Saturday, 23 September 2023
Sunday, 17 September 2023
Hello again. It really has been awhile, hasn’t it?! If there’s anybody out there who might check in from time to time, you may have wondered if I disappeared, or given up blogging altogether. I certainly couldn’t blame you if you did. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if I would come back myself. Certainly, life events have conspired to keep my attention away from writing for a good long while now. I haven’t even had the wherewithal to keep up with blogging friends, a fact for which I am very sorry.
It certainly has been a busy time. In May, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We agreed that buying a new house was quite enough of a celebration in itself, but he did deliver these beautiful flowers. I don’t think the picture does them justice, but you can get an idea anyway. 🙂
On the 2nd of June, we moved all our worldly belongings, including the contents of my husband’s architectural practice to our new home. I surprised myself by only crying once and that was when I saw the big moving truck driving away from the home which had been such a labor of love for us both. We made sure everything was spotless for the new owners, quite literally vacuuming our way out the door.
Unfortunately, the former owners of our new home had not been quite so meticulous, so in addition to a massive unpacking in a heat wave (without the benefit of air-conditioning,) a major clean and scrub was required. And as seasoned home-movers will no doubt be aware, there are always “wee” surprises left behind. In our case, it was a potentially dangerous electrical problem, a plumbing situation, and a number of other issues; some more easily sorted than others, and some more urgent, such as the electrics, and the replacement of our garage roof.
In the midst of all this, the construction of the new office began, as did a rather concerning issue with our wee dog Roxy’s leg. Both have been ongoing for the past three months, but the office is 99 percent finished, and Roxy has come through major orthopaedic surgery on her knee and shin four weeks ago. Truth be told, her surgery has been the hardest. She has had to be confined, which is very hard for my active wee girl, and we’ve had at least six trips to the vet, as we have struggled to get her pain under control. But….. we are at last getting there and she has improved and now allowed to commence short walking, thank heaven. We hope that at her 8 week check, the vet will pronounce the surgery a success and the prognosis will be a much more comfortable future for her.
|Poor wee soul|
And while there is still MUCH to be done in the house, as time and finances allow, (ha ha! Our pet insurance did not cover Roxy’s surgery.. sigh..) we are very happy in our new home and know we made the right move despite it all.
As we enter into the new season of Autumn, we find we have much for which to be grateful. Roxy is on the mend. My husband is happy in his new headquarters 😌, and we look forward to our son and his wife arriving for a long awaited visit in early November.
Before I go, I thought I would share some photos of where we are so far in our new home journey and the views of our neighbourhood. It’s really the neighbourhood and surrounding views that made the decision on why we chose the house we did.
First though, a bit of context on the first photo on this post. I received this last week, a care package from my dear cousin whose mother, and my beloved Aunt passed away last year. Inside, was a number of items that belonged to her, small things that my cousin thought I would appreciate. She was so right. My Aunt was very artistic, and she’d included a small painting she’d done, a handkerchief, dove pin, and a glass cross my Aunt had made.. all of which I will treasure forever, but I absolutely love the small sewing machine China teapot with the Old Country Roses pattern “fabric.” I couldn’t not display it and it makes me happy every time I see it; especially since my love of the pattern began with my Aunt’s almost 50 years ago.
So, what follows is snap shots of our summer and what’s been happening in the lives of Mr and Mrs Smith. Forgive me please, on some of the photos. I am far from perfect in my picture taking, ☺️
Photo one and two is our wee cottage with a front garden that needs LOTS of TLC. The next few are just across the street, and the others are taken just at the end of our cul-de-sac. I especially love it because the walks are so pretty, and you can hear the nearby sheep and cows. It’s very peaceful.
The next one is of our first “visitor,” Mr Fox who popped by very early the morning after we moved in, and we’ve since had a small trio of deer too; although when construction started, our visitors have since stayed away.
Then, we have breaking ground on the “new world headquarters” 😂 and the end result, which we are pretty happy about. We still have to get the path in which happens in the next few weeks, and the landscaping of that messy area at the side which will have to wait until spring, as will the front.
My favourite feature in the house is the wee electric fire with limestone surround which we found on Facebook marketplace for just a few pounds. I was worried for awhile that so many of our furnishings and decor from our old 1896 Victorian wouldn’t fit so well in our relatively new 1971 abode, but we have been happily surprised.
Thursday, 20 April 2023
It’s a beautiful day here in Scotland and we will be leaving later on today for a wee trip away in our caravan to the seaside town of Monifieth, near the city of Dundee. We last visited in September for my birthday, so are really looking forward to it. Both of us are ready for a wee break and with all that lies ahead with our move and construction of a new office in the back garden, it will likely be awhile before we can get away again.
We have five weeks until the “big” day, and while I have accomplished much in the way of cleaning and clearing out, the pesky chronic tendonitis in my foot and ankle has been aggravated. I’m hoping that a bit of rest and relaxation will help settle things down.
While I’ve made good progress in my moving preparation efforts, I have found quite embarrassing the amount of wasted money that has gone out the door in clearing out so many perfectly good things that have either barely been used or worn; some not at all. The only positives in this are that a certain charity will benefit and it serves once again as a lesson to choose purchases more carefully, and buy those items that I either really need/love.
That said, I will never be a minimalist. There are still so many items in our home that I do love and treasure. They are part of what makes our home… home. An example of this is my first cookbook, given me when I was very young.
It was written back in 1955, so since that is a decade before my time, it must have been inherited from an older relative. I love it so much because it hearkens to a time where a majority of mothers were able to be at home with their children to pass on those important homemaking skills. This wee book is terrific in teaching a child from their first day in the kitchen, to preparing simple meals and on to cooking and baking. It addresses menu planning, setting the table, and clean up, and does so in a polite and encouraging manner. Also, it’s unabashedly for little girls, which is a bit rare in recent times.
Produced by Carnation Milk, of course the recipes include the product in many, but I can recall as a young child looking over this book and thinking how fun it all seemed. I believe it certainly encouraged my love of cooking and baking. Why, you can even see on my first attempt at making a meatloaf as evidenced by the messy page and tick marks as I added each ingredient, though I’m not sure how good the finished product turned out!
It was so lovely to visit a piece of my childhood and forget for a time all the grown-up worries. It’s definitely a keeper!
I cannot close out my post today without mentioning the sad passing earlier this week of a wonderful man of God, Dr Charles Stanley (1932-2023). What a truly amazing biblical and practical teacher he was, and next to Billy Graham, my favourite preacher and I’m sure many others too. He’s taught me so much about faith and what it means to be a Christian. What a privilege it’s been to hear him preach, and if you’ve not heard him, I highly recommend it. There are many of his recorded sermons and radio broadcasts on the website “In Touch Ministries,” or on You Tube.
As he enters those gates to meet the Lord, I just know he will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Dr Stanley, thank you for everything. Our loss is heaven’s gain, but you have certainly earned your rest.
Thank you for your visit today, and God bless you.
Thursday, 13 April 2023
Good Thursday to you. 😊
This week has simply flown in. With Easter Monday being a public (national) holiday in the U.K., the work week is one day shorter. Ordinarily, I would be quite pleased about that, but at the moment my mind is cluttered with all that must be done in the house yet before the movers descend in six weeks time.
It may sound as though I’ve oodles of time (Is oodles even a word?!) but the clock is definitely ticking. Between keeping up with regular housework and cooking, laundry, etc, there is limited energy available for the other items on my preparing to move list. Never the less, get there I must, and stressing about it certainly won’t help. I think I have this terrible fear in my mind that the house will not be clean enough for the new folks moving in. I want to ensure it isn’t as it was upon our taking possession, spending 12 hours in the kitchen alone, just to have it habitable. Mind you, it isn’t anything like that now even if I didn’t clean another cupboard or drawer, but…
In the early days as a military wife, I learned that it was definitely about the details! We had our homes inspected prior to moving to ensure readiness for the next family. It’s an attitude I’ve carried through all our many relocations, and knowing that the lady who occupies this kitchen can happily place her items without concerns over dust or any other detritus will ease my mind. Taking personal responsibility to leave things better than I found them is important to me.
I believe we carry that responsibility of maintaining a clean and welcoming home not just for ourselves and our families, but for anyone who happens to cross our thresholds. We represent Christ and it matters. I believe it also matters when it comes to our personal appearance as well.
We of course know that things have slipped markedly in this area in past decades. Comfortable has given way in many cases to slovenly. Why, I have seen mothers in P.J’s and slippers at the school gate, or in grocery stores, and men walking about with t-shirts riding up over their bellies, with unkempt hair and beards. Folks routinely show up to special events as though attending a football game, and I believe this has now translated into virtually every area of life; including good manners and consideration for others.
Disclaimer: I am definitely NOT referring to anyone in a crisis situation through illness or finances, or indeed to those without a home or place to lay their head at night, though I do hope this is obvious.
Having respect for ourselves and others is core to a civil society, and we have seen a sea-change in this in recent years. To illustrate, I shall use examples from my own experience.
One of the stand-out and lovely discoveries I made when first moving to Scotland way back in the 90’s (doesn’t seem that long ago does it, but my word, it really is!) was the simple grace of hospitality. Never once did I enter a home where I was not offered refreshment of either tea/coffee, and almost always there was a plate of biscuits (cookies) or other snack, and upon departing, we were always wished a “safe journey home.”
Most every home that I visited were family or friends of modest means, children were well mannered and the house was neat as a pin. (much like back home!) When out shopping, what I noticed most was when upon meeting someone you knew, perhaps on the High Street, you were greeted warmly by your name and folks took time to actually chat for awhile. You would never, and I mean never, see anyone dressed in an untidy fashion. Most older ladies wore skirts with hose (tights,) or nice trousers, and you didn’t see young women going about in sweats, leggings, or trainers. It certainly made an impression on me since I was used to the more relaxed American style, but I remember thinking how wonderful that everyone made an effort.
When my husband who routinely visited clients in their homes, nearly always had a positive comment on his experience when he returned. How things have changed, and I’m sorry to say not for the better. Within the last perhaps fifteen years, despite the fact that people’s lifestyles have “improved” buying larger homes, more expensive automobiles, exotic holidays, and a plethora of gadgets and ever larger televisions, there’s been something sadly lost in amongst it all.
The hospitality we once enjoyed is not as common these days. Experiences seem more important than families getting together for a simple meal. Less time is available to stop in the street for a chat as everyone rushes about to and fro to the next thing and everyone seems fixated on their phones. The styles are less elegant, more “in your face,” and as mentioned previously, “comfort” has been taken to a whole other level.
When my husband comes home from visiting clients now, his experiences are many times not pleasant ones. He appears to a scheduled appointment and sometimes the client hasn’t bothered to comb their hair. On one such occasion, a client was in the middle of dyeing her hair! The children are often unchecked and unruly, sometimes the dogs are too, all while a giant television is left blaring in the background of a serious meeting where he discusses costs of a project that may well run into many thousands of pounds.
In many of these, he is not offered refreshment, but even so, will decline because of the state the home is in. More often than one would think, the home is not just untidy, but just plain dirty. When my husband does a survey, he must take measurements in most rooms. Beds are left unmade, dirty laundry or towels on the floor, used cups and plates in rooms not just the kitchen. And I think it’s important to add that this is irrespective of the socio-economic status of those concerned.
Yes, things have definitely changed, that’s for sure; but I believe that as it is with our the rest of our lives, we must strive to carry the torch of personal and civic responsibility despite it. I try to remember that I am a servant of the Lord. We are told in Galatian’s 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
We cannot know the influence our attitudes, behaviours, and habits may have in someone or even society at large. In real terms, I occupy a very small spot in this world, and perhaps my influence doesn’t reach quite as far as someone else’, but I am still going to make an effort to do all I can with what God has blessed me with to shine a light toward all that is good in this world and leaving things a wee bit better than I found them.
Thank you for your visit today and God Bless you,
Saturday, 8 April 2023
Wednesday, 29 March 2023
I know I mentioned previously that we were considering selling our home and relocating, but had decided to wait. Well, that plan went a bit out the window fairly soon after my last post, for not only did we find a home (when we weren’t really looking,) we put in an offer which was accepted, placed our home up for sale and within a few weeks, accepted an offer and now there is a sold sign in the garden!
The new home is a compromise between my husband and I. He didn’t care to downsize as much as I may have liked, so it still a most reasonable size. The kitchen is much smaller which I really, really wanted and of a very modern style, that is definitely not me. BUT in all other respects, it’s perfect for us, and all being well, we will be moving on what will be our 25th wedding anniversary in late May. I am so thankful for the opportunity, but I’d sure be most grateful for any prayers that you might send our way that the process will be a smooth one for all parties. Lord willing, it will be the last move for a good many years too, as truth be told this one has already worn me plum out!
With all the goings on of the past few months, the fact that Easter is right around the corner entirely skipped my mind! This morning, I remembered our decorations and while tempted to skip this year since there is a move on the horizon, I decided that marking Easter was important for us, so out came the box and before I knew it my wee collection was out on display.
I believe more than ever, the poignancy of Easter cannot be denied. Daily, we are watching the war between good and evil intensify, and the cross, empty tomb, and Easter represent the very reason we must continue to “fight the good fight.” When tempted to give in to fear and despair, I remember Christ’s words in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world, ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
That is no sound-bite folks. That is the very son of God and He doesn’t mince words. It follows then that we must do all within the abilities the Lord has given us reach out whenever and however we can. I know that many of us have or have begun to prepare for the hard times ahead; myself included. There are those who have put a few things by “just in case,” and those who have a whole barns converted to have plenty if everything falls apart; however recently I heard someone who said that rather than creating fall-out shelters and places to hideaway, wouldn’t it be of more value to invite folks around our table to share with them the love of Christ? Truthfully, I think preparedness (as much as possible within means) is prudent, but we must also be aware of our neighbour, and how wonderful if we could strike the right balance in these areas.
Well, I shall leave you for now, but hope to return next week to share a few Easter recipes. I thank you for your visit and may God bless your day today. 💗
Tuesday, 14 February 2023
Happy Valentine’s Day to you my friends. 🥰 Aren’t there so many ways these days to celebrate these days and so many opportunities to spend, spend, spend! For our part, my sweetheart and I have elected to have rather a more modest celebration. I will make him a nice meal and a cheesecake, (his favourite,) and suspect I will receive a small bouquet in return, which truly will be more than enough. It isn’t that I am unromantic; I just feel there’s getting to be a wee bit too much pressure to do things “bigger and better,” and that shouldn’t be what it’s all about any more than Christmas should be all about the presents.
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