“Whatsoever things are lovely . . .”

The week after our holiday,” Beside the sea” was full of good things.  As is my habit, I did mope the first few days.  Then I painted flowers and read more Thoreau” .  I did  extensive housekeeping and created more house plants from my little rootings. . .  and all of that acted like a tonic on my dampened spirit.   
The painting of the flowers, came first.  I am satisfied with my roses.  For some reason, painting roses, feels like listening to an old familiar song. This week, I decided to paint violets, using watercolors.   I have a small beside table that I employed as my “canvas”.  Watercolors have a mind of their own,  I remembered, from years past, so I consoled myself, that I could just paint over, what could not be forgiven.  Thus, I began the project.  Of course, my violets would  be shades of faded  pink-for I can not be a realist, for “love or  money”.  The thing took days.  There was the drying of the paint, before applying new paint and then as always, I looked at at it and added as I felt pink violets would grow, if there was such a flower.  My violets grew happily on a corner and then cascaded down a leg of the table, and over the drawer .  Christian is an artist, and so I used his eye to guide my attempts. 
After several days of  “watching the garden grow”, I was finally satisfied and literally, sealed the deal.  Guess what I love about watercolors . . it is that they do have a mind of their own!  I would have an idea in mind as I painted, but before my eyes, a violet would nod in a direction I hadn’t imagined or a leaf would decide its’  own fate-always better than I had intended. 
 One day, Mama and I went to see Aunt Christine and Uncle Gene.   Aunt Christine is Mamas’ sister and lives about a half hour away.  It was a delightful visit-and Uncle Gene is quite entertaining with his humor, though Aunt Christine says “he is not that funny.”  I found out that Aunt Christine loves dishes and has  beautiful collections to prove it. 
The next day, I practiced making pastry .  My first effort, a few weeks back was less than what I desired-and so I hoped for better this time.  I was rewarded with a tender, flaky concoction and so, I will continue to practice the skill, for  it is practice that makes the difference between “beginners’ luck” – and a good cook. 
   After a very hot and dry spell of 100 degree days,  rain showed up like an old, long-  lost friend.   How happy I was to hear the rain tapping  on the tin roof.   When the wind picked up and it became as cool as May, well the world seemed friendly and  more cheerful, altogether.  I painted a flower pot that afternoon.
Mama and I left for Raleigh, the next day, to spend the better part of the week. We found little Ryan as adorable as ever-and Sydney -carrying the “little brother” is at last feeling better.  Now, she has the glow of an expectant mother. 
Ryan says anything he wants to these days.  One day, he asked Mama for a snack.  Mama said “lets ask your Mommy”.  To which Ryan replied, “I’m asking you.” Sister Delores lives on the outskirts of Raleigh, so she visits, when we are there and Mama spends a night or two with her, during our stay. 
In the evenings, I watched Brant teach Ryan how to hit and catch a baseball.  My own Daddy did the same thing, I remembered.  
Though, I have never liked the summer heat, in the south, I do like the leisure days.  From attending school as a child and then working at schools, the summer has, most of my life, represented liberty.  To me, owning your life is the truest form of wealth.  I had much rather decide when I eat or sleep- (Clocks are often poor indicators of such needs.} and  I do not consult a clock, to know when to make a pie or when to read, or paint or write.  For a bit of a the year, I can do as I please . Thus the summer is a time of indulgence for me, too.    I do not like the hateful heat, nor the mosquitoes either.  By now, the light of day is too long to suit me.   . . .but oh, there is more to the season . .
 .   . .For the cape jessamine blooms and so does the magnolia.  The lowly mimosa trees shine  like champions in July-The song of the cicadas ring out and tomatoes taste better in the summer.  The chaotic business of the world seems a bit more distant-even if it is for a short while, when roses are blooming. 
It is written that “love covers a multitude of sins”  .   . .  I have found this to be true -and so I will let the earth love me with roses and cucumbers , with a fan, humming in the house, and the greenest grass of the year. 
There is not enough time, even in the longest days of the year to count all of our blessings .. . for prosperity and abundance may not be in plain sight.   Sometimes, we have to look for the evidence.  For it is also written . . .“Whatsoever things are true,  . . .whatsoever things are pure,  . . .whatsoever things are lovely . . .think on these things.”

Beside the Sea

The past week was not  usual , nor ordinary.  I did not line dry clothes or tend to the vines on the fence,  I did not paint a single bird or blossom. 
Instead, I was collecting shells by a very cold sea .  . .watching light dance upon the water, like sprites.   The ancient sea was too cold, for mere humans.
Every day of our gathering by the Atlantic was sunny, but one.  I love weather, and so a cloudy day did not hamper my disposition.  . .most especially, when you have a good book . . and a candy shop a few blocks away.  Several guests came, during our stay.  An old acquaintance , one of Jennys’ friends was there for a day.  What a lovely person she is.  She is a thinker and acts on her convictions.  What a rarity to see someone living their truth !  Besides that, she is funny and kept us entertained. 
A new friend,  to me,  came for a few days. He is an artist and straight away, I could see he had a ” heart of gold” and and was  kind and gentle in his ways, as anyone I had ever met. 
Then, there was Grandaddy Bill, Wills’ father.  He is an author with more than several books, to his credit.  I am a picky reader, and I will tell you, that Bill Thompson never disappoints me.  The little girls were thrilled to see him and that warmed my heart.  He told me, he wished he could see the girls more . . and I wish that too, for he is full of experiences and has lively stories, to tell  of them.  Their grand father sees authentic  beauty and recognizes it. Then, he writes about it-and makes his readers see it too. 
 Wills’ sister was there and she is a writer and can draw portraits.  We had several conversations that were tucked in my heart.  She is an encourager and so very generous with uplifting words. 
Her mother, Miss Claudia was the same and I remembered her with great fondness, most every day.  Even with all the chatter and busyness-I ached for the weeks that she was there, too. 
We spent a good deal of time with Brant, Sydney and Ryan-and Sydneys’ parents and brothers.  What a wonderful lot they are!  They are  welcoming and friendly.  I can scarce tell which children belong to whom, for everybody loves them and treats them , as such.  I am sure that the little girls see Scott and Seth as uncles.  Sydneys’ parents love Brant thoroughly-that means everything to me.  Besides all of that . . . there is never a dull moment, when you are in the midst of them. 
 Of course, and not least of all, was the ocean.  The sight of it is very humbling.  Who can feel mighty in its’ presence?  I realised just how small I was-and all of mankind-not insignificant, but more like a valuable particle of life.  We can “put on airs” (what a useless and utter waste of a life)  and exaggerate our “power”-or “control”  of all things, but in the presence of the vast and wild sea,  as in the presence of a mighty oak, or a whispering pine or a sparrows’ nest full of promises . . .well, we could be persuaded to reconsider, our stance.   In some sort of way, such things unite, all humans. 
 The evening we left, little Brynn, fell asleep before her supper and slept the whole way home.  Jenny laid her tenderly in her bed, once we arrived.  The next morning, Brynn awoke, looked around and asked “What happened?”   Her still, cherub like face, was frozen in astonishment-and confusion.   . .“Oh,  but,  a lot of lovely things happened . . while we were down and beside  the sea.”  I thought.