Tuesday, 27 August 2013

for babe: deux.

three months to go and i'm getting the urge to nest. i've been making lots of bits and pieces for babe. two knit blankets are in progress. a couple of small jumpers (sweaters) are being finished up in the evenings. and i've got a list a mile long of other things i'd like to get started on - this wee one won't stay 'wee' for long!

i had it in my head that i wanted to make the baby a blanket - something that maybe could be something held on to - enjoyed - for years. it needed to be suitably sophisticated and large enough to transition from baby-sized to child-sized. oh and it needed to be easy.

in my mind i enjoy sewing. in reality i'm a bit of a lazy seamstress. i like sewing just until the end of the project when i get bored and can't be bothered to finish the seams 'just-so' or be super careful about how the binding goes on...needless to say, i'm probably not going to set up an etsy shop filled with hand sewn creations. oh and those drapes i made last year - they are still un-hemmed. i foresee an afternoon sitting under the windows streaming public radio for distraction in my future.

so easy.

but cute.

and long lasting.

oh and gender neutral.

enter - the ten hour quilt. i saw this on pinterest a long time ago. declared it genius and promptly pinned it to my 'secret' baby board.

but just so you know - it's not ten hours. it took me max five. ok eight if you include the washing and drying. but i mean the washing machine did that - PTL for washing machines, can you imagine the days before there were washing machines?

i did not pre-wash the fabrics. the batting is a bamboo-silk-cotton mix that is supposed to shrink about 5%, combined with 100% cotton cloth, a very hot wash and a hot tumble dry leading to the crinkle quilt look. which helpfully covered up the inevitable puckers in the stitched fabric. top recommendation from this experience - save yourself and buy the bias tape pre-made - it was just brilliant to have pre-made bias tape when it came time for binding.

i simply cannot wait to wrap our little one in this for years and years to come. amazing to think that we're only eleven weeks to go!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

thoughtful thursday.

i have had the enormous pleasure of reading this summer. i think god has been giving me an opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes before the babe comes. what a joy!

two books that have been hugely influential on how i am framing this next season have been margin by richard swenson, and bread & wine by shauna niequist.

margin suggests that we live the moments of our lives right up against the next moments - leaving no space for rest or play or unscheduled 'interruption' but that in actuality, the margin is where god has space to show up and move within our lives. if we are living without margin we are unable to grasp the grace-times the father has waiting for us. if we are always rushing to the next thing we aren't able to stop for a chat on the street with a neighbour, or meet a friend for a spontaneous coffee. we aren't able to rest well or to play well. we are late and 'too busy' and tired. and we lose the space for grace in our lives. further, we lose the space for showing grace to others.

bread and wine is a fabulous you-must-read-this-book-right-now collection of stories about food and faith. about gathering together around a table, breaking bread, sharing wine, doing what jesus did with his friends in the upper room, and engaging in community. on our holiday le boy and i reflected that one thing we have not done as much of in the last six months is open our home and fill our table with friends and food. and while there are good reasons for this - namely the small soul joining our family in november - it has felt a more empty season in our home and is something we hope to press into more as we go forward.

and so what have i done as i think about making space for grace? how do i make space for the sacred around in our lives, around our table, living intentionally in community and being available for the spirit to use me in unexpected ways? how can i live a less busy, more intentional life? i'm sure i'll be puzzling this through for many, many years to come. i imagine this is an area where i might always struggle. but i know what i'd like my life to look like - i know that this is how i'd like to live.

Friday, 16 August 2013

for babe. une.

i can only imagine there will be dozens of these posts so i'm starting a series: for babe.

my handmades for the baby.

i have a feeling i'm getting a winter babe this time around because god knows that this knitting-mama needs to be able to wrap her wee-one in the warmth of a handknit blanket (or cardi, or trousers, or booties, or hat...) and so here's something that's just about to come off the needles. it's been so nice to have this small project - each panel has been completed in a different country - the uk, canada, italy - a little of this babe's travels woven in. hours of sitting on planes and in cars. time available to think and ponder and pray for whomever this small soul will become.

dogwood from tincanknits - a canadian(!) affair - when pieced together i'll post the whole thing for now - the first panel as it was being blocked.

Monday, 12 August 2013

beach vacation by plane

we've arrived home from two weeks of italian babymoon today. it was absolutely fabulous - the food, the sun, the roadtrip, the gelato - all of it - and despite 16 days of constant contact le boy and i never had a fight! pretty good eh?

despite living on an island we seem to take most of our beach vacations abroad (no the irony isn't lost on us either - but the unpredictable nature of UK weather and the quality of beaches in the UK make things a bit more challenging - many UK beaches are stone). so we fly to the beach - which of course brings with it a certain amount of planning. here are my tips:

- pack half the clothes - even if you're heading somewhere trendy - we mainly wore bathing suits everyday

- be prepared to rent beach chairs and an umbrella - your time will be so much more enjoyable! Factor this into your budget. Most places in Italy have been priced at €15-30 a day. We also rented chairs and an umbrella in Hilton Head two years ago.

- bring towels with you or be prepared to also rent those, even at high-end hotel pools! we brought small towels along this time - otherwise it would have been €3 a day / person! I'm going to watch out for deals on packable towels the next time the outdoors stores have a sale!

- bring a lightweight cooler - I brought my BUILT lunch bag - perfect for keeping drinks cool in the heat!

- a handbag/tote for the plane that doubles as a beach bag - I use a le sportsac that is easy to wash and looks good both in the airport and on the beach

- and finally - an e-reader is really useful on such vacations - I bring both my kindle and iPad - I'm much less precious about my kindle so if it gets sandy (or wet) i won't be devastated and the no-glare screen is really the best in sunlight

and finally: a babymoon belly shot. yup. it's getting bigger!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

potato salad.

last night was one of those where you rush into the house, rustle up dinner and are back on the road not too long after. we have a lot of those nights - something about church life requires it. at times i find it exhausting, but usually, i love that we have a community to love us, a place to go that feels like home, and adding a good meal to that is just icing on the cake.

years ago i created a roasted potato salad with pesto. it might be the first real 'recipe' i ever thought of on my own, i was proud and my family LOVED it. one night at a dinner party a friend of my mom's asked for the recipe, the highest praise. but the beauty is that it's just humble ingredients.

heading home last night, knowing i was short on time and there were few ingredients in the fridge i wondered what i could do with eggs, bacon and potatoes that wasn't breakfast for dinner...an hour later this was on the table...and it was good enough for lunch today.

roasted potatoes and red pepper, greens slightly wilted by the heat, crispy fried bacon, and just perfect hard/soft boiled eggs (i'm talking about the sweet spot in between a soft boiled egg and a hard boiled egg where the yolk is just slightly gooey and the whites are hard).

pesto potato salad meets breakfast.
serves 3-4

time required: 45 minutes, 25 hands on.


  • 6 eggs 
  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) of baby new potatoes
  • 1 red pepper 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 8-12 rashers (strips) of bacon 
  • two large handfuls of greens (i used baby spinach, watercress and rocket) 
  • 2 tbsp pesto (prepared or homemade) 
  • heat oven to 200 C, 425 F, place a medium pot of water onto boil, cut bacon into 1/2" pieces, roughly dice (1") potatoes and red pepper 
  • spread potatoes and red pepper on baking sheet, toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, roast for 30-45 until golden and crisp
  • over medium-high heat fry bacon until crisp, once done, set aside, but do not drain (you want the flavourful fat)
  • once water is boiling cook eggs on a low simmer for 7 minutes (essential for the perfect middle). when finished run under cold water for a minute to allow handling, peel and chop roughly.
  • once potatoes are roasted transfer to bowl, along with roasting oil, add bacon and rendered fat and toss with pesto. add salad greens. 
  • plate salad, add eggs, enjoy. 

Monday, 20 May 2013


15 week baby bump. yes that is laundry in the background. just keeping it real. i'll probably not do this every week because i'm bad at keeping things like this up, but every so often i'll jump on in with a bit of a pregnancy update! 

How Far Along: 15 weeks
Size of Baby:  orange
Total Weight Gain/Loss: +4 ish 
Gender: keeping it a surprise!
Movement: nada. but soon hopefully!
Sleep: sleep has improved massively with the second trimester. so that's a blessing. 
Maternity Clothes: yes. mainly. occasionally i can wear non maternity trousers with a bellaband - but that's getting less and less comfortable. and while i still fit into non-maternity tops they aren't long enough to cover the stretchy panel of maternity trousers. :) 
Symptoms: nausea has completely gone away, although my sense of smell is super strong and my stomach can quickly be turned! otherwise, round ligament pain, sacral-illio pain and a nosebleed. 
Aversions: emptying the rubbish bin! 
Cravings: cheese. chocolate milk. salt & vinegar crisps (chips for those of you across the pond). water - i get very suddenly thirsty, even if i've been careful to keep my liquids up. 
What I miss: honestly? a beer. yesterday it was lovely and warm and relaxing and sunny and the only thing that would have made it more perfect was a cold beer. le boy said he was willing to take one for the team in this case ;)
Worst Moment of the week: nothing really. le boy might go with my mood swings, which have definitely increased...whoops. i'm quick to apologise for my crazy, and blame the baby of course!
Best Moment this week: super enjoyable, relaxing and productive saturday that included a coffee date with a girlfriend, walking to and from pregnancy yoga class (in my neighbourhood!) a bit of pampering, fresh flowers on the way home and chatting on the phone with marvellous, an impromptu visit from friends and their cub, and hosting a small dinner party later that evening.   oh and starting to plan the 'babymoon' by purchasing our flights to italy for this summer! 

Thursday, 9 May 2013


the reason for the blogging break.

it turns out that the beginning of growing a small human is incredibly exhausting. and so my days were spent like this: wake up (late). work. go home. lay on sofa. go to bed. with a little nausea thrown in for good measure. hence there wasn't anything very exciting to write about. except the most exciting thing to write about (which we weren't telling anyone) - a baby!

well, there you go. i'm due in november and now that i'm enjoying the relatively less exhausting, less ill-feeling period of this pregnancy, i'm hoping to be a bit better about recording our lives.

we are overjoyed. blessed beyond measure. marvelling at god's goodness. overwhelmed by the tiny miracle happening inside. it's good. very good.

Friday, 8 March 2013

recently read.

back from a break - not intentional, just not blogging. so i thought i'd ease in with what i've been up to recently: reading.

and seeing as yesterday was world book day, it's only a day late!

i've had a string of good books this year - and really these things deserve to be shared. 

flight behaviour - barbara kingsolver

set in small town appalachia, this is a wonderful story about engaging climate science and daily life from the perspective of a young mother. this novel deals with the challenges of intersecting faith, education, small town life and climate science. this novel reminded me of the life that happens outside of urban, educated, well-to-do london. it is beautifully written with stunning poetic language that engages you from the beginning. 

anything - jennie allen 

what happens when you say - 'anything' to god? and by 'anything' you mean, that you'll no longer try to control or restrict or keep areas of your life from god. you won't say, anything, but...that's this story. jennie allen and her husband prayed that god would do, take, have, give, move anything. and he did. it was a book that really challenged my thinking on what i was holding onto too tightly. 

the round house - louise erdrich 

a reflection on how a boy lives through the aftermath of a brutal attack on his mother and the way a community grapples with violence. a coming of age story that is haunting and painful but so readable you can't imagine putting it down.

help, thanks, wow. - ann lamott

ann suggests there are three prayers: help, thanks and wow. moments when we call on the divine for assistance, asking for a need to be filled, a gap to be bridged, a hurt to be mended; moments when we simply praise god because that's what we were created to do: worship; and moments when you just sit back and say 'wow, god. just wow!'

the shoemaker's wife, adriana trigiani

a sweeping historical novel set in italy and america at the turn of the 20th century. this book might not be the next pulitzer winner, but it definitely entertains, is decently well written and thoroughly enjoyable. it grips you early, doesn't let you go and allows you to fully enter the story with the characters. my only criticism is that maybe it tries to reach just a little too far, the decades from 1890-1940 were tumultuous to say the least, and  this novel tries to touch on all the big events...regardless, you can't help but want the characters to triumph!

happy reading!

Thursday, 24 January 2013


may i just encourage you to visit this today?

may our days reflect this balance of the word and work and wandering. amen and amen.

ann voskamp on how to keep sanity. 

via incourage.me

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


it's cold. well cold for london. below zero for almost a week now, and no signs of warmth until the weekend. on my lunch break today i took the opportunity to go for a walk and grab some lunch. 

it's cold. so i was wearing a ski jacket, a hat, a cowl, and warm gloves. i also had snow boots on my feet. there's nothing particularly special about this, except that i was going to come face to face with one who had none of this. 

i went to my favourite sushi restaurant (even typing that sounds pretentious) and after purchasing my meal and diet coke i sat down and started on my current bible study - james by beth moore. it is one of those that hits you upside the head. james' central message is that faith without works, is dead. that is, if we truly have faith, if we are in obedience to god, we will be showing this in how we live out our lives. we will care for the poor and the widow and the orphan. we will seek justice for those who need it. we will be the hands and feet of christ.

to say the least. it is getting to me. i live a very comfortable life. and while we tithe and give and serve, i know that i rarely step outside my comfort zone and engage with those who aren't like me. when i do, it's almost always in 'safe ways,' through church, or volunteering with a charity.  if i'm honest, the homeless make me feel uncomfortable. i'm ashamed to admit that often times i look away, just not wanting to make eye contact, not wanting to acknowledge that there is a gulf, an ocean, between us in terms of money and social status. ugh. i loathe even writing that. but it's true. that is the state of my sinful heart. 

so back to lunch, i was walking to the post office, i needed to get there in the hour i had. i didn't make it. at the corner i had made a decision between two post offices, equidistant from my office. for no particular reason, i chose one, probably because i am most familiar with it, but really, a post office, is a post office, right? as i was purposefully striding down the street, warm in all my winter gear, i was suddenly confronted with a guy sitting on the very cold pavement. he couldn't have been much older than myself, and i think he was probably younger. and we met eyes and i smiled, he extended an old coffee cup for change, and i said that i was sorry. and as i passed i got a check in my spirit. i could do something about this. but i didn't have any change. i tried to argue with god about it, i had no cash, we're on a tight budget at the moment (although, clearly i had money for lunch!), i'm now fifty yards away. 'turn around and offer to get him a sandwich.' and so i made a u-turn. and if i could describe the feeling inside my chest, i would. but i can't, except to say, i thought my heart would burst, i could sense above all, that today, i was supposed to walk down this street, at this particular time and encounter this man.

'excuse me, sir, i don't have any cash on me, but could i buy you a sandwich?'

'oh love, that's so kind, what i'd really like is a coffee,' he said in a garbled scottish brogue (difficult to understand at the best of times), 'a lat-a'

'pardon me?'

'with LOTS of sugar, a lat-a, with lots of sugar'

'oh a latte?'

'yes with lots of sugar, bless you.'

there is a starbucks about 60 yards down the street, this street is filled with people just like me, busy, well-dressed, business people and university students, i'm almost sure that most of us would have enjoyed to eat and drink during our lunch break today. 10 minutes and £2.50 later, with a fistful of sugar packets i returned. we chatted for a minute, i asked him if he had a warm place to sleep and from what i could understand (again, the scottish accent is difficult to decipher at times) he said he'd met someone earlier who was referring him to st mungos. i wished him good day, that i hoped he could keep warm. i walked down the street, dressed in my warm coat, into my warm office with tears stinging my eyes.

i don't tell you this to ask for praise. the feeling in my soul today, knowing that i was serving one of god's precious children was more than enough. i tell you this because it's cold here in london, and it's cold in much of states and canada. it's too cold to sleep outside at the moment. if you see a homeless person who you think might be sleeping rough, please contact your local homeless agency, in london you can contact st mungo's.

i asked god to open my eyes to need this week, to show me where i could make a difference, how i could put my faith into action, today i got a task i'm particularly good at, i bought a cup of coffee. with LOTS of sugar. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

bearing with.

i wrote this originally to a friend in the midst of a grief, but now, i realise, it is for all my friends, my family, for people i don't even know, who are grappling with living this side of heaven. the world is full of weight isn't it? 

it's mainly a jumble of thoughts. but it's all i could manage.

Your email came and I resisted opening it. I knew what it was going to say, my soul sank. Even before reading your words, my heart took on a heaviness in mere moments that can only be the Spirit asking me to bear with you, to carry this burden to the Lord. I was wondering how it gets to be such a gloriously beautiful day and for this news to shatter it. I've been ruminating on what it means to bring a sacrifice of praise, I’m sure you could teach me a thing or two, you always could. And so with this heaviness I am praising him, from whom, we know, flows everything. Him, who works all things for good. Him who lead this stumbling girl to your family almost a decade ago and said, love her, and you did. I love you as one of my spiritual mothers, I love you as a sister in Christ, I love you as one who does not say it nearly ever enough.

You are stronger than you know. I am honoured to be on your prayer list. I think of your family, of you, so much, so much. I am waiting and working to become a woman of the Lord and the Word as you are. I am astounded by the grace with which you live. 

I am unable to give words to this thing. 

I suppose I should call you one of my first mentors (I hate that word). The hours you spent loving me toward Jesus. The hours you heard my heart when it was covered by so many words. The times you honoured the woman-girl as she worked out this thing called following Jesus. What a task. Thank you.

May I tell you that my single best hug of all time came from you? I can remember the weight of your hand on the back of my head as you brought me close. I can remember the children dancing around our legs. I can remember thinking this is the best hug of my life. It was full of gratitude and mercy and Christ and grace. It was on an ordinary Sunday morning in the Church hall, with the smell of Freshee and Elmer’s glue still lingering in the air.

I know this comes as a blow again. I know there are no words for this pain, this confusion, this hurt. I know there is darkness the creeps in around the edges at times like these. I was loved toward Jesus enough to know that all of this is ok. I know that you know this too, but I’ve learned we sometimes need to be held in prayers by those who can believe for us, if only for a moment while we gather ourselves and with our fingernails cling to faith. 

I know that in moments like this there are knots in your stomach (mine too…) and it feels like you’ve come to the end of yourself. I could say something like but it’s ok, because at the end of yourself is where Jesus will carry you, and he will, he has, he is. But it’s not comforting now to say that. It sounds hollow in my head, my heart beats faster and a lump raises in my throat. Tears well. It is impossible to not sound trite at a moment like this. 

But know that we have this incredible ability, my sister, to bear with each other. To carry grief for one another. And I am pleading with God for some of yours. He’ll give it, he’s faithful.

I will bear your burdens and pray for grace. I will expect miracles, I will give a sacrifice of praise. I can only hope it will ease this somehow. I can only pray for that. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


what is it about a new year?

every blog i read, i find myself nodding along to - yes, it's true. we love a new start don't we? a year is stretching out in front of us and we're unsure of what it holds and how it will end up, but it holds so much potential doesn't it? so much possibility. so much life.

tomorrow le boy and i are a taking advantage of an unexpected day-off and spending some time planning our year. we'll do this individually and together. together we'll focus on what we'd like to achieve as a couple, how we want to handle our finances and where we'd like to travel.

individually, it will be well, personal to each. for me, i'm hoping to create a small journal for 2013 where i can assess my intentions monthly and keep track of things such as books i read, crafts i make, places we travel, memorable incidents, memory work i undertake.

additionally, i'm hoping to use this resource from simplemom.net to set intentions for 2013. and to use the seven signs of spiritual life, ideally, i'll go through this quarterly so that i can assess where i'm at spiritually and grow in my relationship with jesus this year.

i've made a printable so that i can keep it in the back of my 2013 journal, ready to hand.

this comes originally from a sermon by our worship pastor matt southcombe at st michael's southfields.

finally, i'm challenging myself to undertake the three marriage habits.

i'll check back in soon with a recap on our day-away. so looking forward to this!