Monday, 17 December 2012

christmas card 2012.

i downloaded a design from becky higgins again.

this isn't exactly what we're sending because the source i was ordering from wouldn't resize properly...but it's pretty close.

this is what we'll send by email, as a pre-card, we were hoping to get these in the mail much earlier but there was a mistake with the printing and they only arrived over the weekend! i guess we know what my lunch hour will be spent doing this week :)

merry christmas everyone!

i'm linking up with faith's christmas card carousel.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


i've been quiet recently. but much to the chagrin of those who know me - that's never going to last long.

i missed reviewing october/november so here's a combo post.

::october/november recap::

  • we've started a new bible study in our homegroup and we're moving through it, will finish for christmas, it's been revelatory to grasp the concept of grace more fully 
  • working my way personally through the beth moore proverbs study: wising up - and let me tell you, i am! 
  • started a breakfast bible study with some ladies from church, so good to be drinking the word (and coffee) with sisters in christ! 
  • memorised: ephesians 2:8, philippians 4:6, habbakuk 3:17&18, psalm 127:2
  • read: case histories by kate atkinson, readable but not my very favourite 
  • read: start your family by candice and steve watters, a good biblical overview of the role of family in a believer's life, now the question is when to start? 
  • winter of the world by ken follett, the second in a trilogy spanning the entire 20th century, readable, gripping, multiple storylines and LONG, but in a good way, worth the read, but absolutely necessary to read the first book! 
  • the secret keeper by kate morten, this book has been much touted this autumn, and it's good and a compelling read, but it feels very similar to other kate morten books, in the way that all john grishams feel the same? it's a formula, it works, but it loses its magic once you've got this insight...sorry. 
  • dear life by alice monroe, this book of short stories stole my heart, i ached for each snippet of life that was detailed. it probably helped that the stories mainly take place in places so familiar i could exactly picture the scenery the bleak and beautiful scenery of southwestern ontario farmland in winter, the beauty of lake huron in high summer. in honesty it made me a little home (and heart) sick, and isn't that what the best of books do to us? if you are familiar with the places of southwestern ontario, particularly those communities near the shores of lake huron, read this. 

  • i didn't start a 10 km training plan, but i have lost 40cm since july, so i'm feeling pretty great 
  • i can leg press 100 kg, yup, you read that right. these quads are on fire!
  • well i quit photography class. that's ok. 
  • i did photograph a friend's wedding and if i say so myself, the photos are at least passable for decent, mainly.
  • i've knitted three jumpers and two hats. 
  • knitted the cosiest throw blanket in the world

::december intentions::

  • finish off beth moore proverbs lecture series
  • finish off bible in a year two years
  • advent bible study, slow down, wait expectantly for the saviour of the world. 
  • two more scriptures make 24 for the year! 
  • reading against a deadline: great expectations and life of pi (i know) both before i see the films, big hopes people. 
  • 'tis the season for cakes, and dinners and lunches, and deliciousness, so let's do this alongside the gym eh? 
  • legpress 110 kg by 2013!
  • christmas cards
  • christmas knitting 
  • christmas decorating
  • christmas baking 
  • christmas day menu - so many decisions! 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


this month has been out of hand. and mainly looks and feels like this:

i'm ready for the waiting of advent. the preparation of our hearts and heads of the coming of christ.

Monday, 12 November 2012

sunday, slow.

a day to simply rest - isn't that a thought?

individual pot roast lunch. a perfect start to sunday afternoon.

watching the all blacks dominate the pitch against scotland. while snuggling under the just-finished (and blocked!) knit blanket.

walking along muddy paths in late afternoon light.

hot chocolate as the sun sets.

evening service at church praising the one who always remembers.

Friday, 9 November 2012


i quit this week.

no, not my job. but the period of frenzy that gave way to the deep discontentment at work was met by god's unfailing grace and we are back in a place of sweet contentment, affirmed in the knowledge that i'm here for a reason and a season (just a season longer than i had originally anticipated).

i quit photography class.

earlier this autumn when signing up for both junior league and photography class and adding that to leading bible study and actively participating in our church community and being intentional in my friendships and my marriage, oh and that small part of my day called work; i did wonder if i was biting off more than i could chew. perhaps i should listen to that internal prompting a little more? two weeks into class i knew it was going to be a bit much to handle. i knew because i was struggling to make it all fit. i knew because it meant that i was definitely out of the house three nights in a row. i knew because it felt like my life was spinning out of control. i knew because that angry monster of anxiety that's been on my back all autumn was getting bigger and louder and more overwhelming. i knew that something had to give.

but what's funny is that while dropping the photography class was the obvious choice - it's a finite course of 10 weeks, it was offered at our local community centre so it was relatively inexpensive, and i had only gone for two weeks so it wasn't as if i had half a term of work behind me - my first thought was to drop my volunteering with junior league. and so i got to thinking about it. because really dropping junior league didn't feel right. i had invested a significant amount of time and money and i did enjoy the people and the cause. so why was i thinking to quit it instead?

i think it was my own selfishness getting in the way. i wanted to do the photography course, but it was only going to benefit me, there wasn't going to be a significant impact to the wider world. now please hear me, i think we should do things in our spare time that bring us pleasure and joy. i already do a lot of those things. i read and knit and watch tv and go to movies and cook and workout. we travel extensively and have a nice home. i am not saying that taking a photography course wasn't a good thing to do, i am saying that one of those other good things i just listed would have had to go instead, and i wasn't willing to make that sacrifice.

for a couple of weeks i wrestled with quitting junior league, it didn't feel right and yet staying felt overwhelming. i took it to god in prayer and discussed it with le boy. i chatted about it with friends. and then i realised that actually, what i was being called to lay down wasn't junior league, it was the photography class. and when i did. when i made the decision, the feeling of relief that swept over me was remarkable. i need flexibility in my evenings. to spend time with my husband, to cook and keep our home, to go to the gym or see a friend for a glass of wine. i need the flexibility so that i can give of myself in the homegroup we lead, and the church we attend, and the volunteer activities i am invested in.

last night i realised the reason why this felt so right is because it lines up with our value statement. before we were married le boy and listed our ten values in order. i made a word collage with them and it hangs in our living room. and i realised that i had made the decision in accordance with those values. and then last night when i was worrying about one item over another, i realised, go back to the value statement, what we have decided is important to us as a couple - use this to make decisions.

our values in order are:


and so when one part of my life conflicts with another, i will choose according to our values. in some ways it made the decision making process, the weighing up and going back and forth in my mind, the pit of anxiety in my stomach about making the right choice, simply disappear. i know we've already thought long and hard about what we value, so more often than not, making a decision in submission to those values will be on track as well. and that my friends is what i call a lesson in the freedom of obedience.

Friday, 2 November 2012


hearing: scripture songs: vol. 1 by sherri youngward

seeing: the glorious blue sky of a crisp november morning.

feeling: the sun on my face, the breeze in the air, signs of glorious creation.

thinking: it's a fine day for a autumn wedding.

witnessing: dear friends saying 'i will'

reading: winter of the world: book two of the century trilogy by ken follett

tasting: lindt caramel sea salt dark chocolate - do yourself a favour and get some!

memorising: habbakuk 3:17&18
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

:posted on the go:

Thursday, 1 November 2012

wood walk.

we returned tonight from a week in yorkshire.


:posted on the go:

Thursday, 11 October 2012

thought collection.

i need to confess - last night i came into the house super late - like after 1030 late, and i'd still not eaten dinner. whoops. busy day at work, followed by a gym session, followed by a junior league meeting, followed by a glass of wine with the gals after JL...other than that, i cannot account for my subsequent actions. i can barely type this - i had, kraft dinner. which i believe is what canadians call mac & cheese from a box. if i'm honest i was hoping it would fill the void in my fridge. and my heart? i was sorta hoping that a remake of another time would happen when the most satisfying thing in the world was a bowl of kraft dinner. my sister and i used to make KD for sneaky saturday lunches when we were in highschool. ab could tell if the pasta was cooked properly just by stirring the pot. she generally likes to stir the pot. we'd eat it from bowls watching terrible saturday tv with tall glasses of cold milk. always in bowls, always eaten with forks.

it wasn't all that satisfying last night. maybe it's just not the same after you've grown up and left home and developed a better palate. but i think that maybe the key ingredients in KD have almost nothing to do with the taste of something that comes from a cardboard box...i think the key ingredients were probably my sister, and the way she'd commandeer the stirring of the pasta. that i was always the one to add just the right amount of milk and butter. that she'd insist on sprinkling the cheese powder just so. that we'd always have at least one fight and one laugh in the middle of its preparation.

maybe what i really wanted last night wasn't KD at all. maybe it was something familiar. everything these days seems like it's hazy. probably because it's been full steam ahead at work for almost two months now, and there's no release. and probably because it's fall and i love it, but that means that days are shorter here now, much much shorter. and maybe it's because i'm full-tilt busy.

on tuesday le boy met after work, ostensibly to hit the gym, but the traffic was terrible and i said, you know, we could not go to the gym - so we didn't. burgers and a dvd rental (moonrise kingdom) later, life seemed better, or maybe more manageable.

perhaps i've just over-committed. i've probably struggled with this forever. i want to do and be intentional with friends and make a difference in my community and exercise my creativity and live out what i understand god's call on my life to be.

today i bought four kinds of cereal while grocery shopping and i'm hoping that can re-invigorate my mornings. that might be placing too high a calling on cereal. i read this today and this yesterday afternoon, and i think i just might have to heed the suggestion - starting my day well, a little earlier perhaps, with prayer and some quiet physical activity.

we're going away in a couple of weeks. nothing fancy, just a cottage get-away in england. i'm hoping we walk for miles and enjoy the excitement of nothing. i'm planning a week of pre-prepped meals that keep you warm and full. i'm loading my kindle with quiet books. we're planning our dvd viewing. my two main requirements for the cottage: a bath tub and a fireplace. that's the kind of break we need.

it's one foot in front of the other friends. one foot. i think i'll make a roast this weekend. and bake some bread. and eat some cereal of course.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


there's a chill in the air. it's definitely autumn around these parts. school has started back, leaves are covering the ground and it's thanksgiving this weekend.

if i'm honest i've felt a bit wordless. truly, my story's feeling a little bit stale. that is until i realise that my story is about so much more than the one thing that distracts me from the rest of the goodness. i'll be honest and say that i'm wrestling with my professional life at the moment, no longer feeling fulfilled in ways i used to be. i'm not sure what to do with the restlessness, but i also know that when god stirs you up, he's usually getting you ready for change.

::september recap::


  • tuned into the beth moore simulcast 
  • memorised psalm 68:11 & james 2:26 
  • read: crazy love (finally) it's crazy good, but crazy convicting also.
  • read: orange is the new black, entertaining, poignant  a memoir and an insight into the life of a prison inmate and how choices can have long lasting consequences. 
  • read: the orchardist, gripping. a novel that centres on how violence can be redeemed by love 
  • read: call the midwife, bbc made a television series from this collection of stories of a midwife in post-WWII eastend london, watch the mini-series sure, it was fascinating, but read the book
  • took a bit of a break, it was necessary and well received, by my body that is! 
  • finished the drapes! now hung and looking pretty. 
  • finished a knitted poncho, just my new favourite item in my wardrobe (photos coming)
  • made jersey scarves, liking the diy aspect 
the drapes. finally. 

::october intentions:: 

  • starting a new bible study with our homegroup on grace - so looking forward to what god is going to show us
  • keep reading (what else would i do?)
  • start training for a 10km, i'm desperate to start running in earnest again, but i need a goal! 
  • finish off the weight loss, i'm really happy with the progress, and i'd like to be finished by the end of the month! 
  • starting a photography course this month, so looking forward to learning more about this art form and not just pointing my camera at things that look pretty! 
  • working on a new knitted jumper
  • contemplating making this for our living room - big and cozy

Monday, 17 September 2012


i'm not entirely sure what happened. i blinked and it wasn't just september it was the middle of september. it's halfway over!

it's been full-on, non-stop busy. working in education means that september is the busiest time going. it's great but exhausting. add to that my parents making a trip over to see us and it's been a busy couple of weeks!

but it's also been oh-so-wonderful!

i've done some canning.

we've been to the paralympics (with marvellous & the barton boy)

there's been bits of knitting and this weekend, finally, a little sewing. but i should probably briefly reflect on august. (even if it was weeks ago!)

::august recap::

  • finished the nehemiah study - have decided that workbook studies definitely speak to my 'student' personality
  • started up the end bits of the bible in a year two years 
  • memory work flagged (again) but did get 2 tim 3:16&17 suitably lodged in my brain and my heart
  • ww continued to be a great way of losing weight, lost a total of 9 lbs by the end of august and 12 inches overall! 
  • finished knitting the poncho - needs to be blocked 
  • got some bits finished in different rooms of the house, which feels very very good! 
  • canned (a bit) of strawberry-peach jam
::september intentions::
  • keep on with the scripture memorisation
  • keep on with the daily bible study - it's so nearly finished! 
  • tune into the beth moore simulcast
  • make my goal weight and evaluate where i'm at physically 
  • hit the gym at minimum three days a week 
  • new knitting project needed 
  • finish the drapes
  • simple sewing projects in the form of jersey infinity scarves! 
  • green tomato chutney (the tomatoes aren't going to ripen this year, are they?)

Saturday, 1 September 2012


last night after a delightful dinner with le boy and a good friend, i took myself to the movies. by which i mean we all went to the movies but while the guys enjoyed an action flick (bourne) i slipped into a theatre filled with women and saw take this waltz.

it was undoubtedly, one of the most stunning movies of this summer. i should come clean and say that sarah polley is one of my favourite writers and directors - i was raised on the road to avonlea and i am a total lover all canadiana - she's one of our finest gems. and she's done it again. the film is shot in a way that made me feel melancholy for the homeland. really any film that features both leonard cohen and video killed the radio star is a clear winner. and this is. if you've not seen it, take yourself. sit alone and contemplate relationship and love and how we deal with our boredom, our broken places, our constant desire for more. 

***spoiler alert***

the premise of the film is that margot meets daniel while on an airplane. sharing a cab back from the airport it becomes clear that daniel lives across the street and margot, is married. minor items. there is chemistry between these two. there is also chemistry between margot and her husband of five years, lou. margot and daniel begin an emotional affair, and ultimately, margot leaves lou for the excitement of 'something new.'

it was the very best of films, despite and because it didn't end how i wanted. i wanted for margot to stay in her marriage, work it through with lou and realise that happily ever after, doesn't really happen in real life. instead well, real life happens. which is both happy and sometimes, not so happy.

and really, isn't this a reflection on our current culture - where we say, my happiness is paramount? my feeling alive and contented and excited is more important than sticking to what i've promised? we justify this with naff sentiments of 'deserving to be happy' and 'doing what's best for me'. this film is an excellent critique on the ways in which none of that actually matters. that in the process of pursuing personal happiness so often others are hurt, and in the end we're not all that much happier than when we started.

i took away three thoughts from this film.

one - marriage is fragile. 

i thought this again and again while watching. and really it is so fragile. it requires so much care and protection. it requires a daily choice. marriage is never about me, it is always at minimum, about us, and often, more often than not, about my husband. marriage can be decimated in moments. in small decisions. to continue a friendship that really has more to it. to reconnect with an old flame. to spend a night out with the girls flirting with other men. these are small decisions. in and of themselves, potentially harmless, possibly even justifiable. in reality, these small decisions impact the marriage, change it, subtly. changes have consequences.
let the peace of christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. none of this going off and doing your own thing.  col 3: 15

two - new becomes old. 

there's a scene in the film when margot and her friends are expressing the desire for something 'new' rather than the old they know - how they miss the excitement, the passion, the newness of something new. an older woman overhears this conversation and says, wisely "the new becomes old." and how true. we think that the new will be better, more passionate, filled with excitement and life and everything that we don't have right now. but in truth, the new, it loses its shine. eventually, it becomes sitting on the couch, watching the news and going to bed. this sounds and reads as incredibly boring. maybe it is. but it's also life. it's what you do with this this 'boring', how you make it interesting, how you redeem it, that matters.
enjoy the wife you married as a young man! lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose - don't ever quit taking delight in her body. never take her love for granted! why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills...? pro 5:18-20

three - do the harder thing. 

i'm not a hater of my generation, but really - as a culture we are terrible at this. my generation particularly. when things get difficult, we try to duck it. we shirk responsibility. we hide. we run. we insist that 'it was just too hard.' what happened to doing the harder thing? not because it's harder, but because in some (many) cases, it's the right thing to do? we've lost the art of sticking it out and trying again. we jump from one thing to the next, we change jobs rather than developing our position, we change churches because it just no longer 'feeds' us. we break up and break down because we'd rather not really put in the effort. we want the quick fix. but actually, for the big things, for the small things for that matter, there is no quick fix. marriage is just a little bit of hard work. that doesn't mean it's hard, but it's certainly not easy.

be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. col 3:13

Thursday, 23 August 2012

reading recap::gilead.

i've read a few books this summer. and it's felt good to slip into a story when my own story has felt a little chaotic and disjointed. the summer is always so busy. FILLED with the goodness of good things and good friends and good moments, but all that goodness can be a little energy depleting. reading takes me outside of my commute and my away from the weariness of the world, if only for a few minutes.

this summer has seen so many good books fill my heart and head. but mainly, mostly, it was gilead that i keep returning to. keep thinking about.

to start, i should say that i generally don't love pulitzer prize winners. i know it's controversial. i know that's probably against the code of readers, but it's the truth. sometime pulitzers feel a little too much like english class and too little like downtime.

i loved this book. fell in love with this book. it felt like being written to by your grandfather, if you had a kind and strong and loving and faithful grandfather, and i did. it felt like all the best stories of his childhood and all the stories you remember about your own and all the things you hope for your own future children.

it is a very long letter, written by an old father to his very young son, the son he describes as one of his greatest gifts, a surprise in his twilight. it is to be the sum of his wisdom and hopes for his child. it is to be how he teaches him all there is to know of life and love and god and faith. i highlighted and highlighted. i felt my eyes welling up with tears again and again. it's the kind of book that is so startlingly beautiful you can barely contain the joy in your soul, hardly catch your breath.

it should be noted that gilead is also a place, it means rugged or mountain and in the old testament it refers to the area just north of the dead sea, it is a city of strife. this is notable because in the book, gilead, is also a town but it is a town that is mainly sleepy and peaceful in the way we (i) imagine mid-fifties, mid-western towns to be. slighly tumbleweedish, where people know each other, and where christianity is a cultural experience, if not also a spiritual one. but underneath it all, it is also a rugged place. mainly, it is a rugged place for the soul. the father, the old man who is dying, is so struggling with the resolve to live out a life of faith, despite desperately wanting to hold on for more.

it is a book of restoration:
And grace is the great gift. So to be forgiven is only have the gift. The other half is that we also can forgive and restore and liberate, and therefore we can feel the will of God enacted through us, which is the great restoration of ourselves to ourselves. 

of seeking faith:
So my advice is this - don't look for proofs. Don't bother with them at all. they are never sufficient to the question, and they're always a little impertinent, I think, because they claim for God a place within our conceptual grasp...I'm not saying never doubt or question. The Lord gave you a mind so that you make honest use of it. I'm saying you must be sure that the doubts and questions are your own, not, so to speak, the mustache and walking stick that happen to be the fashion of any particular moment. 

of humility:
And often enough, when we think we are protecting ourselves, we are struggling against our rescuer. 

whether or not you are a person of faith, this book will bless you. go read it. but might i suggest, reading it at a time when you have a moment to slow? i was on vacation when i read this. i needed to be. there was so much life in this book about dying that i needed moments to look up from what i was reading and ponder. it is not a read that should be hurried. it should be savoured. it should be ruminated upon.

there is a companion novel to gilead called home. i am desperate to read this, i am also sure i need to have a slow place in my life to do so, this one, i will keep for the next break.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


it's come to our attention that we really love london a little bit more, when we don't spend every waking moment in london. she's really very lovely. but then, so are other little bits of this fair isle. we've resolved to try to take little mini-breaks more frequently. just a saturday night away from home can be so refreshing and achieved with such little effort.

this weekend we had hopes for a day at the beach with friends down on the south coast. at lunch on friday i called le boy and said - shall we make a bit of a weekend of it? and so we decided to take a drive down to portsmouth, with a stopover in winchester.

winchester saw us score a fantastic deal on shoes - leather brogues, how i have wanted you for sooooo long. and a wonderful poke around just the loveliest of little shops - the hambledon. it's basically a store of joy. in fact, that is what i declared as we walked in and saw the wall of shelves filled with vintage-y kitchen bits...

i was a goner from the time i saw the weck canning jars. oh. my. word. and i put them to use the other night. i'll explain later.

we ambled around for a couple of hours, and ultimately decided that returning to winchester for a proper visit was really the order of the day. on the list it goes.

we spent the night in portsmouth - a lovely seaside town, with an enormous history of sailing and ports and the shipping trade. after realising that our budget and the cost of touring the ship weren't exactly compatible, we decided to walk around and soak up the free history instead.

we spent the rest of the afternoon napping. it was heavenly.

sunday we drove to christchurch and enjoyed the beach, a little spit of land which requires a 10 minute ride on a toy train or a 25 min walk. we trained out and walked back. it was a lovely day and it was perfect beach weather. blue sky with the occasional cloud (a nice respite from the sun) and HOT. finally.

and so when we returned to our darling city it didn't seem quite so loud or tiring. and we are planning our next getaway.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


i don't really know where i've been except to say that this august has flown by and it's been non-stop the entire time.

it's been good though, making me re-evaluate how i want to set up patterns of work and play and how to make life easier. there have been a few breakthroughs regarding how to make the most of the moments we are offered. maybe, i'll get back into a posting routine and share a few of those thoughts.

but first. really the reason i was mia for the first half of august is that the olympics were on - normally a distraction that can be mediated with television and screaming wildly - it's a completely different experience for it to be HOSTED in your hometown.

let me just say - i am SO SO SO proud of this city we call home. there was nothing but goodwill and generosity and truly joyful spirits around this part of the world for two weeks. it was so great that i'm very much looking forward to doing it all again in a couple weeks time for the paralympics. london was on show for the entire world to see and it was fun to be part of it. even in small ways. travel around the city was fantastic, the vibe and excitement was palpable and really, olympic spectators are amongst the nicest of sportsfans...

it was a great pleasure to be able to experience a few events in person, a kind friend gave me a ticket to the diving, which i'll re-live in a future post (you see i really am serious about getting back on the blog). but first, it was the men's road race. the truth is, i live with a cycle-fanatic. i'm not even exaggerating. i believe that our summer vacations will hence-forth be scheduled to coincide with the tour de france, it's just so fun to watch from first thing in the morning! and given that le boy has spent no less than eight months looking for just the 'perfect' new bike (still as yet, undecided...) you can appreciate that really, we're cycle-mad. to have this event in our own backyard (literally) was beyond incredible.

we met up early on the saturday morning with a couple of friends from around town and cycled (how else to get to the route?) to richmond park, the favoured cycling destination in greater london. i'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Friday, 3 August 2012


it's been a week of catching our breath. the kind that you never feel finished. i mean really, how is one supposed to complete anything with hours of olympic coverage to catch up on? i miss my childhood summer holidays - it's the only time i remember having absolute freedom to watch tv for hours on end, how can a parent really say, stop supporting your country and go outside? plus it was usually 35 outside and humid and really midday and outside was less attractive, to everyone.

but now, i'm working and depend on sneaking peeks online during the day and using catch-up player in the evenings. it's a bit bizzare to live in the same city as the olympics. and it's great. plus it's bringing friends back to us for a week, so in my opinion, it's amazing!

this weekend will be spent assembling IKEA dressers (yes!) and organizing the last of our clothes. i can definitively say that  we officially have too many workout clothes. it's crazy. insane-crazy. i'm not sure i'd be exaggerating if i said that fully one-half of the combined wardrobe was workout gear. i told you. insanity.

we'll also celebrate our first anniversary - but that deserves it's own excitement. and post.

last week we started off the olympics with a viewing of the road race. there were high hopes for a british medal that just weren't to be, but it was great to get out and see the excitement of the cycling community, in a place we so regularly enjoy. le boy kept saying, "it's just so weird to see them cycling on my cycle route..." i'm going to diving on tuesday with a friend, and i'm so excited! and we're hoping to catch some more live events over the next week.

july recap: 


  • i've kept up with the nehemiah study and LOVE it! such a great dig into the old testament, it has been a blessing on my summer. 
  • memorisation has flagged a little, with travelling and a bit of laziness, but neh 2:18 has been a great scripture to think about regularly. 
  • completed three books in july, each of them such wonderful reads that i believe the deserve a little post all their own. but if you've not yet read the following, download them to kindle, rush out to buy them at your local bookstore, or click on over to amazon...beautiful, inspiring reads, each of them.
    • a visit from the goon squad - jennifer egan 
    • state of wonder - ann patchett 
    • gilead: a novel - marilynne robinson 
  • i wanted to be active everyday of our vacation - this was easily achieved in the hot (but dry heat) california. not so easily achieved in ontario where our days were packed from morning to night and the humidty was almost oppressive. it reached over 40 one day, that did me in. 
  • plane crochet - a nice little basket for my knitting in the front room 
  • diy around the house - pillow covers sewn, spray painted picture frames, lots of painting in a small room, dreaming up finishing touches 

::august intentions::

  • finish out the nehemiah study strong 
  • pick up the last of my bible-in-a-year-two years plan and get to work on finishing it 
  • memorise three scriptures 
  • reading 'the art of fielding' by chad harbach and finding it absorbing. 
  • read something else 
  • i will admit that i've started weight watchers - and it's working! i've lost 4.5 lbs! which feels really, really good. i'm using the online plan and think that it might be the key to some success for me. i realised that really, i'm already so active that i have to change my eating habits (particularly that cheese as an afternoon snack habit)
  • my trainer has me on a new four days a week strength plan and i would LOVE to actually hit the gym consistently four days a week - i'm looking forward to some serious strength gains this month! 
  • finishing the drapes and bits of home-dec sewing that are languishing (on my kitchen table no-less) 
  • finishing off decorating the spare room and 'lounge' ie family room 
  • begin my autumn knitting project. i realised that i needed to get going if i wanted to actually be able to wear it come the cooler weather - which here, is sadly, just around the corner
enjoy august friends - i just love the meaning of the word - to inspire awe and admiration - i am hoping that this month does just that for all of us! 

Friday, 27 July 2012

orange and turquoise.

the vacation was exactly what we needed, time away to recharge and reconsider and return! and return we have. the olympics get officially underway in a few hours, the city is a-buzz with lots of people and a feeling of hope, because really, isn't that what the whole thing's about? i love it. and i love that i'm here to experience it! we're catching the men's road cycling tomorrow seeing as they are coming through our neck of the woods (literally) and a kind friend has offered me a ticket along to some diving! so so excited. we'll try to catch the marathon and maybe the cycling time trial. and of course, we live in wimbledon, so there's always the crowd roaring just down the road. it gonna be great! plus some of our great friends are returning to this fair city for and we are hosting which just tickles me beyond belief. 

but in between spectating and working and hosting, we're on the diy path. our time in california was spent with dear dear friends who have the cutest little house just outside san fran. they've been in their place less time than we've been in ours, but are much more established. the whole - how to actually decorate a house has paralysed me. what if it goes wrong? i guess we repaint.

so this weekend my wonderful husband has agreed to paint the final room without any adornment. we've decided to keep with the soft grey that's been used in the bedroom and the living room, mainly because we have leftover paint, and because, well, it makes things easy and keeps the space feeling connected (or so say the decorating mags...)

i was lucky enough to snag some cool curtains from marvellous while i was home - in grey. so grey it is. with orange. we chose orange boxes some time ago for open shelving storage, they aren't going anywhere and actually, orange and grey really work. i should mention that this plan includes spray painting a ceramic statue of a horse bright orange. i inherited this from my grandmother (and have been assured it is of no value other than sentimental). and i love it. partly because she made it, and partly because well, it's going to be an orange horse. (grin)

ignore the homebase sign, it's just where we get our paint, not part of the design elements...

and turquoise, well it's predetermined. the kitchen already has bits, and apparently i'm drawn to it. i can't explain this. it just happens. it happened to marvellous also, there's shots of it throughout her house. i'm my mother's daughter. i probably say that once a week now...

so i'm framing three prints of butcher cuts (we're clearly not vegetarians, but really, i'm the grandaughter of a cattle farmer, so there's little hope for me there) in turquoise frames, and thinking of an oil cloth on the table and utilizing one of my absolutely favourite wedding gifts -a turquoise water pitcher. hopefully it will bring the the kitchen and dining room into a more cohesive space.

art on walls, cushions on chairs, drapes on windows. i know it's simple, it's just about getting. it. done.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

thread & needle.

last week a dear friend asked if i'd help her prepare a wedding gift for a friend of her's. she just didn't want to buy off the registry.

i understand this. i loved getting things off our registry, but i generally avoid them. i prefer to pick gifts that celebrate our personal relationship with the couple. unless there's something on the registry that we just LOVE and have to give...

in the past i've done

  • a giant wooden salad bowl with a list of family favourite salad recipes. 
  • wine and cheese boards for with a slot for a single wine glass. 
  • handmade vase from travels. 
  • a one-of-a-kind tray covered with a map of london and focussing on the spot where the bride and i went to grad school. 
but i think i like this the best, and i might just use this idea myself for future weddings...

i traced the design on the fabric and spent an hour or so stitching around the design, i added the date of the wedding to the back flap and made a basic envelope pillow the next morning before work. the design can be found here and is customizable! 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

vacation reading.

we're flying in days! this is a break we need. life has been filled with so many good things, friends and commitments and work and we are grateful for each single blessing. but sometimes, we need to break. i love vacation. hands down, one of my favourite things in. the. world. love that it provides time to reflect on where we've been and where we're going. love that it's a complete change from the day-to-day. i love the long plane rides and the exploring new places. i love being with our friends and family. and just being with each other. i love having someone to vacation with. i also love vacation reading.

i'm a constant reader, but on vacation i read a whole lot more. and this vacation, filled with 12 hour plane journeys and time in the woods and days by the pool - i have big plans for my vacation reading.

and so. here's the list.

gilead. marilynne robinson.

state of wonder. ann patchett

a circle of quiet. madeleine l'engle

ah yes, the promise of a new only to be paired with a tall cold glass of something refreshing or a deep and delightful red wine. preferably sipped by water. summer vacation, i love you.

Monday, 2 July 2012


oh it's that time again. a new month, a new post, a new page.

june recap:


  • memorised jer 31:3 & psalm 34:1
  • finished reading the power of a praying wife - this book has completely brought my prayer life, for our marriage and for my husband, alive! i worked my way through this book day by day this month and intend to continue to do so daily, but i can see how if we were walking through a difficult season i may turn to just a few prayers for specific times. 
  • started nehemiah: a heart that can break, by kelly minter, alongside the living proof beth moore blog, this is my first workbook bible study and i am already loving it. having specific things to do each day and questions to answer is definitely my style! i'm so looking forward to this summer spent in nehemiah. 


  • canada - by richard ford was an epic tale. it is a story of crime, but really it is a story of how we are redeemed, of how our past does not dictate our future, of how life can be shambles and slowly it can be pieced back together, of how life can seem very good and within hours a life can change. it's long but in a good way. 
  • still reading francis chan's crazy love. 


  • i'm struggling in this area. partly it's my own issue, seeing progress as only a weight issue. but with all the gym time i'm doing, i'm not losing pure weight. i'm trying to come to terms with that. but i am doing very well with rehab - i'm single leg pressing more than 60kg, i'm choosing to work exercise into my daily life and i'm working on my head space regarding my body and my weight. 


  • sewing has happened. 
  • knitting has happened. 
  • crochet has happened. 
  • baking has happened.
  • i'll try to post about each in time. 

::july intentions::

we're away on vacation for the middle two weeks - hello california and ontario! i'm so looking forward to some summer reading, warm weather and being active.


  • keep up with my nehemiah daily study, and video sessions
  • continue with memorisation - this week we're memorising neh 2:18: i told them how the gracious hand of my god had been on me. 
  • reading the goon squad a recommendation from julie at fresh basil - and liking it already. 
  • summer reading choices are coming later this week, so stay tuned! 


  • we're running in a colour run in a couple weeks, a 5K where they throw colour dye at you the whole time and you end up a rainbow - sound hilarious and really fun, plus i'm doing this with one of my old running partners who's moved to the Bay Area, so that's awesome. 
  • i have a goal to break a sweat, from movement and not from humidty or heat, 5 days a week this month. 
  • i'm going to focus this month on inches. i'm hoping to lose two inches overall. and i'm not going to look at a scale for a month 
  • some plane creativity is upcoming - namely, crocheting and socks, but that will be good! 
  • i started our new living room drapes over the weekend, one is done, the other, isn't started, i'd like to be finished by the end of july. 

Friday, 29 June 2012


a few weeks ago le boy and i had a conversation that went like this:

him: hey babe, if we got you a new good sewing machine how long would it last? 
me: hmmm about 20 years. 
him: let's go tomorrow morning. 

and when we went to john lewis and spoke with the lovely and helpful sales lady, she informed us that yes, they do last 20 years, in fact they last longer :) i was pretty certain about what i wanted (a jonome) le boy, being the consummate value for money man, asked a lot of questions, maybe more questions than most men would ask in the sewing department, and definitely more than a man who won't ever actually touch a sewing machine should ask. but i kinda love that he did, because it means that he cares about the stuff i care about. (ok sappy portion is over). in the end we walked out with a janome, of course we paid for the privilege. 

so what else to do but put the new baby to work? 

and work she has!

wanting to dress up our bed i made a few quick throw pillows. the basic how-to for cushion covers is here with a great measurement guide for the most common sizes. 

i wanted to dress them up a bit and turned to martha for some ribbon inspiration.

for the loopy centre pillow.

and for the rosette.

i just pintucked the ruffle until i liked it and sewed straight down the centre of the ribbon.

all very easy and very very quick!

and for the thing i'm currently most proud of? the console table slip cover! an ikea expedit bookcase turned on its side and covered now provides oodles of hidden storage. the instructions and genius behind this is found from in the sept 2011 canadian house and home.

(and isn't the new chair pretty?) we're ambling our way toward finishing up the living room. in my dreams i'm sewing the curtains this weekend...

Friday, 15 June 2012


there will just have to be two posts for this. not because the pictures are unending, even if they are. but because i've been too lazy to transfer the pictures to my laptop...that's right people. but the nights have been filled with knitting and cookie baking and the weekends have been filled with sewing and friends. these are good things. and required more attention than a post about scotland.

but here's a quick recap.

we flew. we drove. we slept. we ate (super amazing food here.) we 'walked' which in british parlance means we hiked our butts off up a fairly significant 'mountain'. we saw (loch ness). we bought wool. (i bought wool, we were in scotland, after all). we visited friends. i'll give it more words another time. for now, enjoy the instagram tour.

Friday, 8 June 2012

weekend plans.

this weekend i will:
  • host dinner tonight for a few good friends, i prepped much of it this morning. i'm doing a lentil & tomato salad from ottolenghi's plenty, this broccoli & bacon salad by jamie oliver, and bbq'd sausages and chicken with our new favourite (and spontaneously created by me last week) sauce: tomato ketchup,  worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar.
  • meet some old girlfriends for picnic (hopefully) lunch - haven't seen these girls in years! 
  • buy a new sewing machine, mine has bit the dust and it's time to replace it!  
  • go to the movies with my guy 
  • sew a slip cover for a bookcase-cum-sidetable 
  • enjoy a free day while le boy is in an incredibly long cycle race, luckily he doesn't ask me to attend as well 
  • go to evening church and enjoy the late evening light on the walk home 
  • listen to podcasts 
  • chat with the fam 
  • read more of my current (and excellent) book: canada by richard ford 
  • block my recently completed cardigan! 

happy weekend. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


i was distracted this past week (the beginning of june) with a four-day weekend, courtesy of the queen. liz, of course, has been on the throne for 60 years, and true to form, the brits celebrated their monarch, with what else? a bank holiday. the country was good enough to coincide the jubilee with what is normally the second may bank holiday - for a fabulous four days off! we took the cue, stayed in the country but headed north. way north. nearly all the way north, but not quite. a full recap will come. suffice it to say, the highlands are superb, and we're already talking about how to make this jaunt northward an annual event.

may recap: 


  • worked on memorising jeremiah 31:3 
  • god has been really teaching me some interesting stuff that i'll share as things progress, but it's been a great journey 
  • started reading and using the power of a praying wife - what an excellent book - giving specific words to my prayers for le boy it  is such a fantastic resource. 


  • the london train by tessa hadley - a nice read, although about an affair which i must confess, i have a hard time reading about, i'd prefer not to be necessarily exposed to those thoughts :) 
  • the sweet life in paris by david lebovitz - another food memoir, it's wonderful and full of recipes, but i find with food memoirs that i can pick them up and put them down easily, each chapter is a stand alone story, i like for this reason and find them intolerable for the same.
  • crazy love by francis chan - i'm stuck in the middle of this, it's a slightly uncomfortable read, and i want to take my time, but slowly we'll get there. 
  • i started and stopped a diet plan. and i'm counting this a success - the diet made me intolerable, and intolerant, i've decided that i need access to all food groups, everyday. so carbs are back in, just fewer of them, and i'm enjoying what i eat and trying to be conscious of my overall health and diet. 
  • i'm seeing real gains in my strength and fitness - i can leg press more than 100 kgs! which is a huge step forward in the recovery land. and i went for a short run the other without a need to stop, which i feel means that my cardiovascular fitness is starting to return also. 
  • i didn't bake more or finish the cardigan, but it's almost finished and the baking, well, it can wait for this month. 

::june intentions::

  • my memory work has really taken a hit this month, my goal is to make up for it over june and july and get back on track by memorising 6 scriptures over two months.
  • work is at its height in june, so i might just try to immerse myself in some good fiction reading that keeps me coming back for the sheer enjoyment of story 
  • i'm also loving podcasts (as always) and i want to make sure i'm thinking while i'm listening to them. 
  • we have signed up for a 5 km run in mid-july, i'd really like to make it round the course without stopping, i don't care about my final time, but this means a little bit more running training 
  • consolidate my projects and finish ones that have been started and not finished. i'm terrible for this. i'd also like to start an ordered list of what project to do next - so that i'm not just caught by fancy, but regardless, this will be high up on the list. 

Monday, 28 May 2012

summer skin.

we've been experiencing a heatwave here in england. we're into the high twenties and hopefully staying for a while...

also of note - there's no air conditioning here. i mean none. large office buildings might be, but not mine. and definitely not our house. one can cope with a fan and open windows, (thank goodness for allergy medication!) but anyway you cut it, it's warm. so now, a completely frivolous post about summer make-up :)

i don't want to wear heavy foundation in the heat, and while i normally go for a powder (bare minerals, yes please!) it can be a bit tricky when droplets of perspiration wet your brow. in comes, the tinted moisturiser. i've been using this one for years, i love the coverage, and the dewy but not wet look it gives. keihl's ultra facial tinted moisturiser with SPF 15 is my summer go-to.

allergies and itchy, watery eyes can spell disaster for mascara. well unless it's blinc and it's amazing. it only comes off with warm water and slight pressure, so it also means an end to eye makeup remover!

personally, i look better with a little colour on my cheeks - something that suggests i have health and vitality, even when i'm not sleeping very well because it's so darn hot! clinique blushwear cream stick works very well with the tinted moisturiser and blends well in the heat. a slightly bronzy glow is preferred so i like shy blush.

and finally, don't forget those lips! staying with natural look i choose a pink lipstick from laura mercier - aptly named rose. but on days i want a little extra punch i take a cue from marvellous and go all out with a fuschia from mac.

this is my bare bones daily summer look - i don't really do much in the way of eye shadow or eyeliner in the summer - creases and smears just don't wear well - and i like the fresh faced look.

now let's just hope this fabulous weather continues and i'll be all set!