Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I feel like cleaning

Said my 12 year daughter.
Was that music ? Yes, indeed.
We can make such a mess at
Christmas and it seems like
Spring cleaning is needed to
get the house back into shape.
The tide came in and just went
out again ( my sons) ~~~
I love thinking about
the ocean in the middle of winter.
It is more about the
liturgy of the tide. ....coming in at
a certain time and going out at a
certain time. I just have to have
food IN the house for when it comes
in. Ham bone is in the stockpot
simmering this afternoon.

BLUE MOON tomorrow night.

The Moon is Blue

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ebbs and flows

Low tide went out today as the driveway
emptied out of sons...and girlfriends and
a wife with a son. We'll flow back in later
in the week. Empty nest? Not yet.....
I think those with empty nests love it
when the baby birds come home.

I took a nap.
So did Ken.
So did Oreo......!
She took it in the laundry basket.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

26 Years Ago...........

Early, very early,
on December 24, 1983,
I gave birth to the first
of 5 children.
I labored most of the
23rd. He came right
after midnight.

Just in time for Christmas. He's very , very , very,
happy in the photo. His bride to be is right beside

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Six years ago....

I arrived at my mother's house after
being called back because she was
not well. I got there in the morning,
read the beginning of Revelation and
thought WHERE is her pastor going to
be during Christmas. The Spirit filled
the room.......her pastor came, prayed
with her, and all of her main care givers
in the family were there when she went
to be in her Saviour's presence in the early
afternoon. One of my brother's had made
a Christmas card for's now
on You Tube. My oldest brother was here
from Texas on Monday and we talked about
how this mom of 8 was a super manager ,
an awesome listener, gave wisdom to each
of her children and whomever, and loved the
Lord. Imagine a whole kitchen table of socks.
Dark socks. You could sit with her and help sort.
She knew each of her 6 boys sizes and which was
whose and maybe those orphan socks got
paired up! I marvel.

I miss her.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever....EVENING READ

When the boys were young but able to read,
we did an Evening Read of this book at dinner:
a special dinner. They all remembered
the laughter and Mom crying at the end. We
dropped doing that at least 12 years ago
because Emma doesn't remember doing that.

Saturday we did it again but now with a new
daughter-in-law and girlfriends. None had
ever read it. One is an 8th grade English teacher.
We kept passing the book and took turns
reading out loud. Here's the first line:

"The Herdmans were absolutely the worst
kids in the world."

By the time we got to the second line, my
teacher daughter-in-law was laughing.
Maybe she knows kids like the Herdmans.
By the time we finished , I did cry.
And now a memory for each
of those girls...and my sons and my daughter.

Today one of my students told me THEY
did the same thing Sunday evening ....because
of me telling them how fun it is. How fun the
book is.
They may do it again with more family
during Christmas so they took my copy home
to have another to read from.
Why? Because the true meaning of Christmas
comes through by the end amidst the laughter
and the crazy things those kids did.

"Hey, Unto to Us a Child is born!"

Reread it . It only takes about an hour and a half
to 45 minutes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Duke Chapel

There was some snow on the
ground as we got closer to Duke
University yesterday morning .
I heard The Messiah here during
college ( not Duke but UNCG)
and haven't been back since then.
So on the way to the Dean Dome
at UNC Chapel Hill for my nephew's
graduation , we went to worship here.
When you walk in you look up:

It felt like the cathedrals of Europe.

I imagined a time when the church bells rang on Sunday
morning when the church bells rang to call the students
to worship.

The Duke Family put this church right in the middle of
campus to do that. Imagine.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Beautiful Giveaway at this blog

Amidst the hustle and bustle , several
wonderful things have popped up on the
Internet as I sit and read. This is one:

I got to this blog today via Sweet Pea,

Sassafras Stuff

Just in time for Christmas!

More things I found soon..........

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brussel Sprouts Stalk

I had gotten a stalk of brussel sprouts at
Trader Joe's and had it on the counter yesterday
as my high school tutorial took a midterm.
I wasn't in the kitchen when
that was asked by all.
"OH...I didn't know it grew
like that."
That was me in the store in November.

Quite a conversation piece if you need one for
the holidays! Then I found out who likes them,
what they taste like and how to cook them.

Here is a friend's recipe I am making tonight for
the choir dinner:

2 tbsp of olive oil
6 ounces pancetta or bacon 1/4 inch diced. I used bacon
1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts trimmed and cut in half
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 3/4 cup chicken stock ( I used water and added base or boullion)

Heat the olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute' pan and add the bacon. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a plate lined with a paper towel. Add the Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper to the fat in the pan and saute' over med. heat for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the raisins and chicken stock. Lower the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. If the skillet becomes too dry, add a little chicken stock or water. Return the bacon to the pan, heat through, season to taste, and serve.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Yo Yo Ma's CD on in the background:

It is up for a Grammy.
Excellent album. It is an invitation
to his friends for a party. Here's a
look inside to see who is there.

Renee Fleming sings Touch the Hand
of Love.

Allison Kraus sings The Wexford Carol.

James Taylor and Here comes the Sun..
now associated with Christmas for me!
Seems like there is snow outside in this
Beatles version.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Miss Oreo and the Christmas Tree

This is what Oreo looks like ...and she did
almost do that. THIS is not Oreo but a photo
from our local animal shelter's site. A great
likeness to our kitten. She sort of sparkles
when she looks at the tree! She got out on a
limb this morning! I guess I could count it
all joy.

Counting it joy for the AMEN ( 7 pages of Amens)
at the end of The Messiah this past weekend.
My daughter said she has sung it 7 times in the
past two weeks! She is only 12. She probably was
the youngest in the 150+ choir. My eyes welled
up as I thought of Revelation and the Amens in

Counting it all joy for beauty. Beauty of the
season. It's all around us. I was struck by the
beauty of the atmosphere in our church for
The Messiah and a drama of his life. Beauty
nourishes. Beauty brings us to worship.

Counting it joy to pray. Many with health issues,
job loss, and joys too ~~ new jobs, houses sold.
From one extreme to the other that we ask of
our Lord to answer with His mercy.

holy experience

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

There is singing in our home as
3 of the family are in The Messiah
this weekend. Sure puts a smile on
my face to watch two dressed in tuxes
and one in a long flowing black dress
leave to the Dress Rehearal tonight.
Second dress rehearsal. We have our
tree to put up tomorrow, cookies to
bake for after the performance on
Sunday and cards, wrapping paper,
and a kitty all curled up under an
afghan. We have Gingerbread Air
Spray by Mrs. Meyers~! SO if there
are not cookies baking, you can put
the scent in the air. You can find it
on sale in certain stores.

Those rock sort of things in the
Anthropologie catalog are felted
soaps!!!! Smile at that beauty.

We are thankful for God's hearing
pleas of help when a water pipe
burst in our front yard yesterday.
The City was out from 9 until mid-
night with a backhoe and trucks and
lights at the top of the driveway. I was
out for my 3rd time at Julie and Julia ,
which has left the cheap movie theater.
It just makes me laugh and cry and feel
good. Her cookbook goes back to the
library on Tuesday along with Traveling
with Pomegranates. You know my reading
this weekend!

Messiah:  Calligraphic Word Pictures Inspired by the Music and Text of George Frederick Handel's Messiah, With Notes by the Artist

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Came in the Mail

December 09
December 09

This is the second Anthropologie
Catalog that has arrived in my mailbox
recently. November's is stunning.
I sighed. They are works of art.
That's why I had a loud OH sort of
sigh. Beauty does that. Then I thought
who takes the photos. hmmmm.....

The store is also if you want to step into
another place, sort of like Cape Cod
at certain times of the year. I don't know
why I always want to knit after being in
there. Best deal: the back SALE ROOM.
Request it to come to your mailbox!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Armchair Travel

I was just in the car for about 20
minutes picking up a son from his
classes.Just in time to hear Fresh Air
on NPR and a literature college
professor and that term "armchair
travel" that she used made me smile
and nod my head! Get your cup of tea,
sit in that armchair , pull out a book
and go somewhere ~~ here is her list.
She made me want to look for some of the
books. I've read Laurie Colwin's book
and highly recommend them.

Here's a bit from the short article on
Florence, where Maureen does her
arm chair travel: (James is P.D., new
book on dectective mysteries by this

James, of course, lives in England, which would be my #1 fantasy choice for where to spend the holidays. Not going to happen anytime soon, but armchair travel is cheap and profoundly pleasurable. I received lots of intriguing suggestions for good books about place — Pico Iyer on Japan; Ishmael Reed on Oakland — but the one recommendation I found irresistible was Mary McCarthy on Florence — because I find any occasion to read Mary McCarthy in all her tart brilliance irresistible. The book is called The Stones of Florence and, in it, McCarthy unveils what was then, in 1956, one of Italy's lesser tourist cities. She loves the handmade shoes, puts up with the then mediocre food, and winces at the "sugary" vision of the city crafted by Victorians like the Brownings.

Maureen Corrigan's complete list:

1. Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, paperback, 208 pages, Harper Perennial, list price: $12
2. More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, paperback, 240 pages, Harper Perennial, list price: $12.99
3. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith, hardcover, 320 pages, Penguin Press, list price: $26.95
4. Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James, hardcover, 208 pages, Knopf, list price: $22
5. The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy, paperback, 252 pages, Harvest Books, list price: $14
6. Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger, Yale U. Press, list price: $26
7. Here is New York by E.B. White, hardcover, 58 pages, The Little Bookroom, list price: $16.95

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

That is what my son up in school
up in the mountains texted by
a photo of SNOW covering the ground.
Just wet here and cold. 26 DEGREES~

I started Traveling with Pomegranates
by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd
Taylor: a mother daughter memoir.
Beautifully written and fascinating.
It reveals a story about their lack of
intimacy ~~~ I haven't read The Secret
of the Bees or others by the South
Carolina writer. I will . She crafts her
sentences and metaphors and images
beautifully. It has brought the wind
of the Spirit to my heart to pray for those
mother daughters who struggle.

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Irish Country Christmas

An Irish Country Christmas

Great book suggestion by
Sara at Much Ado about Some-
thing ~~ I fell into another time
with this. Great longings come
when I read of little villages where
we are known. I only read a few pages
tonight so here goes. See if you want
to be this Irishman's friend in his

" When they came to buy their cards,
he went through the selection with
them. He had red robins for Mrs. Casey,
who like her cards to be full of festive
cheer, and other ones with long
verses for my mother, because she
was very particular about the verses
in her cards. He consulted and deliberated
with them and sometimes consoled them
about the loss of a relative in foreign
parts who that year no longer had an
earthly address.

Every customer got a present. It was
a token of appreciation for their patronage
throughout the year. Big round barm
bracks and seed loaves were all sorted out
and allocated to different homes. He even
gave presents to people who owed him
money, because those were the days of
little red notebooks and people did not
always pay on the dot. But Ned was
kindhearted and maybe their grandmother
had been a customer in her day; perhaps this
generation was not as good to manage,
so they needed a bit of help; another family
might be going through a bad patch,
and anyways Christmas was not time to
be thinking of thrifty details."

Two loaves of barmbrack

Usually sold in flattened rounds, it is often served toasted with butter along with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gratitude Monday

A good habit of naming the
things I am thankful for:

~ almost a year ago I got a new
hip! I'm thankful because it moves.
It moves without pain of osteo -

~ doing part of that surgery was my
youngest brother . He is a PA Orthopedist .
He did more than the usual of following up
with his patient: his older sister. I highly
recommend his office!

~a job for our second son

~ I love Advent, so here's another book:

Christmas Spirit by George Grant and
Gregg Wilbur

Christmas Spirit: The Joyous Stories, Carols, Feasts, And Traditions Of The Season, George Grant, Gregory Wilbur, 1581822049

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent and Reading

It seems very quickly that Advent
arrived today. This morning was
"For Unto Us a Child is Given" from
The Messiah. Just on the heels of
Thanksgiving we turn to Christmas
and the great joy of celebrating.
Sara has blogged on her Christmas
shelf ~~ it will get you in the mood
and also to start those Advent books.

By the way, the turkey came in handy
tonight as we had more at the table
than usual: college son and girlfriend.
Just stopping by from the mts. to have

I'm trying to remember some Miss Read
Christmas stories ~~ one is on my shelf.
Stayed tuned............

Here's one from GKC:

Advent and Christmas Wisdom From G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Turkey

There's another turkey IN the oven tonight.
Just got a fresh one marked down and finished
up the meat on Thanksgiving's bird tonight.
Need to make broth and soup with the carcass.
Always using up every flavor ( Julia Child!).
I do have her cookbook from
the library. It is one to READ. To learn
how to get flavor is key. I hope I can
read it before it needs to go back.
I did finish Counterfeit Gods by Tim
Keller and now to get my own copy
to study. Excellent!

Doesn't it feel like we've had an extra
day? And the Winter Solstice is upon
us . It gets dark so early and then feels
like 11:00 at about 7:00!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our List of 100

Ann Voscamp, Holy Experience
has her Multidude Mondays:
listing to 100o what you are grateful
for. That stuck in my mind Thanks-
giving morning to find an empty
journal and set it out. Number to
100 and have all 8 of us write. We
got to about 70, so today when
Evan left for Boone and then back
by our city (taking a "foreigner" she
calls herself to Columbia, SC ~~ a
visiting South African music teacher
who is going to speak at universities
during her summer break plus his
girlfriend who was in South Africa
last summer)( long story
to follow!) STOPPED BY. So they added
to the list. Isn't that cool. Glad there
was more to list. Guess what the music
teacher put! Yes, indeed , music.

We are up to 93.
The weekend is not over. Doesn't it
seem like Saturday today!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Listen to the Irish Brogue

Here is where the faith comes

Krystyn Getty reading
The Watches of the Night
as we pass from Autumn
into Winter.

Listen to her say ACHE!
Sign up for their newsletter.
They sent this poem out
to bring strength to our souls
as we head into a busy time
of the year.

Another blog I love...........

To my surprise when I remembered
the name of the blog and went to it,
Clarice is having a giveaway!
Storybook of two

The last pie is in the oven . Roast is in
the crock pot! We're celebrating on
Thanksgiving Eve the call from the
Police Academy to my second son ....
he's been waiting since July! He
graduated in May with a degree in
Criminal Justice so now to put on a
uniform! We are so thankful.
Waiting is hard. Hard to have faith
and very much needed when the Lord
is working things at the right time.
I keep praying for faith for my kids and
the world seems to snatch it away at times.
I will lift up my eyes unto the hills..........
have to keep those eyes upward!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finding lost blogs

I have had to rebuild my bookmarks
and just remembered some blogs I
read ALL the time.
Here's one: Turkey Feathers

Great name with Thanksgiving!

A Pile of Books and Tea

Emma and I picked up two stacks
of books at the library this afternoon.
"Are all of those for us?"
So we have a cup of Sugar Plum Tea,
homemade pumpkin bread (given to us)
warmed with whipped cream,
and our noses in our books.
In the background :Awake my Soul
by the Gettys. I'm practicing my
Irish brogue to say that how she says it.

I started a children's book called
The Mouse Butcher
that makes me giggle. Now that we have
sweet Oreo the cat world intrigues us.
She sure is cute. I got books off of Jerram
Barr's Book List.
He is at Covenant Seminary, L'Abri worker,
and if you ever get to hear him in person,
don't miss him. I have learned alot under
his teaching and from his books, in
particular Being Human cowritten with
Ranald Macaulay.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sing a song of thanksgiving

Yesterday we had a special celebration
having Keith and Kristyn Getty to lead
worship all day at our church. Then a
concert. They brought the joy of their
hymns with a Celtic fiddle and
a piper who played an Irish bagpipe and
a wooden flute. I was lifted up to a place
of joy, filled with some sort of supernatural
energy. If you didn't want to dance unto
the Lord, you must have been deaf! I know
a family who does Irish dancing and I
should have been up in the balcony with
them..........they were doing jigs in the aisle!
Amen and a heart of thanksgiving this
Multitude Monday for an awesome day
of worship. I'm sure it pleased the Lord.

I did ask them if they had met Seamus
Heaney, that great Irish poet. Yes, Keith
had taken Kristyn on a date to hear a
reading of Beowulf at Queens College,
where she had attended. She told me her
favorite poem is Digging.
Mine is St. Kevin and the Blackbird.
I beamed with that conversation.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It came in at the library....Bon Appetit

Cover of Volume 1, original 1961 edition

There were 83 HOLDS in the
computer system for Julia Child's
cookbook when I added mine in
August after seeing the movie,
Just in time for Thanksgiving!
One of my sons wants to cook
that duck! Well, not for Thanks-
giving. No quacks, just a gobble!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Letter from Port Royal

My husband
said I got a
letter from
Port Royal,
that man.

Well, it was from Port Royal,
I had written to Mr. Wendell
Berry a Van Gogh card of a landscape
of a farm and told him a funny story ,
well, several. I knew he would
write back at least to affirm the arrival of my
letter. He is of a generation who answered letters.
And he is a writer. Writers write. He had two
sentences that were typed thanking me and he
was glad I am using his work. Signed
Wendell Berry.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rainy, one of those days

Alice in Wonderland, due out March 2010

A running sort of day in the rain
today. Thankfully the driving tonight
is done by one of my sons. I found that
if I had found 5 more minutes , I would
not have been late. BUT when I arrived
where a son needed to be picked up,
he was 5 minutes later. Then when I took
my daughter to piano 5 minutes late
because the son was late out of his class,
her teacher was on the phone! So sometimes
it all works out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Summer......on this Fall Monday

Gratitude this Monday:

~ For a really good weekend
with a full house of sons and
girlfriends and our newlyweds.
Good conversations, good food,
and laughter. Even some book
shopping at a used bookstore
with two of them. Even good
coffee time!

~The day seemed like summer.
So warm.
Good for my small Fall Garden
to keep growing and producing.

~Good curriculum . Amen to that
for when you see a child's mind
be nourished, it is something to
be so thankful for.

~I don't have to hem Emma's choir
dress. That I am thankful for. AND
we found flat black shoes that are so
cute to wear with the dress for
the concert this Thursday.
Those details , you Moms know,
are much to be thankful for!



Friday, November 13, 2009

Imagine this kind of old house

From the NY Times:
Grand old house in N. H.

Separating Curds and Whey, City Life and Country Farm

On the third floor is a children’s haven, complete with a kitchen and a giant rumpus room with a river view. Downstairs, French period pieces from Ms. Cabot’s maternal grandmother mingle graciously and eclectically with early American antiques in the front parlors. A clutter of iPods and computers sits beside photos of Cabots cavorting through the centuries.

Ms. Cabot stenciled the Latin phrase “Quod cupio mecum est” on the wall behind a velvet sofa in the living room. “ ‘What I want, I already have,’ that’s the translation,” she said. “I read it somewhere, and I thought it a good maxim and nice reminder.” (On a kitchen wall, opposite a portrait of a bison that is original to the house, she has stenciled “Rejoice.” Mr. Lovell-Smith said he had retired his wife’s stencils before she got too carried away.

Friday ....looking to the weekend

Listening to Stacey Kent's CD
Breakfast on the Morning Tram
with the song I love: The Ice Hotel
The rest of the songs are really good.
They have made us smile today.
They have made us want to sing.
Indeed what good music should do
especially on a Friday and a rainy

The house will fill up this weekend with
a son comes home with his girlfriend
who we adore. Another may have his with him
also. The Newlyweds will come over
also..............and Thanksgiving Feast on
Sunday night at our church. Can you
imagine serving 700 +?! It's an amazing
thing! Now to the store to get sweet potatoes
and have that ready with all the rest this
weekend. I did find this recipe of Tyler Florence
that I want to try : Roasted Sweet Potatoes
with Honey Butter.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More rain

It rained yesterday, all night and still today
it is wet and getting colder. We would have
a blizzard if it was really cold.

We have all gotten sweeter with this kitten!
She demands it by her presence because she
is so cute. She's on my shoulder right now and I
think taking a cat nap. She climbs up my
jeans and voila...."here I am" she mews.
My two youngest children are great as Mama
and Papa to her. They are taking turns having
her at night in their room. At least if one needs
sleep the other helps. Sound familar!!

Good books by my bedside. One is on Poetry
by one of the Southern Agararians from
Vanderbilt: Alan Tate. I highly recommend
his essays to anyone. Well, anyone who loves
poetry and teaches or wants to understand

The reader will expect to see here only the consistency of
a point of view. I hope that he will not be disappointed if
he does not find it. Yet I believe that all the essays are on
one theme: a deep illness of the modern mind. I place it in
the mind because that is the level at which I am interested
in it. At any rate the mind is the dark center from which one
may see coming the darkness gathering outside us. The late
W. B. Yeats had for it a beautiful phrase, "the mad abstract
dark," and we are all in it together.

Plus I have Tim Keller's new book: Counterfeit
Gods. I only get a page or two and fall asleep
because it is late at night when I get to it. Now I
do have some time so I'll start earlier!
Hear Keller on his book site.( the theme is idols)

And a sweet book came in my box from Canon
Press from their 1.00 to 5.00 sale this past
weekend: Sketches of Home by Suzanne Clark.
It may be a book I pass to friends to read and
write comments in. I did that with Friends for
the Journey by Luci Shaw and Madeleine L'Engle.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Autumn Colors

Just a drive to the store today,
brought a great joy of thanksgiving
for Autumn Colors.
There was a hue over the landscape with
the deep red and orange and yellow and
brown. To this Lord , I am thankful.

For the deep greens of Fall harvests:
kale and swiss chard and lettuces.
To this Lord, I am thankful.
Even out of my own garden!

A new kitty brings a high pitch out
of even my husband: hello little kiki!
To this Lord, I'm thankful, Become
as little children.

And now, starting Dante's Inferno
with my high school literature students.
To this Lord, I am thankful. I will learn

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rest and a lovely evening

We had a feast last night on butternut
squash soup, cream of chicken soup, then
the next course was salad, then discussion,
then desserts! Sometimes it takes a feat of
juggling around dates to get the Book Club
girls together. We had a new "blogger" with
us and when she posts her photos I will link
to it. This
blogger already did! Take a look
at our evening.

I am glad it is the weekend. Need what the
book title says!!! There's a stranged sound
in our house now: HIGH MEW~

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Club tonight

Meet Oreo! The newest member of our family,
Parents are my two youngest!

It is one of my favorite evenings to
gather up a group of ladies for
Autumn Feast ( soup, salad, bread,
dessert, cider, even some wine) to
discuss a book. This time it is on
the Sabbath: The Rest of God by
Mark Buchanan. I love what my
pastor said in a recent sermon:
"The Sabbath is a gift. It is a gift
to do nothing!" Wow, why would we
not receive it? Hard to stop and rest.
Not sleep, although it can be that,
but even rest from noise and clutter
and chaos and drink of living water.
Tonight will certainly be a taste of it.
We have wonderful Julia Child kind
of cooks amidst the group.
Amen. Amen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Books and books

Dr. George Grant was asked to talk
about books and here is the stack
he showed us. I've read many of them
but do have some new ones to find. He
also made me want to reread Schaeffer.
Start with him as the easiest and each is
a disciple of the previous. Thus Schaeffer was
a student of Frame, Van Til, etc....back to
Abraham Kuyper. All the men who influenced

Francis Schaeffer's Trilogy:
The God Who is There
Escape from Reason
He is there and He is not Silent

Being Human by Ranald Macaulay and
Jerram Barrs

The Doctrine of the Christian Life by John Frame
plus his book on The Doctrine of God

The Defense of the Faith by Cornelius Van Til
( others by him)

The Calvinistic Concept of Culture
by Henry Van Til

The Doctrine of God by Herman Bavink

Abraham Kuyper: Centennial Reader

Lectures on Calvinism by Abraham Kuyper

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Saga

How do we know what is true, good and
right? As we looked at movies this past
weekend, we looked how each gave light
to the question of Epistomology. Modern
man without some epistomological roots
is a tragic figure. We have to engage the
whole of Beauty, Truth and Goodness.
We can't have one without the others:
trinitarian words that make a whole.
Film is one of the best ways to get us
thinking about truth. Our saga is the journey
to Franklin, Tenn , travelling
over the Appalachains and returning within
3 days!We eat at the same wonderful eating
places. We look forward to church
early Sunday morning, usually Reformation
Sunday, then walking to the coffee shop
to get our drinks to start out back home.
Pumpkin Fest goes on in town on Sat.
and we taste of the fun during lunch and dinner.
Met this blogger and Amblesideonline Advisor
as well seeing a dear friend
(click on the word to read two articles for Childlight
USA). There are a few transplants from my city
so it is always good for the soul to reconnect and
catch up on what God has done and is doing.
Indeed, even with Dr. Grant!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Heading Out

Busy day today with October
blue sky that made you love
Autumn. We watched Makoto
Fujimura talk about Beauty in
in class today. Heading
out to cross over the mountains
that have a rockslide so will get
detoured and take longer ~~
to go to a Film Conference.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Elizabeth Goudge Giveaway

I adore Elizabeth Goudge's stories.
I have a wonderful collection through
the years so seeing a giveaway on Sara's
sent me to IN THE GARDEN for a Goudge
Giveaway. Cindy is wonderful to do this!

It is Pilgrim's Inn . An old copy!It is part of
the 3 part Heart of the Family books she
wrote. Encouraging quote:

...he was not old. Only sixtyish.

—Elizabeth Goudge, Pilgrim’s Inn

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This is the word that Stephen
Mansfield used most to describe
the Guinness family. Our lecture today
by Dr. George Grant, friend of Mansfield,
went over the Chivalric Code and this is
one of the parts. The Boy Scouts use this
also. It transformed society. Transformed
families. Biblically based.

It means benevolent. More than kindness,
it finds hurts to meet. It is a form of mercy.
Some may resist the kindnesses so one has to
find ways to to reach those who
resist. It helps the poor,
the needy, and strengthens with encouragement.
It brings a smile to a heart with practical

That is what the Guinness family did.
It changed culture. It changed families.


Monday, October 26, 2009

The Battle

Dr. Niel Nielson , Pres. of Covenant
College, preached yesterday morning
after a bagpipe ushered in worship.
His text was Joshua 5 : Joshua
and the people of God coming into
the Promised Land and preparing for
battle. Here is his blog on this.


1. Remember your baptism and who you
are. ( circumcision)

2. Take the Lord's Supper ( Passover)
Feed on Christ.

3. The Commander in Chief of the Army
is right beside you: where you are standing
is holy. He will win. He is fighting.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Search for God and Guinness

The Search for God and Guinness:
A Biography of the Beer that Changed
the World

by Stephen Mansfield
Published: Thomas Nelson Publishers

A book about beer? The title gives away
part of the story: the Guinness family and
how they used their wealth to bless others
and change cultures as godly leaders.
This is a tremendous story to read as an
antidote to our economic climate. Here is
a company founded on biblical principles
and a family who accomplished ways to help
the poor, their city, their workers, and even
sought out missionary work.

Arthur Guinness started the business in 1759
in Dublin. Mansfield gives the history of what
extraordinary things an ordinary family can do.
His was 10 children.Guinness' Brewery changed
the culture by providing for its workers, even
paying for days in the country! I wanted to work
for them. Another descendant flourished in the banking
industry and carries on the "culture of
generosity" as Mansfield terms. Another
descendant , Henry Gratton Guinness became
a prominent preacher with Spurgeon and
Moody. His children marry into the Hudson
Taylor family and carry on missionary work. I
would highly recommend this book to anyone
who yearns to know godly men in the past
who led and changed lives. Mansfield gives
excellent lessons at the end of the book.

Did you know the first Sunday Schools in Dublin
were started by Arthur Guinness?
If your husband ( worker) went to war,
you were given half of his salary?
Henry Guinness, in 1910, predicted the
restoration of Israel in 1948.

You will want today's CEO's to read this book
as well as young men.

Shhh......this book is going to be among our
Christmas gifts.


Friday, October 23, 2009


I finished The Search for God
and Guinness. Really good book
that answered some questions I had
about the Guinness family who were
missinaries. Missionaries, bankers,
and yes, good beer brewers. Extra-
ordinary lessons from their
benevolent care of their workers and
of Dublin. Review coming next!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Warm Autumn daysd

Gorgeous days.
Almost friday.
We are quiet here tonight.

The weekend is almost here.
Friday is a totally free day
for us. It sort of is a catch up
day or it can feel like Saturday.

Have you got a math person in
your house that keeps doing math?
I have one right now. I had one who
calls me and just got married last
Spring. Now his little sister is thinking
deeply about math. AND she is a reader.
I love to see how learning happens.
How the mind takes on ideas, even
mathematical ones. Today we explained
some rational numbers to her in the car
and she is still pondering them. My mind
does not think that way. That is perhaps
why I think it is fascinating to figure out
a math problem or any other problem.
You can almost see the wheels turning.
I'm thankful for those moments because
in homeschooling there seems to be no
bell ringing to say class is over.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A day in the foothills

Day was spent going up to the
foothills of the Appalachain
Mountains with clear blue skies
and a warming Autumn day.
We went for the funeral of Brad's
girlfriend's grandfather who was
90. Long life. Gorgeous day that
was spent with this son in travels.
That is rare in a large family ~~
time with one son. My daughter
and I do alot together because we
are the "girls!" Then at dinner my
friend in Denver called and it was

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ordering our Days

As the telephone rang at 8:35 this
morning, I wondered what child of
mine was calling. It was the dentist.
How did they know I was going to call
them to change an appt. on Weds? "Can
you come in this afternoon instead, we
have a cancellation?" I had prayed in church
yesterday for the ordering of my week as my
son arrived to sit by me with the news that his
girlfriend's grandfather had passes away in
his sleep at 90. No health problems, just
sleeping into eternity. This morning I smiled
up to God as He answered my prayers to go to
the funeral on Weds. and already had ordered
my week. He knows. He orders our days. I am
so thankful!

And my broken tooth is fixed!
"Crown Him with many crowns.."

holy experience

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Christmas Arrived

In the form of Victoria Magazine.
May take a cup of tea and sit with
the Nov. Dec. issue. I've got soups
simmering to freeze and eat so
it is quite warm and smells wonderful.
I got The New Laurel's Kitchen Cookbook
from the library to learn a few things.
Bon Appetit!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend upon us

It's been a dreary, rainy week with
a funeral within the days and
a trip to a nearby Abbey-Monastery.
Silence is good. Quiet. I could have
brought that beauty back to my life,
but alas a mom of many children
sometimes has to see that quiet
in the bathroom or the middle of
the night! One son gave me a call~
we're coming ( girlfriend also)
to see that movie ( Where the Wild
Things Are) and to spend the night.
Camping was wet ( with RUF) so plans
changed for Fall Break. The Lord
plans our days , doesn't He.
Amen to that.

Now to cleaning the boy's bathroom!

Got Diana Krall on to work by.,...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

P.G. Wodehouse

Letters from Hill Farm has a birthday
tribute to this British author today,
I have a few of Wodehouse but haven't
read them. Have you?

That reminds me of Emma WOODhouse!


I like my soul the way it is. It may not be
the sort of soul that gets crowds cheering
in the streets, but it suits me.

The Cat-Nappers

For as a dancer, I out-Fred the nimblest Astaire.
Jeeves in the Morning

The great lesson we learn from life is to
know when and when not to be in the
center of things
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Taste of Heaven

Truly we have been blessed to spend
some weeks during the past 30 years
on an island south of Cape Cod.
Block Island, Rhode Island.

We have stayed in that cottage ( the one
which has a barn shape on the right)
which is a famous because a composer
lived there in the early 1900's.
Smilin' Thru is the name of his song and
the cottage was named that.
It looks out to a pond
which you don't see from this photo.
If you walk to the right , you will go
to Rodman's Hollow which is a trail
that goes down below sea level then
up to the sea. We only stayed there
one week the summer one of my sons
graduated from high school. I think
that summer was late June into July.

I remember looking out the top bed-
room window to the huge pond as
the moon shone. I've never had that
experience before or since then.
The ceilings were low so we sort of felt
like giants in a dollhouse! My sons could
come and go as they pleased . Safe place.
They would go down the west side of the
island and one house had several golf
holes set up to play! Free! It always felt
like we had stepped back in time when
children could walk anywhere or bike
anywhere. Good, good memories.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


There is no doubt that it is around the
family and the home that all the greatest
virtues, the most dominating virtues of
human society, are created, strengthened
and maintained.” ~Winston Churchill

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rainy Monday and Gratitude

"It is an old and hackneyed idea to have
a library in one's house; it is a new and
rewarding idea to have a house in one's library."

Christopher Dawson

I'm thankful for the way God brings me
to things I am to read. Or hear.
Or be taught. Now to have a house in
one's library is a new thought.

holy experience

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Little Gidding, The Four Quartets

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Makoto Fujimura

Between Two Waves of the Sea

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity

T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, The Four Quartets

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I was delighted to find a book called
Wendell Berry Life and Work by
Jason Peters. It's in the computer
and I look forward to getting it
this week!

The first chapter is called:
Ain't They the Berries!
I love biographies and autobiographies.
This is a collection of essays about
his life and work.
The author meet him in 2004
and writes this:

He showed me a hillside field and said, "one of my great pleasures in life is to mow this field with a team of horses."

He gave me more time than I deserved that day, and since then we have had a few occasions to
meet, either at his house or elsewhere, for a drink or a meal and always for several jokes. He tells a joke as well as anyone I know.

Wendell Berry is the sort of writer you avoid reading at your own peril. Few can write sentences as clear, as immediate, and as faithful to intent as Berry can. You don't often see that these days.

His great concern is the life and health of the world, which he believes we can secure only by dismantling the extractive economy that has given us this standard of living that is neither practically sustainable nor morally defensible. He says, "we must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do." That's a sentence worthy of contemplation.

Wendell Berry by Jason Peters: Book Cover

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gratitude for bikers

It was fun to pray and support
this Canadian blogger and her
family as they biked to earn $$
for Refugees around the world.
Ann has a wide ministry through
her writing and testimonies.
Bookmark her blog if you haven't.
You will be blessed deeply and widely.
You'll find yourself thinking about
Jesus and life and dirty dishes !!
They all mean life. Beauty.
I'm thankful for Ann's writing .
Pray for her as she writes and clicks
that camera. All to the glory of God.

Got me again

I have read Donald's Miller's new
book in a weekend. Easy. It is sort
of what happened after Blue Like
Jazz but lacks the depth I hoped he
would be revealing. It sort of skims
the idea of story and I want to talk to
him and say "You are in God's story
and God's story has a happy ending."
I'm almost done and maybe it will get
there. Anyways, this morning I read a
bit and here was this poem by W.H.

"(she) was my North, my South, my East,
and West
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight , my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever:
I was wrong."

That was at a funeral of his agent's ( of his
speaking tours) wife. She went right into
the arms of Jesus. I cried. The Beauty
of Tragedy. ( title of the chapter.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Returning to the canvas

My friend Anna moved away
as her last children, a set of
twins, set off to college. They
stayed here instate. She moved
halfway across the country to the
mile high city. Empty nest.
Hands that draw and paint.
She was on hold during the years
of homeschooling and child
training. Oh hold from her artwork.
She has a studio now
and here is some of her work.
She has a show coming up.
Now I would like to get a jet

Ranier Maria Rilke has become
a mentor to her as God's whispers
came through his writing in the
move west. So seeing this painting
to him, moved me to tear up and
declared the glory of the Lord.
You know when you walk with
someone through times that end
in letting go ( except there are cell
phones, there are computers, there
are airplanes), it brings tears.
She sees life in the pattern of metaphors.
She told me once as we were on a trip
to Maine, to sit on the high cliffs of one
of the islands and SING out to the ocean
a hymn. A new song. Indeed the Lord is
bringing her a new song unto Him.

Autumn Day

Lord, it is time. Let the great summer go,
Lay your long shadows on the sundials,
And over harvest piles let the winds blow.

Command the last fruits to be ripe;
Grant them some other southern hour,
Urge them to completion, and with power
Drive final sweetness to the heavy grape.

Who's homeless now, will for long stay alone.
No home will build his weary hands,
He'll wake, read, write letters long to friends
And will the alleys up and down
Walk restlessly, when falling leaves dance.

Ranier Maria Rilke

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Bit of Mitford

While standing in line at
Trader Joe's this afternoon,
a couple with grey hair and sort
of a New England look to them in
how they dressed, had to wait
for their card to go through.
Afterwards, the lady said, " At a
book signing ( I've written a couple
of books) , this lady asked me to sign
it saying : "N-a-i-l" . I said NAIL? She replied
"Yes, N-E-A-L......N,,a,,,i,,l." Emma
and I cracked huge smiles.We
are about done reading
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski OUT
LOUD. It reads like that. You have to
have a thick southern accent to read
it and it's fun. Besides you learn who
"Crackers" are. "Hit sure is purty!"
"o'er thar..." You get the picture.
So Emma and I sparkled.
Then as they left , the cashier said,
"Weren't they just like that couple in
'Golden Pond'......his hat was like
Henry Fonda's and she was like...??"
"Katherine Hepburn.

This author told me what books she
wrote and I have one of them.
Then she said,
"You will always remember my last
name because it is how we should be:
I asked her if she knew our friends
down at Wycliffe Bible Translators Center
south of our city. YES, she use to work
with him. Here is a link to the
prologue which is a short and amazing
story of God bringing them together.
I love the way it begins like all good
stories: Once upon a time....
She does a little bit like K. Hepburn.
Notice those high check bones!

You just don't think you live
in Mitford, then God gives you a
taste.Real taste. Sure tastes good!
Wish I had more time with her.
Now to find the book on the

item photo

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Swim, Bike, Run

Swimming to the bouy and then turn
left to the next one and back to shore.
40 laps = 1ooo meters

Son in navy cap. It was easier to see him. He
pulled it off in the water and the googles as
he swam.

Getting READY, SET .......GO!!!

Coming in from the swim............onto biking

Water before the bike ride

At the finish line with DAD ~~~

That is what you do in a
Triathlon. My oldest married
son did a Half Iron Man last
October in Florida. It took him
12 hours ( half a full ~~ which
means 55 miles of biking, 13 miles
of running ,?? of swimming).
Third son Evan did a Sprint
Triathlon a few weekends ago.
It is always in a lake , swimming
1000 meters or 40 laps. He biked
21 miles ( tire blew at 16 so missed
the last 5) and running 5 miles. why? A goal. A goal
to be in shape and conquer.
To finish. To do it well. They both
did and each has a story now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Lost ART

This arrived in the mail two weeks ago. It was
made by a friend ~~~ and with ribbons on the
address and around the picture which is a
postcard. Your heart fills when someone
has taken the time to make you a card .
One that you just look at it. Even writing it
means alot.

The other two were photocards by my dear
friend. All were THANK YOU NOTES.
All took time and were filled with love.
It's not a lost art. Not at all with friends
like these.
That's my elbow and that is our Book Club
on Hannah Coulter.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Inhale Autumn

It's a glorious September day.
Cool and it brings to the heart
gratitude. How could it not?!!

I read in Letters on Cezanne
by Rilke a wonderful description
of heather. To take something
so ordinary and start to praise
God for what He has done or made:

"Never have I been so touched and
almost moved by the sight of heather
as the other day, when I found these
three branches in your dear letter.
Since then they have been in my
Book of Images, penetrating it with
their strong and serious smell, which
is really the fragrance of autumn earth.
But how glorious it is, this fragrance.
At no other time, it seems to me, does
the earth let itself be inhaled in one
smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that
is in no way inferior to the smell of the
sea, bitter where it borders on taste,
and more than honeysweet where you
feel it is close to the touching of first

And the way they look: like embroidery,

splendid; like three cypresses woven into
a Persian rug with violet silk ( a violet
of such vehement moistness, as if it were
the complimentary color of the sun.)

...I don't believe these little twigs could
have been as beautiful when you sent them:
otherwise you would have expressed some
astonishment about them. Right now one of
them happens to be lying on dark-blue velvet
in an old pen-and -pencil box .
It's like a firework: well, no. it's really like a
Persian rug. Are all these millioins of little
branches so wonderfully wrought?

One lives so badly, because one always comes
into the present unfinished, unable,

All this from looking at heather.
Be still, the Lord says.
Know that I am God.

holy experience

Friday, September 25, 2009

So that is what Homeschooing is

Emma and I were in the drs. office
yesterday for what turned out to
be allergy symptoms. We had an
interesting conversation in the waiting
room with an 11 year old girl and her
12 year old brother. They both thought
Emma was in high school. She is rather
tall. They assumed she went to their
Middle School. When she said " I am
homeschooled," he said " Oh , Do
you learn how to cook?"

That's what a 12 year old boy thinks
homeschooling is.

We told him she does all her work from
books and me and others, he just started
to give us advice, esp. on her math!
It tickled me. He's going to be a salesman
or a politician. Quite a chatter that one.
I can imagine his teacher has fun with
him. Very interesting to see how he
thought. He loves his school. I like that.
So does Emma.

See I'm a book reviewer now.
Sort of feels imp0rtant!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I found it

I still like thinking about Donald
Miller with Anne Lamott having lunch.
Don't you?! Well, after that little
adventure , I found it and you can
get a free copy also from the publisher
for writing a review. So I signed up.
My Tenn. blogging friend
will get a copy too. I hope I can get
all that is needed to do this with everything
else but it is exciting. Is that too hard for
doing something you love?

The information on the internet

I just got to a twitter as I followed
some sort of twitter thing to get a
free copy of Stephen Mansfield's new

What’s The Story?The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

The Search for God and Guinness is about beer, business, and one of the world’s most popular and enduring brands. But it’s also about:

  • living your faith in the real world
  • innovating for your people as much as your product
  • investing in your community and the world around you
  • all the good that wealth can do when used to the glory of God

I somehow got to a twitter of a girl going to
Franklin, Tenn tonight to the pub where
Mansfield is signing books AND there was
a link to Donald Miller's blog that he had
lunch with Anne Lamott. There was a photo
of her.......and imagine that conversation.
I never found how to get a free copy.
I'll start again. That's my fixing problems
on this machine. Just start again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Centuries collide

Water Lilies, Claude Monet (1906)

We finished up Hamlet and
Augustine's Confessions yester-
day. I woke up thinking about Anne
Lamott and her conversion story
in Traveling Mercies.

"I also took religion , in deference
to this puzzling thing inside me
that had begun to tug my sleeve from
time to time, trying to get my attention.
I've read that Augustine said that to
look for God is to find him, but I was
not looking for God, not really, at least
I didn't know I was."
Augustine wasn't either.

God was like a cat pattering behind her ,
giving her clues to His love, waiting
to be picked up. Even after
an abortion, she feels his presence
hunched in the corner of her house-
boat. She keeps the image of lily
pads as the steps of coming to faith.
Leaps. "Yet each step brought me
closer to the verdant pad of faith
on which I somehow stay afloat."

I love these sentences:

"She stepped into us, the wonderful
old worn pair of pants that is St. Andrew,
and they fit." ( her pastor)

"It was as if the people were singing in
between the notes, weeping and joyful
at the same time, and I felt like their
voices or something was rocking me in its
bosom,holding me like a scared kid, and
I opened to that feeling---it washed over

"But the church smelled wonderful, like
the air had nourishment in it or like it was
composed of these people's exhalations,
of warmth and faith and peace."

"But it was that singing that pulled me
in and split me wide open."

"I had the feeling that a cat was following
me, wanting me to pick it up, wanting me
to open the door and let it in. But I knew
what would happen: you let a cat in one
time, give it a little milk, and then it stays

There's more for Anne writes in a way that
touches you to tears and so funny that
you chuckle and even laugh! She did that
6 years ago for me when my mom was
passing away. I've always wanted to send
Anne a huge bouquet of wildflowers.
. She collided with Augustine
yesterday and wouldn't she be surprised!

San Rafael, California, 1994

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The days fly by.....

The hummingbirds are still around
and lovely to watch. My lit. class wanted
to sit out on my deck to have class.
It was delightful. Very. Autumn arrived
today. My soup was waiting for us
as I got home later. Soup made yesterday.
Don't you love it when that happens!!
I have another stack of books from
the library where I put books on HOLD.
And there's a magazine swap. Good ones
today. Somehow the house seems cleaner
after reading a great magazine! I was
delighted when I saw the newlyweds after
their day at work ~~~ my son named my
loves in the car: food and books and then