Hope this finds you doing well
Today after two weeks of solid rain, like a beacon of hope the clouds parted and some sun shone through. All I can think is let it be so in others parts of Australia overwhelmed by floodwaters and facing the aftermath of it. This week this verse kept coming to mind “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4;8-9) Let it be so for all those facing impossible things around the world today.
As always friends I hope these few words and reads will be fresh air and kind company as you head into your weekend – – –
A Good Word
Standing ovation for this one
“Regardless of how you appear to others,
you are free to view yourself
with affection, understanding and respect.”
John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes
A Good Look
How beautiful are these Ukrainian Floral Crowns
Gardener and author Christie Purifoy wrote this week
“The botanical beauty of these modern, exuberant, artistic takes on the traditional Ukrainian floral crowns is even more meaningful now. (As a gardener I) acknowledge the strangeness of discussing flower choices for our summer gardens while more than a million women and children have fled their homes in a matter of days. Gardening like many hobbies or creative endeavors, can feel pointless when mass suffering erupts. I do think war only highlights the value of our ordinary lives and yet, studying these glorious flower crowns and planning my own summer garden, I realized that making and tending gardens matters in a very particular and powerful way. Gardening actively counters the chaos of war. It literally reshapes the world. War un-makes, but gardeners make. War destroys and leaves ugliness, but gardeners grow and make beautiful. Gardening is the inverse of war.
A crown of flowers suddenly looks to me like one of the most profound statements of peacemaking, because peace is not simply the absence of war, but the presence of flourishing life”.
Read more here about Traditional Ukrainian Floral Crowns
A Good Idea
from Rach Kincaid
Learning to love your own lane
There was a week one summer, when two different women gave me the last of their apple harvests. Another handed over several bunches of kale, and a few more gave me tips on who to find in town to help with hemming some pants.
This fall, I discovered a coworker of who mine can basically sew in her sleep. She’s mended and tailored my clothes between shifts better than any small business storefront shop.
One Friday night in winter, my family gathered around the table and shared exciting events from the kids’ market at school. One showed me a hat she bought that someone’s mama had whipped together the night before.
I am signed up for a painting class next week and everyone who knows me has snickered sweetly at the thought. There is an entire collection of my artwork the kids have kept for a rainy day. We still can’t figure out if my drawing of a horse was actually a dog or a bus.
Here’s the thing: I’ve gardened and taken sewing classes and attempted to knit and paint. These things simply don’t come easily to me, nor do they hold my attention long enough to want to become an expert. I am, however, really good at putting together an outfit and planning a trip and keeping a few houseplants alive and being a nurse. I am learning to love my lane. I’m also getting comfortable enough at driving in it, to look over and honk and wave at the women in the other ones. They’re doing great, too.
A Few Good Reads
from Dappled Things
My father was all of five feet tall. This never seemed to bother him, ever. He was a body builder, a skier, a gymnast and an acrobat. I have heard blood chilling tales from my mother of him doing handstands on bridge rails just for the fun of it, and, no doubt, to hear her quite satisfying screams. He was a man who relished the element of surprise.
He played the violin with cultured grace, but let us just say his wit was of the ‘earthy French peasant’ variety. To this day, I count him the best raconteur I have ever met. He would regale us at many a week night dinner with stories of his childhood recounted in his native French tongue. He had everyone rolling and pounding the table in laughter, even those of our friends who did not understand a word of it. His face alone was enough.
He had a weakness for cars – the more “souped up” the better. When he could afford it, he bought a red and black Camaro with a horn that played La Cucaracha. We always knew he was home as he would start honking way down the block to the delight of all the neighbor kids and the horror of my understated, cultured, Victorian mother. That horn was the pride of his life and the bane of hers; she called it the “saint maker.” – – – keep reading
from Michelle DeRusha
“So what’s next then?” he asked me, arms crossed, standing at the threshold of the conference room where I set up my laptop, notebook and file folders twice a week. I’d just told my boss about my recent decision to leave book publishing, and his question did not come as a surprise.
It was my answer that surprised him.
“This,” I said to my boss, nodding to my laptop and my file folders on the conference room table. “What I’m doing right now is what’s next.”
I could see surprise in his raised eyebrows and hear it in the pause that yawned open in the small room. He laughed a little, not quite sure how to respond to my vague, unambitious answer, and I changed the subject so as not to prolong the awkwardness – – – – keep reading
And a long read from Comment.org
This summer, while on my porch, I experienced a drive-by shooting for the first time.
Germantown, my beloved neighbourhood here in Philadelphia, has probably been like most inner-city neighbourhoods this past year: destitute, depressed, run down, pressure-cooked. I live on a high-traffic street and a block or two from the dividing line of what would be considered “safe Germantown” and “unsafe Germantown.” On one side of my house is my neighbour, who has become a dear friend and a teammate of sorts: we hope together. On the other side is an abandoned house by the corner, and beside that, a street that has become known as the local epicentre of crime and drug dealing. We’ll call it “T Street.” As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the world, I’ve watched as the drug culture has slowly turned the bend and crept around my street corner, like a shadow trying to cover more territory.
And this is where my pandemic story begins.
Unlike many people’s experience, my 2020 was a good year. As a full-time artist who has spent most of the last sixteen years on the road, stopping was a big deal. I stopped touring, stopped making music, stopped doing.
Experiencing rest for a full year was priceless. I spent the majority of the time painting things, building things, using my hands, and experimenting with what I could create. What I was making wasn’t very good, but the unfamiliar outlet provided a way to express myself without the burden of expectation—that haunting feeling that you need to outdo your last project in order to keep fans impressed. It also provided a visual way to engage fans whom I could no longer connect with in person. For the first time in my adult life, art came with no strings attached. No self-imposed deadlines or obligations to share. No rules except to feel. Feel and heal.
But after a while, especially as the new year rolled in, what had become a treasured practice of peace began to feel off. I’d be sitting at my art table creating something while watching a drug deal happen next door. I’d be chopping homegrown, organic vegetables in the kitchen while watching a couple unleash a full-blown argument on the sidewalk. A contrast was cracking open, becoming ever more impossible to ignore.
One night, while reading a book on my couch and enjoying a dimly lit candle, a shot rang out next door in front of the abandoned house – – – keep reading
That’s all for now friends. Have a beautiful weekend. Rest up. Do something you love xx