Month: December 2010

Is there anybody there?

We have had snow.  It arrived yesterday morning, and, thankfully, had stopped by lunchtime.  No more snow since then, but it has been very cold so everything has been preserved.

From my kitchen window I can see the roof of the house next door, or rather, I can usually see the roof of the house next door!  Now it is covered in snow, and frankly it merges with the sky.  In fact, it has become invisible.  The sky is exactly the same colour as the covered roof, and if I didn’t know better I would think that it was a figment of my imagination.

Faith is like that – you can’t see it, but it’s there.

Thank you for faith.

A Christmas Prayer

Sometimes we just need to refocus.


For some of us the Christmas story
is so familiar that it has become ho-hum.
Please deliver us from this kind of response
to your wonderful Good News.
Let us see your glory in fresh ways.
Open our hearts
to the hallelujah chorus of the angelic hosts.
Help us seek you
as diligently as the wise men.
Draw men and women,
boys and girls
to yourself this Christmas.
May we all experience
Christmas anew in our hearts.


(Stuart & Jill Briscoe)

Thank you for focus, and also for constancy.

Do you think of yours?

Today would have been my grandfather’s birthday.  I have such fond memories of him, even though he died in 1968.  Thanks for grandparents, they hold a special place in all our hearts.  If I can be half a good a grandparent as mine were I will have succeeded in something.

Raise your glass

Each year we spend a week or so in Wales.  We have been returning to the same place for a number of years, getting to know the locals and the surrounding area.  The place where we stay is on the side of a hill.  There is nothing between the cottage and the hill on the other side of the valley.  We have experienced rain, fog, mist and, of course sun.  I was speaking to the farmers’ wife last night.  They are still suffering from the after effects of the last lot of snow when they were unable to get out of the farm for over three weeks.  During this time life has had to go on.  The sheep have had to be cared for, and as this is a mountain farm within the confines of the Snowdonia National Park, this is no mean feat.  Today I thought of them again.  I went into the kitchen and turned on the tap.  This might seem a strange reminder – but they have no mains water.  Their water comes from a well that they had to dig.  Even this is a luxury that some places in the world would envy.

Thank you for water.

The Arrogance of Youth

Arrogance is a funny thing.  It isn’t attractive, but I have noticed that  some people use it as a defence mechanism.  I’ve also noticed that it is a stage through which most teenagers pass!  In fact, I have recently been reminded of the arrogant way in which I sometimes behaved  when I was a teenager.  There suddenly comes a point when you realise that those around you DON’T know it all.  At that point you believe that you have all the answers – and the arrogance rears its ugly head.

Parents forgive this when they see it in their children, but sometimes realisation comes too late to ask for forgiveness.  A conversation, yesterday, reminded me how important it is to ask for forgiveness, and how equally important it is to offer that forgiveness.

Thank you for forgiveness.


Today I had an email from someone I haven’t seen since 1978.  She lives in Germany, and although we have tried, it hasn’t been possible to arrange a reunion since that date.  We used to correspond by mail, now we keep in touch via email.  I have been very blessed by this friendship, and others too.

Thanks so much for friends.

Blank Page

Today I started a new journal.  I usually leave the pages blank, but this time I decided to colour the pages of the book before I start, so I have ‘scrubbed’ a quick coat of dye onto each page.

It takes a while to dry when the whole book is coloured at once, but it does give the opportunity to lift off some of the colour if I feel like it, or stick another one on top to create texture.

It also means that the background is all ready when it is time to put something onto it.

I was reminded of the blank canvas that we have as we start each day .  We colour the world around us according to our actions.  Thank you for that blank canvas.



Don’t Give Up

A few days ago I posted about our lovely rose.  I showed you a photograph and it was certainly worse for wear.  However, it has struggled on and is already showing signs that it will soon again delight us.

It is still showing signs of it’s trauma, but in spite of the cold temperatures the buds are again starting to open

How lovely to have the promise of New Life.

Thank you.

An instant cure?

A chance remark about ‘man flu’ was enough to remind me of a time long gone.

I had a happy childhood, with, thankfully, not much illness.  However, a visit to the doctor was not the arduous business it is today.  No need for an appointment – just arrive and wait for your turn.  There may have been a long wait, but there was never any doubt that you would be seen.  No need to go to the pharmacy for medication – the doc’ dispensed that too, so treatment started immediately.  House calls were also easy.  The doctor was telephoned, and he would visit.  Our GP became a family friend.  Later, when my grandfather was very poorly, he would often drop in for a coffee whilst out on his rounds just to check up on him, and the same happened with my two grandmothers (my mother nursed them all through terminal illnesses).

Dr Bruce was from Scotland.  He had a broad Scots accent, and a dry sense of humour.  One day he called when I had a cold.  It was a real cold, sneezing, streaming eyes, but of course destined to be gone in a day or so.  Apparently, though, I was too young to be prescribed his ‘patented’ cure.  My parents laughed when they heard it – I didn’t understand the humour.  ‘Go to bed with a pair of slippers and a bottle of whisky.  Prop the slippers up next to each other at the foot of the bed.  Settle back and drink the whisky.  When the two slippers start to merge into one you know you are well on the way to a cure.’

I’ve never felt the need to try it out, but I bet it works!  Thanks for the memory.

Cheat’s Soup?

I want you to imagine a situation.  Not long married.  No money.  No proper food in the house.  Not an unusual situation in our early years, but we managed, after all, two can live as cheaply as one, can’t they?  Well, that isn’t always the case, but we got by and we were happy.  So, I’ve set the scene.  Can you guess what comes next?  Unexpected visitors!  Yes, and we had to feed them!

What did we have in the larder?  A tin of tomatoes, a bag of flour, one egg, milk (but in reality just enough for tea and breakfast), two slices of dry bread, a little cheese, and, thankfully right at the back of the cupboard, two tins of condensed tomato soup.

The flour, egg and milk were just enough to make some pancakes, some of the cheese (grated) was mixed with half a tin of soup and spread over the pancakes which were rolled up and placed into an ovenproof dish.  The rest of that can was poured over the top and the last of the cheese sprinkled on top.  The two slices of bread were quickly lightly toasted, then cut right through the middle to create 4 slices.  These, along with the pancake dish was popped into the oven to heat through and brown.  A quick whizz in the liquidiser combined the other can of soup with the tomotoes in the hope that it would make a tasty soup.  All this happened while my husband kept the conversation going in the other room, not knowing what on earth we were going to be eating.

Although not very ‘well balanced’ it was in fact quite tasty.  The now crisped bread was served with the soup and the comment from one of the diners was ‘Wow, I’ve never had homemade tomato soup before!’  Of course at the time I kept quiet, the empty tins were already in the dustbin and I wasn’t about to let on that we were in such dire straits…  Amusingly enough, this soup remains a topic of conversation when we meet.  It has been requested as a dish to be served, on repeat visits, and now that the ingredients are known it is always served with laughter (and the occasional addition of other ingredients too, just to tickle the palate).  We call it ‘Cheat’s Soup’.

Fortunately our circumstances are no longer that dire.  For that I am very thankful.