Look at what I'm hoping to get soon! It's a pergola, for those of you not in the construction know. I take the bold liberty of posting some pictures of the one belonging to my dear old friend, hoping that she's fine with her picture being sent out to all of cyberland. Or at least my little corner of it. I love it and can't wait to have one of my very own. And so the ball rolleth... I'll keep you posted.
Have I mentioned lately that I love you people? Several of my real life (as opposed to cyber, but no less wonderful) blog-reading friends told me how much they, too, loved yesterday's tomato cans. We share a near obsessive interest in the mundane! Hearing about it made me so happy, I wanted to commemorate this joy with showing you what I ended up doing with the notorious can in question. I had a little pot of parsley growing and I plunked it in. The picture below shows the back of the can, which is also so lovely, I think. Don't you think the woman looks like Mother Italy, Herself?
I'm still a newbie to the world of online shopping, but through conversations with some of the more experienced among you, I'm beginning to see that doing so doesn't necessarily ensure that a middle American named Festus will abscond with my identity and corresponding credit, which he'll promptly then use to buy himself a new Escalade.
So in the fervent hope that Festus and his ilk will leave me alone, look what I just bought!
There is a fictitious woman who is real. The fiction lies in the fact that she is a puzzle comprised of the pieces of many real women I've encountered over the years. Beautiful women I've been blessed to call friends. This is the part that is real. See if you can't find that aspect of her that owes itself to you, because there's no doubt that you are beautiful in many ways.
The first thing you notice about her is her open, generous smile. She isn't one who furtively pretends she can't see you, though you know full well that she can. Instead, she has a smile for everyone and the wealth in her heart overflows to lightly touch the lives of those she encounters that day, even peripherally. She wishes the whole world well and though flawlessness isn't hers to claim, she smiles at you with both her eyes and her mouth. She's generous that way and to be withholding doesn't give her a nasty little kick.
She doesn't hold to the (faltering) allusion that her children are perfect, despite the evidence they consistently present to the rest of the world. She loves them unconditionally though and doesn't feel the compulsion to try to live her own disappointed life over again through their newer, less damaged ones, vicariously and viciously. Her joy is to see them rise above her in every way, exceeding and surpassing. There is no scarcity mentality with her. She likes to think of herself as the wind beneath their wings, a la Bette Midler.
She is clean and subtly sweet-smelling. Even working out alongside her, you catch only the occasional whiff of a beautiful shampoo. She likes to look her best, though she isn't bound by the need to.
She is intelligent, but doesn't feel compelled to prove it to anyone. She rests contentedly inside herself and just is. Her brain is active and interesting and she always has something to contribute conversationally. She makes you think, long after having left her, because the things she says are insightful and stretching. She would never try to make an intellectual point to the discomfiture of another, though. Her kindness trumps her intellect, if it ever need come to that.
She is creative. Her creativity manifests itself in many different ways. She has sometimes been known to use the very clothes on her body as her palette. She builds furniture even - when the whim strikes - she's so undaunted by societal gender limits wishing to foist themselves upon her. When she takes photographs, they seem at times to divulge a brief glimpse of Heaven Itself, the unearthly clarity of them is so manifest. Even the meals she cooks are beautiful works of something very akin to art. Rather than content herself with serving the same rotation of seven or so things time over and over again, ad nauseum, she researches new and lovely things to make for her family. Things like Lasagna-Chicken Florentine and Boka Dushi. The prettier sounding their names, the more inclined she feels to recreate them in her own kitchen. She's talented and strong and whole. Her house is clean and welcoming. You know you can relax there and that she makes strong, good coffee with cream.
She knows that the best gifts she can give her children are a saving faith in Christ, a personal wholeness and a deep and growing love for their father. She doesn't forget to take care of herself because she knows that whole people beget whole people. She understands deep in her bones that respect in parenting runs in both directions and that you can't truly have one without the other. She knows that her little flock watch her actions and her words intently and at all times - even and perhaps especially - when they seem to be doing so least. She knows that the phrase do what I say and not what I do rings hollow and is in the best case scenario, meaningless. In its ugliest incarnation, it is damaging and undermining and relationship destroying.
She has other healthy women in her life. She is quick to laugh and competes with you to talk. With her, you are constantly following one conversational rabbit trail or another because she's inadventently veered you off that way with all her effervescent enthusiasm. She's frequently grabbing your arm in an animated way, saying don't let me forget to tell you about what happened to me in the bookstore later because she doesn't have time just yet to do so, your current talk is so gripping and so deliciously laughter-inducing. Even when her laughing gets to be ridiculously loud, she doesn't stop. Self-consciousness isn't something she beats her drum to and instead of annoying most of the people around her, many of them smile when they behold all her spilling-over tangible joy. She is a marvel. She likes to wear Vote For Pedro t-shirts to Zumba class. Her wholeness spills out everywhere and she's my friend.
The air is clear and restorative. The blue sky defies description. In the wake of the incessant gray of the last three months, a look deep into it's unending blueness makes you feel like surely you can fly. Everything is exquisite in the light of it and it's one of those astounding February days that we Lower Mainlanders effusively describe while people from other provinces smile patiently and assume we've gone just a bit crazy in our rain-saturated heads.
When I woke up this morning, through my half-opened eyes I saw the rays of the blessed sun cast down on my coverlet and rather than beeline for my near-sacred morning coffee, instead - hypnotically - I was drawn to my bathroom, where the precious, life-bringing early morning rays first show themselves in our house. I took my clothes off, basking in these rays like an animal. A desperate animal with only a vague awareness of the primacy of instinct.
I took these pictures moments ago. A beautiful friend, talented photographer and fellow-blogger just posted a serene shot of her living room today and the beauty of her enamel-ware housed tulips inspired me to do the same.
Once again, I've placed an Etsy order. I can't wait for these beauties to arrive. Because I find the site quite daunting, I always default to ordering from this same woman, whose taste I share. You can find her url in the archives under 'pretty things' in my first Etsy post. She's over-the-top generous and usually includes some bonus 'treat' or other in the package.
If you are an Etsy oldie and aren't such an online shopping chicken as I, please let me know in the comments section which Etsy sites you've come to know and love. I'd love to be fast-tracked to gorgeous-ness! But in the meantime, feast your eyes on these:
Let's start off by pretending that this little series of photos is a Christmas card, shall we? Sent specially and very considerately from our family straight to yours!
Somehow or other, I didn't manage to summon the gumption I needed to get the non-cyber version of that project off the ground this year. Here, instead, we have some scenes from around the JoyFam's house showing how we readied ourselves with tremendous excitement for the Christmas season. Sometimes, before I begin with it all, I wonder if it's worth it. The thought occasionally strikes that the decorating process might well be an exercise in assigning myself a whole new slew of unnecessary and energy-sapping jobs. But then I see the little eyes lighting up all around me. I see the two younger JoyKids literally dancing in place as they try to contain their joy just a bit. I see the four of them in passionate 'team mode' running back and forth to the garage with new boxes containing treasure after treasure they'd forgotten we had stored away.
God bless you as you hang with loved ones during this season commemorating His sacred birth.
Has it ever happened to you where you thought you were very settled in your friendship life - fulfilled even - only to discover a really fabulous new friend? Well, dear Internet, it's very recently happened to me. I find the elementary school line-ups to be extremely helpful in this department. All we mommy-uniformed mothers chat endlessly there to one another. My new friend surprised me the other day with these beauties. Neither she nor I know what they're called, but aren't they pretty?
Lucy had her birthday party today. To celebrate her Purpleness, Anabel and I made these. We learned how to from Bakerella, whom I cannot recommend highly enough. Check out her website at bakerella.com; you'll be happy you did.