Friday, August 28, 2015


I adore Rebecca Reynold's poetry and writing at her blog "Thistle and Toad." She also writes for The Rabbit Room 
and The Story Warren

Her oldest went to college and as you know my youngest went to college. 
She has poetry oozing  and I imagine her brain to be full of images and words  every morning. 
Here is her latest poem and you must  listen here. 

I have listened about a dozen times. I love her voice and the way she knows how to say what the poem says.  Her heart is overflowing. My tears did. 

"Grace is Gossamer"
I used to whisper in my oldest son's ear at night,
"Love Jesus," and now I wish I hadn't done that
because it's a weighty thing to say;
it's too weighty.
It's the weight of a first born mother telling her firstborn son to worship, as if getting to know the Almighty were as simple to follow
as a recipe for chicken noodle soup.
Two teaspoons of unsalted butter.
Three stalks of chopped celery.
Two diced carrots.
Make them sweat, Son, before you add the broth.
It can't be done that way.
It's not that I'm a Calvinist, see,
but I've always done wrong by trying to make
my heart the Divinity chaser,
trying to make my love worth love,
trying to slap mud on rudimentary, homemade cathedrals woven from split reeds I found in the woods.
I stay a little bit nervous
about bears.
And I'm not sure where that happened,
maybe in some Baptist church way back, way back,
when some preacher was telling me that I might miss out on glory.
Or maybe keeping your foot on the accelerator is just a natural casualty of being a first born of a first born.
But no wonder my kind has always stood out in a field sulking
while some renegade kid comes home from a party
to a party --
because my kind digs holes, digs holes, digs holes
and expects heaven to come up wherever we plant it.
Sins of a parent go down three generations they say.
Trauma gets in the DNA and changes a person
inside out, and probably bad theology does the same.
Lord, forgive me, for I tried to push the same gravity on my children
that I carried inside myself
when Your yoke is easy
and Your burden is light.
Grace is gossamer,
sunlight caught in a spider's web,
it is lake water thrown from the tail of a carp,
and that is so hard for me to believe, no matter what you say.
I wish I had taken more deep breaths,
taken more cool baths.
just reveled,
just waited,
just watched glory before trying to make anything of it at all but wonder,
just whispered, "You are loved,
and Honey, that's the sweetest thing in all the world."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

back and tired

It is hard to let a fledgling go. 
She is there.
We are here. 

Our cat sat outside her room waiting for her to return.

Her backyard and a page from the journal she made me which became my HOPE journal.

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  • Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Take off

    Mixed feelings: scared and excited

    This is Emma and I last September on Cape Cod ( thus the sweatshirt tied around me as it got hot) and we are in Plymouth. We saw those chairs in front of a lovely bed and breakfast and my sister took the photo. Sunglasses were courtesy of my nephew's wedding. 

    Going to miss my girl. Period. 

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    book review: Richard John Newhaus

    Richard John Neuhaus by Randy Boyagoda

    Here is one of the most influential men in the 20th century. I wanted to read about him because he founded the journal  "First Things". This is a full biography and shows his  calling and vocation. In his childhood, he imitating his father's preaching but was not allowed to step into serving communion. Not even in play. What is most interesting is reading about a Lutheran becoming a Catholic.  In 1961, he began his ministry in Brooklyn at a poverty-stricken church. He revitalized the church with his powerful sermons in a time of great civil unrest.In  1990, when starting "First Things", he was  then ordained a Catholic priest. He stood against abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage.  This Canadian born, son of a Lutheran pastor, had a voice to examine the recent past. His death six years ago still leaves much to examine in his life.  This is quite a lengthy book ( 480 pages with footnotes)  and so was this man's life. If you want to know more about a preacher who brought Christianity into the public square, get to know Richard John Newhaus by Randy Boyagoda.

     "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    doing this

    This is the last* week before the last* goes off to college. 
    We made a list tonight just to be sure we don't forget
    anything. There are stores near every college.  I keep saying that to myself. This   last*  one is my only girl who grew up too fast. 

    It was good to take communion today. Wine. This is not always the case but when you take wine, there is a deeper reminder of a meal. I am trying to memorize this phrase from the very last part of the sermon: " I am going to go to heaven." The  personal story was  what the friend said when times were bad. This is what he knew for sure. 
    Good words, right?

    Almost done with Elizabeth Goudge's Pilgrim's Inn for my book club at the end of the month. The story came back to me. I still feel " taken away" to the Herb of Grace. It has possessed me like it did it's new owners. 

    *making sure you know she  is the last

    Pretty cottages from kidstons cottage:


Image No.179_June29 by Haligonian Kimbits on Flickr.@kendrasmiles4u


French country cottage
   jojo 77  Flickr

    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    Downton Abbey finishes up

    and put this sentence in my HOPE journal:

    But it was a wonderful final day actually, it was all the things you would hope it would be. It was happy, sad, it felt like a good time to finish this and we were all doing it together.


    I'm going to be lying down. I believe for quite some time. The other thing I will be doing is watching it. I will get the box set and have a good look. I certainly haven't watched anything that I've done. I have seen some of it, but I want to sit down and look at it all.



    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    blue true dream of sky

    ( even though he doesn't capitalize I , i , 

    I like the word: illimitably )

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes
    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)
    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any–lifted from the no
    of all nothing–human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?
    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
    e.e. cummings

    a small writing desk in Pilgrim's Inn

    "No, she was not sorry, she decided five months later , as she sat at her escritoire , set in the window of her upstairs
    sitting room, and worked on her housekeeping books."

    wonder what it looked like: 

    isn't this lovely: 

    Do you have a housekeeping book?
    I would expect Nadine was keeping track of house expenses in the new house. 

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    what I am reading today

    - Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

    This is a reread for my Summer Book Club which
    is just getting in before it is a Fall Book Club read. 
    We meet at the end of the month. I want Goudge's 
    eyes in how she sees people, beauty, and her pen 
    describes so you want to live where they live and
    know them. 

    - 10 online audios of Wendell Berry

    - download Tabletalk for free. Reading George 
    Grant on Persecution. 
    This issue of Tabletalk considers persecution. Jesus warned us, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Christians have endured suffering throughout history. Yet Jesus told us to “take heart” for He has “overcome the world.

    - good article for defense of the humanities : 

    The Suicide of the Liberal Arts :Indoctrinating students isn’t the same as teaching them. Homer and Shakespeare have much to tell us about how to think and how to live.

    ‘Achilles Slays Hector,’ by Peter Paul Rubens, circa 1630.ENLARGE
    ‘Achilles Slays Hector,’ by Peter Paul Rubens, circa 1630. PHOTO: ART RESOURCE

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    great way to begin the school year

    It hasn't started yet but plans are in the planning. 

    Thursday, August 6, 2015


    Where is the summer, the unimaginable Zero summer?
    ( T.S. Eliot: Little Gidding)

    Good reading here on the Planned Parenthood 
    and loss of Imagination.

    What killed her imagination? Because amidst the rightly outraged rhetoric, the grieved calls for action, and rush to a fresh apologetic for the value of unborn children, I am struck by the fact that we who hold human life to be precious at all points and certainly before birth are faced not merely with the loss of an argument. Dr. Nucatola and others like her can look at the same sum of parts that I saw in my sister, she can look at eyes just as dusky, at hands equally perfect, and with an educated mind and civilized mentality see merchandise where I see miracle.
    We face a failure, not so much of rhetoric, as of imagination, that faculty that C. S. Lewis called ‘the organ of meaning’. We face a world struck by a blindness of biblical proportions in which people have physical sight, but no “in” sight, that inner viewpoint informed by the eternal by which we perceive value and depth far beyond the mere surface of things. ‘Insight’, which literally means ‘to gain an accurate, intuitive, and deep understanding of a person or thing.’

     After viewing a documentary
    for Emma's college recently, my heart and mind is 
    being challenged as I think of living as an exile. 
    I keep saying to myself: All who wander are not lost. 

    Finished watching The Gilmore Girls with its 
    sharp wit and humor and the story of growing up
    and letting go. This is where I am. 
    Letting go in 3 weekends. 
    But what grips my heart is the very last episode
    where the whole town celebrates Rory. It was
    living in Stars Hollow that formed Rory to go 
    off and be who she was made to be. 
    Is there such a place? 

    very last scene:

    spoiler alert: 

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    mid-week thought

                                 Camille Pissarro : Girl with a Stick 

    "Nothing can be a work of art which is not useful, that is to say, which does not minister to the body when well under the command of the mind, or which does not amuse, soothe, or elevate the mind in a healthy state." -- CM quoting William Morris

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    back in the saddle

    Flipped over the calendar to a new month: 

    Gifts from the sea settled in my soul after a few 
    days on the beach. My heart is lighter after
     the wind, sun, sand, and waves battered any 
    burdens. Time expanded and melted away.

    Now Time is marching towards
    me for letting my youngest fly the nest. 

    Here is a test for literature: from vol. 4
    Ourselves ( thinking of reading Part 2 with 
    my high school class) 

    How to recognise Literature.––Observe, there is a poor place close at hand, where pictures are painted for you and where people are introduced; but you cannot see the pictures with your eyes shut, and the people do not live and act in your thoughts; there is as much difference between this region outside and that within the Kingdom of Literature as there is between a panorama and the real, beautiful country it is intended to portray. It is a horrible waste of time to wander about in this outside region, yet many people spend a large part of their lives there, and never once get within sight of the beauties and delights within the Kingdom of Literature.

    There is another test, besides the two of scenes that you see and people that you know, which distinguishes Literature from the barren land on its borders; and if he is to apply this test, Intellect must keep his Beauty Sense always by his side. Read over, and see if you find a difference of flavour, shall I say, between the two passages that follow. Try if the first gives you a sense of delight in the words alone, without any thought of the meaning of them, if the very words seem to sing to you;
               "That time of year thou mayst in me behold
               When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
               Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
               Bare, ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang."
    Now read the next passage;
               "Household Deities!
               Then only shall be happiness on earth
               When man shall feel your sacred power and love
               Your tranquil joys."
    Can you perceive that, though the second passage is true, thoughtful, and well expressed, it just misses a certain charm in the wording which makes words go home to our heart with living power? If you cannot see any difference in value between these two passages, perhaps you will do so some day. The thing is, to keep your eye upon words and wait to feel their force and beauty; and, when words are so fit that no other words can be put in their places, so few that none can be left out without spoiling the sense, and so fresh and musical that they delight you, then you may be sure that you are reading Literature, whether in prose or poetry. A great deal of delightful literature can be recognised only by this test.