Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Joy of Nature

Lately I've felt like each day is 16-hour slalom event -- my goal is to hit as many of those gates as possible, inevitably missing several as they whizz by at nearly the speed of light. Yikes! I think this is how life with "older" children goes....

Anyway, trying to stay sane means reading whenever possible and getting out into nature whenever possible. The nicer weather has made that easier and I am so thankful for the amazing park that is just a few miles from our home.

Last week I saw yellow violets blooming along the trail:

And lots of purple violets:

This seed pod is so perfectly and artistically formed that its beauty could last me a whole day!

My garden has at least six varieties of daffodils and narcissi blooming right now!!!

And here is the woods I was walking in today. The bright green is just so pretty. (Not sure how those strange lines appeared....)

I passed this red-shouldered hawk on my walk. Such a beautiful bird!

I saw a woman staring at this tree trunk and thought she was amazed at the various rings (which go back to before Columbus' time) but when I said hello she pointed out what really had her attention!!!
(a rat snake)

And this is the area that I always imagine would be what our "Swallows and Amazons" country would look like:

One of the nature guides told me what trail and where to look to find this red-shouldered hawk nest -- see it just above the center of the picture?

And then tonight we had the chance to stay home because high winds cancelled archery and we were treated to this double rainbow out the backdoor. Pretty special!

An hour later the sky had changed completely.

And some time later it had such a beautiful pink hue.

There is so much beauty to be enjoyed!!! I can't help but praise God for this incredible earth to enjoy!! Hope you find some beauty in your week.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mondays are for Grace


I said: "Let me walk in the fields."
He said: "No, walk in the town."
I said: "There are no flowers there."
He said: "No flowers, but a crown."

I said: "But the skies are black;
There is nothing but noise and din."
And He wept as He sent me back --
"There is more," He said; "there is sin."

I said: "But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun."
He answered: "Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone!"

I said: "I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say."
He answered: "Choose tonight
If I am to miss you or they."

I pleaded for time to be given,
He said: "Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem so hard in heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide."

I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said, "My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"

Then into His hand went mine;
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light divine,
The path I had feared to see."

-- George MacDonald

Friday, April 25, 2014

Scotland: The Faerie Glen on Skye

This will be my last post about Skye, for now, as I want to move onto a series about author's homes that we visited in the UK. 

Today's post is about the magical Faerie Glen on the Isle of Skye. I first heard about the glen while researching things to do on Skye. However, there were no directions I could find -- it's a secret location. Fortunately, an old friend was visiting Airdrie the same time we were and since he grew up on Skye, in fact, in the very town where the glen is located, I was able to get word-of-mouth directions!

So, one evening after dinner we piled in the car and headed across the top of the island (tinier road than the normal, tiny roads) on the way to the glen.

Here we are, reaching the other side of the island.

The town where our friend grew up -- a sizable place for an island like Skye.

And here we catch our first glimpse of the glen:

It is a place filled with miniature geological formations which are not seen regularly in other areas.

The hills are the perfect size for children to run around and climb up and down.

It looks like a scene out of The Lord of the Rings.

Check out the characteristic ridges on the sides of the hills.

Looks like I caught a few little faeries frolicking in the sunlight!

Up and down and around we walked and explored.

A few sheep looked surprised to be disturbed in their private grazing ground.

It really was a place unspoiled by tourists.

Laura had fun being carried around by Daddy.

Can you see how happy I am to be in the glen?

And the sunset over the miniature landscape -- just beautiful!

It was certainly a magical evening!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Words and Wool

I had a nice little basket of Easter bunnies to take to our Easter lunch! Everyone got to choose their own -- inside was a Cadbury Creme Egg!

These little things were so fun to knit and it's kind of sad Easter is over and I can't just keep on knitting them! 

But, time to move on to the next celebration which is Laura's birthday, this coming Sunday. I found this cute and easy pattern for a little bolero and managed to knit this up during school this week. It matches the dress I found for her! I just need to find the right button!

As for reading, it's my first choice for de-stressing these days -- as much of it as I can possibly get.

Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity by Michael Card was a great read for me as I work towards developing a theology of art, creativity, and beauty. Card is a highly respected artist and he has much wisdom in here for those wanting to develop their creativity. I especially enjoyed the letters he collected from several well-known Christians who are involved in the arts and their exhortations to artists.

Drawn to Nature: Through the Journals of Clare Walker Leslie was a quick and easy read that encouraged me to think about how easy and simple recording nature can be -- no great talent needed!!!

Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia Macneal is one in a series of mysteries that feature a young American living in Britain as a spy during World War II. I would call this a warm and cozy mystery and being set in WWII Britain you can see why I enjoyed it.

And now, for more ideas on reading and knitting, visit Ginny's Yarn A Long.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mondays are for Grace

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; 
if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? 
The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching 
but whether or not he rose from the dead.” 

-- Timothy Keller

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Words and Wool

I'm still working away on joining my crochet afghan. I'm distracted by Easter knitting but still making little bits of progress! Check out the gorgeous Scotty dog that arrived in the mail this week from the Isle of Harris! He's filled with lavender and is just my color!!!!

Easter knitting is going on with great abandon.

Our days are pretty full right now with various 4h classes and soccer not to mention school! Andrew has been doing standardized testing as well this week. But this afternoon I set aside an hour for resting (that means reading and drinking tea). I had a few new books to peruse -- whenever I go to our local library I check the free shelf!. And, there was my  monthly exchange letter in the mail! Once a month there is an exchange of quotes from books one is currently reading. Very fun!

And now for books:

Families Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism, and Shame by Jeff VanVonderen was, for me, an extremely helpful, and well-timed, book. Wow. How did this guy know exactly the sort of scenarios I grew up with?? Not only was this book helpful for understanding the dynamics of unhealthy relationships but he teaches you what a healthy relationship should look like -- between spouses and parents and children specifically, but this information would be applicable for most relationships. The subtitle of the books says it all: the goal of this book is to grow families that are free of manipulation, legalism, and shame. This may be the most helpful book of the year for me.

Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar was absolutely fascinating! You know how much I love the domestic arts, so I can't resist reading books about them. And this book analyzes the current trends in modern America of domestic blogging, handmade culture, DIY food, hands-on parenting, leaving the workforce to stay at home, rural homesteading, etc. Reading this produced so many thoughts that I think I'll have to save any further comments for a post dedicated just to reviewing this book.

Good Morning, Miss Dove by Frances Gray Patton is a book I picked off the free shelf just this morning. It is about a school teacher in small town America probably 60 years ago. It's a definite page-turner with all the witty descriptions of the town's inhabitants and Miss Dove's impeccable discipline.

Where My Wellies Take Me by Clare and Michael Morpurgo is a beautiful art-journal type book that includes famous poems by various authors as well as adorable illustrations and sketches. Of course I couldn't pass it up with a title like that!!

I think that is about all for this week. For more ideas on knitting and reading, check out Ginny's Yarn A Long.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.