Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
Meditating on this joyous painting:
Angels Dancing Before the Sun
Giovanni de Paolo
The painter came from a wealthy family of wool merchants in Florence.
He held political post under the Medicis and built several buildings.
He commissioned work for the Santa Maria Novella ( church) from
Fillipi Lippi, Bernini ( sculptures) and more. He even translated and
copied Boethius and Aristotle.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
IN the mail:
--- Wendell Berry book from folks I have worked with for years
-- Chocolate from Europe
-- fresh evergreen wreath which is now on the front door. ( L.L. Bean) I had just put up
white lights around the door. Looks pretty. ( From #4's girlfriend's parents)
-- eating turkey ( belated Thanksgiving) that always comes with a honey baked ham
dinner from a brother in law and his wife. Need it tonight! This is a tradition.
Blessings upon those dear friends and family.
Listening to The Colors of Christmas by John Rutter while waiting on dinner
to cook. This is a fun youtube to listen to :
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I had a lovely Christmas lunch at my friends house. She had a "presentation"
of an Advent Calendar :Jacquie Lawson. Never too late to jump in and very cheap.
You can be transported to an English Manor. Not Downton Abbey but
almost. It is magical.
Then tonight I was lead to Rowan Williams poetry. He is the former Archbishop of Canterbury. You might remember him marrying Prince William and Kate. '
He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.
He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.
© Rowan Williams
Monday, December 16, 2013
Can be big things like:
- we got our tree and decorated tonight
- daughter-in-law almost got bumped off the flight on Friday night
coming back from Chicago to Knoxville to graduate. She took a week long
prep class for the PA Boards. She did arrive in a delayed overbooked flight
and did graduate. Read here.
- son arrived on a delayed flight from London yesterday. His comment:
" everyone drives on the wrong side of the road!"
- fun dinner last night with 2 sons, one daughter-in-law ( a teacher) , and
- Home for the holidays!
Here is David Tennant reading HOW HIGH THE SKY and Small Mouse
Here is a site from the British Library releasing illustrations from
the 17th to 19th century books.
This article says to applaud the British Library!
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Yes, heading out again . This time over the Appalachain Mts. to Knoxville
for my daughter-in-law's graduation. Physician Assistant! Right in the middle or
near the middle of her two year Grad Program , she married my #3 son.
It was her two week break in June. So excited she is done and proud of her.
#4 son comes home from London on Sunday.
Things I have finished:
- My class today ended with a heraldry project of Coat of Arms showing the past, present ,
and charge( hopes ) for each family in the future. I love projects and creativity.
- Enchanted Cornwall by Daphne du Maurier. I have not read her books but somehow
found this book in the library , mainly to learn more about Cornwall. It is a memoir and
she tells all the books she read as a child , how her imagination was kindled and she
knew then she would be a writer. As an author, she met Arthur Quiller-Couch and his
daughter became a very good friend. His family asked her to finish his last manuscript ,
- suitcases from the trip are in the attic!
Things I have not finished:
- Christmas cards: slowly getting them in the mailbox. Long distances first , then
closer in to my state last.
-no tree up yet
- stack of books: Christmas ones and library books ( Shirley Hughes has a new chapter book. She wrote Alfie and Annie Rose books which I stepped into in London)
- almost done with shopping, not quite
And I fell today. This morning I hit my knees and even skinned one. I felt like I was old and young at the same time. A skinned knee is childhood and not being able to keep from falling made me feel old. My dear daughter said:
YOU are NOT old! You just walked for 10 days in London and Paris. ( isn't she sweet)
My slipper tripped me as I was going into the foyer from the kitchen and I just couldn't
stop myself from falling. Boom onto my knees. Going to be sore tomorrow and black and blue.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Adoration of the Kings, Jan Gossaert
painted in 1500-1515
oil on wood
National Gallery, London
larger view here
Can you see the depth of the painting?
the angels flying in
An article to read from The Guardian which begins:
The small Belgian town of Mechelen is a quiet place. It grew rich on wool and once made the finest lace in Europe, but it's not hard to guess that the main attraction for many residents these days is its proximity to Brussels, just 20 minutes away by commuter train.
The neat streets are studded, however, with a number of startlingly grand buildings, dating from the glory days – the decades in the late 15th and early 16th century when the town was the heart of the territory of the powerful Dukes of Burgundy, who had long since expanded northwards to control an area that stretched from Switzerland to the North Sea.
It was also the home of an extraordinary artist: Jan Gossaert.
Groot Market above
Christmas Market below in Groot Market on a clear night
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
I saw Fra Angelico's angels. My daughter sparkled as she saw some first at the Louvre.
"Mom!" We both sighed, filled with awe, stunned by beauty. Florence. He painted on
the walls of San Marcos Monastery. I want to now him better and his work. My students
studied him this Fall and it is the halos that always capture us. Would that we would be seen
with such reflection of Christ. Advent.
Wrapping up "school" this week and keeping Christmas slowly and unhurried coming
towards us. My husband and daughter sang in our church's Christmas choir service
Saturday and Sunday night. Here are the two songs the teen choir sang. If you don't know
them, they will resound with beauty. Here is the Westminster Abbey Choir:
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
O Magnum Mysterium
Friday, December 6, 2013
I think we are getting back to our normal time .
Getting up that is. The week has been a jump into
my life. No day of rest until the Sabbath.
It has gone well and now is the weekend.
Advent Sunday #2.
Advent Sunday #1 was spent in London at the
Candlelight Advent service at Westminster Abbey.
4:00 pm. Dusk 4:30 pm. Completely dark.
You couldn't take photos in the service.
The choir of young boys and men ,
the ones who sang at Prince William's
wedding, lifted my heart up to the top of the high
ceiling.Very high. I was silenced by the beauty.
I was stilled in my heart. God's presence.
This week I have been so deeply moved by these
Advent devotions from Biola University here.
I can't wait to see the next day's painting, music,
and reading. It has been a long time since this sort
of hunger for beauty has been kindled. Please take
a look and read on each day. A feast awaits.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
We are back.
Would turn around and go back over the ocean tomorrow.
BUT Christmas is coming and a graduation ( daughter-in-law to be
a PA) and it seemed like Monday all day.
Seems like we already had Christmas in the UK and two days in Paris.
I did have two turkey sandwiches on the trip.
Delicious. Both had stuffing and cranberries.
More soon when my brain is on the right day!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I sold a book on Amazon and had an email asking why I charged
more for the postage than what it costs to send it.
Well,I got an attitude.
You know how that goes. Something else to do and deal with.
Well, I had to find where Amazon suggests the 3.00 plus 99 cents.
I sent an email and she responded. We went back and forth for about
5 emails, turning into conversation! A wonderful one.
Well, now I am smiling. I had sold her an Anne Graham
Lotz's Bible Study book.
Ended up blessing each other at the very end.
Heading out at the end of the week for Thanksgiving week.
The days are marching towards our suitcases very fast.
Have a very good time with family and friends and turkey.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Words from THE LIVING PAGE:
Playfulness: an awareness of the formative power of the local environment,
human and natural, and stability.
Wendell Berry's idea of the importance of "knowing where ( we are ) , and the
pleasures and pains of being there."
Timefulness: Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent
World, the sense of having all the time one needs, unhurried,
the cadence of Glory.
Nuancefulness: coined by Calvin Seerveld, the awareness that there is a
stratum of truth beyond fact. Beauty.
Words to live in.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Crystal blue sky as I look out the kitchen window.
My heart is lighter.
All hotel rooms booked for the trip plus to my daughter in law's graduation
in December from Grad School.
Now to plan our days. Any tips for jet lag?
We saw Macbeth yesterday. It was filmed at the Manchester International
Festival and took place in a desconsecrated church. The setting added to
the performance. The performances by Kenneth Branagh and Alex
Kingston ( Macbeth and Lady Macbeth) brought a record sell out
in July in 9 minutes. Watch a trailer here.
In the opening scene, the battle scenes are in the wide center aisle
which is covered with dirt. It rains so now it is covered with mud for the
rest of the play. You are in everything from mud to daggers to sleep walking
to witches and the high ambition of Macbeth.
Tremendous acting for the famous scenes:
Lady Macbeth's "Out damn spot" as guilt devours her. She is sleepwalking and
still washing blood off her arms and hands. Kingston plays it with torment.
Macbeth hears her howl then the news of her death. He starts out with
"Tomorrow, tomorrow..." and the camera fixes on his face. His composure
breaks down to such pain that he barely whispers the last words: signifying nothing.
There is a beauty beyond words in their performances of the beautiful poetry
of their lines. We see Macbeth lay hold of his own glory and ransack Scotland
to a culture of evil. I couldn't help thinking of our current days with the violence
in our land. Very good well written review here.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Once upon a time............
A son spends a semester in London, southwest on the Thames,
and of course, we want to visit him.
So we book a flight and a hotel and plan the days.
Then an idea pops into our minds.
The girls' hearts.
So we book the train through the Chunnel and plan our days.
Then, where do we stay?
Working on where to stay and how to get around under ground or above ground.
Any help with the City of Lights?
Need to book a hotel for 2 nights. Seems like a FB request that you see
all the time but I won't go there!
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
We all commented on how dark it was at dinner last night.
Then it is nice to get up in the light.
I live with a rooster and he likes to get up in the dark.
I just don't understand.
Somehow in October the holidays seemed far away.
We turned the page of the calendar and here are the
holidays. There seems to be much responsiblity with
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
So here are words from a friend who sent them
to me for a good night's sleep:
Sleep in peace tonight. Narrate all the goodnesses of the Lord to you
today and "He giveth his beloved sleep."
Thursday, October 31, 2013
It is Halloween and we only had one, two , three.
There is a bowl of kit-kats, Reese's cups, and tootsie rolls.
I could offer you some!!
Tonight, I have been listening to this podcast from the guys down in Rock Hill, SC
which is right down the road and about 30 minutes from my house.
Andy is interviewing Pastor George Grant on Gospel Neighboring.
Excellent. Listen here.
Take the time to hear two young pastors with a seasoned one discuss
how we live in our neighborhoods.
Very good week.
How about you?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I happened upon this blog by an author who John Wilson of Books & Culture
featured in a podcast. I don't usually listen to the podcasts. Who has time?
You do when something makes your ears perk up. Miss Oreo, our cat , can be
sound asleep but then she perks up with a sound in the trees outside.
Well, it was the description: A tale set in Norway shortly after AD 1000.
Right where we are in history. It reminds me of Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Unset.
( Pultizer Prize writer) This writer has this on his blog:
"The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is pre-eminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. Because this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men - and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused."
- J.R.R. Tolkien
The podcast is here. and the author is Lars Walker. ( From Minnesota)
I have to dig in more to see what I think.
I have a stack of Hagiographies to grade, another blog to write ( Childlight ),
and a stack of books from the previous blog and my class. Hope to have
found a good new writer, at least to me. Do you know of him?
Saturday, October 26, 2013
A fall Book Club breakfast and a good book discussion by this author
put joy in my heart. It was at my friend's house on my
Fall Break from class. You can see here. If you haven't read The Little
Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher, put it on your list. It is a layered
book of more than his sister dying of cancer. It will resonate somewhere in
your life with family, community, and even calling. It is a true story about relational
Next up is Tim Keller's new book on Pain and Suffering. The two books seem
to hold each other in a category, don't they. I am reminded of Lewis' title
The Problem of Pain. I read it a long time ago but I must reread a Lewis
book in honor of his 50th anniversary on Nov. 22.
How about this from his book:
“You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. "
From The Rabbit Room writers , celebrating their Hutchmoot conference, is
an anthology of stories, poetry, and wonderful illustrations.
Vol. 1 was wonderful. Now Vol. 2 is even better. I have read many of these writers and
Fiction by Walt Wangerin, Jr., Jonathan Rogers, Lanier Ivester, and Sarah Clarkson
Non-fiction by Jeffrey Overstreet, Eric Peters, Russ Ramsey, G. K. Chesterton, Andrew Peterson, Jennifer Trafton, and Thomas McKenzie
Artwork by Jonny Jimison, Eric Peters, and Zach Franzen
Poetry by Andrew Peterson, Jonny Jimison, and Rebecca Reynolds
For homeschoolers, new book about journals and commonplace books and nature
notebooks: The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater. I know her from the Childlight
Conferences. THIS is GOOD!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The Real Jane Austen
I stopped to look on the library shelf and there is another
Jane Austen biography. The skeptic in me whispered
something negative in my mind but then I saw the subtitle:
A Life in Small Things
Very intrigued now.
It is the first book I looked at tonight and started to read.
Paul Johnson, the British historian and columnist for The Guardian,
said of Paula Bryne's first book, Jane Austen and the Theatre,
" the best book on Jane Austen." In 2011, Paula made a BBC
documentary about her discovery of Jane Austen portrait , thought by many
experts to be the only professional portrait of the novelist painted
from life.. Byrne lives in Oxford to another writer Jonathan Bates ( Shakespeare
scholar). It was written to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride and
So with all this information, I opened the book.
The pencil drawing on vellum is inscribed "Miss Jane Austin" on the back. Byrne insists that "apart from the striking family resemblance", this was the first clue as to the identity of the sitter..
"They believe it dates to about 1815, before Austen died in 1817."
Author talks here:
I found this series on The Real Jane Austen:
Monday, October 21, 2013
N.D. Wilson's book on wonder and life is excellent.
So excellent that I wanted to read it again. This is my third
reading. There's a saying "too many books and not enough
time" but I will make time for N.D.'s non-fiction. Here is a sample:
“The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.”
He put in words how we raised our boys and one daughter. I am not
sure they are dangerous, but what he means is they will make a difference.
Make them yeast to change the world.
Mine are still rising but I think they will push up and into
the world to give grace and more grace to those they love and their neighbors.
Wilson writes in a circular fashion so be prepared in this book for a ride
up and around the tilt-a- whirl. He is well read. He crafts sentences that will
make you stop and go back to underline and read the words again.
He is "Spot On!"
Reviewed for Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Somehow went from The Murmuring Cottage on Tumblr ( yes, misspelled)
to two handwork blogs from Italy. Always hitting the translate to
find such beautiful embroidery here and here.
It all started with this photo :
and I found a youtube on her blog to make them:
You know how it is. You get started looking and there goes a few hours.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Weekend in the Big Apple was wonderful.
Today's sky was too.
I am fighting a cold since returning yesterday but it is good to be home.
Missed that hubby of mine. We have been on separate trips recently and
now it is good to BE home.
I loved all I heard and tasted and have a small pile of books from
Hearts and Minds Bookshop and new notecards to write letters from
The Morgan Library and The MET. I can't resist.
Edgar Allan Poe exhibit opened at the Morgan.
I love this museum/ home of JP Morgan.
I was thrilled to walk into the NY Public Library and see their
Children's Book Collection which is like the Morgan. First editions
and letters and photos. Just thrilled.
I heard Christian Wiman, a poet , read his work and glare up to the screen
with demise at it not in the right structure. He couldn't take it. He said to
turn it off. It needs to be in stanzas, needs to be in couplets. A true
artist. The form makes the poem. It helps the reader hear. His favorite
poet: George Herbert.His recent days are marked with a blood cancer.
I was moved by his readings and intensity.
Read more at the American Scholar:
Poetry, for me, has always been bound up with this unease, fueled by contingency toward forms that will transcend it, as involved with silence as it is with sound.
Interview by Eric Metaxas here.
Monday, September 30, 2013
and to this :
So the suitcase is open to be packed.
Be back next week to tell you about it.
I usually go to the city with my sister during this time but this came up.
Here is Lanier's wonderful writing on her sister and a trip to NYC
at The Rabbit Room.
Friday, September 27, 2013
I must say that everyone here where I live said " Isn't it gorgeous outside."
September wore her most lovely dress today!
Now I almost forgot to read BLOGS this week. Have to check in with
some friends and family. Blogs bring refreshment to my heart. Doesn't
it yours? Thank you all for writing and posting thoughts and funny
stories and very , very dear ones and teaching me.
Hearts are opened . We look in and somehow over this machine,
a knot is tied.
Wasn't she adorable?
I am not sure where this was either!
Monday, September 23, 2013
IN looking for a September poem to post, I found this funny Billy Collin's poem
and so even if it is not your birthday today or even this month, he will make
you chuckle. He did write it last year which makes him 72 this year. So
that makes Cheerios the same age. Never would have guessed he was THAT old. He is in Russia right now as a sort of Poet Ambassador. If you happen to be in NYC in a month: Billy reads at the 92nd Street Y on October 21. Then he will be in DC and then Atlanta and so on , Prairie Home Companion
in Minneapolis on Nov. 2... all this from his Facebook page.
One bright morning in a restaurant in Chicago
as I waited for my eggs and toast,
I opened the Tribune only to discover
that I was the same age as Cheerios.
Indeed, I was a few months older than Cheerios
for today, the newspaper announced,
was the seventieth birthday of Cheerios
whereas mine had occurred earlier in the year.
Already I could hear them whispering
behind my stooped and threadbare back,
Why that dude’s older than Cheerios
the way they used to say
Why that’s as old as the hills,
only the hills are much older than Cheerios
or any American breakfast cereal,
and more noble and enduring are the hills,
I surmised as a bar of sunlight illuminated my orange juice.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Coming down after the quiet of weeks .
Coming down for hours on the dry ground.
Who would have imagined this summer with all the rain we had.
Our cat got dirty in the dusty ground this past week.
She had a slight reddish tint on one side. Clay dirt here in the Carolinas.
Here she is years ago :
Friday, September 20, 2013
Monday, September 16, 2013
I love this sentence:
“My mom could make an ordinary afternoon an event.”
This quote was from Lisa Jo Baker on A Holy Experience in July.
She grew up in South Africa. Here is her blog.
My mom here in this photo with the oldest of what turned out to be 8 ( by 1961 when my youngest brother Jimmy was born). This is September, 1955 as he went off to Mount Hermon Prep School in Mass. from Long Island, NY.
I had been born in May. Actually, my mom had twins( I have a twin brother) as #5 and #6.