Wednesday, August 31, 2011

new years eve

tomorrow we welcome in the new church year. And I love that it is timed like this, as being a student or a teacher for most of my life has conditioned me to see September as a time of beginnings. January doesn't quite have that feel for me. But this time of year we have new packages of pencils, paper, markers and get clothes that fit and are without holes. It is exciting.

I enter this new year with hopes of things we can do better but knowing that I also bring a lot of old with me too. My old bad habits are with me, my muddled thoughts follow me even as I turn the calendar page.

So I look at the coming months, and attempt to chart a course to do all the things we need. Time for study, time for play, time for new skills, time to just be together.

One thing I am doing new for myself is to begin going to a women's bible study. I haven't ever done this kind of thing before, and it is a time commitment I haven't given for something just for my own benefit. But as a wise woman told me- "Feed your soul first".

Friday, August 26, 2011

if this story didnt make you cry, then i'm sorry, but you have no heart

I am still on the fence about whether Im a dog person or not, but this story just might have pushed me over.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

skirt success!

Ok, so i am really bad at getting a good photo of myself in clothes. This one is with a timer, and it still got part of me cut off. Oh well. And I could have probably straightened up the porch before I took pictures too. The boy across the street was mowing the lawn and I was getting kind of embarrased to be taking so many pictures of myself.

This skirt was actually a practice skirt for another skirt. I was given all these large pieces of fabric and this is an inexpensive muslin that you usually use for a practice with a new pattern. Well, I liked the weight of it and decided to make it into a skirt. I dont know if you can tell, but the big white flower is a doily and the smaller blue ones are just embroidered.

It was supposed to be with an elastic waist, but the bunchiness of elastic does no favors for my waistline, so i put in a side zipper (didnt do it right, i will look up the right way to put in a zipper next time) and added 4 darts. Those were great because I could make it custom fit my very pear shaped body.

The real skirt is in the works and I will try to do a proper zipper this time and take some better photos to share.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

a good summer read and serendipitous connections

After trudging through some mediocre books (why cant I just quit a book when I dont like it?), I found a good one. A short, fun but well written book. You may have read it as I dont ever get things when they first come out. Its title is a mouthful: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I am a bit of an anglophile, having a mild addiction to any BBC costume drama and this was the equivalent of reading through one of those dramas, complete with dry wit, harrowing tales from "the war", and suppressed emotions that finally come to light. I love it. It is a quick, easy read but with some substance to it.

The plot of that book begins with two people finding each other by chance. That connecting with another person or place is so interesting to me and has probably made these two sites fascinating for me:

message in a bottle
- one man who finds bottles with messages in them and attempts to get back in touch with the sender. Its amazing how many he has found and how many people he has made contact with.

dear photograph- get out the kleenex! this site is almost magical. To see how things change yet are the same and how we love so much those people that are from another time. Its great

Monday, August 15, 2011

bless God for it and in it

A good thing to read while sitting on my porch taking in the incredible flowers coming up in my yard:

To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it. And in the Bible to bless God is not a "religious" act, but the very way of life. God blessed the world, blessed man, blessed the seventh day (that is, time), and this means that He filled all that exists with His love and goodness, made all this "very good." . . . All rational, spiritual and other qualities of man, distinguishing him from other creatures, have their focus and ultimate fulfillment in this capacity to bless God, to know, so to speak, the meaning of the thirst and hunger that constitutes his life.

- Alexander Schmemman, For the Life of the World

Friday, August 12, 2011


We went out of town last weekend and the vacation from blogging didn't end. Here are some sights from this week.

Lycoris squamigera, also known as the surprise lily is greeting us everywhere. It is really an amazing plant. We have planted dozens of types of plants in our front yard and this is the third summer we have lived here, but I never have seen this many surprise lilies. We must have a dozen clumps out there and we didn't plant even one of them. They are elegant and beautiful and interestingly, have no leaves at the time they bloom, the leaves come out in the spring and die back. I am wondering if some of the daffodils that came up but never bloomed were really surprise lilies.
This fawn and her siblings were literally 5 feet from our cottage last weekend. I think there was a path nearby leading to their sleeping place.

I finished my first shirt/ blouse. The pattern came from Seams to Me, though I had to make it much larger for my size. I like how it turned out, though it is that babydoll/ maternity look, which gives me lots of misunderstandings with others.
20 tomatoes in one day! It is that time of year that I have sores in my mouth from eating tomatoes on everything I can. Tomato and mayo on toast is my favorite. The green beans haven't produced anything yet, but the tomatoes have done great. I have canned some, but tomatoes are discouraging to can as they are mostly juice and very little pulp, so you can spend a lot of time and just get a few jars out of it. But I will do some freezer spaghetti sauce before I get totally sick of canning.

As we approach the end of summer here are my goals:
- make soap with the boys
- make pickles with the boys
- get my room from disaster to liveable
- finish planning for the year
- go hiking

What has surprised you lately?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr. Berry

Never forget: We are alive within mysteries. - Wendell Berry

Dear Wendell Berry,
Since you don't have a computer, I can safely write this letter of appreciation without the fear of what you would think were you to actually read it. Please, no one print this and send it to him.

I want to thank you for the ways you have shown me that all of life is sacred. From the hawk in the sky to the baby in the womb, you have revealed that miracles abound if we could just get our eyes off ourselves long enough to see them.

You have connected the dots for me of themes of marriage, community, creation and friendship. Through the stories of Port William and the beauty and tragedy found there, I have seen love manifest in the lives of Hannah, Andy and blessed ol' Burley. As my husband says, for the people who don't get your message through fiction writing, you have also written countless essays that lead us to a better way of living. A way that cares for each other and lifts others needs before our own greed.

Thank you for taking time in the early mornings, after the chores but before breakfast, to write a little. Your little has multiplied over the years and become loaves and fishes that feed so many.

As you celebrate with friends and family today, I hope you have a warm sense of the lives you have touched with your words.

Happy Birthday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

have you prayed?

Yesterday was a grumbly day. The weather was rainy (though I should have been thankful for that). My kids were less than angelic. I spent the day doing little things, but not feeling a sense of accomplishment from getting any one thing done completely. Finally the weather cleared up and I went outside to make some attempt at weeding. All the while I was thinking of the things in my life that weren't going how I wanted them to. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Yesterday evening my husband had the boys out and I was left with a Wednesday night free. A rare treat. I decided to do the "one thing needful" and go to church. It was like a bath for my grimy heart. The hymns and prayers and just being there helped me remember what is true and what is just my bad attitude.

As I was walking last night, I was trying to figure out what to do on my grumpy days. The question came to mind- "Have you prayed?"

It is like the reboot button to my bad temper. It doesn't make the problems go away, but it puts them all in perspective and lets mercy come in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

still the one

It's sad, but today, on our 14th anniversary, I have a cheesy Shania Twain song stuck in my head. The lyrics don't even apply to us, except for that chorus.

Fourteen years ago we took a big step, completely sure of what we were doing, confident that our future was bright and beautiful. I dont have any photos from that day scanned to post, but I look at our framed photo on the fireplace and see the radiance of our smiles.

It has been beautiful, and our relationship has always been a source of healing and security. You have been a safe place for me and I hope I have been that for you.

It is only in the past few years, as I have seen marriages around us crumble, that I have been in awe of this gift we have been given. We can talk so honestly and lean on each other so heavily, it is hard to imagine how others live with such broken relationships.

Our marriage is truly a gift of grace. We each come together with our own issues and weaknesses, and somehow this third thing, this relationship is created and we live in a holy, sacred place despite our earthiness.

I love you. You are still the one.