The First Book of Chronicles

These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s OK!

.

.

“…Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so I may know how many there are.” —1 Chronicles 21:2

.

.

Most of the first part of Chronicles is a genealogical list, which I skipped in my reading. But then the book goes on to speak of David’s

rule as king. As king, David did the best he could, but like all humans he was not perfect. He’s written some of the most beautiful psalms (poems & songs) deticated to God,

because he truly felt he and God were in it together, he truly felt God’s presence in his life and it overwhelmed and inspired him. So the fact that he asks for his troops to be counted so he can measure his army’s strength is very unlike him. In this action he separates himself from God and is relying only on numbers, & on his own strength and pride. The simple definition of ‘sin’ is an act which separates us from God. So David was wrong to count the strength of his men, when he knew (and it had been proven to him many times) that God had his back, that God was with him. By this he pushed God away, thus separating himself from God, thus committing a ‘sin’. But don’t worry, our ‘sins’ are not counted by God. I think this shows that fact. That neither we should count against God, nor should we think God is counting against us. We simply try to keep our faith, and pray God will help us keep our faith in Him. We must hold fast to the sleeve of God’s robe or to God’s hand like a child who does not want to be lost in a world crowded with trivialities. In David’s case he said he was sorry to God and went on his merry way, hand in hand with Him (or if you like, Her) after this, and left with us his beautiful and inspiring dedications to his One & Only True Love.

.

.

.

#bibleverse #bible #biblejournaling #church #episcopal #episcopalchurch #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #catholic #christ #god #jesuschrist #bookstagram #bibliophile #bookphotography

The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale

A Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale is a story about a man accused of treason as accomplice to Aaron Burr. In the courtroom he announces that he wishes to never hear of the United States again. The judge grants him his wish, and he is sentenced to spend the rest of his life at sea. He creates for himself a cozy little room where he paints (I think) and reads, but no one is to mention any news from the United States. On his death bed he asks a young man to recount for him events in U. S. from 1807 on. This character enchanted me and stayed with me for years so that I based the protagonist from my most recent novella on him. I would encourage you to read it. It would only take a day or so. It is available online through free google books.

.

.

This story first appeared in an 1863 issue of The Atlantic and was later printed in books. This copy is from 1920. I was drawn to its beautiful patriotic design. It’s considered a children’s military book but I remember liking it very much. .

.

.

#bookstagram #bibliophile #oldbooks #vintage #aaronburr #hamilton #ship #nautical #bookshelf #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #writingcommunity #bookstagrammer #bookphotography #library #bookshop #america #war #patriots #patriotic #country

Taking a look at a very old post about Chattanooga.

“The more one gardens, the more one learns; and the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows. I suppose the whole of life is like that: the endless complications, the endless difficulties, the endless fight against one thing or another, whether it be green-fly on the roses or the complexity of human relationships.”

-Vita Sackville-West
A Joy of Gardening; 1958

.

.

.

Back in 2017 for about a year I wrote a garden blog based on the garden writings of Vita Sackville-West. She owned Sissinghurst Castle and was a lover and friend of Virginia Woolf. I loved writing and photographing my garden, and it got me through some tough times. Something about the garden is very healing. This particular post of mine, however, was entitled “What Books Can Do”, which talks of my journey to the Chattanooga Battlefield. I thought it might interest some of you. Link:https://vintagehousebooks.com/2017/03/24/what-books-can-do/ At least you can browse through some of the photographs if you’re bored. I apologize if you encounter any of those nasty advertisements. 🤗

.

.

.

#war #battlefield #civilwar #study #map #bookstagram #bibliophile #bookshelf #search #treasure #history #america #bookphotography #booknerdigans #booknerd #bookgeek #library #reading #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #bookstagrammer #booklover #bookreview #booksandloststories #chattanooga

The Book of Numbers

*I have no authority to teach you lessons from the Bible, I only hope you will find something useful. You might disagree with my interpretation and that’s OK!

.

.

“When you cross the Jordan in to Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.” –Numbers 33:51

.

.

OK verses such as the above are what gives God a bad rap. It sounds violent and scary and seems to advertise war. But I will tell you that you must not look at the surface for the meaning in scripture, people that do often miss the truth and can interpret wrongly. Go deeper and this verse takes on a different shape entirely: Before your spirit can settle in peace with God and with yourself, drive out all things that are holding you back from a true and pure existence—all that you consider an ‘idol’ should be destroyed. For me, for a long time, my ‘idol’ getting traditionally published. I prayed and prayed for this to happen. But it wasn’t until I read this verse and saw my own folly in holding that goal on a pedestal of importance over many other things, and asking myself exactly WHY I wanted my books out there (was it for selfish reasons, or was my goal to help people?), that I was able to give up the idea and decide instead to be happy no matter what happened to all my books, poems, essays and dedicate my writing to the purpose of GOOD. Once I did this I found a publisher. Call that whatever you like, but I know where this gift came from. Have faith and hope that God will show you the way, but we must be patient and trust Him with all our hearts. That’s what I think anyway.

.

.

#bookish #bible #christianity #religion #church #episcopal #episcopalchurch #catholic #jewish #moses #bookshelf #biblejournaling #journaling #booknerd #bookgeek #booknerdigans #bookphotography #bibliophile #library

Samuel Pepys’ Diary by Himself

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Samuel Pepys was a scoundrel! The way he went about seducing every woman he saw makes me think he had some sort of undiagnosed sex addiction. One woman had to threaten to poke him with her pin in church if he touched her again! 😆 .

.

But it is a very good thing we have this diary, because this man, as arrogant as he was, had the mind to record ten years of really important British history. It is a wonderful little window into the English Restoration period by a middle to upper class parliament member. He records detailed accounts of the Black Plague, the London Fire, the trials of Oliver Cromwell, as well as the Dutch War. He describes heads on spikes and mundane things like his diet, the weather, the untidiness of his house, mites in his wigs, etc. Truly we are lucky to have such an honest account of a real life never to be lived again. .

.

.

Pictured is the modern library edition from 1961? Among an old account book from 1880’s, a vintage print of a man seducing two women, and a cat’s skull my kids dug up in our backyard. .

.

.

#bookish #bibliophile #bookstagram #book #reading #readingnook #reads #british #history #library #bookphotography #stillphotography #photography #vintage #bookshelf #readersofinstagram #writersofinstagram #diary #journaling #journal

Days of Wrath by Andre Malraux

🇺🇸 On a day just like today,

though the sky was bright,

clear, and blue,

I present to you this

truth in one, Andre Malraux.

.

.

.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️A story about a communist prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp in the days leading up to World War II. Mostly it contains the protagonist’s rambling thoughts and efforts to not to go mad. Though I read it a couple years ago I remember enjoying it.

Pictured is the 1936 edition. The inscription indicates a brother giving this as a gift to his brother, or perhaps he’s a theologian, who seems to be going on a long journey. “Come back sober,” he writes.

Yes, I think we should all come back sober, like we did that day. We came back sober to our homes, to our radios, and television sets, but today as we do so, we come back with gratitude. .

.

In memory of the 9/11 victims. 💕 🇺🇸 #usa

In Themes Of War…

Honour the gardener!  that patient man
Who from his schooldays follows up his calling,
Starting so modestly, a little boy
Red-nosed, red-fingered, doing what he’s told,
Not knowing what he does or why he does it,
Having no concept of the larger plan.
But gradually, (if the love be there,
Irrational as any passion, strong,)
Enlarging vision slowly turns the key
And swings the door wide open on the long
Vistas of true significance.

-Vita Sackville-West
The Garden; 1946

I love Vita’s poetry.  It took me awhile to like poetry and even still sometimes it’s hard for me to understand.  I think in order to love poetry one must know the author and the times in which they wrote.  Vita loved her garden.  Her compilation of poems The Garden cover all four seasons.  However, there is one recurring theme which trickles in every now and then.  It is that of the second World War.  I’m sure she had written these poems in the last year of the war at least.  When the poems were published in 1946 there was still a residue of it in England at this time.  If one reads carefully it is there, quiet but ever-present…

“Yet shall the garden with the state of war
Aptly contrast, a miniature endeavour
To hold the graces and the courtesies
Against a horrid wilderness.  The civil
Ever opposed the rude, as centuries
Slow progress labored forward, then the check,
Then the slow uphill climb out of the pit,
Advance, relapse, advance, relapse, advance,
Regular as the measure of a dance;
So does the gardener in little way
Maintain the bastion of his opposition
And by symbol keep civility;
So does the brave man strive
To keep enjoyment in his breast alive
When all is dark and even in the heart
Of beauty feeds the pallid worm of death.”

Did you hear it?  The themes of war?

She speaks of it often in her writings.  She describes gardens abandoned or neglected in the years of war.  She talks about rose bushes, relinquished for that time being, growing wild because they had not been pruned and were more beautiful than ever before.

But for the purpose of this post I’ll speak of a different type of war.  Sometimes I feel like preparing for winter is akin to preparing for war.  Protect those you love as the blistering winds are upon us.  In other words, it is time to shut one’s garden down.   The frost will come soon.  So save those that may still bloom behind the comfort of glass on your windowsill, and clip those you can dry.  A reminder of the summer sun will remain in the dehydrated petals for you to gaze upon all winter long.

I have clipped my sweet woodruff to dry for Christmas sachets.  It hangs for now in my kitchen as you can see below.  In my post Short and Sweet Woodruff I explained that if you clip sweet woodruff in autumn and dry it, it will make lovely sachets that smell like freshly cut grass all winter.  Vita mentioned keeping one under her pillow to capture the scent while she slept.

SONY DSC

Similarly, I dried the lavender and my astilbe spikes.  I talked about astilbe in my post
Astilbe & The Romanovs.   I’ll use the astilbe in vases around my house to add interest to a space.  The lavender however will be crushed with the sweet woodruff and stuffed in the Christmas sachets.  I love homemade Christmas gifts.

SONY DSC

 

The one cut flower that will dry amazingly is the zinnia.  Since we’re getting very close to a heavy frost I will cut them all.  It pains me to do so since some have yet to bloom.  But the bud stage actually produces a very interesting dried specimen.  Also hydrangea are very interesting too.

SONY DSC

So go out and save a bit of your garden before it’s too late.  You’ll applaud your own resourcefulness.   When times get a little too dreary this winter always think about next year’s garden, entertain yourself with fantasies and possibilities.  Think of the most outrageous thing you can do and make it happen!

“…But gradually, (if the love be there,
Irrational as any passion, strong,)
Enlarging vision slowly turns the key
And swings the door wide open on the long
Vistas of true significance.”

A good gardener is not afraid to experiment.

SONY DSC

Above: My Experiment: Morning Glory in a vase.  Do you think these buds will open?

Inspire us, in what ways have you experimented lately?

This Morning…

SONY DSC

 

Astilbe & The Romanovs

People often ask what plants are suitable for a shady situation, by which they mean either the north side of a walk or house, or in the shadow cast by trees.  There are so many plants that no one need despair.

-Vita Sackville-West
A Joy of Gardening; 1958

Astilbe and the Romanovs, perhaps that will be my next book title.  I did somewhat draft a love story last year that took place in wintertime Russia.  For this piece however, we’re talking about a plant, not a flaxen haired blonde of Russian decent.  

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I have had some trouble with our front yard.  Everything we planted there seemed to die or resist flowering.  We face north and I did despair thinking I would have to stick to boring old hedges.  One nurseryman told me ‘sorry there is no hope.  You can only plant boxwoods and such’.  But Sir, I need flowers and color!

It now strikes me odd that a nurseryman would say such a thing, they are indeed many beautiful plants that will tolerate shade.  When I ripped out the holly bushes and planted them elsewhere I replaced them with Astilbe or False Spiraea.
SONY DSC
They are flowering now, and have already grown rapidly.  The variety I choose are the Chinese Astilbe or Purple Candle.  I’m told they will grow quite large.  I am hoping they spread out so I gave them room to do so.  Perennials are known to sleep, creep, and leap in three years time, but this Astilbe has grown very much just in the two months I’ve had it. I’m very excited to see what it does in three years.

SONY DSC
The one getting the most shade is doing the best, surprisingly.  Flowers need sun in order to bloom and they get just enough here I suppose – less than four hours.
It tickles me that the astilbe will let you know immediately if it needs water.  The little ends of its flower spikes will droop in the slightest drought.  So I have to keep an eye on them and water them constantly.

Their flowering is almost done, but the bees and other flying creatures have enjoyed them.  It seems they turn colors as the blooms progress and die.  Going from a bright, almost florescent purple, to a faded purple with a green underlay; very pretty.  

As I observed their faded blooms the other day, the Romanov family came to mind. I don’t know why.  Perhaps it’s the romantic nature of the faded purple that reminds me of this faded Royal family of Russia.  I find their history quite interesting, but perhaps I was reminded of them because their reign looked solid and eternal just as my astilbe blooms, then suddenly they are gone with a flash of light and with an exhaustion of energy.  So sudden it seems that my astilbe blooms should be dying; their blooms look so permanent and stable.  

I do suggest, by the way, reading some Russian history.  Rasputin, and the end of the Romanovs, for example was an interesting chapter.

SONY DSC
Anyway, they do have a fragrance.  It is sweet like clover.  I’m sure you could cut a flower spike, but why do this when their spikes are a bit sparse, unless of course your collection is large.  I can imagine they would droop in water anyway. Rather, I wonder if they would make a pretty dried flower?  I’ve read in this great book Making the Most of Shade by Larry Hodgson, that the author will not cut his spikes off in Fall.  Instead, he lets them remain unless he wants to use them in a dried arrangement.  He says, “They turn brown it’s true, but still add interest right into winter.”  He also suggests leaving the flower spikes, and they will collapse on their own just in time for Spring.

They have many benefits, beside being interesting to look at, they are also deer and bunny resistant.  There are many different varieties from which to choose, and they come in an array of colors and sizes.  I suggest planting a few in a dark unused corner and see how they do, you really would thank yourself in three years time.

SONY DSC

 

An Ode To The Innocent Ones.

Strange were those summers; summers filled with war.
I think the flowers were the lovelier
For danger.  Then we lived the pundonor,
Moment of truth and honour, when the bull Charges and danger is extreme…

…Strange little tragedies would strike the land…

…when wrath and strength were spent
Wasted upon the innocent…

-Vita Sackville-West
The Garden; 1948

 

SONY DSC
Clover is indeed an innocent plant.  Innocent as the children who gather it, innocent as the ones only looking for that lucky mutation; the four leaf, which will grant security in all its forms, and equally as innocent as the ones only seeking love and friendship.

One afternoon, on my walk, I came across a field of clover in the park.  Its cream colored patches smiled and blotted the green with different shapes and patterns reminiscent of the gardens at Versailles.  This beauty struck me, perhaps more so, because I found my neighbor sitting in the middle of one, while her daughter pranced about making a bouquet of the little flowers.

With innocence abound, its beauty was enhanced all the more.  So I took some photos before the dreaded mower, or the landscaper’s guillotine, with his ignorant blade of precision and correctness destroyed my view.

SONY DSC

Perhaps it was all the lovelier for danger.  Life is the same, when danger feels close and fear reigns, little reminders of beauty and innocence can indeed be all the lovelier to behold.  In times of war, we should seek not to remember the destruction and destroyer, but instead strive to remember only the innocent ones and their smile.

SONY DSC

 

Dedicated to the innocent ones of the Orlando tragedy.