Monday, April 27, 2009

And fresh from the garden:

Lettuce! We had a lovely salad this evening with our own lettuce. That means I won't be buying that expensive, tired stuff from WalMart for several months! Yay!

Tonight, Adam has a session meeting, and I'm taking Philip to Hickory to buy a vest and tie to go with his tux for prom. All his friends and their dates are going too, and it looks like it will be a wonderful evening. HOPEFULLY, I'll get a picture or two, but since I won't be seeing him and his date, I'll have to trust that Philip, The Great Photographer, will be sure to send me a few. The whole pack of them are probably going to a nice spot together to take dozens of shots.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's NOT pretty...

But it was fun to do!
I mentioned the wrist warmers. Well, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I'd never crocheted "in the round" before (or whatever they call it) - in a continuous circle. Here's the beginning.

Going up the wrist I first tightened the gauge (unintentionally) and then loosened it, as I approached the hand.

To obtain the slit for the thumb, I had to stop crocheting in a loop, and go back and forth for a number of rows. This is the widest part of the glove.

The finished product, such as it is. Not much to look at, but I enjoy crocheting to fit shapes, instead of just flat surfaces like afghans. I didn't want the top of the glove to impair the fingers from curving under, but did want a rounded portion to cover the knuckles on the back of the hand. The shape is exactly what I wanted. Now Julia wants a pair. I told her, maybe for winter. And maybe I'll be in better crocheting practice by then. I think it's been at least 2 years since I've crocheted.

Chasing Childhood Memories

Another stop on our way home was Montreat College. In my childhood, I spent many summer weeks here at the PEF Conference, playing, freezing in Lake Susan, and dashing around in the evenings with other kids. It was lovely to see it again.

At the conference, we usually stayed in the South Carolina Home. I was young, and only remember a cool, long room where we played, read, and built houses of cards. And I recall the dining room where we ate breakfast, a low, long room at the bottom of the house where we ate donuts to our hearts' content. My friend Jean had to drive around twisty mountain roads to finally find this place. Why do we need the subtle resolution that happens when we see again a place from childhood?

Folk Art Center

On the way home from our ladies' retreat, we stopped at the Folk Art Center just outside of Asheville.

A lady downstairs near the entrance was combining various colors of yard on this little contraption, before she did her knitting and crocheting. She made beautiful things, and I am all enthused and inspired to begin crocheting again. But how can I do it without that fabulous book I borrowed last time? (Mental note to ask Hunter for her book again... Did you hear that mental note, Hunter?) This lady made "wrist warmers," which are basically gloves that go a little farther up the arm, and leave the last inch of the fingertips showing. Loved them!

I should say that I DID see the "no photographs please" sign on the door of the center -- after I left! I also saw notices in the gift shop and in the upstairs exhibits. But I wasn't about to delete my photos of these other spots! Here is a gorgeous spinning wheel.

And here is a beautiful loom. I wish so badly that I knew how to work one of these. What fun, to make your own fabric!

Another lady near the front door was doing relief block printing, very fine work.

Girl Time

These are some very fun chicks! We all went for an overnight ladies' retreat, just us chickens from our church. Big retreats can be beneficial, but small gatherings like this are more personable, and MUCH less expensive.

Our retreat was (as always) at Bonclarken, and we stayed at Carroll Cottage. It's a relaxing place.

I've posted many beautiful shots of Bonclarken before, and won't repeat them here. However, I think I finally found my FAVORITE house on the conference grounds! I don't know who lives here, but I sure would love to wake up to the sound of a rippling creek under my bed in the morning! Or eat breakfast to its cheery voice! Isn't it lovely? There are many large, new, impressive homes, there, but I personally prefer a little, old cabin like this.

Here's the latest building at Bonclarken. It's very nice. And Jean and Cheryl are lookin' good too!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Volvo

Adam has done a pile of work on our 1988 Volvo lately. Our goal is to get it to be a smooth-running family car again, albeit rather old. Right now, he's trying to remove brake calipers, the bolts for which have rusted on nicely in 20 years.

And Audrey has been getting some attention as well. Adam has completed his total repair of her wiring harness. She will be our traveling car. The only trouble is, that neither of these cars has working A/C, and it's expensive to fix. Driving this summer could be sweaty! Our plan is to sell the nice van we've been driving -- eliminating debt.

For the past several days, our neighbors' gorgeous tree has been losing its blossoms, and laid a pink carpet near our bird bath.

Peter and Julia still occasionally play outside together. Peter's rope swing broke, but he can still get a handle on it. They invented a game called "Monkey and Hunter." I don't understand it all, but they really like it.

And who would be 43 today???

That's who!! Happy birthday to my sweet hubby :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back into the Fray

Well, I'd hardly call my classroom a "fray," but I was certainly back into it today! And after an 11 1/2 day spring break, it did feel a bit strange to be slinging around Shakespeare and dicing up Wordsworth.

For those of you following Adam's job search, he has had a little interest expressed from a church in the Midwest, which is encouraging. It is very likely that we will be moving this summer, since it's a slim chance that he'll find work here in our town, and much more likely that he'll find work elsewhere. And if he finds no work at all, we will need to sell and move regardless.

This is a daunting prospect, and sometimes a depressing one. We're not wild about our town, but it's been a good home and we had wanted to stay here. Still, when one is in the ministry, one must be willing to go anywhere that God sends; this often translates into moving around the country every few years, which seems to be our pattern. The upheaval has the effect of disappointing the children while unifying the family. We don't feel well-rooted anywhere, but we've seen and lived in some amazing places. However, I'd not be surprised if our children opt for the "well-rooted" lifestyle themselves, when they're adults.

The biggest challenge, after finding a job, is selling our house in this lousy housing market. That is a big prayer concern. We do covet your prayers, I think a form of covetousness allowed by the Lord. And if you know of any churches near you that need a pastor, feel free to leave a message or email me and let me know!


Monday, April 20, 2009

"Happy Homemaker Monday"

I shamelessly swiped this from another blog, because they're rather fun to do!

On my bedside table:
Stacks of books
Benadryl, a nightly staple for sleeping
A bag of chocolates - and yes, they last a LONG time

On my TV:
Dust. We don't watch TV. We watch DVDs on our TV -- right now, Star Trek Next Generation and Mulberry

On the menu for tonight:
Beef tips over pasta
Green salad
Cold peaches
French Bread

On my To Do List:
I did it all already! Well, okay, a bit more grading.

New Recipe I'm trying:
Easy French Bread from the More With Less Cookbook

In the craft basket:
What craft basket?

Looking forward to:
Being out of school for the summer, and spending more time with my children.
[Not looking forward to: selling van, selling house, moving...]

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Planning a weekly menu ahead of time, even just a rough one, will save you money at the grocery because you won't be tempted to buy items that you won't need that week - you already KNOW what you need that week!

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
Lanier's experience with the Bee Charmer

Lesson learned the past few days:
Worries are much more alarming in the early morning, or late at night. Try to ignore them, and revisit them after prayer, scripture reading, and quiet meditation.

On my Prayer List:
My husband's call to be a pastor, that the Lord would affirm it
A good end to the school year
2 servicemen I know, one severely injured, one just being deployed

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Today, Jeremiah 29 -- a reminder to be obedient to the Lord even in times of exile and sorrow.
"Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart." -Ps. 37:4

I know that, when I thoroughly delight in God, He becomes the only desire of my heart. Isn't that how it works?

The Simple Woman's Day Book

Outside my window...
it is 60 degrees, rained a bit last night, but the thunderstorms forecast for this morning aren't here.

I am thinking...
about our future and how unsettled our lives feel right now.

I am thankful for...
how we've weathered personal storms in the past. It gives me hope for the future.

From the kitchen....
I'm planning to make beef tips over noodles for supper, probably with a salad too.

I am pajamas and robe, of course - what else would I be wearing on my personal day off?

I am reading... Miss Read, her first book, called Village School.

I am hoping...
that God resolves some of our questions soon, and gives us clear guidance. We know what our hearts' desires are, but doors seem shut right now.

I am creating... hmm. Perhaps some creativity would help right now.

I am hearing...
hundreds of birds outside. We have so many in our neighborhood because it's well-wooded. Such a cheerful sound in the mornings!

Around the house...
Finishing the last load of laundry, vacuuming, kitchen cleaning, balancing finances, paying bills, being ready for classes tomorrow.

One of my favorite things...peace. I wish I had more of it right now.
I've implored the Lord for wisdom, trust, guidance, and more wisdom. I've prayed, read Scripture, sought wise counsel, talked, deliberated. But mostly I'd like peace.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fort Dobbs

I took Peter and Julia to a nearby historic site on Saturday. Fort Dobbs does Living History Reenactments of a battle with local Indians in 1759.

Many tents were set up for soldiers' sleeping, and for the suttlers to sell their wares.

Several demonstrators showed the visitors their skills. This lady was spinning wool.

British troops drill before the attack of the fort.

The British load their muskets in anticipation of the Indian aggression.

Republicans warned about housing meltdown - And thank you, Barny Frank

Friday, April 17, 2009

Seventeen and a day :)

This is the best picture she would allow me to take! The one before this, she had the blanket OVER her head :)

Can you believe she is 17? It just can't be true. Today I made her cake. Here's the recipe:

Heath Bar Cake

1 German chocolate cake mix
1 jar caramel syrup
whipping cream/cool whip
1 bag of heath bar chips, or 2 heath bars crushed
(I bet Butterfingers would be great, but she wouldn't try it!)

Make the cake according to directions.
While warm, poke many holes in the top with a toothpick and drizzle the caramel over the top, allowing it to penetrate cake.
Cool cake.
Spread whipping cream on top, and sprinkle heath chips

Happy Birthday, Anna!! We love you :)

The Patio Saga

Okay now - ignore the imposing family in the foreground, and examine the landscape behind their legs. Note the misshapen tree, the bulging root system, the encroaching ivy.

The tree met its match in Peter. Digging out the root system took forever.

The moonscape. This is what it looked like for quite a while, and the lady of the house began to despair that she would ever have a real patio.

Adam and Philip dug out the excess dirt, put in sand, and laid new bricks while we were gone to W.Va.

We moved much of the patio furniture back onto the bricks yesterday, and enjoyed roasted marshmallows over the firepit last night. A finished project at last!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One man's trash:

My treasures for the day! I went to my favorite "junk" store. They have hundreds of books. I was looking specifically for teaching books, but I love children's books also. Here's what I found:
Most people don't want to wade through all the National Geographics. But they had them with the spines out, easy to read. The spine titles in red indicated volumes with maps inside - I love maps! So I bought a few in areas that interest me: Ancient Greeks, Minoans, Phoenicians, Mayans, and others. Great maps.

Among the children's books, Julie, Miss Nelson, Jan Brett (for 25 cents!) Shiloh, and an adorable little B. Potter.

And for the adult within? A Rex Stout, 2 history texts by Speilvogel, a trusty old Strunk and White, a bit of Tennyson, a great American literature textbook, and Joshua Slocum's unsurpassed book about sailing around the world.

And, yes, I would rather sit and look through dusty books than get my nails done, ANY day!

Fun with some cousins...

at the blueberry farm! Not that they have any berries to pick right now, mind you. But we were there for family fun, not nibbling :)

The children played and played - they had a blast. They sang, did outdoor and indoor games, and hiked around.

My dear sister-in-law spend many hours in the kitchen, and we all gratefully consumed her delicious recipes. Here is a picture of her FAMOUS breakfast waffles. My brother said to mention that this was made with all the following from their own farm: eggs, milk, blueberries, raspberries, cream, butter, and even the syrup! I know it sounds like fun, but you should know that all this wonder comes only after their HARD WORK!

And they're off!!

I traveled with 3 of the children to West Virginia for a short visit. On the way, we stopped at a place I've wondered about - the Jackson Ferry Shot Tower. Isn't it a neat-looking place?

Lovely farmland surrounds the tower. It was nice to stretch our legs.

This bizarre shot was Peter's idea. We couldn't get into the shot tower; the door was bolted shut. But I held the camera inside, so we would look like WE were behind bars. Silly boy.

The drive into West Virginia takes us through two long tunnels to cut through the mountain ranges. The children always like to try holding their breath in the tunnel.

I made one more stop that I've wanted to make for MANY years -- on 219 at Salt Sulfur Springs. This fabulous stone house does advertise as a "guesthouse," so I made free to knock and inquire. The lovely mistress of the house invited me in, showed me her stunning downstairs, and toured me through the portion of the residence that is rented out as a guesthouse. Her main living room is massive - the size of a church sanctuary, with 2 huge chandeliers. The ceilings are 15 feet tall, and there's an upstairs above that! The structure was built in 1820; she's lived there for 40 years. I thanked her several times for allowing me the time to see her beautiful home. (This photo really does not do it justice.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

All dressed up for Easter

Aren't they lovely? I saw several blogging/facebook friends had posted pics of their little kids in Easter finery, and remembered I'd taken a shot of the girls on Sunday morning. Julia's dress was passed down to her from Anna. We've had it for years. This year, it finally fit her perfectly.

I'm off this morning to West Virginia with 3 of the kids. Adam and Philip will stay here to get some work done in the yard and on the cars. Philip's also working on an online class that we want him to FINISH during break. I'll bring back pictures (hopefully) from the farm - but it does look like a very rainy week, so I may spend time inside my SIL's kitchen instead of out by the barn!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

- Robert Frost

Jesus Lives

Jesus lives, and so shall I: Death thy sting is gone forever!
He for me hath deigned to die, Lives the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust: Jesus is my hope and trust!

Jesus lives -- and death is now but my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou hast a crown of life before thee.
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just: Jesus is my hope and trust.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

For your spring viewing pleasure:

I took a walk today through my neighborhood, and found so many spots of spring beauty: