Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Revisiting Gift From the Sea

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that one of my all-time favorite books is Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I just finished reading it for the ninth time. I write in the front of the book the date read and a remark or two.

First entry-Bought in August 1999 at Captiva Island, Florida by Deborah C. Bailey

Second/Third Entry-Read again in August 2004 and 2005 at Destin, FL

Fourth Entry-And yet again in September, 2006 at Destin, FL as before with Gayle and Darcie. This book means more to me every time I read it. The Oyster Bed, p. 78, is where we are now but at the end. We're halfway -no, more toward the Argonauta than Oyster Bed.

Fifth Entry-August 28, 2007-It's our 31st wedding anniversary and we're here in Destin with Darcie. Each time I read this book I find something that speaks to me differently than the last time I read it. We're having some growing pains as we try to move into the Argonauta phase of our relationship. Psalm 30:10-12: Hear , O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto Thee for ever.

Sixth Entry-May 2008-Fripp Island, SC. A storm out at sea washed the beach full of shells and other things aquatic. I found all of the shells mentioned in this book. This reading found me identifying with p. 103. I'm learning to let go...

Seventh Entry-February 2009-I usually read this book in the summer at the beach, but I felt in need of her wisdom, so I read it earlier this year. I'm still trying to shed off external things; internal too. Will the process ever end?

Eighth Entry-August 2011-Started reading this book yet again in anticipation of finishing it at Destin. Darcie and I didn't get to go because Laurel's twin girls were born the day before we were to leave. I'm still in the Oyster Bed stage but very much looking forward to the Argonauta. Praise the Lord for a safe delivery!

Ninth Entry-July 4, 2012-Ninth reading on Jekyll Island, GA. Gayle, Darcie, and I came down for a few days while Garrett joined us for two days and then rode home with us. I'm catching glimpses of the Argonauta stage and like what I see.

Note: Gayle is my husband, Laurel is my oldest child, Garrett is my second child.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Two for One or in this case it's One for Two

On a recent trip to take the twins to see their great-grandparents, I traveled with my daughter up to Tennessee. We stopped for lunch, but the place only had one high chair. Not to worry. We put both of the itty bitties into the available chair, and they had a grand time swapping french fries. Aren't they the cutest things since...well, ever?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fork in the Road & Forked Again

About half a mile down the dirt road from our house is a fork in the road. One day I noticed a giant metal fork there. I thought it was a really cute idea. Apparently someone else liked it too, because they stole it. From a two-line blurp in the local newspaper, I found out that one of our neighbors had made it and put it there and called the police when it was stolen.

A few days later I saw this second fork at the same place. I'm glad my neighbor has a sense of humor about it.

Sorry that the order of these photos is backward. The big silver fork should have been the top photo. I'm sure that you, my amazing reader, will be able to understand it anyway.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Retirement Presents

Originally I was looking for Roy Strong's Destruction of Country Houses, but whenever I did find a copy it was $75.00 on up. I didn't want it that badly. I'll keep looking though. Part of the thrill for me is the hunt. Excess testosterone, I guess!

These two treasures came in the mail yesterday as part of a 'retirement present' I'm giving myself for 28 years of homeschooling our five children. I don't need a gold watch.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eric Satie's Work Habits & Music

Erik Satie
On most mornings after he moved to Arcueil, Satie would return to Paris on foot, a distance of about ten kilometres, stopping frequently at his favourite cafés on route. Accoring to Templier, "he walked slowly, taking small steps, his umbrella held tight under his arm. When talking he would stop, bend one knee a little, adjust his pince-nez and place his fist on his lap. The he would take off once more with small deliberate steps."

When he eventually reached Paris he visited friends, or arranged to meet them in other cafés by sending pneumatiques. Often the walking from place to place continued, focussing on Montmarte before the war, and subsequently on Montparnasse. From here, Satie would catch the last train back to Arcueil at about 1.00am, or, if he was still engaged in serious drinking, he would miss the train and begin the long walk home during the early hours of the morning. Then the daily round would begin again.

Roger Shattuck, in conversations with John Cage in 1982, put forward the interesting theory that "the source of Satie's sense of musical beat--the possibility of variation within repetition, the effect of boredom on the organism--may be this endless walking back and forth across the same landscape day after day . . . the total observation of a very limited and narrow environment." During his walks, Satie was also observed stopping to jot down ideas by the light of the street lamps he passed.

Robert Orledge, Satie Remembered. French translations by Roger Nichols. (Thanks to Tom Cunliffe.)

See also: "A Day in the Life of a Musician" by Erik Satie

I've read other places that the rhythm of walking jogs the brain into creativity. I agree with that whole-heartedly, as I can attest to that happening often as I'm out walking our dirt roads in South Georgia. I used to carry pen and paper with me to jot down ideas as they came. Now I use my Iphone the same way. What a wonderful invention!

The music of the Baroque and Classical periods will do it too; especially the Baroque. It's metered and same-rhythm qualities spur the mind into creative mode. I listen to this kind of music early in the morning to get into a steady work rhythm. Later in the afternoon as I begin to unwind, I'll listen to soft Celtic or what's labeled 'New Age' music to quiet down my mind and body.

The music on my piano above is by Satie. I heard it on Sirius Radio, found out what it was, and went to FreeScores.com where I was able to print it off for FREE. It's a pretty easy piece to learn. The melody is so lovely and haunting. I just had to learn it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Cuppa Anytime

"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea." The philosopher Heroux

He got that right! I have a cup with breakfast; usually English or Irish Breakfast or Yorkshire Gold. In the wintertime, I'll have another cup around 10:30 using the same teabag. And then at 4:00 in the afternoon, I'll have a cup of decaf Earl Grey. I always add one teaspoon of sugar and a big glug of real cream. And if I'm having trouble sleeping, I'll brew a cup of Sleepy Time or Chamomile. I don't usually have four cups a day; most likely two, and I drink more hot tea in the winter than in the summertime. When the weather's hot, I'll skip the mid-morning cup and have a glass of sweet, iced tea for lunch.

If something traumatic has happened in the English novels I read and love, tea loaded down with sugar is always given for 'restorative effect'. But if I have more than a scant teaspoon, I'll get a headache. Didn't used to be that way. Just one of the charms of growing older.

My number one, absolute favorite is Yorkshire Gold. What's your favorite tea and when do you drink it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More on Finding Balance

"I believe that a healthy sharing of oneself is a holy call, but so is caring for ourselves and taking time for the beautiful mysteries God created within us. The important thing is balance. Being a martyr distorts the virtuous ideal of giving to others by crossing over into victim pastures and a self-denial that squelches selfhood and the creative life of the soul." Annie O'Shaunnessy

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Painting in Acrylics

This 6x8 painting is an acrylic I made at our monthly art association meeting. The facilitator made a paint blot by squirting paint on one piece of paper and folding the other over onto it and smashing the two together to make mirror images on both sides of paper. We were then asked to paint what we saw. I just took the two predominate colors, yellow and black, and began working with them. When I started I had no idea what it would end up being.

At first I was extremely frustrated, but after some self-talk and encouragement from those around me, I loosened up and actually started having fun with the process. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. Tongue in cheek, I'm calling it Sunset Over the Atlantic.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Artist's Duty

"The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world."

*Tuscan Landscape painting is by my friend Barbara Akins.

- G. K. Chesterton

Sewing Camp This Week

I spent most of June getting organized and decluttered. July is going to be for digging in and getting things done. I've arranged the weeks as follows:

July 9-Sewing Camp
July 16-Photography Camp
July 23-Art Camp
July 30-Sewing Camp II

I usually go to the John C. Campbell Folk School to attend a week-long camp, but it just didn't work out this summer. So I thought, "But there's no reason why I can't make my own camps and learn about things I'm interested in." So that's exactly what I'm doing and am pretty excited about it.

I thought about being in 'class' all day, but with my other household duties, that's not possible. So I'm giving over 1 1/2 hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon for a total of 3 hours a day for camp. I should be able to get lots done in that time. I'll report back at the end of the week and let you know.

This morning I was able to get the panties almost finished and should be able to do that this afternoon.

This is the list of things I hope to accomplish during the two sewing camps this month.
1. Make girls' crossover dresses and panties
2. Make 3-4 pillows for the couch
3. Finish all repairs in basket
4. Make girls' white linen birthday dresses
5. Make blue ticking flowers and attach to a brown canvas purse

So that's my plan for this week's Sewing Camp.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Rotten Review

Ralph Waldo Emerson on Jane Austen: "I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world." From the book Rotten Reviews by Bill Henderson

Read What You Enjoy

"Never force yourself to read a book that you do not enjoy. There are so many good books in the world that it is foolish to waste time on one that does not give you pleasure and profit." Professor Atwood H. Townsend

I've finally gotten to the place where I can take Professor Townsend's advice. Last week I put down two library books that I just couldn't get into for whatever reason. Maybe I'll come back to them later or maybe not. They just didn't capture my attention right now, and that's okay. No guilt.

Reading in Bed

I consider reading in bed in the early morning a great luxury. Usually I'm up, dressed, and getting on with my day by 5:30, but on some summer mornings I wake up, reach over to the nightstand, and get the book I put there the night before for just such a purpose. Yes, I preplan such a heady event in order to enjoy it before it happens. I think about it before going to sleep and smile in anticipation.

What is one of your favorite luxuries?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fun With Postcards

I'm participating in a postcard art swap. Here's how it works. You send in five postcards with your artwork on it. They can all be the same or five different ones. I'm sending in five different ones. It's easy to do since my medium is photography.

When the coordinator gets everyone's art, she mails our postcards to other participating artists so we receive five new postcards from around the world and one from the coordinator (she's an artist, too). That means we'll be getting six in all. I can't wait to see where they come from and what medium the artists will be using.

The clever person who thought of this idea is Kat Sloma. Her blog is Kat Eye Studio. I can't get the link to work, but you can look it up on Google. Sorry! Her blog has some good ideas for photography. She's generous and likes to help people. Check her out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Best Reason for Simplicity

"We simplify, not just to be less busy, even though we may be right to pursue that. Rather, we simplify to remove distractions from our pursuit of Christ. WE prune activities from our lives, not only to get organized, but also that our devotion to Christ and service for His kingdom will be more fruitful. We simplify, not merely to save time, but to eliminate hindrances to the time we devote to knowing Christ. All the reasons we simplify should eventually lead us to Jesus Christ." ~Donald S. Whitney

Thanks, Wayside Wanderer, for the above quote. It's the reason for simplicity to the Christian. I need to keep this utmost in my mind so I'll remember that my life isn't "all about me".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Simplicity or Multiplicity?

More from Gift From The Sea: "Life today in America is based on the premise of ever-widening circles of contact and communication. It involves not only family demands, but community demands, national demands, international demands on the good citizen, through social and cultural pressures, through newspapers, magazines, radio programs, political drives, charitable appeals, and so on. My mind reels with it. What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us.

We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head.

This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace, it destroys the soul. And this is not only true of my life. I am forced to conclude, it is the life of millions of women in America. I stress America, because today, the American woman more than any other has the privilege of choosing such a life.

Woman in large parts of the civilized world has been forced back by war, by poverty, by collapse, by the sheer struggle to survive, into a smaller circle of immediate time and space, immediate family life, immediate problems of existence. The American woman is still relatively free to choose the wider life."

She really knows how to nail a problem, doesn't she? I'm truly glad that we American women have choices, but for me, I have to choose simplicity. When I widen my circle too much, I get fragmented and frazzled. None of my pieces are beneficial to anyone. If I want to be whole, I must have a simple life, and that mostly means staying at home.

Ever since school has been out and I've been able to stay home more, the difference has been amazing! I'm much calmer and can actually complete a thought. Maybe I even get to write it down in a journal or blog post. This is the way I need/want to live.
I'm going to spend July and the first two weeks of August getting my heels dug in so that when school starts I can hang on to this way of life.

And to think Anne wrote her book BEFORE the internet and social media were invented. I wonder what her book would say if it were written now?

Gift From the Sea-Revisited

We're taking a few days vaca at Jekyll Island, GA. I'm reading Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh for the ninth time. It's a book that I never get tired of. If you've never read it, you must. It speaks to every stage of a woman's life.

As I was reading today, a sentence resonated with me. It said, "One falls under their (waves) spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which on lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today's tides of all yesterday's scribblings."

I want all my yesterday's scribblings to be erased. I'm up at 1:00 a.m. right now unable to sleep. I'm all out of sorts from all the travelling we've been doing for the past three months. The older I get, the less flexible I get about getting away from my usual routine. Or maybe it's just the back-to-back trips we've been making. Whatever it is, I'm topsy-turvy, and I don't like it.

So while we're here at the beach, I hope to lie flat and let the sun and surf do its good work.