Friday, December 31, 2010

Love In Progress

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image-otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." Thomas Merton

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Reading Challenge

I'm always hesitant about signing on for a challenge, but this one was so different that I've decided to do it. I have several books about Ireland I've been wanting to read, so this will give me the impetus to get on it.

Here's the list from my own books that I plan on reading in this challenge:
1. How the Irish Saved Civilization-Thomas Cahill
2-6-The Irish Country Series by Patrick Taylor-There are five of them
7.The Luck of the Irish, Our Life in County Clare-Niall Williams and Christine Breen
8.The Pipes Are Calling, Our Jaunts through Ireland-" "
9.Anything by Oscar Wilde

Anyone want to make a recommendation for an Irish book? I think I'm going to like this challenge. I've been wanting to go to Ireland for years. Maybe after reading these books, we'll take a trip to the Emerald Isle.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Best Way to Live

Here's an excellent quote by Alain de Botton, which I took from the blog Becca & Bella, on the contemporary difficulty of constant distraction and our tendencies toward indulgence and over-feeding in all areas of life:

"One of the more embarrassing and self-indulgent challenges of our time is the task of relearning how to concentrate. The past decade has seen an unparalleled assault on our capacity to fix our minds steadily on anything. To sit still and think, without succumbing to an anxious reach for a machine, has become almost impossible.

The obsession with current events is relentless. We are made to feel that at any point, somewhere on the globe, something may occur to sweep away old certainties—something that, if we failed to learn about it instantaneously, could leave us wholly unable to comprehend ourselves or our fellows. We are continuously challenged to discover new works of culture—and, in the process, we don’t allow any one of them to assume a weight in our minds. We leave a movie theater vowing to reconsider our lives in the light of a film’s values. Yet by the following evening, our experience is well on the way to dissolution, like so much of what once impressed us: the ruins of Ephesus, the view from Mount Sinai, the feelings after finishing Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich.

A student pursuing a degree in the humanities can expect to run through 1,000 books before graduation day. A wealthy family in England in 1250 might have owned three books: a Bible, a collection of prayers, and a life of the saints—this modestly sized library nevertheless costing as much as a cottage. The painstaking craftsmanship of a pre-Gutenberg Bible was evidence of a society that could not afford to make room for an unlimited range of works but also welcomed restriction as the basis for proper engagement with a set of ideas.

The need to diet, which we know so well in relation to food, and which runs so contrary to our natural impulses, should be brought to bear on what we now have to relearn in relation to knowledge, people, and ideas. Our minds, no less than our bodies, require periods of fasting."

Top two photos are from my 'mind fast' last weekend at Fripp Island.

The cloister photo was taken in Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England.

My Favorite Authors

I've been seeing on various blogs different 'favorite authors' lists. I thought I'd post my own. This is not exhaustive, and as soon as I'm finished, I'm sure I'll think of someone else to add.

So here goes:

Mark Twain
Anthony Trollope
Kathleen Norris
Elizabeth Goudge
Pat Conroy
Susan Howatch
Rosamunde Pilcher
Barbara Michaels
Jan Karon
Susan Vreeland
C.S. Lewis
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Diana Gabaldon
Alexander McCall Smith
Bill Bryson
Jean Craighead George
D.E. Stevenson
L.M. Montgomery
Madeleine L'Engle
Beverley Nichols
Gladys Tabor
Jane Austen
Mrs. Radcliffe (Anne)
The Bronte Sisters
Daphne Du Maurier
Augusta Jane Evans
Thomas Hardy

And my favorite 'beach trash' authors:
Janet Evanovich
Jude Deveraux

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Happy Place

The top two photos are the views from the deck of the tiny house I'm renting this weekend at my beloved Fripp Island, SC. After the super busy fall I've had, I needed a getaway before Christmas gets here. I'm having a good time reading, planning, watching videos, walking on the beach, and anything else that catches my fancy.

The same day I left, our youngest son graduated from college. We're so proud of him and all he has accomplished. The flames are from a Japanese restaurant hibachi where we went to celebrate after graduation.

The musician is none other than the famous, Dr. Michael Braz. All five of our children have been under his tutelage in the community youth choir. I thought it was fitting that he send Dylan out into the world with his lovely music.