BOOM – Below the Barn

When we lived in Connecticut we went to a yard sale one day and spent a fortune on art!

We paid the princely sum of one whole dollar for a little oil painting on canvas of a red barn.

This little painting was lovingly framed by Krishna, made its way from Connecticut to Ireland and has now returned to the USA.

My attachment to this little red barn is difficult to explain but it is truly one of my favorite things.

Today it was hung in pride of place where it will be seen everyday by our family and anyone who visits.

Its above the Chinese cabinet that holds the Willow Pattern china. On top of this cabinet a lot of other little treasures can be found including beautiful gifts from Nestle and from Nestle colleagues, a little porcelain pig purchased for a pound at a sale at my Mums nursing home and my first ever teddy.

They look so well together like they just popped out of that barn to take the air and stretch a leg!

Blessing # 194 – Finding the Fit!


Yesterday a guardian angel was doing double duty watching over Aaron.

As you know he has been having a hectic time. First all those birthday celebrations, then up very late on Monday for the furniture delivery and to top it all off end of term tests at school this week.

When he was very close to home yesterday he says he was feeling really tired. He swerved coming round a bend, over corrected and ended up in a ditch.

All this happened about a quarter mile from home. He was stuck deep down in a neighbors yard.

Fortunately no people, pets or other cars were about. He missed a tree stump by inches and even though the ditch is deep he braked so hard the car did not roll over. The only damage was a broken water sprinkler head and tread marks in the grass.

He called home immediately and his Dad took the call. I was out so Krishna called our neighbor Mike who once more came to our rescue. He quickly got a garage to send a tow truck to hawl Aaron out.

The truck had arrived and was busy working with Aaron to get the car out into the road when I came home. My heart almost stopped when I saw Krishna and Mike standing on the side of the road.

We feel so very fortunate there were no injuries only a big break and a wake up call.

Blessing # 193 – Good Neighbors

BOOM – Blueware

The biggest gift my Mom and Dad received when they married in March 1952 was a Willow Pattern dinner service.

It was given by my Moms employer Down Shoes Factory Banbridge where she was a much valued supervisor on the production line.

This service was stored away in the top of our kitchen cupboard and surfaced only at Christmas and Easter.

Inevitably over the years a few little breaks happened so today we  have five cups instead of six and the odd chip on a plate or two.

When my Mom went into sheltered accommodation I decided to keep the dinner service. It stayed in our house in Ireland where we inflicted a few more dings and dents on it!

Who could have dreamed that this typical Chinese patterned China would one day end up in a really old Chinese cupboard purchased in Shanghai China that is now placed in a kitchen in Ohio.

The plate that was clearly used most held the roast potatoes for each festive meal over many years.

Since roasties absolutely had to be kept hot till we were about to sit and eat it is, like myself, well wrinkled but I love it to bits!

Blessing # 192 – New Home for Dear Old Things


BOOM -Black Bag II

Last night our furniture from Ireland was delivered. The removal men had another job cancelled so asked if they could come between 4:00 to 8:00 pm. They arrived at 8:10 but we were so glad to see them.

I lost the will to do anything other than have an extra large stiff drink by the time they left at 11:15!

They built our bed and unpacked the furniture very nicely but didn’t build the wardrobe as “basic” set up includes beds but not reassembling wardrobes. Watch out for that and have it clarified if you are planning a move.

We all worked hard over the course of the evening so I was really delighted we had everything visible to organize today.

One of the first things uncovered was that Black Bag of Granny Barr’s and a Brown Bag of Mummy’s.

In the Black Bag was Granny’s confirmation card dated 1898. That makes it 120 years old and it is truly in pristine condition.

In Mummy’s bag there was the first Christmas present my Daddy ever bought her. It is a lovely compact for face powder but clearly she treasured it so much she never used it. So it too is pristine.

The same cannot be said for all the items but they are all much loved and there’ll be more on them in the days ahead.

Blessing # 190– Reunions

BOOM – Brigten Up

My Mom started to loose her memory in her mid eighties and by 88 had to move to sheltered accommodation. She passed away at the ripe old age of 96!

Mom was a great eater and tucked into her food with pleasure and much enjoyment. She always ate a lot!

In her latter years she tried but struggled to eat by herself and ended up having to take liquid dietary supplements.

For years I’d worked on developing these supplements. They certainly have an important role to play and are carefully designed and of excellent quality but even in the industry we had a saying that The Fork is Mightier Than The Straw.

Thanks to Sandra, who works with dementia patients, I heard of a new discovery that is so simple and encouraging.

Scientist in the UK have found that by switching from a white plate to a bright yellow one encourages people with memory loss to eat more. They believe the contrast in color of plate and foods helps people focus more sharply on what they are eating.

A whole new range of crockery called the Freedom Range is now offered with not just color but also spill proof design elements.

Great news for anyone with family or friends going through this stage in life today. Whoever said we eat with our eyes was spot on!

Blessing # 189 – Appetizers


Van Morrison is one of Belfast’s greatest sons.

One of his greatest hits is a song called Days Like This

This is how we hoped Aaron would feel about his 18th birthday.

We are so pleased to report it is!

He had gifts and cake for breakfast.

He had a good day at work where everyone enjoyed more cake.

He came home and we went shopping for his BIG present a new PC.

We picked up his girlfriend who had a wonderful gift and card for him and treats made specially for him by her Mom.

We went to Benihana for some dramatic cooking and way too much eating.

We even had some birthday serenading!

And we had what we all wanted to hear Aaron saying that this was the BEST Day Ever!

Blessing # 188 – When Everything Falls Into Place Like The Flick of A Switch

BOOM – BIG Birthday Boy

Today our baby boy officially becomes an adult!

It is hard to imagine that time has passed so quickly since we first met our Zhang Ming Biao!

We have had many journeys together to many countries. We’ve lived on three continents and we have learned a lot together about giving and taking!

What better gift can we give our lad than the blessings of the advent season in which he was born. The HOPE that he will have LOVE and JOY and be at PEACE with himself and with all the world.

Blessing #187 – Our Greatest

BOOM – Blockbuster

Aaron is a real history buff. We often discuss about India and Ireland and the similarities between the events in our homelands with him. He loves this.

Last night we all watched the epic movie Gandhi.

Each time we dig deeper into the story it gets even better.

This time the person who drew our attention was Charlie Andrews who was an English episcopal priest and Gandhi G’s dearest and closest friend.

Thanks to Wikipedia we learned that Gandhi used Charlies initials C.F.A. (Charles Freer Andrews) to give him a very special nickname Christ’s Faithful Apostle.

We also learned that he has a feast day celebrated on his birthday February 12 by the episcopal church.

This is a very important date for us too, not because it is also Abraham Lincoln’s birthday but because it is the birthday of our dear friend Patricia who is Aaron’s godmother.

Now call it coincidence if you wish but just guess who sent Aaron a present today?

Blessing # 186 – A Trinity of Heroes

BOOM – Bargain Bonanza!

Do you ever get a day when you have a run of luck on special offers?

It doesn’t happen all that often but it surely did for us today. We bagged bargains galore.

Since we were turkeyed out by the amount of bird we ate over Thanksgiving, and had exhausted every recipe known to man for using leftovers, we decided Christmas would be a big roast of beef instead.

Bargain number one of today Certified Angus Whole Eye of Round reduced from $3.99 to $2.49. You don’t need to think twice at that price! This is going to be one mighty meal!

Next up we needed parsnips because you can’t have a roast without a parsnip can you?

Well here came a discovery no parsnips to be had but in their stead parsley roots. Now if it hadn’t said parsley root on the label I would have taken a bet these were parsnips. We’ll see how they taste but we have enough parsley to last us till Christmas 2019 as they were selling them at $2.25 a bunch.

Oranges and mandarins knocked down to a dollar for a big bag for quick sale.

Shampoo, toothpaste, kitchen towel all reduced!

Vitamins were on a buy one get one free just as my beloved needed to replenish his Vitamin D stock!

Last but not least hair dye $3.25! That’s well under half price so I’ll be dark blond for the next few years!!!!

Why was this happening? Suddenly the light dawned! Someone somewhere is trying to make their bonus! No problem for us just keep those offers coming!

Blessing # 185 – Making Year End Numbers

BOOM – Brethren


My Mum came from a large family of four boys and four girls. My Mum was number five and there was an age gap of 23 years between the eldest brother and the youngest sister.

The family grew to include a total of 23 grandchildren and their current ages range from 81 to 45. Our cousins rarely all get together.

There are some cousins like Yvonne that I see every time I’m in Ireland and that I talk to very often. There are others that I haven’t seen or been in touch with since early childhood.

Recently though a whole new era of bonding with my brethren has taken place.

When my dear Mum went to glory in January 2017 my cousin Marty (Margaret) came to the funeral with her daughter Anne. Marty is my Uncle Jacks daughter and it was many years since I’d seen her and decades since I’d seen Anne.

That’s  when the wonders of social media stepped in. At the tea following the funeral itself Anne and I became friends on Facebook and thanks to this connection a link up with Marty and all her family took place. Brothers, sisters, their kids and grandkids all came back into my world from all over the world!

Just this week a card came from Yvonne as it always has at Christmas time but also this year came cards from Marty and her lovely Anne too.

Talk about joy well this has been joy in its biggest sense.

The warmth and love for each other that these family members show and their extensions of this love to me has been something I’d never hoped for but certainly a very special link from heaven that my Mum gave us all.

Blessing # 184 – Reconnections