Thursday, 31 December 2009

2010 Has Arrived!

Best Wishes to you all for the New Year!

Here's wishing you health and happiness during 2010!

And to finish 2009...

We've just been watching a partial Lunar Eclipse. I think it is always amazing to watch any type of Eclipse , you can understand why the ancients might have been really worried when they happened. Last night there was a fresh, fairly heavy, fall of snow on the mountains. The roads were icy nearly the whole day as the temperature hardly rose above freezing. At least the wind has died down. These are the books I am planning to read in the coming year- they are not all mine and most are secondhand, but they are all on my 'thatlooksinteresting' list! The four books at the lower lefthand corner are on the bedside table at present, the rest I put there as I sorted.
Dilly and Sos are off to a Masked Ball at their favourite venue in town and spending the night at Mum and Dad's, and B is spending the evening with a friend whose folks are having a party. I'm trying to tidy all my sewing so I at least begin the year organised!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Waahay! Post!

Look what arrived in the post this morning:-
Colletta emailed me before Christmas to say I had won one of her book giveaways. I was delighted, and then the bad weather arrived which resulted in no post for nearly a fortnight. However this morning there was a clunk on the doormat and THERE it was!

I tell you, I was so pleased that I made myself a big cuppa tea, stretched out on the sofa and began reading! Thank you Colletta, I am so enjoying 'Jingle Bell Babies'!

And a day on the sofa has done me good too as I am still far from well, but with the house full of family have been dashing round like a mad thing keeping up with laundry, meals, cleaning, airing the dogs, mopping up snow puddles, etc etc- just usual mother things. So I guess I'm twice grateful!

My favourite mug with Winnie-the-Pooh came to grief this evening, boo hoo. B was very sorry too as she broke it.

The wind has been howling since yesterday afternoon, now with sleet and snow added. It is wearing listening to it but I'm thankful for a warm, snug house (which hasn't always been the case). Sos and B made supper this evening, when I said salads I meant various dishes, but they misunderstood and put everything together in one big bowl, including all the Christmas leftovers!!!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Black Holes and Spring? Cleaning

You know the way some homes have Black Holes into which endless numbers of socks disappear so that you are left with an array of odd socks?
Well I've come to the conclusion that our house has a Black Hole designed especially for my KNICKERS! I apologise for airing my laundry in public, but I assure you that it is all clean as I know I put the items in the washing machine. Somewhere between loading and folding the clean laundry my knickers are gradually disappearing. A few months back I bought myself eight new pairs of VERY expensive lingerie- 4 euro the knick, no less (5.76200 USD), (don't laugh, it's dear for me) and I'm down to THREE.

In the immortal words of Queen Victoria (also my Great Grandmother): 'We are not amused'.
(btw Queen Vic wasn't my Great Grandmother, my G G was another person entirely!)

B had a brainstorm yesterday and spent the day tidying her room. Out of it came four bags of rubbish...

...a heck of a lot of laundry (not all of it her own clothes I gather from the howls of outrage which followed the laundry dumping)...
but the result is stupendously fabulous!
You can see the walls...
... and furniture...
...and FLOOR! Oh, is that the colour of the carpet?
I am hoping that since it was all her own idea she might keep it tidy for a while?!
Oh, and I take back what I said about having only a Knicker Monster in this house, seems we may have a Sock Monster too...
That's all folks!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Change and a Challenge

Yesterday's sermon was based on the verse:-

'And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.'

(Luke Ch 2 v 52)

The Canon spoke of how change happens whether we like it or not, like gardens growing, buildings needing repair, children growing up and even our relationships with each other altering in the course of time.

Mary the Mother of Jesus had to change as her son grew and took on the mantle of His vocation- she changed from parent of a dependant baby, to serving the Son of God.

The point is that we NEED to change to grow; we need to alter ourselves to serve our God better and more faithfully. Our God does not change, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but He is the only being in the world who is perfect. The Canon suggested that many of us might need to change our way of walking with God- that perhaps we have been expecting Jesus to follow us in our 'busyness' instead of looking to Him to lead us, that perhaps we may have casually relegated Jesus to the 'Sunday box' instead of opening ourselves to what He would like us to do each and every day.

Change is never easy. To grow and change, see our faults and prayerfully remedy them can literally be as painful as pulling teeth. We can't see the future, we can't see the end of the journey God asks us to take with Him, we can't even see the reason for some of His directions but that isn't the point. All He asks is for us to follow Him- it's as easy, and as tough, as that!

Am I ready? Heck no! But I'm up for the challenge Lord!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Catch Up!

I came to a rather abrupt halt on 15th December when I woke up unwell, but by the grace of God, and nothing else, managed to get through all the Carol Services, School and Churches for the rest of the week. I'm told they all went well but since I felt awful and couldn't hear from one ear I have to take their word for it!

Monday 21st I went to the Doctor who agreed that I was sick!! After a week of antibiotics, ibuprofen, and a bunch of other stuff the old system has been beaten into submission and I begin to return to the land of humans! Anyhow I played in Church all the services I had to, even though Christmas Dinner was left totally to Mom.

Christmas Day with the Dean giving out the children's presents, after they had each shown him what they got from Santa!
Christmas Day about 9.45am- Walking to get the car from the cow-byre where it was left all week due to the ice and snow up our lane way in order to get to Church.
Sunrise Christmas morning.
Christmas Eve the sun shone and the countryside was just beautiful.
Every so often freezing fog rolled up the valley, which made it look kind of like the Swiss Alps! We had great fun taking photos.
The snow is melting now, the water pipes have thawed so we have water again, and we pranged the car coming home from Church this morning, for the second time this week, wedging it sideways across the lane. The Hub managed to dig it out and slide it down the lane to a wide verge to dump it, but a neighbour did the same thing further up the lane and her car is stuck until the ice melts, as is the neighbour's tractor.
How people manage whole winters of this sort of weather beats me.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


One decorated Tree...FINALLY!
Someone's well cheesed off with this whole Christmas lark.
Sos practising for the school Carol Service. We worked it out the other day and this is her 8th year as she began when she was 10 years old and in 5th Class!
The set design Sonia has been preparing for her end of term Presentation today...not finished...
And you thought I made a mess????
My car is being re-tested this morning, so I hope it passes after all the garage has done to it.
Last school practise this morning in Church, with the Organist, and guess what? I'm sick...pits. I haven't time to succumb to sinusitis, cold, fever, cough, etc until the Monday after Christmas. Now until then is non-stop playing and conducting music.
Dilly went to a 'pipe and drum' Session in a Dublin pub last night and loved it...she says, and I agree, an hour of the pipes and drums and you'd raise the sword on anyone. Dunno whether its primitive, tribal, mom mentality but when the Irish begin to sing they're away!

The bro and travelling-sis have arrived in Chile and he emailed us a photo of her so we could see that she is in one piece...BUT...typical brother, he sent one of her eating and her mouth full! Well, I guess I'd have done the same to annoy him if I had the opportunity!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Third Sunday in Advent

The Candle of Peace.
This candle reminds us that Jesus comes to bring Peace into our hearts and into the world.

'And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."

Luke Ch 1 v 76-79

Today I was sent for in a panic by the Sunday School Teacher part way through the Service, so I missed the Sermon.

The Tax-collector and Angel Gabriel were refusing point blank to take part in the Nativity, the teenage helper was trying to oust 'Elizabeth' and play her herself, two older Shepherds had told the younger Shepherds that they had to be sheep and they were lustily rebelling, and Joseph was refusing to dress the part for the day...I guess I was the riot police?

There were only eleven children in the room but tempers were high! Lengthy negotiations followed and all was sorted by the time parents came to retrieve their off-spring. Actually it was all quite surreal...but a regular part of Christmas for many of us I guess! (One year we had a Wise Man and all he would say was 'Moo!')

I've often thought that nothing demonstrates the Lord's humour better than the fact that He allows the Nativity to be re-enacted year after year down the centuries. And such is His power that even through the histrionics and disasters, His love and compassion for us still shine through.

What a God we have!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Items of interest?

Have you visited Dottie Angel and her 'challenge of the utmost kind?'For one year I have challenged myself to buy only handcrafted or second-hand goods for my house and my own closet. I plan to get creative with whatever our home or my wardrobe may require over the coming 365 days.'

Tif encourages anyone who thinks they could do this to join her and sign up. I've been considering it and I think it's a great way to work on saving the planet, not wasting resources, think twice before you buy, recycling, reusing, and all those other good things we are encouraged to do.

Our household recycles all the waste we can, we compost, we try not to spend money on things we don't need although with three children that's more of an economy thing than environmental! We tithe to the Church and Charities as the Bible tells us, since God too, is plenty interested in us minding His world and its resources. I try to grow some of our vegetables, and intend to plant fruit trees, we've insulated the house to within an inch of its life and heat almost entirely with wood fires. We combine car journeys in and out of town and do no unnecessary driving, although some days it feels like all I've done is drive the roads of Leitrim and Sligo!

But I still think there must be more I could do and this sounds like a fun way of figuring it out! Saving resources should came so naturally I don't have to think about it, and for it to be sustainable it should also not detract from the quality of living.
So along the same theme I have also signed up to 'A Year of Living Creatively'.
Lots to think about anyhow!
Quilters' Cookbook- see the button on the sidebar? I got the e-Cookery Book Friday and have been wondering what to try first! The ultimate eye candy because there are quilts AND recipes!
Yesterday I used a Crock-Pot Chicken recipe from it and it was rather tasty and economical on time too.
So there you go!


Be VERY jealous! I received a postcard from South Georgia, posted from the sister's Antarctic trip! I believe that the postbox at Grytviken is the most southerly in the world. It has no regular collection as whenever a ship passes through the postbox is emptied and taken to the next port of call for dispatch! I asked her to post me one from there as I thought it was just so remote...and she remembered.

Its just incredible that there are still such remote places on our world in the 21st Century.
The bro joins her in Santiago, Argentina today, for Christmas. They intend to head to Patagonia, but she has some concerns as to whether she'll find the correct bus to the airport this evening!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Of Sisters and Mishaps

Here's a misuse of the blogging medium for you:

Last night our eldest daughter was looking at recent posts to catch up on the home news. When she saw the state of the sitting room she texted her sisters with directions to tidy up at once! (They ignored her!)

Sos was reading an old magazine of Mum's this morning and found a recipe for chocolate vodka drink...yeurch! She wants a party after New Year...well she was told in no uncertain terms she can buy the vodka if she wants it- I'm NOT. Anyhow I don't approve of spirits at house any shape or form!!

B was ready for school early this morning so was dumped pronto and I was parked at the Supermarket by 8.30am. Shopped, was at folks for breakfast by 9.30, and at school by 11.20 to gather and sing with the children who are singing for the Methodist Service next Wednesday. It went pretty well. Sometimes its nice to work with a small group and I think they enjoyed it too.

Finished about 12.45 and set off for home....and then realised I should have had two more people in the car...Turned round, went to park and managed to hit the school gate, wedged the car against it so now I've a big scrawb of red paint along the side...Ah well, things happen I guess...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Thankful Thursday!

1. Thankful for sunrises! Isn't this incredible?
I took it this morning at sunrise when I went out to de-ice the car.

2. Thankful for the beauty of a frosty morning!
Its been a lovely bright but very cold day.
3. Thankful that the school Carol Service is on track. This morning was spent with all the children in Church practising their songs with the Organist.

4. Thankful we live in the age of penicillin. This afternoon was spent at the Doctor's surgery with Sos, who has tonsillitis. It used to be a regular occurrence with her, but we'd escaped the last few years and I was hoping she'd grown out of it. No such luck, and this is as bad a dose as she's had.

5. Thankful for my eccentric children! THIS is the sitting-room at present...decorations everywhere except the tree- AARGH!
The lights...ah yes....yesterday evening B got into trouble with her father for attempting repeatedly to lasso the top branches of the tree with the end of the string of lights...she couldn't be bothered setting up the ladder (which was beside her!).

Next question: do any of the lights still work??

All you with sons think BOYS are bold? I've always held that our daughters are past masters of the special art of 'Creative Badness'.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Christmas Tree is in!

Does bumping off my Hubert Hippo whilst putting up the tree count as collateral damage?
52 point turn in progress...
B is at the top end of the tree...can you see her?
Oops! It won't stand straight!
If he lets go will it topple over.....?
Ta da!
The decorations are now all over the floor being 'organised'. I wonder how long it will be before they arrange themselves onto the tree? The girls spent an hour this evening untangling the tree lights and were then too tired to put them up! Now we have lines up and down the sitting room floor!
I finished the Elf and he is up on the sidebar!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Black Frisbees!

Does anyone still have this?
Or these?
A few years ago a young neighbour wandered into a friend's house whilst her Dad was sorting his music collection and exclaimed: 'Janey Mac! you've a lot of black Frisbees! Haven't you any coloured ones?' Ever since then we all call records 'black Frisbees'!
Anyhow, since we are well into December now, I think it's alright to start playing the black Frisbees- I so enjoy Christmas Music!
My amaryllis is beginning to flower. Each year I am amazed afresh at the huge, intricately coloured flowers! I'll keep you posted on its progress...
And look! I made the cranberry sauce for Christmas...despite it being out of focus I didn't add any booze! Isn't the colour so rich?
And finally, progress is being made on hand quilting the earlier mishap.
I spent the day designing and constructing a Christmas Elf but I'll show you that when it is finished.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Morning That Was!

Thank you Andrea for the 'Circle of Friends' Award which she gave me! In return I have to list five things I love doing (in no particular order):
1. Sewing- especially patchwork and quilting.
2. Walking on the beach in Winter with half a gale blowing.
3. Playing the piano when no one is listening.
4. Baking to the (loud) sound of Andrea Bocelli!
5. Reading.

This morning I had quite a few messages to do before going in to School. It started out just not my day and then turned into...well, you'll see...

B had to stop at the College shop on the way to school to buy a scientific calculator as someone stole hers on Friday and she had a Maths Exam this morning. After that I went on to park in town and got out of the car to find it was sleeting- eurgh! Put my €2 in the parking disc yoke and it spat out a BLANK docket! Well I was mad.
Went to the ATM, wouldn't accept my card. Went to another, it had been removed since I was last in town. Went to another, wouldn't take my card. Went to a third and finally got money.
Crossing the footbridge I stopped to take some photos as the river remains really high. It was still drizzling so I'm surprised the photos came out at all.
As I was taking them a voice remarked in my ear 'Tourist!'- it was our Churchwarden. We had a brief conversation and as we parted company the Vegetable Man went past so I walked to the Bank with him and caught up on the state of the Market Garden, spring planting, and the best shop for Second-hand clothes- he says Oxfam, I say Enable Ireland!

When leaving the Bank I accidentally shut the delayed lock door on an old man whom I thought was further away, and the Postman laughed at me. 'That'll larn him to move faster,' sez he, 'and get on with you, ye did it on purpose!' I truly didn't.

On the bridge by the old weir I took some more photos.
Pure Guinness- huh?
Came round the corner and found the school Principle in kinks of laughter- a squad car had come belting round the corner onto O'Connell St., siren blaring, hitting a bollard as it took the corner, screeched to a halt outside the Building Society, two Guards lept out, dashed into the place, and then proceeded to leisurely withdraw their money and have a laugh and chat with the clerks...Only in Ireland I tell you!

And at 10.20am I arrived at School!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

2nd Sunday in Advent

The Candle of the Way
The candle lit on the second Sunday in Advent is to symbolise that Christ is The Way. As Christians, we are lost in sin so Christ is the Light, sent to us to show us the way out of darkness.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John Ch 14 v6)
Today the Dean spoke on Malachi Ch3 v1-14:
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiners fire or a launderer's who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Several years ago the Dean took his then youth group to visit the Royal Mint in Cardiff. He described being taken through the process from the refining of base metal into pure, cutting the blank coins until the final image was stamped on them and they were fit for use. It was fascinating to see, but it also gave an insight into the process God uses to render us fit for His use.
Advent, as a season of penitence, allows us to look at the impurities in our lives and allow God to skim them away. Only then can He put His stamp on us, the symbol of our Heavenly Monarch. Malachi longed to see the people of God being a pure, holy, effective witness for Him since the only way that the lost can see Jesus is in us.
Not much has changed really, has it?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Of Elves and Quilts...

All you Mothers out there will appreciate this scenario:-
Tea time Friday, 'Mom I need an Elf costume tomorrow. I got a job helping Santa at the grotto in Togher's!'
Lovely dear, and how do I magic up an elf costume?
'Oh I figured you'd have some red material and you know...'

So, up at sparrow this morning to make this:
The waistcoat was an old sateen top (from my disco days but sssh!) and the shirt was a remnant of silk left over from the dress I made for my first date with the Hub many MANY years ago...
Talk about history!
And for the rest of the day I've been working on hand-quilting yesterday's mishap. Definitely better than the machine quilting.


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