Tuesday 30 September 2014

Small and Wonderful Things . . .

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 "The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard  

A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life.   It's the small things in life which truly mean the most.  Simple abundance . . . it's the best.   

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After four days of not being able to get onto the internet for any more than a few minutes at a time, or use the telephone, that moment when you realize you can finally get on line and stay on line!  The internet is my main form of communication with my children.   None of them have house phones, and it's very expensive to use a cell phone to call a cell phone internationally.  They don't like me to call them on their cell phones anyways, because apparently you have to pay to receive a call in Canada?  I don't know.   Anyways, I felt very cut off from my family and now I don't.   Whew!  I also missed writing to you on here!  This blog is a very integral part of my day!  I just could not miss out on doing my Small and Wonderful Things post this week, so each post will be a day later so I can get all my most favourite writing exercises in for the week!

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 I would not look like this at the end of a marathon, would you?   My dil does.   She amazes me.   she spends hours running every day, miles and miles.   I think that is such an amazing thing to do.   She appears to really love it as well.   I was never a runner.   I can remember the few times I ran as being really horrible and each moment I was running just wanting it to be over.  I hated the whole experience from beginning to end.  I am so not an athlete.  (And it shows, lol)  But I am grateful for children and children in law that are athletic.

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This is Cameron feeding the ducks at the weekend.   I think he is growing up very fast, but then he is 15 months old now.   I am grateful for the internet which allows me to keep up with these different stages of his life.  He is obviously now walking.   He looks so grown up, and so much like his Uncle Bruce.  He is like a little Brucie, but he always has been.   photo BruceandCameronAugust2014_zps7feca8e8.jpg

I could see the resemblence right from day one.   There is no denying they are related, but then again Bruce and Cameron's mum (our Amanda) have always looked a lot alike. 

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I think my granddaughter is just delightful.   She seems to do everything with complete abandon and enthuiasm.   She is really getting into feeding the ducks.  I have never been able to spend a lot of time with her, but from the photographs of her which I get to see and from the little time I have had to spend with her, I can tell that she is an enthusiastic participant of life.  Always watching, observing, ready to experience things and get the most from each experience.

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Some people might say how can you tell that from photographs?  To them I would say that camera does not lie, and Maryn consistently looks totally amazed with life in each photograph I see of her.  I have never seen one yet where she has not looked like she was totally participating in everything around her . . .  she just looks "present"  if that makes sense.  I think that perhaps she is a bit like me.   Or maybe that is wishful thinking . . .

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On the up side of not being able to get online, I had more time to create artwise.  First I did this one, Apples of Gold.   I quite like it.   I am selling the original for anyone who is interested.

I have decided to sell my originals now, and the reasons are two fold.   First of all, I cannot really afford the ink anymore, or the paper to do the prints.  Secondly, although my printer (which is not that old) is one of the most expensive and elaborate ones going, it doesn't do a good job of printing my art.   There are always lines running through it and I cannot sell prints like that.  It's an Epson and we paid a lot of money for it, but I am not happy with it at all.   Live and learn.

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I also got this one done.   My sister says she needs to shave her legs.   That is her old itchy stockings sis!  I had itchy stockings when I was a girl, didn't you?   They were filled with little nubbies that itched.   Wool.  Any ways I am selling the original of this as well.

Each piece is large enough to fit into a five inch by seven inch frame.  Initialed in pencil on the front and signed on the back with the title of the piece, my autograph and the date.    Make me an offer I can't refuse.

 I had the priviledge of being able to listen and watch the Autumn General Women's Meeting of our church on the computer last evening.   Well, we link it up to the television via an html cable.  I love that we can do that.   Modern technology is so amazing.    All the women of our church from the age of eight, get together twice a year and listen to special talks and inspiration that is meant just for them.  It's pretty wonderful.   We are fed spiritually from on high in such a meaningful and special way.   The music was just beautiful. 

 This medley from the choir was especially beautiful.   It brought tears to my eyes to see the women of the church of every age signing in such a beautiful way, together.  I hope you will listen to it.  It's breathtaking.


The main speaker for the meeting was President Dieter F Uchtdorf.   I love it when President Uchtdorf speaks.  He understands women in a really special way.  He has a wonderful way of connecting with the women of our church.   I always get so much out of his talks.  A couple of years ago he gave a beautiful talk entitled Forget Me Not.    I was so touched by that talk that I was inspired to do a piece of artwork based on it.   Afterwards Todd told me that I should send a copy to him of it.   At first I thought, no . . .  but then Todd really thought I should and so we went into town and bought a frame and I mailed a copy of it over to President Uchtdorf along with a letter thanking him for his talk.  I did not really expect any response.  He is a busy man with plenty of comittments.   You can imagine my suprise when a couple of months later (when I was going through my cancer scare no less!) when a personal letter from him to me popped through my letter box.   That an Apostle of the Lord should take the time to write me a letter touched my heart beyond belief.  His last few words to me in the letter . . .

"I commend you on staying faithful to yoru covenants through times of adversity and discouragement.  God has blessed you, and He is mindful of the desires of your heart."

They could not have come at a better time.  Here was a leader of my church, one of the Apostles of the Lord . . .   telling me that my Heavenly Father was cognizant of me in a special way.  President Uchtdorf did not know the struggle I went through to be able to join the church, nor did he know the sacrifices I had made to stick to my choice to follow my Heavenly Father, but . . . my Heavenly Father did and He had inspired President Uchtdorf to say these words to me at just the right time.  When I read them I knew everything would be alright both with my cancer and with my family . . .  and those words that "He is mindful of the desires of your heart" . . . whenever I am feeling low, or despairing of my family, I read them again and I am reminded that I have a Heavenly Father who knows me personally, and knows the desires of my heart, so much so that He would make an effort to let me know this in an especially unique way.  God is good.

I found all of the talks in this latest General Women's Meeting to be inspiring and soul enriching.   I know that I will refer to them often in the coming months.   I am so glad to know that I am a Daughter of a God who knows me personally by name, who loves me, and wants only the best for me. 

And that is my small and wonderful things for this week. 

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Biscoff (Lotus) Granola.  This is incredibly good!  

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May your week ahead be filled with many small and wonderful things!


Friday 26 September 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!   

I can't believe that this is my last Friday Finds of September already!  This month has just flown by!  


 This is such a brilliant idea!  I love it.   Embroidered family photos!  There is a complete tutorial on The Glamorous Housewife

I love the idea of having a journaling set of scriptures.  I found this on Shannah Noel.   Now that's a project I could really sink my teeth and heart into. I wonder if a person could find a set of LDS Scriptures suitable for this? 

 OOdles of free French Image Transfers.  I love French Images.  Found this on Facilisimo.com.  These would come in really handy!



 From Dragon's Kitchen, but originally from Betty Crocker.   Witches Broomstick Cookies for Halloween.  I think I am going to try this!  They are so cute!


Ten items to always have in your food storage.   This is handy.   With the way the weather is today and the way things are going, food storage is a good thing.   I found this on Survival Based



Printable Family Emergency Home Evacuation Plans.   God willing you never need it, but being prepared only makes sense.   From Thirty Handmade Days

 Although this is American there is a lot on this page that would apply everywhere.   A complete guide to sales cycles in grocery stores each month of the year.  Very handy to keep in mind, and to know when to stock up on certain things.  From Your Own Home Store

The Essential Car Kit for any Winter emergencies.  You should never go out and about in your car in the Winter without being prepared for any eventuality.  Found on Martha Stewart.   You just have to love Martha! 

Every hair tip you could ever imagine needing.  Found on All Women Stalk.  From hair care, to how'to's,  to styling.  It's all there. 

 Four daily routines for keeping your house clean.   I love organizational tips.  I am a person that needs lists and routine.  Found this on The Inspired Room.  I am a person that gets side tracked really easily.  I can start off cleaning out a closet and end up doing something else entirely because I get distracted along the way!  Not sure what that says about me! 

And that's my Friday Finds for this week.  I hope you found something here that you can use yourself! 

A thought to carry through the day . . .


"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."
~Robert Collier  ✻ღϠ₡ღ✻´´¯`  ✻ღϠ₡ღ✻    

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Flaky Goats Cheese and Chive Biscuits.  Deliciously easy!

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Have a wonderful Friday!!

Thursday 25 September 2014

Five Things about Me . . .

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I found this "selfie" taken of myself several summers ago when we were in Austria and just could not resist sharing it with you.   Not my most flattering picture I agree!  Yep . . .  you know it . . .  as if you don't already know almost all there is to know about me, it's time for another Five More Things About Me Post!

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I love to travel and visit foreign countries.    I love meeting new people and seeing new things, and learning about these places first hand.  But what I love most about travelling to foreign countries is getting to taste ane experience foreign food.   This was a plate of Bratwurst and Sauerkraut hat I enjoyed on that same trip to Austria . . . it was simple food and not anything that I couldn't do myself here at home, but  . . .  it was the best Bratwurst and Sauerkraut I have ever eaten.  I also like to visit grocery stores in these countries.   It drives Todd up the wall . . .  he doesn't understand why anyone would want to enter a grocery store when they were on a holiday.  That is his idea of Holiday Hell.  Men!!

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I am able to laugh at myself.   This is a photo I took using that photo warping program on the ipad.   Oh, I do have great fun with that from time to time.  I love a good laugh.   Don't you?

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It's a family thing.     (That's Jon in the background and my son Doug in the main.)  I love a family that knows how to laugh together.  Laughter and love, two of the glues that help a family to stick together.

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I love the Winter, Spring and Summer, but I ADORE Autumn!  You get nice sunny days often, which are not too hot and not too cold.   You have the cooler nights which are great for sleeping and mornings where everything is covered in that lovely autumnal dew.   The flowers are dying yes, but the colours of the foliage are magnificent as they creep along every leaf and ivy covered garden wall  . . . there is the smell of woodsmoke and ripe apples in the air and the sound of dry leaf skittering across the pavement.   The birds come alive again as they flit about looking for something to eat, and each day the sun shines is even more of a gift as we know winter will soon be upon us.  It is the time of harvest and of thanks-giving for all that we have been blessed with throughout the year.

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I love dolls.  I always have.   I did not have many when I was a child.   I had a baby doll that my grandmother had bought me.   I had a little Miss Eaton Doll that Santa had brought me.   I had a Barbie that I had saved up for and bought myself.  I had the fashion doll that my Aunt Freda had gifted me with.  That sounds like a lot doesn't it.   I hadn't realized it was so many.  My second cousin Martha's father worked for the Goodyear Tire company and he travelled around the world, bringing her a doll back from everywhere he had been.  I can remember going to their home and in her bedroom she had a whole wall filled with dolls.  I was green with envy and longing.   I especially love unusual quirkly character dolls.   I find them fascinating.  I also love figurines.

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I believe in fairy princesses and fairy tales and happily ever afters.  I have a very whimsical mind and vivid imagination.   I always have done.  I channel it through my writing and my painting and have written several children's stories which I have also illustrated.  I have never yet had enough courage to send them to publishers.   I don't want my heart broken I guess.   I prefer to think that it is some kind of talent I have rather than to have my hopes dashed and my inspiration squashed by an editor sitting behind a desk.  It doesn't really matter to me if the world never gets to read my whimses for my joy doesn't come with that, it comes with the joy I get in the creation of the stories and the pictures.  That is truly enough for me, although . . . having said that I cannot lie and say I would not be thrilled did anyone ever want to publish one.

It is a conundrum.

And there you have it.   Five more things about me.  I hope I haven't bored you too much!

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

....๑ ƸӜƷ ๑♥๑ ƸӜƷ ๑♥๑ ƸӜƷ ๑....

"The world is changed by your example,
not by your opinion."
~Paul Coelho

....๑ ƸӜƷ ๑♥๑ ƸӜƷ ๑♥๑ ƸӜƷ ๑....

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Cooking in the kitchen today with the last of the blackberries for the year . . . Blackberry and Clotted Cream Shortcakes.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Is it gone yet?

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Yesterday started off gorgeous and sunny and so we decided that we would pick our pears and apples.   The plums had already been harvested.  They are young trees so it's not a job that really takes a long time. The grass was really wet however from that autumn dew we so often get and so I thought I should wear my wellies.

Well . . .  my wellies are stored in an old wardrobe we have out in the garden that Todd has some garden tools etc. store in.   Of course they were full of spiders webs and dead spiders.  I never checked to see if there were any live ones . . .  just the fact that there were dead ones was enough for me.  There was no way I was putting them on.

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I have a thing about spiders.  I know they are helpful creatures.  They eat all the nasty insects that we don't  really want to have around like flies and such.  I know that if all the spiders in the world were to die, we would too . . .  I'm not sure I quite believe that, but I have been told it is true.  I know that they are not any poisonous spiders in the UK, well . . .  according to Todd there aren't.

That doesn't stop me from being afraid of them.   I can remember an instance when I was a teenager where there was a spider on the mirror in our family bathroom.   If anyone had looked in the house they would have wondered what the heck was going on.   My mother, sister and myself were all lined up in the hallway outside the bathroom door with a broom.  My mother was trying to knock the spider off the mirror into the bathroom sink and of course every time she got near it, it moved.    And every time she got near it and it moved . . .  the three of us screamed blue murder.

And so I can say with utmost authority . . . my fear of spiders is deep rooted and goes way, way back.

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It doesn't matter how large or how small they are.   It can be the most miniscule spider you have ever seen, but if I am getting into bed at night and notice it on the wall . . .  no sleep will be had until it is gone from the room.   It might as well be as large as a bat or another  small mammal.   No sleep will be gotten until it has been taken from the room.  Preferably to be washed down the sink . . .  but my kind husband traps them (grumbling the whole while about what a scaredy cat I am) and lets them out the window.   And then I think about the possibility of them getting back in . . .  a thought which I try to squash down, but which is always there . . .

I know it is just waiting until I go to sleep before it decides to crawl in my mouth or something.   I read somewhere, or maybe someone told me once, that we eat several spiders each year because they crawl into your mouth when you are sleeping.   I don't know how true that is, but it makes sense to me . . .  horrible, awful, sense . . . perish the thought.

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Have you ever experienced a "hissing" spider?   I have.   It was when I was living in the house my ex and I had built in the country by  a marshland.   There was this ginormous spider sitting in my kitchen sink.  I tried to turn the water on and flush it down the sink, but it jumped and hissed at me.   Seriously.

The spider hissed at me.  Not once, but several times.

I boiled the kettle and hissed back.  It still gives me the willies even thinking about it.   A hissing spider.   They exist.

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Another time I was getting the children off to school in the morning and I noticed something odd sitting down in the corner of the front door on the front door step.  Upon closer inspection I noted that it was a spider web . . . .  get this . . . .  FILLED WITH BABY SPIDERS!  And I knew that they would be making their way into my house as soon as soon as soon as . . .  as soon as.   I knew I had to get rid of it and so I very bravely picked up one of my then husband's combat boots from the front hall closet and bravely went out onto the doorstep to get rid.

I am sure that anyone watching me had the laugh of a life time.   Every time I drew back the combat boot to smack it down onto the web, the web lunged towards me and I jumped and screamed and then smacked it again and again and again . . . screaming each time.

Even now just talking about it . . .  I got the shivers.

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I know it's an irrational fear.   I mean  . . .  I am a hugh creature in comparison to a spider . . .  but dude . . .  it has EIGHT legs.  Eight . . .  long . . .  spindly . . .  creepy . . . hairy . . .  legs . . . and it moves really fast.

Yep.  I hate them.  I HATE THEM.

I did not wear the boots.

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The fruit still got picked.   We only had about 10 apples this year but we got about half a bushel of pears.  Not bad for a young tree.  

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
"I'm not perfect,
but I'm enough!"
~Harold S Kushner¸.•*¨`*•..¸ ✿  

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls.   So good!  And not as difficult to make as one would suppose. 

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

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Tuesday 23 September 2014

The Simple Woman's Day Book ...

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FOR TODAY, September 23, 2014

Outside my window ...
It's six am and it is dark, dark, dark.  Cool, but dry.   Clear skies. Autumn is here.

I am thinking ...
How following the ten commandments is a natural thing.  Natural laws.  Things that have always been, are and always will be immutably wrong.  When you look at these and study these . . .  wrong will never be right.

I am thankful ...
I was brought up by goodly Godly parents.  I am grateful for that.

In the kitchen ...
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Delicious Beef and Broccoli.  There's a story behind it.  This is very good.

On my "To Cook" list ...

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I got to watch Jamie's Comfort Food last night when Todd was picking up Ariana from work and he cooked this.   Shepherds Pie, using slow roasted lamb.   The mash was a crust which encased everything.   It looked really good.   So did his Chicken Kiev.

I am creating ...

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I love this cute little felt needlebook I found on Generation Q.  I love needlebooks.  I love white and red polka dotted toadstools.   The two together?  Just wonderful!

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From The Gilded Hare.   A sewing machine pin cushion.   Absolutely brilliant!

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Love, LOVE these pot holders and tea towels.  Found on Making It Up As I Go Along. Some people are just so very talented.

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I think this basket is just the cutest thing going.  You can buy the pattern for it as a PDF from  Sunday Girl Designs on Etsy.

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These bibs are adorable!  They look pretty simple to make too.  Of course the fabric choices make them all the cuter.  From The Piper's Girls.

I am going ...
Due to financial constraints, we are not going anywhere or doing anything this week.  Hoping next week will be better.

I am wondering ...
I was in bed last night by 8:30 and felt ill most of the night.  I am wondering if I picked up a bug of some sorts.

I am reading ...

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DAUGHTER, by Jane Shemilt
This is a Richard and Judy Book Club title. When a teenage girl goes missing her mother discovers she doesn't know her daughter as well as she thought in Jane Shemilt's haunting debut novel, Daughter. The night of the disappearance. She used to tell me everything. They have a picture. It'll help. But it doesn't show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold. She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow. She smells very faintly of lemons. She bites her nails. She never cries. She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child. Find her. One year later. Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces. Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together? Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart? Daughter by Jane Shemilt is an emotional and compelling story about how well you really know those you love most.
I am enjoying it very much so far.

I am hoping ...
Hoping my ticky tummy sorts itself out soon!

Makes me Smile ...
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Anything from Brambley Hedge.   We have some of the videos.  We bought them at a charity shop when we thought the grandkiddies were coming over.   They didn't, but we still kept the videos because you just never know. These children's characters are just so adorable.

I am learning ...
Gratitude in all things.  It is an ongoing process.  It's not always easy to feel grateful when you are going through rough times, admittedly.  But hoping one day I will conquer that too!

Around the house  ...
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This is absolutely brilliant.  I wish I coul dhave something like this in my house.   Just look at all that lovely storage space!  Inspired by a Japanese Tansu Chest, from Dorset Custom Furniture.

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 I just adore this look.  The openness of it all, the haphazardness of colour and style . . .  the wood floors, the light.  It's all good.

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This is beautiful too.  No source, but I love the simplicity of it.   The table covering.  The pillow covering.  The pale green walls.   It's all just lovely.

I am pondering ...
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Why do we let the opinions of others matter so much?

A favourite quote for the day ...

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"Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you,
for life.  Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most
of the moment you are in right now."

One of my favourite things ...

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Penmanship.  I work on mine all the time.  I love beautiful hand-writing   We are losing our ability to write by hand.  We mostly type or keyboard these days.

A peek into my day ...
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Time is always spent feasting on the word of God.  I wouldn't have it any other way.
 And that's my day book for this week!
⋱ ⋮ ⋰
   ⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
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Wherever you go and whatever you do I hope there's a wonderful day planned for you! 

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░L░O░V░E⊰✿⊰✿⊰✿⊰✿⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
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