Posts Tagged ‘C.S. Lewis’

For friend hearts, and sweethearts, and parent hearts, too,

for hungry tummies, and open arms, this one’s for you.

Some truth, some fluff, some real love stuff . . .


Ah, Janey, make us swoon.

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.

~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Love? Yeah . . . You’ll be crying . . .


Well, well . . .

Handsome is as handsome does.

~J.R.R. Tolkien


Ah, at last . . .

I don’t want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you.

~Lucy Maud Montgomery,

Anne of the Island


Sweetest video ever made–send this one to your honey.


And this is what you can tell them over Valentine’s dinner 😉

Opening her eyes again, and seeing her husband’s face across the table, she leaned forward to give it a pat on the cheek, and sat down to supper, declaring it to be the best face in the world.

~Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend


Love? Oh, WOW.



Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.

~William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis


A little something for the Valentine table.

For your children, for your honey, or for you!

Beetroot and Parsnip Soup with Horseradish*

(nope, not tomato!)

pink soup? think of that! and jolly easy to make!

30 grams butter

1 potato, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 large or 4 small beetroot,

peeled and chopped

800 ml vegetable stock

1oo ml cream and sour cream,


1 T horseradish mixed with

1 T olive oil and 1 t vinegar

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. And the onion and cook till soft but not brown, then add the potato, parsnip, and vegetable stock/broth. Bring to the boil and then add the beetroot, cooking for a further 15 minutes. Don’t overcook, as the beetroot will go from a lovely deep pink to a red color. When the vegetables are tender, remove from heat and puree with a stick blender (or blender) until the soup is smooth, but with a few lumps. Stir in the cream, sour cream, and horseradish mix and season with salt and black pepper. Exquisite!

*Recipe adapted from Delicious Soups by Belinda Williams


Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.

~C.S. Lewis


Wishing the happiest of Valentine weekends to you!

Avonlea x


Learn to love mornings and grow in faith…

Bookish Devotionals for Busy Moms

Sign up HERE

Happy Little Sigh
Homemaking Inspiration from Literature ❤



Read Full Post »


It all began with a cup of tea.

He wanted one.

And so did I.

We were the only ones.

Earlier, on that cold walk through the night to the student flat where a group of us were meeting for a DVD, there were questions about peanut butter (isn’t that what Americans eat?), and secret smiles, and I thought he must be very young.

I was in Scotland.

The world was green, and there were castles, and though I could hardly understand a word of what he said, my red-haired Scottish loon from the village on the sea,

on the pages of my journal I swore I could marry that boy.

And, more to my amazement than anyone else’s, I did.

We moved to Scotland, and life began.

It began. It didn’t end.

Not like the movies or the books, where it ends with “I do.”

No, that was the beginning.

And I went to teaching and he went to working. And meals were cooked, and floors were swept, and a baby came. And although it happened, every few months, that I’d pinch myself and wonder how little me ever ended up there, in the Highlands of Scotland, most of the time it was just life.

And while life was happening, it also happened—as it happens to us all, I think—that somewhere between the tenth time washing the dishes and the hundredth time making the bed, between the hundredth night up with a crying baby and the thousandth time wiping a toddler’s face, that I began to wonder.

I wondered if this was right.

Because this was not how happily ever after was supposed to go.

Castles and Scottish mist aside, I wasn’t supposed to be tired all of the time, and the housework wasn’t supposed to take so long. I wasn’t supposed to get lonely, and we weren’t, no we weren’t supposed find within our hearts such moments of hate that with our words and our eyes and a turning of our backs we would wound each other. Leave each other bruised, starved, and with our very hands widen the cavern between ourselves and God and between each other.

And yet we did.

And the days were dark.

We could have walked, either one of us, in search of our real life. Our real fairy tale. And though we didn’t feel it, we chose to believe it when we heard that the grass is always greener where you water it.

And even yellow grass, or even brown and dry, can become green. But you’ve got to water it every day.

Even when it’s the last thing you want to do.

And you can try to be happy with it just being all right, or so-so, but I’ve got to ask you, like I asked myself, don’t you want the very best?

AileenDonan AileenDonan3

More than anything, I love to talk of those first days.

The first dance. The first giggle. The first time I dared to touch his shoulder with my head.

Because I know I must remember who he is. Who he really is, deep inside—that boy I first met.

We’re the same people, he and I, deep, deep inside.

Oh, sometimes we’re both still so angry, we’d like to do a whole lot more than spit. And it takes a whole lot more than a little grace to make it through.

But love is not self-seeking.

And real love gets a little less sleep, a little less time for what we want, a little less of what we most love to eat, to make the other person happy. To give them joy. To make them strong.

Never underestimate the power of a smile. The power of a kind word.

Like water to grass, they are spring rain to the soul.


No, life doesn’t end with “I do.” That is where it begins.

For you and your Mr. Darcy.

For me and mine.

Avonlea x

Start your MORNINGS with Jesus & Your favorite books! For FREE literature-inspired devotionals SIGN UP here! ❤

OR find me on . . .

Instagram/Facebook/MeWe @happylittlesigh

Happy Little Sigh

Homemaking Inspiration from Literature ❤


“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
~ C.S. Lewis


Read Full Post »

Never have I been so glad to see mud. In my garden where there should be grass, clinging to bottoms of my boys’ boots as they climb into the mini van, smeared across the mudroom floor. I’ll tire of it, complain about it eventually, but for now I’m glad for anything, anything but the salt and grit my family tracked into the house over the long months of this cold, drawn-out winter.

Mud, yes, we can see it, now the afternoon sun has warmed the earth. But I awoke this morning to a new layer of snow, and it lingers still–in corners and shadows where the sun doesn’t shine. And so still, we are waiting. Waiting for balmy breezes, and for tender green things to make their appearance. Waiting for color, and an end to this black and white world. Waiting, waiting, waiting for spring.

@happylittlesigh (10)

The Kilns, former home of C.S. Lewis

The Kilns, former home of C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia series

And I’m feeling that wait as I clean the mudroom floor, glance out the window at the snow, now grey, littered with twigs and leaves, and pock-marked by the rain. I’m waiting for spring, sure, but also waiting for answers to prayers I haven’t even bothered to pray, waiting for clearly marked miracles and the next bend in the road.

Because all that waiting can make me feel trapped. Trapped, like I’ve been all winter, trapped here rattling around the house with the boys,  when most days the temperatures were too low to even get out and exhaust ourselves in the daylight and snow. Trapped in the sameness and monotony, wondering why I do each little thing that I do day in and day out. Stuck with that unsettled feeling that something’s not right, and it’s more than my décor, or how clean the house is, or even how many cuddles I give the boys. Because no matter how I try to make it so, this is not really my home. And no matter how I wish it so, though I know the very end, I don’t know what comes next. 


Oxford University, where Lewis taught

And it’s strange how much waiting can feel like fear. Strange how sameness, instead of affirming who I am, can leave me feeling oh, so purposeless, so lost.

I feel lost, but I keep sweeping that mud into a pile, a pile of black dirt I can scoop right up. And while I sweep, I think of Susan and Lucy in Narnia, waiting in the darkness of that almost spring as they watch the Lion leave them hidden in the trees to go forward and face evil. They’re waiting, though they don’t know what for, and they’re frightened because they don’t yet know the ending, or how much they can trust.

And then after, when it’s over–when it is finished–they run to caress him, to free him even though they think he’s gone. And they don’t even know what he’s accomplished, what’s been given–for Edmund and for them. And they don’t know the power he has over darkness, over evil, over death. But for the moment they are waiting, fearing every dreadful probability their minds can fathom. They fear because they’re waiting, and they don’t know what’s coming, though we on the outside, do.

So I remind myself that these times come, and I can’t escape it. In this world we must wait, though our eternity begins now.  And even though we know He’s with us in Spirit, we’re not home, not with Him like we long to be. But we know, though Lucy and Susan didn’t, that it’s coming–that being with Him. And we know, though they didn’t, just what’s already been done for us.


Gardens in Oxford University

And in these frequent times of in-between waiting, sometimes the only thing to do is sing. Sometimes when your heart is heavy–with waiting, or uncertainty, or fear–the only thing to do is lift your voice and sing out praises to the One in whose sameness you can always put your trust. Sing it like you mean it, loud and clear. Sing of what He’s done, sing of how He’s won. Sing it till you feel His presence, feel His arms wrapped tight around.

And so I’m singing, and I’m sweeping. Moving boots and wet door mats. Cleaning this floor like I’ll clean it tomorrow, like I’ll clean it the day after that. And though I’m waiting, still I’m smiling.Because it all does matter. This home, and the cuddles, and what we say and do here.

Because He’s here. And He’s returning. And when He does, He’ll really hold us. He’ll hold us and the wait will end.

He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the Table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over it to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began. Round and round the hill-top he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.

– From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

by C.S. Lewis


Running to His arms . . .



Avonlea xo

Find me on Instagram @happylittlesigh orFacebook @happylittlesigh

MONTHLY Newsletter, Morning Cuppa Tea at happylittlesigh@gmail.com 


Finding beauty in the everyday 

Read Full Post »


The darkest day.

I always remember.

The least sunshine. The least light.

Winter solstice.

December 21st.

And after this, I’m counting minutes–approximately two each day–until the hours stretch to bring the golden light of the summer sun. But for now, when I feel more than a little sorry for those Narnians and their ever winter never Christmas. When even the icicles hanging outside the kitchen window, and the layer of ice coating everything else, when even they can’t shine, my brain can feel as cloudy as this murky winter light.

Still, sometimes I see it–the beauty of eternity that begins today. These little souls, my little men, and the treasure that they are.

Other days I hit the floor running,

some crazy dance from room to room,

glancing occasionally at the clock,

and imaging the utter shock

my friends would feel if they ever stopped

and saw the state of this house.

On those days I find myself, at least once,

pausing–the whirlwind of Cheerios and Lego and foam swords  and four little men swirling all around me, a now cold cup of tea in my hand–wondering,

what, oh, what, is going on?

There must be something, something I’m missing,

or it wouldn’t be

like this.

But what?

A little sleep, to be sure.

An intentional effort to count blessings

and sing praise

and speak truth.


All that.

All that, and just a little more time

with Jesus.



Because though I have 2 million distractions, though the crumbs, and the laundry, and the children cry out to my clouded, foggy, weary brain, though the weather is bleak, and though I carry sorrows and disappointments in the deepest chambers of my heart,

none of it

none of it

should be an excuse.

An excuse to raise my voice or declare my dissatisfaction or remain in a dark, murky mood.

Because eternity begins today.

Our eternity began the day we were born.

And for those of us who love Jesus

that means counting those blessings,

speaking those truths,

and no matter how we’re feeling,

choosing to live like Christ.



The new year is coming.

Isn’t that a shock?

And what sort of year, I wonder, is it going to be?

I have my hopes and have my dreams,

but I realize that what I need

more than anything

is to spend more time with The Word.

With Jesus.

Pouring over His commands,

reading and re-reading his life

until His words and His ways and His will,

which are all Him,

become more of who I am, too.

For there is no better way to know what we’re missing.

There is no better way to bring into the darkness of our lives and minds

His perfect light

than to know Jesus.


Let’s remember not just the manger but the cross. The purpose of Christ’s arrival on our planet. The depth of His LOVE.


For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.   ~ John3:16



Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

Avonlea x

Find me on . . .

Instagram/Facebook/MeWe @happylittlesigh

Happy Little Sigh

Finding beauty in the everyday  ❤

❤ For LITERARY INSPIRATION for Heart & Home & a PERIOD DRAMA in your inbox EVERY Friday sign up here! ❤

Read Full Post »


One year.

That’s how long it’s been since we came here, to this old yellow house by the river.

A year ago, I stood looking up at the sky through the hole in the kitchen roof, counting on two hands the days till the baby would come. Trying not to care that I had to wash my dishes in the bathroom sink. Lay out our meals on a cardboard box.

At the storage unit in town a high cliff of boxes contained our stuff from two different continents,

two different lives.

I tried, but I never did find the baby clothes in time.

At night, on a borrowed computer, we tracked our stolen laptop round the city. Then lost hope when it left the state.


It had only been a year.

One year before that since we’d come back.

Started life again in America.

And even when life’s good, a person might have to mourn a little over that.

Over the loss of a country. Of a way of life.

Even without break-ins, and police, and counting loss.

And that’s exactly what I did for a while.

I counted my loss.

Sobbed over them like a teenager with a broken heart.

It was all too surreal, and I didn’t know where to begin.


And I can’t say when it happened.

Can’t say just exactly when

I felt the great relief of letting go of it all.

All the stuff.

All the demands I had for my life.

For years, I hadn’t dared draw too near. Not close enough to rest my head there on His knee.

I didn’t dare.

There wasn’t peace.

Then one night I dreamed.

He carried me in His pocket.

All linen and white.

And I was small, and I was safe,

and I went with Him through His day.


The roof has long been fixed.

I have a kitchen, and it has a sink.

Slowly, slowly, as we’ve done before, we’re making this house into a home.

But when I find myself surveying it all,

feeling pleased about the way the sideboard looks,

and the curtains, and the chandelier,

I remind myself

what I really have to be thankful for.

What I have–because of Jesus–that nothing and no one

can ever take away.




“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.”

~ C.S. Lewis


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

~ Romans 8:38-39




A Very Happy Thanksgiving to You

Dear Readers!


Avonlea x

Find me on . . .

Instagram/Facebook/MeWe @happylittlesigh

Happy Little Sigh

Finding beauty in the everyday ❤

❤ For Literary Inspiration for your HEART & HOME and a PERIOD DRAMA in your inbox EVERY Friday sign up here! ❤

Read Full Post »


It’s coming! I’ve heard!

The fourth Narnia film is on it’s way.

No trailer as yet, I’m afraid, so it may be a while.

But, to tide you over, watch



Or for a bit more depth for you literary, bookish types, listen to the podcast



At least there’s time to read the book (or perhaps read it again?) before the film comes out! Best to know if they’ve left out some of the best bits.

Something new to feel happy about 🙂

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.”  
~ C.S.Lewis, The Silver Chair


You might also be inspired by Mr. Darcy and Me – My Trip to Pemberley


Read Full Post »

A little hunting at my favorite second-hand shop uncovered this treasure . . .


Lock me up in a room with this book

(and a cup, and teapot full of tea),

and I’d be quite content for a good few hours.


Ah, and what ever could I say, when there are images such as these to be poured over?


Part of the magic of living in Scotland was the possibility of getting into one’s car,

and within a few hours, being able to see the home of

Jane Austen,

or Charlotte Bronte,

or C.S. Lewis,

as we did, one lovely April.

We went to Oxford, England,

to Magdalen College of Oxford University,

where C.S. Lewis taught for nearly thirty years.


Anyone can tour it.

See Addison’s Walk along the Cherwell River,

where C.S. Lewis liked to stroll.



And his rooms at the college, now marked by some red geraniums.




 “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy,

the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
~ C.S. Lewis


“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

~ C.S. Lewis


You might also be inspired by Start Living Your REAL LIFE Today


Read Full Post »

I don’t go there every night.

Sometimes I’m held up.


For night is the end of another day, another twenty-four hours that seem to have taken me no closer. No closer to my dreams. To my goals. And so in my worry I mull them over.

Dreams, goals, regrets . . .


Dreams for this house, like those black and white photos of the children I want printed out and framed, and the upcycled furniture I’d like when we finally remodel the breakfast room.  I could lie awake for hours planning it all out in my head. As if someday I’ll get there, you know, to my real life, my forever life, where every closet and drawer is organized and my house is decorated like a Pinterest fantasy.

My real life, where I’m fitter and stronger and have smoother skin than I did at eighteen.

My real life, where I have hours every day to sit in the garden and paint, and read, and write, and play with the children, and somehow the cooking, and cleaning, and shopping doesn’t take much time at all.

My real life, as if it’s a place where I’ll one day arrive. As if one day, everything that needs to be done will be done.

CAM01500 CAM01523 CAM01568

It’s easy to forget with all that planning for tomorrow. Easy to forget that my children will never be as young as they are today. That I will never be as young as I am today. That we can never get today back.

It’s easy to fill my days and fill my mind and hold onto these plans, these goals, as if this is all there is.

But then I catch myself. Lying in my bed at night, I remember. I feel the smallness of myself in this universe. The frailty of my body as I lie there on the mattress listening to my baby and my husband breathe. Even if we eat nothing but organic, they are not forever.  I am not forever.  For a while. A good while, I hope, but not forever.

And as a wife and a mother, how could I sleep with that, how could I live with that if I didn’t know. If when my children realize that the end will come for me, for them, and the tears pool in their eyes, I couldn’t lift my little person onto my lap and hold him close and whisper “Yes! Yes!”

And If I didn’t know, if I hadn’t seen, that what He says more than anything is “Fear not.”

“Don’t be afraid!”

And so I go.


Sometimes I creep, when I feel how much I’ve missed the mark. How I’ve let Him down that day. With head hung low I crawl toward Him, always toward Him, because I know He wants me there. That He’s happy, miraculously, not just to welcome the repentant but the reluctant and the angry, too.

I lie there by his feet and soon there comes His hand upon my head. “Daughter.”

Other times I run, through a field of wildflowers and hazy sunlight, my arms outstretched, and I meet Him. I meet the warmth of His robes and the strength of His love, and like a little girl I’m lifted and swung. “Child.”

The colors blur, and I know that’s home. That’s forever.

And there’s peace.

Peace like Lucy clutching Aslan’s mane and burying her face there and knowing it’s going to be all right.

No matter what, I’m safe, and it’s going to be all right.

And what could be more important than having them with me?

There in that field. In those arms. In that eternity.

There, when this house and everything in it, and every worry I ever had will be long gone. There, where everything  will finally be complete and time . . .

well, it will just stand still.

We’re all together, with Him, and time is standing still.


This house—will they even remember? The color of the walls, if the furniture was scratched?

And if they remember, will I let them think it’s worth a wisp of worry?

Or will I reach out and grasp hold of this time, these hours that slip so easily into days and years, and

instead of making lists of all that’s wrong,

make lists of all that’s right?

And will I help my children, and each person beckoned through the doors of this house, to smile over every seen and unseen gift, every finer thing, and to point them, always point them, to the Giver?

And how can I remember where to point unless I keep my eyes there,

always right there

on His face?


For YOUR watches of the night . . .


1Peter 1: 3-9, Psalm 91: 5-9, Psalm 63

You might also be inspired by . . .

It’s One of the (LONDON) Days


Read Full Post »


You blinked and it happened, didn’t it?

Summer flew by.

All those lazy days you planned and enjoyed are gone . . . or never seemed to come about at all.

And you’re not sure how it happened because, why, yesterday was just the fourth of July, and the time was meant to go slower, and the days were meant to be longer, and you’re just not ready to put your child into the next grade up, or go into the next grade yourself.

And you can already feel yourself drooling over tropical islands and craving some vitamin D.

And please don’t anyone mention that C word.


Mmmm . . . that’s right.

But aren’t we all happy when it comes?

I mean, imagine that it didn’t.


Imagine no family, no friends, no gifting, no baking, no singing, no decorations, no lights.

No light.


But there is, and we do.

Have Christmas. Have Light.

Even in winter.

6759890bb24056f0e86bc5f3570130efAnd Light has a name.

“At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”

~ C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


And Light’s other name is Love.

Love that can get you through the winter.

Or a winter of your soul.

Love that comes after you, with a deafening roar and a mighty leap.

Even if you don’t know it, or you know it and you’re running away.




It will come, no matter how we dig in our heals and will summer to stay.

But lighting our path through to next spring will be the celebration of the birth of a King.

A King who will, one day, make an end to





CAM00463 CAM00465 CAM00466

Journey with me? Into autumn, through the winter, as we look for Love, look for Light?

Avonlea x




Psalm 139:7-12, James 1:17

Read Full Post »

The Thaw Begins

The Thaw Begins – photo by crunklygill

“‘Yes,’ said Queen Lucy. ‘In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.'”

—The Last Battle, C. S. Lewis

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: