"I sway an airy kingdom"

(from My Library, by Maud Montgomery)

Music, wit and wisdom in 2014:

Best New Discoveries
Mystic: How to Live the Victorious Christian Life, by an unknown Christian
Novel: Children of the New Forest, by Frederick Marryat

Favorite (Albeit Only) Classic
Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens

Favorite MG Novel
Boys of Blur, by N.D. Wilson

Most Difficult to Complete (But Loved It!)
Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis, by Michael Ward

Favorite Mystics
Abide in Me, by Andrew Murray
Raising Your Children for Christ, by Andrew Murray

Favorite ReReads
Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers
Persuasion, by Jane Austen (the perfect book to read at age 27)

Favorite Sibling Read-Aloud
The Saturdays, by Elizabeth Enright

Looking Forward to in 2015
Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Autobiography of George Muller: A Million and a Half in Answer to Prayer
final, untitled installment of N.D. Wilson's Ashtown Burials series
The Art of Life, by Edith Schaeffer
The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser
something (anything) of Andrew Murray
something of Dickens
The Penderwicks in Spring, by Jeanne Birdsall
Shaming the Devil, by Melina Marchetta
Greenglass House, by Kate Milford

one thousand gifts, norway, excerpt, week nine

Driving tour with an Irish Ms. Bates
Viking cairns
Lungfulls of sea air
A thermos of milky tea and biscuits shared in the car, parked beside the water
Crispy chips (aka french fries) and leaf steak at a seaside convenience store
A starfish left by the tide
Dark chocolate and peanut butter
Waking in the night to see the full moon streaming through the window
Speaking to the 13 year old in Lithuanian, her mother tongue, and her reply: "Was that French?" (Note to self: must work on accent)
All the little children gone for the day... a deliciously quiet house
Curled up on the sofa with a mug of coffee and home on the phone
Tiny frozen blueberries over millet for breakfast
A letter from a friend
A sudden, brief downpour
Singing Norsk hymns in a state church
A black gospel soloist from Chicago, and my N. Irish friend saying, "fancy her being from the same county as you!" (We call them states in America, love ;-)
Purple crocus
A flight to Switzerland tomorrow morning

one thousand gifts, norway, excerpt, week eight

My feet on old familiar forest paths, now that the snow has melted
A splash of blue paint on a tree, assuring me that I'm still following the trail
Salty air
Wet, low-tide rocks
Dappled, muted light through forest branches, on ground covered with green moss
Walking home, thinking, Chocolate sounds really good. Looking down, and seeing a bite-size, unopened chocolate on the roadside
Walking further, seeing another one!
And another!
(Jesus forgot that Valentine's Day was last month. But better late than never, when it comes to chocolate.)
Playing football with the little boys at the old school's stadium
A full moon over the fjord... Seen from this hill, it shines, hovering like Howl's Moving Castle, halfway between dark earth and dark sky
Dvorak's cello concerto in B minor
An upright bass player, after the final piece, reaching up to stretch, clasping her hands over the bass scroll and resting there
Symphony performers in black skinny jeans, tights and mini skirts
Hand-picked lingonberries over Scotch pancakes, made by a Scotch woman
Cadbury chocolate from the UK, and her husband saying, she must like you, if she's sharing her Cadbury
Leaping (Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.)
A new day

one thousand gifts, norway, excerpt, week seven

Spring term
Snowdrops brought from the forest in tightly clenched hands, held behind backs: "for you"
Chocolate cake and telephone calls
Deer in the yard
Slipping out onto the porch to sing, Come Spirit, come charm, come days that are warm
Tight white buds in the branches
A morning walk, the two year old in his stroller, a calmly trotting four year old at our side (alien behavior; I am all astonishment)
British Little Einsteins
Bird gossip at all hours (even 4 am)
Standing in the grass outside my door, wrapped in a wool blanket, humming Keith Green, make my life a prayer to you
This is no thaw... This is Spring!
Lying flat in the sunshine that covered the sofa
Paying for bus tickets, and the driver asking if I was also a student price
Missing our bus connection and walking home in the sun, rather than wait
Singing as we walk under a bridge, because tunnels are lovely for singing
Norwegian brunch, a long table crammed with plates and food and people from half a dozen countries
1 John outside in the sunshine
Checking out Celia's House from Open Library dot org
Blue sky morning
Airing out my sweaters
Nut cake with cream and pomegranates
Tidings of a chalet in the Alps two weeks hence

one thousand gifts, norway, excerpt, week six

My very own little blaze in the woodstove
Jello from a Thai neighbor that tastes exactly like Twizzlers
Sound of gentle rain
Headphones and Most Agreeable music from period dramas to shut out the two year old's bedtime tantrum
The sudden thought, "So this is...abiding" as I put clean sheets on the four year old's bed at the end of a long day
Sending letters all day
Receiving letters (in my inbox) all day
Good news from a far-away friend
Lovely perfumes as chattering Chilean women walk past me into church
The first day of spring term
Walking past the girls' room and stopping to smile at the sight of the 13 year old sitting up in bed, knitting and listening to an audio book
The baby teething on the bars of his play pen
Babies sleeping in their prams on the porch
Homemade almond joys
Acts 3:16 It is His name, through faith in His name...a faith that comes from Him...that makes me strong and whole this day

one thousand gifts, norway, excerpt, week five

Waking in the middle of the night to full moonlight streaming across my bed
Mangos and cilantro and lime
The final day of winter term
An insistent chickadee
Snowdrops from the forest
The six year old teaching herself the first phrase of Perpetual Motion by ear
One week until March
Crisp, clean sheets
GK Chesterton
The little girl with kitty facepaint and a tulle skirt, shoveling candy into a brown paper bag from the self-serve bins at the grocery store
A wrought-iron sunrise on someone's garden gate
Watching a man bicycle slowly along the waterfront
Milky rooibos tea (coconut!)
Free ticket to Handel's Messiah, performed by the choir of King's College, Cambridge (via youtube)
Nutella and almonds on a rice cake
An exhausting three hour traipse through the forest
Deep carpets of moss and fairy three-leaf clover
The smell of spring
Mist in the pines (an enchanted forest!)
Psa. 92:4 "I will triumph in the works of Thy hands"