Sunday, 30 November 2014

It's God's Love #22

On Sundays I write a short post consisting of a Bible Verse around
the topic of God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would come and join me each week.

(Just go to the sidebar if you would like to sign up for an email reminder of my posts.)




Everything

to do 

with our lives

is because of 

God's Love.

Faith 

would not have been possible

without

the Love of God.






Thank you God

that you loved us so much

that you sent Jesus

who loved us so much

He died in our place..



You are welcome to copy the Bible Verse Graphic above and any of the others that will be in this Sunday Series on God's Love.  Please use it as it is with no editing for your own personal use including on social media but not in any commercial way. 

With regards to any other pictures or graphics - please contact me. 



Thanks.



Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Man in the Brown Suit - Book Review


I am trying to read through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and write a review on each one.  



The Man in the Brown Suit. 
1924.  


Shelfari Description

Searching for a bit of adventure to spice up her everyday life, Anne Beddingfield becomes an unlikely sleuth after a diamond heist, a murder, and attempts on her own life that make her the only person capable of solving the crimes.




My Thoughts

By the end of the first chapter you are fully behind the character of Anne Beddingfield and probably think she can do no wrong.
She is adventurous and inquisitive, just like we would wish to be but never get the opportunity or would never have the guts so we are certainly behind her all the way.

Yes all the way to South Africa and what a journey, with twists and turns to the story, secrets that we wouldn't have imagined and of course mustn't forget the Romance or romances?

Numbers, rolls of film and secretaries are part of the mystery and then there are the murders and attempted murders.  There is a lot to find all tangled up in and around the Man in the Brown Suit.

Not one of the best Christie murder mysteries and the characters are perhaps more stereotypes than real. Some events I know I could never imagine happening to me and some are just a bit too convenient but it is a good read and there is one character in this book that Miss Christie will bring back again in at least one later book.

This is the 5th Christie Book and the first one without one of her well known sleuths.


 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Shelfari
Books by Agatha Christie

Friday, 28 November 2014

5 Little Touches to make the Bathroom Mine! - Housework/Funwork 41


When we moved back to Northern Ireland from Belgium in Dec 2010
I was so pleased to be moving into a house with a light, spacious, nicely decorated bathroom.


It along with the kitchen and the master bedroom were the main attractions to persuade us to forget the previous decision of


"We do not want a house at the top of a hill!"



View of the town from our house at the top of the hill!

The Bathroom really did not need redecorating.

But you are probably like me even if the bathroom is really nice and attractive you don't want to feel like you are in someone else's bathroom; you want to enjoy being in your own bathroom.

So I had



that I added to the room just to put my stamp on it 
and none of them were difficult to do.



1.  Bath Door Sign


Now it is easy enough to tell anyone that the bathroom is the door facing you at the end of the hallway and they shouldn't get lost but isn't it nice just to have a pretty little sign on the door?

I went on ebay (as I love to do) and found some nice door signs and got three to match: one for my bathroom, one for the back toilet and one for my study.




This makes me smile even before I go into the Bathroom.

This has two uses:  it is a useful bathroom sign for visitors and also a piece of decor for the room.


2.  Bath Pillow


For someone who loves to take a bath and lie there reading a book then a bath pillow is a great addition.
I had a plain white one that I had got a few years ago but it was starting to look like it was not so comfortable as a pillow so I got myself a new one.

One that makes me smile when I go into the bathroom and not just when I'm enjoying my bath.



This has two uses:  it is a useful bathroom accessory and also a piece of decor in the room.


3.  Candle Jar


I would love it if my husband was the very romantic type who loved to light candles around the house but I have to admit he is not and when I do light candles he is usually heard to say

 "don't forget to put that thing out before you leave the room".

I am not the greatest crafty type person but will sometimes throw things together and that is exactly what I did here.  I had bought a large glass vase/jar thing one time a couple of years before leaving Belgium but had no real idea of what I wanted to do with it but when I saw that bathroom it sprung to mind along with the coloured sand I had bought another time and the kind of wood chips I had bought on yet another occasion. Of course I am always buying candles if they are cheap and as my husband is not the greatest candle lover they usually lie in a cupboard for years so I knew I had a couple of large ones so why not put those things together and have a Candle Jar in the bathroom.




This makes me smile when I'm soaking in the bath even if I have forgotten to light it.

This has two uses:  it is a peaceful nice smelling addition to my relaxing bath and also a piece of decor for the room.


4.  Conch Shell


We went to the Bahamas for our 25th Wedding Anniversary Trip.

It was one of the best trips we have ever had, lots of smiles and laughs and other things which might make their way into a Travel blog post someday or become A Dose of Encouragement post.

While we were there we saw some beautiful Conch Shells and I decided I wanted to bring one home so we packed it very carefully in our beach towels and happily it did not get broken on the journey back.

It sat nicely in our bathroom in Londonderry, Northern Ireland for a few years and then was in our ensuite in Belgium for our time there.

So it was a natural addition to our newest bathroom and there is plenty of space for it on the wash hand basin.




This makes me smile every time I use the wash hand basin in the Bathroom - Happy Memories.

This has two uses:  it is a lovely reminder of an anniversary with my husband and also a piece of decor for the room.


5.  "Believe" Plaque


I love to go into craft shops or little miscellaneous shops and one day I saw this




I couldn't resist it and it was cheap so I bought it and it was only when I got home that I thought about where I was going to put it.  I just couldn't think where it should go and it might have become one of those things that my husband says

 "whatever did you buy that for?"  

after it has been sitting in the kitchen for a long while.

But then one day while I was in the bathroom I realised that the inside of the door was one of the places probably most looked at because of the position of the toilet and the bath and I thought I should put something on it to make it less boring.  And of course the "Believe" Sign popped into my mind and it now has a home.

This makes me smile whatever I am doing in the Bathroom.

This has two uses:  it is a useful bathroom sign for visitors to make them think and not be so bored and also a piece of decor for the room.


So I really did make the Bathroom feel more like MINE because it makes me smile when I enter and I really enjoy my long soaks in the bath surrounded by happy memories and my things.





Now this bit of work for the Bathroom definitely had to be classified as FUNWORK and not HOUSEWORK.


Is there some way you have made your bathroom Yours?

Or perhaps another room?





This was originally a guest post I did for another blogger earlier in the year.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

His Pyjamas on Another Bed! - A Dose of Encouragement 48


Fred has been travelling more frequently with
work in the last few months so a lot of our communication is via email, text messages, Kakaotalk, and Facetime.


I used to hate texting but now with three kids grown up and all living a distance from us I am well used to it even if my fingers seem to so often hit the buttons beside the ones I mean to hit so that I say things like  "I live yoi" instead of "I love you".



With our daughter Linda being in South Korea the rest of us were all introduced to Kakaotalk which is free messaging throughout the world provided you have wifi.  We message in groups of all of us and pairs of us and trios of us so we just decide who needs to be in the conversation and pick that group.

We can also send pictures and cute clipart things that Kakaotalk provide for us.


I love the sound of a message coming in - it actually goes "Kakao" in a little squeaky voice.


Then of course who couldn't like Facetime where I can prop the iPad up and sit and chat and make faces at the person at the other end of the call.  It is nice to see their faces when they are far away and we don't meet up for months on end.



So of course when Fred is away I am thankful that we can facetime to have a proper chat but sometimes our time zones are different or when one of us is free the other one isn't so the Kakaotalk using comes into force then.

Well, being the type of people we are in this family there is usually something "random" that occurs or something we find funny or strange or just something that's different to normal and we have to send a picture or when on facetime we wander round the house or room to show the other person something, angling the iPad as best we can.

This is exactly what happened the other day.

Fred is in Morocco at the moment (yet again) but this time he was in a different hotel to his previous trips.

This is what he showed me on facetime



Yes His Pyjamas on another bed!

Well you might say

 "What do you expect when he's travelling?"

My answer is

"Not him getting interested in some other woman setting his pyjamas out in a fancy way
 on the bed!"

He told me this was the second time it had been done and probably would have been the third but the day before he had thrown his pyjamas in his case so they didn't appear neatly presented on the bed that night.

Well we had a nice laugh about it.

And I said

"You should have taken a picture"

So he did then and there with the iPad.

THEN

This is the picture he sent me yesterday when he had moved to another location so another different hotel.



His comment was

"It must be a Moroccan thing"

"Not quite as fancy as Marrakech, but still!!"


Now let's go back to my thoughts from the first time.

I have to be honest and tell you that the woman responsible for that nice act was not the focus of my thoughts then.

The thing I was honing in on was

"He'd better not expect me to be placing his pyjamas on our bed neatly and artistically 
each day - or even once a week or once a year!"

We actually thought it was a lovely gesture that the cleaners would take the time to place the pyjamas not just folded on the bed but to arrange them neatly and with some thought put into it and in the first instance not only the pyjamas arranged so nicely but the covers on the bed presented differently too.

Obviously I am not as artistic or patient to take the time to do that.

But then later I thought about it again and

NO! I still did not think I was meant to start doing this for Fred

instead I considered this small act of kindness towards my husband and all the other people staying there on business trips

made by ladies who did not know them

ladies who were already busy

ladies working all day

but ladies who made people smile when they walked back into their rooms and saw that someone had just made that little bit of extra effort for them; and I was thankful for them.


"Obviously I am not as artistic or patient to take the time to do that!" she said.

So what kind of small things, that just take a little extra effort from us, can we do to make someone else feel more cared for?

Or what small things have others actually done for us that we can go around not noticing?



I encourage you today to think of some small things you can do each week just to take a little more care in something you normally do but that could just put a smile on someone's face or make them feel more appreciated.

I also encourage you today to notice these types of things when they are done for you and extend a smile and a word of thanks to show that you have appreciated the effort.






Sunday, 23 November 2014

It's God's Love #21

On Sundays I write a short post consisting of a Bible Verse around
the topic of God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would come and join me each week.

(Just go to the sidebar if you would like to sign up for an email reminder of my posts.)




When God's Love

is in us

there will be no fear

we will not be gripped

by a force that holds us down

but 

we will be enveloped in 

calm & peace




The  only

Perfect Love

comes from

God.

This is the

Love

that sets us

Free.



You are welcome to copy the Bible Verse Graphic above and any of the others that will be in this Sunday Series on God's Love.  Please use it as it is with no editing for your own personal use including on social media but not in any commercial way. 

With regards to any other pictures or graphics - please contact me. 



Thanks.



Friday, 21 November 2014

5 Things To Remember when Spring Cleaning A Room - Housework/Funwork 40

I was not supposed to tackle my Lounge/LivingRoom until next month and that would leave it all ready for Christmas, but we had picked a new suite and the
painters were coming to paint and that worked out for this month so my overhaul plans were changed and I'll work on the Dining Room next Month instead.


When we were working on the Lounge I thought about 5 things not to forget for next year  PLUS  a Bonus Tip.


All of these of course could refer to practically any room in the house but because I was working on the Lounge my examples are based there.




1.  Furniture Pads

When you buy a new piece of furniture you should fit felt pads to the furniture feet or legs;  especially if you have wooden floors..

If you haven't got ones fitted then do this while you are Spring Cleaning.

If you have fitted them then check each time you are Spring Cleaning to see if any need replaced or any have come off and put new ones on.
In this case the pads had been on since we bought the Nesting tables 10 years ago and were still doing fine BUT note they always catch all the hairs and fluff so need to be hoovered well regularly too (see pic on right & this was after I had pulled off some of the hairs) .


The best thing to do is to buy more pads than you need to start with so that if one gets dislodged or has worn very thin and needs replaced then you have one of the same type and thickness to put on because you do not want to end up with a difference in those chair legs  -  no wobbling.

New suite - Furniture pads were added


2.  Scratches and Scrapes

No matter how careful we are the longer we have an item the more scratches and scrapes will appear on it.

When you see them during your very detailed Spring cleaning either write down a note about each of them or take a picture of them.


This is to remind you later what you have to go back to touch up and what colour it is because at the time you find the scratch you probably will not have the right product to do the touch up.

You know you will forget about this later when you are not seeing it each day.

I have to get black scratch touch up colour for the bottom of our Clavinova (electric piano) and a dark reddish brown for the piano stool.



3.  The Grooves in Furniture

I love to damp dust rather than ordinary dusting because it doesn't just displace the dust (and annoy my nose).

But even with that some items with grooves and ridges still hold that dust unless we take that extra bit of effort.

I have two items like this in my lounge - The Roll Top Desk and the Clavinova.



They don't look bad from these angles.
(Also reminds me of the fact that we need to remember to dust all sides and backs of items - you never know know who will have a different view of your furniture etc. depending on where they are sitting or standing in the room).

We even think they are dusted ok because we went along each one with the cloth but later sitting to the side of them the dust can still be rather noticeable.




The only solution for me is to get a small thin brush, put a furniture cleaning wipe over the bristles and use this in between the ridges.



I use a wipe and not the cloth as the cloth is just that bit thicker and then the brush doesn't seem to get right in to the depth of the grooves.



See the difference even after just a few grooves are cleaned with the wipe on the brush.



4.  Vertical Blinds and Roller Blinds

We tend to remember to take down the curtains and get them cleaned but quite often we just dust over the blinds.

Not always good enough because if we let them go too long they can be really hard to get cleaned and I know all about that from when I moved into this house 4 years ago.

This time I saw two parts of the blinds that needed my attention, one on the left of the window and one on the right.


So out comes one of my favourite gadgets talked about in a previous blog post  

Yes my Steamer and this is the result even looking in closer.



5.  Candle Wax.

More and more we are all bringing candles into various rooms and setting them in different places.

The more candles we burn the more chance of candle wax dripping and staining items and if this goes unnoticed for too long we just may not be able to get rid of the marks.




As you can see I have marks on the logs in my grate but I don't mind that too much.
In front of the grate in plain view I had no drips and if I had they would have been noticed and cleaned up shortly afterwards but we had never checked in under the grate until now and that could have meant the Sandstone fireplace being stained and I may have had great difficulty getting rid of that but fortunately the wax had only dripped on the logs.

Oh does anyone know how to get candle wax off logs - in case I do decide to try it?


Well that covers my 5 Things to Remember when Spring Cleaning.

And I haven't forgotten


 The Bonus Tip. 


DON'T FORGET  -  The Things Dropped Down between Seats of the Sofa
We don't see them but they are there or rather they may even be on the floor under the sofa which you haven't moved for months.


Yes folks we lost the remote control of our DVD player in the lounge.
It was a DVD player which did not have all the necessary buttons on the player itself so it really needed the remote to be suitable for our family who are lazy when we sit down to watch dvds together.
No doubt you can guess what happened after several months - because we watch a lot of dvds.

Yes we went out and bought another DVD player


Then this month we sell our suite and there is the remote control lying on the floor where the sofa had been.











Linking Up with 
METAMORPHIS MONDAY

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Pretty Little Bouquets & Decorations.


Today I want to tell you about my friend Debbie.


She has a great interest in buttons and jewels.

She just got married in September this year.

She has a great smile.


These three things are all true about Debbie and they make me smile but the main thing I want to tell you about Debbie is that she makes some lovely items that you will really want to take a look at and tell others about.



Now of course I am not backward about asking questions about Debbie's talent and I have seen the final product so I could talk about it all but I think it might be nice if she would tell us a little about it herself.


Hi I'm Debbie and I'm from Northern Ireland

I began making handmade bridal bouquets using an array of materials such as buttons, beads, pearls, brooches and other pieces of jewelry just over a year ago. I started making them as I wanted to carry something a little different at my own wedding, which took place this year on 27th September. 



During my process of trying out different designs /colours I began to accumulate a lot of bouquets around my home. A few of my friends started to comment on how much they liked them and suggested I should sell them to other brides.



 So on 20th November 2013 I opened my Etsy shop, Pretty Little Bouquets
(A year ago today!)




To date I have sold almost 200 bouquets/ buttonholes, my best sellers are my cute little mini bouquets for Flower girls but I have also had the pleasure of collaborating with lots of brides to make their unique custom bouquets and bridesmaid bouquets.




I have also been working lately to produce a few nice button decorations to celebrate Christmas 




and I would like to think that with Gods help Pretty Little Bouquets will continue to grow and bring joy to many brides in the future.




Didn't I tell you she made lovely things and when you look at the prices you will be amazed at how reasonable they are.


Did you notice the special offer?

Yes Pretty Little Bouquets has a special offer for the rest of this month of November so get over there quickly and have a look around.
Don't worry about where you live because she sells worldwide.

Remember too if you have an idea of what you would like and don't see it in the shop if you contact Debbie she can work with you for a custom made item.

There is also a Pretty Little Bouquets Facebook Page so go over and like it as well in case you don't need anything right now but might in the future!!!




I do want to make it clear that I do not benefit in any way from any sale Debbie may make by anyone clicking through to her Etsy shop or Facebook Page from my blog.
I'm just excited to share my friend's talent with you and introduce you to some beautiful creations at great prices.









Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Advice for a King? - A Dose of Encouragement 47

Most People speak of Proverbs 31 in reference to women but what about the King it starts off with?


If you read this Encouragement Series two weeks ago "No Time for Study" you will remember that I had decided to take action against my distraction by my iPad which I love.
If you haven't read that post then hop on over now, read it and then head back for the rest of this one

Now I still love my iPad and use it for loads of things but I had decided that the only thing it was allowed to do in the morning, before I would read at least one verse of the Bible, was to wake me up.


So up to today I have been reading Proverbs 31 a verse or two each morning, depending on whether two verses seemed to go together or not before I reach for the iPad to plan my day and before I go on the computer to blog or go on facebook or work on things for church.

I have been jotting down my thoughts in my Bible Journal (which in the past years has been brought out for a season and then left lying for a while and then out again but from now on it is staying out).

Then I have been posting the verse(s) on facebook and writing my thoughts.
Sometimes a couple of sentences and sometimes a couple of paragraphs.

Now this was just to keep me accountable because I wanted to form this as a new habit each morning and they say doing something for 30 days makes it a habit so in November I have 30 days & I'm hoping to form this new habit this month.

But some of my friends from here in Northern Ireland, and from England, Belgium & Switzerland have been reading along with me and commenting.
So I want to say thank you them for the encouragement this has been for me.


Today I thought I would share the first section of this chapter with you.

And I am so happy that it doesn't start focusing on how a woman should behave but on advice to a man (of course this advice is from his mother so it must be really good advice - you do know I'm a mother don't you!)

NOTE:  I am reading each day from my real Bible (physical book in my hand as opposed to virtual/online Bible) which is the Revised Standard Version but copying here from the online NKJ Version because I like both.



The first two verses (see above) tell us who is involved - the King and what he remembers his mother taught him.

King Lemuel was taught these things by his Godly mother.
We should remember we are teaching our children at whatever age they are but for their adulthood as well.  He is her son so he is her responsibility and is part of her part of her promise either to God or from God.
God gives us our children so we should entrust them back to God but we also have a responsibility to promise God to bring them up in His Ways ands not teach them badly.

Verse 3
Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
Is his mother advising him not to allow women to gain power over him to take away the control he will have as king?  Makes me think of Samson delivering his strength into the hands of Delilah and his destruction followed.
The problem is that it is not just the king himself who will suffer but also the kingdom he is responsible for, when someone has control over the leader it affects everyone.

Verses 4&5
Taking the two verses because these two verses need to be read together
4. It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,

Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
5. Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted
.
She repeats "it is not for Kings" and this means a stressing of the fact.  She is definitely preparing him for his role as king, ruler of the people.
So it is important that kings do not drink wine or desire strong drink.
It is important that the people who rule the nation do not get intoxicated because they might forget to uphold the law properly or even decide to change laws hastily or be persuaded by others into wrong decisions because their own heads are not thinking clearly.
If we drink we may forget something important or not consider something to be important and hence not worry about the effects on others.
When they don't do their job properly it is the people who suffer unjustly.

Proverbs 31 v 6&7 have to go together today.
6. Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
7. Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.
Yesterday it was why the king should not drink & get drunk
Today it is looking at how it may be permissible to give someone something to drink.
Looking at this version I wondered about this "bitter of heart" but my RSV Bible said "bitter distress"
Wine can be used as a medical help or for those in great distress or those who have had a great shock.
Of course this is advice to others and not the people in distress so it would indicate that it all should still be under careful thought, regulated amount and not a hasty decision.

Proverbs 31 v 8&9
8. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9. Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Again the two verses need to be taken together.
The King needs to be the one to stand up for those who cannot do so for themselves, for those in need.
He must be the good judge he has been put in this position to be. He must fair in his judgements (or righteous as the RSV says) which means he must judge as God would and make sure the laws are fair.
The responsibility is his and he must honour his responsibility.
We must remember what responsibilities we have and honour those too.

I was so encouraged by the fact that this chapter actually started with advice to be fair & just as you take responsibility for the people you have been given charge over.
This could mean in specific areas like a king and his realm or in broader areas like writers or politicians or telly evangelists who often do not even know the people who will be their readers or their constituents or their viewers and also in homes and families, schools and churches.
In any of these areas of responsibility, and no matter who we are we will fall into some kind of responsibility, we need to take on this Godly advice of keeping ourselves in the right position to give wise advice or judgement or help to others.




Most often we look on advice as being ordered to do something but I think we should look on this advice as encouragement to be better people with God's help.

I pray that God will help us all to take this advice and act wisely.