Thursday 31 January 2013

Thursday thoughts . . .

When I was a little girl, I had a book which I just loved called . . . 365 Bedtime Stories, by Nan Gilbert. There are several versions of this book, but this is a picture of the one that I had,  which was published in 1955.    In it were 365 stories, one for each day of the year, most revolving around the children on a make-believe street called, "What-A-Jolly Street."  I just adored this book, so much so that I wore it completely out.   It was very well loved.   For years and years I have looked for a copy of it . . . but alas, anytime I have found one, it has been far beyond my capacity to pay the price asked for it.

Never mind . . . it lives on in my mind, just like the characters and stories on it's pages.  Each story had a moral value and taught me something, but there was much more than that on it's pages.   To a child whose father was in the air-force, and who lived far away from any extended family at that time, this book gave me a sense of community and a sense of belonging.   I never knew my Grandparents really . . . not like other children did . . . but there was an elderly woman in the book named Mrs Apricot and the neighborhood children always gathered on her front porch where she would tell them stories.  She was everything that I imagined a Grandmother to be.    I had vague memories of my own Grandmother, but she had died when I was 5 years old and so they were quite dim.

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

Inside the front cover and probably the back, I can't remember . . . there was a map of the street which told you which house belonged to which family . . . there was a school and a store and of course Mrs Apricots house and all of the children's homes.    I used to daydream about what it might be like to live on just such a street as What-A-Jolly  Street.  I took many a trip down that street in my little girl mind.

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

Yesterday afternoon we went to see the film Lincoln.  It was something which we really wanted to see together before I went to Canada and being Wednesday, it was Orange 2 for 1 day at the movies, where Orange customers can get a free ticket into the cinema for every one bought.

We really enjoyed it, although it was a bit wordy at the beginning . . .  but I got such a clear picture of how Congress works and of just what a great man Lincoln was and how very much he did for his country.  When we were watching it I thought of my old Bedtime story book.

I first learned of President Lincoln when I was a small girl . . . reading about him on the pages of my Bedtime story book.  I remember reading how as a little boy he grew up in a one room log cabin . . . about how he learned to read by firelight and how he would use burnt pieces of charcoal to write his letters with . . . and about how he grew up to be the President of America, one of the greatest nations in the world, from his very humble beginnings.

It gave my little girl heart hope for the future, for . . .  if a backwoods boy of such poor beginnings could become the President . . . what were the great things that I could do?  The possibilities were endless and amazing!  It is a wonder how a child's mind works, isn't it?   Anything is possible for them.  They are not bound by the restrictions and fears which bind the adult mind . . .

I would highly recommend seeing this film.  The acting in it is superb,  as is the cinematography.   It is beautifully and brilliantly filmed.  But then again . . . you would expect nothing less from Steven Spielberg.  I recognized many, many film stars in this film,  and I thought that Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field were excellently cast as President Lincoln and his wife Mary.

We talked in the car on the way home and wondered at all of the black people in America that suddenly found themselves free . . . what an amazing thing that must have been for them, and frightening too, I would imagine . . . what next for them???  I reckon that would be another interesting film or documentary for someone to make.  There surely must have been some difficult struggles for many, many of them to overcome.   And isn't it just so amazing that a race once so repressed and ill treated by the American people. . . now has the pride of being able to call one of their own Mr President.   I am glad for that, for now all men truly are equal, which is what Mr Lincoln wanted for the people of America, and as it should be.

Yesterday's Silver Lining . . . we stopped at McDonald's after for a drink and we saw the sweetest little toddler.    She had pretty red hair . . . the kind of red hair you wish you could have, and big brown eyes.  She was just beautiful.  She was wearing a pink tutu and her father was in the army, as he was wearing his fatigues.  She smiled at us and brightened our day.   A smile freely given makes every day better don't you think?

A thought to carry with you through the remainder of today . . .

"If we pay close attention we will come to realize that no day is the same as another.  Every morning brings with it a hidden blessing.
~Paulo Coelho 

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Roast Lemon Chicken. Simple and delicious.  Enjoy!

Tuesday 29 January 2013

The Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY, January 29th, 2013...

Outside My Window...

The sky is still quite dark and it's very quiet. We had terribly strong winds last night.   I am wondering what the garden will look like when the sun comes up.   I wonder if the roof on our shed has blown away again.   It has a habit of doing that when it is really windy!  Thankfully we've always been able to find it in our neighbors yard!

I am thinking...
We take for granted the miraculous dance of creation, but the truly enlightened continuously see it as if for the first time.
~Wes "Scoop" Nisker

I love the world I am living in.  It is a beautiful miraculous place.   I do not know how anyone can look at the world and not see that it was created and designed by a higher power.    It did not come about by accident.

I am thankful for...

There is a huge difference between "wants" and "needs."  I have all that I need.   In a world where roughly 80% live in abject poverty, I am grateful for my many, many blessings.

From the kitchen... 
I need to bake a cake.  I am craving cake.   Naughty me.
I am wearing...  

A pink flower sprigged nightie.   It's trimmed with lace at the neckline and sleeves.   I do so love pretty night things.
I am creating...  

We have both made good use out of our wheat bags this winter.   You can never have too many wheat bags and this pin has a fabulous tutorial on how to make your own Lavender scented ones!  Bonus!

Isn't this heart pocket totally adorable?   The perfect place to hold all of your Valentines!  I may make one of these!   Not that I get a lot of Valentines, but I might make myself some Valentines, you never know!

Loving this idea of how to make a button stamp using an old thread spool!   Isn't Pinterest just the most fabulous place to find wonderful ideas such as this!   I love it!

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

I just love this bookcase which has been made into a doll's house.  It is not fabulous???  People are so inventive!  I see something like this and I think to myself . . . WHY didn't I think of that!

I am going... 
We have not made a lot of plans for this week.   I have my RS Presidency Meeting on Wednesday evening but that is basically it.   NOT A LOT!  I have some projects I need to finish before I go away and I need to think about what I am going to take with me.  It won't be long now.

I am reading...

The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. I am totally  in love with this book.
A little girl plays in the snow with a childless couple, but is she real? The Russian fairy story of Snegurochka has been embroidered by writers from Alexander Ostrovsky to Raymond Briggs. It is the story of a snow man or woman who comes to life, and draws her creators into a magical world. Then she melts. In some versions, the power of love destroys her. In others she gets too close to a campfire and disappears. In this debut novel, The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey sets the tale in the wilderness of Alaska, where the elderly couple of Jack and Mabel have relocated, after the birth of a stillborn child.

One evening after a playful snowball fight, Jack carves a girl out of snow. In the morning, the couple catches sight of a tiny child running among the pines. She is dressed in the snow girl’s red hat and gloves. When she presses her nose to the window, her face is a mirror of the one Jack carved out of snow. The couple has created a daughter.

But is she real? She won’t be pinned down, and always runs away into the landscape. Her tracks are covered by morning. Nobody else believes she exists, and none of their neighbors can see her. Mabel’s friend Esther is skeptical. Winters are long in Alaska, she says. “You start seeing things you’re afraid of … or things you’ve always wished for.”

This is a magical tale and I am really enjoying reading it.   The imagery of Alaska is fantastic and you find yourself wondering all the way through  is she real?  I highly recommend.  

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman.   This, too, is on my Kindle.   It's a historical autobiography.  I did see the film with Kiera Knightly a few years back, which was quite good.   Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire was what you might call the first "IT" girl and lived over 200 years ago.   She was born into the Spencer family at the family seat of Althorp, which means she was an ancestor of Princess Diana.   There were a lot of parallels in their lives which I find absolutely fascinating.  It's a long book, but I am looking forward to reading it.

Doesn't everyone read more than one book at a time?   I could never read just one at a time.   I need to have two or three on the go.

 I am hoping...
I am hoping and praying that the results of my mother's tests are good and that we have a very positive prognosis to look forward to.  

I am hearing... 
Ordinary morning sounds.   My play list, Mitzie snoring . . . the clock ticking.  My fingers clicking on the keys.  Nothing changes . . .

Around the house...

I love this idea of framing a panel of Wallpaper.    I think I may try this out in my craft room.  It would surely add a touch of interest I think!   I am loving it!

Source: via Mica on Pinterest

I love, Love, LOVE this kitchen.  I love the airiness of it and the brightness.   It's fresh and open and just delightful.   I keep looking at it and trying to figure out a way that I could make mine more this way.   Of course mine is very small . . . but there must be a way I could make it look as fresh and open as this does!

Oh how I long for a front veranda with just such a swing to relax in on hot summer days.    Todd would say . . . first you need to have the hot summer days, but I say . . . first you have to have the dream.

One of my favourite things . . .  

Vintage print fabrics.  I am not sure why I love them so, but I do.   I would love to have an assortment of them . . . but knowing me, I would not be able to use them . . . why I don't know.   I love to have these things and to be able to touch them . . . like my old buttons, but I can't bring myself to use them.   It's just plain wrong.   I think I need help.  I think I have a tendency to hoard.

Something new about me ...
I hated ground beef when I was a child. I absolutely hated it with a passion;It made me want to gag whenever I had to eat it. My mother would make me sit at the table for hours trying to force me to eat it. I have even thrown up forcing myself to eat it. I am not sure if it is a texture thing or what. My father used to marvel at how I could eat a plate of macaroni and meat with tomatoes, and the meat would be left on the plate. I could scoop it out of all the holes in the macaroni and discard it. I was quite good at that. Doing this probably helped me to develop patience. I am at a point where I can eat it now, but I still am not very fond of eating it mixed up with other things.   It is the texture of it, I think . . . and if I encounter even the smallest piece of gristle in it . . . that's it.   I am done.  I can't eat any more of it.

One of my guilty pleasures ...

They say a picture says a thousand words . . . need I say more??  Potato Chips and Chocolate . . . thou art my nemesis!

Pet Peeves...    

Litter bugs.  I always want to chase after them and tell them I think they dropped something . . . in a very polite way of course.    I never do though because I think that the type of person that drops their garbage on the street is also the type of person that wouldn't think twice about hurling verbal abuse at you!   And so, I bite my tongue, pick it up and put it in the first garbage bin I come across.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

“Savor the smiles and laughter of your children . . . there is nothing more important."

I hope that I gave my children a happy childhood.   I like to think that I did anyways.   They seem to be well adjusted and content adults.   I did my best and even though I messed up from time to time, I like to think that my best more than made up for the times I messed up.

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

There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.
~Albert Einstein

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 . . . Grilled Bread Salad with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes.
A delicious way to use up stale bread!

Happy Day all!

Sunday 27 January 2013

My first kiss . . .

Topd and I watched an old movie the other night called "My Girl." It's a sweet and tender movie about a young girl's coming of age, a time of first crushes, big changes and first kisses. It's really quite a delightful, touching and entertaining film.  It made me think of my own childhood . . . and first kisses.

Ahh . . . the first kiss . . . that is a moment most girls remember with great tenderness . . . but I was having a hard time remembering it. You would think that such an important moment in time would have forever etched itself in the annals of my mind . . . a mind that is quite capable of remembering such things as "what I had for breakfast on the 4th of July in nineteen sixty two and 'exactly' what I was wearing at the time!" Not so with my first kiss . . . I can't remember it a bit . . . well . . . hardly a bit . . . perhaps it's something I don't want to remember? Perhaps it's quite forgettable?

Oh heck, who am I kidding . . . of course I remember it!!!! I have a memory like a steel trap! It was Lennie Risser, what a kisser! (and I was wearing blue jeans and a white polo shirt!)

My whole fifteenth year of life was spent in preparation for the day when I would finally be allowed to date and have a boyfriend. Certain "looks" were practiced in front of the mirror . . . you know the ones I mean . . . coy, demure, sirenic, surprised, dreamy . . . I didn't want to get caught out by giving the wrong look at the wrong moment, when and if the time ever came.
Kissing was practiced on the back of my hand, as per an article I had read in "Sixteen" magazine. That was a great magazine . . . not only did it keep you "up to date" on all the goings on of all the latest teeny bopper pop idols (David Cassidy, Donnie Osmond . . . sigh . . . ) but it was full of great advice on things like "latest fashion trends", "how to fix your hair", "makeup application" and . . . most important of all, "Boys" and how to manipulate . . . um . . . err . . . I mean handle them!! Some of my friends had boyfriends already, but I had not yet experienced anything other than huge crushes on unattainable boys in the higher grades . . . safe and unrequited love affairs from afar . . .

Some of my friends used to spend summers out at a nearby lake at cottages . . . a place called Lake Pleasant. There was a small town close by called Springfield, and a whole host of boys from Springfield used to hover around like bees to honey every summer, just waiting to hone in on the "fresh" crop of girls, just in from the city. It was win/win all round.   My friends got to play dating with a bunch of boys, and they got to play dating with my friends.  My parents didn't have enough money to have a cottage, or even rent a cottage, so this one pleasure I was denied.   However one lat summer weekend, after all the cottages had pretty much closed down for the summer, those Springfield boys actually came up in a car to visit the girls.   I got to be included by default, and it wasn't long before we all gathered at a friends house  (whose parents weren't home) to chat and hang out together. Inevitably it was decided that we would play "Spin the Bottle." My very first chance to play the game I had often read about!

Source: via Eileen on Pinterest

We sat in a circle, on my friend's family room carpet . . . giggling girls on one side . . . pimply faced youths on the other . . . a myriad of questions going through my mind . . . the palms of my hands sweating in anticipation. Was my breath ok? Should I close my eyes? What should I do with my hands? What if the bottle landed on another girl? Should I lean to the left or to the right?

My palms got sweatier and my giggles a little more nervous and excited as the bottle made it's way around the circle towards me. One after another, I watched my friends kissing the boys, in turn . . . taking mental notes all the while, so that when the bottle finally landed either on me or in my hands, I would know exactly what to do.

Thankfully it never landed on me  . . . and so I had had plenty of time to prepare myself when finally it was my turn to spin it. I took the bottle in my nervous fingers and gave it a spin . . . a rotation of glinting glass that seemed to take forever to slow down and stop . . . and stop it finally did . . . on the only boy in the room with buck teeth . . . dangit! Just my luck!!!! All I can remember is his teeth sticking into my lips as he pressed his mouth against mine and the embarassment of knowing everyone else was watching us. This was hardly how I had anticipated it would be! Where was the tender moment??? The romantic music washing over us in a rising crescendo???? Would my lips be bleeding when he was finished???? Ohhh . . . the agony . . . Ohhhh . . . the pain . . . Ohhh . . . the embarassment . . . How more unlike Romeo and Juliet could things get???

That was only the first, in a long line of "first" kisses with various boys at one time or another, before I finally settled down with one boy in one steady relationship. Each kiss being and feeling more special than the last. How could I have known on that warm, summer evening of my almost 16th year, that this was only the beginning of a long . . . sometimes wonderful and sometimes painful lifetime of experience in dealing with members of the opposite sex.

Yes, I've kissed a lot of frogs through the many years since . . . and yes, I've kissed a few princes, all unforgettable, all special in their own way . . . even the frogs . . . but, I will always remember, with a certain fondness, that warm summer night and the soft lips of Lennie Risser combined with his hard teeth pressing against mine. I wonder . . . did he know he was my first???

P.S. It's not the first kiss that really counts . . . it's the last!

Yesterdays Silver Lining:  the temperatures got quite mild and the snow all melted, and the sun shone the whole day through.  It brought everyone out and about and all were in a great mood.   Long conversations with my sister on the computer.   That was another enjoyable pleasure.   I love my sister.  She's the best.

A thought to carry with you through the day:

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.   This is to have suceeded.
~Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Here's a little treat this morning that is dead easy and as soft as a first kiss . . .
and just as unforgettable . . .


*Eaton Mess*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I am not sure where this dessert comes from. I highly suspect Eaton College. It’s the perfect thing to make when all you have to hand is a bunch of rag tag store bought meringues looking a bit worse for the wear. A punnet of raspberries and some double cream and you have a light dessert, food fit for the gods…

½ of a 96g packet of meringue nests (about 4)
½ pint of double cream
1 punnet fresh raspberries (about 2 cups) gently washed and dried

Break the meringues into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Whip the cream with a whisk until it falls in soft peaks. You don’t want it really stiff for this. Fold the cream into the meringues along with the raspberries, taking care not to break up the raspberries too much. Transfer to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes before serving. You can also stir some raspberry coulis into this, or drizzle it over the top. (Very easily made by whirring one cup of raspberries in a mini food processor with a touch of sugar, and then passing the results through a sieve to remove the seeds)

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And, cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Easy Cinnamon Puffs!

Choices, choices!!


Saturday 26 January 2013

Poetry Saturday . . . The Land of Beginning Again

I wish that there were some wonderful place
In the Land of Beginning Again;
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.

I wish we could come on it all unaware,
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be there at the gates like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he's gladdest to hail.

We could find all the things we intended to do
But forgot and remembered too late;
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken;
And all of the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
the days for one less fortunate.

It wouldn't be possible not to be kind
In the Land of Beginning Again,
and the ones we misjudged and the ones whom we grudged
Their moments of victory here,
Would find in the grasp of our living hand-clasp
More than penitent lips could explain.

For what had been hardest we'd know had been best,
And what had seemed loss would be gain;
For there isn't a sting that will not take wing
When we've faced it and laughed it away;
And I think that the laughter is most what we're after
In the Land of Beginning Again.

So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never put on again.
~Louise Fletcher Tarkington

I wish that I had been able to find out more about this poet.   Louise was the wife of playwright Boot Tarkington. He died in 1946. They married in 1902 and had a daughter, Laurel in 1906. He was an alcoholic and she divorced him in 1911. Laurel developed schizophrenia and died of pneumonia at the age of 16. Louise died in 1923 a year after Laurel. Here is her obituary: 

 "TARKINGTON, Laurel Louise Fletcher (Mrs.Newton Booth Tarkington), 1100 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, Ind. Born Indianapolis, Ind.; grad. Smith Coll., B.I. 1900- m. Indianapolis, June 18, 1902, Newton Booth Tarkington, the well-known novelist; one daughter: Laurel Louise, b. Feb. 11, 1906. Contributor of short stories to the magazine. "

I loved the message of Forgiveness in  this poem of hers which I found in a book entitled "Best Loved Poems of the LDS People", a gift to me from my dear friend Lura several years ago.  I would love to find more references to her life, her personal pain, and her philosophy of living. 

We had some more snow through the night.  There's about an inch or so on the car this morning, but it appears to be melting fast and I see some sunshine on the horizon, so I think it will quite quickly disappear as if it had never been.   I hope that we don't go back to rain, rain . . . and more rain.

I much prefer my rain to be frozen and flaked!

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Somebody had a sulk on yesterday when we got her back from the dog groomers.    I know she hates being groomed.   I suppose I would not like having the hair in my ears plucked either . . . poor dear, but it's just a part of the price one pays for having been born a Spaniel!  They are very prone to ear infection and so the ear plucking helps to prevent that, or so I am told!  Anyways, she looks and smells pretty now and this morning all has been forgiven . . .

Yesterday's Silver Lining:   An extra bit of money for our Winter Fuel Allowance as the temperatures had been below freezing for a week.   It's always nice to have a little bit extra in our coffers to help to pay the bills!

A thought to carry with you through the day:

"Who touches a boy by the Master's plan
Is shaping the course of a future man,
Is dealing with one who is living seed
And may be a man whom the world will need."

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . a simply delicious Apple and Cinnamon Tea Cake.

Enjoy your Saturday!!


Friday 25 January 2013

The Shoes with Nobody In Them

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a man who travelled for the first time to a town called Ubique on business.  He arrived on a very cold day, in the deep of the winter.  The wind was blowing and every step he took caused a flurry of flakes to burst into the air beneath his feet.   As he walked along the streets on the way to his hotel, he noticed a beautiful woman, dressed in furs as well as a man, also wearing an expensive fur coat . . . however their feet were bare.   As he continued along, he noted that this was the same with every person he passed or whom he met.   They all were dressed very respectably and appeared to be very well to do, buy nobody was wearing any shoes at all.   The limped along, wincing in pain from feet that were afflicted with chilblains and bruises.  

Upon his arrival at his hotel, he went up to the front desk, and as he looked around him, he noticed that nobody in the hotel was wearing any shoes either . . . not the desk clerk, nor the bellboys or any other attendants.  All were barefoot.  That night at dinner he sat next to a very prosperous looking older  gentleman and fell into conversation with him.  The old man seemed so kindly and open minded.

"Pardon me if I seem intrusive," he said to the older man, "but I have noticed that nobody in this town appears to be wearing shoes, and yet they are suffering from cold and bruised feet.   Would you mind telling me why this is so?"

"Ah!"  exclaimed the old man, raising his eyes piously, "Why indeed!"

In talking further with this kindly companion the man was never able to get past that point.  Although the elderly man was perfectly willing to admit that shoes were desirable above all things, and that all should wear them . . . he seemed to have no explanation for why they did not.

The traveler had some free time the next day and so he decided to take a walk through the town.  Here and there were scattered beautiful buildings, each more elaborate and larger than the ordinary buildings of the town.   Surely they must be important places.   At one he noticed a man sweeping the steps of the beautiful structure and, his curiosity piqued, he stopped to talk to him.

"What is this building?"  he asked.  "I am a stranger to this town, and have noticed that there are many buildings just like this scattered throughout your lovely town."

The sweeping man looked up at him and replied.  "This is a shoe factory."

"Oh!"  exclaimed the traveler,  "Then they make shoes here!"

"Not at all," responded the sweeper.  "They merely talk about making shoes, sing about shoes and pray about shoes."

Pointing to a sign by the door he saw an announcement that the chief official of this particular shoe factory gave a lecture on every seventh day on  . . . shoes.  Subjects for up and coming lectures included such titles as, "The Origin of Shoes," "The History of Shoe Making," "Varieties of Leather," etc.  He was informed by the sweeper that once every seven days, every other business in town was required by law to close, that nothing was allow to be open except for the shoe factories, and that all the people gathered in them to sing and to pray and to hear the lectures about shoes, but that no shoes were produced and nobody wore them.

The traveler pondered upon this as he continued on his walk.  He happened upon a tiny side street where he found a small shop where inside an old German Cobbler was making a pair of shoes.   The traveler stopped to buy a pair and took them back to his hotel to present to his elderly dinner companion as a gift.

To his great surprise, the old gentleman declined the gift.  He assured the traveler that none of the best people ever wore shoes and that, in fact, to wear shoes was considered a sign of fanaticism and hypocrisy . . .

You might wonder the point of this story . . . but think about it.   The shoes are just like the idea of faith and God, and the practice of religion.   Something which is probably one of the very best and most useable forces in the modern world for helping to develop character and making happiness . . . has been jockeyed into such a position that people are now afraid to claim that they have it and that they use it.  Anyone who embraces it is seen to be a bit fanatical, and it is not considered to be polite to discuss it in social circles or public places.  In fact those of us with faith are seen by those without faith as being deluded by myth and  using it as a crutch to get us through our feeble lives.  People of faith  are seen as being deluded.

Prayers have been taken out of schools and other public places.   People wearing crosses are being denied the right to do so, and in many, many places it is not considered politically correct to celebrate "Christmas" as a religious holiday, or indeed to claim to be a Christian at all for fear of offending those who are not.  In fact it is increasingly becoming so that we are almost afraid to admit that we are Christians . . . Sunday is no longer a day of rest, and has become simply a day much like the other six days of the week.

We have become just like this town . . . with plenty of shoe factories . . . but nobody makes or wears the shoes.  We have shoes . . . with nobody in them.

Food for thought . . . will you be putting on your shoes today?

We had a lovely evening last night at our Relief Society Additional Meeting.   Not a large turnout, and the same old sisters which seem to come each time, but still, all that were there seemed to enjoy themselves, which was nice.  It was an evening all about making positive changes in our lives and making achievable goals and we had healthy refreshments of fresh fruit and vegetables and hummus.  It is nice to get together with the ladies like this.  We're all so busy on Sunday mornings that there is seldom time to really enjoy each others company . . . these little activities are such a wonderful platform for building relationships and sharing with each other!

Yesterday's Silver Lining . . . it was cold, but it did not snow and the roads were nice and clear as we drove to the church last evening.  Being able to spend a few hours with like minded friends was very good.

A thought to carry with you through the day:

"Make it a rule . . . never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say,"I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier or a little better this day."
~Charles Kingsley

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today, thrifty fish for Friday . . . Crustless Salmon Pie with a Lemon Butter Sauce.   Delicious, economical and easy to make.

Have a great day!


Thursday 24 January 2013

Thursday thoughts . . .

The Winter is a stillness, and a darkness and a sleep 
But not a death, for in the  earth the roots of life go deep.
A rest . . . then re-creation and a glad new burgeoning.
Every day in Wintertime is one day nearer Spring.
~Patience Strong

I don't think you  can find anything more exhilarating than a country walk on a cold bright Winter afternoon in late January!

Your eyes  see so much more and travel much further in the Winter than they can in summer . . . for open hedgerows and naked trees reveal much that will soon be hidden by curtains of green leaf and pink blossom . . .

You find yourself leaning over kissing gates staring at the fallow earth, contemplating the beautiful bough structures of the trees once dressed and now unashamedly naked  . . . oak, beech . . . rare maple and rarer still the elm . . . the only ones dressed at the ball . . . the firs in their winter splendor . . . draped with the lace of a thousand flakes of white and glitter . . .

The quiet of the  furrowed fields in Winter seep deep into your consciousness . . . the fallow earth conveying a healing peace which you never find on a busy Summer's day . . . Nature is at rest, and you too . . . are able to capture a bit of the sense of her repose . . . it strokes your soul with cold, yet gentle . . .  fingers . . .

A walk home at the close of afternoon . . . when the pale gold of the sinking sun fades into the smokey grey of Winter's dusk.   The cold is bitter . . . and the wind may blow . . . but there is joy aplenty to compensate for the frost and fog . . . and sleet which sprays . . .

The joy of hot mugs of  cocoa  . . . and toasted crumpets, spread with lots of  butter and jam . . . while firelight flickers across the toes, warming and blessing at once . . . and then the company of a good book when lights are low and comforts are high.

Sweet is the reward at the end of cold, cold  days . . . life is good.

We had a bit of a worried beginning to the day yesterday.   None of us had been able to get in touch with my mother at all overnight and through to the morning.  What with the winter roads and anxiety over lung biopsies our hearts were somewhat filled with dread, but finally I remembered that I had the telephone number of one of my mother's neighbors and my brother was able to call and find out that all was well.   They had simply kept my mother in Halifax overnight.   The risk of a lung collapsing is great and so they did not want her to be more than 20 minutes away from the hospital, so she, my Uncle Harold and his wife spent the night at Barb's daughter's place in Halifax.  

They, none of them, were prepared and so there was a scramble to find toothbrushes and night gear, and my mother had none of her tablets with her, but in the end they soldiered through.   My mother also  had to have another x-ray first thing yesterday morning, so it only made sense.   We were all relieved when she finally arrived home safe and sound, and now begins the waiting game anew . . . as we await word on what will happen next.  It could take as long as two weeks before all is scrutinized and read and pondered . . . in the meantime your prayers are most appreciated.   We are so grateful for them and your love.

Yesterday's Silver Lining:   Although it was inconvenient for mom to have to stay overnight unexpectedly a lesson was learned.   It's never wise to travel without at least a small packed overnight bag at the ready, and any tablets you might be needing in the immediate future!

A thought to carry with you through the day:

If most of valued food, and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a much cheerier world.
~J R Tolkien

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Super Duper Bran Muffins.   Low fat, moist and quite, quite delicious!  One feels most justified in spreading them with a bit of butter for . . . after all there's very little fat in the muffin itself.  ☺

Happy day all!