Celebrating Every Day

Dreaming Eyes of Wonder

Warmth and sunshine have returned to our neck of the woods, which means bits of afternoons (or mornings… or both) in the garden with the children.  And while they’re exploring, and wondering about growing things, I am pondering this article by Elizabeth Foss deep in my heart.







Child of the pure unclouded brow 
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet, and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy-tale.

I have not seen thy sunny face,
Nor heard thy silver laughter;
No thought of me shall find a place
In thy young life’s hereafter –
Enough that now thou wilt not fail
To listen to my fairy-tale.

A tale begun in other days,
When summer suns were glowing –
A simple chime, that served to time
The rhythm of our rowing –
Whose echoes live in memory yet,
Though envious years would say ‘forget’.

Come, hearken then, ere voice of dread,
With bitter tidings laden,
Shall summon to unwelcome bed
A melancholy maiden!
We are but older children, dear,
Who fret to find our bedtime near.

Without, the frost, the blinding snow,
The storm-wind’s moody madness –
Within, the firelight’s ruddy glow,
And childhood’s nest of gladness.
The magic words shall hold thee fast:
Thou shalt not heed the raving blast.

And though the shadow of a sigh
May tremble through the story,
For ‘happy summer days’ gone by,
And vanish’d summer glory –
It shall not touch with breath of bale
The pleasance of our fairy-tale. –Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass”


Joy and Gladness



Home should be a happy place.  Most days, this is what ours looks like.  Laughter – and a cup of tea – makes everything better.

It has been more than three months since we received the sad news that our new baby had died.  And it was a long, long wait to see if I would deliver her naturally.  After 12 weeks, it was decided that I would have to have surgery.  Through it all, I felt well enough in myself, though my heart ached.  My Lent was chosen for me this year.  What I experienced most was the quietude of acceptance and peace, rather than sadness.

And just as Lent was coming to an end, we were sent the gift of the flu, which spent four more weeks with us.  It culminated in a surgery (mine), a fruitless trip to the ER with Joséphine (who, it turned out, had pneumonia an an ear infection), and a visit to our own doctor (who diagnosed her correctly and treated her right away).

And then the spring cleaning began.  And we packed up the bassinet.  And the box of cloth diapers.

And then my heart broke again.  Like those first days after discovering that our baby was gone from us.  When I cried out to The Blessed Mother for comfort.  A cavernous void needing to be… what?  Filled?  Cleaned out?  I’m not sure.  Maybe just acknowledged.  Put on life’s map.

“Here Is The Cave of Sorrows.  It was created by the swift slipping away of a much loved child… a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable person”

Perhaps it seems selfish to grieve over the loss of one child (or three, or four) when one has eight beautiful children, living, here on earth to hold.  But a mother’s heart isn’t made that way.  It matters not whether she has one or twenty-one, each loss is heart-stopping, breath-taking and life-altering.  You are never the same without that child.

But she isn’t lost after all.  She is in heaven, waiting and praying for me – for all of us.  I am – we are – blessed.  I will be able to hold her again.  Someday and forever.

And life goes on.  And we rejoice, in our yesterdays, our todays, and in our tomorrows.  All is grace.

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into joy: thou hast cut my sackcloth, and hast compassed me with gladness” – Ps 30:11 (Douay-Rheims)

Beatrice Faith, born into Heaven – February 2012.  Her name means “happiness and confidence in the Truth”   It is the way we should live, as people of God.  Her short life is a precious reminder.

Brigid’s Footsteps

Photography by John Evans


The footsteps of St Brigid are everywhere I go
Rising out of darkness from the earth below
Little bells of Spring time –
Pure and white as snow.

The footsteps of St Brigid
Have travelled far and wide
Unconstrained by boundaries,
Monarchies or tides –

An abbess and a foundress
A holy one of God
Whose prayers rose up like incense
From rock and field and bog.

O Saint Brigid, Ireland’s children
Still recall with greatest pride
All you did for church and country
With the Cross your truest guide.

Ask the Saviour now to bless us
Ask Our Lady to enfold
In maternal wraps of goodness
All we are and all we hold.

Dear to us is Mother Ireland
Dear to us this faith passed down
Help us to uphold and value
All that won for you a crown.

May we follow in your footsteps
As you look from heaven above
May you shower upon your children
Heaven’s grace and heaven’s love.

Winter has given us a miss, it seems, and we’re headed straight into spring.  While that isn’t such good news for sugaring, we’re happy to have the mild weather.  The temperatures are forecast to reach 60 degrees here today.  On the feast of St. Brigid.  When we are normally watching the skies for freezing rain.

We will still have porridge oats with all of the fixings, and a pot of hot tea with breakfast, despite the warm weather.  Perhaps we’ll make a barmbrack for snack time.  I found a new, gluten free recipe.

I haven’t planned any activities for this feast, as I generally do.  Perhaps we’ll have a go at creating Brigid’s Footsteps (snowdrops) from white packing paper and pipe cleaners.  Something sweet and simple, reminding me so poignantly of the drifts of snowdrops all over England near her feast day.

I hope that your day is blessed in every way.


Picking up Stitches

Christmastide is winding down and real life is waiting patiently on the doorstep.  After Epiphany, we will take the denuded tree out to the woods to compost and turn our attention back to the busy-ness of life.  And there is a growing to-do list.  Life keeps on going, despite our festal suspension of time.

Diaconate classes have resumed, and there are assignments to be completed.  And an ordination celebration to begin planning.

The farmhouse is ready for kitchen and bathroom fixtures to be installed – just as soon as the new floors are in.

Before Christmas, I began designing each of the rooms to maximise space and natural light, and collecting some inspiration.  There will be considerable thrifting and building and painting and curtain sewing to be done.

Goats to be bred.  Pigs to go to the processor.  Seeds to be ordered.

A perpetually neglected workbasket to be seen to.

EZ style longies back on the needles. I love those vintage colours. And say, there's that calico I'd been looking for. Isn't it pretty?

Curriculum to be compiled or written from scratch from notes jotted hastily on handy bits of paper and filed not-so-carefully in a crate.

New work projects to give time to, some that have been waiting for their time to come for several years.  For them, it would appear, the time is now.

How is it, then, that we’ve managed to find the time to be planning space in our bedroom for the bassinet?

A basket full of {washable} merino being knit into a receiving blanket. Just right for the arrival of autumn babies.

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