Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Never have I been so glad to see mud. In my garden where there should be grass, clinging to bottoms of my boys’ boots as they climb into the mini van, smeared across the mudroom floor. I’ll tire of it, complain about it eventually, but for now I’m glad for anything, anything but the salt and grit my family tracked into the house over the long months of this cold, drawn-out winter.

Mud, yes, we can see it, now the afternoon sun has warmed the earth. But I awoke this morning to a new layer of snow, and it lingers still–in corners and shadows where the sun doesn’t shine. And so still, we are waiting. Waiting for balmy breezes, and for tender green things to make their appearance. Waiting for color, and an end to this black and white world. Waiting, waiting, waiting for spring.

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The Kilns, former home of C.S. Lewis

The Kilns, former home of C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia series

And I’m feeling that wait as I clean the mudroom floor, glance out the window at the snow, now grey, littered with twigs and leaves, and pock-marked by the rain. I’m waiting for spring, sure, but also waiting for answers to prayers I haven’t even bothered to pray, waiting for clearly marked miracles and the next bend in the road.

Because all that waiting can make me feel trapped. Trapped, like I’ve been all winter, trapped here rattling around the house with the boys,  when most days the temperatures were too low to even get out and exhaust ourselves in the daylight and snow. Trapped in the sameness and monotony, wondering why I do each little thing that I do day in and day out. Stuck with that unsettled feeling that something’s not right, and it’s more than my décor, or how clean the house is, or even how many cuddles I give the boys. Because no matter how I try to make it so, this is not really my home. And no matter how I wish it so, though I know the very end, I don’t know what comes next. 


Oxford University, where Lewis taught

And it’s strange how much waiting can feel like fear. Strange how sameness, instead of affirming who I am, can leave me feeling oh, so purposeless, so lost.

I feel lost, but I keep sweeping that mud into a pile, a pile of black dirt I can scoop right up. And while I sweep, I think of Susan and Lucy in Narnia, waiting in the darkness of that almost spring as they watch the Lion leave them hidden in the trees to go forward and face evil. They’re waiting, though they don’t know what for, and they’re frightened because they don’t yet know the ending, or how much they can trust.

And then after, when it’s over–when it is finished–they run to caress him, to free him even though they think he’s gone. And they don’t even know what he’s accomplished, what’s been given–for Edmund and for them. And they don’t know the power he has over darkness, over evil, over death. But for the moment they are waiting, fearing every dreadful probability their minds can fathom. They fear because they’re waiting, and they don’t know what’s coming, though we on the outside, do.

So I remind myself that these times come, and I can’t escape it. In this world we must wait, though our eternity begins now.  And even though we know He’s with us in Spirit, we’re not home, not with Him like we long to be. But we know, though Lucy and Susan didn’t, that it’s coming–that being with Him. And we know, though they didn’t, just what’s already been done for us.


Gardens in Oxford University

And in these frequent times of in-between waiting, sometimes the only thing to do is sing. Sometimes when your heart is heavy–with waiting, or uncertainty, or fear–the only thing to do is lift your voice and sing out praises to the One in whose sameness you can always put your trust. Sing it like you mean it, loud and clear. Sing of what He’s done, sing of how He’s won. Sing it till you feel His presence, feel His arms wrapped tight around.

And so I’m singing, and I’m sweeping. Moving boots and wet door mats. Cleaning this floor like I’ll clean it tomorrow, like I’ll clean it the day after that. And though I’m waiting, still I’m smiling.Because it all does matter. This home, and the cuddles, and what we say and do here.

Because He’s here. And He’s returning. And when He does, He’ll really hold us. He’ll hold us and the wait will end.

He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the Table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over it to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began. Round and round the hill-top he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.

– From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

by C.S. Lewis


Running to His arms . . .



Avonlea xo

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Finding beauty in the everyday 

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Today began with so much sameness.

So much of what I faced yesterday.

Last week.

And a thousand days before. 

A crying baby and an aching back broke my sleep,

made it hard to peel back the covers and start the day, 

especially when I thought I knew

just what was coming. 

As I got ready,

stood in the bathroom and smeared cream over my face,

the murky light that crept in from the windows

seemed just like the greyness I felt inside, 

that feeling that I really didn’t want to “do” today, 

that feeling of longing for something

though I didn’t know quite what. 

And then it all happened

just like I feared. 

I realized we were out of yogurt,

and milk, 

and eggs, 

and bread, too. 

And so as I scrambled to make a smoothie with our solitary banana and some berries, 

spread peanut butter over an apple I’d sliced,

it seemed they were all underneath me at once, 

my wee men, 

one complaining about the breakfast, 

one wanting to help, 

the wee-est one digging his fat fingers into my leg and hollering to be picked up. 

And I did think, for that chaotic hour, 

“is this really all there is?”

And I knew that if it was

then I really couldn’t bear it,

and the day would not go well. 

And any sacredness there, any beauty,

in my home, in our lives,

well I didn’t really see it

at all. 

We didn’t stick around. 

I decided we needed out.

Sometimes we all just do. 

And it was cold and grey when we piled into the car,

headed for the museum. 

But when we returned

just a few hours later

the grass was two shades greener 

and the air like a greenhouse of hazy warm light. 

And as we shed our wellies and jackets in the mudroom

I checked my tomato seeds and found a few new sprouts. 

All that warmth and light had done them good. 


and light, 

it does us good, too. 

And for me,

for a follower of Jesus Christ, 

that word is just


For light can banish

not only the greyness of sameness and uncertainty, 

but the blackness of tragedy

and every darkest fear. 

And yes, sometimes life is a jumble, 

and you’re waiting,

and you’re feeling how much you really need 

to get it right. 

But sometimes that’s when God is calling

though it can be so hard to see. 

Not just in the tragedy, in the blackness, 

but in the grey. 

And though the waiting is uncomfortable

and we all want answers now, 

the greyness is the time to dig in deeper, 

listen longer, 

listen sharper, 

and persevere. 



And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus. 

Hebrews 12:1-2

Run to Jesus. 

Like he never stops running

after you. 




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I suppose my first piece of British literature was the hardcover copy of Mother Goose Nursery rhymes that I received as a young child. I still remember my fascination with the strange words and illustrations–tumbling bridges, broken eggs, blind mice, and ashes. Not always the cheeriest, these nursery rhymes, though there are a few with a more positive theme. Hot Cross Buns, for example. Do you recall? 

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

One a penny

Two a penny

Hot cross buns

I always longed to taste a real hot cross bun, along with fish and chips, crumpets, Turkish delight, and all the other mysterious British foods that I’d read about over the years. But I never got the chance to sink my teeth into one of these sweet, spiced, raison-dotted Easter treats until I moved to Scotland. Now, they’re one of my own favourite accompaniments to an afternoon cup of tea. They can be eaten lightly toasted or cold, and spread with generous lashings of butter (I never said they were particularly healthy, just tasty, although the ones pictured are whole grain!).


If you live someplace where hot cross buns can’t be got (it’s worth having a look in your local grocery store just to be sure), you could have a go at making your own. Try this recipe from the BBC– 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/hotcrossbuns_397 .

The recipe does involve kneading and yeast, and if that sounds just a wee bit too scary, you could try buying some plain or sweet buns or rolls and making crosses with white icing.

Or, if like me, you live in the UK and perhaps feel that you’ve already consumed enough hot cross buns for the season, well, go on a have a few more, but in a different form, perhaps? The following dessert would make a lovely end to your Easter dinner.


Cut some hot cross buns in half, add a thin layer butter, and then put them back together. Place into a baking dish and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Beat 2 eggs with 1 cup of milk and a tablespoon of sugar and pour the mixture over the buns. Then sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top. Bake at gas 3, 170 C, fan 150 C, 325 F for about 30-35 minutes, or until just set.  


To make your hot cross buns more than just a delicious treat, read about the very first Easter in the Bible, in Mark chapters 14 to 16. Or, if you have children, use the crosses as an opportunity to speak about the real meaning of Easter with the precious little ones in your care. You could talk about the shape of the buns, too, which can remind us of the stone that the angels rolled away from Jesus’ tomb. For the real wonder, of course, is not that Jesus died for us, but that he rose again.

For other ideas on how to make your Easter special, see my previous post on making easy, dainty Victorian Easter cards.


~ Avonlea


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Spring. Who doesn’t like that word? For most of us, the mention of spring brings pleasant images of balmy weather, flowers in bloom, and wooly lambs frolicking in the fields. Spring can also make us think of new possibilities, new beginnings, and hope for a better future.

Now that spring is finally here again, pause for a moment to reflect on some of the hopes and dreams you have for this coming year. If you’re anything like me, your list includes improving the appearance of your home, creating more special memories with your family and friends, reading more books, and cooking better meals. And maybe, if you pause long enough, you’d find some other dreams, ones that seem even less likely to come true than the others, but are dear to your heart all the same–starting your own craft business, travelling to a different continent, or visiting the home of Jane Austen, perhaps?

Scottish daffodils in my friend’s garden

Those goals and dreams may not seem related, but they’re all ideas for making our lives more meaningful. More BEAUTIFUL. Having a more beautiful life is certainly one of my goals, which is why I created this blog. Happylittlesigh is a very special little place, created for all you hopeless romantics, bookworms, tea drinkers, period drama fans, and anyone who is looking for simple ways to bring more beauty into their lives. More beauty, more peace, and more reasons for letting escape from your lips . . .  a happy little sigh.

I’d love for you to join me, and you can start today by pulling on your jacket and wellies (or trainers, if you don’t have boots), leaving the house, no matter what state it’s in, and escaping to the out doors to look for signs of spring. Bits of green poking through the rich dark soil. Fuzzy buds on the ends of delicate tree branches. Or daffodils, like the ones I photographed today in my friend’s garden. Aren’t they happy?

Hoping to see you back soon!

Saying Cheery-bye for now,

Avonlea x

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