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 💕💕💕

Favorite Reads {2nd Quarter 2022} 📚🌿📚

Half a year of joys and sorrows. ♥️🌿♥️ How can it be? So blessed to have words to help us through, help us understand, and give us a gateway to journey through life with compassion. What were your favorite reads the past few months?

~☀️April💦~ I had a wonderful reading month with quite a few mysteries, including two Agatha Christies, but the books the stood out were my reread of Christy by Catherine Marshall and Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. Honorable mention was a reread of A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. Christy was such a masterful look at female friendships, our influence and impact as women, and what it means to have a selfless faith. Mr. Dickens didn’t disappoint with his gorgeous cast of characters in Our Mutual Friend, and I was so pleased to immerse myself in the world of an exploration on wealth and what true richness is. I read this with a local friend and some Booktube friends, which made the experience so much richer. I hope to watch the BBC adaptation later this year. These two books fulfill two of the prompts for the Back to Classics challenge. My reread of Mr. Vanauken’s memoir sharing his love story, coming to faith, Oxford, thoughts on beauty, and his friendship with C.S. Lewis was powerful and asked a lot of important questions.

Reginald Wilfer is a name with a rather grand sound…the existing R.Wilfer was a poor clerk. So poor a clerk, though having a limited salary and an unlimited family, that he had never yet attained the modest object of his ambition: which was, to wear a complete new suit of clothes, hat and boots included, at one time.

Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

🌸May🌿~ another WONDERFUL reading month, mostly thanks to Kate Howe’s Booktube, who’s cozy, comfort recommendations are spot on! I loved continuing to read through the Betsy Tacy Series by Maud Hart Lovelace , reading two more. I loved Betsy In Spite of Herself, as Betsy had to learn important lessons about being herself and not trying to be what she thought others wanted. I loved Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery, a short story collection that was heartwarming and thoughtful. I finished up David Copperfield by Dickens with our homeschool group and wow. So good! I loved Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. The nature writing, details, and domesticity was just so uplifting. An adventurous tale set in Cornwall, In the Roar of the Sea, by S. Baring Gould, had some lovely characters and the descriptions of the Cornish coast were sublime. A nonfiction that I really enjoyed was The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Details by Paula Byrne. The most moving read and surprising was a children’s book, Skellig by David Almond. A haunting story of a young boy coming to terms with his move to a fixer upper, an ill infant sister, a new neighborhood friend, and a mysterious creature tying them all together.

“Fear is the original sin,” wrote John Foster. “Almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that some one is afraid of something. It is a cold slimy serpent coiling about you. It is horrible to live with fear; and it is of all things degrading.”

L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

🌤June🌺~ Another AMAZING reading month! My 1st quarter reading wasn’t the greatest, but the 2nd quarter made up for it! A favorite reread of the month was The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, so inspiring and heartwarming. Second chances and asks the question if you only had a short time left, how would you live? I’ve reread this book countless times and it’s one of my very favorite Montgomery books. I read a wonderful dystopian, fantasy on my daughter’s recommendation, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I enjoyed the light hearted, deceptively deeper YA Pride & Prejudice retelling Pudge & Prejudice by A. J. Pittman. If you like coming of age, 80’s/90’s high school setting, and quirky characters, you will enjoy this! That House That is Our Own by O. Douglas was a lovely domestic, female friendship focus with light romance set between London and Scotland. I also adored the gorgeous writing in The Skylark’s War by Hilary McKay. It follows a widower and his two children in the English countryside leading up to WWI. McKay does a wonderful job thinking and speaking like a child would. My favorite of June, however, after all that goodness, was The Magic Summer by Noel Streitfeild. This strange, quirky story shares how a family of four children has to spend the summer in Ireland with their eccentric aunt. The courage and fortitude they learn is inspiring. Aunt Dymphna may be a bit TOO hands-off, but she doesn’t speak down to the children and trusts them. I really enjoyed this story. I’ve enjoyed two Streitfeild books now and I can’t wait to read more!

It was all over – the goodbys, the present-giving (except Aunt Dymphna’s present) – and everybody seemed sorry to see them go. “But I think this place is like sand,” said Penny. “You are there when you’re there, but when we’ve gone it’s like the sea going out – all the marks which were us won’t show any more.” Robin did not like that. “Not my marks won’t. They remember me forever.” Naomi agreed with him.

Noel Streitfeild, The Magic Summer

I excited for a whole new bunch of months filled with space for reading! What are you especially excited for? I’m looking forward to #janeaustenjuly on Booktube and elsewhere. A month long Read-along centered on all things Miss Austen related! 🌸🌺🌸 Happy Reading! Love, Amy