Coffee

I admit, I love my coffee! I have certain favourites from certain coffee places, but I also really love a cup of coffee just made at home. The warm liquid is comforting…

So we drove back from France to England and on the way I just really fancied a coffee. We stopped and I asked for a skinny vanilla late…. it was a stop at a well known chain, but the coffee lady was clearly new at her job.

A few miles further down I took a sip from my coffee… yuk!!!! the weirdest taste ever, def not a latte!

Opened the lid and stared into my cup of warm milk…. no coffee!!!!

We were debating what to do, and decided to stop at the next rest stop to buy an espresso and add that to the warm milk. It made it drinkable, but only just.

This thought me 2 lessons: always check your coffee before you leave the shop and I don’t like warm vanilla flavoured milk!

It’s a bit like going to church, listening to the sermon, participating in singing, chatting with the fellow participants … but then going home to forget all about God until the following week. Like shutting God out of life, just allowing Him to interact in a very specific setting.

Going through life like drinking warm milk without the coffee. A latte needs the coffee, and God needs the daily interaction in our life. And we need our daily interaction with God too! A perfectly flavoured coffee, fitting together well!!

28 Years

Oh my, time flies… it’s already the end of the first month of 2020, and it really feels like the year just started! However, January is a special month for us and no matter what.. she still looks forward to her birthday!!

I can’t remember the weather, this day 28 years ago. I can barely remember the days following.. but I can remember turning from a woman to a mother! She was the tiniest little thing, a number of weeks early.. but from day one she wrapped up around her little finger.

Today we celebrate her 28th birthday. It’s gone so fast! But still, each day I am so thankful for becoming her mum! We celebrated in style in a funky restaurant in Marlow where we had not been before. A birthday candle on the cake is still fun and asking the singer to sing happy birthday to her is a whole level of more fun!

Maybe this is what God means when He refers to Jesus as His Son. A whole other little of delight. Even if I don’t really understand how the Godhead works, I can so imagine the love flowing through Him when He recognised His Son!

Or the joy Jesus feels when we call Him our father and we recognise ourselves as His kids. A parental relationship is so special! One of deep trust and mutual love.

Melody, am so proud of the young woman you have become! Thank you for celebrating with us!

Almost Christmas

It’s a few days before Christmas… although it does not really feel like it is. The media reminds me though, with advertisements for all sorts of things: last mailing dates, last shipping dates, last day to buy the turkey, sales of all sorts to motivate me to buy presents. And yet… it does not feel like it’s Christmas soon.

I am sad that so often Christ is taken out of Christmas. It’s a commercial transaction, which needs reminding as we don’t spend enough otherwise. But there is no reminding of the reason why we even celebrate Christmas.

Does Christmas still have the same meaning? Is it still the moment where we can remember that our Saviour was born on this earth with the purpose of showing us what real love is?

Churches put on special programs. Our own church has a beautiful Christmas Eve candle service, with music, singing and the Christmas story. For me that’s a highlight of remembrance. (
https://youtu.be/Zkj3lVQMlps ) On Facebook I see many other programs advertised, so there is plenty opportunity to celebrate.

Everyone has their own way of celebrating, and as such there are no right or wrong way. But for me, it’s important to take a few moments and really focus on the reason for the season. The love Jesus has shown us by going back to very humble beginnings, to be born as a helpless baby, and the purpose for His life are what I want to focus on. After all, it’s the prelude to the most important event in history: his death and resurrection, so we can live!

It’s nearly Christmas.. out of the busyness will be beauty, when I lit the candles on Christmas Eve….

Silent Night, Holy Night.. all is calm… all is bright

Merry Christmas!

Beach and Sorts

Some weekends are even better than others. Sometimes it’s just brilliant to just take time out and enjoy all that is around you. It revitalises, enriches, and just makes you plain grateful for the life you are able to lead.

Last weekend was just one of those weekends. We were blessed enough to be able to spend the weekend in Guanacaste, a hot tropical paradise in north west Costa Rica. Konrad, a colleague and friend of mine, was willing to drive us there and back.. not sure if the pictures below show the roads, but for this European, those roads are better described as dirt roads with craters, rivers to cross, and seatbelts tested to the max. Needless to say, we would not have gone there if I would have been the driver. One look and it would have been.. sorry Mel, time to turn back…

Our purpose was to spot turtles, who nest in flocks in Ostional. The call the phenomena Arribada, which unfortunately we mist by a month. Turtles were still spotted but those we also missed. Hatchlings did not come out while we were there. However, the times we were there it was hot, and hatchlings would not survive in that heat.. so maybe for the best after all. We did see lots of evidence of turtles there.. nests, empty eggcasings, hatchling tracks, turtle tracks…. it just made it all very real and a huge reason to come back one day!!!!!

What was weird, shops selling turtle eggs… something I may never understand… and for sure not something i would ever try!!

What we did experience: beautiful beaches, sunsets and nature, amazing food, friendship, waking up to the sounds of monkeys, hummingbirds, butterflies etc.

Mel had the opportunity to snorkel and saw an Octopus, she was happy!! She spotted a couple Whales in the ocean.. and her marine biology appetite was satisfied also.

Writing this does the weekend no justice. It’s something I want to see again!

I am truly marvelled at the beauty of this world, created for us to enjoy. With the word of the Psalmist (19:1) the Heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the works of His hands.

 

Crochet

I know this is not the first post with that title, but as I am proud of where we have gotten to, this is another post about our crochet adventures!

We managed to get our creations in a Craft Coop in High Wycombe town Center, and Melody spends a couple mornings/afternoons in the shop to help out. Valuable experience is gained and contacts made.

The busiest season is coming up and we are preparing for an additional fair at Stanborough Church plus 2 pop up shops in the Reading Business park. All very exciting!

We are not big sellers yet, but we are selling and therefore I am very proud! Mostly of Melody who is very creative and trying new things.

So if you are around, why not visit us on one of our locations, or check out our shop here on the website!

Time Flies

It’s been a while since I last posted.. in the mean time my favourite season of the year has begun and I am reminded once again of the beauty of nature and the more sobering thought of death.

It’s been almost a year since my father-in-law passed away. I remember driving through beautiful autumn scenery on the way to the funeral. A reminder of death but also certainly of new life. Even though the leaves are falling, the promise of new life is still there. It was and is a comforting thought throughout the grievance process. Life ends, but new life is coming.

Maybe that’s the reason I love autumn so much. The beautiful colours are like a last swan song, before the leaves fall to the ground. They make space for new life after being dormant for the winter season. Just like people. After all, as a Christian I do not believe this life is the only one. I believe in life after death, after a dormant period of sleeping. Waiting for the soon return of Jesus.

I am also approaching the autumn season of my life. My birthday is approaching again and another year has just flown by. Often I don’t even remember all the events that have taken place through the previous year, time just goes so fast! I have many dreams and hopes for the future, but know that the autumn colours do not stay. Still, I will hold fast on the promise of the soon return of Jesus, even if I may fall asleep before that event.

Autumn.. so many promises, so many beautiful memories, and so much to look forward to in the future!

I love the below song ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Eva Cassidy (a woman whose leaf has also fallen to the ground). If you have a chance, listen to the words. The link to the YouTube clip is added below.

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I love Autumn!

Tea and Sorts

One of my all time favourite things to do is to have a proper afternoon tea somewhere, with my daughter Melody. We have done simple traditional ones, special ones, in beautiful locations, or just in a farm shop.

It’s exciting to see what will be served, ensuring our typical dietary requirements can be met. The joy we feel leading up to the event, trying to decide what teas to try, thinking about the cakes that will be served and what the ambience will be like.

Yesterday we had the pleasure to have an afternoon tea at Waddesdon Manor, the former house of the Rothschild family. The house on the outside looks like a country castle in France! So beautiful. The inside is very opulent, and dark. Still, we were looking forward to our lovely cup of tea!

Often the cakes are the highlight, we were surprised as this time the savoury won! Lovely little goats cheese/spinach tarts, little smoked pieces of fish… all just delicious! As we had our tea late, we were the only ones left in the non descriptive room they use for this treat.

We will not likely go back to have tea there, but we can certainly say we have had tea at a Manor House!

Jesus loved to socialise around food too. He ate with people, associated himself with people. His first encounter to start His ministry was a wedding with food and drink! In the book of Luke are 10 stories of Jesus eating with people! He knew it’s was the perfect opportunity to learn more through friendship, learning about who He is.

John 6:35 ‘I am the Bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry , and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty’

Maybe that’s why I like having an afternoon tea so much. It’s an opportunity to share, talk about God and life, and reset our relationship.

Many Rooms

Arundel was the destination today..a beautiful large castle in the South Downs, in a picturesque little village. It’s the home of the Duke of Norfolk, and maybe I just envy his home!

The entry way to the main castle is a lawn, with a rose garden to the side. The sights of such impressive castle fills me with awe!

We were free to roam around with our golden pass, exploring all the rooms open to the public.

The first building to view was the Keep, dating back to 1067. Just unbelievable to think about all the historical scenes this castle has witnessed. Some of the scenes were shown in the rooms.

The newer part of the castle is still used today. The bedrooms had their beds made, the table was set, and the library looked very inviting to curl up, read and forget about the time.

The gardens were immaculate, and we just enjoyed looking around. The chapel, veggie gardens… you can see this is all cared for!

Here are some fun facts I found about the castle: the Dukes of Norfolk have lived in the castle for 800 years. The current Duke is the 18th one. It’s one of the oldest inhabited castle in the UK. It has doubled as a film location for Windsor Castle. There are 198 bedrooms in the castle. The grounds of the castle is over 40 acres.

Huge!

When Jesus was asked about the home being prepared for us in heaven, he answered: ‘in my house are many rooms. Would I have told you I am going to prepare a place for you if that was not so?’ (John 14:2) That passage comes to mind while walking through such a large beautiful castle. All the grandeur impressed me a lot. How much more will I enjoy being Home?

In this castle there were many areas that were private. However, in Gods much larger home I can visit everywhere I want to. I am very much looking forward to viewing that home too. And I hope you are too! He is making a place for you and me to be with Him. Do you want to live in that home?

Seven Sisters

To go away for a couple days to the seaside is about as lovely as it gets. The destination is the south coast, East Sussex to be precise. We picked up a little Motorhome yesterday and set off, looking for a spot to park the van next to the sea.

We managed to find an area where we could hear the sea.. and see it if we stretched a little. Beds were made and the first night started.

Unfortunately we woke up to nice British weather… rain..

But not to worry.. we packed up, had breakfast and coffee at McDonalds and set off to an area just west of Eastbourne, in the Southdown National park. I had heard a lot about that area, it has an area called ‘Beachy Head’ with a National Trust owned piece of Land. The sun made an appearance soon and the whole area just looked so pretty!

The coastline there is known for its white chalk cliffs, called Seven Sisters. A typical British view.

We decided to have a short cliff walk to see the famous lighthouse beneath the rock, but it was just so windy!

We soon set off to find a campsite for the night, not far from Eastbourne.. next to a pebble beach… shelling is one of our favourite activities, so off we went.. finding lovely different kinds of shells. It’s now fully sunny and it feels like holiday!

We are off, to make food and relax for the evening. Tomorrow is another day for new adventures. I like exploring! So don’t mind me :o)

Relax, He’s got this

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There is something about flowers that relax me. Flowers in the garden, flowers in a vase, visiting a national garden etc. Not that I am any good at keeping flowers beautiful in my own garden! But the variety of species, the intriguing designs, such a reflection of our Creator!

One of my absolute favourite past times is to visit lavender fields. The colour is beautiful, the smell is lovely, the vastness amazing! Below a small selection of photos from my most recent visit @hitchin.

When you look at their intricate design you can’t do anything but marvel at the beauty, and thank the Designer for thinking of all this. It reminds me of a verse out of the sermon on the mount (Matt 6:28-31)

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?

Flowers can not care for themselves. They are beautiful, and dress up the environment they are in. We can learn from this that we do not need to be anxious about our matters. God will take care of us as He is taking care of the flowers.

What a comforting thought when worry is often so much more natural than trust in God.

He’s got this!

Flowers remind me of that, as I am a natural worrier. Maybe that’s why I love being surrounded by flowers!