31 March 2014

Suddenly realized it's the last day of March!! So here's this month's Taking Stock (thanks to Pip Lincolne for the list!)

Making time to rest - my poor body's been through it this month...

Cooking - Nick made his special fried rice for dinner - full of colourful and tasty ingredients - YUM!

Drinking  the usual... water with a slice of lemon...

Reading several copies of The New Yorker sent by my lovely friend in Santa Barbara, CA

Wanting a good night's sleep

Looking forward to a dear friend's wedding on Saturday

Playing Elbow's new CD (and yes, I have a wee crush on Guy Garvey - such a poet!)

Wasting nothing - enjoying every moment of feeling better!

Sowing seeds of kindness...

Wishing for good weather on Saturday - fingers and toes crossed!

Enjoying the new series of Endeavour, which started last night - a great concept brilliantly done!

Waiting for a burst of energy to tackle the chaos on my desk...

Liking the longer days (we changed our clocks to BST at the weekend)

Wondering what we'll have for Easter Sunday lunch (only 3 weeks to go...)

Loving my magnificent magnolia in full bloom

Hoping the weather holds, so the mass of buds can keep opening...

Marvelling that something so exotic can thrive in our wee back garden

Needing a good night's sleep

Smelling everything (esp. the magnolia!!) - enjoying every moment of a non-congested nose :-)

Wearing my favourite comfy clothes - a light wool tunic and leggings

Following the ascent of my beloved Liverpool FC to the top of the Premier League - not yet daring to hope they could actually win it for the first time in 25 years - 6 more matches to go till the end of the season...

Noticing how tired I am (it's now 9.20pm)

Knowing I need to go to bed very soon

Thinking nothing - my brain needs a rest

Bookmarking some wonderfully beautiful creations on Etsy

Opening my eyes wider - they're threatening to droop...

Giggling/Smiling at the memories of yesterday - a lovely family lunch with my dad and brother (it was Dad's birthday AND Mother's Day), followed by a family trip around Belton House

Feeling so much better and so grateful for that!

Fourth Monday of Lent and Word for the Week

Oh my, it's been a tough few weeks but I've pretty much recovered, finally...
It was a nasty cold/flu virus, and given my other health issues, it really knocked me down.

I have been reading my Lent book every day, and thinking of things to share, but I just didn't have the physical or mental energy to actually do anything about it :-{

But I so appreciated all your thoughts and comments, and the fact I wasn't forgotten, so thank you :-)

And, it's now a new day, a new week, and I do feel so much better!

Today's painting in God for Us is this...

Jacob Lawrence, Men Exist for the Sake of One Another, Teach Them Then or Bear with Them, 1958

... with the meditation focus on Jesus feeding the 5000 - another favourite Bible story! I always loved the fact that not only do 5 loaves and 2 fishes feed all those people, but that Jesus tells the disciples to 'Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost', and they filled 12 baskets...

... a little fragment of goodness, kindness, thoughtfulness goes a long way, methinks!!

Which takes me nicely to this week's Word for the Week, drawn from Mary Lunnen's Rediscovery Cards...

What a perfect word for this time of year, as the days lengthen (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least!) And the fact that a little light goes a long way to dispel the darkness all over the globe...

Photo from Google, copyright J.M. Wigmore

And it so happens that the background colour of the card is very like the frosting on my free Mother's Day cupcake from the restaurant where we enjoyed Sunday lunch yesterday... Needless to say, I didn't eat the sweets and the icing (I am diabetic), but the kids enjoyed it, and I enjoyed some of the cake :-)

And before I sign off for today, I've finally drawn the winner of the Giveaway and posted this week's giftie... so pop over here to leave a comment or click on the Celebration Sundays button...

It's so good to be back - and the feel the light :-)

PS This just arrived in my email box... too perfect!!

Giveaway 8 (winner drawn 6 April at 11am GMT) and Giveaway 7 winner

Finally, I'm back in the land of the living... and trying to catch up with myself....
So to crack on - here's the winner of Giveaway 7 - do you remember this pretty necklace?

Using the random number generator thingy, it chose no. 10 from the 21 comments left on the Giveaway post, which means 

Congratulations, Onewaterlily!

Also, does anyone know how to contact Alexandra who won the angel sketchbook (Giveaway 6) - she's on Google+ and I can't contact her...

Giveaway 8

Now for this week's Giveaway

I love this book - but not enough the keep two copies - so I offer this brand new paperback to you :-)
There's an awful lot of wisdom packed into these 100+ pages, and I just love her quirky sketches!

She has a beautiful way with words, and you can learn more about Ruth Gendler here on her website. I'd really love one of her paintings, but I'm settling for enjoying all her books instead :-)

Leave a comment here if you'd like to win the book, and I'll draw the winner on Sunday 6 April at 11am (BST - yes, we finally changed our clocks this weekend!).


24 March 2014

Still full of cold *sigh*
But am up and about, though the blocked sinuses are affecting my balance...
Hope to post when my head clears...

18 March 2014

Not well... knocked sideways by a bad cold :(
Will return when feel better...

16 March 2014

Second Sunday in Lent

Lorenzo Veneziano (fl. 1356--79) Christ Rescues St Peter from Drowning

15 March 2014

First Saturday in Lent

Angelica Kauffmann, Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well (1796)

Yesterday's images didn't inspire me, but today's certainly does! It's of a favourite Bible story (John 4.1--26) AND it's painted by a woman - a double hit!! 

It's a favourite for it shows Jesus engaging in serious theological discussion with a woman (gosh!), a foreign woman (golly!), and a 'sinner' (gasp!). It shows how he sought out the outsider, the 'least' of society to connect with at the deepest level - he knew her past, present and future, and revealed his true nature to her.

And I enjoyed learning about the artist here and here - I'm not a fan of the Neoclassical, but I can appreciate her skill and I love that she was a foundation member of the Royal Academy!

Focus on Life Week 11: Beauty all around

I totally agree with Sally's sentiment to 'enjoy the beauty that abounds in our world', but we've seen little sun in our part of the UK, and any natural beauty has been shrouded in very chilly mist and fog...

I can barely see my beloved pine trees in the distance...

But a neighbour's tree does have a certain ethereal beauty shrouded in mist...

Hopefully, you've had sun where you live, and as we all know, Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder...

And this week's Giveaway is beautiful - a fine sliver ginkgo necklace. There's more photos and info over at the Giveaway post here where you can leave a comment to enter tomorrow drawing

14 March 2014

First Friday in Lent

I'm not inspired by the images for today's reading in the book, so I'll show you this - which I've worn every day throughout Lent and Advent for several years. I do wear it at other times (because I like it!), but wear it 'with intention' in these two special times of the year...

It is a silver Jerusalem cross - made by a jeweller in Israel, bought online as I've never been to the Holy Land. In the centre is a bronze replica of a denarius - a Roman coin first minted about 200BC according to wikipedia...

But, for me, the significant part is on the back...

The words are from the Bible story of the widow's mite (a mite was the slang word for a denarius, which by Jesus' time had been devalued to the lowest currency, like a penny/cent)

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything...'
Mark 12.41--44 

It reminds to always try and 'put in everything'. Sometimes, I give from my 'poverty' of time, energy, money... and at other times, I give from my wealth of the same. But, the intention is always to 'put in everything'...

Random 5 Friday

Linking in with Nancy at A Rural Journal

1. Molly and I are feeling much better - thank you for all your good wishes :-)

2. In the past few days I've received so much happy mail - I have been spoiled! 
You can see photos here.

3. I recently discovered Stella Homewood, and promptly bought both her albums 
(and yes, I fell for the gorgeous artwork on both too!) 

4. I found this all-time favourite film secondhand on DVD - I had the original video - 
was it really made in 1991?!?!

5. And here's this week's Giveaway
Go to the Giveaway post here to see more photos and more info to leave a comment to enter Sunday's draw, or click on the Celebration Sundays button in the sidebar.

13 March 2014

First Thursday of Lent

Be still, and know that I am God. 
Psalm 46.10


Rest and be thankful.
William Wordsworth


There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest.
Use both and overlook neither.
Alan Cohen


Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.


Thou has made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in Thee.
Augustine of Hippo

12 March 2014

First Wednesday of Lent

John La Farge, Visit of Nicodemus to Christ (1880)

Poor Nicodemus... sadly, old age doesn't guarantee wisdom... *sigh*
To be born of free-blowing Spirit, that is the key...

The only way that we can rest at peace in our minds is when we live the fullness of now, or what some in the Christian tradition called 'the sacrament of the present moment'. Otherwise life is just endlessly rehashing the past and rehearsing the future, neither of which create rest.
Richard Rohr in God for Us, pp. 35-36


New to Wednesday's desk hop? All is explained here :)

In the past week, I have received wonderful happy mail from Italy and Australia  - thank you so much!!

First of all, lovely Letizia sent these gorgeous papers and ephemera from Italy 'just because'...

Look at the gorgeous swirls and bubbles in the corner of the envie! And here's a close-up of the zentangled card - she's so talented!

Thank you Soul Sister!

Then, two from Oz - first these exquisite tags from fellow-desker Judy...

Too, too gorgeous - thank you so much!!

And lastly this from Jenny Wren - I actually remembered to get the camera for the opening of this one :)

A stunning calendar, card and bookmark, some Aussie teabags and special Aussie spices! Anyone for a barbie??

I have been SO spoiled! Thank you so very much!!

And before I wander off to poke around on others' desks, here's this week's Giveaway...

... a beautiful silver ginkgo necklace. You can learn more on the Giveaway post here, where you can leave your name to be entered into Sunday's draw, or you can click the Celebration Sundays button on the sidebar :)

11 March 2014

First Tuesday of Lent

Salvator Rosa, Christ Expelling the Money Changers from the Temple (1660s)

A haiku
Drive out distractions.
Make a temple, most holy,
Within and without.

10 March 2014

First Monday of Lent and Word for the Week

Duccio Di Buoninsegna (c.1260-1318), The Marriage Feast at Cana

This is one of my favourite Bible stories, ever since childhood! It was magical to a kid, Jesus turning water into wine :-)

Then, in my Oxford interview (aged 17 and VERY scared and nervous), one of the interviewers (there were three) tossed a Greek New Testament at me and barked, 'Translate the page on which it falls open!' *gulp*

Yes, it was John 2, and I can't pretend I knew all the Greek, but I did know the story verbatim, so I calmly 'translated' :-D 
And while they didn't show it, I think they were quietly impressed by this Northern girl from a rural school, and I'm sure that's why I got in - and later enjoyed the best 3 years ever as a student!


Word for the Week

Can you believe the card I drew from Mary's Rediscovery Cards to ponder this coming week??

Well, what d'ya know? Weddings are fun (a dear friend is getting married for the first time next month - can't wait!), and while Lent doesn't have a reputation of being fun, the story above certainly does! It shows the miracle of abundance, overflowing generosity as gallons and gallons of water are turned into wine :-)

And even though, I'm not a PINK kinda gal, I do think the card's an eye-popping, fun colour - exuding life and exuberance!

(had fun saturating the colour on these lilies!)
(found this photo in my archive - can't remember why I gathered all the pink things I could find...)

And to be honest, after the pains of last week, I'm ready to have some

PS Don't forget to scroll down and see this week's fun Giveaway...

9 March 2014

Giveaway 7 (winner drawn 16 March at 11am GMT) and Giveaway 6 winner

Oh my, the weeks are whizzing by... which means I AM getting closer to my half-century *gulp*

Much better to focus on loveliness like giving away pretty things :-)

And this week's jewellery Giveaway IS pretty - and unusual...

It's a handmade silver pendant with a ginkgo leaf impressed into the silver. In the Far East, the ginkgo is the symbol of longevity, hope, resilience and peace - how beautiful is that??

As you can see, the pendant is almost an inch in diameter and on the back is the artisan's stamp and a hallmark to show it is fine silver. It hangs on an olive-coloured leather cord about 18" in length with a small silver lobster clasp.

If you'd like to win this pretty, symbolic necklace, leave a comment below, and I'll draw the winner next Sunday, 16 March at 11 am GMT 

Giveaway 6 winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my sixth giveaway - this beautiful sketchbook.

There were 26 entries and, using an online random number generator, the winner is comment no. 4
Congratulations, Alexandra!!

If you can email me your snail mail address (using the Contact Form in the sidebar, as the email link on my Profile doesn't seem to work...), I'll get this treasure in the post to you this week :-)

First Sunday of Lent

Briton Riviere, The Temptation in the Wilderness, 1898

8 March 2014

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Many see Lent as the season of denial, of fasting... 

I prefer to see it not as a time to give up things, but as a time to add - making more time for prayer, reflection, reading and giving to others...

(Image from Google - don't know original source)

This is what Isaiah considered true fasting to be and

You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Isaiah 58:11b-12

I would love to be like a well-watered garden and be called a Repairer of Broken Walls :-)

Focus on Life Week 10: The big picture

This week's prompt was to take a wide angle shot...

As the only place I've ventured this week has been the hospital - Monday for botox shots in my paralyzed arm, Wednesday for hydrotherapy - and the weather has been blah - grey, wet and cold! - there have been few opportunities to take photos :(

But I did snap this at first light yesterday...

Now, this is the view I choose to focus on whenever I look out the back of the house. I imagine we live in a forest surrounded by tall trees...

But this is the reality - this is the big picture *sigh*

Almost forgot to show this week's Giveaway - a handmade sketchbook

More photos and info here where you can leave a comment if you want to enter the draw to win tomorrow.