Monthly Archives: January 2015

Of an evening

Jasmine and sweet rose
linger long on waning light
summer’s parting bliss

Jasmine and Sweet Rose

Jasmine and Sweet Rose

linger long on waning light

linger long on waning light

summer's parting bliss

summer’s parting bliss

When I posted my evening photos on Facebook, many people seemed  to prefer this one

Of an evening ~in full colour

Of an evening ~in full colour

to the black and white.

I was intrigued.

Sometimes my days are so saturated with colour, I need the lullaby of black and white.

 

© silkannthreades

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Radiating Kindness

My interest in decluttering was flagging.  Alys, at Gardening Nirvana, who is a professional organiser in RL,  offered some timely, kindly advice. “Set a timer, ” she said, “and go all out for 15 minutes or so, and see how much you can get done.”  So I did. Yesterday. Worked like a charm. I raced through a heap of files, containing documents dating back to the 1990s, some of which, ( oh irony of ironies ), related to a storage facility I once used in New York!

Sigh of bliss…. so satisfactory !  to achieve so much in so short a period. And not only did I declutter, but I also discovered, tucked away in a corner of a shelf, a small  Helen Exley giftbook , called Words on Kindness.

It’s the dearest wee book, full of wonderful quotes. Several of them I greeted like old friends. Others were as new, to me, because I had forgotten them completely. Many of them moved me deeply.  The quote I have open before me today is this:

Even as a mother
protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all
living beings;
Radiating kindness
over the entire world.
The Buddha ( c 563 – c 483 B.C. )

A painting, Mother and Child, by Edgar Degas, illustrates the text. I cannot find a link to that painting.  Instead, I have selected this painting by Mary Cassatt who worked closely with, and was influenced by, Degas.

Mary Cassat "Mary Cassatt, 1902, Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window" by Mary Cassatt - [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg

Mary Cassatt “Mary Cassatt, 1902, Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window” by Mary Cassatt – [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg

As I read Words on Kindness, in another part of the world, far, far from me, a champion of mothers and children, a champion of kind words and deeds, was celebrating her 91st birthday. I am referring to the remarkable  Dr Catherine Hamlin, co-founder, with her husband Dr Reg Hamlin, of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.  Dr Catherine, has spent more than half a century living in Ethiopia, serving some of the most marginalised women in the world.

” In the 1950s Catherine and her late husband Reg went to Ethiopia to train midwives, but their attention soon turned to the plight of the fistula sufferers.

Together the Hamlins perfected the modern technique for obstetric fistula surgery and
 have treated more than 40,000 women, more than 90% of them cured.”

– See more at: http://hamlin.org.au/#sthash.QyWleIWz.dpuf

An award winner documentary,  A Walk to Beautiful, was made about the fistula patients, and the life-changing care given at the Fistula Centres in Ethiopia.

 

More about the work of the Fistula Hospital and Dr Hamlin can be seen  here. It is a difficult, even harrowing, video to watch but it is ultimately a testament to the transformational nature of compassion and  radiating kindness.

If I can stop one heart
from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life
the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson (1830 -1886)

Radiating gazania; like kindness it spreads.

Radiating gazania; like kindness it spreads.

© silkannthreades

All Good Gifts ~ a balance sheet

Still in the spirit of keeping track of myself ~

ALL GOOD GIFTS  ( Incomings):

from Cynthia, author of A Good Home, a dedicated post, accompanied by flowers;

from Clare, at  A Suffolk Lane, an introduction to the lovely tradition of the Blessing of the Plough on Plough Sunday, and a reminder of the wonderful hymn ” “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”;

from Robbie (and her friend Lori), at Palm Rae Urban Potager,  notification of Save our Soil Blogger Action Day (21st January ).

 

ALL GOOD GIFTS (Outgoings):

for Robbie ( and Lori ), composting my soil in time for Save our Soil Blogger Action Day, and scattering seeds of buckwheat and wildflowers;

International Soil Day 21 January 2015

International Year of Soils 2015 

for Clare, a beautiful rendition of We Plough the Fields and Scatter,

and a glimpse of a harvest to come,

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry....

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry….

fed on the sweetness of summer raindrops;

False Physalis

False Physalis

for Cynthia, an arrangement

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

for a heart’s ease and a heart’s celebration in all things bright and good, no matter how tiny.

Heartsease,  heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood,  love-in-idleness,johnny jump up

Heartsease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, love-in-idleness, johnny jump up…

© silkannthreades

Hop to it

Four months ago, Nath at  Beautycalypse invited me to join her Blog Hop. I didn’t hop to it immediately because I needed to first complete a similar Blog Hop for  Sheri de Grom.  I completed Sheri’s Blog Hop in October and posted it as Finishing What I Started……then this happened, and that happened, and…w.e.l.l…..skippity hop, hop, here I am, weeks and weeks later, with still no proper response to Nath’s lovely invitation.

So, it’s time to knuckle down, RSVP, and, thus, put my  ‘blogging house’ in order .

Dear Nath, ~explorer of beauty as a philosophy of harmony, creator of BEAUTYCALYPSE, an ad-free blog about ethical excellence~

I accept your invitation to blog hop. Please enjoy my response.

Let’s hope that together we will continue to strive to live wisely and well, and with love, in 2015.

Sincerely Gallivanta

 

WHY DO I WRITE?

Why I write hasn’t changed much since I stated the purpose of this blog on my  About page in 2012.  However, for the next little while, this blog will have an additional purpose;  to keep track of myself, in practical ways, but also in practices of the soul, such as gratitude ~ and love, as epitomized in this quote from St John of the Cross.  “In the evening we shall be examined on love.” ( thanks Clanmother for bringing this quote to my attention  🙂 )

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

That is the big question! And this is the big answer.

Last time I answered this, I said I was working on growing younger. I still am. It has taken me a long time to reach my numerical age, so it will take a considerable number of days to de-age all my decades. As I work on resetting my spiritual age, I am also, as you are no doubt weary of hearing,

Oh, not that story again. Do I really have to listen? I would rather go outside..... please?

Oh, not that story again. Do I really have to listen? I would rather go outside….. please?

rearranging and sifting and sorting through and decluttering my physical environment.

It’s a huge task, often tedious, and always challenging. Readers’ supportive comments as I intermittently blog my way through the process are wonderfully sustaining.  And Nath, bless her, has offered sterling decluttering inspiration through her  Blog , too.  I am in awe that, in 2014, she managed to achieve her goal of discarding/giving away 5 old items for every new one bought. That’s a high standard to attain and maintain.

I would like to equal it but, currently, this is how the numbers stack up in my abode. In December and January, 22 items came into my home, either as purchases or gifts; some were new and some second-hand. All were delightful, of course, and welcomed with joy.  Here’s a sample of the acquisitions.

During the same period, I dispatched about 25 items to one of our city’s handy  Ecodepots   and to friends/neighbours/strangers. Before the end of this month, I hope to have a few more items, such as our second car, out the door, possibly via NZ’s  Trade Me online auction  site.

Not quite 5 to 1, but not too bad for a start. 🙂

 

HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN THIS GENRE?

It doesn’t really, so I am going to recycle the answer I gave on Finishing What I Started.   ( Check the link in my opening paragraph, please. 🙂 )

WHAT IS MY WRITING PROCESS?

Again, I will reuse the answer given in Finishing What I Started.

Is this The End, you ask? Not quite.

I would like to invite Miss Marzipan to join the Blog Hop, but only if she has time in her hectic-creative-working woman-mother of two-marathon runner-schedule. Miss Marzipan, like Nath, cares deeply about sustainable and ethical living. Her choice of giveaway gift of Moonbear make-up bags reflects her commitment to helping the plight of the Moonbears via  Animals Asia. And the product she chose is from the Italian eco, cruelty-free, fashion label  Miomojo.  Miss Marzipan your caring lifestyle  makes a difference to me, as well as to all those creatures who cannot speak for themselves.

"In the evening we shall be examined on love." St John of the Cross.

“In the evening we shall be examined on love.” St John of the Cross.

Right, that’s enough cluttering of the page with my words and photos.  It’s back to work for me, filling up the de-acquisition box.

 

* Final Note

I am deeply grateful to Angela Namoi and  David Bateman Ltd for the heart-flutteringly beautiful Dawn Chorus. If we fail to live as caring eco-citizens of the world, the Dawn Chorus will become a song confined to history and legend.

© silkannthreades

Keeping track of myself

As a slow-moving, slow-thinking, stay-at-homer, living without the aid of  a Fitbit to keep track of myself, I am inclined to fall into the habit of believing that my day’s achievements equal little more than  washing out and washing in; and that’s on a relatively well-organized day. 😀 However, if I stop for a moment and put on my old-fashioned  considering cap , I slowly  begin to understand that I have been achieving. Indeed, almost over-achieving 😉 .

For example, in this past first week of the New Year, I have, amongst other things, baked two  delicious cakes, a loaf of yogurt bread, and two hearty desserts.  I have been on some favourite  summertime walks. I have caught up with most of my blog reading and commenting. And I have decluttered the inner workings of my faithful old Toshiba laptop so that it performs faster and more efficiently than it has done in years. Hooray! Oh, and, let’s not forget, I  have given my husband a handsome haircut. ( It’s taken me more than thirty years to get up the courage to take on the haircutting! )

But of more importance, and beyond any of these achievements, has been my week of keeping tabs on my BEING; specifically on my Grateful Being.  Many people write a gratitude journal but this is the first time I have done so. It was much harder work than I expected, but I am pleased I persevered with it.

So, if you have a moment to spare, draw up a chair, put on your considering caps, and make what you will of my 7 days of random gratitudes.

Here I go….. grateful for

and grateful, too, for my new  Nextbook, for my ability to sleep soundly  through the Wilberforce earthquake, and grateful for the fact that our  Christmases don’t all come at once.

My final gratitude is reserved for the wonderful weeds that grow like flowers in my garden.

Self-sown beauties.

Self-sown beauties.

© silkannthreades