On Tuesday Sara returned to her job as teaching assistant and discerning religious with the Daughters of Divine Charity in Norfolk. It was a sad day seeing her go, I actually avoided the waving off at the station as I had an acupuncture appointment at the same time, phew! Benedict bless him could not understand why once on the train and seated she would not turn and wave as the train was pulling out, we as adults knew and I guess she was finding it all as difficult as we were. To counteract the sudden blues we all kept ourselves busy with little projects: Benedict and Pip made Lego models and drew pictures, Dave kept a much needed eye on the little ones and I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom! In truth it was not a total grot spot but it was good to clean areas so often neglected in the daily round, you know the fronts of cabinets, tops of things and the slatted blinds. As the evening wore on the feelings of sadness abated and a peace descended on the household.
On Wednesday we made a much needed trip to the Health Food Shop and were rewarded with yummy fantastic peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Since I don't have the time nor the inclination to make my own PB I admit to being a snob in this department and only the real unadulterated stuff from Meridian will do! In the afternoon we cleared out extraneous stuff from the cupboards and bagged items for the charity shop, I hasten to add none of the items were any of this year's gifts!! It was either stuff the children had outgrown or not played with for some time. Thankfully we are not owners of too much "stuff" as I have regular clear outs since we do not have the space to hoard.
Yesterday was Epiphany, so we pulled the last of the crackers after breakfast and set about the task of taking down the decorations and cards that had jollied the house for the past twelve days. It was quite sad to see the tree go (as there is still a lot of life left in it) but to console ourselves we had arranged for the local hospice team to remove it, for which we paid a donation towards the hospice in return. I think we will do things differently next time, as I read a lovely blog post that would see the tree placed in the garden and decorated with Winter treats for the birds and wild life. I can imagine it would be a very uplifting sight to behold.
Our bedtime story was " Babushka" as written in the book " Festivals, Family and Food". In short Babushka is encouraged by a visit from the Three Kings* to go and worship the newborn King but instead she is preoccupied with her own festivities and it is with sadness they travel without her. As each new Winter season appears she wonders if they will call and when they do not, she sets about on her own pilgrimage to find the King. The story tells of her selling all her gold and finery. of making toys and decorating a tree in the hope of making a gift to the newborn King but all to no avail. It is only when she has virtually nothing to offer but a small branch, a toy ball but much love in her heart does The Holy Family appear to her on that special night of Christmas. What a beautiful story and such an apt reminder that, we too can be preoccupied with the busy-ness of our days and fail to meet the Christlike divinity in others; " Not now I'm too busy to play/make that phone call/ visit that neighbour/offer that prayer". When we do this we lose those precious moments to sanctify our day and be a blessing to others. Right now I'm trying real hard to quieten the noise and listen to the "still small voice within".
*Actually, the Bible only mentions wise men and three gifts; over time popular tradition has decided that the wise men must have been kings and that each was associated with one of the gifts.
In closing some pictures of this past week:
Waiting with friends to see this production...
... a brilliant time was had by all.
Incontrovertible proof that you really cannot beat an old empty cardboard box!
"Light Fingered Lottie" trying to grab the camera.
A rarity - Miss P having an afternoon kip!
The last of the Christmas viewing.
"I have my tray and ..."
"... you have yours!"
Meanwhile Mummy and Daddy enjoy five minutes peace with a nice cup of tea, bliss!