Monday, May 31, 2010

A Face of Contentment

A Face of Contentment

  My daughter Sophia, who has liked to keep her fingers busy in a craft ever since she was a small child, made this plaque for me. She made it not long after she became a mother of a round-faced, brown-haired boy. Gazing upon my gift I was first impressed at how readily she picked up this new skill of wood burning. I looked closer and noticed how she added the tiny details almost hidden in her painting of it.

   Then another thought entered in my mind: the contentment on the face of her Madonna. It gave me the impression that Sophia’s design was stemming from that sense of pleasure that comes from a desire fulfilled, in this case a desire to become a mother. She was dabbling in a craft, while her baby napped, and the very outcome of this dabbling gave expression to a young mother’s joy. Can you remember how it felt to hold in your arms a miracle so fresh from God?

   “This looks like you and William,” I told her.

  “Does it? I got the idea for the design from the Victorian logo you use on your books. That’s why the boy is wearing a lace collar.”

  I smiled, that is all. I knew that later, when she was alone in a quiet room nursing her little one, she would privately think more about my connection. Then she would smile, too.

When our children see our faces what do they see reflected there?

"Seems it strange that thou shouldst live forever? Is it less strange that thou shoudst live at all? This is a miracle; and that no more." Young

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Girlhood Sampler of a Fictional Character

The Girlhood Sampler of a Fictional Character

This is a photo I’ve wanted to share with my readers ever since my last book was published. Those familiar with my story, Lessons at Blackberry Inn, may be interested in seeing what I’ve made to be Carol Weaver’s girlhood sampler. Carol is the main character of the story, a hard-working homeschooling mother who lives in the 1930s and follows Miss Charlotte Mason’s words of advice. One afternoon, while rummaging in the attic with her friend Emma, Carol came across her old sampler. You can see that she stitched her sampler at age eleven and signed it with her maiden name: Young.

Actually this is my first sampler. I stitched it on fiddler’s Aida cloth during the year I was writing the book. The basic design is from the company, “Words of Praise.” Altering it somewhat in color and design to suit my fancy, I added bleeding hearts and owls.

My Soul is Fed with Needle and Thread

I’ve been inspired by the prolific needle arts of my good friend Susana. Admiring her handwork has influenced me to delve into the world of historical samplers. I have stitched some on linen that I hope to share with you in days to come. A needle in hand relaxes me. In times of stress I look forward to dedicating twenty soothing minutes with a needle and thread even if it is just sewing on a button or mending a torn pocket. What makes handwork so calming is that unlike other aspects of our lives, there is no rush or noise about it. Could you use a little calm in your life that a needle and thread could provide?

Bleeding Hearts and Daydreams

Bleeding Hearts and Daydreams

With this blog I intend to gently nudge my readers to ponder ideas of how and why to take part in Mother Culture. If you are a homeschooling mother you will have many demands upon you. Reserving a little time for yourself, for the refreshment and renewal of your soul, will bring blessing to the whole family because the advantages of Mother Culture do not end with yourself. Rather they are the kind of blessings that will overflow to those you love and serve.

I planted the bleeding heart you see in the photo. The cameraman is my husband, Dean. He is keen on taking pictures and so is happy to click away. If you’ve read my books you know I am smitten by this delicate shade plant that blooms in early May for a short time but returns each year bearing more pink dangling hearts to charm and feed the bumblebees. Taking an afternoon to drive to the nursery was a refreshing change from household chores. I was home in time to prepare supper but that hour was a delight. The plant only cost a few dollars. The renewable pleasure of anticipating bleeding hearts each spring will by far outweigh the initial cost. I think I will move it over some because it blocks the view from my kitchen door of our bright blooming rhododendron.

“Brush away the cobwebs from your daydreams . . .” The Moody Blues

I listened to this song recently (I love it) and scribbled this line down to share with you. I allow myself to daydream. Can you see the flat rock that was left at the edge of our lawn by the builders? It made its appeal to me this spring to be turned into a seat for an upcoming courting couple perhaps. (Our son still lives with us. His sisters are married.) Daydreaming transformed a plain rock into the centerpiece of a romantic setting. (I surprised myself because I am much more like Jane Austin’s Eleanor than her Marianne.) Flagstones in front, the bleeding hearts and some other flowering plants here and there among the hostas, have transformed the place into the beginnings of a restful spot. I say “beginnings” because perennials take time to fill out and give the appearance of belonging -- as if having sprung up entirely on a whim. The spot needs some serious weeding which Dean and I already started doing since the photo was taken. A delivery of mulch was dumped in the driveway this week. Weeding and mulching aren’t what I relish about gardening but they are practical and do remind me to supply myself with what I need to flourish as a person while giving the garden what it needs to flourish. Daydreaming alone is not enough but it can be the start of something wonderful.