Keep Calm and Carry On

That’s a mouthful at times. I have a friend who’s facing surgery with extensive recuperation, plus two dreadful diseases in her close family.

Keep calm, you say?

With another friend, we have an ongoing discussion about how people make it through suffering, sorrow, illness, and loss. Sometimes I think it’s a combination of this “carry on” attitude plus faith, of course, and a good dose of everyday concerns that keep us going.

 

On our recent trip, Lance ordered bangers and mash, also known as sausages and mash, a traditional British and Irish dish combining sausages and mashed potatoes. The flavored sausages may be pork, lamb, or beef (often specifically Cumberland sausage. The dish is sometimes served with onion gravy, fried onions, or peas.

This dish, even when cooked at home, may be thought of as an example of pub grub, quick and easy to make in large quantities. I’ve read accounts of wartime children being sent to pick up the family’s order of this dish at a local restaurant, since both of their parents were working.

During World War II, I wonder if, in addition to seeking divine comfort, the necessary constant task of providing food for their families helped everyone make it through. Here in the states, women survived dire Depression-era poverty and went on to endure the wait for their loved ones to return from the second world war.

Maybe it’s no wonder that generation taught us to eat everything on our plates and placed high value on a good, solid meal followed by a lush dessert.

Changed Plans and Reminders

A promise is a promise. I said I would send photos from England and a continuous report of what we are doing over here. However, the photo part has to wait because my husband is at a camera shop right now seeing if his camera damage from the trip over the Atlantic can be fixed or if he needs to buy a new camera.

In the meantime, he has been taking what we hope are wonderful shots of everything we have seen so far. So here goes from Portsmouth where the D-Day Museum completely captured our attention and where I put my pinky in the very cold waters of the English Channel.

The Salty breeze from the channel made me very thankful for the coat our daughter found for me last week. We stayed minutes from the channel in the Easley guest house where Steve and Clare provided great breakfasts and loads of information about Portsmouth now and during World War II.

One of the highlights for me was meeting a couple of women on vacation during breakfast the first day. One of them grew up in a big brick house across the street and told us that along the line of houses, where we now could see a more modern one, that meant the original one had been bombed out during the blitz.

As usual meeting these women was a highlight for me. We also explored a bombed-out local Garrison church built long before Jamestown was founded.

We went to the Mary Rose museum. The Mary Rose was Henry the VIII’s pride and joy, his best warship. But he watched her sink from Portsmouth Harbor. Centuries later, she was partially brought to the surface and is now reconstructed underneath a huge glass enclosure. So many artifacts retrieved from the Mary Rose and it’s amazing they were still recognizable.

Today I am taking a break from concrete and cement for my poor aching feet, but ice is helping. We wanted to be on a tour today, but as often happens in life, had to change our plans. The same thing happened with being able to check my emails so if any of you have written me and not received a reply now you know why.

Still, it’s a gorgeous day in Oxford England. Yesterday we saw punters rowing their flat-bottomed boats—which they call “punts”—on the river beside the colleges. We ate dinner where C.S. Lewis and his buddies met every week. It’s a pub called The Bear and it was flooded with Americans. I sure hope Lance’s photos have turned out OK. He can’t tell at this point, but hopefully will be able to send some soon. For now, a few from our phone will have to do.

 

In the meantime, I’m reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis out in a beautiful back yard of our hotel and being reminded that even when our plans go awry the beauty around us reminds us of what really matters. Signing off for now.

The Essence of Advent

Since people have already started preparing for the holiday season, I’ve invited Lynn Watson to share about her Christmas devotional with us today – first of all, here’s an enticing trailer to watch:  https://youtu.be/ZT5_uGmptZM

Also, Lynn is giving away one copy of The Essence of Joy, either print or Kindle, to a commenter (Kindle only outside the USA.)

These Christmas readings provide ample food for thought. The reader-friendly style invites us to contemplate many aspects of the nativity story–especially the scents and tastes of the season. Several sections would be perfect for sharing as a group devotional. I was also impressed with how Lynn shares the spotlight with her cover artist. 

Take it away, Lynn…

Fictional character Cinnamah-Brosia was born in the first book in this series, The Essence of Courage. She has transformed Miss Dot’s Café (her Gram) into The Coffee Cottage. She and her friends hang out there, invite you in and share their stories of challenge and triumph as each chapter begins.

courage-book-cover-frontI approached my friend Allisha to create the character. Don’t laugh, but ‘C-B’ began as a super-hero character – a pretty cool one, I might add. But we doubted she would be believable or very well liked. Many drawings later, the cover features her at the patio table warmly inviting readers to enter.

When it came time to plan the next cover, I asked Allisha, “Are you in?” She agreed.

“This cover needs to say Christmas, but not scream it. We need friends in the picture, and The Coffee Cottage. Let’s include hints about the devotions and suggest some of the aromas. Above all, this cover needs to connect to the first book.”

 

Front bookcover2

Just imagine the concepts she drew and we discarded before being rewarded with this beautiful cover illustration!

The Essence of Joy features Cinnamah welcoming guests for a Christmas party in the section, “Mint – The Joy of Giving.” Cinnamon and citrus on the wreath highlight “Citron – The Joy of Legacy” and “Cinnamon – The Joy of Integrity”. The blue framed piece on the cottage wall relates to “Frankincense – The Joy of Forgiveness.”

Allisha Mokry earned her BFA from Memphis College of Art. I trusted her imagination, instincts, and artistic gifts to create the characters and the covers. With encouragement to draw and develop as God led, her confidence blossom as I watched. I’m so proud of her and the work she has created. You may viisit Allisha on Facebook /artfulexplorations, and order The Essence of Joy at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/069296391X/.

The Essence of Courage:

You may contact Lynn at  www.lynnuwatson.com