Good Stuff

Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14, 2014
Pandora made my day with a notification they sent me this morning. You might get a kick out of it too. It said, "The weekend's finally here! Time to turn Sidney Bechet Radio up. Way up." I think I might just do that! What's one of your favorite stations on Pandora?

Today, I've got an all over the place post for you. It's a cross between a currently post, a what I'm into post, and list of things I'm thankful for, and one of my old "from four days" style posts. You've been warned.

We're heading into the weekend with a very real possibility of a major storm heading our way. So far, we've had a fair amount of rain (typical this time of year) and the wind kicked up last night. The wind is NOT our friend. Please be praying for the coastal areas as they are the ones who will likely end up with the most damage if things go as the weather people suspect them to.

That's that. I had my West Coast friends pray for my East Coast friends last week. This week, we're trading places. I am not afraid, but I do know that this is a great opportunity to seek God in prayer.

Aside from that, I'm going into the weekend with some great times behind me too.

Volleyball started back up this last week. I was super rusty (I had like three HORRIBLE bumps and a handful of TERRIBLE serves. I almost never miss a serve.), but I kept at it and by the end of the night I was ALMOST my old self again. I'm excited to play a lot more and hopefully a lot better in the months to come.

I can officially no longer say that I've never been to Panera. My sister and I went there for lunch last Thursday. I had super high expectations and while the food was good (I was silly and didn't get the mac and cheese), it was a little more than I want to spend on soups/salads/sandwiches. I'm convinced that we just didn't order "right", but the jury is still out for me. Any tips?

This week, my friend Abigail and I met up to go hiking. I am soooo excited to live in an area where I can hike again. We did two loops, saw lots of very friendly people, enjoyed a nice long chat, and stopped a time or two to take in the views. She'll be leaving for MA in a few weeks and I'm going to miss her while she's gone. She's the second person I've met from MA now on this other side of the country...Funny how that works.

My sister and I went for a walk recently which kind of turned into a bit of a picture walk. I've got some shots to share and I'm thinking Monday will be the day for that. Hold me to it!!!! We walked and walked with the goal of enjoying some fresh air and the fall foilage.

As I always do this time of year (since my MA days)....I realllllly realllly want to have a Guy Fawkes party. Apple cider, caramel apples, s'mores, and a fire. Wouldn't that be fun? I'd skip out on the effigies (that thoroughly creeped me out) and maybe watch Meet Me In St. Louis instead. I'm sure it won't happen, but it does sound fun. I mean...I wanted to try to have people over for cake some Sunday AFTER my birthday and that still hasn't happened, so let's just be real about this. ;)

Before I sign off for the day, I wanted to share a few links with you:

Today is Amy's birthday!!!! She wrote a post sharing some birthday wisdom. Check it out and wish her a happy birthday!

My friend Emily mentioned my post in her Weekend Reads roundup. I love roundups and being featured in one is always exciting!

Last night I made Ina's Skillet-Roasted Chicken Dinner. If you need a meal that's easy to make, great for company, and will make you feel fancy, this is what you're looking for.

Want to take a ramble around the yard with me? Here's a post from two years ago today.

Do you have any rambles to share with me? 

What's one recipe (an old favorite or a new find) that you've made and loved recently?

Have a great weekend!

The Home Fire

Friday, October 07, 2016

Back in August, I was listening to my Early Jazz station on Pandora when this song came on. I don't know exactly what I was doing, but I have a feeling I was up to my neck in some kind of housework. The message really struck a chord with me.

Armstrong was singing away about how much the home fire means to him. Even the things that are less than desirable all worked together to be his little heaven on earth. He was so happy there that he invited others in to share it with him. In that moment I knew that the work of keeping the home fire burning is a good one.

I don't do it perfectly. I've been at it for so long that I do a lot of the work without even thinking about it. I need to get better at going with the flow. I need to be able to plan ahead in a way that leaves room for a handful of friends to stop by and join in on whatever it is we're eating or doing. My Mom was always so good at making room for my friends and I know that I've done a terrible job at welcoming people in. If I've had time to plan, I'm game, but it's the unplanned that keeps me grumbling growing.

Homemaking hasn't been very popular for a LONG time. People look down on it or feel like it's looked down on. I'm so pleased that it's making a come back. Women are getting excited about cooking and cleaning and gardening and spending the majority of their time tending to the ones they love. It is a full time job and one that's worthy of our praise and devotion.

God gave us these homes to be little churches in our neighborhoods. As we welcome people into our everyday lives, it's our opportunity to share our relationship with each other and with Him. The need to sleep and rest and eat and work are gifts from God to give us ways to connect to one another. 

I may not be a mother or a wife, but I've been given a home fire to tend to and it is one of my greatest joys. I know that my family appreciates it. I know I have so very much to learn. I'm thankful for the reminders - however unexpected they may be - that this life I've been given is a good one. It's easy to turn my eyes to other things. I can truly say that I'm proud of my work and content to continue in it as long as I can.

Whatever we do, people will always have something to say about it. We'll always think there's something "better" or "more important" that we could be doing. This weekend, take some time to think about the work God has given you. Thank Him for it. Ask Him to help you to be glad in it. And, whether you're the keeper of the home fire or not, celebrate the gift that it is!

As for me, I sit here having the furniture dusted, the kitchen tidied, a loaf of this bread baking away in the oven, and the rain coming down outside. I've got Louis providing the soundtrack. And now, I'm off to get some laundry going.

If you're ever in town, inquire. We'll be glad to have you share the home fire!

Currently: October 2016

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

October 5, 2016
I had planned to take a picture of the leaves or the garden or something outside to head up this post, but this morning, as I sat surrounded by notes and books I knew this is the best picture of life right now. I got asked to write a little something on Lady Jane Grey for my church's Reformation celebration coming up at the end of the month, so I'm kind of obsessing over all things Tudor History right now. The main source I used was Faith Cook's book, but as I always do, I went digging and found some fantastic letters as well. This is a period of history that I know so little about. I think I'll be hooked on it long after this writing project is finished.

Aside from that, it's October. The week has been rainy, our front lawn is COVERED in leaves of all shapes and shades, and dinner is my version of my favorite beef roast recipe happening in the crock pot.  Every evening has SOMETHING in it. We continue meeting up with friends to visit and eat and play as often as we can.

Be praying for my Grandma, if you would. She had surgery last week and it hasn't been easy on her! Also, be praying for everyone in Charleston (and other hurricane areas). Matthew chased the slew of cousins that I have in Charleston out of town, but a few of them haven't left yet. Also, Amy has a call to make and a house that needs God's protection.  That storm is in His hands! As for me, I'm currently...

Cheers-ing: My newest historical hero, Lady Jane and my God whose grace led her and sustained her allll the way. Seriously, you guys, her story is not for the faint of heart. It will inspire you and bolster your hope and make you super grateful for those whose lives and labors were used to pave the way for our Christianity.

The cars, my notes, and that Lady Jane writing project. I reallly need to do a full detail on the cars. Organizing notes is something I've adored ever since my elementary school days. And reworking a paper never gets old.

Quiet dreams. It's the time of year when doing "my jobs" is easiest for me. Keeping house is a big job and sometimes I get down on myself about that being "what I do". So, I do the work my hands find to do and I quietly ponder what might be around the bend. It might be more of the same and that's fine by me. It might be something difficult and while that scares me, well, that's why the dreams are QUIET.

Less produce. More junk food. EEEK. I need to learn more about fall produce. I'm excited that sweet potatoes are coming back down! What else should I look for?

This morning, it was my Claude Debussy station on Pandora. It's as close "classical" as I'll probably ever get. I've also had my rainy day playlist on repeat.

And that's that. Happy Wednesday to you all! I'm linking up with Anne and Jacqui.

What are YOU up to?

Fall Reads Handpicked For YOU

Monday, October 03, 2016

When I think of fall reading, I think of books that are older and heavier. These kind of books have to be well written because the themes they center around beg you to slow down and take your time. In fall, the nights are long and the get-togethers are fewer and farther between. The yard work is slowly coming to an end and we are left with more time to get some reading in.

Fall reading is pretty much my favorite, so I've decided to give you a list of books that I couldn't get enough of as I was reading them. Some are short, some are longer, and they each fit into a specific category.

The 10 books that I think YOU should read this fall are:

Historical Fiction

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy This is one novel that I cannot seem to stop recommending. It, like the other novel I'm stuck on in this category, flashes back and forth between modern day and Civil War days. This one is more mystery than novel. It is sure to keep you guessing.

The House Girl by Tara Conklin A novel that flashes back and forth between modern day New York City and the Underground Railroad days. You get to know two women as you discover the timeless tie that binds them together. 

Literary Fiction

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith  This novel, written in journal form, will satisfy your craving for a well written book that is a story of life as it happens. It's not full of mystery or intrigue and a lot of the time it's just kind of bumbling along. Now, I know that doesn't sound promising, but every now and then that's just the kind of reading we need to do.

The Small Rain by Madeleine L'Engle I've been an L'Engle fan since 6th grade. Imagine my joy when I found this book on my library's website several falls ago! It's the story of a girl named Katherine as she grows up and finds her own place in the world. And it's set in NYC. It's a win all the way around. 


By Searching by Isobel Kuhn Autobiographies are always rewarding and this one is no exception. Kuhn was a Christian woman who had a lot of learning to do. In this short book, she shares some of her wisdom and tells about being a young woman in the 1920s. 

84, Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff  This is a book  you can read in one sitting! It tells the story of a friendship between a woman in New York and a bookseller in England. The writing draws you in, so be ready to keep reading! Bonus: They made it into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins, so be sure to watch it AFTER you read the book.

Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah I never blogged about this one, so the link will take you to goodreads instead. This book got me started on my "read a book about France and cooking in November tradition". As you can guess, it's about eating and cooking and traveling around France.  It is a great introduction to that world.


Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark Another book I've never talked about on the blog before...I've been reading Mary Higgins Clark since 6th grade. I like her mysteries because they are well written, plausible, and always clean. She gets her inspiration from real cases and each story is set in New England which happens to be a part of the country that she is very familiar with. This one is set on Cape Cod and is so good that I've read it several times. 

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout My Mom got me hooked on Stout. His mysteries are the kind that make you think if you plan to solve them before you make it to the end. They feature two very likeable characters who will keep you laughing. 

The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor I can't put my finger on whose writing Taylor's reminds me of, but it's the best kind of likeness. The mystery is good, the setting is rich, and the characters are well crafted. If you've been to the Cape you'll enjoy a book that tells of the Cape as it was and if you haven't, I suspect this one will make you want to a plan a trip very soon. 

Choose a book or two or ten and let me know what you think! I've read and loved each and every one of these books. I'd love nothing more than to chat with all of you about whichever one(s) you choose to pick up!

Which one(s) sound perfect for you?

Is there a book (or ten) that you think I should read this fall?

5 More Things About Me pt. 3

Friday, September 30, 2016

September 19, 2016

*Summer is my favorite season, but I REALLY love fall too. I'm currently sporting my first fall manicure (black with gold glitter),  my favorite AE hoodie, and my fall/winter slippers.

*In my opinion, the mid 1800's to mid 1900's were the best years for literature. Christie, Fitzgerald, L'Engle, White, Sayers, Dahl, and Milne are some of my favorites. The timeline can stretch a bit in either direction to include people like Jane Austen. When were your favorite authors getting published?

*Three literary characters I relate to are: Anne Elliot from Persuasion, Skeeter Phelan from The Help, and Vicky Austin from A Ring of Endless Light. Anne cares about people deeply, Skeeter is awkwardly blunt and has a passion for writing, and Vicky loves the ocean and her grandfather fiercely and when I read their stories it's almost as though I'm reading my own. What three characters do you relate to?

*For quite a few years now I make my own cream of ____ soups when I'm cooking. This is the recipe I use.

*When I can, I arrange furniture so that the vacuum can fit perfectly between items that have to be close to one another. I get unexplainably happy when the architecture is such that a tight space still allows for the vacuum to fit.

What don't I know about you?

Can you relate to any of these?