgotten to plant any in my own garden.  Note to self . . . plant forget-me-nots for next year.  In the meantime . . . enjoy everyone else's  . . .


And then too . . . there was wild garlic in bloom everywhere.  You could smell it's lovely fragrance floating through  the air . . . Todd almost didn't believe me when I told him what it was . . . that is,  until I broke off a leaf and let him smell.  And then he found me to be quite, quite amazing in my knowledge of such things . . . and, we decided that we will grow some of that in our garden next year . . . we want to grow a lot of herbs.  Perhaps we will become natural healers . . . another dream  . . .

The river rocks were filled with young teens sun bathing and dipping their toes into the water . . . and wild ducks, mallards . . . green heads glinting in the sun,  floated on top of the water . . . we watched schools of minnows darting between the rocks . . . you would almost be forgiven if you had missed them . . . but every once in a while the sun would catch a glint of silver from the backs of a few and they were hard not to notice.  Once discovered, they were hard not to see . . . 

Isn't nature just so beautiful and mysterious and so very soul enriching??  I think so . . .

We sat for a while drinking it all in . . . hoping to catch sight of a king fisher . . . and watching the swallows swoop down over us . . . their wings almost touching the tops of our heads . . .  it was a most pleasurable sojourn . . . but . . .  it had to end eventually. 

We took ourselves back to the car and drove up to the Horsehoe Pass, up in the mountains.  We always do this,  and as usual it was full of bikers . . . teeming with them, but no matter . . .  they were up there doing the same thing that we were . . . enjoying the spectacular scenery.  You can see for miles and miles across the Welsh Valleys . . . there is no picture that can really do it justice.  It's stunning . . . just stunning . . . the land of big skies . . . and grande vistas . . .

The air is filled with the sound of bleeting sheep, which wander across the gorse and grass in abundance.  I remember the first time Todd and I took ourselves up there . . . I tiptoed through the grass trying not to step on any of their calling cards . . . but I eventually gave up, and just relenquished myself to the beauty of the moment and forgot all about them . . .

I do so love this beautiful place that love has drawn me to, and I have never regretted for a moment coming to live over here . . . and . . .  on days like yesterday . . . when I am able to go out and drink in the beauty of it all . . . and able to share that beauty with this very special person that God gave just  to me, a special gift all of my own . . .  my heart almost bursts with the joy of it all.  It is almost more joy than my heart can hold . . . truly . . .


Like all days though . . . it did come to an end . . .  and we had to return home, but not without having captured some more golden moments in our hearts, and weaving a few more threads into this beautiful tapestry that we call . . . life.

“Think the best of each other, especially of those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad.”
~Jeffrey R Holland, Created for Greater Things

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . .  a delicious Gingered Coffee Cake.
Happy Friday!  The weekend is here and the sun is shining!