Saturday, November 27, 2004

Room warmer

The song says, “The best things in life are free.” Well, I spent two days with Destiny, who came down with the ladies of the family to visit Grandma Jenny.
Destiny spent the night at our house and I’m still in the after-glow of this little Doe with dark fawn eyes. Permit me to boast and relish in her visit. Ten years old, may they never leave that age, full of life, smiles in her eyes and her speech.
She has such a soft and gentle heart with silent traces of womanhood at the door.
She warmed each room she was in and left me determined to have her here for more time this coming summer.
When the visit was over we took her to the Retirement home where Grandma Jenny and the family were preparing to sing some songs to the residents. What a show! About 45 minutes of singing the way that must be heard to believe. The harmony, the blend of LeeElla and Angela as only trained family members can offer. I was on the brink of tears through the entire performance as the heartfelt music filled the room. Watching the residents sing along quietly as they were bathed in gospel. The passing staff would stop and stand as the music spilled out into the halls.
Each family member sang and each seemed better than the last. Then nearing the end, Destiny got up to sing two solos. I had such anticipation to hear her sing. Her voice has the quality that comes only with tutoring by experienced teachers.
I posted on my blog the story of Diogenes who was demanded by Alexander to ask for a favor, my request would simply be to ask him to please step aside that I may see my Grand-daughter sing.

Balance in Beauty

This piece comes from Beaten Paths printed in 1890. Not a bad piece of advise for us today.

" I believe that God desires us all to become as beautiful as possible. He who at morn and eventide makes the skies a blaze of color; He who stars the meadows in spring with flowers of a hundred hues; He who arrays the autumn woods in glories of crimson and gold, and in winter makes every gaunt branch glitter with incrustation of diamonds, is surly not averse to beauty.
Make yourself as beautiful as possible, and have no fears that either your character or your influence, will suffer loss. Dress develops taste, observation, judgment, modesty. A becoming dress gives evidence of refined culture; it is an open letter of credit, read and honored by all.
Let your dress be as beautiful and becoming as you can make it. You owe this to others as well as to yourself. But at the same time, beware of carrying ornamentation to far. For the highest beauty is not that which glares and dazzles, not that whose aggressiveness compels attention, but rather that whose quiet, unobtrusive grace waits discovery at the eye of the connoisseur.
It is not the leonine sunflower of Oscar Wilde, but the shrinking violet, that moves the sweetest chords in the poet's lyre. "Virtue," says Lord Bacon, "is like rich stone, best plain set."
Talents and graces of mind and heart need no meretricious setting to make the world cognizant of their existence. The true principle was disclosed by Dr. Johnson when he declared that a certain lady must have been well dressed, because he could not remember what she had on.
The lady uses dress as an auxiliary, and would feel humiliated to have the world take notice of her wardrobe rather than of herself. Over ornamentation is worse than no ornamentation at all."

As I think about the Red Carpet filled with Hollywood's starlets 'glaring and blazing' in their dress; I suspect they are not humiliated that the world takes no note of their character.
Just a guess.

Powers of Darkness

This warning is strong medicine but in our world so pertinent.

" From the depths of his own bitter and terrible experience, Charles Lamb, witty, gifted, ruined, lifts up his voice in warning:
" The waters have gone over me. But out of the black depths, could I be heard, I would cry out to all those who have but set one foot in the perilous flood. Could the youth, to whom the flavor of his first wine is delicious as the opening scene of life or the entering upon some newly discovered paradise, look into my desolation, and be made to understand what a dreary thing it is when a man shall feel himself going down a precipice with open eyes and a passive will -- to see his destruction and have no power to stop it, yet feel it all the way emanating from himself; to see all goodness emptied out of him, and yet not be able to forget a time when it was otherwise; to bear about the piteous spectacle of his own ruin;
could he see my fevered eye, feverish with last night's drinking, and feverishly looking for tonight's repetition of the folly; could he but feel the body of the death out of which I cry hourly, with feebler outcry, to be delivered, it were enough to make him dash the sparkling beverage to the earth, in all its mantling temptation."

The true way to feel rich is not so much by amassing a tremendous fortune as by putting a curb upon our own desires. It is of self-restraint that the feeling of prosperity is begotten. When Diogenes went to a country fair, and observed the ribbons, and the mirrors, and the fiddles, and the hobby-horses, and the various other nick-nacks that are always to be found at such places, he exclaimed, "Lord, how many things there are in the world, of which Diogenes hath no need!"
He felt rich, though his personal possessions were but few.
It was the same individual who, when requested by Alexander the Great to demand a favor,
asked the conqueror of the world to stand from between him and the sun, whose light and warmth he was at the time enjoying. -- Beaten Paths

Thursday, November 25, 2004

" They say the best men are moulded out of fault." Shakspeare.

Nature calls for room and for freedom – room for her ocean and freedom for its waves; room for her rivers and freedom for their flowing; room for her forests and freedom for every tree to respond to the influences of earth and sky according to its law. Exceedingly proper things are not at all in the line of nature.
Nature never trims a hedge, or cuts off the tail of a horse. Nature never compels a brook to flow in a right line, but permits it to make just as many turns in a meadow as it pleases. Nature is very careless about the form of her clouds, and masses and colors them with great disregard of the opinions of the painters.
Nature never thinks of smoothing off her rocks, and cleaning away her mud, and keeping herself trim and neat. She does very improper things in a very impulsive manner. Instead of contriving some safe, silent, and secret way to dispose of her electricity, she comes out with a blinding flash and a stunning crash, and a rush of rain that likely fills the mountain streams to overflowing, and destroys bridges and booms, and cabins and cornfields. On the whole, though nature keeps up a respectable appearance, I suppose that, in the opinion of my particular friend Miss Nancy, she would be improved by taking a few lessons of a French gardener.......

A man who has been clipped in all his puttingsforth, and modelled by outside influences, until it is apparent that he is governed from without rather than from within, is just as unnatural an object as a tree that has been clipped and tied and bent until its top has grown into the form of a cube." --- Timothy Titcomb

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Judge not

Judge not; the workings of his brain
and of his heart thou canst not see;
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
a scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.
Adelaide A. Procter.
Harsh counsels have no effect;
They are like hammers which are always repulsed by the anvil.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Fit For Angels

I cannot fail, however unwilling, to see much that is dry and unlovely in the style of Christianity around me. It has no attraction for me. I do not like the people who illustrate it; and the reason is, not that they have got too much of Christianity, but that they have not got enough of any thing else. Flour is good, but flour is not bread. If I am to eat flour, I must eat it as bread; either milk or water must be used to make it bread. If a little milk is used, the bread will be dry and heavy and hard. If a good deal is used, the flour will be transformed into a soft and plastic mass, which will rise in the heat, and come to my lips a sweet fragrant morsel.
Christianity is good, but it wants mixing with humanity before it will have a practical value. If only a little humanity be mixed with it, the product will be dry and tasteless; but if it be combined with the real milk of humanity, and enough of it, the result will be a loaf fit for the tongues of angels.

Friday, November 19, 2004


" My heart and mind and self, never in tune;
Sad for the most part, then in such a flow
Of spirits, I seem now hero, now buffoon."
--Leigh Hunt.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Get your grapes to market and keep the bloom

Oh, the eagerness and freshness of youth!
How the boy enjoys his food, his sleep, his sports, his companions, his truant days!
His life is an adventure, he is widening his outlook, he is extending his dominion, he is
conquering his kingdom. How cheap are his pleasures, how ready his enthusiasms!
In boyhood I have had more delight on a haymow with two companions and a big dog-
delight that came near intoxication-
than I have ever had in all the subsequent holidays of my life. When youth goes, much goes with it. When manhood comes, much comes with it. We exchange a world of delightful sensations and impressions for a world of duties and studies and meditations. The youth enjoys what the man tries to understand.
Lucky is he who can get his grapes to market and keep the bloom upon them, who can carry some of the freshness and eagerness and simplicity of youth into his later years, who can have a
boy's heart below a man's head.
--John Burroughs from Elbert Hubbard's Scrapbook

True Pleasures

All real and wholesome enjoyments possible to man have been just as possible to him since first he was made of the earth as they are now; and they are possible to him chiefly in peace.
To watch corn grow, and the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over plowshare or spade; to read, to think, to love, to hope, to pray-- these are the things that make men happy...
Now and then a wearied king, or a tormented slave, found out where the true kingdoms of the world were, and possessed himself, in a furrow or two of garden ground, of a truly infinite dominion.
John Ruskin

The presence of God

This exerpt is from a piece by Wilhelm Lamszus describing the thoughts of a Civil War soldier leaving for battle the following day. The soldier resists this encounter with God. I have never read a better description of the calling of God.

I am leaning back and straining my ears for the sounds in the dim twilight of the building.
Childhood's days rise before my eyes again. I am watching a little solemn-faced boy sitting crouched in a corner and listening to the divine service. The priest is standing in front of the altar, and is intoning the Exhortation devoutly. The choir in the gallery is chanting out the responses. The organ thunders out floods through the building majestically.
I am rapt in an ecstasy of sweet terror, for the Lord God is coming down upon us. He is standing before me and touching my body, so that I have to close my eyes in a terror of shuddering ecstacy....
That is long, long ago, and is all past and done with, as youth itself is past and done with...
Strange! After all these years of doubt and unbelief, at this moment of lucid consciousness, the atmosphere of devoutness, long since dead, possesses me, and thrills me so passionatly that I can hardly resist it. This is the same heavy twilight- these are the same yearning angel voices-
the same fearful sense of rapture--
I pull myself together, and sit bolt upright on the hard wooden pew.
Elbert Hubbard's Scrapbook
A murdered man, ten miles away,
Will hardly shake your peace,
Like one red stain upon your hand;
And a tortured child in a distant land
Will never check one smile today,
Or bid one fiddle cease.
Alfred Noyes, from Elbert Hubbard's Scrapbook

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Put potatoes in a cart over a rough road
and the small ones go to the bottom.
President Porter.


There is no peace for the wicked the Bible says.
This excerpt from a poem is a good illustration of that.

To the pure mind alone hath solitude
Its charms. To that base nature which
Runs to daily riot in the carnival of
Sin, there is no sweetness in the calm
Seclusion of the forest shade.
For the deep quiet that doth reign
Around is but a torturing contrast
To the sad turmoil within the breast,
And there would conscience sting him to the quick....

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Loss of Childhood

I remember with entire distinctness the moment when the consciousness possessed me that my childhood was transcended by dawning manhood, and I can never forget the pang that moment brought me. It was on a bright, moonlight night, in midwinter, when my mates, boisterous with life, were engaged in there usual games in the snow, and I had gone out expecting to share in their enjoyment. I had not played, or rather tried to play, five minutes before I found that there was nothing in the play for me -- that I had absolutely exhausted play as the grand pursuit of my life. Never since has the wild laugh of boyhood sounded so vacant and hollow, as it did to me on that night. In an instant, the invisible line was crossed which separated a life of purely animal enjoyment from a life of moral motive and responsibility, and intellectual action and enterprise.
The old had passed away, and I had entered that which was new; and I turned my steps homeward, leaving behind me all my companions, to spend a quiet evening in the chimney-corner, and dream of the realm that was opening before me.
Such a moment as this comes really, though not always consciously, to every man and woman. Today we are children; tomorrow we are not. Today we stand in life's vestibule; tomorrow we are in the temple, awed by the sweep of the arches over us, humbled by the cross that fronts us, and smitten with the mysteries that breathe upon us from the choir, or gaze at us from the flaming windows. --- Timothy Titcomb "Lessons in Life"

I had considered adding some thoughts to this but his thoughts are complete, so I'll not.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Bedroom Cathedral

I'll begin this poem with a disclaimer written in one of my first poems--
"I'spose I'll write a few lines so's you'll know
A little bit about me as a lad although-
It may not reveal the best of me,
'cause my claim to fame aint been poetry."

So with that said maybe you'll be forgiving with the following and
find a line or two that speaks to you.

Bedroom Cathedral

Kneeling passionless, entrenched in apathy
hoping, but doubting you'll meet with me,
yet a glimmer of reserved expectancy
is the timmorous invitation that brings remedy.
The room transforms to a passageway,
to the heart of God, and I begin to lay
all clamor aside, and I reach with a call
for the full presence of God to fall.
Enraptured with kisses as you bring
me under the shadow of your wing.

A lifting up to glory -- and yet,
hot tears, and my eyes are wringing wet,
from the sense of sin deep in me
and the failings of spiritual truancy.
Then the Spirit's saber begins to lance
this evil heart, and again the chance
to rise in penance cleansed within,
to carry the blood stained banner again.

Jesus, I'm amazed you would take the time
to linger and touch a life such as mine.
With angelic hosts your glory to adorn
yet you stoop and touch this soul forlorn.

Now I leave, resolved to run the race,
strengthened within by saving grace.