Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Here's to a new year, and a new beginning. 
Wherever you are tonight I hope you have loved ones around you and may you have a wonderful night. 

~~For the coming year, I hope
for more clarity,
for more room in my head,
for more time,
for more stillness.

For less chaos,
for less driving, (ha!)
for less laundry... ~~

Here in Lis na Mara, we have had a good year. 
A year of abundant blessings.

May you all have a year of abundant blessings!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

A Week Of Pictures.

All Is Safely Gathered In.

I do love the post Christmas slow down, a few days to digest the year gone by, before the new one begins, to gather my thoughts and plan what is to come.
We had a wonderful family weekend of the nicest kind. There was presents, food, and the best kind of company.

This year among my family, but excluding the children, we decided we would make our Kris Kindle present. I suggested it last year and was met with a rather weak response, but since then the word 'recession' is on everyone's tongue, and when my Mum suggested it again we all agreed it would be fun! And it was. I made an Amy Butler Gumdrop Pillow for my sister-in-law, Fiona. Did I take a picture? Eh, no... But I'm working on that one. (Andrew? Help me out here please!)

My present was from my youngest brother Simon, who made me a birdhouse that looks like my parents house! It is so cute. It's going to go outside my kitchen window, and as soon as it is I'll post a picture.

I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful Christmas. And here's to some time to gently remind ourselves of what is important in our lives, now and for the new year to come.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Eve.

(Hmm... I was wondering where this went! I thought I had published it and I hadn't... so here it is now, to keep the continuity with what is to follow.)

I love the opening and closing scene in the film Love Actually. It shows the Arrivals in an airport, people coming home, coming to visit, people seeing loved ones again. There are tears and laughter and hugs, and it never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Here on the nightly news there have been tearful joyful scenes from Dublin airport shown. As our Christmas preparations come to the final hour, I find again and again my thoughts are filled with certain beloveds of our family who won't be with us this Christmas. How I long to have been there, at the Arrivals, in Dublin, waiting for you Emma and Mike, Marta and Sam, to welcome you home, to bring you home to share Christmas with us here.
(It has to be said though, they are in Guatemala and Buenos Aires respectively, so I am guessing they will be having pretty special, and warm, Christmas's!!)

We have had Sufjan Stevens Christmas Songs on loop in the car, we've had a Charlie Brown Christmas on youtube in the kitchen as we cook. We have been tracking Santa all evening. We have been baking, sewing, gluing, painting, cooking, eating, wrapping presents, cleaning, tidying, vacuuming, rearranging, visiting, and generally putting the finishing touches to Christmas 2008. And though I didn't get to do my wreath this year (something had to go!) and though I feel a cold coming on, I am determined to take some time to pause, and simply enjoy tomorrow, and what I am most looking forward to is spending time with my family, to actually hang out with my brothers and chat and relax with no one rushing off.

So, until the weekend, if I don't squeeze in a quick post tomorrow, here's wishing you all a wonderful, peaceful Christmas, with family, friends and plenty of laughter!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Happy Winter Solstice!

Hail bringer of brightness!

Dinner with old friends,
the house ringing with the children's voices,
Candles to bring back the light.

Happy Winter Solstice,
and may the coming light bring joy and hope.

Blessings on you one and all.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Pre-Getting Ready For Christmas.

We've had a hectic week! All the school activities have been going on. Costumes, rehearsals, performances, all to be taken care of and I've been driving around like a crazy woman.
(Below is The Smallest on stage as we waited for his big brother's Nativity to begin. The hall was full of parents, and he batted his eyes and jumped around and was insanely cute!)

We have a weekend of parties, lunches, friends and mad cookie baking lined up. What about you? What pre-Christmas fun have you lined up? Whatever it is, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

This Morning.

We have been late for school a lot lately. A lot. So we've been trying a new strategy at My Only Girl's suggestion. Upon informing me that everyone (of course), in her class gets to watch tv in the morning before school, she predicts that they will all get up earlier if they were allowed to watch tv.
My poor children. Generally the tv doesn't go on during the week, though there are occasional days when they do watch some. Am I mean?
Anyway, we came up with a plan. They get dressed, right down to their shoes before crossing the threshold of the sitting room, and sort out breakfast too.
The result?
We have been on time everyday this week so far.
And I suddenly find I have time to pause in the morning, as I love to, but haven't had time to for...oh, a long time. And I found the golden hour again.

Look what I glimpsed out the front window!

Unfortunately because our house is lower than the railway line we can't actually see the sea, but the sky said it all. So out I went with my camera, and thanks to Irish Rail and their nonsense, instead of pottering over to the beach like we used to, there I was, at sunrise, perched up atop a makeshift ladder, all to see the wonder of this glory.
It was worth it.

This next picture was taken ten minutes later.

And ten minutes later again it was all gone.

So, considering the fact that the children chose to watch a wildlife program, and I got to see the sunrise, aaand we got to school on time, I think I am converted to our new regime. I'll let you know if the novelty wears off...

Friday, 5 December 2008

Christmas Creeping Slowly In.

So, there is no escape now. 'The Door Of Winter Stands Ajar', and Christmas cometh creeping in. I have succumbed.
Watch here for little things that give us away, as we bedeck our wee house, and the murmuring Autumn kitchen becomes a full joyful Winter song!

I love these pictures, taken last week by My Only Girl, age 10. They have a magical, otherworldly quality. So very Her. I long to visit her world... 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A Heavenly Gift.

These nights, the sky has been a carpet of Milky-way and stars that take your breath away.

Our house is cold.
And in the night, in the darkness, I find
a tiny hand that somehow escaped the warmth, that crept out from beneath the bedclothes,
a tiny frozen ice-pop!

And as I lie in the dark, little mitt tucked under my arm to thaw,
I think about the darkness, the vast clear coldness that stretches out above this little house of ours,

My mind expanding,
I think about what we saw there tonight.

The Moon. And Venus. And Jupiter.

Held in the skies, so bright
the stars around them retreated out of deep admiration,
I fancy.

Picture from BBC  News in Pictures.

Oh my heart...

Did you see it?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


Well, I received a lovely email from Rima, so it arrived safe and sound before they took to the road.
So, here it is. My first attempt at Redwork. Not traditional I know. Red thread on a piece of softest wool blanket. I took my inspiration from Tove Jansson's Moomintroll. Somehow these little creatures just scuttled into my head and would not hear of leaving. Persistent I think was the word I used.

(Apologies for the dodgey quality of the photos. Cliona? Jeannie? We need to talk!)

I can safely say, I am a convert. At any given moment of non-activity I am rummaging in my enormous and bottomless bag for my little tin and away I go, needle creeping in and out, slowly making a new little world,

Last night Jay stopped and looked at me curled up on the red couch, stitching away on the next piece under the light of the lamp, a big blanket over my legs.
He said: I love the way you are sewing what is covering you!
Yes, there, at the end of the blanket, a big gaping square has been cut out!

And then I remembered. The five of us fighting over who got to sit on the couch with Mum, snuggled under whatever quilt she was working on. And the groan's and mutterings when we had to move it as she stitched her way around it...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Seven Random Facts

I've been tagged. Thank you Karen. I have seen this particular one doing the rounds, and it's a bit of fun so here goes.

The Rules:

Link to your Tagger
Share 7 facts about yourself ( random or unusual)
Tag 7 other people at the end of the post and leave them a comment to let them know they have been tagged.

The Facts:

1) I have always loved music, and I get quite intense with something new that I love and have it on loop for weeks. As a result, I often find it hard to go back and listen to something from my past. It can be a physical pain in my heart. A little espresso shot of a moment that is gone forever.

2) Staying with music. Since having children, and my mind is filled with the practicalities of life-with-four-children, I find it difficult to switch on my creative brain when I want to. But I find that listening to piano music gets things flowing. Poetry in motion...

3) The 'Dancing Queen' scene in Mamma Mia always makes me cry... (That's more of a confession than a random fact!)

4) Since the first time I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I have always wanted to live in a windmill. This followed closely by the desire to live on a canal barge.

5) I once played in a Samba band...

6) I think Jane Austen is probably my hero, for too many reasons to write here. But suffice to say I read (and watch) Pride and Prejudice at least once a year. (The BBC version. Though I do admit to loving the more recent version for it's visual beauty. And the music...)

7) People aside, beauty is the most important thing.

And now, the difficult bit. Who to tag?
(I have a feeling some of you may have done this one already so ignore it if you have!)

Oh...and any of you out there who fancy doing it. You can say I tagged you! Let me know and I'll sneak your name in here.

And now, some pictures to end the week with...

A Week Of Pictures.