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How Heaven will be like…

Thoughts of Heaven have been filling my head lately.

Following Georgie’s death, I deconstructed everything that I was told to believe in.

Slowly, slowly, a new perception and world view have emerged.

I have reconstructed the world through the prism of our loss.

The world needs to make sense to me as it stands now, a world where loss and pain are very real.

There is a word we have in Romanian, “dor”. A word very hard to translate.

It is more than missing.

It is more than yearning for someone.

It is that deep, deep longing in one’s heart that can never be satisfied once someone you love passes away.

I miss my son. I yearn for his presence. I long to be with him. My being is at times struck down, literally, with the burden of loss.

So Heaven as it was portrayed to me in church, as I was growing up, does not make sense anymore.

We were created unique and savagely independent and in need of expression.

So you know what I think?

That Heaven will be what we dream it to be, in our moments of quiet and reverie and peace.

Heaven will be…freedom. Freedom to be what we were created to be. Freedom to be what we longed to be all along. Freedom to be ourselves, in all our splendour.

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Heaven will be…long chats by the sea. Dinner parties with friends that will last for days. Dancing parties that will never exhaust us. Revealing ourselves for who we truly are with zero fear of rejection or misinterpretation or conflict. Complete harmony. Sentences that always find an end in each other’s hearts. Micro and macro community at its finest, its best, its most beautiful.

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Heaven will be…trips into the unknown. The unknown of ourselves and of the world. We are beautiful beings, infinite in creativity, ingenuity and depth of love. Heaven will be the awesome and continuous discovery of who we really are and what this world really is. Imagine, travelling without borders or need of passports or money…Endless, spontaneous, childish giddiness of discovery.

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Heaven will be…rest. Not so much physical rest but a metaphysical rest, the realisation that we have arrived, that feeling of it cannot get any better, rest in the sense of…well…peace.

Peace, deeply seated in our souls, peace, never ending, peace, overflowing.

No more striving need to achieve anything. No more torment. No more wishing for more.

A peace that our souls will know as the long sought after yearning we had while on earth.

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Heaven will be…home. It will be home as we know it or wish it or dream it in our hearts. For some, it will be quiet and serene. For others, loud and full of life and family and pets and light.

For me, Heaven will be being with the people I have loved. Heaven will be being always together, cooking and eating and laughing and cuddling and reading stories and loving each other into eternity.

And God will be there, overlooking it all, smiling on us all and our little bits of Heaven.

Heaven will be love never ending.

Never parting.

Never suffering.

Never saying goodbye, ever again…

10414614_10152066719506512_1124288673941180808_nImages, courtesy of Unsplash.

A weekend in Bray, county Wicklow

We are definitely enjoying our weekends together at the moment! To the point that we plan the following before the present is over, sort of thing :-).

We enjoyed our Armagh trip so much so that as soon as we got home, we had to book through our next one straight away, through Lidl breaks!

This time, it had to be the south of Ireland and Bray.

Alex has particularly enjoyed the challenge of putting together fun things we could do and this time, he had a whole list, bullet points and all! Very organised and much appreciated, as the homework saved us a lot of legwork and stress upon arrival and pointed us in the right directions.

10843726_333836060150800_475314412_nAccording to his well-documented research, Bray’s Saturday farm market was worth a visit so that is where we started.

11032802_1562375954046789_309373947_nAlex’s research was spot on accurate, loads of organic and sensibly priced local produce and lovely treats to be had! We loved the brand new, homemade hot chocolate stall: the Madagascar cocoa, the organic local milk and the flavoursome sugar made one of the best hot chocolates we had ever tasted! Even picky Emma couldn’t fault it and the lady running the business is a sweetheart too!

11015507_832203133519928_1207121_nWe left the market well supplied in goodies and ready for a walk on the beautiful Bray promenade, which was warm and sunny but a bit blustery, like the Dubliners themselves :-).

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11015490_1554531004808742_1396015101_nAfter loads of coffee and playtime in the park, it was time for more exploration.

Last weekend, we visited Armagh’s planetarium, this time, it had to be Bray’s aquarium :-).

I found the admission prices a bit steep, 11.50 euro per grown up and 8.50 euro per child but in the end, it was well worth it!

We were smiled at by piranhas, we petted starfish and sea urchins, admired the gracious dance of a playful seahorse and were nearly jumped upon by a curious stingray!

10296647_582209978590608_1666424337_nThe most mesmerising view was the massive sea water tank at the end, with the sharks and other big fish floating above us. It felt like another dimension, so quiet and serene and tranquil. I loved it, I could have sat there for hours to look at the fish dancing in circles of harmony.

11049131_436397113181404_459004676_nDinner was inspired by the visit and it had to be fish and chips :-).

We were given a tip about a local chippy and it did live to its reputation! The fish was absolutely gorgeous, fresh and plentiful and the batter crispy. And the chips were hand cut and downright tasty. Worth more than the 15 euro we paid for it, our lovely fish supper. The lady in the shop is worth a mention too, Alex went after closing time so she sacrificed her own dinner and let us enjoy a taste of authentic Bray. Much appreciated, thank you!

11032836_1079096622104314_648122979_nWe stayed in Wilton Hotel Bray. Our family room was huge but the decor a bit faded. Emma had great fun playing jungle huts and hide and seek games and the beds were comfortable and clean. Recommended for family stays as breakfast is varied and plentiful and the rooms cater for bigger families. Not recommended for romantic getaways or couple weekends away as the hotel is pretty basic in facilities and entertainment offers.

x5.jpg.pagespeed.ic.mrJGE-PX5SWe are back to Newcastle and Daisy Lodge next weekend, what are your Mother Day’s plans?

A day out in county Armagh

We really enjoyed the last weekend. So much so that we couldn’t wait for this one to come around!

This time, we decided to head towards Armagh, it has been ages since I was that way and Alex came up with a very well-documented plan of action which we followed loosely ;-)

Our first stop was Portadown, I hadn’t been before but I was really keen to go as that is where BittyButton has its shop. I had known of BittyButton since it was a one woman operation with a small Facebook page. Emma had a personalised hat made when she was two by the very kind grandma of the owner.IMAG0091

I haven’t taken a photo of what I bought as they were mainly gifts but I would highly recommend a visit, especially if you are into stationery, easy crafts and Christian artsy things. Oh, and buttons, of course :-):

10393659_942655275759171_5712013224481817741_nWe continued on to Armagh after our delightful stop and we took the scenery route as we wanted to show Emma the apple orchards. She expected apples on the trees and was a bit disappointed but I found the orchards beautiful, even at the end of winter and bare. Hills and hills covered in them:

10899531_618004271633190_1910625476_nEmma was going through a growth spur and despite the fact that she had been up from 6.30 a.m. and been eating more or less the whole time, she got hungry again so we decided lunch was in order, before the planned visit to the Armagh Planetarium.

Alex had included places to eat in his printed guide and one in particular had got my attention so we decided to give it a go. We didn’t regret it!

The Moody Boar Bistro and Restaurant is very ingeniously located in the former stables of the Armagh Palace Demesne grounds.

10954514_782980385105492_710031878_nThe service was quick, the waiters pleasant and confident and the food beautifully presented and flavoursome. I ordered a small burger and Alex went for their chicken salad, which came beautifully garnished and intriguingly flavoured on a bed of celeriac, rocket and roasted peppers.

10995080_429639903869366_915930325_nDefinitely would recommend a visit and not to forget, please accompany your meal with one of the local ciders, as we did:

11015514_1416351065327068_1500356433_nFilled to the gills, we decided for a quick run around the beautiful playground placed on the same palace grounds, before heading out, chased by the pouring rain:

11004978_1561750877400332_1172350339_nThe Armagh Planetarium was our next stop and thanks to hubby’s organisational skills, was a success as well. I am sure that for older children the planetarium would be a hit on its own but Emma enjoyed the star show mainly and learning about planets and constellations and the sun. She found it fascinating and although Alex snoozed a couple of times in the dark, she was more alert than both of us and repeated the show almost word by word afterwards!

11008150_611995732234217_946676730_nAfter the Planetarium we decided to head home but on the way we stopped to pick some fresh fruit and veggies from Chapman’s Farm Fresh, a local greengrocer’s.

10932432_841251739275036_1336922337_nWe were a bit baffled to find out that out of the probably 10 varieties of apples in store only one was local but we got some cracking bacon, parsnips and local potatoes plus goose and organic chicken eggs.

The best surprise was to be discovered home at dinner time, their steak and onion pie was meaty and tasty and with the exact pastry to do it justice.

Alex is under clear instructions to visit the shop again on his weekly work rounds and buy again the pie and some of their own desserts :-).

All in all, we had a really enjoyable day in county Armagh and will definitely visit again, much sooner this time!

How did you spend your weekend?

Spanish Rice Recipe

FLORA

Tonight, I decided to make paella.

I hadn’t made it in ages and I am partial to chorizo and sticky rice so it had to be done.

Emma smelled the chorizo being cooked and asked:

“Mum, are you cooking bacon?”

She wouldn’t admit it but she is getting a taste for good bacon.

She is an Irish born and bred girl, after all, it was just a matter of time until it happened :-).

I said: “No, Emma, it is not. I am cooking Spanish sausage.”

She then went, out of the blue,

“Oh, Spanish sausage! OLE!”

When did this child of mine become such a polyglot?!?

Moving on…

This is my recipe, in case the picture made you hungry for it:

Step 1

  Add 400 gr. of turkey steak, bite size, to a frying pan with two tablespoons of virgin olive oil.

Step 2

When your turkey is nearly cooked, add chorizo cubes. I bought mine from Tesco, comes in a very handy little 200 gr. box. Let it cook together with the turkey for about 5 minutes.

Step 3

Add 400 gr. of risotto rice. Start adding hot chicken stock(I used about one liter)  to the frying pan, ladle by ladle, stirring often and making sure the liquid evaporated before you add more. Make for creamy rice in the end.

Step 4

Once your rice is nearly cooked, add prawns(optional), green peas and a dash of lemon.

Step 5

Remove the pan from the heat. Add fresh/frozen/dry parsley.

OLE!

I mean, voila!

Tasty Tuesdays

Living Arrows-8/52

I did debate a lot whether I should or not link up to Living Arrows again.

Last time I did, I had two Living Arrows.

Sadly, one has left us for Heaven, way too soon.

But then I decided to go for it.

In my heart, I still do have two living arrows.

One lives only in my heart for now. And in my memories.

I think of my Georgie every day. Many times a day.

Most of the time, I remember the bad times.

The hospital days. The trauma.

But today, when I thought of him, I had this memory.

Of him grinning. Being happy.

Not understanding the magnitude of his diagnosis.

Not knowing that chemo would make him sick.

Just basking in our love.

Just soaking in the attention and the pouring of our hearts.

I remembered your smiles today, sweet boy.

And for a moment, I smiled too.

1977035_10151953966906512_943992643_nMy other living arrow, I still have with me and it is such a joy to see her grow.

In wisdom, knowledge and years.

This weekend we spent a lot of time together as a family.

Emma loves being out.

Running free.

Playing rich imaginary games.

And hospitals and hide and seek with daddy.

Asking questions about everything.

About life boats.

About Heaven.

About earthquakes and “bolcanoes.”

10593424_882050315191787_808732959_nI still have two living arrows.

One living up in Heaven.

One living with us.

I love them both equally.

And I am so proud they were given to me, as precious gifts.

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Next time…

Next time we do the baby thing, if we will be blessed with another precious little one, I will do things differently.
With Georgie, I got a second hand pram and Moses basket, thinking I was saving money.
I did, that is true, but I have always felt I didn’t give him the best.
And boy, did he deserve it, my little brave boy!
So, next time, if there will be a next time, I will get everything brand new.
Brand new to symbolise a fresh start.
And hopefully a different story.
With both Georgie and Emma, we couldn’t do the Moses basket.
They just wouldn’t settle in.
Emma had bad infant reflux. And Georgie, poor baby boy, he had sore bones.
So next time, I want to get a BEDNEST, to have my baby so close to me, within easy reach.
For those early days when everything is fuzzy.
For those late night feeds.
For those much needed and wanted cuddles.

Bednest

Next time, I will buy a brand new pram. No second hands. A brand new baby deserves a new pram, a new start, a new beginning.
A Silver Cross will be lovely. If it is a boy, a Sky Blue one, to remind us of his baby brother in the sky. If it is a girl, a Raspberry one, to remind us of all the raspberries blown to us by a sweet brother from way up high.

PicMonkey Collage

Of course, I will get all the matching accessories and paraphernalia.
Why not?
seat_liner_lime___sky_blue_2I will want my new baby to be warm and cuddly and dry.
To feel loved every single ride he gets into that pram.
I would love his nest to feel soft and padded and cosy.
In the hope that his or her bones will never get sore.
That he or she will outgrow the pram in due time and its cosy foot muff and will live to give us many joyous moments.
Next time we do this, I will do everything different.
Who could blame me for wanting the best for my next?