Saturday 2 December 2023

All Things Nice . . .



We do not live by bread alone -- ah no
We live by love and peace and fire glow,
By gentle thoughts and small deeds kindly done,
By toil and weariness . . . laughter and fun,
By music's magic touch and love's dear hand,
And childish feet that walk in wonderland.

We live by all the beauty of the world,
Smoke from a supper fire softly curled,
Above the snowy rooftops of the town;
By a tall lady in a satin gown,
With pearls twined in the meshes of her hair;
We live by faith and solitude and prayer.

We live by toil the routine of a day,
Small humble chores . . . dishes to put away,
A floor to scrub . . . an evening meal to cook,
A little journey to return a book,
A gay excited girl to help along,
Time out, to listen to a robin's song.

We live by roses in a silver jar,
By dawn and candlelight . . . by one blue star
Shining above an airport where we wait,
By love triumphant over war and hate,
A faithful king upon a steady throne,
For no one ever lives by bread alone.
~Edna Jacques, By Bread Alone
Fireside Poems, 1950

Fireside Poems is the book that started my love affair with the poetry of Edna Jacques. I know I have told you this before, but my mother had this book of poetry in the bookcase back home.  I used to read it frequently. I was a child that would read anything. I just love to read. I read the family encyclopedias' from cover to cover, and then some, along with every extra volume that came with it. Reading poetry was a great love of mine. I love it still. There is something about poetry that stirs the heart. How a few words, written done in a simple way, has the ability to touch the soul has always been like magic to me. Those who have the ability to touch our souls with them are the magicians.


One thing I am grateful that I got to experience was the robins in the U.K. They were visitors to our garden all the year long.  Much tinier than the North American Robin, they had the most beautiful song. They were also very brave little birds and would often come near when you were digging in the garden, in hopes of a cheeky worm or two or three.

You will often see them gracing the fronts of British Christmas cards. But why?

In the 1800s, British postmen wore bright red uniforms. They wore red in honor of the crown since red is considered both a Royal color and an important color on the English flag. The postmen in their red-breasted coats resembled the much-loved British bird, the robin red-breast, earning Victorian postmen the nick-name: Robins. 

 Around Christmas time, people would eagerly await the Robins’ delivery of Christmas cards from near and far. Some greeting card artists were inspired by this to illustrate their cards with the joyous delivery of letters, and instead of drawing a postman, one artist decided to draw the Robins’ namesake, the robin birds, delivering letters in their little beaks. The trend caught on and survives to this day despite the fact that the postmen’s red coat uniforms and the postmen’s Robin nickname have long been retired to the history books.


Snow at Christmas has always been a great love of mine. It was very rare that we got one in the U.K.  In fact, I do  not recall ever having a "White" Christmas the whole time I lived there. Betting shops would take in hoards of money every year with people betting on if there would be a White Christmas or not. I saw it snow a few weeks before (as it has this week) only to be gone before the day, or on Boxing Day, but never on Christmas Day.

Here in Canada it is more of a likely prospect, although here in Nova Scotia, green Christmas's have become somewhat of a norm in recent years.  Mom did not like a green Christmas. She always said it was the portent of illness or even a death in the family. 

Oh how I miss  my mother.  I would give anything to have her back here on earth, if only for a few hours so I could tell her again how very much I love her.  It is a feeling of loss that never goes away. She visits me often in my dreams, and she is always happy in them.  What a great blessing that is to me.


December always sneaks up on me.  I have plans and wishes to get things done early and then lo and behold before I know it, December is upon us and the rush is on to get everything done.  I have already received a Christmas postcard (thank YOU Tatiana), but have not even put pen to paper yet myself!  I need to get a leg on!  I should get some outdoor lights perhaps, but how would I put them up.   

I love to see the decorations going up in the neighborhood and town.   Some people really go all out and decorate beautifully.  Other's . . .  well  . . .  you find yourself scratching your head and wondering just what it has to do with Christmas. But whatever, whether we recognize the person symbol of a person's Christmas vision or not, it is festive and to be celebrated.


Tis the season of giving and not just "presents." Presence means a lot as well.  There are a lot of lonely people about and loneliness is never felt keener than at this time of year.  It is a time we should be thinking about our neighbors and friends and perhaps giving the gift of "time."  I know many of us are short on that, especially at this time of year, but the gift of "time" costs little and really goes a long way towards cheering up another.  

My next door neighbor Sheila's face always lights up when I knock on her door.  Often if I am going to check my post box I will knock on her door and see if she would like me to check hers as well.  Oh garbage day I always ask her if she has a few bits she wants to stuff in with mine.  Quite often older people don't have a lot of garbage to throw out and will hang onto it for weeks and weeks waiting to get a bag full to put out.  She is always pleased to add to mine, and it helps to fill up a bag of mine that might be going out half empty.

I often have extra bits of baking going this time of year when I am baking a lot for the blog and they are always welcomed by others as well.   It doesn't take much to brighten up another's day.

There are many who are homeless, even in this small area that I live in.  Thankfully there are also people who go out of their way to remember them and they are always happy to receive a donation to help them help them out.  Gift cards for a hot meal.  Extra coats you don't need, hats, mittens, blankets, etc. A lady in our town is collecting refundables to turn in and exchange for gift cards for hot meals for the homeless.  There is a restaurant in town as well where you can buy a meal outright for a person who needs one.  They tack the receipt up on a board and then a person in need can claim it.   A church in town holds a "Kings Kitchen"  night once a week, where they offer up a free hot meal  to people. No questions asked. 


I may put up my tree this weekend. Its only a small one and takes no effort.  Its just a matter of me thinking about where to put it.  

I was thinking yesterday about what a miracle it was for me to get this place.  God's providence.  I saw the hand of God at work in my life so much during those months.  God uses  people here on earth to fulfil His purposes, to be His hands and feet.  I was so grateful for all of the help I had and for all of the tender mercies which were shown towards me.

This place I am in now, should not have been mine. There were 80+ people ahead of me on the list. But the Landlord was moved and inspired to give it to me.  What a blessing that was.  I will always be grateful for that.  And for the troubles that enabled me to see the hands of God at work in my life.


Joy. My life is filled with it.  I will never get tired of saying that I hope you never get tired of reading it.  My life is filled with Joy.  My sister, my best friend, who is always willing to go on a road trip with me, and who does so much for me in so many ways. A brother in law who makes me smile and is always willing to do small things for me, to help put furniture together, vacuum my car, etc.  I love his enthusiasm for all of the holidays. He makes me smile. For having family near by who are willing to spend time with me, either virtually or in person.  My faith which sustains and guides me. Church friends both near and far who add a wonderful dimension to my life.  My cats who keep me company day and night and make sure I am never bored.  My home, which is small but big enough for me and cozy too.  My blessings and joy are endless. I could keep counting forever.


Sparkle. Who can't use a bit of sparkle.  I used to have some small sparkly ornaments that I did not put on the tree, but kept in a small bowl to cheer up the viewer.  I also had Christmas Table place card holders that were little glass Christmas balls.  They made for very festive decorations. I need to gather up some more stuff like that.  I need a trip to Walmart or Dollarama. Maybe this week Cindy and I can go.  We have plans to go up to Michaels one day when the weather is fine, and maybe stop at Callisters, on the way there or the way back, for a cheeky piece of pie and a hot drink.  

The last time (the only time) we were there we saw the pies in the chiller cabinet and they looked amazing. A meal in and of themselves!  It was like WOWZA!  I had never seen such tall pies in my life!


I enjoyed taking my friend Jacquie out for lunch this week.  We went to the same restaurant that we went to the last time we went out for lunch.  Farmer's Family Diner. They have two Swiss mountain dogs (I can't remember the name) that come out to greet you each time. Very friendly and very large.  Inside there is such a friendly and cozy atmosphere.  I had the turkey dinner again. I know  . . .  I just love turkey.  They really do a great job of it however. Their servings are generous and they have a ton of vegetables on the plate.  Potato, squash, turnip, peas, carrots, corn.  Stuffing and loads of turkey and gravy.  Plus coleslaw and a roll.  And it is all delicious.   Jacquie had a piece of battered fish and a plate of salad/vegetables.  She didn't want any potato this time.   And of course we splurged again on homemade wild blueberry pie. How could we not!  Its just so good!

Best part of all however, is spending the time with a friend.  They do say a joy shared is a joy doubled!

And with that I will leave you with a thought for the day  as time is a marching!

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

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

 *Be who you are & say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter,
and those who matter don't mind.
~Dr. Seuss•。★★ 。* 。

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Irish Tea Cake  . . .  I had seen this on Pinterest a few weeks ago and really wanted to bake it. I am really happy that I did. It is fabulous!

I hope you have a wonderful day. My friend Glenna just called and reminded me that there is a Relief Society lunch and craft activity today and offered me a lift.  I need to make myself do things like this. It is out of my comfort zone really. I am not one who enjoys group activities like that but I am going.  How could I refuse. I will probably enjoy it and be happy that I have gone!  Anyways, you have a wonderful day!  Love to you all and blessings. Don't forget! 

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And I do too!


  1. It is a pleasure to see the happiness you are filled with.You deserve everything.:)

    1. Thanks so much Monique! I am blessed for sure! xoxo

  2. Loved the British robins from when we lived there, I always associate it with my most favourite book, The Secret Garden. Certainly not enough emphasis on presence and too much on presents during this season. Yummy turkey dinner at lunch with Jacquie the other day. Have a wonderful time out with Glenna, we all need to do things out of our comfort zone. Enjoy the weekend.

    1. Oh yes, The Secret Garden. One of my favorite books and films as well! Hope you are enjoying your weekend Linda!! xoxo

  3. Lovely poem …lovely post! Enjoy your day out, it’s hard to step out to something unfamiliar but I’m sure you will enjoy it. Happy weekend, V.

  4. Hello at long last, Marie! I will email you sometime today. 'Just wanted to say hello now that I've finally gotten logged back in to my accounts. I've been reading, just haven't had it in me to get back into the writing. (And it took me about twenty minutes last night to sort out how to log in to both my long-unused email and then Blogger, so. . .ACK!! I hope to be back now.) This is my weekend to put up our tiny mantel-top tree and a door wreath too. 'Very simple decorating the past few years here.

    Love to you and your floofy kit kats, and I'll email today.

    Love, ♥ Val

  5. Loved the poem by Edna Jacques and enjoyed the story of how the robin became a symbol of Christmas in Britain. I went to an old-fashioned Christmas bazaar this morning with my friend next door. Bought a dozen home-made cookies ($6.00), 4 slabs of fudge, two cute egg cups. One was 25 cents and the other 50 cents. Also bought two pairs of handknit socks for $10 each. Can't beat those prices. Take gentle care when you're out and about. Love and hugs, Elaine (in Toronto)

    1. How wonderful Elaine! Would love to see some photos of your egg cups. I love egg cups. You got a fair deal on everything. Especially handknit socks for $10 each! Wow! Love and hugs, xoxo

  6. It doesn't take a lot to make a day extra nice. Our son and granddaughter came over today to do a couple of things for us, and I made us all a big pot of chili (with lots of veggies in it) over some sticky rice...sent the leftovers home with them. It is nice when we can help each other out a bit!!
    Elizabeth xo

    1. How very wonderful Elizabeth! Time spent with family is always the best! xoxo

  7. Marie, that cake looks delicious and I look forward to trying that recipe. A while back you mentioned that you buy the organic sugar at Costco. I finally found it here in Ohio. Do you use that just as you do the regular granulated sugar? Have you noticed any difference in your bakes? Thanks, love your blog and your recipes.

    1. Thanks so much Laura! I use the organic sugar just as I would regular granulated sugar. It works very well in my baking. I just like the idea of using something that isn't as highly processed and more natural than regular sugar. Unbleached. I think it is better for our bodies than using highly processed things. xoxo


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