Friday, 30 March 2012

The Writing on the Wall....a give away!

I have just had THE most wonderful few days.

The Lord knows just how to make us smile, through His blessing of friendship.

I have laughed, and talked...laughed some more, and talked some more.

I have been challenged.

I have been blessed.

I have, VERY much been encouraged.

All because the Lord set in motion a series of events that start waaaaaaaaay back.

Had I not been feeling discouraged using our old curriculum, I would not have been looking for a new curriculum.

Had I not been using a new curriculum, I would not have found out about an online conference to encourage homes-school Mum's.

Had I not signed up for the conference, I would have not heard a certain lady speaking, named Heidi St John, and started to follow her on Facebook.

Had I not signed up for Facebook, I would have not known there was a group of ladies on there who used Tapestry of Grace.

Had I not joined the Tapestry of Grace group, Tandy Hogate would not have known I lived in the UK.

Had I not offered my help to give information for Heidi St John's trip to Europe, then she wouldn't have come to stay with me.

Had Heidi not come to stay with me, I would not have met a very special "kindred spirit"...

I didn't know all of this, when my days were tough, and I was wrestling with home-schooling.  When I felt like giving up.  When I cried, and the children cried.

But...God did! He had it planned ALL this time.  He brought Heidi into my  life "for such a time as this" a time when I had once again felt discouraged...under spiritual attack.  He brought a couple who serve Him, by encouraging Home-schooling families, RIGHT into my home!

Never under-estimate God's providence.  You may need to wait YEARS to see why things have happened in your life, but you WILL see that God works all things together for good.

It just thrilled my heart this afternoon, as I thought this sequence of events through.

It brings utter joy, and humbling amazement.

We are told in everything give thanks.

It wasn't easy to be thankful in those trying times.

But, praise God, it's certainly easy to give thanks now...heartfelt thanks.

I am thankful that the Lord ordered that the paths of Caroline Cordle and Heidi St John should cross!  And, I pray that they not only met, but they will travel alongside one another for a looooong time, albeit on the other side of the world!

I am thankful, too, for her godly, patient (with my children who just wanted to TALK to him, ALL.THE.TIME.) and fun husband, Jay.

And for her 3 lovely girls...Savannah, Sierra and Saylor...who were here, too.  The older girls willingly, and kindly, helped with jobs on Thursday.  They are sweet, sincere and really lovely young ladies.  And, sweet, soooooo good, little Saylor - who just adapted to the whacky hours that were involved with travel and commitments.

Savannah and Saylor

The ace photographer, Sierra!

I will post a bit more about the visit another day, but I just wanted to share the blessing of seeing God's hand in the events of the past, that lead to the blessing of the present!

BUT, in a way of passing on the blessing, I am going to do a give-away!  

In order to support their ongoing ministry, which is not a salaried position, Jay has been producing beautiful, vinyl wall lettering to sell.  They VERY kindly gifted us with some lettering, which he then put up for us.

It is up on the wall in our kitchen, and I plan to put some family photos around the lettering!

Here is a close up, which shows it in more detail...

This still doesn't really show how lovely it actually IS!

So, as a give-away, I have a slightly different one to offer. This was very kindly donated to me by Jay and Heidi, to give away on here!  The one which is up for grabs, is...

I have one of these as well, and I plan to put it above our bed, with pictures of out children underneath! Had we not fallen in love, we wouldn't be blessed with our lovely children!  God is good!

Have a look at all jay's range, on his website.

So, how do you win one?

You have several opportunities.

1) Simply make a comment under this post.
2) For another entry, blog about the give-away on your own blog and share the link in the comments below.
3) For a THIRD entry, share the link for the give-away on your FB page, and post under the FB link that you have shared it!
4) For a FOURTH entry, share the website link for the lettering that Jay sells, on your FB page or blog.

So, there you have it....the opportunity to win some lovely lettering to put on your wall! There are detailed instructions on the website, about how to apply the lettering - it's really quite simple.

So, get sharing!  Better still, get buying from Jay's website, and help support them in their labours for the Lord.

And, don't forget...whatever trials you are going through today, God has a purpose for them, - and I pray they will be as encouraging as the blessings I have had this week! 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A quick chat with Patrice...

Firstly, apologies for no Matriarch this week...I have been away staying with my in-laws for a few days (SUCH a lovely cooking/cleaning/washing/drying...BLISS!), and only got back yesterday.

Also, I have the lovely Heidi St John coming to stay with us, and she arrives later today! (more about that visit, later in the week.....)  So, cleaning, cooking and general preparedness happening today.  But, I DO need to eat, so whilst eating my toast and drinking my cup-a-soup, I thought I'd have a quick chat with Patrice! :-)

  1. What was your favorite book as a child?
How "child" is "child"???   I think I would have to say that I am an AOGG fan...AOGG?.....Anne of Green Gables!!!  Every single book in the series...from AOGG to Rilla of Ingleside. Do you KNOW how many people haven't read it, or even know that there are OTHER books in the series?!  It's shocking to me every time I find someone who doesn't realise!!!

(as an aside, I do love the films, but they miss out soooo much and change tooooo much for my liking!  Back off my hobby horse.....)

I just love the humour, and yet the sweet and touching elements of the books as well.  I LIVED those books as I read them! :-) Hmmm, maybe it's time to dig them out again!?

I was an avid reader, and was reading The Hobbit when I was about 12!   I still love to read....happiness is... returning from a few days away to the inability to easily open your front door, due to my book order for Tapestry of Grace having been delivered, from The Book Depository!!    *big smile* 

2.  Dark chocolate, Milk Chocolate, or White Chocolate?

Ohhhhh. DARK!  I absolutely ADORE dark chocolate - a bar of Bourneville....a big one, preferably...always makes me happy! 

 Or one of these little guys....absolute BLISS....*Mmmmmmmmm*

  I am also partial to just plain old Dairy Milk...I say plain, and old, but really, you can't beat Cadbury! 

3.   What's your biggest "pet peeve" when it comes to your kitchen?

Oooooh, this is tricky...only because I have a few! *blush*  

I am quite particular about a few things (ask my family....).  I like to stack my own dishwasher.  I just know how to get the most dishes in it, and I end up rearranging it if I let someone else do it!!!

I also find it slightly frustrating when my family put things away in the wrong place!!!! I am madly running around the kitchen, trying to find the right utensil, which is in the wrong place.  My lovely husband will sometimes tidy up my kitchen for me, and often things go missing after that.  But, I would *NEVER* complain in that situation, as I so appreciate the fact he has done it at all.  I do sometimes make some exasperated noises whilst searching, though! *blushes again*

And, I get rather frustrated when people put their dirty dishes beside the SINK, and not by the DISHWASHER....or indeed, nowhere near EITHER!!! 

4.  Do you use any type of water filter in your home? (Whole house, faucet mount, or pitcher)

We have a big container in our fridge for water.  I must admit though, that it's more for the purpose of having nice, cold water on tap in the summer, rather than for the filtering purposes.  Subsequently I do not change the filter as often as I should! ;-)

This is the one we have...^^^^^^^^^

5.  What's the herb you use the most in cooking?

Is garlic classified as a herb?....hmm....I don't think so?  Well, in that case, basil.  (with an "ah" sound not an "ay" sound, guys.....!)

I make a tomato based pasta dish at least once a week, and there is always basil in it!  I love it! :-)  I do plan to add to the herb bed we inherited, and try and use more fresh herbs.  We have sage and parsley in there so far, and I would like mint, rosemary, basil, coriander and lemon balm. 

Oh, and I buy my basil in a tube....:-D

So, that's my quick chat.  Back to making dinner, doing some  baking, and overseeing some bedroom tidying! 

I will post about my adventures of last week, and this week, at the weekend!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Leaves? Anyone? Raspberry leaves?......

For some, this is not breaking news.

For some, it may be life changing.

For some, it already HAS changed their lives.

REALLY? Life-changing?

Ohhhhhh yes!

Now, I am not the world's top promoter of all things "natural" or "herbal".

I certainly don't want to get into a debate about such things!

(As a slight aside, one of my top tips is Arnica cream, for bumps and bruises.)

However, that is not the main theme of this post.

It's raspberries.

Well, not ACTUALLY much as I love them...

 (I had to scroll down quite a way, having googled "picture of raspberries", to find one with cream and chocolate! *whistles* )

As much as raspberries are good, it's the LEAVES I am about to wax lyrical about!

"sorry, did I hear you correctly?...LEAVES?"   I may hear you ask...


It still amazes me how many ladies have not heard of using such a thing.  You can have it in tea form, or if you find herbal teas rather vile (*bleugh*), you can take it in capsule form.

So, why on EARTH would I suggest you take raspberry leaf?

Well, I should really have started by saying that this post is for those who are still having menstrual cycles, or for those who are pregnant.

So, off you toddle, you men who read my blog....(well, I certainly know of ONE man that does...he may have already decided this one wasn't for know who you are....).

All other ladies, stay - you may have someone you can tell about this, and help them immensely in the process!

I didn't really know much about this until my 5th pregnancy.  I had heard a little, but not really taken it regularly, so it didn't do much.  But, with my 5th, I tried to take it regularly.

Why?  Well, it's supposed to tone your uterus, and help with the 2nd stage of labour. It is also supposed to help the uterus reduce after giving birth and help with after pains as well.

So, less pushing...less bulgy tummy...less pain when feeding...

Sound good?

Read on!

The thing is, there isn't a lot of research on the matter...only a LOT of ladies who can tell you that it made a difference to them.

With my 5th baby, I didn't get the chance to see if it worked as I had an emergency c-section!  But, I do know I got to 7cm dilation with no pain relief, and coping well between contractions!

Baby number 6, I started taking the tablets at 34 weeks. I  started off taking 3 a day (400mg, I think), and increased it to 6 for the last few weeks.  I was very careful to take them every day, and not be lazy with it.

I then followed the advice of this article...

"The Raspberry Leaf Tea Story

Tea made from raspberry leaves is the best-known herbal aid in pregnancy. Rather than go into all the traditional lore about this herb, we present the following lengthy account, because it is both contemporaneous and highly specific.

"My mother was born and raised in Scotland, coming to america at the age of 26. Whenever a member of her family became ill or had a health problem, her mother had consulted an herbalist or herb doctor. As a result of this, I was treated with herbs as a child.
"Mother had always told me that red raspberry leaf tea would prevent miscarriage and was excellent for pregnany and chilbirth. When I became pregnant, I immediately sent for some raspberry leaf tea and began taking one cup of it each day, made from one teaspoon of dried leaves added to one cup of boiling water and steeped for 15 minutes. I had a very normal pregnancy. Then I went into labor, I truly expected to have an easy labor and delivery because I had faithfully taken the tea. While it is true that I did not have a complicated or extremely difficult time, it was not by any means easy. The tea had not lived up to my expectations.
"It was not until sometimes after the birth of my daughter that I read a book my mother had brought with her from Scotland entitled Dragged to Light by W.H. Box of Plymouth, England. In it I found the secret of just how to take the tea so it would truly work wonders during labor and delivery. Box said, 'On one ounce of raspberry leaves pour one pint of boiling water, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain, and when the time for delivery is approaching drink the whole as hot as possible.'
"There were a number of testimonials in the book written by women who had used this herb. Several took the strong solution over a period of time before going into labor. They were instructed in that case to take a wineglassful three times a day. They had 'only two stiff pains and it was all over' or 'no after pains and very slight before.' They never made it out of the house. Box's instructions were, 'But those who take the tea considerably before the time should not leave the house when the time is approaching as many mothers are delivered almost suddenly when at their work, to the great veaxtion of doctors and nurses.'
"When I became pregnant again I was determined to try it that way. I still took a cup a day as I had before. but this time when I went into labor I made a strong solution of it as I had read in the book. I put it in a container and took it to the hospital with me. I wasn't sure how quickly it would work and I didn't want to have the baby in the car. I didn't think they'd allow me to drink it in the hospital so I drank half of it in the parking lot. I was afraid to drink all of it as it was so strong and I didn't personally know anyone who had taken it this strong before. I had been having strong contractions but by the time I registered and was taken up to the labor room the contractions were so mild I hardly felt them. Upon examination they said I was ready to deliver and would not even give me an enema. In the delivery room I was quite comfortable and hardly felt anything. One hour after entering the hospital my son was born.
"In the recovery room there were several other young women who had just given birth also. They were moaning abd groaning. I couldn't imagine what they were making a fuss about as I felt like I could have gotten up and gone home. I had always read and heard about women getting after-pains with a second child. I never had even one. This was also the testimony of a number of women who were treated with the tea by Box.
"Later I thought I would have had an easy time anyway since it was my second child. I was anxious for someon else to try it. A friend of mine was expection a baby in a few weeks and she had been taking a cup of the tea daily and was also goig to take the strong solution when she went into labor. She had had two previous pregnancies and both times nearly miscarried and had to take drugs and be in bed a good deal of the time. Both deliveries were extremely difficult. When she became pregnant this time she began spotting and it looked like she would have to go through the same kind of trouble she had before. Having used an herb I had given her for another problem, with success, she asked if there was an herb for this problem and I recommended raspberry leaf tea.
"She started taking it and the spotting stopped immediately and she had a normal pregnancy, much to the amazement of her family who remembered her difficulties in the past. When she went into labor she took the tea as I had and told me she had only 25 minutes of hard labor before her baby was born.
"I have told a number of women about this amazing herb through the years, but no one else seemed interested enough to try it. However, 1978 my daughter became pregnant and she was very much interested in having an easy delivery. She took the tea each day and had a normal pregnancy. She, too, took the strong solution of the tea with her to the hospital and also being a little wary drank only half of it. When the doctor examined her, it was late in the evening. He said the baby wouldn't be born until six o'clock in the the morning so he went hime. She was having hard contractions at this time and I was very disappointed and felt the tea hadn't worked. An hour and a half later we recieved a call from our son-in-law saying we had a little grandson. The tea started working and the doctor had no sooner reached his home when he had to turn around and come right back to the hospital. My daughter said the next time she is going to drink all of the tea." -- I.A., Utah "

(I found this article here )

So, as I take the tablets, not the tea, when I knew I was in labour with Elijah, I downed about 10 tablets in one "sitting"! *gasps*

I carried on to have the best labour I have ever had!  Had I not been continuously monitored (medics being paranoid about me having a VBAC!....*rolls eyes*), which slowed my labour down whilst I lay on the bed, then I believe I would have delivered even quicker!

All my other babies - number 1-4 - I had to push for over 2 hours, 3 out of 4 resulting in assisted deliveries as I just couldn't push them out. I never felt a proper urge to push, as everyone said should happen.

But, baby 6...totally different story! Within about 30-40 minutes of being allowed back up on my feet again after monitoring, I felt the overwhelming urge to push!!! It was the first time for me! And, with no more than about half an hour of pushing (and that wasn't constant....I remember only about 10 decent pushes?), he was born!!!! I felt amazingly better than I ever had straight after giving birth...I even cut his cord myself, as I was alert enough to do it! Normally I would be exhausted ad hardly aware of being handed a baby!  I was amazed at the difference!

The after pains were not as bad as with the others, either.

So, needless to say, I am taking it again, with determined regularity!

What of helping those with painful periods?

I have heard, just recently, of a young girl who was passing out, vomiting and in terrible pain, with every cycle.  She started taking a cup of the tea every day...and when the next cycle came around, she had virtually NO symptoms at all.

Now, again, I cannot give you lots of research on the matter, but I hold a lot to experience! If lots of people can tell you it helped THEM, then it's worth a whirl!

The only research I found, certainly said there is no harm in taking it.

So, there is my experience with it.  I will take the big dose again when I am in labour, and maybe if I don't get strapped to a monitor, things will be even quicker?!

This is the recommended doses I found for pregnancy...

The following guidelines on consuming raspberry leaf during pregnancy have been taken from Parsons (1999):
Tablets - Take two 300mg or 400mg tablets with each meal (three times a day) from 32 weeks.
Teabags - 1st trimester- one cup per day -2nd trimester - two cups per day -3rd trimester - up to 4 to 5 teabag cups throughout the day.
Loose leaf tea - Bring one cup of water to the boil. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of the herb. Stir, cover and let sit for ten minutes (do not boil the herb), strain and sip. Adding sugar or honey many improve the taste. 2 to 3 cups per day is often recommended especially after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

And the article further up tells you about the concentrated dose for during labour.  

I am not sure about how much to take for helping with period pains, other my friend's daughter taking a cup a day.  It may be a case of just trying it and seeing what works.

Please share if you have found it has helped you!

And, watch this space to see if I have a better labour this time! *grin*  Not much longer now - my due date is 13th of April! :-)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Ruth - Part 2

This section, at the end of Chapter 1, is one of my favourite passages.

Devotion and commitment.

Those are the 2 words that sum it up.

It was never more real to me, than in April 2001.  We were thrilled to be at the wedding of 2 friends in Northern Ireland.  And, as a surprise to her new husband (I THINK I remember that part correctly?...), the bride said this passage to her new husband, straight after they said their vows.  It really touched my heart and was such a poignant moment.

"Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 
 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."

What utterly perfect words for a new Bride to say to her Groom!

However, we see here, that it is what Ruth says to Naomi.  Not the words that MANY would utter to their mother-in-law....I hasten to add, I would happily go with my mother-in-law! *smiles*

We see that Orpah had already made her choice.  She had initially claimed that she wanted to stay with Naomi, but her love seemed to quickly dim, and she chose to stay amongst her people.  To stay with the gods of her people.  Naomi suggests that Ruth should do the same, but Ruth's reply is what we read above.

She chose to stay with leave the country of her birth...and to go to an unknown land, with Naomi.

More than anything else, she chose God.

She chose to follow after HIM, and not the false gods of her past.

THIS was a choice of devotion and commitment.

It wasn't just empty words...we read of Naomi...

"When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her." 

Naomi could tell that Ruth meant what she said.  She could tell that her heart was in it...that her mind was set...that she was courageously choosing to leave all and follow.

Do you remember that passion? 

Do you remember that devotion, which filled our hearts when we chose to leave all and follow the LORD?

Of that turning away from our past life, and committing to follow the Lord, and not the world?

There are a lot of "doing" words spoken by Ruth...

"not to leave ,  following after :  I will go; I will lodge:"

She doesn't want to leave Naomi....she wants to follow after her - to go with her - to live with her.

"thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" 

She wants to adopt Naomi's people as hers, and most importantly, to trust in God as she does.  For Him to become HERS - the one in whom she trusts, and follows with her whole heart.  Making that commitment to ultimately follow after God, as Naomi does.

She commits to following after Naomi until death.  Right to the very end.

I read this today, and realised that we so easily wander off from our commitment to the Lord.  We so easily wander off into our own way, and away from that closeness that we had in days gone by.

The hymn writer sums it up like this...

"Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?"
(William Cowper)

We do not want to be accused, as the Church at Ephesus, to have "left our first love".

We need to remember that if we do not seek to have a close walk with the Lord - to have that devotion to Him, that we ought to have - we can have no strength to do what we need to, as wives and mothers.  Our relationship with the Lord is absolutely central to all else we do.  All of our efforts to be the best we can for our family, will be absolutely fruitless without a daily commitment to the Lord.  A daily casting off of those things that would hinder us from following after the Lord.

How can I teach my children to have a heart that follows after the Lord, if I fail to demonstrate it in my own life?

Every day, I need to make that commitment afresh.  Following God's leading isn't exclusive to those called to the mission field, or into the ministry! We have to be committed in whatever path He has led us in, and for most of us that is being a wife and mother.

Ruth, too, was going to be called into that life, in a truly amazing way....which we will learn about over the next few weeks.

So, today, will you commit today?....commit to follow after the Lord.  Not allow anything to "intreat us" to leave off from following after Him with a devoted and true heart?

Oh, walk with Jesus, wouldst thou know
How deep, how wide His love can flow;
They only fail His love to prove
Who in the ways of sinners rove.
Walk thou with Him, that way is light,
All other pathways end in night.
Walk thou with Him, that way is rest,
All other pathways are unblest.
Oh, walk with Jesus, to thy view
He will make all things sweet and new,
Will bring new fragrance from each flower,
And hallow every passing hour.
Jesus, a great desire have we
To walk life’s troubled path with Thee:
Come to us now, in converse stay:
And, Oh, walk with us day by day.
Edwin P. Hood

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Proverbs 31 Ponderings - Who is a virtuous woman?

We are going to be going on a hunt.  On a hunt for something that seems to be lost, amidst a generation of women who have lost their way.  They have lost their way in identifying where the strength of womanhood lies.

It does NOT lie in the ability to be as much like a man as you can.  On some kind of "equal footing" or the ability to do whatever they can do.

What God has designed for women is FAR more unique - FAR more special - than simply striving to be like a man!

The key to being the kind of woman described in Proverbs 31, is found in the opening question...

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." 
Proverbs 31:10

What do you think of when you think of someone virtuous?

Does the word itself conjure up "Austen-esque" ladies of stature in the community?  

Do you think of this?...

...because we ALL polish our shiny, metal things...right?....*aherm*

What about this one?....

because, if you look at the meaning of "virtuous", this is something that comes up! Army, valour and strength, are 3 of the parts mentioned in the root meaning for "virtue"!!

Also mentioned are a force...

(sorry, I couldn't resist, and it came up when I Googled "image of a force"....*grin*)

and wealth....

So many concepts related to being virtuous, not the ones you would necessarily think of first!

We would tend to think along the lines of...

"Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness."

Something attribute that is to be desired, such as kindness, gentleness, or frugality! 

But, also listed in the definitions is this...

Effective force or power:"

I think this sums it up in a great way.  What we do as a a wife and mother...should be that we are an effective and powerful woman! 

In the realm that we we have been given to rule, we must be effective and powerful!   No mean feat, really! No image of a weak little woman, delicately dusting her ceiling.  Ohhhhhhh no!  We are to be a FORCE! We are to do our job with effort.  With energy.

And what is the definition of "effective"?....

"Having an intended or expected effect."

So, we must be women who accomplish what we set out to do, with effort and energy!

Phew! What a challenge! Simply being gentle, kind and lovely seems quite tame, next to the expectation and challenge of actually ACCOMPLISHING the tasks we set out to do, AND doing it with all our effort. Am I the only one who never feels like she gets it all done, and if it is, it's not quite the way she hoped it would be? Please tell me I am not!?

SO, before we even get to looking at WHAT we should be doing, I feel like I am failing at the definition, never mind anything else! *blushes*

Again, let me clarify that life doesn't always work out perfectly...things come along that prevent us from doing things quite how we intended to.  

But, that is not the main issue.  Are we even AIMING and TRYING to do our best, with every ounce of our being?   I think THAT is our challenge as we begin to look at this woman.  Can WE find this woman in ourselves?  Can we find this woman of power and purpose, as we look at our own hearts?  Even a glimmer of a reflection? attempt to be a woman like this?

Let's be aiming to hunt down and BE that virtuous woman, as we look at what the Lord teaches us about her. 

Take up the challenge to be a woman of power and purpose, as we serve the Lord in our homes!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Chatting on the Farmhouse Porch

Well,'s been a few weeks since I sat and chatted with you on the porch.  The weather here has been sooooo lovely and spring-like, that I wish I had a porch to sit out on myself! 

So, onto the questions! 

1. What's your favourite type of chair?

Well, I am not very sure! I like it to be comfortable, so I think that a sofa.  I always sit in the same spot, on the same sofa (nearest a socket to plug in my laptop!)  Our present sofa isn't all that comfortable, but better than the last one.  Both were given to us, so we are very grateful, but we would like to save up and buy something new.

I would also love a rocker-glider chair.  I have a rocking chair, but it's quite high, and I can't sit with my feet on the floor to rock it!

2.  What was the last play you saw?

Hmmmmmm......I have never really been to the Theatre.  I went to see Sleeping BEauty, the ballet.  I have been to plenty of classicla concerts, BC....(before children!).   So, the last play I saw, was probably our school play, in High School! I wasn't in it - I helped do the make-up, though! (We weren't allowed to take part in the acting....I LONGED to do it, as it was a musical! lol)  It was Calamity Jane!  It was a lot of fun just to be involved, and I knew all the songs and lines along with the people actually IN it!

"Nowwwwwww I shout it from highest hills........."

"Oh, the deadwood stage is a comin' on over the plain....."

etc etc!

If you fancy listening to a bit of Doris, click play! :-)

3.  If you could spend an all expenses paid week in a cabin in the mountains, a cottage at the beach, or a townhouse in a city with lots of great attractions, which would you choose?

Oooooh, this is a bit tricky! I LOVE the seaside!  We live a looooong way from the seaside here - ok, well not as far as some folks in the USA live from the seaside....but for a girl who grew up in Scotland, where you are never too far from the sea, over 2 hours is ridiculous!  I love the sound of the it looks, in all the sun used to set behind Arran, as you went over the road to Stewarton....sun reflecting on the rippling waves...*sighs*

A City break?!?!  No way.  Not if Ihad the other 2 choices! I enjoy the odd trip to London - I find the old buildings and the history fascinating, but it wouldn't be a first choice.

No, this Scottish lass loves her mountains!  I not only live far from my beloved sea, but nowhere near any mountains....we passed a small hill on the way to our holiday in February, and the children exclaimed "look at the mountain"....whilst I sat objecting, shaking my head, and sighing in sadness, at my poor, uneducated children! 

I miss my we drive north, the odd time we get back to Scotland, I start to get happy as we hit the Lake District...MOUNTAINS!  you can't beat 3D scenery...Bedfordshire is pretty flat! 

We stayed in a cabin in the mountains, as I believe I mentioned before, when we went to Vermont on holiday, when I was in my teens.  They loved their view over into the valley SO much, that they had the house lifted up on stilts, and added a basement, so that the lounge could have the same view as the upper floors! It was truly glorious...looking out over the trees, down into the valley. 

We also stayed in Aviemore, with my family, several years ago.  It was grogeous!

this was the view from up in Cairngorms...stunning!

Now I am getting all longing and sighing!

So, without much of a doubt, it would be the cabin in the mountains!

4.  What's your favourite condiment? 

Ooooooooookkkkkkkkk....favourite CONDIMENT!!?  Not one I have ever thought long and hard about! It depends what I am eating, I guess??  So, here's a quick run down...

I like sweetcorn relish in my tuna mayo...

I like brown sauce on a corned beef sandwich...

I like red sauce on grilled cheese sandwiches...

I like mango chutney in a bacon sandwich...

I like any fruit chutney in a cheese or ham sandwich..

I like my own, homemade mix on potato wedges....

I like mayo on a chicken sandwich...

I like salad cream on  a potato sandwich....

How to make a pregnant woman verrrrrrrry hungry!!!!

5.  What's your favourite breed of dog?

Not difficult, really.  I grew up with them, and if I *EVER* had a dog, I doubt we would consider anything else...

  An, oh-so-cute, rather dopey, but fun English Springer Spaniel! 

We had one growing up - Kim.  She was lovely! She was bouncy, and rather dopey, but she'd just curl up by you in the evening.  We used to love her licking our feet, when we were younger! It tickled...and she must have been crazy!

Although, I think the funniest 2 moments were an American friend feeding her some Vindaloo.....(ohhhhhh yes!)....and giving her raisins in here bowl of water and laughing as she tried to get them out! (were we wicked owners that  needed to be reported to the SSPCA?!) 

If Robert and I got one, our only fight would and white, or liver and white?!  Their dog, growing up, was a black and white, called Heidi! Ours was a liver and white.

As things stand, with all our commitments....errrrr, children....we couldn't have a pet as well.

So nice chatting, Patrice!  

Say "hi" to Wendell! ;-)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Oh that I had wings like a dove....

God's Word is such a precious thing.

He brings scriptures to mind, and then uses them to speak to us.

I have had a tough few days - struggles of different types, and trials a-plenty.

This morning, this verse has been on my mind.

"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest." 
Psalm 55:6

Oh, how this verse jumped out to me! The picture that David paints, of a bird - flying high, away from dangers or troubles below.  Soaring high, away from distress.

I would have so very much loved to have flown away, this last couple of days.  Not from my family - they have been a blessing... but from circumstances - from the fiery darts of the evil one.

I decided that I needed to read the whole Psalm, to get the full context, and how blessed I was to read it.

These 2 verses struck my heart...

"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. "
(Verse 17)

"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
(Verse 22) 

What a blessed assurance! - I can cry aloud to the Lord - ANY time - and He will hear my cry.  He will hear my sorrows and struggles.  He will incline His ear unto my cry. He cares about my struggles.  He cares about my trials.

And then, the promise....I can throw all those burdens upon my Saviour - cast them all upon Him.  He has the shoulders to carry them, because He is GOD.  He is the Almighty One - the one who knows when a sparrow falls. 

He WILL sustain me.  He WILL give me the strength to carry on, because He IS my strength.

My strength and my song.

He will not even allow me to be moved.  To slip.  To fall. To be knocked off course.

Thank you Lord.

Thank you for lifting me up above my struggles - I don't need wings, I just need THEE.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday....The book of Ruth - Part 1

Ohhhhhhhh yes!  Part 1.  How can I deal with Ruth in one little blog post!? How can I deal with Naomi, without it dealing with Ruth as well?   There is just so much to think about, and to learn from, that I want to deal with it as a book, whilst dealing with both ladies, and divide it up into however many parts it becomes!!

The first chapter of the book of Ruth is a heart-rending one.  Emotion runs from despair, to disappointment, to delight.

First of all, we learn that there is a famine.  That alone is a trial.  However, the way in which Elimelech deals with it, is one of these "would I or wouldn't I" questions.  Our desire, as parents, is to care for our family.  In the face of extreme famine, and when food is scarce with a risk of starvation, would *I* be tempted to run off to a land of plenty?....even if that land was not a good place to be.  A place associated with sin, and those who did not love God.

I CAN understand his plight, but I think it indicates a lack of faith and trust, that he didn't stay where God wanted His people to be, and look to the Lord for provision.  Look at the widow of Zarapheth. Well, we will, whenever we get to that part of the Bible on Mondays! *smiles*

So, he takes his wife,and his two sons, and goes to the land of Moab, which the famine has not touched.  However, things go from bad to worse. First of all, Elimelech dies.  Naomi and her sons, Mahlon and Chilion, are left without a father, in a strange land.

Then, the sons take Moabitish women as their wives - Orpah, and Ruth. They took wives of a nation which the Lord had told the Israelites NOT to take wives from.  In direct disobedience to His command.

Interestingly, it doesn't mention which man married which woman.  I suppose it doesn't really matter.  Because, ten years later, they also die.  We don't know how or why, but they die. So, Naomi is left with no husband, and no sons - only two foreign daughter-in-laws.   She decided to go back to Israel, where word was heard that

"the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread"
Ruth 1:6

Had they stayed in Israel, God would have provided for their needs.   Those who had stayed, were provided for.  Oh, how easy it is to go our own way, thinking that it is better than God's way!  That we can provide for ourselves, better than God can! Life must have been tough for those left in Israel, but they were still provided for, whilst living in the knowledge that they were in the place God wanted them to be.

Better to be struggling, humanly speaking, whilst following God's way, than have plenty whilst living your own way.

So, Naomi makes the decision to go back home. Back to the land of her birth.  Back to where the Lord was blessing His people.   She made the choice to turn away from the place of sorrow, and return to the blessing of the Lord.

Do we find ourselves in a time of struggle, due to the unwise choices we have made?  It could be something as simple as taking on a commitment that we couldn't fully give our time to, and it's messed up our whole schedule and flow in the family.  It could be that you have made a purchase that you didn't think about carefully, and it's been a disaster.  It could be that you have spent money you didn't even have, and debt has been a struggle ever since.  Curriculum choices.  Friend choices.  Marital choices.

All because we read scripture our own way....or didn't choose to heed it....or plain just didn't check to see what God said about it first at ALL?

Maybe you thought it was even too small a thing to matter, and SURELY God did have a point of view on it? I think you will find, if you look hard enough, that the Bible has answer, or certainly wisdom relating to, pretty much everything....IF you look hard enough.

Look at the sorrow experienced by Naomi, because of the choice made by Elimelech.  We don't know if she went along willingly or not, but it certainly was Naomi left, at the end of the day, to bear the most heartache over the matter!  She was left husband-less, childless and with 2 daughters-in-law for which she could not even give the promise of another son to give to them as a husband in place of the one they lost.

So much sorrow, in fact, that we see her request at the end of chapter 1

"Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me."

Naomi means pleasant - Mara means bitter.   

What a declaration, and what a sad situation to be in. One that may have been avoided, by staying in the place that God wanted His people to be. 

Oh, what a warning.  A warning that we should be careful to take heed.  

Are we walking and living in the way the Lord wants you to?  

Are we obeying His leading?  

Are we following His purposes for your life?

Are we making choices that correspond with the Word of God, or the wisdom of man?

Let us guard our hearts and lives, so that we should never have occasion to change our names, even if only by thought, to Mara.