Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Wordless Wednesday : August in Italy IV - By Still Waters...

A Family of Blogs!

I want to draw your attention to three blogs whose owners are 3 of my beloved Wibbs boys!

Mark's blog is here, although he is still quite 'blog-shy' (or too busy just being Mr Wibbs) to bother to update it regularly. Worth a visit though, as I am planning to do my "level best" to get him blogging properly!! And I'm sure he could do with some expert blogging tips.

Samuel's "footballing blogger" is a good little tool for him to practise his typing skills, and to try and identify feelings and important things going on in his life...

As for Thomas, our "constant sunshine", I would like to use it as a kind of way to journal his progress, and mark important moments in his development. Then maybe one day he will hopefully be ready to start contributing to it himself...

Do take a look - and tell us what you think!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Lemon Crumble Cookies

I just have to share this most delicious and EASY cookie recipe with you.

1 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 or 2 lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to about 375 degrees F/ 180 degrees C/ gas mark 5-6
First mix the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla to a fluffy, creamy consistency
Using an egg beater, slowly integrate the flour to the butter mixture till you get a crumbly mixture (which can be used as a delicious fruit crumble topping!)
Using a 1/4 cup, scoop up 1/4 cup of the mixture and roll into a dough then flatten into a cookie shape and place onto a greased baking sheet. Leave about 1/2 an inch in between cookies as they spread a little during cooking.
Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes
(The cookies should be golden brown on the edges and paler in the centre)
(You should be able to make approx 18 cookies altogether)
Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 10 mins then transfer onto a wire rack until completely cooled.
These will keep really well for up to 5 days in an airtight container - although I doubt they'll last that long if your household is anything like mine!!!
Enjoy, these are truly heavenly...

Thursday, 26 July 2007

After the floods

Well, things are slowly returning back to normal, although for many in the areas where the flooding has happened (Gloustershire, Oxfordshire, Yorkshire...) it is going to take months to clear up and rebuild, as much dammage has been done. I am sad that many homes have been completely devastated and lives torn apart by these floods, and that there is not much I can do for all these poor people apart from pray!

We are fine here, and I feel almost guilty about it... Don't get me wrong, I'm oh so glad we weren't flooded; however it kinda means I'm not really entitled to any opinions about how each and every person might be dealing with it all, as I haven't experienced it myself!

I just love the promise of this blue sky picture, it fills me with hope and anticipation of sunny days to come...as I'm sure there undoubtedly will be a few ahead. In the meantime, this horrid British summer is getting me down and the kids go stir crazy when they can't get outdoors!! I mean there's only so many times I can stick Toy Story on, isn't there... I wish I could share Anna's perspective on the weather in this country and say I love it, alas I am too British to do so!! Us Brits do like to whine about the weather so. It's my prayer that I can stay focused on the beauty of that blue sky in her picture, and look up instead of down.

And be thankful (yes there it is again, it's beginning to feel like a well-worn theme in this blog of mine): thankful that there is rain falling at all! That our country is so green and fertile, that there are puddles to splash in and wellies to be worn!

Monday, 23 July 2007

corners of my home

It's a while since I posted the last 'corner of my home' picture and felt it was high time I opened up my home to you all again!
These are pictures of our stairway, taken from the upstairs toilet........ which is where you get the most interesting angle (!!!). I just love all the lines and colours, and the fact that you get a view of both floors from there. I also love the warmth of the wood, and the feel of it underfoot, which is why we also have bare floorboards in all the upstairs bedrooms. The picture in the frame is an local african form of stencil-art, and was given to us by some friends who were missionaries in Chad; I am always humbled by the simple beauty of this picture and find it adds to the general feel of that corner of my home.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

In response to yesterday's floods

Our little corner of the UK was devastated by floods yesterday. Sam's schoolmates had to be evacuated out of the school by boat!! On the last day of the school year!

If you click on this link it should take you to the local radio station website, where there are many incredible pictures.[NB: You have to understand flooding in our part of England is exceptionally rare, in fact rain like this had not been seen for many decades ...]

What I didn't tell you yesterday was that I was going through my very own micro-storm: my Sam was extremely sick with acute tonsilitis, and it seemed that despite a high dose of penicilin he was getting worse and worse. I was a very anxious Mummy, believe me.

"But we are not powerless. From the beginning of the world, God designated naming rights to human beings. You too have naming power: the ability to speak into a situation to call forth life from that place. You have the power to refuse to be an Eeyore, who famously said “Tut tut, it looks like rain.” You have the power to refuse any doomsday-prophet syndromes. You can refuse the darkness and look for the pinprick of light, look for the good in a bad situation, choose to see God’s hand in rock hard times instead of turning your back on him."

I found this quote on Heather's blog this evening. I don't actually know WHO wrote it, but as I read it, and re-read it, it started to resonate more and more with what I shared in my last post...and with the comments some of you left too :)

Isn't it amazing how God speaks??! Heather is one of the most inspiring ladies I have come across recently; do visit her site if you haven't already. She was diagnosed with brain cancer a few months ago and is undergoing radiation and chemo as we speak. And in the midst of her darkness she still has the longing to bless others, to find something which will benefit those who need answers in times of need, to be a light in this world. She both puts me to shame, and spurs me on.

What is your immediate response in a time of crisis? What do you do with any Eeyore tendencies which might creep up on you? Also what do you say to those around you who struggle to see any 'pinprick of light' in a tough situation?? All questions which I ought to be asking myself daily... for there are many out there who don't even know Him, 'The Light of the World'.

PS: Mark and I laid hands on Sam last night as we were both getting quite worried, and we prayed over him. When we woke up this morning, the fever had left him completely and he was a totally different child!! He is still recovering, but the change in him was remarkably radical... Praise God, the ultimate Healer.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Crazy crazy weather...

I took these about 15 minutes ago...

My garden is FLOODING as we speak!!!
I've never known rain like this. It's like a monsoon. In the UK. What's going on!?Quite frankly, nothing in me likes this weather. Do you think it should?
Please, if you have any helpful wisdom on how to be thankful for what's happening outside today, then leave a comment. Any comment would be nice; I need to know there's still a world out there...

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Simply Christ

I receive these Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals every day, and I'm ashamed to say I don't always take the time to read through them. But whenever I do, it feeds my soul. This was the one for today; it speaks to me in my desire to go back to what is essential, and in my search for simplicity. What grace! Doesn't it make it so much easier?! To know that I don't need to do anything else apart from seeking to get to know Jesus more intimately each day. To know that no striving is necessary.

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV)

Salvation is in Christ alone.
That means –
· It’s not Christ plus your good behavior.
· It’s not Christ plus the years you taught a Bible study.
· It’s not Christ plus your tithe.
· It’s not Christ plus the church you attend.
· It’s not Christ plus the number of verses you memorize.
· It’s not Christ plus your title in the church.
· It’s not Christ plus wisdom from the latest Christian seminar.
· It’s not Christ plus a desert fast (or even a dessert fast!).
· It’s not Christ plus a good driving record.
· It’s not Christ plus well-behaved children.
· It’s not Christ plus your new shined shoes.
· It’s not Christ plus the right job.
· It’s not Christ plus the right spouse.
· It’s not Christ plus the latest technology.
It’s simply Christ.
Christ plus nothing.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a free subscription to The Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotional, your daily inspiration via email.)

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Another year...

13 July 1996 was the beginning of a wonderful adventure, and yesterday marked the start of our twelth year of married life! Our celebration was simple, sweet, intimate and typical: no cards, but some stunning flowers bought by Mr Wibbs on his way to collect a delicious Thai take away meal... A bottle of wine and a cosy chat on the sofa, and an early night was all that was needed. Thanks be to God, life with Mark is full of richness, laughter, delight and challenge!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Wordless Wednesday: August in Italy III - So peaceful... So COLD!!!

New Title, New Look

I have been wanting to change my Blog title for a while, to reflect where I think I'm finally going with it... While it's not a very imaginative one, it says much about my desire to constantly change, and it's an acknowledgement of sorts that I am a 'work in progress'. The verse on my sidebar for today says it all, and (at the risk of sounding slightly morbid...) is probably the one I would like engraved on my gravestone one day: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

As for the 'look', well. Suffice to say I get bored very easily and just needed a change of scenery. And I like pink. And, although I would like to be ever so clever at web-design and do something really beautiful here, I'm not clever at all at web-design and so Blogger's bog-standard templates will have to do for now!

So. What do you think??

Monday, 9 July 2007

Whispered Thanks

OK. I wasn't going to do this for quite a few more months, but I feel now is the time. I would like to share my gift list with you all, and you are welcome to have a read if you're interested, bearing in mind that it is VERY MUCH a work-in-progress! My aim is to reach 1000 gifts, eventually..., maybe..., in about 10 years' time!!

I am publishing this in the hope that it will make me accountable to you who stop here occasionally (and to myself also) to add to my list more regularly than I have done in the past few days. This is not something I want to be legalistic about, but I am very aware that it is all too easy for me to find things to grumble about. Instead I want to "be transformed by the renewing of my mind"; I know the Holy Spirit is working in me, renewing the way I think, so that I see good where I might have seen bad, positive where I might have seen negative, beauty where I might have seen ugliness.

Welcome to this journey!!

A little quiet in the Blogosphere

I know I have been a little quiet in the last few weeks. There has been no space or time for me to stop here and put my thoughts down.

This would go at least a little way to explaining WHY...:

Mmmmmmmm. See what I mean???!! Seriously though, I guess these images represent the hecticness of running a household of growing boys (that would include dear Mr Wibbs obviously), and I have no shame in confessing to the world that I am not, nor ever will be, a "Domestic Goddess", or a "Perfect Housewife".

This morning at the start of a new week, I am again confronted with the necessity to re-align my priorities. And having just returned from 'Re:Fresh' (our annual church camp), I feel, strangely, that housework can wait, while I just watch my little boy wondering around the house in his pyjamas, singing 'Happy birthday to you' to himself for absolutely no reason whatsoever - his delight in just being is so refreshing and eye-opening.

And so my prayer for this week is that, like Ben, I will be more able to delight in the simple things of life; and that I would challenge myself daily to make Jesus Christ the very core of my being so that everything I do is out of love for Him: an act of worship, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice of praise.