In lieu of trying to belong to any number of societies: Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, the Inklings, and so on: I propose and establish one of my own. Don your intelligence cap at the door; dust off your logic and imagination; did you bring your inspiration and encouragement? We are shapers, my friends; lit lamps; light-bringers. Bring quotes*; poetry should be uplifting and thoughtful, or witty and clever, (or both). Humor is encouraged; laughter is invited back. Pull up a chair. Anyone for tea?



Feeling stressed?

I recommend these things for this busy season:

Read a few verses: Like these

Do some yoga: yoga with Adriene is my favorite, and here's one just for stress relief.

Read a seasonal book: Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon, or The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
I listen to both on unabridged audio every year at this time.

Fold some paper: whether it's these fun origami stars, or wrapping presents while watching a holiday episode of your favorite show, a bit of 'paperwork' can be good for the mind.

Watch a Christmas movie: old classics, cheesy new ones, or obscure ones like this: A Child's Christmas in Wales, based on a Dylan Thomas poem. It's delightfully cozy and atmospheric, with a nostalgic sense of place, and has found its way into my personal Christmas traditions.

Light a candle or two, or eight: Today is the sixth night of Hanukkah, and while I don't always get around to lighting the menorah, I love to remember God's work in that story, his promises. An extra reminder, as we light our Advent candles too, in wait, but also in joy that our Messiah came.


For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Microfiction: poetry: triolet pt. 2


A while

It’s been a while
Since I’ve seen your face
I miss your smile
It’s been a while
It seems a mile
Since you needed space
It’s been a while 
Since I’ve seen your face

Microfiction: poetry: triolet pt. 1


Cresting a wave
Chasing the sun
Tomorrow to save
Cresting a wave
Sailing as brave
As the maiden run
Cresting a wave
Chasing the sun

Microfiction: Poetry: Clerihew

some non-winning entries of mine from the writing contest. DEFINITION OF CLERIHEW HERE.

Jane Austen

Writerly Jane Austen
Didn’t live in Boston
But England, writing books on gents
And ladies of romantic bents


Teddy Roosevelt

The mighty Teddy Roosevelt
Went on safari, procuring a pelt
Rose to president, but went on to bungle
By dying of fever he caught in the jungle


November is the pearl-grey month, the changeling between warm crimson October and cold white December; the month when the leaves fall in slow drifting whirls and the shapes of the trees are revealed. When the earth imperceptibly wakes and stretches her bare limbs and displays her stubborn unconquerable strength before she settles uneasily into winter. November is secret and silent.

Alison Uttley

Microfiction: twitterfiction

Week 4 of the writing contest was 'Write a story in only one tweet-length sentence: maximum 140 characters! Give us a setting, actors, actions, a narrative arc, and an climax—all in less than the length of this prompt!'

Some of my entries placed in the popular vote category (they will later be published in an e-book), so I'm only  posting my other entries here.
This post is late, so weeks 5 & 6 are also done, and I will be posting my non-placing entries here when I can.

Under the Bed
Where I come from, the monster beneath your bed is your greatest protection, teacher, and chance for success in life; I am one of them.

Cecily blew in on a wild autumnal day, taught me to see beauty in stars, in books, in people’s eyes; my Mary Poppins, please don’t go.

She was afraid he would learn the truth about her; but when he did, he became the truest friend she’d ever known.

Walker & Walker
In the heart of London, Elsa deciphered code and Jim read the people; some landed in prison, others became family.

of mysteries and downpours...

“Nothing goes so well with a hot fire and buttered crumpets as a wet day without and a good dose of comfortable horrors within. The heavier the lashing of the rain and the ghastlier the details, the better the flavour seems to be.” 

Dorothy Sayers, Strong Poison

Tea Quote Tuesday

“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured cosiness.” code of the woosters Wodehouse

Here be dragons (Microfiction Week 2)

Hey guys, I entered a 6-week writing contest! Week two is over, so I'm sharing my story here. This one got honorable mention. Check out this link to see how it works, or to enter or vote. Stay tuned for more!
I will go

Months this dragon has laid waste my country. At night he comes, plundering, taking our young, and burning villages with his fiery breath. We cast our arrows against him in vain. His hide will not be penetrated. The foul creature doubtless then returns to its lair, storing up treasure of metals and gems. But we care little for this hoard. Let him even take it all, only let us alone. But he will not. 

My people grow weary of this torment. Each day we clear rubble and bury our dead. Already we have lost nine mighty men of war in battle with this dragon; countless others in defense of home and family. With each dreaded onslaught I ponder ways that I might end this. My bones ache within me as my people fall.

At last my scouts return, having discovered where the dragon rests his filthy scales by day. I send my men away that I might think. Later they will lead me to his lair, but for now I must decide how to best use this knowledge. For armies are of little use against such an enemy, and I will not lead man after man before this beast to die.

Perhaps only one warrior, without armor to weigh him down, might be swift enough. One with a hefty sword, and a heart full of grief to keep it aloft, might make it through. A quick mind would be needed, with no alternative to this end. This warrior would have to carry each mourner for his reason, and would need every villager as his cause, with no thought for life or limb until each wife and new-child and tree were safe from plunder. I will go.

At daybreak we march, the smoke from last night’s raids still burning in our nostrils. As we approach the mountain cave, I order my men back, but they will only retreat a bow-shot’s length. For them I stand, they must not see me quake. The dragon comes forth.

Long into the day I needle and bait him, relying on my swiftness, until he has belched forth all his fire and there is no more. But still I must contend with his champing jaws and pronged tail, and with every lash I tire. I parry and strike, each for the kingdom. Have I strength for another? 

I have blinded him now. He roars in defiance, but as I dodge his armored spikes I see my chance at last and plunge my sword.

I am utterly spent, but beneath me lies the dragon, my sword buried to hilt in his maw. No longer will he be the Destroyer, nor He who spells fire and doom

Firm hands lift me from my scaly bed, wrapping my blistered sides and bathing my wounds. Another severs the monster’s head as trophy. They tell me they will not be without a ruler, and bear me home. I will again see my people smile.

Magical Portals and Whatnot (Microfiction #2)

Hey guys, I entered a 6-week writing contest! Week one is over, so I'm sharing my stories here. This one got honorable mention. Check out this link to see how it works, or to enter or vote. Stay tuned for more!

Tea for Two

In one hot, dirty city, high in an undistinguished office-building, Chester Wentworth poured himself a cup of tea. He would have preferred a comfortable armchair in some cooler apartments, but that couldn’t be helped. It was this short break and an office cup, or nothing.

As he took his first drink, however, he found himself inexplicable and decidedly, elsewhere. All around him rose great trees, half-wreathed in fading foliage, their remaining leaves strewn thickly over the forest floor. The unmistakable scent of leafy decay and autumn rain whisked around him damply in chilly breezes.

Chester was breathing it all in, only slightly bewildered and very much pleased, when another figure appeared beside him. She was wearing shorts and a sun-hat as if she’d been gardening, and she looked decidedly startled.

“Hullo Sylvia,” Chester said.

“Chester!” she answered. They were cousins, and as children they had spent a great deal of time together, adventuring out-of-doors. “Where are we?” she asked in surprise.

“Don’t know. What were you up to just now?”

“I’d stopped for a cup of tea.”

“Hmm. So had I, actually. Fig-thistle-tea, or some such. From the back of the cupboard.”

“Same as me!” Sylvia declared.

“That’s a thought.” Chester mused. “Well, shall we have a walk, then?”

“Yes, lets. I’m quite chilled.” she agreed.

So the two tramped through the trees where the air hung rich and spicy, and before long they reached the edge of the wood. They strolled through golden grasses then, and over a few brown hills. Geese called. Here and there a tree would shower leaves on them. The wind stirred.

“Look there!” Chester pointed. “A deer!”

“Where?” Sylvia asked, “Oh, I missed it! What was it like?”

Chester smiled to himself. “He was white.” And said no more.

“Does this place seem to be fading to you?” Sylvia asked presently.

“Let’s try to come back again.” Chester said, in answer. “Same time, next week?”

Magical Portals and Whatnot (Microfiction #1)

Hey guys, I entered a 6-week writing contest! Week one is over, so I'm sharing my stories here. This one got honorable mention. Check out this link to see how it works, or to enter or vote. Stay tuned for more!

Turntable Magic

Brooke flipped through her mom’s record collection, idly listening to the rain streaming down the windows of the four season porch. I’ve listened to these a hundred times, she was thinking, when she came across one she didn’t recognize.The cover was blank with only a few faint pencil-marks.

Brooke pulled the record out and slipped it onto the player. Holding her hand carefully steady, she lowered the needle onto the spinning disc and closed her eyes to listen. But instead of music, she heard the rushing of water—such a bright, cold, sparkling sound that she opened her  eyes and found she could see it.

A wide stream of water chattered a few inches from her toes. Leafy fronds and silvery berries cascaded over the bank and thick moss carpeted the ground all around, stretching as far as she could see. Muted sunshine filtered through low-hanging clouds. She looked about her in wonder, trying to decide if this was real, or a dream or hallucination. Taking one hesitant step, she felt moisture oozing up between her toes from the velvety moss.

Brooke laughed in delight and started to run, her feet falling softly in the green, gradually gaining speed. And then just before her the ground fell away, and she found herself slip-sliding and then rolling down a steep bank into a hidden basin of a valley. She came to a stop then and scrambled to her feet.

“Can’t you fly?” a voice behind her asked. 

Brooke looked around suddenly and saw a slight figure in a moss dress. She perched on a leaf, about the height of Brooke’s finger, and her eyes sparkled like water.

Brooke shook her head.

“Do you want to?”

Brooke hesitated, and then nodded, smiling.

“Then you’ve come to the right place.” the fairy answered, beckoning.

There was a soft click as the record ended, and Brooke’s eyes flew open. Rain streamed down the windows of the four season porch.

Ah, Sayers

“Do you know how to pick a lock?"
"Not in the least, I'm afraid."
"I often wonder what we go to school for," said Wimsey.” 


“There is something about wills which brings out the worst side of human nature. People who under ordinary circumstances are perfectly upright and amiable, go as curly as corkscrews and foam at the mouth, whenever they hear the words 'I devise and bequeath.” 

― Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Food Quote Friday

'I realized what it was that had awakened me: the delicious insidious smells of hot chocolate and of buttered toast. I sat up. Breakfast was laid on the table by the fire, which was burning once again. I bounced joyfully out of bed. Every morning in the city my maid had brought me toast and chocolate. How did they know?'
Quote from Beauty, by Robin McKinley

September Song

 These days are simply glowing in beauty as autumn arrives. The early mornings are moist, and the breezes can be chilly, but trees rustle and crickets chirp with vigorous life. I've been able to catch a few sunrises recently, which to me is magical. I am seldom up to see the early dawns of summertime, and in winter, slate-clouds often obscure the view. I love the rosy light and the purple clouds moving and bursting to welcome the rising sun.

  In direct sunshine these days are still warm, but the shadows generally call for a sweater. In the gutters, a few dry leaves begin the trend. Here and there a single leaf will let go and flutter through the air, spinning before it settles, floating down.

And the last day or two it's been raining in delicious, pattering installments, sweeping another layer of leaves from the trees, and scattering them across wet pavement. The geese have begun flying over in great Vs, honking in familiar tones, landing in pastures, and generally adding to the peaceful vigor that is this time of year.

a reminder

 Sometimes it seems that if we were in a new spot, or new circumstances or scenery, then all would be well. It would be easier to appreciate things, easier to be active, easier to get involved, to not be discouraged, to study harder, or read more, easier to love. But so often that isn't true.
 Now, I am a great believer in fresh scenery, in getting away for a bit, visiting, traveling, seeing the world. But it doesn't solve our problems. It freshens our perspective, lets us see again the wonders we have grown dull to. But whether you are at home or abroad, it is hard to get up early, exercise when you should, study hard, work, help, read good books, manage your time, pray, memorize, love people, serve. It's hard to eat right, be thankful, say no, say yes, limit tv; live and learn and care about the whole spinning world, with its vast diversities and wonders, without becoming discontent in, or blind to, our own hobbit-hole lives.

 It's hard. But then, we weren't meant to lean on our own abilities. (And thank God for that, as my abilities will never suffice.) In every moment it is God we must trust and lean on. Christ is enough. And as I have been here, and been there recently, I am reminded: lean into prayer.


Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in fall --f. scott fitzgerald

Happy Baggins birthday~

"We are in for a spell of perfect weather now, each day is luminous, every night brimmed with stars. Picnics at noon, supper by the applewood fire at night, a walk in the cool moonlight before bed." -Gladys Taber

Prepare for take-off

I am finishing up my stay here, and getting ready to head home again.
Savoring the glimpses of mountain, and deep hills, variously shadowed and sunlit.
Enjoying the pattering rain on this different, but hospitable roof.
Excited to be planning my autumn days, filled with studying and productivity. I hope to do these plans justice. I also plan to keep blogging here frequently, and to keep updates here on what I'm staying busy with. Lectures: great books, history, politics, geography... all are on the menu so far, along with crocheting, bacon pancakes, flannel shirts, walks, chai, soups, crafts...

food, sailing, and other adventures

plums from the tree!
(some I dipped in honey--mwah!) 
 panang curry at an amazing thai restaurant

 The cousins took me sailing!

don't have any pictures of the sails up, because I was too busy enjoying myself...

they even let me help with the jib-sheets, and take the tiller for a bit!