Tuesday, November 9, 2010


How silently you sheathe the flower of fruited mirth.

                     "To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour." ~William Blake

 Reading aloud has fringe benefits: I get new ideas and learn right along with the children. We also like listening to stories together on CD. Mary Margaret has requested the Felicity (storybook two) the last several nights. What a charming story. Here is what I am pondering this week:

(Felicity and her mother had been making apple butter together, and Felicity is questioning why they should go to so much trouble for a little apple butter.)

     "Yes," said Mrs Merriman. "A notable housewife runs her house smoothly, so that everyone in it is happy and healthy. Her life is private and quiet. She is content doing things for her family."
     "Things nobody ever sees," said Felicity.

     "Aye," agreed her mother, "But many lovely things are private and hidden."

     She picked up one of the apples. "Look," she said. She sliced the apple across its fat middle, instead of top to bottom. She held the halves up to Felicity. "Have you ever seen the flower that is hidden inside every apple?" she asked. "It's there for those who know how to find it. See?"

     Felicity grinned at her mother. There was indeed a flower inside the apple.

     "My mother showed that to me when I was a little girl and we made apple butter together," said Mother. "She taught me to sew and cook and plant a garden and run a household. Now I am teaching you. Someday you will teach your daughter..."
(Felicity Learns A Lesson, p.8-9)

I am almost forty (I can say almost for four more days!) and I have never noticed the flower inside an apple. I am so glad  to know this!

I am reading an enjoyable book on homemaking called, No Ordinary Home by Carol Brazo. Brazo began her parenting career flustered and discouraged. She had once been an English professor, and her new life as a parent seemed monotonous and unchallenging in comparison.In her book, she describes how she made it her mission to make her home into a sanctuary. She quotes Ranier Maria Rilke:

"If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no indifferent place.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Brazo actuallly found Rilkes writings discouraging at first. She felt like the failure who couldn't bring the beauty in her home. Haven't we all felt that way at times?
Nevertheless, we must keep trying! I have always wanted to be an amazing artist like my sister, Maureen. I never could get the pencil to do what I saw in my mind. But drawing is Maureen's gift!

Now that I'm getting older, I realize that I can be an "artist," too. Maybe I'll never draw like my sister, or write poetry like Milton, or sew, or knit, or a hundred other things I would like to do, but can't...but I can SEE BEAUTY.

God gave us all the gift of his beautiful creation, but we must open the eyes of our heart to see it. Helen Keller, blind  and deaf as she was, knew beauty. She describes in The Story Of My Life (her autobiography):

     I felt my way to the end of the garden, knowing that the Mimosa tree was near the fence, at the turn of the path. Yes, there it was, all quivering in the warm sunshine, its blossom -laden branches almost touching the long grass. Was there ever anything so exquisitely beautiful in the world before? Its delicate blossoms shrank from the slightest earthly touch.; it seemed as if a tree of paradise had been transplanted to earth. (p 19)

If someone who is blind and deaf is able to find the hidden beauty of creation, surely I should be able to do the same!