Sunday 31 August 2014

Sunday morning meanderings of the mind . . .

This is a copy of what in our church is referred to as The Articles of Faith.   This is seen as an authoritive statement on what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, or Mormon)  sees as the thirteen fundamental doctrines which make up our faith.  It came about in 1842 when our leader and prophet at the time, Joseph Smith, was asked what exactly was it that we believed in.

Two years before he died, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote them in a letter to a newspaper editor, John Wentworth, who had asked for information about the Church. Ever since the Articles of Faith were written, they’ve inspired and directed us in the basic principles of our gospel. They enhance our understanding of certain doctrines and help us commit to living them. They invite further thought. And they’re a good tool for explaining our beliefs to people unfamiliar with them.

 I love each of the statements individually for what they say and teach us, and I believe each of them to be true.   Today though I wanted to talk about the thirteenth article . . . .

"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"  

This is who I am in a nutshell. And it has never become more important to me or has had  more meaning to me than it has had in these recent weeks with all of the civil unrest and evil we are seeing in the world at this time.

"If there be anything virtous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy . . .  we seek after these things."

  Making my home a temple and a haven from all that lays outside it's doors has never been more important.   So how do I do that?

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 I make sure that my home is comfortable, clean and a haven from the outside world.   A place of safety and a place where one can truly say . . .  Love Lives Here.

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 A place of comfort,  filled with books of learning and things which inspire.   A home where prayer is not a dirty word.  A place where chaos does not reign.

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Tidy, clean, orderly . . .  and yet still welcoming and comfortable to all who reside within it's walls and to all who cross the hearth and enter in.   A place where one can find peace and rest from the outside world. We will not let it in.

By reading books which bring us joy and inspire us to want to be better, do better, live better . . . which entertain and are wholesome and clean.

By choosing to watch or listen to only things which do the same . . .  inspire us to be, do, and live better lives.   Nothing with gratuitous violence or sex, or foul language . . . only that which uplifts and or entertains.  Again clean and wholesome.

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By being respectful of all who live here or who enter in to our home.   Friendly and welcoming . . .  a place where they, too . . .  can feel of our Heavenly Father's spirit and love . . .  because we embody that which is good and pure . . .  and once again clean and wholesome.  A haven from the outside world.

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I hope that is what people would feel when they come to our home.   I know that is how I feel when I shake off the outside world and step inside our door.

It occurs to me this morning how very blessed we truly are and how very much I take my blessings for granted.   When I first moved over here to the UK, we were living in a pokey little one bedroom flat.   I had a tiny kitchen with hardly any cupboard or counter space.   We had one tiny living room which had to act as library, lounge, dining room.   One small bedroom which was the only sleeping space in the house.  A tiny bath with no windows and a cupboard beneath the stairs which led to the upstairs flat that we were able to use for storage.   Thankfully we did have a small back garden which we were able to grow some flowers in and hang out the laundry.

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And then we moved to this . . .  with lots of space compared to what we had in the flat . . .  and a huge garden for Jess to run around in, surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards.  We were quite spoiled.  We lost it all and had to come back to Chester . . .  but God is good.

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We may not live in a huge cottage anymore, but our lives are our own to enjoy and we live in a house which is not a one bedroom flat and which has a big garden for us to enjoy and which is comfortable and warm and cosy.   And while from time to time I may complain about the lack of storage space or small kitchen . . . I do recognize that we are blessed . . .

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Happiness . . .  it comes from wanting what you already have.  Peace . . . it comes from knowing in your heart that which is true.  Joy . . . it comes from being loved and loving back  . . . and by living  true and honest principles.  Anything else is just icing on a very good cake.

I am grateful for a comfortable home, a home which is welcoming and dry and warm . . . a home which is a haven from the outside world.   A home where love lives. 

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In The English Kitchen today  . . . Chocolate Chip Pancakes with a Buttermilk Syrup.   Positively scrumptious!

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Have a wonderful Sunday.   Be blessed.

Saturday 30 August 2014

Like rocks being tumbled . . .

One day a man went walking.   As he walked he picked up an assortment of rocks which he found along the way.   In their natural state these rocks were no more than dull gray lumps with a few ragged edges, some with a few streaks of colour, but really they were . . .  none of them . . .  that remarkable to look at.

When he got home, he put the rocks in a old, plastic barrel along with some coarse grit and water. He tumbled the rocks together for several weeks. Every few days he pulled out the rough stones to check their progress. Then he would return them to the barrel and let erosion and friction continue to do their work.

All day long . . . day after day . . .  the rock tumbling machine whined and groaned as the stones rubbed against one another. Sometimes it seemed that the machine’s motor would give out before it finished the work. After about  four weeks of this noise and caos . . .  he removed the rocks and found they had become beautiful, polished pieces of jasper, carnelian, tiger’s eye, quartz, obsidian, and adventurtine.

Combined, altogether  . . .  they were worth five, ten or even a hundred times their original value.  He had seen all along the value in these dirty old stones . . .  and the value which came from putting them under stress and tumbling them together . . .  the very act of which turned them into something quite beautiful.

It is the same with life.   We come into life with rough and jagged edges, with a streak of colour here and there, rough diamonds as it were.   As our days follow one another, life beats against our edges . . .  experiences, both good and bad, rub against us . . .  friction beats at our brows . . . there are moments when we sometimes think we just cannot take any more.

Truth is . . .  we are all being polished.   Life and all that we experience are beating, brushing and tumbling us into the beautiful stones we each have the potential to become.

I love that thought . . .

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.” 
~Orson F Whitney

When I was a little girl, I just loved the Lennon Sisters.   I remember watching them on the Lawrence Welk Show, and I had some novels which had been created about them, and paper dolls.  I've been enjoying listening to them on You Tube this morning and thought I would share one of their videos with you.   For your listening pleasure.   My favourite one was Janet, but that's because she was the youngest.

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Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Cut and Come Again Cake.   A delicous old fashioned favourite!

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Have a wonderful Saturday.  May your cup runneth over!

Friday 29 August 2014

Friday Finds

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 A few of the wow moments, or things I discover each week that tickle my fancy.  I hope that they may inspire or tickle yours too!    

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As a trained and experienced cook, this is not a mystery to me, but I know that a lot of people want to know what flavours to put with what.  I found this handy chart which matches herbs and spices to what works well with each.  I found this use chart on Adventures in Spices. Flavour combinations need never be a mystery again!

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Slighty off topic, but this just begged me to ask the question why????  From Living Out Loud.   Well, I guess it got a link on my page, so that's a start, lol.

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The 30 day declutter challenge from Pop Sugar.  Downloadable and printable.   If you need help decluttering.  This makes for a good start!

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For ALL of you Jane Austin fans, a new card game to play that looks like a lot of fun.  Marrying Mr. Darcy.   And there is a downloadable printable version that is not all that expensive!  Bring on the good times!  (FHE??  Maybe!)

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This is a heart pouch mini tutorial.  There is a downloadable PDF with all of the information you need.  Found on Dog Under My Desk.  It looks simple and easy to make.   There are a lot of other really nice patterns as well!  All simple and easy.

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I adore these DIY sofa cushion covers.  What a brilliant idea.   I keep a throw on the seat of our sofa constantly because Mitzie likes to sit on there with us, but covers like this that I could just take off and wash would be a great idea and so colourful!  Found on  Brit Co.   These are jumbo floor pillows.  I am just thinking that they would make great sofa seat pillow covers.

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I just love wall decals, and the idea that you can make your own just thrills me!   These are done with fabric.   Found on Pop Sugar!

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I love, love, LOVE this magnetic needlekeep from Red Brolly.   Complete tutorial, easy to make.   Love, Love, LOVE.  What a great blog that is!

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You all know how crazy I am about red and white toadstools.   How about an Ikea Hack Toadstool Stools.   (Say that three times, really quickly! haha)   Found on  Pink Stripey Socks.

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Funny Face Bookmarks for Back to School.   These are so cute and simple to make.  The kids will love to help as well.  Would make a great Sunday School project also I think, r for a children's activity.   Found on Dollar Store Crafts.   I think they are really cute!!

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Isn't she adorable?   This is a German tradition that I just love.  Back to school cones.   You fill them up with goodies for the kids and it helps to make the first day back to school even better and awesome than it is already!  Complete tutorial on The Etsy Blog.  Such fun!

And that's my Friday Finds for this week.  I hope you enjoyed discovering some new things as much as I did showing them to you!

A thought to carry with you through the day . . .

"There is no such thing as chance; 
and what seem to us merest accident 
springs from the deepest source of destiny."
 ~Friedrich Schiller
╭•⊰✿ღ¸╭•⊰✿¸.•*ღ¸╭•⊰✿¸.•* ღ¸╭•⊰✿¸.•*

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Pasta with a Marinated Cherry Tomato Sauce.  This was sooooooo delicious, simple, quick and used some of the tomato glut from the garden in a very tasty way!

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Have a wonderful Friday!!

Thursday 28 August 2014

Five Things About Me

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 Fasten your seat belts!  Yeppers, it's another five things about me post!  (Hope you aren't getting tired of them!)

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This is a picture of my Cut and Come Again Cake.  (Look for the recipe soon!)  I LOVE CAKE.   In those first wee moments when I open my eyes in the morning, when I am trying to shake the sleep from my eyes . . .  this morning, I was thinking . . . I don't know a cake that I don't like.  I cannot think of literally one kind of cake that I am not fond of.   At least that I have heard of at any rate.  Conventional Cakes.  If you were to approache me with a cake which was made from something disgusting like insects or dung, of course I would not like or even be tempted to eat them.  But ordinary everyday cakes???  I'm your gal!  I love LOVE cake!  Do you have a favourite cake?   If I had to choose only one . . . it would be . . .  pound cake.  I quite simply adore pound cake.

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I have a huge space in my heart for animals and nature.   I have always had a huge space in my heart for God's creation and creatures.   I cannot bear to watch cruelty of any kind to animals and it distresses me to no end when things like that come up on my facebook wall.   My heart breaks each time and I want to throw up.   I know that people are amazingly cruel to animals.   I don't want to see it.   I had to stop watching some nature shows because I get too upset when I see lions hunting and killing, or a baby animal in distress and nobody helping it.  I cannot understand how the camera people cannot intervene.  I would be intervening.  I know it is nature and natural that these things happen.  I know lions need to hunt to eat and survive.   I just don't like to see it.  I would rather keep these things locked away in my vault of things I don't want to deal with or look at.  Entertainment for some, but not for me . . .

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Men in kilts.  I go ga ga over men in kilts.  I think its that Scottish Laird thing they get going in my veins.   I used to love to read historical romance novels and the ones with Sottish Lairds were the ones I loved the most.  (And the ones with Vikings . . .  ahem.)  I loved Dragonfly in Amber by Diane Gabaldon.  Brave Heart.   Rob Roy.  The Highlander.  History suddenly became a lot more interesting when I discovered men in kilts . . .  fact mingled with the mysteries of Hollywood.

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I must stress here however . . .  that not all men in kilts get my temperature rising.  There are a few exceptions.

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Who was your favourite Beatle?  I'm pretty sure mine was George Harrison.   I am still a sucker for a Liverpool accent.  I just love them.  (Even if when they talk really fast I can't understand them.)  I have always been a Beatle's fan.  I adore their music.   I could listen to it from hours.  I can remember being allowed to stay up late to watch them when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.   I would have been about 8 years old or so.   It was love at first sight, ya . . . ya . . .  ya . . .

George was my favourite.  Now as an adult and after having reading about him and seeing his films.  I think he was the  most sensitive AND the nicest of all those lads and he is still my favourite and it is a favourite not based on looks, but on who he was.

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I love films.   I was sitting here this morning trying to think about what was my all time favourite film, and I was having a difficult time because I have so many films that I really, really like.   I finally settled on Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.   It's not for the great script or the cinematography or anything else like that . . .  it's for the story and the way it makes me sigh even when I think of it.  I am a romantic at heart and the idea that someone could travel through time to find the person they love just gets me giddy.  I loved the  costumes and that old world feel about the film.   I loved the premise of it.   I loved that there was no swearing in it or gratuitious sex, no real violence.   (Spoiler Alert) I cried at the end when he died trying to get back to her. . . . just wasting away in his chair . . .  sigh . . .   What is your favourite film?

And there you have it, five things about me that you possibly didn't know before.   My life is such an open book, I am sure you may have already known some of them, but I am hoping there were a few surprises in the mix!

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"I'd rather have roses on my table 
than diamonds around my neck"
 ~ Emma Goldman 

✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿✿¸.•

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today   . . .  Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Jacket Potatoes!  A great way to get the kiddos and hubbies eating broccoli!

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Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Wednesday Ramblings . . .

 Yesterday the son of one of my cousins posted this question on facebook.  "Why doesn't my father love me."  My heart broke a tiny bit.  It's only six words, but I could feel the pain and the anguish in them.  The heart wants . . .  what the heart wants.

Although this young man is very much loved by all the people who are present in his life . . .  his heart yearns for the one person's love that he feels is missing.  I know how that feels.  And just because you have lots of people in your life that do love you and that's great . . .  it doesn't stop you from missing and wanting the love of someone who is supposed to love you no matter what, no matter why, no matter when.

Family's are supposed to love you unconditionally aren't they?  In the ideal world, yes.   Unfortunately we live in a broken world, an imperfect world and as human beings we are very imperfect.

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I learned a long time ago that it is not enough for others to love you the way you want them to love you.  You first have to love yourself . . .  from the inside out.  And I don't mean that in a narcisstic way.  You have to feel confident about who you are and know in your heart that you are being the best person that you know how to be.   You should never base your self-worth on someone else's opinion or valuation of you, or what or how your perception is of their feelings towards you.

Nobody can know what truly lays in another's heart.  Some people are really incapable of showing their feelings, and whilst they may love the very bones off you . . .  they don't really know how to show you that they do.  More often that not this is because perhaps they don't feel worthy of having you in their life because of their own weaknesses and behaviours . . .  and really has nothing to do with you at all.  They may not feel worthy of your love and so they put up a wall between you so that they don't have to deal with what may or may not exist.   Again . . .  not your fault.

One thing which life has taught me is that you have to let go of the things that are not within your power to change.  You are the master of your own destiny, not anyone else.   To hang onto the hurts which are caused by another person's failure to act as they should . . .  very seldom hurts that person, but severely hampers our own lives.   Whilst you cannot entirely forget another's shortcomings and it will probably always hurt . . .  we must learn to forgive them for their weaknesses, because after all . . . they are only human.   I believe that when we know better . . .  we do better, and we just have to let go and let God.  We are each of us a work in progress, and some of us are further advanced than others, but that doesn't mean we don't all get there in the end.

We just have to learn to let go of the bad things in our lives and to dwell instead on all that we have which is good.  I know this is much easier said than done, and I still struggle myself with letting go of some things.   But I am getting better at doing this with each day that passes . . .  and . . .  while my heart will probably always ache because certain people don't care about me in the way in which I think that they should . . .  I have learned to let it go and see it as more of a failure on their part.  It's quite simply . . . through no fault of my own.  Once you have done your best, the rest is really up to them.

 I can't believe it is Wednesday already!  The week is halfway gone! How does that happen.  My heart is turning towards Christmas now that we are almost into September.  I had bought all of the grandchildren's presents a  while back and now I think I must begin the job of wrapping them and getting them ready to post because this year I am going to send them all by sea mail  and hopefully that will be a lot cheaper.   We shall see.  I'll let you know how that works out!

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Look at the fun picture we found of Todd with his Aunt Doris!  This was probably close to the end of World War 2.  His Aunt was in the Women's Army Corps.  She's such a young woman there.  She's in her 90's now and is Todd's only remaining connection with his parents.  He has a cheeky smile on his face, but I think he was a somewhat cheeky lad.  He once had the whole neighborhood searching for man riding a bicycle who was completely naked except for a top hat.  After they all started looking for this fella, he did not have the courage to tell them all he had made it up.  He had all of his friends at school believing he had an Uncle in Texas that brought him out to his Texas ranch to spend the summers each year.   Oh boy . . .  ☺

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This is Baxter's latest photo.  I just think he is a cute cute dog.  I am sure he and Mitzie would get along fine . . .  or is that wishful thinking on my part?  I don't know.  I just know for sure that I love them both.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"One day someone is going to hug you so tight 
that all your broken pieces  will stick back together."

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . .  a Spicy Blueberry Sauce!  So tasty with grilled poultry, meats and fish.

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 Happy Wednesday everyone!  Remember maybe everyone won't love you, but lots of people will and they are the ones who count the most!

Tuesday 26 August 2014

The Simple Woman's Day Book

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FOR TODAY, August 26th, 2014

Outside my window ...
I am late getting started this morning. It takes me longer and longer to go through my e-mails when I first get on the computer these mornings.   I think I must be slowing down!  It just went 6 a.m.  It's getting light out now.   The days are getting shorter.

I am thinking ...
"Poetry is the silence and speech 
between a wet struggling root of a flower 
and a sunlit blossom of that flower." 
~Carl Sandburg 

To see our lives as poetry.   What a beautiful thought.

I am thankful ...
I am thankful for opening my eyes this morning and being able to walk down the stairs without any problems, or fear or help.  ☺

In the kitchen ...

In the kitchen today there are some very delicious  and scrumptious Grilled Cheese Sarnie Salad!
It's a different kind of salad.   Love it!

On my "To Cook" list ...

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These Lemon Blueberry Popover Pancakes look awfully good don't you think?

I am creating ...

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I love these crochet edging patterns.   These types of things always come in handy. You can use them to edge pillow cases, hankies, blankets, etc.   Found on Free Crochet Patterns.  And there's a whole lot more as well!

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Something I had never thought of doing myself, but Martha had!  From Martha Stewart, microwave oven pressed flowers.   Genius!   I am so going to try this.  (I'll have to hurry though, flower season is almost over!)

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DIY Lemon Candles!  Another great idea.  This one is from Say Yes!   The biggest problem in this house would be finding lemons with the skins intact.   I generally use both all up, the skin and the juice!

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Now this is interesting.  Baking Soda Paint.   What a unique method and result.   I am going to try this out for sure.   From Learn Play Imagine.

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Decorated Jar Top Covers.    I love Mod Podge.  It's such a useful thing to have in the craft room.  You can do sooooo much with it!  From  Design Sponge.

I am going ...
Not a lot on this week, which is nice.  Mind you, I've become an old stick in the mud and haven't been going anywhere lately.   I need to give myself a kick in the arse and get moving!

I am wondering ...  

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This is a view of our planet from outerspace.   What a beautiful place it looks.  And yet, in reality it is becoming somewhat of a horrible place with all of the greed and the wars and the hatred which abound.   Heavenly Father must shed bucket loads of tears at what his children do to each other.  He really must. 

I am reading ...

Tapestry of Fortunes, by Elizabeth Berg
In this book four very different women delve into their pasts in order to share their futures, fates and fortunes.

Cecilia Ross is a motivational speaker who encourages others to change their lives for the better. Why can’t she take her own advice? Still reeling from the death of her best friend, and freshly aware of the need to live more fully now, Cece realizes that she has to make a move—all the portentous signs seem to point in that direction. She downsizes her life, sells her suburban Minnesota home and lets go of many of her possessions. She moves into a beautiful old house in Saint Paul, complete with a garden, chef’s kitchen, and three housemates: Lise, the home’s owner and a divorced mother at odds with her twenty-year-old daughter; Joni, a top-notch sous chef at a first-rate restaurant with a grade A jerk of a boss; and Renie, the youngest and most mercurial of the group, who is trying to rectify a teenage mistake. These women embark on a journey together in an attempt to connect with parts of themselves long denied. For Cece, that means finding Dennis Halsinger. Despite being “the one who got away,” Dennis has never been far from Cece’s thoughts.

Still on this.  Hope to finish it soon and begin something else!

I am hoping ...
I am hoping we get some nice weather soon so that Ariana doesn't think she has come to the worst climate in the world!

Makes me smile ...

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Less than four months to go!  Are you ready?    If the next four months race by as fast as the last eight have, I fear not! Love me some Christmas.  I can't wait!

I am learning ...
To keep my opinions to myself.   I get so angry at the way people behave sometimes, that I just have to bite my tongue.  Pretty soon I won't have a tongue left to bite!

Around the house ...

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Painted floors.  I love them.   Diamond Painted Floors from Giddy Giddy.

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DIY Bedside Pom Pom Rug from Say Yes.   Love it!

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DIY Tassel Pillow from Make It Easy.  Cute!

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How to bring life back to an old table and make it really stand out.   From Country Living.  I love it!

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Some super smart ways to organize underneath the kitchen sink!  From  Good Housekeeping.

 I am pondering ...
What makes a person turn into someone who behaves with complete brutality and utter disregard for the life of others?  I cannot comprehend such hatred.  It is beyond my understanding I think.

A favourite quote for the day ...  

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"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; 
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."
 ~ James Allen  

One of my favourite things ...  

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Gingerbread men.  To eat.  To sew.  To draw and colour.  To collect.  I just love gingerbread anything!  Seriously!
A peek into my day ...

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No surprise here . . .  like John Lennon, I'm a dreamer.   But then . . . I know all too well that dreams can come true.   Just look at my life!

And that's my day book for this week!
⋱ ⋮ ⋰
   ⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
   ░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░░  

Wherever you go and whatever you do I hope there's a wonderful day planned for you! 

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