It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Out into the sunshine

Close to noon today I walked out of the building to go to the ATM in the bank drive thru located next to our building.  As I walked out I had the feeling that I often have in the evening when I walk out after spending a long day in the office.  The fresh air and the light of day surprise me after a day of sitting in an office; ah, there is an outside world that I had forgotten.  I feel like I am seeing the outside world for the first time in a long, long time; I often think I've been a prisoner in a dark cave or cell and am walking back out into the real world.  I always marvel at the sky, the landscaping and the trees and wish that I could have been outside and enjoyed the day.  I usually wish that I had a job where I didn't always have to stay in an office.  Today I had to turn around and walk back into the building, regretfully. But just the walk to the ATM was enough time to refresh me and remind me that there is a real world outside of the office.

As I waited for my money to come out of the ATM the thought came to me that this experience is a lot like life.  Often we get too buried in our "cave" and forget to come out into the real world, the outside world, and take a look around and smell the fresh air.  Walking outside into the sunshine and fresh air is a simple way to put life back into perspective and put the darkness of the cave aside.  A walk around the block will always mentally and physically refresh your mind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cookbook writing and cooking

Many posts ago I mentioned that I intended to someday write a cookbook and title it "Mighty Fine".  Well, I'm happy to announce that I've finally started the process.  Yippee!  I've created an online account to start typing in recipes, haven't typed in any yet mind you but I figure that if I try to do one a day (so to speak) that I can have the cookbook ready to go to press around the end of June.  My goal is to have 150-200 recipes. I plan to include the family favs and some of the other not so familiar recipes that I enjoy.   I'll try to put periodic updates on the blog on my progress. 

I have to admit that I like to eat and I like good food.  Now I'm not a big eater and usually can't finish a restaurant meal, but I do like to eat.  I was very picky as a child and sometimes as an adult I still have to remind myself to just try something and give it a chance.  I prefer just plain old everyday cooking, but I don't pass up an upscale meal either. One of the things about traveling that I enjoy is trying new foods and eating in different restaurants.   I like a good tasting meal that is beautifully presented but I really don't care for these trendy places that bring you one olive at a time (so to speak) because you really can't enjoy the food.   

Eating out is fun, but there's nothing like a home cooked meal.    Just about every Sunday night our family gathers around my table for a meal and I enjoy preparing that meal.  The same with Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.  I like to cook when the meal is going to be eaten and appreciated but I do not like to cook just for the sake of putting a meal on the table.  That's just drudgery.  

To close this post on the subject of food I have to offer the Wesleyan Grace:

Be present at our table, Lord
Be here and everywhere adored.
These favors bless and grant that we
May feast in fellowship with Thee.  Amen.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day 2012

Here is what I did NOT do today:
1.  Clean my house, really clean my house
2.  Laundry
3.  Sweep, rake and bag leaves
4.  Finish my final presentation for Statistics, due tomorrow night
5.  Sew on the quilt I have on the design wall, or on anything else
6.  Knit on the small shawl in my work basket
7.  Read any of the books in the stack
8.  Take the dogs to the dog park

What I did do today was far more important. Here is what I did today:

After I took Bentley to an early appointment at the vet, Cameron came over to my house and he and Jaydon and I headed to a nearby park.  It was chilly and damp but that did not bother the boys, I just added a sweatshirt and was comfortable.  I didn't take a single dog along, just my camera.  After two hours at the park we went to McDonald's for lunch, a McD that had an indoor playground.  After two hours there (and, yes I'm wondering why I hadn't thought of the indoor playground idea before as it was perfect) we came back to my house for some more outside fun.  The pictures say it all! And, oh yes, I know two little boys that went to bed early tonight!

Cameron learned to ride a scooter!

Climbing a 'rock' took some courage for Cam but then he had fun on top with Jaydon!

Scooters worked great on the trail


Only Gammy lets you dig up treasure in her yard!

On a final note, I hope I created memories today for the boys.  I know I have memories to cherish; and I know that I will never have this day again.  Tomorrow the boys are a day older.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Home Sweet Home

There's no place like home, literally.  There is just something very comforting about coming home, to my home, closing the door and pulling the walls around me.  Home sweet home, ahhhhh!

After two intense weeks at work, dealing with school, taking care of the house, the dogs and the yard I'm done.  So tonight was one of those "home" nights when I came home and pulled the walls around me.  I put on my cozy sweats and just felt like a moth in a cocoon.  Jaydon is here with me and he did the same thing, just enjoying being in my house.  The world is locked outside and in here it is just our peaceful space.

I look forward to coming home every day and just love the nights like tonight when I don't have to go anywhere and I can just come home and be wrapped in the coziness of my house.  There are many days at work when all I can think of is getting home and surrounding myself with the comfort of home.

I am thankful for my home, for the walls that enfold me with their reassurance, and for the peace that being at home brings to me.  I know that many of the homeless people claim that they don't want to live in a permanent shelter and that they enjoy being free, but I need a home base, a place to call my own. Mmmmm, home sweet home! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Back In Time

During my Christmas break from school I had planned to read several books.  I love books and had bought several and had them stacked up to read, "when I had time".  I only managed to read one, and it was a book of pictures with captions.  It only took an hour or so to read through the book but it provided some thought provoking material for me.

The book was pictures from scenes in my father's home town, Oxford Mississippi.  It also had a section on his alma mater, Ole Miss.  I had bought it because I love Oxford and I also love old pictures of the past.  To digress here this is probably because my grandmother entertained me on many sweltering afternoons with boxes of old cards, post cards and pictures.  So one night just before Christmas the dogs and I snuggled up on the sofa and I spent some quiet time looking through these pictures.

At first I was looking for my father, or my grandparents or the name of a relative I would recognize.  I looked carefully at the details of the pictures, remembering places from my childhood like the Square and Nielsen's.  I tried to look beyond the grainy pictures and imagine each scene in color, in reality.  I wondered why the men's clothes all seemed slightly disheveled and poor fitting; then I decided that that must have been the style!  Then I started to really look into the pictures and examined the details.  I thought about movies and TV shows that start with an old photograph that comes to life (or the shows that end with the final scene dissolving into an old, worn photograph).  As I stared at one of the pictures of a store front I found myself bringing it to life in just that way.  What color was it painted, and look at the style of the building,  how old was it when this picture was made?  The photo made it look old and dusty but as I looked closely I could tell that the building was not that old.  I looked at the Priscilla type curtains in the window, and wondered what did this store sell?  The closer I looked at the details the more real the store became and I realized that this was a picture but it had been made of a real place and captured how that store looked during that time.  I continued to do this with all the pictures and soon I felt like I had really been there and was a part of the past.  The pictures, even though they remained a grainy black and white, allowed me to see the reality of that time.

Funny thing, the next day I kept thinking about those scenes.  They weren't just pictures any more; they were a glimpse into the past and in an odd way I felt that I had been in Oxford a long time ago. And, no I didn't find anyone I knew, but I did connect with my past and the town that my father grew up in and loved so much.

The Lyceum, University of Mississippi

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Walking the Way

On both of my trips to New England I was fortunate to get to walk the Marginal Way.  This is a paved path about a mile long along the Atlantic Ocean between Ogunquit and Perkins Cove, Maine. The first trip was in June and I delighted in the wild roses with their wicked thorns as well as the breathtaking view of the Atlantic.  This fall I had more time and was able to make the entire trip to Perkins Cove and back.  The air was crisp and almost cold, but again the walk was peaceful and scenic.  A memorable spot, and I hope to return to Ogunquit someday and walk the Marginal Way again.

This morning our choir did a piece with words that reminded me of my walks along the Marginal Way.  These words were a prayer written by Lancelot Andrewes who lived between 1555 and 1626. 

Open thou my eyes and I shall see,
Open thou my ears and I shall hear,
Incline my heart, I shall desire,
Order my steps and I shall walk the ways of thy commandments.

I know these words refer to walking in God's ways and keeping his commandments but as I rehearsed and sang those words this morning I could not help but think of those two memorable walks along Marginal Way .  The roses and landscape, the waves of the ocean, the clean air and the delightful pathway of the Marginal Way made those walks so pleasant.  I am reminded that walking in God's commandments is also a pleasant pathway through life.  

Order my steps and I shall walk the ways of thy commandments.