Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Big Hairy Audacious Goals

I cannot go one step further on my quest without pausing to recognize the achievements of my friend Carol Weaver from The Well.

I discovered Carol's blog shortly after I started Classical Quest. What a thrill it was to find someone who had actually finished the Well-Educated Mind lists! I discovered that Carol is not only well-educated, she is a well-balanced, largehearted wife, mother, and friend. I love her sense of adventure! I love how her faith in God comes through in her writing. You can't read Carol's blog for long before you notice just how much she loves life!

Carol has read a lot of books. Not only has she completed the WEM lists, she has completed other lists as well. She calls these accomplishments her BHAGs for "Big Hairy Audacious Goals."

In the past 555 weeks she has read 287 classics.

I think all the reading she has done through the years has served her well. Yes, I believe she just might be an example of what reading widely can to for a person of faith. If reading makes us more human, then Carol is very human indeed!

A mind full of books.
This could be a portrait of Carol Weaver's mind. (Via Pinterest)
Now, hop over to Carol's blog and read this post about her experience with classic literature. Don't forget to comment on her post!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fowl Company

Whenever we spot a wild turkey near our home it's cause for some excitement. I shush the little ones. My husband fetches his binoculars.

Sometimes turkey can be seen foraging in a distant field, but they often disappear into the undergrowth of nearby woods before I have a chance to point them out to my kids.

Through the years we've all practiced calling turkeys. We own a wooden box-call and a few mouth pieces which help to create realistic gobbling, cackling, and clucking sounds. Once I heard a turkey nearby while I was reading on my front porch and I called it into our yard with just my voice! Oh boy -- was I proud of myself! 

So you can imagine how surprised I was when I started to go out my back door and I saw this ---

"No more turkey dinners! Is that clear?!"

Senior picture -- class of 2013

"Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Wattle who?
Wattle I do if you don't open the door?"

"Tell Mommy to buy tofu!"

"♫ I get lost in your eyes
And I feel my spirits rise
And soar like the wind
Is it love that I am in?♫"

How did this happen? We were all bumfuzzled! Two turkeys just showed up at our back door out of the blue! So I put the pictures on Facebook. A few days later a woman messaged me to say that her friend had decided to let his pet turkeys go wild. He dropped them off at the farm behind us and their dogs chased them to our place. 

P.S. I want to give credit to  Jeannie Prinsen for inspiring some of the captions today. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Homemade is Best ♥ Happy Father's Day

Hi Friends,
Hope you all are having a great Father's Day weekend!

Thought I'd share this photo of the homemade card my daughter made for my dad.

She also designed and hand-stitched this pillow for him. It's kind of hard to see in the sunlight. She chose blue stripes for the case and red gingham for the cross applique.

It was a treat to visit Dad at my parents' farm yesterday. 

Dad and two of my sons on a stroll around the farm.
Dad is a beekeeper. This week my parents will begin processing honey. 
He has about twenty hives.

His favorite spot in the whole world. 

Searching for toads.

At this moment I'm baking these cupcakes with my little ones for their Daddy. He's an avid golfer. On Saturday he went to a Father's Day golf outing and won four prizes! So the kids and I agreed that these cupcakes would be perfect.

Hope you all have had a relaxing weekend with the fathers in your lives! 



P.S. My friend Christina Joy wrote a sweet tribute to her dad with a nod to classic literature. Check it out.

Friday, June 7, 2013

About the Bench in My New Header

I thought I'd put down a few words about my new header. I've received some nice compliments on it. Thank you all very much. I love this bench. I imagine I'm not alone; I'm sure many people from my city love it too! 

Eleven years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I had intense morning sickness. It lasted 24 hours a day for months. I became very weak and discouraged. It just when on and on and on. 

It was winter. My husband and I lived in a basement apartment. I loved to read before I became pregnant, but to my horror I found that reading made the nausea worse. I spent most of my time dozing on a hand-me-down, hide-a-bed couch in a dim, musty room.

One day I became fixated on an idea: I had to get to the conservatory in our city. I had to breath in the fragrant air! I had to be near green growing things! 

I mentioned the idea to my husband one night. He was working long hours during that time. The conservatory was about an hour drive into the city. He promised to take me on the weekend. I counted the days. 

I remember the feeling when I walked into that spacious place, teeming with life and light! The air was warm, clean, and sweet. I think I had convinced myself that if I could just get there, my morning sickness would disappear -- and of course it didn't. But being there still did me a world of good! I walked slowly back to a quiet corner where I found the bench. I sat down alone. Before long, I was curled into the fetal position -- fast asleep.

I don't know if anyone walked past me while I slept there. When my husband approached me, I woke up. We meandered around the conservatory for a while. I didn't want to leave. As we stepped out into the frozen street, the contrast felt brutal. I vomited in the parking lot.

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Psalm 23:2

My husband and I recently took our fourth son to the conservatory for a special event. I sought out my bench and took a couple pictures. 

Do you have a special place that has provided you with comfort and rest during a difficult time?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Late Have I Loved You

Lately I've been enjoying the music of Matt Maher. The other day a friend pointed out to me that one of his songs, "Alive Again", was inspired by the famous prayer from St. Augustine of Hippo in Confessions. I read Confessions back when I was trying to muddle through the WEM list on my own. The words "late have I loved you" sounded familiar, but I had completely forgotten the prayer. I wondered if I had really taken the time to let that rich, beautiful prayer sink in. I searched online to find the location: Book X Chapter XXVII. Then I found my well-worn paperback copy. I saw where I had underlined stuff nearby but that prayer was unmarked.

Of all the books I've read on this quest so far, Confessions has by far been the most important. I see now that it's one I shouldn't skip over when my friends and I reach the autobiography list. Confessions must be my first official reread. I'm really excited about discovering other spiritual insights within its pages that I missed before.

"A classic is a book that with each re-reading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading." ~Italo Calvino
St. Augustine by Botticelli
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.
from The Confessions of Saint Augustine
Matt Maher, "Alive Again"