Category Archives: Pondering

Seòras Murdaidh Fionnlagh

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Staring into oblivion, originally uploaded by peigi_pest.

So, this is what has served as my creative outlet of late, and what has kept me busy, both in preparation and arrival, and away from this little space. We have a little baby boy. He is nearly two weeks old here in this photo. Born on the 9th April 2013, weighing a pan drop under 7lbs, he has now doubled in size! It has been so lovely seeing his development, both physically and character-wise, over the past 3 months and we can’t wait for what lies ahead. Seòras is a Gàidhlig name, equivalent to George in English. You may know that I have a brother named Seoras, who was named in memory of our maternal grandmother, Georgina. But baby Seòras (or wee Seòras as he is becoming known as!) is not named after uncle Seoras. Both Ruairidh and I both had special Grandpas called Seòras, who hold a special corner of our heart, and it is after these men that baby Seòras is named. I have to admit taking a while getting used to calling someone other than my brother, Seoras! Especially my son! Seoras is normally preceded by a shout of “MUM!…” and followed by “…is annoying me!” I have to admit, in the early days, I frequently called him Ruairidh accidentally! His middle names are also memorably significant: Murdaidh after my late father by blood and my maternal Grandfather John Murdo; and Fionnlagh was Ruairidh’s other Grandpa. So that’s all the Grandpas covered!

Seòras loves to laugh and smile, showing off his dimples. I think he’s going to be a singer and musical like his father, he loves songs and music, and joins in with his own noises. He is very much a movement loving boy, happy to be on the go and swung or carried about. We are thankful for this for the 1hr 15-30 min car journey north to the main island town of Stornoway and to family. He doesn’t mind the car at all. But on the other hand, he doesn’t mind sitting, settled and happy, in his bouncy chair or on your lap as long as he can see what is going on around him, has action or new surroundings to contemplate, knows you are near and pay him special attention once in a whiley. Not too much to ask?! We are so chuffed that he is a cuddle-loving baby, because I don’t think we could not cuddle and kiss and squish and squeeze, low raspberries and tickle those toes! He delights in life, we delight in him, and are delighted with such a blessing in our lives.

It’s strange how it seems that life could never have been without him. Even though there are so many new things, challenges, difficulties, joys and wonders we never knew before, it is as though he has always been. He has always been a part of our lives, just waiting to enter the act at the appropriate scene. What wonder to think that he, he is the little one over whom we held such great anticipation throughout those long months; who was tucked safely away until the appointed time, when he turned our world upside down and our hearts inside out with joy…and sleepless nights! To think that that wonder will continue throughout life – this boy, this teenager, this man, was that tiny baby?! What a journey! Deep down, we were always waiting for him, and now we get to enjoy him, knowing that our time is full, blessed, and challenging, but short.

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Memory clutches

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Memory clutches

     It amazes me how much of our memories (well, I speak for my sieve-like brain if not for yours too!) vanish into thin air, like a whisp of smoke floating out of reach, unable to be grasped. And yet other memories, both unremarkable and decidedly significant, seem to cling on, unwilling to fade with the passing of time. A picture, sound, sight, smell, person, occurence, or maybe just ‘the way things were’. memories take so many different forms. Sometimes they are sharp and clear, and other times they may be vague in form yet just as comforting. I have a mug. I grew up with that mug in our kitchen, but then it went on holiday somewhere (most likely tha back of the cupboard!) and it was no longer a part of my daily life. After its long absence, I remember the first time I saw it, and touched it. Something came flooding over me. I used to use this mug, a lot. I remember the colours of those pastel flowers. I remember the ridges in the paint. I remember the warm milky hot chocolate I drank from it. Oh, that taste! What comfort there was tied up in that bedtime cup of chocolate, in the comfort of home and routine. My memory connected with that mug is comfort. Not a picture, or a moment, or a funny thing that happened. Just comfort. That is more than enough. Still, when I see and touch that mug, comfort wraps its arms around me. Sadly, it is now badly chipped and worn. But that is one mug I won’t throw away! It’s too special to me, even if insignificant to others.

     A song just started playing on an iTunes playlist. Something clutched at my heart. Sure, it’s a beautiful song (Grace like rain, Todd Agnew) but it was more than the song that touched me. I was transported. Driving in the car during the year after passing my test. With this song playing, over and over, as the one CD in the car played over and over. Lovely memories of the thrill of being an independent driver. But more. Bittersweet. Driving to and from visiting my Granny, last living grandparent, closest to my heart. Visiting her in hospital and nursing care home. Bittersweet, time together, the dawning reality and acceptance of our time together ending. The beginnings of acceptance and mourning. The joyous awareness of the blessed time we still had. More than a song. No arms of comfort in this memory, just a clutching at my heart. Equally precious.

Today, memories are increasingly wrapped up in photo images or video footage. What a blessing to be able to revisit, ignite these memories, and store them up safely for the future you and future generations. I was recently watching a documentary on TV about capturing images during the great World Wars. The presenter visited with a Frenchwoman whose parents had served in espionage and undercover work during WWII. They had both been killed when she was just a baby. The documentary had investigated the photos and video footage her father had taken during WWI as he flew over France and neighbouring countries, capturing the landscape. She had done some research on her parents and on what happened to them at the end of their life, and her research was very precious to a daughter who had never known her parents. But, she had no clue about the plane journey her father had made in WWI. As she watched some of the footage, she saw her father, flying the plane, turning his head and talking and interacting with the man behind him holding the camera. She saw her father smile. She broke down. She explained how in the photos she had of her father, he was always so serious. She had always wondering what he would look like smiling. What a precious gift! Memory is such a gift.

     I have no memories of my birth father. He died after I turned 1 year old. There are photos. There are stories. They are precious. But in a way, more precious to those who knew him, who miss him. They have the memories woven into the images and stories. They have real emotional ties. I remain, in a way, detached. I remember coming across video footage belonging to a family member, compiled over the years from daily life and holidays. I remember the tension, I might SEE my father. I saw his legs, his back. But not his face. I have never heard his voice. But I have photos of him smiling. Of him with me. I have more than many others. And, I have been blessed with another father in life. From even before my birth father died, I was part of a complete family. I did not miss out. I had and have so much more than many others. I have been ingrafted, this is the reality of who I am. It is difficult for other members of the extended family, because they see how things were, they remember as label me as being someone else. But to me, I am my mothers and father who brought me up, raised me, kissed my bruises and told me off, daughter. I am my brothers’ sister, and my sister’s sister. I am who I have become. Life circumstances so often dictate who we become. Even more, I have a heavenly Father, who understands where I’m at, in life, emotionally, spiritually. A Father who has taken me through every moment, and who cares and provides for me more than any other. I trust Him. I trust Him to know the best. Unless we surrender, life will eat us up. I entrusted to him many years ago my confusion, my hurt, my questions, my life. To whom else can you go? Who else understands? Who else works things? And He drew close and blessed. What a blessed life I have known!  I tremble when I think of where the road could have led. But thankfully, man is not ultimately in control. Surely our memories of life bear witness to this? Cherish your good memories. Trust God with the hard and difficult ones. He knows.

I had hope just to share a little of what memories mean to me, but as usual, I seem to have gone on.

Words ramble, as thoughts flow. Thank you for letting me share.

‘Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is… For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 6:10,12  ESV

Pslam 27

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6  ESV

That we would truly say this, no matter the trials that come our way. Because, over and above it all, He has blessed us with every blessing in Christ Jesus (Eph 1).

Granny, nearing the end of life

Merry and brave

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Our seasons seem to have decided to move on- Spring has sprung! I saw quite a few lambs and calves about today as we drove to the beach for an afternoon picnic. But this year Spring seems to be slightly confused, as you may have guessed by the fact that we had a beach picnic today! Yup, blazing sunshine and no rain, and sunburn! We didn’t stop to think about sunhats or suncream, so we’re a bit pink in the face tonight! Let’s hope the sunshine regulates, and shines throughout the summer, and not just for this week in March! March has brought some quite windy, wet days as well though. I feel for all those daffodils in our garden, being tossed about mercilessly. But still, they hold their heads up proudly, defiantly cheerful in the face of bleak days and bitter winds. Daffodils are such courageous flowers. They are one of my favourites. Courage and beauty are themes paralleled in the book ‘Rilla of Ingleside’ (from the Anne collection, by L M Montgomery) which I am reading just now. The ladies of Ingleside resolve to be ‘heroines’ in the midst of the turbulence and menace of war. The daffodil bravely flowers under the first timid warming rays of the sun, while most of the other flower kindred snuggle deeply down, defiantly deferring until the coming of warmer days. Daffodils have such courage. They delight in bursting forth to beautify the earth, despite the harshness of the wind and rain. They are content to sway back and forth, (or whip and lash back and forth as they do here on the rim of the Atlantic!)  glowing with the very essence of the sun above. Such joy. It cheers me up to see their happy faces seeking the sun.

Yellow seems to be the colour of spring around here, with the daffodils, and the gorse bushes flowering as well. Gorse is another of my favourites of the botanical world. They seem so dependable, and solid. Untouchable, with their pointed needles. Their gnarled branches speak of wisdom, and their delicate bright yellow flowers reveal a sense of humour, delighting in existence under the sun and in the face of the wind. There is a combined flavour of old age and youth with gorse. Their crowning glory, it has to be said, is the perfume of their flower. So delicate and winsome, with a comforting tone of coconut. Yup, the glorious scent of coconut in the wilds of Scotland! We don’t smell it as strongly here at home, where the surrounding area is so open and the wind blows it all away. But it is just beautiful in the sheltered area around my parents’ house. Beauty is all around us, all the time, I have to admit. But it’s easier to see it illuminated in spring sunshine.

Evolving Pinterest?

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I thought I’d share some further posts I’ve come across that continue the topical discussion of Pinterest and issues of legality. Kirsten of DDKPortraits was contacted by the founder of Pinterest in response to her post discussing her concerns with Pinterest. Head over to her blog to read her update ‘My date with Ben Silbermann…’ and don’t forget to delve into the many comments for more interesting and informative reading. If you like the idea of Pinterest, are an avid user, or even have some spare time, I definitely think it worth the time reading. Also, she has some pretty cute baby portraits to raise a smile and a ‘coochie-coo’! The relative ‘newness’ of Pinterest and the certainty of future development, evolution even provides comfort and assurance to some, The Mom Creative for one thinks the issues will be resolved. I think they will too. If Pinterest wants to stay at the top of its game, it will have to. But I think a lot of damage could be done in the meantime, with people misusing the tool. There may be a big legal wake-up call before Pinterest can evolve much. Also, how could they not know what they were setting themselves up for? With a legal team? They certainly covered themselves! There are a number of informative comments on DDKPortait’s post. I haven’t deleted my Pinterest account either, just addressed the way I use it. Making a Mark shares things from the artist’s perspective. Again, note comments as well as blog posts.

Has anybody found any other interesting and informative articles?

Enough of the cyber-world, I’m heading outside to the real-fresh-air-world to attack some overgrown plants!

cold toes

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Our boiler is on the blink again. well, it hasn’t really been fixed properly since the last time it wouldn’t switch on. I don’t like red glowing ‘lock-out’ lights! And Ruairidh is away for a couple of days, so there is just me trying to warm up the house! And I don’t even have the option of a fire to warm my toes as  the fireplace still isn’t in full working order. The rim has yet to be put in place, a messy, dusty job, as Ruairidh will have to cut out a slight groove for it to rest in because, unfortunately, it’s a bit deeper than the previous one. And I think a little bit has to be sanded off the back of the wooden mantel to get it flush with the wall, and then it will be finished! Maybe next week. Ruairidh is away at translation meetings until Wednesday, so nothing will happen this week anyway.

The past three weeks have been so busy, I feel like I’m emerging from a cloud that has enveloped us entirely, cutting us off from the realities of the lives of friends and family living in the free air of another world. More time seems to have passed than the date on the calender reveals. Intense times. Wonderful time with our friends in church and visitors over the weekend of communion and fellowship. A hectic day of a visiting committees and meetings with the congregation. Sad days with the death of an elderly lady, she was the oldest member in the congregation. And still more death touching the local community at the end of last week. This particular cloud continues into this week as they investigate and seek closure. Death, the intruder. And yet it is reality, it is the most certain thing about life. How it shocks us. We get so comfortable, so preoccupied with things that don’t matter. Are we living a life that is worth living? Do we make the most of our days? Do we allow the risk of being honest, of opening our heart in truth, in the knowledge that there is no time to be afraid, to hide behind our walls? I don’t like living on my own. Whats more, I’ve learned I’m rubbish at being on my own. I don’t look after myself, I have no discipline without the accountability of other people, the needs of other people, the motivation and comfort that comes from the companionship of other people. That is, people in the same building or close daily interaction. So, I need to challenge myself over the next couple of days, not to waste them, or to waste myself, or the time that has been given to me. What a gift we have been given! Even with cold toes.

Pinterest Update

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Hold your pins folks! Here follows a quick note on some Pnterest issues I discovered just today. I just stumbled upon some interesting research with regard to Pinterest, and its legality. Yup, LEGALITY. I know a lot of the information is with regard to the States, how knows where we stand over here, but it still raised some concerning issues with regard to my responsibility and liability with copyright issues in particular. I also found the control Pinterest takes of images rather disconcerting. I recommend all Pinterest users to read these blogs (I mention and link to below) and get informed. I LOVE the idea of Pinterest, it is such a useful tool. But I am uncomfortable with the setup and the details they have in place at the moment. I am so guilty of clicking the ‘yes-I-have-read-the-terms-and-conditions’ for these kinds of things (*inconsequential* things, nothing can happen to me with this- kind of things), when I really don’t, and I certainly don’t UNDERSTAND them. So, I won’t be pinning anything until some changes come about, I’m even considering pressing DELETE. Such a shame, with such a useful and inspiring tool. I’ll be chasing down things that I pinned as well, despite the fact the I attributed to the source, I’m not comfortable with how these images can be manipulated through the site. For example, Pinterest doesn’t use thumbnails or lesser quality images, but the real deal. My apologies to you if I involved you or your images in this. I can but claim ignorance on my part. I hope to remedy somehow, and hope they haven’t spread far and wide on Pinterest boards-eek! You should see how ‘viral’ some images can go, for example, LivingLocurto’s owl smores photo (click to see the search on Pinterest). It’s crazy! Even if the source is included, problems rear their ugly head. Have a read of LivingLocurto’s post, and another important one at DDKPortraits (especially of interest to photographers), Geekgeek’s article packs a punch. Hubpages gives some good advice on using Pinterest. Learn what I didn’t realise (thick-headed me) don’t pin what isn’t yours, or what you don’t have explicit permission to pin. According to Geekgeek: ‘“Liking,” commenting, and re-pinning are all valid ways of interacting with other people’s pins. If someone else pinned it first, you don’t have to worry about holding the copyright.’ I’m off to do some damage control. Not that I initiated most of my pins, I found I mostly re-pinned what was in my interest areas on Pinterest already. Question, how many of those held the copyright themselves?

P.S. I am going to investigate a replacement tool for Pinterest, i.e. a notice/pinboard for the internet. Evernote looks interesting at a glance.

Pinterest, travels and projects

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I discovered the site ‘Pinterest’ a couple of months ago. As soon as I figured out its purpose and what it actually enables you to do, I wish I had discovered it a year before! It would have been incredibly handy for researching wedding ideas, and for organising all my bookmarks, screenshots and tabs. Yes, I confess, I am one of those people who have countless tabs {when you have more than one internet page open in the one window, they are called ‘tabs’ or ‘a tab’} open at the same time, and a few windows on top of that! I get told off by various siblings, butI find it so convenient, its hard to stop! Of course, I should convert a number of them into bookmarks, but that takes time (more time than just leaving them open) and a lot of the time I don’t want them to become permanent bookmarks. To be honest, my bad habit of taking a long time to get around to doing or finishing things is to blame. For example, I have had the Stornoway Gazette website open for a couple of days now, waiting for me to get around to sending them our wedding photo for the paper. But, hey, its one step closer to completion now that it is no longer just a written scrawl on my to-do list. The other day (well, last month) I was researching activities we could do at this summer’s youth camp, and yes, these are all open tabs in 2 windows. I have minimised them out of the way of daily e-mail checking and such like, but I think firefox is struggling, it hasn’t been quiting very well recently. I have a couple of tabs with some items I’m considering buying open just now as well- still undecided, so still open. It wouldn’t make any sense (to me!) to bookmark them. I would have to spring clean my bookmarks every couple of weeks! That is a task of mine that is long overdue, and maybe if I had more organised bookmarks and bookmark folders, I would be more inclined to use and create them.

Anyway, back to Pinterest. In the months leading up to the wedding, you can well imagine the numerous tabs I had open, with inspirational ideas, things I had to do, and websites others had shared with me. I also got into the hait of taking screenshots of, lets say, flower ideas, and saving them in a folder for later reference and inspiration. Now, if I had known of Pinterest then, it would have made things so much easier and handier. You see, Pinterest is an online pinboard. If you find things of inspiration, special things to remember, recipes, special photos, in the ‘real’ material world, you would add them to a noticeboard, a pinboard, your wall, the fridge, a folder, etc… Pinterest provides a means of recording and organising things you find online, with the added benefit of maintaining creator rights and providing a direct link to the source. I could have added the photos and ideas for flower bouquets that I found online onto a Pinterest board, just for me to see, or to share. With the board, entitled wedding flowers, they would have all been in the same place, pretty and organised! And I could have had another board for dresses, bridesmaid dresses, cakes… the list goes on. Clicking on the image would have taken me directly to the sight for further information. Pinterest also enables you to see what other people are ‘pinning’, providing a fount of inspiration in all areas of life!

I have since shared the world of Pinterest with others, perfect timing for Colin and Nma who are planning their wedding just now; and Mairianne finds it a great resource for youth activity ideas. I have boards focusing on specific things I want to make (crafts etc), inspiration for the arty things I want to create, gardening ideas for when the weather changes, interior decor,  food I want to make and gobble, photo shots that I find that I think are paricularly lovely, one for things I see that I like or would like to get… and more. I have even started a board for doors. Yup, doors. Ever since being in Spain, I love doors. Special doors. Old doors. Coloured doors. Photos of doors. They are so captivating and inviting; pieces of artwork leading to who knows where, surrounded by an aura of mystery. Just look to ‘The Secret Garden’ for an example of how enticing a door can be! There’s another topic for a board, books to read, and share. So much of Pinterest is about sharing. It is so easy to get caught up in looking at what others have pinned, I forget to make my contribution in return. Such a delightful world has been opened for us in Pinterest. Have you discovered it yet? What do you like about it? Do you have any bugs about it?

I have been finding so many things I would love to create and do, but getting around to doing them is another matter! I was inspired on a blog I visit (The Mom Creative) to create a ‘Completed Pins’ board for projects I actually take all the way. Needless to say its still empty! I’ve also found the advice of making boards as narrow is scope as possible helpful, otherwise you will never find anything! And it defeats the purpose. I haven’t had much creative opportunity recently. Well, maybe I haven’t made enough of an effort. I will though- new day, new week, and all that! I’ll take a leaf out of Anne’s (of Green Gables) book, [haha! unintentional pun!] each day is new with no mistakes in it. We had a lovely Anne movie watching night the other week at Diana’s. Of course, we only watched the first dvd, and enjoyed it very much! It had been so long since I last watched it, I had forgotten some bits. We had a lovely girls night in Vatisker anyway, thank you Diana!

There has been a lot of toing and froing during this first month of 2012. Ruairidh is away this week for the third spell this month, and I just came back on Saturday from a trip to Glasgow. Myself and Mairianne left on Wednesday to join Nma and Ruth (her other bridesmaid) for dress shopping in Glasgow. Yes, we had a successful time! How exciting to be able to support and help Nma (and Colin, I suppose) with their upcoming EVENT. So, there has been a lot of coming and going recently, and I haven’t made much progress with any of the projects and ideas I have in my head, or that are glaring me in the face, every day. But as I finish this rambling nonsense blog, it is a new day, of a new month, motivation I hope that will spurr me on to bring these things to fruition. Hopefully you’ll hear about something in the next blog!