Seek and I Shall Find

I didn’t win that Mega Millions Lottery the other night. But I’ll tell you what I have scored over the past few days: five, count ‘em, FIVE elastic hairbands. Envious of my good fortune? Well, you should be. I didn’t even spend a dollar for any of these hairbands; each simply appeared before me as I walked the dog, took out the trash, or went on the school run. Two brown, one black, one yellow, one green; all in perfect condition after a soak and a swish in a cupful of dish detergent. All but one of the brown bands are the thick kind I need for my thick hair; the thin one might inspire me to make a braid and it fasten at the end, just to show off the prize. Continue reading

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Surprised by Joy

Few authors have the ability to travel with us from childhood to adulthood, but C.S. Lewis has traveled with me. From his Chronicles of Narnia to Mere Christianity (an adaptation of BBC radio talks), it was not so much his ideals as his eloquent and thoughtful writing that captivated me. The work that has perhaps held greatest significance for me is Surprised by Joy, an autobiography of sorts that also tells of his discovery of “joy” in life, which he describes as fulfillment of deep longing. For him, it was a path from atheism to Christianity and for me that path has been rather the opposite. But the idea of being surprised by joy, of discovering something wonderous and life-changing when not expected… that I understand. So I borrow Mr. Lewis’ words now to describe what has happened to me (and explains where I’ve been) during the past few months. Continue reading

A January Valentine

We might as well revel in winter this year. Some say it’s the coldest on record in three decades. The reveling doesn’t take much for me; I’ve always loved winter. I think the soul loves the season into which one is born, so since this is my birth month, I don’t mind snow and cold and dark from mid December through mid March. Though, I must admit my spoiling: my work takes me to more temperate climes on occasion during the winter, and it’s been years since I’ve felt anything akin to Cabin Fever or SADD, both of which affect a lot of people I know. I spent Saturday and Sunday in the Caribbean, trying to soak up as much sun and heat as possible. Odd, I thought yesterday when I returned, the need to remove a thick winter glove to scratch at a mosquito bite on my wrist. Continue reading

Reclaiming Home

I’m one of those people easily sidetracked. So it’s no surprise I’ve not posted in a while, sidetracked as I was by the Holidays, completing our floor restoration, and starting to put the house back together. It’s going to take longer than when we moved in because we have a lot more stuff now, and much of it looks terrible on top of the now-beautiful floors. Continue reading

Paperwhites

At Christmastime when I was about eleven years old, someone gave my mother a big pot of white narcissus, also known as Paperwhites. My mother was thrilled, as forced bulbs were an uncommon luxury in our small mountain town. She placed the pot in the room we call the Solarium with eight foot windows and filled every winter with ferns and tender geraniums she brought in from the cold. When the Paperwhites bloomed, their scent overpowered everything and to me they smelled just like urine. I could hardly abide being in the Solarium and wondered why on earth a flower like this was special. Continue reading

Winter’s Arrival

The first snow fell Friday night. Rain that followed us on the drive from the City turned to wet slushy flakes in the colder Upstate temperatures, but still we were surprised. The Large Breed seemed nonplussed until his walk around midnight, when about an inch of snow blanketed his world, and a switch went off inside his head: how good it is to roll around in the stuff; how to make doggie snow angels; how to plow his nose through and enjoy the frosty splendor on doggie lips and tongue. But his paws must have been cold, because he chose a round-a-single-block route for his walk, then nestled onto his blanket on the porch for a long winter’s nap. Continue reading

Higher Learning

Two days before Thanksgiving, at the peak of English Autumn, I spent the day with a dear friend at her home near the University of Oxford. Nothing inspires a need and desire to acquire knowledge like an afternoon touring a school established over nine-hundred years ago, a place filled with tradition and endowed with more riches than money could ever buy. I gained further appreciation for time-worn, beautiful things during my day there. Continue reading