Sweet Romances to Read this Month. . . The February sunshine steeps your boughs
And tints the buds and swells the leaves within
~ William Cullen Bryant, “Among the Trees.” 1874
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. - Edith Sitwell, 1887 – 1964.
The Truest Love Stories Whisper How Deeply God Loves
“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. . .” ~ Jane Austen, Persuasion, Captain Wentworth to Anne Elliot, 1818.
"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ~Jane Austen,Pride and Prejudice,Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, 1813.
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. . .
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
. .I love thee purely. . .I shall but love thee better after death."~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese, Number 43, 1850.
“Had she but turned back then, and looked out once more on to the rose-lit garden, she would have seen that which would have made her own sufferings seem but light and easy to bear--a strong man, overwhelmed with his own passion and despair. Pride had given way at last, obstinacy was gone: the will was powerless. He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love and as soon as her light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade, where her tiny hand had rested last.” ~ Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Percy and Marguerite, 1905.
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. ~1 Timothy 2: 1-3
Quietly sits the autumn world, walls of stained glass, carpet of deepest Persian hues. i will drink it in today for as long as i can, sleepy eyes propped open. . .a storm is coming, Sandy the Frankenstorm they call her, and in the midst our preparation and the din of dire warnings, all i can think about is. . .these colors may not be here when storm is passed.
Twenty-two years I’ve known her. But on days like today,
when the tread on the flint is a little more weary, a little more burdened,
when deep hollows half-moon her eyes, a clip holds the hair out of the way, and
a wool shawl winds its warmth around her small shoulders as she bends hours
over the notes in her lap in the light of the computer, I think I see the wee
one, all five or maybe ten again. Now and again she looks up at me, steady gaze
from solemn brown eyes that always seem to look through. Disappointment has run the heavy timber of
its lance at her heart, and briefly she feels too few to win the battle. Prayer
spent, we sit in Quiet and speak truth, tucked in among the pillows on the wide
bed, she at one side, I at the other, and afternoon light gilding her fair head.
We travel through the corridors of His Word until we come to a well lit chamber
where He waits for us, a table is laid before us. I watch her nourished. And then a gift from Him Who made her
and knows her best ~this little video of a five year old delivering Henry’s
speech to small band of men facing a formidable foe of strength and number.
Shakespeare. A darling five year old. St. Crispin's Day. That it was a Gift of
Grace and love and joy to her this day could not have been more evident than if
it had been wrapped in a bow and tagged with her name.
The Thoughtful player is to your right for you to pause if
you would like to listen to this wee one. His small voice speaks large things. Be
encouraged, my friend, to fight on. . .
Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be
afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9
Early Sunday morning, i slipped from bed and headed for the kitchen to surprise my Big Guy with a special breakfast. First, the cast iron skillet and the Bella Cucina Buffet Server. . .
Then the brown sugar bacon (recipe here) baked in the oven. Super crispy with a touch of smoky sweet. . .omigoodness. ~photo from kitchenscoop.com Baking the bacon in the oven left my stove top free for cooking the toasted-cheese-scrambled eggs and Mancakes.
Toasted Cheese Scramble 8 to 10 eggs, beaten until well mixed (the frothier the mix, the fluffier the eggs will be. Go ahead, use that immersion blender) 1/8 c of milk 2/3 c of shredded cheese (we use sharp cheddar) (amounts vary to taste)
Heat a frying pan to medium. Add the milk first, and then spread the cheese out into a thin layer. Melt the cheese. . .my Guy likes his cheese toasted a golden brown which makes it a thin sheet almost stuck to the pan. Never fear. This will work out. Add the eggs and begin scrambling immediately, scraping up and chopping the browned cheese as you go. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember, the cheese is salty. . .so is that bacon). Set aside and keep warm (love that Bella Cucina Buffet Server for weekend breakfasts)
The Mancake Topping (amounts vary) 2 T butter 1 1/4 c of pecans (or walnuts), whole 2 T of brown sugar 1 banana, sliced 1 cap of rum
In a sautee pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Toast the pecans in the melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and stir to melt the sugar. Gently stir in the banana slices until warmed. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour in 1 cap of rum (more if you are the brazen sort) and step back to admire the immediate flash of sizzle and smoke indicating that the alcohol is burning off.
Keep warm until serving with Real Maple syrup.
Butter Rum Pecan and Banana Mancakes with Maple Syrup served on the deck before church. Man-approved, but girls love'em, too.
The first went something like this. . .how odd to see the vibrant rose of summer against the background of autumnal gold. . .
Like the rose, i have clung to summer so that the beauty of fall has been bitter sweet. This is because i know that to enter summer again, i will have to fight a fierce battle with allergies that keep me house-bound, windows closed for six long weeks. Just as winter ends, and people joyfully open windows to a soft breeze, slip into shorts and sandals, and begin to break the garden soil and soak up the rays of the sun, i go inside and shut the door. . .literally. The dog will be bathed and children will change their clothes as soon as they come in to spare me even the merest brush with master pollen. And finally, just as the claustrophobia and daily illness begins to unhinge me into a spiralling despair and sadness, the glories of spring will scatter her petals to the ground under a gully-washer that sweeps the green haze away, and the first warm days of summer will arrive. And then my little resurrection begins; i grow well again, i will venture slowly outside, and i will drink in every moment of the brief season Summer. Her price was dear.The times that i am at the beach are the best; the air is clear and free there and i stay outdoors from dawn (literally) until the stars come out.
And so. . .the beauty of Fall fills me with such longing because i am constantly aware that for the leaves to return again ~for the roses to branch and bud and bloom again~ i must go through spring's little death. . .again and again and again. . .all the springs of my life. Ann-like, i give thanks.
And the second thought converging on the roses is stirred when Little Lady Curls is playing Hillsong on her iPod and i hear . . .
"My anchor holds within the veil."
This thought swells in my heart. Surely i know this to be true. Whatever troubles i have known in my life, the resurrection comes. it always comes. i lift my head and sing it strong, and i think of the roses.
"When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil."
The tenacity of these summer roses in an autumn garden, the vivid hue of scarlet in a world gone gold, reminds of the anchor that holds. . .
"My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness."
Your little garden can be a place to "think, reflect,
pray, and experience the presence of God. . .a place of healing. . .a sacred
"God made us stewards over His creation so that we could rejoice in it, admire it, and love it as much as God does. . .never take for granted a single bloom, a ripe tomato, or the red leaves of a maple tree. . ."
From Week 33 of A Well-Watered Garden:
Go into your garden and pick a blossom, vegetable, or distinctive leaf.
Float the blossom in a bowl, or put the vegetable or leaf in a special dish.
Outer Garden: Draw a picture of your choice, or use words to describe it in as much detail as possible.
Inner Garden: Use the blossom, vegetable, or leaf as the focus of your prayer time this week. Write a praise prayer inpsired by the fruit of your garden.