Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Simple Woman's Day book . . .

FOR TODAY, July 31st, 2012...

Outside My Window...

The sky is overcast and there is drizzle . . . one must always take the bad with the good. We have had a nice run of sun . . . so a bit of rain cannot be turned away. We would soon be complaining had we none!

I am thinking...
I think I could turn and live with animals.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition
Not one is dissatisfied.
~Walt Whitman

Whoever has watched a bird in the spring building a nest, twig by tiny twig must surely be humbled by the sight of their endeavors. They search through what they find, picking only the best for the nest, and discarding any they deem to be of no use, refusing to hang on to that which is too big, or too weak to be of good. How much more could we be like the birds. We need to let go of those things that are of no good to us . . . those things that are too big, or too weak to sustain us and help us to build our nests.

I am thankful for...
The tender mercies of the Lord. I struggle with a few things in life. None of us is perfect. I am ever grateful that when I stumble He is there to help pick me up again . . .

From the kitchen...
I have several nice bottles of freshly made Plum Chutney ripening. It is going to be so delicious when I crack it open in a few months time . . . when the autumn leaves are falling and summer is just the whisp of a memory . . .

I am wearing...

Light blue M&S cotton nightie, printed with small forget-me-not sprigs, and decorated with lace and light blue ribbon. Tis very pretty. I do so love pretty things . . .

I am creating...

I have a few irons in the fire.

About half done. It's looking really nice. My friend from OZ, Suzan, has finished hers and it's just beautiful. My fingers are itching to get this one done now!

I am also working very hard to get my stuff ready for our "Christmas In July" activity for RS this month, which is actually going to be a Christmas in August activity. We're having it this Thursday.

My offering will be edible gifts you can make for your friends and family . . . like Gifts in a jar . . . Gifts in a Mug . . .

I am also really liking these hot cocoa cones . . . and I am completely enraptured with . . .

These!!! Are they not the most adorable things you have ever seen???
It's going to be such a fun night. We have a whole lot of workshops set up . . . creative gift wrapping, crafts to make, etc. I hope that the sisters enjoy what we have to show them, and that we have a great turnout!

I am going...
I am not going much of anywhere this week. I have a lesson to prepare for our Relief Society meeting on Sunday morning. It is to be based on Chapter 10 of the RS Society book, Daughters in My Kingdom, and is called, "Live Up to Your Privilege." So far nothing is coming to me. I sure hope that something comes into my brain soon . . .
I am reading...

Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth
I really enjoyed the series by the BBC and thought I would like to read the book. Books are always a lot more detailed than films or television shows. I am really enjoying this book. It's fabulous and I am glad that I picked it up to read. It details the life of a young midwife in London's East End in the 1950's and is a real peek into the way of life which existed there during that time period . . . the hardship, the poverty, the sadness, the joy, etc. I highly recommend.

Still reading this.

Peony In Love, by Lisa See
I love Lisa See novels. I am very interested in Oriental culture.

“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”

For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

I'm also reading this:

The Pact by Jodi Picault
For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other. Parents and children alike are best friends - until Emily Gold is found dead with a bullet wound to the head, and police immediately suspect her boyfriend and life long best friend, Chris Harte, of murder. The police doubt Chris’s story of their suicide pact.

With this riveting psychological drama, Jodi Picoult explores the dynamics of intimate relationships under stress -- from the seemingly inexplicable mind of a teenager to the bonds of friendship and marriage. Her books are real page-turners, and she has a way of presenting all sides fairly which always gives food for thought and discussion.

All are on my Kindle. It's so much easier to manage in bed than a book, and a lot easier on my wrists.

I am hoping...

am hoping that we have a really good turnout on Thursday evening. We put so much work into these activities and it's really nice when the sisters come out in support of all of our efforts!

I am hearing...
Nothing new really. The keys are tapping. The birds are singing. The odd car drives by. The clock is ticking.
Mitzie and I just had a cuddle on the sofa. She likes her morning cuddle. I do too. No surprise there! There is the added sound of wet streets as cars pass over it . . . not a bad sound really, and the smell of wet pavement.

Around the house...

I have fallen in love with this "Family Tree" I am racking my brain trying to think of ways it would work in my house. I have textured wallpaper in my lounge and I don't really want to replace it . . . I really dislike textured wall paper. I wonder if I could convince Todd to just remove one wall of it and put up some plain paper in it's place . . . then I could very easily paint a tree like this and hang our family pictures on it's branches. I'll test the waters . . . I'll let you know how I get on!
One of my favourite things . . .

I am totally bonkers about buttons!! I love them. I could sit and run my fingers through them for hours like a pirate runs his fingers through his chest of silver . . . to me they are like little tiny treasures . . . and I can never have enough of them. I hate sharing them too, which is very naughty of me. I keep them in a heart shaped box that I painted up years and years ago . . . and every one in a while, I have a play with them. I find it oddly comforting . . . It must be the child in me. When I was a girl I used to love to run my fingers through my mother's button tin and there were some inside that I truly coveted . . . another sin.

Something new about me ...
I am a very emotional person. I cry at sad movies . . . I cry at national observances and ceremonies . . . I cry with joy . . . and I cry when someone I love is hurt . . . emotion is always waiting to overcome me. I wouldn't have me any other way.

One of my guilty pleasures ...

Hotel Chocolate Truffles . . . thankfully I don't indulge myself very often, but when I do watch out! I almost can't stop myself!

Pet Peeves...
That little piece of sticky tape that they put at the end of a brand new roll of aluminium foil. You always ruin about an inch or sometimes more of the foil in the package trying to take it off . . . and then there is that strip that always gets cut out when you go to tear a piece off . . . it lies in the channel between the edge of the box and the cutting edge, only about half an inch in width but the whole length of the box. I wager that by the time you have finished the roll, at least 12 inches of it will have been discarded as useless . . .
It annoys me to no end.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Birds learn how to fly . . .
never knowing where flight will take them . . .
~Mark Nepo

Some of our greatest joys and pleasures in life and our successes only come about after we have taken the risk and put ourselves out there. Fear prevents us from "becoming" that which we could and should be.

As a closing thought I would like to leave you with this:

“The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments.”
~President Dieter F Uchtdorf

And there you have it . . . my day book for this week. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!)


Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Nigel's Hot and Sweet Plum Chutney!

Happy Day all!!

Monday, 30 July 2012

It IS enough . . .

"If you can't see what you're looking for . . . see what's there."

We, each of us . . . have dreams we are working towards fulfulling in our lives . . . as well as having experienced failure, or even things which have greatly disappointed us. Sometimes we can let our failures and disappointments overwhelm us to the point where that is all we can see in our lives . . . forgetting that beneath that layer of failure and disappointment lays simple and true abundance . . . that all we ever truly need lies before us, around us and within us. We can have a tendancy at times to focus on all that is negative in our lives . . . instead of seeing the joy that is well within our grasp . . .

Just like the trees, bereft of their leaves . . . lie in wait for the Spring which they know is coming, there is something as great and constant as the Earth, which cradles us and points us ever so gently towards the light. Our task . . . despite any pain or sorrow we may feel at the present . . . is to stay rooted and patient like the trees, knowing that Spring, however late it may feel . . . will arrive . . . that there is colour amidst all that seems black . . .

I am reminded of my life, just two and a half years ago now . . . when all that I had surrounded myself with began to tumble down around me. When we lost the security of our job and with it our home . . . when we lost our beloved Jess . . . when the very ground beneath us seemed to be shifting and shaking, and we seemed to have nothing but desperation to cling to . . .

We had a very difficult time seeing God amidst all that we had lost, and all the insurmountable difficulties that lay before us, and the uncertainty of it all rocked us to the very core . . . and yet, from some unknown place inside ourselves, we were able to find the ever constant joy in knowing that, whilst we could not see Him, and maybe even not feel His presence . . .


Source: tumblr.com via Marie on Pinterest

God has never promised us that our lives will be easy . . . instead it often seems to be the opposite of that . . . but . . . what He has promised us though, is that He can help it to be more bearable, and help us to carry our load, and that if we live in a way that is pleasing to Him . . . He will and can show us the way to go, and give us the strength that we need to move forward.

That is the one great lesson I learned and was able to draw from amidst all of that pain and turmoil, and yes . . . uncertainty. This was our one great constant, and it underpinned anything else that was going on at the time. That one great hope, which kept us putting one foot in front of the other when that is all we were capable of doing.

Sometimes that is all we can do . . . and it takes all that we have to be able to do it . . . and our steps might seem very small, and faltering. And we may not even be able to see that we are moving forward . . . or that every step we take forward is a step closer to the light.

In truth . . . the light never truly leaves us. It is a constant which lies around, beneath and within us. It may be clouded from time to time by circumstance and experience, but is always with us. Our choice is to, if we can manage it . . . root ourselves beneath our dreams and disappointments, to that one great constant that never changes, but which allows us and helps us to become all that we can become, and which helps to make what we have, and what we know . . . and who we are be . . . enough.

“Love is like the North Star. In a changing world, it's always constant.”
~Gordon B Hinckley

And as we all know, or should know . . . God is love.

Just my thoughts this morning . . .

Cooking in The English Kitchen this morning . . . Gingered Pear and Raspberry Pandowdy!

and in The Big Blue Binder . . . Mom's Potato Salad.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Simplifying the home . . .

Country Living Simple Country Wisdom: 501 Old-Fashioned Ideas to Simplify Your Life

"Only a very exceptionally gifted mind could cope singly with the problems which present themselves in the perfecting of a home."
~Arnold Bennett

I've been reading this book for a few weeks now, Simple Country Wisdom by Susan Waggoner. It's really given me a lot of food for thought. For a while now I have felt over-whelmed in my home. It's been like . . . we just have TOO much stuff . . . and I have had a yearning to simplify things . . .

So far it's only been a thought . . . a tender ache in my soul. The knowledge and deep set feeling that I need to pare down.

I spend countless minutes on Pinterest . . . looking at pictures of well planned and thought out rooms . . . and find myself wishing that I had the time, talent and money to be able to do the same . . .

There is in me, a longing to simplify our home . . . to slow things down and keep my house in the old fashioned ways . . . a yearning for simple, traditional country living. I know . . . I live on the edge of a beautiful city . . . but my home can still be an oasis of simplicity, by making a few changes.

And the first one is in aspiring to live twenty four hours a day . . . to be present in my life and in my home. I have a home and I need to live my life in it . . . and I need to create in my home the Island that I want to live on . . . my haven in a modern chaotic world. A place that I love to return to, which brings me peace, contentment and joy. My home must and should be an expression of me at my best, and that is my goal.

I know it can be done . . . and I know it needn't cost the earth. (It mustn't cost the earth because I don't have the earth to spend!) It can start with little things . . . like getting rid of clutter and organizing things in a way that bring me peace, creating order out of chaos.

Susan says, and quite rightly so that the first step to bringing order to a home is . . . to . . . get rid of the clutter. With clutter . . . your home becomes one great big "To Do" list . . . and she is right. That is how it feels. In order to do anything in my house at the moment . . . I need to move things. Dusting takes so long because there is far too much bric a brac and things that I am keeping because they may come in handy one day . . .

I need a home where everything has a place and where there is a place for everything . . . and if there isn't a place for it, then it has to go. Items that are floaters never really get put away . . . they just move from room to room.

Source: bhg.com via Marie on Pinterest

I have far too many magazines, cookery magazines . . . so many so that they in and of themselves . . . are quite overwhelming. Every so often I have a cull . . . I need to have another one now in fact. Susan suggests that when a magazine is more than a few weeks old, you go through it a second time and then tear out whatever you wanted to keep, stapling continued articles together and putting them into an office envelope. (My ex boss had about 6 filing cabinets filled with recipes pulled from magazines. I DON'T WANT TO GO THAT FAR!) Then, in a few months time, she suggests you sit down and go through the pages you have saved and rethink of why you saved them . . . and if the mood has changed . . . get rid. I know for myself, I am always turning over pages in my magazines and thinking . . . I want to cook that. I make lists of ingredients. I go to the shops and pick them up. I come home. I can't find the recipe that I originally wanted to make because . . . I HAVE TOO MANY MAGAZINES WITH THE PAGES TURNED DOWN! It's infuriating.

I don't need that in my life.

My challenge this week is to simplify my home by paring down the magazines. I'll let you know how I did next Sunday.

This is going to become my Mantra.

I finally got the whole of the Olympic's Opening Ceremonies watched yesterday! All I can say is WOWSA!! What a fabulous EVENT!!! I was quite overwhelmed with emotion as I watched, especially the beginning part where they showed Great Britain going from it's humble beginnings, through the Industrial Revolution on up to the present time. It was all so very well done and I, for one, am very proud to be British. I know . . . I am Canadian too . . . and I am proud to be Canadian as well, but Great Britain is my adopted homeland now, and I am also proud to be British!!

That Paul Mc Cartney gets in everywhere doesn't he?? haha I was not surprised to see him near the end. I'd been wondering where he'd pop up!

Source: google.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Another one of my favourite parts was when James Bond escorted the Queen to the stadium. Who says she doesn't have a sense of humour!

I just love the Queen! She's the best. She's a spiffy dresser, and she sure knows HOW to make an entrance!!

I just thought the whole opening ceremonies were brilliant and showcased perfectly just what a fabulous country this is and how very much we have given to the World in the way of culture, music, technology, etc.

Must dash now as I have to get ready for church, but do let me leave you with a special thought to carry you through today . . .

“It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.” ~Gordon B Hinckley

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . delicious Lemon Drizzle Tarts!

Happy Day all!!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Poetry Saturday . . . Miss Thompson Goes Shopping

In her lone cottage on the downs,
With winds and blizzards and great crowns
Of shining cloud, with wheeling plover
And short grass sweet with the small white clover,
Miss Thompson lived, correct and meek,
A lonely spinster, and every week
On market-day she used to go
Into the little town below,
Tucked in the great downs' hollow bowl,
Like pebbles gathered in a shoal.

So, having washed her plates and cup
And banked the kitchen fire up,
Miss Thompson slipped upstairs and dressed,
Put on her black (the second best),
The bonnet trimmed with rusty plush,
Peeped in the glass with simpering blush,
From the camphor-smelling cupboard took
Her thicker jacket off the hook
Because the day might turn to cold.
Then, ready, slipped downstairs and rolled
The hearthrug back; then searched about,
Found her basket, ventured out,
Snecked the door and paused to lock it
And plunged the key in some deep pocket.

Then as she tripped demurely down
The steep descent, the little town
Spread wider till it's sprawling street
Enclosed her and her footfalls beat
On hard stone pavement; and she felt
Those throbbing ecstasies that melt
Through heart and mind, as, happy, free,
Her small, prim personality
Merged into the seething strife
Of auction-marts and city life.
~Martin Armstrong

(This is the only photograph I could find of the author.)

Miss Thompson Goes Shopping’ was first published in 1921 and is probably the poem for which Martin Armstrong (1882-1974), one of the so-called ‘Georgian Poets’, is best known today. The poem is a piece of pure fun and one can’t help picturing Armstrong smiling to himself as he wrote it. It tells of a shopping trip in the days before supermarkets, detailing the characterful shops and shop-keepers and an irresistible impulse buy. I have shown here this morning only two of the many verses of this poem as it is quite extensive. Perhaps another day I will show the rest. I have fallen quite in love with it myself . . . I can so perfectly picture this old spinster getting ready to have a day out in town . . . If you would like to read the rest of this poem, you can find it here.

Martin Armstrong was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1882 and educated at Charterhouse and Pembroke College Cambridge. His first publication of poems appeared in 1912. He served during 1914-1915 in the 2nd Artist Rifles, then commissioned into the 8th Middlesex Regiment from 1915 through to the end of the war, demobbed in 1919. He served in France on the Western Front. His book. Buzzards and other Poems was published in 1921. Martin Armstrong died in 1974.

Oh how I do so love poetry . . . what a beautiful skill it is to be able to paint such a picture with only words . . .

I had a great day yesterday. It was so much fun cooking at the church Youth Camp. There were a few of us and we worked perfectly together in harmony. It was quite a joy, and inspiring to see the youth enjoying themselves. So polite they were and fun to watch too. Happy to say that not all young people are ill mannered and badly behaved. It was very nice to see, and to be able to serve such a large group of young people who are able to keep standards and still have fun.

The sun is shining again this morning. Not sure what I will get up to today, but whatever it is, I am sure you'll find out about it soon enough! My life is an open book! Must dash, but not before leaving you with some food for thought for the day . . .

"Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins."
~John Welwood

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Berry and White Chocolate Pudding.

Friday, 27 July 2012

A Joyful Song . . .

Bird . . .
how free of care you are . . .
with happy note and soaring wings!
Do you know nothing of this world
with all its sad and evil things??

Source: flickr.com via Katie on Pinterest

Nothing. God created me
and put me here
for this one thing . . .
to fill the air with rhapsody,
my commandment
is to sing . . .

Source: google.com via Yvonne on Pinterest

And so the Lord's work
I perform.
My daily song of joy I raise.
For this He brought me
from the nest . . .
to sing His glory,
and His praise.
~Patience Strong

Do you sing the song you were sent here to sing?
Will you sing your song today?
Food for thought . . .

I am off to the Youth Camp early this morning to cook for the day so this is short, but hopefully sweet, this morning. By the end of the day I probably won't want to peel another potato for a very long time! haha At least they've had good weather for the camp!

Looking forward to the Opening Ceremonies tonight in London. I am sure they'll be fab. That is one thing the British do very well . . . Pageantry!

Have a wonderful day . . . and sing a joyful song!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Thoughts on forgiveness . . .

"The cut worm forgives the plow."
~William Blake

Did you know that if you were to cut a worm into two pieces, each cut half becomes a whole and you end up with two worms??? I know . . . it's a great magical mystery! The Worm is one of the only creatures which grows from being cut.

In thinking about that . . . I just have to wonder . . . my mind often ponders things such as this. What exactly is it about how the humble worm lives, which gives it this power and allows it to take it's pain and actually grow from it??? I can come up with nothing except for the fact that the worm is one with it's existance . . . totally in touch with the earth in which it lives, eats and breathes . . . at one with the earth, both inside . . . and out.

Mayhap this is the secret to growing from our wounds . . .

To live close to that which sustains us . . . to live with our hearts, minds and bellies, always in touch with each other, from the inside out . . . to dwell with that which is larger than we can ever be, and to let it take us over . . . lead us . . . heal us . . . sustain us . . .

Perhaps when we feel as if we have been cut in two . . . the secret to healing is to be humble and to embrace our wounds, becoming one within the earth of our experience . . . and clinging to that which sustains us, that which will make us whole again . . . allowing us to become new, once more.

Forgiveness is the key to real healing . . . without that . . . we can never truly be whole again.

"Forgiveness is the scent of the violet which clings fast to the heel that crushes it."
~Mark Twain

God is good, truly good, and anything that we might suffer . . . when shared with Him . . . can become good as well. He truly can help us carry our burdens.

Well, it ended up being gloriously sunny yesterday! What a fabulous day it was. We ended up doing a lot of work in the garden. I now understand the meaning of the phrase to "make hay while the sun shines," as if you don't do these things when the sun is shining, they will never get done. We pulled out all of the pansies which were spent . . . and replaced them with sunny marigolds and dahlias, both yellow and pink. I did some weeding in the front garden and then I finished off some of the jar gifts which I am readying for our RS Activity next Thursday. So all in all, we got a lot accomplished and I was able to strike more than a few things from off of my list of things to get done!

That always feels good.

It's looking very dull out there this morning, but perhaps . . . like yesterday . . . the dullness will burn off and be replaced with a magically sunny day! One must always be optomistic, and if it doesn't??? Well . . . we can enjoy doing things that need to be done indoors. I think that's called making the best out of the hand you are dealt!

“When you are confronted with challenges that are difficult to conquer or you have questions arise, the answers to which you do not know, hold fast to the things you do know. Hang on to your firmest foundation, however limited that may be, and from that position of strength face the unknown.”
~Jeffrey R Holland, Created for Greater Things

Over in The English Kitchen this morning . . . A surprise in the post!

Have a great day!