Sunday 31 December 2017

On the ending of December . . .

Here we all sit today . . . on the precipace of a brand New Year.  There are less than 24 hours left of the old one and the new one is sitting there waiting, like a big huge empty blank page . . . just waiting for our pens to write upon it.  What we write is largely due to chance, but then again, the choice is ours in how we decide to deal with whatever happens our way  . . . 

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” 
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and 
put your hand into the Hand of God. 
That shall be to you better than light 
and safer than a known way.” 
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, 
trod gladly into the night. 
And He led me towards the hills and 
the breaking of day in the lone East. 
~Minnie Louise Haskens 

When I was a child the common image of New Year was a very old Father Time, ambling out of the room with a Baby hot on his heels, ready to replace him.  New Years to me meant that after my parents woke up there would be some Happy New Year hats to wear and a few noise makers to play with, preferably very quietly as my parents would have sore heads, lol.  I don't think my parents missed going out on New Years Eve for the whole time they were married, and indeed after they broke up.  It is only in the past few number of years that they have stopped. My father might still be going out on New Years Eve . . .  I don't really know.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, 
The flying cloud, the frosty light: 
The year is dying in the night; 
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. 
Ring out the old, ring in the new, 
Ring, happy bells, across the snow: 
The year is going, let him go; 
Ring out the false, ring in the true. 
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

The New Year is an opportunity for change and new beginnings for sure.  I am not a resolution maker . . . New Years Resolutions smack too much of failure for me . . . and so I just aim to be a better me, which is my every day resolution really, because every day I try to do better.  Sometimes I manage splendidly and other days not so well.  I think it is the same for each of us.  There are things I would like to do this next year.  Whether or not I am able to accomplish them remains to be seen.  Only time will tell!  

I'd like to cut back on sugar consumption, and not just refined sugars, but natural ones also. I think I am a sugar addict.  Oh but it will be hard because almost everything has some form of sugar in it.  But I am going to try and probably fail, but at least I will have tried. 

I want to write more and craft more and eat less.  Tis a fine balance . . . especially when you are a glutton like myself, and live, breath, enjoy . . . . food and cooking. It is a special joy.

I would like to go to the Temple at least once a month.  Now this might seem like an easy one to accomplish . . . and the temple is afterall only two hours away  . . . but in going I have to conquer my fear of the Motorway and Motorway driving . . .  

I would like to walk some each day, weather depending.  I know it won't be far because my arthritis makes that difficult, but I can try to walk a little bit and as they do say, every little bit helps, and who knows, maybe with each day it will become a little bit further.

A few years ago I set the goal to make sure my e-mail inbox was kept at a manageable level and I am happy to say that here I am with less than 100 in it, still.  That is a goal I conquered and kept.  Yay me. 

I want to continue on with my reading of the Book of Mormon and its study. 

I want to write a new book.  And finish it.  And find someone to publish it.  It should be a bit easier now since I am already published, and I have some very sound ideas rolling around in my head.  All I need to do is to make myself sit and write. 

I want to paint more.  I did not produce very much over this past year. Not very much at all.  It was a dry year paint wise, no pun intended . . . 

I want to go to Box/Bath and also Anglesey and back to Scotland, but most of all I would love to visit my mom . . . before its too late. But to do that I need to lose weight and earn enough to do so.  I don't want my mom to see me as overweight as I am.  She was always disgusted by overweight people . . . and I wouldn't want to disappoint her in that way, plus the money is a big thing. We don't do credit.

I want to continue with the downsizing and decluttering.  I make empty spaces and then like magic they get filled up again.  I need to do better at that.

I want to make it up to the Lakes in the Spring, to Castle Cottage, and finally meet Susan Branch at the picnic planned for that occasion, but again  . . .  weight. I need to lose weight first  . . .

I want to read more books . . .  and make my own marmalade.

And so it goes.  There is nothing here too
unattainable I don't think.
We shall see.
Anything could happen.
and probably will.

The wind is blowing ferociously this morning. You would think it is the end of March, not December.  December is going out on a Lion's teeth. 

A thought to carry with you . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Now and then, in this workaday world,
things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion,
and what a comfort that is.  
~Louisa May Alcott  •。★★ 。* 。 


In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Nutella Swirled Banana Bread. Golly gee whiz!

Have a lovely Sabbath Day, don't forget!
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And I do too!  Stay safe and stay warm!  And a very, VERY Happy New Year!



Saturday 30 December 2017

Saturday musings . . .

It's hard to believe that there are only two more days in the year 2017. This year seems to have flown by ever so quickly.  I know it feels like that every year, but this year seems to have passed by particularly fast.  I know I am not along in this!  Everyone on Instagram has been doing their best nine for 2017 and, while I am not normally one to follow the crowd, I decided to do it as well.  There is an ap you can use to figure it out.  Its not what I would consider to be my best nine of 2017, but hey ho, who am I to argue with an ap!  

Years are funny things aren't they.  We start each one of them with great anticipation and sometimes even dread, because none of us knows really how they are going to end up.  Most of us don't have crystal balls to show us our futures.  Its all a bit of a gamble really.  That's where faith comes in.  Because without it, none of us would be brave enough to take that first step out into the unknown . . . 

Well, we don't have a choice really do we?
The future is ours no matter what.

I think the real key to a happy life is to look at life with a heart filled with gratitude.  When you do that, life becomes almost magical.   

And 2017 has been a pretty magical year for me.


Things were pretty uncertain when I was sat at this point in time last year.  We'd just been told that Todd had cancer and he was going to have to go through radiation treatments.  The "C" word is a really difficult word to hear. First you cry, and then you get angry, and then you go to work at trying to beat it.  Todd faced this battle admirably.  He was strong and brave and he just did whatever he had to do, no matter what. Being declared cancer free at the end of it all was and is a huge blessing.  God willing it stays that way.  We had a friend this year who faced the exact same battle and who was not as lucky.  He, unfortunately, only lived about 3 months after his diagnosis . . . . it was very, very sad, but it (I hate to say this) helped us to appreciate the blessing we had received even more. 

This year was a year in which I got together with and spend time with not one, not two, not three, but four groups of people who have been pretty special to me in my life.  

It began in January when my friend Suzan and her daughter Bethany came over from Australia.  Suzan and I had known each other for a long time on here and it was such a thrill to finally get to meet in person, as well as meeting her daughter.  Although still, why anyone would want to come to cold old Europe in the middle of winter when they come from such a warm climate still mystifies me, I was so grateful for her visit. We had a lovely day together and made some really special memories!

Then in April Lura and John and John came over.  We had a lovely time when they were here and the time went far too quickly.  They spent a week with us at the end of April and it was such a blessing for me to be able to finally do something for Lura in return for all that she had done for me back in 2009 when I went over to Utah.  And Todd finally got to meet the both of them, which was an added blessing! 


In May, Valerie and her husband Steve came over and we got to spend a day with them!  It was a flying visit, but one which was really special to both of us.Their son had done his mission here in the UK, and had actually served here in Chester.  We had him to our home many times while he was here. It was so nice to actually meet Val in person. 


Of course the capper was finally getting to meet dear Sybil.  We were trying to figure out how long we had known each other, and I think about 15 years or so, from way back on our AOL Journals days.  Its almost funny that she is the one I lived the closest too and yet she was the one it took the longest for me to finally meet in person!  

Will 2018 see Todd and myself taking a trip down to Bath in return?
I sure hope so! 


Then in June, courtesy of the McMillan Cancer Trust, we both got to enjoy a trip to Scotland.  It was really fun for me to see a part of the country that I had not yet seen, and it was just fun for the both of us to get away from here for a few days and just forget about our regular life. 


We saw the Kelpies . . . 


Some pretty stunning scenery . . . 


Men in kilts . . . 

And a whole host of other things and best of all
we got to do it together.

2017 also saw the fulfilment of a lifelong dream of mine to write a book and have it published!  I am still pinching myself over that one, as it doesn't quite seem real to me.  I am so grateful for everyone's kind words about it, the positive reviews, etc. They really do mean the world to me.  Because writing the book was not so much about ME doing something as it was about me doing something that brought joy to OTHERS!  And it appears to have done just that.  The icing on a very tasty cake. 


I have always wanted to do something that would  make my family proud of me.  I didn't really achieve much scholastically speaking.  I didn't graduate from University.  I didn't have a career.  I messed up two marriages before finally getting it right.  Two out of my five kids think I was and am a rubbish mother . . . to me this book was more than just writing a book, but an opportunity for me to show my family that I could actually do something well, and something they could be proud of me for.  My brother sent me this photograph last night with the caption of "It finally got here!"  And he looks pretty pleased to have it!  That makes me happy.  All of the positive words on the review sites make me happy, my two oldest boys and my oldest daughter loving it makes me happy.  You liking it makes me happy also. 

I am not sure that 2018 can bring me anything better than
what 2017 has already brought me.

I am one very lucky woman, and this
has only been the tip of the very
wonderful iceberg called


So what are your plans for New Years Eve?  We will go to church, then I'll cook us a nice supper and we'll watch some telly, be in bed for 9 or 9:30, wake up for the fireworks at midnight, wish each other a Happy New Year and hopefully fall blissfully back to sleep.  Yes, we are that boring! 

This was me on New Years Eve back in 1972, with my mom and my dad and my ex husband, before he was even my husband.  I was 17 and had my whole life in front of me.  Boy if I could only have known then what I know now.  Would I have changed any of it?  Probably not because the journey is all a part of what has made me who I am and I kinda like me just the way I am.  Oh . . .  in all honesty, I would  like to be a lot thinner, but that is just superficial.  Basically I like me for the most part.  We all have things we need to work on and I am no different. ☺  If I can end 2018 as a better person than I was when I started it, then it will also be a very good year.

A thought to carry with you  . . .  

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Never let a day pass without 
looking for the good,
feeling the good within you,
praising, appreciating and
being grateful.
Make it your life commitment,
and you will stand in utter awe
of what happens in your life.
~Rhonda Byrne  •。★★ 。* 。 


Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Lemon Bread Pudding with a lucious Lemon & Cardamom Sauce.  Yum!
Have a great Saturday!  Don't forget along the way of your day . . . 

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And I do too! 


Friday 29 December 2017

My Friday Finds

A few of the things  I find each week that pique my interest, bring me joy, inspire me to learn, create, do, become . . . Maybe they will do the same for you!

I love the colours in this Coffee Shop Wrap found on Two of Wands. It is free and it is knitted with cotton yarn. I love wraps.
Some really cute eye candy here by way of an adorable needlefelted bunny from Living Felt.  It is entitled "Rebirth" and is by Kathleen Dodge Dehaven.

A bit of inspiration from Corrie ten Boom.  Have you read The Hiding Place?  If not, it is a great read, very inspiring. 
Miss Abigail's Hope Chest.  A complete tutorial for this lovely dish cloth. 
Thread edged Tea Towels, from the same place.  Love this blog. It is a cornucopia of tutorials.  
Wonky Wonderful.  Dill Pickle Dip.  This looks fabulous!  
For  next year?  Kays Keepsakes.  A complete tutorial.  

A Mushroom Tea House Cozy sewing pattern Pdf $12.00 on Etsy at  The shop is closed for Christmas, but isn't this sweet!

Mom 4 Real.  50 homemade seasonings you can make yourself.  

Self Reliant School.  How to dehydrate garlic and make your own garlic powder.  Very handy!  

French Market Bag.  Free pattern from Two of Wands.  

Eye candy only.  An Irish Crochet Crown.  


How to read crochet symbols.  Chart Reading.  Total.  Love this.  I used to crochet all the time using crochet symbols. Tuesdayfortnight

Almond Cookies from The Girl Who Ate Everything.  

How to Start a Small Cleaning Business.  From The Busy Budgeter.  

The Frugal Girls.  Best Chicken Rub.  

Great ideas for finger tea sandwiches.  I love finger sandwiches.


From Text My Journal.  A way to get started. 

Simply Stepping.  Daily self Care.  

Brit + Co.  20 super smart ways to organise your kitchen.


Thrifty Fun.  Make your own Match Dispenser. 

Top tips from Frugality Magazine.  

Eye Candy from Lori Mitchell.  Wooden Duck Shop.   Cute as a button.

Food for thought  . . . 


The Tip Toe Fairy. DIY Laptop Bag. 

Sewn Up. Tablet Stand tutorial.  Brilliant!  

And those are my finds for this week! 

Not the most flattering angle of any of us, but a selfie from yesterday.  I think Sybil and Todd look great!  Peter does too, but remind me to not squash my face up like that next time!  It makes me look like I have thre double chins, LOL.  I promise you I do not!  Anyways we really enjoyed our visit together. It was great fun!  We feasted on the second tortiere I had made plus veg, and leftover Christmas goodies like Christmas pudding, mince pies, etc.  It was so much fun finally meeting Sybil in person.  I truly appreciated her coming all the way up here to meet us, and Peter driving her.  Thank you both so much!  Fun, fun day! Now I must make it down to Box! 

A thought to carry with you . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Believe you can, and
You're halfway there.
~Unknown  •。★★ 。* 。 


In the English Kitchen today  . . .  Teriyaki Pork Loin Steaks!  YUM!

Have a brilliant Friday.  I can't believe there are only 3 more sleeps until 2018!  Whew!

Don't forget along the way of your day!

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And I do too!