Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Gratitudes

Days are flying by so fast just now - such a lot going on and it is hard to find the time to come here. Yet it is important to look back and count my blessings and give thanks for them. We are surrounded by God's blessings - they are everywhere, although sometimes we don't appreciate them as they merge into the everyday. The Bible tells us that God's mercies are "new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22,23) - such a wonderful confirmation of God's abundant love for us. Tonight, as I look back over recent days, I am grateful for:

The beauty of Creation
The love of family
Good food on the table
Clothes to wear, and new skills learned
Working on the land
The fellowship of community
Times of fun and relaxation

I wish you all of God's blessings as we begin another week.

Friday, February 21, 2014

This Moment

Joining in again with Soulemama - sharing a moment that I want to remember.
Wishing everyone a peaceful weekend. xx

Monday, February 17, 2014

Under the Sun: Feb 2014

Sunrise 17.2.14 - 7.30 am

Sunrise: Jan, Dec, Nov
     Oct, Sept

Noon 17.2.14

Noon: Jan, Dec, Nov
   Oct, Sept

Sunset 16.2.14  5.25 pm

Sunset: Jan, Dec, Nov
    Oct, Sept.

Really from February onwards, there is a relentlessness about the Sun's movement. Already we are feeling the pull towards the outdoors - the lighter mornings and evenings lengthen the working days, weather permitting, of course, and there is a renewed strength in the quality of the light. The hens are laying, there are signs of growth, and I have lots of plans for the coming seasons.
Other things change too - our neighbour has built a new shed over the Winter, which you can see in the latest sunset picture.
It's hard to believe I am six months into this photo project already - the darkest months are over and I am looking forward to sharing the light half of the year now.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Reflection

We had some good news at church today - the Presbytery is allowing us to call a part-time Minister. With the many cut-backs happening in the wider Church, it had been doubtful if we would be able to do this, but we have. Our many prayers have been answered. The sermon today was all about prayer too. Paul's prayer for the church at Ephesus, (Eph 3:14-12) and Our Lord's teaching on prayer ( Matt 6: 9-13). We heard how prayer is often unanswered because we do not humble ourselves and pray in Faith. Yet Jesus himself tells us that when you pray, believe that you have received. Jesus also said in Matt 18:19 - 
 "Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree on anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven."  

Later, as a few of us were sitting over a cup of tea, in the church hall, chatting about the news of the decision on calling a minister, we felt moved to have a moment of prayer. It was a such powerful moment, and I really felt some of the difficulties we have faced were removed,  and some real healing occurred.  

There is much in this world in need of prayer right now - this week I have been particularly thinking of those suffering from the effects of extreme weather - wherever and whatever it may be - drought, flooding, gales or snow. I ask that you might take a moment to pray with me for those affected.

Our father in Heaven, You have created a beautiful world for us to care for. And yet, amid the wonder of this creation, we find ourselves struggling, battered by the elements. Our lives are changed, homes swept away, crops ruined. The Earth is crying out. Lord, we have not listened to this cry, and we have been poor stewards of your gift to us. Forgive us, Father, hear our prayer for all affected by these extremes today. Bring them relief and hope. Be also with those who are working to help them. We ask these prayers in the name of your beloved Son, Jesus. Amen.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

This moment

Joining in with Soulemama - sharing a moment that I want to remember and cherish.
Wishing everyone a warm and relaxing weekend. xx

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's do lunch!

So - what are you doing for lunch? The cows are tucking into a bale of haylage, and they seem to be enjoying it. I love the smell - its like opening a bottle of summer meadow - a blast of sunshine in the depths of Winter. I am having a quick bowl of leftover sausage and tomato pasta as I write.

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or facebook, you will be familiar with my #lunchboxoftheday posts. Each morning, I take a photograph of James's school lunch-box, and post it via Instagram. I started doing this when J entered school, mainly to inspire myself to provide him with healthy homemade packed lunches. I thought that if I did this, it would encourage me to keep up my standards, and also be a source of ideas.  It's become quite popular, and people are very kind in their comments, but sometimes I feel a bit uncomfortable about it. A couple of folk have joked that I was putting them to shame with my lunch box photos. It is lovely that people are so interested, but I really don't want to make anyone feel inferior at all - no no no!  You see - I don't have to get myself out to work by a certain time in the morning, I only have one child at school now, and I have access to a fair amount of home produce, so it is relatively easy for me to put these together, but I thought I would talk a bit  more about what goes into them.

First of all, J doesn't like sandwiches. He will eat the contents, and leave the bread, although he happily eats bread on its own. Also, I plan as many meals as I can with leftovers in mind, so we can have pizza slices, pasta, tortilla, pie, or roast lamb kebabs turning up in the lunch-box next day (things on skewers always go down well). Tonight I am planning to make a chard and feta pie for dinner, so I will save a bit of that for tomorrow. I do try to think ahead - if I bake, for instance, then I will freeze some specifically for the packed lunch, or I will freeze slices of meat or sausage rolls - no need to defrost, just pop a slice of cake or scone into the box and it will be perfect by lunchtime - you can see some caramel shortcake making a couple of appearances above. I always have a main course, some fruit and a sweet treat. The portions are  quite small, mainly because eating interferes with playing outside, but he has a good breakfast, and dinner at 5pm. I try to vary the meals as much as I can -there is nothing worse that seeing the same boring thing day after day. (My dad still can't eat bananas, after my Gran, excited by their re-introduction after wartime rationing, included one in his packed lunch every day - for several years.)   That said, J does like satsumas and kiwi fruit, so they make very regular appearances, and when the cherry tomatoes were ripe, they had to feature every day. I do tend to spend a bit more on some items - for example we are very fond of the cheeses and charcuterie which we can buy in our local delicatessens, but I feel I balance that out by using leftovers. It works well, cuts down waste, keeps me out of the supermarket, and saves money. I don't think it takes anymore time to pop a piece of pie, or serving of pasta into the lunchbox than it does to make up a sandwich, and I enjoy the challenge of coming up with different ideas - and, most importantly, I know exactly what is going into the food.

The boxes are called Lunchbots, and are available in various styles. Ours is the Naked Lunchbot Trio. I like them because they are stainless steel, rather than plastic. The partitions are not totally leak proof though, so the food has to be reasonably solid - I wouldn't send yoghurt for instance, but the banana sponge pudding with mascarpone was fine. (bottom right, mosaic)

Goodness - that was a long lunch. I hope you enjoyed it - but you really must stay for dessert! xx

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Reflection

What a week it's been! Gales and rain and floods still batter us, and much time is spent, head down, making sure the livestock is fed and safe - its been such a hard Winter for them. We were blessed with a visit from granddaughter Breagha and my daughter and son-in-law, there was a big community meeting about the future of our Estate, and a million other things to be fitted in.

 And there was a fairly major controversy in the Church of Scotland, which took several twists and turns, and resulted in our Presbytery distancing itself from the action. It left us feeling bewildered and rather shell-shocked, as we struggled to understand what was happening. For me, though, it was the duplicity of the actions by the Church council - that our Church could work with an organisation which wants to remove Christianity from our schools, to actually - well - remove Christianity from our schools! Then they tried to wriggle out of it, by saying they didn't agree to that at all. So here we are, in a Church which is either totally naive, or lying, and worse than that, has completely forgotten their sole purpose, which is to proclaim the redemptive Gospel of Jesus!

In a way, I am not too concerned about some aspects of the proposed change of name to "Time for Reflection" in schools. At the moment, parents can choose to opt their children out of religious observance, and so they often spend this time sitting in another classroom with a book. I always imagine Jesus sitting outside with the opted out ones, as He always tended to do, so- getting everyone together is a good thing. What this proposal might do though, is to stop Christian chaplains from witnessing for Christ in school, or any religious leaders from talking about their faith. 

Ho-hum - it is so easy to get caught up in the drama of who said what when, what it means, what they didn't say, web pages being deleted  - blah, blah blah. This whole episode has reminded me at least to focus on Christ. He should be centre of  everything I do, and as I said in last week's post, I need to look up more.  Today, in church, our sermon was taken from Numbers 11: 1-15, where the Israelites are grumbling and complaining. They have just been delivered from generations of  bondage, witnessed God's Power countless times working to free them, and yet...they took their eyes away from Him to complain about the catering. I do this - countless times a day, I find myself whining on about some trivial thing or other, completely forgetting about how blessed I am. I even do it here, and it is not lost on me that the Minister who delivered today's thoughtful and considered sermon was one I moaned about a few weeks ago. How we learn! But, I believe it is all part of the journey - we only see as far as the next corner, but God can see the whole map, and I am thankful that I keep being reminded of that. I am sad that my Church appears to have lost its focus on Jesus, I hope and pray that it will find its way back, but I trust that God has a purpose for this incident, and that can only be good. Wishing you all God's blessing on the week ahead. xx


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