simple thoughts this morning. . .incomplete really. . .that began when i read this a week or so ago. . .
i like old people who age well.
And old houses
(with sweet honest living in them)
And the timelessness
(that only the passing of time itself can give to objects both inside and outsid the spirit)
And the first line resonated in me because of where i was and what i was doing and whom i was with at the time.
i began thinking about people who have inspired me as they grew older.
i'm thinking about what they can teach me for now.
At my age (which is not SO very old). . .
. . .their weathering was exposing at heart a Kindness.
Each year, they thought less and less of themselves.
They cared about the futures of their loved ones spiritually and emotionally.
They filled themselves with wisdom from God's word.
They cultivated Thankfulness.
They chose Joy.
They were never mocking.
They dropped the habit of complaining and shut the door in the face of counting their ailments.
They lived in the inexpressable awareness of life as a gift and people as fragile wonders.
They listened. Truly listened.
. . .for they had given up the habit of talking about themselves or seeing things only as they were affected.
They believed in God and saw His Goodness and Faithfulness everywhere.
They spoke His Goodness and Faithfulness into every situation. . .for they had lived and seen and walked with Him for a long time.
They had worked out the hard stuff of doubt and unbelief before reaching old age.
They spoke dignity over people and acceptance because they had lost their fears and hammered out their bigotries.
They had a philosophy and a theology that encompassed the hard times, including growing old.
They untied the bowlines of security in man and finances, and whiplashed them to God, and God alone.
This resulted in
. . .aging faces whose lines fell along laugh lines
. . .fading eyes that saw wonder beyond loss
. . .compassionate hearts and listening ears and a storehouse of wisdom to share. . .but above all, a perfected timing to share
. . .and homes that were open and bright with plenty of room for a visitor to sit down in the sunshine. . .
. . .not mausoleums flung with choking vines of the past molding with the wood. . .
. . .they knew how to let go. . .and what was best to hold on to. . .
their arms were opened wide to hold me.
. . .they were, in the best sense, healers.
Images are culled from Brambly Hedge illustrated and written by the talented Jill Barklem. In no way does this mean that Miss Barklem sponsors these thoughts. Her works have inspired this writer immeasurably to live well. Please click here to purchase her books or here to join her facebook page.
I was about to wish you Happy Bastille Day, but that would be wrong for so many reasons.
First of all, Bastille Day was a little (or a lot) violent. "Happy" is not quite the right word.
Secondly, Bastille Day was yesterday.
Thirdly, the French generally do not wish anyone a "happy" any-day unless it is Christmas or New Year's. (So i've been told).
Fourthly, Bastille Day is an American appellation for the day. According to Ask the Frenchman, if we would wish a Parisian Happy Bastille Day, he would look at us funny.
I don't need to give anyone one more reason to look at me funny. Do you?
According to Monsieur Ask the Frenchman (not pictured above), in France, what we know as Bastille Day has two names: the official title 'la Fête Nationale' ('the National Holiday'), and the more common 'le 14 juillet' (July 14th).
Not being French, but as a dedicated student of Julia Childs and a great admirer of croissants and French toast, I naturally approach consideration of this day via . . . well, what else? Novels.
Mr. Dickens' wonderful novel, A Tale of Two Cities, was set in Revolutionary France, and i feel something stir within me to acknowledge Bastille Day for Sidney Carton, Lucie and Madame Defarge.
And then there is the Scarlet Pimpernel written by Baroness Orczy. So, then a special rememberance for Sir Percy and Marguerite St. Just, too. (Would you like to click here for one of my of one of the best romantic scenes ever?)
And it would be miserable of me not to mention Mr. Hugo's Jean Valjean, Cossette, and Fantine.
And while the French may not greet one another in any special way indicative of the day, they do celebrate with fireworks.
Instead of the American Barbecue, they celebrate with dancing in the streets as the original Revolutionaries did after storming the Bastille.
In Paris, according to Ask a Frenchman, the balls are organized by the local fire department, bal des pompiers, (the Fireman's Ball.)
Viva Bal Des Pompiers! That will be the starting point for my literary celebration of Bastille Day, and I will begin planning as soon as my little fete for Baby Cambridge is over. . .any moment now.
You DO know who Baby Cambridge is, don't you, my best hearts?
Some people love crossword puzzles the way i read mysteries. And watch them. On TV with a DVR, so that i can take notes and rewind. i know that makes me a nerd. But the pleasure is so great.
Some summer nights, after dinner, when nothing much is happening, and the grill is cooling on the deck, and the fireflies are coming out with the stars, we sit in the family room near the big patio doors, and watch an old Castle re-run.
. . . and i start to think of the fictional characters as friends. (Don't tease me; i know you know what i'm talking about, sweet one.) i cooked dinner for years while Gibbs and Tony and Ducky unraveled a mystery re-run on USA. That's intimate.
i'm growing to feel like that about Kate Becket, Rick Castle, Alexis, Esposito, and Ryan.
For one thing, Castle is a Writer. He has a police Kevlar vest with WRITER written across the chest.
i want one.
Secondly, i started the show when my first born went away to college. It was my go-to on Monday nights. For an hour, i didn't miss my Lori.
And the show is stylish, with sly references to the actors' pasts (Firefly, the Hulk), fun cameos (anyone remenber Chad Everett?), a wink-wink-nod-nod to its 8 o'clock lead-in DWTS, pop culture themed crimes, and a roguish antics veneer over strong core loyalty and honor. Its fun, classy, unpredictable, and keeps me guessing.
And most weeks, for a few seconds, someone at some point says something that is so well written, so magical, that i carry it with me for days.
The season 4 finale, which coincided with my Lori's graduation last year, did that in big way; would you consider watching Alexis' Graduation Speech with me? And don't worry about spoilers. . .this scene will just make you want to catch up.
Castle | Season 4 | Episode 23 - Always
“There is a universal truth we all have to face, whether we want to or not: everything eventually ends. . ."
A summer's day in July at Round Rock. . .there were. . . an electrician, the heat pump guy, a pest control tech, someone for gutters, the garage door installer, a handy man, and the fellow who is landscaping my neighbor's yard.
Tradesmen. All in one week, skilled craftsmen, specialist, here at our request, the beleagured Home Owners.
And one of them told us the most beautiful story.
How he and his wife bought four acres of land, cleared it, and custom built their house. We had our very own Holmes on Homes, in a way. He was here to answer our long-standing questions about our home, and his advice came coated with illustrations from when he built his own home. What to look for. How to do it.
"If someone else is building for you, buy yourself a bucket of different colored chalk and some string. Every few days, visit the site. If you see a nail sticking up, circle it. A wall goes up, hang the line and make sure its plumb."
He had learned so much, that ten years ago, he built his own house.
"But, you had a team? A crew that came out?"
"I had my wife, my three boys, and my 70 year old uncle. Every Saturday we'd work clearing the land. My wife on a chain saw I taught her how to use. Every Friday night we'd line our mattresses up on the floor of the master bedroom, side by side so that we would be ready to go to work early Saturday morning. We made it the way we wanted it. We thought ahead how we'd use it. The top socket on every outlet at the front of the house is on one switch. Every year, flip the switch, and Christmas lights." My eyes grew wide at the possibilities. "The front porch is eight feet deep with ceiling fans and wicker furniture. We can sit on it during a thunderstorm and watch the rain." The foundation was laid secure, the crawl space sealed off, the walls are plumb, the floors level, the framing strong and sure.
It wasn't easy, but it was good. It was not quick, but when he finished three years later, people wanted the plans to build their own home just like it. A local artist asked to paint it.
I believe they sensed something more than a custom house and clever plans. They felt in their bones something that has gone missing in our lives today; something like integrity, soundness, care.
All those tradesmen at Round Rock this week, and that was what I was trying to scent out. . .is that one honest, careful, patient, skilled. . . will this one do a sound job with integrity?
The year he finished his home was a little later than the date on the cornerstone, but for his wedding anniversary he gave his wife, his helpmate, the mother of his three boys, the woman who helped him build the house, two framed water colors of their new home painted by the artist who had approached him.
Surely these watercolors depict a house that represents something more than what meets the eye. . .this home represents how our Heavenly Father calls us to build our families. . .with a foundation laid secure, the crawl space sealed off, the walls plumb, the floors level, the framing strong and sure.
I believe that is what touches people who come in contact with him, his family, his home.
He inscribed the two water colors he gave his wife, "Saturday's Child."
"Satuday's Child works hard for a living. . ." so the poem goes.
Hard work is what it takes. A lifetime of working hard, not just to pay the bills, but to nurture, to build, to teach, to hope, to lay a strong foundation, and watch with care over the framing. . .
Our homes, beloved, our families. . .these are our Saturday's Child.
How goes the work?
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
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Jenny, a lovely, witty student in one of my Brit Lit classes a few years back, sent me this link today.
Apparently revellers walking around Hyde Park today were bemused to be confronted by a 121 foot statue of Pride and Prejudice's Mr. Darcy. The statue was commissioned after a poll revealed that Collin Firth's version of the brooding aristocrat emerging from one of Pemberly's lakes in a drench shirt (and loosened cravat) became one of most memorable British drama moments of all time.
Oh, I remember viewing this scene with my girl students so well. . .giggles galore. Just too silly and sweet at the same time.
Beloved, here's a treat. The original scene, which I hope is not the first time for you. . .Please enjoy it with the innocence Miss Austen would have admired (but please know, you will not find this scene in the book!)
For all the Sofa Sleuths and Amateur Detectives (like the folks at Round Rock). . .here is a Detective's Notepad for your next WhoDunnit?
Click Download Backup of Detective's Notes for Procedural Dramas for a PDF of this image.
This works well for Masterpiece Mystery, but an extra page of Suspect post-its is ultimately necessary.
Good things happened in the kitchen this morning. Berry good things.
My Lori baked a Browned Butter Raspberry Tart, and a wondrous blackberry cobbler.
i'm pretty sure there will be lots of browned butter in Heaven.
Would you like to click here for the recipe?
There are things about not living at the beach for summer that come to me on a muggy afternoon in July. . .
like wild blackberries misted with rain. . .
under a honeysuckle vine. . .