Happy Burns Night 2020!

If you live in Scotland, are of proud Scottish ancestry, or just love the Scottish people and culture, chances are that tonight you will be celebrating Burns Night. Every year, on January 25, people from Scotland to the Americas to Australia and beyond, come together to commemorate the life and works of Scotland’s beloved poet, Robert Burns. It is an evening of merriment, good food, and good drink.

Sadly, Mr. C and I have to postpone our celebration this year. Poor ol’ Mr. C is ill and I’m pretty sure haggis is the last food on his mind. So, in lieu of our traditional festivities, I am instead spending part of my day enjoying The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, a wonderful publication by Waverly Books. With a glass of the good stuff, of course. Not altogether a bad way to spend an afternoon.

If you are celebrating tonight, have fun, be safe, and eat a bite of haggis for me.

Slàinte mhath!

“A Prayer for Christmas Eve” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dear Friends,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of my blog this past year. Our interactions on here have meant so much. I will end this year with a Christmas Eve prayer by the wonderful Robert Louis Stevenson. Have a very merry Christmas and I’ll see you all again in January!

Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Robert Louis Stevenson

xo,

“Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

On this shortest and darkest day of the year, I share with you these lovely words by poet Robert Frost.

“Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Happy Winter solstice, friends.  Blessings to you on this first winter’s night.

xo,

P.S. For my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, happy summer solstice to you!

“The Fall of the Leaf” by Robert Burns

“The Fall of the Leaf” by Robert Burns

The lazy mist hangs from the brow of the hill, 
Concealing the course of the dark-winding rill; 
How languid the scenes, late so sprightly, appear! 
As Autumn to Winter resigns the pale year. 

The forests are leafless, the meadows are brown, 
And all the gay foppery of summer is flown: 
Apart let me wander, apart let me muse, 
How quick Time is flying, how keen Fate pursues! 

How long I have liv’d-but how much liv’d in vain, 
How little of life’s scanty span may remain, 
What aspects old Time in his progress has worn, 
What ties cruel Fate, in my bosom has torn. 

How foolish, or worse, till our summit is gain’d! 
And downward, how weaken’d, how darken’d, how pain’d! 
Life is not worth having with all it can give- 
For something beyond it poor man sure must live. 

Wishing you a restful Sunday and a happy week ahead.

A Conversation With Author Cristine Eastin

Screen-Shot-2019-07-14-at-4.51.57-PM-2Hi there, friends.  I have something fun and a little different for you today.  Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with talented fiction author Cristine Eastin who, like me, has a deep and profound love for Scotland.  Her most recent novel, Love Inherited, is set in the Scottish Highlands.  Although relatively new on the literary stage, Cristine is a skilled and creative storyteller.  She describes herself as an “author of contemporary fiction spiced with romance, faith, and hope”.  I am so delighted to introduce her to you today!  So without further adieu…

Wendy:  Welcome, Cris.  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

Cristine:  Thanks so much for the privilege of getting to do this!

Wendy:  It’s my pleasure.  Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Wendy:  What was the inspiration behind Love Inherited?

Cristine:  Hmm…a gorgeous American woman inherits a huge Highland estate and tons of money and gets the drop-dead gorgeous laird…I didn’t have to go very subconscious to get to…wouldn’t that be fun?  But seriously, having been an American young woman transplanted to England for two years, I know the outlander experience.  And I wanted to write a story that, when the reader came to the end, would count for something.  So I gave the main characters deep wounding or hurts they had to struggle with.


Wendy:  The story of Love Inherited takes place in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Why did you choose this location as the setting for your book?

Cristine:  Because I love, love, love Scotland.  It’s where I’d love to live if they didn’t drive on the left.  Living there in my writer’s head was second best.  Having made eight trips to Scotland, I know it fairly well and I thought I could convey the setting to the reader.

The actual location of Love Inherited, Fionnloch, is a fictionalized Gairloch in Wester Ross in the northwest Highlands.  My husband and I stayed at Shieldaig Lodge a few years ago and I was so captivated by the area that I set my book there.

Shieldaig Lodge, Gairloch, Wester Ross…inspiration for Craggan Mhor in Love Inherited. When we stayed here in 2014, it was still operating as a hunting lodge and was all cozy and homey. (It’s since been done up.) -Cristine

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A Silent Eloquence

One of my heart’s desires on our recent trip to Scotland was to find a bluebell wood. I worried that we might have been too late, but was absolutely delighted to find them still in bloom. These photos were taken in a wood next to Boleskine Burial Ground on Loch Ness.

It’s the little things.

A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell,
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.

∼from “The Bluebell” by Anne Bronte

Happy Summer Solstice!

“Bed In Summer”

-Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

 

In winter I get up at night 
And dress by yellow candle-light. 
In summer, quite the other way, 
I have to go to bed by day. 

I have to go to bed and see 
The birds still hopping on the tree, 
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet 
Still going past me in the street. 

And does it not seem hard to you, 
When all the sky is clear and blue, 
And I should like so much to play, 
To have to go to bed by day?

-from A Child’s Garden of Verses