Thursday, May 29, 2008

A row of Birthdays!

Lots of birthday celebrations
of friends this week. Tuesday
was this birthday tea
( me in the blue)
yesterday was another friend's,
today was the Supper of the Lamb
friend. She taught me how to hook
a rug so we took a trip to Goodwill
to look for a brown that she needs
for her gorgeous rug. Didn't find it
but I found a wonderful dark grey
skirt with a slight pink stripe on it.
Very slight and a Pendleton. Their
sheep bear the softest fleece and
must graze on very green pastures
of Psalm 23! Always 100% wool!
It will be cut apart, washed, and
then cut in strips for my rug.

Now heading out tomorrow to celebrate
a new friend's 50th who lives in
Chattanooga. She's invited a few friends
to spend the weekend on the river! I
think I'm the one being blessed with this
weekend. It's sort of Hobbit-like , you know,
they throw parties for their friends on their
own birthday! I met her here
and will miss seeing her in a few weeks at
that conference. She's celebrating her
parent's 60th Wedding Anniversary!
Imagine! 60 years together. Now that's
a blessing indeed!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Her first novel

"I Capture the Castle" was Dodie
Smith's first novel. She wrote it in
1948 while on a sojourn to America.
The sojourn was a move to avoid the
British draft by her husband! Home-
sickness inspired her to write "I write
this sitting in the kitchen sink."

Although Smith missed her home, she and Beesley
stayed in America for many years after the war ended --
they didn't want to put their Dalmatian dogs through
the six months' quarantine that was then required to
bring pets into England. ( from B&N Meet the Writers)
Sound familar.
"101 Dalmatians" came out in 1958.

First British edition, pub. 1949.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Capture the Castle

Several friends are reading "I Capture
the Castle" by Dodie Smith. I read it years
ago and couldn't remember who introduced
it to me. Last week, I ran into a friend
coming out of Target and it was her!
Dorene won't watch the movie and
we were going to pick it up
at the library. I needed to remember the
whole story. I like the book better . BUT
I just discovered the main character
(Romola Garai) has played in recent movies:
Amazing Grace ( the girl who marries
William Wilberforce) and in Atonement
( 18 year old Briony, the
nurse in the war)....and Cassandra

Monday's Plantings

My dear husband got 4 plants
in the ground for me this morning.
Two pink hydrangeas ( let's see if they
stay pink or turn blue) and a butterfly
bush and a carolina jasmine.
These May days seem so fresh with the
heat staying far south of here. It's the
kind of air that gives energy. And the
kind of beauty that gives wings to poets.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Filling up a Pew

We're not always together on Sunday
mornings ( college sons), but today was
one of those Proverb 31 Sundays when
all my boys came to our
church.( rising up to bless me!)
All are home or in apts. June is around
the corner and it has seemed like summer
has been here for weeks with college and
graduation behind us ( the oldest). Summer
jobs in progress and a career job in June for
the oldest. We praise God from Whom All
Blessings Flow!

I'm going out to sit by our pool under the
blue skies dreaming of a place like this:

Bickleigh, Devon, England
Bickleigh, Devon
Devon, England
Picture by


Sit and be still
until in the time
of no rain you hear
beneath the dry wind's
commotion in the trees
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is prayer.

Wendell Berry: Sabbath Poems

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Sunshine

Good shower this morning and now
the sun is out. Good growing weather
for the garden. Kids too.
Cleaning out emails, my bedroom,
and generally loving having time to
get to these chores! Looking at this book
online and hoping we get a bit closer to
the title!

A Well-Kept Home : Household Traditions and Simple Secrets from a French Grandmother

Well-Kept Home: Household Traditions and Simple Secrets from a French Grandmother by Laura Fronty, Yves Duronsoy

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last Day to watch Cranford

Is tomorrow on Masterpiece
Theatre online. Here's a line
I wrote down that Mr. Holbrook
said to Miss Matilda:

"Haste has never been our hallmark,
Miss Matilda! We would be unshaped
if we began to move at speed!"

Miss Matilda (Matty) Jenkyns

Dame Judi Dench

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spurgeon again

I've been listening over and over
again to Tim Keller on Hebrews 12.
Then read in a devotional our Pastor
wrote for the 50 Days of Prayer ( PCA)
about all these struggles, difficulties , etc..
being a means of grace. Hmmm.....then
this MORNING from Spurgeon:

"Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah's top, and
view the landscape o'er, and rejoice with
confidence in my future inheritance; today,
my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no
joys, but much distress. Is this part of God's
plan with me? Yes, it is even so. The elipse
of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the
fainting of your hope, all these are part of
God's method ( means of grace) of making you
ripe for the great inheritance......These trials
are the testing and strengthening of your faith--
they are waves that wash you further upon the
rock--they are winds which waft your ship the
more swiftly towards the desired haven......

By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good
report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and
distress , by persecution and by peace, by all
these things is the life of your souls
maintained, and by each of these are
you helped on your way. OH, think NOT,
believer, that your sorrows are not out
of God's plan; they are necessary
parts of it."

Winslow Homer
Breezing Up

Monday, May 19, 2008

Change from this to Monet

for a brighter painting!
I love this one too, but
everytime I came here I
thought about Autumn instead
of Spring to Summer:

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Reading Rumer Godden

I'm catching up on my bookshelf
that has books I've collected. One
author is Rumer Godden. I finished
IN THIS HOUSE of BREDE last week.
It is about Philippa Talbot who leaves
her professional job in London to enter
a monastery, cloistered Benedictine
nuns, in England, about
the 1950s. I love the phrase "We have
you tucked in our sleeves." I imagine
several notes and names in those nuns
sleeves. Maybe there are pockets in them?

" We have you tucked in out sleeves,"
Dame Perpetua had written to the expectant
mother. 'In our sleeve.' and it was true.
Every nun had her personal post , a continual
stream of letters went out - 'lifelines' , many
people called them: each anchored in the
strength of prayer."

Today I started The Greenage Summer.
Greengages are plums!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Children on a Fence

New painting on the blog!
Winslow Homer did a graphite
drawing that is at The Art Institute
in Chicago as a preliminary:

Children Sitting on a Fence

Winslow Homer
American, 1836-1910

Children Sitting on a Fence, 1874

Above is watercolor and it's home is in
Hartford, Conn. at the Athenaeum.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We're done!

Got my literature final and grades to
my students today as they took the
20 page final in Humanities! Amazing
exercise in this curriculum. It strengthens
them. They find out they can do it!
After a lunch at a local pizza cafe, I
sat and read the recent Victoria Magazine:

"One ought , every day at least , to hear
a little song, read a good poem, see a fine
picture, and , if possible , to speak a few
reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von

A dear friend and letter writer sent that quote
in a note to me last week that is in this issue.
The Blue and White issue!
One of my students gave me this book:

The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication

That was next and I love that she
wrote that the mail box doesn't have
a busy signal!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Prince Caspian

Sneak Preview tonight free ~~
it's back to Narnia and battles,
swords, catapults ~~ which I don't
think were in the book as much as
in the movie, but it's
very good. Very , very good!
The kids have grown up a bit.
And a few other elements thrown
in that hopefully Lewis would like!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

In the mail

"One ought, every day at least,
to hear a little song,
read a good poetry,
see a fine picture, and, if possible,
to speak a few reasonable words."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

That came in the mail today tucked
inside a lovely card. Handwritten by
my friend. It makes me
think of Charlotte Mason and the delight
in my children's lives from their
homeschooling. This year was Pieter Brugel,
Mendelsohn, A Midsummer's Night's Dream,
Julius Caesar for my teen, and the Odyssey...
memory work of the Invocation of Light by
Milton, Ode to a Grecian Urn and others.....
lots of good books.Math too!
All being tied up now as the year ends.
Beautiful ribbons. Brightly colored.

I'll be heading to the Childlight USA
Conference in a month. Really good
blog on Wildflower Rambles by a good
friend. It will make you want to go
find some!

Rest Harrow:
It is a favourite food of the donkey.
A troublesome weed, with a root that affords a sweet,
viscid juice. Common in arable land. Its long, thicklymatted
root will arrest the progress of the harrow, hence its name.

A tradition exists that this was the plant from which the
crown of thorns was plaited for the Crucifixion.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spring on the higher elevations

We crossed the Continental Divide right
at Blowing Rock this morning and Spring
came back. The higher elevations had
bare limbs and that wonderful Spring GREEN
with new leaves. The mts. had a sort of quilt-like
coloring which brought back thoughts of Spring.
The park in Blowing Rock was full of daffodils.
Ours are gone, way gone!

Great day which has been punctuated with
music. You know when you hear someone new
and say "WHO is that?" That's what happened when
we got back at 7:30, got omelets going, fresh whole
wheat bread from the bakery in Boone, and the
Weepies to serenade us! Can't Go Back Now.....
very appropriate for bringing SON #3 home from
his first year at college! He'll go back in August!
Ping pong tournaments start in the basement!
The older two sons finish tomorrow with finals.
Celebration of endings!

Say I Am You

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Heading up to Boone

To pick up Evan from App. State Univ.
Other two older sons are in finals until
Thursday. I give my Antiquity Literature
Final to my high school students on Thursday.
The school year is wrapping up and being
neatly bowed! Only one graduate this May:
the oldest with a MACC. Summer awaits and
that reminds me of a quote from a good book:

" Summer did come at last and, when it did ,
it was one of those summers of poems and
stories and country pictures, a once-upon-a time summer,
it was hot day after day , week after week, so we slipped
into a dream, where we imagined it never-ending ,
a paradise world of long, golden days."

The Magic Apple ~ A Country Year by Susan Hill

Monday, May 5, 2008


Last night,
Masterpiece Theatre had the first
episode of Cranford, three part series
of Elizabeth Gaskell's books. I haven't
read the books, but an evening in England
in 1842 with Judi Dench, several P&P
stars ( Mr. Bingley and Lydia Bennett)
and several other good actors is a high
recommendation. You can watch it
online starting today.

from the site:

Watch Episode One
Mary Smith moves to Cranford to live with
sisters Deborah and Matty Jenkyns. Adventures
ensue, including the arrival of handsome Dr. Harrison
and his newfangled medical ideas, a glittering garden
party hosted by Lady Ludlow, and great agitation
over the approach of a railway and the change it will bring.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

C.S. Lewis's Best Book

He said it was Till We Have Faces.
Joy Davidman edited it as he wrote it
in 1955. Published in 1956. First title
was Bareface, then changed from a line
in the book. I'm just finished reading and
teaching it to 14 high school students.
It was based on Cupid and Psyche myth
and Lewis wrote a poem about it 30 years
earlier. It's about the triumph of grace.
Peter Kreeft has an excellent lecture on it
on his website.

"When the time comes to you at which you
will be forced at last to utter the speech which
has lain at the center of your soul for years,
which you have, all that time, idiot-like,
been saying over and over , you'll not talk about
the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do
not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till
that word can be dug out of us, why should they
hear the babble that we think we mean? How
can they meet us face to face till we have faces?"

Somewhere over the rainbow

My sister's view ...her backyard. Last weekend after the rain.

Friday, May 2, 2008

NOW that was Something

I picked up Gordan, son 4 , after driving
to help Bryan, son 1, who locked his keys
in the car AT the pump(!) ~~( one of those
days)~~ at Staples. He was getting his book
printed and bounded for his 40 Hour Project
Presentation tonight. There at the cash register
was a promotion for the store's Anniversary
AND there was my oldest brother and his wife
on it! SO STRANGE to go into a store and see
your family on a poster! I knew where it was
from: A Mediteranean Cruiseline hired them
for promotional photography while on the cruise.
NOT a bad job, huh!!! I called him in Texas this
afternoon and he said they signed all photos
off to a Stock Photo Co. in San Diego.
They keep using this same photo in other
places too ~~
United Airlines, San Diego, a friend
saw it in Staples in NY and emailed him yesterday!
He has whitish grey hair and his wife has
reddish hair! They look like they were having
fun. They were.

Jock Bethune

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Not A "DECK" Old Anymore

Yesterday my daughter said "This
is the last day of you being a DECK
OLD!" I chuckled. Not decade old which
she is, but a deck of cards.

Thank YOU to friends and family who called,

( starting with my twin brother first thing
this morning from NY), those who

took me out today, and showered me with
presents , flowers, and love.
My husband grilled out tonight. I felt very loved.

Not a DECK OLD Anymore

Yesterday my daughter said "This
is the last day of you being a DECK
OLD!" I chuckled. Not decade old, which
she is, but a deck of cards.

Thank YOU to friends and family who called,

( starting with my twin brother first thing
this morning from NY), those who

took me out today, and showered me with
presents , flowers, and love.
My husband grilled out tonight. I felt very loved.