Friday, March 29, 2013

What To Do When Spring Just Won't Come

Okay, friends, here are some facts ---

I live in the sunny South

It is 2 days away from the end of March

The daffodils came up 2 months ago

It was 29 degrees out when I went out walking this morning

At some point, one must ask if spring is really ever coming at all this year or if it will be, in a Narnia-ish way, always winter and never Christmas.

In that spirit, I have come up with a few ideas of ways to continue to keep hope alive that spring may indeed arrive and that there will be days when I will walk out my front door and begin panting, wishing fervently for the chill of winter!

Idea #1 - Fill the house with daisies.

Or whatever flower says "spring" to you!!  Lots of them.

If spring won't bloom voluntarily on the outside, I say force it to bloom on the inside!!

This reminds me that somehow, somewhere the sun is shining and flowers are blooming in that warmth and may it come here quickly.

Idea #2 - Roll out the sugar cookie dough and cut out flowers.  Lots of them!!

And let the kids decorate in colors as bright and bold and (::ahem::) garish as they want, thick with sprinkles in combinations that make the eyes slightly dizzy.

If the grass refuses to be anything other than the color of khaki Docker's and the trees stay bare and brown, at least color and flowers will be exploding on the kitchen table!!

Idea #3 - Drink hot tea.  Lots of it!!

This tea especially.

Oooooh, yummy!!  I have been drinking this multiple times a day with generous ladle-ings of honey and cream, and it seems to be working.  I believe I have successfully tricked my insides into being warm enough to think spring is here and therefore prohibit them from striking and forcing me to stay in the bed, covers over the head, until the temperature outside registers at least a spring-like 68 degrees.

So that's how we're coping with the spring that's slow in coming this year!!

And I do believe it seems to be working.

How about you??  Have you found a way to bring spring inside??

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Little French Linen

I'm still on my frantic quest to replace the raveling, worn and faded dishcloths in my kitchen, and this week's contribution is inspired by the beautiful french linen that can be found all over the antique stores and in homes of those who love all things French.

I do not have french linen and I'm not sure it's exactly my aesthetic, but I do love that cheery and symmetrical burst of red against the white.

This is a favorite dishcloth pattern that I use over and over.  The waffle knit is great for scrubbing and of any pattern that I have ever used, it is the most long-lasting.

And everybody needs at least a little refined touch of French linen tossed over the side of their sink, right?

Monday, March 25, 2013

We Have Found Our Rest

We have found our hope

We have found our peace

We have found our rest

In the one who loves

He will light the way

He will lead us home

As we offer all

To the One Who saves us

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Day I Was Waiting For

I have always loved to read.

Maybe too much.

Maybe some of it was escaping to the more fascinating worlds of Jo March or Anne or the Little Colonel.

Unfortunately, this love of the other worlds to which books are an entryway never so infected Youngest Daughter.

We would be reading along in the intriguing mystery of Sarah Witcher, and I'd ask her about where Sarah might be, and she would respond, "Oh, are they looking for her??"  ::sigh::  Yes, dear.  The whole point of the book.

Or we'd finish reading aloud the heartbreaking section where Charlotte dies, to the great anguish of Wilbur, and she'd say, "Is Charlotte the lamb?"  What??  

Books just weren't drawing her in.  They were a mild, annoying buzzing in the already intriguing world of her own thoughts.

Until today.  

Today, ah today!  The wonderful, splendid, shining day when at last a book drew my child in.

She was dutifully reading along about a young boy's dog, when (without the boy's knowledge), the dog slipped out of the parked car's rolled-down window and ran away.

What???  The dog was lost?

The chapter ended.

And they (oh joy of joys), I heard the words, "We can't stop here!!  I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!"  

Really??  Really??  The book held your attention?  You want to read more?

Yes, really!!  She really did. 

She read and then  . . . flipped . . . another . . . page!!

And read . . . and flipped another page.  

Where was the dog??  What would happen??

At last the dog showed up . . .

. . . albeit in the bed of the wrong truck.

But what's to worry about?  He had showed up again on the pages of the book, making it very possible that by the end he would wend his way back to his proper owner.


Will he???  Aaaah, you can never tell.

(Please, oh please, may there be another cliffhanger tomorrow!!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Can A Dish Cloth be Inspired?

There isn't a lot of what I would call inspirational knitting going on around here.  Not a lot of rustic arans or delicate laces or mind-bending intarsias.

The kind of knitting that is going on around here is the kind that I pick up when overseeing an 8th grade math lesson.  The kind of knitting that lets me concentrate on something other than place value.  But not the kind that ties up my mind . . . because then I might miss the fact that a certain 8th grader has been doodling the Coca-Cola label on his scratch paper for the last half hour instead of solving for y.

But even the most pedestrian kind of knitting, the knitting of a new dishcloth, can benefit from some inspiration, and when these sunflowers walked in my door one gray, winter day, the glowing cheer they brought inspired me for exactly the color I needed to have flipped over the side of my sink all year long.

Love these long rows of ribs that make for great scrubbing and radiate with the brightness of the sunflower.

It may not be knitting to stun and marvel.  But for me, feeling the softness of Blue Sky's cotton slide through my fingers in one dazzling row after the other, it is knitting to inspire.  Even in a dish cloth!!

Monday, March 18, 2013


Last week found Youngest Daughter, Youngest Son and I exploring the wonderful historic world of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg.  ::sigh::  Positively dreamy.  But next time, I'm going all by myself where I can sit and watch the glassblower work for hours on end, mesmerized by the glowing ball of molten glass that slowly shifts shapes until it becomes a vase.

Or listen to the shoemaker chatter on about the resoling of a shoe.

Maybe have the cooper explain again how he fits the slats of a bucket together most precisely so that no water can dribble out.

Or be taken in by the hypnotic movements of the weaving of a basket.

Because this is what fascinated me and drew me in in my visit.  The fabulous artisans that had taken the time to learn a craft passed down through the generations for hundreds of years.  Slowly, by hand, without the aid of any modern labor-saving devices.  It made me feel calm and connected.  Which is always a nice way to feel.

And even though I'd rather not shave my head and pick a wig made of yak, human, goat or horse hair, it still was lovely to watch someone so carefully ply their trade.

And earn the title of Artisan.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

About Those Routines

I understand the concept of routines, I really do!!  I want to get routines going.  It is just that I live with 6 other people and 2 dogs and I have to say that of those 7 other creatures I live with, about 5 of them are just as distracted procrastinators as I am.

So, a week of attempts may look like this:

Monday - 6:30 a.m. - I am heading to the shower when a head appears ominously around my doorway.  "Mother," it croaks, eyes wide, skin pale, "I forgot my essay is due this morning."  And then, since I have been on that end of things many times in my life, I come to his aid, and together we finish the essay an hour and a half later.  Morning routine . . . up in smoke.

Tuesday - 7:00 a.m. - Just cracking open my morning devotional.  From up on the catwalk a sad snuffling, coughing, and wheezing.  "Mama," says the snuffling and wheezing little being, "I'm sick.  Can you come lay down with me??"  And then, because this is the baby and there will be precious few times where I'm so desired to make it through the beginnings of a nasty cold, I cuddle up.  Morning routine . . . drifts off into the ether.

Wednesday - 6:45 a.m. - A holler is heard from the kitchen area where the Man of the House is making his way to the kitchen, via the area where the dogs sleep.  They have done it again.  Having apparently missed their perfect schedule by 1 or 2 minutes,  now where there were only glossy, empty hardwoods, there are glossy hardwoods with foul-smelling piles and at least one medium-sized lake.  The next half hour is then spent, wiping, spraying, bagging and shampooing, with a little time added in for repeated gagging.  Just saying.  Morning routine . . . sadly hijacked.

Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - With a large stretch, I sit before my computer to address the large stack of e-mails coming in on the sports web site.  Rapid footsteps staccato down the hall and the door flings open.  "Are you ready, Mom??"  ::gulp::  My fuzzy pajamas and suede, fur-lined slippers already give the answer.  "Well, don't forget that my car is in the shop and Middle Son has to have the other car for math lessons and Dad already left for work and Oldest Daughter is away at college, leaving only you to take me to school!!!!!"  ::ugh::  So, I pull on a pair of boots long enough to cover the bottom of my fluffy pajamas and a black coat long enough to cover the top of my fluffy pajamas and off we zoom to school.  And between morning traffic and car lines, my morning routine has evaporated.

I'll spare you any more painful citings of morning routines sadly gone awry.  Suffice it to say that best intentions still remain best intentions.  EXCEPT, for the one routine that has come to stay.  The morning walk.

The walk from where these pictures came, where I can discover plants still alive in winter, bird nests lonely from last spring's abandonment, and the first of the tiny narcissus.  Where the river birch bark peels off in thick, curling chunks and the sun's rays burst through the clouds and touch the neighborhood's small lake.

Getting up at 6:00 a.m. has assured me that this routine will remain un-threatened.  It's a full half hour before the first stirrings of the earliest awakening members of the house.

And the only sure way to remain untouched by the needs, grievances and distractions of those I love to serve.  This one small success gives me hope that in time more routines will join the routine of the morning walk.

And in the meantime, "Yes, I'll make 2 dozen cookies for your class's St. Patrick's Day celebration.  I wouldn't have it any other way."