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Friday, July 4, 2014

My "Summer Kitchen"


We've been having a lot of fun around here, living over blogging. Though I love the writing, and I often think, oh, I'd like to blog about this or that topic that crosses my mind...but then we get on with living. I plan hope to write more this summer. The word wall above kind of says it all, some of them we've checked off the list, some we'll do again and again, and some we've yet to do! 

Anyways, a fun-though sometimes hectic spring passed us by, and the HOT summer days are upon us and summer around here, is all about FUN. I have my summer reading list, my summer to do list, my summer playlist, summer movie list and now, a Summer Kitchen. What is that you may ask?  

The BackStory
We are very fortunate to have a house with 2 kitchens. Sometimes the basement is rented out to boarder so we haven't really made use of the basement kitchen until now. I guess I need to explain, my house is unique in that our regular kitchen/family/school/etc rooms are on the second floor (and the bedrooms are on the ground floor with a sitting room) of our Chalet style house. I love, love, LOVE my unique house, but the drawback is that the summers are very HOT upstairs, even when it's not hot outside - great for our COLD winters, not so much in summer. We have ceiling fans, but the vaulted ceilings just seem to hold the heat IN. 

So this year, my hubby convinced me to move our kitchen/living space to the basement. Since we're all basically in one big room down here, it feels like we're at a cottage. I'm actually loving it, because even though we're not going away (except to visit my grandma for a few days up north) - it's like we are away from home.

I call it my summer kitchen after a friend reminded me that in the old days (as in a couple generations ago) it was very common to have a second kitchen... I looked it up...
Cooking in an open fireplace in summer can cause the kitchen to become extremely hot, so in Early America it was common for people to build a separate building called a "Summer Kitchen" where much of the food would be prepared during the summer months. The summer kitchen would contain a large fireplace with an oven, and usually a large table which was used as a work surface.
The purpose of summer kitchens were to keep the main house cooler in the summer by putting the cooking and cleaning duties in a separate building.
It has been fun, we've basically "closed" the upper floor of the house (meaning we can turn the AC down or even OFF-yay! I have direct access to the backyard (aka my garden) from here, and canning down here is WAY better. Love to be able to use my home to it's fullest potential.





Here we are, all cozy in our "cool" summer kitchen. Hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are!
 
 

Friday, January 17, 2014

What I Read in 2013


I realize it's been a LONG time. Far too long in fact, since I have had a post on what I've been reading. The last time I posted, was in MAY last year. Yikes. I've spent all my time since then reading and not blogging about it...sorry, and I will try harder in 2014.

I did not read all the books that I had written down on that list, but I did read a ton of books that I came across through the months.

Tam's Top 5 (Based on the fact that I learned the most, read more than once or simply is timely based on where we are in our life's journey)
üWhen Life & Beliefs Collide...James  *   I absolutely love books that make me think, question myself, challenge what I believe and examine my foundations and motivations. This book was one of those, it helped refine what I think and how to convey it.
üRevolution The Story of the New Testament Church (the first 17 years)...Gene Edwards 

Honourable Mention goes to:
üGod's Favourite Place on Earth...Frank Viola*   I loved this book. A really different take on the house in Bethany and it's role in the life of Jesus then and now.
üEducating the Whole Hearted Child...Clay Sally Clarkson
   This is a must read for all homeschoolers, and one to go back to again and again through the process.


Books I read cover to cover (the ones with stars I recommend)
üRoaring Lambs...Bob Briner 
üThe Alchemist...Paulo Coelho
üThe Gospel of Ruth...James 
üLost Women of the Bible...James
üDumbing Us Down (The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling)...John Taylor Gatto
üLast Child in the Woods...Richard Louv *             
      I read most of this. It's definitely one to keep on hand. Such a good book to come back to when you are trying to change your family habits of being indoors so much.
üWheat Belly...William DavisüSame Kind of Different as Me... Ron Hall and Denver Moore's
üThe Fall of Rome
üA Place Called Freedom...Ken Follet
üThe Silas Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Titus Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Timothy Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Priscilla Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Gaius Diary...Gene Edwards 


Books I STILL check in on Every Year
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
Simple Abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach
Grace Based Parenting - Tim Kimmel

Currently Reading
The Happiest Toddler on the Block...Harvey Karp
Orthodoxy...GK Chesterton

Up Next
The Way they Learn...Cynthia Tobias
When the Church Was a Family...Joseph H Hellerman
Jesus Manifesto...Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet
The Key to your Child's Heart...Gary Smalley
Hind's Feet on High Places...Hannah Hurnard
Emma...Jane Austen
The Guests of War Triology...Kit Pearson

Einstein - Walter Isaacson
Prisoner in the Third Cell-Gene Edwards
A Briefer History of Time  Stephen Hawking
A Short History of Everything - Bill Bryson
The Pursuit of God – A W Tozer
The Works of Charles Dickens

The Big Ones I Hope to Tackle someday...
Confessions or The City of God....AugustineMere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Divine Comedy by Dante
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Odyssey by Homer
The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

To All Little Sisters...

                     

Little Sister

I know life seems dark and overwhelming right now. It seems lonely and like you’re trying so hard with so little results. It’s not fun, I get it. Hang in there.

You are in a season. Seasons last only so long and before you know it, the next one is upon you.

It’s ok. Take a deep breath.

When we fight against the seasons, we will never find a true rhythm and rest in life. That joy and peace that is present in the wrinkles of the wise who have lived through many seasons and embrace them in their fullness.

Seasons are not just in the passing of months and days on the calendar. They are in seasons of life. You will have seasons in relationships, in spiritual growth, in your career, in a greater calling, in parenting and in personal growth and maturity. Sometimes, when you are in one season in one part of life, you are also in a different season in another area, sometimes they converge… the point is to embrace them. To  live through each taking the good and the uncomfortable of each, knowing they produce one thing. A Life. YOUR LIFE.

So, look around you. What season are you in? Is it dry, is it barren and maybe even cold? Does everything and everyone seem to be buried? Out of reach?


Welcome to WINTER.

What a beautiful season!

It’s a much needed one. It is a season of rest, of SLOW, of quiet and separation and preparation. It is a season of peace and calm.

Winter is the season for reflection and introspection. It is one where on the outside, not much growth is visible, but underneath the surface, the roots are going deeper and getting stronger.

In winter, you can hear better. There is not as much fighting for your attention.

In winter, the skies are clearer and the air crisper. Unless there is a storm. There will be storms.

The snows and winds, the winter storms come to cover the earth. To blanket her, and provide a means for cleansing in the spring thaw. In winter, the fat is burned. The excess gets used up, or frozen and discarded. This is good. In winter, things die off. These things need to die, to make room for the new growth to come.

There is such beauty in the winter season of life. Sometimes it seems like relationships are hard, maybe it’s time to back off and rest for a bit. Everything is harder to do in winter. That’s why animals hibernate or migrate. We could learn from them if we watch them. Sometimes we hit those dry patches, we feel like we’re not learning anything, nothing seems to “catch us”…that’s ok. The ground is hard, impenetrable. The creator is at work in the ground of our hearts. In winter, we reflect back on what we’ve learned in the past “year”, and we plan…knowing the energy and excitement of a new season will come, it always comes. The warmth of the sun will touch our skin again. But then winter will be over.

Or perhaps you are in a SPRING.


Spring usually comes slowly. If we have truly embraced winter, and loved it. We will see the signs of spring and not grow impatient. They will encourage us. In spring, the thaw comes as slowly the position of the sun changes and the warmth and light extend into longer and longer stretches. The ground opens up. The waters wash away the debris. There is work to be done. Time for reflection and planning has passed. Hopefully, you used your winter well. It’s time to plant, to raise up seedlings, to turn the soil, to open the windows and sweep away the dust.

In spring, everyone seems to begin to tentatively venture outdoors again. They open up their lives and hearts again. Spring is dirty. It is wet. Sometimes it is uncertain. We aren’t sure if we need a jacket or a tshirt. So we wear both. We hear lovely birdsongs again. We see green sprouting and flowers bursting through the dirt and patches of snow. Spring is full of new life, rebirth. Ideas abound, hope is high. Love is easy, new life is celebrated and welcomed with great joy. Summer is on its way.

SUMMER

Oh the days of summer. Summer arrives in glory! The joy of days of fullness. Some harvesting, some playing, long days. Fruitful days. Food is abundant. Summer is noisy, full of song, laughter, shouting and greetings. Getting together with others is easy. Connecting with ideas and being productive is second nature. Celebration is common. Even work is fun.

As summer passes, the calendar fills up. The days become so full, they pass quickly, and thus summer seems to be short. It’s no shorter, just busier. Not as busy as fall mind you, but a different kind of busy. Everything is growing, until it isn’t. Then it gets hot. And DRY. Uncomfortably so. Enough to make us look forward to the cool winds of autumn. But not yet. Despite the heat and dryness, there is much work to be done, and the last of the summer fun to be had.

AUTUMN
In the midst of the busyness (and often the longing for more summer) people don’t even notice the early changeover of fall. Often, because of regrets in not living well in the preceding seasons...

But autumn is MAGNIFICENT! Many times, people lose the full benefits of the fall. It becomes rushed and harried…they lose their joy.  But regardless, it comes and speeds by with the harvesting and the people, everywhere people. Too many to be able to really take care of, but many hands make light work.

Thanksgiving. The reasons for a heart full of gratitude and praise are everywhere. There is beauty and abundance everywhere. While harvesting, the preserving and the setting aside the seed for the next spring. 

The cleanup, so much clean up. There is anticipation of a joyous celebration at the end of the autumn in the holidays. 

The autumn has shorter days though, and the weather and circumstances are always uncertain. It is windy, and the beauty can be blown away quickly. The Harvest rains come, to prepare the earth for the rest of Winter…but by then we are usually already inside, preparing for the celebrations that ease us from one season into another and mark the passing of the circle of time bound in a growing year.

Little sister… look up. Behold the season. Behold the passing of time. The ONE who has quietly observed the passing of the times and seasons through the ages, HE is with you. HE holds your days. Your moments in the sun and moments covered in the snow. Your moments caught in the storms. He is HERE. HE is HERE. In your heartbeat, In the breath of heaven that created us, that we use to walk on the earth.  In the still small voice. In the rising and setting of the sun. Calm your heart, still your mind. REST.


He is HERE. HE IS HERE.



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Yes


2014 is barely begun. Outside my window a winter freeze is blustering with a fury, and I am hunkered down with a tea and a lit candle gently glowing. One boys is playing in the snow, 2 boys are are reading hoping to have some time on the xbox later... and the baby is napping- for a brief moment it is quiet here. My heart is not completely quiet though.

Christmas is packed up and put away, the house is back in order, laundry and "home love" is under control...in the quiet, I start to think...maybe this year...

Maybe this year, I'll finally lose the weight that has haunted me since 1999.

Maybe this year, I'll get the chaos of pictures under control in the office.

Maybe this year, I'll memorize something grand like the book of Romans, or a passage from the Odyssey or from Othello.

Maybe this year, I'll write that book, or do something...anything significant...

The expectation is overwhelming...

This I know, I cannot fulfill this list on my own. Impossible.

But this I know more, GRACE. 

The sufficiency of that five letter word, is so simple, it overtakes everything you put in it's path. 

I have decided to pick a word for this year, to sum up what lies ahead...the great unknown. Perhaps some faith is required. 

The word makes my heart start to race...

So I can only get to it, by going through GRACE first. 

The word is YES.

adverb \ˈyes\

I am so used to having to say no... no to my kids, no to myself, no, no, no.

This is the year of YES. It all started a month or so ago when I watched this...



...and I felt something shift inside me... the road less traveled was whispering my name.

The one who said YES to the cross in my place, is whispering my name at every corner. 

Of course ever since then, I seem to encounter it everywhere...in conversations, on the radio, things I read, blogs, Television... Yes universe, I am listening...

and by grace...my answer is YES.





Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Home 2013

Hi there! I wasn't sure if I would participate in a Holiday Home Tour this year, but then at the last minute decided I would, just in case I never get around to including this in a scrapbook, at least it's recorded here. I've done my best to repeat some of the traditional decor I've used in the past, but also incorporated new ideas this year, hopefully you like them. We kinda do :) 

I also would like to apologize for the picture quality, the only camera I have right now is on my phone, and it's pretty old, but it'll do until I can afford a new one :)

Come on in! Did you notice the urns I pulled together from greenery I cut down on our property? I was pleased with how they turned out. I also put together the simple wreath on the door too from our own bushy cedar :)


 

I repeated the "heavenly peace" theme from last year using the feather boa's as the garland throughout the entry and main floor. Lot's of gold, sparkle and white lights.

  
DAYTIME

 NIGHTTIME

I added some pretty ornments to my plain old light fixtures. Voila! 


I grouped some old wreathes and traded out golds, white and sparkle on tabletops, etc.

Sidebar, daytime - angel collection.
  
Nighttime too.
 
 Formal living room tree.


Feather garlands everywhere, hung the feather wreath and kissing ball in the hall to the bedrooms. 

 
 Master bedroom, added the silver stockings, some greenery onto shelf tops, and the purple tree/ candles on the dresser.


 
Mini Trees in the boys room, the baby's sparkly pink tree (not shown is the guest room - blue tree)


The baby's holiday wardrobe is ready!


Bannister to family room (I've added to this since the pic was snapped)


Christmas village on hutch at top of stairs.

 

FAMILY ROOM - Red, Gold and Green

KITCHEN

Advent wreath

  

The Heart of our Home


Nativity Mantel

 

Practice for Christmas Brunch.


Kitchen Window 

 
Tried my hand at creating my own pine garland.


Our Jesse Tree

  

 NIGHTTIME KITCHEN

 

Bathroom, highlighted the GREENS and GOLDS.

Most of these pics were taken a couple weeks ago, so there's been some tweaking since, they may or may not make it to the blog. Until the next post, I'm going to go and enjoy some of the baking from our baking exchange earlier this month, if I can manage to keep the kids out of the baking first!  
 Thanks for taking the time to tour our home and Happy Holidays!


Linking up to the Holiday Home Tour at the Nesting Place here.


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