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

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.

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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!