Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a project

back in January my sweet friend Ellen had her fourth child - she said one day,
"Abi, would you like to borrow my sewing machine? I certainly won't be using for the next good long while.."
Delightful! of-course I would take care of the sewing machine for her.
However I soon discovered that fabric, patterns and sewing notions were not as easy to come by as I initially thought. When discussing this with a friend who sews, she confirmed my suspicions there were no local fabric shops, I would have to make a trip into the centre of London to find what I was looking for. Don't get me wrong, I love going into the centre of the city - but not when I have to interrupt the flow of my day when all I need is a bit of thread or some buttons.
Since then my mom has come for a visit, and tucked in her suitcase was lovely fabric to help me get on with my projects.
how very happy!
I used half of this lovely green print for a table cloth, and it makes me smile. It helps a huge deal in making our little flat look homey - the other half I have dreams of a skirt, still waiting for the perfect pattern to appear.

the other fabric mom brought, I used to make napkins - which I have been longing to make for ages. I just hate throwing away napkins every time we have a meal! this is much better.

Monday, April 26, 2010


(bet you thought we got stuck in Paris...!)

9.30am Soo Jeung and I are awakened by a knock on our hotel bedroom -
its was Nathaniel and Steve.
They had risen at 6 to go to the train station to try to purchase tickets...what a blessing to have men to take care of us! Tickets were purchased and we were booked for a 12 noon train to Calais.

Off to the train station we went with a few moments to spare, just enough time to stop in at good old dependable McDonalds. Seemed a bit sacrilegious (I mean we were in the land of wonderful Baguette and Croissants), but but we were on a time restriction and budget, and even as I got to the counter to order I thought 'Even McDonalds can sound classy when spoken in French...Bonjour, um, le petit wrap... ' *smile*!

As we clacked along the French country side, all around us on the train we heard snippets of conversation - other travelers on the same situation with us. There was a sense of being bound together, people all on the same mission - but there was also a twinge of competition, what will we do when we get to Calais that no body else will think of? how can we be first in line.
What a battle to fight against the desires of the flesh, it is so contrary to put others first and look around for those who might need a helping hand.
To the Ferry! After so many grim reports, we found ourselves happily settled on a ferry crossing the Chanel within 2 hours of arriving in Calais. It was the beginning of the end of our journey and we were relieved.

(tired but happy - waiting in Dover for our last train home)

We were thankful for God's protection, we were glad for the opportunity to get to know Soo Jeung and share the gospel with her.
We traded contact information before we parted at Bromley South train station - who knows maybe we will meet again...

Friday, April 23, 2010


Friday morning (after our breakfast spread) we, along with many other stranded travelers got in line at the ticket office at the West Bonhough train station. We managed to get four train tickets from Vienna to Paris. It would be 14 hours long, but who's counting when you get the view the Austrian/Swiss Alps by train?

Music from the Sound of Music ran through my head for a good part of the ride.
We slept, we looked out the windows, we laughed, we got to know Soo Jeung, we ran through train stations to catch connecting trains.

it was a full day of glorious vistas, adventurous unknowns, and stress and by the time we reached Paris at midnight we were exhausted. You can imagine our hearts dropping heavily as we were told that there were slim chances of finding a room in Paris as the city had been inundated with travelers. Apparently we were not the only ones with the clever plan to go to Paris and take the Euro-star home. The expected delay in getting out of Paris was a 3 day delay.
Grouchy? yes I was grouchy and a little complainy - not a very nice picture of myself as my heart was squeezed and what was truly inside me began to spill over. I think it must be good to be squeezed - it helps me to see where I really am.

Steve seeing the overwhelmed looks on our faces said we would find a place to stay and he would cover the cost for the night. And God was so good to provide for us a very comfortable hotel to rest our weary heads. We slept hoping that perhaps travel news would be more encouraging after a good nights rest and with the light of the morning.

Nathaniel said to me, "see honey, God gave us a night in Paris together before we move back to the States. Just what you wanted"
True, but not exactly the way I had imagined doing Paris with my love... he was right though, this was an unexpected treat to be in Paris together.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

when the unexpected happens

A week ago this morning, we were dealing with the unexpected...all air travel had come to a halt and the best the airlines could promise us was a re-booked flight 5 days later, what were we going to do?
Well last Friday morning you could just about feel the panic and the doom in the hearts of the crowd sitting in the West bonhough train station in Vienna. We were all there you see, in a desperate attempt to purchase a train ticket out. Funny how a holiday can so suddenly go sour when faced with unknowns and no end of unknowns in site... how much will this cost? how long will this take? what if we get stuck? what about responsibilities waiting for me at home?
Well certainly this was an opportunity to trust God and a unique opportunity to be the light of Christ - though to be honest my heart wanted very much to be grouchy, and look out only for myself. (just get me home to my own bed and Clean Cloths!)

Thank goodness God does not leave us to our own devises. As my heart filled with worst case scenarios I was reminded of Matthew 6:25-34
' not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on, Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?...But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness...'
Don't be distracted Abi! God has a plan and a job for you to do even in this!

This is how it went one day at a time:

On Thursday night we met Soo Jeung, a Korean student living in England for the year who was to be on our flight back to London. She was all alone - so we asked her if she wanted to join us as we tried to get back home. She said yes!

After much deliberating we went to a hotel subsidized by the airline, thankful for a place at least to sleep. Some how we got much more! A bathroom the bigger then my kitchen (which I guess is not saying much considering the size - but still it was a nice treat), and when we got up at 5am we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast which I very much wished I had had the appetite to sample more of then I could - who ever heard of fresh squeezed Kiwi juice? If only it had not been so early I definitely would have given that one one a try. Instead I enjoyed a nice coffee and croissant - delicious and not too heavy, just right.

While in Vienna...

and it rained, and rained, and rained. I thought maybe winter had returned. I wore just about every article of clothing I brought - which was not very much - trying not to risk my fashion sensibilities too much which meant that I went a tiny bit cold on one or two occasions. Nathaniel had a good laugh at me over this.

(I would have wanted to sit on these seats if they had not been dripping wet)

The weather certainly did not stop us from exploring that beautiful expensive city though ...

(enjoying one of the free things Vienna has to offer...
a statute of Mozart in the wet park)

thank goodness we remembered our umbrellas!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sugared Pecans

Just in case you would like to try this "Easy, Fool-Proof" sugared pecan recipe:

1lb pecans (about 4 cups)

Mix together in a bowl:
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar

beat together:

1 egg white
1 Tbs water

add egg white mixture to sugar mixture then stir in pecans to coat.
spread pecans on a baking sheet

bake at 200 for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not too long ago I was cleaning out one of our drawers in search of an important piece of paper. As it often goes with me, I got distracted by a pile of envelopes and their content. Most of them needed to go into the bin, but there were a few keepers - one of which was a pretty little card from my mom.

Funny enough, this card was written back in the spring of 2008 and somehow it made the cut to move to London with us (I am sometimes surprised at the little bits that I decided to pack into our precious suitcase space back in the summer of 2008 when we headed to London). Well I am glad it did make the cut because tucked inside was a small piece of card which contained the recipe for sugared pecans - Delightful!
Now I love, just love sugared pecans...and we have a special bond, sugared pecans and I is a bit of our history. It was the month of my wedding, over the past few weeks Mom and I had been compiling welcome boxes for our out of town guest. Fun little things like, a lovely hand knit wash cloth and a recipe card with our wedding soup written out. Also to go in the boxes were small containers of homemade sugar pecans (pecans from our own back yard none the less!).
I took on the sugared pecans. For a week, any spare moment I had was spent shelling pecans - my fingers and nails being the worse for the wear! It was worth it though and finally I had enough shelled to being the 'sugaring process'. I followed the recipe to the T - but somehow I burnt the sugar and instead of yummy sugar coated pecans, I had hard burnt only worthy of the bin pecans. What a shame! I had to start the whole process again, now my fingers were really feeling raw from shelling pecans.
A long story short, I proceeded to burn a whole other batch of pecans at which point mom (ever so kind) took over. She found a new recipe that came out so wonderfully, we were in the end able to tuck little packs of sugared pecans into the welcome boxes.
Looking over the recipe card I found - I laughed when at the little note mom put at the bottom of the card 'This recipe is easy and fool-proof' she wrote. I imagine mom was remembering the struggle I had making them before and was reassuring me I make do these despite past failure!

I made my first batch of sugared pecans last week and have been munching on them ever since... just a few with my coffee I tell myself.