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Showing posts with label beginnings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beginnings. Show all posts

Friday, January 8, 2016


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Skye is 13!

Today is our lovely granddaughter's thirteenth birthday.  From the moment of her parents' excited news of her tiny beginning, she has been so much joy and gladness for me. In the months before her birth, I wrote a journal to her in the form of a letter, given to her parents on the day she was born, a tradition I have continued with each new grandchild.  I simply wanted to tell her she was already a part of our family story and would always be.  I wrote about happily we anticipated her arrival, of all the things we looked forward to sharing with her, and how we celebrate faith and family. From rocking and lullabies to planting flowers, building fairy gardens and baking macaroons, Skye continues to add delight to our time together. Thank you, and Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


My Daddy, John William Howard Teal, my mother Opal, and me at around age 2 (top) and 4 (middle) - snapshots taken near our rented apartment in New Orleans LA, and in Bullard, Texas. The studio photo of Daddy and Mother was probably from about the same time as the Bullard picture.  Daddy has the same suit on, although he probably wore that suit only to church, weddings, and funerals and kept the same suit for years!

I am reminded often of Daddy, and miss him even though he died in 1982.  He was honest, hard working, a man of faith and love for his family. He was a good businessman, a good cook, a good son, a good brother, a good husband, and a good father. He worked hard in the cafes which he and my mother owned, and worked even harder taking care of a small herd of cattle on the land he bought from my grandparents an acre or two at a time to help them financially. He liked growing things, planting a small pecan and plumb orchard, and growing seasonal vegetables in his garden. In my mind I have vignettes of him grafting pecan trees, pinching suckers and picking tomatoes, calling his cows with his truck horn, and throwing out feed and hay to them. Other pictures of him have him baking fresh yeast rolls, rolling out pie crust, grilling hamburgers, and making chicken fried steak. At my request, he would put a spoon of mashed potatoes on the grill with some chopped onions - I loved fried mashed potatoes!  When he was at work in the cafe he wore a short white cap and , a fresh white apron, and when he came home he smelled like hamburgers!

He loved his grandsons.  He took Sean fishing and to feed the cows. He let Ben play with the hose in the front yard and Ben turned the hose on him!  I have a picture of Jeremy, our middle son, when he was a baby with one of Daddy's old felt fedoras on.  After his death, I kept Daddy's hat on the shelf in my bedroom along with one of his belts and his whetstone. They have all since been given to the grandsons, but I can almost touch them in my mind. His hugs still touch my heart.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


                               Nora and the knitted lace and satin coverlet I made for her.

I  am glad we have a day called Thanksgiving. I am blessed to gather family around our table to share prayers of gratitude and a meal we have prepared together.  I am also glad to practice being grateful and saying thank you every day. As part of my early morning quiet time, I keep a gratitude journal where each day I write 5 things for which I am thankful I write down what comes to mind without editing or spending too much time trying to say it well!  This has been a year full of paying attention to God's good gifts, being astonished at beauty and blessings, and wanting to tell about it.* As I look through the pages of that journal and browse all the photos, I have chosen a few things to share with you from these days of 2014.  I chose the photo above for the way it shows being covered.  I feel covered with the love of my family and God's good grace.

I am thankful for...

my forever friend, Joe

the miracle of new life:  Nora Opal, arriving this Spring

my word for 2014: Release

healing for hurting hearts

 knitting lace that I started in 1973!

winter garden harvest - cabbages, cauliflower, and a tree full of Meyer lemons

Skye's love of cooking and being with me in the kitchen

fragrance of a single gardenia

lessons from seeds

Grandma's rocker near the fireplace

March 16:  Maddie's 8th birthday

March 19:  Nora Opal arrives!

our rose arbor in full bloom (the survivor rose, Peggy Martin)

singing songs my mother and grandmother sang to me for  Nora while I rock her

our back porch

dawn sky, peaches and spun sugar

harvesting figs

old cookbooks, heirloom recipes

morning glory blooms at my kitchen window

August 19: Jordann and her birthday doll

the warmth of copper as it catches light

handwritten thank you notes

our porch swing

glimmers from the past - old family photos

November 19:  Skye is 12!

*this refers to my favorite quotation from the poetry of Mary Oliver:
         "Pay attention
           Be astonished
           Tell about it."

Friday, August 15, 2014


As Nora nears 5 months old, she is increasingly aware of color and patterns.  She is more sensitive to faces, smiling at those familiar to her and exhibiting wariness or alarm at those who are not. She fingers spots and dots on toys, reaches for the bright paisley of my shirt and the textured wood panel of her changing table. Here, she is fixed on the butterfly quilt that belonged to one of the grandmothers she is named for, Opal Terrell Teal.  As I smiled and watched her admiration, I thought of so many stories the quilt could tell.

Opal was my mother, making her Nora's great grandmother.  The butterfly quilt was made as a gift for Opal on her 17th birthday in 1931, a common pattern choice in those depression years that so needed the butterfly's symbolism of hope.  The women who chose these colors and patterns and stitched every tiny, even stitch were Opal's mother and grandmother, making them Nora Opal's great-great grandmother and great-great-great grandmother.  I stood as I watched Nora admire their handwork, thinking of their stories and hers.  They could not have known that almost a century later, a beautiful little girl would so love what they made. But I am confident they know now.  Opal herself did not know when she passed the quilt on to me how I would keep it and love it and give it again.  But I know she joins Clyde and Earnestine in blessing Nora and returning the admiration. Hope is a wonderful gift to pass on.

Friday, March 28, 2014

In the days just over a week ago when they knew their baby would soon be born,  I told my son that giving birth was hard work, yes, but that it was the most exquisite thing that ever happened to me. The beauty of welcoming a grandchild is another layer of that kind of breathtaking awe and wonder.  Part of this is being privileged to see that amazing awareness and tenderness in my son and his wife as they experience all it means to be a parent. Part is the hope, knowing, newness, and wonder in my granddaughter's eyes. Thank you, Ben and Kristen, and Nora!

"To have grandchildren is not only to be given something but to be given something back.
You are given back something of your children's childhood all those years ago. You are given back something of what it was like to be a young parent. You are given back something of your own childhood even, as on creaking knees you get down on the floor to play tiddlywinks, or sing about Old MacDonald and his farm, or watch Saturday morning cartoons till you're cross-eyed.
It is not only your own genes that are part of your grandchildren but the genes of all sorts of people they never knew but who, through them, will play some part in times and places they never dreamed of. And of course along with your genes, they will also carry their memories of you into those times and places too—the afternoon you lay in the hammock with them watching the breezes blow, the face you made when one of them stuck out a tongue dyed Popsicle blue at you, the time you got a splinter out for one of them with the tweezers of your Swiss army knife. On some distant day they will hold grandchildren of their own with the same hands you once held them by as you searched the beach at low tide for Spanish gold.
In the meantime, they are the freshest and fairest you have. After you're gone, it is mainly because of them that the earth will not be as if you never walked on it.
Frederick Buechner  on Grandchildren.    originally published in Beyond Words

Saturday, March 15, 2014


The 3 inch wide kntted lace which I began when I was pregnant many years ago and picked up to work on again for that son's first child is finished.  I attached it to layers of crepe back satin, solid cream on one side, and a richly colored butterfly and roses print on the other. I knitted the lace, blocked it, cut and stitched the satin, went around the edge with pearl cotton in a blanket stitch, and finally, whip-stitched the lace to those stitches. It has been a labor of love, giving me the opportunity to focus on this baby, every stitch a prayer for her safe passage into this world and her journey in the years to come.  I have folded the coverlet and will pass it into the hands of my son and his wife today. Nora has been in our hearts for all these months, within days she will be in our arms.  Welcome, sweet little girl. You are covered with more than satin and lace. You are covered with Grace.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Beginning Again: for Nora

Beginning Again:   For Nora

2014:  The year of Nora!  In about 3 months, I will hold a new grandchild in my arms.  This baby will be our 4th birth grandchild, but the first baby for our youngest son and his wife of 5 years. I find myself more excited every day. Just as I did for our other granddaughters, I began a letter, or journal, for her as soon as her conception was announced.  This letter tells of our joy as we wait for her arrival, and chronicles family events as well as talking about how we look forward to sharing our family journey with her.  The difference in Nora's letter and ones I previously wrote is that this letter is in the form of a password protected blog!  The following excerpt is posted there on October 1, 2013, so this is written to Nora.

I have begun a knitting project, or shall I say begun to finish one I started over 40 years ago!  When I was pregnant with our first son, I finished a lovely cream colored knitted shawl in which we wrapped him for his trip home from the hospital.  Each of his two younger brothers also came home wrapped in the shawl, as have each of their daughters now.  When I knew our 2nd son was coming, I started something that would be “his” by knitting some wide lace intended to grace a receiving blanket. I was so busy taking care of a toddler and getting ready for another baby, the project was laid aside.    When Ben, your Daddy,  was on the way, I picked up the lace again and completed another 8 or 10  inches.  Now that we celebrate your approaching birth,  I have once again begun to knit on the lace.  It isn’t easy getting started and striking my stride on a project that old, plus I had to order some yarn that is as close to the original as possible.  I hope I successfully complete it this time.  Arthritic fingers don’t knit as nimbly!  I am keeping my eyes glued to the pattern and the knitting!
In the Bible, in Psalms, there are verses that talk about how well God knows you because He knit you together in your mother’s womb.  God knows you completely and best.  He loves you completely and best. He gave you to us to help us understand His love.  We are so blessed!
I pray for your growing strong and healthy in your body, but most of all I pray that you will love God and know that you belong to Him and that he loves you even more than I do.  Every day I pray for your Mother and Daddy and you.  Your family.
There is no question that I failed to knit lace for a blanket for son number two.  There is no question that I failed to provide Nora's Daddy with a blanket with lace knitted just for him.  But by beginning again, long ago failure has turned into the dearest project I have ever worked on.  I am not yet finished.  Unknitting?  Oh my, yes.  I don't knit the same way I did 40 years ago. That was discouraging.  The tension is much looser.  Unknit.  I dropped down a needle size.  Unknit.  Matching yarn was difficult. It won't look exactly the same as the first yard, no matter what I do. But it will be an example of things worth keeping and determination and new beginnings.  For Nora.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Family Photographs

This picture wall is between our master bedroom and great room which also has our kitchen, so I walk through the area many times a day - from first thing in the early morning to last thing before I go to bed at night.  In the eight years we have lived in this house, I have rearranged the wall a number of times, particularly as new babies join our family circle.  Sometimes I stop to adjust a frame or touch a smiling face. Often, I stop, loving the connection with individuals and the gathering of all of us as family.  Those are the times I thank God for Joe and our sons and their wives and our grandchildren.  Through the ups and downs of our lives, we remain connected.  Sometimes I let my eyes travel from frame to frame, praying for daily strength and peace, fortitude in adversity, wisdom in plans, discernment for challenges, joy in new beginnings,   and overall that we will love God and each other well. Soon we will add another photograph.  Our family is growing.  I am blessed and grateful. Our story continues!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Celebrating Beginnings

                                                             Happy Birthday, Sean!

Two weeks ago, those in our family who live in this part of Texas gathered to enjoy the hospitality of our  son, Sean, his wife, Teion, and their daughters Lauren and Skye.  We enjoyed the traditional New Year's Black Eye Peas and Cabbage (with a twist of Indian seasoning) as we welcomed the beginning of another year and thanked God for the blessings we share as a family.  Forty-five years ago, Joe and I celebrated the beginning of 1968 in San Antonio as we waited for Sean's birth.  The morning of January 13, 1968 was blustery and cold as I struggled into a coat I had made for myself that no longer would meet in the front to button!  Our lives changed forever with his birth, and we celebrated it with joy.  There is even deeper joy as we celebrate his life after these years shared.  Each year, New Year's thoughts and plans will always include our pride and gratitude for him.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Anniversary

                                                                   December 28, 1963

At 7:00 this evening, Joe and I will be enjoying an anniversary dinner at Mia Bella, an Italian trattoria, Texas style. Forty-nine years ago at 7:00 in the evening, the organ chimed seven times, I put one hand in my muff, with the other took my father's trembling arm, and walked toward Joe at the altar of the church in Jacksonville, Texas where both our families worshiped while we were growing up. Our meal that evening was a plate of waffles where we stopped the little blue Karman Ghia on our drive back toward Oklahoma City.  When I bent my head to look at the menu, rice fell all over the table.

We decided in October to get married in December during my Christmas break from my senior year in Oklahoma Baptist University. I was in the clinical portion of my studies (which took place at that time at John Wesley Methodist Hospital in Oklahoma City).  In the weeks between our decision to move our wedding date and that week after Christmas, we made a couple of trips to East Texas, picked out china and silver and linens, ordered our wedding rings,  I made my wedding gown, took finals, and planned the wedding long distance and low budget.  With less than thirty dollars for fabric and supplies, I made the dress from creamy peau de soie, appliqued lace and pearls, and sewed on all those tiny covered buttons.  My veil hung from small pillbox hat (did you know an oatmeal box is just the right size to cut down and cover for a tiny hat like that?)  and my only flowers were pinned to the muff I made from the leftover fabric.

  Joe was handsome and happy in his dark grey suit and butonierre.  My sister and best friends wore cranberry faille coat dresses with white organza collars and carried candles.  Joe's brothers and best man dressed up in their suits, too.  Our only decoration was a bank of magnolia leaves, leftover from a wedding the night before!  A friend of Mother's made our wedding cake which I decorated by sugaring little Christmas bells the night before. The wedding rings didn't arrive, so we borrowed rings from Arnold (Joe's brother,  and his wife Judy.  I honestly do not remember feeling anxious or stressed.

And it was beautiful.  Beginnings are like that.  The start of our fiftieth year is another new beginning. Beautiful.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude for Hand Me Downs

        Thanksgiving memories: Quilt from Mary Clyde Curley Terrell and Opal Terrell Teal

I grew up in the 40's and 50's in a small town in East Texas. I remember ration stamps during the war, “butter” that we made out of white stuff that we mixed with coloring to make it yellow, tea towels made from flour sacks, and patchwork quilts made from the scraps of fabric leftover from clothes sewed by my grandmother and mother. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” was really practiced. Men's shirt collars were turned when they became worn, and socks were darned. Mending was an important word in our vocabulary.

I learned to do handwork like embroidery and crochet from Mother and Grandma, but I took a sewing course from the local Singer Sewing machine store when Mother got a new electric sewing machine to replace her treadle Singer. The course came free with the purchase and she already knew how to sew, so I took the lessons, made a dress and jacket, and modeled them in a fashion show for the last lesson. I remember working over the scalloped neckline and sleeves of a teal blue outfit and wearing it proudly. I was 8 years old. After that, Mother and I worked together on making my clothes. I learned from her to shop for fabric bargains, the reason I still have yards of fabric stored for the time when the right need appears. We always planned something pretty for the first day of school. When I was in high school, I would sketch a design for a prom or banquet gown and was never disappointed at the results. My outfits were always one of a kind!

Even so, I did a happy dance when the occasional box of hand me downs arrived in the mail from my cousin in South Texas. Marcia Lee was 6 years older than me, and all her clothes were store bought! She had a younger brother and no one to pass down to, so I was the glad recipient. I never grumbled about wearing second hand. I was aware, however, that not everyone felt special wearing not-new things. My younger sister had a lot of hand-me-downs!

Today, there is a revival of appreciation for used clothing and other worn items. We call it repurposing or recycling. I am reminded of the wisdom of my parents and grandparents. The root of the concept of passing something on is the word “give.” Making something we no longer can use or need available to someone else is a gift, both to ourselves and that one who receives it. As we donate, pass down, relinquish, and turn over things, or receive those which have been made available to us, we are acting out a physical image of a much larger passing down, the transmitting and endowment of a priceless legacy. 

My cousin passed down clothes.  Mother and Grandma handed me down so much more.  The quilt in the photo is a passed down treasure with its patches from dresses worn 70 years ago by all three of us.  Every patch and stitch reminds me of the gifts of themselves handed on to me that live beyond me in the lives of my sons and granddaughters. 

"And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously,handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see - or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read."  ~ Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Garden
"My work in the world is to catch fire, to bloom, and to unleash my own secret words."  ~ Christine Valters Paintner

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mother's Purse

Today, in tribute to the day in 1913 on which Opal Auntionette Terrell Teal was born, I am being grateful for the birthday which made my own birthday possible, and for the strong woman who gave birth and life to me.
She never went anywhere without her purse.  I have the ones shown here, and most of the contents!
Happy Birthday, Mother.

Mother’s  Purse

pastel patterns sparkle on
beaded pouch dangling 
from tarnished chain
room only for a hankie
hung from your thin
flapper girl shoulder

fun dressup became working casual
brown beige black grey
bag with zippers
pockets and handles
capacious, strong, heavy holding
keys and address book
wallet and check books and coupons
driver's license, children's photograph
a pleated plastic headwrap
S&H green stamps
Kleenex and comb and metal folding cup
red lipstick worn to slant
nail file and Ritz crackers
always anchored on your arm

Red pocketbook with gold snaps
monogrammed “T”
inside pockets sparsely filled
½ roll Tums
1 cough drop
nail scissors
allergy card no
penicillin or codeine
Dr. business card
sticky note with
my children:
names and phone numbers
Thompson Funeral Home card
kept until we needed it
held now in a hand missing
holding yours


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beating Heart, Blooming Rose: A Story of Friendship

I love growing antique roses. Every time I tend mine or bring bouquets in to grace our kitchen table, I am reminded of the dear friend who first introduced me to “old roses.” I had never been much inspired to grow roses, appreciating the beauty of long stemmed hybrids, but avoiding their need for pampering. Marcia told me about robust roses that are so hardy they grow on old tumbled down homesites and along fences. Once I realized that each one had its own unique story and fragrance, I was hooked. I pored over catalogs, and planted Sombreuil, Mutabulis, Maggie, and Crepescule. My rose friends’ stories blend now with my friend Marcia’s story, and that of her husband, Bob.

Bob was crazy about Marcia. Marcia adored Bob. Her nickname was Moose, and she fancied cats and roses. The cats were a pair of vocal chocolate point Siamese named Mikhail and Nikita and were Bob and Marcia’s babies, but the roses were their passion.

Marcia had picked out her wedding dress and envisioned a wedding long before she found Bob when she was in her mid-thirties. During their pre-marital counseling sessions with Marcia’s pastor, Bob was asked what one thing he would change about her if he could. He said he would give her a healthy heart since she was born with a hole in her heart and developed Eisenmenger’s syndrome which meant her heart and lungs were unable to provide her with enough oxygen. That didn’t keep her from her photography business but it made keeping up with physical activity hard for her. It also didn’t keep her from loving Bob and planning a life with him.

After Bob heard Marcia say she always wanted a rose garden, he bought 80 acres of fertile South Texas Gulf Coast land to plant neither rice nor cotton, but thousands of rose bushes. They drew up plans, pored over catalogs, and began choosing roses. When the first 2000 rose plants arrived, Marcia directed the planting from her hospital bed. A group of us who called her friend went out to plant the roses with Bob’s help.

Two pacemakers later, she was placed on a heart transplant list. Finally, Bob and Marcia and the cats moved to Nashville, TN to be near Vanderbilt University Hospital while she waited what they thought would bea few months to receive a heart and lungs. I went out to their rose farm a few times to help pot cuttings as their plans to open a shop and nursery were postponed. Many of their family and friends did what they could to help maintain the plantings. Time dragged on over 2 years, with Marcia in and out of the hospital as her need became greater. Because the need for organs so far outweighs donors, Marcia once said “There’s just no ordering from the Land’s End catalogue.” That may have been a quip, but certainly not a joke. In order to increase awareness for organ donation, she allowed a reporter and photographer to follow her for 4 ½ months in the hospital, a story later published in the Nashville newspaper. In the series of articles, Marcia and Bob's love for each other and their deep faith dominated the story of their courage.

Bob worked from her hospital room and their apartment on his computer and was her chief encourager. One day he filled every pitcher, Styrofoam cup, and container he could find in her hospital room with Texas roses which he had flown to Tennessee. He brought Mikhail and Nikita for visits because she missed them so much. Her Dr. OK'd this when he found out how much it helped her.

The day came for Marcia's rare heart and double lung transplants in April 1999. Recovering, she returned to Texas with pink cheeks, a grin, and enough air to play her flute as well as honor a promise to a friend to be in her June wedding. In her absence, friends and family had planted, rooted, and tended endless cuttings and rose beds. Bob built her a house. Early on they had planned a gift shop, tea room, and wedding chapel for their antique rose nursery and display gardens named The Vintage Rosery. Together, now they worked side by side, nurturing roses, increasing public awareness of organ donation and organic gardening, and kept all the commitments involved in maintaining Marcia's health. Together, they prayed and played, keeping the dreams alive, celebrating the opening of their gardens only 2 years after her transplants. For the next 5 they grew their garden and introduced customers to roses.

On a brilliant fall day, a line of cars miles long drove through the arches at the Vintage Rosery past masses of climbing yellow Lady Banks and fragrant Madame Alfred Carriere drifts, along the beds of multicolored Mutabulis, Maggie and pink Duchesse de Brabant next to rows of Souvenir de La Malmaison. They passed by the stream with its covered bridge and saw a tiny chapel. As people got out of their cars, they walked by a charming yellow house with a kitchen garden and fragrant herbs lining paths. By the lakeside, they gathered to honor Marcia and celebrate her life.

The following month, a “For Sale” sign hung on the gate. Bob held a moving sale. Marcia’s mom helped him. I went, weeping as I bought some of Marcia’s herb and antique rose books. As friends and strangers walked through the house and gardens, they saw “Rose Bushes - $10.00 each”, “Garden Books - $5 each”, “Gardening Tools -$15”, “Cutting Baskets - $7” I miss my friend. But I see her when I walk among my roses.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Being Thankful for Chores

A maid service which advertises with bulk mail in our town reprimands "Life is too short to clean your own house."  The number of meals which families eat out, prepared and cleaned up by someone else,  is an astronomical part of family budgets.  I even saw a newsclip last week touting the introduction of a Swedish invention which is a bed that makes itself!  It seems that we spend an inordinate amount of energy and resources to get someone else to do our homework!Now approaching 72, and learning to accept more help these days, I appreciate occasional assistance with cleaning and gardening. But I prefer doing most of it myself.
I grew up having chores - housekeeping and kitchen chores I was allowed to be responsible for. At times I helped when Daddy fed the cows or drug a trailer behind a tractor to pick watermelons.  I don’t remember this as a negative, just something that was done because I was told to, most of the time feeling good about it. I may have not always begged to dust or take care of my little sister, but I loved helping in the kitchen. Cleaning up afterward was just part of the process. The summer  I was twelve, I helped behind the counter of the small cafe my parents owned. I had part time jobs as a teenager. That was work, not a chore, right?  When I graduated high school at seventeen, entered college, and became solely responsible for getting myself up and off to 7 a.m. classes and to my on campus job, I was given a book with a quotation by Charles Kingsley which still comes to mind when I hear anyone bemoaning “having” to do something.

 “Thank God–every morning when you get up–that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you a hundred virtues which the idle never know.”

I wouldn’t have labeled it so at the time, but I was learning the value of discipline. I also learned that something I accomplish has a great deal of meaning that involves something I am. Beginning all those years ago, I began to understand how I could find deeper meaning in my daily tasks required to care for my home and family.   I found great creative energy in gardening, planning and cooking meals, finding ways to make our home beautiful with art and music, encouraging our boys with good books, and offering hospitality to our friends and family. But the weeding, cleaning, mopping, potscrubbing, endless laundry (3 boys certainly makes for lots of washing and ironing) and keeping up with all the practices and games they were involved in could have easily overwhelmed me except for my belief that what I was doing was more than a job that would likely be necessary to repeat soon.

 I could pray for the man who would wear the shirt I was ironing. I could be intent on loving the little boy from whose jean pocket I had just fished out a frog. I could focus on blessing the messes as well as taking pride in the delicious meals. For many years, I have kept a small framed poem. It has peeped from beneath the stacks of paperwork on my desk, perched by the detergent in the utility room, and for a long time now has rested on the side of my kitchen sink.

Teach me, my God and King
In all things Thee to see
And what I do in anything,
To  do it as for Thee.
   ~ George Herbert

 Kathleen Norris, in her little book, The Quotidian Mysteries, discusses this process of the deeper meaning in our chores.

“…all serve to ground us in the world, and they need not grind us down. Our daily tasks, whether we perceive them as drudgery or essential, life-supporting work, do not define who we are as women or as human beings. But they have a considerable spiritual import, and their significance for Christian theology, the way they come together in the fabric of faith, is not often appreciated.”

We may do well to consider any differences with which we approach work (in the sense of a job for which we are paid) and chores, the necessary tasks which order our daily lives and the life of our family. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I guess the beginning of a new year is a time for thinking about beginnings of all kinds. This little box is a recipe box. Joe painted and decorated it for me for our first Christmas after we were married. It was pretty empty for a long time because I didn't have many recipes. The only thing in the box was a small note pad on which I had written menus and my grocery lists for the first six weeks we were married – our beginning meals! I even kept tabs on how much I spent for groceries – part of our beginning budget!

I enjoyed cooking and learning to make new dishes, but I was definitely a beginner. The little white box was, too. As I collected recipes from friends and family, the box filled until it needed tabs and labels for indexing – the beginning of a large cookbook and recipe collection. I think all these beginnings led to the start of a lifelong love of cooking and joy of hospitality. I am grateful for the beginnings.

I am sure I do not have to tell you - not all beginnings have happy endings. That same Christmas I knitted Joe a green mohair sweater. He was proud of it but the sleeves were twice too long and the yarn (purchased on sale for such a good price!) was so itchy he could not bear to wear it. I still love to knit, and have produced lovely baby shawls, warm capes, and colorful scarves... but I have never tackled another sweater.