Saturday 31 October 2015

How to spend a week . . .

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(Source:  Valley Forge Woman

On Monday I went Visit Teaching in the afternoon with my partner Carolyn.  We used to work together on the Relief Society Presidency.  I love Carolyn.   When Todd and I found out we had lost our job down South and came back to Chester to look for a place to live, Carolyn and her husband Eric opened their home to us and gave us a bed to sleep in.  We did not even know them.  I was so grateful for their kindness and generosity.   We don't get to talk as much these days because we both have different church responsibilities, but we still enjoy getting together and having a good old gab, and Visit Teaching is a great opportunity for us to do that.   We never shut up the whole time in the car, both on the way to visit our various sisters and on the way back home.   She is such a choice example to me of everything a good Sister in the church should be and a good friend.

I love the Visiting Teaching program.   You become really good friends with your Visiting Teaching partner (usually) and you also become really good friends with the sisters you visit, or you should do at any rate!  No one in the church need ever feel alone or should ever feel alone.   The church is designed to make sure that everyone feels cared for, at least it should do if everyone is doing the things they should be doing and the two most important things we need to do is Visit Teach and Home Teach.  When I was a single sister my Home Teachers really helped me out many times.  I didn't know how to do things like change windshield wipers or other things.   I could always rely on them to help me out.   My Visit Teachers also helped to uplift me when I was going through a really bad patch.  These two programs are so very important.   We can be the Saviour's hands in a very meaningful way if we do what we are asked to do and participate fully in these programs, and we will be blessed in numerous ways for doing so.

I also did my grocery shopping for the week in the morning and we had Family Home Evening in the evening!

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(Source:  One of a Kind

On Tuesday we had a Prep Day, or "P Day" as it is also called by the missionaries.  "P Days" help us to be more focused in the work we are doing.  They are days to catch up on things like doing laundry, etc. and also to organise ourselves for the week, to set goals of what we want to achieve and other things.  This helps us to be more effective as Missionaries.  I know we are not like the youngsters and we don't live, eat and breath mission work 24/7, but we still need to be organised.   Todd and I are focusing now on finding ways in which we can serve our community at large and we have been trying to come up with ideas on how we can do just that.  We also want our scripture study to become more focused.  It's a good thing.  I found the greatest app for my iPad, called Ponderize.  It's a free app.  It enables you to download one scripture (or more if you want) a week that you can use to reflect on and to study and to memorize.  I am finding it very useful.  My scripture for this week has been the following one:

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. 2 Nephi 32:3

It is the end of the week now, and I still don't have it memorized.  I think memorizing comes harder when you are older.  What do you think?

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Wednesday this past week was Transfer Day.  Every six weeks in the Mission there is a Transfer Day.   This is the day when new Missionaries come into the field from the Missionary Training Centre in Chorley.  They will be given their first Missionary Companions and it all happens at a special meeting which is held at the Mission Chapel in Manchester.  (Because this is the England Manchester Mission)  It would happen at other places in other Missions.   This is also the day when Missionary Companionships get switched around.   Usually missionaries will spend one or two transfers with the same companion, and then they will switch to another companion in another area.   This is good for them as it helps them to grow and to gain more experiences and blessings in the field.  These transfers come under the inspiration and discretion of the Mission President.  They are fun and exciting meetings.   It is so inspiring to see all of these young people together and to feel their excitement and love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   It is a really amazing experience.  I love LOVE Transfer Meetings.   It is also where the Missionaries who are finishing their Missions have the opportunity to say goodby to the Mission and to bear their Testimonies at the end of their Missions.  These Testimonies are always so heartfelt and inspiring to everyone who is there.   Oh, how I do love these young people so very much.  I truly do.  It is a pleasure to be able to serve with and for them.

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I had a bit of a cooking day on Thursday as there wasn't a lot of Missionary work to do that day.  This was what Todd had for dinner that day, a real mixed bag.   Some Sausage Cassoulet, some Beetroot and Goat's Cheese fiorelli with a Spinach and Chive Pesto and Pumpkin Gnocchi with sage butter.   Normally we wouldn't have all three of those things on the same day, but I had some catching up to do.   Being the husband of a food blogger is always interesting if nothing else!  (By the way all three things were gorgeous.)

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(Source:  Melonheadz LDS Illustrations

Yesterday was a real mishmash of this and that.  We went here, we went there and a lot of in between.  I had phone calls to make and a house to clean.  I got a glucose meter earlier this week and I spent some time trying to make sense of that.  I think I have it figured out now, but watch this space.   I spent a whole lotta time with that.   I used up all of the glucose strips which came with the maching.  (It's a good thing I bought extra!) My fingers are a bit sore from the pricking!  I am having some real dizzy spells and I want to get to the bottom of what is causing them.  I sewed a bit . . .

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The two in the upper left are the ones I got done yesterday.  SO cute!  And I did a bit of colouring in the colouring book my dear friend Suzan sent me.  I just love it so very much.  It was such a thoughtful gift for her to send me.  I can just lose myself in it.

And that's how you spend a week . . . 

Today we are going to participate in another street display.  I want to bake some cookies before I go, so I best dash.   But first  . . .  a thought to carry with you through today . . .

I don't want to get to 
the endof my life 
and find that
I just lived the length of it.
I want to have lived 
the width of it as well.
~Diane Ackerman

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Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . . Wholemeal Pumpkin Pie Rolls.   These were a succesful experiment!  Finally success!  Really tasty!

Have a great Saturday!  Don't forget . . .

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And I do too!

Friday 30 October 2015

My Friday Finds . . .

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A few of the things that catch my eye each week which I think you might also enjoy!

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I love the colours of this baby blanket for a boy.   Found on My Sister's Knitter.

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DIY Lemon Peppermint Foot scrub.  From  Curious Charlie.  I love scrubs.  They can be really expensive though.  Making your own . . .  great idea!

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Paint dipped bamboo kitchen utensils.  Super simple to make and a set of these would make a fab gift for the foodie in your life.  From The Deans List.

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Now this cake stand is really pretty.   Would you believe that it is made from clear plastic chinet dishes?  I know!  Simple.  From evite.

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No source, but all you need is an old fork and a pair of pliers.   A few bends and turns and you have a unique and very pretty photo holder!

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Really pretty napkins eh?   As easy as buying some dark coloured plain napkins (or sewing some) and using a bleach pen and the eraser end of a pencil dipped in bleach. From Craft by Photo.  Such a simple idea!

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How to bleach pine cones.   From  E-how.  A bowl of these sitting on the coffee table would be quite pretty I think.

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DIY Tart Pan Twelve Days of Christmas.   I think this is so sweet.   From Lilybean Paperie.

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 Car in a Jar Snow Globe, by Mason Jar Crafts.  This is so cute!  It looks really simple to do as well!  Cute gift!

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Winter Fairy Garden Tea Cups, from Country Woman.   A D O R A B L E.

And that is it for this week!  Boy oh boy my computer has been giving me grief this morning.   Freezing up, etc.  This has taken me far too long!  Anways, I do hope you found something that tweaked your fancy!

A thought to carry with you through today  . . . .

He's more myself than I am.
Whatever our souls are made of,
his and mine are the same.
~Emily Bronte

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First up in the English Kitchen today is Orchard Pan Roast with Sausages . . .  and . . .

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A tasty Sausage Cassoulet!  Check them both out here.  They were both super delicious!

Have a fabulous Friday!  Don't forget!

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And I do too!!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Five Things About Me . . .

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I have a thing about white linens.   I love them . . .  especially sheets, pillow cases and towels.   I love LOVE white embroidered on white.  White lace, especially curtains and trims.  I'm just crazy about white when it comes to anything in the linen line.  Tea towels, etc.  I'm not sure what this says about me, if anything.  I also adore red and white and blue and white combinations.

And that is the first in a set of five things about me!

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My sister taught my mother and I how to crochet.  I was in high school and I can remember it was on a rainy afternoon.  It must have been the weekend because my mother worked week days.   My mother always preferred to knit, but I took to crochet like a fish to water.  I loved/love it!  I used to crochet really complicated thread patterns/doilies and I loved Japanese Symbol crochet.  I crocheted tons of doilies through the years, but have  no idea where any of them are.   Well, I like . . .  One of them which measures about  25 inches or so across is on my mother's bedroom dresser.   I crocheted her a pink one to put beneath the ceramic pitcher and basin I made for her one year.

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When I was six months pregnant for my fourth baby, I got on a Military aircraft with my other three children (ages 5, 3 and 1) and flew across Canada with them by myself, all the way from Calgary, Alberta to what was supposed to be Halifax.   Unfortunately we got bumped off the flight in Trenton, and had to hang around there for hours and hours trying to get on another one.  We finally got on one to Chatam, New Brunswick and my Father in Law picked us up there at about 4 in the morning and took us to my In-Laws on Prince Edward Island.  It was a horrendous trip.  Absolutely horrendous.  It all began when we got put out of our married quarters on the base in Suffield, Alberta.   There were not a lot of PMQ's there and since my then husband had his release in from the forces, they said they needed the house for incoming personal.  It's a long and complicated story.  But to make a long story short . . .  we were homeless.  My husband could live in quarters on the base, but there was nowhere for me and the children.   My mother said we could come to Nova Scotia and live with her and my dad until a place could be found.  We were as poor as church mice and so the only way we could do that is if we got on a Military flight.  It was a scary thing to do on my own with so many children in tow . . .  but I did it and I was terrified when we got bumped off in Trenton, but it all ended okay in the end.  We spent several weeks with the in laws, then my brother picked us up and we spent several months with my mom and dad.  My ex then decided to stay in the Military and he got a posting to London, Ontario and he drove across Canada (with the cat) and picked us up and drove us to London.   We landed there on Halloween and my middle son was born there three weeks later.  It was all very, very hard.   I am not sure I could cope with that type of thing now.

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I always tried to make Christmas the best holiday possible when my children were growing up.  I was known as the "Christmas Queen."  I spent weeks baking and freezing what I had baked so that there were plenty of goodies to share.   My tree was covered in hand made decorations, all made by me.   We used to string popcorn and cranberries together for garlands.  I made something from Gingerbread for them every year, be it a house or whatever.  The candy always disappeared bit by bit over the holidays, but I never caught the culprit with his hand in the cookie jar, but we always thought it was our middle son.   He loved Candy. (Interestingly enough he is the diabetic!)  They always got lots of presents.  My ex and I never got anything for each other because times were always tight and we spent whatever we did have (and more) on the kids and on food for the holidays.    One year we rented a sleigh and took them on a sleight ride out in the country on Boxing Day.   Another year we traisped out into the country to cut down our own tree.   We always did something special to mark it.  Christmas was always full, loud and magical.  I hope that they have happy Christmas memories from their childhoods.

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I have a super strong gag reflex.   I even gag if I try to hold a piece of paper between my teeth.   I don't know how I am ever going to cope with this Upper Endocsopy I am supposed to have.  The date for it is November 5th.  I am totally dreading it.   In the letter I got it tells you all the bad things that can happen from it.  I know they need to tell you these, but reading them does nothing towards making you feel better about it.  If anything it makes you even more nervous.  I don't know how I am going to cope with it, but I expect I will do it like I do everything I don't want to do . . .  just grit my teeth and bear it.  Well, you know what I mean . . . I'll just have to pray myself through it.   Perhaps a Priesthood blessing on the day   . . .

And that's it for this week.  I hope I am not repeating myself.

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

Because He loves us
our Heavenly Father
gives us commandments
as a protection and as
evidence of His love for us.
~Carole M Stevens

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In The English Kitchen today  . . .  for Halloween, Spider Dip!  Spooky!

Have a fabulous Thursday!  Don't forget!

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And I do too!

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Thoughts on Halloween . . .

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Its only a couple of days away now!  Halloween!  It's one of my favourite holidays.   When I first moved over here to the UK,  you didn't hear much about it, but it's gradually become quite popular and so you will see Halloween Decorations in the shops, candy, costumes etc.

Todd and I differ greatly on our like of Halloween.   He thinks its nothing more than a Pagan celebration, which might be true . . .  but I always answer him with, "It's only pagan to a pagan!  To me . . .  it's Halloween!"

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I have always believed that things are what you make of them.   Oh, yes . . .  I do know that these celebrations (and even much of our Christmas traditions) have their roots in Pagan celebrations, but I don't celebrate it as such . . .  only as a fun time of the year when kiddies get to dress up and the spirit of giving is once again prevalent as we hand out candies to them at the door.

Yes, admittedly, there are some negative aspics of it . . . but I think if you choose only to dwell on the positive ones, then it becomes a positive experience, and I have nothing but positive and happy memories of Halloweens when I was growing up.

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I was trying to remember costumes I might have had as a child.  Oddly enough the ones I remember most are not the store bought ones, but the homemade ones.   My mother was very good at this type of thing when we were very small.  One year I was a witch . . .  complete with pointy hat.  I remember my best friend, whose first name was Gary, was Robin Hood that year with green tights and everything.   Another year I was Lily Munster and my then best friend (Gayle Cormack) was Herman Munster.  It was fun doing a duo costume!  Another year I quite simply was a woman . . .  I wore one of my mother's skirts and sweaters and she let me wear a bra and make up.   I can remember playing in the back yard, still dressed up, after school and some teenage boy walking through the back yard and saying something lewd to me and thinking it was very strange and feeling uncomfortable about it at the time . . .  and as a sixty year old woman, feeling even more uncomfortable about it now and I can't even remember what he said, only how he made me feel.  Other than the homemade costumes I can only remember plastic masks (not what they were of) and having a sweaty face when trick or treating.  Not pleasant.

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(Anne, Gabe and Luke carving a pumpkin)

As a child we never carved any pumpkins that I can remember, but when my kids were growing up we always did carve at least one pumpkin.   Halloween is synonymous with the smell of burnt pumpkin and rotting leaves to me.  It just isn't a proper Halloween unless the air is pungent with the smell of both!

My mother would never let us go out trick or treating until we had eaten our supper.   That was the hardest meal of all to eat in the year.   We were never really hungry for it.  We'd always had a Halloween party at school and filled up on goodies there and didn't really want supper . . . and then when kids started knocking and trick or treating at our door and we were still at the table, it was combined with the fear that by the time we got out there to trick or treat ourselves . . . all the goodies would be gone!  This was a really big fear too, because as the night wore on, people did run out of candy and it was highly likely that you might not get any, or at least very much.

I am sure we must have been like horses at the starting gate, chomping at our bits . . .  just wanting to get going.


(This is our Bruce, Sara and Baxter.  Do you know Ellen even showed this picture on her show?  I know fascinating!)

We were always strictly warned by mum not to eat any of our candy until we had come home and she had helped us to go through it all.   Once home we would dump our bag out onto the living room carpet, each in our own little piles . . .  and it would be gone through methodically to check if there was anything suspicious.   I did the same with my own children.  Anything that looked tampered with or not quite right was always removed and thrown away.

I was not fond of getting apples . . .  in fact they were the least favourite thing . . .  nor was I fond of those molasses taffies wrapped in orange and black papers.  Now though, as an adult, I find myself oddly craving them . . .  and the taffy bats, also in orange and black papers.   The favourite treats would be the packets of crisps or mini chocolate bars.   Those were like the cadillacs of Halloween Treatdom.  Not many people gave them out as they were probably more expensive and if you got a few of those in your bag you were really lucky.  Even luckier still if you got a bag of cheesies, because those were even rarer.

It's nice to see that some traditions continue through the family.  Maryn and Cameron are very young here.  I think this must have been two years ago now  . . .

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And this is Josh, Jake and Jon trick or treating last year at my ex MIL Elizabeth's house.  (Oh, I do miss Elizabeth.   She was such a lovely mother in law and a friend.   We had ever so much in common.  Old movies, scrap books, cooking, etc.)

We have never gotten many trick or treaters here at our house on Halloween.   I do buy in a couple of bags of candy every year, just in case  . . .  and we only ever have one or two at the door.  I love it when we do because all the happy memories of my childhood Halloweens come flooding back to me.   I would never ask them to do a trick . . .  I always hated it when an adult asked us to do something for our treat.   I always just comment on how spooky they look, wave at the adult by the gate and put something tasty in their bag.  This year is mini chocolate bars.  Okay . . . every year it is mini chocolate bars, but I do admit that this year I was thinking the little bags of Quavers were looking very tempting also.

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And I am sorely tempted to crack open "Meet Me in St Louis" and watch it on Halloween night.  I love that film.  Margaret O'Brien is such a great little actress.  The Halloween scenes are just wonderful, well . . .  it's all pretty wonderful in my books.  Watching it would be such a great lead up to Thanksgiving and Christmas!

So what are some of your memories of Halloween as a child, if any?  Likes and dislikes?   I would be really interested in reading them!

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen . . . 
the moon laughs and whispers,
'tis near Halloween!

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Crushed New Potato Colcannon.  Colourful and delicious, healthy too!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!  Don't forget!

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 And I do too!

Tuesday 27 October 2015

The Simple Woman's Day Book . . .

FOR TODAY, October 27th, 2015

Outside my window ...
It's really dark.  Cold.  Dry though, which is a bonus.

I am thinking ...
About how quickly this month has gone.  It is hard to believe that we are already in the last week of October!

I am thankful for ...
The blessings and care of my Heavenly Father.

In the kitchen ...
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Turkey and Stuffing Casserole.   Diabetic friendly.  Very tasty!

On my  "To Cook" list ...
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Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, from Mum's the Word.   These look delicious.  You can't get the tinned green chillies over here, but I may pick up a pack of green chillies and roast my own, and then freeze them in small lots.

I am creating ...
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I could find no original source for this, but I love it.  I don't think it would be that difficult to do and what a fabulous door decoration for the holidays, which will be here before we know it!

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I love this shabby chic Christmas tree, made using a carboard cone.   It's really pretty and wouldn't be that hard to make either.  What a lovely centrepiece it would be on the Christmas Table!  Found on Lilybeane Paperie.

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I just adore this.   Found on The Glamorous Housewife

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From Etsy.   These are adorable.  Enamel painted wine glasses, upturned.   These would be easy to copy and make yourself.  I think they are just adorable.

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I love this lady's dolls.   Evi's Country Snippets.  I love dolls. But you knew that already.

I am reading ...

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Spill Simmer Falter Wither, by Sara Baume

A misfit man finds a misfit dog. Ray, aged fifty-seven, ‘too old for starting over, too young for giving up’, and One Eye, a vicious little bugger, smaller than expected, a good ratter. Both are accustomed to being alone, unloved, outcast – but they quickly find in each other a strange companionship of sorts. As spring turns to summer, their relationship grows and intensifies, until a savage act forces them to abandon the precarious life they’d established, and take to the road.

 Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a wholly different kind of love story: a devastating portrait of loneliness, loss and friendship, and of the scars that are more than skin-deep. Written with tremendous empathy and insight, in lyrical language that surprises and delights, this is an extraordinary and heartbreaking debut by a major new talent. Short listed for the Guardian First Book Award 2015.

 I am hoping ... 
It's already Transfer Meeting tomorrow.  I know we will be losing a couple of our favourite missionaries.  One has been with us for a very long time now.  We will miss them, and I know they will miss us, but I am hoping that they enjoy their next areas just as much as they have enjoyed being in Chester. It's tough to say farewell.

Makes me smile ...
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He's home from away.  Safe and sound.  I know you didn't know he was gone.  I am grateful that he is home now.    A mother's prayers kept him safe. So grateful for answered prayers.  Now wedding plans can begin.

I am learning ...
To say no.  Saying yes to everything I am asked to do is not a good thing.  I end up feeling harassed and I end up peeving people because I just can't do it all and do it well.

Dreaming about ...

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Beautiful bed linens . . .

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Charming Breakfast Nooks.  Oh, to have the space for something like this.

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Country cosy  . . .

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Country cottages . . .

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Stylish tunic tops  . . .

A favourite quote for the day  ...

 `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸.•´¸.•~♥♥♥~•.~
ღϠ₡ღ¸. ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ. ( ¸.❀⁀
⋱‿✿“`* .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.. 

It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day.
He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies.
Let us be of good cheer.
He is better farther on.
Let us sing Halleluiah in anticipation.
~C.H. Spurgeon

One of my favourite things ...

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Barns . . .

A peek into my day ...

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I like to play with Waterlogue.

And that's my daybook 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 great day ahead of you! Don't forget!

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
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 And I do too!