Yes I guess it is very nearly over. Tomorrow will be the last day of August and September usually heralds in the start of Autumn. Sometimes it comes with a gentle grace, and sometimes it lands with a thump.
There is no denying that living by the seaside (or the North Sea), is bitter in the winter, but I also have to admit that wrapping up warm and watching dark skies and rolling waves come together, is something I really enjoy. We arent quite there yet, but when I had a window of time before collecting Oscar from school, I was drawn to sit on my favorite bench and watch the tides.
If it is all looking a bit grey to you though, be assurred that along with the grey days, will also be having some of these......
And these are pretty lovely.
Well, I am back to basics this week with a granny blanket. I have been tired in the evenings and my tired brain has not been up to anything more complicated than going round and round with shades of blue or green.
This is going to be a blanket for the sofa for Oscar and I to snuggle under on cold winter days and drink hot chocolate and watch our favorite movies (The Wizard Of Oz and Ice Age and Polar Express).
I am just begining this book, so I cant say all that much about it, except it is a fictional book based on real events. Here is what the blub says about it
Pillar of Light — the first volume in the series The Work and the Glory — begins the epic story of the Benjamin Steed family. In the 1820s they move from Vermont to Palmyra Township in upstate New York in search of better farmland. There they meet a young man named Joseph Smith and are thrown into the maelstrom of conflict and controversy that swirls around him. Did he really see the Father and the Son in a pillar of light? Has he truly been visited by angelic messengers? What is all this talk about gold plates and new scripture? In short, is he a prophet and seer or a monumental fraud? The answers each one gives to these questions — intensely personal, potentially divisive — will dramatically affect the lives of the Steeds forever after.
Author Gerald N. Lund here masterfully weaves together historical reality and high-powered fiction. In his hands this combination seems to make the reader an eyewitness to the early scenes of the Restoration, thus deepening one's understanding and appreciation of those momentous events. The well-drawn plot and fictional characters present a moving, gripping story. Here are Benjamin and Mary Ann Steed, devoted to each other as man and wife, yet at odds over religion; Joshua, their volatile son, who rebels and heads for trouble; the sensitive Nathan, their second son, in whom Joseph Smith's message strikes a responsive chord; the beautiful Lydia McBride, who captures the hearts of both Joshua and Nathan.
This book skillfully explores the inmost motivations of Joseph Smith and his early followers and the responses of typical contemporary families to the claims he made. These people come to life in this powerful historical novel, a story that captures both the heartache and the happiness that came in the wake of Joseph's experience with the pillar of light. source.
Sounds Fabulous right?
Yep, every single thing we planted this year has died. I want to blame the weather, or the tiny little garden which is cast mostly in shade, but I have a feeling that neglect has a huge part to play.
In a similar train of thought, Oscar's behavior has been less than desirable of late, and of course the first thing we do as his parents is blame ourselves. I guess we all fear that somehow our lack of inattention to our child's needs will lead to a big fat fail (ours not theirs).
I don't want to go into too much specifics, but lets just say, we are seeing the 'terrible two tantrums' at age 4.
Dinner with the missionaries the last few times has been positively cringe worthy, and the highlight of which was the day Oscar found an old 'dummy' (pacifier), in a coat pocket and did not take too kindly to being separated from it (again, 1 year after the fact).
Well, I guess this cant be solved by buying a new one (like the chilli plant, £12 from M&S), so we will have to just push on through and see where it leads us.
In the interest of fairness, I feel obliged to point out some of the more favourable moments over the last few days.
Enjoying his first ever (honey) ribs at the Chinese Dinner
"Everyone will think I am called Valerie", he made us laugh so much.
He is getting too big for co-sleeping really, but when he and teddy come for a late night visit, we still kind of love it (sometimes, ahem).
Not so long ago our little cottage was very much our sanctuary, shared by very few people. My Mum would occasionally visit, and a couple of friends would occasionally visit, but apart from that, it was pretty much just the 4 of us.
When I asked THE MISSIONARIES to come and talk to me about THE CHURCH I was nervous about having strangers come in and visit. What you may not know is that when the Missionaries visit, the feelings most people experience are amazing. Like a lot of people investigating the church, I did not know why this was, but I definitely felt it, and wanted them to come for another lesson, and another and another.
Of course now I realise that the Missionaries bring the Holy Spirit with them (very strongly), and that is the reason.
By the time I had set a date for my baptism the Missionaries were coming 3 times a week (for a couple of hours at a time). There were also other visitors from the church who came with them and some new friends from church who came on their own.
In essence, we went from a fairly quiet home life to a fairly busy home life. This weekend we have had the Missionaries here 3 times (3 for dinner on Friday evening, and 2 different Missionaries here for Sunday dinner and a one hour lesson on Saturday).
We have also had little cousins from Edinburgh come to play this weekend.
I have to confess, I have enjoyed this new pace of home life, but as with most things, there are also the down sides. Having so many people in our tiny front room can be a bit of a squeeze at times (on Thursday there was myself, my friend Janet, 3 Missionaries, a member of the Priesthood, and Oscar and Aimee popping in and out).
The biggest stress for me is making sure that the house is up to visitor standards, especially when they are here for food. Keeping the place 'spotless' is a challenge for me, and I can't just go with the flow and say 'accept that we are pretty messy, or don't come, its up to you'. On one of the first Missionary visits, one of the cats wet on the floor in the hall next to a plug socket and blew all of the electrics out, so we had intermittent lights for 20 minutes until Duncan cleaned it and it dried out. To say I was embarrassed would be a HUGE understatement.
For the most part I have relaxed a little since I have gotten to know the Missionaries (although they change about areas fairly often). There are times however, when my BACK PAIN is really bad, and I can either put up with the pain and not manage to do anything or take pain medication which then makes me fall asleep / feel drowsy and sick. These are the days when cleaning the cottage from top to bottom, doing laundry, keeping Oscar amused and cooking dinner for the 4 of us plus 3 Missionaries is a challenge to say the least.
Duncan and I have finally agreed that the time has come for me to get a little bit of help, so we will be contacting a cleaning services company this week. Of course the biggest challenge there is, I will have to clean the house to the highest standard for the cleaner coming in so she/he can see how we would like the place to look and not how it actually looks. I am not the only one who thinks this right? Even though I acknowledge it sounds a bit nuts. Ah well, here's to new friends, its so worth the effort.
I have been feeling pretty off colour this week. Maybe its the end of summer (I hate to say this but I had the heating on for half an hour last night), or maybe its the bug my niece had, or maybe I am just a bit run down.
What ever the reason, Duncan tucked me up in bed with my crochet and brought me my favorite feeling poorly (or sorry for myself) food.
I don't know if it actually made me any better, but it certainly made me feel a bit better, and thats what counts.
Part of the reason I blog is to keep a visual record for Oscar, and the older children, and any other children or grandchildren who may come along. So when I saw KAT'S pictures for her son starting school I thought I would borrow her idea and make a record for Oscar. Isnt he just so cute.
And true to form, right after these pictures were taken we walked to school and on the way he said, "Mummy, everyone follows the teachings of Jesus, who's teachings does Jesus follow?" Cute and smart!
Moroni 8:3 I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.
My favorite and most heartfelt scripture, thank you *C.E.B.
I have had a grand old weekend this weekend. Sometimes I feel they whip by and its suddenly Monday, Duncan is back to work and I begin a week of cleaning, cooking, walking over the rail bridge 4 times a day to and from nursery school, bath-time, story time and sometimes crochet time.
On Thursday evening Oscar had his first ever friend here for a sleepover, so Friday began with both children being extra excited to walk to school together. When I returned from school I cooked up 2 huge batches of chili, one mild and one hot, and then spent the rest of the day pottering around the house, cleaning up for the missionaries coming for dinner. We have 3 missionaries now, Elder McCarthy, Elder Tinsley and a 3rd companion new in the field Elder Lesuma. Elder Lesuma is a lovely young man from Utah and has just arrived on his mission. I hope he enjoys his time with us here, his companions certainly seem to, we love them all to bits.
Dinner was great, and really relaxed and we all ate lots of chili followed by ice-cream, then we had a lesson based around the prodigal son, (the scripture and the video which can be seen HERE ).
On Saturday I took part in a SERVICE ACTIVITY with the RELIEF SOCIETY, which involved packing up various items for charities. The sisters provided a light lunch, but Duncan had offered to take me out for lunch so we went off into town, with Oscar and ate chinese food. It was pouring with rain and we all got soaked to the skin but by the time I bought an umbrella and came out of the shopping centre with it the rain had stopped. And for anyone out there in a rainy place, I think you should know that red sandals do not go well in heavy rain.
I also had an amazing personal missionary experience whilst in town which I may write about at another time, but suffice to say I was fairly uplifted.
On Saturday evening we relaxed, ate chips and dips, drank IRN BRU and watched a really good movie Conversations With Other Women, starring Helena Bonham Carter (beautiful and completely crazy) and Aaron Eckhart (a inactive member of my CHURCH). I am still not sure about the whole church - movies - bad language - love scenes thing, but with this movie as I recall it was fine with no gratuitous scenes and a modarate amount of swearing but no (that I remember) blaspheme (I hope that helps any other Saints who find their way here). Anyway, the acting and story were lovely, so I would reccommend this (we watched it on Netflix).
On Sunday I went to church earlier than usual because there was a baptism, and honestly, baptisms are fabulous. Even if you are not a member and you are offered the chance to attend a baptism at The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, I would REALLY reccommend it. The Holy Spirit can often be felt so strongly at a baptism it is amazing for all concerned.
At long last my beautiful missionary Elder McCarthy was able to perform the ordinance of baptism for the first time, and as excited as I was for the new member coming in to the church, I was also very excited for Elder McCarthy to perform the baptism. If it were'nt against the rules I would have given him a big hug.
The rest of my Sunday was spent with my family (as it SHOULD be for a member of my church). I write my emails for ELDER BUTIKOFER, so that they are waiting for him on a Monday (the missionaries have a small window on Mondays to check their official email accounts). And Duncan and I discussed our plans for the coming week (including me getting a TABLET and perhaps a little help with the housework too).
To end on a cheery note I thought you may like this video for Irn Bru, Scotland's number one soft drink (you need the sound, the song is genius!).
Today is DAY OF HOPE : PRAYER FLAG PROJECT and I will be taking part.