Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Let Them Eat Cake ...

...especially if it is flour-less and fat free!

We had some long standing friends visit over the weekend and I made this cake.  It was recommended by a friend and it certainly lived up to its reputation.  Yesterday I found some of the left over pears languishing in the tin and thought why not tweak the recipe and see if it is just as good?  So I replaced the bar of chocolate for two heaped dessert spoons of cocoa and omitted the butter completely and it tasted just as good as the original!

I thought I would also respond here to a few requests made on my last posting with regard to permaculture.   Here are some sites that I have found helpful:

Flo Scott Permaculture Designer I have had a few face book conversations with Flo and apart from writing about landbased permaculture she has also used the design principles with regard to observing and managing a chronic health condition.

Looby Macnamara I first heard of Looby when I saw a you tube video based on her book "People and Permaculture."  I think she was the person that took permaculture design to another level and applied it to people and relationships.  From this one can see how it could then be applied to not only personal interactions but in the wider community, business and schools.

The Permaculture Association  This is the place for accessing local groups, courses and a membership subscription.

Hope these links are useful, I know they have helped me enormously.

I am flying solo as from tomorrow!  Dave will be in Edinburgh tomorrow and Thursday as he has three intensive physio sessions at this clinic.  This will be the first of many fortnightly sessions for a total of twenty five treatments.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Gratitude Sunday

"Gratitude isn't only a celebration when good things happen.  It's a declaration that God is good no matter what happens"

In praise of antibiotics and thankfulness for the compassionate and caring GP who attended to me on Wednesday.

Pip being a star gopher this week and not complaining about being housebound.

Being able to organise and clean the playroom/learning zone which up until Thursday had been the dumping ground.

Recycling sorted.

Sara and Tom visiting ~ a promised outing for Benedict and Pip and a much needed break for me and Dave.

Lunch date with Dave.

The kids got to see the Lego Movie!

Kids inspired to make Lego Movie style creations #productiveplay

Able to wish Eva a Happy Birthday on Friday!

Found some new websites and blogs devoted to permaculture.  Thinking more about the garden ~ zoning, sheet mulching and planting.  Hoping to inspire Benedict with the project :-)

Beautiful flowers gifted and received.

So glad to be back on track with counting those gifts ~ this week I learned a salutary lesson:

When you stop counting ~ you stop looking ~ when you stop looking {at Him} you drown!

OK God, got the message!

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

 Modelling Clay Play.

 Cheese and Onion Buns.

 Pip's Happy Wall.

 Best Buddies!

 Yummy lunch time treat.

Feeling much better.

Be Blessed x 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

An almost end of the week round up { We Survived!}

It has been a *doozy* of a week, in fact there was one point where the only gal standing was Pip!  She was a much needed gopher! Dave was struggling to walk as I had effectively been flat on my back since Sunday and yesterday Benedict woke with a trapped nerve in his neck,  ouch.

I think for me Tuesday was my worst day and there was a "pity party" going on in the early evening but thanks to you tube and Joni Eareckson Tada I soon rallied and a smile appeared for the first time in over a week.  I still was on edge yesterday as I was due to see the GP not just about my back but another more worrying problem and I was relieved when things were not as black as they had first seemed, phew!  I've been given meds with a follow up in three weeks and for the first time in nearly a month, I actually woke up  feeling quite well.  The house has been put back in order and a peace has descended, hooray!  

We are hoping to catch up with some friends over the next few days and Sara and Tom have just arrived from Threave; they are hoping to take the kids out which is good as they've been stuck indoors all week.  It has been a most peculiar half term break for Pip!

Here are some late pictures of happy from last week:

 Cheese and bacon tart with butternut squash soup on a cold Valentine's day.

 Pip's butterfly craft from school.

 She earned her ice cream treat!  The start of the week was a rocky one at school but thankfully things improved and the promised reward at the end kept her going!

Blue Skies on a Sunday.

Here's hoping for a bit more normality around here!

Be Blessed x 

* Doozy means difficult/daunting courtesy of the Urban Dictionary.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Storms Of Life :: Gratitude Sunday (Late Edition)

Britain is currently besieged by storm force winds and driving rain, some parts of the country are literally under water and here in the North the met office has issued a red warning, with predicted hurricane force 12 winds, as measured on the Beaufort wind force scale.  Life too can present us with stormy weather and the back issues mentioned a few Sundays ago have not been resolved and in fact have worsened, so much so, I made an emergency visit to the GP surgery this morning!  The sacral pain has been unrelenting and I am now experiencing numbness in this area so a scan at some point might be indicated.  I left with a script for stronger painkillers and a half hour follow up appointment next week, can't come soon enough!

Some of the "kids" too have been battered and it doesn't matter how old they are it is always difficult seeing your loved ones suffer, life at times can certainly be a challenge!  I have to admit that for the first time this year I have experienced a few "down days" but as a result of all my self care plans organised in January the blackness has been short lived and I have still been able to write some gratitudes in my journal, Praise God!  There is nothing like a Psalm to speak volumes and this one was gifted to me as part of my 18th  birthday present from my cousin and his wife; little did either of us know then, that it would literally be an anthem to my life thus far!

" God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
and the mountains be carried into the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though its mountains shake with its swelling,
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High,
God is in the midst of her ,she shall not be moved,
God shall help her ...
The Lord of hosts is with us
The God of Jacob is our refuge"

As this passage came back to me I remembered my art session with Benedict on Friday of last week.  In an effort to encourage him with his writing, we chose the word "stability" from the Rule of St Benedict as our guide.  The session worked out in that I hoped Benedict would be inspired to put pen to paper but not in the way that I had imagined!  He loved the calligraphy work but not the art whereas the drawing and colouring was just what I needed, LOL:

 Loving the calligraphy pen.

 Hmm, he doesn't look too happy here ... a minute later bloods were checked and he was having a hypo!

God our rock ... and the parable of where to build your house and that isn't on the sand!

"Gratitude isn't only a celebration when good things happen.  It's a declaration that God is good no matter what happens"

Not wishing to miss a week of gratitudes, here is my list albeit a little late:

Celtic Spirituality talk on you tube.

Dave and I managing to smile about our current health difficulties.

For rabbit trails in the learning zone ~ keeping us entertained, interested and educated.

Pip's first school trip ~ a forest school day and a Gruffalo hunt.

Benedict's infectious smile and giggle.

" Christ is your iron, He doesn't make you strong, He is your strength"

Cooked meal for after football lunch, Benedict's favourite, Roast Chicken!

Mass, Love It, Thank You God!

A Gift sour,sweet, just right ~ I really did not want to get up and teach today.  My mood was sour and Benedict's bloods were too sweet!  He had forgotten to give himself insulin at breakfast :-(  Time to climb the ladder, lie down in poverty before the Lord ~ a resting just right!

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

 All dressed for the forest school trip.

 " Look mummy my tooth came out on the trip! and the second tooth is through right behind it!"

 Dave taking a picture of me taking a picture of him!

 Monday skyline before the rains came ... again!

 A caramel treat on a windy day.

 An after school snack at the end of a very trying day.

Be blessed x 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Rabbit Trail Continued

Today we visited St Cuthbert, we watched the video clip associated with the link, talked about the carved image of the Abbot found  in the church of St Mary's Holy Island and learnt that he became quite a celebrity after his death and was not only widely known up and down the country but as far away as Norway too!

Even today there is quite a following and you can wander in his footsteps along the pilgrim road affectionately known as St Cuthbert's Way.  Reading this reminded me of a someone I know who has walked part of this way and has adopted St Cuthbert as her patron and guide.

  I first became aware of Rachel Denton as a result of listening to a radio four programme about solitude early last year.  I have been fortunate to have the odd facebook conversation with her and supported her work where possible in the purchasing of her beautiful cards.  Like St Cuthbert she has made the choice to be a hermit and through reading the commentaries on her website, Benedict was able to learn more about this particular calling.  The word hermit was not knew to him, having read about the life of St Benedict last year.

We then read an excerpt about the Saxon Chronicles and a word appeared that was unfamiliar to us ~ Ides.  So off we went on a mini trail and were able to read from this information.  I did not know that Roman's counted backwards or that some months were considered unlucky.

Our last stop before finishing for the day was to visit here.  Benedict had fun completing the interactive quiz, taking part in a virtual dig and then choosing his piece of independent work which was ~ drawing a picture of a Saxon Shore Fort.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Out Of Time

Our trip to see family at the weekend was fruitful in many ways, including the purchase of two very interesting books by this local author.  The first book entitled the "The Secret of The Swan" has been the focus of our read aloud and independent reading this time week.  Initially Benedict was not interested in the books but having read two chapters to him yesterday, he was enthralled by the story and the book was finished this morning, twenty chapters in all!

My first thought was to discuss a book report but having read the author's notes at the back of the book, we followed a series of rabbit trails instead:

~ The book mentioned St Cuthbert, so off we travelled to Lindisfarne(!) to study the Gospels.  He remembered last year's fiasco and I announced that I'm determined to revisit this year, it's on my list!

~ We visited the furness abbey home page as the book mentioned a Thomas Holcroft who was one of King Henry VIII's soldiers involved in the sacking of the Abbey.  He was richly rewarded for his endeavours and his name lives on in the town as a road is named after him, "Holcroft Hill."  I had know idea of its links to that particular piece of history.

~ We read about Henry VIII and his piece of work co-written with Thomas More "Assertio Septem Sacramentorum" attacking the writings of Martin Luther and for which he was granted by the Pope the title " Fidei Defensor" (Defender of the Faith) a title still held by the queen today and carried on British coinage FD. 

~ We learnt about the Cistercians and their traditions including the importance of manual labour in daily life.  Benedict coloured in a sheet depicting a monk working as a Blacksmith and then he wrote about daily life in this monastery.

All in all it has been an interesting day.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Gratitude Sunday

"Gratitude isn't only a celebration when good things happen.  It's a declaration that God is good no matter what happens"

This is interesting, what could have been a "meh" week with sickness and back injury ( I don't know how it happened!) has still been a week grace filled and peaceful.  The daily commitment to quiet time in the presence of The Lord and an end of day review looking for the good, has shifted something within my being and the peace it brings is a tangible reminder that, I am loved.

My gifts from the week:

Dave and the kids helping out when I needed to rest.

Pip sounding out the letters and some of the words in her reading book.

TV treat with Dave, an Inspector Morse Drama, part of our early adulthood ~ sigh, I'm getting old!

Three gifts from the kitchen ~ Eggs for Benedict and Pip, leftover rice for me, morning coffee!

Pip talking to her invisible friend, apparently he is called "Richard" ~ I also had an  invisible friend, although I cannot for the life of me remember their name.

Dave looking after himself and having a midday rest.

Literacy in The Kitchen ~ Benedict working on proverbs and homophones whilst I make the soup.

Done with January and I haven't just survived it, I've lived and enjoyed it!

Turned a sewing disaster into a learning exercise and celebrated my mistakes!

Gifts and a letter from America, thanks Eva, Peter and all xx

For handmade gifts packed and posted.

The sewing room de-cluttered and organised.

The Candlemas vigil at church, very beautiful and moving ~ Christ the Light of the world, bridging the gap between Christmas and the soon to be onset of Lent, for hidden in that manger lay the promise of the cross and with it my salvation.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

 Nourishing Thai style chicken soup.

 Bunnykins for a baby.

 A birthday crown for baby Story in Canada.

 Pip's drawing of Benedict.

Big sis and little sis.

Grandma and Gracie - Boo.

Saturday Skyline.

Be Blessed x