Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well this is a bit late, but I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We've had Grandma from Vancouver for a visit this Thanksgiving so the kids have been thoroughly stuffed and spoiled which means Grandma's done her job well.

The turkey was dry this year, but an improvement over last year's undercooked bird and nothing that can't be fixed with a good bit of gravy. Next year we'll get it juuuuuuuust right!

We got to see this gorgeous sunset over Catalina Island after dinner

and we enjoyed a nice hike yesterday through the canyon fresh with green shoots this time of year from the rains and warm sun.

Here's a Thanksgiving prayer from AO's Thanksgiving page that I've asked my husband to read for us at dinner. I love that it doesn't ask for everything to be perfect, but asks for the abilities to handle whatever may come. Because perfection in life will come only at glory.

Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank thee for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded to us this day,
for the health,
for the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful,
for our friends in all parts of the earth.

Give us courage, gaiety, and the quiet mind.
Spare to us our friends,
soften us to our enemies.
Bless us, if may be, in all our innocent endeavours.

If may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come.
May we be brave in peril,
constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath,
and in all changes of fortune loyal and loving to one another.

As the clay to the potter,
as the windmill to the wind,
as the children of their sire,
we beseech of Thee this help and mercy for Christs sake.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Happy Pilgrim

We read the Chapter on John Bunyan today in Trial and Triumph.

Although we had read Pilgrim's Progress over a two year period, I had never heard Bunyan's story before. There was a lot that came to mind as we read through it.

Bunyan had been a foul-mouthed tinker until one day a woman rebuked him in the street, causing him great shame and a desire to mend his ways.

John Bunyan, courtesy of Wikipedia

Once proudly reformed into what he perceived to be a God pleasing righteous man, he came across some women in conversation. He heard them talk about the work of God in their hearts.
They spoke as if joy did make them speak; they spoke with such pleasantness of scripture language and with such appearance of grace in all they said that they were to me as if they had found a new world.

He goes on to discover...
I saw it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I couldn't help but notice how God had used the conversation of these women to convict Bunyan and draw him towards His truth.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue... ~Proverbs 18:21
So much of his personal experience is evident in Pilgrim's Progress; it is his story.

I thought back to Christian's wife and children in Pilgrim's Progress and how they tried to prevent him from going. Was that perhaps his wife, concerned about Bunyan's preaching, pleading with him not to go? It made me so grateful that my husband's life is not threatened doing God's will here in our safe little town. And it made me wonder how I might act in a situation like that.

It made me ponder whether I am like Christian's wife in even the small things - do I try to stop him from the path he has chosen to serve God in?

I imagine if Bunyan's wife had stopped him, we wouldn't have been reading about him today. It wasn't until his second stay in prison - 12 years the first time, 6 months the second - that he wrote Pilgrim's Progress.

Knowing his story, I am going to enjoy reading Pilgrim's Progress that much more with my son this time in YR2.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Our dear friend Isabella from South Africa, who has the most delicious South African accent, who has spontaneously brought us dinner several times - months after we'd had our baby, bless her! - who has had us for tea, rooibos of course, and home-made scones with whipped cream - oh, she's a lovely friend to have - offered us free entry tickets to Mission San Juan Capistrano this week.

It is one of a chain of 21 missions in California founded by the Spanish padres to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. They stretch along the coast from San Diego to Sonoma, north of San Francisco Bay along El Camino Real or 'The Royal Road' separated by one day's long ride on horseback.

The beautiful gardens, as gorgeous as they are, are a more modern addition. Much of the land would have been used to grow food for sustenance.

We just don't see historical architecture dating back quite so far in California so the Missions have an awe inspiring presence here.

This little chapel called Father Serra's church is the only building still standing in California in which the founding father of the California mission chain, Father Junipero Serra, conducted mass.

One of the unique features of the San Juan Capistrano Mission is that it is well known for its cliff swallows which return every year in the Spring to soar through the air and build their mud nests under the rafters and anywhere else they can find a spot.

The picture book The Song of Swallows was written about this very mission and a boy awaiting the the cliff swallows' annual return.

Here's something fun - do you notice anything unusual in the detail of this doorway? Look close. I didn't notice it until I was editing the picture...

That little green thing hanging down. I thought it might have been gum until I zoomed in for a closer look. Can you identify it?

Below is my son's quick sketch of the mission bells. Who says nature journals are for nature only?

This is the great stone church which was built between 1797 and 1806 and collapsed during an earthquake in 1812.

If you'd like to learn more about the missions, you can read more about them here or here. And if you ever are in the area, do let us know!

Doodle Stitching

My latest absorption...

Here's the book that shows you how. If you need additional help, I'm sure YouTube has plenty of tutorials on every stitch in the book.

These could be hung on the wall as is or framed and given as gifts, you could make Christmas tree decorations, aprons, add embroidery to a plain t-shirt or hat, a burp cloth, towel - the fun could carry you well into the winter!

My 9yo daughter and my 8yo son have both been able to do many of the stitches themselves after I showed them how to do it. And with a heat transfer pencil, you could outline just about anything and iron it onto a fabric for them to embroider.

Oh, and that French Knot, that's in there too. So embroider away! It's a very doable, adorable, handcraft to immerse yourself in this winter.