I haven’t written a personal note in quite a while and thought it was finally time to do so. First of all, let me apologize for not posting the monthly writing prompts for December. I have been so caught up in my own little world these days that I completely forgot to post them. I didn’t even realize I’d forgotten until yesterday, so I thought I’d just do a personal post this month instead. As all of us know, the past two years have been crazy. But during the days of covid, my life hasn’t changed too much.
I’ve still been homeschooling as I have been for the last 15 years, and the only big difference is that I’ve moved twice since the pandemic started. I had to downsize each time I moved and feel lighter now that I don’t have as much stuff weighing me down. The first move went well, and I ended up in Virginia. I loved all of the historical aspects of Virginia but hated the traffic that I couldn’t avoid no matter how far down the road I went.
Fortunately, I lived within walking distance to all the stores and businesses that I needed access to, so I never really had to drive anywhere while I was there. But after 18 months in Virginia, I was glad to break free, and I’ve now ended up in the one place I’ve most wanted to be, and that place is Utah.
Ever since I visited Mt. Zion National Park seven years ago, I’ve wanted to come back here, and I haven’t been disappointed with my decision. I live within walking distance of some amazing hiking trails, and I’m within a 30 – 60 min drive to several state and national parks. And that’s what I love most about being here; I’m finally able to enjoy nature and be outside as often as I want to be. Here are some recent pictures from my hikes. Isn’t it beautiful here…
Since I home school, I decided to participate in the Writing Fiction class in 2014 that my daughter was taking. I thought it would be fun to periodically post some of the short stories that I wrote during that time. For this particular writing exercise, I had to write a scene in which two people were stuck together and find a way to get them unstuck. Here’s what I came up with…
As soon as the words were spoken, she knew that the bond could not be broken. Just two little words had sealed her fate. Such simple words, “I do”. Anguish overwhelmed her and her body grew weak. Shock and bewilderment showed upon the faces of the people that had gathered around her lifeless body; which was now collapsed in a heap of white chiffon splayed across the soulless earth beneath her. Indeed, this was the beginning of the end. The end of a life that knew no boundaries, the end of a life who knew no despair, the end of a life that had only beautiful dreams of a future and a hope that couldn’t be contained.
The moment she awakened, she suddenly remembered what had happened and she screamed as if she had just seen a ghost. When in fact, what she was really experiencing, was the haunting fact that she was now married to one of the most ghastly men in all of London. Through no fault of her own, she had been condemned to this fate. She had been kidnapped from her home in Scotland, brought to London, and forced to marry a man who had practically raped her with his eyes at their first introduction. He was repulsive in every way possible and his vile behavior was completely unbearable. The way he looked at her, filled her with such fear, that she lost her composure whenever he was near.
She had to think of a way to break free from her tormentor, but how? She had no idea how to get back to Scotland even if she did succeed at escaping and then there was still the fact that she was legally married to this wretched man. The only solution was plain and clear. She had to find a way to kill him, before he completely destroyed and ruined her life. Another problem was that everyone around her was against her. She couldn’t trust anyone or could she? She had seen a poor maiden beaten half to death for stealing scraps of food in the kitchen just before the wedding day. Perhaps she could make friends with the girl and persuade her to help her escape. It was a long shot, but considering the circumstances, it was probably her only choice. She had seen the girl come and clean the ashes from the fireplace every so often. So, she decided to wait and see if the girl would make an appearance.
It was late afternoon by the time the girl showed up. She had been lucky that her husband had not come into check on her yet. The marriage had still not be consummated and she wanted to keep it that way. From her bed, she watched the girl carefully sweep up the ashes. Rebecca knew that the girl was oblivious to the fact that she was there watching her, so she quietly cleared her throat as to not alarm the girl too much. The girl immediately picked up her cleaning supplies and was about to hurry out the door when Rebecca called to her. The girl stopped and looked at her with large frightened eyes. To disrupt the lady of the house would not be tolerated and the girl knew it. Rebecca tried to reassure her that she only wanted to talk and told the girl not to be afraid. Then Rebecca proceeded to explain to the girl her circumstances and asked the girl for her help. The girl agreed and carefully led Rebecca through a secret passageway in the wall.
It was cold and damp once inside and almost too dark to see clearly. The girl quickly pulled Rebecca along down the steps and seemed to know the way as if she had been there many times before. At the end of the passage way, Rebecca could see a faint light coming through a small crack in the wall. She peered through and noticed that they were in a space adjacent to her husband’s study. She quickly pulled back as she noticed her husband pacing the floor of the study. His back was towards her, but she didn’t want to take any chance that he might notice her. There was a small door that led into the study and Rebecca thought of a plan. What if she could sneak up on her husband and strike him from behind with a blunt object and then hide his body in the secret passageway so that nobody would find his body until she was long gone.
Finally with her mind made up, she slipped quietly out of the small door, grabbed a candlestick that was on the mantle and struck her husband from behind with all the strength she could surmise. Immediately the man’s lifeless body collected at her feet and the servant girl came running quickly over to help. They both worked quickly to drag him into the secret passageway. Safe at last, and with the bond of her captor finally broken, Rebecca escaped into the night and never looked back.
I know I’ve been elusive lately, so I decided to share my day. Here’s a snapshot of what I was doing this morning. That’s right! Taking pictures of my daughter Amy who was celebrating prom in her own way today.
Since we homeschool, our kids don’t have the same opportunities to go to dances and regular high school functions. This didn’t stop my daughter from arranging her own mock prom though; and she had quite an exciting day.
When the two arrived home from shopping and dinner, they were surprised to find a huge fireworks show going on just behind our house. I guess somebody knew it was their day! She is all grown-up… I’m feeling a bit sad that she will be leaving for New York next month.
My second baby is leaving the nest and I will miss her more than she probably even knows. Life is short… enjoy your children while you can, they grow up way too fast!
Just wanted to share our most recent trip to the park with all of you. It was quite muddy that day, but at least there weren’t too many bugs lurking about. We had a blast despite ending up with mud caked to the bottom of our shoes. 🙂
This was the start of the path leading into the woods from the children’s play area. Every time I see a path like this, I feel inspired to write something about it. The woods were so tranquil and quiet. The only sounds that could be heard were the faint rustle of the leaves in the wind and the birds merrily singing nearby.
Along the path, we spotted this tree off in the distance. I wanted to get a closer look, but it was so far off the path and with the ground being so muddy, this is as close as I could get without getting stuck forever! I wonder if an animal lives here. It sure seemed like a cozy little place to snuggle up and take a nap.
These plants to the left, covered almost the entire forest floor. Not sure of their name. They were about 3 ft. tall, with tiny white flowers at the tips, and because of their height, it made it impossible to veer off the path too far.
Here’s a better view of the flowers that were perched at the top of each plant. Like I said, I am not sure what these were, but they were a beautiful sight for sure!
The trees didn’t quite have all of their leaves yet, so you could really get a good view of the entire forest and all of it’s hidden secrets that laid scattered about. I enjoyed watching the butterflies fluttering by, and my girls were looking for curious things to collect. I think the only thing we really collected though, was about 2 inches of mud on the bottoms of our shoes!
This was the end of our journey through the woods and I decided to take a picture of the sun peering through the trees as we made our way back to the play area. It is always hard to leave such a peaceful place behind and I felt a bit sad when we had to leave. The good news is, that we can go back another day and have another adventure waiting for us once again! I am already excited just thinking about it!
For those of you who wanted a bit more information about how to make the art journals. I have taken some pictures of the insides of all three journals. Each one is unique in that we all wanted our journals for different reasons. To begin, we started with sets of different scraps of fabric (the fronts and backs of the material didn’t match). We sewed the sets of material together and left one side open for the stuffing. It worked best for us to make the pillow for the spine of the book first, because then all of the other pillows could be adjusted to the size we needed for the overall book. After stuffing each pocket, each one was made into a mini pillow. After all of the pillows were made, (mine had 17 pillows total) we embroidered each pillow the way that we wanted to, using unseperated DMC floss. This is the longest part of the whole process, but it’s also the part that is the most fun, because you get to be really creative and make whatever patterns or pictures that you want on your pillows. The next part goes pretty fast and involves sewing all of the pillows together in the order that you want them. It’s kind of like putting a puzzle together. It took us several different tries before we got the layouts the way that we wanted them. Once they were all sewn together, we ended up with this. Then we proceeded to add the fun details, like snaps, buttons, ribbon, etc. to really make the journals our own unique creation. Amy added snaps to her journal since she had some overlapping fabric that stuck out too far. She ended up putting snaps on the front and the back and then added a ribbon to keep her journal securely closed. Her little mistake actually enhanced the look of her journal and made it even better in the end. I chose to used a button closure on my journal and Brianna decided to leave hers open and not put any type of closure on hers at all. To finish, we added the paper to our journals. Amy wanted to use her journal for writing, so we use lined paper for hers and sewed rings onto the inside spine to hold the paper. I used heavy multimedia paper for mine, since I wanted to use mine for painting. I decided to sew my pages into the spine by taking approximately five pieces of paper at a time, folding them in half, and then sewed down the middle of each stack to attach them to the inside. I used an awl for making the holes in the paper before sewing them in and it worked beautifully! Brianna chose a lighter drawing paper for her journal because she likes to draw. I again used the rings for hers so that she could remove the pages and add more later if she wanted to. As you can see, the insides are a bit messy looking, because you can see the backside of the embroidery. The concept behind these books, is to use fabric in colors that is completely random and not the normal colors or patterns a person would typically choose. This was a challenge for me, since I like everything to be perfectly organized when I work on a project. It was quite freeing to work on these journals, knowing that they were suppose to be a hodgepodge of various fabrics and colors. It’s the first time I ever made something that didn’t have to be perfect, and I think that is one reason why I love my journal so much. It didn’t stress me out to make it! Here is the final look inside my journal. I hope this update gave you a more detailed look at what it takes to make one of these. If you have further questions, please let me know. I would love to help you design your own journal. So if you are interested in the help, just let me know. If you want to view the original post about these journals, go here.