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A day with Doris. . .

As most of you readers will know Storm Doris has hit the UK today.  What’s a bit of wind and water I thought [don’t go there]?  There was the usual howling around the house last night [Doris, not my husband] but then we live in an end of terrace house so that’s a regular occurrence here.  I love lying in bed in the dark listening to the wind or rain, it’s rather exciting.  This morning all looked fine, a storm in a teacup I thought, literally.  However, as I stepped outside at 6am in my nightie to go to the bin, Doris blew my nightie right over my head!!  Possibly I’d underestimated her.  Good job my neighbours don’t get up early lol. 

The trip to school was fine, just a bit blustery but the trip to work was a whole different ball game.  The car was pulled and buffeted at every gap in the hedge or break in the trees.  I could feel Doris trying to pull me off the road.  At one point something blew against the side of the car, I didn’t see it but it gave me a fright as it hit with a huge bang.  When I checked there was no damage and nothing to see in the rear view mirror so I’ve no idea what it was, some bit of flying debris I expect.

At work I was in the nursery kitchen and suddenly the huge skylight window above me just took off, blown right out, leaving us with the rain pouring in and the wind howling through the room.  That cut short the school day for our little ones, so their parents were called to collect them as soon as they’d finished eating their lunches.  Our little trampoline in the nursery garden also decided to relocate itself in the hedge.

The drive home was a ‘two hands on the wheel at all times’ event.  Doris had certainly upped her game.   Arriving home, I opened the garden gate and a scene not unlike Armageddon met me ~ it didn’t actually look like our garden.  Stuff everywhere, bins blown open and contents strewn, flower pots all over, the lids from the worm houses were blown off, shed door banging and Ethan’s basketball hoop had taken a nose dive into one of the bins.  Poor Honey was watching me from her bed looking mighty worried at what had obviously taken place in my absence. 

I’m meant to be out at a bible study group tonight but I’m probably going to give it a miss as I feel I’ve been lucky so far and I’m not going to push my luck with a fifth trip out.  On the plus side I’ve made some headway with my sock knitting in the last few days.  The evidence suggests that I’m a novice knitter. . .

. . .and here it is.  Using a 2.5mm small circular needle and Stylecraft, Head Over Heels 4ply sock yarn in the Eiger colourway we appear to have the beginnings of a sock.  All is going well so far and I’m loving knitting.  I’m knitting everywhere and at every opportunity ~ whilst cooking supper, in bed, whilst waiting outside school, when I should be doing the housework, knit, knit, knit. . .it’s addictive!!  After years of wanting to knit and months of wanting to knit socks it appears to be finally happening and it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be, so far lol…..  I’ll report back when there’s more sock to see.

Sharon xx

Normal viewing is resumed. . .

frothy-coffee-timeGood morning lovely people.  Well it’s Monday and it’s all back to work and school. Good bye half-term, hello routine.  There’s nothing like a quick slap round the face with a bit of normality to bring you down to earth.  When that alarm went off at 5.50am all the cosyness of last week just instantly vanished.  How does that happen??  Even the cats looked a bit shocked when I strolled into the kitchen at silly o’clock this morning. 

The sun is actually shining here in MK and I’m nursing my usual frothy coffee whilst chatting with you guys.  Today holds normal stuff and I’m a girl of routine so it’s easy [if unwelcome] to slide back into the daily grind of early rise, school run, domestics, early lunch aka late breakfast [the downside to working from 11.30am to 1.30pm], work, home, school run, homework, supper ~ you get the idea I’m sure.  There’s some comfort and familiarity to be found in those mundane, routine events and I thrive on it even if I don’t always like it. 

So, I have a load of wet washing that needs some attention and some dry washing that needs relocating.  I might, if I’m feeling super brave, wash the kitchen floor ~ a week of regular traffic has taken it’s toll, ewww!!  Supper tonight will involve mashed potatoes, sweetheart cabbage and a steak pudding so I might prepare some of that before I leave for work. Whatever you’re doing today I hope you find some joy and value in it.  Have a lovely day!! 

Sharon xx

Flying Sock Flash!!!

This is just a quick flying sock flash so I can show you my finished Super Sonic Crochet socks.  Click on the images above to see a larger version.  They took me quite a while to make, not because they were tricky, but because I kept finding other projects to distract me along the way.  Now I know that NONE of you hookers and knitters out there EVER have more than one project on the go at a time do you??  Ahem!!  They did take some working out however, mainly to customise them to fit AND to make sure the second sock was the same as the first.  This is another downside to not making them both at the same time ~ you forget what you did!!  I must remember to make better notes as I go next time.  Luckily I was able to work out what I’d done the first time around without too much difficulty.  They are identical and a really good, comfortable fit which speaks volumes for the great quality of the pattern.  I think if I made another pair they’d be a lot quicker now I know what I’m doing, and probably only take a couple of days if I put my mind to it.

I’m still looking forward to casting on some knitted socks though and I’ve been practicing today.  I can cast on, cast off, knit, purl and do ribbing of varying widths.  I even manged to rescue a dropped stitch and intentionally rip some out and re-do it without a hitch.  This is partly due to a rather excellent book I bought yesterday at Hobbycraft called the, ‘Ultimate Knitting Bible’ by Sharon Brant [I’ll put all links below as usual].  I got 25% off due to being a loyalty card holder which was an unexpected result.  The book deals with what to do when you make a mistake, which is what I struggle with most, as well as a very comprehensive guide to anything and everything you need to know about knitting.

Right, that’s me, I’m off for a bath before ‘Call the Midwife’ starts. . . .take care everyone and have a great week.  Hugs xxx

Links: ~

Super Sonic Crochet Socks Pattern by Kathryn Senior

Ultimate Knitting Bible by Sharon Brant

Socks. . .

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Photo’ courtesy of ‘Winwick Mum’

Have you seen all that delicious sock yarn out there?  All those wonderful colours and combinations.  I’m not a knitter, on no I’m not.  However, I really, REALLY want to knit socks.  How hard can it be?  I appear to have ordered some knitting tools and some 4ply sock yarn.  I’m going to be following Winwick Mum on her knitting blog ~ she did a Sock-a-Long back in May of 2015 and, although that’s long finished, the free [and very comprehensive] advice and step-by-step pattern is still available [see photo above].   There is also a closed group on Facebook for anyone wishing to join me on my sock adventure.  Christine [aka Winwick Mum] also has a rather lovely page of free patterns available for those of you who are a few steps ahead of me in the knitting department.  It’s all win, win from where I’m sitting.

Update on my crochet socks is that I have one toe left to do and then they’re finished. I’ll place a link to the pattern below. I’ll be interested to see how different it is to knit a pair and how much different they look once finished.  Always assuming I do actually finish knitting a pair and don’t succumb to that terrible disease, ‘Single Sock Syndrome’.

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My ‘Super Sonic Sock’

Happy hooking and knitting all ~ every blessing!! xx

Link as promised ~ Super Sonic Crochet Socks Pattern

Sharon xx

Faith Page Update. . .

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I have just rewritten my Faith page.  I read it today for the first time in months [possibly years] and realised that it was convoluted and out of date so now there is a new version if anyone is interested.   Either click the pink link here or the ‘My Faith’ tab at the top of the page.

Love to all who visit here.

Sharon xx

It’s not great for everyone. . .

So, it’s Valentine’s Day and for the lucky ones among us it’s a day to share with those we love.  For me it’s not just a day to celebrate the romantic love I have with my husband, it’s also a day to tell my children that they’re loved and anyone else who I know who might need a loving message.  Let’s be honest here Valentine’s Day is not a great day for everyone.  Not everyone has someone in their lives to share today with.  We’re not all happily married or in a relationship with someone special.  We don’t all have children to love or family that we’re close to. 

It’s a good time to remember that, whether you have a faith or not, God loves you.  He loves you today, tomorrow and for all eternity.  You don’t have to earn His love because it’s unconditional and freely given through grace.  I’m always rather in awe of that . . . so I thought I’d share it with you today.

Wishing you all a blessed Valentine’s Day xXx

Sharon xx

Spice of Life Throw ~ Take Two

It’s half-term here in MK and it’s a beautiful sunny day, if a little cold.  I was up early with Si today as he’s still at work [he has Friday off] so I thought I’d keep him company and get the kettle on the hob for that much needed first cuppa.  Once he’d left I got some time to just sit and reflect on the day ahead which is always a blessing. 

I’ve nearly finished my second Spice of Life throw.  This one is for my bedroom, yayyyy!!  It’s not often I keep what I make but just occasionally I make something that is just for me.  I’ve got a few rows to go and then I’m onto the border.  I’ve yet to decide which border to use but it will come from the, ‘Around the Corner Crochet Borders’ by Edie Eckman.  This is a book I’ve used so many times because it’s excellent, it’s worth remembering though that it uses US crochet terms.   I haven’t used the suggested border from the pattern purely because it’s quite narrow and as it’s not a huge throw, a wider border just gives a bit more uummppff to the finished size.  [Links to everything mentioned will be at the bottom of the post.] 

I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn in Silver, Graphite, Cream, Camel, Clematis, Plum, Storm Blue and Petrol.  I bought one ball of everything except the Graphite and Silver which I bought two of as I’m using these colours for the border.  I also used a 4mm hook.  Clover Amour are my hooks of choice because I have a rather weird way of holding the hook and the metal ones give me cramp in my fingers.  They’re very smooth to use and lovely to hold.  I can crochet for hours without any pain or discomfort, they were rather a revelation when I first used them.

Here are some photo’s.  Click on them to see caption and enlarged image. 

Okay, as promised here are the links to everything mentioned and, as always, I am not being sponsored by any of the products or companies: ~

Wool Warehouse ~ I buy the majority of my yarn [including all my Stylecraft] and hooks from here because they’re quite simply amazing.

Free pattern for Spice of Life throw ~ Courtesy of the designer, Sandra Paul @ Cherry Heart

Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman ~ Amazon.co.uk

Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman ~ Amazon.com

Happy Hooking All

with love

Sharon xx

The Cup of Our Life . . .

Today’s title is actually ‘stolen’ from a lovely book by Joyce Rupp that takes you on a daily journey of spiritual growth.  I’ve had this book since the week of guided prayer that I enjoyed in June of last year.  My Prayer Guide, Margaret, suggested it to me as a means of something to continue with after our time together had come to an end.  Over a period of six weeks Joyce uses the image of a cup in its various guises to teach us something about our spiritual selves and our walk with God.  The open cup, the broken cup. . .  you get the meaning.  I bought the 1997 version of the book second hand because I loved the cover and the woodcut prints, but it’s available in a lovely new version too and I’ll put the links to that at the bottom of this post.  I didn’t actually use it last year but I picked it up a week or so ago and it’s been part of my morning ever since.

Part of the joy of this book is that you have to choose a mug or a cup to travel with you, I have a thing about mugs 😀 .  I chose the cup that I use the most, my ‘Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte’ mug. wuthering_heights_mug_new2_grande It’s not the prettiest but it is my favourite and it’s the one that’s with me most often when I’m praying and spending time with God.  I was sitting this morning with my chosen cup [full of lovely frothy coffee I might add] after my prayer time and reflecting on today’s entry which is about what the cup can teach us.  In the past I have often felt that ‘life’ got in the way of my relationship with God.  That having to leave for work or do the school-run were distractions that, quite frankly, irritated me because they disturbed my link to the divine.  As I looked at my cup I realised that although it has sides that contain and hold my spirit safely, it is also portable, allowing me to transport it with me into my daily life.  Influencing what I do, how I think, how I react.  Touching all those who enter my life, however briefly.  Faith does not have to be reserved for those quiet and often brief moments alone in prayer, at church or in the car.  Faith is ‘portable’, a 24/7 gift that is infinite and omnipresent so it doesn’t suddenly stop when we leave the house or speak to someone.  I know now that I was wrong to feel so frustrated by the interruptions of ‘life’ coming between me and God, because my life IS my relationship with God and it’s meant to be shared.

Blessings to one and all.

Sharon xx

Links as promised . . . I am not sponsored by any of the products linked below.

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Amazon.com

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Barnes & Noble

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Amazon.co.uk

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Eden.co.uk

On Life and Discerning Private Vows. . .

It has been a long time.  Life has moved on.  I have moved on.  A few times I nearly deleted this blog, but then. . . . I just couldn’t quite bring myself to.   I am back at work, albeit it very part-time.  I provide lunch-time cover at a school for children with severe physical and learning disabilities.  It’s rewarding and humbling.  You think you’re having a bad day and then you realise that your worst day is a hundred times better than their best day.

Ethan is half-way through his second term at our local Catholic Senior School.  For the most part he’s enjoying it and has [according to his tutor] transitioned really well but the step-up in homework quantity, compared to Primary School, has taken some getting used to.  I’m sure he’s not alone in that challenge.

Si has also got himself a new job.  His night shift at a local distribution warehouse has been cast aside for the dizzy heights as an IT Consultant, a job he did for fourteen years back in the days before he worked in education.  The hours are so much better and so is the money.  The whole nights thing is not conducive to family life or having any quality time together.  Made worse to be honest by a truly ridiculous off-duty rota that included far too many single nights off.  Anyone who’s worked nights will appreciate that a single night off is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard……!!!

My crochet continues on at a steady pace.  I’m not churning out a project a week, or even a month, but I enjoy what I do and I’ve got three projects that are all going to be finished within the next few weeks.  A shawl, a pair of socks and a blanket.  I’ll post photo’s of the finished articles when I get there.  I have however, finished Ethan’s Cosy Crofter Blanket and the photo’s of that are at the head of this post.  The perfect finishing touch to his new bedroom.

There is big news on the Faith Front and this has been one of those subjects that I’ve spent a while deciding whether or not to write about/share.  The thing that finally swung it was that I myself would have liked to have a found an article like this when I was trying to discern my religious path.  Interestingly this is not something I’ve shared much in real life apart from a strictly need-to-know basis.  It feels a little boastful and overly pious to make this public but hopefully it will help someone else.  So . . . . . .

At the latter end of 2008 [before I became Catholic] I found the wonderful community of Turvey Abbey where, for many years, I walked the path towards becoming a Benedictine Oblate.  A time of formation ensued towards taking the vows of Stability, Conversion and Obedience.   For all sorts of reasons I never took that final step to oblation.  All I can say is that it never felt quite right.  I love Turvey and the community and I still love going there, in fact it’s probably one of my favourite places on this Earth to worship, but I felt that God was calling me elsewhere.  However, it’s taken me a very long time to discern where that might be.

Somehow I felt that God was asking me to make private vows….promises just between Him and me, not attached to a charism or a community, just a way of aligning myself more closely with Jesus and hopefully bringing some of His love to all the people in my life.  Easy you’d think huh?  Hmmm well in reality, not easy at all.  Firstly, it took me a while to find out anything about private vows [we’re not talking consecrated vows of chastity, poverty and obedience here] and secondly what would that/they even look like?   With the blessing of the Turvey Nuns I gave up the Oblate path and decided to focus completely on Private Vows, asking God to guide me.  I devoted the whole of Lent 2016 to this cause not really expecting much to happen in what is after all just a few short weeks.  A good starting point seemed to be working out exactly what the vows would be.  Clearly I’m a wife and mother so chastity or the eremetic life were out of the question.  These would have to be vows that challenged me yes, but that would also fit around my family.  I also felt that they would have to benefit everyone [without exception] who touched my life.  These are not vows to benefit me, they’re for the benefit of my community, they’re to bring the face and love of Christ to all.  So, with much trepidation and the loving support of Sr Yvonne who is the Vicar for Religious and the Pastoral Administrator of my parish, I moved forward in faith and prayer.  Over the coming days words soon made themselves clear….Obedience, Simplicity…and ???  That last one was illusive to say the least.  One day I was dusting upstairs with the TV on in my bedroom and I suddenly heard the word, ‘Caring’ and I knew instantly that was the last one.  I’ve no idea if it was from the TV or God but there it was, loud and clear.  So I had them all ~ Simplicity, Obedience and Caring.  I wrote posts on Simplicity and Caring when I was discerning last year so you can read a little of the thought process behind them if you’re interested. 

I have not yet made these vows but, as we approach Lent 2017, I know that the time is right to move forward with this and I will be sure to share how and when that happens.  The one thing I do know is that it will be very private and simple.  If you pray keep me in your prayers, if you don’t, think of me kindly as I make this amazing journey into the arms of God.

God bless.

Sharon xx

Newsy Stuff #2

blue-birds-blog-header1.jpgI have quite a bit of news, both life and faith related.  However, I will keep the two separate and update on the faith part in another post. 

There are some significant changes taking place in my life at the moment.  Firstly, and I suppose most importantly, my mum has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  She has chosen not to have any aggressive treatment and has opted for palliative care only, I totally respect her decision as it’s not something you can decide for someone else.   I understand why she’s chosen this path, I don’t think chemotherapy is for everyone, it can be worse than the disease it’s trying to cure in some cases.  So, good for her on knowing what she wants and bravely going for it!

My relationship with my mother has been very strained since the death of my lovely step-father Jim, back in 2009.  We were fairly close up until then, but she has never been easy to love if I’m honest and that became a lot more difficult after Jim’s death.  I think he somehow kept us together and calmed the waters between us when he was alive but when he died that soothing balm went with him.  I had kind of hoped that she would mellow a bit with this latest news and build a few bridges but, despite my offered olive branch, that has not happened.  She knows I’m here if she needs me but as it stands that’s as close as I’m allowed.   Some things you just have to place into God’s hands and trust that He knows what’s best.

Secondly, Ethan [who is about to turn 11!!!!] has just left primary school.  He attended a fantastic Catholic Primary School here in Milton Keynes,  and they became like family by the end.  Yesterday was his very last day and to say it was emotional is an understatement.  So many tears from staff, students and parents alike.  From my point of view it was also the end of an era; for the last 33 years I’ve been a parent to at least one child of primary school age or under.  I have to admit to feeling rather bereaved at the loss of that status.  There has to be a time to move on but it’s a hard habit to break and I’m sad at its passing.

I am still not working having given up my job as a Teaching Assistant back in December ’15.  However, once I’ve got Ethan settled into secondary school I will start to re-assess things.  I’d really like something part-time that gives me time with Ethan in the holidays as I won’t leave him on his own all day yet.  I’m not keen to go back into a school full-time but if anything part-time comes up then I’ll probably go for it.  Finances dictate that I’m probably going to have to earn something within the next year or so, barring a lottery win.   I may sign-up for supply work which will mean I can choose when and where I work.  For now it’s in God’s hands and I’m trying to remain open and just see what comes along in the next few months. 

My crochet has been badly neglected recently.  Just too much going on with the huge amount of end-of-term activities that goes with being the mother of a Year 6 student, visits to the new secondary school and organising uniform/equipment/bus passes etc., hospital appointments with mum and the general demands of a family and a house that still refuses to clean itself.

That is about it for the ‘life’ part of my news.  I will do a ‘faith’ update very soon.  

Sharon xx

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