Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Friday night as I was at the checkout, the cashier asked if the items I was purchasing were a Mother's Day gift for my mom. Whyever would a tea cup, tea, marmelade, a Ritter Sport, stationery, a candle and a list book look like Mother's Day gifts? I smiled and said that they were. She said, "I lost my mother this year. You are so blessed to still have yours." I nodded. Oh, yes, I am blessed! At a loss for words, I couldn't say what a year it's been for my family. And, too, I wanted to somehow comfort her in her loss. In the end, she comforted me by saying, "She is always with me."

And that's how most of us experience our mothers. She is indeed always there. Her voice is heard long after the actual sound of her voice is forgotten. We remember how she would have reacted in this situation or that. Her admonishments and encouragements are with us. I know these things because my grandmother tells me how much she longs to see her mother again; yet, her mother has always been with her. Isn't God good to give us mothers? And isn't He good to remind us that even if our fathers and mothers forsake us, He will be there?

You've always been right there for me;
don't turn your back on me now.
Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;
you've always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.
~Psalm 27:10 The Message

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Herb of Grace

The inn itself was a fair-sized old house with bulging white-washed, buttressed walls...

I've been having some fun while away. Today I find myself missing Blogdom so am back. Not really back, back, but a skipperty-lippertish kind of back.

What fun you may wonder. Reading fun! I've been reading The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn. (It's my goal to have the final one finished in time for a Saturday return, though I do have another week to fall back upon. The sooner I finish, the sooner I will be back to visiting you. Yay!) These are such delicious books that I've even been writing down my favorite passages to savor later; these are the kinds of books that one wishes to read again so I will continue to look for them at flea markets. (Thank you, sweet M-N, for your kind offer.)

I'd like to thank those who've read Elizabeth Goudge and shared your love of her books. Brenda's Warm and Cozy Book Recommendations comes to mind and so many others in Blogland have mentioned this author.

The two I have read are about the Eliot family who own homes on England's Hampshire Coast located in the southwest corner. The homes are named Damerosehay and The Herb of Grace. (Herb of Grace is actually the British title of Pilgrim's Inn.) About 80 pages into the first book, I couldn't stand not knowing how to pronounce Damerosehay another minute. Thankfully, someone on the net had already asked and received an answer. You can find it *here.*

These are good old-fashioned reads. There may be undercurrents of sordid details, but goodness, love, and morality always prevail. I may be somewhat at odds with the family matriarch Lucilla concerning the benefits of living in a loveless, hollow marriage, but then I must consider the time in which Goudge was writing. The descriptions of home and garden were so beautifully and lovingly crafted...pure delights. I'll share a few of the excerpts I saved and hope that you, too, may be bitten by the desire to find these treasures at your local library or flea market or on the shelves of a friend's bookcase.

...She spent her whole life in terror of disturbing people when they did not want her and so catching was her frame of mind that they too, when she entered anxiously upon them, were inclined to agree with her that, no, they did not want her...she held aloof always, afraid to give herself lest her gift should be scorned, and possessions that she most deeply prized...slid away from her. ~from The Bird in the Tree describing Margaret Eliot
The thought came to her that though she herself had done all she could, there was upon her side other strength than her own. The universe was planned as an orderly thing, and those forces that try to wreck its order are always on the losing side...
~Ibid describing Lucilla Eliot
"One's real self gets very sharpened when one is unhappy. It gets able to pierce through and make peepholes in the stuff of everyday life. It's practically the only advantage of being unhappy." ~Ibid David Eliot and shabbiness are quite compatible. The great to start well. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but it must be a costly and strong beauty, purchased at a high price of service or sacrifice. ~Ibid Lucilla's opinion
"To a gardener...any garden is home. It's home and work together. It's not any one's the earth and things growing in it that one loves." ~Ibid Margaret Eliot
Ben decided, not for the first time, that all his family were quite mad, and turned his attention, as Grandmother had advised, to the view.~ Ibid
Just like Ben, I've been turning my attention to the view quite a lot recently. So much in these books resonates with me from "advice" on how to cope in trying times to thoughts on home and garden and family.

There have been times when separate events come together in my life in striking ways or perhaps it's just because I have a mind always seeking to make connections. I have often been told that I make "unusual" ones. Whatever it is, my gifts from Robin arrived this week and have become one of those striking ties for I will remember this delicious week of reading ever so much better as a result of Robin's thoughtfulness. I don't know if she planned it this way having learned that I was going to read the aforementioned books or if it was a God breeze, but it's wonderful. Just see what I mean...

My gifts and their connections:

The sweet little bird...birds feature prominently in both stories, but especially in the first

The watering can charm...gardening connection

Flower magnets and notepaper...ditto

Verbena soap and lotion...The family matriarch Lucilla uses verbena as her signature scent

Candles...English hyacinth...story set in England and Flowering herbs..."The Herb of Grace" is the home from Pilgrim's Inn.

Vanilla Pear Butter...such a tasty treat for a proper English tea! And how did Robin know that my favorite fruit is pear?!

"Praise God" tag...there's a profound spirituality in these two Goudge books and a message of yielding oneself to God. Love those sweet colors of binding tape to use in tag making. (My mother will benefit first.)

Robin, thank you so much! I was and am blessed!

So what do you think? Were those connections too far-fetched?

Thank you for all your kind comments and prayers for my mother. She is doing quite well, everything considered, and we are all so grateful. At this point, I'm sending a cyber hug to my Aunt Ess and Uncle B. They are the best! I don't know what my family would do without them. God does not leave us comfortless and they have been God's comfort to us in recent days. Hope to have an update on "Behind the Scenes" soon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


"Rest" is a perfect word for me right now. Perhaps you'll find it perfect for yourself as well. I found it at Ramblings from an English Garden *here.*

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. ~Romans 8:26–28 The Message