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.

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