Tuesday 31 July 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .


FOR TODAY, July 31, 2018

Outside my window ...
The sun is just coming up.  There is plenty of cloud but lots of blue sky showing. They say the heat is going to return. We've had a few nice, rainy, showery days however, so that's good. 

I am thinking ...
About all of the poor people throughout the world being devastated by wildfires . . . California, Greece, etc. My heart and prayers are with them. Todd was just saying yesterday that we are living in a blessed part of the world. I agree.  But for how long?? One wonders  . . . there but for the Grace of God . . . 

In the kitchen ...


Ham, Gruyere & Spring Onion Crepes.  These are simple to make, delicious and make a great light supper with a salad on the side. Nothing fancy here. Just good eats.  Simple ingredients, done well. 

On my "To Cook" list ... 

From Garlic Matters. Lemon Chutney.  This looks and sounds really good.  

Good to know ... 

Reformation Acres.  How to make cultured buttermilk.  

I am creating ... 

Martha Stewart. How to make sun prints.  

Gina Michelle.  Easy knit baby booties.  

Something Turquoise, free printable envelope liners.  

Yao Cheng, water colour tutorial.  

Lora Jeans Magazine. Paper mache figure tutorial.  

Marjorie Crochets.  Fish Bag free tutorial, pattern. 

Oh my goodness  ...

The fresh blackberries are coming fast and furious at the moment. Its all the hot weather I guess! They are about a month early! 

I am reading ...


Flight of the Sparrow, by Amy Belding Brown 

She suspects that she has changed too much to ever fit easily into English society again. The wilderness has now become her home. She can interpret the cries of birds. She has seen vistas that have stolen away her breath. She has learned to live in a new, free way.... 

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson is captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the on-going bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her.

Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meaning of freedom, faith, and acceptance. 

I discovered this on Barb's blog and was so intrigued by what she said about it, I had to read it for myself.  Just beginning this.

Looking forward to ... 
 There is a Baptism at the chapel on Saturday. 

Dreaming about ...

Flea Market Cutlery  . . . 


Vintage Tea Cups   . . .


Beautiful bird baths  . . . 

Pearls and Roses  . . . 


Who lives here  . . . 

Something to watch ... 

Goodbye Christopher Robin.  It was excellent, but also I felt, quite sad and moving  . . . 

Makes me smile ...


Doesn't every little brother dream about putting his older brother in stocks?  Jon (in the stocks) and Jake.

Corners of my kingdom ...

Conwy Castle, North Wales . . . I've been there a few times.  Its a very interesting day out.

And that's my daybook for this week!

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

  ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆ 

✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.• ╬♥═╬╬═♥=╬╬═♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥═╬♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥
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Have a beautiful day!  Don't forget!  

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And I do too!    


Monday 30 July 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 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.  

So last evening, this happened.  On their way back from dropping Ariana's mum off at the airport, Ariana and Jose stopped by to share Grace with us. Ariana looks fantastic after having been in labor for as long as she was and having been induced and having just gotten home from the hospital on Saturday evening. Jose was glowing with the pleasures of new fatherhood and well, Grace, she is just beautiful . . .   and this happened the whole time. 

I got to hold her the whole time they were here.  It was heaven. I never got to hold any of my grandchildren when they were this small and there is one still I have not even met who just turned five.  Being able to hold this precious wee one who feels like a grandchild was just the most precious gift ever.  Thank you so much Ariana and Jose. What a wonderful gift. When it is I who should be gifting you, you came out of your way to gift me.  What a special blessing.

I was in heaven! 

Funny thing is I had been thinking all afternoon . . .  hmm . . .  how soon can I walk down to theirs.  What can I bring with me so I have a good excuse to pop in. etc. etc. Talk about dreams coming true! 

Yesterday I also got to facetime with my middle son Doug and his boys.  Jake (in the green shirt) was showing me his catcus and telling me how prickly it was and Jon (not in this photo) was getting ready to go to camp.  I love all my grandchildren and my children.

So grateful for two sons who go out of their way to keep me involved in their children's (and their) lives! 


My bi-weekly call to mom.  Its always nice to hear her voice.  Always. 

I just love this photo that my friend Mike took of our chapel in Ewloe, Wales at the weekend.  We are so blessed to have it.  For a long time here in Chester we did not have a chapel, nor did the Dee Side Ward have a chapel.  They were meeting in porta-cabins and we were meeting in a community centre. Neither was ideal.  Then we both were meeting in an adapted office building in Ewloe, while the land for this chapel was purchases and contruction began on it.  Then we were both meeting as separate congregations in this building and then we were finally amalgamated into one Ward . . .  together once more and worshipping in this lovely chapel. I love my church congregation. The people in it are special to me and I can't imagine ever being anywhere else, right from the oldest down to the youngest. 

We had our annual Ward BBQ there at the weekend.  I think there was well over 150 or so people there in a variety of ages. Rick was our cook for the day along with Elder Boyer . . . 


Our newly weds, Eileen and Derek.  They were sealed together recently in the chapel.  Derek calls Eileen his South African Lioness.  They met online and are busy living happily ever after.

Our friend Tony in a deep discussion with our old Bishop Chris and his dog . . . 


There was a slip and slide that young and old enjoyed  together . . . 


A lesson in American football   . . . 

Great job Elder! 


Our now Bishop, Bishop Marzal.  Love him to bits. 

It was just a lotta, lotta . . . 


Fun for all.  Best one yet!   I think everyone in attendance (and this is just a sampling) had a very good time! I love my church family. 

No, I did not partake of the slip and slide.


Thank goodness it held off until after the BBQ, but yesterday we had some lovely, much needed rain. Our garden is so parched, it drank it right up.  They are still talking hose-pipe bans however, as it wasn't enough. 


Me as a nun.  Yes, I did one of those stupid facebook things.  Made me laugh. Laughing is good. 

Being able to partake of the Sacrament, renew my Baptismal covenants and recharge my spiritual batteries every Sunday.  I love this aspect of my faith.   


 The talks yesterday were really wonderful.  Everything was really wonderful.  Can't wait until next Sunday.  

Mitzie snuggles.  They are the best.  She liked Grace last night.  I think she would be great with children. 


Sweet peas in the garden . . .  they look ready to take off and go on a flutter-about.

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

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

Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man
and inhaling the spirit of God.
~Edwin Keith  •。★★ 。* 。  


In The English Kitchen today . . .  Braised Brisket with Stout & Onions.  Cooked in the slow cooker. Magnificent!

I hope your week ahead is filled with small and wonderful things.  Don't forget!

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And I do too! 


Sunday 29 July 2018

A dream is a dream is a dream . . .

“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you, you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson  

I saw it written somewhere the other day that the key to loving how you live is in knowing what you truly love. I wish I could tell you who said it, but I can’t. I have been thinking about those words though and have come to the conclusion that they are quite true.

I used to keep a little folder  on my desktop called Marie’s Dream Folder, and whenever I would a picture of something that I really liked a lot, I would pop it into the folder. It was sort of like an illustrated discovery journal of the things I love. Now I have Pinterest and so I create little folders on that.  I have a bazillion boards on there containing everything from soup to nuts!  It’s a way of feeding my imagination and getting in touch with my inner me, these boards of beautiful images that speak to my soul.  They are  not just filled with sofas and pretty dishes . . . they are also filled with pictures of art and flowers, quotes I love to read, poetry that touches my soul, and beautiful scenes of places I‘ve been and would like to go back to, or am simply dreaming of visiting one day.


That’s what a dream folder is really . . . a place to stick your dreams.

What is the point of having a dream if you can never imagine it actually coming true? What is the point of longing for things we can never actually have? I say, never say never. There is no dream too big or too small, and no thing that is too far out of my grasp that I cannot possibly realize it or have it, as long as they are realistic dreams. For instance it might be un-realistic for me to dream of having a huge mansion, but it’s perfectly within my reach to dream of having a small home somewhere in the countryside, just big enough for Todd, Mitzie and I.

The interesting thing about my dream boards though, is that there are no pictures of mansions in them, only a humble cottage or two, with long wide verandas and hanging baskets of flowers, and a big red door that says welcome  . . . . and polished wooden floors that are scattered here and there with woven rag rugs.

I always thought I loved French Country furniture, but I have discovered in recent years, that I really love Swedish furniture for it is filled with images of white washed tables and chairs that are simple in their lines and covered with little red or blue checked fabrics. I have long loved the art of Carl Larsson and there are images of his lovely homes and families in my Pinterest,  and they tug on my heart strings and imagination. My heart longs to go to the Scandinavian countries to visit, and so I have discovered that I am not a French Country girl so much as I am a hearty Swede at heart. 

I have long been an insomniac. It seems that when I am getting in to bed at night my mind starts to fill with all the things that I need to do the next day or would like to do, or stories I’d like to write, things like that. One of the ways I combat that is to think of my dream home. I start at the veranda and go into the red door . . .  when I am inside the cottage I picture myself in each one of the rooms, recalling to mind every little detail, every picture hung on each wall, the furniture, the curtains . . . I have yet to get past the front hallway and the sitting room, because I am always off in lala land before I can even get to any of the other rooms.

I think a dream board is a wonderful thing. Meditating on these images once in awhile helps jump start my creativity and helps me to see where my heart really wants me to go. Knowing where you heart belongs and embracing it is one of the keys to having a happy and joyful life . . . so is having a dream and believing it can one day be yours.  Twenty-five years ago the very idea that I would one day be living the life I am living now, doing the things I am doing now, and living where I am living that life, might have seemed like an impossibility to me, but look at me now and how far I’ve come. I’m living this pretty  amazing life, in an amazing place.  I had a job working in a beautiful environment, and when that finished,  I was brought back to Chester, which was where my heart really lay. Since then I've been exploring and developing my creative side like never before.  I've written a book and had it published, I've done art that lives in homes all around the world, and those are just a few of the dreams that I have realised over these past years  . . . 

Nothing is impossible and that has been one of my life’s greatest discoveries . . .dreams can and do come true, but  . . . .  you've got to have a dream in order to have a dream come true.

 A brook beside my cottage
Laughing down the hill,
Reminds me of the adage,
"Oh, my soul be still."
It's gladness never varies
Its waters never cease,
And the melody it carries
Resonates with peace."
~Rachel Wallace-Oberle 


Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Bishop's Fingers.  A very moreish almond shortbread biscuit.  These are soooo good!  Dangerous even!  Good thing it only makes 12! 

Have a fabulous Sunday! Don't forget! 

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And I do too!