Friday, 31 December 2010

My Word for 2011


Some people make New Years Resolutions.  I am not in the habit of doing that myself but I do like to take stock, blow off the cobwebs, and generally have direction for the New Year.

I stumbled across a little trend within the scrapping/blogging world called, “One Little Word” Here's the Class. This is where they take one word for the year and basically process it into their lives by, emotionalizing, spiritualizing, and creatively expressing it until they fully experience the practical aspects.

My word for this year is going to be, TRIM.   Not especially intriguing or inspirational but it talks to me.  Whilst having my prayer time one morning I wrote down the words, “what can I cut” . I  prayed about it and carried that card with me throughout the day.  I found myself saying no to things that I might usually say yes to!  Hmmm! Maybe we are on to something here.  You see I wrote those words because I realize my life is full of trivial pursuits that keep me from pursuing things of value.

Whilst having dinner with a friend we got on to the topic of habits.  She admitted to being OCD about her pursuits and I found myself admitting to the opposite, that I actually organized my life by preparing for adventures that I never took! Like, the pursuit of every craft tool because someday I might actually have time to sit down and craft!  That’s quite sad. 

So, you see, this word kind of found me.  I could use CUT but it is slightly less appealing and who knows where it could lead me.  So, TRIM is the word for 2011.  AND, may I say, it can be used with an array of meanings so lets see where I am lead. There is a tantalizing class one little word  but it would be an oxymoron if I signed up for it. Sorry Ali!.

Goodbye 2010 and Hello to a trim 2011.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Boxing Day

Went out for a morning walk. Brrrr!

December 25th


Great fun was had by one and all. Even Lilly got in on the action.  After present opening Mom and I got into the kitchen and prepared a sumptuous Dinner. Honey baked ham, stuffed turkey, mash, sprouts, corn, baked parsnips, roast potatoes and home made cranberry sauce. Friends joined us for Dinner making us a total of 9. Sorry no pictures. Too busy cooking to think about it.  : )


It’s been a work in progress since the beginning of Decemeber but we are finally finished. It is a mix of:-


Shabby Chic in the Dining Room,


Country Classic in the Living Room,


With a Charlie Brown Tree!

We were going to break tradition and go for a real tree this year but ran out of time. We will save that first for next year.



Making Preparations. House is clean, Food is bought and we are getting ready for company.


Santa Came Early.  After beg, steal and borrowing dishes for my company last year I decided I wanted some of my own. Denby, Natural Blue.

White Christmas

Dec 18th at 1300 hours.  Here it is, the day AFTER we break up from school. A major snow fall.  Ten minutes later and this road was full of cars coming to a stand still.  Jim and James got out the shovels and, along with the neighbors, helped people on their way. 

First Snow


Snow has come early this year!  This greeted me on my way to work 7:45 1/12/10. Yes, I know these pictures are out of sink but I couldn’t resist it.

Nativity Presentation

Nativity Reading

This is the boy who played the part of a shy little lamb almost 10 years ago! I wonder what the next ten years will bring. Thanks be to God for all His good gifts.

7:47 a.m. Sunrise!


This was the impressive scene I was greeted with on the 16th December. One cozy British nostalgia I have from childhood is going to school in the dark.  Our days are so short at the moment that DS goes to school in the dark and comes home in the dark. 

With only the children’s Christmas party to go, I am a day and a half away from finishing school.  Then I can turn my thoughts entirely toward home.

Last week saw the final presentation of “Whoops ‘A’ Daisy Angel the Early Years production.  With four performances everyone exhaled with relief on that last day.  It was the end of grueling practice, endless costume making and loads of encouragement.  Each child was a star and rose to the occasion and parents gasped with proud adulation.  I announced to my teacher, “if you think you are getting any work out of me next week you are sadly mistaken, it’s party time!”

Giving Thanks


The Christmas Season begins, for us, with Thanksgiving. Being from the U.S., we are used to having the fourth Thursday of November set aside to celebrate. Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday in the U.S. and it is given almost as much pride of place as Christmas day. In the U.K., obviously, it is just another day. We got a call from family in Virginia describing the days affairs, turkey ready to roast and Pumpkin Pie at the ready. Aahh!, we were home sick.  However,  this year we had two Thanksgiving celebrations to help us celebrate, one with our co-workers and one at Duke Street Church. Picture on the right of our Turkey entry for the Newspaper Turkey competition.

Catching up on Christmas Memories



It’s the 30th December and, in my usual habit, I have a whole lot of photo’s that were meant to be translated into blog memories and didn’t quite make it.  The whole idea of blogging is to capture those moments as they happen right? Well this is a work in progress, after all! 

So, If I am to continue with my blogging, and not give up, I will have to resolve to change my habits. Until then, however, I am going to break the rules and post a bunch of posts today! The Christmas Season was worth it.  

Monday, 13 December 2010

Red Sky at Night Shepherd’s Delight


This was the view I was greeted with on the way home from School. A welcomed sight after all the bad weather we have had.

Haven’t had time to scrap it though as my evening had a few unexpected hiccups. I got a call from DS before I even managed to get a cup of coffee down. He had gotten off the bus in transit as he was vomiting. Not having a car, due to the new Government legislation on driving company cars, I asked if he wanted me to meet him by bus or try again to get on and come home. He made it home very bravely. Jim came home with a bad back after injuring it at work and so now I am taking care of DS and DH after looking after 22 kids at school today.

Maybe that saying should be, “Shepherdess, take warning!”

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Reflection Sunday

Reflection Sunday

Come, Oh Come, Emanuel!

This morning we were reminded that advent is a reminder of the advent for Christ’s return. All of Christendom are in advent for the return of Christ.

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

For Advent we count down the days and weeks to Christmas, with stories and symbols, marking time as it goes by. The joy builds as we anticipate a celebration with our loved ones. For some the preparations are a mad rush four weeks before the day and for others they might begin preparing a year ahead. For some, the waiting is more than they can handle, especially young ones. Time is measured by how many sleeps we have left.

The return of my savior is imminent but do I wait and prepare with as much intention as I do the celebration of Christmas. I should and more so. I love Christmas but it is a shadow of what we really await! As we celebrate this Christmas let it remind us of what we are really looking for. Come Lord Jesus. Come!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Reflection Sunday

Can’t put my usual picture as I had computer problems and we ended up taking my computer back to factory settings! Thankfully we were backed up before the necessity arrived and now I just need the time to sort through it and upload it on my hard drive ugh!  “Just lately I’ve been carrying around a piece of rope and I can’t figure out if I’ve lost a horse or found a piece of rope!” I can relate.

Yesterday we had the privilege of sharing about our work, at Church, as it was Global Outreach Week.  Pastor Hambleton used the passage about the Wedding Feast for the Morning Sermon with emphasis on the ‘right garments’ . Of course, the ‘right garment’ is the righteousness of Christ for with out it we can not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whilst reflecting on Habakkuk 2 this morning, I was reminded again about this theme. "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.” Hab. 2:4
  Trying to prove ones own righteousness is pride! I have to say this is probably one of the greatest struggles I have had in my own Spiritual life over the years. 

We all have different coping mechanisms, mine is to withdraw and do it myself!  However, when carried over into my Spiritual life, I do not surrender myself to the righteousness of God and instead try to establish my own!  Talk about years of frustration and feelings of disillusionment!  Those garments just won’t do!  AND in the words of a former mentor, “God has no other recourse than to let me do it myself until I come to the end of myself and call upon Him” 

God please forgive me for my pride and change my heart within!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Food for Thought

By time I get to work and home again I work pretty well an 8 hour day. Anything else I do is pretty well extra. Like feeding my family for instance.  I like to cook and I enjoy shopping like your average She, however, providing food for my family has become pretty overwhelming to say the least.

I have no time to creatively plan a weeks menu and I detest grocery shopping.  Even online shopping can be tiresome when you order the same old stuff. Then there’s the conviction that a family needs to run on a good healthy diet and not oven ready foods or snacks. 

So I decided I would spend the better part of a day of school hols’ and plan 6 weeks worth of menus.  You can imagine my delight when I came across this site: The Resourceful Cook  On this site there is a selection of menu types all arranged in 7 days and proportioned for 1 – 4 people.  You can personalize the selections within each seven days  and then print up a grocery list.  It will store your choices and your shopping list for future use.  One of the great things about this site is that it is a British site so the recipes don’t include ingredients not available to us.  They also have the added benefit of logging you into Asda or Tesco and helping you do your shop, although I couldn’t get this feature to work yet.

So I ended the day with a months worth of recipes printed and laminated (I am a teacher, what can I say) At least that area of my life will be a little less stressful!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Celebrations are in the Preparations


Christmas, a time when we can celebrate the birth of Christ and rejoice in it. And I do! I love Christmas. For me Celebration is in the preparation. I love to make lists, and start the countdown. I think about how I can spread the joy and spread the word. I have a great sense of worship as I enter into the season. It is not crass or commercial, it is Christ centered and intentional. And I love it.

Two days ago I had to go into the Nursery at school to help cover in the absence of a teacher. I started to play with the play-dough at the table and soon a crowd gathered. I gravitated toward the Christmas Tree cutter and before long I was singing jingle bells, along with half a dozen 3 year olds, much to the amusement of my colleagues.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Reflection Sunday

Reflection Sunday

We seem to deal with the same behavioral issues with DS until we finally lower the boom and say, “No more!”  My sin issues are not much different.  Why do we continue to do the things that we shouldn’t?

Just recently I was doing a devotional with DS and I was reminded why.  Psalm 51:5 says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

I am not a sinner because I sin, I sin because I am sinful. I do bad things because I am bad!  This is BAD news until you consider the GOOD news.

No amount of doing good can make me righteous it is only trusting Christ for His righteousness that makes me good. 

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4

Friday, 1 October 2010

Autumn is Upon us


My Soul was shrouded with sadness today to the point of announcing to my colleague, at lunch time, “I am not having fun today!”  The greatest part of my job is that it is fun.  However, today I spent lots of time in the rain.  I commuted to work, in the rain. I walked back and forth to the main school building, in the rain. I spent 15 minutes at play time, in the rain and commuted home again, in the rain.  I guess I am just a Sunshine Girl at heart!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Note for Future Me.


I have finally figured out the routine for my Journal. Read the prompt, live the day, record my findings and read another prompt for tomorrow.

I love this photo from Guernsey. Never had a chance to use it until now. Maybe I’ll turn it into an 8x10 and hang it on a wall.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Give Thanks


Today I am thankful to God for this support and enablement in my life.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Snacking in the Big League


Note to self; gone are the days when a piece of fruit or a bag of crisps would tied DS over until dinner. Now we are in the big leagues and a sizeable snack is needed to prevent a melt down before dinner.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Reflection Sunday

Reflection Sunday

Our 30 minute drive to Church ended when we recognized that we were going no where fast. The traffic moved so slowly it may as well have been a parking lot. After 30 minutes and not even halfway there we realized we were not going to make it and came home. What a huge let down! Anyway, my reflection for this week is going to be a link. After the reflection last week it is good to be reminded how God feels about spending time with us. (If you have a dog you will get more out of this)

God and Dog by Wendy J. Francisco

Friends Bring Balance


Weeks go into months, and before you know it, months into years and THEN you recognize you haven’t seen your friends in all that time.  Life is full on for our family, work, school, ministry, family, it certainly is a balancing act. Not to mention, the only way I can stay sane is to withdraw and have some alone time.

There never is an optimal time to see friends because either I am too busy, too tired, or the house is wrecked, and even when I am available they may not be. (which was my experience this summer!) SO, what I have learned today…I need to make time for my friends.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Time 4 Me


Since the recent change in legislation about company cars we have found ourselves a one-car family. Seeing as Jim has a 10 mile round trip, and mine is only 3, it makes sense that he gets the car most of the time. So I have taken to putting on my walking shoes and walking to school.

I love it and weather permitting I intend to walk as long as I can. DS now being at high school, I travel by myself and have found being alone in my head quite restful! I think, pray, watch, and process, it’s a great way to start the day. Not to mention the exercise.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Today’s Reflection

Reflection Sunday

John 11:55 – 12:11

We have been doing a series at Church entitled, “The Passover Plot”’ and today’s sermon was, “The Anointing”.  The context In John 11: 55 was set six days before the Passover ceremony and all the Jews were travelling to Jerusalem for purification purposes.  Jesus was the talk of the town and the Pharisees were all on the look out for Him so that they could seize Him if they found Him. 

“Therefore…”, Jesus went to Bethany were Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead.  They had prepared a supper for Him which Martha served and as the honored guest Jesus reclined at the head of the table with Lazarus.  Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, took a pound of very expensive perfume and anointed Jesus with it.  She would have started at the head and lavished him in the perfume  ending generously with His feet and then wiping it with her hair.  This extravagance was immediately jumped upon by the team accountant who had selfish notions of His own. 

Jesus responded, “Let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of My burial, For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” 

It is obvious from the response of Jesus that this was part of His preparation for Burial.  BUT my big question has always been, but how did Mary know this and if she didn’t why would she do this? 

She performed this extravagant act of worship compelled by love and devotion. Expensive perfume in those days was not a major spend from your weekly salary but possibly a life time of savings. Women often kept such costly perfume as part of her dowry.  So the expense to Mary was great.  She spared no expense and was willing to give it all.   It was clear from this extravagant act that Mary dearly loved Jesus.

Secondly, it was Mary’s ability to listen to Jesus that lead her to anoint Him.  She chose, above all other things, to sit at His feet and drink in the words of life.  Mary got it!  If God was to use anyone to anoint His Son it would be the child who devoted themselves completely and worshipfully to Listening to Him!

When I reflect on these two lessons I have to ask myself if I devote myself to listening to Jesus and do I have the kind of love and devotion that would give all that is dear with such lavish devotion.

About Reflection Sunday

Reflection Sunday

It has become a tradition on some blogs to dedicate a day to a particular theme i.e., “Thankful Friday” or “Best Buy Monday” etc., So I am going to dedicate Sunday to be the day of the week that I will write a Spiritual refection.  It might be from the weeks adventures or it could be from the Morning Worship service but it will be an avenue for me to reflect on something God is teaching me through His word.  Welcome to all who want to listen in and please feel free to add your thoughts.


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Note to Self!


I am finally reading a book I should have read long ago called, “shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Paul Trip. Now my DS is eleven and as tall as I am (literally!) it dawned on me that any external control I had over this boy was soon to go Bye Bye. Raising my teacher voice was not going to cut it anymore! So here’s a note to self about changing my tactics and reaching that boys heart!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

80's Re-visited

James recently chose a pair of Converse look-a-likes for himself and he remarked that he was going to only wear them for best. To his delight I went back and chose a pair for myself. He was so thrilled that I saw him and his friends gathered around to examine Mum's new shoes.
Little does he know that back in the 80's during the early Madonna years that I could be seen donning Pink high tops of a similar fashion!

Lists are Better Than Lucozade!

I discovered something really empowering about myself this summer and that is, I can do it if it's on a list. As afore mentioned, my son and I built our wish list for things to do this Summer and looking back I see that all were accomplished. Would I have done those things without a list? possibly, but my list motivated me to focus on what was important and to reach my end goal.

Lists also re-energise me. When trying to pack for hols one Sunday night at 11pm I was so tired that the task daunted me and I became completely overwhelmed. A Lucozade was calling me from the bottom shelf of my kitchen but I knew that would be disastrous given the hour. I couldn't think! So I grabbed a pen and paper and made a list. The change that came over me as I sprung into action was invigorating. The day I recognised that a list is better than a Lucozade is the day I put control back in my life. Now I have list making materials ready at hand. Shopping lists, to do lists, book lists, blog lists, wish lists, prayer lists, what kind of lists do you keep?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Learning Something New Everyday

I've joined an online course by Shimelle Laine called, Learn something New Everyday. Throughout the month of September I will get daily email prompts to encourage me in my new adventure. You can read more about it here:-
My first task was to create a Title page for my journal/album. I chose to use a hard back book that we had duplicate copies of, (not many pages and no more than 5x8 it was perfect). I went through and intermittently cut out pages with a craft knife to allow room to build up my pages. I was careful to keep pages with inspirational messages on so that I could integrate them into my work.
I coverd the outside of the book with sticky back material and embelished over the top.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Chessington World of Adventures

Roller coasters, fast trains, up and down, let me off!

Extreme rides, long lines, peals of laughter and screams of joy.

Overnight, stay up late, card games and soda pop.

Early to rise, picture surprise, and off we go again.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Family Holiday

It's family holiday time and if DH is to have any uninterrupted time off I need to take him away. Tomorrow we go to Chessington World of adventures where we will spend two days enjoying the "Roar and Snore get away".

Then we will go to DM and DD for two days in the tranquil countryside.

A very old pic as DS is now as tall as me.

Then we will head up to Llandudno, Nth Wales where my Dear Uncle lives.

We will have four days of glorious weather at the beach, exploring the historical sites, and eating at roadside cafes. (at least that's our prayer!) Update you later. Now where is that suitcase!