Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breathy Prayers of Peace

Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoiceth;
my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Psalm 16:9

The doctor removed the troublesome facial lesion
and found it to be nothing more than that . . .

Praise the Lord!

(Now, if I would just stop hearing pirate songs in my head
every time I look in the mirror.)
But seriously, I visited a very gifted plastic surgeon
and the stitches are teeny tiny,
 promising to fade to a mere memory . . .
soon . . . please.

Respite Wednesday

The son felt fenced in.

His father took him to the fence and bid him look;
he looked and did not see a hedge of thorn
or a barbed wire entanglement;
he saw a hedge of feathers.

~~ Amy Carmichael ~~ 
His thoughts said . . . His father said . . .

He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:4

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh Joy!

My oven is fixed!!!

After more than a week without oven or microwave
I am all about celebrating the joy of baked goods. 

Can I interest you in a freshly-made
whole-wheat-buttermilk-almond scone?

Naturally we'll have a cuppa tea, too.

* * *

Aaaahhhhhh . . .

Normal life returns
to Wisteria Cottage.

: D

Monday, April 19, 2010

Catch Spring Fever With Me

The violets have exploded into a purple carpet

While the forget-me-nots clamor for attention

The little bright-eyed chrysanthemums wake to play

And the bluebells herald springtime's arrival

Stand here with me and inhale the fullness of Spring.
Nothing smells quite as sweet as a lilac in bloom
after a looooong winter of chilly breaths. 

Success at last! 
This lily-of-the-valley seems to have settled in
about the business of colonizing 

And the violets breed beauty with abandon
ensuring an even larger carpet of sweetness
for next year. 

The first Cecile Brunner peeks forth shyly,
soon to be followed
by an avalanche of sweethearts just like her

I sense no crabbiness
from this crabapple tree
in full flush of beauty

With the buzzing of busy-ness
ensuring more springtimes bee on the horizon.
All this buzzing sparks an idea . . .
Deb's Bees?  
Hmmmmmmmmm . . .?
What a sweet thought!

[Jots down note in ideas book.
Stay tuned for details . . . ]

Spring fever is in full bloom around here.
Oh Joy!
I can even smile at the forecast
for rains tomorrow and the next,
knowing it will feed this beauty for my senses
and my soul.

And the earth brought forth grass,
and herb yielding seed after his kind,
 and the tree yielding fruit,
whose seed was in itself, after his kind:
and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:12

I see the good, too.

: D

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Wonder

. . . a time to plant . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:2

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Circle of Life

The sun peeks out, the buds swell with rosy color blushing velvet cheeks, and the fragrance of lilac fills the air. I do believe spring has come . . .

And yet, the nights still chill and the odd snow/rain storms interrupt our celebrations. Winter has dragged its heels and refuses to leave. Surely this has been the longest winter of my life, but also a highly productive one. Much reading and learning, much cleaning and discarding of the house and the heart have busied my wintry space. Oh, but how I long for winter to be over so that I can be carefree in the meadows a-bloom with newness. I am ready for some outdoor dancing. These cottage walls have closed in a bit around my burgeoning spirit.

My journal and my Bible have been my steady companions throughout these frozen, snowy, Narnian Days of a season spanning the demise of one year and the dawn of the next. I have scribbled countless pages and spilled oodles of ideas and notions and hurts and fears all washed in prayers and tears of sorrow or laughter, depending on the moment . . . depending on the mood. I corral these pennings safely between the covers of pretty journals and then squirrel that bound journey away in a box of other solo musings that may someday brighten, enlighten, or entertain a reader. For now the journals congregate in a “box” of writings which overflows onto the neighboring spaces like a library outgrowing its confines. ‘Tis becoming a bit eccentric around here even for my eclectic decorating style, I muse, as I grapple several of the excessive volumes and topple them into a nearby basket. My definition of “tidy” has expanded right along with my ever-growing acquisitions from the world of print (both my own and others).

My children laugh that they will need to check in on me regularly as I age; for fear that I will be imprisoned (or worse, crushed!) by my bookish habits. The neat and tidy shelving that holds biographies here and cookbooks there, British Lit in this precise place and American Lit sprawling on another shelf, and all the rest of the obedient books lined according to subject or author have been joined by a rag-tag set of newcomers. This legion of recently-acquired titles clumps together according to newness and eagerness to be read. This stack by my bed holds deliciously fun reading for bedside or bathtime. I see Barbara Pym beckoning me to give her a chance to win my heart but Bess Streeter Aldrich has newly arrived and plopped down on top of Miss Pym. And so the stack grows, yet the day remains a mere 24-hour stretch. (*sigh*)  Hold tight ladies and gentlemen of the bedside stance, I shall get to you all in good time.

I glance over to my sitting room and flinch in surprise at the stacks and piles and careless sorting of titles that defy demarcation, but cry out to be taken in hand. Books with titles keen to encourage slowing down or saving time, dancing freely or thinking deeply. In the midst rises a tower of overflow from Rachel’s burgeoning shelves – Peter Pan and Wendy have landed here alongside, Aslan, and Miss Princess Sarah Crewe and so many more childhood favorites I have a notion would be worth rereading now that I have rediscovered them right at my fingertips.  But, today I have no time, so I must return these to Rachel’s room.  Surely her shelving cannot be full to capacity?  But as I pop into her room for a quick peruse, I find (you guessed it) stacks of books on the dresser, on the floor, and atop other books awaiting a permanent place. Oh dear!  The Inn appears full here as well!  I return to my room and find another semi-full basket (which now tops out).


Fleeing downstairs at the call of a whistling kettle, I absent-mindedly trip and tumble on the pyramid of “top list” reads I have gathered around my favorite reading chair. Flora Thompson (in several volumes), Elisabeth Eliot, Sue Bender, and Molly Wizenberg shutter toward the fireplace in an avalanche of print. “Whoopsies!” I laugh as I leap over the cascade and rescue the teakettle from laryngitis. While the teapot steeps I return to scoop up the books and set them safely out of the walkway, but a dilemma arises . . . will that stack over by the tea table safely support another pound or two or good-reads? Maybe this shelf’s contents can s-q-u-e-e-z-e a bit to the left and take on one more . . . nope . . . oh bother! Okay, I’ll just heft this load over next to . . . But, sadly I see that I have no next to’s left next to anything. I have bibliophilic excess EVERYWHERE in this house! (Don’t even ask me about our full-sized guest house next door which houses office, guest rooms, and heavy-laden BOOKSHELVES! AAAaaaahhhhhh!)

What to do? What to do? I scurry around clutching a vital part of my “collection” and end up dizzy from turning this way and that in search of SPACE. I catch a whiff of Lavender Earl Grey emanating from the Blue Willow teapot and I immediately set down the books on the ottoman (a free surface . . . imagine that!) and make off to find a teacup and saucer. The teacup cupboard teems with teetering china beauties alongside sturdier mugs and French demi-tasse café ware all stacked and steadied just so. I peruse but fail to find a favorite for this mood, and so I venture to the dining room and browse the offerings ensconced in glass-fronted displays, antique sideboards, and open-shelving. Copious choices vie for my attention, some even calling from a tabletop unsuitable for housing teacups. Oh my, I sputter . . . the bookish dis-ease seems to have mutated thus far and now includes a tea-cup flush, which looks to be spreading to the teapot realm as well!

Now rather than panic, I choose the only sensible route: I quickly select a vintage Blue Willow teacup and saucer, carry them to the tea tray, which I then transport carefully (so as not to stumble on any books that may have toppled since my last sashay through the keeping room) to my favorite chair and tuffet. Alas, when I arrive I discover the books earlier placed atop the footstool. Naturally, I lay the tray on the chair, gather up the superfluous volumes, set them on the floor next to the hassock, heft the tray from chair to footrest, and then proceed to pour out a cup of refreshment.

While sipping slowly I gather one of those “overflow” books and open it to take a peek . . .

and the circle of life here at Wisteria Cottage continues . . .

. . . as does the miscellaneous stacking of books.

“I doubt this bibliophilic penchant will prove fatal,” I say with a grin as a child peers down through the banister, calling out, “Is everything okay?” in response to the recent spate of crashes and bangs. A smile creeps across my face as I recall the years I rushed to their playroom to inquire about safety following a loud noise.

The circle of life continues . . .

* * *
I confess . . . I have Elizabeth Brown's affliction.  Are you acquainted with Miss Brown?  Truly we are cut from the same cloth (minus the red hair, of course).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Wonder

He Is Risen Indeed!


Friday, April 2, 2010

A Good Friday

I awoke to snowflakes today. Good Friday, indeed. I sipped my tea slowly and pondered my Saviour’s journey from Palm Sunday – a Hallelujah welcome – to Good Friday and his violent death. Snow turned to rain . . . tears from Heaven. The winds picked up and I wondered if the wintry stormy world of today would plunge into darkness in a few hours from now, so like that dark day 2000+ years ago . . .

The kids tumbled downstairs still sleepy-eyed, yet astonished at the lack of sunshine they had so hoped for. Their garden-time plans rearranged instantly. Gary and I carried on with our schedule to take in brunch at our favorite spot, Ike’s Quarter Café (Southern-Style dining with a distinct California-casual seasoning) before venturing to pick up our taxes from the accountant. (Taxes seemed somehow fitting on Good Friday.)

We waited patiently for a table. Ike’s is small, has limited hours, accepts cash/checks only, and nearly always has a wait list because the food is so GOOD. While waiting I soaked in the sweetness of time away from home; a gift of lingering over a meal with my husband alone. Just as our table opened up a gentleman came in with his special son. Instantly Gary and I exchanged glances . . . so much like our Matthew. We took our seats and ordered and chatted, but all the while we felt the kindred presence of another special parent enjoying a special life with a special child.

Ike’s fills up with all sorts of unique people with all sorts of hairstyles, adornments, and ideas – the young man and his dad fit right in to the mix. The young man’s patience amazed me as he awaited his meal. Our son lacks patience by nature. In addition, this very boisterous little café has decibel levels that Matthew would doubtful endure; but this special fellow in the neighboring booth held his gaze shielded and his personal space closely guarded just as my Matthew does in the environs outside his comfort zone. He’d come to eat and he knew how to handle the ropes. Victory flowed with each sip of water and hand-soothing wring. The food would soon arrive . . . he knew it.

I chuckled a little as I saw the dad balancing on the banquette bench edge; his son refused to yield adequate space, but dad sat next to him anyway. Side-by-side they ate; just as side-by-side we know they share most of life . . . as we do with Matthew. The delighted smile that greeted scrambled eggs and french fries brought a tear to my eye. Simple pleasures. Simple joys. Simply living. I have that flavor sprinkled liberally into every day at home. I found sweet comfort in knowing another that receives the same gift. No words need be spoken. No notice need be given. ‘Tis enough to know by knowing. We are not alone . . .

The special gift shared by this man and his son eating amongst a crowd of people meeting up by chance, or so we think, graced the place with sweetness and light just like every little baby cradled in arms or child selecting a good read from the generous shelves at the entranceway. We pause; we smile; we speak silent thanks for the gift of sweet joy in the midst of our toils of the day. A Community that accepts wins a great victory in love. I like living amongst the many, the special, the different, and – yes – even the annoying. The mosaic of life calls for all colors, shapes, and sizes to send the message: Life matters! Let us celebrate each one.

It’s a special gift that many of our church friends comment upon receiving from us, and that in turn encourages us to step outside of our own comfort zone and brave the world of community even though the generally-accepted manners and mores seem so foreign to our special one. A “difference” can make a difference. Sometimes I forget that as I shoulder the daily burdens, navigate unfamiliar waters, and wish for something different. I have something different. You have something different. That guy in the booth with his french-fry loving son has something different. When Jesus put out the call on the mount for all to bring forth goods to share, He knew I would have something different. And He blesses and multiplies it just like those little loaves and fishes. What a blessing.

We left the restaurant and walked in the rain without saying much. We stopped into Tanglewood Forest (a most magical shop filled with fairies and flowers and beauty galore) and walked out with a beautiful butterfly sculpture. A memento. A reminder. A sweet symbol of hope gathered on a Good Friday.

We did eventually pick up our taxes . . . and then returned home to our house full of children – each one special in their own way. Brimming with blessed joy I danced from the car to the house in cold rainy, snowy blops knowing that Sunday will follow this Friday bringing a feast to celebrate the hope and newness of life born of one very Good Friday long ago.

Celebrate, Sweet Friends!
Bring out your gifts for our Lord to bless,
That they may be shared in abundance.