Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Starting the New Year on this last day of the old year

With George Herbert:

Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The Soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian Plummet sounding heav’n and earth;
Engine against th’Almightie, sinners tower
Reversed Thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world-transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune which all things hear and fear;
softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted Manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the souls blood,
The land of spices; something understood

Listening to Malcolm Guite and the ringing of the bells  here. 
"be dressed in Christ, you are well dressed"
Soar into the New Year, ladies and gents!

                                                                       angel from the Louvre  in Paris 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Couldn't we make these Jane Austen Teapot Cookies?

One blogger shows how here.

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

Song of Stars : A Christmas Story

Sally Lloyd-Jones reads her new book:

a day of gifts

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

Advent Calendar

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. '

Advent Calendar

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

Small things

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 
a daughter 
- Home for the holidays!

Here is David Tennant reading HOW HIGH THE SKY and Small Mouse 
Big City. 

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

Packing up again

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 ,
Castle Dor.

- 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

Glory Be to...

                                                     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 view
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

the weekend

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

What is a weekend?

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

what day is it?

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!