Welcome

Welcome to Lamb Cottage. It's a real place, and this is where I live with my dear husband. We even have lambs. This is a personal blog, especially concerning life as an American expat in Scotland, life as an over-50, life with lambs, and life as an Orthodox Christian. You're most welcome to come and visit awhile. I hope we can be friends!

Monday, December 23, 2013

We Wish You a Merry Christmas



Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

It is blustery and grey, cold and windy, rainy and sleety here.  We are still hoping for a white Christmas!  Even a little dusting would be pleasant.

The lambs received a mineral and feed pail for Christmas!  This is to go along with their daily sweet hay, kibbles, and cookies.

My dear husband is working tonight, and even tomorrow night on Christmas Eve ~ but we're hoping he will get home early.  We'll be having hot cocoa in front of the Christmas tree.  It's a very quiet Christmas for us this year.  Nevertheless, we've many, many things to be thankful for and many blessings to share  ::  For unto us a Child is born!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Lambs and Christmas Spirit


Look at that little pudgy lamb!  He's actually a little more streamlined than that.  Slightly.
I keep hoping for snow.  I'm SOOO tired of this Scottish wintry weather = rain, wind, sleet.  If it's going to be cold, then I would at least like to see some lovely, white, clean snow.


We're trying to be in the Christmas spirit here...which, of course, means much more than decorating the house, inside and out.  Or baking.  Or shopping ~ thankfully, we do not do presents or any of the commercial stuff.  It's way too much of a distraction; it's way too costly; and none of us (in our immediate families and circles of friends) lives in a world where we have to wait all year to receive a pair of socks or some new perfume.  We try to do our giving to charity and the Church.

I almost didn't make it to feed the lambs today (my dear husband would have suffered the four monsters by himself!).  I haven't felt too well the past couple days.  But I DID get out.  I didn't want a day to go by and not see their sweet, woolly faces!


And...GASP...Rosebud has been rubbing his face against something awfully dirty, and which won't come off!  I'll try to get photos tomorrow.  He looks like he's either getting ready for a minstrel show, or he's heading onto the gridiron.  Crikey!  What a sight to be met with today!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exhaustion...and Peace

I'm absolutely exhausted.  Sigh...

I'm fairly certain no one reads this blog.  And that's okay.  Sort of.  I have to sometimes force myself to write and update it.  But I wanted a blog that was mainly for me and my husband, so it's perfectly fine if we're the only ones who read it.  (I'm not entirely sure my dear husband reads it much!)

So Christmas is nearly upon us.  I'm struggling this year.  Worn out by life.  This whole past year has been an enormous struggle for the both of us :: financially, spiritually (there are no very few Orthodox churches in Scotland, and even fewer in the northern Highlands), mentally, emotionally.  Thank goodness for lambs!  And for each other.  And for our faith.

I almost didn't decorate for Christmas.  Which would fit right in with how they do things here in the north of Scotland (they pretty much DON'T).  But I pushed myself, and I'm awfully glad I did.  We are the ONLY people on our street, and nearly the only ones in our village, to have any lights outside.  I do NOT want to fall into the ways of this culture (drink, lay around, watch TV, drink some more, play darts, drink again, gossip, drink).  Well, whatever.  Folks can do whatever they please.  We each have to answer for ourselves.  All I know is, my husband and I are so glad we make the effort :: to celebrate, to decorate, to find meaning, to pray, to look for joy, to keep the world and its culture at bay. And so, we are, in our exhaustion, enjoying some peace.  Our home is quiet, peaceful, full of soft Christmas lights, lovely scents, Christmas carols.  No TV.  And we are slowly learning to be at peace in this chaotic world.

And we are waiting...for the birth of the Christ child...the Savior of the World.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Cross-Stitched Christmas


I have quite a few cross-stitched things making an appearance in my Christmas decorating this year.  Above is a wreath with my lamb, Doodle, stitched in the middle.  And below is one of a set of three little ornaments I designed and am giving away free on my shop blog.


The wreath below is done all in red and white, and the designs are from a magazine a few years back.


Snowball (my other lamb) has his own wreath, as well!  And all four lambs have little pillow-type cross stitch ornaments hanging on the tree.  You can see those at my shop blog.


This is just the beginning of all the cross stitch Christmas things either finished, in the works, or in the planning stage.  Even after years of doing it, I still always under-estimate the amount of time it will take to stitch a pattern, whether my own design or someone else's!

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Friday, December 13, 2013

More Sunsets!


I cannot get over the incredible sunsets we have been seeing during November and now December.
These photos were taken just the other day from our front steps.  The cloud formations have been amazing.


I have really enjoyed the soft, pastel skies with the pinky-peach and bluey-green colors.  There is nothing like a flaming sky to make one realize that God is, actually, near.  And still creating!

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Beginning to Look Like Christmas...


Yes, I have an aluminum tree!  The original item.  I used to have two others, but in the frenzy and challenge of my move from Florida to Scotland, they got left behind (I have a long list of stuff I wish I had brought...sigh).  This little 4-foot tree is in our front hallway.


And here is an old bottle-brush wreath I picked up a year or so ago at a charity shop right here in the nearby town!  My photo came out a bit blurry, but you get the idea.


For another vintage Christmas treat:  This is a wreath made entirely from tin cans, back when they were tin and not aluminum.  My grandmother on my Mom's side made either 5 or 6 of these wreaths way back when (I'm thinking 40s or 50s).  I'm not sure how many are left now, but I've treasured mine, which was given to me when I was about 20.  I remember my Mom saying that Gramma about wore out her hands cutting up all the cans and shaping each little piece.


And here is a little close-up shot of our big tree in the living room.  I will post a full-length one soon!
Happy decorating, to everyone who is still working on their Christmas decorating.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Slowly Switching Into the Christmas Gear...


Well, everyone is swiftly moving from Thanksgiving and autumn into Christmas and winter.  I am slowly following along behind.  Usually, I am right in there, going over the top with my Christmas decorating.  This year, it's different.  I'm not sure why.


I am just finishing up our big Christmas tree in the living room.  Photos to follow, for anyone who is interested!


It is SO easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, and forget what the REAL Christmas is all about.  Even for us.  We do not have a TV, nor do we spend much time in the stores at all (nor do we even have very many up with us), nor are we news junkies, etc.  But we still have to watch ourselves that it doesn't become all about decorating, buying, baking, etc.


Speaking of baking...I love all the many beautifully decorated snowflake cookies I have seen all over the Internet.  I am hoping to do some myself this year.  Last year, I baked something like 12 varieties of cookies.  This year, no.  Maybe 3 or 4.


Thinking of family and friends, and especially those back home, at this time of year.  And those who are no longer with us to celebrate Christmas.  Sigh.  

Christmas is a hard time for many.  May whoever is reading this have a truly blessed and joyful Christmas season (I know; we are still in Advent season, but you know what I mean)!

NOTE:  I shamelessly stole all of these photos from Google images.  If any belong to you and you would like to receive credit, or would like me to remove them, please contact me!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


The house smells wonderful right now ~ midnight Wednesday.  Thanksgiving Eve.  The pumpkin pie is made; the table is set; the house is cleaned; the laundry is nearly done; a lot of the kitchen work is done for tomorrow...and my husband has three days off work!  YAY!  More things to be thankful for.  And we have our turkey all ready to go.

Obviously, folks don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK.  It's sad, though.  They don't know what they're missing!  I love Thanksgiving and everything it represents, and all the good memories I have from Thanksgivings past.

I don't suppose I'll ever get over missing my dear Mom and Dad on these special holidays.  But now, I share them with a husband who came along late in life (we were both in our 40s)...so there is something new each year, and plenty of God's blessings.

Speaking of blessings... there's "Dad" holding Baby Doodle.  That lamb.  Have you ever seen anything so cute???

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blessings


Most of us have so many reasons to be thankful...and yet, we still like to complain.  I am no exception. I'm working on that, though.  And here are two photos of yet another glorious November sunset as seen from our front door.

More blessings to be thankful for:

(21)  My sewing machine!  I finally finished a throw pillow.

(22)  The Andre Rieu concert we were able to see streaming live to the cinema in Inverness.  It was glorious!

(23)  Pizza and chocolate chip cookies.

(24)  Snuggling under handmade afghans from dear friends.

(25)  Prayers.

(26)  Atticus Brown Bear.

(27)  Big lambs who still jump high and run fast!

(28)  Snowflakes.

(29)  Nightly debriefings when my husband comes home from work.

(30)  Good neighbors.

Blessings of gratitude to you this Thanksgiving season!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

November Sunsets, and More Thankful Things

We have had the most amazing sunsets lately.  These two photos were taken within minutes of each other.  The one above was looking towards the west, off towards the hills and mountains.  The one below was taken looking up over our rooftop.  Both were taken right from the front yard.  Being a Florida girl, I am most enamoured of the sunsets along the Gulf Coast.  But I must say, for the far north of Scotland...this ain't bad!!
We are just over a week away from Thanksgiving.  As you probably know, this is not a holiday that is celebrated in the UK.  However, WE celebrate it every year in our home.  My dear husband is so accommodating, and he says he enjoys the new holidays and celebrations he has experienced since I came.  And whenever he can, he takes off work for a long Thanksgiving weekend.  So... I am thankful for:

(14)  My husband having four days off in a row for our Thanksgiving!

(15)  The turkey in our freezer.

(16)  The beautiful sunsets we have seen lately.

(17)  The lovely, soft dusting of snow.  Sparkly and beautiful!

(18)  The Gutenberg Project.  I have been reading some of THE most lovely books lately!

(19)  Ancient Faith Radio, and all the support and guidance they give.

(20)  Hopes and Dreams and Plans and Goals.

God bless!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Snow Fairies



The Snow Fairies have been, and they've just left a soft, light dusting.  A perfect amount for Doodle's first snow!  And Snowball, too, of course.  Even this tiny bit of snow has given a glow to our surroundings and made things feel so much cleaner.  It's the first winter for our two bottle lambs, so I'm glad they did not have to get a big load of snow all at once for their first encounter.  Nevertheless, this means more hay for the foursome, and probably a mineral block or pail.  And of course, more cookies!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Giving Thanks, Pt 2

Nothing is truer than the feeling that time flies by so quickly as you get older.  I don't know where the days go, and I often feel as though I have not accomplished nearly enough.  This evening, I am stopping to be grateful and give thanks some more, as we draw nearer to Thanksgiving.

(5) I am thankful that Christmas is coming!  The incarnation of Our Lord and Savior is the primary reason, but I also enjoy the sweet and childlike aspects of Christmas. 
Photo taken from Google Images

(6)  Baking!  I am thankful for baking and all the folks who put together wonderful recipes for us to try, like this Chocolate Caramel Poke Cake.  I got this recipe from a Facebook page, and it appears the page is gone now.  If you want to make one, it is SO simple and SO good:  a chocolate cake mix, baked in a rectangular pan; poked with holes (the blunt end of a wooden spoon works well) while still warm; a can of sweetened condensed milk poured over the whole thing; caramel sauce poured over that; then let cool in the fridge.  Once completely cool, frost with whipped cream and top with chopped up toffee chocolate bars (here in the UK, use Daim; back home, use Heath or Skor).  Eat up!
(7)  Have I mentioned I'm thankful for lambs?  Oh yes!  Love these little babies and their "uncles".
Yes, those ears are for real!! 

(8)  I am thankful for so many other things, like our home.

(9)  How hard my husband works to keep us together, body and soul.

(10)  Sales of my cross stitch kits and charts!

(11)  My family back home.

(12)  Friends.

(13)  Peace and quiet.  Living on a quiet street, in a quiet and calm house; no TV.

Blessings, gratitude, and peace of the season to you all...

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giving Thanks, Pt 1

We should be giving thanks every day...but I wanted to give special attention to gratitude this month, for obvious reasons (Thanksgiving is coming!).  My gratitude is all to God.
Glory to God for all things!   
 
 (1)  First, I am thankful for my Faith.  For the Orthodox Community in the Highlands.  For Fr Raphael.  For Ancient Faith Radio.
(2)  I am SOOOOO thankful for my dear husband.  He is a blessing straight from God!
(3)  I am thankful for my lambs, big and little, and the peace and comfort and joy they bring me.
(4)  I am thankful for my stitching...for a chance to finally design and sell my designs, as well as share freebies with friends and fellow stitchers (the design above is FREE on my shop blog:  Fearn Abbey Needleworks).  

I am thankful for so many things.  I will be posting my thanksgiving all this month.  What are you thankful for?

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Story of Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart


I am reading a story which I downloaded from Gutenberg.org for my Kindle.  It's called The Story of Opal:  The Journal of an Understanding Heart.  It is actually only the journal of Opal's 6th and 7th years.  This book is filled with light.  I wanted to share it with you, and perhaps you will be inspired to go download it yourself!  Here is a wee excerpt:
And all the times I was picking up potatoes I did have conversations with them.  Too, I did have thinks of all their growing days there in the ground, and all the things they did hear.  Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind.  And the wind in her goings does whisper them to folks to print for other folks.  So other folks do have knowing of earth's songs.  When I grown up I am going to write for children--and grown-ups that have n't grown up too much--all the earth songs I now do hear.
I have thinks these potatoes growing here did have knowings of star-songs.  I have kept watch in the field at night and I have seen the stars look kindness down upon them.  And I have walked between the rows of potatoes, and I have watched the star-gleams on their leaves.  And I have heard the wind ask of them the star-songs the star-gleams did tell in shadows on their leaves.  And as the wind did go walking in the field, talking to the earth-voices there, I did follow her down the rows.  I did have feels of her presence near.  And her goings by made ripples on my nightgown.
These are the words of a 6-7 year old!  And one who is orphaned, at that.  Amazing.  Such profundity in this little book.  And it's completely free at Gutenberg.org.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hug-a-Sheep Day


Every day is Hug-a-Sheep Day here at Lamb Cottage, so I don't need a reason (how wonderful is that?)...but my blog friend, Sara, over at Equinox Farm, holds (Inter) National Hug-a-Sheep Day every year, and this year my husband and I joined her, in spirit, with our lambs here in Scotland.  It was just us, although Doodle did invite anyone who wanted to join us.  Apparently we don't live in an area where many folks appreciate the sweetness and goodness of befriending and raising and loving sheep as pets.  Ah well.  They don't know what they're missing!  So, on Saturday the 26th of October, we spent a little extra time loving and hugging our lambs, and thinking about the other folks around the world who were celebrating Hug-a-Sheep Day!  

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