Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community

I help my son with his math a lot these days, sometimes I feel like it’s my job while they are remote. It works out because I’m also confused so it boosts his confidence and he gets to teach me a lot of the time. But in between problems I whittle. I’m almost done with St. Margaret of Scotland who looks more like the princess from Mario Brothers and the other is the Blessed Mother, who is not finished yet. I’m trying to figure out a way to do them that would look more folk art than a cartoonish depiction, so I’ve been studying museum folk art pieces. Totally irrelevant to the book featured here that I will read soon as it was a recommendation from a priest who is my spiritual mentor while I’m taking this discernment course. Anyone out there ever read it? What did you think?

Can I talk about my flowers? Feature: Sweet Woodruff

Can I talk about my sweet woodruff? I only grow it because Vita Sackville-West suggested it in her many garden books. It is one of my favorite flowers in my garden now. Not only can it be used in tea & scented sachets, I also use it to make simple syrup for cocktails. Today I made May wine!

Cut 20 sprigs, rinse and toast them in oven at 275 degrees for five mins. Immediately drop them into a bottle of cheap white wine, sweet wine I’m told works best. Shelf it in cool dry place for three to five days, and you’ll have a nice little drink for spritzers or whatever you’d like!

The Living Forest by Arthur Heming

The Living Forest: Two young boys in the Canadian Woods is a book I enjoyed very much. Written initially for children, it is the story of two boys and a man who has lived with the indigenous tribes of Canada his whole life. Together they take a trip through the wilderness in 1891 and along the way the reader is taught how to make sinew rope, a canoe, how to build a proper fire and shelter, and we get to enjoy the marvelous sketches of Arthur Hemming, a famous Canadian painter and novelist, while we’re at it. Swipe to see 👉. It is a lovely wilderness story.

The book of Philemon

What do you miss?? These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s ok! .

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The book of Philemon is a brief letter from Paul to Philemon begging for the freedom of Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. He asks Philemon to think of Onesimus instead as a brother in Christ. Onesimus knows he must return to his owner because it is the honest thing to do, but this time he comes with a letter, an appeal for his freedom, to be seen and treated as a brother and friend. .

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For a moment we are still. Ask yourself, what do you really miss? It is the question I’ve been asking myself lately as I remember old projects and ambitions I had my heart set on before quarantine. As this time allows for stillness I can self-examine without the usual distractions asking myself—What was holding me captive? Or do I now feel like a prisoner?

I can tell you with all honesty that I don’t miss anything except the freedom to hang out and be close to my family and friends. Host little bbqs, make food for them, talk at a short distance, and even though I’m not much of a hugger, I even miss those. That’s it. My old projects took me to Detroit a lot, but when I think of it, I’ve never been a city girl and lately all I can think about is owning a sheep farm (for milk) and possibly making it a spiritual retreat. I wanted to work with animals when I was a child, where did that inclination go? I have found that I don’t think my purpose is protesting injustice and speaking out aggressively against anything, that is not my nature. God made me for a reason, so what is the honest thing for myself & God’s call for me? It is instead feeding people, whether spiritually or with actual food, beauty, color, light—probably why I loved working the soup kitchen so much. I think if we all asked this question (what do I really miss?) and went back to the places from which we began, I think we would find new things of ourselves.

Journaling and prayer. What are your thoughts on homemade communion?

Finished writing in an entire journal yesterday, and it’s time to begin a new one! These are my prayer journals, the worn one on the left is the old one. Took me a little over four months to fill every inch with essays on prayer and spiritual journeying. Also if you swipe you’ll see a little communion sacrament I made and gave myself this morning. Though our priest can not bless it, I said a little prayer and took it as a symbol of what we would do in church, which I feel is ok.

What are your thoughts on homemade communion during the stay at home order? .

Seventeen Lost Stories of W. Somerset Maugham

Catching up with my old friend today, Mr. W. Somerset Maugham. His short stories are just as entertaining as his novels. This is a collection of some of his earliest work.

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Today I read The Punctiliousness of Don Sebastian. “The duke and his wife, who was not his duchess, lay side by side on a bed of carved alabaster; at the corners were four twisted pillars, covered with little leaves and flowers, and between them bas-reliefs representing Love, and Youth, and Strength, and Pleasure, as if, even in the midst of death, death must be forgotten.”

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Lost Story about the Iron Priest of Poletown

More on my journey back to the neighborhood of Poletown razed for the GM plant in 1981. Found Father Joseph Karasiewicz’s grave today against terrible wind and bone-numbing chill in a deserted graveyard. Father Joe was known as the “iron priest of Poletown”, he fought to save the Immaculate Conception church with his life. He died from a broken heart 6 months after GM bulldozed his church.

After searching for an hour, I finally found his grave almost completely absorbed by the earth and forgotten. I tried my best to dig it out with my doc martins (always doc martins). I then drove home blasting Philip Glass, because I’m strange, and also, because there is no other way to listen to Philip Glass! What a dreary & cold, yet blessed day! Right!? 🙃

Another Hilarious Tidbit from the Letters of Horace Walpole

One more tidbit… possibly more as these letters are hilarious.

To his best friend, Sir Horace Mann, who apparently had not responded to his letters for two weeks so Walpole became “angry” and wrote that he won’t continue to give news reports to Mann, because “he’s not a newspaper.” And he repeatedly told his friend that he won’t update him on personal gossip…

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“The Duke is expected over immediately;I don’t know if to stay, or why he comes—I mean, I do know, but am angry, and will not tell.

I have seen Sir James Grey, who speaks of you with great affection, and recommends himself extremely to me by it, when I am not angry with you; but I cannot possibly be reconciled till I have finished this letter, for I have nothing but this quarrel to talk of, and I think I have worn that out—so adieu! You odious, shocking, abominable monster! 🤣 —Horace Walpole July 14th, 1748

First Corinthians…

These are only my own contemplative thoughts. You may disagree and that’s OK!!

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I

reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of

childhood behind me.”

—1 Corinthians 13:11

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To doubt His mercy is like being a child when they sob and carry on

because they do not get what they want, and you, their guardian, are

appalled at the greed and neglect they display when they say they hate you, or when they storm off and say “you don’t love me!”. When my kids do this I just want to hit my head against the wall! Do they not

remember all the previous love and tender care I gave them in the

past? But they are children. They cannot see the bigger picture or the

life lessons I’m trying to teach them. Nor can they fathom all that

previous love I gave them, they are greedy for the ‘right now’. If you’re not giving them what they want ‘now’ you must hate them, you

must not want them, you must have forgotten them. Sometimes we can be the same way to God—if our prayers are not answered swiftly we feel He is not there, He has forgotten us, He doesn’t want us. But He is merely looking out for our best interest—maybe that job you wanted wasn’t for you? Maybe you would have gotten into an accident had you left for work on time today? We have to trust His guidance and keep our faith. We must not be like spoiled children, but humbled always and patient to put those childish ways behind us. I must remember this next time my kids are throwing a fit. I’m sure God rolls his eyes and shakes his head up there a lot, but always with a loving, tender

smile—for His love for us is great.

Sissinghurst by Vita Sackville-West and Sarah Raven

The sudden warm weather in Michigan has got me thinking of the garden. A couple years ago I wrote a garden blog every week dedicated to the garden writings of Vita Sackville-West. Some days I miss her writings, her wonderful way of describing “ordinary” flowers and plants like human beings. She knew them all so well—more so than humans actually which made her a bit cold when it came to her human relationships. Her friend, lover and muse, Virginia Woolf was an expert on people and enjoyed exploring the human condition. Thus being opposites, they made a nice pair. I think I have collected the entirety of Vita’s garden works. Her books helped me get through some of the most cold & dark winters of my life, she kept me alive and green. Anyone needing a little lift would be right to pick up something of hers. This book gives a great introductory view of Vita’s talented green thumb.

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