Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Valley of Light - and a tiny bit of our home this fall

“‘Oh!’ cried Mrs. Wilkins.
All the radiance of April in Italy lay gathered together at her feet. The sun poured in
on her. The sea lay asleep in it, hardly stirring. Across the bay the lovely mountains, exquisitely
dierent in colour, were asleep too in the light; and underneath her window, at the bottom of the
ower-starred grass slope from which the wall of the castle rose up, was a great cypress, cutting
through the delicate blues and violets and rose-colours of the mountains and the sea like a great
black sword.
She stared. Such beauty; and she there to see it. Such beauty; and she alive to feel it. Her face was
bathed in light. Lovely scents came up to the window and caressed her. A tiny breeze gently lifted
her hair. Far out in the bay a cluster of almost motionless shing boats hovered like a ock of
white birds on the tranquil sea. How beautiful, how beautiful. Not to have died before this . . .
to have been allowed to see, breathe, feel this. . . . She stared, her lips parted. Happy? Poor,
ordinary, everyday word. But what could one say, how could one describe it? It was as though
she could hardly stay inside herself, it was as though she were too small to hold so much of joy,
it was as though she were washed through with light.”

I am a reader of Anne of Green Gables. The whole series. Although I came to it as an adult after traveling to the place where it was born I am almost glad I was an adult. 

This autumn I take comfort in the words I love from the books that are like a hug to me. 

"She opened her eyes and looked about her. They were on the crest of a hill. The sun had set some time since, but the landscape was still clear in the mellow afterlight. To the west a dark church spire rose up against a marigold sky. Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently-rising slope with snug farmsteads scattered along it. From one to another the child's eyes darted, eager and wistful. At last they lingered on one away to the left, far back from the road, dimly white with blossoming trees in the twilight of the surrounding woods. Over it, in the stainless southwest sky, a great crystal-white star was shining like a lamp of guidance and promise." 

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery 

Isn't that passage just exquisite? Just like this Valley of Light painting I have. 

I love this print in our dining room - from Lore Pemberton. The way she so elegantly captures feeling and mood through light. 

Perfect for our autumn dining room - it goes lovely with wooden candle sticks annnnd... 

... the tea cups match the roof of the house just perfectly. I love when things come together like that. 

I love to steal a minute away here or there from correcting, planning lesson, mommying and all 'the things' to decorate. Even just a little. More pictures to come when I can. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Apple Picking 2006

Little three year old

Young parents

Pregnant but didn't know it yet

Memories and family

The best! 


Monday, September 13, 2021

Written by a Fourteen Year Old ~ A Poem on her Disease

 What they don't see

Crying baby

Eating nothing

Shoving odd things in my throat

Doctor visit

No real answers

Wondering in a waiting room

Answers bringing 

Stone faced, silence

And a disease you can't pronounce

Food restrictions 


Constant pain no one can see

Growing up

But not in height

Leads to questions I can't take

"Go back to elementary school"

"Why don't you just eat"

"You're too young to be in pain"

Sometimes it makes me question

I choose to bloom from this seed of pain

Not because anything else has me rooted here.

I choose to grow stronger from this stone on my path.

I will not let what they don't see get in my way

I am brave enough to get IVs since I was an infant

To get an injection every day for the next two years

I am strong enough 

Not to accept new medical conditions

But to work side by side with them 

Because we are not one

But two separate beings

I am compassionate

I am loving

I am creative

I am curious

I am me 

(Abigail, age 14) 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sunday Ponderings

The ache for home lives in all of us,

the safe place where we can go as we are 

and not be questioned. 

Maya Angelou

Anna is doing amazing and has truly found 'another home' up on the hill at Holy Cross - and this mama's heart is so grateful for the swift ease with which it seemed to come. 

But I know not all days this fall will be easy - and there will be times she will wish for home - for even just a meal, a sleep, or the sound of the back door. 

I have known well this feeling of homesick during several times in my own life. 

When I was away from home and a new freshman in college - even when I was newly married and starting my own home. Both times I was profoundly homesick. 

Anna has been taking a class and they ventured into the topic of being homesick and what it means. 

"I usually feel it upon the first moment of waking in a new place: the sense of disconnect. Sight, touch, imagination - my wakening senses grope out into the morning light for something familiar by which to pull myself out of sleep and into the new day. When a foreign surface, an unexpected corner, a ceiling or window, an unfamiliar slant of light meets my groggy eyes, I jolt awake, startled by the strangeness. And for a few moments I am afraid. 

I've know that jet-lagged moment in my tiny student room in Oxford, where I am studying. Every atom, every surface and smell, declares itself foreign. I move within my new environs with pained clumsiness, as if something vital in me were sick. I do not belong here. The gray walls and yellowed light are foreign to me. No known voice will break the silence. 

I open my eyes and sit on the edge of the bed with an ache that is my longing for the people I love, for refuge from loneliness. I move among the shapes and surfaces of this room, this city, this new life as a stranger. A stranger in all the potent meaning of that word - someone who neither knows nor is known, regarded and regarding with a slight suspicion born of the fact that love is a kind of knowledge, and her I have none. 

The first breath of every morning I ache for home. 

I wonder how many of us wake up every day with just such a longing - perhaps not the sharp, obvious desire of homesickness but a wistful, lingering sense of need. how many of us bear a haunting sense that we are strangers in the spaces of our own lives, moving from place to place, from work to house to social gathering without any true sense of belonging. Perhaps the ache is not so much a desire for something we miss as an awareness that something is missing. We have food, roofs over our heads, entertainment, friends, but still we yearn for something we can barely name. 

That yearning is, at its core, a longing for home. 

What is it about home that we long for? 

We hunger to be deeply known and in the knowing, held. We pine to belong to a place in which our story began, where the stories of other intertwine with ours in a history that sustains us through dark nights and winter seasons, where our loneliness can be comforted and we can encounter the affection of God and human alike. We year for familiar beauty, for the knowledge that the physical trappings of our lives, the space in which we breathe and suffer and love, have meanings. We want a refuge that is more than a house, with rooms that speak to us with a living presence and enwrap us with welcome when we return. We hunger for the rich community of the family that ought to fill those rooms." Sarah Clarkson, The Life Giving Home 

We have been on a family text/chart and this morning I texted Anna a list of all of the things that have popped into my head that we could do when she is home on fall break in October. 

Her reply made us (Scott, Abigail and I) laugh. 

"NooooOoooooOoooooo. Anna doesn't want to kayak to see the fall leaves or mini golf on the hill that will be picturesque in October. Anna wants mommy's cider donuts, mulled cider, fall movies, and us." 

And so we will take our girl home to feast in all of the things that fill her heart. Familiar food, good movies we love, and time here in this home. - a place where she is "deeply known, and in the knowing, held." 

I texted her back this quick photo from my phone. 

"then that is what we will do," I said to her. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

The First Day of School

September 1, 2021

First Day of High School 

September 1, 2021

First Day of College 

(a quick selfie she wanted to show us her outfit) 

September 1, 2021

First Day of Fourth Grade (fourteenth year in the classroom) 

(Brian's room) (I really love my team) - 2 seconds before we all walked out to greet our classes

And of course when I asked Scott, did you take a selfie on your first day? Ummm no :) 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Night Before Freshman Year

Right before the first day of school (after orientation) I brought Abigail to her school wearing her 'first day' dress. Always blue. 

It's hard to believe that this sunshine in now in high school. What an exciting day the next one would be. She has taken with grace all of the attention that Anna has lately. Picking, choosing a college, preparing for leaving for college, actually moving in ... Abigail has been so gracious to put Anna first because she loves her. I am so glad that in this busy week (2 weeks ago) I took these of my sweet youngest girl. My heart is so full.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

High School Starts

Saturday - bring Anna to college 

Sunday - exhausted but getting all things set for back to school for all of us at home

Monday - my teacher meetings all day, scott teacher meetings all day, A B I G A I L...

well she had High School Orientation all day 

And it looked like this!

What a welcome!