Monday, January 27, 2020

Weekending

As we head into the last week of January I have been reflecting on my aim to create balance in my life. I wish it was easy as thinking it, intending it and then it just is. But it seems it takes concerted effort and the need for action ๐Ÿ˜†

I have actually made a little progress in the 'balance' arena but I know that it is going to be at least a 6 month project - mainly because I will need to trade in my full-time working hours for part-time and that takes a bit of time. So I'll keep pressing towards the goal!

On a yarny note...I still get a thrill everything I get a sale notification from Etsy  popping into my email box. This weekend I sold the last two skeins of 'Something Told the Wild Geese'.


My yarn is something that is on my 'balance' list of things to address. I know that this won't happen until after we have moved into our new home in a couple of months. I want to set up a dedicated dye studio with the hopes of growing my little business - perhaps to the point where it begins to create part of the part-time work that I am yearning for.


This weekend was the Big Garden Birdwatch. Whilst I have not created a journal page this year - although I really wanted to but I'm afraid that the weekend was taken up with other (still lovely) things. I did manage to carve out a bit of time to record my sightings. As it turns out I had a really lucky sighting day! Apart from all the usual suspects at the bird feeder, I spotted a Jay, a Heron and a Red wing!


I've only ever seen Red wings since living out in the Cheshire countryside. They are really sweet although it seems timid birds. They won't come to the bird-feeder, instead they seem to prefer to forage for their food out in the fields or under shrubs and bushes.


Look what I spotted this weekend...


You do know what this means don't you? It means that spring is coming soon. The snowdrops are always a timely reminder that no winter lasts forever! 

This last week of January seems the perfect time to turn my thoughts towards the next month and plan in some seasonal delights and to note some of the joys to look forward to in February. It's time to pull out some valentines inspired decor and take some time to quietly observe some of the simple joys that this month has to offer. I'll be sure to pop in and share my thoughts and plans.

Blessings to you all this week lovelies.

Friday, January 24, 2020

January Blessings

Hello Lovelies! I hope that your January has been ticking along nicely. We've had a few frosty mornings which I just adore and my daffodils are starting to pop up! A sure sign that things are stirring readying themselves for spring!


One of January's little home blessings that I look forward to is to bunches of daffodils that always appear in the supermarkets around this time. January just would not be January without bunches of daffs on the dresser and mantel. They cheer up these long dark January and February days which I find so difficult sometimes. March always brings a shift in light and in my heart it seems.


But I think this year it is going to be slightly different because I have something else that has sent my heart a flutter. We put in an offer on a house on Saturday and it was accepted!
All going well we should be in our new very own home in March/April. I'm kind of hoping we will be in before Easter but I really don't want to set my heart on it and then end up stressing. So instead I'm going to just go with the flow and try not to be impatient. We have a lifetime to live in our new home so what's a couple of weeks?


Pictured above is our new front door,it's so pretty ๐Ÿ˜Š - perfect to hang seasonal wreaths on. Of course I've been pinning all sorts of home decor and gardening ideas for our new space.


Along with the stirring of spring I can feel my creative juices beginning to flow again. I'm currently crocheting a new blanket - Lucy's (Attic 24) Dune blanket. I love the soft pastel colours which are reminiscent of sun soaked  beach days. It's a great project to be able to pick up after work in the evenings.

This weekend I think I'm going to get into the garden and pot up some of my favourite plants I planted last summer. It feels so good to know that whatever I plant in our new home I will have the pleasure of watching grow, establish and will enjoy them for many many years to come!

Enjoy this last week of January lovelies and I'll see you back here very soon.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

An Explorers Spirit

One of the things that we have decided to get back into doing as a family is venturing out over weekends and visiting places we have not been to. We used to do this all the time but as I've said before, moving home has a way of changing your habits even if you don't intend on it happening...somehow it just happens. 

So when my husband woke up on Sunday morning and said, where shall we go after church? I suggested we hop over the border to Wales. Chester is situated on the English/Welsh border which is lovely because Wales is A-MAZ-ING and so SO beautiful!

Destination of choice...Conwy (pronounced con-wee)



Conwy is the most beautiful town! it's a world heritage site with the most magnificent 13th Century castle and walls. It is a quaint harbor town with picturesque views of mountains on one side and sea on the other.



Its a hop, skip and a jump away from Snowdonia so the perfect launching pad for an extended Welsh stay - which I would love to do this year! I'm embracing my inner explorers spirit this year and am hoping to make lots of lovely memories with my family and friends as I work towards creating that balance.


We started our visit with the castle of course. It has to be one of the best maintained ruins I have visited. It was fascinating to learn about it's history and of course the views from the top were just incredible. 


I'm one of those strange people that loves a good sky scape and the Welsh heavens did not disappoint on that particular day.


I love this view of the river flowing past the castle, through the harbor and out into the sea. let me tell you, there is quite a current flowing under the suspension and train bridge! I wouldn't want to fall in there.


After our visit we took a stroll through the harbor, enjoying seeing the little white boats bobbing in the water.


Then up through the quaint town where we found a small little ice-cream parlour and even though temperatures were well within single digits, how could we not indulge in having an ice-cream by the sea?

All too soon it was time to head on home but a lovely Sunday afternoon spent exploring somewhere new. Where too next I wonder?

Blessings to you all...

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Early January Days

I know we are only 5 days into January but so far we have had some lovely clear, crisp days. Yesterday we took a drive through the Cheshire countryside to our very first house viewing. It was an absolutely stunning house except one of the bedrooms was more of an office-space that a bedroom. You could not have fitted much more than a single bed into it so sadly it was a no which was a real pit because apart from being just about perfect, it was the former home of the famous British writer Dick Francis! One of my favourite authors.


We have packed away all the Christmas decorations. I have enjoyed having them around this year, usually, I can't wait to get them packed away after Christmas but this year we have stuck with tradition and taken them down closer to 12th Night. I always feel that once they have been packed away I can truly look forward to and get on with the new year.


So I've been pondering on my word that will hopefully define my year..."Balance".

What actions can I take to create balance in my life on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? I think I have come up with one or two things.

First, I know that I want to do something fun at least once a month as a family such as a day trip to somewhere new or perhaps even a one-night break somewhere further away. Wales is on our doorstep and we still have not explored even though we have been here for over a year! Time to stop the procrastination.

Secondly, I want to make time to work on creative things that I used to have so much time for. My nature journal for instance. It has such therapeutic benefits. To clear your mind of all else and just immerse yourself in the art of looking, drawing and painting are so relaxing. January is a great month to be out in nature as spring bulbs begin to peek through the soil and birds are in abundance as they search for food amongst the branches of the bare boughs trees. Of course, January also brings along the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch which I always participate in. I'm going to enjoy setting aside an hour to count birds and then create my annual Big Garden Birdwatch nature journal page.


And finally, I'm going to pull out my knitting needles and some hand-dyed yarn and cast-on a pair of socks for DD1. Last night she was folding laundry and dropped a not-so-subtle hint that she was running rather low on hand-knit socks. This is an easy project that can be picked up and worked on in the evenings or as I have a moment or two. I may even take it to work so that I can get a few rows in on my lunch hour. Actually, there is an array of great coffee shops near my office where I can go to on my lunch hour so I may just do that!



My job is quite pressurised and extremely busy. It is easy to simply work through lunch or not take the full hour however, that is really not helpful to my own mental well-being or to my productivity levels! So that is one simple area that I can change.
 

On bright days I may even just take a walk by the river. I'm fortunate to work and live in one of the most beautiful cities in the UK (I may be a little biased ๐Ÿ˜Š) with lots of green space and a great river and waterfront area all within walking distance of my office. I'm looking forward to summer actually where I can take my lunch to the park and watch the world go for a little while.

Being purposeful in slowing down and giving ourselves mental space goes a long way to a more balanced and peaceful outlook. Giving ourselves space to think, meditate on a scripture or just be still is something that I think we don't do enough of in our instant, busy world.

How has your first week of 2020 been? Hopefully, it has been a blessed one. I am reminded as I type those words that not everyone is having a great start to 2020. Australia is being devastated by fires right now - it's just awful, isn't it? Please do pray that they will get rain soon and that those horrendous fires are put out! 

Until next time my lovely friends...

Blessings in Christ

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

Well! What a year it has been! 2019 was always going to be a year of change and adjustment for our family as we finished up our homeschooling journey. I certainly underestimated just how much of an adjustment it would be.

One thing I have learned is to allow oneself the kindness of getting used to the new life rhythms. I definitely went through a period of feeling very sad at how life has changed but at the very same time happiness that our daughters are happy and excelling in their universities and on their courses.


I remember taking a day off work a few months ago to try and get things that were being neglected done and to just enjoy being at home. 'How wonderful it would be to be at home for a whole day', I thought.

And it was wonderful to a point. Except it wasn't the same. Both girls were at university and I was at home in a very quiet home. I ended up crying the whole afternoon๐Ÿ˜‚.

It was then that I realised that being at home full-time was not going to be how it was whilst raising and educating children. I also realised that change is inevitable and that our daily lives will change and that that change although painful at times will usher in new and exciting times and opportunities. Just because life looks different does not mean that it's a bad thing.


It's funny. When you are in the midst of raising children and home educating it seems like it will last forever. Its a busy time. Then suddenly it's all done. Yes, they will always need you but not in the same way.

It's taken until a few weeks ago for peace and acceptance to finally take up residence in my soul. I'm happy. Happy that our daughters are so settled. Happy that although we are all busy doing our own thing all day, at the end of the day we come together and enjoy the evenings together. I'm content in my job and the firm for which I work. I'm excited about my journey to qualifying as a lawyer and grateful for the new opportunities that are being presented to us all. I am finally okay with letting go of the last amazing 21 years, savouring each moment as precious, and looking forward to an exciting future.

2019 was also a year where I had to say goodbye to two of my closest friends as they each lost their battle with cancer. Again, it takes time to accept and come to terms with the fact that I cannot just ring them up and have a good old chat. But I know that I will see them again in heaven one day and for that I am grateful. Both women were so significant in my life and I count myself very blessed indeed to have had them in my life.

Looking forward to 2020



Oh I'm so looking forward to 2020! A new year and a new decade - what's not to like?

Now that this turbulent year of change has been journeyed through and survived I have an immense sense of relief and am so optimistic about what is to come.

For a start, we are buying our first home in the UK! We will have been here for 9 years in January and it is fair to say that we have moved around quite a bit. We have lived in 4 different cities in the UK and we have truly found our home here in Chester. It is a beautiful city, central so everywhere. Our girls have made such wonderful friends and are so happy. This is where we want to put down roots.

To have our own home again, to potter about and to know that any time and resources we invest will be ours to enjoy for years to come has ignited the nesting instinct in my once again. 


Balance

This is what I am aiming for in 2020. Since starting back at work in June, I have felt like I've been surviving rather than thriving. My home has not been quite as organised as it once was and the weeks seem to have been speeding by far too quickly - a sure sign that perhaps I haven't quite had a handle on things.

So in 2020, I want to really focus on restoring balance in our lives. I am determined to make time for things that are important to me and to my family. Our home, spending time together visiting lovely places in the UK (so looking forward to National Trust properties opening again) and being mindful and purposeful in observing the liturgical year and seasons in our home. Celebrating our faith and our family, creating a home which is a refuge and making time for observing and pondering on the small simple things - these are all important things to us.

And blogging...yes, this is important to me. I am a writer and a curator of memories. I want to spend more time here, sharing about the ordinary things I have always shared. I'm not much of an Instagrammer or Facebooker, I find they clutter up my mind and time. But blogging, I've been writing here for almost 9 years. I've made some lovely friends through here so it's not something can see myself relinquishing easily. It also helps keep me focused on living that purposeful life that I strive to lead. A life that is God-focused and led. If I can lead that kind of life then I know that peace and contentment will come from Him.


And so my lovely friends, I hope you will continue to visit me here for your comments and input are a blessing. I am encouraged and inspired by you. For those who have blogs that I have discovered through your comments here, I enjoy reading about your little life snippets. 

With just a handful of hours left of 2019, I hope that you take 20 minutes to ponder on and dream about 2020. Let's make our homes a God-centred haven for our husbands, children and friends. May it be a place that gives all who visit a warm hug and may they leave having been restored and with a spring in their step.

May the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be yours now and into the new decade!