Thursday, March 31, 2011

Being Small

G.K. Chesterton says in Orthodoxy that "humility is necessary to the enjoyment of anything." We need to make ourselves smaller than the object, moment, or person we're experiencing in order to truly soak it up. Otherwise, we just trample it, like a galumphing elephant does a shrub, and move on in pursuit of the next big thing. Something about the picture of making myself small really got through to me and I've been thinking about it a lot. It takes a conscious effort sometimes, but I feel all the corners and cracks and enter into things more. It's so easy to feel entitled, you know? But when I'm small, I don't feel entitled. I feel awed. And alive.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Living room decor... and other progress

Monday was my day off, and I suddenly was desperate to do something fun WITH someone. And so I called Bekah and we went shopping in Holmes County, Ohio. I needed new veils and was itching to spend a very long time drooling over antiques. At it turned out, antiques weren't the only thing I drooled over. If you've never had a black raspberry fry pie from Der Dutchman's, you have yet to taste all that is right about the world. 

But, back to the antiques... before I start getting graphic about the finer points of fry pies.

I fell in love with this piano bench. Its worn, green velvet pad, simple-but-elegant lines, and worn finish... surprisingly, I have no impulse to refinish it. I looked apprehensively at the price tag, but what I saw made me say, "You coming home wid me, baby!" 

So I happily carried both a bench and a drawing around the antique mall until closing time chased us out. Because of the quality of the ink and hairline scribbles that wouldn't reproduce well, I think this darling is an original pen-and-ink portrayal of a bridge and canal lock. Maybe the fact that the architecture of the bridge is similar to that of the Eiffel Tower caught my eye, but the longer I looked at it, the more I was entranced. It's an exquisite work, gallery-wrapped and everything. 

But I shivered when I wondered if, after I'm no more than a small pile of dust, my drawings will end up in a pile of odds and ends in a shop somewhere, priced for five dollars with no one to love or understand them. 

Mercy. Maybe that's why people carve statues out of stuff more durable than paper. And maybe my drawings will be adopted and loved like I do this one.

Instead of using nails to hang stuff on my apartment's newly-painted walls, I started using adhesive strips.

It sports a different mirror than the one I originally hung, but this collage on the living room wall is the drawing's new home. Forget fancy adhesive strips. I used nails. If/when I move again, I'll putty the holes and paint over them. 
So there.

This door leads from the living room to the dining room. Nine-foot ceilings and wide, original trim... helLO, gorgeous!

Doesn't the piano bench make the perfect coffee table? Yup, I think so too.

And, semi-facing the couch is this corner of the full bay window... with its bookcase I've outgrown. So I keep stashing books in odd places because I haven't seen a tall book-case that is both affordable and won't dominate the entire room.

Maybe bleached burlap and an old window frame are a bit too casual for the feel of the rest of the living room's decor, but who cares? Not me... at least until I recover from spring fever. And I know, the pink and purple flowers on the lamp don't exactly compliment the sage and orange theme.. but I love lighting just the base of the hurricane lamp in the evenings, making the room all cozy and dusky. Plus, my dad gave it to me. Sentimental? Who, me? Unabashedly.

I found this sturdy wooden serving tray at a thrift store a year ago, but I never posted the before and after, so here ya be.



It's amazing what paint can do. Sorry about the spin-off, Campbell's.

The fabulous serving bowl was a house-warming gift from Carla... which makes it even more perfect. 

Vintage magazines just rock. The layouts and pictures are fascinating in their difference from modern ones. Plus, I just like old stuff. Fair enough? A Time magazine from 1947, published just seven months before the world lost the gift of Gandhi.

But it was Martin Luther King, Jr., not Gandhi, who said,
 "If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would go out and plant a tree."

So would I. 
And a peony bush.

And heirloom tomatoes.

For now, though, I'm holding off on the tree.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


"beauty is not caused. it is." -emily dickinson

Friday, March 18, 2011

new green growy things

The very air is heavy with life. Breathing it in sends energy searing to your fingertips.
After a beautiful but loooong winter, buried under (barely miniature) mountain ranges of snow, green growy things are everywhere.

Feast your eyes, people.

This is my indoor peace lily who, after four years of living with me, has decided she is ready to bloom.

These are the snowdrops that came up in my flowerbed before the last snowfall and lived to tell the tale.

And THIS is the happily unsightly corner of my living room. I wish I had a grow light, but a sunny window works, too. A very blissful hour was spent yesterday by a very happy Becca planting seeds outside in the sun. Barefoot. If the magic of earth, seed, sun, and water works, I'll have a peony, calla lillies, baby's breath, poppies, daisies, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, oregano, parsley, and basil to transplant in a month. Is it weird to love little plants? Alright, then I'm weird. Every little green shoot just rivets me in its miracle, like watching a calf being born and stand, all knock-kneed.

My shamrock has recovered from her starved existance under Wal-Mart's flourescent lights just in time for St. Paddy's Day.

Speaking of shamrocks and all things Irish, I HAVE A TICKET TO IRELAND! My un-biological bro, Gideon, and his Irish darling are getting married in July, and I really and truly am going!

Lucky me. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Green Pastures

The past few weeks have been intense, for lack of a better word. Loving broken people comes with a price sometimes. 

When she told me she was pregnant again, hope surged into my heart. Before, she only told me she had been pregnant after the question of whether to bring a little life into her own young, single one had been terminated. This time, she looked at baby clothes and we read baby name books. We cried and dreamed. I loved the little life inside her almost as much as I love her. I asked some of my closest friends to join me in praying for both her and her baby's lives... they both seemed fragile and a bit precarious. Instead of just praying, one newly-married friend and her husband offered to take the baby as their own, whether temporarily or permanently, whichever she wanted. I made sure she ate nutritious food, stroked her hair and held her when she dizzy and sick, and assured her she was not alone with this child. Every ounce of my hope, fear, and love I poured into begging prayer.

But still she chose.
And the baby is gone.

This grief is a twin valley. One for the little person I loved but will never hold; a life that will never be lived. Another for her. This baby seemed to be a chance at redemption, a tug toward taking responsibility for her actions. She seemed to miss the wonder and awe of nurturing the beginning of a whole little person inside herself. Instead of a growing love, she had a pressing question. It seems she's had to turn off a part of her soul, and I hardly recognize the shell of a girl she's become. 

When the ceiling of life falls in, nothing is sacred from the havoc, dust, and exposure. Every day, questions you never dreamed you'd ask fly up through the holes at God. 

But even in valleys, God opens His hands and provides green pastures. New friends, exercise and rain, a surprise visit from my dad, colorful lollipops to send to my sisters, and moments that renew hopes I had almost forgotten, moments that make me feel young and dauntless. 

Summer will come again, with its sunshine, rest, bare feet, and pure joy.

P.S. Anna, I found this picture on my phone and it made me resolve to visit you and your hammock sometime this summer. :) 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Black Eyed Peas - Where Is The Love?

If I tried to give a sort of intro to this song, I would have to tell enough stories to fill a book... of so many teens who add to the violence because they've never been loved; of police throwing my 60-year-old neighbor woman in the ghetto to the sidewalk and handcuffing her because they were arresting her son and she was crying and frantically begging them in Spanish not to take him, and she didn't understand their English order to step back, of watching a fight from my third-floor window and begging God to fill the street with peace as a woman screamed for the blows to stop hurting her man and my tears fell to the sidewalk far below, of one of my most feared and violent girls hugging me instead of shaking my offered hand when she left and we both knew this was goodbye forever. Oops. Was that a book? Here's the song: (oh, but first scroll to the end of the page and turn off the music player. Is that thing annoying? I kinda' like it, but if it's a pain I'll delete it.)