I am slowly working on my sweater. We are taking two weeks of fall break here at home and perhaps I will make some real progress on it. I also find myself working on simple crochet tea cozies because no pattern is involved and very little thinking. :)
I finished wool plaid roses for my Etsy shop. Maybe next week I'll get them posted!
And I picked out a stack of books for my vacation reading:
I've already started A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge and am enjoying it very much -- set between the wars in a little English town and it is lovely, easy reading.
Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill was a very enjoyable read. Hill is a well-known British author (although I have never heard of her before) and has a deep knowledge of literature and authors both past and present. This book is a sort of annotated bibliography with short chapters covering all sorts of books which she finds on her own bookshelves. I enjoy reading others' takes on books and this book yielded a whole new list of books for my "to-read" list.
The Far Distant Oxus by Hull & Whitlock was just finished with the children. I only discovered it a few months ago and knew right away we would have to read it. Written by two school-age girls who were fans of Arthur Ransome, the book chronicles the adventures of a group of children on Exmoor (England) with their ponies. It is similar to the Swallows and Amazons books though, of course, in a different setting. We all enjoyed it and I rated it as about 75% as good as Ransome's books.
Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel by David Downing was recommended by a friend. It is a novel set during World War II in Oxford and follows the adventures of two young Americans as they research Arthurian legends. Woven throughout the book is their interaction with CS Lewis and the Inklings group. It also had a slight mystery feel to the story. I appreciated that the story wasn't romance-driven which often takes away from, or rather becomes, the plot.
The Big Milly-Molly-Mandy Story Book by Joyce Brisley is an adorable series about a little girl named Milly Molly Mandy who lives in a little white cottage with her parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle in 1920's England. Rachel and I read these together when she was young and now Laura and I are reading them. It's so fun to watch Laura enjoy the stories and to re-read them myself.
Tales from the End Cottage (Puffin Books) by Eileen Bell is like Gladys Taber for children. I finally broke down and bought this book since that was the only way to access it. It is adorable! The book tells the stories of the animals and Mrs. Apple who live in the last cottage on the street in a little village in England. It is very nature based, and the animals talk and have names such as Shoosh, George Fat, and Tooty. There are also sweet illustrations. David and I end up laughing every time we read a chapter.
As someone who is always looking for beauty, enjoying beauty, or creating beauty, this subject is very important to me. Since I am a Christian, it is also important to me to know how the concept of beauty fits into my knowledge of God (theology) and my worldview. This book made the connections.
DeWitt talked about the created world in all of its beauty being an expression of God's beauty, but not the essence of God's beauty. We cannot see God's beauty, evaluate it, or comprehend it, but we can see, in nature, expressions of this beauty. Day after day the heavens are shouting to us the glory of God -- are we listening, asks DeWitt.
"Beauty boomerangs from God into created beauty, then through the senses and soul of the image-bearer, and finally back to God with praise and glory." I think this quote summarizes and explains my quest for and desire to create beauty (it comes from God and we are privileged to experience it) as well as the result my enjoyments and creations ought to bring (praise and thanksgiving to God).
DeWitt talked about beauty creating wonder, something that only people (not animals) experience. And the natural outflow of wonder is worship/praise/thanksgiving. Beauty and art are meant to create wonder and this wonder is meant to lead us to praise God, the ultimate creator of all that we enjoy. Otherwise, if the wonder does not move into praise/worship we begin to make a god out of the art or the artist themselves.
DeWitt talks about the beauty of Christ as the very incarnation of God among us, perfect in every way and most beautiful of all in his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. DeWitt claims that all beauty is a breadcrumb path that is meant to lead us to Christ.
The book also talks about a task of art in this fallen world -- reminding us of the beautiful that was lost and anticipating the perfect that is to come. Everything finds its meaning as it relates to the Big Story of Creation, Redemption and Consummation (Heaven).
DeWitt addressed the question of viewing and assessing artwork from a Christian perspective. How is the artist portraying truth? How is the artist hiding truth? Is there a lie in the created beauty? Does this beauty cause wonder in me and then result in praise of God?
As you can see, this book gave me lots to think about. I took plenty of notes which I will certainly continue to reference. If you are interested in the subjects of art or beauty I highly recommend reading this book.