Deep Roots

 

 

Magnoilia trees and blossoms are among my earliest childhood memories.  Like pine boughs and gardenias; if I close my eyes, the fragrance brings a surge of memory and story. Summertime in this part of Texas brings magnolia blooms in many yards, and even without closed eyes, I remember. I am thankful for roots!

“Like the magnolia tree,
She bends with the wind,
Trials and tribulation may weather her,
Yet, after the storm her beauty blooms,
See her standing there, like steel,
With her roots forever buried,
Deep in her Southern soil.”― Nancy B. Brewer, Letters from Lizzie

An Old House Story

JoeVines

Last week Joe and I enjoyed a trip with some friends to hear the history of a plantation house a little over an hour from our home. Dozens of trips to and from College Station when our son was a graduate student there took us on a highway almost at the edge of the acreage where the house is located, but we had never been able to go inside or learn about the important place in Texas History held by Liendo Plantation. The grounds were lovely and shady on a very hot day, peacocks strutted and called, a beautiful herd of Red Brahman cattle grazed beyond the fences, a one-hundred-year-old black walnut tree towered, and a small pergola at the back of the house was covered with wisteria that must have been breathtaking when it bloomed in late Spring. I took some pictures of the massive twisted vines from one side, but Joe found this on the other side.  The tiny birdhouse with a heart shaped hole must have been set there years ago. Through the years, the vines have twisted and turned their way through the house and out the “door.”  No room for birds there anymore. It is a novel picture, but disturbing thought.

What do we allow to grow inside our hearts and homes, filling them so that home is no longer a place of rest, refuge and hospitality? I wonder how long the vines grew before birds could no longer nest there. We have moved almost 2 dozen times in the over 50 years of our marriage and have recently moved again. The houses may change, but as we settle and fill each with faith and love and open doors, it becomes home. I hope to never allow something to grow that pushes the things that belong there away.

 

Journey Home

Grace2

story by story

palimpsest of homecoming

always grace for the journey

 

I wrote the following for a post on April 5 2011.  5 years later, we are moving to a new home,so the container changes once more, but the God given surety inside me remains. I am given Grace to take each new step.  I do love coming home.

Every time I enter my front door, even before turning the key in the lock, my eyes rest for a moment on the small engraved stone nestled in the feathers of foxtail fern planted in an urn beside the door.  I take the word into the house with me, breathe deeply, and am grateful once more for being home.  The house itself is only a container for this awareness, though tucked into baseboards and behind walls throughout its rooms are small scripture cards which we placed as the house was built.  The walls are only reminders, with their glad burdens of family pictures and framed statements of faith and hope.  Home is God-given surety inside me.  I love coming home.

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.”  -Wendell Berry

Journey Home

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Two days ago I traveled home to the Autumn woods of East Texas. There we celebrated the life and final home-going of my brother-in-law.

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Color left the trees and bled into the sky as we turned south to head home.

 

 

City lights and sights say “welcome home.”

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“Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound.”

Herman Melville

 

 

This Morning…

IMG_0399dear familiar line and color

velvet spread of leaf

magenta and vermilion petal

held in the sweet curve

of glazed garden pot

one brief glimpse

telling me

this is home

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.”

~ C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Adventure of Grace and Joy

Grace

Days which lead up to Mother’s Day are a time of reflection and remembering..  I savor the model of mothering provided to me by my mother and grandmothers, express gratitude for their lives, and remember the simple tradition which marked Mother’s Day for me as a child:  picking a red rose to wear to church in honor of Mother.  Those whose mothers were no longer with them wore a white rose. It was a sweet gesture, and I miss it.

I cherish the images and thoughts of my sons as babies and little boys, and bask in the light of their lives as strong men of faith and integrity who have become faithful husbands and loving fathers. They love me and tell me so in word and actions. From the beginning, being a mother has been an adventure of faith and grace and joy.  I have often spoken of the fact that parenting has shown me more about God’s love and care for me than any other element of my life.  On Mother’s Day, our church’s order of service included a statement that affirmed this.

“It has been the amazing, often painful, often ecstatic adventure of being a parent that has most formed me. It is parenting that has made, unmade, and remade me into someone who comes up hard against the great religious questions that have always been part of the human quest:

Who in fact am I?.

What is a life well led?

What is most essential, permanent, and foundational?

What responsibility do I have to others?

How do I deal with evil and fear?

What is “the good?”

How do I love well?

How do I move in this wild and worrisome world with some grace and joy?

Wendy Wright,   Seasons of a Family’s Life: Cultivating the Contemplative Spirit at Home 

 

                            

Home Again

FlagstonePath

Returning Home Again

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

—Wendell Berry

BrokenPotFairyGarden

Of Gardens and Poetry

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A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.
~ Luis Barragan

 plants and rocks and water

change with every shift of light

 mystery of creation

murmuring  stories

singing ancient songs

Celebrate

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”  ~John Milton

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Today, as we celebrate July 4, 2013, I am thinking of ways I show gratitude for the land in which I live and considering the ways in which I experience life in this place.  I have lived in another country, gaining a world view expanding experience and a new awareness of the freedoms that are often taken for granted in this country. As I gather my red, white, and blue bouquet from the garden this morning, I am thankful for the everyday blessing of my home, my community, the country I call mine and those who have given themselves through the years in unselfish service.

Lessons on My Porch in April

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Lessons on My Porch in April

red bird perches on weathered gate

watching his mate rustling rose canes

scarlet winged guardian with black mask,

he protects her blushed brown plumage,

has hunted seeds for their courtship

to feed her,  bright beak to bright beak

they teach me cardinal rules:

mate for life, travel together,

watch for danger,  listen to warnings

find each other when it grows dark

sing songs for each other

stay

twig woven to twig

note woven to note

labor on feathered loom

homework