Scottish Breakfast

Scottish Breakfast

I prefer many foods. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late snacks, coffee in the morning, wine in the evening. This post is dedicated to the morning breakfast tradition of a full Scottish breakfast. For me it must include the following:

  • potato scone (when eating out, otherwise toast will do)
  • square sausage – also know as Lorne sausage. Carol calls it forlorn sausage – super fatty and peppery
  • 2 eggs over easy – need to be able to dip into
  • baked beans – for the Americans this is an anathema as there isn’t a hot dog and a bun nearby!
  • blood pudding – extra crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside
  • cup of joe – i.e. coffee
  • skip the tomato
  • hashbrown square
  • Lastly, I know it is bad, but I love to add extra salt. If you are going to eat this you might as well kill yourself with more salt and fasting later.

There are of course variations on this – mushrooms for example – but if I had my way this would be the true Scottish breakfast (or American with Polish background living in Scotland).


Mike’s random post for the day

Burns Supper

Tonight we had our Burns Supper. Celebrating the national poet Robert Burns. We had haggis, neeps and tatties, recited a few poems and listened to local singer (thru the cd player) Eddie Reader sing songs in honour of Robbie!

January 2012 – rain, wind, English classes, kids club and more rain & wind!

It has been a wet & windy start to the New Year. No different from the last 6 months though! We have had gale force winds blow off a clay chimney cover, knock down trees throughout the neighbourhood, move a tree in our garden/yard from a 30degree to a 45degree tilt, and move a house (well the neighbour’s kid’s play house). That hasn’t kept us inside too much as there is school, the shop, kids activities and much to do through our Mosaic community.

Our English class had a great start to the New Year. We were not sure what to expect as some members (two Spanish couples) went back to their home country and the New Year is a time for many of our student participants to recover from exams. I spoke with Saied, our Iranian brother in Christ, about meeting every two weeks until numbers increased. The first night we had 3 new participants and 8 of our regulars back – and we were missing many! We decided their wasn’t a need to start slow therefore. I had the privilege of leading the bible study portion the last two weeks and decided to take a step back and teach how to study the bible; even discussing basics of the history of the bible, the contents, reliability, and basic facts and figures. This week I taught on Philemon and how to be a detective – who wrote the book, why, main characters, purpose, application. It seems to be helping as many have never read the bible before. Now if the Holy Spirit can convince them to read it on their own and seek God’s truth for their lives – that is a prayer we can all start this New Year.

Carol and the kids have started back with the kids bi-weekly club at the Annexe. While I am at the English class, they are either at the Annexe community centre where Mosaic meets each Sunday, or in a discipleship group with a couple from our church. Please pray for this to grow outside of Mosaic as the kids invite their friends to come along. Being part of a small faith community has its benefits, but being part of a larger community, and the youth activities that this enables, is something our kids miss out on. Please pray for growth in our kids ministry. That our children would be witnesses for Christ and be bold in inviting their friends to experience the love of Christ (and the joy/fun) through the youth activities that Mosaic does offer.

This month we also welcomed my niece Emily to our home for the next 5 months. She is studying at Glasgow Uni and living with us; the kids love having a big sister to play with. Frodo also likes another person to seek affection from:) This adds a new but easy dimension to our lives as family is always fun to have with us. Today we visited the new riverside Transport museum – £74m in cost! It was certainly enjoyable but I am not sure worth this amount. The old museum was adequate and I think a simple refurbishment of some of it would have been fine; perhaps just more temporary exhibits would have sufficed. I think the money could have helped so many people during such a difficult time economically that it wasn’t well spent on this museum. As I think about our business and the pressures it faces with people being very measured in their purchasing, I can imagine this is the same for all businesses and households. It gives me pause when these sums are spent as ‘investment in the future’ when the present is so needy.

The next few months should be more of the same with the added twist of deciding schools for Lily – she starts high school next year! Hopefully as we move into Spring, our next update will be about flowers, birds and warm weather 🙂

Sophie reading at the Mosaic Christmas Talent Show

Lily performing at our Mosaic Christmas Talent Show

Best of 2011

It is the last day of 2011 and I thought appropriate to reflect on the ‘best of’. In no particular order:

  • Seeing our children grow in their faith – each a little differently but as I came into the living room this morning, I found Sophie having her quiet time. Each o our children are keen on reading and their time reading scripture is a regular part of their lives now. Harrison is a night time reader of scripture and Lily a morning like the rest of us. I pray these habits will lead  into absolute faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour of their lives and that Carol and I can be more effective in their discipleship.
  • Almost 24 years with my wife! Not necessarily all of it married but we have been together since we were 18 years old. She knows me like no other person. I see how God has entrusted to her my heart and through her I see Christ and she sees (or doesn’t see) Christ in me. She is a beautiful women spiritually and I think on the outside as well. I love her more and more!
  • The changes in Mosaic, our church. A few years ago things seemed rather shaky to me. We started a business, Wes began teaching full-time and a colleague left our team abruptly. We put things before God and to Mosaic and He has rescued us again. We have a leadership team in place, new CAI teammates and Mosaic has grown spiritually and numerically. It has changed in its ethnic and generational makeup and we see abundant generosity and care for others in an outside our community. People are growing in their faith and coming to faith. Amen!
  • Our business has weathered an extremely difficult economic and business climate. Our costs have gone up by 20-25% if not more – business use tax has gone up 110%!!, packaging 50% in some cases, currency rate has dropped 20-25%, etc. However, we have remained on target with our forecast, reduced expenses to keep up with the increases, focused on more profitable lines, marketed differently, seen internet sales grow and improved our efficiency. I believe we have honoured God with our efforts and we give Him the glory for encouragement, strength/perseverance, wisdom and faith.
  • My USA family – we got to see them over the summer and I multiple times due to business and my grandma’s Kurtyka & Grandma Lange passing away. Each trip I got to connect with family in deep ways. They are so generous toward us and we miss them so much. Now that we are citizens and have fully settled here, I feel the call to move back and be nearer to them!
  • We are grateful and have been blessed by new friends. Saied who lived with us for almost a year helped us experience Persian culture and became a part of our family. Although he has a place of his own, he is still like a brother/uncle! Peter & Natalie a young couple have blessed us in many ways. They lead a discipleship group with Harrison & Lily, Natalie does a kids club every other week, Peter leads the English course we run at our shop, and both are members of Mosaic. Natalie has also started working at the shop! They are great with the kids as they love games and we hope to get to know them even more in 2012. Mark, a member of Mosaic’s leadership team, has a passion for Christ and took me on my first walk in Rannoch moor – July and it was almost freezing that night! He also is a baker, a chef and a connoisseur of fine drink. Paul, Claire & Daisy, Tarin, Paul, Mirren & Carley and others from our girls school. We have also be blessed to know our neighbours the Thomas’, Lynch’s & The McKenzie’s better. We don’t have much available time and that we do spend with friends is hopefully enriching their lives as much as they enrich our lives.
  • Personally, all the above has grown my faith. I find myself more reflective and seeking an internal peace more and more. The hustle and bustle of family, shop and ministry has driven me inward and I have sought solitude, prayer and God’s word more than ever; in some ways counter to my extroverted nature!

I close with a simple prayer that I have found strength in and kept me focused on seeking Him.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner, Mike

Harrison is an apple from the same tree!

Harrison wanted to turn his wee gift to Sophie into something more. Here is his video of his efforts:

Sophie Ballet Video

Thought I would post one last video of Sophie at her Parent Open Evening. The song she is dancing to is the Snowman and it just a free time of dance where they interpret the music. I love the song and love it more now that I have seen my beautiful daughter dancing to it!


Christmas plans are getting interesting…

as tonight we confirmed some food arrangements. Our Iranian brother Saied will bring a sheeps head for dinner. Our friend Mark, I am asking to bring bread (he is the the original Muffin Man as his breads are top notch) and I think I will ask our Polish friend Marjenka to bring a Polish traditional food and of course us Americans will be supplying turkey. I wonder what other unique things we can add to the festivities?

Boxing Day & Hogmanay

Everyone knows about Christmas, but here in the UK & Scotland we celebrate two additional holidays. Boxing Day is the 26 December. It was the day of rest for the servants as the families they worked for gave them the day off and left over food from Christmas day in boxes – thus boxing day. We will celebrate ALL day with our neighbours by having brunch, a late lunch and the a dinner feast. Our neighbours David, Kathy, and their daughter Alex and grand-daughter Gemma (plus Kathy’s mom ‘Nanny White”) are like family and we enjoy spending this day with them so much! There will be snooker (pronounced snew-ker) on David’s family snooker table, ham, canapés, and plenty of sweeties (US: candies).

Another slightly different tradition is Hogmanay. Of course, New Years Day is the typical moniker for most who celebrate the ‘new year’, but here it is called Hogmanay. For us, again we spend it with our neighbours and others in our neighbourhood if they need a more quiet environment to celebrate; we like to hit the sack about 5 minutes after the New Year comes in! It might be celebrated in our flat or David & Kathy’s depending upon who has guests, sick kids, or needs a break! Our kids are old enough to stay up to watch the fireworks on TV from Edinburgh Castle (sorry no Big Apple ball drop for us!) and then we finish by singing (& holding crossed hands) Robert Burns’ “For Auld Lang Syne”. Rampant Scotland summed Hogmanay best as they describe the tradition/history of this day:

Hogmanay Traditional Celebrations

Torchlight ProcessionHistorians believe that we inherited the celebration from the Vikings who, coming from even further north than ourselves, paid even more attention to the passing of the shortest day. In Shetland, where the Viking influence was strongest, New Year is called Yules, from the Scandinavian word.

It may not be widely known but Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and virtually banned in Scotland for around 400 years, from the end of the 17th century to the 1950s. The reason for this has its roots in the Protestant Reformation when the Kirk portrayed Christmas as a Popish or Catholic feast and therefore had to be banned. Many Scots had to work over Christmas and their winter solstice holiday was therefore at New Year when family and friends gathered for a party and exchange presents, especially for the children, which came to be called hogmanay.”

More can be found here: