What’s currently on my mind…

Hello 👋 friends,

Hope this finds you well. I’m pulling the old “my brain is so full I’m going to try and empty it by dumping on my blog” trick. 🤪😂♥️ Thanks for listening with your eyes and I’m sure, heart. 😌♥️ Our homeschool year is s-l-o-w-l-y winding down, we still have a field trip and a couple loose threads to tie up. Three GLORIOUS summer months stretch out in front of me full of “GREENING POWER” as Macrina Wiederkehr writes. More on her later!

I’ve been reading a lot, maybe a bit TOO much 🙃🤓📚, excessive amounts of reading escapism and excessive food have been my obsessions when feeling stressed, pressed, and down right exhausted. I’m declaring yet again popcorn abstinence 😅, more water & walk therapy, and staying far, faraway from sugar/ flour. I feel so much better when I do so. As for reading choices, I do feel I’m balancing light & fluffy (Dean Street Press books are my current favorites) with some learning (as a human, woman, Christian, homeschooler, writer, I need to always be learning!) and some hard for just challenging perspective and understanding. I recently finished the heart wrenching Grapes 🍇 of Wrath by John Steinbeck and wow, going to be thinking on that one for awhile. I’m so fascinated by the Great Depression era and the Dust Bowl currently.

The eyes of the whole family shifted back to Ma. She was the power. She had taken control. “The money we’d make wouldn’t do no good,” she said. “All we got is the family unbroken. Like a bunch of cows, when the lobos are ranging, stick all together. I ain’t scared while we’re all here, all that’s alive, but I ain’t gonna see us bust up.

John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath
Bittersweet Nightshade 💜🖤💛💜🖤💛

I find myself returning to favorites when stressed so I’ve been listening to Wives & Daughters with the amazing reader Prunella Scales. It’s included with my Audible account. This is my 3rd time through and there is something just SO comforting about Mrs. Gaskell’s writing. I’ve also watch bits of my current favorite movie 🎥 and I adore it. I believe “Totoro” by Studio Ghibli will calm even a hardened criminal down. 😅

Google

I’ve also been thinking about my summer reading plans. BookTube {niche YouTube category 🤓📚}has really helped me be a bit more purposeful about my choices, but I have to be very careful to balance that with margin for mood reading. I’m currently very interested in Native American/Indigenous stories, especially historical fiction/biographies/poetry. I asked for a poetry anthology for my birthday (June is my birth month!) , so hopefully 🤞🏻 I’ll be digging into that this summer.? I’m also super interested in archaeology , geography/geopolitics from a relational or conversational or “living” side. So in other words, not dry. 🤪😅 Do you have any recommendations? Someone mentioned Eric Cline, so I may try his archaeology book.

I’m also interested in Asian history, creativity memoirs (I’ve read ALOT of these, so I’m only interested in ones that will blow my mind 😂) , historical fiction on “side wars” not the World Wars, a bit burned out on those. I’m also on a search for authors similar to Maud Hart Lovelace and L.M. Montgomery. I realize the two Mauds are a tough acts to follow, but I’m looking for sweet family-centric, “life softening” type stories. So far, I’ve enjoyed some D.E. Stevenson, Susan Scarlett, and Molly Clavering. How’s your reading been going? Any books you are excited about this summer?

In other cheerful news 😅, I’ve been thinking about these lyrics and how so much of our world and culture is fake & dead ☠️😂. There’s a part in the MV, where the artists are with sand, water, wind, fire…and it just touches me deeply about the finiteness of this all. It’s floating and blowing away. The artist Suga smiles at the flames and as a Christian woman, I want to smile at the hard things of this world, not in denial or despair, but in a realization that it’s the spiritual that really matters. All else is going to be gone. As a pilgrim just passing through this place, I find joy in knowing that the suffering that so many are going through is finite. Catholic poetic and mystic, Macrina Wiederkehr’s book of poetry and short devotions called, “Seasons of Your Heart: Prayers & Reflections” has been so lovely, hopeful, and inspiring, touching on some of these very themes. A Christmas gift from my friend. I’m hoping to get more of her writings soon.

Amazon

I’m the slowest soul to try new apps etc 🙃, but I finally got the Libby app and have been so happy checking out audiobooks and kindle things from the library! Yes, you do have to wait longer, but it’s so convenient and inexpensive. I’m trying this above manga series via Kindle and the library. How cool is that? Guess what? The manga pages turn the opposite way in Kindle, too! 🤯🤣My 4 yo son and I planted some moonflowers after I bought him a book for his birthday about them. I really hope they grow and we can watch them bloom in the evenings! 😍😌♥️Speaking of birthdays, our birthday “season” is done here at the end of July and *whispering*, I always sigh in relief. 😂♥️

Do you have ‘heart homes’? I’ve been thinking about the places that have really meant something to me over my life. Of course, there’s big amazing places, like Prince Edward Island and The Lake District, Cumbria 😏, but smaller, intimate places that I’ve visited that spoke soul-speak straight deep down. I have a few and had a chance to travel to them recently. I also often realize that the place God’s given me to curl up in currently is a stunning place. Right at my fingertips, right out my door.

Otherwise, here’s a list that swirling in the gray matter 🧠 , my love and desire to know more of tamaracks/larches and birches, Julie Cameron’s Walking in This World”, my favorite from her, my penpals, Hetty Feather series I want to check more into, loving the first audiobook, wanting to learn more about watercolors, pen & ink illustrations, thinking and loving Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry and all the magazines to catch up on. Also, how in the world can I resurrect a floundering writing practice? By writing, of course, Amy. 🤯🤪😅🤓 I’ll leave you with more reading and nature photos, thanks for being here. Please chat with me below! What’s on your mind? 😍♥️ Till next time, grace and peace through beautiful Jesus to you!

Writing ✍️ inspiration
Magazine backlog to soak in! ♥️♥️♥️
Amish plows ♥️

Joy Journal {April 26th ~ Happy Birthday to my dear daughter}

📖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 newly minted 14 yo daughter 🥰||her delight in completing her Redwall Series collection ||reliving memories and enjoying photos of almost 2 months of participating in a local production of The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe, what a wonderful experience and lots of new friends ||people who devote themselves to care for others in dangerous or difficult places|| those who are adoptive or foster families || new to me music, Sarah Sparks || for Jane Brocket, Sarah Clarkson, Tresta Payne, andTerri Conlin’s email newsletters, full of beauty, encouragement, and delight || for my church ladies Bible study on Philippians||

||sunlight on forsythia and Charlotte Mason, glimpses of spring hope || springy play lists || for little boys who ask for Christmas trees 🎄 during spring snow storms || friends who send me videos and photos of our local Aurora Borealis sightings || prayer 🙏 || daffodildowndillys and the promise of tulips 💐 || clothesline flapping noise|| cat snuggles, whiskers and darling purring with contented closed eyes || lovely return visits to favorite reads, in this case The Alpine Path by LM Montgomery || warm, brown sweatshirt and oversized cozy black sweater || warm, cozy glow of lamps||

|| birds daintily eating dog food on deck|| wrestling with a short piece on Gerald Manley Hopkins for friend’s magazine ♥️🌿✒️📝||time away with hubby learning about serving our world with love, with a bit of space for quiet contemplation|| delicious, quiet breakfast with our pastor and his wife|| enjoying the nooks and crannies of our hotel|| long car conversations with my husband ||birthday surprises arriving and special food ingredients waiting on countertop ||little boy excitedly helping me wrap gifts for sister|| trying how to figure out how to send a surprise to Canadian penpals 💜😏🤓💌📬📦 💸🤑😂|| lovely books stacked everywhere here to dip in and out of||

||our friendly local public library || a felted bit of sunrise, gift from a daughter, shining into my soul||magazines +coffee + Trader Joe’s + my sisters = ♥️♥️♥️||contemplating books that impacted as a woman/mother/caretaker in an ongoing series|| sunshine 🌞 in Wisconsin, never take it for granted ||plan to take daughter & friend to craft store and fancy ice cream 🍦 soon, she’s so excited ||

I believe this is “La Discessa dello Spirito Santo” mentioned on pg 155, School Education by Charlotte Mason ~ so gorgeous! {Google image} If it’s not the right one, oh well, I still love it! 😂♥️

||living loved||

I cracked the Montana mug

I lost the swallow earring

flea market finds from my man

is this all marriage is

feeling cracked & lost?

but that’s how hope crawls in

through the cracks & crevices

in small corner light is found

loneliness is lumped & kneaded out

not unlike what that

potter did with the clay

back in Montana

turning something

rough into a little something

different one day

the beader who set

my earring soaring

didn’t see a marriage

celebrated as her

dangling art pierced through

my earlobe

the cracked & loss

a little more whole

A.M. Pine, originally written for Peace Poem Project 2023

-drawing from this well ♥️

||winged words||

•blank page, cut hand

ink dribbled off edge

down onto palm of mine

mingle with blood

can they course through

both vein & pen?

can winged words

life blood be

ink that oxygenates

black to bloody red

soaring over pulsating sea

red & black scribbles

across wide, white expanse

staunch the wound

bleed the ink

my heart is lanced •

A. M. Pine, originally for the Peace Poem Project, drawing from this well.

Monday Ponderings {December 5th}

…Our bartered, busy lives burn dim,

too tired to care, too numb to feel.

Come, shine upon our shadowed world:

Your radiance bathes with power to heal.

excerpt from “O Radiant Christ” by Ruth Duck, from Biola Advent Project

Writer’s Web: Catching Inspiration from Women Writer’s of Charming Family-ish Fiction 🕯📖📜🖊♥️

Betsy and Tacy’s replica bench from Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy Tacy Series. Mankato, MN ♥️📖

I’ve been thinking about the stories that inspire me and of course, the writer’s behind those stories. I was so excited to recently visit Mankato, Minnesota (Deep Valley in the stories!) and stop at many of the places mentioned in Maud Hart Lovelace’s semi-autobiographical series of children’s stories. Oh, the delicious delight and wonder of seeing the places Betsy (Maud) and her friend Tacy (Frances) haunted and thinking on how Maud captured the specific, odd, charming details that make her stories ring true. It made me think of all the other authors that write these types of stories and how much they inspire me!

One of these lovely kindred souls being Carol Ryrie Brink, an American author, with lovely family stories that warm my heart, so far my favorite being Winter Cottage, a story set in the Great Depression era in Wisconsin, a widower and his children making the best of very hard circumstances. Family Grandstand being a cherished read aloud in our family of an university professor, writer mother, and three kids in a rambling house with a turret and all their adventures. I’ve finally began the sequel, Family Sabbatical with some Booktube friends and the first chapter was SO delightful. Brink, of course, is most famous for her story inspired by her grandmother’s life, Caddie Woodlawn.

An English author that I’ve recently been stalking and been so inspired by is Noel Streitfeild. I first heard of her from one of my favorite films “You’ve Got Mail” in which Kathleen Kelly talks about “the shoe books”. Come to think of it now, Kathleen also talks of Betsy Tacy books in her bookshop and sells some to Joe Fox’s aunt! 😉😄♥️ Streitfeild is wonderful at putting children and families into unique, slightly strange settings and situations. I absolutely was riveted by her story The Magic Summer, about children dumped on an eccentric aunt in the barren Scottish? countryside. Family Shoes (The Bell Family) was delightful as the children tried to help their poor vicar father and mother with money in hilarious ways. There are so many more to explore and I’m currently loving Apple Bough (Traveling Shoes).

Elizabeth Enright is one that I started reading with my older children years ago with her delightful book The Saturdays, but I was reintroduced to her this past summer by my favorite Booktuber, Kate Howe, who also revived my interest in Maud Hart Lovelace. I adored Gone-Away Lake and can’t wait to read the sequel. The nature writing interwoven into this book won my heart.

And of course, one cannot talk about inspiration without mentioning my lovely and favorite Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. The magic of nature, the spiritual edge hovering over life, and quirky characters are just a few reasons I love this writer SO much. Yes, her stories can be a bit formulaic, but oh, the delicious details she packs into them. The Anne series, The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill, and Emily Climbs are my favorites at the moment, maybe if all time? I was so blessed to travel to P.E.I. for my 15th anniversary with my husband to soak up some island inspiration.

Laura Ingalls Wilder also comes to mind. I’m currently rereading through her famous series with my younger children and Almanzo’s story in Farmer Boy is just as compelling as it was the first time I read it. The hard, brutal life that early Americans lived is so inspiring for our modern lives. The family dynamics are so intriguing to us. I still want to retrace the Ingall’s path out west which we did as a smaller family years ago. We loved especially wading in Plum Creek. 🥰🌿

Gothic-y-feeling, trickling waterfall near Maud Hart Lovelace’s home.

No list of inspiring women writer’s would be complete with another favorite, the English writer, Elizabeth Goudge. Her magical writing in legend and lore of place, her deep, interesting, nuanced characters, her pulling back the veil between spiritual and reality, make her SO beloved. She definitely is a bit more of a dense writer, you have to work hard at her stories, especially beginnings, but persevere, because oh my, you will be richly rewarded. I’ve read most of her backlist, currently my favorites are A City of Bells, Pilgrim’s Inn, Dean’s Watch, and maybe Gentian Hill is creeping up there, too. Her children’s story, Little White Horse is delightful, too.

Train station where Betsy (Maud) traveled to Milwaukee to see her friend!

And of course, Miss Jane Austen, is a must have for this list. Her books are such an interesting study of character and the inner works of Regency era English families. Romance takes over the films, but the books are something else entirely. My favorites are Persuasion, Pride & Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey. Although, I reread Mansfield Park this summer and so enjoyed it!

How about you? What authors highly inspire your work? Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list for me, Bradbury, Tolkien, Lewis, and others come to mind, but one of my favorite things to read and write is family and children ! And I think these ladies get it oh, so right! Have you done literary travel? Any inspiring places you recommend or you want to visit? I’ve also been to England, but would love to go back, especially to Oxford. Please chat with me in the comments! 📖♥️🖊📚

“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

||on hot water therapy ||

||filtered light through shower curtain, drips trickle off silver-y, soap-scummed faucet…Irish Spring Soap scent, sniffing out a 32 year old memory of Grandma Fritz, her chunky, pink bubble-shaped bubble bath bottle, her chain plug, while all the dregs drain down…salty tears mixed with mineral-laden water in need of salt to soften. Hey, I’m a cheap water softener, if only my tears could be useful in that way…stretch marks, stretched-taut strength, silent screams through the warm rain. Hair plastered close, veil washed over my racing thoughts…sore nose bridge, loose glasses, may I be able to see pass this all? Purple, frayed, musty towel waiting, dirty feet bottoms planted in the swirling soap suds. Rubber duckies, colorful boat, army man with one leg, Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo, please bring me an olive branch of peace and hope. Hot water sears eczema, coconut oil slathering ahead, healing really does hurt. Worry-disease drained away for the moment, deep breath, steam in, selfishness and stress out. Water pounding massage, life paused in curtained, watery world away from the “on-ness” of it all, soul’s dirty roots deeply watered for another day. Size 12, barely buttoned, unzipped heart, out of chest, maybe hot water therapy will help this heavy-heart, too? Scrub this heart anew.

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? 😄♥️🔍

|| on clouds ||

|| endless clouds extend to the horizon line. slate grey, white tuffed, take-deep-breath marshmallows , chewy goodness. softness, a gentling, sunsplit glints of gold, the dresden of heaven’s hutch. clouds come down, bringing middle earth to midwest. pillows, puffs, earth and sky gooey s’more center, coolness, and shade. buckets of liquid love dipped and poured over earth’s open and waiting hands. what would i be without clouds? i’m not talking about the science behind the loss of clouds, i’m talking about fluff-on-the-wind deep soul loss. the loss of the wisp and whisper drawing our hearts and our eyes upward. clouds crowd the crevices of my heart and i want to be forever enveloped in a squishy embrace. bright white, somber grey, i take this popcorn of the sky, salted, anyway. a true friend to sail away on, summer shape finding, a friend to count on hovering close by. a field of fluff for soul and spirit encouragement harvesting. a bit of white lace for earth’s blue and green dress. freshness, light, love…clouds. ||

{Grati~logger} 🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿

Cedar Falls Overlook ~ Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

I’ve been thinking about my blog here and what {exactly} it is I love about it. It has grown into an offering to God🙏 more than anything…gratitude for the generous giving of other’s words written, a whispered prayer of thanksgiving through photography {a photo often says something words cannot}. It’s a tangible witness of the sheer love for the gifts of nature, poetry, writing, art ~all from the world’s well of inspiration. To us, from them, to them, from us. So you could say gratitude + blogger = gratilogger? 🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿♥️🌿 How ‘bout you? Do you ever feel this way also? Do you feel like bursting with all the beauty given to us? Why create? Why give in these ways? From the bottom of my heart, THANK goodness YOU create and give. I need it like air. 😄♥️💜♥️ That’s all, Happy Saturday!

Lenten Gratitude {2} 🌿♥️🌿

Continuing my Lenten List of Gratitude ~

11. Mr. Kleon’s work has been opening my mind to possibly lately. And that’s a good thing.

12. Thinking on this quote I read with my 17 yo the other day, “A picture or poem, or the story of a noble deed, ‘finds’ us, we say. We, too, think that thought or live in that action, and, immediately, we are elevated and sustained. This is the sympathy we owe to our fellows, near and far off. If we have anything good to give, let us give it, knowing with certainty that they will respond. If we fail to give this Sympathy, if we regard the people about us as thinly small, unworthy thoughts, doing mean, unworthy actions, and incapable of better things, we reap our reward. We are really, though we are not aware it, giving Sympathy to all that is base in others, and thus strengthening and increasing their baseness: at the same time we are shutting ourselves into habits of hard and narrow thinking and living.” ~ Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

12. Thinking about creativity and how sometimes it’s hard to grasp that elusive ‘thing’ that’s haunting you and waiting to be born. How birth is beautiful and miraculous, yet it’s earthy, natural, and an everyday occurrence all over the world. These lyrics speak to that and here’s the music video which has stunning imagery about this tension. {click CC button, top right corner of video for English subtitles}

13. The flames, smell, colors, warmth, ritual of filling our indoor woodburner. I’ve been finding in the midst of the hard work of it and constantness of it, a beauty. Hmmm, this sounds like writing practice. 😬😩😂

14. Margin. Modern life is a snowball. I’m thankful when I remember to stop it and live counterculture for a bit. Run counterclockwise, Amy. One part of this can’t really change though. Relationships. Those you need to keep your toe dipped into.

15. This zany, high energy podcast. An encouraging online friend, Adrienne, recommended me to this resource!

16. Starting enjoying a new Shakespeare play, composer, and especially enjoying this unique artist with my children. So thankful for the moms in my homeschool group for sharing these riches.

17. For this this poem and animation. So peaceful!

18. For photography- snippets of light for dispelling darkness

19. Warmth: fires, slippers, hot showers, hot tea, steamy coffee, and comfy thrifted purple Scotland sweatshirts.

20. Changes of perspective to help me get outside of myself. For coming back to my mountain to climb with newness and freshness, or at least a deep breath. ♥️🌿

What’s fueling you? 🌿♥️🌿 Lots of love from the Ridge, Amy 💜🌿💜