Monday, December 31, 2007

New Calendar and Background

I changed the background several
times tonight when I figured out
HOW to do it! I put a Wolf Kahn:

It looked GREAT with the green
background but too summery.
I have this living Vermont -NY artist's
Calendar for 2008.

I replaced my 2007 calendar:
Carl Larsson, Swedish painter,

The background above
is his painting called Kitchen Scene.

God is there and He is Not Silent

Last day of this year and I think
about the Lord's goodness unto me!
He hears so well my voice. That amazes
me. He heard today as I prayed to find
a lost folder for my oldest son. He needed
to post on this day, Dec. 31, 2007,
a form for the CPA exam to be
paid for ~~ and I prayed to see that which
is lost! There it was on a book shelf, right
in front of Elizabeth Goudge! What a
combination ~~ a tax firm and an English
writer! All full of character! I praised God
that I know He is there, He is my Hope
(Sunday's sermon) and a new song continues
into the New Year!

Here's a link to a beautiful photo on Elizabeth
Goudge's site:

There's a Christmas poem of hers on the
front page and a tranquil home in the snow!

Sing hey for the God who fashioned for us
This bountiful splendour of earth,
Sing hey for courage and wisdom and love,
For beauty and healing and mirth.
But most for the Child Who on Christmas Day
Took upon Him our human birth.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sweet Basil

Christmas gift giving got over
on Thursday at one of my older
brother's house in Chapel Hill.
Fun evening with cousins and
in laws and 2 brothers and 1 sister.
I am one of 8 ~~~ so quiet is
something I treasure because there
was always some sort of commotion
going on! Such good memories nestled
in my mind to pull from for a good
story! We stopped in Southern Pines
to see the Christmas trees decorated
on every corner on the main street,
to eat at Sweet Basil ( lovely homemade
soup served in these colorful small bowls
that make it like a work of art) and then
to Mary, Mary Quite Contrary ( fun gift
shop) and the Country Bookstore. Stopped
by my mother's grave on the way out of town
to see sprays of holly, magnolia leaves and
nandina berries on each of her families graves.
All from my grandmother's yard! She loved
flowers and planted for every season to bring
into the house!

I'm reading some Elizabeth Goudge
Christmas short stories while preparing
for an "Odyssey" with my high school students!
Never read that epic! We'll celebrate when
done for such a feat! The Lord keeps giving
me a lightness to that journey of Odysseus!

May the Lord Jesus become more
of a lover of your soul. Amy Carmichael wrote:

"Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Girls finally WIN

Emma and I were a
team last night in the Scrabble
Tournament. It was against the
two winning brothers and a dear
friend of ours. She is sort of like
an Aunt to my kids! Emma got
all the high counting letters and
used them.....with a little help from
her Mom, the scorekeeper!

Warm and cozy on Christmas
Day Eve!

Monday, December 24, 2007

It was 7 degrees in Charlotte

24 years ago when our oldest,
Bryan, was born today! Actually,
it was at 12:59 a.m. which could
account for his night owl hours
today! It was one of the coldest
Christmases in Charlotte . Ken
brought all the presents to the
hospital the following morning.
A baby at Christmas.....!!!

We have a Scrabble tournament
going on during the holidays while
these college guys of ours are home
and with anyone who wants to play.
Bryan has won two games and Gordan
one. Their dad is awesome at it.
Emma and I do pretty well to keep
up. Now we all are trying to beat
Bryan! Watch out. His first word
on the first game was TAX ~~!!

Merry Christmas
and a Happy Birthday
We love you!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Silent Night

After a wonderful, fun dinner
last night with my Bible Study
girls and husbands, tonight was
quiet. We watched an "angel"
movie ~ an old Cary Grant called
The Bishop's Wife. He's the angel
akin to It's a Wonderful Life. Black
and White and it's a snowy Christmas
in the movie. I always want to be
there , a sort of warmth to snow,
you know!

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


That small town hasn't changed much.
You'll be able to see it in "Leatherheads"
which comes in April! They filmed
up there for parts and in SC and in
Charlotte ( which my husband got in
on as a Press Agent). I smiled when I heard
from the media about filming in this
crossroads that my roots come from.
Oddly, I only have been there 3 times!

  • April 4 2007 : Filming in Tobaccoville, NC
  • April 5 2007: Filming begins in Charlotte, NC.
  • April 9 - 10 2007 : Filming in Spencer, NC at North Carolina Transportation Museum
  • April 11 - 13 2007 Filming in Salisbury, NC at Salisbury station.
  • April 16 - 20 2007 & April 23 2007 : Filming in Charlotte, NC. Memorial Stadium. Closed set.

  • Clooney paid some children 20.00
    at their lemonade stand for a drink
    in Tobaccoville!

    photo of Leatherheads,  George Clooney

    Sweet Funeral

    Emma and I met my sister and her
    husband up in Tobaccoville yesterday
    for the funeral of my mother's cousin
    who was 94. Yes, there is a town , south
    of Mt. Airy ( Mayberry) right near Hanging
    Rock and north of Winston-Salem that
    has that charming name! Gail and I
    had been up to see the "Old Homestead"
    after Mom died and to do some geneology
    work! (even gravestone rubbings!) Evelyn
    helped us identify Who was Who in old
    photos. My sister whispered to me the first
    time we went to the retirement home: "You
    will remember her! She will remind you
    of Mom." THAT was an understatement!
    I walked away thinking I had meet a sister
    of my mom's. Gail and I conclude to this
    day that Mom was so busy with 8 children
    that we didn't go up to Tobaccoville with her.
    No memories , but the GRACE of God is
    sufficient. We sat yesterday with all these distant
    relatives who have the same BROWN
    eyes as my mother and 7 out of 8 of her
    children. (there's a blue eyed one from
    her father's side!)

    Amazing to hear that 5 generations were
    present AND her oldest son sat with us.
    He is 74~ imagine knowing your mother at

    We sang a hymn called "Ninety and Nine"
    that Evelyn had chosen because she
    remembered her grandfather singing it
    to her. That would have been my great-
    grandfather. Evelyn was a charter member
    of this small town church since she was 21.
    Such deep rootedness! I found out the origins
    of the hymn today and it birthed from a collegue
    to DL Moody while in Scotland . There's a
    connection to Northfield, Mass. in the late
    1800's . My older brothers went to Mt. Hermon
    in Northfield for their high school! Imagine
    that! I wish I had known that yesterday or even
    when we visited Evelyn.

    Sunday, December 16, 2007

    Tree Lighting

    Emma was given some tiny Christmas
    tree lights for her dollhouse, that is
    all decorated for the holidays!
    Thank YOU to a dear friend!
    We'll take some photos to post
    when the head of the house gets
    home! We are just bakers and
    wrappers today ~~ decorating
    the Christmas cookies and wrapping
    some presents!

    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    Advent Devotion

    I sat down with my Bible to do
    an Advent reading from a handout
    from church. Psalm 72:18-19

    Blessed be the Lord God,
    the God of Israel,
    WHO alone works wonders.

    And blessed be His glorious
    name forever;
    And may the whole earth be
    filled with His Glory.
    Amen and Amen.

    From the short devotion:

    Out of silence came the prophet,
    John. Prophets come at God's
    good pleasure for His purposes.
    OH , how glorious a purpose was
    the coming of John! The wonders
    of God's greatest work began in
    Zachariah's house. God glorifies
    His name from the front porches
    of His people~~

    That was what happened in
    my previous blog ~~ wonders
    to show His good pleasure for
    His purposes.

    ( not my house, but a bit similar)

    Relax on the front porch and watch the snow ball fights and sledding! - Big Bear Vacation Cabin Rental Big Bear Vacation Rental

    Those angels

    I watched and heard God's fingerprints this week
    upon two lives~ my sister's and a brand new
    homeschooler. The latter needed courage to
    take a step of faith with her 4 dear little ones
    to bring them home. The angels surrounded her
    amazingly. The first morning she saw another
    mom walking with her children. Never saw her
    before. She had prayed and God brought this friend
    of mine into her path on the very first morning of
    her homeschool. My week was bookended with
    Ann. Late yesterday afternoon we got Ann a
    babysitter ( my sweet neighbor who is Emma's
    dear "older sister" in so many ways) so she
    could go to a Christmas Party to celebrate! God
    certainly does work deeply in our lives. He sort
    of weaves this amazing , colorful tapestry as Edith
    Schaeffer wrote about. I think this part has a
    golden thread in it!
    Monday and Friday were only the second
    and third time I have ever seen Ann. I think more
    times are coming!

    Fra Angelico
    Perugia Triptych: Angel of the Annunciation. 1437. Tempera on panel. Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia, Italy.

    Fra Angelico. Perugia Triptych: Angel of the Annunciation.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Just when you think it's quiet

    An angel sounds!
    It's been full of those sounds this week!
    Fra Angelico

    Angel Playing a Trumpet, detail from the Linaiuoli Triptych (1433)

    Sunday, December 9, 2007

    Songs of the Saviour

    Tonight is the second performance
    of The Songs of the Saviour at church.
    Ken and Emma are in choirs and last
    night was absolutely magnificent. Part
    of the Charlotte Symphony plays with
    harp, flute, strings, harpsichord, oboe,
    brass......and most of the songs are from
    Handel's Messiah. By the time we got to
    O Come All Ye Faithful, you had to contain
    yourself for that is right after the Hallelujah
    Chorus from the Messiah! How can you
    not pour out in praise unto the Lord.

    Emma said the audience looks so colorful
    from the stage! She said it like she was looking
    at a Christmas Tree!

    another Angel from Fra Angelico

    Saturday, December 8, 2007

    Laundry hung and Angels singing

    Listening to Mass of the Children by
    John Rutter. He wrote it in 2002 because
    he had never written a Mass. Performed
    first in Carnegie Hall . The Children's
    Choir opens with Awake , My Soul
    and frame the ending with Glory to Thee.
    In between , the Adult Choir sings as one
    waking up to the end of the day and
    falling asleep!
    It's very, very heavenly and
    angel like! Don't you like when the
    composer tells you , just as an author in a
    Preface, what and when it all happened ~~
    that spark of creative energy, sort of electric!

    The laundry is hung on this very warm
    day in Advent as the third load is in the

    Karin By The Linen Cupboard,1906

    A Walk with Jane Austen

    Thursday night our Book Club gathered
    with a festive spread that included "Rout Cakes
    for Mrs. Elton" ~~ IN Jane Austen's day, a rout
    was a fashionable evening party and these were
    ( a shortbread cookie from Tea With Jane Austen
    by Kim Wilson)
    and a telephone call to the author! What
    fun! We were all so excited to hear her voice
    and ask her questions. Imagine doing that with
    other authors! Lori Smith's second book is
    about her journey to England to follow Jane's
    steps and she wove her spiritual journey right along
    side it. Very well written and I missed Lori's
    voice when I closed the book. Her honesty and
    struggles as a single , amidst the joy of knowing God,
    reached past the issue of singleness-marriage.
    Such delight in God's grace in her book:

    " And this is where my walk with Jane Austen
    comes in again, because Jane taught me
    something about the value of an ordinary life~~
    things I'm not sure I understood before I
    was stripped of being able to do the ordinary."

    ....."there's no end to God's grace -- which is big
    enough for every single day that I got up..."

    Good book to recommend! Thank YOU Lori for
    the blessing you gave us in a conversation with
    you! Check out her blogs: and
    You'll find her in good company .
    May God bless you , Lori and answer our prayers for

    From a friend's blog:

    Whose Head?

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    Got Tagged!

    This is a first ~~ being tagged!
    It's from a lovely blog called
    Letters from a Hill Farm. I was
    introduced to Stacey Kent's magical
    voice from Nan's blog and even had Ken
    look up her blog when I was at Borders
    to find this singer's name!
    So here goes:

    What is your most enduring Christmas memory?
    Getting our puppy collie on Christmas morning.
    How my mother kept it from us 8 kids, I'll never
    know. My older brothers knew Brandy was in the
    house Christmas Eve , but we younger ones didn't.
    She came bounding out into the living room Christmas

    Do you have a favourite piece of Christmas music?
    I keep listening to different versions of
    On a Bleak Midwinter, in particular a CD
    from Redeemer PCA in NYC....
    and the Hallelujah Chorus!
    Can't help but sing from the depths of my heart
    ..And He will Reign Forever and Forever! Amen!

    Do you stick to the old family traditions?
    Yes, because they always feel good like my
    old slippers. We have introduced some new
    ones as the boys have gotten to be young adults.
    One is going out to lunch on Christmas Eve to
    celebrate our oldest's birthday, we started when
    he turned 21. A friend told me
    that they do "secret" gifts within the family. Her
    neighbor picks the names out of a hat and they
    have to give something that doesn't cost anything.
    She likes to get the ones still at home ~~ she makes
    their bed and picks up their room every morning for
    a year!!! I wanted to be in her family! May start that
    tradition this year, once my college sons are home!

    What makes your mouth water at Christmas time?
    We have lamb on Christmas. I love to light candles
    and put on music with dinners. We have Christmas cookies
    and we have a Honey Bake Ham dinner sent by
    Ken's brother on the week of Christmas. That is such
    a gift ~~ the boys always ask if it has arrived!

    How soon do you put the Christmas tree up and
    when will take it down?
    I grew up decorating the tree on Christmas Eve!
    My dad would get the biggest tree for a bargain.
    We now decorate it about 2 weeks before Christmas
    and keep it up until just past New Year's. This year
    I may keep the white lights I strung across the mantle
    up all year. They have brought a warmth as soon as the
    sun goes down! Even my husband said "That is so nice!"

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    You'll have to read Evan's letter

    Those were Emma's words about her
    letter from her brother away for one more
    week ~~ in college! She giggled while she
    read it late this afternoon. I was trying to
    do Yoga. I did and hopefully can keep it up
    to stretch out these old limbs!

    I also got our second Christmas card-letter
    today. The first being the Fairy Calendar and
    card! Both are from those called by the Lord
    to serve in missions. These know much about
    prayer and communication!
    I'm trying to get cards to college students
    before they come "home for the holidays!"
    It can be a lonely place and mail always
    brings a hug.

    I do love this card maker who makes
    them to support college ministry~ Coalition
    for Christian Outreach. I've never met
    Bonnie , the artist. I do help evaluate her
    new cards she's designed, which is a blessing
    to a letter writer!

    Gold Foil G-clef against the stars
    And suddenly there was with the angels a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. —Luke 2:13-14

    Merry Christmas

    Will let you know what the giggles were about
    when I read the letter!

    Monday, December 3, 2007

    Shepherd's Abiding

    We started the morning at the library
    for the Symphony Talk to hear the
    Baritone from the Opera , one of the Wise
    Men in the production of Amahl and the Night
    Visitors. I picked up several new books
    and the audio of Shepherd's Abiding.
    Jan Karon's book (Christmas story) came
    out 4 years ago. I read it out loud to my
    mother, who was out of the hospital
    with 24 hour care! We started just about
    when the story does ~~ October 1st. She loved
    Mitford and Father Tim. She fell asleep with
    the lull of my voice reading
    about Father Tims' surprise for Cynthia.
    She only heard half the book, for God
    took her on the 22nd to be HOME for
    Christmas. How she longed to see her
    parents and she had healed down to the
    bottom of her soul with any bitterness
    towards my father. ( divorce) I saw
    the Gospel ringing true to Jesus' words.
    "Forgive those who trespass against you..."
    He healed a deep wound in her.
    We sang Hallelujah as my dear sister
    in tears said "We have to sing!" She
    was Home for the Holidays!

    We're listening to the audio in the car and
    the rest of the day was a "Mitford" one.
    Heard from a good young mom this morning.
    That blessed me! Saw my neighbor at the
    grocery store. Then a quilter friend of a friend
    right after that. Two at the Harris Teeter!!

    Here's what we need ~~ from the first
    chapter, the first paragraph:

    "The rain began punctually at five o'clock,
    though few were awake to hear it. It was
    a gentle rain,rather like a summer shower
    that had escaped the grip of time or season
    and wandered into Mitford several months

    Jan Karon's site has the first chapters
    online. You turn the pages of the books
    on the bottom corners of the page JUST
    like you would with a real book. Amazing

    Saturday, December 1, 2007

    Christmas Fairy from Worthing

    A dear friend's friend in Worthing,
    England sent Emma a Fairy Calendar
    and a sweet Christmas card that is
    an English mailbox. They are different
    over the great ocean.
    We were so surprised and so deeply
    touched that someone thought of her
    from afar! She writes:

    "and may 2008 be a good year for
    you all as you learn more about Jesus."

    Something so sparkly and magical in the
    Spirit of God!

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    Thursday, November 29, 2007

    Angel on an Altarpiece

    Monecarlo Altarpiece
    Monecarlo Altarpiece

    Fra Angelica
    Oil on canvas
    Private collection

    'God Almighty, and with Him
    Cherubim and Seraphim,
    Filling all eternity-- GK Chesterton
    Adonai Elohim.'

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Advent , Angels and Angelica

    Angel (detail from the Linaioli Tabernacle)

    Fra Angelica ~ Detail from
    the Linaioli Tabernacle
    Florence, Italy

    Her halo is elegant . Her wings seem
    to be decorated. So colorful.
    Her dress flows.
    And the drums?
    C.S. Lewis said that the first words
    out of angel's mouths were
    "FEAR NOT."

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Stacey Kent

    An American goes to Europe for her Master's
    in Comparative Literature
    and meets her husband Jim Tomlinson, an
    Oxford saxophonist. Now they make music

    To welcome my siblings home from St. Martin:

    Breakfast on the Morning Tram

    Saturday, November 24, 2007

    For the Election Year Ahead

    From a book I'm teaching next week
    to my high school students:

    The History of Rasselas, Prince
    of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson:

    "The prince, whose humanity would
    not suffer him to insult misery without
    reproof, went away convinced of the
    emptiness of rhetorical sound, and the
    inefficacy of polished periods and
    studied sentences."

    Sweet Coffee

    An afternoon coffee with a dear friend,
    23 years younger than me,
    is so refreshing. I am reminded how
    God brings us a taste of eternity in
    knowing one another, in the continuity
    of relationships, and what that holds.
    It holds weddings ( Emma was her flower
    girl) and children ( mine! , we're waiting on
    that with this young couple!) and books
    and how God is bringing our callings to
    our doorsteps. Had to come home and
    find out where Burma is! She's learning
    ESL to teach refugees from this faraway land.
    Our relationship started with letters about
    Charlotte Mason! Then I found a letter writer
    who I pray will write a children's book one day.

    The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Thanksgiving Eve

    Snuggling in for a couple of days as the boys
    come home for this holiday. Just us.....
    Some of my family are celebrating BIG
    birthdays in St. Martin ( sister turned 50 yesterday,
    brother turning 60 in Dec. and sisterinlaw 40 in late Dec)
    and some in Nairobi, Kenya ( missions
    trip of Ken's brother turning 50) other
    siblings ( 8 of us) are either home or one is in Hawaii visiting
    his son from Conn . Warm weather Thanksgivings!
    Turkeys will appear even in foreign lands.
    My five are home for the holiday!

    Here we are warm and
    the leaves are still glorious in their brillant colors!

    Lots to be thankful for ~~ so much.
    Thank YOU Lord!

    Carl Larsson

    Another Shepherd

    Ernest Shepherd's daughter was also an
    illustrator: Mary Shephard illustrated
    Mary Poppins. Born on Christmas Day
    in 1909, she died in 2000.

    P.L. Travers ( Pamela) wanted Ernest to
    do the illustrations, but he was too busy.
    She saw a Christmas card on the mantle
    of a friend that was "a happy imperfection
    and a sense of wonder." It was by Mary
    Shepherd who was 23 and out of Art School.
    Mary used a wooden peg Dutch doll she had in
    her attic for her model for Mary Poppins.
    The film version beared true to the illustrations
    in the costumes of Julie Andrews. Shepherd
    received a payment from the film co.

    From the New York Times:
    A family memorial service was held at the
    Hampstead Parish Church on Sept. 14, where
    Miss Shepard worshiped daily as long as she was able.

    Drawn From Memory is Ernest
    Shepherd's autobiography of his
    childhood. I have it from the library
    right now in a pile!! I'm reading
    about Samuel Johnson ~~ he wrote
    a dictionary!

    Mary PoppinsMary Poppins Comes BackMary Poppins Opens the DoorMary Poppins in the ParkMary Poppins From A to ZMary Poppins in the KitchenMary Poppins in Cherry Tree LaneMary Poppins and the House Next Door cover the first four Mary Poppins books

    Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins)
    by P L Travers
    Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins) Cover

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    John Rutter

    We heard Musical Heirs Christmas
    Concert last night before they leave
    for France on Friday. A mission's trip for
    these young homeschoolers!
    One song in particular makes my heart
    sing. Shepherd's Pipe Song was the first
    song the British composer John Rutter
    had published. He was 18 . He was in the
    choir at High Gate, North London. A fellow
    classmate, John Tavener, and Rutter then
    composed a carol a year. This was in the

    Rutter now directs The Cambridge Singers.
    Google the title of the Carol to hear it!

    We love his song about Wind in the Willows!
    It makes my husband chuckle! He loves
    that book ....and Rat and Mole.


    THE Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said `Bother!'

    Ernest Shepherd , illustrator of Winnie the Pooh, also did a version on Wind and the
    Willow in 1931:

    Shepard also did the illustrations for many other books, his most famous work being for Richard Jefferie's Bevis in 1932, and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, which he did in 1931. In earlier editions, The Wind in the Willows had been illustrated by three different artists, none of which satisfied Grahame. Grahame was not even sure that Shepard could do the job properly when he offered him the work. After seeing Shepard's sketches, though, Grahame was very pleased.

    Cover of the first edition

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    The North Wind

    It's blowing in this afternoon. It's snowing up
    in Boone! Someone told me it would before

    We finished Project Presentations today ~
    Ancient Science and Math Projects.
    They always bless me because they work
    out knowledge and produce something
    more than the project! Gordan made a chain
    mail glove from Rome , used by the gladiators.
    The parents of my students blessed me with
    a beautiful laundry basketful of teas, cookies,
    candles, a teacup, coffee, and even toilet paper.
    I was so touched! God certainly gets all the glory
    for calling us all to this work! Surprised by JOY.
    That's been our theme for the 3 years we've
    undertaken to educate a Gileskirk group.


    St Giles, Edinburgh

    St Giles Kirk, Edinburgh

    St Giles Kirk, Edinburgh
    ©1995-2007 Gazetteer for Scotland

    Thistle Chapel ceiling. Photo: WordRidden

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    One of those Four Loves

    We are listening to The Four Loves read by CS
    Lewis in the car yesterday and today.
    The skies are a blustery greyish-blue clouds
    that make the brightly colored Autumn trees
    seem like a painting. Suddenly I felt like
    I was back 3 years ago in the small town
    my mother and sister live. That day I stopped
    before going to Mom's house
    to care for her and walked down the sidewalk with
    the same sky. I picked up deep red and deep gold
    leaves and brought them to her. Her face lit
    up and she wanted to keep them on her bedstand
    so to know that Fall was here! Such glorious colors
    our Lord makes! I read Jan Karon's newest book to
    her "Shepherds Abiding" ~~ and the Great Shepherd
    cared for her until right before Christmas that year.
    He took her home.

    " The Greeks called this love 'storge'( 2 syllables
    and the g is hard) . I shall here call it simply
    Affection. My Greek lexicon defines 'storge' as
    'affection , especially between
    of parents to offspring,' but of offspring to parents.
    Affection would not be affection if it was loudly and
    frequently expressed; to produce it in public
    is like getting your household furniture out
    for a move. It did very well in its place, but looks
    shabby or tawdry or grotesque in the sunshine.

    Affections almost slinks or seeps through our
    lives. It lives with humble, undress, private
    soft slippers, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy
    dog's tail on the kitchen floor, the sound of a
    sewing machine, a gollywog left on the lawn."

    Southern Pines, NC

    Sunday, November 11, 2007


    Lots to be thankful for when we pray,
    God gives answers.I'm always looking
    and waiting.

    Thursday, our oldest accepted a very
    good job when Grad School is over in May.
    Praise God ! Friday, the third son called that
    he was going to a Ron Paul Rally in Philly~
    the next day. I wondered if he and his Georgia
    rooted friend knew how far Philadelphia is!
    He's always been a back seat traveller on our
    long trips up north. I kept praying for God's
    care for them. Saturday morning the checks
    I deposited in his account to help with the hotel
    room cleared and I remembered a nephew
    is in school at Drexel, right in the heart of Phil.
    I had a joyful song in my heart Saturday
    morning as I saw God's care for that simple
    prayer: take care of him Lord! Making scones
    and clotted cream with Emma was full
    of praising God as we got the house ready
    for 18 to a 40th Birthday Tea!

    Have you seen grown women try on hats to
    wear while they have tea? They made me laugh
    and everyone wore my Grandmother's hats.
    I thought about Grammy and how stylish her
    hats were. We played "dress up " with them, seeing
    which ones fit our heads AND our outfits!
    Will post some photos when my helpers
    can do the technical photo work! At least
    get them off the camera and from one computer
    to another!

    Thursday, November 8, 2007

    Chill in the Air

    My college freshman in the mountains
    said the weather is "character building!"
    That made me chuckle!
    He just emailed about a comment in
    his Freshman Seminar about ethics:
    There are no moral absolutes .
    hmmm.....what? That was his response
    to the stupidity of that professor.
    Postmodernism in the classroom.
    Wonder if Evan can teach him or the professor
    may be in a position one day to wish he believed
    in absolute moral ethics.


    Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Two important words: THANK YOU

    My oldest son called to update me on job interviews.
    A top accounting firm , who offered an excellent
    starting package after Graduate School, said
    he stood out because he sent THANK YOU emails after each interview.
    He said there were good candidates but that simple act demonstrated
    integrity and consideration. My husband blessed
    me by saying ,"You taught him that."
    You never know where blessings will
    come from, especially in child training!

    Carl Larsson

    Sunday, November 4, 2007

    An Extra Hour

    Daylight Savings time gave my second son an extra hour he didn't know he had
    this morning. He got to church on time! It gave my third son more time today to get
    back to college in the mountains~ me driving back in the dark. I never mind a trip
    up to Boone and stopping in Blowing Rock on the way. It was so much colder up there.
    Evan will freeze this winter!

    AND Jan Karon's new book came out. I couldn't resist it at Barnes and Noble on Saturday! Father Tim returns to his childhood town. Check out Jan Karon's new website:

    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Reformation Day

    I learned today that Martin Luther's 95 theses were posted to
    start an academic discussion. He had no idea that
    God would use those statements against indulgences to reform the church. I bought a book about Luther's hymns at the Film Conference this past weekend in Franklin, Tenn. Luther gave the German people the Bible in vernacular
    language and Hymn books
    Both gave life to the churches and to the nation of Germany.

    The hymn which he composed on his way to Worms,
    and which he and his companion
    chanted as they entered that city,
    is a regular war-song. The old cathedral
    trembled when it heard these novel
    The very rooks flew from their
    nests in the towers. That hymn,
    the Marseillaise of the Reformation, has

    preserved to this day its potent spell
    over German hearts

    Have you thought about a cathedral trembling from hymns!

    Luther wrote in his first preface to the hymnal:

     These songs have been set in four parts, for no other
    reason than because I wished to provide our young people
    both will and ought to be instructed in music and other
    sciences) with something whereby they might rid
    themselves of
    amorous and carnal songs, and in their stead learn
    wholesome, and so apply themselves to what is good with
    pleasure, as becometh the young.

    AND a taste of some of the theses:

    Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

    In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

    1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

    66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

    94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

    95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

    Pumpkin Moonshine

    We were reminded of one of our favorite's:
    Tasha Tudor's Pumpkin Moonshine. I read it to all of my children at this time of the year. It was her very first book to be published in 1938 as a gift for her niece. A friend had a BYOP Party ~~ bring your own pumpkin to carve! She reminded us of the book. We still love to read this wonderful tale!

    "Sylvie Ann was visiting her Grandmummy in Connecticut. It was Halloween and Sylvie wanted to make a Pumpkin Moonshine , so she put on her bonnet and started out for the cornfield to find the very finest and largest pumpkin.

    The cornfield was on top of the hill, quite a way from the house, so Sylvie took Wiggy for company. The hill was very steep, it made Sylvie and Wiggy puff like steam engines."

    That is my favorite part to read out loud and PUFF like steam engines!

    The pumpkin runs away down the hill! "It leapt over stones and bushes! Bumpity, Bump, bump!"

    I think we'll read it out loud. It will bring back memories of having little boys puff like steam engines! Now I just puff from getting older!

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Tut, Tut , It Looks Like Rain

    My children always said this from Winnie the Pooh when it rained.
    We marvelled today, almost forgetting what rain is like.
    God answered prayers! It's steady and good.

    He thought for a moment and said: "I shall try to look like a small black cloud. That will deceive them." ..........

    What do I look like?"
    "You look like a Bear holding on to a balloon," you said.
    "Not," said Pooh anxiously, "--not like a small black cloud in a blue sky?"

    Well, now, if you walk up and down with your umbrella, saying, 'Tut-tut, it looks like rain,' I shall do what I can by singing a little Cloud Song, such as a cloud might sing. . . . Go!"
    So, while you walked up and down and wondered if it would rain, Winnie-the-Pooh sang this song:

    How sweet to be a Cloud
    Floating in the Blue!

    Childe Hassam:
    Rain Storm, Union Square, 1890, Museum of the City of New York.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    IT'S RAINING!!!!!

    GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS!! We have RAIN!! Not a downpour but enough
    to get wet!

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    John Sloan, Spring Rain

    Look What came in the Mail Today

    The Back Door Mail on Saturday

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Light for the piano

    Emma and I saw a piano on Saturday at an Open House of a historical Victorian
    house in Matthews. It had candle holders on it like this:

    You never know how something is connected to something else. Never think what you are looking at is for nothing. Tonight we read this in Little Women, when Beth gets a piano from Mr. Laurence:

    "See the cunning brackets to hold candles, and the nice green silk , puckered up , with a gold rose in the middle, and the pretty rack and stool, all complete," added Meg , opening the instrument and displaying its beauties.

    We had just seen one on Saturday! Our eyes sparkled and Emma said "OH ~~!" as we read it. I said on Saturday that I wondered why the Jane Austen movies didn't have these kind of "lighted pianos" but here we know that the Alcott's had one!

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    IN the Midst of a Drought

    I saw these driving to a friend's house on Friday:

    Angel Trumpet, Red

    Angel Trumpets ! What a glorious name for this tall bush. The flowers dangle down
    and I think of a trumpeter holding his instrument on his knee when I see them! I got a cutting!

    From A Solemn Music by John Milton ( 1633-1634)

    That undisturbed Song of pure concent,
    Ay sung before that saphire-colour'd throne
    To Him that sits thereon
    With Saintly shout and solemn Jubilee,
    Where the bright Seraphim in burning row
    Their loud up-lifted Angel trumpets blow,
    And the Cherubic host in thousand choirs
    Touch their immortal Harps of golden wires,
    With those just Spirits that wear victorious Palms,
    Hymns devout and holy Psalms
    Singing everlastingly;

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    A Back Door Letter

    While I was on the phone out on the back deck, Emma sat right at the table and
    wrote me a letter! She put it in a decoration we have that is by the door and can
    hold flowers or a letter. She addressed it to:

    Buckingham House

    She is giving one of these to a very good friend and neighbor for a birthday present so they can send letters without the post like in Little Women!

    THAT just sent me on a search for Little Women's Letters. Here's a link where you can open the book and the computer flips the page for you! Now that is progress for out of print books and so much easier to read!

    A quick, bright smile went round like a streak of sunshine. Beth clapped her hands, regardless of the biscuit she held, and Jo tossed up her napkin, crying, "A letter! A letter! Three cheers for Father!"

    "Yes, a nice long letter. He is well, and thinks he shall get through the cold season better than we feared. He sends all sorts of loving wishes for Christmas, and an especial message to you girls," said Mrs. March, patting her pocket as if she had got a treasure there.

    Little Women

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Red Letter Day

    Thanks so much for all the letters. Receiving one can truly improve the overall quality of a day.

    Emma and I each received a letter today from Evan, son-brother- freshman in college. He wrote the above quote about our letters! We got SO excited to get two letters and we giggled at
    his page notes to us! Hope you have some RED Letter Days soon. Mine also included the new Victoria Magazine!

    A red letter day (sometimes hyphenated as red-letter day) is any day of special significance.


    This comes from the practise of marking the dates of church festivals on calendars in red.

    The first explicit reference to the term in print that we have comes from America. This is a simple use of the term "Red letter day" in the diary of Sarah Knight - The journals of Madam Knight, and Rev. Mr. Buckingham ... written in 1704 & 1710, which was published in American Speech in 1940.

    The practice is much earlier than that though. William Caxton, referred to it in The boke of Eneydos, translated and printed in 1490:

    "We wryte yet in oure kalenders the hyghe festes wyth rede lettres of coloure of purpre."

    red letter dayThe term came into wider use in 1549 when the first Book of Common Prayer included a calendar with holy days marked in red ink. For example, Annunciation (Lady Day), 25th March, was designated in the book as a red-letter day.

    The term is sometimes written without the hyphen - 'red letter day'.

    DID you catch Rev. Mr. Buckingham!
    hmmm.........wonder if there's a relation?!

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Sprinkled with Fairy Dust

    We're back from the SCHOOL DAY at the Renaissance Festival~~ packed with loads of bused children from all over the state! It was quite warm , but as we left we heard a double wooden pipe of a fairy sending us notes of farewell and then at the gate was another one to sprinkle checks with dust! We found a lost little girl on the way to the car , out in the huge farm's field. I left her with the head Security Guard to get her to her bus and said to her : The Lord will take care of you! The guard smiled at me!

    Cecily M. Barker , the fairy illustrator , has a wonderful site:

    "Tread lightly there might be a fairy afoot!"

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007


    The prayers of a righteous man availeth much!
    Yesterday ended with a voice mail for a job offer while that son was taking his tax code exam! He went in with a countenance of despair and walked out to see God magnify His power ! God will never leave us nor forsake us is true~ we always need a story to believe that deep down! Here is his!
    In what looks like all is going well from the outside to everyone else, this son in Graduate School and had interviews through the Career Center started to crumble under the stress of performance. He's 6'5", loves the Lord ( but not yesterday!) and the prayers of dear friends availeth much! What is amazing to me is God's answer came in the middle of the hard exam! He pulled him out of the miry clay and set him on a Rock!

    Rembrandt ~~ Apostle Paul, 1657
    National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

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    Monday, October 15, 2007

    New Mercies

    My life verse is Hebrews 13:5 ~~ I will never leave you nor forsake you.
    I needed to know that today. Wescott, Amy Carmichael says in Edges of His Ways,
    interprets this verse as " I will in no wise desert you or leave you alone in the field of contest, or in a position of suffering , I will in no wise let go~~loose hold ~~my sustaning grasp." Fuel for prayer now for one of my children.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    For the Men in My Life......

    GREAT Quote, especially for my husband :

    Winslow Homer:

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    "If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony,
    "If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator."
    W. Beran Wolfe

    as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator."-W. Beran Wolfe

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Jo's ambition

    We remembered that Meg is 17, Jo is 16, Beth is 13 and Amy is 12 in today's reading
    on Burdens. Jo is reading to Aunt March everyday to help the family.

    "Jo's ambition was to something very splendid; what it was she had no idea as yet, but left for time to tell her....."

    Emma burst out, " She's going to write a book!"

    The Wisdom of Little Women

    Little Women was first published in October 1868. Louisa's publisher, Mr. Niles, had urged her to write a book for girls. She wrote:

    “I plod away, through I don't enjoy this sort of thing. Never liked girls, or knew many, except my sisters, but our queer plays and experiences may prove interesting, though I doubt it. ... Sent twelve chapters to Mr. N. He thought it dull; so do I. But I work away and mean to try the experiment; for lively, simple books are very much needed for girls, and perhaps I can supply the need.”

    ~Journals of Louisa May Alcott, 1868

    Seventeen years later, Louisa was able to write:
    “The copyright made her fortune, and the “dull book” was the first golden egg of the ugly duckling.”

    She beat me!

    In Scrabble! "With a little help from her friend" ( MOM)
    Emma is 10 and Gordan at 11 ( 5 years ago) could beat me. I don't let them, really!
    It helped with some grumpiness this morning in getting schoolwork done to say "Let's play Scrabble when we finish this work" We sat outside listening to two crows make strange calls to each other before flying off. She and I could read all day if we had our way! Wish I had had this kind of education. She had 208 and I had 168.

    Evan comes home today for Fall Break. It's still dry and warm. The house will fill up again. It will be good to have eye contact instead of voice contact or emails or letters. He got that comparision paper on Letters vs Emails. Surely he was the only freshman who choose those to compare! His older brothers have all visited him since he's in the mountains. Warms my heart. Their break is over and his starts. That's the way life is at times, isn't it.

    Wolf Kahn

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    Monday, October 8, 2007

    On Another note

    My husband played a Press Agent in the movie "Leatherheads" for 8 days while
    George Clooney was in town in April. It was to be released on December 7th, but
    now is postponed to April! One year to wait to see if he was cut in any scenes or
    is part of the opening scene in the football stadium. What a thrill for all of us and now
    we have to wait.

    Friday, October 5, 2007

    Finishing is a theme

    The kids finished the second coverlet for the orpanage in Haiti today ~~ love knots!
    They did a work of art with their hands, worked together and did some missions work!
    All at the age of 9 and 10! It felt so good to be "fait complis!" Almost done with our artist Jamie Wyeth , not Carl Larsson. He'll be in the picture one day!
    Glad it's Friday since I thought yesterday was Friday! A bit of rain yesterday which was an answer to prayer. We need more Lord!

    Thursday, October 4, 2007

    She finished

    Emma finished The Two Towers this afternoon!
    She's watching the movie and I love her : " It's so different than the book!"
    The trees are moving and alive! Shades of the new heavens and new earth!
    That's my favorite scene in that book!

    'One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present: like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or the ripples of a very deep lake.'"
    Pippin describing Fangorn's eyes, The Two Towers (1954), Treebeard

    The cover of the 1st edition of The Two Towers.
    The cover of the 1st edition of The Two Towers.