Thursday, August 18, 2016

Words and Wool

Keeping to a bare minimum of knitting has done wonders for my wrists. No pain and no wearing of the braces. However, the pain seems to return quickly if I pick up a large knitting project. Very thankful to report that this toddler hat went along fine and did not cause problems! I loved using the little linen bag with the amber weighted ties as a knitting project bag! The bag was a gift from a friend who recently travelled to Lithuania! For this hat I used the Sweet Pea Hat pattern I always use and just modified the top not to contain any pea pod!

I was very excited to finish my Jane Brocket inspired quilt last month!!! It's been many years in progress and now it's decorating the back of my couch. I love it! I used large stitches and Perle Cotton to quilt it.
I've been trying to spend more time on painting over the summer months and hope to continue this. I met up with my mom in Zionsville to "paint what we ate". 

Or "what we saw":

The next best thing to creating beautiful things is finding them for bargain prices at thrift stores. I had the chance to spend an hour or two one summer morning at my local Goodwill Outlet and came away with this stash for about $5.

Switching over to book conversations......after a lot of thought I decided to start a second blog focused solely on book reviews for books set in Scotland! So "Reading Scotland" is recently up and running and I look forward to posting lots of fun books and corresponding travel ideas over on that blog.

 Scottish books are not the only thing I read though, so I will continue to post my regular book reviews here. And so to catch up from the summer:

Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle is a beautiful lifestyle book focused on living simply, functionally, yet beautifully in whatever space you have. I loved the photos and the practical ideas.

 Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller. As always, Keller nails his topic, pointing out with painful clarity how easily we turn our love from the true God to "counterfeit gods" such as fame, relationships, money, or security and how we can return to the only God who can fill that gaping hole in our hearts.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Here is another author whose books can be counted on to be challenging and growth-promoting. Brown talks about vulnerability and the need to rise strong after failures.

Toast & Marmalade and Other Stories by Emma Bridgewater was a beautiful and inspiring book (I can't figure out where Amazon got this cover photo from because the cover of the book I read was far more beautiful). Inside the book, which is filled with gorgeous photography, Emma weaves her creative story of becoming a pottery artist and eventually founding and running the Emma Bridgewater Pottery company. Her pottery has become almost iconic in the UK and has spread around the world. Loved this book!

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer told the incredible (and recently discovered) story of Irena Sendler who rescued thousands of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. It is amazing to me every time I read of the courage of those that worked in resistance movements across Europe during that war. What huge sacrifices and great risks these people took. It all sounds incredible when you read it, but the book also brings out the great heaviness that many of these people bore for the rest of their lives as they lived with the memories of those they could not save. To this day so many in Poland are still suffering from the effects of the war. Strangely enough this brought to mind the fact that my grandfather's own sufferings in the war, and the strained relationships that led to, effect my life everyday now too. Yes, war is a terrible thing. All that considered, this book really does tell an amazing story and I have another book waiting on my "to-read" shelf also about Irena Sendler. If you haven't heard of her, definitely consider reading her story.

The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose is such an enjoyable book if you love birds or nature. In this book Zickefoose shares her stories of personal interaction with bird species after bird species. I loved the beautiful watercolors and drawings that illustrated the pages. Her newest book is on my to-read list!

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie Martin is a book I actually bought as soon as I heard of it which is saying a lot considering I normally limit myself to books I can get from my library. Fortunately, this book was a great buy and I am using it in our homeschool this year. Martin has collected an amazing list of book recommendations for teaching your child about the world. The book is broken down by continent and contains recommendations for age 4-6, age 6-8, age 8-10, and age 10-12. Martin also tells their own family's story of being brought together from many countries as well as gives ideas on how you can incorporate world studies into your household.

Mother and Son: The Respect Effect by Emerson Eggerichs was a very helpful book for examining the parenting of my sons and what kinds of speech and actions best communicate love (er, respect) to them.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller. This was a great book. Keller takes all the current arguments against belief in the God of the Bible and examines them through Scripture and logic . If you have friends who are stuck on certain arguments and can't seem to find a way beyond them you might want to check this book out and see if Keller's words could help you in understanding and communicating with your friend. This is a great book for using with teenagers as well.

The Mom Factor[ THE MOM FACTOR ] by Cloud, Henry (Author) Sep-15-98[ Paperback ] by Henry Cloud and John Townsend will definitely rank as one of the best books I've read this year. The authors examine the role mom plays in our growing to adulthood and how different mothering bents can positively or negatively affect that growth. The authors provide plenty of help on how to overcome the negative effects of childhood and grow into maturity at whatever age you may be. This book would be helpful for: those who grew up with difficult mothers, those having a difficult relationship with their mom presently, those wanting to understand their own bent as a mother and how it can/is affecting their children, those wanting to avoid pitfalls in their current parenting of their own children, those desiring reconciliation with their mother.

Phew! That's all for now!

For more ideas on knitting and reading visit Ginny's Yarn Along.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

David Turns 10

July began our "season of birthdays" which will end in December. Time to get David's birthday posted before the next birthday hits us!

David turned 10 this year! That entitled him to a proper birthday party. I have this inordinate fear of planning and executing children's birthday parties. I think it all boils down to the games which are just not my thing.

Once I came to grips with the fact that denial wasn't working, I decided if I could find a cake I could get excited about maybe that would help. Pinterest provided the perfect thing and this cake was SO easy to execute. With a good centerpiece, the party took off! 

I also enlisted Michael for moral support on the games! We had a series of "knight-themed" games like throwing the javelin.

Tossing rings over water bottles:

And a good old water balloon fight.

Of course every kid loves the present opening!

Then we had dinner before plopping the boys down in front of a requested movie and then digging into the cake!

David's actual birthday fell on the Sunday we were in attendance at the RP International Conference so it was nice that we had this celebration before we went.

This month we look forward to James turning 12!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mondays are for Grace

“It has been a wonderful experience to compete in the 
Olympic Games and to bring home a gold medal. 
But since I have been a young lad, I have had my eyes on a different prize. 
You see, each one of us is in a greater race than any I have run in Paris, 
and this race ends when God gives out the medals.”

-- Eric Liddell

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Rest of Summer

Has it only been 5 1/2 weeks since the Fourth of July?! It seems so much longer than that! Probably because "summer" is over and school started two weeks ago already.

We had a wonderful Fourth of July beginning with the parade with friends and then our now traditional party here at home with more friends. The weather was crazy and we did a "move it in, move it out, move it in," dance!

But it was great fun in the end and the house was filled with lots of conversation and good food! We did have a laugh that among the 20+ adults in attendance there were only 2 or 3 confirmed extraverts!

 Andrew got to go away with a friend to Kentucky Kingdom for the day!

We had some unexpected and amazingly wonderful news about Laura in July!!! She was born with a cyst behind her nose bridge which has been monitored via MRI's every year. This year's MRI miraculously showed no cyst! We give great thanks to God for answering many prayers (the surgeon has not had a cyst like this disappear in any of her patients). I am especially thankful that we can avoid a very invasive surgery to remove it.

The older boys spent a week attending a lovely Vacation Bible School for teens. One day I took the younger two to Conner Prairie.

One summer morning I met my mom in Zionsville for a morning of sketching. We bought coffee at two places and enjoyed trying to paint our food and the views.

4h entry time came around. Rachel showed great initiative and finished her chosen knitting project ahead of schedule!

Michael and I celebrated 17 years of marriage on July 17th!

We celebrated my mom's birthday on the 20th with a traditional birthday breakfast.

Yum yum!!!!

And then we took to the kayaks for some time on Eagle Creek.

My mom grew up on the east coast and misses her sailing days. Things like this help to make up for living in the midwest. :)

We kayaked over to Rick's Boatyard restaurant where Emily had secretly arranged to have friends waiting!

Here is the kayak crew!

 We took a family outing to the County Fair to visit the children's entries and walk around. James was excited to win a Champion on his wolf carving.

Rachel was ecstatic to be rewarded with a State Fair entrance on her knitting!

James entered a dragon drawing:

And David entered a model airplane.

The garden brings me great joy each and every day (despite the fact that it is filled to overflowing with weeds -- oh well).

Weed consolation comes in the form of zinnias that are doing so well!

I think this summer could be summarized as lots of visitors and lots of painting. I finished Andrew's room after July 4th. The new colors look great and his room feels like a teenage boy's when you walk in (normally flowered bedspread and flowers are not there).

We had a visit from old friends, Carla and Stephen, who flew over from Scotland on their way to our denomination's family conference.

We all headed up to Marion, Indiana to spend a week at the family conference. It was wonderful to see so many friends we rarely get to see and to spend a week of good fellowship, worship, and rest. Boy was it a treat not to have to cook, do laundry, or clean! I came back feeling invigorated! It's amazing what low stress can do!

One evening the conference rented out the local Splash Park. Lots of fun for the kids and plenty of adults to visit with!

Rachel had the time of her life connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. She and Anna have known each other since they were born!

Very excited that there was a quilt show at the conference!

Andrew had fun rooming with his buddies and spending the week in the high school classes. Michael and I tended to only see Laura for much of the day.

I had tons of fun watching Michael "perform" in "Stump the Pastor". I'm sure it's no fun for the pastors but it was great entertainment for the audience to watch them answer questions (and, fortunately, it also is informative and helpful to hear the answers).

Some dear friends from seminary, Daniel and Esther and their four kids, came home with us from the conference to spend the weekend. This is as close as I get to "college buddies" since I never attended a proper college. We had a terrific weekend!

We braved the heat (and the ticks) and took a picnic to Eagle Creek.

The kids got to go in the water.

We do spend many evenings eating on the back patio. 

James has been hard at work inventing new armor.

Our neighbor friends invited us down for Brazilian food on the night of the Olympic Openings. It was so festive and fun to share an evening like this.

 Rachel and Andrew's high school started back at the end of July. Andrew is excited to be a freshman! Rachel is relieved to finally be an upper classman! She's back to golf and Andrew has started soccer.

I started back to homeschool with the youngest three this week. Laura is in 1st grade, David in 5th, and James in 7th.

The State Fair is on and we went to visit Rachel's knitting.

We all had great fun watching the Rodeo:

None of us had seen bucking bronco's or proper bull riding before!!!

So this will have to suffice for a "First Day of School" photo! :)

And so summer proper is over but there is still plenty of summer weather ahead. :)