"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

itch, scratch, itch.. more than you needed to know

the past week, I have broken out in hives. And in my wisdom, I thought I would dab eucalyptus oil onto the spots. what was I thinking? I had a severe allergic reaction and am now covered in red welts. and itching. it is driving me demented. I have the look of an old mangy flea ridden dog. I have been using cortison cream to calm it down but even that is not really helping.. polaramine puts me into a state near comatose.
I haven't felt much like blogging, let alone visiting other blogs and commenting.. so I am taking a break til this calms down... this weekend, I am off to the Gypsy Caravan for a weekend away from madness that has been my life for the past month. Hopefully the nervous rash will go.
I miss visiting blogs and admit that I feel guilty because I haven't been the perfect blogging friend.. a thankyou to all of you who have been visiting me here xo ... I have been playing on facebook a little because I find that mindless.. Paul continues to improve because of YOUR prayers and thoughts.. thankyou xo

the past week, I have been puttering around my home and gardening when I feel like it. Cabbages and broccoli are flourishing in my vegie garden and broad beans are popping the first shoots out of the ground. Peas and leeks will hopefully go in next week.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

look who's ONE....... and an announcement!

yes, one year ago - a little angel was sent to live in our family...... he is a sweetie, has a temper, sleeps very well, loves his vegies AND in September he is going to get a baby brother or sister...

an update on Paul..

yesterday we went to visit Paul. he is now in rehabiliation where he will hopefully learn to walk again or at least get control of his left side to some extent.
Here he was, sitting up in bed... I just about cried with happiness. His eyes were back to normal.. not the dreadful grey eyes that I saw last week before his operation. He was complaining about the food and I said to him that he was better now cause he was complaining and he laughed at that. He is still a little confused but that is normal as the tumour had caused him to have a stroke so the brain is affected a little but this will also get better with time & prayers of course! He will be having chemo and radiation as mop-up - just incase any rogue cells escaped.. Dr Teo is brilliant.
thankyou so much for all the continuing prayers.. I told Paul that I had friends all over the world praying for him and he said they must have worked. And we know they did!

(now that this is all settling down, I will be by blogs this week.. getting back to normal routine.)

Friday, 20 March 2009

autumn has really arrived.. the autumn equinox

I woke early this morning and while standing at the sink, sipping my glass of water, vinegar and honey.. I noticed the stillness of the day.. Like Earth was resting before the wheel turned once more.. to Autumn Equinox, when nature hangs in perfect balance. Even the magpies knew that the season was changing. They have spent the day calling each other from the trees, their autumn call is different to their spring call. They were reminding me that they are here in my garden at Inglewood for the cooler months and I half expect to go outside and see the persimmon tree heavy with fruit.. but that is a few months of yet.. the magpies will have to wait for a little while, til the leaves fall from the tree and the fruit is visible in all its winter brilliance.....they call each other with that gorgeous haunting call that settles my soul and brings memories of hot soup simmering on the stove, of a comfy vintage cardie that I grab as I go out the door to pick herbs and of gathering sticks to kindle the fire that will be lit as the days get shorter and colder. It reminds me that my favourite time of year has arrived.

life is hectic right now for me and today, I cannot celebrate how I would really like to: by taking a long walk to observe what is happening in my neighbourhood.
Today, I would love to gather bits to make a wreath.. I would love to harvest the last of my lavender, but sometimes life calls and you just have to participate. But I do have a big pot of pumpkin, leek and carrot soup (sprinkled with welsh onions from my garden) ready for dinner. candles burn on my altar, they twinkle through out my home.. .. a little bit of autumn magick for the time being

next week, when life has settled down here are a few things that I hope to do:

I hope to make use of my broom. Starting with a clean sweep of every room in the house and make an offering for peace and clarity. Clearing out stagnant energy left over from the heat of summer. Open all my windows and hang out the rugs and blankets. Let my pillows air out in the sun. Sunlight is Mother Nature's disinfectant.

I hope to go through my pantry and "restock my pantry with fresh cinnamon
sticks, whole cloves, whole nutmegs (with a tiny grater), allspice, curry powder, cumin, chilli powder, cayenne, peppercorns, sea salt. Warming herbs such as dried basil, marjoram, and dill are wonderful for the chill of the coming winter."

I hope to make my autumn equinox cake oneday next week and sit with my love sharing this gorgeous season here at Inglewood....

preheat the oven to 160 deg. C (320F)
Lightly grease and line the base of a 20cm (7 1/2") round tin.

1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup almond meal
2 tsps baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
125g(4 1/2oz) melted butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fl oz) milk
1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp. vanilla
in a large bowl and mix until well combined.

spoon the mixture into the tin, top with 1 peeled and sliced apple
sprinkle with castor(superfine) sugar and extra cinnamon.
cook for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then brush with 1 cup melted apricot jam

but just for now, just for today I will "surround myself with the energies of the loves & blessings of my life."

(words in italics are from authors unknown or long forgotten)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

keeping the home fires burning...

autumn Equinox coming up the end of this week, and once again my thoughts turn to my home.. making it into a cocoon, protecting us from the winter time, nurturing us.. a place to snuggle, a place to keep warm, a place to go inward as winter approaches

my grandmother always said that if your bed is made, then the rest of the house will follow.. I loved her big brass bed.. piled high with pillows, quilts. Vintage pillow shams, real cotton sheets. Her window was always open to allow the fresh air to flow through and I can remember a divine double hung timber window, covered with a gorgeous vintage cotton lace curtain that billowed in the wind. I wish I had a photo of that memory.

I have always loved making my bed, making our bedroom into a sacred space, where we can escape from the world and feel protected, whether it be from all my vintage icons or from the angels or doorkeepers that I post at my bed corners each night.. adding candles, flowers or whatever it takes to make me feel nurtured. I am sure Dutch husband appreciates the touches as well.
just lately I have taken to 'half making my bed'.. still pulling it up, but leaving the pillows uncovered so that the fresh air can get to them.. a small hand-made sachet of lavender, a drop of calm flower essence in readiness for the night...

for many years, I have struggled with being a home-maker.. feeling it was unimportant.. but loving it all the same. the last few years, I have discovered many like minded women, through blogging.. have been encouraged by others.. being told that I am a 'temple keeper'.. others talking of Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth... knowing that Mother Mary was a home-maker too.

last week, I stumbled across a brilliant blog.. written by an australian women. It was one of those blogging moments, that make me gasp, make my heart skip a beat.. I could not read quick enough.. a simple blog, nothing fancy. Talking of day to day living, organic gardens, cooking, budgeting... every single thing that we need to know in this time of economic crisis.. getting back to basics. This woman shares her vast knowledge in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting sharing a cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake.... called simply: down-to-earth...*DOWN-TO-EARTH*

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

miracles do happen...

every single prayer, thought, candle lit.. whatever it was you did for my brother in law, Paul has worked. Wrapping him in that cocoon of love & light has manifested a miracle.
yesterday, Dr. Teo successfully removed 100% of the brain tumour.. which was the size of a medium potato - 5cm x 10cm.. Paul woke from the operation and after recovery, apparently, he proceeded to eat a sandwich. The prognosis is good. He will most probably have to have radiation mop up to kill of any rogue cells that may have been left and he may not have full control of his legs.. but hey.. that is a small price to be paying....

we are all in a little bit of shock, still numb from being told a week or so ago that there was no hope.. this has reinforced my thoughts of taking control of our own health and always seeking a second opinion and to never, ever give up hope...

thankyou all for the love, care & support for us .. please keep Paul in your prayers and thoughts as he continues to heal.

Monday, 16 March 2009

peace in the familiar...comfort in the mundane

it is suprising how the simple, ordinary tasks can bring comfort and focus in times of stress...

folding the clothes early this morning, I realised that my mind had stilled and my breathing had slowed... I was thinking of Paul. My mind wasn't worrying and I wasn't jumping from one task to the next. I was focused... I was praying but not in the normal way...

Today as I go about my housework, I will be thinking of Paul alot, I know... but now, I won't be stressing or panicking, I will simply turn to a familiar task.... to take me back to my centre of peace. a candle is lit on my altar for him.. as I go about my chores, I will add little touches of beauty.. flowers in an old jar.. to bring peace & beauty to our lives today

today Paul (Dutch husbands brother), faces his brain surgery. hopefully to successfully remove 95% of the tumour.. chemo and radiation will follow. he will most likely lose control of his left side... thankyou so much for the continuing prayers & thoughts, for candles lit & love sent.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


I woke this morning thinking of Carcassone... have no idea why.. it could be that I watched Rick Stein a few nights back and he was in the area and had a little segment about the Cathars... when I hear of them, it makes me shiver... same as when I hear of the Templars... were they the same people? I don't know, but I do know that a past life of mine involves that time in history, along with the catholic faith and is very strong in this life that I am living now, ....I had never heard of any of it until I read the DaVinci Code, which by the way had me mesmerized - I even cried in the movie.. had to control myself before i left the theatre as I was sobbing so much. As usual, I will wait to see what is revealed to me over the next weeks... there is a reason why I woke thinking of Carcassone, there is a reason why I am drawn to France right now..(never have been before) and there is a reason why I have yet another yearning in my soul.. this time, I am at peace with my journey. thank God.

I have been harvesting beans! eating some and saving others for next years planting... perfect time to do it.. coming up to the Autumn Equinox next week.

my bean plants have been prolific this year.. I love my garden and I am sure the plants thrive on love as we all do.. they repay me with abundance.

gathering beans, shelling and seed saving, all meditative practices which help me through anxious times....

I have been having anxiety attacks the past week, to the point of not being able to breath.. it is awful. I am trying to get to blogs to visit but just cannot sit for any length of time.

an update on Paul: he is now in Prince of Wales hospital under a specialist called Dr Teo - a neurosurgeon who has success with this kind of tumour... not sure where this will all go but Paul is being operated on, this Monday.. so I ask that you continue sending love, prayers and light.
if you are interested in Dr Teo.. here is an interesting article.. there is always hope..
Dr Charlie Teo

Sunday, 8 March 2009

alresco dining

yesterday we got together with friends, to celebrate my friend Peter's 76th birthday.

I love to cook and quite often I am asked to make the birthday cake..being in my french mode, I chose a Comice Pear cake.. this morning I had harvested beans, so I bundled a handful into a brown paper bag, picked some sprigs of rosemary and a few bay twigs to take as an offering of friendship.

this time the lunch was set in a brick courtyard under an old persimmon tree...a few bottles of wine, a warm autumn day. the sun twinkling through the branches as only an autumn sun can.

and the most Sacred thing this Sunday, is dutch husband (Sheila has Portuguese husband, we are getting quite an international husband collection going here!) Dutch husband is the most caring, gentle man I have ever known.

I am praying for a miracle for Paul.... do you think that the person being prayed for must believe in miracles for one to happen? I have placed Paul at the feet of Mother Mary & am asking St.Therese to pray for a can hope.

thankyou for continuing prayers for Paul, he is home at the moment, the medication is keeping him comfortable... We have heard of a Dr who has had amazing results operating on these kinds of tumours & are hoping that he will see Paul and take him as a patient. when I heard of this Dr, I thought maybe this could be the miracle that we pray for.. . I thought that maybe there is hope

Sunday, 1 March 2009

autumn long shadows & the sacredness of gathering rosemary.

today March 1st, the autumn crocus bloomed!
I haven't much felt like blogging the past week or even visiting blogs.. sorry. Today the day was such a glorious day and both Joe and I knew we had to get out and put our hands in the earth. doing manual jobs which will take our minds of what is happening ... we both know that we must get on with life, we both know that we must laugh and be jolly even though one of our bestest relatives is dying. That, is difficult..but there was much to be done.

the tomatoes have finished. I harvested my last lot this morning to make a napolitana pasta sauce for dinner tonight.. using my own basil, tomatoes and welsh onions. After gathering the tomatoes, I got to work scrubbing the stakes and painting them. I painted red & purple today, tomorrow I think I will paint aqua and yellow. I love how the stakes stand out in my garden adding brightness all year round. As I painted, I thought of Paul and how he use to paint our home for us. He is a master house painter and never tired of me constantly changing my home, using colours that I am sure made him think I was crazy. He always accommodated my outlandish ideas of mixing sand in with paint to achieve a rough sandstone look on my walls. stippled other walls for me or sometimes ragged them. He even painted over my 'mistakes'.. whenever I decided to paint myself. Of course he complained but I know that secretly he loved it!

as I gardened, a kookaburra sat nearby, watching for worms. I think the Kookaburra who I call Jacko, was sitting with me as a comfort. He reminds me of my dad. I chatted away to him as I gardened and the little fellow turned his head this way and that as if he knew exactly what I was saying.

autumn has arrived... hanging the clothes out yesterday, I noticed those long shadows of autumn. that turning in the air - feel. And even though it was quite hot and humid.. they were still there. the choughs are back to... I heard them in the afternoon... a haunting call. One that reminds me of cool evenings, soup and gathering sticks. I absolutely adore autumn. it is my very favourite season of all. The crickets chirp in the late afternoon, another sign of autumn approaching. The rose hips too, signal autumns arrival. such a vibrant colour. I wonder if I could use these somehow in my cooking. tea perhaps? The mornings are cool and there is a slight cooling in the afternoons... autumn is definitely on the way.

and to finish my day, I gathered a large bunch of rosemary and placed in a vase in my kitchen. a sacred Sunday for me.

And a very happy birthday to Sr. Kathryn.. a special woman in my life.. xoxo

*thankyou for your continuing prayers, thoughts, candles and support for Paul. This will keep him wrapped in a cocoon of love xo*