Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jesse Tree

As part of my Advent preparation I came across this Jesse Tree - something like a Biblical Advent calendar, which sets us on a journey through the Bible until we arrive at the birth of Christ.

Jesse Tree

Click on each new symbol each day to follow the journey ...


This year I have thought hard about the time of Advent and it's purpose.
It is meant to be a time of preparation for the festival which remembers the birth of Jesus ... but also a time of reflection and preparation for the second coming of Christ. Are we ready in our hearts for either??

Does preparation mean stocking up food, buying presents, getting stressed out over money, decorating the house and attending the office party?

Every year it seems to take me a bit longer to get "into the Christmas Spirit". Perhaps that it because I am looking for the wrong kind of spirit?

This year I have decided that before a feast should come a fast - a fast from the distractions which prevent me from REALLY getting prepared.

So I am abstaining from sweets and luxury foods - may it help me to become hungry for what really matters.
I am abstaining from Facebook and other time-wasting Internet activities - may it help me to focus on the things which nurture my soul.

This year I am spending more time in daily Bible reading and prayer and with my family.

Not a single Christmas present is bought yet, no Christmas food or chocolates stashed away, no decorations put up, no cards written - but I like to think I am getting ready for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Home with parents

After 22 months on various hospital wards and nursing homes, my stepfather has come home to be cared for by my mum.
I have gone to stay with them for the first week to help them settle in.

It is a joy to see how they enjoy each other company and savour the time they have together.

I am profoundly aware of the blessings thex have given me during my childhood and growing up years. More often than not have I taken their love, care and support for granted.
I am glad that it is not too late to say Thank You and to show my appreciation.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Finally I did what had to be done - I released the tadpoles and froglets into the garden pond.

As soon as I had done that, I spotted this adult frog. I am just hoping that big frogs don't eat little frogs ... Hhmmm

Here is one of the froglets, enjoying the big outdoors.
They have been outside a week now, and I still spot them once in a while.

Hopefully at least a few will thrive and will be back in the spring.

Spot the frog! (Click to see the full size picture)

Friday, June 10, 2011

No longer just tadpoles

Our little tadpoles are slowly but sure turning into little froglets.

Some have well established back legs, and this little fellow is starting to grow his front legs too.

Can anybody tell me what kind of frog/toad this is? (Both pictures are the same tadpole. They are not two different ones)

Saturday, June 4, 2011


We found some tadpoles on the abandoned allotment next to ours.

They were swimming in half an inch of murky water with no sunlight and no way of escaping.

So we took a few home to watch them turn into frogs (or toads?)

Exciting to watch nature do its thing! I can't wait for the little froglets to emerge.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Growing food

Everything on the allotment is rosy!

There is little I find as rewarding as growing, harvesting, preparing and eating my own fruit and veg (well, apart from knitting perhaps!)

I feel truly blessed to have such a variety and an abundance of food.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Elderflower cordial

The elderflower blossoms are out and it's time to make elderflower cordial.

Homemade elderflower cordial is so much better than anything you can buy. Serve with sparkling water for a refreshing drink or sparkling wine for a delicious cocktail.


30 elderflower heads

1.7litres/3 pints boiling water

900g/2lb caster sugar

50g/2oz citric acid (available from chemists)

2 unwaxed oranges, sliced

3 unwaxed lemons, sliced

Preparation method

1. Gently rinse over the elderflowers to remove any dirt or little creatures.

2. Pour the boiling water over the sugar in a very large mixing bowl. Stir well and leave to cool.

3. Add the citric acid, the orange and lemon slices, and then the flowers.

4. Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

5. Strain through some muslin and transfer to sterilised bottles.

We are just coming to the end of last year's batch and have enjoyed a little bit of summer, even during the winter months.

The Sparrowhawk

In the back of our garden we have a vegetable patch, which at the moment is covered with a netting to keep the cats away.

Yesterday evening my husband called for me to help him, because a sparrow had managed to trap himself under the netting.

Just as we both walked up to the bed to lift the netting off, a sparrowhawk swooped down from nowhere, aiming for the helpless sparrow. Luckily the netting which had trapped the sparrow, now turned out to be a protection for the little sparrow - because the sparrowhawk could not reach him. Instead the netting was pushed down, leaving a gap at the side through which the lucky sparrow escaped.

All this happened in the blink of an eye, no more than a meter away from us!

It was a real "WOAH!" moment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feeling burdened

At the moment everything seems to be happening at once - the daily issues of having two teenagers in the house, pressure at work, a busy time in the house and the garden, an increasing amount of responsibility in church with our old vicar leaving, and a husband who would like me to spend more time with him.

To cut a long story short, I feel burdened. Too much to do and not enough hours in the day!

After some time of feeling sorry for myself and then reflecting a little about it all, I can't help but feel that this is somehow a blessing. When I feel that I cannot do all these things in my own strength, then probably because that is exactly true. I cannot!

But I can do it with God's help and guidance and with his strength:

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).

Right now I may not feel like I can handle things, but deep down I know that I will be okay - because I am not alone!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring is here!

Spring has arrived!

You might think that after 44 years I am used to that annual event - but NO, every time it blows me away!

The new growth, the sun gaining in strength, the days lengthening, the soil warming, the creatures stirring ...

How can I not feel excited?!

Welcome sun, welcome life, welcome season of growth and development! Please enter and stay for a while.