Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Such fullness this past week! God is so good!


Family paddle


We blink and she's six.

Happy birthday beautiful girl.


Trying out her new skateboard


Real change for our family to have our daddy back on a boat.  So proud of my husband taking command of the CGC Liberty here in Juneau. We love you!

I love this...

Check out Leila's post here! God Bless!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Large Family Vision...The House of Mirth

I gobbled up Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and loved it so much I thought I would have a go at The House of Mirth while I was on holiday in Virginia (yes...I just wrote holiday instead of vacation).

Pansies and popsicle wrappers

And towards the very solemn ending of the novel, I dog eared a page in my book I wanted to share with all of you (my Grandma Marilyn would have insisted I use a book mark...she abhors dog eared pages).  

I grew to love Miss Lily Bart very much as I read, but my heart tugged most with sympathy for her when I saw her reflecting on family and marriage.  The extravagant socialite Lily visited a very poor girl name Nettie and sitting in poor Nettie's kitchen brewed reflections within her...because you see...Nettie was very happy.

"It was no longer, however, from the vision of material poverty that she turned with the greatest shrinking.  She had a sense of  deeper impoverishment - of an inner destitution compared to which outward conditions dwindled into insignificance.  It was indeed miserable to be poor - to look forward to a shabby, anxious middle-age, leading by dreary degrees of economy and self-denial to gradual absorption in the dingy communal existence of the boarding house.  But there was something more miserable still - it was the clutch of solitude at her heart, the sense of being swept like a stray uprooted growth down the heedless current of years. 

That was the feeling that possessed her now - the feeling of being something rootless and ephemeral, mere spindrift on the whirling surface of existence, without anything to which the poor little tentacles of self could cling before the awful flood submerged them.  And as she looked back she saw that there had never been a time when she had had any real relation to life.  Her parents too had been rootless, blown hither and thither on every wind of fashion, without any personal existence to shelter them from its shifting gusts.

She herself had grown up without any spot of earth being dearer to her than another:  
there was no center of early pieties, 

of grave endearing tradition, 

to which her heart could revert and from which it could draw strength for itself and tenderness for others.

In whatever form a slowly accumulated past lives in the blood

whether in the concrete image of the old house stored with visual memories,

or in the conception of the house not built with hands, but made up of inherited passions and loyalties - 

it has the same power of broadening and deepening the individual existence, of attaching it by mysterious links of kinship to all the mighty sum of human striving.

Such a vision of the solidarity of life had never before come to Lily.  She had had a premonition of it in the blind motions of her mating-instinct; but they had been checked by the disintegrating influences of the life about her.  All the men and women she knew were like atoms whirling away from each other in some wild centrifugal dance: her first glimpse of the continuity of life had come to her that evening in Nettie Struther's kitchen.

Krysten's kitchen talent

The poor little working girl who had found strength to gather up the fragments of her life, and build herself a shelter with them, seemed to Lily to have reached the central truth of existence.

It was a meagre enough life, on the grim edge of poverty, with scant margin for possibilities of sickness of mischance, but it had the frail audacious permanence of a bird's nest built on the edge of a cliff - a mere wisp of leaves and straw, yet so put together that the lives entrusted to it may hang safely over the abyss.

Yes - but it had taken two to build the nest; the man's faith as well as the woman's courage.  Lily remembered Nettie's words: I knew he knew about me.  Her husband's faith in her made her renewal possible - it is so easy for a woman to become what the man she loves believes her to be!"

God bless you all! I'm currently reading E. M. Forster's A Passage to India because I loved A Room With a View immensely,  I am always delighted when I find truths about family sprinkled in the novels of literary giants. Much love xxoo

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real --- God Bless America!

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Patriot.  My husband and I have been reading Anthony Esolen's "Ten Ways to Destroy Your Child's Imagination," and it is  Of the MANY things he writes about that will BEND your mind in so many ways, he devotes a chapter to patriotism and he also writes about a child having a sense of place.  With our family being quite nomadic in the Coast Guard, I am appreciating this need for "place."  I am so thankful we have two more years to enjoy Juneau in  this Southeast Alaska place.  I also was very happy that we were blessed to have time vacationing in the outer banks of Virginia after my sister's wedding.  We also spent some time with family in the Northern Neck where my husband is from, where he has a strong sense of place.

 We hope to raise littles with a deep love for this great country of ours.  

Beautiful America...I love you...



Are you wondering...Stephanie, how on earth do you keep an 18 month old boy HAPPY on a plane ride from Alaska to Virginia???

Well...hmmm...let's just say it is one of those days where you are in "Virtue of Patience" boot camp.  

But you can buy SOME time with these neat games...

"Rip the Complimentary Magazine Apart and Roll Them Into Tiny Balls" basketball, with a complimentary airline cup as the basket...

And bring a box of band-aides...they are fun too.


We don't have cable at home and are not big tv watchers to begin with, so on vacation it can be a real treat to sit after a day in the sun and find a nice show to River Monsters (on Discovery Channel I think).  However, one should NEVER watch a show called River Monsters when they are by a body of water.  No girls, don't be silly we told them as the show explained how giant stingrays have been known to drag unknowing human victims by the barb in their tails into the water (ahhh! quick turn the channel!)....sting rays aren't in these waters...I tell them...and myself...

well my friends, God has a sense of humor because the very next morning we found THIS...

on the beach.  I really have to brush up on my science and marine life facts.  Luckily, my girls are some hard core nature nerds and they were excited about finding this guy.


ER visit on the first day at the beach because my 31 year old husband is really just a big kid in disguise (he was skim boarding and sprained his ankle).  God is so good though and it healed very quickly! 

Have a safe and happy Independence Day! Also make sure to check here for more images of our beautiful America! God Bless!