Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Encouragement Night with the Girls

It is great to encourage each other isn't it? We girls look forward to our encouragement nights very much indeed! We try to do them as something special and fun regularly as part of our weekly gatherings every few months. Sometimes we do a pass the parcel game with a favourite verse and something as a reminder like a small gift to go with it. This time we decided to do individual encouragements and picked our names from a teapot! We had to do it several times because some people kept getting their own name! We prayed for our named person during the week and asked God to remind us of the things about that person that we are special to us and perhaps a verse from the Bible to go with it to encourage them. We then wrote it out in a card and if we wanted to put it together in a creative fun way to share with them the following week.
We were all very encouraged. I love the verse that Abbie had about God shining on the righteous - complete with some righteous body butter that smelled fabulous! Flowers for Emily for God bringing colour and vibrancy, The word Joy on a card and I loved my card from Emily for me. A beautiful handmade card with a heart and things growing out of it. An encouragement for me that God's blessing does not depend on happiness but comes from His heart of love with the verse from Psalm 86 v 11 and 12:
"Teach me your way, O Lord and i will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that i may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name."
we love Encouragement Nights and there is always plenty of time for the usual tea and coffee and cake! This last week we had Cheese and even individual cheesecake cupcakes! Yummy!
Do you do Encouragement times with your friends?
I'd love to hear your ideas!
This week we are doing an Easter egg hunt around the house!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Palm Sunday and the unveiling of The Banners!

We have been working on these banners for the last 18 months.

We presented them at church today for Palm Sunday.

My vicar asked my friend Abbie if she would like to make some and she said she would ask me. The vision she had was for lots of textures, colours, fabrics all meshed together and entwined.We got lots of bargain fabric from an outlet warehouse that sell end of rolls by weight. I used lots of my lifetime collection of buttons and Gran's lifetime collection of embroidery threads!

As a house group we have prayed and worked hard on this and had fun and laughter as well as tears and sadness along the way.We felt that it is a symbolic creative expression of what God does in our lives. He takes our mess, our fragmented and shattered lives. He loves us and lives in us. He puts us together with others and calls us His Church. His beautiful and spotless Bride. During the last 18 months there has been a lot that has happened to us as a group of girls. Engagements, a wedding, new birth, house hunting, job hunting, broken friendships, illness and challenges, conflicts to resolve, shattered dreams, broken promises, the wonder of bewilderment, questions of future and direction.

A rich tapestry of life.

Quite a journey.
Maybe you can relate to some of these things too?
For us, knowing that God is the One who holds things together has been amazing for us to persevere and keep going through the joys and laughter and the ups and downs.

When we started the banners, I led my first all age service at church. We looked at David and Goliath and the faithfulness of God. When David went into battle he took his staff. He had already fought the lion and the bear and knew that the God who had helped him would prove himself faithful again.
The significance of his staff was that he would already have 2 notches carved out of it. A notch carved for each battle won. 2 examples of the provenness of God as he went into battle. Faithful God. The God who is faithful who leads us through. We each had long strips of cloth and each tied knots into them to represent our own journey with God, recording the significant times we have known and seen the Faithfulness of God for ourselves.

We kept these as tassels and added them to the banners.

Today we read a beautiful poem called Tapestry that one of our talented girls from house group wrote. It seemed to fit with the service and our banners perfectly.
You can read it here.We also read from the Message: 1 Peter 2.
I hope you like the finished banners and that you can reflect on the times when God has proved Himself faithful to you, particularly in this Holy Week as we approach Easter. Have a blessed week.

Week 12 of 365 and the holidays are here!

Yippee for the holidays!
It has been a busy last week of term with several deadlines.
A few deadlines at work and some for me too before the Easter holidays.
Saturday day 79/365
Last weekend was busy getting last few bits ready for the completion of the banners.
We have been working on these banners for the last 18 months. A bit of a project for us girly chicks. we wanted them completed to present them in church for Palm Sunday.

Sunday 80/365 Guinness cupcakes.

Monday 81/365 Sewing on the tassels on to the banners. The end is in sight.

Tuesday 82/365 Easter Fayre at work. I didn't win the big egg so had this to eat at home instead. Yummy. Ahh Cadbury. Will you ever be the same?

Wednesday 83/365 An evening to catch up and share chocolate and a cuppa with a friend.

Thursday 84/365 A perfect Girly cheese and Encouragement Night!

Friday 85/365 End of term. Oven ready curry, crappy telly and this rather nice bottle of Belgian beer.

Saturday 86/365 Last few stitches and all done.

Sunday 87/365 Palm Sunday. Banners presented at Church.

I did it.
Hooray for the holidays.
2 weeks of doing fun stuff!(and hopefully lots of chocolate too!)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

blogpost 100

100 blogposts.
Thanks for being here and for following me and for your encouraging comments.
100 is a bit of a milestone for me.
I still feel like the new kid on the block here but am loving writing and being encouraged and nurtured in re-discovering my creativity.
Don't worry, I won't write a list of 100 things.
That would be too obvious.
And long!
How about 10 things?
10 things I have loved since being here in bloggyland.
10 inspirations.
10 ideas.
10 things to try.
10 reasons to be thankful.
Are you ready to hop around here and maybe discover some new blogs you might like too along the way?
1. My friend for introducing me to bloggyland and helping me to get started. Thank you!
2. One blog that I follow. Inspirational, funny and strangely profound. Do you agree?
3. Stirring up some old and forgotten creative talents to join in.
4. Relaxing with a good book and sharing it with others.
5. Seeing some fabulous creativity over here.
6. Fun and creativity and a cat who looks a little like Tudur, don't you think?
7. Yummy recipes including this one I found this week.
8. Being impressed and inspired with stuff I love.
9. Lovely lists that are sometimes random but always fun.
10. My challenge.
Thank you one and all.
Happy hopping around this blogpost and happy blogging.
Thanks for stopping by.
Here's to the next 100.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Week 11 for Project 365

Week 11 in project 365 has,among some other things, seen beautiful things springing to life in my garden! Yippee for Spring!
I love my little garden but every year I seem to forget when I am supposed to plant bulbs. Hmpff. Every year in January it seems, I say to my big sister "Can I plant bulbs now?" She just laughs and says Nooo, silly. You have to do it in the Autumn. So this year, as promised, she reminded me. In September - October time, off we went to the garden centre and chose a selection and bargain bulbs together. Of course I wanted everything but she is very sensible and practical and wise. We decided against crocus and snowdrops as the bulbs were soo tiddly small and she said they are awkward and often don't grow. We settled on mini iris, mini dark red tulips and mini daffodils. I feel like I have waited ages and ages for them to begin to appear!
Saturday day 72/365
My last few loaves have been a disaster. I think I must have got into a bad habit of shaking the cups of flour resulting in the flour becoming packed. The mixture then has too much flour and it doesnt mix well.Yuk. Problem solved. Welcome back lovely bread!I missed you!

Sunday - Mother's Day - 73/365
I was just delighted to discover this beautiful surprise!

Monday 74/365
Beautiful morning sunshine bursting through this window at the Cathedral we went to visit on a school trip!

Tuesday 75/365
Coffee and friends.

Wednesday 76/365
So exciting!

Thursday 77/365
Banners with the girls! Nearly there. Lots still to do but progress is being made!

Friday 78/365
Friday morning Glory!

Hope your week in project 365 has been good.
Happy weekend.
It is raining here now.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Pear and Cinnamon Muffins

These are delicious!
I made them at the weekend and have been enjoying them ever since!
I found the recipe in this magazine that I got a few weeks ago because it had a yummy looking cake on the cover!
Pear and Cinnamon Muffins
3 small pears
2 tsp lemon juice
250g(9oz) plain flour
50g(2oz) oatmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnnamon
100g (4oz) caster sugar
25g (1oz) chopped almonds
65g (2 1/2 oz) butter, melted
284ml buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. heat oven 200C/180C fan/gas 6
Peel core and dice pears and toss in lemon juice.
2. mix flour, cinnamon, oatmeal, baking powder sugar and half almonds in a bowl.
stir in half the pear mix.
3. Beat butter and buttermilk and eggs and vanilla and add to dry mixture to mix.
4.put into muffin cases and add rest of pears and almonds on top of mixture.
5. bake for 20 minutes and serve warm or cool on a wire rack.

I say - resist - for as long as you can.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Happy St.Patricks Day!

Let's see. I don't have a shamrock,
but I did wear my green scarfand I did buy some of this!Oh, and I first saw these amazing,ridiculous, fabulous sounding cupcakes that I am going to make here!
Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Getting Eggcited!

I am beginning to get excited about Easter this year.
Are you?
I have started making several of these Easter Bunny Baskets for an Easter surprise for the girls for house group.
They are cute!
I got them from here.
Yep, I cheated and brought them as a kit.
Apparently for age 3+.
Hahaha x
Who cares if a 3 year old could do it?
Not me.
I had fun - and wouldn't let a 3 year old anywhere near them!
(or the chocolate eggs that might just go in them!)
I love them and hope you love them too.
They were quite fiddly and some of the packs seemed to be missing one or 2 wiggly eyes. Poor bunny! thankfully i have some spares - if a little bigger eyes - so some bunnies have eyes like saucers!I also found I used a bucket load of glue dots!
However, they were a cute bargain for a pack of 6 to help with an Easter egg hunt to do with my friends soon!

Enjoy getting Eggcited about Easter!
I am!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day here in the UK.
Happy mother's Day!

I love this photo!
It was taken of me and my Mum in the garden in the summer with our family dog, Sue, all in the hammock when I was 20 months old. It has always been one of my favourite photos. I don't know if it just seemed to be a happy day memory or that I remember the hammock being such fun swinging in between the 2 pear trees in the back garden or quite what evokes such a happy smiley memory of me and my Mum and the dog.
I remember choosing this photo to stick on my first book I did when I first went to school when I was 5.
I dug out this first prized and still treasured wallpaper covered book this morning from my memory box and took a photo of the photo stuck on the front for you all to see. It's a bit gubbed and gnarled now but precious all the same.

I also found this picture I coloured in for Mum in my memory box. No idea how old I was when I did this, but I guess older than 5 as I almost managed to stay within the lines! Presumably, I decided that yellow was more joyful than purple for these "violets". Either that, or I had no purple! From a young age I have always tended to think out of the box and break the moulds and constraints that said rules like violets should be only coloured purple.

Thank you Mum for choosing me to be part of such an amazing family with you and Dad and my brother and sister. Thank you for accepting me and loving me despite what the authorities and powers that be wrote and said about me when I was first born and when you first met me as a baby. Thank you for loving care and for nurturing and teaching me in all the ways I could go. You have been an incredible influence and role model that has shaped me into the woman I am today. I know I wasn't always soft play dough to mould and shape but at times a bit like concrete needing a chisel, but your love and perseverance seems to have paid off. I loved making and racing those funky turtles from walnut shells with you, by the way. Good times!

I got these flowers today for Mother's Day at church.
Can't help but think about the 2 Mother's I have had in my life.
My first Mother, who carried me, secret and hidden and bravely chose to have me, probably surrounded in shame, choosing to give me life and to bring me into the world. I have always known about you and how special I am to my family, I just never knew you.I recently discovered that you named me when I was 3 days old, tiny and premature. Thank you for wishing me to be in a family. Your wishes came true, against the odds.
I am very blessed to have had 2 amazing Mothers in my life.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, 12 March 2010

My Jigsaw.

Remember that I said that this year is a time for me to flourish and a time for discovery?
A time for discovering secrets that have been hidden?
A bit like mining - discovering gold and treasure, precious jewels that have been hidden, deep in the dark.?
When they come to light then they can truly shine and sparkle and reveal their true beauty and full glory.
I have begun discovering a little of my history and begun the journey of putting some pieces of the jigsaw of my life together.
An exciting journey but I don't know how many pieces this jigsaw contains or the picture that I am creating.
A couple of years ago I began making inquiries into my adoption and discovering my family roots. When I was adopted, the 1958 Adoption law was that I would never be able to discover anything of my original family. The adoption law changed in 1975 and still stands. Adoptees and their parents can find out information / contact family members once they reach age 18. Information written down and kept, hidden, archived and has to be kept for 100 years.
Some adoptees were told of some of their family history and others very little information. In the same way the notes on record can vary.
For example, I have written down in my records my birth mother's date of birth but not where she was born. Other people might just have written down in their records just their birth mother's age. I was lucky to have been told some facts and to have had some important leads written down in my hidden notes that are kept for 100 years.
Adoptions are done very differently now here in England and often adoptees have some contact with their birth family.
I have always known that I was adopted and knew a certain amount but I have been fascinated and delighted to read over these last few weeks the information that was written down surrounding my adoption. Information that was kept and hidden, secret, buried treasure, surrounding parts of my identity and my history all these years under the understanding that it would never be read.
I am thrilled that I now have it and have read it.
Ha x
The first 20 Pieces of the unknown jigsaw discovered so far have revealed:
1. my full original given birth name. (I knew some of this)
2. my birth mother's full name. (I knew her surname)
3. where she lived when I was born.
4. her occupation and where she worked. (I knew some of this)
5. her marital status. (I knew this)
6. her nationality.
7. her medical history. (I knew this)
8. where she lived shortly after I was born.
9. her wishes for my future care.(I knew some of this)
10. a name, age and nationality for my father.
11. my birth mother's date of birth.
12. some of the circumstances surrounding my initial care before my adoption.
13. A report written from some notes surrounding my adoption,some of what the professionals thought and some correspondence and what the judge said when my adoption order was granted.
14. my original birth certificate.
15. my birth mother's birth certificate.
16. where she was born
17. the names of her parents.
18. my grandmother's middle name turns out to be Lucy!
19. my grandfather was a fruit grower!
20. An initial search in ancestry websites is continuing to begin to discover more about my birth mother and my named father and any possible relatives.