Month: December 2010

I must be mad

This is a WordPress blog!  WordPress have just handed out a challenge!  A post a day for 2011!

OK, so I’ve decided to join in.  But there’s a catch.

1.  It might be late in the day

2.  It might be just one word

3.  YOU might have to nag me if I forget!  (Feel free to remind me often)

It starts tomorrow.  (I don’t think I’ll have a hangover)

 

Silence is Golden

There is nothing better than silence.  We are bombarded constantly with sound.  I’ve had a superfluity of noise over the Christmas break, so today I’m so very thankful that I can be quiet.  Over the years I have learnt to live with constant sound.  I don’t listen to it, but I can still hear it.  How exciting it would be to watch closedown on TV and observe the little white dot as everything shuts off!  In a perfect world there would be no TV until 9pm, and it would all be over by 9.30pm, and it would only be on 3 evenings a week!  Radio would also be under similar restrictions, but it could operate occasionally from 7 am until 7.30am.  The rest of the day I’d live with my thoughts.

Yes, I know I’m odd!  I was brought up to be my own person, and it seems to have stuck.  I still don’t recognise ‘celebrities’.  I don’t know their names, either, much to the amusement of my grandchildren.

 

Anna Jenkins

Anna Jenkins

I received this email just a short while ago.  Anna was such a ray of sunshine I thought I’d share it with you.

It is with much sorrow that I have to inform you that Anna passed away during the night. As most of you will know, Anna had been suffering from cancer for several years; however her condition had worsened since the summer and she died peacefully at home, having been cared for by her husband Kevin and with the support of both The Beacon and Community Health teams.

Anna was such a vibrant and happy person, with a hundred watt smile; she was determined to live life to the full. All Anna’s working life was connected with textiles, but it often surprises people to know that she had only been quilting for the last four years. Indeed, Anna thought quilters were ‘the saddest people’, but very soon she too was whipping scraps out of the basket and sewing them! Never a person to do anything by halves, Anna quickly enrolled onto the City & Guilds Certificate course with Janet Twinn in Dorking, before transferring to The Odiham Bridewell Centre course with Terry Donaldson and Hazel Ryder.

Whilst on her C&G Certificate course Anna used some of the design and techniques to produce a piece of work which she entered for The Sue Belton Award, offered by The Quilters’ Guild. However Anna’s cancer had returned and she needed further treatment at The Royal Marsden, London; it was whilst in the recovery room that Kevin was able to give her the news that she was a joint winner of the award. Anna completed her Certificate last Christmas and was enrolled once again with Janet Twinn, this time on the Diploma course.

One of the highlights of Anna’s quilting life was being selected, as one of nine, for the Further Education Gallery at the 2009 Festival of Quilts. Both Terry and I travelled up to the NEC with Anna and helped set up her exhibition space, which was exciting and fun for us all. One of my favourite memories of Anna will forever be the huge smile on her face as we went off to the Gala Award.

On one of my last visits to Anna I was able to take her the latest copy of ‘The Quilter’ magazine, which had a double page spread about her work. That was a big smile! Indeed, Anna’s smile is what you saw first when you met her and, despite everything, it was still there right to the end. And that is how I will always remember her – smiling.

Anna’s husband, Kevin has said ‘This might seem strange but Anna would have not wanted you to feel sad. Take the opportunity to celebrate Anna’s life by doing something nice, have a nice meal, or open a nice bottle of wine and celebrate her life, not her death. Try and remember Anna by her smile and her laugh and the things she did.’

I know many of you will want to have the opportunity to celebrate Anna’s life and to say a final good bye, so I will contact you later with further details.

Thank you for Anna.

What do words do?

Every now and then a website appears which is quite a surprise.  I found this one today, and it is quite a revelation.  If you like words, you will love this site.

I love visiting Italy.  A while ago we went to Verona, visiting all the usual sites, but the lasting memory is of a wall near the ‘balcony’.  It was covered in writing, and looked a little like this.  One day I will complete a piece of work based on that wall, but at the moment it is still in the design/sampling stage.  As for the site I’ve shown you – I’ll be visiting it again.

Today I’ll leave you with one word from the wall.

Locupletative.  It means ‘tending to enrich’.  That’s what words do!

The final day

On November 24th I decided that I was going to post every day for a month – and that each day I would say thank you for something.  I have to admit that I didn’t think I’d be able to manage it, but here we are at Christmas Eve, and I succeeded.

Although I haven’t blogged about everything that has happened, this time has certainly made me realise just how blessed I am.  I have begun to count my blessings in a different way, and I am looking forward to continuing to do this, although it probably won’t be in such a public manner.

Thank you for reading my posts, and especially thank you for leaving comments.  It has been good to know that some of you have been blessed too.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day.  I don’t expect to be online at all tomorrow, so I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

It always happens at Christmas

There was some tragic news today.  A young lady, with her life before her, has disappeared.  Tonight there was a heart-wrenching appeal by her parents.  It is impossible to imagine what they, and everyone else involved, are going through.  Somehow it seems even more tragic in view of the time of year.  I have heard of other people who suddenly have things to deal with too.  Brain tumours that are inoperable, car crashes which have resulted in family members on life support machines, even the unexpected cold weather has added to the death toll.

Meanwhile the weather has been causing other problems too.  Farmers have been having problems attending to their livestock, food cannot be dug from the ground and packages are lost and delayed (including some of mine) as the services struggle to deliver them.  Soldiers are unable to return from their overseas tours, their short respite from duty cut even shorter.  Others have found that their travel, too, has been disrupted due to snow and ice.  Supermarkets have run out of turkeys, some people are being forced to eat chicken instead.  Tomorrow night children throughout the land will be going to sleep with dreams of the perfect toy, only to be disappointed because Santa hasn’t left the one that they wanted.  Will it ever arrive?  At this stage, who knows?  Disaster strikes when we least want or expect it, but sometimes it is difficult to put things into perspective.  A chicken for Christmas lunch instead of turkey can hardly be called a disaster.  Losing a loved one can be devastating.

I feel so blessed and privileged to know that any disaster I might face will be faced in the full and certain knowledge that God loves me.  I have to admit that I don’t know how anyone can cope with real disaster without knowing this.

Thank you for Your Love.

 

Hind’s Feet

We woke to these footsteps in the snow.

Something had visited during the night, and the markings reminded me of a book I read a while ago.  ‘Hind’s Feet in High Places’ by Hannah Hurnard is a lovely story with a deeper meaning.  It reminds us that life is not easy, that we meet many obstacles, trials and tribulations, but throughout it all God’s Love is with us.

Thank you for Your Love!

Laughter is the Best Medecine

Some years ago my mother was involved in a very unpleasant incident.  It involved a schizophrenic and an attack on her person which was violent and prolonged.  Her response to this was heroic and I have to say that I’m not sure I would have been so resourceful in similar circumstances.  It happened on 31st October, which is celebrated by some as Halloween.  We have never celebrated this festival, and I have to say that we never will, however, for several years after this incident I took her to visit my daughter and family for the evening where we had an enjoyable meal followed by a silly film that we could all enjoy.  Mum has not  been well enough to travel for the last couple of years, and doesn’t remember the incident at all now, so the diversion is not important in the same way.  However, I was reminded of it today.

The first time we had this get-together our grandchildren chose the film that they wanted to watch.  It was ‘George of the Jungle’, a silly film, in which good triumphs over evil, an outcome which is never in doubt from beginning to end.  I was reminded because I’ve just noticed that it is being screened on TV tomorrow.  I’m sure it will be just as good as before – but we won’t have the presence of the grandchildren, and it was really their enjoyment that made the evening such a success.  Our grandson, now far to old to watch such things, giggled and laughed the whole way through, as  did our slightly younger grand-daughter.

There is nothing like hearing children laugh – in fact, there is nothing like laughter.  Who would have thought that laughing for 10 minutes or so gives the heart a workout that is as valuable as rowing for 20 minutes.

I’d much rather be laughing!

Thank you for laughter!

 

Time for giving

I have a batch of baking in the oven at the moment.  It’s banana bread, and some will be for freezing, some for giving.  I’ll be passing it on to neighbours and family, because I know they like it!  Here is the recipe.  It’s very ‘forgiving’ in as much as you can mix and match the ingredients according to what you have – even cutting down on the bananas by as much as 2.
Banana Bread – the healthy version 

5 ripe and peeled bananas – mashed
2 beaten eggs
100g sultanas/raisins/walnuts (a mix of all if you like)
200g SR Flour.
If you have a sweet tooth you may like to add some extra sugar – no more than 1tbs of brown sugar.

Mix all together then put into a loaf tin.

Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours at 180 deg (Gas Mk 4)

Cool, then store in an airtight tin for at least 24 hours before slicing and serving with butter or spread.

Freezes well too.

You notice that I called it the healthy version!   That implies that there is a version that isn’t so healthy, yes, there is – and this is it!
Each year we are given a large tin of Quality Street.  Over a period of time they are enjoyed, but somehow the ones that always remain at the bottom of the tin are the long thin chocolate covered toffees.  One year, by accident, I discovered a use for them – and so I now share it with you all.
Banana Bread – the very unhealthy version! 

5 ripe and peeled bananas – mashed
2 beaten eggs
A handful of Quality Street toffees cut into small pieces with scissors. You can add a little dried fruit too if you like, but no need to add any extra sugar
200g SR Flour.

Mix all together then put into a loaf tin.

Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours at 180 deg (Gas Mk 4)

Cool, then store in an airtight tin for at least 24 hours before slicing and serving with butter or spread if you think it needs it.

Sometimes I add a few walnuts too, just for good measure.

Yum!  Freezes well too if you have any left!  Store in a coolish place or the chocolate makes it a little messy to handle.  Enjoy

Thank you for gifts, and also for the chance to give.