I heard from a bird…

…that this blog will be moving soon.

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Come visit at kortneygarrison.com!

I’ll be requesting a site redirect, so *hopefully* you won’t notice any interruption.

I plan on posting on Sunday–the first Sunday of St Joseph–and Monday.  So if you don’t get redirected via your subscription or feed reader, you might have to come looking for me.

Do come looking won’t you?

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Why do you use the internet?

Jay Baer–some marketing big wig–says that the two reasons people use the internet are to find a solution to a problem or to be entertained.  And while I certainly do ask Mr Google all sorts of questions multiple times a day, that’s really the least of what I’m doing here.  I want connection, conversation, exposure to new ideas.  And that’s so much more than entertainment or problem-solving.  I found just this sort of engagement on Twitter last night.

Winter Geraniums

Lori from Project Based Homeschooling shared an article from the Ikea blog (who knew?) called “Create Wellbeing the Danish Way.”  The article made me want that same sort of atmosphere, that same wellbeing for our homeschool.

It’s a way of being that’s open-hearted and unselfconscious. It’s about ease and flow.

Wow!  Could those words describe our homeschool?  I know that I often let the pull of life–the whiny toddler, the meal planning, the math pages–make me anything but open-hearted.  I want to make a space for beauty and a time for peace.

This is when the internet magic started happening.  After I read the article, I asked Lori about it.  Then we exchanged a few thoughtful, rich tweets!  This is why I’m on the internet, Marketing Guy.

And in related news, Hell has frozen over; I’ve opened up a page on The Book of Faces.  Come say hello!

Wednesday (with Words)

I’m still limping along with my reading this new year.  The good news is, I found a nice, thick novel to sink my teeth into.  The Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman is about love + loss + just how difficult it is to do the right thing.

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The memory of a conversation with Frank floated into her awareness. ‘But how?  How can you just get over those things, darling?’ she had asked him.  “You’ve had so much strife in your life but you’re always happy.  How do you do it?’

‘I choose to,’ he said. ‘I can leave myself to rot in the past…or I can forgive and forget.’

‘It’s not that easy.’

He smiled that Frank smile.  ‘Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting.  You only have to forgive once.  To resent, you have to do it all day, everyday.  You have to keep on remembering all the bad things.’

This story is full of hard, dark things.  Yet it’s a story full of light.  It might be just the thing for these last dark days of winter.

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Easy Dulce de Leche

Using this excellent recipe, we fired up the Crock Pot and made Dulce de Leche ice cream sauce for Christmas presents this last year.  I hadn’t had the chance to sample any…until last night!Oh my stars!  It’s so tasty on a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The only problem I had was getting my milk-filled mason jars to seal well enough.  That just meant that a bit of milk spilled into the water bath and made the water cloudy.  It took the full 8 hours for our carmel to turn the rich brown color, but if you start a batch in the morning, it will be ready for dessert!   So, the next time you’re at the grocery, pick up some sweetened condensed milk and make a batch of this sweet treat.

Sabbath Rest

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.  At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.  Then the LORD called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.

The LORD called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.  Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

–Reading for the second Sunday after Epiphany from I Samuel

Just in Time for Lent: A New Blog!

I am horrible with secrets.  It’s not that I can’t keep them.  It’s that I can’t really think about anything else but keeping them.  And I’ve been keeping a secret from you, dear reader.  I’ve been working on setting up a new blog.

Actually, there are bigger changes afoot.  I am beginning work as a virtual assistant–helping bloggers and other creatives with day-to-day tasks so that they can concentrate on other things.  I’ve been very happy with my home here at WP.com.  But as I launch this new venture, I need a blog home that looks a touch more professional.

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At the beginning of the year, I entered a contest hosted by Tanya from Blogelina for a new blog design…and won!  The new design should be up by the beginning of February.  I wanted to tell you about it now though so I can think about something other than *not* telling you!  As I work on set-up, I am learning new things every day.  There is really nothing that I like more than learning.  It’s amazing all the little things that WP.com took care of behind the scenes.  I’ve been working to get the words and images here set up over there.  (Don’t you love my highly technical language?!)  I was happily surprised that I could also move my original blogger site there too.  So now my archives go all the way back to November 2007!

There won’t really be much of a change for you as a reader.  Things will look different, but I’ll still be writing about all the same things: books + homeschooling + the church year.  After the new site launches, I’d love to hear your impressions…things that are hard to find or things that you miss.  I have a feeling I’ll be tweaking things for a while.

And be in touch if you need a virtual assistant!

Poetry Friday :: Beans with Garlic

I turned on the crock pot this morning and filled it with beans I soaked last night.  As I heaped in the garlic and turned the crock on, Bukowski’s lines came singing back to me: “Ah, as many loves as beans/yes, count them now.”  And that’s the gift of poems tucked into memory.  They redeem the most prosaic moments with tenderness and beauty.  This is important enough.

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“Beans with Garlic” by Charles Bukowski

this is important enough:
to get your feelings down,
it is better than shaving
or cooking beans with garlic.
it is the little we can do
this small bravery of knowledge
and there is of course
madness and terror too
in knowing
that some part of you
wound up like a clock
can never be wound again
once it stops.
but now
there’s a ticking under your shirt
and you whirl the beans with a spoon,
one love dead, one love departed
another love…
ah! as many loves as beans
yes, count them now
sad, sad
your feelings boiling over flame,
get this down.

From the wonderful anthology collected by Steve Kowit called The Maverick Poets.

More poems at Tabitha’s place, The Opposite of Indifference.

Wednesday (with Words)

Last night the children dressed up and brought gifts to the baby in the manger.  The part of Mary was gracefully played by Jane the stuffed rabbit!  Then we celebrated with a Kings Cake using the fancy bundt pan and a yummy recipe for Snickerdoodle Cake!  Now it’s time to start putting away, cleaning up, making room.

taking down the tree

This reading year has started off slowly.  I’m longing for a nice thick novel to read…any suggestions?  I thought I’d share two verses that have caught my imagination of late…especially as I work on the post-Christmas clean up.  The first is from Proverbs 14.4 via Mystie from Simply Convivial:

Without oxen a stable stays clean,

    but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.

And then from the prophecy of Zechariah:

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD;

and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.

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More Drawing Resources

A few years ago I wrote about my favorite resources for illustrated journals.  I really can’t believe that post is 3 years old!  It’s more than time for an update.  Especially considering my fellow in-house arts have grown and learned so much!

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I recently mentioned Syllabus by Lynda Barry.  I had been reading a library copy, but my sweetie came home from a movie downtown with an anniversary present.  He got me my very own copy.  The children immediately took it to the table and started drawing.  I wouldn’t say that this is primarily a drawing book.  It’s really a book about how learning happens, what conditions make learning possible.  It’s quickly becoming an essential homeschooling text.  Lynda Barry keeps a tumblr account where she posts class projects and prompts.  Inspiration!

Melissa also recently mentioned the Illustration School series by Sachiko Umoto.  Well, she didn’t actually mention it.  She just posted a picture of the books.  It doesn’t take much!  We have one book, and the others are waiting at the library.  They are delightful.  These characters are quickly becoming players in comics in everyone’s sketchbooks!  Highly recommended.  (By the way, Lissa–I really think you’d like Cathy Johnson’s work.  She does the sort of place-based nature journaling I’ve seen glimpses of in your journals.)

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I also am realizing that I haven’t done much project based homeschool journaling around our drawing.  Maybe because it’s become such a natural part of our days, or maybe because at the beginning it seemed like a foundational habit for pbh itself.  I want to start keeping track of where we are and what catches our eye.  We are each on our own learning path, and I know we would be well served if I took note of the roads we are walking.