Welcome to Lamb Cottage. It's a real place, and this is where I live with my dear husband. We even have lambs. This is a personal blog, especially concerning life as an American expat in Scotland, life as an over-50, life with lambs, and life as an Orthodox Christian. You're most welcome to come and visit awhile. I hope we can be friends!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Simplicity :: Muse

Well, what can I say about simplicity?  It is THE thing that everyone is seeking these days.  It's a hard thing to find and to hold on to in a world where there is an abundance of everything.  That is, for most of us who live in the West.  The truth, of course, is that more people than not live simple lives not because they are on some quest to do so, but because they live in poverty.

The Commonwealth Games just finished here in Scotland.  They were held in Glasgow.  Now, I have nothing at all against humongous athletic competitions like that, or the Olympics.  But what I have noticed over the course of my 50-some years is that these games have become a huge entertainment racket costing millions of dollars or pounds to produce.  Two things about this really distress me:  (1) Most of the world is struggling to find clean water and food, so couldn't that money spent on the entertainment and "wow" factor of these international games be better spent helping those who wouldn't have a hope in the world of ever seeing something like the Olympics or Commonwealth Games?  and, (2) The beauty and majesty of real, true athletics is lost among all the glitz and glamour of a major Hollywood-scale production.  Frankly, I think it's shameful.  The athletes are not the stars; the celebrities are.  And the money spent creating this spectacle is, ultimately, a huge waste.

No simplicity there.  There can be no simplicity when people are constantly trying to out-do one another or out-do the previous event.

Muse.  That is the writing prompt for today.  Well, if I'm to speak about writing muses, I would say mine has been on vacation for awhile!  I don't have a muse.  I am inspired (or not) daily, by different things.

I wouldn't call this a "muse" exactly, but I have been reading a LOT of early 20th century literature for girls and women lately.  I find that I am inspired by the values and standards lifted up in these books.  This is something almost completely lacking in contemporary literature.  At least, that has been my experience.  So much so that I was appalled at a reading list required by the masters program in Highlands and Islands Literature at the University of the Highlands and Islands.  I was enrolled in this program a few years ago, and finally had to resign because of the appalling, profane, trashy crap that I was supposed to read and regard as literature.  Long story there.  Maybe someday.  I came away with a post-graduate certificate rather than a degree.  That was my penance for sticking to my faith and convictions.  So anyway... I guess, in a way, my Muse these days comes in the form of this wholesome, uplifting literature I have discovered.  YOU can read it, too.  I get all these books for free HERE.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Secret, Atmospheric Home!

You will notice that I have missed three writing prompts in a row!  Oh, the shame!

So, I'm combining them, thus:  my secret, atmospheric home.  Because, as it turns out, that is what we have.  Outside, our home is like a million others, I'm afraid.  Originality and style is NOT a strong point in recently-built houses in the UK.  Can you say BORING?  We're working on making the outside of our home more interesting, but, as with most things, it takes money.  Sigh.  But INSIDE, well, that's a different story!

Our home and home life are very important to my husband and me.  We work hard to maintain an atmosphere of peace, quiet, calm, and stability.  It's darned hard when the world is always trying to get in.  We also work hard to maintain our home church.  And, we try to make our home a hospitable place, and a haven of warmth and Christian love.  We do not always succeed with these ideals, mind you.

But ultimately, we have created / are in the process of creating a lovely home environment with all kinds of interesting nooks and crannies, prayer space, beautiful colors, and places to rest and play.

And so I would just say:  if you want a lovely, "secret, atmospheric home" you don't have to have a lot of money, nor do you have to have a big, grand, interesting home.  Whatever you find in a grand home, you can recreate in your own home, on a smaller scale.  Your home really is your castle -- and you can be the Queen!

Oh, and the secret part:  well, it's YOUR home.  You should be creating a sanctuary for you and your family, and don't worry about Better Homes & Gardens, or what others think.  Contrary to what popular culture wants you to think, your home is NOT a status symbol.  It is the family nest and the domestic church.  Forget about what others are doing and concentrate on your own home life!

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Saturday, August 2, 2014


Someday, Olivine was going places.  She was going to get out of this backwards, nowhere, back-of-beyond place and make a name for herself.  And it wasn't going to be Olivine, either!  When she was little, she used to like to hear Mamma tell the story of how Olivine got her name.  She thought it sounded dramatic and romantic.  Mamma would talk about the handsome young man who came from far away.  He showed up one day with a pick axe and some other tools, and asked Mamma for directions.  He told her he was a geologist.  Whatever that meant.  He said he was looking for Olivine.  And he showed her the most beautiful green jewel Mamma had ever seen.  He and Mamma became good friends, and then they even talked about getting married.  But one day, he just up and left.  Mamma ended up with Daddy, and they had me.  And Mamma said it was just our secret, that I got my name as a reminder of that man who had been her friend... that man who had come here to the back-of-beyond, from someplace far away, looking for Olivine.  Well... I'm here, thought Olivine.  And she wished someone would come looking for Olivine again... and take her away from this place.

OLIVINE:  Olivine is a magnesium iron silicate which is also called Chrysolite or Peridot when it has gem quality.  I think Olivine is quite pretty.  OLIVINE is the writing prompt for today!

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Friday, August 1, 2014


...That's the first writing prompt for August, all of which can be found HERE.

What does it mean to be modest?  When I first looked at the prompt, my initial response was, "oh, an archaic word!"  Of course, it's not.  And actually, the idea of modesty and being modest is near and dear to my heart.  I am deeply grieved, almost daily, when I see how immodest we have become as a global culture in the West.  It is doing nothing but harming us.  I cannot understand why a woman (or a man, for that matter, but for me, this topic pertains to womanhood and girlhood) would choose to purposely expose herself to strangers.  And that is what is happening in this immodest culture where self-centeredness is the driving motivation for most people, and things like "selfies" are the norm.

To embrace modesty... to BE modest, to me, means viewing yourself as worth protecting, worth guarding, and most of all, as a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Modesty, while definitely about dress and so-called fashion, is more an attitude of the heart.  The dress will follow the attitude of the heart. And the modest heart is not interested in what the media says is "okay", normal, or fashionable. The modest heart is interested in pleasing God.

Of course, clothing is the outward sign.  I have NO idea what the Duchess of Cambridge is like, as a person, but her clothing style exudes modesty.  I appreciate that from her.  I have heard British women repeatedly say that they think she is too dowdy.  Well, to that I say, I think British culture (and the West in general) is way too promiscuous and immodest.  Kudos to Kate for displaying modest attire.  Would that the average girl or woman would take a clue from her.

So, for this first writing prompt (about which I could go ON AND ON), I am including a collage photo of the Duchess of Cambridge [which, by the way, I took from THIS SITE, and is NOT my own material]:

I have to add, the idea of cleavage as a "fashion statement" is not something I came across until I moved to the UK 7 years ago.  Frankly, I think that is appalling.  And this is just another sign of how sexually-oriented and aggressive we have become as a society.  

The last thing I'll say about being modest is this:  Aggression is not modesty.  As a retired school-teacher, I am often in the habit of just observing young people -- teenagers in particular.  It's an occupational hazard, I guess.  Well, can I just say, I have never seen such aggressive teenage girls as the ones I encounter here in the Highlands.  It is not pretty.  Looking mean, acting brash, using foul language, pushing oneself onto someone of the opposite sex, taunting others, playing cruel jokes upon one another... this is not attractive or desirable in any way.  This is the opposite of modesty, and it cheapens these young ladies.  They appear to have no self-respect, and no respect for others.  The end result:  no one will treat them with respect, either.

I doubt very many folks read this blog, and that's okay.  I'm one of the "mediocre bloggers" I read about recently on another woman's blog (I'm sorry, I can't remember whose!), and I don't pretend to be an expert on anything.  But if one young lady sees this post and thinks about it, then well and good.  

How I would love to see the young girls and women out there take back their self-respect and do it in a gracious, kind, and gentle way... a way becoming of a lady.  

My dear husband has often made a remark which is funny, but sad, whenever he sees or encounters one of these angry, brash, mean-looking girls or women:  There goes another bulldog chewing a wasp!  Oh, how I wish we would not see any more!

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