The porch

July 26, 2014 | Comment on This

porch bestest

We are in a house with windows on all sides. On one side the sweet garden is trampled and torn, the beeches blown down, the fountain broken; you sit and look out, and it is all very miserable. Shut the window. I do not mean forget the garden as it was, but do not brood on it as it is. Open the window on the other side, where the great mountains shoot heavenward, and the stars rising and setting, crown their peaks. Down those stairs look for the descending feet of the Son of Man, coming to comfort you. This world, if it were alone, would not be worth much – I should be miserable already; but it is the porch to the Father’s home, and He does not expect us to be quite happy, and knows we must sometimes be very unhappy, till we get there.

~George MacDonald

*Pinterest image

July joys

July 20, 2014 | Comment on This

Celebrating the joys of summertime…

july's joys collage

It’s been a busy month in the garden. Lots of fruit ripening and jam-making in our kitchen. Our favorite flavor? Wild blackberry! Recently Randy found this abandoned bird’s nest in our woods, truly a work of art…

seattle trip collage best

To celebrate Paul’s 15th birthday, we took a trip to the Seattle zoo and also the locks to see the boats come in and out of Puget Sound. The weather was glorious – an unheard of 90 degrees and sunny…

seattle trip collage 2

The roses are in bloom everywhere and it’s been fun to have some boy time. My favorite stop in Seattle is PinkaBella cupcakes! Can’t eat just one…

fairy queen wing reading best

One of the highlights was being the Fairy Queen at a fairy party for a friend’s granddaughter. Oh joy! A wonderful leap from our all-male household to gossamer wings and giggles! This group stole my heart…

july joys story

And then there are the stories, always the stories, written in the margins of ordinary life…

Hope your summer is going well!


Sacred idleness

July 17, 2014 | Comment on This

sequim lavender festival

Local lavender fields, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.

~George MacDonald

A sneak peek…

July 8, 2014 | Comment on This

wren back cover copy

Just saw the back cover copy for Love’s Fortune, releasing soon.

Counting down with you…!

Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor

July 3, 2014 | Comment on This

july 4th new

The 4th of July is a favorite holiday of mine because of the rich history behind it. It doesn’t hurt that it was birthed during my favorite century!

founder's bible

Recently I ordered The Founders’ Bible, thanks to a dear reader who told me about it,  and wanted to share the link with you here. If  you’re in need of a new Bible with beautiful illustrations and commentary that’s based on America’s founding, this one is truly unique.

Hope your holiday is blessed!

A recipe and a memory

June 29, 2014 | Comment on This

luss cottage on loch lomond best

One of my favorite spots in Scotland is the tiny village of Luss on Loch Lomond. They have such quaint cottages with colorful doors and glorious flowers ~ and a tea shop!

luss scones best yet yet

I spent a memorable morning delighting in their scones fresh from the oven with clotted cream, butter, and jam. I’ve never had a scone so good!

A dear friend sent me her favorite scone recipe, thought to be nearly as good as the ones in Luss. I can’t wait to make a batch and wanted to share it with you here…


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 with rack in center of oven. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.

Place a mesh sieve over bowl and add flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Shake the contents into the bowl. Dribble in the heavy cream, mixing well with a wooden spoon. The dough will be rough, with some dry areas visible. Scrape the spoon and the sides of the bowl well with a rubber spatula, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Gently knead dough until smooth. Add a little flour to the work surface and your hands as you go. Flatten ball of dough with your hands into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Take a sharp, serrated knife and cut the circle in half. Cut each half-circle into 6 equal wedges. Place the wedges about 1 inch apart on baking sheet.


1 extra-large egg

1 tablespoon heavy cream

2 tablespoons coarse sugar or granulated sugar

Make glaze by whisking egg with 1 tablespoon heavy cream in small mixing bowl. Brush tops of scones with glaze. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake about 18 minutes till tops and bottoms are golden brown. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.

Store in covered tin or perforated plastic bag at room temperature for up to 4 days. Freeze, if preferred.

*3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, or 1/4 cup dried cranberries can be added, too.

divider best

Summer is in full swing so I’ll be posting once a week or so with comments closed. That way you can just enjoy not commenting and I can stay busy with my family and a writing deadline.

Happy baking! 

He giveth

June 23, 2014 | Comment on This

job quote

Bonne Lecture!

June 17, 2014 | Comment on This

french eden

french ellie

Just wanted to extend heartfelt thanks to the French translators and publisher for these first Ballantyne books, now available for my French-speaking readers…

Bonne Lecture!


A blue gown

June 13, 2014 | Comment on This

sophie blue gown

Just typed THE END on a new 18th-century story for you in which our heroine wears this blue gown. Isn’t it exquisite!?

I began the story in Scotland last May (2013) which seems fitting since our heroine is a Scottish lass. But there is still lots of polishing to do before deadline. The book releases in 2015 and I cannot wait to see the cover!

Happy Friday to you…


Balmoral Castle

June 11, 2014 | Comment on This

john brown collage

Thought I’d do a wee post about Balmoral Castle, the queen’s Scottish residence, especially for dear reading friend, Michelle, who has a special interest! Balmoral has a rich history and I highly recommend the movie, Mrs. Brown, and the book shown here. The castle is open to the public about 4 months a year, namely the ballroom and grounds. Interior images like the vintage ones below are hard to find! Oh, to explore this storybook castle inside and out! But even a tiny taste was wonderful…

balmoral castle print

balmoral gates


balmoral tower

balmoral sunken garden

balmoral cottage

balmoral ballroom best

balmoral corridor

balmoral drawing room 1873

balmoral bedroom