Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I was looking for this shade of green,
about this shade , more loden , at Goodwill
today to put in the hook rug I'm going to make.
Found a darker shade and several others
with my dear friend who will teach me
and my Charlotte Mason coop of 9-10 year
olds. Got this color....a great deep brown
men's coat to pull apart...a more muted
deep rosey kind of colored skirt with
some wonderful embroidery at the bottom
to make something else out of it....and a
plaid of deep browns and rusts...and a
rich country color that has more golden
in it than this.

We started the house painting before it
all rots! I had to pick the trim
color today. He mixed a darker
green with a lighter one to match our GREEN
roof. So many shades but I think we got it.

And in the midst of Goodwill , I found a
wonderful book to add to my Miss Read
collection. I read the first chapter as a snow
falls overnight on Thrush Green and everyone
wakes to it!

Affairs at Thrush Green Miss Read 1984 HB/DJ NICE

Monday, January 28, 2008

Not on a Tuesday

I am trying to set a date
for our Book Club to have a
dinner-discussion for Robert
Capon's The Supper of the Lamb.
Looking at March for the feasting.
My Bible Study is trying to meet
this week or next.
Both involve well-lived lives of women
to whom God has blessed me to know.
Friends for the Journey.
But I feel like this card that I bought
over Christmas at The Country Bookstore
in Southern Pines. I've also found these
cards in a small shop in Black Mountain.
You could hear me giggling back in the
card section.
Haven't put it in the mail to anyone ....

From Pondering Pool

card20.jpg - 41722 Bytes
©2001 Susan Mrosek. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

You meet an author

You hear an author's voice in
her writing. That's what I've done
in Home Cooking and More Home
Cooking by Laurie Colwin.
Any of my friends will tell
you that what inspires me comes
into conversation. Laurie's books
about cooking at home and making
dinners simple and good have spilled
over into many of my friend's ears.
I just googled her name to find out
she had an early death. She just didn't
wake up one morning at the age of 48.
This from an article in the Washington
Post . She passed away in 1992.

Similarly, most of the writers she loved had been around for a while; indeed, her own most direct literary ancestor was Jane Austen, as is made charmingly clear by a brief passage from the title story of "The Lone Pilgrim":

"Oh, domesticity! The wonder of dinner plates and cream pitchers. You know your friends by their ornaments. You want everything. If Mrs. A. has her mama's old jelly mold, you want one too, and everything else that goes with it -- the family, the tradition, the years of having jelly molded in it. We domestic sensualists live in a state of longing, no matter how comfortable our own places are."

Family, marriage, chattels, tradition -- it is Austen to the core.

Now to find this last line: A Collection of
her letters is now in the works.

Laurie Colwin

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Home Cooking

From my pile of library books:

More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin:

"If you meet someone who keeps ducks,
make that person into your best friend at
once. Duck eggs are ambrosial, they are
BIG , with dark orange yolks. Their shells
are rather powdery, and they are much
larger than even a jumbo egg. They taste
like eggs to the tenth power and are
definitely worth hunting for. "

"The quail egg is the gentle essence of egg.
They are also perfect for a child's lunch

The next day after the short chapter
on The Egg and You, I made egg
salad sandwiches for my picnic lunch!
Just brown organic eggs. I keep thinking
about duck eggs!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sacred Marriage

This book was recommended by
our pastor in his series on Marriage
this month:

Click to see a larger image of Sacred Marriage by Gary L. Thomas

"What if God designed Marriage
to make us Holy more than to
make us happy."

Yesterday I stopped at a new store
as I get to know Boone:

Christian bookstore. I remembered
this book and bought it from a young
man. He said "THAT is a very good book."
Well, it was this one in the pile , next to
some Amy Carmichael books I bought too.
(this store had the best selection of Schaeffer
books I've seen outside a L'Abri Conference!)
He must have been in his early 20's.
comment from someone his age.
He turned his hand
and there was a
wedding ring. A newlywed!

Then this morning, a Dad on one of my
saw the book on the counter
and SAID the very same thing!

Two males in 24 hours. Must be good!

Monday, January 21, 2008

There and Back

Back from going up to Blowing
Rock ( Mitford) and Boone to take
my son back to college again! This time
there was snow on the ground
and the ponds were iced. Even
the waterfalls were frozen. It
seemed almost like Narnia here
in the South. There's something
very warm about the cold world.
It is what the poets write
and musicians in their songs.

To quote Linford Detweiler of
Over the Rhine in their Christmas
album called Snow Angels:

"And when we finally get back to the
farm a few days before Christmas
Eve, and it's just the two of us and the
dogs and the kitties, we'll pray we get
snowed in. And after the storm, when
all is still, the stars will wink at the
sleepy farm, and we'll hear the sound
of violins in our heads, and we'll burrow
down deep in our beds, and we'll breathe,
ourselves grinning full of Christmas:
Birth - Life - Death - Resurrection: WOW GOD."

Snow Angels VINYL LP

These are a few of my favorite things

Brown paper
packages tied up with string
is how Julie Andrews sang it!
BUT in Northanger Abbey,
Catherine Morland's packages
were tied up with ribbons. She goes
shopping and comes out with boxes
tied up with colored ribbons. Emma
and I were awed by how fun that would
be to have our shopping wrapped up like
presents instead of in bags.

In reading over Masterpiece
Theater's wonderful site, I found this
about Felicity Jones who played Catherine:

. Jones will next appear in Brideshead Revisited alongside Emma Thompson.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Foggy morning

I drove across town in the fog
this morning , thinking about England's
weather and praying for a friend's
test at work for her job: a nurse.
I was meeting another friend for
coffee in a book store.
Christmas is still going on with
some of my dear friends ...sort of
Epiphany visits in the New Year!
Both friends ~~ sisters in the Lord,
lovers of the pen and paper ( letters)
and beauty of family, books, encouragers.
A letter from either would put a sparkle
in your day!
I have been blessed with many "friends
for the journey." Luci Shaw and Madeleine
L'Engle wrote a book with that title. This
is in the front:

Slowly , and slower, you have learned to let yourselves grow strong while weaving through each other in strong rare
it is to be able to get into that kind of conversation with a friend that goes on for years and years and just continues underneath everything..." Marge Piercy

Friends for the Journey: Two Extraordinary Women Celebrate Friendships Made and Sustained Through the Seasons of Life

Thankfully, my daughter can keep
her schoolwork going. We had a
conversation yesterday about what
prejudice means , using Mr. Darcy
as the person we were discerning that
trait in . Soon we included Elizabeth
Bennett! She's only 10 and a half, but
so grown up as the "baby" in our family!
We picked up Persuasion on audio at the
library to listen to after watching
Masterpiece Theater's newest version
on Sunday night. And I picked up Somerset
LIFE magazine at the book-coffee shop!
It features two favorites: Corey of Tongue
in Cheek ( blog) and Pam Garrison.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


We got a measure of snow last night!

I journaled more today with the gift of
time with school canceled.
Even homeschooling, it was canceled!
I read in Ephesians 4:7 , "But to each
one of us grace was given according to
the MEASURE of Christ's gifts." In another
cross-reference , I read "God gives the Spirit
without MEASURE." ( John 3:34) Amy
Carmichael has taught me to PAY ATTENTION
to those words that God has given your ears in
ways you couldn't have orchestrated.
It's good to think upon
the measure of Christ's gifts. That was his life
given for me. That love overwhelmed me this
morning. As the day progressed, the measure
of all that I envisioned today holding , held
many other gems.

In the mail:

Carl Larsson: The  Autobiography of Sweden's Beloved Artist

The fire is still going in the fireplace.
I may park myself and go to Sweden.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Books at Julia's

Last summer's birthday coffee for a good friend.

She took this photo from Julia's Nest, which is
a loft overlooking the tables featured in this
photo. That summer day we sat UP in the
Nest. Monday we sat near the books.

Good food. Good books. Good friends. Good time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lunch at Julia's

The Habitat Restore has a
coffee shop called Julia's.
It is named after a founder
who gave much to others.
Today was lunch with the two
lovely ladies I teach with. ( high school
group) It was one's birthday!
The coffee is from South America
and the proceeds go down to that
store! Chicken salad and the most
delicious scone which we asked
to be topped with whipped cream
to celebrate , sort of an English birthday
cake! And the best cinnamon lattes!
Sure beats the chain coffee places to have
something homemade!

What was lovely was a group of knitters
came in before we left! They sat in front
of us. They had size 35 needles! That would
be a fast and wide stitch! Another lovely
was being right by the books , sort of like
having lunch in a library! Found a hardback
of a biography of Sarah Orne Jewett and a
book on poetry ~~ one of my passions besides
letters and paintings! The birthday girl found
"JACK"....not my friend's dog , but CS Lewis!

an old copy of The Country of the Pointed

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Glorying in the Sea

We got home tonight in
time to watch Persuasion on
Masterpiece Theater. No commercials.
WOW....Emma thought her father was
unlike Elizabeth's or Emma's! I thought
about a 10 year old talking about Jane
Austen's world like that. We both
commented that her sister , Mrs. Musgrove,
was like Miss Bates in Emma. Here's
my favorite line from the book:

"Anne and Henrietta, finding themselves the earliest of the party the next morning, agreed to stroll down to the sea before breakfast. They went to the sands, to watch the flowing of the tide, which a fine south-easterly breeze was bringing in with all the grandeur which so flat a shore admitted. They praised the morning; gloried in the sea; sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze--and were silent;"

Persuasion, volume 1, chapter 12

From Homes of Jane Austen:

We found the little parlour on the right-hand side of the entrance door gay with country flowers in honour of the day. There in that room were written "Mansfield Park," "Emma," and "Persuasion," so that we, her grateful readers from far and near, were standing on the very spot where Jane sat at her little mahogany desk and brought into being the gentle Fanny Price, the spirited Emma, and the sweet Anne Elliot. The speeches were from the heart, and warm in [Page vii] appreciation of one who had bestowed upon us a "perennial joy."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson is one of my favorite
painters. Swedish artist who loved
his family and country life and all
the things that make life warm and
cozy and fun. I usually buy anything
I see by him. Last year at
the Mint Museum was his calendar.
I have books and notecards. We have
a high school friend who is a jazz
musician in Stockholm. He sent me
a package of postcards of Larsson's
paintings. Nice to have them from his

Larsson's house was extraordinary.
It's above. Here is A Nap Outdoors!
Sort of felt like that the last couple
of days, hasn't it!

Friday, January 11, 2008

It is Friday

The sun has come out after
a foggy yesterday with rain.
It felt like Friday yesterday and
today does too. Fridays have a
wonderful sigh to them, don't they!
So I had two days of sighing.

The weekend is ahead.
I'm thankful for the time it holds!
More on my reading ........and
third son returns from the mts.
to go back to school in the mts.
on Sunday!
We'll feast tomorrow night!

Carl Larsson, Around The Lamp, 1900

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Just give me a pen!

Lots of remakes of that last
blog entry! I don't know where
the margins are so the words
come to the next line when they
cross some invisible line that is
right over there!! ( on my screen)

Love Letters ~~ a pen and paper!
I'm reading the Letters of Keats
and Letters of Thomas Chalmers
right now. One to teach, one to
teach my soul!

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Life Changers

Some answers :

Gileskirk is a high school humanities
curriulum from Franklin , Tenn taught
by Dr. George Grant. Google that!
Best thing we've done in homeschooling.
My third son, freshman at Appalachain
State, exhorted our class ( 15 homeschoolers)
to keep on because it's how he learned how
to study and knows it formed his worldview.
Then he was off to the mts. yesterday to visit
a friend and to get a snowboard! We are doing
Antiquity this year. It's a four year cycle. It
changed our lives.

L'Abri Fellowship also changed our lives.
Francis and Edith Schaeffer founded L'Abri
in Switzerland in the 1955 as a study center
for up to a 3 month term and today has
branches all over the world. I've never
been a "student" but have been to
many L'Abri conferences.
The 50th Anniversary Conference was in St.
Louis in 2005. Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
wrote "For the Children's Sake" and "For the
Family's Sake". She has mentored me deeply
in how I've homeschooled using Charlotte
Mason's methods . I had the pleasure of
meeting her in 1995 here in Charlotte when
our homeschool support group hosted a
day and half conference
with Susan! I had just begun homeschooling and
thought God was Amazing with a Capital
A!! I still do !

Steve Garber is head of the Washington Institute
on calling and the author of The Fabric of
Faithfulness ( book for college students).
He gave a lecture in St. Louis on
True Spirituality, stemming from
Schaeffer's book, but more what it meant
for him. He referred to The Wild Birds
by Wendell Berry as the best example
in a novel of calling.
Doing that which God made you for as a
vocation. I read the book 3 years ago,
but I remember the character wanting
to be a priest but becoming a barber!
I have never forgotten how rich that
barber's life was.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Getting it right

Right at the end of class this
morning, (Gileskirk) I saw several
of these on the railing of the deck

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans

I found out WHO these birds are:
Phoebe! Cute white underbellies!
There were several , so they bring
their friends.

It's wonderful to find out something
with a Bird book. And they are new
to our house@!

Good book of Wendell Berry:

The Wild Birds:Six Stories of the
Port Williams Membership

I heard Steve Garber at a L'Abri
Conference say that this is one of the
best books on "calling." So I came
home from St. Louis that year and
bought it!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Stuck in my mind

There's a scene in "Facing
the Giants" that is stuck in
my mind. After the 4th pregnancy
test, the coach's wife has a negative
report. She goes out to the car and
looks up at God with tears and says:
"God , I will still love you."

Those words will stick with me
in days to come. Strength.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Oh the weather outside is....

The rest of that song is
LET it SNOW. It's cold enough
to, but no clouds. Very , very cold,
so my husband is building a fire
in the hearth! He's a corporate
guy who gets to commute down the
stairs to the libary to work at home.

Our plans changed
today. We're home to read and
write and think now in front of
the roaring fire!Maybe the knitting
needles will get pulled out of our

Reading about Jan Karon's house
in Virginia. John Grisham lives nearby!
It's a historic farmhouse that she
refurbished and has in her will to donate
it to a children's organization.It's all about
redemption: the property, her books, her life
now for Christ!

Comfort and joy

The coziest room in the house is the kitchen. Its wood-paneled walls and cabinets are finished an antique sage-green. In one corner is a large fireplace, built-in window seats, comfy French Bergere wing chairs and a gate-legged table. "I like to sit here and have a cup of tea," she says.

Even the basement had potential with its exposed brick walls, low wood-beamed ceilings and 7-foot-wide fireplace; Karon renovated it to look like an English tavern. "I wrote a lot of Light from Heaven here," she says of her new novel, the ninth and final book of the Mitford series. (It made its debut this week at No. 3 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.)

There's a fun chapter in Lauren Winner's
Girl Meets God, about trying to find Jan
Karon's farm near Charlottesville. Perhaps
Lauren who is at Duke now, has met her!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

At the Back of the North Wind

That's how it felt today!
It made me think of George
MacDonald's children's book
where one of my favorite poems
is :Where did you come from ,
Baby Dear?

Just put this on a progress report
for my literature class. I love the
truth in CS Lewis' words:

"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it.
It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life
requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates
the deserts that our lives have already become.

A manuscript of At the Back of the