August looked like this…

So my phone, while alerting me that it was “time,” vibrated off the window sill where it was parked for a charge, and fell to the floor shattering the glass.

This was problematic for several reasons.  My Android Incredible 2 (yeah, it’s about three years old) phone serves as a texting device, a timer/alarm clock, occasionally a FB update tool, but mostly, as a camera.  I rarely make phone calls because I don’t like to talk on the phone. But, with the glass smashed, I couldn’t take a picture.  That truly made me feel…voiceless. I am rarely without my phone, and through the lens offer praise and thanksgiving when I snap a quick shot of a glorious golden spider, or delicately hued rosebud, or bright red and green maple seed, or a softly dappled bunny.  (See my flickr feed)

Fortunately we were able to have a new glass cover installed for $45; avoiding the surprisingly severe financial penalty of losing our highly favorable, (grandfathered) rate on our data plan, which would be the rather costly consequence of purchasing a new phone.

Then my laptop started to sound a little bit like a plane taking off.  My decade-old Silver Dell had already begun to slow down.  Operating a little like an electric oven, or boiling pasta – I had gotten used to the idea of allowing about 15 minutes for her to pre-heat, but it was becoming obvious that new technology and all of the accompanying headaches, trials and tribulations would be coloring my August. No – I won’t bore you with the adjustment to Windows 8 and the subsequent problems with our router network, the printer, updating software…

No.  I am not what is called an “early adopter.”  Suffice it to say the first few weeks of August were technologically adventurous.


But also wonderful!  August began amidst our trek across Virginia, through the Cumberland Gap and along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains to retrieve our #1Son.  Then a short trip to Northern Virginia for an Ultimate Tournament.  Then home.  It is a wonderful thing to have your children together under one roof, even if the house remains a wreck for the duration; despite mountains of laundry rivaling the lofty peaks we had recently visited; regardless of the fruitless effort to keep enough (of the right kind of) food in the house, and even with the sudden disappearance of four stainless steel spoons.  (Likely tossed by accident in the trash entombed in ice cream containers with lids carefully attached.) The sunny smile and funny comments and easy companionship are so completely worth it.

The Beach at the Bay with Container Ships headed to ports upriver.
The Beach at the Bay with Container Ships headed to ports upriver.

The Daughter and I were out of school, so each week we gathered with a few AHG friends for a morning at the beach (while #1 Son snoozed). We also fit in an afternoon in the 18th and 19th Century American and European Art Galleries of the newly re-opened Chrysler Museum with a few friends.  We went to see The Giver. We both liked it very much, although we have not read the book.  It is on our schedule for this term so it will be interesting to make comparisons. The tomatoes continued to yield and we made some great spaghetti sauce with the heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes.  Farmer Garner had strewn different varieties of sunflower seed in the raised beds around the tomatoes and The Daughter thoroughly enjoyed cutting a few sunflowers for the table – although we had to soak them to get the ants off.  We enjoyed celebrating a few summer birthdays with friends and family, including mine!

I gained a little room on the bookshelf when I finished my two worldview books, and chose to shift gears a little by reading At The Back of the North Wind, by George MacDonald.  I have felt a little dry this summer, and since MacDonald “baptized the imagination” of no less a brilliant author than C.S. Lewis, I thought that a little sprinkle might do me good, and perhaps by the grace of the Good Lord, I might get a trinitarian full immersion.  I loved At the Back of the North Wind.  It was such, that for my birthday, I requested and received two collections of MacDonald and will be reading one per month after which I expect to be well drenched.

“The church grew very lonely about him, and he began to feel like a child whose mother has forsaken it. Only he knew that to be left alone is not always to be forsaken.”  George MacDonald – At the Back of the North Wind

I also started a new devotional book entitled At the Still Point, which is designed to provide beautiful thought and devotional ponderings during Ordinary Time, the church season that is not Advent, not Christmastide, not Lent and not Eastertide, which is most of the year.  I started in August, so had to compress the first few weeks into a few days – it was wonderful cramming.  I’m grateful to Sarah Arthur for the slow introduction of the poetry of John Donne.  He is on the AO/HUFI Y8 Poetry Schedule for this year, but I’m already in love with his poetry so it will be delightful to share his words with The Daughter.  I pick up a chapter of Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir once a week or so, but am more aggressively reading  Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset because it is a library book.  They are both excellent.  The Weir book sounds salacious, but isn’t. The Daughter finished The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. She was amazed to find that Oliver Twist was much more in depth than the musical.  Ahem.

A few photos:




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