Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Trying out a new blog home! :)

Hi Friends! 
I'm trying out Word Press for my blog! Just playing around! You are welcome to visit and tell me what you think! :) Hearth Ridge Reflections

Happy November! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Notable October Reads

The Raleigh Harmon Mystery Series by Sibella Giorello - Over all, this is an interesting, well-written Christian fiction series about a forensic geologist and FBI agent, Raleigh Harmon. I really liked these...good, intriguing cases and action. Interesting inside view of mental illness and dealing with spiritualist relatives, and wading through insecurities and questions about faith. These aren't not too preachy, which is hard when fiction is labeled "Christian". There are a few of the series that aren't as great, but overall, I found the fascinating light reads that deal with tough issues. The cases she works on are pretty intense, so definitely for older teens and adults.  

Howards End by E.M. Forster - I reviewed this here. 

The Saucepan Journey by Edith Unnerstad - This was a delightful tale set in Sweden of a family with seven children. They are living in cramped conditions and their dad, working his day job, is also an inventor of a saucepan dubbed the Peep. Two horses are given to them and before you know it, they find themselves an on-the-road sales family of the Peep! This is a delightful read, full of lessons and love, and would make a great geography book as many places, rivers, and towns are mentioned as they travel Sweden. A bit of added fun is that the mother is an avid reader and lover of Shakespeare! I hope to read this with my children. 

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen - We just finished this and I was so touched and moved by the beauty of this book! The father is suffering for PTSD from being a POW, and the magic of seasons, sugaring, the process of maple syrup making, glorious nature, and the fellowship of friends and family bring healing and miracles in more then one way. The story is told from the perspective of the daughter, Marly, and I think it's just magical.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Sometimes a Light Surprise by Jamie Langston Turner - I'm on a quest to find good Christian fiction (I'm not TRYING to be a snob, I just find so much so formulaic) and I mentioned Winter Birds by this same author last month. This one was so intriguing. Goodreads describes it this way:

"Though it was years ago Ben Buckley has never gotten over the loss of his wife. Baffled, angry, and still feeling guilty for the way he treated her those final weeks, Ben now lives behind the protective walls of severed relationships and a rigid work routine. When two unlikely people enter his narrow world, Ben's view of his life begins to change."

I was enjoyed getting to know the different characters and the nuances of their lives. This author is very character driven and while there is some conflict, you basically find yourself just getting to know and care for many people and their perspectives. (some might find this boring) Ben Buckley is a bit of a word nerd and I found that surprisingly interesting and even though there is SO much going on and so many people in this book, I loved it and was drawn in. I love that this author leaves us with hope, but not necessarily tidy endings and answers.  

I do actually read non-fiction too, but I'm so much slower with it. I will try to finish some of the good ones on my stack for next month! :) 

What did you read in October that you loved? :) 


Monday Ponderings

Maybe temporary time is made for dying to self 
- so your eternal self can really live.

Ann Voskamp
pg. 62
The Broken Way

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Just thought I'd show you all some photos of our home remodel. Isn't it turning out lovely? So glad we decided to hire that gardener. Ahem. Ok, not really. During my visit to the Lake District, we popped over to Hawkshead via bus and a little shuttle, the views of the drive, I don't think I will ever forget. The fells. Be still my heart. On this day, it was cool, overcast, and slightly drizzly (most days were like this, actually. Swoon. English weather.) as we arrived at Hilltop Farm, the sweet country home of dear Beatrix Potter or Mrs. Heelis as she was known after she married her land agent later in her life. She was an author, artist, naturalist, farmer, and conservationist. Her books are really just a small part of a whole, fascinating, and unique woman. The inside of the home was left just like she walked out for a short country walk and would be back in a second. The guide allowed us to take a few photos as long as there was no flash, but it was so dark inside, they weren't the best. I wished I had time and her books along to search for all the spots around her property that she included in her illustrations.  I just wanted to sit down at her desk, sip tea, soak in inspiration, and write a bit. :) Her garden was lovely and I like the touches the National Trust added in...you can imagine Peter Rabbit in that water can, can you not? If you notice the white house in one of the bottom photos, I believe this is the house that she and her husband actually lived in most of the time, because Hilltop eventually became a tourist destination. We of course had to have a bit of tea and coffee after our leisure ramble through Beatrix's house and gardens. I will be returning to these photos in the dead of winter, for sure. Nothing like an English garden to charm and lift one's spirits!


Friday, October 28, 2016

100 Thanks by Thanksgiving #3

I am thankful for:

11. nature walks with friends
12. leftover chicken and veggie soup to warm us
13. Pilgrim's Progress audiobook
14. piles of freshly folded laundry
15. interesting stories from my husband's grandmother about how they would take their produce to the canning factory, buy cans, and then use the machines themselves to can their food. 


Thursday, October 20, 2016

100 Thanks by Thanksgiving #2

6. the memories and moments on my trip to England and Paris this past June. The Lake District, especially, holds a special place in my heart. It was super special to be able to take this trip with my mom and sister.

7. the remembrance of all the little enchanting connections to literature, culture, and beauty that I saw and hold onto...bits of beauty.

8. for my family, especially my husband, it was a lot harder for me to take this trip than we thought it would be...I'm so grateful for their sacrifice and love.

9. for the people we met and visited with...a lovely gal I talked with on the train from the Lake District to London, our B&B owners, and the older gentleman on a another train, the funny cabbies, a friendly librarian and my sister's friend in Paris...so wonderful to see life from a totally different perspective. The rich languages, cultures...so gorgeous. 

10. for history and people I've read about coming alive. I don't think I realized how much older England and Paris truly are until I was there...the old soul feeling abounds. It is amazing and beautiful to learn, see, and grasp where our history, where my beloved writers, and all the beauty I've been comforted with over the years was breathed into being. 

I'm so thankful and blessed for this opportunity and will never forget it!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Daybook {October 19th}

Many years ago, on an old blog of mine, I enjoyed participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook. I thought it would be fun to do occasionally again. I really enjoy reading others entries. *smile*

For Today

Looking out my window: Glorious sunrise today, all pinks and purples! My 7yo and I took some photos, but it's so hard to capture the true splendor of those moments. Glad I got to share it with her, though!

I am thinking - about how drained I feel, what I can do about that, and just leaning on my faith in Jesus Christ to help me enjoy and invest in all the beautiful relationships here. 

I am thankful - book orders coming from the last time I had a bit of money. We all so delight in seeing what's in each package. Books truly are a treasure!

One of my favorite things - early morning stillness and the light shining in ways it only can in the morning.

I am creating - journals. I love my journals. I hope to take a bit more time with some of them as maybe a way of refilling my soul's exhaustion. :) 

I am wearing - clothing. ;) I wear sort of boring things at home and only wear nicer things when I go out. I know that sounds bad, but I ruin everything here with cooking, children's snot, ink stains, and messes. I used to wear more aprons, but got out of the habit and forget!

I am reading (read) /watching (watched) / listening to - I really am enjoying the podcasts: Grammer Girl Quick and Dirty Tips  and NPR's How I Built This lately. My friend just gave me a book in a similar vein to Gladys Taber's writing and I'm slowly dipping in and I will share more later!

I am hoping - to go to a local area home educating family gym night. We are sort of far from our friends and family at our new place, that I would like to meet some new families in this area. 

I am learning - that it is truly in our weaknesses that the Lord shows Himself strong. 

In my kitchen - I made homemade cinnamon rolls this morning. They were a huge hit. I don't do that often because it is quite a bit of work on a school morning, but I'm glad I stretched myself a bit. 

In the school room - We enjoyed watching A Midsummer Night's Dream with James Cagney in it...and a young Mickey Rooney. It's a bit weird and maybe parts of it are sort of scary, but overall we liked it. 

In my garden - We got all of our spring bulbs planted! Next year, I hope to put in a lilac or two (or a hundred ;) ) and maybe some peonies. I need to research more about what time of year is best and how to go about planting those. Also does anyone know if I should cover a hydrangea with anything in the winter? I'm zone 4 I think. 

Board room -

How come there is a photo of me on Pinterest? :P Heehee!

Shared Quote (violent ;), yet good rule of thumb for reading. Hmmm...kinda eliminates most Christian fiction, though. LOL!)

 "If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skulls, then why do we read it? A book must be an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us." Frank Kafka

A moment from my day

Closing Notes - I noticed that Katrina Kenison has a collection of her blog posts? being published and I love her writing.  She wrote Mitten Strings for God and The Gift of an Ordinary Day, which are favorites of mine! A few things, I take with a "grain of salt" as we don't share the same faith, but I think this will be beautiful. Saving up for it! :)