Archive for the ‘Images of the week’ Category

“When thanksgiving hits a tipping point, it becomes thanksliving and catapults us straight into the will of Christ”  Ann Voskamp

Last weekend the sun came out and spring was in the air and I reclaimed my favourite seat in the conservatory,  and drank in the only view in our home where the surrounding houses don’t eyeball you.  I could feel petals unfurling somewhere deep within.

Richard was about to return home after 12 days away in the Congo.  And a lovely, long week of half-term holiday stretched ahead.

Today, a week later,  it is snowing and the temperature is doing a ‘sit-in’ on zero degrees.  The conservatory is a freezer once again. Yesterday we went for a walk in a forest and froze alongside the frozen pools of water. I got bone cold. Nevertheless I did experience the exhileration of the ‘green shoots’ of new friendships, as we walked with a group of  Mum’s-with-their-children.

Throughout, despite the wayward weather, I’ve been counting gifts.  I started counting three gifts a day at the start of 2013, a new years resolution.  Now it’s come to the point where by 11.00am the gifts are falling fast and furious.

Today’s Gifts:

Benjamin’s goodmorning sleepy hug.  Our bedroom is always his first port of call.  Today he enters with a lively “Bonjour”, in an attempt to shrug off the tendrils of sleep.  “Have you heard of Voodoo?” he asks.  “Voodoo, ‘you do’, voo means you’ in French”.  “Not spelt the same”,  my noncommittal sleepy response”.  Later I smile deep as I recall this.  Ahh my idiocentric son who keeps mining his mum’s heart, uncovering new seams of love.

Richard brings me a hot drink of water with ginger and almond nuts.  Don’t ask!  He started the day with a jog-about-the-block for the third time in a row.

Joanna decides to recreate her room, the furniture is moved about with the help of Dad, and now  visitors to her room  no longer have to wade through a swamp of discarded clothes.  She’s pleased with herself.

Two overipe bananas sit, waiting,  with eyebrows arched, on the kitchen counter. After a bit of a rummage through a variety of ‘worse-for-wear’ recipe books I finally find a banana muffin recipe that only needs two bananas, courtesy of Joannas after school cooking club.   It requires chocolate chips (we have cooking chocolate) instead of nuts (the cupboard only has almonds).  A green flag is waved for a bit of baking.

There are three small pots of primulas on the kitchen window sill.  Yellow, orange and purple.  No longer on deaths door.  All they needed was some water.

Richard helps clean the one long, narrow  diningroom and sittingroom.

Benjamin gets an e-mail from the first-friend-he-ever-made in the UK.  He goes to a different school now but he tells Benjamin he might be going to the same secondary school as Benjamin.

I forget to put the chocolate chips, so effeciently created by Joanna with the help of a plastic bag and rolling pin, in the muffin mix.   I have a mini tantrum in the kitchen stomping my feet up and down in quick succession. I imagine probably very like my two year old self was prevented from doing.   It’s my kitchen now, I’ll stomp my feet if I want to!   The baking has lost its bonhomie.   Do I scratch it from my list of gifts?

12 banana muffins and a thin banana loaf sit on my sideboard minus their chocolate chips.  My tummy rumbles.  It’s lent and I’ve given up sugar in all its many forms.  My echo of hunger  reminds me of the ‘tempo de forme’ (time of hunger) in rural Mozambique.  I remember the shock when I first heard a Mozambican refer to it as a matter of fact one January, as an aside almost.  Like the fact that for two months people are hungry, as their food stocks are running out, eaten by people, rats and weavels, and the harvest is not yet in, is just some kind of freak side-show, best ignored.

Perhaps this is the origin of Lent.  When people lived off the land, food reserves at this time of year, as winter drags on and spring fights valiantly to take center stage, would have been very low.  Best to offer this gnawing hunger as a gift of thanks for the greatest of all gifts.

I relook at the banana-without-the-chocolate-chip muffins with eyes that see. I’m humbled, palms open in thanksgiving.


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I’ve been away on holiday for over a week and reading through the posts at One Single Impression has been a great home coming. The prompt this week is Live Water which is perfect for me as I’ve been spending a large part of my holiday gazing at the third largest lake in Africa – Lake Malawi also known as Lake Nyassa. I don’t seem able to find the language to adequately describe the life giving nature of this lake, which literally supports the hundreds of fishing villages which lace it’s edges. The lake found me humbled by a ten hour journey which took me through parts of Africa, in central Mozambique and southern Malawi, which always stun me with their beauty. Also humbled by my shallow glimpses into the resilience and resourcefulness of the subsistence farmers, who watched us drive by.


Welcoming embrace - Lake Malawi, photo taken by Richard Dove

Dream maker - Lake Malawi

Dream maker - Lake Malawi


Water lace - Lake Malawi, photo by Richard Dove

Live Water - Lake Malawi

Live Water - Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is also famous for having more variety of fish then any other lake in the world.

The prompt immediately had me singing the words of this song which also seem right for Easter Sunday.

Let Your Living Water flow over my soul
Let Your Holy Spirit come and take control
Of every situation that has
Troubled my mind
All my cares and burdens onto you I roll

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First Week of February 2009

The birds are back

It’s raining and I am swimming my 1km in the Mediterranean- sea – green ex-municipal pool. It’s a wonderful counterpoint to the humid heat and my general ‘down- in -the –dumps -ishness’ . I can feel the joy buried deep within my soul somewhere tentatively extending her tentacles.

Turning my head sideways to take a breath, I notice the two swallows who were born in the eaves of the roof, overhanging the fat cement spectator steps, last year some time. They are sitting a foot apart on the third and final spectator step watching us in the pool. They have fluffed themselves out, because it’s possibly marginally cold for Quelimane with the wind and rain, and give the distinct impression of having put on their windbreakers to go watch the Saturday afternoon sport.

It reminded me that when we first arrived in Mozambique, 11 years ago,  it took us awhile to figure out the silence caused by the absence of birds, as a result of the 16 year civil war during which birds became an important source of protein.

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