It's been a lovely quiet week here, days where I spent much time in my Bible, prayer, sketching, planning and sewing. Oh, and gardening. AND celebrating Cully May's birthday!
Last Sunday our sweet Cully May had her 3rd birthday and what a joy and delight to have spent three years watching her grow and bloom, always a smile on her face and abundant cheeky laughter to fill the air. Words cannot express the joy she has brought to us, her grandparents. No matter how tired he is, Poppy's energy is restored when our little princess runs to him and wants to play.
On Monday morning I met Blossom and her girls at the Aquarium and just as we did on Cully May's 1st birthday we wandered the incredible underwater world of the Reef and often just sat to watch the sharks, rays, fish and other sea creatures going about their watery life. Often they seemed to slow just enough to give us a look up and down of their own. Cully May loves the 'kwarium' and asked me on Thursday when I was visiting for morning tea "Nana, can we go back to the kwarium?".
Fortunately Blossom has a family pass for the year so we'll be back often.
Out in the garden our tomatoes are going bonkers. Every day I pick a large bowl and offer the excess to Blossom or our neighbour, but mostly we eat them as snacks or in one of the MANY tomato recipes I have. Mr E said the other day, "How will we ever eat store bought tomatoes again? Next winter is a long way off for our next crop."
Out in the front yard our beans have grown and are beginning to set fruit, plus the carrots are coming along as well as the rockmelons and garlic. We've also got a capsicum fruiting and a heritage tomato (black Russian) taking off. Herbs of all description are thriving - basil, parsley, mint, oregano, sage, chives, dill, thyme, rosemary...and the lavender is quite happy as well.
I'll take photos next week for you, along with a big change to our back yard. Everything looks a mess at the moment but here in the tropics it's the winter when we get out in the yards and do the most work as the weather is warm, sunny, dry and comfortable.
Something else which makes winter so wonderful in our climate is abundant, luscious and inexpensive strawberries. We have them every morning for breakfast with fresh pineapple and rockmelon, but I also use them in simple puddings.
I just slice the strawberries and grate an apple, spread them over the base of a small baking dish and cover with a little sponge before scattering oats across the top and baking.
We have this with custard and a pot of earl grey tea after dinner.
Some nights I'll switch the strawberries in this pudding with pineapple chunks, frozen blueberries or raspberries; other nights I'll just chop strawberries and banana into custard and sprinkle with nutmeg.
It's all simple, basic foods and eating simply is a big part of our life journey these days.
This morning we did our usual round of garage sales and I was blessed to find these 1950's Amish Butterprint Pyrex casserole dishes for a grand total of $9 (about $6 US).
Aren't the prints on them beautiful?
I'm very conscious of not owning more than I need so one of the things I do when we're out early scouring the few garage sales in our town is look for better quality household items to replace what we already own, and then donate the previous items to a local op-shop. This keeps our home clutter free whilst allowing us to inexpensively improve the quality of what we own and use.
Recently I mentioned to Blossom that I'd like to find a little planter that would fit on the kitchen windowsill and hold about three plants. You know, God is the silent listener to every conversation, and a few days later at a garage sale I found a beautiful cream candle holder with three shallow little 'bowls' for holding candles. After removing the glass cylinders which sat in the bowls I knew it would be perfect for my windowsill plan.
I have been dividing a few of my larger indoor plants and have a number of small ones beginning to take off that sit in tiny beige pots...
...and they all fit together in the old candle holder as though they were made for it.
We now have 34 indoor plants around the house which purify the air and add so much beauty that you can't help feeling calm and content within our walls.
The old refashioned church pew in the front entrance is filling up with pots and appears to be a favourite place for the divided newcomers or those who have been doing poorly because they thrive there.
At another garage sale I bought this beautiful jug for a few dollars. I planted one of my divided peace lilies in a tall slender pot and slipped it inside - another wonderful display and the plant is rather happy too.
There has been a lot of prayer this week as I came before the Lord about the next stage of my designing and writing life. He's been so abundantly generous with the creativity He's given me these past ten years, and I cannot thank Him enough, so asking Him to open the eyes of my understanding and my heart and show me what direction to take next and how to honour Him with it was natural.
He knows my plans, the ones I've written down and pondered for a couple of years now.
But in His wisdom He also knows what plans I ought to pursue, which are to be laid aside, and when to set forth with those He deems worthy.
Over the past month I've sensed Him drawing me in a certain direction, which is why this past week I've given a lot of time to sitting in His presence and 'listening' to that still small voice for a clear vision. And the Lord does not disappoint. When you ask "What can I do for YOU Lord?" be assured He has an answer.
So all I can tell you right now is that I'm excited, more than I have been about designing and writing in a long time. New ideas, fresh designs, wide-eyed thoughts and a God-gifted path have begun to form and each day the delight in what comes next grows.
Little peeks of 'just a few' sewing things...
Some began months ago, some this week, and many more I won't show you yet.
But in time, in His time, something new will begin and I pray it blesses many, just as He blesses me.
Finally, I wanted to let you know that the double pattern for blocks 5 and 6 of Phyllis May's Kitchen is now in my Etsy Shop if you're following along that way with this project.
There are two pocket pages this month, using the tea towel and the yummy bakes blocks.
The verse below is one of my life favourites, a promise that when I dwell in Christ His goodness and mercy are mine always. In fact all of Psalm 23 is a favourite...
May the Lord hedge you in on all sides and be your shield, your comfort, your strength, your hope and your great Deliverer all the days of your life.
bless you heaps,