Monday, 30 November 2009

holy experience

86. I'm grateful for the still, quiet days in November when you can breathe in the cold, darkening day and exhilerate in the beauty of a town surrounded by hard hewn hills.

87. This week has the thought of Hope throughout, brought by the first Sunday in Advent, and remaining with us, note to self...

88. Honesty and nights of sleep.

89. Beatrice who comes to visit at a different season every time, and lets us look at the Lough with which she has fallen in love through her spell-bound eyes.

90. Although even Mattman felt the awe of the sunset over the waters and the hills yesterday afternoon. "Mummy, I'll never be able to draw like real artists." "Even real artists were just six at one point, my love..."

Sunday, 29 November 2009

First Sunday in Advent



We do put our decorations up on the first of December every year- and always have done, so can't blame it on the suns! We're not generally organised in advance though, so the Advent candlestick isn't ever in place for the first Sunday in Advent, hence the little temporary replacement!

First Sunday in Advent- hope.

We went from church this morning straight to Belfast's annual Continental Christmas Market- as if our French visitor wasn't familiar with the very best of market life! Obviously crepes were de rigeur..



The matching of Mattman's hat to the carousel lights was, however, a fortuitously happy touch!


As Beatrice shopped we took warm refuge in a cafe (not just any cafe, a well-known high street brand cafe) and discussed what we hoped for this Christmas. My peace in Afghanistan won few plaudits; Jojo hopes for snow every day over Christmas, while Mattman just hopes that every day could be Christmas!

A short chronicle of yesterday's lovely, lovely, lovely Preparing for Advent will come soon- just waiting for photos from Cooking Catherine's camera- as obviously I had forgotten mine own!

Happy Advent...

Friday, 27 November 2009

One more sleep

Tomorrow will be Preparing for Advent!

Cooking Catherine has the house ready- and her husband and four teenage men know that lunch will be served here with my menfolk.

Crafting Niqi has Christmas Boxes scored and ready to assemble.

I have a Mary and Martha thing simmering in my mind, and we have a Cloth for the Cradle thing to tie it all up at the end. (I must remember to cut fifteen lengths of varied material before I go to bed...)

All that remains is for Prince Charming to collect Beatrice from tonight's Paris flight and for a nice bottle of white to be consumed after sunny bedtime!

Sunday will be the first Sunday in Advent- hope.

I hope now actually to start thinking about Christmas and all that it brings!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Gratitude and Glasgow

Mostly I feel I've persevered well over the last two years, and I have admitted to the irony at which I realised my title hinted... But once again I reel from the maelstrom that can be our life here in what does always seem to come back to being the Land of Tearful Strawberries.

So apologies that all I can do in these weeks is endeavour to count blessings. Nonetheless 82 is for the network of friends without whom life and logistics would not work, and 83 is for a mother-in-law who will drive muchly across town to pick up the slack.

84 and 85 go back to the PMFW (Pre-Mother's Fall Weekend) and are loudly and passionately in favour of our two little seats and our two little desks at the Christmas Wreath workshop at the Country Living Christmas Fair! Oh, Jane of Snapdragon- how lovely!



And because I'm endeavouring to sleep more and stress less, I'm off to bed with my unfinished Georgette Heyer; bonne nuit!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

holy experience


This week I am extremely grateful that 72. if I had to be in the middle of so much money being sucked into my cars' calamities it at least happened at a time when I'm teaching one extra day a week and still at the library for two evenings a week.

For 73. I am most grateful that Mattman's teacher has changed her focus, and for 74. I LOVE how well my two clever suns do their homework, even coming home briefly from Saint K's house this evening for that express purpose.

I know he's in a lot, but at 75, I really love my husband. Who will not only have been the main man tonight and tomorrow while I'm at work, but will also be the single rudder, peace broker and referee when I'm in Glasgow this weekend.

76. I'm in Glasgow with my mother this weekend! For the Country Living Christmas Fair in Scotland and there's even a French Film Festival on at the same time. Christmas is coming early to Mags! She might even buy something nice- perhaps at the Burrell Collection on Sunday!


77. is for our new vice-principal who does seem to be a most humane individual, and he has a very nice green coat. 78. is for the kind colleague who will give me a lift to school on Friday morning. 79. is for the other kind colleague who reminded me that it's not actually me who has to produce GCSE coursework for all the recalcitrant pupils under my tutelage.

On the other hand (pun alert) I shall give 78. to the fine set of elegant grey wrist-warmers that I have nonetheless managed to produce in time for Glasgow.

79. is for the Christian God who is unashamedly the reason why I unreservedly celebrate Christmas and who graciously continues to sustain this little family of mine.

80. belongs to all the friends offering car journeys at this carless time, but 81. is for the summer eleven years ago when we held out for our house because it was in such beautiful walking distance of everything we need!



Monday, 16 November 2009

Cars and crises


I haven't done anything for two weeks, except be completely on top of washing and ironing and therefore uniforms, homeworks, shopping, cooking, washing up and even, to a lesser degree, cleaning. No posts because no inspiration! Despite the fact that I LOVED Vintage Vicki's reality check, and even took a photo that I planned to use.

At 12.10pm today I remarked to Bean Boss that my life was either crisis or boredom, latter being my temptation just now.

At 12.12 I reversed my car straight into the car behind.

At 12.22, on my woe-ridden way home, the clutch died unredeemed.

The most expensive ten minutes of my life- I'm asking for yours?! Crafting Niqi's were apparently those spent deciding not to replace the central heating pump, but redo the kitchen instead.

Ouch x2...

(Thankfulness postponed until tomorrow, Ann!)

Monday, 9 November 2009

holy experience

Have for a while been thinking about all the women who have made me, and shaped me, and kept my lurches nonetheless between the hedges. Ergo, here are nine of them...

60. My mother
61. Aunt Mog, the fairy (trips to London and the National Gallery) godmother
62. Margaret, youth leader extraordinaire
63. Claire, woman of God
64. Fiona, first teaching colleague and friend
65. Carol, woman of worth and integrity
66. June, hospitality is a sign of the Kingdom
67. Catherine, food and knitting and a house-load of teenage boys and Steve Bidulph
68. Karen, neighbour and rock
69. Catherine, craft, coffee, care

And the last thanks go to a man, because he has blown me away with his wisdom and protection this week!

70. PC

ps I should probably put Jane Brockett's domesticity thing in as an influence at number 71!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Mummy, put this in your blog!


Take one of me building it.


(Mattman's at Anchor Boys, but Jojo's keeping busy!)

Monday, 2 November 2009

holy experience

51. A Reading Specialist who will come to your house, play "reading games" with your child, and pronounce him to be at a perfectly acceptable level.
52. A husband who nonetheless knows how absolutely essential it is that he be by your side for the parent-teacher interviews on Thursday.
53. A little house in the Mournes for a stormy Hallowe'en weekend with no homeworks to be done.
54. A whole week of no homeworks to be done, no uniforms to be washed, and no morning panic other than deciding what to put on the tray for breakfeast in bed!
55. A truly fabulous pumpkin party last night, with truly fabulous friends.
56. The privilege of having been designed and formed to be Mags and men, Psalm 16:5-6.
57. An October that, in being only hard, was better than the month before.
58. A Youth Co-ordinator who will listen to your cry, and set you back on the path.
59. My mother, and her little bags.
60. The knowledge of the saints who cheer.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Why did the saint cross the road?

We have had much pagan celebration of the season about here lately, so it's time to join with the celebration of those saints who encourage us and those who cheer us on from beyond. You could only think of the Beatties really. Nigel the greatest encouragement I've ever met in one person, and Carole now cheering loudly from the stands.

And I'd have to add one of my sunly saints. After a whole mealtime worth of , "Why did the x cross the road?" jokes, all culminating in increasingly random and surreal responses, Mattman wondered, "Why did Jesus cross the road?" Nervous response from parents, "We don't know. Why did Jesus cross the road?"

"To talk to all the people."

That would be Prince Charming's worship introductions sorted for this morning then!