Thursday, 30 April 2015

I belive it's called indulgence...

Maisy had "Maverick" right where she wants him!
I love to look up words in the dictionary; because I learn that sometimes a word's meaning is different than I expect.  So I looked up "Indulge", just to make sure I had the correct word for the way our puppy is treated.

Specifically, according to Merriam/Webster, "indulge" means: "the behavior or attitude of people who allow themselves to do what they want or who allow other people to do what they want
: the act of doing something that you enjoy but that is usually thought of as wrong or unhealthy
: something that is done or enjoyed as a special pleasure
  As you can see, Maisy has a strong influence on "Maverick."  I wouldn't allow Maisy to sit on MY lap whilest eating at the table.  But her whining and brown pleading eyes turned "Maverick's" heart to melted butter; hence she gets a seat of honour on his lap.

There are ground rules:
1. No sniffing the plate.
2. No licking the plate or table.
3. No paws resting on the side of the table.
 4. A bite (small one) will be given by "Papa M." if Maisy is a good girl and follows all the rules.

So, would you say that Maisy is spoiled?  (Please do not answer truthfully!)  I prefer to call her indulged.
Maisy hoping for a bite of chicken.


Saturday, 11 April 2015

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

When we have company or are asked to take a dish to a "Bring-and-Share" meal, I often take this salad. It is one of my favourite dishes, as I love the taste of raisins and onions with the broccoli.   People often give it lovely compliments,  and I get asked for the recipe.  So, since I was typing it up for someone,  I thought I'd just go ahead and post it here. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter Weekend Review

Easter weekend is a four-day affair here in the UK.  Our parish offered several ways of worshipping and celebrating the sacred memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection.  

 One of the annual Good Friday activities is called The Walk of Witness.  Congregants meet at a starting point—usually a church, then process through the community, stopping along the way at significant places, where scriptures might be shared, but there are certainly songs lifted up in the fresh air and then usually the procession goes to another church.  In our little parish, at the final stop, tea and hot cross buns are served.  It doesn’t matter if it is sunny or rainy.  People use the opportunity to be seen as Christians.   
On Good Friday “Maverick” went up to help friends work in their garden.  He was invited along to the Walk of Witness in their community.  Friday was an over-cast day, but not raining.  

 Meanwhile, I observed my usually Friday hours at work, finishing the weekly newssheets, printing out the hymn sheets and updating the parish website.  At 1.45 pm I finished my work and went to St. Mary’s for the Station of the Cross service.  The vicar uses artwork from a local Christian publishing house to set up the stations in the church.  The artist of this year’s posters also wrote meditations and prayers for each stop.  The meaningful and reflective service, which included music by St. Mary’s choir and congregational hymns, lasted about an hour. 

Maisy is no longer allowed to come to work with me.  But she is now old enough to be left in the bedroom instead of just her carrier.  She was glad when I arrived home about 3.30 pm—and really ready to go out for a walk.

On Saturday (4th April) John helped other friends build a shed in their back garden.  I spent the day at home, working on the computer.  Oh, and taking Maisy out on a regular basis.  She loves to meet up with her other doggie friends if they are out.  So, she had two sessions off the lead, running with Foo and Divo. 

Sunday “Maverick” got up early enough to attend the 9.30 a.m. Easter Worship at St. Francis church and also come to the 11.00 a.m. service at St. Mary’s.  That was a very interesting service.  

 Just at Rev. Robin began his sermon, a member of the congregation called for one of the doctors to come to attend another worshipper.  St. Mary’s is blessed with four doctors in the house, and within a few minutes, three doctors—all dressed in choir robes—hurried down the aisle, and the other doctor joined them from one of the pews.  I know many people were praying quietly, whilst the dear patient was attended.  Paramedics arrived to attend to the ill congregant, which allowed Rev. Robin to continue with his sermon on the power of the resurrection.  The patient was taken to hospital by ambulance, being taken out while the creed was being recited.  I am sure the many prayers offered made a difference, as our dear friend was kept in hospital overnight, but only for observation.  From an e-mail sent out later in the afternoon, our dear friend was allowed home on Monday. 

After church, “Mr. & Mrs. Jay” joined “Maverick” and me at the Red Lion Pub for dinner.  The afternoon went quickly, as we enjoyed conversation, and watched children who had their faces painted, and overheard laughter from fellow diners enjoying the family holiday.  Easter was one of the busiest days for the pub.  Yet, with such good company, we didn’t realise how long it was taking for our food to arrive. 

Monday I took Maisy out for a morning run about 8:30 a.m. with Foo, Sophie, Cassie and Beau.  Their owners and I walked them from one end of the park to the other.  I was reminded of my absolute need for a pair of “Wellie” boots.  My Ugg boots got saturated, and my socks got soaked before I’d made it down the foot ball pitches once. Upon leaving the park, Maisy and I then went to buy a newspaper for our friend “Aimee” before we returned home.
"Mrs. Bee" and me.
“Maverick” and I had been invited to spend the day with “Mr. & Mrs. Bee.”  At 11.00 a.m. they picked us up.  “Mr. Bee” drove along some lovely country road, allowing “Maverick” to reminisce about his training rides.  The “Bees” wanted to take us to the pub near Henley-on-Thames that serves South African food, followed by a visit to Stonor House--one of England's oldest manor houses, also near Henley-on-Thames .  The sun was out and the car was warm.  Because the bushes and trees have not as yet burst forth with leaves, we could actually see fields and valleys that would otherwise be hidden.
"Maverick" and me

Eweleme Church
Our first stop was at St. Mary’s church in Ewelme Parish.  (It is pronounced U-Elm).  The church is the burial place of Alice Chaucer, (1404 - 1475), Countess of Salisbury and Duchess of Suffolk.  She was the benefactor of Ewelme, using her influence and wealth to build the church, a school and almshouses.  The steps leading out of the church take one down to the almshouses surrounding a courtyard.  If you’re interested in learning more of the history, the website is
Courtyard at Eweleme Almshouses

After wondering about and enjoying the church, we got back into car and drove to the White Hart Inn, a 1300s country inn with boutique rooms, a South African-inspired
White Hart Bar Lounge
menu and a cosy, wood-beamed pub.  It was charming, the service was excellent and the food delicious.  John enjoyed curried chicken and prawns, while “Mr. & Mrs. Bee” tried the bobotie.  I chose the grilled bream (fish).  “Maverick” and “Mrs. Bee” had
Amarula Crème Brulée, “Mr. Bee” had banoffee pie, and I chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and ice cream.  My goodness, it was the best ice cream I’ve had in ages.  As we ate, we learned the manager was from Durban, South Africa, as “Maverick” is. 
Displayed in the wood-beamed bar/lounge was a lovely “Dog Portrait.”  Of course, I had to take a photo of it.  They also have a website:
Stonor House
We then took another road to The Stonor House.  Building of the house began around c1190 with additions added over the 850 years the home has been in the Stonor family.  Also included in the property is a chapel, a walled garden, a tea room and gift shop.  The rooms on exhibit are kept in pristine condition, and the walls are decorated with Old Masters’ paintings, as well as murals, sculptures and extraordinary furniture. 
Already known to the Stonor family, St. Edmund Campion, (martyred in 1581) was given refuge here in 1581 to print in the greatest secrecy a pamphlet describing 'Ten Reasons' why the historical Catholic faith should be preferred over the teachings of the newly Established Church. The rooms used to print this work can be seen, along with an exhibition describing St. Edmund Campion's life and death.
As we finished our tour of the house, I was getting tired, and was also a bit distracted thinking of Maisy.  Yet it would have been sad to miss visiting this grand house and property.  I think I would like to visit again sometime, and bring Maisy, as she would love a romp in the great outdoors.
We arrived home about 5.00 p.m., which meant that the first activity was to take Maisy to the park for a run and to do her toilet.  Full of wiggles, thumping tail and doggy kisses, we were more than assured of her gratitude of being let out of the room and that she had missed us.
We thoroughly enjoyed having extra time to spend with friends, worship and rejoice in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and glorious victory over sin and death.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith.
Lady Helene

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Maisy Stories

      Puppy Maisy is almost 10 months old—she will be on the 8th of April.  She is such a sweet, funny, clever puppy.  I’ve missed so many opportunities to share funny stories on this blog. 
                However, I am going to share some now, especially since I have missed blogging. 
                The first day Maisy came to live with us, I laid down on the couch and put her on top of me.  She whined a bit and then settled down.   “Couch time” is part of our relationship, which includes me changing into my pyjamas, stretching out on the couch and letting her doze off whilst I watch TV.  About 10.00 pm we usually go to bed.  Bed for Maisy is sleeping in her carrier kennel, which sits next to our bed.
Story One
On Saturday, 28th February, I had intended to attend the church’s social evening of Bingo & Beetle Drive at St. Mary’s Centre.  I’m sure it would have been fun.  But, as the month of March was the next day, I was determined to work on the next issue of “The Mission Bell”. 
That was truly my intention.  I had pulled up the document, had the internet open for trawling through information on the core charities for which I was planning to glean prayer requests and was positioned myself to start writing. 
Of course!  The phone rings.  It was my sister, and we’d not chatted for a few days.  Playing solitaire on my laptop, while Sissy and I exchanged “fur-baby” stories, the minutes sped by and before we knew it, over an hour had flown by.  Reluctantly we said our good-byes.
Maisy needed walking, as it was going on over two hours since our last foray into the starlit night.  She sniffed around, got told to “leave it and come” over something she’d found on the ground and finally completed her toilet.  I was glad to come back in.
My mind was beyond grappling with research for “The Mission Bell”.  Besides, I’d promised “Maverick” that I would sew the end of his zip into his work coat.  It was only a couple of inches, and no big effort in terms of complication.  But it took me about half-an-hour.   
The thread had just been cut from the machine and I drew the coat off of the worktop.  Just then Maisy came back into my office/studio.  She whined, and I looked down at my long-haired puppy.
“What?”  I ask.  I looked at the clock.  10:00 pm!  “Is it bedtime?”
“BWOAF!”  Brown eyes stared earnestly up at me.
“You want me to go change into my ‘jammies’, and go lay on the couch,  so you can sleep on top of me?”  I ask her.
“Arff!  Yap! Yap!  Arrfff. Ruff!  Ruff,ruff ruff." A 30 second instruction in puppy replied to my question, which loosely translated means—“Don’t just sit there!  Get on with it!”  What could be done but to comply?!
Story Two
                During “Maverick’s” first marriage   his ex-wife and children were always bringing home pets—anything from dogs, cats, even a flea-infested hedgehog, to turtles and fish.  This was done without consulting him.  So, when I decided to marry “Maverick”, I determined that I would not get a dog unless we were in agreement.
                Husband had reasons he didn’t want a pet:

  • Pets cost money—food, vet bills, medicines if required. 
  • You can’t take pets on holiday.  He was not going to have where he took his holiday and when he could take his holidays based upon if we could take the animal.  And it was too expensive to put them in a boarding kennel.
  • They would make a mess in the house, dog hair everywhere—and it would smell.
  • Barking dogs were a major dislike for “Maverick”.

On the occasions I went to Florida to see my sister, I was lavished with love from her cats, but especially her dogs, first Honey, and then Hannah.  Both of them thought they were my dogs when I was there.  I talked about them lots when I came home. 

                About five years ago there was a moment when John’s heart softened towards the idea of me having a dog.  I had been home from Florida for about two days.  We were sitting at the dining table, watching television while eating our lunch.  An advert for Blue Cross Animal Charity came on the television.   It showed a dog being abandoned by his owner.  Well, missing my sister’s dog,  and empathising with the dog in the advert, I burst into tears.  Just couldn’t help it!  “Maverick” looked at me and said, “Okay, I can see that having a dog would mean a lot to you.  But first we have to get things in order.” 

                So, I began to plan.  This included giving him answers for his objections. 

  • Cost:  If you buy pet insurance, you can get most of the medical costs reimbursed.  And little dogs don’t eat that much.  I’m willing to give up a small luxury to afford to buy food.
  • Holiday:  We have four children who love animals.  I’m sure we could find people who would be willing to pet-sit for a week or two.  I know “Chantilly” and her family would.  There are also some places that allow you to take your dogs.
  • Dog hair everywhere:  If you get a dog that doesn’t shed, it won’t make a mess.  Yorkshire terriers, Maltese Terriers, poodles, Shih Tzus, to name a few.  I knew I wanted a Yorkie,  because they are small. 
  • Barking dogs—or yappy dogs—can be trained not to bark.  Now this can be a tall order, as little dogs are known to have big attitudes, and are vocal about it.  But, if persistent, barking can be curbed.

 Circumstances finally aligned, and last July, while here on vacation, Sissy and I found Maisy.  Maisy come home on 8th August at exactly eight weeks old.

All I just shared isn’t too funny.  But you have to understand the amount of resistance I had to overcome.  Since Maisy has joined our home, things have changed in “Maverick’s” mind.

For example,  each night I have to make sure that I let “Maverick” say good-night to Maisy.
 When we first got her, I started saying to Maisy, “Daddy’s going to work; Daddy’s home;” etc.  His response was, “I’m not Daddy to a dog.  I’m the Guv’ner. “
 But as the weeks went on, she began to charm him.  It was her bright eyes, wagging tail, wiggling excessively when he came home that warmed his heart.  Now, it isn’t uncommon to hear “Maverick” say, “Maisy, come to Pa.”
Yesterday, (3rd April), Maisy got knocked down by a middle-sized dog, and nipped.  The other dog was jealous of his master giving Maisy a little scratch on the head.  After charging at Maisy, knocking her over, giving her a nip, he began barking and trying to get between the man and Maisy and barking with loud frustration.  Maisy immediately headed for me, and I quickly picked her up.  She was shaking, and making an anxious barking reply.  The man and I apologised to each other, and we walked away.  Maisy recovered and she soon resumed her walk.
When I told “Maverick”, he immediately picked Maisy up, crooning, “Those other dogs can’t hurt My Maisy.  You’re okay now, My Maisy.” 
I couldn’t help but think, “Who said he didn’t want a dog?”
By the way,  did I mention that “Maverick” will sometimes let her sit on his lap while he eats a meal? 

Story Three

Maisy is primarily a “Mummy’s Girl”.  She does run to see “Maverick” when he comes home.  She’ll sit on his lap while he is on the couch.  But, a majority of the time, she wants to be with me. 
Because she is a “Mummy’s Girl”, she tends to get a little jealous when “Maverick” and I are sharing affection.  It isn’t uncommon for her to whine when “Maverick” and I stand hugging or share a kiss. 
Last night (3rd April), John and I were standing in his office, cuddling.  The next thing we hear behind us is Maisy’s squeak toy.  Maisy had learned that by holding her favourite white plush toy by the head, it would squeak when she bit down.  Well, last night she was chewing that toy, squeaking it for all it was worth.  She was not going to let us leave her out of a cuddle-fest.  "Maverick" and I laughed, and went to the lounge, where she joined us on the couch.

I know this is a long post.  But I wanted to share some of these moments when this furry little critter had brought a smile to our face and joy to our heart.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"