Sense of Direction or Sense of Adventure?

 

lti state park

Kat, my adventuring daughter – Little Talbot Island State Park

 

“Your grandma always had a terrible sense of direction. She could get lost on an escalator.” – – from And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

 

It’s funny that this could describe me and my mother, yet it never stopped her and doesn’t stop me from having adventures. Mom would pack her pistol for protection and her machete for whacking away grass and weeds in the cemeteries she visited and she’d hit the road for Georgia. She would get her sisters and they would visit court houses and cemeteries and woods in search of long lost ancestors. This was all without GPS and, in the beginning, without internet. Finally, the last time she visited my Aunt Betty, when Mom was 81 or 82, she got lost because Aunt Betty had moved to a new place. She decided then that she would not go back again alone. But she was never able to go back again at all after that, anyway. I know my Aunt misses her and her visits terribly.

I , however, have the technological benefits and I still get turned around. I’ve taken much longer then intended hikes and made many an unnecessary U-Turn because I second guessed myself. I am not afraid, usually. but there was this one time when I got a little panicky because night was coming on and my daughter and I were out in a kayak and heading in the wrong direction. We passed some fishermen on a boat who looked familiar (we’d passed them once already) and shouted out to them. They pointed us in the right direction and we paddled like mad to get back before dark and before the kayak rental place closed. We made it, but just barely.

So, even without a sense of direction, my sense of adventure is still intact. And for that I’m glad.

 

Petit Jean

With my adventuring cousin, Paula – Jean Petit State Park

Avetts in October #25: Today’s the Day

redwoods

Redwoods- 2018

Today is The Avett Brothers concert in Pelham, Alabama. As hard as it is to listen to sometimes, I sure hope they play No Hard Feelings.

 

“Why does it seem so often to be a human quality to forget those who have done good things for us, and to remember those who have hurt us?” – from Sold Into Egypt by Madeleine L’Engle

 

“Even as a tiny girl, she would just absorb the meanness of people around her, and as that strange girl slapped her,  Margaret literally turned the other cheek. ‘I just took it,’ she said sixty years later. ” – from Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg

 

Avetts in October #24: A lot of movin’

In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert TOMORROW, I have been writing  a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors.

“And in every place he abandons he leaves something vital, it seems to me, and starts his new live somewhat less encrusted, like a lobster that has shed his skin and is for a time soft and vulnerable.E.B. White

I love E.B. White, best known to most for his classics, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan.  But it’s his essays that I like even more.

I have moved a bit in my adult life. We have lived in 11 houses in our 40 years of marriage. I get what White says about leaving something vital behind. We’ve left friends and family too many times. A few moves, though, let us, like the lobster, shed a skin and leave behind an old unwanted crust. Every new house, every new beginning, brings with it a time of being soft and vulnerable. But, nearly every house became a home that was hard to leave. All I know is I don’t want to live encrusted like the lobster. I want to be soft and vulnerable.

A lot of movin’, A lot of rollin’

A lot of drivin’, A lot of strollin’

A lot of leavin’ here

A lot of arrivin’ there

 

Avetts in October #12: Say Love

Word Art 10

Living of Love – TAB

“You  can drive a man into devilry by contempt. If you want to melt him into goodness, try love.”  – Alexander Maclaren

Note: Maclaren was born in 1826 in Glasgow, Scotland. He received his BA from the University of London before he was 20, then began his ministry at Portland Chapel, Southampton, England. After 12 years he went to Union Chapel in Manchester where he remained until 1903. His words have been a great help and comfort to me for the past year.

In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert on October 25th, I have been writing a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors. Back in August and September many educators all across the US were going back to school with the goal of connecting with their students. As a former full-time teacher and current substitute teacher this idea rings so very true.  Just last week I was in a fifth grade classroom and inevitably a few students felt they needed to guide me in the ways of their teacher’s discipline plan. They felt I needed to put some of their classmates names on a list. I refrained. I know they were only trying to be good and wanted to be sure I knew it. I made so many mistakes in my classroom discipline back in the day. Just as in parenting. So, I now approach subbing just like I do grandparenting. I “Say Love”.

If the days aren’t easy and the nights are rough
When they ask you what you’re thinking of
Say love, say for me love
Say love, say for me love…

And yes we live in desperate times…

Say love, say for me love…   – Living of Love

 

I love how the audience sings along in this video. Can’t wait for the 25th! 

 

 

Avetts in October #9: Morning Song #2

a-year

“…while the morning was still hesitating between dawn and daylight…” from A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

I recently realized I’ve written quite a few poems about morning and dawn, about that time when everything begins to awaken for the day. It’s a sweet time that I don’t enjoy enough.

Morning Song gives a nod to this time and the hope it holds.

 

Cause even though I know there’s hope in

Every morning song

I have to find that melody alone

 

 

 

Avetts in October #2: Nations and Governments

map

In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert  on October 25th , I’m posting a series

connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors.

 

“I find out of long experience that I admire all nations and hate all governments.” – Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck 

 

When nothing is owed or deserved or expected

And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected

If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected

Decide what to be and go be it

 

from – Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

 

The following video of this song is amazing!!

 

 

February Wisdom

“I don’t think we can ever love too much…only too little.”  – from Blue Eyes Better by Ruth Wallace-Brodeur

I’v tried to think of a time when this statement wouldn’t apply, but I just can’t. Yes, we can overindulge is many ways, but that isn’t love. We can say “love you’ at the end of every conversation, but that’s not always love; it’s often habit. Sometimes it feels as if we have loved too much when it isn’t returned, but no, if it’s real love it’s never too much.

We have a new dog in our household and it’s been a real learning experience for us all – me, the dog, the husband. We don’t know anything about her background as she was just dumped off at the shelter, but we suspect a little abuse. However, she is one, in whatever way a dog “loves”, that knows no bounds. She can never be accused of loving too little. Our last dog, Loretta, was wonderful. We had her for ten years. She was sweet and faithful as a dog can be and loved being with us and near us. But this new girl, Ruby, she needs to be right next to if not on top of us. She craves and gives the most snuggles of any dog I’ve ever had. But, for me, it’s never too much.

Keep loving – it’s never too much.

 

 

 

Maclaren on Micah 6:8

 

 

At the end of last year I discovered Alexander Maclaren, a Scottish minister who pastored in England.  He lived from 1826-1910 but what he had to say is still so relevant today. His practical yet insightful way of putting things reminds me of a pastor friend of mine in St. Augustine, Eric Watkins. I think if they had been contemporaries they would have been great friends.

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

“Micah…wages war against that misconception of sacrifice, but does not thereby protest against its use. One has heard people say,  ‘We are plain men; we do not understand your theological subtleties; we do not quite see what you mean by “Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. To do justly and to love mercy , and to walk humbly with my God, that is my religion, and I leave all the rest to you.’ “

I am afraid that I am guilty, if not of voicing this, of thinking along these lines. I often want to hide behind the simple when the complex is too hard for me.

‘To do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God’ is possible only through repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘To do justly’, that is elementary morality in two words. There must be mercy as well as the justice.”

The minimum according to Maclaren:

  • “…give everybody what he has a right to, including mercy to which he has a right,
  • to have a lowly estimate of myself
  • to live continually grasping the hand of God
  • to be conscious of His overshadowing wing at all times
  • conformity to His will at every step of the road…”

“To think of God’s requirements, and of my own failure, is the sure way to paralyze all activity…” . This is often the take-away after Sunday morning sermons where I’m told what I should be doing and left feeling there is no way I am living up to the standards given.

“The gift of God is Jesus Christ and that gift meets all our failures.” 

“His last word to us is not ‘Thou shalt do’ but ‘I will give’  We have not to begin with effort; we have to begin with faith.”

All words in quotations are Maclaren’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Music #21

jjgrey

“… for music alone can abolish differences of language or culture between two people and evoke something indestructible within them.” –  from Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

 

 

I was introduced to the music of JJ Grey and Mofro, many years back by my daughter. I’ve only seen him in concert twice; once in concurrence with the Jacksonville Symphony (with my daughter)  and then again in Birmingham (with my husband). On my many trips from Jacksonville to Tampa I’ve driven through Lochloosa and I always think of Grey’s love for Florida.

buck

View from the Buckman Bridge – 2013

 

My father-in-law had a little trailer in Astor on the St. Johns River for many years.  The pictures below are from a trip I took up the river with my brother-in-law and niece back in 2012. We went out to Lake George and stopped at Silver Glen Springs. It was one of the most relaxing days I’ve ever spent.

 

 

This song, This River, grips me every time I hear it. Growing up minutes from the St. Johns in Jacksonville, I never appreciated it like I do now. As a kid, it was just the river we crossed to get to downtown. Now I understand a little more about the vastness and beauty it contains. I long to get back to this river someday.

 

 

 

 

 

Word Pictures #4

wordcloud words

This is the fourth installment of Word Pictures – a collection of lovely and descriptive passages. Enjoy!

“Anyway, the subject skims the joy off a pan of conversation.” Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

“The patriarch was a taut raisin of a man…” referring to Charley Guthrie in Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

“…exotic-looking people who seemed to be baked the same color as their houses.” – Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

The sea

Took off her clothes

In the sun today

And naked

All night

With the wild wind lay

Written by Woody Guthrie while onboard the William B. Travis during travel for the merchant marine.