Wednesday 31 January 2018

Ordinary Music

I recently read a story which has stuck with me all week.   As far as I know it is a true story.

It was a cold January morning and a young man sat busking in a Metro Station in Washington, DC playing his violin.   The music went on for 45 minutes.   He played six Bach pieces, which took him approximately an hour, during which time it is estimated that roughly 1000 people walked past him, most being on their way to work.  During that time it was noted that only six people actually stopped to listen for a while, most just rushed by him.  In that hour he collected $32, mostly from people who threw their coins into his violin case as they quickly walked past him.

The one paying the most attention to him was a three year old boy, whose mother tugged him along, hurrying along and dragging her child away from what was obviously really fascinating him, for he continued to look back as they went.   There were several other children who did the same . . . and whose parents, without exception, forced them to move along. 

 Nobody was aware that this was World Class Violinist, Joshua Bell, who . . .  only two nights previously . . .  had sold out a theatre in Boston where seats for concerts averaged a cost of $100.    One of the most talented musicians in the world,  he had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written . . . on a violin worth several million dollars . . . and yet nobody, with very few exceptions, even noticed.  There was no applause or recognition, and when he was finished it was as if he had never even been there . . . and yet there had been at least a thousand people who had had the opportunity to enjoy this impromptu free concert.

I am quite sure that whilst I may have stopped for a few minutes to listen . . . I often do . . . I would probably have made my way along to work or whatever other errand were calling me at the time.    I often watch and listen to the Buskers in Chester when we are in town, but I seldom stand and watch them for any more than a few minutes.  When I read this story about Joshua Bell . . . I was brought up short, and I wondered how many blessings  we actually miss in our lives because we are too busy to notice them, or to stop to appreciate them. 

 How much beauty do we look past in our striving to achieve or to discover something better?   How many blessings do we fail to experience . . . because we can't slow ourselves down long enough to experience them?   We say we enjoy the simple things in life . . . and yet we often spend more time chasing after greater things, brushing aside the simple as being humdrum and inconsequential.

"There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.   The other is as though everything is a miracle."
~Albert Einstein

Over these past few years,  I have made it my mission to embrace simplicity . . . and to be grateful no matter the circumstance.  Through that journey I have discovered that less  truly IS more and that life IS only as beautiful as we choose to make it.   That our lives are richly embroidered with the threads and stitches of simple joys and pleasures, which could so very easily be missed did we not slow down to take note and enjoy them.  That amidst pain and despair . . . there can be great beauty, and . . . yes . . . much hope. 

 That beauty and joy is truly to be found in the small ordinary details of life . . . a table smartly set with love and care, a wrinkled face which glows with experience, the way the light falls through the window and across the table on a late Winter's afternoon . . . the sight of a wag-tail hopping along the shed roof on a cold, cold day, looking for sustenance  . . . simple labors often taken for granted, but which can noticeably lift the soul if one but lets them . . . duty observed with loving ministration, a smile, a touch, a voice . . . a sigh . . . there is unexpected music to be found in the simple ordinary moments of  life

We must never be so busy or in so much of a hurry that we fail to acknowledge the gift that each day brings us . . . moment by moment, small joy by small joy . . . simple thing by simple thing. 

"If the stars would appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and adore."
~Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Yesterdays Silver Lining . . . an afternoon with nowhere to go and nothing to do but watch my pencil scratch across the pad of my art paper, creating, dreaming . . . discovering.

A thought to carry with you through today . . . 
° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

""Don't let the good things of life rob you of the best things."
~Maltbie D Babcock     •。★★ 。* 。 

BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Todays Reading -   Jarom 1:1-15 
Question - What have you learnt from the reading today? Why is it so important for us to learn about and understand the Plan of Salvation? 
My thoughts - verses 7-9. Satan comes many times to battle against us. Prophets and apostles are 'mighty men in the faith of the Lord' and they teach us the ways of the Lord. Ways that will help us withstand the adversary and sweep away all his wickedness from our lives and homes. By following their counsel we become 'rich' spiritually, we build weapons needed to fortify & protect ourselves with, we are prepared for any battle with Satan and he will not win!!
The words of prophets also prick my heart and continually stir me up to repentance (verse12). I am grateful for this. I love our prophet and apostles and I know they are men of God, called to be special witnesses of Christ and lead us in righteousness. I need and I want their guidance and the truth and hope that their words fill me with. I can't wait to feast on the next General Conference. 
In the meantime I make it a point to listen to one or two talks from past Conferences every day.  Yesterday I listened to this one. "Safety for The Soul" by Elder Jeffrey R Holland which was given at the April 2009 conference.  I had actually listened to it on Monday evening with Todd and I listened to it again in bed last night.  I was very struck by and moved by it. The realisation came to me that the first time I would have heard it, we were living in our cottage down in Kent, totally unaware of the calamity that lay ahead of us in less than a year's time. A time when we were faced with a very difficult and dark journey.  This was a time when it would have been very easy for us to fall away from the safety net of the Gospel, to finger point or to blame.  But we did not, and what was maybe one of the worst things to happen to us in our almost 18 years together actually became a blessing to us, an a great faith strengthener. 
 "Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair." 
Just another one of the Lord's tender mercies that have come to me via the Words of the Prophets and my understanding of the Plan of Salvation. 
Tomorrow's reading - Day 90 - Omni 1:1-11 
Question - Why is it important to keep a family record? What are the benefits of keeping a journal? 
In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins.  Very, very good!  Quick, easy and delicious.  That should be my byline!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!  Don't forget! 

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And I do too!  

Tuesday 30 January 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .


FOR TODAY, January 30, 2018

Outside my window ...
Dark, cold, but dry (so far at any rate!)  The camelia bush is filled with growing buds, some have pink tips already, the bulbs are shooting up and snow drops are in bloom. Spring is just around the corner. 

I am thinking ...
About how quickly January has passed by us.  Here we are almost at the end of it. Only one more day. How did that happen?  I hope the rest of the year doesn't pass by like January did! 

In The Kitchen ...


Creamy Turkey & Rice.  Quick, easy, delicious and quite healthy as well. You only think you're eating something decadent! 

On my "To Cook" list ...

From Tutti Dolci, Marbled Chocolate Hearts.   

Good to know ...

I am creating ...


Home Talk, tutorial on making a Valentine Pom Pom Wreath.  

Krokotak. No Sew Heart Pillow.  Simple.  

I love this. No pun intended.  From McAdams Family.  Complete Tutorial.

Kathy's Cottage.  Heart Banner Tutorial.  Sweet!  

Flamingo Toes. Felt and fabric hearts.  So pretty. 

I am reading ... 

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks 
Can you resist the depths of the human heart? It is 1958 and seventeen-year-old Landon is revelling in his youth: dating girls and even claiming to have been in love. He is a world apart from shy, reclusive Jamie Sullivan, a Baptist's daughter who carries a bible with her school books, cares for her widowed father and volunteers at the orphanage. But fate will intervene.

Forced to partner up at the school dance, Landon and Jamie embark on a journey of earth-shattering love and agonising loss far beyond their years. In the months that follow, Landon discovers the true depths of the human heart, and takes a decision that is so stunning it will lead him irrevocably down the road to manhood . . .

Early days, but so far so good!

I am looking forward to ... 


Need I say more?   I ordered this book from the Book Depository and am looking foward to it arriving and getting stuck into it.

Dreaming About ... 

Cath Kidston Frames from Spec Savers . . . 


Braccalini Bags  . . . 

Fling skirts  . . .  Stockings  . . .  Leather Oxfords  . . . 
Sigh  . . .  oh to be young and thin . . . 

dolce & gabbana  . . . 
Something to Watch ...
Line of Duty on Netflix. A BBC Cop Show that is short, intense and totally engaging. Binge Worthy.
A Quote for the day ... 

  `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸. •´¸.•~♥♥♥~•. ~ ღϠ₡ღ¸. ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.
              ( ¸. ❀⁀ ⋱‿✿“` * .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ..
The trick is to enjoy life.
Don't wish away your days
waiting for better ones ahead.
~Marjorie Pay Hinckley •~♥♥♥~•. ~ ღϠ₡ღ¸. ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.  
Makes me smile ...
Uplifting notes in the post.  Unexpected.  Caring.  Never ignore a prompting.  You might be the key to lifting another's day in a beautiful way . . . it is always nice to be remembered.
Corners of  my kingdom  ...
Savernake Forest, Wiltshire. By The Wessex Reiver 
And that's my daybook for this week!

  ⋱ ⋮ ⋰
⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small *´¯`.¸¸.☆
  ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆

✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.• ╬♥═╬╬═♥=╬╬═♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥═╬♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥
░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░   


 BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Todays Reading - Enos 1:11-27
Question - How can prayer sometimes be a struggle? How do you find rest in the Saviour?  
My thoughtsWe have to humble ourselves before we can approach the Lord in sincere prayer, we can't pray for a change to happen in our lives unless we are willing to make that change through the Lord's help. We can't expect to instantly be able to receive patience, overcome an addiction or find it in our heart to forgive someone just because we've prayed about it. I think the struggle is in aligning our will with God's and gaining the desire to work for what we pray for. 
I haven't ever noticed before just how confident Enos is, both in The Lord and in his standing before the Lord. I believe that  the more we come to know the character of God, what He is truly like (not what man says He's like), the more we feel that we can trust Him and His plan, hence feeling more peaceful and restful we can feel,  even in and among tumultuous times in the world and in our lives. The addiction recovery manual is wonderful because it builds up an understanding of the character of Heavenly Father, the character of Jesus Christ and our relationship to them. I love verse 17 because I have made covenants with God. Sometimes I forget that I am bound to the Saviour and to His goodness and my soul doesn't rest until I realise it again.
Tomorrow's Reading (Day 89) -  Jarom 1:1-15 
Question - What have you learnt from the reading today? Why is it so important for us to learn about and understand the Plan of Salvation?

Have a wonderful day!  Don't forget!
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And I do too!   

Monday 29 January 2018

Small and Wonderful Things . . .


"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 from the past week which brought untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.

Dancing on Ice.  I love it.  Mostly because I love to watch figure skating. Figure skating is something my mother and I used to watch together.   We don't get a lot of figure skating over here, not that I have been able to find anyways, so a program like this is something which I really enjoy.  I have a lot of respect for the celebrities who take the challenge on, and for the professionals that coach and skate with them. I think it takes a lot of courage on both their parts.  They are moving about on skates as sharp as knives, at great speeds, on a surface that is slippery and hard.  The potential for injury is so great. I just think they are really brave.  When I was a girl I would have loved to take figure skating lessons, but there was no money in the family budget for things like that.  I would have probably been really terrible at it anyways.  I did manage to get my skaters badge in Girl Guides however, but don't ask me how, because skating backwards was never my forte!  True story, the very last time I had skates on was abou 22 years ago.  The field next to our farmhouse was frozen over and the kids had been skating on it. One day when they were at school, I decided I would like to try.  I used my youngest daughters skates.  Got them on, and managed to get to the field, but by the time I got there my ankles were so tired and weak I could hardly walk, so I had to virtually crawl back to the house.  Never again  . . . 

I got to talk to my oldest son several times this week.  I love our conversations.  I love talking to all my children, but there are really only three that I talk to, but I would love talking to the other two as well if I could.  Anthony and I got to talk, I think, three times in all this week.  He is producing Life Stand Up Comedy Shows at weekends in his spare time.  He works at an Art Gallery the rest of the time.  The shows are doing really well, selling out most times, which is good!  I am really proud of him.  (Well all my kids.) Anthony is a good man with a good heart.  Love him to bits.  He made my lifelong dream of becoming a mother come true! 

Happy Birthday to Luke, his youngest son, who is turning 7 tomorrow!  He is an engaging little man who loves Pugs, games and cinnamon rolls! 

They are growing up far too quickly! 
Someone make it stop!

Loyal friends and family  


Bon Maman Chocolate Caramel Petities Tartlets.  They have lemon also, but these chocolate caramel ones are gorgeous.  They are like little cookie tarts, crisp  and buttery pastry, filled with a thin layer of caramel topped with milk chocolate.  YUMMO!   And they are not too bad calorie wise, only 74, which is a really tasty way to get in a less than 100 calorie indulgence, especially if you nibble it in tiny tiny bites to make it last longer. 

Hugs at church.  You can never have too many of these.  One size fits all. 


Simple pleasures.  I think that when we get to the ends of our lives, we will discover that they are mostly made up of simple pleasures which brought us joy each and every day.  In fact I think the key to a happy life is in embracing these simple pleasures every moment of every day. 


Having a place where I belong  . . . 

 photo SDC13326.jpg 

And sharing it with the ones that I love most of all . . . 


"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." ~ Emily Bronte 

Having someone to hold hands with.  It means that I am not alone.  My life is shared by someone who wants to hold my hand.  I am content. 


Hot soup on cold days . . .  

My life is filled to overflowing with small and wonderful things actually  . . .  I count my blessings every day and know my cup runneth over.  That is the true secret to happiness I believe . . .  being able to count your blessings and seeing the joy to be found . . . even in the most mundane.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . . 

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

"Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. 
The real miracle is the love that inspires them. 
In this sense everything that comes from love is miracle" 
~ Marie Lloyd   •。★★ 。* 。 


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading - Jacob 7:21-Enos 1:10 
Question - What changes came as a result of Jacob's prayer? What similarities can you see between Enos and his uncle Nephi?  
My Thoughts - When the power of God came down upon the people the blessings to them were 1. peace 2. love of God 3. desire to study the scriptures 4. resistance to Sherem's lies 5. desire to do missionary work. Jacob was pleased and recognised that his prayers were answered.
Today two things stood out to me from the Enos reading. 
1️. "I knew that God could not lie". How? How did he KNOW that? I always thought of Enos as a not fully committed member . . . hence the struggle, day long prayer and repentance. But when I read it today I thought of him as a committed member that has been given a whopping responsibility, to fill his fathers shoes, and keep the record. That has driven him to dig deep, and come right before God for help in his new responsibility. 
2️. Faith in Jesus Christ made him WHOLE, once he was whole THEN he "began to feel a desire" for the welfare of his brethren. His complete conversion came first then the desire for others to have what he felt naturally followed. 
Enos and nephi both had the desire to help their brethren, both had this righteous goal in mind that they might do o the Lord's work and bring people to salvation. They both had great faith in Christ who they could not see and who had not even come to earth yet. They both had a hunger for knowledge and light. 
Tomorrow's Reading (Day 88) -  Enos 1:11-27
Question - How can prayer sometimes be a struggle? How do you find rest in the Saviour? 
In The English Kitchen today  . . .  hot Roast Beef And Cheese Sandwiches.  Quite simply delicious.
I hope your week ahead is filled to overflowing with small and wonderful things.  Don't forget! 
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And I do too!  



Sunday 28 January 2018

January . . .

So here we are, pretty much at the end of January.  How did it go for you?  How were you at keeping your resolutions?  I had told myself that I was going to keep a journal this year, a handwritten one and I have been doing just that.  As well as my writings on here of course.  I haven't written in it every day, but I've written in it quite a bit, which is good, and I plan to continue.

My journal started off with two words  . . .  "Be Present."  Two words which I hope will be a byline for my year.   Be present . . . 

I have quite taken those words literally this month, or at least tried to.  I am a work in progress after all.  I took them to mean . . . live here and live now.  Not in the past where you can't do anything to change what has already happened, and not in the future which has yet to be written, but in the NOW.  Right now.  Where you are.  Doing whatever it is that you are doing.  Living in the present is a part of finding joy . . . to living a blissful life.  Where you have been only matters in so much as it had brought you to where you are.  Take lessons from it, then move on and be present to what your life is now.  Eek out every bit of joy that you can from each day.  Be open to the "present" which comes with each day.  In this month I have found joy in the things I already have and have tried not to  overly mourn the things that I don't.  I have tried to celebrate the here and the now.  I have lived in the now and not in the past.  Its been good and its been empowering.   I guess I have given myself permission to just be happy.  Now. 

Yes . . .  it is.


Another word I had written in it was  . . .  reconciliation . . . .  included in that was a little print-out I did of the serenity prayer.  You know the one??  

God grant me the Serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change, 
the Courage to change 
the things I can, 
and the Wisdom 
to know the difference. 

And so I have been embracing that this month. Serenity. I can remember reading the Serenity prayer when I was a teenager.  Oh, what did I know about life then?  Not as much as I thought I did!!  I think a part of living in the present, of finding joy in the present, is coming to a reconciliation with the past.  Of learning to accept that there are things you do not have any power to change and might never be able to change . . .  in learning to reconcile these things in your heart and in learning to forgive . . .  self and others, but mostly self.  There is a great peace to be found in forgiving yourself. 
 Jesus died crying. 
But He forgave.

"Shame is a bully, but Grace is a shield."
Ann Voscamp  

Right on the cover of my journal are penned two three small words.  "Believe in Yourself."  If you believe in yourself, in your abilities, in your power to overcome and to flourish . . . then anything is possible.  If you don't believe in yourself, it doesn't matter how talented you are, or how big . . . your dreams are. The larger part of doing is quite simply . . . .  believing that you can!  There is no room for self doubt in a "can-do" life.  One of my favourite stories when I was a little girl was "The Little Engine that Could."  The story of the little steam train who  replaced her "I think I can" puffs of smoke with "I know I can" puffs.  Believing that she could, believing in herself . . .  made all the difference in the world and got her up the daunting hillside in front of her.  

I had written down three ways to believe in yourself, to build confidence  . . . 

1. Take note of your positive accomplishments, and embrace them.  Learn from them. Identify the skills that helped you to accomplish these things, and then put them more into practice.

2.  Talk to people who love you.   And so I have spent quite a lot of time this month in coversation with people I know care about me.  Who have a vested interest in me.  Not that I am the "Be All" and "End All."  Far from it.  But it is nice to feel good about yourself and to know that others do as well.

3. Be persistent.  Don't give up at the first obstacle that presents itself.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  I think it was Thomas Edison who said that the only failure in life was in not trying.

Another thing I had written down is this . . .  "Be the kindest voice in the world, even to yourself."  Kindness wins.  Every. Time.  We are often our own harshest critics. We need to stop that. We need to be kind to others and to ourselves.  Its like that advice that Thumper got from his mother . . . .  if you can't say something nice, then you best say nothing at all. Speaking your mind can't say anything at all like speaking kind can.  I love that song that Tim McGraw sings  . . .  humble and kind.  There is a lot of wisdom in those few words. Stay humble and kind.

To be humble is to be teachable, and to be kind
Nothing good ever came from being
pumped up with pride. 

The last word I have written in it is this  . . .  "Courage."  Having the courage to keep doing the right things without expectation. NO matter what.  Having the courage to rise above hurt feelings, not to dwell on them or allow them to colour my present.  Having the courage to stand up for what  I believe to be right and correct, but also know to be right and correct.  Just Courage.

And those are the things I spent journaling about this month.  I think it was a good start to the year, even if I did have a few blue moments along the way.  I was able to rise above them.

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

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

"Courage doesn't always roar,
Sometimes it is that quiet voice 
at the end of the day that says,
I will try again, tomorrow."
~Mary Ann Radmacher   •。★★ 。* 。


In the kitchen today . . . Salted Caramel Drizzle Loaf.  Nom Nom!

Have a wonderful Sunday . . .  Don't forget! 

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And I do too