Monday 30 November 2015

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.

I can't believe that already here we are at the end of November.  Tomorrow will spell the first of December.  I love the month of December.  The only problem with December is it passes far too quickly.

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Roses that are still blooming at the end of November.   Roses that never stop giving.  The first heavy heavy frost and they will be gone, but for now, they still bloom . . .  the last of the summer's kisses  . . .

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This crazy young couple and all that they bring to the table.   Ariana and Jose.  It is so nice having them just around the corner from us now.  They stopped by on Saturday and admired the Christmas Tree.   This is such an exciting year for them, with it being their first Christmas together as a married couple.  They are just a pair of really delightful young people.  Love them to bits!

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WE have had horrendous winds over the weekend and we're still here.  We haven't blown off into Oz!  Seriously the winds have been horrific.  Looking out into the back garden yesterday we could see that the only thing keeping our rose trellis from flying away was the roses which were growing up it.   And now this week we are expecting another storm.  Storm Cladagh (or something like that.)  They are giving them names now.

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My faith which both strengthens and sustains me.  It helps me to be a better me.  It gets me through the rough patches.   It holds me up and sometimes carries me.  It is a muscle I exercise regularly.

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Without naming names, you know who you are.  You bless my life in ways that are endless and meaningful.   You prove to me that in a world which often seems to be becoming increasingly more wicked that there is much in humanity to still love and admire . . .  that for all that is bad, there is so much more that is good.  God bless you all.

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Hands that are busy and that are capable.  I've finished a lot but still have plenty more to do!  Times rapidly running out on me!  But I know I'll get them done in time.  ☺

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
May God in His wisdom
and infinite love,
Look down on you always
from heaven above.
May He send you good fortune,
contentment and peace.
And may all of your blessings
forever increase.
✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿

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In The English Kitchen today, a quick and easy gift you can make using some traditional Christmas Chocolates!  A Malteser Christmas Pudding.  Simple!

 May the week ahead of you be filled with loads of small and wonderful things!  Don't forget . . .

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And I do too!


Sunday 29 November 2015

Sunday morning this and that . . .

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 This is a picture of my cousin Sherri's little fella enjoying their Christmas tree.  His name is Sawyer and he is just the cutest little guy.  Christmas is for children really, especially Christmas trees.   We put our Christmas tree up yesterday.  I said to Todd after I was finished . . .  a good Christmas tree should delight any child that looks at it and create a sense of wonder.  I hope ours does.   I wish we had some children about to delight with it.   Sigh  . . .

In any case it brings out the child in me!

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This  is our tree.   I tried to take a good picture of it, but I am not that knowledgeable when it comes to photography.  My Aunt Freda always had the most beautiful Christmas Trees.  They were always real ones and took up a HUGE space in her living room and they were always decorated beautifully.  I loved to see them.

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I love my red and white toadstools . . .  they were a lucky find a few years ago at Gordales.  I scooped them up!

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Not a great photo but I love my little blown glass snow people also.   They are only about an inch and a half tall.  I also have little Santas, blown glass the same size.   Blown glass ornaments remind me of the tree we always had each year when I was growing up.  I am sure my mother still has all the ornaments.  I wonder if my sister uses them now . . .

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Another toadstool, a gift from a friend and of course the Williams Sonoma Snowbaker a friend sent me one year, blown glass as well.    I have blown glass hearts and babules and you can just catch a glimpse of the Gingerbread lady (ceramic) that my good friend Eliza sent me one year when we were living down South.  I never look at these things without smiling in my heart about the people who gifted me with them.

Christmas Trees should be covered in happy memories.

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Ours is covered iin the Happy Memories we have built together.  It's a bit haphazard, but I don't like a tree that looks too put together.  It should like a bit like it just happened that way . . .

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Every corner should delight and this is the corner just next to the tree.  It's Gingerbread corner . . .  filled with an assortment of Gingerbread dolls . . . which reminds me I need to bring my other one down for the holidays . . .

I made her to sell her a few years back, but I never did . . .  sell her that is.  I guess she is a doll only this mother could love.


Here she is sitting on my sideboard a couple of years back . . .

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I love her and I guess that's what counts!

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The electric fire and mantle.   I love this area too.  I adore my Jim Shore Angels.  EAch one has a nativity scene on it . . .  even the Santa Claus.

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 Christmas really is for kids  . . .  it is at times like this, like the holidays that I really miss having my family around.  Maybe I will have to borrow someone's kids for a day or two this year.   It bears thinking about!  I am sure there is a family that would love a break from the kiddos for an hour or so.  I'll have to ask around!

I am out of time now, so I will just leave you with a thought for the day  . . .

 Ah friends, dear friends, as
years go on and heads get gray,
how fast the guests do go.
Touch hands, touch hands,
with those that stay.
Strong hand to weak,
old hands to young,
Around the Christmas board
touch hands.
~Wm H. H. Murray

In the English Kitchen today  . . .  a Gingerbread Cookie Wreath.

 Have a wonderfully blessed Sabbath day.  Don't forget!

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And I do too!

Saturday 28 November 2015

How To Spend a week . . .

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Our week began as it usually does with us going to church on Sunday and attending our meetings.  I cannot imagine not having church to go to on Sundays.  It is such an integral part of our lives.  I know that it is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is our cup of tea and there are so many good things about it . . .  the partaking of the sacrament and reflecting on our covenants and lives . . .  the listening to the talks, (which I always really enjoy. Seriously.) then it is the Sunday School  Lessons and also Relief Society and the things we share there.  It is being together with a family of like minded people, the adults, the children, just everyone.   The rest of the week . . . we must live in the world, and lately it has not been such a nice world to live in, but on Sundays we have the opportunity to know and feel like a part of a large and loving family of believers.  We get to recharge our spiritual batteries.  There is nowhere else I would rather be on a Sunday morning.

Sunday afternoon I always call my mother.  It is always so nice to hear her voice and to catch up with the going's on of the previous week.  I would call her every day if she would let me, but I know that would be a huge intrusion into her life so I content myself with once a week and treasure it for what it is.

We spent the evening quietly, reading, reflecting, discussing.  We had several large talks to read over and study before the meetings coming up on Wednesday and so we did.

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ha ha  I could not resist using this photo.   Monday was our P-day, or Prep Day as it is commonly known.   We tidied the house,  did laundry, shopping, etc.  I got the cards ready to mail to my grandchildren for Christmas.  I still need to do the big people's cards.  It was our Doug's Birthday, so I spent part of the day reflecting on how much I love him and times we have spent together and who he is as a man and saying special prayers for him.  I always say special prayers for my family members on their birthdays.  I know I pray for them every day . . .  but Birthday prayers are extra special, because they are extra special.   I love them all very much.

Monday evening is usually Family Home Evening, but we had someone we especially wanted to spend some time with and visit and so we did.  They appreciated it.   We did too.

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 Tuesday I spent the morning getting ready for the special meeting we were going to in Manchester on Wednesday.  In the afternoon I went to Costco with Sister and Brother Johansen to pick up a few things.  Todd and I don't have a Costco membership and so I can only go with people who do have these memberships.  It was great.   I LOVE Costco.   I love to see all that they have there and to pick up a few bits that I need.   I like Skippy Peanut Butter.  I can get it via Amazon, but it's almost £8 for the big jar, which is like $16.  At Costco I can get it for £4.  I picked up two of those and two apple pies to take on Wednesday.  I paid the same for one apple pie what it would cost me for a bag of pecans from the Grocery store.  I was supposed to bring Pecan Pies on Wednesday, but . . .  cost prohibitive, and so I bought two apple pies instead.  And they are good apple pies too!

And yes . . .  I did have a hot dog and a drink, and I ate the whole thing.  Mind boggling.  I hadn't intended on eating the whole thing, but before I knew it, it was gone and it tasted really good.

We spent Tuesday evening getting ready spiritually for Wednesday.

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Wednesday we went up to Manchester for our special Thanksgiving Meeting with all of the missionaries (Senior Couples, and Elders and Sisters) of the Southern part of the Manchester England Mission.  It was great to see all of the other Senior Couples again and also to see a LOT of the junior missionaries we had not seen in a while and catch up with them!  There were special talks and special trainings and we were fed spiritually by our Mission President and his wife, the Ulrich's.  I always get so much out of listening to them.  We were also fed spiritually by a member of the 70 President  Johnson and his wife.  It was great.  The best part however was hearing from the young Missionaries and all that they had gotten from the three talks we had been asked to read and ponder on prior to going.  These young people and their insights amaze me.

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They are really exceptional young people.  Of course there was plenty of tasty food to eat as well.  A Thanksgiving dinner catered by the Mission.  It was great!

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It's that cheeky chappie, the frog whisperer Elder Johnson!  (on the left.) Can you believe he is going home to his family on the next transfer in two weeks time!  I know!  EMM will miss him!  He will be going back to school and taking engineering.   It was so good to see him.

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It was great seeing all of the missionaries.  We really enjoyed every minute of being there.

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Music and song, spiritual food . . .  and plenty of tasty real food.

We experienced a miracle on the way which started off as an annoyance with the Sat Nav sending us all around the houses.  That really annoyed me.  I couldn't understand why she was doing that, but in the end we realized it was because there had been a bad accident on the motorway.   Now I know that the Sat Nav wasn't the miracle, because that is what they do.  The miracle was that we actually listened to her and did what she told us . . .  because normally if we think we know better than she does, we ignore her.

When we got home I said to Todd . . .  hmmm . . .  it looks like something has been leaking out of the car onto our drive . . .  oil or sommat.   He didn't think so.

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Thursday was the special Thanksgiving that Sister Johansen and I prepared for our District Missionaries in the Johansen's apartment.  I spent the morning prepping for that.   Todd spent the morning discovering that our car all of a sudden had no oil in it and filling the oil resevoir.   He took it to a mechanic that we use and discovered that yes . . .  we had a bad leak that would need fixing pronto.  The worry was that because of the age of our car the part for it might be impossible to find.  (not to mention the funds)  This was a huge concern because as Missionaries we need a car, and secondly . . . we are living on a basic state pension and there is not a lot of money.  This would requite a huge step of faith, but as you know faith always precedes the miracle but more on that later.  (We did find out that they could get the part necessary to have it fixed . . .  and we made an appointment to have this done, knowing that we would have to raise a large sum of money by Monday.)  In the meantime there is Thanksgiving to celebrate.

I made a cheese ball (see above).  It was delicious.   I also did all the side dishes . . .  the vegs, the stuffing, etc.   Sister Johansen did the turkey and the desserts.

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Sister Gregson (Utah) and Sister Holmes (Canada/Uganda) decorated the tree and dressed the table for our dinner.  Love these two special gals.

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(Elder Judd(Utah), Elder Singsam (New Zealand), Sister Holmes standing, and Sister Gregson)

Nibbles and laughs before dinner . . .

Ohh, I forgot to say that just before Todd and I left to go to the Johansen's, Sister Johansen called me to say that Ron (her husband) had put the turkey in earlier, but forgot to turn the oven on.   DUH!  It was okay.   It got cooked in time.

What would Thanksgiving be without a hiccup or two!

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(Elder Hollingsworth(LasVegas), Sister Holmes, Elder Loloeisi New Zealand), Sister Gregson (Elder Singsam hiding) and Elder Judd)

I love spending time with these special youngsters.   Whether it is teaching, or learning, or doing service, street displays or breaking bread together.

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 (Elder Rayner, Sister Gregson, Sister Holmes, Elder Singsam, Sister Johansen, Elder Hollingsworth, Elder Judd and Elder Loloeisi)

Can you remember what it was like trying to get a photograph with everyone smiling, looking at the camera, etc. when the kids were growing up????  Yep, impossible.

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NOTHING CHANGES! No matter how old they get.  It is impossible, lol.  Someone is either looking away, or pulling a face  . . .  or interestingly enough, not there.

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But we kinda got there in the end.  Elder Judd!  Why???  He always pulls a face.

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I don't think he can help himself, lol.  Nevermind.  The food was good.  The company was great.  We all have a positively, spectularly, lovely time.

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(Elder Rayner is pulling a face in this one.)

Yes we did and our lives are so blessed by all of these fabulous people.  Best Thanksgiving ever.

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As designated photographers Elder Johansen and I are not in any of these photos, but our full plates are. lol   That's what I like.  I'd rather see a plate than myself . . .  lol . . .  and you know why don't you.  It's because of too many full plates,  Ahem . . .

Enough said on that front!

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Yesterday we had Missionary Flat Inspections to do.   We were a bit worried having to drive to them because of the car and the oil problem, but we bought a HUGE container of oil and got in the car and went anyways.    We got them done and we got back home safe and sound. Now all we have to do is to get the car to church and back on Sunday and then to the Garage to have it fixed on Monday.

And this is the biggest miracle of all.

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Through all of this worry with the car I have been holding in my heart the promises which are given in 1Nephi 3:7

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

From the very moment we were called to go on a mission this is the scripture which I have held in my heart and clung to.  At first I can remember thinking . . .  "I don't know how we are going to be able to do this on a limited budget as we have to live on, with the extra petrol costs etc."   but amazingly enough, that has not been a problem.  Although our Mission President told us that they would help us with the petrol if we needed the help, we have never had to ask once.   We have always had exactly what we needed to get by financially and other wise.   And then this week, with the car  . . .  how would be be able to come up with the money we needed to fix it.  And right up until this morning, I have been praying that somehow we would be able to get enough . . .  but at the same time I said to Todd  . . . Faith precedes the miracle.   We are on the Lord's errand and He will provide.  If you are willing to go and do what He requires, even though you may have to go right the edge, He will always provide a way to do what He is asking of you.

And . . .  He has.  We now have more than enough to pay for the car.  God is good, and I can testify to you that if you are willing to do all that He asks and to act in faith . . .  all WILL be well.

I don't know how it works, I only know that it works.  Diligent prayers are always answered and sometimes in the most surprising and amazing ways.  Acts of faith are always rewarded, but first you need to act and exercise that faith.  God is waiting to show you how very much He loves you and shower upon you the blessings of Heaven.  Our theme at the meetings on Wednesday were centred on aligning our will to the Father's will, and the great rewards that come to us from doing so.

These challenges that are sent to us in life, I have come to learn, are actually opportunities for growth and for change.    I do believe that this is the greatest lesson I have learnt so far on my mission . . . learning to love and to find joy in the challenges set in front of us. Life can be so amazing if you allow it to be and open your heart to the wonder of it all.

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There is not a lot in the Kitchen today, with the exception of a compendium of Christmas Cookies to inspire you to get baking. 

Have a wonderful Saturday no matter what you get up to.   Above all don't forget!

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And I do too!

Friday 27 November 2015

Friday Finds . . .

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A few of the things I find each week that tickle my fancy.  Hopefully they will also tickle yours!

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I love this pompom garland.  It's so cute!  Found on Jones Design Company.

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Twenty Five Recipes for Leftover Turkey.  This could come in very handy!  From  Very Culinary.

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Crochet Tree Skirt.  From Country Woman Magazine.  I love it!

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Love this gingerbread/heart hanging swag.  It's so cute.  You can get the Image to download here.   I am assuming you cut out pieces with a 1/4 inch seam outside the pattern pieces.  Sew together, stuff and then attach together, add hanging strings on the side and Bob's your Uncle!

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DIY PineCone Trees for the kids to make.  So cute.   From Recycle Art.

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 Cardboard Roll Count Down Calendar from  Coffee And Vanilla.   This is really simple to do.  You could use whatever paper you want to use!  You can use the cardboard rolls from paper towels.  I need to start saving them again because there are tons of things to do with them!

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Toilet Roll Santas!  Cute!  From KROKOTAK.

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From Annoo Crochet , free pattern for crocheting old fashioned Christmas Tree Lights Garland.  So cute. I miss those old fashioned tree lights, don't you?

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Printable Sheet Music, for any purpose.  Cards, ornies, etc.  From Flickr.

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From Kathy's Cottage.  No pattern, no tutorial.  Just cuteness.   This is utterly adorable.   I love it so much!  The whole blog is cute, cute, CUTE!

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Ballerina Tutu Pillows from My Shabby Cottage.   There is no pattern, it's an etsy shop, but what a source of inspiration.  These pillows are too adorable.

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No source.  This is a just because I had to share.  It's so sweet.

And that's my Friday Finds for this week.  Will be back tomorrow to talk about the lovely Thanksgiving we had yesterday!

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

Do not spoil what you have
by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you have
now was once among the things
you only hoped for.
~Epicurus, a Greek Philospher


Cooking in The English Kitchen today, Temptingly Tasty Turkey Leftovers.   Just a few ideas to use up the scraps!

Have a wonderful Friday.   I hope the sun shines and your day is filled with blessings large and small.   Don't forget! 

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And I do too!