Wednesday, 14 December 2016

QUILT FOR BABY GIRL.. finished.  Lying on the table while it dries after a gentle wash.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


Photograph of the kitchen window from the garden showing the Camphor Laurel in flower, reflection of the Tropical Birch, Mabel and a couple of pears ripening.

While working in the garden there has been a lovely sound of pigeons which brought to mind a summer from long ago in Emma's garden in Farnham Common.

Can you hear them?  The sound of an English summer's day.

Monday, 12 December 2016


Christmas is coming!  Beds all made for family coming from Geneva, hearts scattered around the place and the tree's up.  

The desk painted up beautifully Emma.

Sunday, 4 December 2016


This is not a photograph of the environment I am living in at the moment with temperatures in the high 30's - centigrade that is.

When I sing Christmas carols, the Australian ones don't quite do it for me.  Here's a beauty set in the bleak mid-winter by Christina Rossetti (1830 - 94).

Christina Rossetti, an English poet, was the daughter of a distinguished Italian political exile who became Professor of English at King's College, London.  Her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, more famous that she, was also a poet and a painter.  They lived in a time of high creativity in which the religious imagination often furnished material for artistic and literary works.  A devout High Anglican who engaged in many charitable works, Rossetti wrote a large number of poems, although she was a semi-invalid for much of her life.

The Nativity is the theme of the poem that follows.  Notice how vividly Rossetti sets the scene, a wintry setting worthy of an English Christmas.  She is intense and visionary, looking beyond the first Christmas to the Lord's second coming, 'when he comes to reign'.  Her contrasts are steep and wide, as they are in Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).  Heaven and earth are always in tension;  riches and poverty, and God's triumphant power revealed in a small and humble space - these high contrasts of the Infancy Narratives become this poet's material as well.

Rossetti's intense spirituality most forceful in the last verse, which by itself stands as a wonderful prayer of Christmas celebration and joy.  (SPIRITUAL CLASSICS ed Richard Foster & Emilie Griffin)


In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, 
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for him whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangles
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only his mother 
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part -
Yet what I can I give him
Give my heart.

Photograph of my darling sister and you can find a beautiful rendition of the carol sung by Annie Lennox here

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Sunday, 20 November 2016


Song for Sunday here (Isaiah 30:41)

Photograph taken a number of years ago when Aaron made origami birds for Emma's Christmas tree.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


I've been following Emma Beddington's blog for a number of years so it was wonderful to read this book at the weekend and understand in a deeper way the journey she has travelled in her 'pursuit' of happiness.

The book takes the reader from the beginning of Emma's fascination with all things French in the library of the Quaker school she attended in York.  The librarian, strangely for a Quaker school, had organized a subscription to the French edition of Elle magazine.

From school to France, a French boyfriend, university in England, back to France, back to England and on and on, she explores themes of displacement, not only by the environment she lives in, whether that be England or France, but also the displacement brought by living and working with a language that is not your first.

And underscroring all of this is the grief following the death of her mother in a dreadful accident.

I can see a movie.  Perhaps Keira Knightley to play Emma?  And her boyfriend?  I'm not really up on my French actors, but perhaps Olivier Martinez?

Go!  Read the book!  It's wonderful.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


This is what retirement does for you.  Not only can you wrap Christmas presents in mid-November, but you can also stop and take a photograph of them and put it up on your blog.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Monday, 7 November 2016


Began this quilt last week by sewing lots of five inch squares together alternating each square with a white square.  Once that was done, I put a white border all around.  Then...took the scissors to the lot and with the help of a four inch template, cut them all up to form these squares which, when put together form lots of windmills.  Pretty tricky n'est pas?

Shall post when top completed in next day or so.


...When people enter a witness protection program, they are given a new identity.  Their old name, accounts, places, daily routines, and even relationships have to be put in the past.  They become someone new.

When we are born in Christ, we become someone new too.  We may look the same as we did before, but a fundamental change has occurred.  The Christian life is an exchanged life.  Jesus took our identity to the cross and then filled us with His identity.  Instead of living our own self-oriented lives, He lives His life through us.  He took all that we have upon Himself and gave us in exchange all that He has - His name, His authority, His inheritance, and more.  As Paul said, we no longer live;  He lives in us.

That  means we don't have to depend on our own wisdom, love, faith, or any other quality.  We don't even pray in our own name anymore.  We use His.  His presence within us provides all we need. We can claim His faith, His ideas, and His solutions for everything we need.  We can have His humility, patience, boldness, compassion, and any other of His attributes we need.  Instead of focusing on the how, we focus on the who and let Him be Himself within us.  Over time, we begin to love or forgive or have bold faith not because we should but because that's who we are.  The life of God within us will be expressed if we will let Him express Himself...

Excerpt from Experiencing God's Presence Devotional (Chris Tiegreen) and here in South East Queensland the Jacarandas are all in flower.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


Reading this at the moment and becoming an expert on the French Revolution!  The book has so many characters from clubs, politics, the court, journalists etc I have had to download Wikipedia's thirty odd pages on the subject to get a bit of an idea where everyone fits in.

Gerda, the book focuses on three main characters;  Georges-Jacques Danton, Camille Desmoulins and dear Maximilien de Robespierre.  If you Wiki them you will find out where they fit into the story.

Hilary Mantel in her introduction..."My main characters were not famous until the Revolution made them so, and not much is known about their early lives.  I have used what there is, and made educated guesses about the rest...a rough guide:  anything that seems particularly unlikely is probably true..."

Things I didn't know, from Wikipedia:

...Freemasonry played an important role...originally largely apolitical, Freemasonry was radicalised in the late 18th century through the introduction of higher grades which emphasised themes of liberty, equality and fraternity.  Virtually every major player in the Revolution was a Freemason and these themes became the widely recognized slogan of the revolution...

...During the Reign of Terror, extreme efforts of de-Christianisation ensued...the establishment of the Cult of Reason was the final step of radical de-Christianisation...Eventually, Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety were forced to denounce the campaign, replacing the Cult of Reason with the deist but still non-Christian Cult of Supreme Being...

...A new Republican Calendar was established in 1793, with 10-day weeks that made it very difficult for Catholics to remember Sundays and saints' days.  Workers complained it reduced the number of first-day-of-the-week holidays from 52 to 37...

I'm on page 587 - 300 more to go!

Sunday, 30 October 2016


One of my 'quilting' fingers became infected about ten days ago, so I spent this week at my sewing maching making this quilt.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I sewed the red and blue borders on yesterday and will take a photograph today.  Going to make the binding today and next Friday, baste it at Robyn's all ready for quilting.

Song for Sunday

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray this is what he taught them. 

Saturday, 29 October 2016


We have been meeting at Kerrie's for over fifteen years.  Here's what Leona's working on...and this,

and these...



This is going to be super gorgeous.  These 'strips' with all her 'blue' work will make up a super, duper quilt.

and Kerrie J....

English paper pieceing in Civil War materials...

Dear Robyn continues working on her latest Crazy....

Kerrie K on her applique

and...dear Lynne is making this for her new sewing room...

And let's not forget moi...

Nearly finished off an old project from long, long ago.  A wee angel in need of some eyes!

Sunday, 23 October 2016


...thinking about this quote from Brennan Manning's book ABBA'S CHILD.

"...And there have been times...
when the felt presence of God was more real to me
than the chair I am sitting on;
    when the Word ricocheted like broken-backed
lightning in every corner of my soul;
   when a storm of desire carried me to places I had
never visited.
   And there have been other times...
   when I identified with the words of Mae West:  "I
used to be Snow White - but I drifted";
   when the Word was as stale as old ice cream and
as bland as tame sausage;
   when the fire in my belly flickered and died;
   when I mistook dried-up enthusiasm for gray-haired
   when I dismissed youthful idealism as mere
   when I preferred cheap slivers of glass to the pearl
of great price.

If you relate to any of these experiences, you might want to browse through this book and pause to reclaim your core identity as Abba's Child."


Saturday, 22 October 2016


Click to enlarge and get a better view of this dog's anxiety!

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Can you hear them?


...The constant challenge in this life we call Christian is the translation of what we believe into our day-to-day lifestyle.  Risky business!

This doesn't, of course mean conforming to some prescribed pattern of enthusiastic affection... Rather, it is a thing of complete spontaneity, unprogrammed and unpredictable.  It is more likely to make us feel foolish (if we are the least bit self-conscious) than to make us feel that at last we have arrived at Christian maturity.  In order to do more than adopt a passing fad, we never forget that the spontaneous affection erupting within us is the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

The courage to risk approaching an enemy to seek reconciliation belongs in the same category.  It will expose us to very probable rejection, ridicule and failure...In season and out of season, in success and failure, in grace and disgrace, the courage to risk everything on the signature of Jesus is the mark of authentic discipleship...

                                                                         Excerpt from Signature of Jesus (Brennan Manning)

David took this photograph last year - somewhere in Scotland.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Two more weeks and I'll be able to get down the stairs and pick them myself!  

Sunday, 16 October 2016


The Jacaranda tree is starting to leaf.

Sunday Song from Dunblane Cathederal, Scotland


C'est moi!  Holding his big sister while he cooks!

At his Aunt's wee hoose in Cawdor

In Arnisdale

With his 'love'

Have a great day Aaron!

Thursday, 13 October 2016


in spite of that;  notwithstanding;  all the same

Last blog on Paul Kalanithi's book WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR.  Here he discusses his thoughts on belief in God and Christianity.

"The favorite quote of many an atheist, from the Nobel Prize-winning French biologist Jacques Monod...

'The ancient covenant is in pieces;  man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he emerged only by chance.'

Yet I returned to the central values of Christianity - sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness - because I found them so compelling.  There is a tension in the Bible between justice and mercy, between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  And the New Testament says you can never be good enough: goodness is the thing, and you can never live up to it.  The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.

Not only that, but maybe the basic message of original sin isn't "Feel guilty all the time." Maybe it is more along these lines:  "We all have a notion of what it means to be good, and we can't live up to it all the time."  Maybe that's what the message of the New Testament is, after all.  Even if you have a notion as well defined as Leviticus, you can't live that way.  It's not just impossible, it's insane."

And that is the message of the Bible.  Paul in Romans 7 describes this conundrum beautifully, "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  And the Good News is that NEVERTHLESS, God loves us.  And that 'love' is a 'love' beyond all definitions.

The beautiful quilt?  Another one of Robyn's - for her grand-daughter.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


David went off to return books to the library when I suddenly remembered I had wanted to blog a bit more about Paul Kalanithi from his book WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR.  Quickly hobbled to the telephone and left David a slow message which I was assured by the recording would be relayed to him as a text.  "Bring   back    the   Doctor   book!"  And brought it back he did.

My little torn paper bookmarks were still in the book so here's the first one.  I'll do the other one another day.

His wife writing the poscript to the book.

"I expected to feel only empty and heartbroken after Paul died.  It never occurred to me that you could love someone the same way after he was gone, that I would continue to feel such love and gratitude alongside the terrible sorrow, the grief so heavy that at times I shiver and moan under the weight of it.  Paul is gone, and I miss him acutely nearly every moment, but I somehow feel I'm still taking part in the life we created together.  "Bereavement is not the truncation of married love," C.S. Lewis wrote, "but one of its regular phases - like the honeymoon.  What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too."  Caring for our daughter, nurturing relationships with family, publishing this book, pursuing meaningful work, visiting Paul's grave, grieving and honoring him, love goes on - lives on - in a way I'd never expected."

And the beautiful quilt above?  It's me reading with dear old Dougal beside me.  The little girl, bottom left is my earliest memory, standing at the gate telling everyone who passed that I was going to start school soon, Scottish background top left. Summerfield barn and red bench which we scattered everywhere we lived after a visit to Switzerland, Glasgow University where I started and didn't finish an MA - but developed a strong interest in Scottish Literature and Economic History, the beautiful MacIntosh chair made by David, the roses he has given me, each of the past forty seven years, the gum tree, symbolizing my new home which I love and the bluebird representing David, always at my shoulder and always full of love.

And the quilter?  My dear friend Robyn who is, at this time travelling the same road as Paul's wife.