Sunday, May 31, 2015


I have made this recipe the past two weekends: 
one for a pre-wedding treat and then  for the graduation 
Open House. You must make the dough a day 
ahead and must put the cookie pan in the freezer
for 10 minutes prior to baking in the oven. 

Recipe here from the cookbook

From a bakery in Brooklyn with the same name: Oven.ly

Another scrumptious brownie recipe is from the famous Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan. Here is a link to the cookbook. 

3 cups cake flour (not self-rising flour)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
9 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 pound (2 eight-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners’ sugar 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
2. Grease a 12 x 18-inch jelly roll pan.
3. To make the brownie: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Lightly beat the eggs, then add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and mix until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of pan comes out with moist crumbs attached.
5. To make the icing: In a medium-size bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the sugar and beat until well incorporated.
6. Let the brownies cool completely, then ice with cream cheese icing.
7. As an optional icing, try this fudge frosting: In a small saucepan, combine ¾ cup heavy cream and 12 ounces semisweet chocolate and place over very low heat. Stir constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar until dissolved. Allow to stand until firm.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


We celebrated a friend's birthday this morning.
We had fruit, scones, muffins, and cheese
and pots of tea. 
then we colored. I had seen the colored pencils
and wondered what was up.

from my friend's blog

So lovely and you can see here. 
So much fun....

Now baking and listening to the play list 

for Saturday's Open House for my daughter's
graduation. This whole week has been checking
off a long shopping list, finding pinterest ideas ( Emma  not
me) , and cleaning. This is the last of five children and
homeschooling. ( but will keep teaching my wonderful
high school students)

I will post recipes. Stay tuned. 

One song on the playlist is Counting Stars
and these words  are  going in my journal:

"hope is our four letter word"

If you know Sandra McCracken's music, here is her 

new album : Psalms. I heard her in person last fall
and she sang a few. Last night I kept asking my daughter
if she remembered and she said " I wasn't there!" ( SAT
the next morning) So I said I probably will be saying 
this next year when she is gone thinking she was here
doing things with me. ( shhhh, if you know Sandra don't
tell her she is not on the list)

These songs were born out of personal loss, much like when the seed falls and dies and bears much fruit.... At the time of working on this, I didn’t have the capacity for other songs. I could sing Psalms and take the Eucharist."

something beautiful about the word Eucharist...

My Help, My God: Psalm 42

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

new - ness...

Sandra McCracken has a new album coming out: Psalms. 
You can listen here

Poem passed to me today to decide this or another one and I love 
this by Tennyson:

Hast thou heard the butterflies
What they say betwixt their wings?
Or in stillest evenings
With what voice the violet woos
To his heart the silver dews?
Or when little airs arise,
How the merry bluebell rings 
To the mosses underneath?

Now totally in love with  listening 
to what butterflies say" betwixt" ... 
their wings
and violets woos 
and silver dews
and  merry bluebells ring 
to the mosses underneath... 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

later...... the word HOPE

The sign caught my eye on Facebook to find my way to A Holy Experience
and Ann Voskamp's blog today and now up to page 14 in my journal 
recording the word hope

How You Can Keep On Hoping for What Seems Really Impossible

the week ahead

- graduation Open House on Saturday

- harp recital of Emma's next year's roommate tonight
- birthdays of several dear friends this week
- hot now
- cleaning
- working on two workshops I will give in June at the 
  Charlotte Mason Institute Conference in Kentucky
- heroic poetry and the power of stories
- moral imagination ( listen to  a good graduation speech
   by JK Rowlings, not very long -2008 at Harvard) So very well said
   from this excellent writer: 

  'The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination'

    and I keep thinking about her words: 

My favorite Poem at the moment
which makes me think about imagining  a cup of sunset and
counting robin songnotes  or see how far the morning leaps: 

Bring me the sunset in a cup,
Reckon the morning's flagons up
And say how many Dew,
Tell me how far the morning leaps
Tell me what time the weaver sleeps
Who spun the breadth of blue!

Write me how many notes there be
In the new Robin's ecstasy
Among astonished boughs.
How many trips the Tortoise makes
How many cups the Bee partakes,
The Debauchee of Dews!

Also, who laid the Rainbow's piers,
Also, who leads the docile spheres
By withes of supple blue?
Whose fingers string the stalactite
Who counts the wampum of the night
To see that none is due?

Who built this little Alban House
And shut the windows down so close
My spirit cannot see?
Who'll let me out some gala day
With implements to fly away,
Passing Pomposity?  

              - Emily Dickinson.

Monday, May 25, 2015

weekend wedding...ta da

I love these photos from my niece's wedding on Saturday. 
The weather was perfect for a wedding on a farm.
This is my #3 brother who fell in early December
and broke his ribs and shoulder. I told him he 
had to work hard at PT to dance with 

So happy.

                                                        love how her dress swishes.....

Thursday, May 21, 2015

hope and gossamer threads

One of my birthday presents from my daughter was a journal 
I had given her for Christmas, you know, one of those 3 journals
in a pack . I had gotten them  at the New York Public Library. The 
particular journal,The City that Never Sleeps, has a different cover 
but here is the pack:

She transformed each page into a memory journal and left room to write. Tickets to movies and musicals.... funny scenes from  Call the Midwife called The Adventures of Chummy ... favorite quotes from books...

About the same time , I read the Art House America blog: Knotted Gossamer by Nancy Nordenson.
It reminded me of Emma Timmons in Larkrise to Candleford winning the poetry contest with 
her poem about Gossamer Threads. Something went deep and I felt my soul being wooed.

[Emma Timmins reads her poem "Gossamer Threads"]
Emma Timmins: As I went on my way,/Gossamer threads spanned from bush to bush like barricades,/As I broke through one after another/I was taken by a childish fear./They are trying to bind and keep me here./But as I grew from girl to woman,I knew/The threads that bind me were more enduring than gossamer. /They were spun of kinship and love,/Given so freely that it could never be taken away from me.

Nancy wrote:
 A poem by Denise Levertov speaks of the “grey gossamer hammock” that is the Lord’s and in it, the narrator curls and swings. A hammock of flimsy web that should rip apart, but doesn’t. A hammock anchored to thin twigs that should break, but don’t. You climb in and hope it holds. I like to wonder about the nature of all this unseen support that offers not only the safety of the curl but the strength of the swing. I imagine the catch of angels; God’s infinite palm; the unknowable, immeasurable, yet nevertheless concrete woof and warp of divine will and presence. 

Then I look around. 
She continues:
 Hope is a big word, a huge word, yet I’ve been swinging it around so lightly. I hope: in e-mails, texts, and status updates. I hope: in conversations and phone calls.
I have been looking for hope and answers to prayer. I took " A City that Never Sleeps" journal and  just like my Heavenly Father who never sleeps, started looking around for the  seeing the word hope
May 12th to now = 9 pages of the word hope

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

today's poem

May 20: Very Early Morning
All the field praises him/all
dandelions are his glory/gold
and silver all trilliums unfold
white flames above their trinities
of leaves all wild strawberries
and massed wood violets   reflect his skies–
clean blue and white
all brambles/all oxeyes
all stalks and stems lift to this light
all young windflower bells
tremble on hair
springs for his air’s
carillon touch/last year’s yarrow (raising
brittle star skeletons) tells
age is not past praising
all small low unknown
unnamed weeds show his impossible greens
all grasses sing
tone on clear tone
all mosses spread a spring–
soft velvet for his feet
and by all means
all leaves/buds/all flowers cup
jewels of fire and ice
holding up
to his kind morning heat
a silver sacrifice
make of our hearts a field
to raise your praise
~Luci Shaw

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

books read

Michael Card was asked to write laments after 9/11 for the church because we don't have many. This book was so helpful to me to find words for sorrow, disappointments, and struggles. Laments are half of the Psalms. 

Good recipes and here is the blog.

I am inthe middle of this wonderful book and it is helping me see more than gardening although it is the garden that brings healing to the grown family. Excellent and I will write more on it soon. 

I read the first essay by  this wonderful historian and it made me want to read all the books she read growing up. Excellent. 

Saw Far From the Madding Crowd today. Thomas Hardy's love triangles ... now to read the book when it arrives from the library. It is beautifully filmed.

Monday, May 18, 2015

birthday trip

It was a grand idea of my sister's: go see the Downton
Abbey Costumes on display at the Biltmore House. 
She was right!

We couldn't take photos of the dresses and suits. 
See if you can remember who wore which dress or suit. 
Here are some SOMEONE took :

 You can see the Sargent painting of Richard Morris Hunt in the background.

Monday, May 11, 2015

thinking about mothers

I missed mine yesterday. I missed her words: 
 "Everything is ok. It will be." 
Her mother's love was huge. It had no bottom to it. 
She had listening ears to my heart.

I could count on those words. 

I hope my motherhood leaves those words imprinted on my 
children's hearts. They reflect the words of Christ. 
"I am making all things new." " I have loved you with 
an everlasting love." It is his hesed.  

I thought about this yesterday --deeply. 

"The love of God is meant to make us valiant." 

Amy Carmichael

Counting on the love of God and "everything is  ok"

to soak and  be into the depth of the hearts of my children
and the next generation. 

We need valiant people in this world. 


 "brave, courageous, intrepid in danger"

 "be strong, be well, be worth, have power, be able, be in health"
"to rule" 

Albrecht D├╝rer (1471–1528): detail from ‘The Holy Family with the Dragonfly’ (1495), engraving

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

a garden

Wishing I had one just like Carl Larsson's painting and
I kept it big on the screen because the smaller version
was pretty but not as outstanding as the blog headliner

You can see his signature. I love artist's signatures.

Always look for them when you are in a museum. 

age doesn't matter

I was welcomed into the next decade with lots of love.
My heart overflows.

( flowers from my students at class on Tuesday

with more gifts)
'Class today!'

May is here and I was born on the first of May.

This birthday  year is also what  I said when my last 
was born: I will be 60 when she graduates from high school

Here I am. 

Right at the place in time I saw coming. 
I won't say how fast it has gone but I will say it how good 
it is to be here now and look back at the years. 


done ( finished homeschooling all my 5 stellar kids)