Monday, December 28, 2009

Relaxing with the Children

After a busy few days, we're relaxing at home with the children. They're playing with their new toys and getting a treat of seeing real construction nearby. We're enjoying leftovers, movies, and C.S. Lewis.

The Holy Innocents

O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More Panic

The Vintner will be home early today, not tomorrow. I'm still not done making Christmas gifts (which, granted, will be given St. Stephen's Day to in-laws.) The hub-bub is about to decend and I don't know if I have the where with all. Somehow, we'll get presents, family and a Christmas Dinner in all of that. And, then we can move on to New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fourth Week of Advent Panic

Yesterday, it hit me how little time remains in Advent and the schedule for the week. I'm going to spend time after Christmas Dinner sobbing, because it will not even be finished - only beginning. Christmas is not my favorite holiday, and I'm particularly sensitive to the stress at this time. Perhaps blogging will keep me together and organized.

We're in transition for baby to the crib from nursing all night with mom. Not the best time, but we can't arrange child development according to convenience.

St Thomas the Apostle

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who, for the greater confirmation of the faith, didst suffer thy holy Apostle Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son's resurrection; Grant us so perfectly, and without all doubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in thy sight may never be reproved. Hear us, O Lord, through the same Jesus Christ, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for evermore. Amen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ember Day

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Third Week of Advent

O LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Second Week of Advent

BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
< > This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day

Thursday, December 3, 2009


ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Before Advent

My favorite collect - indeed, the first one I knew - is the week before Advent:

STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It is this collect, and the preparations of Stir-up Sunday (in a culinary sense, at first) are what first began my pull away from Quakerism and toward the Church. At first, it was tongue-in-cheek. Now, I'm very serious about the importance of the Christian calendar and the true Church. We conclude this year with a farewell to our old life, and a look forward to the further journey home.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Yearly Spice Procurement

Every year in November, I make a special shopping trip to restock the pantry spice shelf with bulk purchases of spices. I only buy the amount I need, i.e. a nickle's worth of chervil or double the amount in a spice jar for tarragon for less than half the price of one. I save a lot of money and a lot of waste not buying the standard sized spice jars at the supermarket. It took me seven years of marriage to use up the allspice jar I bought at the supermarket as a new bride. Today was the day for 2009, and I'm fully stocked for holiday cooking. I'm able to cook much better foods from scratch by maintaining a full pantry, and can do so much more cheaply than using supermarket allotments. I highly recommend searching out those merchants that offer choices in spices and making special trips - even if only once a year.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Today was library story time and errands.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The last week before the storm

Next week begins a new business with the holiday, and then Advent. It will be my first year of true Advent, and the first year since I was a child that I paid any attention to the season. Thus, I'm enjoying a quiet week and the children. I've also got some house cleaning to attend to, and preparations for the upcoming feast. It will be an increasingly busy time, so a quiet day is much appreciated.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shopping and appointments

Today is out and about with shopping and appointments. Lessons were accomplished by Nana during one of my shopping trips.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Propers for ST. MARTIN, Bishop of Tours November 11.

The Collect

O GOD, who by thy Holy Spirit didst enable thy servant Martin to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil: Grant that we, in the same Spirit, may with pure hearts and minds follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle
Isaiah 58:10-12.
IF thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt he called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

The Gospel
St. Matthew 25:34-40.
THEN shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred. and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred. and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Quiet Return to Regular Days

Today we've had a quiet day to return to our regular schedule. After all the craziness, we don't want to begin the holidays exhausted and in a blur. We'll pull back, and just do what needs to be done.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Upon reflection of my last post, I realized that I'd been burning the candle at both ends. It was time to scale back, and not do too much. I still hosted play group on Friday, and a birthday party yesterday. That was enough. I had enough rest time to enjoy the Vintner's vacation days. I'm so glad we did. It's all to easy to get caught up in frenzy with young children about, and forget simple joys of one another.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Breathless Days

The past few days have been a whirlwind. After finishing the costume in a frenzy, my older son refused to wear it. Then, we had two days of parties and candy. Then, All Saints Day, and the beginning of the Octave. The Vintner is now home on vacation and hogging the computer. The older son's third birthday was yesterday, and he had a major doctor's appointment in the afternoon. Tomorrow is the Vintner's birthday. We have a party for the kids on Saturday, and play group is here on Friday for the birthday. Plus, the little one is teething molars and learning to run. Did I mention the World Series is going on as well? Oh, my no wonder I've fallen down on my normal organizing and blogging. I'm to busy to get organized! I don't even have the extra help that I usually have because she's intimidated by the Vintner. Thank heavens for prayer! There's no way otherwise that I could cope with all this and a new pregnancy too. ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Propers for Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles

The Collect

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle
Ephesians ii. 19.
NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The Gospel
St. John xv. 17.
THESE things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your's also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Knocking My Socks Off

In the past week, both the BCP and D.W. Whittle have 1 Timothy:3 scheduled as a passage. Wow. I don't know how I've glossed over this in the past, but it's left me reeling for days. Maybe I'm just at a point in my life where this really speaks to me:

1 Timothy, chapter 3

1: This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2: A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3: Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4: One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5: (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6: Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7: Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8: Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9: Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10: And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11: Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12: Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13: For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14: These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
16: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Needlework progress

I've completed my needlework, and can now focus on holiday preparations. We've got a busy few weeks ahead of us, even though the garden is almost done. I likely won't get a breather again, until the new year. Also, the kitchen is in full swing with autumn weather and budget menus. Prayer gives us the strength and energy to go on into the busy time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back from a Break

I needed a bit of a break from blogging. To catch up with the New Testament for the past week - we're now finishing 2 Thessalonians. We're winding down with the D.W. Whittle plan, and it's feeling a bit empty. I'm so much happier with the 1789 and 1928 BCE. I look forward to updating the blog in the coming year.

Our little vineyard is doing well in October. The vines are winding down and getting reading to winterize. We look forward to a quiet rest for them and a wonderful spring.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Long Doctor's Visits

We had a long doctor's visit, plus lots of routine testing. We're tired, except that the little one slept in the car. He's rested and doesn't want his mom to rest. We'll get back on track another day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Young Visitor

We had a young lady visit us this morning. My boys so enjoyed playing with her, and she enjoyed our hospitality. She's just learning about needlework. She doesn't have a family structure like ours, so she was delighted to learn about life here at the Cottage. All the activity and bustle of life with a homemaker and all that there is to do fascinated her. I like to think she appreciates the role model which we can provide. One never knows which moments from life are the ones that most impress upon a young child.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Cool, Rainy Day

As usual, we're out all morning on Friday. However, it's cool and rainy and the perfect day to inhabit the kitchen here. Autumn is a wonderful time, watching the vineyard wind down.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don't Hurry

Appointment, shopping, lunch, nap, appointment - the motto of the day is "don't hurry." We don't want to step over any angels along the way to our daily activities.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

So what's the story with the sign of the day?

Over the past few months, the Sign of the Day has been a word at a time of the story Rise and Shine Busy Bugs. Now that it's complete, and both my boys are talking, I may leave off with the signing. At least, I may take a break from learning and revisiting signing myself. I hope you've enjoyed it, and can sign along to the children's story. They certainly enjoy Mommy signing this book to them - again and again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I've purchased photos to send to Grandma today, and took the boys to story time. We'll enjoy reading inside and looking out at the rainy day this afternoon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Wonderful Day

Today is a wonderful day. I had a blessed appointment at the dentist this morning, followed by a delightful afternoon in the food factory of my kitchen. My prayers all summer for good oral health have been answered. I give glory unto God for my good health and His Grace. That I may use my tongue and my voice to praise his glorious name for the rest of my life. Amen!

O MOST merciful Father, who of thy gracious goodness hast heard the devout prayers of thy Church, and turned our dearth and scarcity into plenty; We give thee humble thanks for this thy special bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness unto us, that our land may yield us her fruits of increase, to thy glory and our comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Budgeting

Today is not only weekly shopping day, but monthly errands as well. As I finish the afghan, I have much less yarn needed to buy. This is fortuitous because the budget is so tight. While it's convenient to have all that shopping and driving done when I have Grandma to babysit, it's brutal on the budget to have five grocery weeks in on month, plus five Saturday errands to budget for as well! We won't be preparing for Christmas in this month's budget. Holiday baking may have to be scaled back this year, due to the difficulties in October funds. Even so, we are so much better off than before we planned and budgeted for things.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Quiet Wednesday

After all the business over the last few days, we're having a quiet day at home. We've got cloudy weather, and it just feels right to curl up with a good book. Today I'm reading Common Sense during nap time, along with the crochet. This evening should be mostly reading after the little ones are in bed, too. I don't think I'll have time for too many projects around the house. The children are coming first these days, after all that grieving on Monday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Propers for Saint Michael and all Angels

The Collect

O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thy appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle
Revelation xii. 7.
THERE was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

The Gospel
St. Matthew xviii. 1.
AT the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Little Vivian's Funeral

On the Eve of the Feast of All Angels, I went to Little Vivian's funeral. How appropriate. The Littlest Angel is where she belongs.

The Psalter

Psalm 148

The One Hundred Forty Eighth Psalm

Laudate Dominum.

O PRAISE the LORD from the heavens: * praise him in the heights.

Praise him, all ye angels of his: * praise him, all his host.

Praise him, sun and moon: * praise him, all ye stars and light.

Praise him, all ye heavens, * and ye waters that are above the heavens.

Let them praise the Name of the LORD: * for he spake the word, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created.

He hath made them fast for ever and ever: * he hath given them a law which shall not be broken.

Praise the LORD from the earth, * ye dragons and all deeps;

Fire and hail, snow and vapours, * wind and storm, fulfilling his word;

Mountains and all hills; * fruitful trees and all cedars;

Beasts and all cattle; * creeping things and flying fowls;

Kings of the earth, and all peoples; * princes, and all judges of the world;

Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the Name of the LORD: * for his Name only is excellent, and his praise above heaven and earth.

He shall exalt the horn of his people: all his saints shall praise him; * even the children of Israel, even the people that serveth him.

Psalm 150

The One Hundred Forty Eighth Psalm

Laudate Dominum.

O PRAISE the LORD from the heavens: * praise him in the heights.

Praise him, all ye angels of his: * praise him, all his host.

Praise him, sun and moon: * praise him, all ye stars and light.

Praise him, all ye heavens, * and ye waters that are above the heavens.

Let them praise the Name of the LORD: * for he spake the word, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created.

He hath made them fast for ever and ever: * he hath given them a law which shall not be broken.

Praise the LORD from the earth, * ye dragons and all deeps;

Fire and hail, snow and vapours, * wind and storm, fulfilling his word;

Mountains and all hills; * fruitful trees and all cedars;

Beasts and all cattle; * creeping things and flying fowls;

Kings of the earth, and all peoples; * princes, and all judges of the world;

Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the Name of the LORD: * for his Name only is excellent, and his praise above heaven and earth.

He shall exalt the horn of his people: all his saints shall praise him; * even the children of Israel, even the people that serveth him.

The First Lesson

Daniel 12:1-3

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

The Second Lesson

Revelation 5

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

The Collect

St. Michael and All Angels

O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thy appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ or Lord. Amen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Playgroup and Visiting

We had play group this morning. We may have our social call this afternoon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Little Vivian

Yesterday afternoon, little Vivian was born. She lived all of fifteen hours, and passed away early this morning. She was baptized, and experienced much love in her short life. I'll suspend any needlework for her now, and refocus on comforting her parents. Today is a day of mourning for their dear family. I'll take a casserole and a gift basket to her family, as soon as they are home from the hospital.

A Commendatory Prayer when the Soul is Departed.

INTO thy hands, O merciful Saviour, we commend the soul of thy servant, now departed from the body. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of-the saints in light. Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exploring Head Covering

Today, I'm learning about head covering during prayer. I'm not motivated out of submission, but out of reverence. I'm interested in how to make prayer more involving, and less about the words I use. I'm also interested in the modesty aspect.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Screwtape Letters

I've just started reading the Screwtape Letters. If you haven't read this delightful book yet yourself, please consider it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Propers for Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

The Collect

O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist; Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle
2 Corinthians iv. 1.
THEREFORE seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel
St. Matthew ix. 9.
AND as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A routine, but rainy day

It's a routine, rainy Wednesday around here. I had hoped for more time at the sewing machine, especially now that it's in it's proper place of the laundry room. It will have it's permanent home there (and in future years, a proper cabinet just for sewing.) Alas, the rain has backed up my laundry, and it's piled all over the machine. I just can't face it after all the rain we've had. So, I'm curling up with my hand work for this afternoon. I need to clear the slate from my hand work, anyway. I have more serious machine work as the autumn goes forth, and need to be done with all this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Library Story Time Resumes

I'm exhausted: a morning at library story time. We'll be doing an hour every week, and I'm sure to need naps every week, too. I re-checked out What Your Preschooler Needs to Know. We'll enjoy that again until the Kindergarten book returns to the library. Busy days! It's all about reading and playing and learning and growing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Still Celebrating

Tomorrow is the actual party, and today was fun with friends. It'll be lots of birthday fun around here for the next few days.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A First Birthday

My youngest son turns one year old today. He's a healthy, happy growing boy, and I'm so proud of him. I'm so lucky to be his mother.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Trying to get photographs of the children

Photographs are not my strong point, but I'm trying to get some done of the children and send them to a relative. I'm sure others are confused, angry and frustrated as to why I'm not giving them their photographs. However, I don't have any to give out! This is received with disbelief - surely I must be lying or exaggerating. I've never taken my younger son to a professional photographer, and I've only taken my elder son, once, when he was five months old. I'm also the woman who did not have a photographer at my wedding. So there you go; what for others is an absolute given and as much of a must as food and shelter - for me is difficult and a struggle.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The First Official Day of Homeschooling

Although my elder son is well accomplished in his preschool lessons, today is the first official day. He'll progress quickly, I suspect - more quickly than I had planned. Even so, it's not up to my plans. He'll go at his own pace, and I just have to do the work set before me. I rejoice at all my blessings and my childrens' good fortune.

Also, I'm reading In Praise of Stay-at-home Moms, a delightful book for which I've waited for months at the library. I'm also exploring head covering during prayer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Holiday Weekend Begins

It's not much of a holiday; it's not even a holy day. Still, we'll enjoy having the Vintner at home for an extra day off and the unofficial end of summer. We get down to work come Tuesday, so we'll put our feet up and socialize this weekend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity

Isn't This Just a Silly Little Blog, by a Useless Little Woman, or...

One might say that a woman dedicating blogs to homekeeping, cooking and needlework is just a silly little occupation of her time. One might also say that it's a battlefront in the House of War or against the psychological warfare theater of the KGB. There are many ways to fight evil, and a devotion of faith and hearth and home is no less important than a general in the field.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

No Longer an Abecedarian

My son is progressing quickly with his lessons. He's already learned several poems, songs, stories, science lessons, art lessons, history, numbers and the alphabet. Most importantly, he's memorized the Lord's Prayer. We don't even officially begin homeschooling until next week, but his mind is already learning.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Alas, no more swimming

Swimming has ended for the summer. Our friend's pool was too cool, and tomorrow they go back to school. We enjoyed their hospitality very much, and look forward to reciprocating as we can.

We rejoice in the beginning of September. The younger son will turn one next week. Plus, there is more pleasant weather and autumn fun just beginning.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Enjoying the bed

The Vintner has been enjoying the guest bed. We've rearranged the spare room, and now it appeals to him quite well. He often works all night long when he is on call, and a spare bed next to the computer makes it easy for him to take brief naps or answer middle of the night pages. In addition, he spent some time rearranging my laundry room and getting it clean and organized. I've wanted to do that for ages myself, but never got the opportunity, what with care for the boys. I'll enjoy my ironing and sewing even more now. The Cottage is coming along nicely and feels more like home every day. It's amazing that we've been here almost two years. There's still some fine tuning to be done in the decorating, but we count our blessings every day.

The vines have weathered the heat of the summer well. We've broken the back of the hottest weather, and can look forward to increasingly cooler days now. The nights are already tolerable. We'll have some time for fall plantings and fall gardening. Hopefully, we'll expand the vineyard next spring.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Buying a Guest Bed

After all the struggles this month with money, there is a small surprise at the end of the month. I received some money (which is rightfully mine, but is a debt repayment upon which I don't count,) that's just enough for a guest bed. We've really needed an extra bed, just a cheap $40 spare platform barely off the floor. Also, the chair for the computer is about to fall to pieces. We've repaired it again and again, but it's past repair. We need a new one. Fortunately, there's a sale on office chairs today of 50% the regular (bargain) price. My extra is exactly enough.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weekly shopping abbreviated

We won't be hosting guests this weekend, due to a family emergency. Thus, we won't have to buy supplies. Today's shopping and baking is cut short, and delayed until next week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Special Projects Day

While we've been in the hub-bub of routine, I haven't gotten a chance to even organize my day. Today will be special projects, which means also an emphasis on needlework. With luck, I'll get some work done on my business as well. It's slow going, but I'm going to keep at this, and have a well run, efficient home one day. I'll also have a home business, and well educated home schooled children. These projects take a lot of energy, but they are worth it to have the wonderful life of which I dream.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One of Our Last Swimming Tuesdays

Before long, we'll be back at the library for story time. For now, we're enjoying a swimming morning and reinforcing the skills the boys have learned this summer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Propers for Saint Bartholomew the Apostle

The Collect

O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle
Acts v. 12.
BY the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

The Gospel
St. Luke xxii. 24.
AND there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Social outing and cleaning

Is it Friday again? We're out for socializing and then back for cleaning the Cottage. It's a far drive today, so we won't have much time for organizing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Out and About

Today we've been shopping, going to a meeting (third Thursdays) and running an errand. Add in lunch and nap, and the days over half gone before I get to sit down and organize my day. Consider that my help called in sick, and the baby won't nap at the same time as big brother - it's easy to see why I'm tired here at the Cottage.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Playing with Grandma

The boys get to play with Grandma today. We're enjoying fun in the sun, and maybe even getting some projects done. It's project day, and I've got help with the boys! Yeah!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


We thought we were going to meet friends for swimming this morning. Ooops! We went to the water park instead of the pool. After about thirty minutes there, I realized what we had done. While the invitation to the water park was first, I forgot to check with the confirmation. We had a fun time, even though it was just mom and boys. We look forward to socializing on Friday, instead.

With errands done, that just leaves needlework and one short errand. Perhaps I'll even get my ironing done as well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

At Home

A quiet day at home to tidy the house after a weekend - we'll be staying here and having typical fun interspersed with potty breaks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Worship and Prayer

Today we worship and pray. There are no tasks or duties for the household.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Offering Hospitality

Today, we offered hospitality to our friends for play group. I so enjoy baking and entertaining friends. It's a shame that it took so long to begin this wonderful treat for me. Have you considered entertaining some friends, lately? Not formal, elaborate fetes - just inviting someone over for tea and a simple pastry - these events belong in the routine of our lives. Connecting with others can transform a home, even if it be a humble cottage with two tiny vines along side.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The August Shopping Challenge

It's another shopping day here at the Cottage. We're still adhering to the August Shopping Challenge, created by an accounting error. While today's budget is more than double last week's, it's still significantly less than the original budget plan. I can easily meet the challenge, but it does mean doing without items with which we've done without for weeks. I had hoped that after a tight month in July, we'd have an easy month with August. Alas, we will only have a relatively easy month in September, then tight in October, then holiday expenses for November, then tight and holiday expenses in December. Thus, the challenge this month will but steal us for the months to come. We will be quite acclimated to doing without for the rest of this year. However, we now have a plan and a strict budget, whereas in years past, we just muddled along. Furthermore, we now have prayer and a stronger faith than ever before. As nice as it would be not to have this challenge, it will be even nicer in future years to not have this situation ever again. We progress toward our goals with gratitude and Grace.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Today is project day. I'll need to clean at least one window, preferably inside and out, do some of the laundry project (clothes that are to be put into storage,) and sharpen knives. In addition, I need to do menu planning for next week and make out my shopping list for tomorrow morning. We have some outside play in the morning, and some preliminary preschool lesson planning. Then, if I get extra time, I've got some gardening to do. I'm reading and doing needle work during the evenings and the boys nap times.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Swimming Invitation and Inviting Others

We're guests this morning, and we've invited guests this afternoon. In between we have a nap and errands. My older son loves his lessons so much, that we have those in there, too. Add in laundry and ironing, reading and needlework, and a late supper, and it's a full day here at the Cottage.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Baseball Season Is Over; Preparing for Autumn

Over the weekend, our local baseball season ended. Sadly, our team was out of the play offs, and we're done for baseball this year. We have a few quiet weeks until school begins. We began this morning with introducing the notion of morning lessons. My elder son loves singing nursery rhymes for his lessons. For now, that's what he needs to learn. He's eager for preschool, and doesn't mind the loss of summer fun. It's a bit hard for him to understand that summer fun is past, but he's learning. I think that he'll enjoy learning so much that he won't mind the long wait until next summer.

I have some preparation time before home schooling begins in full force the day after Labor Day. I am doing my preliminary work now, and gearing up for two full hours every day, four days a week. Fridays will be our social time; we'll keep to play group for another year. The younger boys have just turned two, and the older boys aren't quite ready to move on to their preschools. Thank heavens that I've been working on organization for months now! I don't know how moms do it without an organization plan. For us, Morning and Evening prayer has been essential in structuring our days, and devoting us to higher purposes. I only wish I'd learned this growing up, myself. What a gift to the world for centuries now! Prayer is the secret; prayer is the answer.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Social Outing

We're off to a social outing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Propers for The Transfiguration of Christ

The Collect

O GOD, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle
2 St. Peter i. 13.
I THINK it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

The Gospel
St. Luke ix. 28.
AND it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

Shopping Day

Due to some accounting error, I have miscalculated our budget this month. I have but twenty dollars for shopping today. That will last us until Monday, when another paycheck arrives. August will be a lesson in frugality and economic management. We will have to make due on half a month's funds, instead of a month's. I might have dismayed or despaired or torn my hair years ago. However, we have changed our methods in the past year or so. I no longer stress or worry about money. I have financial peace through walking with our Lord Jesus Christ. For more specifics about our plan, check out Dave Ramsey's website. I accept these set backs as opportunities to learn and to pay some stupid tax.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What does all this prayer have to do with home management, anyway?

My home is more than laundry, linens and lists. I know that many other home management blogs emphasize the daily tasks much more than I do. I commend them for their work. There has been so much lost over the last few decades in the care and esteem and the home; there is room for blogs of all sort. I believe that prayer and faith in the home is the greatest loss, at least it has been in my family of origin. It is from here we begin, and here we return after our work. Perhaps after our journey is further along, there will be more emphasis on other aspects of home care. For now, we'll demonstrate how our management extends out from prayer, and how it enriches our home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reflecting on D.W. Whittle and BCP

If one is well versed in the work of D.W. Whittle, one might have noticed that I've been using his guide as to the New Testament passage of the day. Now that I have a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, I will begin using this. I'm going to finish out the Whittle guide, up until the book of Revelation, which will be in Advent. After that time, I'll post from the BCP. This has been my plan for a few weeks now, but I didn't mention it, not knowing when I would buy a BCP. I have used an online Book of Common Prayer for my own use until now. Praying in my normal place in the home is more reverential to me than praying in front of the computer. I look forward to the progress of this Trinity season.

I have the guide from D. W. Whittle from the back of my maternal grandfather's Bible. He left a marker in the back, at the guide to reading the Bible in one year. I am so happy that I can share this journey that he made years ago. While this may be the only year that I follow along as he did, I'm glad that I've done this once. His old Bible is worn, and it is not wise to continue with it for daily use. He might very well have been horrified to learn that I was leaving off this plan, to transition into a "high church" style of Bible study. I hope that he might look down from heaven and see my devotion, rather than my variance from the methods that he preferred. Interestingly, it was my investigation on D. W. Whittle that led me, albeit circuitously, to the online version of the 1928 BCP. Once I really thought about it, I knew that I could not continue Mr. Whittle's plan past this reading. I prefer to join the 70 million in the Anglican communion, and follow another method. While we may or may not ultimately join the Anglican faith, I cannot see us continuing with the low church wanderings, if you will. I suspect that he never really thought about how Mr. Whittle came about his plan, but just accepted it with reverence because it was in the Bible that he owned. I doubt he knew anything about Mr. Whittle, or his faith. I doubt he ever stopped to realize that Mr. Whittle wasn't part of the original Bible, just an inclusion by the publisher of his particular version. I would imagine that he had a similar longing, as I do, for a systematic daily reading of the bible, but his low church faith so strongly forbade him from ever searching from amongst Church history for one. I suppose that I might never have pondered this subject, if it were not for this Bible and guide. For that alone, I'm thankful for this Trinity season and this guide and his Bible.

I have so much to learn. While I do wish that I had had a better religious education as a child, I'm glad that I've come to this while my children are young. It is much better to grieve one's own failings and shortcomings, than to grieve how one has failed one's children. I never knew the Lord's Prayer until I taught myself at thirteen. My own children will never know not knowing it. The religion of my youth was so impoverished and cartoonish compared to what we will show the children. By that, I mean literally. I had a comic-book rendition of the Bible as a child. The only hymn that I was ever taught to memorize was "Onward Christian Soldiers," and that without melody. My own parents only gave me what they knew, until they abandoned it after their divorce. It was only years later that they repented leaving off attending worship when I was a teenager. Their parents knew nothing of Church history, and believed that ignorance to be noble. They had no other perspective to pass to my parents, and so forth. I am not alone in this position; there are millions who have similar stories over the past thirty years. We have lived through a dark time. I pray for not just our family but for millions like it to come home to the Light and Love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thanks Be to God!

God in His infinite wisdom has provided me with a 1789 Book of Common Prayer. I offer my deep gratitude for His mercy and kindness. I was in disbelief to see it on the book shelf at the store. I was even more shocked at the bargain price. I asked three different employees about it, so I accept this as Divine Intervention and His will that I own this. I was prepared to pay ten times what they asked for it. I have prayed so much this summer for this book. I only hope this is just the beginning in our journey home as a family. With this, and our new Bible, further study and devotion to God can more easily continue here at our humble cottage.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sun for the Very Last Lesson

Today is my older son's very last water safety lesson. Next summer, he'll enroll in the beginning swimmers' lessons. Meaning, this is the last lesson where I'll go into the pool with him to help him. He's mastered all the skills and once again is at the top of his class. I'm so pleased with his progress. He'll be a strong, independent swimmer before other children even have their first lesson at about school age. Considering his disability, I'm so happy that there is one area where he is not so very far behind other children his age, but rather ahead of them.

Mistakenly, I posted information that rightfully belongs to the Cottage Vineyard Kitchen. Look there for that post and more like it.

Tonight we have a double header for the baseball game. Our older son was crushed that last night's game was rained out. Thankfully, it wasn't his swimming. We'll see how both boys do at such a long time at the ball park. Both games only go to the seventh inning, so that should make it easier. I'll pray early, before we go, and we'll eat ball park food for supper.

With luck, I'll finish the new sling for the baby, and carry him around in it tonight.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swimming Not Cancelled

Luckily, we had swim lessons yesterday. It appears that we will have lessons again today. Although we have had so much rain, it hasn't occurred during the lesson time. If tomorrow is rained out, then Saturday's schedule is clear for a makeup day.

Although, Saturday will be monthly errands, again. I'll be out and about much of the next few days. Today is routine weekly shopping, amongst all the other errands. Busy days of summer activity are quickly coming to an end. This Sunday will be a much needed rest after all this.

We do have a baseball game tonight, barring rain.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Risking Rain

We have missed one day this week of swim lessons, and we may miss more. Friday will be our make-up day, and possibly Saturday, as well. Once complete, we'll have a whole month for social enjoyment, and relaxation. There'll be some library fun, and quiet days cooling off from the summer heat, but no programs or scheduled activities. We just need to get through this week, and finish up the final lessons of water safety.

The grape vines continue to thrive in the rain. They are much blessed in their first year. If I had to choose, I'd much rather choose weather to nourish our vines, than to enjoy summer fun. Our vineyard is the our blessing from God, and our glory to His good Works.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For a Birthday

WATCH over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be, keeping him unspotted from the world. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why do bad things happen to the faithful?

St. Luke 13:1-9

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Birthday Party

Today, we have a birthday party for the boys' cousin, my niece. We look forward to celebrating with her. We will pray for her on her proper birthday later this week, a special birthday prayer.

Otherwise, we devote the day to worship, prayer and charity needle work. We especially pray, as we have been some weeks now, that the Vintner will lead us to a new place of worship. We will follow him wherever he leads us, and we do pray that he leads us well, and in righteousness.

7th Sunday after Trinity

LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Rain Make-up Day Rained Out?

We have some light rain today, which is our make up day for the day rained out at the beginning of the week. We also have rain predicted for next week. I'm not sure what will happen with swimming lessons. If we have no lessons, then we will have more time for a social outing. Otherwise, we are cleaning the house and caring for children.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More on Swimming

The first day of the week was rained out, which was just as well. Yesterday, he did very well in lessons, and I hope much progress will be made this year. He's so different from last year's frightfulness and hesitation. I foresee an independent swimmer by next summer's end.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Swimming Lessons, part II

My older son begins his lessons today. My younger son did quite well in the first half of July. We'll see how this second session goes. Mastery of this class means progressing to the next level, next summer. Fingers crossed that we have a good time with water safety.

The Vintner continues to struggle with his mysterious ailment. I continue to pray. We have more tests to send off to the lab today. Also, the previous results only suggest a vitamin deficiency. Hopefully, that will help to solve his problem, along with the next test's results.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Birthday Party

Happy Birthday to my sons' friend. We enjoyed his party this morning. It's meant that we were too busy to post earlier. Weekends are rough around here, and I only got a few minutes now.

The grape vines continue to thrive.

Friday, July 17, 2009

For Guidence

O GOD, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly; Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In the Morning

O GOD, the King eternal, who dividest the day from the darkness, and turnest the shadow of death into the morning; Drive far off from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep thy law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that having done thy will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when the night cometh, rejoice to give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Beauty of Prayer

Entering a prayerful state is a beautiful thing. We give an opportunity to the Holy Spirit to touch us and guide us. We are allowed a glimmer of God's Grace. We have rest from our chattering thoughts and selfish designs. We allow God to calm us, and energize us again, but for His reasons, His purpose. We may return again and again to our prayers, to honor God and to serve Him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meditations on Proverbs 14

The last few days I've been pondering the consequences of the foolish. Today's Proverb is particularly timely. What would my life be had I not been so mislead? Where would I be had I not grown up in a broken and faithless home? I would be right here in this home, with this husband and these children. However, the circumstances which brought me here would not be so ignominious. I would not be so ashamed of myself. I am under no illusions that my life would have been perfect, completely happy and pain-free. It may very well have had less agony, less debilitating pain. My mistakes and my sorrow might have been such as to grow in Christ, instead of separating myself from Grace. What does it matter if I am here now? It matters in that I am now a mother myself. I cannot continue these mistakes unto my children and future generations. A wife and mother cannot act without considering the consequences of her actions. She cannot pursue her own pleasure and desires at the expense of her family's welfare. I cannot undo the mistake that were perpetuated unto me; I can refuse to perpetuate them to subsequent generations.

Monday, July 13, 2009

For the Spirit of Prayer

ALMIGHTY God, who pourest out on all who desire it, the spirit of grace and of supplication; Deliver us, when we draw nigh to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with stedfast thoughts and kindled affections, we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, July 10, 2009

For Quiet Confidence

O GOD of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength; By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shopping, Swimming, Doctor

Shopping and swimming and a doctor appointment, oh my! I won't have time to post much today. Perhaps I'll return during nap for a more lengthy installment.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Vintner at Home

The Vintner has the day off work, and so my time online is limited. He had a doctor appointment today, and I went with him. He returns for further testing on Monday. Today, we pray for our Vintner's body and spirit, both for his recovery of illness and on our spiritual journey (to, I hope and pray, the Church.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

On Leaving the Religious Society of Friends

The 19th century book, Quakerism and the Church, speaks to my condition. This Friend articulates my own journey over the last few weeks so well in his own testimony that I defer to his wisdom. Amazing how such different people over more than a century apart could have such a remarkably similar conclusion. I thank my guardian angel for making this book available to me at this time.

Joy of Swimming

Swimming lessons yesterday went very well. My son was delighted in his first excursion into the pool. Unfortunately, our baseball team did not fare so well. They're dismally in last place and keep losing. Even so, we're enjoying high July.

As for our daily tasks, I have only napkins to iron. This is just as well, since we have another lesson this morning, and much to do. I do hope to order (that is, find a merchant from whom to order) the new foot pedal and get the needlecraft back in order at the Cottage, soon.

The vines continue to thrive, in the heat and modest rain. Our prayers are answered over and over, every day. Also, the Vintner is in a better mood, now that work has eased back into the normal business.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Today we begin swimming lessons. The entire month of July will be spent in this endeavor. First, my younger son begins, then in two weeks, my older son will commence with his third year of water safety. At such young ages, they are not leaning strokes and styles, but basics of safety. They won't have proper lessons until they are older. I highly value the skill of swimming, and prioritize these lessons every year.

Tonight we have a baseball game, and somehow have to fit in all of our other tasks during the day. I still have not purchased a new foot for my sewing machine. No rest for the weary around here! Thank heavens that we had a quiet holiday weekend.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Discussing Faith

Yesterday, I was pleased to discuss faith with one of my sisters-in-law. I so rarely get to discuss these matters with anyone, other than here. It was a genuine pleasure to have a real conversation for a change, instead of the usual chatter.

Today is a holiday here at the Cottage. We may be leaving soon for festivities. Our vines continue to thrive, even in the heat. Also, it's a time to rest and rejuvenate. It's been a tiring summer, and the real business is just beginning.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Shopping Day

Today, I have even more shopping to do. However, yesterday was monthly errands, and today is weekly supplies - grocery and household. I've spent so much money and more is to come. It always seems like I've gone too far on the first week of the month, but then I am set for weeks. It's so much easier to plan ahead than to run around every day or every other day for odds and ends. I'm amazed at how much better home management goes by organizing and planning ahead for conventional needs and expenses.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

First of the Month Errands

Today we have the first of the month errands. We'll be out and about, shopping for a variety of things that we only need monthly. In addition, there were quarterly supplies that I might have bought for the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Since it was such a busy time, I wasn't able to do those errands. I'll do them today.

One of these is purchasing more yarn for the afghan for a widow or orphan in Afghanistan. I've chosen green on green stripes. While at first I didn't think the contrast was distinct enough, I'm quite pleased with how it's coming along. I doubt that this would be beautiful by American standards, but then, it's not for an American. I take joy in looking at all this green, observing that as I grow in my faith this Trinity season, so grows the afghan in size. After I'm finished, someone else will treasure this to keep them warm, and as a symbol of their faith, albeit a different one. I'm happy that this will remind them of the love of God, even if I don't share their practice. Also, I hope this will show them Christian charity, and be a testament of Christian love.

Alas, another of my errands is purchasing a new foot for my sewing machine. I did not get a chance to sew yesterday after all. I hope this is the only thing that my machine needs, and not further repair.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At last

With the help of a friend, I should get the sewing done today. I have given up hope on the help that I've been seeking before. It is not forthcoming. Fortunately, another person is available.

Due to rain, we will not be swimming this morning, but will go to the library for story time.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Feast of St. Peter

We have failed God again and again. We've denied him, as St. Peter has denied him. We can never be good enough on our own, no matter who we are or how good we try to be. It is through God's mercy and love alone, that we are redeemed. Faith in Him is the all that we can give.

Today we think on how we backslid and betrayed Our Lord throughout our lives, as St. Peter did. It's also a day that we feast and rejoice in God's Grace.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Too Hot for Baking

Now that we've passed St. John the Baptist's Day, it's too hot for baking. We'll be tending to the garden as we can over July. Saturdays are much more free now. I was able to get in a couple of extra errands. We have another baseball game tonight.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Social Outing

We have a social outing, as usual, on Fridays. We had thought that we might host this week, but another friend desired to have the group at her house. We won't have another chance to host until August. We'll be out every Friday (and indeed every day) in July.

We had an exciting game last night at baseball. My older son caught four (yes, four!) foul balls, and got one signed. I don't know if we'll have another game tonight. Starting tomorrow, we've got a long spread of games at home. After two weeks of no games, it's full evenings, now.

Friday is cleaning day, and boy, does the Cottage need it. I'll be happy to make time to clean. Our guest was postponed until tonight. I'll be happier to have her here with a clean Cottage.

The grape vines continue to thrive in the heat. They're getting quite established and happy. We may even have enough leaves for home made dolmas come the fall. There won't be any grapes for quite some time, but we enjoy their beautiful leaves for now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Guest

Today we're offering hospitality to an overnight guest, our niece. This should be a delightful treat for the boys. My older son, in particular, is attached to her. We'll be staying inside to avoid the heat during the day, but then going to an evening baseball game. I hope she enjoys it as much as we do.

With luck, I may even get time for sewing today. There will definitely be time for reading, with it too hot to play outside. I also have routine shopping for groceries at the supermarket. Today is shopping day, but it won't predominate the schedule.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Feast of St. John the Baptist and New Prayers

Today, we'll be celebrating the feast day with two baseball games. It's not a double-header. We're going to two different ball parks. One in the late morning, followed by a nap, then a night game. It should be a busy, fun day for the boys.

Also, I've made a small but substantial change in our morning routine. After reflection upon the 1928 Book of Common Prayer recently, I've moved the readings to before the Lord's Prayer. Also, I'm adding in the family prayer immediately after that. Now, silent worship is incorporated between those two spoken prayers, or is replaced by additional prayers from the Book of Common Prayer.

I forgot to mention that during feeding the chinchilla we sing "Good Morning to You," to her. We will continue this song even after she's gone, but sing it to the children. That's why she has a place in our prayer routine, rather than in the household routine. Since she came into the family before the children did, she'll remain the object of the greeting. She's been supplanted in so many other ways, that I don't have the heart to do this as well. Plus, it teaches the children that we love and care for our pets, as well as they.

I'm also altering vespertine prayers along with study of the prayer book. We are lighting candles with colors to correspond to the liturgical season, either during prayer or family supper. We are saying the Lord's Prayer during this time as well. This Trinity season is a time of extraordinary change here at the Cottage.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

St. John's Eve

We're going swimming this morning. We have a baseball game this evening.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dr. appointment

Today we have a doctor appointment in the morning. We will hopefully get time to clean up after the weekend late in the morning, with some playtime, too, before it gets so hot. Then, I need to get caught up on reading my library books to turn them in tomorrow. If I'm lucky, I'll get more time to crochet, before the baseball game tonight. Summer's in full swing, now.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A New Season

Today is the first day of summer. We begin a new season in warmth and sunlight. This year will be a rather busy summer, what with the activities of two small boys.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Party

Today's weekly social outing involves a birthday party. Then, we'll have cleaning this afternoon. It should be a busy, fun day. It helps that I actually enjoy cleaning.

Since our schedule is so tight, I hope to have more time for posting later today, during nap time. Unfortunately, this week has not been fruitful in this manner, but I have hopes for today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Third Thursdays

We have a meeting this morning, as we do on Third Thursdays. I'm baking apple walnut muffins to take with us. Then, we'll have shopping afterwards. Perhaps, if we are lucky, we'll have an additional shopping trip to the book store, late this afternoon.

On that note, I've recently discovered the Book of Common Prayer online. I've seen this before, but not online. I'm particularly moved by the 1928 version, as one might expect from looking at my blog for any time. Over the next few months, I'm looking for a bound copy for our home.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I just received a phone call that our assistance with the children is not available after all. I may not have a chance to sew or mend today. I'm so grieved that yet again this promise is not fulfilled. In addition, I was told a vulgar joke out of the blue with myself as the butt. I'm a bit out of sorts with this today. When one spends much time cultivating a standard outside of the world's standard, it can be startling to be presented with the vulgarity so common in modern, Western culture. It's an important reminder just how far removed we are here at the Cottage. Preferably these reminders will be few and far between.

Perhaps, I'll instead have more time for prayer today, if I don't have the opportunity to run the sewing machine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thriving Vines

My two vines are thriving. While I despaired just recently that the summer heat was two much for them, I was wrong. They have both produced new leaves, more lush than when I first saw them. The initial shock of the transfer has passed, and they are establishing themselves well in their new home. I hope to see them flourish over the next few months. What a joy to fulfill my promise to God, and to see the new, green life here in Trinity season.

In Service to the Lord

Yesterday was a beautiful day of prayer and contemplation on the Holy Spirit. I am a blessed woman, in that I have so much time to devote to worship, prayer and love of God. I'm so lucky to have time to care for my children and husband. Even on an ordinary Monday, one can find time to marvel at the glory of God.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Dental Appointment

We'll be away from the Cottage this morning for a dental appointment. It's quite a drive, so that colors the day. We've only got a few minutes to update the sidebar. Perhaps during nap time I'll have time to post further.

I've read two wonderful, short books this weekend, The Circle of Seasons, and Home Tonight. I'd like to elaborate further, if I have the time. If not, please take a look at these books for yourself.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Adding to Vespers

When I posted our vespertine routine earlier, I happened to take a good, long look at it. It was so obvious to me that what was lacking was Psalms. It works for us: Proverbs in the morning, followed by Psalms in the evening. We are not otherwise constrained here at the Cottage; we do not follow liturgical formal worship. Instead, we add in, bit by bit, those things that we need. Perhaps will we grow and change in the future in another direction, but for now, this is where we are spiritually.

Our Psalm of the day is 116.

Worship and Study

Today is our day for worship and study. It's a quiet day, without any tasks, other than the most basic laundry and meals. We'll have time to return to our full schedule tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Splish Splash

We're off to socialize at a swimming playgroup today. We'll also be cleaning the house at some point. That is, we'll get out the cleaning supplies, vacuum and scrub the kitchen floor. We tidy every day. They'll be splashing in the pool and splashing the washing up bucket.

The half-hour story time blocks are going well this week. I can't imagine how we ever did things before we were so organized. Not that we ever had disorder and chaos, but rather - we accomplish so much more now. I'm so much less frustrated, and the children have more fun by having less free-play fun.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Our vespertine routine is as follows:

Put on a CD of liturgical chants
Bring in the laundry, if out on the drying racks outside
Put away toys and tidy the living room and boys' room
Sit down
Listen Expectantly, with the CD in the background

Our evening routine is much shorter in tasks, but generally lasts for about half an hour. Sometimes, putting away the toys takes most of the time. Sometimes, laundry dominates. Often, we only get five minutes to Listen, without time for the other duties. The whole point is to transition from day time routines and behaviors to the evening pattern. It's a time to quiet down the energy flow and provide and opportunity to listen to God. It's a time to listen to prayer, not to speak or think of it arising from ourselves.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Altered Summer Schedule

Today, on Wednesday, we'll be going to the library for story time. Adding in two half hour blocks of reading has been going well this week. Organization is improving around the Cottage. It's amazing what such small steps can provide, because they act as a catalyst to larger changes. By setting things in motion in one direction, other goals are more easily attained.

It is a convenient time for improvement, because busy summer days are upon us. We have an additional activity, swimming, on Tuesday mornings, which fits in well with a block of active play. More structured activities, in turn, facilitate nap time. It's not that I didn't know about this before, but rather, he's just now at the age to really benefit from this. We're in the last days of toddlerhood, and the preschool years are advent.

Some time today, I really must make time for sewing. I have an errand this morning that necessitates walking, and no carrier for the baby. So, I'll have to leave half an hour early to allow for the slower walking of a toddler. The baby will ride in the stroller, instead of on my back. I may have lots of hard work and juggling, especially if I have to hold an umbrella, too. This should be an excellent motivator to get some babysitting, or mother's helper, to get some time for sewing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sprouting New Leaves of Hope

Yesterday, while attending to the new vines, I noticed that both of them are sprouting new leaves. Praise be to God for his blessing! Even the vine that I feared was already dead is looking good. It appears that it was a small shock of the transplant, and now new growth is establishing. Never give up hope. Even when I thought it was gone, I continued to water it. It was not gone, but had I not continued to care, it may have been. It's not out of danger yet. I will remain vigilant in nurturing it.

What a wonderful analogy for our Cottage.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reviewing a Typical Day

Late last week, I reviewed what a typical day for my older son was like. I was surprised to see just how much time he spends in free play. Of course, any two year old needs quite a bit of free play. However, I think he needs more structured time for reading and active, or outdoor, play. This week, I'm actively adding in two half-hour blocks of reading to him, morning and evening. It helps that we don't have too many errands to interfere. Once we get established with this routine, it will be easier to have a busy errand day in a couple of weeks. This should also transition well to when we have homeschooling preschool in the autumn.

I'm also doing the same written reviewing of nutrition and potty learning. Altering these behaviors may take more time and energy. It's a worthwhile tool, for those on the path to better organization.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Grape Vines

I'm a bit concerned for one of my two new vines. It may be too hot for it, or perhaps the roots were damaged in the transplant. We'll still plant vines there, and I know not every vine thrives. Even just one vine is a start. I'll monitor it closely.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Offering Hospitality

This morning, we're offering hospitality to our friends, instead of visiting them. I have a busy time preparing for their arrival in an hour, hosting, then getting lunch and the children's nap. This evening, we'll be going to a baseball game. Our team has it's opener, and it's at home. So, we're hosting then, too - so to speak.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Our matinal routine is as follows:

Feed and bathe the chinchilla
Turn on the computer
Sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" followed by, "Texas, Our Texas"
Open the blinds
Recite the Lord's Prayer
Silent Worship
Read the Proverb chapter of the day, and decide on the verse of the day
Read the New Testament passage of the day
Turn on the radio to music
Start the laundry
Update this blog, specifically the Proverb of the Day and the New Testament Passage of the Day

I keep to this specific sequence (with the possible exception of laundry, depending on weather and laundry pile) for a few reasons. I want to make sure that all of these things are attended to daily. I want them to become automatic, and that I do them comfortably without too much thinking about getting them done. Matinal prayer is the basis. If I can only accomplish one item on this list, it's the Lord's Prayer. Everything else is built around this, either added before or after it. I have other times during the day, such as vespers, with alternate routines. By having routine blocks of related tasks, I can get more accomplished in an organized manner. Also, I like the structure that it gives the children's lives. I like to think that they will have fond memories of a seamless order, of a mother who gracefully goes from song to prayer. Starting here provides a sense of freedom to the free time mid morning for daily, weekly, montly, seasonally or yearly duties. Occasionally, the Vintner's schedule or needs will trump my matinal routine. By missing it or reducing it, I appreciate how much more smoothly the days go when I do practice this routine. I also appreciate the block of time. I can add or subtract various blocks for what the day may hold. Instead of locking the whole day in a tight or rigid schedule, as I used to do, I have a flexible routine that provides a place and time for everything. This is my way of applicating the wisdom of Ecclesiastes: to everything there is a time and a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Project Day

Today is project day, but yesterday felt like it. Perhaps, I'll do my ironing today instead, and take the boys to the library. We don't have a schedule so much as a routine and a pattern. We can do whatever we like, whenever. Having a pattern just allots a time for everything, giving the opportunity to get everything accomplished. We're not rigid.

The other task on Wednesdays is a focus on needlework projects. I have quite a bit going on with that. Hopefully, I'll accomplish my goals there. Check the link at the sidebar for that blog.

Decluttered the Boys' Room

Yesterday morning during my shower, my older son lost his toothbrush. I spent quite a few minutes looking for it, since it's the third one he's lost recently. I had had enough of the clutter and disarray. I snapped, but not in an angry sense. I piled all of the boys belongings - toys, clothes, diapers - into a giant pile in the center of their room, and another in the living room. Their room's pile was chest high to me, with only the furniture at the perimeter of the room. Then, I got a trash bag, and bagged up the toys given to them that I wanted to give away. While piling this up, I saw just how large the volume of gifts is in our house. I had purchased three or four of these toys, none of the clothes (they've outgrown the ones I made), and made most of the diapers. Well, the diapers we'll keep. However, the toys are too many to even be counted, much less enjoyed. I spent most of the rest of the day organizing the remaining toys. I filled their toy box with the toys to share. I have two extra bins of toys, sorted one for each boy. The corner is filled with stuffed animals. I'll assemble an extra bin to store these. On the bottom shelf below the toys, their books have a place for now. I'll sort out those to keep and those to sell. Currently, their clothes are in a pile, waiting to be sorted into clean/store/hang up/wear. This will take the longest time, but at least the pile is at the bottom of the closet. The bag of toys is waiting in the laundry room, in case I change my mind or find extra parts. Happily, I found some missing pieces to toys they do play with and returned them to together. I was amazed what a huge difference such a small bag of toys made. The boys have plenty, but they only had a small portion of too much. I feel relieved that I got on top of this before they really did get too many, and they couldn't be easily organized in one day. Now, they can enjoy them, and put them away at the end of the day. The same will be true of clothes, soon, although I'll need help from the weather to line dry all those. Having grown up in chaos, disorder and excess, I want to spare my children that toy environment. I know how much more they will enjoy playing and living with freedom to walk around, and find their favorites. Vespers will be an easier time as well. It shouldn't take but ten minutes or so to put whatever they get out back into the organized places. Before we lived in the Cottage, there wasn't a place for everything. Now that there is, it's such a joy to have everything in its place.

Oh, and I did eventually find where he put his toothbrush - the trash can! I did all that organizing and it wasn't even in his room.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Yesterday was so busy that I only made it home at 5:30. I missed our evening prayers! Typically, from 5 to 5:30pm we listen to a selection of Christian chants on cd. It's the time to clean up, bring in the laundry from the line and transition from the day to the evening pattern. I feel so relaxed and serene when I hear the monks and the liturgy. I hope to expand my choices of vespertine prayer. Having children has made me appreciate the wealth of Christian tradition for matins and vespers. I never had this in my own childhood or early adulthood years. Hopefully, my own children will appreciate this valuable time. Missing it for one day has made me appreciate it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

First of the Month

On the first of the month, I have monthly errands. I'll be out most of the day, buying supplies and such.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baking, Farmer's Market and Gardening

I'm baking a loaf of half-white, half-wheat long rise sourdough and mincemeat kuchen. It was intended as apple chutney kuchen, but I changed my mind at the last minute. Saturday always feels like such a day of accomplishment, since I get the baking done just as soon as Matins, sometimes before.

Once the baking is done, we'll go to the farmer's market to buy some fresh veggies and pastured meat. I just love using eggs from chickens that scratch around in the dirt. Plus, the greens and browns are so pretty in the carton. Add the dark orange yolks into the experience, and it's hard to go back to supermarket white shells with pale yellow yolks. Hopefully, we can make this transition permanent.

I've got some new seedlings to put out into the garden today. I suspect that only the tomatoes will flourish, but possibly my peppers will thrive, too. So far, only one head of lettuce has come up, but maybe this weeks seeds will produce. I've been much luckier with my peas. The grapes are adjusting well.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Out for fun

We'll be out for a good bit, today. We're going to play group for the boys in the morning, then home for a nap, then out again for swimming after the nap. With luck, I'll get some time in for sewing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Much accomplished

After a busy day yesterday, I have much accomplished. I'm beginning to get caught up with my duties, and back into my pleasurable work. Today, I have only routine shopping, and daily duties in which to attend. With luck, I can devote more time to needlework and other projects.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Extra help for extra projects

I've fallen a bit behind in my tasks, so I'll be receiving a bit of help with the boys this morning. Hopefully, I can catch up with my goals for the Cottage. There is some planting of peas to be done, such that we can have more peas throughout late July, baking brownies that never got made over the weekend and the new sling for the baby. Late this afternoon, I will most likely take the boys swimming, and won't be here at the Cottage to accomplish anything. It's worth it to take away from my work, for the therapeutic value to my older son.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fixing the Soap Dispenser

I fixed our kitchen hand soap dispenser. While not the most pressing of issues, it has been a lesson in perseverance and frugality. When we moved into the Cottage, the dispenser had been broken for who knows how long. I could have gone to the hardware store, and purchased a new one. Instead, I made do with another dispenser and just waited until I could arrange the soap system better. I'm so glad I did. For the second dispenser also broke just recently. However, I was able to see through the clear plastic, and realize how the fault occurred. I thought it likely that the same catch had occurred with the first one. That is, granular matter lodged within the spring mechanism. I soaked both dispensers for quite some time, and tried to force as much water inside each. After a time, the water dissolved the matter, and now both work well. Since I used the left over water from washing dishes, the cost to me was nil. I now can transfer the plastic dispenser to the bathroom, and have liquid hand soap there, too. Of course, I now prefer the soap from the Dunbar Mercantile - just a little irony to brighten my day.

After summer fun, a return to work

Early summer is a time of hard work, but we have had a bit of respite. A barbecue and a baseball game give respite during this time of labor. The garden has just begun to produce peas. There's still planting, and weeding and nurturing. Then, there's the children and the house. At some point, there's ironing, and projects and baking all awaiting attention. Whoever spoke of the "lazy days of summer, " was not a mother of young children.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Today, we're away from the Cottage at my brother-in-law's house for a party.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baking bread; planting vines

So far this morning, I've baked a loaf of honey butter sourdough bread, made bacon and eggs for the Vintner's breakfast with coffee and gone to the farmer's market. Now, it's time for the toddler's pancakes, baby's nap, laundry and gardening. We have planting the vines and weeding, along with hanging out the laundry for late morning. This afternoon, we'll go to the dairy store, to buy a replacement American flag and bake brownies after the toddler's nap. The Vintner had extra work away from home, so I'll attending to this on my own. Saturdays are busy times for us.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why a Cottage Vineyard and not a Vineyard Cottage?

The Vintner will be home for a long weekend beginning this evening. I'll have some extra work today, to clean up the Cottage. Usually, on Mondays, I make time to tidy up from the weekend, but I won't get the chance next week. I'll have to do that on Tuesday, and there will be three days of tidying to do. We have no special fun plans, but only extra work here. The Vintner is in high need of some time away from the office and some extra time in the vineyard.

It is a very special time in the vineyard, too. This weekend is the time that we will plant our first two vines. They have been acclimating to their home since about the time I started this blog. Indeed, the blog is about their progress. When we purchased this little Cottage, I prayed over Proverbs 31. I promised God that if he saw fit to place us here, that I would plant a tiny vineyard in glory to Him. Our Cottage is not a small home within a vineyard, but rather more in the sense of a "cottage industry." That is, it's so small of a plot for a vineyard as to need a special qualifier as to how small it is. Thus, "cottage" was the most quaint, the most twee word I thought appropriate.

The ultimate goal of the vineyard is to give thanks to God for all his blessings. The more minor goal is to cease purchasing wine for the Vintner, and allow him to bottle his own, to be self-sufficient in regards to wine. Next, would be for a small income from the wine to be self-supporting in the bottling process. Finally, we'd like a token presence in the local shops, and to make our cottage vineyard a true cottage industry for our home. This is a long-term process. We're only just now planting, and it will take years for our vines to mature. It will take even longer to develop our wine. Since what we are really doing is building our family and home, the slow progress is appropriate. We must have patience, both for rearing children and for raising vines. Our marriage must be nurtured just as slowly and deliberately as our grapes. The glory to God's Grace and Mercy cannot occur overnight. This vineyard is part of the cottage industry that allow me to a keeper at home. Even though we are beginning so small, and may never have a "proper vineyard," our service is to God.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Third Thursdays

On the Third Thursday of the month, our schedule is altered. Instead of just running errands, we also attend a meeting in the morning. That pushes our errands to the afternoon, and makes for a busy day. It's a challenging day as far as organizing goes, but it's a testament to how much organizing improves our day. It used to be that the meeting threw off our schedule so much, that nothing else could be accomplished. Now, we can fit it all into the day.

How did we get so organized? Well, the boys getting older was a big help. There's no magic with a newborn in the house; those are busy days. Once we passed that phase, matins was our key. Beginning the day with prayer, worship, a chapter of Proverbs and a New Testament Passage sets us off on the right foot. From there, we've been able to gradually add in more tasks, duties and activities, one at a time. Matins is the magic!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Project Day

Wednesday is Project Day here at the Cottage. Ostensibly, that means needlework projects, but it's more than that. It's the one day reserved for tasks that need to be done weekly, monthly, seasonally and yearly. Of course, those sometimes bleed into other days, or fit better elsewhere. However, I found that if I didn't set aside specific times to address larger projects or infrequent duties, then I'd get too bogged down in the daily work to get to them. I also think of it as my day to sharpen knives - a metaphor for sharpening my mind and my homemaking skills, well, and literally sharpening the knives in the kitchen.

Today, I need to begin work on the new sling for the baby. I need to sharpen knives. The windows could use a little washing, at least one or two. I could go on and on with making the list, but I should stop there. If the list is too long, then I'll get overwhelmed and not start. Plus, there's always next Wednesday. It's not like the projects are the only things needing attending today; there are still daily duties, like child care and cooking that are done regardless of the day of the week or year.