Saturday, November 17, 2012

A New Look!


I am so excited to introduce the new look here at West of Newbury Street, thanks to the lovely Monica over at Designer Blogs!


Blog Design, Custom Blog Design, Premade Blog Design


I’ve been busy cooking, concocting and writing this weekend… a scrumptious apple butter is simmering on the stove, homemade laundry detergent is soaking, and baking soda shampoo eagerly awaits it’s review.
More to come on all of that later!

In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend and nose around a bit at some new features and links.

Have a wonderful day!
Sam
photo credit: Khánh Hmoong via photopin cc

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Rock that is Higher than I




I wrote this a few years ago now, at a time in my life when I felt as though everything was much more than I could handle. It flows nicely with my thoughts of the memory verse for this week. HE is my refuge, when I am overwhelmed, growing weary, slipping, falling, feeling weak, His strength is greater than mine... He sets me on solid ground, leads me to the Rock that is higher.
My voice cries out to you
Lost, torn, panicked circles
Yet you calm the storm that’s sent me
Spinning
Lasso the wind
Gentle the rain
Call to me from the high heavens
Dear Child – Look to me again
Drop your heavy load, come to me
Torrents of rain cannot weaken
His love for me
Gusts of wind cannot
Make Him falter
He steadies the ground
Plants me firmly on it
Once again I fail
Falling
Falling
Faster into this pit
Dark and murky, rock bottom
I cry out
JESUS!
No answer, the fear too loud
Head pounding, He quiets my soul
I cry out again - uncertain
This time a whisper
Be still my child
Still, but only for a moment
My independence lashes out
I want to run, move, anything
Me, I climb higher, higher still
On my own, rock bottom
Mind reeling
Be still my child comes the
Gentle whisper
I can do this
Let me work
Rock bottom, hitting knees in deep Surrender
White flag flies high
He reaches down
Aware of my insecurities
He assures me
Your foot will not slip
I clasp tightly
Be still, my Child
I can do this
Pulled from the muck
Brought to the light
Again
Ashamed of failure
Afraid to fall
Just trust me He says
I have no reason to doubt
So why still?
Take my hand
Hesitantly and yet I do
Dance
And we dance
My feet on his, swaying
Precious daughter, fragile one
Fears dissolve, Worry flees
His arms surround me, protection
The storm winds blow, violent now
I cower but He is my strength
Directing my path, teaching the steps
The deep calls out
I miss a step
Slip, Falling
His arms are there
Thoughts lost in darkness
Holding tight, He brings me back
Back to Light 



photo credit: ecstaticist via photopin cc

Friday, November 9, 2012

In the Simple...

"It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God - but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people..." Oswald Chambers

I’ve let this quote soak in for quite a while today and I am refreshed by its simplicity. 


That’s another thing I’ve been thinking on a lot this week. 

The little man (that’d be my brother – I gave him that nickname years ago) has been sick all week and my mother has needed to be working outside the house. So, I’ve been home with him since Monday. And I have to say, I’ve enjoyed being home. Yesterday I felt like a prairie homesteader as I stacked wood near the back door to keep the fire glowing all day, swept ashes from the fireplace mantle, ladled homemade soup into terra cotta bowls, dried just-washed dishes, and folded tumbled laundry as the afternoon faded away. I’ve lived simply this week.
Doesn’t sound very marvelous, does it? But, oh it was! 

And in all those simple little things, I was serving. I was serving because all of my actions, each task came from a heart of thanks, a spirit of gentleness. Serving my family and serving the Lord. Not in doing anything extra ordinary, but in the little things… in the everyday chores. 

And I wonder, if I found this attitude for everything I do, would the ordinary feel more exceptional? Would the mundane tasks like cleaning the bathroom sink bring forth a spirit of joy and contentment?
And could I live simply, with joy, knowing that is enough? 

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Willow Springs by Jan Watson: A Book Review

More and more I am enjoying historical fiction stories. The simpler times and high adventure make each story unique and enthralling. The same is true with Willow Springs. I realized all too late that I had missed the prequel to this novel by Jan Watson telling tales of Troublesome Creek and the fire-y Copper. Even without the introduction I grew to love Copper, with her kind heart and infectious personality.

From the back cover...
“Following a whirlwind courtship, seventeen-year-old Copper Brown finds herself living in the bustling city of Lexington, Kentucky, far away from her beloved mountain home, newly married to a man she barely knows. After running free on Troublesome Creek, Copper finds it difficult to adjust to city life and the demands of being a lady. Her new husband, Simon Corbett, is a busy medical doctor with a thriving practice and little time for the young woman he swept away from her home and family. Only when she begins to help Simon with his practice does Copper start to feel at peace with her husband and her new home. But neither of them could predict the tragedy that will change their lives forever…”
With my mind set in the late 1800’s I expected a story of time’s gone by romance. Instead, I found the same modern conflicts woven through Simon and Copper’s young marriage. With pressures of society on his shoulders, Simon’s initial attitude toward his young wife seems judgmental and posh but as he grows to love “Laura Grace” as Copper, for who she really is instead of what he expects of her, their relationship blooms in to one of gentle love and great kindness. Copper, feeling lost and alone, far from home in the city, only finds her place in Lexington as she learns to yield her heart to Simon and those she meets along the way. The lessons found in their rocky beginning are wonderful reminders for the modern marriage.

The author pens Copper as seventeen, but my mind casts her as an older character – closer to 25. It is her gentle spirit that sets Copper apart – a strong desire to serve those around her and an unwavering desire to live in a way pleasing to the Lord.

Their story is one of medical mayhem, midnight adventures, and daily chores. I’d forgotten the back cover as I read, not expecting tragedy, and was startled to find tear stains on my pages. Simon and Copper capture the heart easily and I was sad to see the final chapter so soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Simpler...




On nights when dusk settles in early and a rainy mist streaks the kitchen windows, I catch myself thinking of simpler times.


Of times when fires were built to warm cold winter toes and butter churned for freshly baked biscuits. When homemade pies cooled on windowsills and books were read beneath love-stitched quilts.  
 

And I remember, once again, that I may have been born an era too late. Seems I do a lot of my thinking when the clouds give way to rain. 


 

photo credit: Carol Green via photopin cc
photo credit: Mike_tn via photopin cc 
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