Favorite Reads {4th Quarter 2022} 🐈❄️☕️🫖📚📬

Currently, dipping into a lot of Christian non-fiction…

Hello, friends! Hope this bookish update finds you well. We’ve had a bout of illness in our family, but thankfully, we’ve been able to cuddle up and hunker down a bit. I had a great 2022 4th reading quarter, starting in October with a readalong on Booktube called Victober. It’s focusing on reading Victorian literature and I so enjoyed the relationship between the father and daughter and the internal workings of the Church of England in The Warden by Anthony Trollope. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell was a lovely group of characters trying to make their way as mill workers and masters in the harsh industrial climate of north England. A murder and false accusations bring the class tensions to the forefront. Gaskell is quickly becoming a favorite author! I extended my Victorian reading into November where I read Man & Wife by Wilkie Collins, a sensationalist novel with murder and bittersweet moments. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the characters and story as I haven’t finished any other Collins book.

Poetry ♥️

November brought a fantasy duo-logy with hints of the 12 Dancing Princesses, sparkling intrigue, Arabian nights, pirates, and fairyland. I wasn’t sure I would like Wildwood Dancing and Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier, but I really did! Being pulled away into these worlds was fascinating and I loved the character growth. These were intense, but YA so not as dark as her adult fiction. Marillier is a beautiful writer. I also reread a favorite fantasy A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos with an online friend and this political thriller in a fantastical world was so fun to return too! I really enjoy Ophelia, the main protagonist and her animated scarf. She is betrothed to a stranger and on her way to his polar land and there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of this political matchup. I rounded out the month with sweet classic children’s stories, Family Sabbatical by Carol Ryrie Brink and Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. These both were so lovely and heartwarming. Brink sends a family of five on a research trip to France and they have so many delightful adventures. Ibbotson wrote the Amazon River area so beautifully and her nature writing really brought the story to life.

December’s reading was wonderful with the British family story, High Rising by Angela Thirkell making me laugh. An widowed author and her son and village’s highjinks. I also loved listening to The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, read and performed by Richard Armitage while I held a sick little boy. It was heartwarming and inspiring. Braddon is a new-to-me Victorian author and I can’t wait to try more of her. I read a novella?/ short story by Emily Hayse called Yours, Constance, and I’m still thinking on this one. The setting was a glittery 1920’s party scene. We are in the head of Constance, a wealthy, cynical young woman who has recently lost her sister. The glitz and the glam don’t fool her, but something strange is happening in the crowd she runs with. This has a supernatural element and is very fast paced, but you quickly grow to appreciate Constance and understand the internal tensions she’s going through. Last but not least, I picked up the nonfiction Aggressively Happy by Joy Marie Clarkson and wow. This packed a powerful punch about how to live loved and to embrace all the seasons of our life in a meaningful way. These were my favorites from the fourth quarter of the year, what were yours? I’ll be back soon hopefully with my favorites of 2022!

||on my mind||

•flamboyant feet•carhartt clavicles•winged words•living loved•grave gratefulness•pilgrimage path•long lingering•dirt death•soul soup•nourishing newness•single step•ugliness underneath•deep drought•creator’s creation•ravenous ravens•sojourner’s song•brewed breath•crushed comfort•yeasty yearning•hearth hopes•flowers first•purifying poetry•charcoal clinging•silhouetted self•death depth•wayfaring woman•soaked seed•milled manure•winnowed wine•loamy light•cruciform crush•affection advent• “speaking silence”*•indigo image•skeletal skies•seafarer’s seasons•pride pestle•ground grain•peeled pear•juiced joy•

Some of my inspiration:

RM’s song “Wildflower”*, the ritual and smell of grinding coffee, reading Joy Clarkson’s Aggressively Happy, watching a murder of crows in a stubbled corn field, reading Live No Lies by John Mark Comer, the new year approaching, and rereading The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp.

Joy Journal {December 28th}

•wee flicker of little candle ‘Christmas at the Burrow’• the warmth and deepness of freshly ground and French-pressed black coffee in Christmas mug•the glimmer of light off the gingerbread men salt & pepper shaker•little, snowy glass cottage trinket•reading Beauty Chasers with Annie, chapter by chapter, discussion•Sophie racing around the house, her orange-y tail twitch, her sweet whiskers, her ‘cat-ti-tude’•the glow of the old-fashioned Christmas tree lights • Ella’s Christmas spirit and excitement• a juicy, sweet pineapple• Gideon’s love of baths•Schielch animal dioramas everywhere• a friend talking books with me• zoom reading nights with online kindred spirits •Peanuts postage stamps from dad•rubbing coconut oil into little chapped hand•dipping deliciously into aggressively happy by Joy Marie Clarkson•finding swirls, sparkles, and wind sighs in the coldest time of the year•

The work of humanity is to see one another safely home. ♥️

Penelope Wilcock

“The desire to give”: poem & Ansel Adams intertwine…

::where does this pathway go?::

“Beauty Glut” by A.M.Pine

Beauty glut, beauty bright

maybe I’ll crack open

and my seams

will spill out

a little light

cause I can’t

hold this all

sieve myself

rend myself

funnel

channel

squeeze myself

fill up

spill out

faucet

spigot

shower

keep the beauty

flowing

conduit

current

carry

receiving

repackage & repurpose

from me to you

from you to me

from Him to us

from us to Him

blood & beauty spilled

nail holes & hoarding hurts

beauty & blood spurts

gasping

glut groaning gifts

growing gains

beauty born

give & it shall be given

“Art is both love and friendship and understanding: the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of things. It is more than kindness, which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the interrelations of these.”

Ansel Adams, p.37 Ansel Adams: An Autobiography, emphasis mine

Joy Journal: November 3rd🍂

Book mail gift 💝 and breakfast ♥️🍂

📖Dear Friends,📖

What is inspiring you or bringing you joy currently? Please join me in comments, in your journal, or on your blog!

🍂I’m grateful today for…🍂

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness 🕯, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 🪔

2 Corinthians

|| searching for cemeteries || diluted sunlight, cool breezes|| another daughter enjoying Black Beauty || learning about Stalin, fascinating discussions || nature journaling paraphernalia spread out || wild flower weed bouquets || candle-lit chili suppers ||cardamon cinnamon, those words AND the new tea || new notebooks || orange-y, brown, green, and purple-y pens ||the wonderful words: russet • plum • golden • scarlet• || roar of wind through remaining leaves ||

|| chasing words || trees at local arboretum, so many varieties in one delicious spot || Joni Mitchell’s songs, art, and dipping a little into her biography || #380 of the Creative Pep Talk Podcast || Vincent’s letters to Theo || acorn tops in bottom of tote bag || box of raspberries || piece of paper birch bark || zoo ticket memories repurposed as bookmark || kitty sleeping on me, all stretched out, so warm || watching “You’ve Got Mail” with hubby, an autumn tradition || golden hue of this time of year || thrifted moccasins ||

|| perusing earrings and rings while thrifting || little animal vignettes in surprising places about home || Tombrow pens 🖊 || stickers of trees and acorns ||my little one falling asleep on me while reading the Tailor of Gloucester || every morning, his soft squishy Ezra Jack Keats poem and snuggling moment with me || Old Farmer’s Almanac tidbits || mums and fat squat pumpkins all in a row || cardigans swinging from back of all the chairs -|| new pencils, crayons, and composition notebooks ||bells ringing on church ||

What are you noticing today? I’m so grateful for the little gifts all around me! 🥹♥️

Happy November! 🥰🍂🕸🕷✨{writing/creativity challenge to myself…will you join me?}

Journals and current writing reads! ✒️📚📓📖📝

Something about a new fresh month always super excites me! This year has been a challenging year for me with my writing and creativity. I’ve had some setbacks in my health journey, bad habits creeping back in, and sleeplessness. Unfortunately, that lends to my creative pursuits being put on the back burner. I’m challenging myself here at the blog to post something three times a week for November at least, prayerfully till the end of the year. Just to get the habit rolling again!

How about you? Do you have writing or creativity goals currently? Anything you want to revive? Are you reading or practicing any habits that are helpful? I’d love to hear!

Currently reading and loving! 📖♥️ Anything feeding you?

I’m currently continuing all the autumn/ Victober reads{a Victorian literature read along during October}, and enjoying my large TBR stacks. I’ve been enjoying Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on YouTube. I’ve also been drawn to Hercule Poirot episodes. What’s currently filling your well? 😄♥️🔍

Joy Journal: September 9th


🍂🍃Dear Friends,

What is inspiring you or bringing you joy currently? Please join me in comments, in your journal, or on your blog!🍃🍂

I’m grateful today for…

🌿this quote🌿

“…Love watches, and sleeping slumbers not; weary, is not tired; straitened, is not constrained; frightened, is not disturbed; but, like a living flame and a burning torch, it bursts forth upwards and safely over-passes all.” ~Thomas A Kempis

||Psalms 143|| delicious words swirling around me|| first homeschool co-op of the new school year, seeing friends and “meeting” new ones in the musicians, artists, and writers we will be enjoying together||my baby sister’s 30th birthday ||daughter’s excitement over hairdo change and getting ears pierced||celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary||

||golden-tinged September🍂🍂🍂||son’s excitement about helping friend work in Colorado||beginning Christmas planning|| The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange – enchanting!||P.G. Wodehouse audio books, hilariously ridiculous || “Honey in the Rock” by Brooke Ligertwood|| “Find Me in the River” by Delirious||an Oswald Chamber quote texted to me from my sister||

||Jesse Ahmann’s instrumental cello on YouTube ||foggy pauses||cool, crisp early morning air, with a hint of autumn||laundry snapping on the line||hubby finding a praying mantis on lawn||hard but good conversations||duvet put back on bed, cool and soft||Amish woodsmoke on the wind||bits of red-tipped sumac peeking around bends in the road||Bull thistle fluff blowing in the air, sunset blazing through it||

||Middle-Earth mornings ||harvest moon shining on my face as I awake from sleep||new tea, cardamom cinnamon coming in the post||letter writing to friends in Canada||homeschool mom chat||autumn stationary perusing||journaling saving my sanity||listing gratitudes helping rightly order my heart||purr of Ghibli, our adore orange tabby kitten||piles of books to try and soak in||

How about you? Anything just really bringing you joy currently? Watching anything good? Reading? Creating? I’d love to hear. Happy End of Summer, friends. May you get the chance to soak in the remaining warmth and light of the year! 🍃🍂🍃 Peace & love, Amy 🍎🍏🌾🍂📚🍂🌿🍃📬🖤💌☕️🫖🌾🍎🍃🍏🍂♥️🖤🌿✍️📬💌🖤

Monday Ponderings {August 29th}

I ask Thee for a thoughtful love,

Through constant watching wise,

To meet the glad with joyful smiles,

And wipe the weeping eyes;

And a heart at leisure from itself

To soothe and sympathize.

Wherever in the world I am,

In whatsoe’er estate,

I have a fellowship with hearts

To keep and cultivate,

And a work of lowly love to do,

For the LORD on Whom I, wait.

A.L. Waring, The Cloud of Witness, p. 356

Joy Journal: August 5th

Early morning prayer and Bible reading outdoors has been life giving the last few weeks 🌿♥️🌿

☕️Dear Friends,

What is inspiring you or bringing you joy currently? Please join me in comments, in your journal, or on your blog!♥️🌿♥️

I’m grateful today for…

This 🌿quote🌿…

It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity – a friend on IG reminded me of this quote and it was exactly what I needed.

||pressing pizza dough down into three pans, flour-y hands|| talking with 3yo about his Schliech puma and jaguar toys||our new rescue kitten, Ghibli or Gibs||laying in the breeze and looking up through the Honey Locust to a patch of blue above||Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, an unique, adult murder mystery within a murder mystery ||Black-Eyed Susan’s opening their eyes||

3yo and I’s snuggle reading 📖 one day…

||my daughter’s chamomile flowers|| a wildflower bouquet from my oldest son|| new paneling slowly going into the bathroom || delish iced coffee made by friend, talking about homeschooling, life, and books with my bookstudy women||Christmas gift planning, thrifting and homemade ideas|| catching 3 yo on floor with pile of books, slowly turning the pages|| looking up and around and seeing 3 children reading near me ♥️📚||

||stacks of picture books to put away|| Malcolm Guite reads C.S. Lewis’ poetry at The Kilns ||zucchini, cucumber , and lovely green peppers from Amish stand||glorious sunrises breaking the dark’s hold || star-drenched skies|| paper bits, quotes, snippets, collage journal resurrected || jalapeño tango paint color still growing strong from Menards|| the summer smell, new mown hay, a friend said it “smelled green” and I looove that 🌿🌳🪴💚||

Amish 🌾 wheat…

||a friend texting me a quote from the book she is reading || white paint to wash away a few years of country living ||Miriam Elizabeth’s Jane Austen July vlogs on Booktube || using a laundromat for the first time in a long time, reading The Princess Bride while waiting for clothing to dry|| old Carl Larsson calendar art cut out and reused||Austin Kleon’s email newsletters, so many weird fascinating things to get creative juices flowing ||single sunflower 🌻 that grew under bird feeder || Berber van Gorp’s peaceful ASMR art journaling YouTube channel ||

Book choices for an upcoming road trip…📚📚📚

What’s on your gratitude list? Are you still soaking up summer or gearing up for autumn? I’m praying and planning a bit, but I’m still loving summer. I’m sooo enjoying reading 📖 outdoors and hanging out our 🧺 laundry. 🌿🌞♥️🌻🌿 Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Love 💕, Amy

Joy Journal: July 12th {Living Education Retreat and More}

Toad clover hat ♥️

♥️Dear Friends,

What is inspiring you or bringing you joy currently? Please join me in comments, in your journal, or on your blog!

I’m grateful today for…

The Gale by Winslow Homer – Wikipedia Commons

-and-

Les Maisons by Chaim Sountine – Wikipedia Commons

||making ice coffees at home|| Gerald Manley Hopkins wordsmithing || Karen Andreola’s books and back blog posts. || paper & river birch trees || sunlit diamonds on river and lake || buying just one book treasure from my favorite used bookstore || a favorite book, Fog Magic, found in a Little Free Library || washing my hair in the lake || making my very first 🍵 matcha latte, so good || Regina Spektor’s “The Call” || sunlight glinting off web as spider lowers herself to the floor ||

Green, white, and blue ♥️

|| extended family picnic in the shady, sun-flickering light of my childhood backyard || a lovely friend, Kathy, passing on a free Sense & Sensibility outdoor theatre ticket to me, it was a wonderful performance || the gift of a pedicure from and with my sister || reading The Mysteries of Uldolpho with a Booktuber friend || finishing I Capture the Castle and the feeling of wanting to start it right back over again immediately || Still thinking on Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book and it’s quiet and gentle exploration of youth, aging, and how the natural world ties us all together in understanding. I loved this book. || early cabin mornings, drenched in pine scent, quiet prayer with my coffee || time with cousins, sister in laws, and camp friends for my children and I|| daughter taking me for iced coffee ||

Deceased Common Sulfur my daughter found – so beautiful!

How well I remember that run through the stillness, the smell of wet stone and wet weeds as we crossed the bridge, the moment of excitement before we stepped in at the little door! Once through, we were in the cool dimness of the gatehouse passage. That was where I first felt the castle – it is the place where one is most conscious of the great weight of stone above and around one. I was too young to know much of history and the past, for me the castle was one in a fairy tale; and the queer heavy coldness was so spell-like that clutched Rose hard.

Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
Illustration by Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

|| Nancy’s opening talk on Joy at the Living Education retreat || White Pelicans at sunrise || watching a Kingfisher land on tree, then dive into lake for a catch || the joyful swooping, diving of fork-tailed Barn Swallows, over lake and over me when I’m lawn mowing, one my my most favorite summer joys of all! Their iridescent coloring is stunning || Art’s talk on joy and sorrow, the interweaving of Biblical truth, Charlotte Mason, the thoughts of Catherine of Siena, and Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans” together in a beautiful way || talking about hospitality with Brittany and a few other ladies || mozzarella, balsamic, and tomatoes sprinkled with basil || early morning meditations near lake and worship in teeny chapel || chapel windows, stained glass and unique way of opening ||

Forget-me-Nots and little bridge over stream ♥️

|| my son’s excitement as he shared what he had learned in Don’s Critical Thinking session || camping through a rain storm in our tent with my son, using my umbrella inside, memories || gifts from friends, healthy banana pumpkin walnut muffins, special flavored Scandinavian falk salt, new coffee mug, salsa, and a lovely photo of us, framed || listening to A Wrinkle in Time with my son as we drove to the retreat in Minnesota || Amber’s lovely thoughts on poetry, learning new-to-me poets to explore, Effie May Newsome and Gwendolyn Brooks || all the wonderful conversations I had over good food or near the lake, so encouraging || meeting three Instagram friends, IRL! So exciting! || forget-me-nots || driving through Mankato, MN home of Maud Hart Lovelace, inspiration for Deep Valley || new book titles to search and look forward to || lovely tote bag with bookmark, card, and journal gifted to attendees ||

What is bringing you joy? What are you thankful for? Lots of love, Amy 💕💕💕

Joy Journal: June 18th {Happy Birthday to me!}

Bits of joy…

♥️Dear Friends,

What is inspiring you or bringing you joy currently? Please join me in comments, in your journal, or on your blog!

I’m loving right now…

|| thinking this article on Iris Murdock || Lesley Austin’s blog, YouTube, and email newsletter || purging books and filling up 5 main Little Free Libraries on my driving routes || Cherry-flavored water by Clear American from Walmart || golden-lit afternoons, summer sun filtering through Honey Locust leaves and shining through my kids hair as they play || adoring the photography and poetry at Leaf & Twig, even the blog name is enchanting || reading in sunshine and wind ☀️🌬🌥

Gills…spore print coming up!

|| cozy lifestyle vlogs, Hyonyeo, cakes and cats in South Korea || popcorn and oatmeal cookie picnics while reading Prince Caspian under the tree|| lawn lounging days, my Mother’s Day hammock from a few years ago is getting a lot of use || our first bonfire, slowly burning up last years Christmas tree, my 3yo calling the sparks ‘fire birds’ ♥️|| Mary Azarian’s woodcut picture books || ponytails and rooster tails || swimming for the first time this summer ||

Lake and Dickens days…

|| reading short story Watter Mitty and then watching older version with Danny Kaye together- so silly and hilarious! We also love the newer Ben Stiller version of it, too. || SundryWords bookmarks || the haunting, new-to-me author, David Almond’s book, Skellig || TWO recent mail surprises {including a Moomin journal 😍} from a Texan friend, Kim, THANK YOU! || Rae of Sunlight’s back Booktube vlogs || making a summer bucket list with the kids ||

Summer is so lovely…
Tornado watches…gorgeous, angry sky…we had to go into the basement, but rain and high wind were the extent of it’s bite. Do you like storms or wild weather?
Summer snoozes, dirty, darling, little boy feet…
A friend gifted me peonies two summers ago…first bloom!

What’s bringing you joy? I’m so very blessed 🥹 and I just love recording it! ♥️📚♥️ Grace and peace to you, Amy

Joy Journal: May 26th, 2022

Tree frogs 🥰

What is inspiring you or bringing you joy currently? I hope to start a new series here. Please join me in comments, in your journal, or on your blog!

Right now, I’m loving…

|| the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib series by Maud Hart Lovelace || “With You” sung by Jimin and Ha SungWoon – I actually reimagine this as a love song to Jesus ♥️ || “The Peace of Wild Things” collection by Wendell Berry || barn swallow watching || Seattle’s Best decaf – thanks to Booktube friend, Tiffany for this recommendation || searching for new-to-me mystery series ||Kate Howe’s Booktube || a new to me Booktube, A Day of Small Things || finding 100 Days of Dante podcast || starting L. M. Montgomery’s Selected Journals Volume 3 ||

|| Harney & Sons Paris tea, fruity Earl Grey || first peony bud on bush friend gave me two summer’s ago || Salt & Sound music || Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright, anticipation for the sequel || bird and rabbit watching || rereading Little House series this summer with my younger children || endless cloud-filled skies || finding a math tutor for my son || Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People, who knew a tome like this could go down so smoothly? || contemplating reading some Moomins or another Tove Jansson book with friends || little boys in flannel button-downs || Schliech animal scenes perpetually in living room || Totoro socks from daughter || vignette series rattling around in brain || thinking back over favorite summer reads in years past, what are your favorites? || new fresh slate to start drawing upon for next homeschool year ||

Double-headed dandelion my daughter found 💛💛💛

What’s on your joy list?

Happy Friday, friends! Lots of love from Hearth Ridge, Amy 🌿♥️🌿