Wednesday, 28 September 2011


hope is hard.

when the job isn't offered. when the baby doesn't come. when the date doesn't call back.

hope is hard.

i keenly remember my single years. hoping, longing, yearning for a husband. i lived those single years in a state of perpetual hope. and in reflection i realise what gift that was. sure it was filled with disappointments and night-cries to god. but it also echoed the place we are all in as we hope for the kingdom come. and in the midst there were some amazingly significant, incredibly joyful times. travel that opened my mind and my heart. opportunities to connect with girlfriends in real and honest ways, space to sort through all that i needed to sort through to be ready. it was not all bad.

when we hope, we live inside a promise. 

when we hope for a job, we live inside the promise that god has said he's our provision.

when we hope for a baby, we live inside the promise that god has said children are a blessing.

when we hope for a husband, we live inside the promise that god made man for relationship.

when we hope for christ, we live inside the promise that he will come again. 

barbara brown taylor writes about this promise, this hope in 'late bloomer'

It's a hard thing to believe in a promise-
to live by it, day after day,
to see it in the night sky
and hear it in your name
and see it again in your lover's eyes.

It's a hard thing to believe in a promise with
no power in it to make it come true.
Everything is in the future tense –
the land, the child, the blessing
Everything will happen, by and by,
but in the meantime, how do I live now?

And yet. What better way to live than in the grip of a

To wake in the possibility that today might be the day...
To search the face of every stranger
in case it turns out to be the angel of God.

To take nothing for granted.
Or to take everything as granted,
though not yet grasped.

To handle every moment of life
as a seed of the promise
and to plant it tenderly, never knowing if this moment,
or the next, may be the one that grows.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

hilton head - two.

and maybe some savannah?

we basically just hung out for the first week of our honeymoon. ok, who am i kidding. we basically just hung out for all of our honeymoon! i finished three books while away. it was incredible. canadians will appreciate the series (is two a series?) by terry fallis. and really anyone who loves politics will be entertained. cutting for stone was so good i ignored my brand-new husband while travelling to finish! and the slap, was a compelling read.

so reading on the beach was a regular activity.

but we did decide to do a day trip. and savannah, ga is only an hour away. so we piled into the car and took ourselves on a mini roadtrip. savannah was gorgeous, but HOT. unfortunately hotter than we were able to handle. i imagine it to be a place that we'd have loved if it was less than 110 F, but sadly, it was not...and we were in the first stages of honeymoon tired - ie the wedding and it's joyful exuberance had finally become joyful tiredness.

however, we did manage a few key things. an ipod walking tour - really rather good and nice because we could go at our own pace.

hat shopping.

isn't he handsome?

ice cream eating.

and of course, paula deen. oh. so. delicious.

we'll go back some day, surely. in the meantime, we highly recommend this beautiful and historic city!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

joyful hope.

at the moment we are a one income family. le boy is between contracts. we're hoping for the next contract. we're hoping for a change. and yet, we are being changed. changed by the hoping.

isn't hoping really expectant waiting? isn't hoping really faithful patience? isn't hoping really trusting god?

and in this waiting and patience and trust we're being re-formed. we're depending on his daily mercies, his grace, his provision. our routines are changing. where previously we might have gone out for dinner, we're staying in and making it special. where previously we might have taken in a movie, we're enjoying reading and chatting. where previously we'd have gotten cable, we're utilising on-demand from the bbc. and these changes, they are small, but they are because of the hoping. they are because we are trying to be good stewards of what's been entrusted to us. and honestly, if you asked us? they're pretty great. it's changing the way we are living. it's changing our perspective of need and want. it's encouraging us to spend time investing in our marriage, in friendships, in life. and ultimately, it's become a very joy-filled time. this hoping, this complete dependence on the lord, it is all joy. because we are choosing to hope, we are also choosing joy.

to print: right click & 'save image as'

i've started the study of 1 John - if you haven't joined, there's still time to catch up! and it's ingenious, the book is studied, verse by verse, over the course of the autumn. and apparently god was looking for me to dig deep into 1 John, seeing as our fellowship group is also studying 1 John! the printable above, is one of my favourite verses and i do believe is a verse that perfectly sums up this season in our lives.

Monday, 19 September 2011

what's mine is yours. (?)

they tell you when you get married that you are going to share everything. in my head i was cool with the attrition of shampoo that was inevitable, and with the sharing of things - le boy has developed a strong favouring for my macbook (i do believe he's coming over to the dark side), i recognised that it would be essential to discuss decorating ideas and share even the less exciting events like cleaning (although the rubbish is wholly his to handle!). i wasn't prepared for sharing closet space. not because i thought he was without clothes, but mainly because i failed to concieve of just how many dress shirts, casual shirts, dress jeans, casual jeans, work-appropriate trousers and suits a man can own! and let's not get started on the sports gear - we've got an entire storage space filled, half the spare room and two bins in the bedroom dedicated to 'sport stuff!' shall we just say that i've spent countless hours 'pinning' organisational ideas?

le boy was actually great about cleaning out his wardrobe, we've both been ruthless and the local charity shops and our friends nearby have benefitted immensely! but still. combining all the clothes we own into relatively small spaces has been a challenge. when i was unpacking i came across three hangers, all empty, even though they had enormous potential for space-saving.

but they were empty? why i wondered, as i put all my trousers (how british am i?) on the hanger. well i found out rather quickly why...they were slippery! by the end of the week half my trousers (pants for you non-brits) were on the floor. and my section of the closet was looking decidely untidy.

but pinning took me to martha, and martha suggest this:

martha stewart :: stay put pants

add a couple felt pads, originally intended for the legs of your chairs and tables, and no more slip.

so it turns out that this is actually a post about how le boy has learned to share. because i accidently stole 'shared' his hangers. but this is the guy who wasn't using them, (and packed them along to his next house) because his trousers were ending up on the botton of the closet...i say the fixer gets to keep them? plus, my side of closet is looking MUCH more organised these days....

Friday, 16 September 2011


as promised from last week - printables for pantry and freezer inventories!

there are lots of these flying around the internet, but i adjusted mine to suit our needs (your needs too?) it's my goal to be a little bit more aware of what's in the cupboards/freezer and use up what we've got. on the docket this weekend is tomato sauce, to be used in the future for spaghetti, pizza and anything else that requires tomato sauce for the base.

we've also got an early morning grocery shop planned on saturday in order to make our friends' wedding blessing midday. and i'm investigating sabbath-keeping. so we're thinking up some ways to experience the joy of creation and all that is offered through purposeful rest and engagement.

happy friday!

pantry inventory :: to print ~ right click on image and 'save as'

freezer inventory :: to print ~ right click on image and 'save as;

find the matching meal planner & grocery list here.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


do i want a habitual faith? this is something i have thought about for many years. see, i was raised in the anglican church. the church i attended was a vibrant, active, spirit-filled place. the anglican summer camp i attended was filled with the spirit of god and christ's love was evident all around. the anglican church i worked at through university, actively interacting with the community, was clear in their mission to spead the gospel. and all of these church experiences were what many consider tired. these churches all used the anglican liturgy. when i came to grad school, in england, the birthplace of this 'church of england' elsewhere called 'anglican' i found myself in churches distancing themselves from the liturgy. i found friends, brothers and sisters in christ, suggesting that anything that is repetitive, that is habitual, is not of the spirit. now, i'm not trying to start a discussion on which is better, each has it's place, and each form of a sunday service, provided it expresses the love of god, declares the gospel and points to christ crucified, is doing its job. but it made me wonder if habit in faith leads to tiredness in faith? 

it is my habit, to study the bible. it is my habit to pray while i knit. it is my habit to say grace before meals. it is my habit to post on this blog. it is my habit to worship.

habits can seem boring. can seem contrived. can seem tired. and yet it is when i am active in these habits, that i am most in communion with christ. le boy and i have started the habit of a morning devotional. it has been a habit for one of us to pick up the book and read aloud, to study the passages associated in scripture and then to pray - for what we have learned and studied, and for what the day holds. do i want to do it everyday? no. does he? no. but the habit creates the space and time. and through it we ask god into our lives and into our marriage. habits are for the days when you don't want to.

habits: rising early, working out, brushing your teeth, emptying the dishwasher - can seem mundane. when actually, each of those things is worship. taking care of your body and your living space is worship. and faith, to be practiced, needs to be a habit. not something you do mindlessly, but something you are so wired to do that not doing it feels wrong. we are not created to be constantly spontaneous, we are created, partially for habitual worship. the moment-by-moment, today i am choosing to praise my maker, even though i don't feel it, worship. we need to replace our old bad habits, with new good ones. sometimes we have to practice (habitually) our way to worship, and from worship, to faith.

23 All of you, slave and free both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. So please don't, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you. 1 Cor 7:23 (MSG)

Monday, 12 September 2011

hilton head - one.

i thought i'd be realistic and say, this will probably take a few posts. honeymoon was only three weeks ago! it feels like a year, but the last three weeks have been busy and fun and full of the joys (and jobs) of getting back to work and setting up a home.

but three weeks ago we were on hilton head island, sc. and it. was. glorious.

i should probably start from the beginning. when we got engaged we decided that while le boy would probably be involved in much of the planning of the wedding day, he's more of a big picture guy, not so much a tie-ribbons-on-popsicle-sticks kind of guy. i personally, like the ribbons. and while i love planning trips and i love travelling, le boy is equally enamoured and so we decided that honeymoon was his responsibility. and it was a secret. which in retrospect was great because i didn't worry about it for a second but annoying because he could hold it over me and teased me mercilessly.

the day after the wedding we had brunch with family and friends at a local restaurant and then enjoyed opening presents and cards at home with some dear peeps. and then ab^2 (a.b.barton & jose) were oh so kind as to drive us across the border to buffalo, after assuring the border crossing that le boy was just a brit on vacation we hopped on a flight to charleston. arriving late to the land of humidity we collapsed into bed. the next morning we got our rental car and started driving.

we made a stop to the sweetest country store - the pecan pie basically slayed me. i would fly back there right now for another slice.

we arrived at our resort, palmetto dunes, on HHI in the mid afternoon and promptly headed to the nearest beach shack/diner for lunch. the fish tacos actually did. me. in. i am still dreaming about them.

we spent time biking.

admiring wildlife:

and enjoying god's glorious splendor:

i will reveal more of our trip in future posts. but if you need an idea for next summer's vacation, HHI is pretty spectacular. i'm fairly certain we'll return.

Friday, 9 September 2011


i'm sticking to some of my intentions this month. namely i'm meal planning. i might have become slightly obsessive. i just can't help it. it is such a weight off my mind to know that dinner has been planned, we have the requisite food in the house, the recipe is already in the kitchen and dinner can be thrown together quickly! i love cooking, i'm not a huge fan of thinking about what to cook while i'm under pressure...

so i used pinterest to find a variety of meal planners/grocery lists. this might as well be a pretty process right? but most planners were for moms planning breakfast, lunch and dinner, and included snacks. now, i'm all for snacks, but really breakfasts at our house are easy: cereal, toast, maybe eggs... lunches for me are 99% of the time leftovers, and snacks: fruit and dinners are all that stress me out right now. also i prefer to think about the number of meals we'll have this week, not the exact days they'll be consumed. so if i come home and we would much prefer fish over beef, we change it up.

so i made my own. it's also my first printable! yippee! i'll make some matching freezer/cupboard inventories in the future...i'm still getting the hang of this thing :)

it's a meal planner on one side, grocery list on the other. i've been having HUGE success with  for recipe ideas and the beginnings of meal plans. seriously, we've only had one so-so meal in two weeks - that's a pretty good run! and they are fast and healthy :)

to download, click and print :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


recently i've been thinking on the practice of faith. le boy and i have been practicing our faith daily by doing a devotion over breakfast and ending with a short time of prayer. it has already blessed us immensely to meet with jesus and spend time thinking and praying about our lives and our days and our faith. and so this practice of faith becomes something we practice. and with daily practice we get a little bit better over time at turning, moment by moment to the lord for his guidance and grace.

jesus calling : sarah young

when i was a teenager i was very involved in music and spent hours on vocal practice and training. it was my routine to spend time each day after school practicing my voice. i would lose myself for a time in scales and exercises, in repeating difficult parts of a song, sometimes singing the same five tricky notes of a piece over and over until each tone was lodged in my being, until i knew the feeling of the music, of each individual note, right from wrong, in my body as it reverberated through my bones and hollow spaces - leaping up out of mouth and throat and filling the enormous front room of our house. a room that was rarely used for anything but music practice and receiving company. i was blessed by that space. by taking myself away from the daily requirements and losing myself, sometimes for hours, to simply creating music.

i also remember a time when i wasn't being diligent in my practice, competition was approaching and my cavalier attitude was not impressing my parents, marvellous in particular. and so i was gently, but firmly told that the hours and money invested in my training were being wasted. my teachers had taught, my parents had driven to lessons and listened to singing and paid for tuition, god had given me the talent, it was my responsibility to take all that had been entrusted to me and DO something with it. namely, make sure i was holding up my end of the bargain and practice!

and as i reflect on this practice of music, i realise there is so much in the experience that resonates with my practice of faith.
  • you have to practice. you actually have to do something during the week between sundays
  • warm-up are an essential aspect. i try to open my quiet time with a simple prayer, asking god to 'think through me and show me more of him.' at other times i write pages of my heart cries, trying to untangle a mess or learn a new lesson. 
  • there are tricky and difficult parts to this faith thing. there are lessons that i am taught yearly. there are aspects of my character being continually refined and slowly but surely these lessons begin to take root, begin to resonate with my soul, begin to feel right within my flesh. my countenance is changed as the spirit takes hold my weary bones and fills my hollow spaces and creates a new person bit by bit. 
  • having a space to create in is an amazing gift, and also removes you from everything else. by practicing away from the rest of the household i made the 'living room' my music haven. i hope to eventually have a space for quiet time in the spare room. until then i am going to create a small space in the living room, a place set apart. a place to meet with jesus. 
  • finally, it is my responsibility alone to practice my faith. my husband, my friends, my church or small group cannot do it for me. they can contribute to my faith, help me to grow and offer wise and godly counsel, but i along must reach daily for christ. and when i fall short, sometimes god is gently going to remind me that i am responsible for my faith.
if i'm honest my personal quiet time has been lacking this month. and i could excuse it with notions of busy-ness or travel or responsibilities at home and work. but really. really, what i'm saying is god is getting whatever time i can spare for him. not my best time, my 'spare time.' i am treating god like a hobby when i should be prioritizing him over everything else. but he is always gracious and he is reminding me that i alone, am responsible for practicing my faith. i'm praying that i learn this lesson again. i'm praying that you too learn day by day, how to practice your faith.

Monday, 5 September 2011


saturday morning was one of those wonderfully unexpected free days. i was supposed to be on a cycle trip with le boy and some friends, but when the route was announced we decided that perhaps my acl-less knee may protest a little too much. and so it was a day of 'homing' - making the house, a home.

i did hours of laundry and sorted through my clothes, designating a large bag for the charity shop. i organised and shelved books and dusted and printed off a few cute bit to place around the house. oh how i love online printables! so sweet, so cute, so free!

tucked in a sweet corner of the hallway:

above the laundry 'nook' door:

above our bedroom door (one of our wedding verses - ecc 4:9):

sunday: marvellous and the barton boy arrived for a couple of nights before heading up to land of sheep, kilts and haggis...i spent the morning freezer cooking, while they slept off the vestiges of jetlag. lunched with dear friends and a walk around our neighbourhood park were tops to the weekend.

the final finish - jamie oliver's exceptional roast chicken with lemon and rosemary roast potatoes recipe - oh. my. word. make it, people will think you the best thing ever. you will simply smile and know that it was 'easy-peasy'

happy monday!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

the beauty of the morning::{september}

composed upon westminster bridge, september 3, 1802

Earth hath not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

- william wordsworth

it is semptember now. and for me again, the beginning of a new school year. i am always in the cycle of academic life. it feels like a new year today. the grey and rain that's crouched over the city this week has lifted - it was the most beautiful of mornings. the neighbourhood slowly waking. eating eggs with le boy at our kitchen table. toast and jam. devotion time. coffee. sunlight streaming through the windows. i searched september in the poetry foundation app - and found this wordsworth poem about this city on a morning just like this one - indeed in two days time, two centuries ago.

as in july, i'm setting goals for the month of september. resolutions? intentions? intentions. it seems much more manageable to intend to do something for the next month. 

:intentions for september 2011

blog three times a week 
- daily devotions with le boy
- walk across the bridge daily (alas, waterloo, not westminster)
- meal plan
- rest

september holds so much promise.