Saturday, December 31, 2011


I do not advise that we end the year on a somber note. 

The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity.

If we are good students in the school of life, there is much the years have to teach us.

But the Christian is more than a student, more than a philosopher.

He is a believer, and the object of his faith makes the difference, the mighty difference. 

Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings.  He has dealt with life at its source.

In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared.

He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God.

The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation.

A.W. Tozer - The Warfare of the Spirit

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Cookie Thief

Today I enjoyed a Christmas Cookie Exchange with the ladies from my church.  Aside from the enjoyable company and delicious breakfast, we heard a cute poem that reminded us to think kindly of others FIRST!

A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight,
She hunted for a book in the airport shop,
Bough a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book, but happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be,
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between,
Which she tried to ignore, to avoid a scene.
She read, munched cookies, and watched the clock,
As the gutsy "cookie thief" diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, "if I wasn't so nice, I would blacken his eye!"
With each cookie she took, he took one too.
When only one was left, she wondered what he'd do.
With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other.
She snatched it from him and thought, Oh brother,
This guy has some nerve and he's also rude.
Why, he didn't even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back at the "thieving ingrate."
She boarded the plane and sank in her seat,
Then sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise:
THERE were her cookies in front of her eyes.
If mine are here, she moaned with despair,
Then the others were his and he tried to share!
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief!

by Valerie Cox

Here's a picture of the platter of cookies that I took to the party.  They are Molasses Cookies, a recipe  (link) I got from a co-worker in 1979!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gustava (Gustie) Amanda Daniel Jordan

Today is my paternal grandmother's birthday.

Born in 1896 -  December 11

Died in 1959 -  March 4

when I was only ten months old.

I have a few reminders of her ~

a pastel-colored baby quilt featuring a kitten

several tried and true recipes like Garlic Cream Cheese, 1-2-3-4 Cake, and Cranberry Shrub.

Her just-older sister, Beulah Naomi aka Baba, lived in Atlanta near us, visiting at holidays and occasionally inviting me and my sister to luncheon at Rich's Magnolia Tea Room. Knowing her gave me a tiny bit of insight into my grandmother's personality.

Here's a link to the story I wrote about her four years ago.

But that's not very much.

Guess that means it's time to contact relatives and gather more details about this important lady in my life.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Roasted Turkey
Cornbread Dressing
Cranberry Sauce
Mushrooms 'n Onions
Shannon's Green Beans
Roasted Cauliflower
Sweet Potato Souffle

Not Pictured ~
Sister Schubert Parker House Rolls
SJ's Homegrown Lettuce 'n Apple Salad
Four different wines compliments of Bert

Piece of Cake Fresh Coconut Cake


Around the table we numbered nine:

BaaBee and DanDan
Shannon and Bert
Dana and Ken
PeggyDee and Mark

We gathered together to ask the Lord's blessings.

He fails not.

For me the best holiday moment happened around our kitchen table on Wednesday night before the main event.

I was cooking.  DH was eating a sandwich for dinner.

Our 21 y o daughter read aloud to us ~

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
written by Eric Metaxas
illustrated by Shannon Stirnwels

Thanks, PeggyDee!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grace and Providence

Almighty King!  whose wondrous hand
Supports the weight of the sea and land;
Whose grace is such a boundless store,
No heart shall break that sighs for more.

Thy providence supplies my food,
And 'tis Thy blessing makes it good;
My soul is nourish'd by Thy Word,
Let soul and body praise the Lord!

My streams of outward comfort came
From Him who built this earthly frame;
Whate'er I want His bounty gives,
By whom my soul forever lives.

Either His hand preserves from pain,
Or, if I feel it, heals again;
From Satan's malice shields my breast,
Or overrules it for the best.

Forgive the song that falls so low
Beneath the gratitude I owe!
It means Thy praise; however poor,
An angel's song can do no more.

by William Cowper
English Poet and Hymnodist
1731 - 1800

Illustration compliments of

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to Join Weight Watchers

1)   I have never tried their plan(s) before.
2)   I want to jump start my metabolism and loose some weight.
3)   I like the vast array of resources and information.
4)   I think the accountability will help my ability to exercise will-power.
5)   I hope to relieve some major indigestion by making better food choices.
6)   I want to use regular food, not packaged meal shakes/protein bars.
7)   I like the online version and mobile application (read no meetings!).
8)   I have a friend who signed up and encouraged me.
9)   My doctor (DH) thinks it's the best diet of all.
10) It changed what I ate for dinner tonight!

Wish me luck!

PS  Photo of homemade Blackeyed-Pea and Sausage Soup and cheddar cheese toast.  Recipe for soup will be posted sometime next week.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Ten Things

After listening to a speech given at a recent tea party rally, I have distilled the message into ten words.  The heart of the message is a prescription for saving not just America but freedom - both political and religious.

1)   Believe
2)   Act
3)   Pray
4)   Discern
5)   Support
6)   Vote
7)   Join
8)   Subscribe
9)   Testify
10) Persevere

I plan to write a vignette about each of these action words.

In the meantime, let's examine the landscape and renew our commitment to culture.

The following quote is from one of my college professors, Russell Kirk.  The garden metaphor gives me more direction and is a huge encouragement.

A culture is perennially in need of renewal.
A culture does not survive and prosper merely by being taken for granted; active defense is always required, and imaginative growth, too.

Everyone is involved.
This is a link to an artist who supports the cause.

Whether you like it or not.

Whether you acknowledge it or not.

Be a force for Good.
This is a link to a expositional sermon on Psalm 111 where the LORD is praised for His Goodness.

Make sure it lasts.
This is a link to an essay about Steve Jobs who died this past week.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Island Kiss Meets Pumpkin

Never would I have thought to put together pink and orange, but that's how the Fall Palette is giving me courage and confidence.

I happened upon this lightweight, pumpkin-colored (read emberglow) tote in the gift shop section of my hairdresser's studio.

Only because I was actually wearing the scarf around my neck at the time that I picked up the tote did I realize the two accessories would go together.

Then once at home I remembered the yellow (read bamboo) rosebud from an old sweater.


Fait accompli!

I feel like an artist who has just finished a painting.

Now I am ready for Fall.

How you are tackling the changing weather?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fashion on Friday:Fall Palette

I saw the first pear
as it fell—
the honey-seeking, golden-banded,
the yellow swarm
was not more fleet than I,
(spare us from loveliness)
and I fell prostrate
you have flayed us
with your blossoms,
spare us the beauty
of fruit-trees.

The honey-seeking
paused not,
the air thundered their song,
and I alone was prostrate.

O rough-hewn
god of the orchard,
I bring you an offering—
do you, alone unbeautiful,
son of the god,
spare us from loveliness:

these fallen hazel-nuts,
stripped late of their green sheaths,
grapes, red-purple,
their berries
dripping with wine,
pomegranates already broken,
and shrunken figs
and quinces untouched,
I bring you as offering.

by H.D.

Orchard is the title of this colorful verse by a poet new to me ~ Hilda Dolittle (1886-1961).  Her Imagist style sent me running for the Pantone photo I carry in my pocketbook, the one posted above.

They seem to talk to one another.

Without knowing

they are related


have adopted me.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fashion on Friday

Meet Island Kiss!

She first graced my wardrobe this past Spring but quickly retreated because it was plainly too hot for wraps, or anything around the neck.

Months ago I chose the Island Kiss pattern because it highlighted the 2011 Spring Palette.

Now cooler temperatures have lured this lightweight scarf out of the closet.

As Summer turns into Fall I'm planning to use her as my transitional piece.

Clearly she has the umph to keep the Color of the Year alive and well in my closet.

Furthermore she's tempting me with Bamboo!

Overall I've been quite amazed at the way just  a little color knowledge has helped me feel more fashionable and more organized.

What about you?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Fashion on Friday:Honeysuckle

Meet the Pantone 2011 Color of the Year ~ Courageous, confident, and vital!

Over the summer I tried to incorporate this color into my wardrobe even while recognizing that *pink* is not one of my favorites.

It can easily make me look washed out and tired, unless I'm wearing the right foundation and blush. So in an effort to stay fashionable and not look fatigued, I tended to accessorize with honeysuckle.

For example, OPI's *Party in My Cabana* rescued my toenails.

Cover Girl *Rose Pearl* on my lips coordinated the look and made all the other pink shades in my closet reflect Pantone's selection.

Finally, here's how I pulled it together for the annual photo shoot.

The blouse is *OLD*, so much so that one of my daughters suggested I not wear it.  I reminded her that seersucker never goes out of style  ;-)

Now that Fall is fast approaching, Honeysuckle remains on the palette.

I look forward to the challenge of making it work in my winter wardrobe.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Larry McDonald Memorial Highway

All we need do is return to the fine highway we were once on.

There is a stretch of Interstate Highway 75 from the Chattahoochee River northward to the Tennessee state line that I have traveled all my life, but that I want to call to your attention today.

In 1998, the Georgia General Assembly designated this thoroughfare, the Larry McDonald Memorial Highway.

Thousands of people pass this sign daily.

I suspect that most ignore it.

Today, on the 28th anniversary of his death, do I especially remember this family friend, former employer, and dedicated American by calling attention to the principles he dedicated his life to teaching and preserving.

The above quote comes from the first chapter of his book, We Hold These Truths: A Reverent Review of the U.S. Constitution, and tells us how to reclaim our freedoms. 

The complexity of social organization does change. Our technologically sophisticated industrial society is more complex than the agrarian society of the eighteenth century. In this regard, that was a "simpler world."
But the complexities of politics (politics here meaning the science of governing) do not change much.
The basic political problems confronting the Framers of our Constitution were as complex as our political problems today - perhaps more so, because they were striking off into the dangerous unknown, whereas
all we need do is return to the fine highway we were once on.

Skip watching the Republican Presidential Debate next week.

Read Larry McDonald's book and use it as a guide to assess a political candidate's worthiness of your support.

He explains the *free way*.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

CWAC Thanks

Dear BaaBee and DanDan ~

Recently I blogged about Cousins Week at Callaway not being over until we gathered again around the dinner table and recounted our stories about the week, but I think there is more.

Truly, the annual reunion is not complete until you two have been thanked in person and in writing for this irreplacable gift of time, talent, and treasure.

As I have continued to think about about each of the days spent at Callaway this year, I came up with an host of nouns that describe this recurring favorite event in my life.

Then I used some of my pictures to illustrate these ideas ~  like

fields trips,

I know others have pictures that showcase these things (like Os's fireworks), but here are mine for a start.

Thank you very much for making this all possible.

We are very much looking forward to next year.

Love, Dana

PS I can already see that I left out my Circle Time photo ;-( Thank goodness for software that allows for easy editing ;-)

Added next day ~ Circle Time

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CWAC Review

Back home from our week-long family reunion at Callaway Gardens, the celebratory week is really not complete until we've recapped the festivities around the Sunday dinner table.  Here's the only photo I remembered to take that day ~

of my tablescape.

I'm kicking myself for forgetting to photograph the food and the people  :-(

Any who.....

On Friday (the last full day of our reunion), I started thinking about Sunday's menu when touring the Jenny Jack Sun Farm in Pine Mountain, GA,

That's when I made my purchase of:

Green Beans, Yellow Squash, Sweet Onions, Purple Peppers, Tomatoes, and Cantaloupe.

A veggie plate was formulating on my taste buds, but once I got home I realized that I had miscounted the number of guests.

So, I added a smoked turkey breast to round out the meal.

Here's the menu ~

Bloody Mary Cocktail or White Wine Spritzer (while I rolled out the biscuits)

Bates Farm
Smoked Turkey Breast (a 2010 Christmas gift from my brother &his wife)
Brown Rice en casserole
Steamed Green Beans
Sauteed Yellow Squash 'n Onions
Whole Wheat Biscuits

Sweet Tea or Water

Blueberry Crisp a la mode

We told lots of stories, shared photo memory cards, and made plans for next year.

Yup, that's right - already talking about next year!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

CWAC 2011

Cousins Week at Callaway

For the twentieth time we will gather in Pine Mountain, Georgia for an annual family reunion, complete with photo shoot. We actually started gathering in the early 80s at my parents' home, but we quickly outgrew that.

There are a total of 29 first cousins.

That came from 6 siblings.

That came from 1 mother.

And 1 father

Whose father would be the 123 years old today.

Let the festivities begin!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Much Depends Upon Dinner*

Children in our culture learn manners at the dining table, and not manners only.

It is believed that falling away from the cultural custom of eating with others at table three times a day can cause backwardness in all of a child's speaking skills.

pg 13

Cultural anthropologist, Margaret Visser, has intrigued me for a long time.  Ever since I received her first book* as a gift.  And while I have not finished reading this one, the two-sentence excerpt above covers a lot of ground when it comes to rearing a family these days.

I think many make the task out to be harder than it really is.

Just remember ~

Eat together often.

Visitin'  happens.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Home-Concealed Woman

Having attended a funeral this past week for a dear family friend, I was reminded of an obituary found in the Afterword of one of my favorite books.

Magnolia Wynn LeGuin's death was deeply felt by all who knew her, as her obituary in the Henry County Weekly Advertiser (12 November 1947) proclaimed with simple elegance.

On Thursday, November 6, 1947, in the usual quiet of Autumn dawn, a stillness we seldom know seemed to hover over New Hope Community.

Our hearts were pierced with pain and yet, relief mingled together when word came that Mrs. G.G. LeGuin, familiarly know as "Miss Mag," had moved to the "Home not built with hands," a reward she so richly deserved, for such a beautiful life she had lived!

She was a loving mother, devoted wife, friend to humanity, a good, kind neighbor, and indeed a true and faithful christian, if there ever was one.  We know nothing too good to speak or write of her.  To know her was to love her.  These words were equally fitting for her while she lived as they are now.  No one knows just how many lives were enriched nor how many blessings she rendered.

Mrs. LeGuin was before her marriage, Magnolia Wynn, and spent her life at old Wynn's Mill where she was born.  She was in her 79th year.  She loved people, loved to talk and loved old New Hope Methodist Church where she will be missed as the oldest member and where she has been a pillar.  Many think of her as their "second mother."

This book is shelved in my genealogy section not because I am directly related to Mrs. LeGuin but because her diaries offer insight into the lives of my great-grandmothers.

Spiller, Filler, and Thriller

Gardening is not my forte, but I do love a pretty view when looking out the kitchen window.

So, I'm practicing by working with containers on my back deck, before I venture out into the big, bad world that is our half-acre plot here in hilly, rocky Cherokee County, GA.

After reading a newspaper article detailing a formula, I put together this rendition last Saturday afternoon just in time for Sunday company.

A varigated ground cover whose name I forgot, spills over the sides of this black metal chair. 

Petunias fill the bed or seat of the chair.

The pink Calla Lily is supposed to grow taller and be my *thriller*.

Platform feeder on the right where cardinals, titmice, brown thrashers, and chipmunks feast.

Bird bath on the left where I see squirrels, birds and insects drink and bathe.

Here's another view from the kitchen windows which shows a basket of thyme (which happens to be flowering right now) and three orange zinnias.

Look to the left down the deck for my *herb garden* which includes basil, chives, cilantro, mint, sage, and dill.

Toward the end there is a pot of mixed chrysanthemums held over from this past Fall. They are about to bloom. We shall see what colors are mixed. I'm expecting white and yellow.

Then some liriope aka monkey grass.

Then a pitiful hyndrangea purchased for color at Valentine's Day.  Can I find a place for it in the landscape before the hot sun burns it up?

The blue bucket contains four tomato plants waiting for a better home.

Finally, take a peek to the right down the stairs.  The delphinium is joined with some creeping jenny and presides over half a dozen pots of zinnias.

I guess the real test comes later during the long, hot summer.

Will I be able to keep these babies alive?

The garden hose is poised to help  ;-)

What does your garden grow?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Menu

Beef Stew Gaston
Steamed Cauliflower
Multi-grain Roll

2006 Cotes du Rhone Red Wine

Apple Pie a la mode

The fun thing about this menu is that I prepared enough to send each of my guests home with leftovers - enough for another meal.

Photo of my nephew with his grandmother.

Yes, grandfather was there.

And KSJ.

Le Cadeau Ideal?  NCIS Season 3  ;-)

Sunday Sermon at Chalcedon Presbyterian Church was delivered by Guest Pastor Donald D. Crowe, author of Creation Without Compromise.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Fatal Conceit

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

F. A. Hayek
Austrian Economist
1899 - 1992

Not generally a fan of rap, I am do recommend watching these videos using this new type of music to explain economics.  Link to

FWIW - I had the distinct opportunity to have dinner with Professor/Doctor Hayek in 1977, when I was a student at Hillsdale College.  I was just 19 years old and failed to take the opportunity to ask good questions while sitting on his immediate left.  The main thing I remember were his manners ~ when the meal was over, he politely asked if I minded, if he dipped  ;-)

Friday, April 29, 2011


Today is the birthday of this poet and I've been saving this poem for my final entry of my month-long tribute to National Poetry Month.  Blogger-friend, Cindy, writes to encourage homeschool families and that's where I first read these inspirational verses.

THIS I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:-
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel-
That blue blade that the king's son bears,-but this
Blunt thing-!" he snapt and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.

Edward Rowland Sills
American educator
1841  - 1887

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dying Confederate's Last Words

Dear comrades on my brow the hand of death is cast,
My breath is growing short, all pain will soon be past;
My soul will soar away to that bright land of bliss,
Far from the pain and woe of such a place as this.

I left my home and friends to battle with the foe,
To save the Southern land from misery and woe;
I gave my all (oh! not to win a name,
Or have it e'en enrolled upon the scroll of fame.)

Not so, I only wished a helper brave to be
To save the glorious South from cruel tyranny;
My soul with ardor burned the treacherous foe to fight
And take a noble stand for liberty and right.

But oh! how weak is man! It was not God's decree,
That I should longer live a helper brave to be,
Before another day I shall be with the dead,
And 'neath the grassy sod will be my lonely bed.

And should you see the friends that nurtured me in youth,
Tell them I tried to walk the ways of peace and truth;
O ! tell my mother kind the words that she has given,
Have led her wayward child to Jesus and to heaven.

Farewell! farewell! my friends my loving comrades dear,
I ask you not to drop for me one bitter tear;
The angels sweetly stand and beckon me to come,
To that bright land of bliss that heavenly realm my home.

~Author Unknown

Photo Credit:
Myself - Link to Info

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sister Cat

Cat stands at the fridge,
Cries loudly for milk.
But I've filled her bowl.
Wild cat, I say, Sister,
Look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
Against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
A word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
To me. She dips
In her whiskers but
Doesn't drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
When it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there's Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
To be sure. She stalks
The room. She wants. Milk
Beyond milk. World beyond
This one, she cries.

by Frances Mayes
American Poet
1940 -

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday, April 25, 1943

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had been arrested just days before.  He didnt think he'd be there long.  But ended up being there for two years before being hanged by Hitler's posse on April 9, 1945.

Here's a quote from his writings that tell us how he viewed his position that day.

"One of the great advantages of Good Friday and Easter Day is that they take us out of ourselves, and make us think of other things, of life and its meaning, and of its suffering and events. It gives us such a lot to hope for."

Here's a link to my review of a recent biography.

Here's a link to a free download of the Easter Story.

Listen and believe!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

For a Time of Sorrow

Sorrow is one of the things that are lent, not given.
A thing that is lent may be taken away;
A thing that is given is not taken away.
Joy is given.
Sorrow is lent.

We are not our own, we are bought with a price (I Cor 6:19-20).

"And our sorrow is not our own." (Samuel Rutherford said this a long time ago.)  It is lent to us for just a little while that we may use it for eternal purposes.  Then it will be taken away and everlasting joy will be our Father's gift to us.

The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces (Isaiah 25:8)

Amy Carmichael
Edges of His Ways

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

But women will be saved through childbearing—
if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
 I Timothy 2:15

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy's the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother's first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow--
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky--
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

William Ross Wallace
American Poet
1819 - 1881

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sonnet LXXV

One day I wrote her name upon the sand,
But came the waves and washed it away;
Again I wrote it with a second hand.
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
"Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wiped out likewise,"
"Not so," quod I, "let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame;
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize
And in the heavens write your glorious name,
Where, whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew."

by Edmund Spenser
1522 - 1599

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sonnet #43, Kitchen Style

Driving into my neighborhood last evening, I noticed that a local had neatly planted and staked about a dozen tomato plants.  That's what prompted the re-posting of this delightful ode. 

How do I love thee, tomato?

Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and might
My palate can reach,

when remembering out of sight

Your peak month of August, when you bear fruits of juicy Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most urgent need for a BLT, by sun or moon-light.
I love thee with abandon, as Venus might her Mars or Vulcan
I love thee purely, as surely as the summer wanes
I love thee with the passion of my appetite
Above all fruits, and with my childhood's eye of Jersey tomatoes
As if they were falling from the sky.
I love thee with a hunger I seemed to lose
With my lost innocence (and the icky mealy tomatoes of January)! I love thee with the smell,
Unlike no other in the garden, and your vine-ripened sweetness
That bring me smiles, tears, only at this time of year! -- and if the farmer's choose
I shall but love thee better after many bowls of gazpacho.

I'm not much of a gardener.  I like to think I could, if need be.  In the meantime, I'll praise the fruits of others' labor.

Photo Credit:
Myself - July 2010
Fruit compliments of a neighbor

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Against the Vices of the Times

The following translation of a ballade, composed in 1386 by the prolific French writer Eustaches Deschamps, a contemporary of Chaucer, is an example of the moralizing use made of the Worthies to contrast the degenerate present with an ideal past.

If it were possible for human nature
To revive those who have turned to ashes,
The worthy Hector, Arthur, and Charlemagne,
Julius Caesar, Godfrey, Alexander,
David, Judas, and Joshua who were willing
To take so much trouble in order to conquer
And to gain honor and renown,
And were they to be brought back to life,
I believe they all would wish to die again
Thus seeing the envy of the world,
And the suffering that everyone here inflicts,
Of coveting, robbing, expropriating, and acquiring,
Of deceiving his neighbor, man or woman,
Of abandoning honor and taking up vices,
Doing evil to the good, and rewarding the wicked,
Doing disservice to the noble and generous heart
But serving and honoring the wicked,
And foolishly waging war against one another;
All the nine worthies would wish to make an end
Thus seeing the envy of the world.
It would seem a wicked thing to them
To compare time present with time past,
When honor was in the world, Sovereign
Knowledge, which made everyone understand
To love the good, and Largesse bestowed
Reward on everyone, in order to uphold valor
And loyalty, to maintain prowess:
Justice and Right held lordship.
It goes otherwise; they would all wish to perish
Thus seeing the envy of the world.


Princes, there is no one, if he has common sense,
And knew the tyranny of the world,
Who would not wish to die directly,
Thus seeing the envy of the world.

I ran across this poem when researching *heroes* for bookclub.  We were reading Anthony  Esolen's Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.  He decries the modern temptation to denigrate the reputation of all heroes, which tendency was also mentioned by author Eric Metaxas during the Q&A of his lecture on Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

The painting is by Giacomo Jaquerio (c. 1375 - 1453) an Italian medieval painter.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Time to Sleep

On Saturday I had the opportunity to hear the author of this poem speak, but not about lullabies.  More like an alarm clock, Eric Metaxas captured my attention.  Entertaining in style, authentic in message, and powerful with vision, he shared his hopes for how the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer could impact our society for the Lord.  Metaxas has a heart for God and demonstrates it in all aspects of his work.  I 'm on a mission to read/collect all of his books, poems, essays, and writings.

"It's time to sleep, it's time to sleep,"
the fishes croon in waters deep.
The songbirds sing in trees above,
"It's time to sleep, my love, my love."
"It's time to sleep, my love."
So, go to sleep, my love.

So, go to sleep, my sleepy child,"
the tiger whispers in the wild.
The otter utters by the lake,
"It's getting hard to stay awake."
"So, go to sleep, my love."
"It's time to sleep, my love."

"Let's go to sleep, my darling love,"
so coos the sleepy turtledove.
So drones the drowsy bumblebee
inside its hive inside its tree.
"It's time to sleep, my love."
"Let's go to sleep, my love."

"I'm getting very sleepy now,"
so moos the tired milking cow.
So croaks the almost-sleeping frog
amidst the settling of the fog.
"So, go to sleep, my love."
"It's time to sleep, my love, love."

Your dreams will be arriving soon.
They'll float to you in sleep's balloon.
They'll be here when I snuff the wick,
you'd better close your eyelids quick.
So you can dream, my love.
So you can dream, my love.

And as you dream inside your sleep,
the fishes crooning in the deep, and
all the songbirds up above
will sleep and dream of you, my love,
of you, the one I love.

by Eric Metaxas

Now that you've read through the poem, listen to Sally Taylor sing it.
(daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon).

What a perfect gift!

Image is by Nancy Tillman and borrowed from her book.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fire and Ice

Quoted in Frances Mayes's Swan, a book recently reviewed (here) by me, Frost's poem rang a bell not only because I'd just read this fine review of Stanlis's book (link) by my college advisor, John Willson, but also because I'd been contemplating parenting (aka teaching) with the book club selection, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great,
And would suffice.

by Robert Frost
American Poet
1874 - 1963

Adding The Poet as Philosopher to my Wish List at Amazon, I'd love to know what's on yours.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who am I?

Posted in anticipation of a Saturday morning seminar devoted to the life of this poet who was hanged on April 9, 1945.

They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I?
They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God,
I am Thine!

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Lutheran Pastor/Theologian
1906 - 1945

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Gate of the Year

I first heard about this poem after watching the award-winning film, The King's Speech, and determined to remember it for posting during National Poetry Month.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart bestill:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

by Minnie Haskins
English Academic
1875 - 1957

The poem, published in 1908, was part of a collection titled The Desert. It caught the public attention and the popular imagination, when Queen Elizabeth handed a copy to her husband, King George VI, and he quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire.

The poem was widely acclaimed as inspirational, reaching its first mass audience in the early days of the Second World War. Its words remained a source of comfort to the Queen for the rest of her life, and she had its words engraved on brass plaques and fixed to the gates of the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the King was interred. Queen Elizabeth was also buried here in 2002, and the words of "The Gate of the Year" were read out at her state funeral.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Birthday Blessings

April is so full of family and friend birthdays (two dozen at last tally) that I'm posting this poem as a tribute to all who enjoy natal days this month ~

Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings now,
As your birthday nears.

Consider special people
Who love you, and who care,
And others who've enriched your life
Just by being there.

Think about the memories
Passing  years can never mar,
Experiences great and small
That have made you who you are

Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say,
"Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!"

by Joanna Fuchs

Just wondering - do you send birthday cards? 

Email, snail mail, or voice mail ?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Listeners

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champ'd the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Lean'd over and look'd into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplex'd and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirr'd and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starr'd and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:--
"Tell them I came, and no one answer'd,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Walter de la Mare
English Poet
1873 - 1956

Brand new to me, de la Mare seems a bit moody but worth following.  This particular poem captured my attention just after one reading.  I am intrigued by the act of listening and non-listening, the nightime setting, and the integrity of the speaker.
Note to self:  For further study, remember de la Mare's interest in the imagination and his influence on writer Elizabeth Goudge.

Photo Credit:
DD#2 in Ireland

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Psalm 110

A Psalm of David.

The LORD says to my Lord:
"Sit at My right hand
Until I makeYour enemies a footstool for Your feet."
The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
"Rule in the midst of Your enemies."
Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.
The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind,
"You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek."
The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
He will drink from the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He will lift up His head.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Dying Christian to His Soul

VITAL spark of heav'nly flame!
Quit, O quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
O the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.

Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away!
What is this absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?

The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?

by Alexander Pope
English Poet
1688 - 1744

Photo Credit:
Sheffield Leithart
Memory Hill Cemetery
Milledgeville, GA
February 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Thank-You for Friends

There are all kinds of men
Who have done me good turns,
That I still never think about,
Not for a minute;
yet if I were making up
That sort of grace,
They would all of them have
To be in it.

One man made up stories,
Another wrote verses
I found, and like,
And I read them until I knew them
Another one saw
All the things they had written,
Then, being an artist,
He drew them.

Another took wood
And a saw and some glue,
And put each of them just
In the place that would need it --
So that is the chair
Where I sit with my book
And am so much at ease
As I read it.

I'm forgetting the one
Who read tale after tale
When I was too young
To know letter from letter,
And the other who taught me them,
Till in the end
I could read for myself --
Which was better.

Rodney Bennett

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Adventures of Isabel

Today read about this fearsome youngster and be challenged to take charge of your situation.

Or listen to this YouTube version and be entertained.

Or buy this illustrated volume with CD as a gift for someone special.

The last stanza is my favorite.

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn't care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry.
Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

Once in a night as black as pitch
Isabel met a wicked old witch.
the witch's face was cross and wrinkled,
The witch's gums with teeth were sprinkled.
Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,
I'll turn you into an ugly toad!
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry,
Isabel didn't scream or scurry,
She showed no rage and she showed no rancor,
But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.

Isabel met a hideous giant,
Isabel continued self reliant.
The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,
He had one eye in the middle of his forhead.
Good morning, Isabel, the giant said,
I’ll grind your bones to make my bread.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She nibled the zwieback that she always fed off,
And when it was gone, she cut the giant’s head off.

Isabel met a troublesome doctor,
He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.
The doctor’s talk was of coughs and chills
And the doctor’s satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel,
Swallow this, it will make you well.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter,
And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

by Odgen Nash
American poet
1902 - 1971

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Man may make a Remark

A Man may make a Remark -
In itself - a quiet thing
That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark
In dormant nature - lain -

Let us divide - with skill -
Let us discourse - with care-
Powder exists in Charcoal -
Before it exists in Fire -

Emily Dickinson
American poet
1830 - 1886

Link to past Dickinson posts.

Still more of my favorite Dickinson.

Just now starting Rose MacMurray's book, Afternoons With Emily.

Monday, April 04, 2011

It's Spring!

Snapdragon, snap,
Toadstool, turn,
Pussy willow,purr,
Firweed, burn,
Black-eyed Susan, wink,
Sweet William, sing,
Forget-me-not, remember
It's Spring! Spring! Spring!

Catnip, nip,
Dandelion, roar,
Dogwood, bark,
Pitcher plant, pour,
Bee balm, buzz,
Bluebell, ring,
Preach today,
It's Spring! Spring! Spring!

by Leland G. Jacobs
1907 - 1992
American educator

Out of town this past weekend, I missed posting a poem each day for the first few days of National Poetry Month.  Today's selection comes from a book from my childhood library (published 1964) and speaks vitality to me ~ all those action verbs perfectly describe the hustle and bustle of the blooming landscape.

Now to make sure I can identity all the flora mentioned by Professor Jacobs.

See ya 'round!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Last Word

Today the April rain
Is flecked with snow:
Soft little flakes, wind-tossed,
Run in the rain - lost -
Trying to explain
That winter should remain
Letting us know
That winter hates to go.

Leland B Jacobs

PS  Daughters in Chicago and Hyde Park both made mention of rain mixed with snow today.  Here in Georgia the skies are partly cloudy, then clearing, to end on a good note.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Club: Imagination Method #10

Esolen's essay Deny the Transcendent or Fix Above the Heads of Men the Lowest Ceiling of All hammers the final nail into the coffin of the child's imagination.

It explains how denying the existence of God will surely bring about suffocation.

In the first section, Esolen describes his relationship with the Family Bible.  He comes away inspired.

In the second, he describes man's relationship with art, those visible works which allow the heart to seek something beyond self and suggest worship.

In the third part of the essay, Esolen is sure that billboards line the road to Avernus and challenges the reader to ignore the sirens of the enemy.

Overall, Esolen is right.

He speaks from a position of authority:  a college English professor who comes into contact with a large number of young adults.  I think he has a pretty good grip on how well modern-day parents have prepared their offspring for the responsiblities of 21st-century adulthood.

We should heed his warnings, apply his methods, and share his message.

But Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child is an unusual parenting manual.

Would you give it as gift to new parents?

How will you apply Esolen's solutions?

What will you do with this book?

If nothing else, consider reading all of Cindy's commentaries.  She hosted the online book club for this title and always included practical applications of Esolen's high brow references.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Club:  Imagination #9

Nearing the end of Anthony Esolen's parenting manual, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, I have not tired of his exhortations, but I continue to wonder about his audience.

Distract the Child with the Shallow and Unreal or The Kingdom of Noise subtitle speaks volumes, but I learned about these vices from my parents, not from reading books or poetry.  I tried to model and teach the counter habits to my children in an effort to combat the ill effects of a life lacking discipline.

What are they?

Learning to be quiet.
Learning to to sit still.
Developing right relationships.
Exercising self control with TV, radio, etc.

My favorite quote from this chapter has many applications.
Television doesn't merely spend the time, it spoils the time it doesn't spend.
Just insert a different media (or person/celebrity) for the word *television* and you can cover the gamut of popular electronic devices (and riff raff) that comprise the Kingdom of Noise.

But that's not new.

Here's a link to a poem written in 1948 by Phyllis McGinley who decries the demise of the dinner hour ~

a perfect segue another pet peeve:  hopping up and down from the dinner table.

If a youngster cant sit still for a 30-minute family meal, then I take note.  But I doubt that anyone reading my blog has that problem, since all y'all's offspring sit still for church, circle time, and car rides.

But can s/he be quiet and listen? 

My mother continues to have occasion to remind me of these good habits.  I admit to being a poor listener and do try and withhold my opinions and hear what the other people has to say first.  But it continues to be an effort.  I have created more problems for myself by forgetting that God gave me two ears and one mouth..... for a reason!

When my children were very young, just going to church provided an opportunity to practice what I was preaching at home.  Our congregation favors family worship, encouraging us to keep our babies, toddlers, and young with parents during the service, albeit on the back row - close to the door ;-)   So, in that space of time, we practiced silence, hands folded in lap, keeping still, using our ears, and facing forward.  Thankfully, our church is small enough that the preacher is not projected onto a screen, imitating television.  The habits there formed have translated well as our children matured.

Finally, the habit of developing right relationships continues to be an area where we can advise our children.  It covers a lifetime and I truly approve of Esolen's perspective here.  Family connections trump social associations on many fronts, and certainly long term. Here's a link to the first article I ever read by Esolen:  Dozens of Cousins.  Family reunions are high on my list of important events.  These people are mysterious portals.  Don't be afraid to walk through.

Lastly, I leave you with a challenge.

Here's a link to Anthony Esolen's contact information.

His birthday is Friday, March 18th.

He'll be 52.

Make a connection.

Bonus Link to DD#1's recent voice recital ~

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fashion on Friday

Color is popping up all over the gray landscape now that we're just days before the official start of Spring ~

Pantone's Palette comes to mind as I see

yellow forsythia

coral quince

pink magnolias

and that luscious

honey-colored beeswax

home to our friendly pollinators.

But it is still cold.

And wet.

So, I'm dressing warmly in light-colored turtlenecks wrapped with this sheer, multi-colored cotton scarf compliments of Spartina 449.

The blue rain coat is 30 years old and perfect for this time of year.

100% nylon made by Tote, this knee-length poncho washes well, takes up next to no room in the closet, and never goes out of style.

It will always remind me of Charleston, SC where I bought it in 1981.

The heavy coats and dark jackets are put away despite the lingering chill.

Be gone winter doldrums!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Book Club:  Imagination Method #8

Despite the two dimensional nature of this popular story-book character, Flat Stanley seems to be able to enjoy an adventurous and happy life.

He has lots of friends whom he visits via snail mail ;-)

Does this protaganist stimulate the imaginations of his readers or insulate them from the wonders of the world?

How does reading literature replete with personalities large and small contribute to the healthy development of the human mind?

That is the big question being answered by Professor Anthony Esolen in his ever insightful indictment of modern educational and parenting styles, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.

Albeit with books more high-brow than the Flat Stanley series.

Ten weeks into Cindy's Online Book Club discussion we readers are well-versed in Esolen's methodology of comparing and contrasting old-fashioned values with new-fangled ones, hoping to be encouraged by his vision.

Method #8 essay, Level Distinctions between Man and Woman or Spay and Geld, is no different.  Esolen quotes poetry (Milton and Frost), reminisces about his own childhood/schooling (catholic/parochial), and cites historical examples (Michaelangelo and guilds) to undergird his position for maintaining distinctions, especially between boys and girls.

In French, that would be vive la difference!

Paraphrased in English, I'd say that Esolen is in favor of discrimination.

Which is a good thing.

How does that translate into your schooling and everyday living?

Bonus Link:  Read my review of The Norton Book of Friendship

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Book Club:  Imagination Method #7

Basically, I couldnt agree more with Anthony Esolen in this chapter, Reduce All Talk of Love to Narcissism and S*x or Insert Tab A into Slot B.

While I dont have any poetry or book selections to bolster the position,

I do think the following quote from our second president is noteworthy, even crucial to effective parenting;

and it applies to the third section of this week's book club assignment, Brave New Family.

In his autobiography, John Adams stated that the strength of a nation rests to a large extent on the morality of its women.  He said that men are likely to be lax in morals and women must set the moral tone of society*:

From all that I had read of History of Government, of human life and manners, I had drawn this Conclusion, that the manners of Women were the most infallible Barometer, to ascertain the degree of Morality and Virtue in a Nation.

All that I have since read and all the observations I have made in different Nations, have confirmed me in this opinion.

The Manners of Women, are the surest Criterion by which to determine whether a Republican Government is practicable, in a Nation or not.

The Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Swiss, the Dutch, all lost their public Spirit, their Republican Principles and habits, and their Republican Forms of Government, when they lost the Modesty and Domestic Virtues of their Women.

The foundations of national Morality must be laid in private Families.

In vain are Schools Academies and universities instituted, if loose Principles and licentious habits are impressed upon Children in their earliest years.

The Mothers are the earliest and most important Instructors of youth....

The Vices and Examples of the Parents cannot be concealed from the Children.

How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn that their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers.

So, fellow book clubbers, this is the reason that we should care whether our young people retain a sense of modesty (or regard for dignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress), such as they might feel in the presence of something mysterious or holy. (Esolen pg, 177)

It's called *decorum*

Added later ~
I did think of a book that relates to this chapter.... in an imaginative sort of way  ;-)
Here's the link to If Everybody Did.

*John Adams
as quoted in Christianity and the Constitution
by John Eidsmoe
Baker Book House, 1987, p. 272,
which source is Diary and Autobiography of John Adams
ed. L.H.Butterfield, Belknap/Harvard, 1962, IV:123