Beginnings and Endings

Life’s equation for change to begin
Something else must end, yang to its yin
Forfeit sadness and pain
For the joy of new gain
Hope the journey flows easy within
When such change is a choice, we embrace
New beginnings slide sweetly in place
We move on, feel no lack,
Look ahead, don’t look back
Feel the flush of new warmth on our face
But when changes are foisted in fear
We resist and we struggle, unclear
Focus hard on what’s lost
What has gone, what it cost
Feel the old life we know disappear
Such refusal is futile at source
Because change is a fixed constant force
Just accept and adapt
Release grief tightly wrapped
Let new ribbons of life run their course…

Weekly Prompt: Beginning

Short and Sweet

Playing about with an image of a peony bud from my garden today using a negative image function to change the colours – I can choose to make an image negative using all channels, or using only one channel, either red, green, or blue.

And I discovered by accident that you can change only part of an image if you only highlight that individual part – how cool is that! So this colourful image created in about 5 minutes is my short and sweet post for this weekend’s Weekly Prompt: Short πŸ™‚

Maw-Maw T’s Cornbread Recipe

  • 1 block oleo (here in UK that’s 4oz baking margarine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk

Combine oleo, eggs and sugar until fluffy (about 5 mins), sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. Pour into a greased pan and bake at 350 degrees F until done (approx 45 mins)

After posting about my mother-in-law’s hand-written recipe cards for this week’s Weekly Prompt, a couple of people have asked me for her mother’s recipe for cornbread, a family favourite from my husband’s childhood and one he still uses today – so here it is, definitely cake-y rather than bread-y despite the name but lovely in its rich yellowy sweetness… Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Firm Family Favourites

Tucked safely inside a small old cardboard box on our book-shelf sits a stack of well-used hand-written recipe cards passed on to my husband from his mother, detailing some of his favourite family recipes from childhood. Included are his grandmother’s recipe for cornbread – a firm favourite with our grandchildren – one for Mrs Simmon’s pecan pie (whoever she was), one for a luscious lemon meringue pie copied from a tin of condensed milk in the late 1950s, and one for sweet potato souffle which I just adore.

To be honest the whole concept of sweet potato as a dessert seemed a bit strange to me to begin with until I thought about carrot cake, which I also love.

If you’ve never tried it there’s absolutely nothing vegetable-y tasting about it at all, if anything it’s a bit caramelised over-sweet for some tastes. It’s basically cooked mashed sweet potato mixed with egg yolks, brown sugar, cinnamon and cream, then whipped egg whites are folded-in before it’s all put into an oven-proof dish and topped with dots of butter and mini marshmallows. Bake it for about 20-25 minutes until the marshmallows are all melted and browned and you have a gooey, scrummy sweet potato souffle to enjoy – yum! πŸ™‚

Weekly Prompts: Recipe Cards

Variations on a Theme

Sometimes I take a photograph of something and think – nope, the difficult light and dull colour is all wrong, that’s just too boring an image to keep. But often there’s something about it that means I don’t want to trash it completely…

That’s what happened with this cactus flower sitting on my kitchen windowsill, I loved the shape of the flower outline but nothing else about the shot. So I uploaded the image to a free online filter site and played about with a few different filter effects until I found some I liked…

Here are my three favourites, variations on a theme of adding some colour without detracting from the pale flower shape – much better! πŸ™‚

Flower of the Day

Weekly Prompt: Variation

Over-Thinking

Guess I’m one of life’s big over-thinkers
Spend my days wearing worry-shaped blinkers
My anxiety grows
More than anyone knows
Every problem expands and just lingers

Wish I knew how to not be so stressed
Keep my monkey-mind brain less obsessed
I’d enjoy life much more
Feeling calm at my core
Not so fearful and not so depressed

But for now I’m still stuck with my thoughts
Over-anxious and vaguely distraught
Wish I worried much less
Would be good, I confess
To feel peaceful and not overwrought…

Weekly Prompt: Overthink

Christmas Decorations I Have Known…

I’m not really one to over-do Christmas decorations – I do have a twinkling tree bedecked with tinsel and ornaments and lights and topped with this cute little fairy, and I like to add a bit of extra festive frippery to the fireplace – well, across the top of the mantelpiece, to be exact. Most of our Christmas decorations in this house have been collected one by one (or group by group) over the years and part of the fun when putting them all together each Christmas is remembering the where and when and how and why we bought them, or were given them, or made them ourselves for that matter!

I remember us buying this little fairy one year after Christmas, in the sales – she was sitting all alone in a sea of random leftover tree ornaments at knock-down prices but still she was smiling, so we paid 50p for her and took her home with us and have loved her ever since. At the time we lived in a small flat so didn’t even have the room to put up a proper tree, instead we just decorated the sideboard with the odd personally-chosen ornament or two, a practice which of course expanded every year as we built up our very own collection of bargain basement Christmas remnants so that today we have a unique festive family of ornamental misfits that seems to suit us very well.

So I suppose looking back over the years, many of my favourite festive memories are linked to the individual Christmas decorations I have known and loved at any given time. Every Christmas my sister still hangs a small red plaited fabric wreath I made for her decades ago, even before her children were born. My youngest daughter still hangs the larger green version we used to have ourselves when she was growing up. In fact she also still has the green candles shaped like Christmas trees from her childhood I bought one year and didn’t ever have the heart to burn. They’ve faded a bit in colour, but have now become part of her family tradition, taking over from ours.

The Christmas decorations I remember from my childhood in the 1960s were mostly made from coloured crepe paper, concertinaed bells and baubles and long magical chains that unfurled to festoon the ceiling like the trim on a frothy petticoat. We always had a real tree, too, that stood precariously propped up in a bucket and smelled of pine resin and shed little needles all over the carpet for the duration. On the tree there were very fragile glass baubles and more robust plastic versions that shimmered and shone, along with multi-coloured fairy lights and feathery silvery tinsel. We had a fairy for the top of the tree then, too, with plastic head and arms and body and painted hair and a long white lacy dress and stiffened underskirt that covered her lack of legs!

I know many people choose to change their Christmas decorations along with their room decor, or go for particular fashionable colour themes, but I must admit I’m not one of them. Much of my modest collection tends to stay the same year after year. Most are traditional white or red or green or silver or gold or combinations thereof, and they don’t so much match as go together in a kind of eclectic, organic mish-mash of memories that make me smile. Some things inevitably come and go, depending on circumstance, and some things stay the course. And I kind of like it that way, it’s less about aiming for a perfect ideal and more about simply making the most of what is in front of me and loving the reality of the result regardless :-).

Weekly Prompt: Festive Memories

Colouring Books

I’ve always loved coloring in… I loved colouring in as a child, I loved colouring in with my children, I love colouring in with my grandchildren, and I still love colouring in for myself… Several years ago my youngest daughter bought me two adult colouring books and a set of coloured pencils from a local pound shop (equivalent to a dollar store in the US) ‘just to see how I got on’… And all these years on I still have those two original books, filled with hours of fun and relaxation and enjoyment, and have another half a dozen or so books besides, all kept on a bookshelf and added to as the mood takes me, sometimes using the softer shades of coloured pencils and sometimes using bright gel pens. Some of my latest colouring designs are shown above… πŸ™‚

Weekly Prompts: Colouring Books