Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Building Your Vocabulary: Describing My Kids

The American's use of language is rather pathetic. I personally think that texting is sending us further down the slippery slope of weak language skills. Being something of a poet, as well as an avid reader (when time allows) I appreciate those who have a well-endowed vocabulary.

Around Christmas, our homes are enriched with the lyrics of ancients carols, beautifully describing the glorious gift of God. Then there are cheesy, modern limericks that attempt to capture a joyful spirit. And the same phrases used in every generic card and letter. It would be pleasant to hear a few more old terms, and unique descriptions come up in the Christmas cards and letters. So if I were to send out a Christmas letter (which I am not, just pictures) what unique words would I use to describe my children?

Inquisitive ~ given to asking questions
Accommodating ~ willing to help
Ardent ~ intensely eager
Emphatic ~ forceful or insistent

Effervescent ~ bubbly, enthusiastic
Vivacious ~ lively and spirited
Warmhearted ~  affectionate and kind
Winsome ~ innocently charming
What words would you use to describe your children?
Also, check out these thought from Hayley over at Carrots for Michaelmas about Christian art and music.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hightlights from Family Photo Shoot

Sending out pictures of our growing family is something that gives me great pleasure ( I love receiving family photos from others as well). But when narrowing down the options it can be so hard to choose just one. Sometimes the shoot brings rewards of the unexpected. Since I am so proud of my family I just have to share them.

Flathead Lake



Almost perfect. I'm trying to find one with both kids behaving.

One of my favorites

Rock skipping break

Noses, noses

Kiss your sister, please!

Like Daddy and Mummy

No, don't kiss me!

Babbling away

Studying surrounding's

Adventure time

My dearest and best love on earth

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November and December

November - with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes - days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees. What cared they? Old Tom had built his roof well and his chimney drew.
"Warm fire - books - comfort - safety from storm - our cats on the rug." Said Barney,"would you be any happier now if you had a million dollars?"

December. Early snows and Orion. The pale fires of the Milky Way. It was really winter now - wonderful, cold, starry winter. Days of clear brilliance. Evenings that were like cups of glamour - the purest vintage of winter's wine. Nights with their fire of stars. Cold, exquisite sunrises. Lovely ferns of ice over the windows of the Blue Castle. Moonlight on birches in a silver thaw. Ragged shadows on windy evenings. Great silences, austere and searching. Ice-grey twilights, broken by snow-squalls, when their cozy living room with its goblins of firelight and inscrutable cats seemed cozier than ever.

~ L. M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Challenge I Was Given and How I Have Acheived It

This weekend marks the fourth Thanksgiving of my marriage to Roman Mallery. Each year we have had the over-indulgent, and highly enjoyable experience of a table-loaded meal with our respective parents and siblings (on separate days, thankfully). This year is no different, all the usual hallmarks of the holiday, traditional dishes, family games, the round-the-table-expressions-of-particular-thanks. Every year the table is a little more crowded as many babies rapidly swell our ranks (my in-laws have twelve grandkids and counting). A crazy weekend to kick of the round of holidays.

In this big picture story, there are always details that form us. Details like dessert. Every year I have contributed to the dessert table. While my dear husband has raved about my cooking skills from day 1, there is one area where I never quite measured up to his expectations.
And a Thanksgiving without pie would be drastic.
It seems I had rather a lot to live up to in the pie department. Roman's dear Grandma Mallery is a pie maker whose fame has spread across the northwest. All who know her rave about her pies. Roman's mother is not bad herself, and one of my sister-in-laws has a knack for the flakiest piecrusts you will find anywhere. So with each November I find myself scouring my cookbooks and the internet to make a pie that my husband truly enjoys. Last year I pulled off a Sweet Potato Meringue Pie that knocked his socks off and this year I think I may be able to join the ranks of Mallery women and their pies. The lard piecrusts have been far more successful than butter. Lard rendered from the pig we helped raise and now stocks our freezer. Yesterday's Apple-Sour-Cream-Crumb Pie achieved the highest praise from my husband yet. Last weekend I made a test pumpkin pie that was rapidly consumed by my son, daughter, and husband. Today I made three more Pumpkin Pies for our Mallery gathering tomorrow and if my son's longing gaze is any indicator, they should be alright.
In conclusion,
I may not ever achieve the level of recognition that Grandma Mallery has in her 80+ years,
and I don't think pie will ever be my specialty.
However, I think have given my husband a satisfactory improvement in the last four years
and I can safely say that I have accomplished a great personal challenge.
And buying a pastry mat, the kind that marks each size circle, has been the smartest purchase this baking season.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Valley of Vision

Lord of Heaven,

Thy goodness is inexpressible and inconceivable,
In the works of creation thou art almighty,
In the dispensations of providence all-wise,
In the gospel of grace all love,
And in thy Son thou hast provided for
 our deliverance from the effects of sin,
 the justification of our persons,
 the sanctification of our natures,
 the perseverance of our souls in the path of life.
Though exposed to the terrors of thy law,
 we have a refuge from the storm;
Though compelled to cry, 'Unclean',
 we have a fountain for sin;
Though creature-cells of emptiness
 we have a fullness accessible to all,
 and incapable of reduction.

Grant us always to know that to walk with Jesus
 makes other interests a shadow and a dream.
Keep us from intermittent attention to eternal things;
Save us from the delusion of those
 who fail to go far in religion,
 who are concerned but not converted,
 who have another heart but not a new one,
 who have light, zeal, and confidence, but not in Christ.
Let us judge our Christianity,
 not only by our dependence on Jesus,
  but by our love to him,
   our conformity to him,
    our knowledge of him.
Give us a religion that is both real and progressive,
 that holds on its way and grows stronger,
 that lives and works in the Spirit,
 that profits by every correction,
 and is injured by no carnal indulgence.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

There Was A Child Went Forth

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching eyeles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song
  of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barnyard of by the mire of the pondside,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there, and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads, all became part of him.
His own parents, he that had father'd him and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb and
  birthed him.
They gave this child more of themselves than that,
They gave him afterward everyday, they became part of him.

~Walt Whitman

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Isaiah and My Children

Ethan Patrick
Strong Nobleman
Isaiah 32:8
But the noble man devises noble plans and by noble plans he stands.
Saoirse Dawn
Freedom has risen
Isaiah 60:1
Arise, shine; for you light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to be Happy

Are you almost disgusted with life, little man?
I'll tell you a wonderful trick
That will bring some contentment, if anything can,
Do something for somebody, quick!

Are you awfully tired with play, little girl?
Wearied, discouraged, and sick -
I'll tell you the loveliest game in the world,
Do something for somebody, quick!

Though it rains, like the rain of the flood, little man,
And the clouds are forbidding and thick,
You can make the sun shine in your soul, little man,
Do something for somebody, quick!

Though the stars are like brass overhead, little girl,
And the walks like a well-heated brick,
And our earthly affairs in a terrible whirl,
Do something for somebody, quick!


Sharing a tub of whipped cream!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Two Temples

A Builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw it's beauty,
"It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye!"

A Mother builded a temple
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew her wondrous plan,
For the temple the Mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder's temple,
Crumpled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.
But the temple the Mother builded
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child's immortal soul.

~Hattie Vose Hall

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A List of Favorites

After finishing Life After Art by Matt Appling and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp I was challenged and inspired to make the beauty that I desire to see in my home. Autumn delights are something I am already grateful for and now I am taking steps to actually enjoy them. From the list above (courtesy of Pinterest) my favorites are:

My mustard yellow cardigan(along with boots and jeans)
Baking: lately French bread and a pear tart.
The daily teatime ritual I am creating with my family.
Sometimes it's morning, sometimes afternoon, or even evening.
I make a pot of tea or hot cocoa to share with Ethan and Roman (while Saoirse has a sippy of milk) and we enjoy relaxing together. Setting up the whole tea service makes an inviting and relaxing experience that much more beautiful.
What are your favorite autumn joys?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Real Motherhood: In Sickness and in Health

Welcome to the October Real Motherhood Link-up, hosted by Mandi and Sarah!
The past month held a lot for our family, including a week with the flu, a week with guests (with whom we shared the flu), the rapid onset of chilly autumn weather, and of course the common cold, which turns me into something of a giant hankie. The bright side to all the sickness is the extra time cuddling and reading to the little ones. The dark side...well every mother knows that!
Roman's cousin and his family from TN visited us for about a week in the middle of September.
It was a fabulous experience to open our home in Christian hospitality that blessed me a great variety of ways. I hope I will continue to have opportunity to bless others with my home.

My kids favorite visitors were the furry ones. Goodness, they just love dogs!

My battle of the month: Ethan hated being in the car. The second he was in he wanted to go home, he cried and screamed until we reached our destination (grocery store, grandmas house, etc.) and would do fine while out. When back in the car it was another tantrum until we arrived home. I thought I would never have a peaceful car trip again. Then suddenly, last week the tantrums ceased. I have no clue why they started or why they stopped. Sometimes you just have to ride the phase out.

Chilly autumn walks!
And now I must go wipe the noses after explosive sneezes, and wash sheets, and....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Little Red Bike

Mindy has the sweetest songs that seem to reflect the simple joy of an ordinary life.


Friday, October 4, 2013

October's Party

October gave a party,
The leaves of hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners
And gaily flutter by;
The sight was a like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky.

Then in the rustic hollow
At hide and seek they played;
The party closed at sundown
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And the party ended
With jolly "hands around."

~George Cooper

Ah! Sunflower

Ah! Sunflower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travelers journey is done:

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go.

~William Blake
One of my favorite autumnal flowers is the red and black sunflowers. They match the dark, yet bright tones that mark the remarkable change in seasons, much different from the standard bright yellow of summery sunflowers. It is remarkable how each plant changes through a year.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood

The gift of photography (and the good camera) is in the hands of my mother. So I occasionally prevail upon her to take pictures of my children (a task she willingly endures). To mark Saoirse's first year of life I wanted to captured her red hair, and the fairy tale character of Red Riding Hood seemed to be a perfect subject. So I hand-sewed every detail of her flowing cape, made a batch of ginger cookies, and sent her to Nana's house (my mother-in-law's darling English style cottage in the woods.) Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day.