In the Cemetery

I'm not sure what it says about me that it was today's visit to the graveyard that inspired me to come back to blogging.

My grandmother, whose name I was given, is buried here. She was saved at nineteen. She passed into eternity when she was sixty-five. 

She is buried alongside her beloved husband, my grandfather. I spoke about him in this post. Go and have a read of it.

The verse, in Gaelic, reads:
"Aig Dia 's ro phrìseil bàs a naomh."

Taken from Psalm 116 verse 16, it translates, 'Precious in the sight of God is the death of his saints'.

You can also see on this gravestone that my grandparents lost a son, aged eleven weeks. My mum says that my grandmother never got over this loss. 

How could she? 

He died of pneumonia, a cause of death all too common in the days in which he was an infant. How blessed we are to live in the days of readily available antibiotics. 

Behind their headstone, you can see a grey slate one.

It reads:

"Arise my love, my fair one, and come with me."

These words, from Song of Solomon 2 v13, are the words of Christ, and He is speaking to His beloved people. 

The text of Scripture at the bottom says, "Oir tha fhios agam gu bheil m' fhear-saoraidh beò". 

"For I know that my Redeemer liveth" Job 19v25

And the name on it? Rev Jack Morrison - my grandmother's brother - who passed into glory only nine years ago, only months before his wife also passed to be with her Saviour.

One day, they will rise again. My grandmother will rise again, and just behind her grave, her brother will rise again. They will be resurrected right beside each other, but I believe they will have eyes only for Christ. He will come in all His glory. They will be in possession of their glorified bodies, and their eyes will turn upwards to behold their Beloved.

Oh, to be sure, they will have fellowship with each other in eternity. Surely they will speak of times when, on earth, they spoke of their precious Redeemer. But on that glorious day of the resurrection, I believe it will be 'Christ only'.

And this I found thought-provoking. The cow, oblivious to life and death, and joy and sadness, and beauty and wonder. She simply eats and drinks, and then she'll die.  No soul. No appreciation of the world around her. No praising for the beauty which surrounds her. No thanksgiving for the daily provision of food.

No soul. No Saviour. No need of a Saviour.

Unlike every person who reads this. Christ, the Redeemer, is the greatest need we have.

And He is the greatest joy and the greatest treasure we could ever possess.


Porch Chat - Our Last for a While?

I have really missed my chats on your porch, Patrice. This time, I am joining you for what may be the last time - at least for quite some time. 

But onto your questions for this week.

1. Are you planning on doing most of your Christmas shopping in stores, or online?

I have really cut down on Christmas shopping over the past few years, but quite a bit of what I do will be done online. 

2. Have you ever been to a bonfire?

Er, is that a trick question? Yes! See here for this year's bonfire, and go to this post to see last year's bonfire. And this post is our Bonfire from 2010.  Thankfully, our 'bonfire night' is in winter and so it's dark nice and early. We'd have a bit of a problem with bonfires and fireworks on the 4th of July ... even at midnight, it would barely be dark enough to even appreciate the beautiful fireworks.

3. What would 'simplifying life' mean to you?

Maybe stopping blogging?

4. Tell me about one blog you really enjoy reading.

Oh, only one, Patrice? 

Please let me give a few. I'll be good and not write a full blown essay on each one - simply the name and link.


Spilled ... Because my Cup Overflows

The Pioneer Woman - not only for her fun posts, which always make me smile, but for her wonderful selection of recipes.

5. Have you ever had someone who isn't in your family, but felt just like family?


There's this fella, who gave us all these wonderful photos from St Kilda. (Click on the link to re-visit.) When he joins us in evenings,  he kicks off his shoes, and eats as much chocolate as ourselves. See ... one of the family.

This lady, pictured here with my mum, has been 'Auntie' Jessie to me all my life. She is now the same to our own children. I never think of her as anything less than a real part of my family. Being a 'blood relative' couldn't  make me love her more than I already do.

Oi you! What are you doing here again? I told them about you. Now, watch you don't fall off that cliff....

When Laurie comes to visit, I never feel like I have a visitor in the house. She's just 'part of us'. Oh, she's also handy when we're lifting peats or planting the vegetables. And, oh, that coffee cake! Read here.

And then, we have this dear, dear couple. Read here about how we first met.

Once again, Patrice, thank you so much for your questions. I have missed our weekly chats.

I may pop back to the blog with a couple of posts that are 'sitting' there, waiting to be spruced up and posted. And I may come back to blogging at some point in the future, but for now, I think I'm going to say a huge Thank You to all of you who've visited with me and commented to make me feel like I wasn't totally blethering to myself.

I have loved this blogging journey. I have met so many wonderful people. It was actually a real blessing for me to have begun it, but now I think it may be coming to its natural end.

Please feel free to browse older blog posts, and feel free to keep commenting - I'll read them all, and will enjoy reading them, and answering them.

(As I say, I may return to blogging sometime - if I find I have begun to talk to myself incessantly, and if I find I really have stuff to say and nobody around me wants to listen, then I may decide that my blogging friends will have to, once again, be the receivers of my wisdom(!), my photos, and my ramblings. Oh, and if the Builder grows his goatee again, I may find my inspiration for blogging may return.... I mean, seriously - how is a woman to be inspired when her Builder removes his goatee?? We may have to begin a campaign.)

For now, thank y'all so much for putting up with this woman who is blessed 

- to be saved;

- to have been born in this era of history, and on this teeny wee insignificant-to-most-of-the-world island;

- to have been blessed with a husband and four wonderful children;

- to have been convicted of, and blessed more than words can say, by this homeschooling journey on which God placed me;

- to have the internet, through which I have been blessed with much wisdom and teaching; with friends who are now firmly entrenched in my life; with countless opportunities to learn with my children.

Love y'all!


Think About It ...

A few years ago, whilst still living in Glasgow, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a lovely Chinese lady for a coffee. She was studying in Glasgow for a year, and had left her husband and her five year old son in China. 

She was a scientist, as was her husband. They lived in an apartment which was situated in a huge complex, the size of a town, she told me. In this complex was their home; their son's school; their medical centre; the place of scientific research at which they both worked.

The complex also contained all the shops they needed for food, clothing and any accessories they wished to buy.

"In other words," she said, "we never have to leave our complex."

I asked her how she felt about this, and she stared at me for a short while, wondering why I would ask such a question. How did she feel about it? Well, this simply wasn't an issue. The State provided all this for her, and she knew she was really well off compared with most other Chinese people. How could she not feel well off? She had all her needs provided right there 'on her doorstep', and her son was receiving a fantastic education.

I then began talking about her son, and I asked her if she ever wished she could have another child. 

"Never," she said.

She went on: "In China," she explained, "there are far too many people. We need to reduce our population and this is such a good way. There is one major problem, though, with the policy ... "

Ahhhh, I thought, she does see at least one problem ...

"The problem is this: all our educated people stick to the rule, and we have one child each. Unfortunately, many of the farmers and peasants have more than one child, so that means that over time the gene pool in China will be worsened by them."

This was her one and only problem with the policy. It was the problem of those pesky peasants, who wouldn't stick to One Child Policy.

It was all so clear to her. So easy to grasp. So beneficial for China. So easy to implement. So worthy, because the child you did have was able to have the best education and the best opportunities. 

Initially I was surprised. Shocked, even. But then, I was simply sad.

Sad at how easily a person accepts their being bound, if all their wants are provided. Sad at how a person's liberty to choose can be totally removed, and that person doesn't even bat an eyelid. In fact, they wouldn't change anything about it, even if they could (except for the pesky peasants). 

In the past, Patrick Henry cried, "Give me liberty or give me death!".

Queen Boadicea cried: "Is it not better to be poor and free than to have great wealth and be slaves?"

But hundreds, thousands, millions in the world today prefer wealth and comfort rather than true liberty.

Countless numbers of well-fed, well-dressed, well-educated people are told what to do, how to live, what to think, how to act, where to live. They are told how many children to have. But in exchange, they are given job opportunities, homes (though not their own), access to healthcare and to education. 

And the 'people would have it so'.

This lady was Chinese. But was she really a million miles from where we are today in our Western world?

Go on - think about it. I dare you.


Bonfire Night ... Our Way

Although today is the 5th of November, and is therefore the real Bonfire Day, we have our Guy Fawkes day on the closest Saturday to this date.

After a wet beginning to the day, the sun began to shine and we ended up with a gorgeous day.
Here is the first load of combustibles being put in situ.

This load consisted of some combustible material. The rest of the load consisted of helpers.

And this load had combustibles, helpers, and an extra fellow, who comes to join us each year for our Bonfire.

The night was perfect: a gentle breeze, clear skies and temperatures above freezing.


Here are some of the cousins, wrapped up and having a great time.

Do you see what I see? Bruce and John Wayne normally have their fireworks beginning on our Bonfire Night, but their time of fun hasn't yet begun.

Awww ... aint they adorable?

Y'all don't need to answer that - I've already told them they are.


Bùth Lisa: Tiger Textiles

If you ever take a drive through Ness, you will always notice our blue skies. Like in the photo here, they are always perfectly cloudless and blue.


But you may notice this cute little shop in the village of Habost.

Bùth Lisa is now a studio and shop for two local artists.

Here is Tiger Textile's side of the shop,

and here you can see Alison working in her 'corner'.

She has so many beautiful and unique items. Don't you love these cushions?

Original Harris Tweed, with some lyrics from a Gaelic song embroidered on it. 

And did you notice the picture on the bottom-left of the photo?

Here's a close-up

Pencil on tea-stained wood.

Alison took this from an old photo, and I simply love it.

"Muinntir Thàboist as a' mhòine".
Habost folk in the peats.

Her grandfather is in this picture. That makes it extra special for her.

She has a number of pencil drawings on wood which have been taken from old photos.

This one here reminded me so much of my own Grampa. Although he didn't have a pipe, the rest of this bodach in the picture could just be him: the cap, the pullover, and the speal. Yes, this evokes great memories.

Tiger Textiles: the name comes from her family 'nickname'. Her great-grandfather was nicknamed Tiger, her grandfather was Alastair an Tiger, who is in the pencil drawing we saw earlier. 

Here's a photo of her grandfather, pinned to Alison's noticeboard. 

It's good to remember.

The photo in the far left corner of the noticeboard opens up a whole other story.

This wee shop in which Alison now works was originally opened by the lady in this photo. She was a Canadian called Lisa, who married a man from Ness and came to live in this village. She began importing Canadian candy and selling it here in this shop. Her son grew the business, and especially developed a butcher's business, which was handed down to his son and which is still with us in Cross Stores.

This building lay empty for decades, and it's so lovely that Alison, whose family are still neighbours of the original shop owners, is now using it in this way. You can read about Alison here.

Here's Lisa, in the shop as it was.

I would recommend, if you're driving by, call in and see Tiger Textile's lovely display of goods. There are greeting cards, wedding stationary and brooches as well as the cushions, and pictures you see on the wall. Many of her paintings and drawings are commissions, but she is building up more and more of a stock of ready-to-purchase goods. 

I'll leave you with more photos of some of the goods she has available.

Soooo pretty


Sunset at Swainbost Beach

Yesterday evening, just as the sun was setting, I decided to jump in the car and head to Swainbost machair to take some photos. See, although I now live in the village of the Builder's birth, Swainbost is where I was born, where I was raised, and the beach is the beach on which I played as a child, had picnics, ran over rocks, and generally gave my mother countless heart attacks. That, I believe, is what childhood is for.

Isn't it?

And so to Swainbost beach at the end of a perfect October day.

Looking South towards Dell,

with the last glimpse of the sun as it sets.

I wish I was able to 'show' you the sounds,

which were as wonderful as the colours you see.

The images did to my eyes,

what the sounds did to my ears.

I saw beauty.

I heard music.

An then it was Time to say Goodbye (can any of you read that and not hear Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman?)

The moon, with some lovely cloud

Looking North, towards the Butt and the Eoropie houses

At this point, I got into the car to head home. I still had to finish making the dinner, so I realized I'd better scoot home quickly. Not that I've ever been known to:

1. rush
2. be late
3. drive quickly.

Lest any of you be under any misapprehensions. 

And then the following happened.

My front wheel decided the best place to go would be into a rabbit hole, which had been dug by a mutant rabbit which was actually the size of a small dog. It went. It stayed. It stuck.

No phone. Nobody around. No choice but to walk. Initially, I headed off with my camera still in the car, but like any good blogger, I went back to retrieve it. That's what bloggers do, isn't it ...

I head across the machair towards Habost machair. You may be able to see the wee car in this photo.

This is the boundary between the villages. This is where the chief of the village may decide not to allow you to cross. He can, at a whim, capture you and present you as an offering to the Great Chief. You may never see your family again. 

Or maybe that's just something I read a long, long time ago about a far, far away place.

I could have walked the extra hundred yards or so and crossed the bridge. But I was wearing my trusty wellies, and a hundred yards is a lot when it is unnecessary, and when you have wee Size 3s. So river-crossing it was.

Some of the cattle, grazing on Habost machair

And home.

Well, not quite. I don't mean this is where I live. One day I will, but in terms of my walk home, the cemetery told me I was almost there.

I could easily walk this walk every day of life if we had this weather every day of life.

As it happens, we don't. So don't be holding your breath for the next one...

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