Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

clay vessels

Of many beautiful things that bring me joy, pottery is a favorite.

It is like us.

We come from the dust of the earth, and our Maker shapes and colors us

as He pleases.

Each of us is an individual vessel, made for a specific purpose,


I love the bowl that sits on my shelf just as much as the bowl

that is useful for salads.

Both are beautiful; both bring me joy; both fulfill the purpose

for which I intended them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God

But only he who sees takes off their shoes.

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

valiant papa: or how I nearly got eaten by a moorhen

The moorhens at the lake have six new babies. I tried to take their picture the other day, but got a bit too close for papa moorhen. He swam to the bank, scrambled up, and charged me, cursing me loudly with a surprisingly menacing, " SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK! " I didn't see him at first. I was trying to focus on the babies in the water. So he got really close. And then I screamed really loud, and backed up really fast, and nearly fell on my you-know-what. After that I guess he was satisfied that I got the message, so he joined his little brood in the water and led them far away from evil me, to the grasses on the other side of the lake. The last photo is mama and her six little ones returning to the nest after papa was convinced all danger was past.

I told you they were good parents.

Monday, June 21, 2010

dickens and me

My daughter is reading Dickens' Bleak House for a summer class. This morning she read me a pronouncement from Dickens' character, Mr. Vholes, and suggested that I might have something in common with him:

"My digestion is much impaired, and I am but a poor knife and fork at any time. If I was to partake of solid food at this period of the day, I don't know what the consequences might be." -Mr. Vholes, Bleak House

I think I'll start pronouncing that at odd times of day, just for the fun of it. ;-)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

civil disobedience?

I guess this Laughing Gull doesn't approve of the city's park ordinances.

(Click on the photo to magnify his scorn.)

Friday, June 18, 2010


Woke without pain this morning for the first day in a week. Walked the dog, showered, went to my dentist appointment, then the book store, then the library. Ate an egg! (Tasted so good after a week of fortified nutritional drinks.) I'm grateful.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

clouds! (and yellow.)

It is HOT. And HUMID. Between the heat and the humidity, the temperature is 97 degrees today. And I did not want to venture out of my air conditioned home to walk my dog. Even though she was standing forlornly at the door and insisting with her eyes that it would be good for us both. I didn't believe her.

But then a miracle happened. Well, sort of. A storm started building up and clouds covered the sun, and Lady got her walk. And I got photos for a new blog post.

It was a yellow sort of walk. Beach Sunflowers blooming in the drive, yellow weeds blooming by the lake. Even the heron's beak seemed to fit the color scheme.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

joyful joyful

Listening to Kristen Chenoweth sing "Joyful Joyful" and thinking about the last stanza:

Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began;
love divine is reigning o'er us,
binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward,
in the triumph song of life.

(Thanks to bigBang studio for posting those last two verses and giving me something to rejoice about today!)

And yesterday I got to see a Black-Crowned Night Heron. They are quite rare in Florida. But since I was sans camera, you'll have to be content with the lovely photo that Katie of Birding Life captured. Just click the link.

Field and forest, vale and fountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

makeup and myrna

Who comes up with the names for makeup? I mean, there is SO much makeup in the world. And every single piece has a name. Not simply "red" or "green" or "brown" or "blue", but names like "All Heart" and "Lime Sherbet" and "Bronze Satin" and "Denim".

That reminds me of the Myrna Loy bit in the old movie, " Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." Did you ever see it?

sunday survey

Just took a little survey over at The Essential Emily. Join in the fun!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

kiss and tell

Jane at Spain Daily recently asked us all to Kiss and Tell the names of our beloved pets. And since our Basenji dog is fully aware of her illustrious and ancient heritage (being descended from dogs who sat at the feet of Pharoahs) I felt she would be insulted with less than a full post. So here it is. Her pedigree name is Lady Bashasha Kijibwa, which, according to Google translator, means, "Lady, Friendly Little Dog". Unfortunately, a Kenyan friend recently told us that those words mean nothing. So much for Google translator.

Nevertheless, Lady, alias Ladybug, alias Bug, is a friendly little dog. And she is not named after the popular Disney character. She is named after the Basenji in a wonderful old book entitled, "Good-bye, My Lady," by James Street. (Also a wonderful old movie with the terrific character actor, Walter Brennan.)

She is a clever, naughty, funny, devoted friend. And I am not ashamed to "kiss and tell" that I kiss the top of her head many times a day. She is a Basenji, after all, and they smell like freshly baked cinnamon bread. No kidding.

Friday, June 11, 2010

waves and breakers

"...all your waves and breakers have swept over me." Psalm 42:7

Yesterday was a bad day. I was ill and in pain. Today is a little better, and I am going to an acupuncture appointment which I hope will make me feel better. I am grateful for people who have dedicated their lives to helping people like me who have no solution through conventional medicine (not for lack of trying!) Massage, acupuncture, reflexology - I've tried them all. And they all help a little to keep me going on in the midst of this unpredictable illness.

I was thinking about waves yesterday - the kind of waves that break relentlessly against the beach, eroding the shoreline and any structures unlucky enough to rest on that shore. My daughter took a trip to Egmont Key last week and brought back photos of an old building almost lost to the sea. Some days I feel like that building. Battered and broken by the waves and breakers of circumstance; crumbling and without the protection of walls or roof or door. Not a shelter, just an empty shell. Nothing to offer anyone.

I guess the person who wrote that psalm felt the same way. He wrote about the old days, when he was happy and joyful and festive, before his trouble came and before he felt like God had forgotten him because of his unrelenting pain and sorrow.

And yet, he held on to hope. He held on, in the face of all obstacles, to the hope that someday he would "yet praise Him," as he once did. And right after he wrote about the waves sweeping over him, he wrote this:

"By day the Lord directs His love,
at night His song is within me-
a prayer to the God of my life."

And, crazy as it may sound, I am holding on to those words and that hope. The hope that there is meaning to all of this. That unseen, in the midst of it all, the Lord is directing His love to me and to those around me. And that His song within me will never be silenced.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Earrings keep getting lost around here. My earrings, to be exact. They fall off my right ear. As far as I can tell, my right ear is exactly the same as my left, but for some reason the earring just works its way gradually out and falls off in the midst of my day, and sometimes I don't even notice until I get ready to take them off. Here's the tally so far:

  • Lost: On a walk. Favorite blue glass earring from Anthropologie. A gift from my sister.
  • Lost: In the garden. Very favorite turquoise enameled fish earring.
  • Found: Above fish earring! (My husband found it on the path a few days later.)
  • Lost: In the garden. The SAME fish earring. (You'd think I would learn my lesson about wearing them outdoors.)
  • Found: You guessed it. My daughter found it. Those fish are faithful.
  • Lost: Who knows where this time. Tortoiseshell earring. Still lost.

At this rate I'll be sporting the pirate look in no time.

Monday, June 7, 2010

nature in the city

I home schooled my daughter when she was young. Although we live in a city, we are fortunate to have a small park with a lake close to our home. And since we are also surrounded by gulf and bay waters, we see a good assortment of water birds on a daily basis.

Some of them are really odd looking, like the Wood Stork, with it's almost prehistoric beak and head. My daughter and I tended to anthropomorphize them. I realize this is quite un-scientific, but I can't help it. Snowy Egrets look just like distinguished aging professors, their long white head feathers blowing gently in the afternoon breeze. Moorhens are the model families of the lake, with responsible teenage brothers and sisters carefully tending the babies while mom and dad forage for food. We gave birds names according to what we were reading at the moment. I seem to remember that the flocks of Ibis were once christened Achilles and the Myrmidons during a reading of D'Aulaires' Greek Myths.

I still look for and enjoy those birds on my walks.

(Ibis photo courtesy of The Essential Emily.)


"The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there." George Bernard Shaw.

I'm not really a true gardener. I don't start from seeds or grow vegetables. And my husband kindly does the hard work for me. But I do love flowers and green growing things. And I agree with Mr. Shaw - a garden (even in the hot, humid Florida summer) can be a good place to dig for God.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

hints of our future

I have a book of daily readings from C.S. Lewis' classic works. The other day I was reading the 28 May entry, an excerpt from Lewis' book, "The Weight of Glory." It is entitled, "Hints of Our Future."

" ' We know not what we shall be'; but we may be sure we shall be more, not less, than we were on earth. Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like the drawing, like pencilled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape, not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun."

That's a pretty good hint.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the beginning

I wasn't sure I wanted to begin this blog. Sometimes I think I have something to say. Sometimes I am empty. I had a hard time deciding on a blog title. I'm not very good at titles in general. In fact, deciding on a title is probably the number one reason I didn't create a blog until today. Every time I hit that button that read, "CREATE YOUR BLOG NOW", the next step was coming up with that darn title. How could I pick a title for something I hadn't even written yet?

So I googled "joy". And I really liked Carl Sandburg's verse. It's up there, right under my new blog title, but I'll say it again:

"Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by."

That's what I want to do. Some days I reach out my hands, and some days I keep them by my side. But I want to reach out more. Because the joy is there, waiting for me.