Thursday, September 21, 2017

If Tomorrow Never Comes



If Tomorrow Never Comes

If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly,
And pray the Lord your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss,
And call you back for just one more

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would tape each word and action,
And play them back throughout my days
If I knew it would be the last time,
I would spare an extra minute or two,
To stop and say "I love you,"
Instead of assuming you know I do.

So just in case tomorrow never comes,
And today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you,
And I hope we never will forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
Young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
You get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
Why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
You'll surely regret the day.
That you didn't take that extra time
For a smile, a hug, or a kiss,
And you were too busy to grant someone,
What turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
And whisper in their ear,
That you love them very much, and
You'll always hold them dear.
Take time to say "I'm sorry,"
"Please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes,
You'll have no regrets about today

~ Norma Cornett Marek

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

True Nobility





For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 2:11-14

"Perhaps the every-day of life is not as interesting as are some of the bright special days. It is apt to be somewhat monotonous. It is just like a great many other days. It has nothing special to mark it. It is illuminated by no brilliant event. It bears no record of any brave or noble deed done. It is not made memorable by the coming of any new experience into the life - a new hope, a new friendship, a new joy, and a new success. It is not even touched with sorrow, and made to stand out with the memory of loss or struggle. It is only a plain, common day - with just the same old wearisome routine - of tasks and duties and happenings, which have come so often before.

Yet it is the every-day, which is really the best measure and the test of noble living.

Anybody can do well on special occasions.
Anybody can be good - on Sundays.
Anybody can be bright and cheerful - in exhilarating society.
Anybody can be sweet - amid gentle influences.
Anybody can make an isolated self-denial - for some conspicuous object; or do a generous deed - under the impulse of some unusual emotion.
Anybody can do a heroic thing - once or twice in a lifetime.

These are beautiful things. They shine like lofty peaks above life's plains. But the ordinary attainment of the common days - is a truer index of the life - a truer measure of its character and value - than are the most striking and brilliant things of its exalted moments. It requires more strength to be faithful in the ninety-nine commonplace duties, when no one is looking on, when there is no special motive to stir the soul to its best effort - than it does in the one duty, which by its unusual importance, or by its conspicuousness, arouses enthusiasm for its own doing. It is a great deal easier to be brave in one stern conflict which calls for heroism, in which large interests are involved - than to be brave in the thousand little struggles of the common days - for which it seems scarcely worth while to put on the armor. It is very much less a task to be good-natured under one great provocation, in the presence of others--than it is to keep sweet temper month after month of ordinary days, amid the frictions, strife's, petty annoyances, and cares of home-life.

Thus it is, that one's every-day life is a surer revealer of noble character - than one's public acts. There are men who are magnificent when they appear on great occasions - wise, eloquent, masterly - but who are almost utterly unendurable in their fretfulness, unreasonableness, irascibility, and all manner of selfish disagreeableness, in the privacy of their own homes - to those whom they ought to show all of love's gentleness and sweetness! There are women, too, who shine with wondrous brilliancy in society, sparkling in conversation, winning in manner, always the center of admiring groups, resistless in their charms--but who, in their every-day life, in the presence of only their own households - are the dullest and most wearisome of mortals! No doubt in these cases - the common every-day, unflattering as it is - is a truer expression of the inner life - than the hour or two of greatness or graciousness, in the blaze of the public.

On the other hand, there are men who are never heard of on the street, whose names never appear in the newspapers, who do no great conspicuous things, whose lives have no glittering peaks towering high - and yet the level plain of their years--is rich in its beauty and its fruitfulness of love. Likewise, there are women who are the idols of no drawing-rooms, who attract no throngs of admirers around them by resistless charms--but who, in their own quiet sheltered world - do their daily tasks with faithfulness, move in ways of humble duty and quiet cheerfulness, and pour out their heart's pure love, like fragrance, on all around them. Who will say that the uneventful and un-praised every-day of these humble ones - is not radiant in God's sight, though they leave no memorial - but only a world made a little better by their lives? It is in the every-day of life, that nearly all the world's best work is done. The tall mountain peaks lift their glittering crests into the clouds, and win attention and admiration; but it is in the great valleys and broad plains, that the harvests grow and the fruits ripen - on which the millions of earth feed their hunger. Likewise, it is not from the few conspicuous deeds of life, that the blessings chiefly come, which make the world, better, sweeter, happier--but from the countless humble services of the every-days, the little faithfulnesses which fill long years. By the simple beauty of their own humble lives, by their quiet deeds of self-sacrifice, by the songs of their cheerful faith, and by the ministries of their helpful hands - they make one little spot of this sad earth, brighter and happier!


~J. R. Miller, "The Every Day of Life" 1892

Monday, September 18, 2017

Go back to the garden, sweetheart!



The most saintly spirits are often existing in those who have never distinguished themselves as authors, or left any memorial of themselves to be the theme of the world's talk; but who have led an interior angelic life, having borne their sweet blossoms unseen like the young lily in a sequestered vale on the bank of a limpid stream.
--Kenelm Digby


Go back to thy garden-plot, sweetheart!
Go back till the evening falls,
And bind thy lilies and train thy vines,
Till for thee the Master calls.
 "Go make thy garden fair as thou canst,
Thou workest never alone;
Perhaps he whose plot is next to thine
Will see it and mend his own.


 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Example




I'd rather see a lecture than hear one any day,

I'd rather one should walk with me, than merely show the way.

The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear;

Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;

And the best of all the teachers are the men who live their creeds,

For, to see the words in action, is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn how to do it, if you'll let me see it done,

I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lessons you deliver may be very wise and true;

But I'd rather learn the way it's done by observing what you do.

-- Edgar Guest

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It won't be long . . .


Until . . .
"There is a settling in this time of year as the afternoons grow short. Now one is content to stay close to the fire, as a tireless wind blows, and listen to the rain on the roof. The house feels wonderfully snug and warm and that scent of woodsmoke is in the air once again. These cozy autumn days, long awaited, are meant for lighting candles and pulling out the homespun blankets and woolen stockings to be at ready against the chilly nights that are soon approaching. Let us gather some deep orange pumpkins and a branch or two of bittersweet to help hang on this favourite of seasons. Fall . . . At last."

~Mc Camy

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cheer Up!


Cheer Up!"Cheer up! Cheer up! Spink-spank-spink" is the song of the robin, that cheery beloved little harbinger of spring. 

I will never forget the time I took a basket filled with wet laundry to hang on the clothesline on a beautiful spring day.  The dew was still sparkling on the grass.  Someone dear happened to be visiting and offered to help.  So nice, I thought, but then she started to complain about the dew, getting her feet wet, and who knows what else. It temporarily dampened my spirt.   It was then I realized I needed to be sure to take a different attitude.  One of my favourite authors has wonderful insights and encouragement in this regard:

 "A cheerful heart has a continual feast." Proverbs 15:15
"A cheerful heart is good medicine; but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22 

"One of the divinest secrets of a happy life—is the art of extracting comfort and sweetness from every circumstance. We must develop the habit of looking on the bright side. This is a magic-wand whose power exceeds that of any fabled magician's to change all things into blessings. Those who take cheerful views, find happiness everywhere; and yet how rare is the habit! The multitude prefer to walk on the dark side of the paths of life.
There are those who take to gloom—as a bat to darkness, or as a vulture to carrion! They would rather nurse a misery—than nourish a joy. They always find the dark side of everything, if there is a dark side to be found. They appear to be conscientious grumblers, as if it were their duty to extract some essence of misery from every circumstance! The weather is either too cold or too hot; too wet or too dry. They never find anything to their taste. Nothing escapes their criticism. They find fault with the food on the table, with the bed in which they lie, with the railroad-train or steamboat on which they travel, with the government and its officials, with merchant and workman—in a word, with the world at large and in detail. They are chronic grumblers! Instead of being content in the state in which they are—they have learned to be discontented, no matter how happy their lot! If they had been placed in the Garden of Eden—they would have discovered something with which to find fault! Their wretched habit empties life of all possible joy—and turns every cup to gall.
On the other hand, there are rare people who always take cheerful views of life. They look at the bright side. They find some joy and beauty everywhere. If the sky is covered with clouds—they will point out to you the splendor of some great cloud-bank piled up like mountains of glory. When the storm rages, instead of fears and complaints—they find an exquisite pleasure in contemplating its grandeur and majesty. In the most faulty picture—they see some bit of beauty which charms them. In the most disagreeable person—they discover some kindly trait or some bud of promise. In the most disheartening circumstances, they find something for which to be thankful, some gleam of cheer breaking in through the thick gloom!
When a ray of sunlight streamed through a crack in the shutter, and made a bright patch on the floor in the darkened room—the little dog rose from his dark corner, and went and lay down in the one sunny spot; and these cheerful people live in the same way. If there is one beam of cheer or hope anywhere in their lot—they will find it! They have a genius for happiness. They always make the best out of circumstances. Their good nature never fails. They take a cheerful view of every perplexity. Such people have a wondrous ministry in this world. They are like apple trees when covered with blossoms, pouring a sweet fragrance all around them.
It may be worth while to linger a little, on the philosophy of living which produces such results. Some people are born with sunny dispositions, with large hopefulness and joyfulness, and with eyes for the bright side of life. Others are naturally disposed to gloom. Yet, it is still largely a matter of culture and habit, for which we are individually responsible. Like the apostle Paul, we can train ourselves to take cheerful views of life, and to extract contentment and enjoyment from any circumstances.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again—Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4.
This is clearly a most important part of Christian culture. Joyfulness is everywhere commended as a Christian duty. Discontent is a most detestable fault. Morbidness is a sin. Fretfulness grieves God. It tells of unbelief. It destroys the soul's peace. It disfigures the beauty of Christian character. It not only makes us soured and unhappy in our own hearts—but its influence on others is bad. We have no right to project the gloom of our discontent—over any other life. Our attitude is to be ever towards joy. There is nothing so depressing in its effect upon others, as morbidness!
True contentment does not chafe under disappointments and losses—but accepts them, becomes reconciled to them, and at once looks about to find something good in them.This is the secret of happy living! And when we come to think of it—how senseless it is to struggle against the inevitable! Discontent helps nothing. It never removes a hardship, or makes a burden any lighter, or brings back a vanished pleasure. One never feels better, for complaining. It only makes him wretched!"
~J. R. Miller

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Love is a Verb



Love is something you DO whether you feel it or not. So many think it is all about feelings.

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also." Luke 6:27-29

We are too apt to resent insults and retaliate, when others say or do evil things to us. The Christian way is either not to speak at all, or to give the soft answer that turns away wrath. Not only is this the Christian way, it is also the way of wisdom.

The quickest way to conquer an enemy—is to treat him with kindness in return for his unkindness. Stopping to resent every insult—keeps one continually fretful; whereas ignoring slights and going on quietly with our own duty—is the way to get the better of them.

The best answer to sneers and scoffs and abuse—is a sweet, quiet, beautiful life of patience and gentleness.

The lesson our Master teaches us, is . . . to bear wrong patiently, to forgive injury, to return kindness for unkindness, to return good for evil, to return love for hate. It is a fatal injury to his life—when one allows himself to grow bitter, to cherish resentment, to let envy or any hurt feeling rankle in his heart. At last love is utterly driven out, and dark and malignant passions take full possession."

~J. R. Miller

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Humility and Obedience


"We live worthily—only when we do what God sent us here to do. A splendid career in the sight of men—has no splendor in God's sight!

Not the making of a fine worldly career, therefore—but the simple doing of God's will—is the one true aim in living. Only thus can we achieve real success.

If we do this, though we fail in the earthly race—we shall not fail in God's sight. We may make no name among men, may raise for ourselves no monument of earthly glory—but if we please God by a life of obedience and humble service, and build up within us a character in which divine virtues shine, we shall have attained abiding success!"

11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
(I Thes 4:11-12)

18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(II Timothy 4:18)

~J. R. Miller
~Photograph: God's handiwork in late afternoon

Monday, September 11, 2017

Autumn


The lands are lit
With all the autumn blaze of golden-rod,
And everywhere the purple asters nod
And bend and wave and flit.
~H. Hunt Jackson

~Photograph: Oh! Such a day as one dreams of with just the softest whispery breeze and a warm caress of sunshine. The air is alive with the sounds of autumn - chipmunks a-chattering and scampering through the rustling leaves, crickets singing fall's sweet anthem, , Solidago, sedums and  purple asters fairly alive with buzzing bees.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Gratitude



"Do you give thanks for this? -- or that?"
No, God be thanked
I am not grateful
In that cold, calculating way, with blessing ranked
As one, two, three, and four, -- that would be hateful.
I only know that every day brings good above
"My poor deserving;
I only feel that, in the road of Life, true Love
Is leading me along and never swerving.
Whatever gifts and mercies in my lot may fall,
I would not measure
As worth a certain price in praise, or great or small;
But take and use them all with simple pleasure.
For when we gladly eat our daily bread, we bless The Hand that feeds us;
And when we tread the road of Life in cheerfulness,
Our very heart-beats praise the Love that leads us.

~Henry Van Dyke

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sympathy


Divine Sympathy

It is frustrating when someone you care for has problems for which you can offer little if any, solution. You yearn to release them from their pain or heartache, to offer some solace or answers. Words may fail us but, thankfully, we can take our concerns to the Lord in prayer. He, alone is the Answer.
"I know their sorrows!" Exodus 3:7 "Man cannot say so. There are many sensitive fibers in the soul, which the best and most tender human sympathy cannot touch. But the Prince of Sufferers, He who led the way in the path of sorrow, "knows our frame." When crushing bereavement lies like ice on the heart, when the dearest earthly friend cannot enter into the peculiarities of our grief--Jesus can, Jesus does! He who once bore my sins--also carried my sorrows. That eye, now on the throne, was once dim with weeping! I can think in all my afflictions--"He was afflicted;" in all my tears--"Jesus wept." "I know their sorrows!" He may seem at times thus to forget and forsake us; leaving us to utter the plaintive cry, "Has God forgotten to be gracious?" when all the while He is bending over us in the most tender love. He often allows our needs to attain their extremity, that He may stretch forth His succoring hand, and reveal the plenitude of His grace! "The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." And "knowing" our sorrows, is a guarantee that none will be sent--but only what He sees to be needful. "I will not," says He, "make a full end of you--but I will correct you in measure." All that He sends is precisely meted out; wisely apportioned. There is nothing accidental--no unneeded thorn; no superfluous pang. He "puts our tears in a bottle." Each one is counted, drop by drop, tear by tear, they are sacred things among the treasures of God! Suffering believer, the iron may have entered deeply into your soul--yet rejoice! Jesus--a sorrowing, sympathizing Jesus--"knows" your aching pangs and burning tears, and He will "come down to deliver you!" Exodus 3:8 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are!" Hebrews 4:1"

 ~John MacDuff, "The Rainbow in the Clouds"

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Work


 Let me but do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in my heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
"This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;"
Of all who live, I am the one by whom
"This work can best be done in the right way."
Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the labouring hours,
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest,
Because I know for me my work is best

~Henry Van Dyke

Photograph:  a glimpse into my garden shed where I have an table with three odd legs that I just love.  To the right is a potting bench and to the left is an old woodstove from Scotland on which I can cook, make a pot of tea, heat a dye pot or warm my toes on a chilly day.  Above the table and window hangs all manner of herbs and flowers which are drying for arrangements and culinary use.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ponderings


Sonnet 30

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
~William Shakespeare
 
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
 
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
~Joseph M. Scriven (1855)
 
~Photograph: Anne Hathaway's Cottage
the former childhood home of the wife of William Shakespeare. The house is situated in village of Shottery, Warwickshire, England, and about 1 mile west of Stratford-upon-Avon. Although it is often called a cottage, it is, in fact, a spacious twelve-roomed farmhouse, with several bedrooms, now set in extensive gardens. The earliest part of the house was built prior to the 15th century. The cottage was known as Newlands Farm in Shakespeare's day and had more than 90 acres of land attached to it. As in many houses of the period, it has multiple chimneys to spread the heat evenly throughout the house during winter. The largest chimney was used for cooking. It also has visible timber framing, a trademark of vernacular Tudor style architecture. 

I'll never forget visiting this site, wandering through the gardens, marveling over the thatched roof. Across the road was a fenced meadow where sheep grazed. Upstairs, you could see the underside of the thatch over the canopied bed, a practical, protective measure as you might imagine. The quintessential cottage gardens were replete with paths winding through the shrubbery, Delphiniams, Dahlias and Hollyhocks.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Where Weeds Once Ran Rampant



When we found our present home, it was dilapidated at best with grounds overgrown with Staghorn Sumacs, wild Honeysuckle, grapevines, briars, brambles, Poison Ivy and "who knows what" compounded by the "stuff" the previous owner had collected since c1927 which was strewn throughout the grounds and which had disintegrated into junk!. No way were what were once lawns even passable.

Even now despite years of meticulous maintenance, a few days away will result in foot high Sumacs, ferns, Pokeweed and more! Keeping weeds out of the gardens is a daunting task requiring immense discipline and vigilance.

The seeds of such weeds often live or lie dormant for even years; wind, birds, animals and even vehicular traffic carry seed.

I am ever reminded of the parallels of the insidious nature of sin and the constant need for vigilance in my own life.

"The only effective way of keeping a plot of ground from being overgrown with weeds is to sow good seed therein: 'Overcome evil with good.' (Romans 12:21)
So the more Christ's Word dwells in us 'richly' (Colossians 3:16), the less room there will be for the exercise of sin in our hearts and lives."

~Arthur W. Pink

Friday, September 1, 2017

Just some thoughts



"We gave up beauty for ease;
we gave up china for paper;
we gave up linen for plastic;
we gave up dresses for jeans;
we gave us self-sufficiency for tv;
we gave up civility for acquisition . . .
let's turn back towards
beauty, china, linen, dresses, self-sufficiency, and civility." 

~Ginger Conrad 
~Photograph: English china tea pot, a gift from a thoughtful daughter, behind which is Grandma's china platter, on a shelf in the kitchen where I enjoy seeing them but also are handy to use. I use vintage platters for trays to serve family and friends, earnestly desiring for them to feel appreciated and special. Some save their best for company but I believe loved ones deserve our best, however humble.

When we were first married, money was tight. Cloth napkins saved money (and resources) so I made lots of pretty ones from remnants. Then Aunt Alice gifted me with some of her hand embroidered linen napkins acquired when she lived near Madrid. The tea napkins are a special delight, I think, so I use them regularly, enjoying the ritual of pressing them with a lavender spritz. We still joke about using "little scraps of cloth" because we can't afford "real" napkins. Since then, I have been collecting vintage linens which are readily available for so little despite all the work that goes into making them. It isn't so much the china or linen as the graciousness that is needful. Certainly there is a place for paper and plastic and some are quite lovely.

As for skirts, I have always enjoyed looking feminine no matter what I am doing. While I used to wear jeans, I prefer skirts and actually find them more comfortable, feminine and practical even for gardening and hiking. There are pretty practical ballet style shoes that look nice with skirts and are excellent for the active lifestyle that go from the garden to town with equal practicality and style. (I like Clark's Privos, Keene, Ahnu, Merrill Sandals, etc). I once went to a sporting goods store looking for good walking/hiking shoes. She looked at my shoes and told me I was wearing them!

 Haven't watched television regularly in years, realizing I just didn't have time. It is somewhat addicting, a real time guzzler and subtly influential, jading one's senses. (Of course, there ARE some good programs.) It was difficult to withdraw! I would much rather spend precious time with family and friends, working in the garden or weaving. I can listen to the radio while I work to catch the news.

 ci·vil·i·ty/s?'vilite/Noun. Formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.2. Polite remarks used in formal conversation. Good manners are a way to say "you matter" or "I care." They make life ever so much more pleasant. Regardless of how busy someone is, a genteel manner does wonders in making even the harried times special ~ and a smile costs nothing.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31)


Thursday, August 31, 2017

A fruitful Life

Oriental Pears
May every soul that touches mine -
Be it the slightest contact,
Get therefrom some good,
Some little grace,
One kindly thought,
One aspiration yet unfelt,
One bit of courage
For the darkening sky,
One gleam of faith
To brave the thickening ills of life,
One glimpse of brighter skies
Beyond the gathering mist,
To make this life worthwhile,
And heaven a surer heritage.
~M. S. Free
I found this unfamiliar author's poem in a vintage leaflet entitled "Poems to Live By" selected by Joy Elmer Morgan, personal growth leaflet 401, tucked in a larger volume of poems belonging to my beloved's Great Aunt Jerrine who was also my mother's favourite math and science teacher.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

If I Can Help Somebody


If I Can Help Somebody

If I can help somebody, as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song,
If I can show somebody, how they're travelling wrong,
Then my living shall not be in vain.

My living shall not be in vain,
Then my living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody, as I pass along,
Then my living shall not be in vain.

If I can do my duty, as a good man ought,
If I can bring back beauty, to a world up wrought,
If I can spread love's message, as the Master taught,
Then my living shall not be in vain.


~ Alma Bazel Androzzo (1945)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weedin' and Thinkin'



If the truth be known, perhaps I don't much like the laborious, incessant task of weeding, per se.  Whoever said a woman's work is never done must have had a garden! However, I have discovered that my morning and evening devotional times are far from sufficient time with the One I love. What better place than where He Himself was wont to resort - a garden! While I don't suppose He weeded, I do know He spent time alone, apart, often in a garden, in meditation and prayer.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.
Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!
Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory,
Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.
~Jean S. Pig­ott (1876)
 
My meditation of Him shall be sweet!"Psalm 104:34
 
"The Lord Jesus is the subject of my meditations. Not a day passes but my thoughts are occupied with Him. Forget whom I may--I never forget Him. Nothing feeds, nothing refreshes, nothing delights my soul--like vigorous meditations on Jesus. I dwell at times on . . .
the glories of His person,
the riches of His grace,
the merit of His blood,
the transcendent glory of His righteousness,
the tenderness of His sympathy,
the constancy of His love,
the vastness of His resources,
the greatness of His power,
the glory of His offices,
the prevalence of His intercession,
and the grandeur of His second coming--until I am enamored with His beauty, and enraptured with His love! My meditation of Jesus is sweet! I think of Him upon my bed, and meditate on Him through the watches of the night.Jesus is the solace and joy of my soul. When all is dark within me,
when all is dreary around me, when all is discouraging before me-- He fills me full of joy with His countenance. One look from His eye, one word from His lips, one breath breathed on my soul--
relieves, restores, and makes me happy. He is the river of pleasure--in which I sometimes bathe!
He is the Eden of delights--in which I sometimes walk! Take away Jesus--and my soul droops, desponds, and dies! Give me Jesus--and the enjoyment of His presence, and I can do without any other heaven! He is the joy of my brightest days, and my solace in my dreariest nights!"

 ~James Smith, "Precious Things from the Everlasting Hills"

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Garden Walk


My roses bloom in my garden walks
all sweet and wet with the dew,
My lights shine down on the long hill road
the waning twilights through,
The swallows flutter about my eaves
as in the years of old,
And close about me their steadfast arms
the lisping pine trees fold. .

~Lucy Maude Montgomery from. 'The Old Home Calls"

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Late summer

~Cannas and Standard Hostas with their etheral-scented pure white blossoms are just starting to bloom in the front garden.

IN the grey summer garden I shall find you
With day-break and the morning hills behind you.
There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.

~Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967). Picture-Show. 1920.

Friday, August 25, 2017

It is not best . . .



It is not best to think too much
Of many little things,
Which come to grieve and then might leave
A lot of scars or stings;

Life is too short to spend its hours
In such a foolish way,
Such insults and such injuries
Let God avenge some day.

It is not best to judge at all,
Lest it should prove unjust;
In matters great or matters small,
Remember we are dust.

And that we very often fail
Of doing what was right,
So let's ignore our neighbor's faults
Or keep them out of sight.

It is not best to pride ourselves
On merits great or small,
How much we know, how much we do,
Such things won't help at all.

'Tis better just to jog along
In meekness day by day,
A common soul amid life's throng,
Unmindful of display.

It is not best to grieve too much
When golden chords are riven,
And some dear soul whom we have loved
Plumes its frail wings for heaven;

Our Father's love will fill the void
In every aching heart,
Until we meet our loved again
Where loved ones never part.


By Rev. Clement Shaw of Oswegatchie c1900
Found in my grandmother's scrapbook c 1930.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"to see the beautiful in life, you must carry it with you"


Let the world be better, brighter,
For your having trod its way;
Let your light be seen afar
E'er sinks down life's little day.
~Sr. Dora
~Found this quote in my grandma's scrapbook

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Mysterious Way


God moves in a mysterious way
Altho' we cannot see.
He has such wonders to perform
To help both you and me.

Strange things may happen here and there
We wonder why 'tis so;
But God has reasons for each thing
That happens here below.

Sometimes in spirit we rebel
When he sends griefs to bear
We wonder in our inmost hearts
If he can really care.

If we would wait with patience thru
'Til all is said and done,
We'd understand the reason why
Of all beneath the sun.

There's not a trouble fraught with pain
That comes to you or me
But God has meant for someone's good
To us a mystery.

The old time hymn so true and sweet
I read with eager eyes.
God moves in a mysterious way
But O! How wondrous wise!

Sometimes things seem to go all wrong
Increasing fear and woe
In tantalizing cruel ways
That tempt us mortals so.

We feel God has forsaken us
When clouds o'er hang our day
He knows the best, altho' He moves
In a mysterious way.

~From Echoes of life by Belle Tooley Stacy

Found in my Grandma's scrapbook c1930. The scrapbook was created from a Sears wallpaper catalogue which she filled with clippings of poems, quotes and stories. She died leaving Grandpa a widower a second time with several young children including my father who was about six.  My aunt thoughtfully shared with me with this treasured glimpse of Grandma's heart.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sweet Peace


"Nothing is lovelier in life, than the spirit of contentment. Fretting mars the beauty of many a face. Discontent spoils all one's world.

Out of whatever window he looks—the discontented person sees something that is not pleasing. But a contented person sees only good everywhere. The happiest homes in the world are not those in which are the finest carpets, the costliest pictures, the most luxurious furniture—but those in which contented, joyful hearts dwell.

A mind at peace, beautifies the plainest surroundings and even the hardest conditions."

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13

~J. R. Miller

Monday, August 21, 2017

Home Happiness

The garden just before sundown
"In the last analysis, home happiness depends on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing, the inspiration of a home.

Men with fine gifts think it worth while to live to paint a few great pictures which shall be looked at and admired for generations; or to write a few songs which shall sing themselves into the ears and hearts of men. But the woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies."

~J. R. Miller (1894)

"Chains do not hold a marriage together.
 It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads 
which sew people together through the years." 

~Simone Signoret Succe
~

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Telling the Bees


One of my favourite walks takes me down the Longwalk, through the rose-bowered Pergola, the herb garden and orchard and then down a grassy path which winds through wild roses and honeysuckle and blackberries, past the old cemetery to the ridge where I can watch the sun set beyond the meadows, grazing sheep, stream and mountains.  But just before the ridge, deep in a thicket to the right, nestles the home of my dear friends' bees.

Here is the place; right over the hill
Runs the path I took;
You can see the gap in the old wall still,
And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.
There is the house, with the gate red-barred,
And the poplars tall;
And the barn's brown length, and the cattle-yard,
And the white horns tossing above the wall.
There are the beehives ranged in the sun;
And down by the brink
Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o'errun,
Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink.
A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
Heavy and slow;
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows,
And the same brook sings of a year ago.
There 's the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze;
And the June sun warm
Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,
Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.
I mind me how with a lover's care
From my Sunday coat
I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair,
And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.
Since we parted, a month had passed,--
To love, a year;
Down through the beeches I looked at last
On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.
I can see it all now, - the slant wise rain
Of light through the leaves,
The sundown's blaze on her window-pane,
The bloom of her roses under the eaves.
Just the same as a month before,--
The house and the trees,
The barn's brown gable, the vine by the door,--
Nothing changed but the hives of bees.
Before them, under the garden wall,
Forward and back,
Went dreamily singing the chore-girl small,
Draping each hive with a shred of black.
Trembling, I listened: the summer sun
Had the chill of snow;
For I knew she was telling the bees of one
Gone on the journey we all must go!
Then I said to myself, "My Mary weeps
For the dead to-day:
Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps
The fret and the pain of his age away."
But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill,
With his cane to his chin,
The old man sat; and the chore-girl still
Sung to the bees stealing out and in.
And the song she was singing ever since
In my ear sounds on:--
"Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
Mistress Mary is dead and gone!"
~ John Greenleaf Whittier, 1858

~ The hives aforementioned. from which is gleaned exqusitely flavoured honey are tended by a beekeeper friend, who sent this poem and information from another beekeeper's site: http://www.badbeekeeping.com:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bless our Home

Homemade Rolls - photo by HMMooreNiver

"Bless our home, and make it fit for Thee, Oh God.
Send your Holy Spirit into each nook and cranny.
Let the walls resound with love and laughter.
Let your birds sing on your trees outside
and your lilies flourish in your gardens.
Bless our kitchen and fill it with the warmth of shared bread.
Bless our family room and fill it with loving communication.
Bless our bedrooms and fill them with restful slumber .
Bless each room and each of us, dear God,
and make yourself at home with us."

~ Dolores Curran


I don't know when was the last time I bought bread or rolls, but maybe it was some specialty buns for a barbeque.  Anyway, I have been making all of our breads for years now.  My favourite recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from our late English cousin.  It is so good that I seldom use another.

Homemade Bread or Rolls
Three cups unbleached organic flour
A couple tablespoons of grassfed butter or organic olive oil 
One tablespoon natural sugar, honey or maple syrup
One teaspoon yeast
One teasoon salt
Water 
If making teacakes, add chopped dried fruit and a little more sugar if desired

I just put all the ingredients into my food processor, turn it on and drizzle hot water in while the machine is running.  Let rise.   When doubled, knead and let rise again.  Knead a second time and form into a loaf of bread or about a dozen rolls or teacakes.   I form the rolls or teacakes and place on a baking sheet.  Bake rolls about twenty minutes at 350 degrees or bread about  thirty-five minutes.  Wonderful with homemade preserves.  Our English cousins split and toast the tea cakes and to serve with butter and preserves for afternoon tea.    mmm  

Note:  you can put the rolls into a container to freeze, removing as many as needed.  Wonderful reheated in the oven.   My husband prefers these for sandwiches.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Forgive and Forget


Caerlaverock Castle (from "caer laverock", "lark castle") is a moated triangular castle first built in the 13th century. It is located on the southern coast of Scotland.   Caerlaverock was a stronghold of the Maxwells from the 13th century until the 17th century when the castle was abandoned. It was besieged by the English during the Wars of Independence, and underwent several partial demolitions and reconstructions over the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th century, the Maxwells were created Earls of Niethdale and built a new lodging within the walls, described as among "the most ambitious early classical domestic architecture in Scotland". In 1640 the castle was besieged for the last time and was subsequently abandoned. Although demolished and rebuilt several times, the castle retains the distinctive triangular plan first laid out in the 13th century. Caerlaverock Castle was built to control trade in early times.
Caerlaverock Castle is surprisingly cozy inside, especially the upper chambers with the fireplaces and balconies with gorgeous views.  I could easily imagine living here!  Little did I know at that time that one of my grandmothers of long ago actually did!  I was quite taken by this castle when we first visited it a few years ago, fascinated by the feuding it endured with the rival clan, the Johnstones, whose family stronghold now is barely discernible.  I did get pictures.  At the time, I thought it curious that although our ancestors, the Johnstones supposedly won the feud, the Maxwells retained their castle, sort of.   Thought-provoking indeed!

Feuds are destructive and sad.  It is not easy to forgive seventy times seven but that is what we are to do.   Forgive and forget.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A nice place to be alone!


When I am all alone
Envy me most,
Then my thoughts flutter round me
In a glimmering host;
Some dressed in silver,
Some dressed in white,
Each like a taper
Blossoming light;
Most of them merry,
Some of them grave,
Each of them lithe
As willows that wave;
Some bearing violets,
Some bearing bay,
One with a burning rose
Hidden away --
When I am all alone
Envy me then,
For I have better friends
Than women and men. 

~Sara Teasdale


Monday, August 14, 2017

Too late

(Photo:  Grandmother's wicker settee on the back porch - a favourite place to rest, consider, read, write and,  especially,  visit with dear ones)
"Do not, then, keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead! Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them. The things you mean to say when they are gone—say before they go!

The flowers you mean to send for their coffins—send to brighten and sweeten their homes before they leave them.If a sermon helps you, it will do the preacher good to tell him of it. If the editor writes an article that you like, he can write a still better one next week if you send him a note of thanks. If a book you read is helpful, do you not owe it to the author to write him a word of acknowledgment? If you know a weary or neglected one or one overworked, would it not be such work as God's angels love to do—to seek to put a little brightness and cheer into his life, to manifest true sympathy with him, and to put into his trembling hand—the cup filled with the wine of human love? I have always said—and I am sure I am speaking for thousands of weary, plodding toilers—that if my friends have vases laid away, filled with the perfumes of sympathy and affection, which they intend to break over my dead body—I would be glad if they would bring them out in some of my weary hours and open them, that I may be refreshed and cheered by them while I need them. I would rather have a coffin without a flower, and a funeral without a spoken eulogy—than a life without the sweetness of human tenderness and cheer! If we would fulfill our mission, we must anoint our friends beforehand for their burial. Post-mortem kindnesses does not cheer the burdened spirit. Tears falling on the icy brow—make poor and tardy atonement for coldness and neglect and cruel selfishness in long, struggling years. Appreciation when the heart is stilled in death—has no inspiration for the spirit. Justice comes too late—when it is only pronounced in the funeral eulogy. Flowers piled on the coffin—cast no fragrance backward over the weary days."
  ~ J. R. Miller, 1880

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Slow down . . . stop, and smell the flowers

Sweet Peas started from seed collected from Grandma's garden
Slow down . . .
You are not responsible for doing it all yourself, right now.
Remember a happy, peaceful time in your past.
Rest there.
Each moment has richness that takes a lifetime to savor.
Set your own pace.
When someone is pushing you, it's OK to tell them they're pushing.
Take nothing for granted:
watch water flow,
the corn grow,
the leaves blow,
your neighbor mow.
Taste your food.
God gives it to delight as well as to nourish.
Notice the sun and the moon as they rise and set.
They are remarkable for their steady pattern of movement, not their speed.
Quit planning how you're going to use what you know, learn, or possess.
God's gifts just are; be grateful and their purpose will be clear.
When you talk with someone, don't think about what you'll say next.
Thoughts will spring up naturally if you let them.
Talk and play with children.
It will bring out the unhurried little person inside you.
Create a place in your home . . .
at your work . . .
in your heart . . .
where you can go for quiet and recollection.
You deserve it.
Allow yourself time to be lazy and unproductive.
Rest isn't luxury; it's a necessity.
Listen to the wind blow.
It carries a message of yesterday, tomorrow and now.
NOW counts.
Rest on your laurels.
They bring comfort whatever their size, age, or condition.
Talk slower.
Talk less.
Don't talk.
Communication isn't measured by words.
Give yourself permission to be late sometimes.
Life is for living, not scheduling.
Listen to the song of a bird; the complete song.
Music and nature are gifts, but only if you are willing to receive them.
Take time just to think.
Action is good and necessary, but it's fruitful only if we muse, ponder, and mull.
Make time for play - the things you like to do.
Whatever your age, your inner child needs re-creation.
Watch and listen to the night sky.
It speaks.
Listen to the words you speak, especially in prayer.
Learn to stand back and let others take their turn as leaders.
There will always be new opportunities
for you to step out in front again.
Divide big jobs into little jobs.
If God took six days to create the universe,
can you hope to do any better?
When you find yourself rushing & anxious, stop.
Ask yourself "WHY?"you are rushing and anxious.
The reasons may improve your self-understanding.
Take time to read.
Thoughtful reading is enriching reading.
Direct your life with purposeful choices, not with speed and efficiency.
The best musician is one who plays with expression and meaning,
not the one who finishes first.
Take a day off alone; make a retreat.
You can learn from monks and hermits without becoming one.
Pet a furry friend.
You will give and get the gift of now.
Work with your hands.
It frees the mind.
Take time to wonder.
Without wonder, life is merely existence.
Sit in the dark.
It will teach you to see and hear,
taste and smell.
Once in a while, turn down the lights, the volume, the throttle, the invitations.
Less really can be more.\
Let go.
Nothing is usually the hardest thing to do but often it is the best.
Take a walk-but don't go anywhere.
If you walk just to get somewhere,
you sacrifice the walking.
Count your friends.
If you have one, you are lucky.
If you have more, you are blessed.
Bless them in return.
Count your blessings - one at a time and slowly.

~author unknown

Friday, August 11, 2017

Summer is drifting away


"As lightly as a rose petal
upon the shimmering surface of a stream,
summer was drifting away."
~Myrtle Reed

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

If Only . . .


Could we but draw back the curtain,
That surrounds each others lives,
See the naked heart and spirit;
Know what spur the action gives;
Often we would find it better,
Purer then we think we would.
We would love each other better,
If we only understood.
Unknown It is a sweet thing,
Friendship, a dear balm,
A happy and auspicious bird of calm...
P. B. Shelly


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In School Days

Grass Lake Schoolhouse - now used to store hay
My stepdad and his ten siblings walked to this little schoolhouse so many years ago.  As you can see, it is now quite overgrown although seemingly used as a barn.  Don't you wish the walls could talk?  Oh, the stories they could tell!  I am reminded of this poem by

John Greenleaf Whittier

Still sits the schoolhouse by the road,
A ragged beggar, sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry vines are creeping.
Within, the master's desk is seen,
Deep-scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The jack-knife's carved initial;
The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
Its door's worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!
Long years ago a winter sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
And low eaves' icy fretting.
It touched the tangled golden curls
And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
When all the school was leaving.
For near it stood the little boy
Her childish favor singled,
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.
Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left, he lingered; --
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.
He saw her lift her eyes, he felt
The soft hand's light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
As if a fault, confessing.
"I'm sorry that I spelt the word.
I hate to go above you.
Because,"-- the brown eyes lower fell, --
 "Because, you see, I love you!"
Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! The grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing!
He lives to learn, in life's hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss,
 Like her, because they love him.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Home from the Fields


"Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home."  So true.  And this back porch is what sold me on this old house which now fortuitously is furnished with great grandmother's wicker which, at the time, we didn't know existed. 

But going for a walk in the fields is such a peaceful, inspiring way "to get away from it all", even better than this idyllic scene.  Spurgeon has some insightful thoughts on this:

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide. . .
--Genesis 24:63

"Very admirable was his occupation. If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes, could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities which now have such charms for them. We should all know more, live nearer to God, and grow in grace, if we were more alone. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed. Isaac found Rebecca while engaged in private musings; many others have found their best beloved there.

Very admirable was the choice of place. In the field we have a study hung round with texts for thought. From the cedar to the hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all things are full of teaching, and when the eye is divinely opened, that teaching flashes upon the mind far more vividly than from written books. Our little rooms are neither so healthy, so suggestive, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean, but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and the field will at once be hallowed.

Very admirable was the season. The season of sunset as it draws a veil over the day, befits that repose of the soul when earthborn cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If the business of this day will permit it, it will be well, dear reader, if you can spare an hour to walk in the field at eventide, but if not, the Lord is in the town too, and will meet with thee in thy chamber or in the crowded street. Let thy heart go forth to meet Him."

~Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, August 6, 2017

These Things


These things I'm thankful for;

God's gifts on earth that we share.

The majesty of His handiwork;

Esteemed beyond compare.


Frail words cannot express,

Nor lowly anthems exclaim

Thy great omnipotence, freely giv'n.

We are humbled before Your name.


I pray for the will to live by Thy Word.

With grateful and penitent heart.

And with my mouth I shall sing Thy praises:

"My God How Great Thou Art!"


These things I'm thankful for;

The gift of Jesus on earth.

Our souls redeemed through His living Word,

And the miracle of His birth.


I lay my burdens down

And rest my wearisome load.

God takes my hand as He beckons me

Within His safe abode.


And in His arms I pour,

My strength, my life and my all.

With calm assurance, He bears me up.

God's love will not let me fall.


Upon the Solid Rock I stand,

Relieved and refreshed within.

My life, I willingly dedicate,

As He takes away my sin.


And so with grateful heart,

I count my blessings o'er.

God's strength and grace, His unfailing love;

These things I am thankful for.

~Deb Spaulding 8/09

(Used with permission)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Home Sweet Home


Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest.

~Henry Van Dyke

Friday, August 4, 2017

Now summer



 


"Now summer is in flower and natures hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi' glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun."
 
- John Clare, June