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i had to go on a wild goose chase yet again for white subway tiles and i did not wish to go alone. i asked Our #4 if he would like to be my buddy as after all it is just him and me most of the time these days and thus i have declared us besty chums. he mentioned he really didn't think it sounded that much fun. i dangled a burrito as a carrot, i noted him waiver and then decline. nothing for it, i had to pull out the big carrots. i remarked the thrift store was in the vicinity of the wild goose chase. the carrot was taken 

it would be quite true to say, if one were to be asked by a market researcher in the street, what was my greatest accomplishments as a parent? i may say that my children grew up happy, healthy and honest. although that is all true, i do not think i would say it, for i think i would truly say one of my greatest accomplishments is instilling within all my four children the thrill of the secondhand hunt. i say instill but truth be told, it happened quite magically whilst we were busy getting on with clan life.

each one of my clan seeks a different type of secondhand treasure. now for Our #4 tis retro game consoles, games and action figures to name just a few. i will watch him, like a magpie looking for something sparkly to catch its eye. he will home in on it, he will check it over and then within moments, out comes his phone to look up the value and what he could make in his Ebay store if he chooses in the future to sell it on. if the price is right and he knows he has found a happy bargain and its on his list of 'huntdowns', then i can tell from where i am standing in my aisle of souls waiting to be rescued, his own set of angels are chorusing and his own set of secondhand gods are smiling down on him.

and thus after yet another 'subway tile' wild goose chase, a burrito (or two) for him and a salad for moi, we parked and pottled towards the thrift store feeling cheerier by the minute anticipating what treasures lay within, alongside of air conditioning. he made a bee line for his turf, me for mine...

i was not expecting any woolly waifs to find me and of course, that is always when they do. rather a lot started whispering to me, some i had to ignore because they had seen far far better days and i could not help them. others were peachy perfect in every way except we did not fit together well. so i gathered up the few that seemed to have potential and headed to the mirror. i do not have a photo of the one which passed the mirror challenge to share for he is lying flat on his back, soggy, waiting for Mr Sun to do his thing this morn. however i can assure you he is quite the odd fellow. first off he is silk and cashmere! oh i do not think i have ever had cashmere in my closet before. then he is a most lovely vomity olive green colour, which made my knees a little weak but the odd thing about him is he has no lower body. he has spectacularly long sleeves which nicely come over the wrist towards the fingers to keep the chill at bay and he has a top half which you button up but below the arm pit area he has nothing. i would not call him a bolero, for he does not come down over the chest, which i thought boleros do. however i am not a connoisseur on boleros having never really studied them, so i could be quite quite wrong. as i tried him on i came to the conclusion, over a frock he makes it appear your frock has knitted sleeves and a top bit to it. i also came to he conclusion if you had a chest at all to stick out, he would look most odd indeedy. so as i like frocks and thought a knitted top bit might look tres thrilling and i do not have a chest to bother speaking of, i concluded we were a match made in thrifty heaven.

upon going to check out, i glanced at the rails of discarded frocks and saw a knitted number sticking out. on close inspection she was not a frock at all, but a rather jolly long cardigan with a most spiffy pair of sleeves. i liked her pockets very muchly, very muchly indeedy

 originally from H&M i checked the content label (something i always do without fail) i was happy to see wool was listed. i tried her on, i asked Our #4 (who had appeared with a treasure) what he thought. he replied he thought it looked just like everything else i wore, which was the correct answer and i happily gathered up my gray dearie and body-less olive chappy to bring home.

i am thinking body-less chappy will get floral elbow patches when he has dried out, i am thinking i will show you when he is dry and patched, and i am thinking my gray dearie is quite splendid as she is and will only require a change of buttons of which i have plumped with wooden ones (way way up at the top of this big old ramble, can you see them? yes i know, tis quite a bit of scrolling to be done and i do understand your hand hurts already from scrolling all the way down here, so if you would rather not scroll, then 'scroll not' dear reader). i am thinking the plain wooden flower ones and just one handpainted wooden one, placed 2nd button down to add a subtle bling to her winter warming ways. not only daring but dandy too

In His Great Goodness

God in His great goodness
 through the prayers of Our Lady and St Joseph
 has given Holland Farm in Stronsay
 into our possession. 

We give Him our humble thanks
 that such a great gift should be added
 to our monastery in Papa Stronsay. 

We also offer our loving thanksgiving to Our Lady, Most Holy Mary,
 who never ceases to watch over Her children's 
spiritual and financial necessities. 
Countless are the times that She has prayed for us
 and we have experienced so many miracles
 as a result of Her prayers. 

If all men and women would accept Holy Mary as their Mother
 how happy the world would be! 
She is always looking out for us and Her prayers to God
 in our behalf are always heard, even with miracles. 

This is the reason that through the centuries Her countless children
 have given Her so many loving titles such as:
Star of the Sea
Mother of Perpetual Succour
Flower of Carmel
Mother Most Loving
Refuge of Sinners
Mother of the Afflicted and so very many more.

Her titles are humble expressions of love from Her grateful children.

Today we too publicly offer our humble thanks to so loving a Mother. 

To God alone be all Glory!
Our Thanksgiving is offered  to Jesus through Mary.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.
Rector Major

Holland Farm, Stronsay

a woolly victim ...

hurrah hooray! i have found my first thrift store woolly victim. in my little beady mind's eye i have quite the picture of what woolly fellows i would like to find, and since having this picture, it is of course typical the racks of despair are indeedy most despairing and thus any woolly fellows worthy of consideration are rather rare.

last week though i happened upon one woolly fellow, he was rather large, rather grolly green and had rather lovely bell sleeves that ballooned out and i noted would be most perfect for hiding a cotton hankie or two in, when drippy nose temps are upon us. it was a tad tricky to try the fellow on for i was nursing my right arm and the fabby vintage floral bit of ink recently placed upon it. 

being an open wound at the time i was not letting any man, any dog or any woolly fellow near it till it was healed. that is because i am all grown up and take things like this with a great deal of responsibility rather than a pinch of salt.

so i did a half try on and i came to the conclusion the oversize-ness of it was rather splendid, the wooden buttons rather perfect and the flared, almost swing jacket shape with the gigantic bell sleeves rather appealing.

i took my first woolly victim of the coming season home with me, gave him a bath and whilst he air-dried we began to ponder... 

we pondered pockets, kangaroo type perhaps. 
we pondered elbow patches, floral fabric ones perhaps. 
we pondered clusters of flowers, various different coloured popcorn ones perhaps. 
we pondered large appliqued vintage lace, across the shoulder chesty area perhaps. 
yes we pondered each thing individually till our little heads hurt
 and that is where we are up to, just a lot of pondering and no clue with what to settle with or where to begin. 

after all this pondering i am beginning to wonder if my cunning plan to rescue woolly wonders from the rails of neglect, to bling, may end up causing me an awful lot of pondering, a big handful of procrastination and quite possibly a pile of victims, when spring rolls around, still waiting patiently for me and my blinging ways to get going

a chunky monkey of a yarn ...

one thing that is tres tricky about working in the peachiest yarn shop in the northwest is every time you go to work some lovely new yarn whispers your name. thus by the time you pick up your monthly paycheck the chances of you actually having any change leftover is rather unlikely. this my man predicted before i even started my spiffy 'out of the shed' job last november. he is quite wise it would appear to the ways of his wife.

yesterday when i was pottling on in to work, several new yarns starting talking to me before i had even popped my basket down, signed in and plonked my natty name badge upon my handmade frock. i am sure i am not alone amongst yarny folks when i more often than not am stopped in my tracks by a yarn and then have to do a lot of thinking about what i will actually do with it, rather than find a project first and then go on a yarn hunt. hence i have a stash of one skein wonders mocking me from behind lace covered glass doors in my atelier of sorts.

and so it came to be a chunky monkey of a yarn called Optic shouted the loudest. 
i pondered him for a while and then i took him off the shelf and did what everyone who comes into a yarn shop does, i did the feel test, the 'can you and i live in close proximity forever' test. he past the test with flying colours and so now i was on dangerous grounds, for he was a softie, he was a chunky lad and he was not my usual sort, therefore i was attracted to his slightly rebellious ways with an ink pen. i could not tell how he would knit up. i asked the dearies i work with what they thought. we were all a little mystified to whether his charms would look peachy or pants. we went searching online, we came up blank. so there was nothing to be done but to take a leap of faith that this chunky monkey funky yarn of a chappy, had what it took to make a 'lemon peasy' scarf for chilly days look peachy and not in the least bit pants.

last night i cast on and in a matter of moments (being on size 15 pins) i could see not only how quickly a knit he would be but also really truly what a jolly nice fellow he is turning out to be with his ink splodges, creamy goodness and the odd rainbow 'hundreds and thousands' sprinkled in there for good measure

Always a beautiful day!

22 August
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Since our foundation in 1988, 
we have kept the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
as a red letter day.
On this day Fr. Anthony Mary made his first vows in 1989;
this is his Silver Jubilee.
Congratulations from us all Father!
Ad multos annos!

Fr. Anthony Mary as a novice (left), at tea on his clothing day
Monastery of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary
Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England
22 August, 1988.
Brother Nicodemus Mary made his first vows in 1993;
this is his 21st anniversary.
Congratulations Brother!

Brother Nicodemus Mary with Novice Brother Edmund
2 February, 2014.
Brother Seelos Maria was born on this Feast in 1991;
this is his 23rd birthday.
Happy Birthday Brother!

Brother Seelos Maria with his family on his clothing day
2 August, 2011.
For the perpetually professed
today is the second anniversary of our Public Profession 
Religious Vows
as members of the newly erected
Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Thanks be to God and to Mary!
After the Public Religious Profession
with His Lordship
the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Bishop of Aberdeen
22 August, 2012. 

Ready to die for the love of Jesus.

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- A group of 11 sick, disabled and elderly Iraqi Christians --including an 80-year-old woman with breast cancer -- defied terrorists who ordered them to convert to Islam or be beheaded, saying they preferred death to giving up their faith.

The united resistance prompted the Islamic State extremists to drop their demands and order the Christians to immediately leave their village of Karamless after first robbing them of their possessions, according to one of the survivors.

Sahar Mansour, a refugee from Mosul, told Catholic News Service in an Aug. 18 email that the group turned up at Ankawa refugee camp, where she is living, after they were released by the Islamist fighters. They had remained behind in Karamless because they were too weak to flee when the town was overrun by Islamic State militants the night of Aug. 6-7.

Mansour said she met the 80-year-old woman with cancer, who gave her name as Ghazala, in Ankawa Aug. 18 and heard her account of their escape.

"When the people of Karamless fled from the village they (the elderly) were alone," Mansour said. "She (Ghazala) told me when they woke up in (the) morning they were surprised when they saw nobody in the village."

Instead they were "afraid and terrified," she continued, when they met masked fighters from the Islamic State, who ordered them to go home and remain indoors.

Mansour said Ghazala told her that on Aug. 16, the terrorists assembled the group "and told them either to convert or to be killed by sword."

"Ghazala told me that all the people told the terrorists that 'we prefer to be killed rather than convert,"' Mansour said. She said Ghazala added that members of the group scolded the terrorists for ignoring Islamic sacred texts that forbade forced conversions of non-Muslims.

Mansour said the elderly told the militants that the Islamic State had nothing to gain from the conversion of a group of sick, disabled and elderly people.

"When ISIS heard that they told the people to leave Karamless immediately, without taking anything, to leave with only with the clothes they were wearing," she said.

"ISIS took all their money from all of them and their gold," Mansour said, adding that one person had the courage to ask the terrorists to return some of their money so they could buy food for their journey to the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

The group of five men and six women later arrived at the Kalak checkpoint, the gateway to Kurdish-controlled territory, in two cars.

There, they were allowed to contact relatives already in refugee camps, who were taken to meet them, Mansour said.

Ghazala was reunited with her brother, and she is receiving medical treatment for her cancer.


Lemon Drop's Maternity Pictures

I almost didn't do photos because I thought with a third pregnancy (fourth kid) they were superfluous. But I started thinking about what it would be like to be the last kid born and not have pictures like these that the rest of your siblings had. And I've been so busy with the kids and life and work that I haven't taken a whole lot of time to just be in the moment with this pregnancy. These photos were a gift to my new precious baby and, even more, to myself. 

About a month before they were supposed to be taken, I had a hormonal meltdown and I wanted to set my closet and myself on fire. I just was so emotional and felt so grody that I said to hell with it, I'm not doing this, I'm not spending time and energy and money on silly photos. A few girlfriends pulled me up by my bootstraps and let me throw my hormonal hissy fit and got me back on track. I love you girls, thank you. The end result is a handful of images capturing, celebrating, reveling in my last pregnancy. I couldn't be more thankful.


Reese and Lo are so excited about number four. Reese sings itsy bitsy and the ABCs to lemon drop and when the song is over she asks me if the baby woke up and smiles widely at me and says, "did you feel her kick?" The baby usually doesn't, but I always say yes. Tonight, in an effort to thwart bedtime she told me she wanted to feel for the baby and when she put her hand on my belly lemon drop gave her a whopping thump and Reese's eyes bulged out of her head and she whispered, "I felt that." 

Bean lifts up my shirt and kisses my belly all day long. She sings and signs baby and blows my belly kisses. I don't know how, at her age, she understands that there is a baby in my belly. But she seems to know lemon drop is there, I just know she's going to be the best big sister. She's got so much love to give and she's such a gentle little girl. I can't wait for them to meet her. 

We had a pretty bad storm here a few weeks ago and Ryan was woken up by all the thunder and lightning. He ended up wide awake in my bed for several hours, and we just laid there quietly and held each other. Around 4:30 a.m. lemon drop woke up and started wiggling, which is her normal routine every night. I pulled Ryan's hand to my belly and he moved his tiny palm around my skin and played with his sister, giggling, eyes-wide, completely in awe and baffled by the movements that were happening. When she finally settled back in, he grabbed my hand and put it under his shirt and said, "momma, feel baby in my belly?" Sweetness. Pure, pure sweetness. 

Eight weeks until she's here and my little family is complete. By the time lemon drop is here, I will have been pregnant more than 800 days over the last four and a half years. That just baffles me. I thought I would never be a momma. And here I am with my arms and heart just bursting at the seams. 

1500 Christians and Yazidi forced into "sexual slavery"

Fr. Peter of the Angels ransoms Jesus.
The Miraculous Statue of the Most Holy Redeemer
was ransomed along with slaves from the Moslems in the 1600's. 
Let us pray to the Ransomed Jesus, our Most Holy Redeemer,
for the 1,500 souls taken as slaves in recent days.

13 August 2014 – Two senior United Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric acts” of sexual violence and “savage rapes” the armed group Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control.

In a joint statement from Baghdad, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence (SRSG) in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov urged the immediate protection of civilians.

"We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities ...
“Atrocious accounts of abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner," Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov stated, pointing out that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery.

The officials condemned, in the strongest terms, the explicit targeting of women and children and the barbaric acts IS has perpetrated on minorities. Acts of sexual violence are grave human rights violations that can be considered as war crimes and crimes against humanity, they warned.

Mr. Mladenov called on regional Governments and the wider international community for the immediate release of the women and girls held in captivity and to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to protect its citizens. He pledged that his Office would closely monitor the situation to ensure accountability and advocate for support to the survivors of the “barbaric acts.”

woolly waifs and strays ...

i have a cunning plan. it involves thrift stores and neglected woolly cast off waifs and strays.

i happened upon my plan when i found myself in a department store downtown with Our #2, we rode the bus all the way from the suburbs to the big city, tis one of my favourite things to do. we alighted in the main commercial shopping area and went about our busy bee business. Our #2 had quite a list of wishes and wants, to attend to and i had only one. to find some pants. not granny knicker pants but pants that are trousers. after several hours she had done most brilliantly and i? well quite frankly i had done pants and it was all a load of old pants. i fear i am in the tricky dicky time of life, you can no longer linger in the youthful section due to filmsy fabrics and short hemlines and then what are you left with? well i do know elsewhere you are left with quite a choice but for some reason i do feel in the northwest i am left with very little else. *i can start to wear beige, i can start to wear designer jeans and high heeled boots, i can wear very fancy and frilly, i can start to wear keep fit gear or climbing a mountain gear or i can start to wear my pajamas or sweats. perhaps i am wearing blinkers but when i look around at what is presented to me in the stores for my age and era it makes my heart sink, i start to break out in a rash and then i start to feel crappity crap

thus when we climbed upon the bus to make our very snug way home (due to many a commuter also having the same idea) i decided i had one of two choices. feel crappity and middle aged and quite out of place, or feel joyful and middle aged and find my place. it also occurred to me 'tis a rare day i go to the clothing stores and there is a jolly good reason for this, i come home feeling unhappy. i know it is me who makes me feel crappity crap and no one else. i do this to my own silly self. but do it i do and therefore tis up to me to sort it. 

so there we had it, knowing all that i knew to be so over the past few years and having had it reinforced to me upon my pottle around the big wig stores, my eye and my heart truly do prefer handmade or as of late, loitering in the thrifts store aisles to see what clothes may catch my eye. thus my cunning plan came into play to lift my spirits and not feel quite so washed up as i did. often i wander the secondhand souls looking to see who pops out at me saying "pick me pick me" but now i am thinking perhaps it is wise and rather exciting to actually start to have a mission. and my mission being to find woolly waifs and strays who may be most up for a bit of yarny bling. i will of course have to consider how much one can woolly bling for i do believe there is a thing as too much woolly bling and i would have to say to myself "enough Tif, step away from the woolly blinging"

i am thinking woolly elbow patches, or woolly pockets or perhaps a cascade of woolly appliqued flowers down one shoulder, or a change of buttons, or indeedy, a nip or a tuck here or there to give shape to a shapeless soul... so many possibilities, just the thought has me quite giddy in anticipation.

so far my travels have not come up trumps but i did find a little sweater vest which made me ponder, it made me ponder for the longest time causing Our #4 to start to sigh. 

for argyle is not my thing, i must tell you i am a little frightened of it but when i closed my eyes i saw this little fellow over a floral frock and clog boots, with the possibility of 'a tad of bling' and all became clear. i like that muchly about thrift stores, you go with one thing in mind and end up with something completely different. i did not let my argyle friend know despite coming across his splendor i was a tad disappointed his companions were not quite right. one sweetie in the most loveliest of green and perfect fit, cried out for pockets and elbow patches but alas, her itchy ways meant she could not stay with me, we parted a little sorrowfully.

i like my cunning plan, i like it very muchly, it has made me feel quite happity, wondering what lovely woolly wonders will befall me over the coming months to give my closet and my attire a little freshen up for the chilly days which will be upon us before we know it. what woolly waifs are waiting on the racks of despair to be found and blinged... ah yes, there is a stirring in my heart for thrift store travels i have not had in the longest time...

*please note, i am not knocking what folks chose to wear, that is the last thing i would do for quite honestly some or many may look at my floral creations alongside of clogs and wonder why. i am merely just pointing out the options i feel are open to me, living where i live and perhaps with blinkers on rather than rose coloured specs, make my heart and my head a little sad

footynote: haha hehe, tis most ironic for a fair few of the thrifty clothing finds which catch my eye usually turn out to be from the big high street stores, take my argyle buddy, he was from Gap... so i can only imagine, it truly is a matter of blinkers or rose coloured specs and what one chooses to look through when out and about :)

lately ...

we took a blustery ferry ride the day before Our #2 headed home, it was quite risque knitting up top but sometimes one has to risk it for a biscuit

no crafty time for weeks until i finally managed to wheedle out a moment to mend my clogs with duck tape and a tad of handy dandy mod podge and a few fabric scraps. i note i muchly prefer them this way then before

my old man had a birthday (on the right) so we took to the lake on paddle boards. i say we, i mean them, not me, i stayed under a tree and read a most interesting book whilst sipping my chilled cabbage juice

little olive spent the evenings perfecting the art of nesting

little olive spent the days being a hot dog in the hot sun

took an impromptu thrift store pottle with Our #2 and Our #4... i was determined to keep my pennies in my pocket but then a rather peachy jacket found me along with a 'seen better days' basket and the sweetest coin purse my eyes did ever see. my pennies promptly saw the light of day 

on the ferry coming back from bainbridge island i noted seattle never fails to impress when the sun shines

the day after Our #2 left i took solace in my atelier and dabbled with Miss Ethel and the fabric i found on clearance whilst pottling around bainbridge. i need to pull up my crafty knee socks and dabble some more

Our #2 spent 2 months studying in Chile and then traveling around Peru before she came to stay. she bought me back a hat... a hat that left me overcome by the skill of the artisan who made it and the fact my daughter should chose a hat so perfectly suited to me

i have spent most of my hours home schooling myself on nutrition and continuing my path of learning how to make this body of mine function pain free. it has been enlightening to say the very least and after a month or more of implementing yet more changes and learning to cook and bake from scratch with only the simplest of good ingredients used, i feel this time really could be the time i turn a corner

me and Our #2 popped up a little preloved shop outside Tolt Yarn and Wool, twas a tres hot hot weekend but thankfully as we sat at the side of the road watching the world pass by, we had our handy dandy hand fans

the next day we treated ourselves to a few hours by the river, it was supposed to be a whole day but i got ants in my pants (not literally thankfully) and wanted to return to my kitchen where i had been emptying everything out to reorganize and label so i was armed with everything close by to embark on my thrilling journey of cooking and baking for life

we notched up 24 years of marriage and goodness knows how many of living together. all i know is we have had our ups and our downs and of late, mainly due to the changes which have taken place over the past few years, with my clan leaving, family losses and my body having 'a moment', the down moments have been a little on the heavy side. but that is a-okay, that is life, that is marriage, the ups and the downs... and i know, as i tippity tap this today, there is still plenty of ups to come

While world leaders and newspapers keep guilty silence.

We are helpless to come to the assistance of our brethren in Iraq except by our prayers.
Of your charity read this letter from the Patriarch and carry them in your hearts to God.

They carry the Holy Cross and follow the Lamb to slaughter; 
Agnus redemit oves ~ the Lamb redeems the sheep;
the innocent Eastern Christians die 
for their guilty Western brethren;
with our rosaries let us wait beside them in their passion;
to pray for their perseverance.

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