Thursday, March 23, 2017

Reflection on a Bridge

     I took this photo of the reflection of a red double-decker bus in the windows of Parliment as I stood on Westminster Bridge in London. I was there. In that exact spot. And even though it was nearly two years ago, after the recent terrorist attack, one cannot help but think: "It could have been me..." 

     My heart goes out to all those who are unable to say that with me. 

     I am praying for them, for the suffering of the injured and the grief of those families who have suffered irretrievable loss. I pray for all those in authority who must respond to these unconscionable deeds with resolution, discernment and a measured calm. I am also reminded to pray for my enemies, for there is no more effective tool against terrorism than a heart that has been transformed by the Gospel.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Blind Optimism

It snowed last night.

Wishful Thinking: The elderly birch in our front garden isn't dying.

Optimism: I won't be shoveling the front walk because it will melt by mid-afternoon

I am in training to become a Glass is Half Full kind of girl instead of the other way round. Even so, I will be knitting mufflers for the daffodils.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shredding Stress

     I was feeling stressed about something the other day. It was the proverbial straw that was threatening to do unspeakable things to my poor camel's back. Stress has a way of making ordinary tasks feel overwhelming. Suddenly my laundry pile was screaming at me, and my calendar felt like a bag of bricks. I was beginning to unravel, so while neither of my responses to the laundry or calendar were rooted in reality, I did the only reasonable thing a girl could do at such a moment—I went to the basement to shred old tax documents.

     After half an hour of intense shredding, my equilibrium was restored. By the time the bags of scrap are carted away by the Recycler, there will be plenty of space in my soul to breathe, mop the floors and roast tomatoes for soup.

     We all deal with stress in different ways. Mine is to marshall the outside in order to manage the chaos within by tidying the kitchen, stripping my wardrobe of cram, or cleaning the crawl space in the basement of un-needed detritus. 

     So, whether it is a tornado warning, a disagreement, an unexpected hospital visit, or an aggravating news segment, you will probably find me in the basement shredding old tax documents...and praying, because there is no better way to manage stress than to put the matter into hands that can handle it.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Kissing Frogs

     It was 1:00 AM and I wanted to finish my book before turning out the light, so I began skimming. That's never a good sign. After fifty pages, I decided the book wasn't worth the loss of sleep. In the morning I decided it wasn't worth the loss of time to finish the last seventy pages and dropped it into the library return pile. I felt cheated. I had neglected housework to read that book, but at least I hadn't gone out on a limb and bought it. I have made that mistake before, bet money on a book I haven't read, and it makes the keen edge of disappointment even more acute when the book turns out to be a bust. Two years ago I bought a popular historical romance with so much bust in it, I dropped it in the trash bin after reading only a quarter of it. There is a difference between trollop and Trollope--it's called codswallop.

     I have spent most of my adult life reading the classics, but, these days, I have been reading and buying more modern literature. By modern I mean books written in the last fifty years--the potential classics of the next century. The upside is that I have discovered some delightful new authors to populate my bookshelf and wax rhapsodic over when someone asks me to recommend a good book. The downside is the trash bin. And that feeling you get when a used car salesman gets the best of you.

     I realize that my personal taste in literature is not by any means the barometer of accepted opinion, after all, I didn't enjoy War and Peace or The Great Gatsby. Who will want to read my blog after an admission like that? But I know what I like and what makes a book worthwhile to me.

     And I also know that a girl's got to kiss a lot of frogs before she finds a prince.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

At the Glance of the Sun


     We were in the sitting room enjoying a cup of afternoon tea and a plate of scones when my husband suddenly rushed out of the room and returned with his camera. He spent the next few minutes snapping dozens of photos. It wasn't the dining room table or chairs he was photographing, nor was it the metal bowl full of paper snowballs; it was the late afternoon sunlight pouring in through the slats of the sitting room blinds that had caught his eye.

     There is more than one reason why I married that man.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Not Just a Wooden Spoon

     You may have noticed my bouquet of wooden spoons on the kitchen counter in a recent post. We were talking appliances at the time, and my spoons were content to bide awhile till I was in the mood to feature them in their own post. I keep them out on the counter because they remind me of the color of toasted pine nuts...too pleasing to stuff in a kitchen drawer.

     Many of these spoons have a story or memory attached to them. For instance, there is the olive wood implement my husband bought and has asked me not to leave soaking in the dishwater as it will sully its character; the other spoons do not seem offended in the least by this preferential treatment. And there are two, small, bone-handled spoons which have immigrated from Africa and are perfect for tasting the sauce or soup. There is even an interloper hiding among the handles which isn't a spoon at all; it is the beautifully grained cheese spreader I bought from a weekend craft market in a church courtyard in London. I rarely use it because I am afraid it will lose its tree smell. You would understand my reluctance, perhaps, if I told you that I go all goofy in lumber yards and stroll around sniffing planks like a cat with catnip.

     There are others as well, but the one I hold most dear is the porridge spoon. It really isn't a spoon, more of a spatula or stick. It was my father's and the only utensil he would use to stir his morning porridge. When I visited my parents and made breakfast for them, I would search their crowded kitchen crock for it to make their oatmeal. When I knew my parents were dying, I asked if I could have it. It is now our designated porridge stick and woe to the one who gets caught stirring garlic or onions with it.

     I found a fading date scratched into its handle: 1949. I know, without being told, it is my father's writing. I never had the chance to ask him what it meant, but I suspect it is the year he bought it. He died four years ago, but today is his birthday. He would have been 90. It seemed fitting, therefore, to mark the day with a remembrance of something we have shared.