Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Invitation to a tea-party

Dear Esteemed Bloggiste,

You are most cordially invited to a Spring Tea-Party on Friday 1st March. (Apologies for the short notice- please ask your secretary to check your social engagements for that day?) Please wear your cheerfullest frock and come for dainty, smileful delicacies.

Let's ring a joyous trill of bright, happy celebration throughout the Land of Blog, for the Willows Boys are safely returned home to Pom Pom. Though actually, a spot of bright, happy celebration is just what we need here in the Frozen North- any excuse for a party!

To attend our International Bun-Fight, please be so good as to:
  1. Blog on Friday and link either to us here at fraise or to Pom Pom,
  2. Show us photos of your tea tray and of your frock!
  3. (optional) Invite someone who will be most delighted with cheerful, child-like joy. I am expecting the few months old Hannah and her lovely Mummy, Ruth.
  4. Sign up for our tea-party in a comment below, or chez Pom. We shall aim to have a list of tea parties on our sidebars so that you can have as much virtual tea and cake as possible!
Do come! The Wind in the Willows' Grand Tour of the Whole World is complete. Adventures have been enjoyed, hospitality has been poured out, smiles have been smiled in abundance- it's time for tea!

Yours most faithfully,

Mags x

Monday, 25 February 2013

A blanket pause in Lent

My goodness, I have no idea how I managed to get this circular triptych of photos to group, but it suitably reflects the jagged arrangement of how Lenten thoughts are falling for me this week! Bear with me. This could be obscure! Maybe you should go read someone else instead?

Brave choice... Do you know the Nanny McPhee movies? If so, you remember the point near the start of each one where you get the voices all whispering: The person you need is Nanny McPhee? Well, right now and for the rest of Lent, the blanket I need is Nanny McPhee. I am hoping to blog about this more clearly later in the week! The point for today, however, is that I appear to be crocheting granny squares for Lent.

And they are becoming increasingly bright and sunny as the weather here finally follows the same pattern. It's a slow little process of making small things (Ooooh, look at the little smaaaaall things- another favourite McPhee line) that will hopefully come together into a colourful big thing that bursts into the outdoors and revels in air and adventure. Like the yellow, yellow, yellow scarf that Queen Niqi generously gave me today. Hope. It's all about hope, I think. Small steps building hope. In Lent.

Before Christmas I realised that the suns were showing enough interest in spiritual things to be doing proper devotions, but felt wholly inadequate for the task. I discussed this with some Christian friends, and dragged out a book that the strawberries had bought at last summer's Bible Club. Now we're about half-way through and instead of me reading it to them, they are reading the story and looking up the Bible verse continuations for themselves. I am very encouraged by this. God is speaking to them and drawing them to him and I just watch and learn. Small steps building hope in Strawberry land this Lent x

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Views from My Land

I just about made it to Jane's Views from my Window before dark! This is 5.15pm in Northern Ireland and the moon is out. I love our big sky. I'm under this part of its blanket; you're under another.
Dusk impedes a good view of the emerging apple blossom. As for me and my household, we have decided that Spring is here. Despite the very cold temperatures today.
Yes, this is what the back garden looks like when it is tidy. Minus the reflection of the kettle, the cheese grater, Jo and the broccoli...
We had our first house viewers today, with our second on Saturday morning. So two days of gardening and cleaning will have to be maintained. Poor strawberries!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Start of Lent

I do love Lent.  I don't always have very much to say, and will happily confess to having played Rend to you all last year because I really wasn't doing too much thinking of my own! This part of Lent is nonetheless very much about the return for me. That's the first section in my annual Lent book. The Return.

Getting back has usually been about getting back to daily time for thought and inspiration. This year however, after a particularly wet, grey, tired Autumn and Winter, I'm also very much getting back to blue skies and natural warmth, getting back to suns running around outside, getting back to what's important in lots of ways. I sat for most of this morning, drinking tea and crocheting with Heather Boss, watching our apple blossom tree through the window. I'm sure the blossoms were appearing before my eyes.

Even having our house on the market makes me consider what is incontrovertibly important to us. Speaking of the possible move, when I looked back at Jane's list of Lenten thoughts, the two that struck me most tonight were:

Fast from worry; feast on divine order.

Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that strengthens.

Getting back to divine order and strengthening prayer would be a fine Pause in Lent! It's perhaps no coincidence that this house business is starting in Lent. We're wandering around in a complete state of uncertainty, trusting wholly in God's provision, facing months of uncertainty, and the wandering journey has to be part of our faith story- part of the whole family's faith story.

That's quite exciting...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Views from my Land

Happy Valentine's Day from the Land of the (sometimes tearful) Strawberries! Who was St Valentine anyway? Was he renowned for love and appreciation, or just hijacked by the makers of cards and the growers of flowers.
I went to the, recently and nationally bemoaned, supermarket last night to buy washing-up liquid, and could not believe the rank and file of men, young to old, standing defeated in front of the card display.  They were, to a man, standing with hunched shoulders and grey expressions, staring helplessly at the plethora of love. I hope the respective loved ones will have appreciated their effort!
This is categorically the very last time that you will see this mess in the back garden. Next week is half-term and our new phase of decluttering will be extending outside.
This is the first time that I am showing you the view from the front window. You can just make out a For Sale sign. It will soon be utterly lost when the cherry tree wakens from winter slumber, but it's very much a new landmark for us this week! It arrived yesterday, so Jane's Window Views will be a useful tool for counting how much time it will take for Strawberry Land to up stalks and move who knows where! Well, not too far, we hope.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lenten Blog Hopping

I know it's not Lent just quite yet, but we're nearly there. Ubiquitous pancake flipping here in Strawberry Land, with many hearts starting to creep out. This is the first year of much heart talk. My suns are clearly growing up. Not quite as tall as Daddy Strawberry, but certainly gaining fast on Mum.
A box arrived yesterday. I had just remarked to a visiting friend how email had taken all the surprise and delight from the arrival of post, when down the drive came a Royal (Mail) Man with a box. Honestly, Ang; it was fabulous!
Inside is the blog hopping blanket for Hombolo. Heather Boss has a super sun, also named Matthew, who spent time this Autumn in Africa with his church team. Next year they will be taking blankets and the Wondrous Ang has crocheted one to go with them. It was last seen here, and will soon be seen here! Couldn't help thinking how beautifully it  matches our sofa. At the minute it is having a quiet rest between blogs, catching up with The Ripple. More of the ripple very soon, when it will be very finished.
Thank you, Ang- hope your knee will be back to better than normal very soon xxx  The annual Lenten blog hop will be starting this weekend- gathering over chez Floss in France at Troc, Broc, and Recup- hope to see you all there...

Time stands still

 Hello! Sending you all lots of love from Northern Ireland, where nothing much changes just as everything changes, as usual. Time has stood ...