Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Heart First

I saw this quote displayed on a coffee cup at the airport. The guy sat and enjoyed his brew while I quickly and unobtrusively jotted it down before I forgot (that happens often - those fleeting ideas that seem so obvious and memorable, then they wing away to wherever land, never to be heard again - does that happen to you, too?).

                             LIFE IS DIVING IN 

                                 HEART FIRST.

This seems a good thought, a good reminder as we move into the New Year.

2015. Wow.

To you and your family, a very Happy New Year. May you dive in heart first!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mary, Did You Know?

Could you tell a story using only questions?
Mark Lowry did a powerful job of that with his song, "Mary Did You Know?"
Pentatonix sings their acappella version - amazing.

To you and your family, a very

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Story of a Gift

On the radio, on one of those stations that plays all Christmas music this time of year (all music except the advertisements, of course), an ad caught my attention. I don't remember for sure what the ad was, but this line stood out.
"Every gift tells a story."

 Think about that - the stories that are told as we wrap and give our gifts.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
I'm so glad you are part of our family.
I watched you work in the kitchen and thought you needed this.
This would look pretty on you, and keep you warm.
This tool will help you build.
This book inspired me, I hope it will encourage you, too.
Have fun with this.
Here are tools to help you learn and grow.
I thought of you and wanted you to have this.
I bought this for you when we went to [that place] and bought it without you seeing me.

What other stories do you think of?

Enjoy your gift giving and story telling this Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joy to the World, and All is Well

There is much catching up to do. But, for now, a quick thought to share. An inspiration in your holiday crazies.

Our son wandered around the house. I noticed he hummed, sang some words. Unusual for him. I paid attention. He sang, "Joy to the World, and All is Well." That phrase, over and over.

Not sure where he picked up that version, but I love it. Yes, All is Well. Hard to believe if you scan the news or drive on the roads or spend any time at a mall. I love the reminder, and now I hum it myself.

Next time you feel the holiday crazies humming around you, those moments of to-do-list panic, try singing, instead: Joy to the World, and All is Well." I am singing it with you. Let me know if you make up more lines to go with it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Hindsight

I love thinking about these end-of-the-month posts, linked with Emily Freeman, Chatting At the Sky. Take a moment, think about the last thirty days: look at the calendar to note the events marked, browse back through your journal to skim highlights (or low points...), pause a moment to absorb what you have learned and gained (or lost?).

April is our birthday month. Seven birthdays. Five of our children, two grandchildren, all in April. Because most of them are grown and gone and in other states or hours away, we missed out on most of the parties this year. Which made me sad. I miss them. Our now (yup, one of those April birthdays) seventeen year old son passed his driver's license this month. As he pulls out of the driveway, I take a deep breath, confident in his driving skills, but aware, always, of the other drivers on the road, and the risks any of us take out there. My preference? Keep everyone safe at home. But it doesn't work that way, of course. They drive off, out on their own, choosing their own paths. I learn, over and over and over, to support and encourage them and let them go. With a few quiet tears.

A new word for April: Phenology.
"Phenology is the study of recurring life cycle stages among plants and animals, and also of their timing and relationships with weather and climate, a sort of nature's calendar," (quoted from The Backyard Parables, by Margaret Roach). A garden journal is a series of phenological observations, or records. Also this month, in an online article for High Country Gardens, David Salmon wrote about garden journaling as a means to observe what is going on in your garden: weather, bugs, plants blooming, vegetable production, notes learned, dates, events, thoughts. All a form of phenology. Observation. So now, I don't just keep a garden journal. I become a phenological observer. Sounds more intelligent, anyway.

This month I attended a class on Wildscaping. I expected a class on native plants, xeriscape gardening (low water use), and planting for our unique climate. Which it was. Really, though, the emphasis was more on understanding plant and animal relationships. How the birds and the bugs and the squishy, slimy things (my phrase, not theirs) inter-relate with each other and play vital roles in plant and animal communities. Accept the bugs in my garden? Hmmm, this will take some practice. One speaker told of her problem with aphids on one particular plant and threatened to take the plant out until she realized that as the aphid population exploded, a particular bird moved in each year and ate all the aphids - an observation from the phenological observations in her own journal. The plant stayed. Another speaker told of planting wildflowers in a restored industrial construction site and how the hummingbirds, butterflies and native bees moved to her property, grateful for the food she provided for them. It doesn't mean let the deer or potato beetles have at your garden. It does mean be aware and work towards balance. Guess I need to re-evaluate my perspective on the activity in my garden, and how the relationships and inter-connectedness of the plants and two-legged and six-legged animals create beauty and harmony and balance. The biggest pest in my garden right now is a four legged border collie puppy who loves to dig in fresh soil. We are putting up a fence to keep her out. So much for learning to accept local wildlife. With some training, I'm hoping by next year she will learn to stay out of my garden. For now, the fence will work.
Who, me?

Do you ever buy Hawaiian Rolls? Our daughter-in-law made some for our Easter gathering. The secret ingredient that gives them their great, sweet taste? Pineapple juice. Yummy.
Another copied recipe I tried this month was Poppy Seed Dressing from the Good Earth Restaurant. We used to eat there in Santa Barbara, CA, and I loved their tea, their nutty rolls, and their poppy seed dressing.  I was excited to find this, it brings back lots of good memories of dinners out and quiet chats. As it is very sweet, you don't need to use much to get the great flavor.
Good Earth Poppy Seed Dressing
In blender, blend
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 cup olive oil
Chill well. Stir before serving. Makes 1 2/3 cups.

We are working to avoid as many food additives and preservatives as we can. Have you ever looked at the food label on tortillas? You will be shocked. Instead, I found some tortillas in the fresh foods section that have wheat flour, water, oil, salt and sugar. I have to heat them in a pan, thirty seconds each side, but it is well worth the few extra minutes to avoid eating a two inch list of words I can't pronounce or define or recognize.

Luxury. How would you define luxury? I've been thinking about that this month as we have an opportunity to buy a weekend cabin in the mountains. Remember the "Love Is..." cartoons? My thoughts for "Luxury Is..."

  • A second home
  • The puppy taking a nap so I don't have to wonder what she is getting into
  • Delightful scents, aromas drifting through the house
  • Clean - floors swept, counters cleared off, dishes put away, laundry folded...
  • Recipes planned for the week, tonight's dinner in progress
  • Time to sit and read in the afternoon
  • Favorite music playing on the computer
  • What would you add?
Through a path of convoluted thinking, a strong memory came back to me this month. The neighbors on the side of the house where my bedroom was where I grew up could be a noisy bunch. They would gather in their kitchen, across from my bedroom window, and I could hear them talking and laughing as they cooked. The grandmother was known for cleaning a stirring spoon the instant you set it down. Clean as you go. Literally. If you wanted to keep stirring, you didn't set down the spoon. They were a lively group, working together. The memory that stood out was hearing their laughter. I wrote the phrase on my chalkboard, "Laughter in the Kitchen." Sounds like a title of a book.

It reminds me:  be happy, smile, laugh. Enjoy. I picked up Gwyneth Paltrow's two cookbooks at the library. Her father taught her, "Invest in what's real. Clean as you go...Make it fun. It doesn't have to be complicated. It will be what it will be." Her co-author said she didn't know anyone who enjoyed food as much as Gwyneth. Next time you are in the kitchen - indulge in the luxury of a good giggle and enjoy the fun of cooking and cleaning up and eating together. 

So, April. Birthdays (plural). Letting go. Phenology. Accept the pests, not the pesticides and preservatives. Luxury. Laughter in the Kitchen. An exceptionally ordinary month.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Love Doesn't Count the Cost

"It happens to a mother when she is giving birth
Her heart is filled with joy while her body's filled with hurt
She holds her baby close to her, despite the pain he caused
When it comes to love, you don't count the cost."

"It happens to a soldier, fighting for his home
Fear wells up inside him and yet he still goes on
Even though he knows he may be the next to fall
When it comes to love, you don't count the cost." 

"You don't count the heartache, you don't count the sacrifice
And all that counts is what you feel inside
It doesn't really matter what is gained or what is lost
When it comes to love, no, you don't count the cost." 

"It happens all around us, each and every day
Someone's giving all they got for someone else's sake
If you ever doubt it just think about the cross
When it comes to love, you don't count the cost." 

our daughter heard this song on the radio, from "The Best of Billy Dean"
painting by Thomas Kinkade 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Road Trip

Our spring road trip to the mountains...

...turned into this...

...we arrived home to this...
...and the next morning contrast of bright green spring growth with snow on the roof...
...spring popsicle, anyone?

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Stumbling would be more my theme word, lately, than stand. In the afternoon, Rascal Flatts singing away on the computer, these words popped out loud and clear:
"every time you get up and get back in the race, one more small piece of you starts to fall into place..." 
"start holding on,  keep holding on...stand..." 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Beautiful Salad

This is more complicated effort than I usually put out for a salad, but the results--yummy and worth the work. The recipe is from Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook, a good reference for meals that are nutritious and family friendly.

4 medium beets, ends trimmed
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
2 pears, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
1/2 tsp.salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper (I forgot to use the salt and pepper)
2 cups arugula (I used baby spinach and a little bit of romaine, thinly sliced)
4 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese (I used feta on my bowl)
Serves four.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. (It says to wrap the beets in foil - I baked them as is because I avoid aluminum foil whenever I can). Bake beets for 1 hour, or until a knife easily pierces the beets. Remove from oven and let cool at least 30 minutes (I did this part the day before). Peel the beets, cut each into 8 wedges and transfer to a bowl.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until reduced by about half and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Set aside to cool.

Place the chopped walnuts in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium high heat, shaking the pan often, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to the bowl with the beets.

Add the oil to the skillet and return to med high heat. Add the sliced pears and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Add the reserved vinegar mixture, the salt and pepper to the beets and walnuts, tossing to coat well. Place 1/4 of the arugula (or whatever green you are using) on each of 4 plates, top with the beet mixture and pears. Sprinkle each with 1 tbsp of blue cheese (or feta).

As you can see, mixed all together it makes pink pears. But the taste - yummy! I didn't think the pears would cook well, but they were delicious - just the right sweetness for this salad.  And, now that I know all the steps, it won't seem so complicated next time.

Friday, March 28, 2014

March in the Rear View Mirror

End of March. One quarter of the way through 2014. Does that make you roll your eyes, too, and wonder where the days go?

Time for the link up with Chatting at the Sky, Emily Freeman, and her collection of thoughts, reminisces and randomness for what we learned in March. And maybe, even some profoundity. That's profound, not profane...

Thinking back over March, I didn't remember learning anything in particular. Picked up my journal, thumbed through March's pages. There was more there than I thought.

 I am coming out of - at least I hope I am coming out of - a time of brain fog. An actual term, actually, for a condition caused by: A - poor nutrition, B - hormonal mess, C - lack of exercise, D - vitamin deficiency, E - just because, F - lack of sleep, G - stress, H - any combination of the above. Take your pick. (This is an unofficial, personalized re-interpretation). A nutritional book I've been reading, and somewhat following, recommends not eating any grain. For the experiment, I drastically reduced any breads, cereals, or pastas. What I learned, is that I can focus on protein for breakfast, eat a big salad for lunch, and feel full. Didn't think that was possible without crunchy chips or slice(s) of bread. While I am not going completely gluten free, I am cutting way back, and discovering I do feel better without it. Except for once in awhile, when a little bit tastes extra yummy. Learning to find the balance point. And clear out the brain fog.

Finished up Grace for the Good Girl, this month, by Emily Freeman. It brought back to me lines from a very old hymn. Found the words in one of our ancient hymnals, "In the Secret of His Presence", by Ellen Lakshmi Goreh:
"In the secret of His presence
how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
which I learn at Jesus' side!
Earthly cares can never vex me 
neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me,

to the secret place I go, 
to the secret place I go."

"When my soul is faint and thirsty,
'neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter,and a fresh and crystal spring;And my Savior rests beside me as we hold communion sweet:If I tried I could not utter 
what He says when thus we meet,what He says when thus we meet."

"Only this I know: I tell Him all my doubts, my griefs and fears;Oh how patiently He listens!and my drooping soul He cheers:Do you think He ne'er reproves me?What a false friend He would be,If He never, never told me of the sins which He must see,of the sins which He must see."

"Would you like to know the sweetness of the secret of the Lord?Go and hide beneath His shadow:this shall then be your reward;And whene'er you leave the silence of that happy meeting place,You must mind and bear the image of the Master on your face,of the Master on your face."
                 (sorry about the formatting, my computer and I are not working well together)

"Frozen" came out this month on DVD. I imagine you have heard the theme song, "Let It Go." If you live in a house with girls or granddaughters you have probably heard it hundreds of times. For me, "Frozen" tied in with the message of Grace for the Good Girl. Elsa learned to let go of her mask of fear, hiding from her sister, the people, not allowing them to see, to know who she was. She replaced that mask with love - love for her sister, her people, and she rediscovered the joy in life.

We received photos of two ultrasounds this month, both long awaited grandbabies. Woohoo! One, a little boy, due in August, the other, due in October. Our youngest grandson turns one next week. Exciting days of growth and learning and challenges for them and their parents - remembering the times I fed and fought with and talked with and taught and played with and helped our children to grow - now it is their turn, with their own children, and I am caught in this blurred time warp of it being just yesterday or ages and ages ago.

Two of the books I checked out from the library have a common thread. The Backyard Parables, a garden book, by Margaret Roach, an author familiar from her days as the editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine, and I also read her detailed and sometimes technical blog about gardening. Jeff Goins recommended an author, a writing book, Marion Roach Smith, The Memoir Project. Hmmm, similar names, so I looked them up. Yup. Margaret is big sister to Marion. Pretty cool that I would have both of their books, on unrelated topics, not knowing their connection. I like to discover things like that, life's little coincidences that make me feel like maybe, just maybe, I am on the right track.

March was a month of garden classes and symposiums, three Saturdays in a row. Good timing for me. Too early, too cold to get out and work in the garden. Good to focus my thoughts on planning and learning and visions of gorgeous gardens to come. The group of us who volunteer at the local xeriscape demonstration garden started our winter clean-up today, trimming, clearing up scattered leaves and tumbleweed, pruning back, and raking up winter's debris. I learned how much I could be doing in our yard, now, even though we can't plant yet. At the demonstration garden, the plants I helped plant last spring have tiny green shoots, the grape hyacinths bloomed, and the feeling of life, surging beneath the dead-looking foliage, encouraged me. Even though it is still freezing at night, the wind can be icy, and most likely we will have more snow, the plants know it is time to begin to grow. To reach for the sun. Me, too. To leave March behind with a glance in the rear view mirror, and look ahead to April and spring.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Friendly Year

Love the title of this book. Aren't we all looking for a friendly year?

Three hundred and sixty-five daily entries were compiled from Henry Van Dyke's writings, published from 1887 to 1905, this book published in 1906. The front page says, "From Ralph, xmas, '07." Would that be 1907 or 2007? Hmmm, I wonder.

I rushed the reading, anxious, I guess, to find that friendly year, reading two pages each day, four entries at a time. I tried to pick a favorite quote - the one I posted in January, A Footpath to Peace is probably the favorite, but there are many, many choices.

Because this book is out of print, I will share a few others with you.

"And if some of the rich of this world (through the grace of Him with whom all things are possible) are also modest in their tastes, and gentle in their hearts, and open in their minds, and ready to be pleased with un-bought pleasures, they simple share in the best things which are provided for all."
"...ready to be pleased with un-bought pleasures..." - love that line.

What a surprise to find pressed flowers, placed in this book over a hundred years ago?! You won't find that in a Kindle or a Nook (sorry, had to put that plug in there for books with pages you can feel). Was there a special quote on this page that inspired these flowers, which look like Johnny Jump-Ups? Maybe this one, from April twenty-fourth:
"By the breadth of the blue that shines in silence o'er me,
By the length of the mountain-lines that stretch before me,
By the height of the cloud that sails, with rest in motion,
Over the plains and the vales to the measureless ocean,
(Oh, how the sight of the things that are great enlarges the eyes!)
Lead me out of the narrow life, to the peace of the hills and the skies."

Henry Van Dyke makes reference to the fast pace of the age, the distractions and clutter of their busy lives. What would he think of today?

"Let me but live my life from year to year,
With forward face and unreluctant soul;
Not hurrying to, nor turning from the goal;
Not mourning for the things that disappear
In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
From what the future veils;
But with a whole
And happy heart that pays its toll
To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.

So, let the way wind up hill or down,
O'er rough or smooth,
The journey will be joy:
...My heart will keep the courage of the quest,
And hope the road's last turn will be the best."

May your journey be with joy, your year friendly, and the flowers you press last a hundred years!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Saturday morning I attended a waterwise gardening class. Thoughts of spring and planting and green danced in my head. I walked around the garden in the sunny afternoon noticing the tiny green plants beginning to revive and stretch toward the warmth of the sun.

Saturday night it snowed. Welcome spring. I realize we are not the only part of the country still under the icy grasp of winter. In order to absorb the moment and accept the quiet beauty of a snowy morning, I went out to take some photos. What I saw amazed me. I would have missed it entirely if I stayed inside reading my gardening books in the cozy chair.

It is an icicle starburst, tiny icicles hanging on all the branches.

This time of year is like taking a long hike in the mountains. Ahead is a high place on the trail and you are sure that from there, you will see the end of the path. But, you get to that spot and beyond lie several more peaks. You know there is still a long way to go. One step at a time. Keep moving. Keep looking forward to the day when it really will be spring. But don't miss today and  pay attention to the tiny details of beauty in every step along the way.

 The message those icicles shouted at me: Don't miss what you have today, wishing you had something else.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Extra Hours

I am the typical winter gardener: devour garden books, order seeds, sketch out [un]realistic garden plans. One entire shelf on our bookshelf is garden books, most of which I re-read each year - at least parts of them. This year, I have a new favorite, The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook, by Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman. The first half is how-to garden basics, the second half, how to cook what you grow. Lots of yummy photos of recipes I look forward to cooking. Remember that post I wrote about eating a daily rainbow? Lots of colorful ideas toward that in this book.

This weekend we switch to Daylight Saving Time (did you know it is Daylight Saving not Daylight Savings? I didn't).

Did you know a big impetus behind it was lobbied by gardeners? In March of 1918, during World War I and facing shortages of food, the National War Garden Commission worked to extend the clocks ahead every spring to allow for more food production in home gardens, as it gave gardeners an extra hour of sunlight when they got home from work. "In materials published after the war, the commission proudly stressed how effective that extra hour of light during the gardening season had been. By multiplying all those extra hours over the course of a year by the number of war gardeners (more than five million by their estimate), they came up with the stupendous total of 900 million hours of gardening gained every year thanks to daylight saving time." The Four Season Gardener's Cookbook, Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman. The Victory Gardens of World War II were even more successful, estimated at 20 million gardens planted.
"So, if you set aside a small plot of your land [or patio or balcony] and spend an hour at the end of those long summer days growing food, you can feel a kinship with the many patriotic gardeners of years past."
                                                                                  - Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman

There is a lot of debate as to the value of Daylight Saving Time. Many do not like the upheaval it creates in schedules: farmers, the travel industry, equipment with scheduled operations, and many others experience complications and confusion.

For the home gardener, it is a blessing. More time to work outside creating and enjoying the process of a productive, beautiful garden. We do not have the shortages of wartime, but producing our own food is an important skill to have, for health reasons, especially.

It is too early to plant outside here and in many other parts of the country. We had a low of seven degrees a couple nights ago, and snow yesterday. In a couple of weeks I can start seedlings in the basement under fluorescent lights, and a few weeks after that, plant frost tolerant seeds outside.

For now, those longer evening hours of sunlight will be for yard clean-up and walks with the dogs. Come the baking hot days of summer, in those extra late evening hours, it will be a relief to work outside in the garden, in the cooler air and the peach golden sunset glow.
(photos from last year's garden)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1,000 Gifts, Page Two

Somewhere along last October, I stopped counting.

Those months, all those wonderful, delightful, surprising, sometimes ridiculously ordinary things I could have jotted down in my One Thousand Gifts list slipped under the bridge and away on the current of never ending ripples. Gone.

Did you ever play Pooh Sticks? Two buddies each drop a stick off the upstream edge of a bridge, then run to the other side to see whose stick crosses by first. We still do it as adults (or adult sized bodies, anyway) whenever we're on a walk and cross a bridge over a stream. Grab sticks, toss them in. Debate whether it was the current or the weight of the stick or a superior toss that created the fastest stick. While the sticks float on downstream, beyond us.

In January, starting up the list again was my number one to-do. My mom gave me a slim little journal for Christmas, and I decided it was perfect for a fresh start with my list. A fresh start, with an open heart, a hands-out welcome of life's events and beauty and emotions floating by.

My goal is to write at least three each day. Normally, once I start, more ideas come, the gratefulness flows.

In hindsight, it is with great effort that I attempt to remember. I think part of the reason I let it go for so long,  I felt I had to catch up. To remember all that I forgot to remember. That did not happen, of course. I finally realized (yes, I am slow) that I needed to start today - that day. To write down the day's gifts, to pay attention today, to unwrap the blessings and joy and moments, small and great that reveal the Lord's love for me, for those in our home and family. Today.

"There are a hundred touches of kindness that come to us every day to tell us that we are not orphans or outcasts upon the earth. Every trace of order, every gleam of beauty, every provision of bounty in the natural world is an evidence that  it is God's house."
                                                                                    The Friendly Year, Henry Van Dyke

I want to feel and understand and see the moment before it slips under the bridge, downstream, out of sight, beyond memory. This is how I want to live.

For Christmas, our daughter made me a gratefulness scarf. She took a lightweight white scarf, pulled up my list from the tab at the top of this blog, and with a Sharpie, copied items from my list.

When I put it on, it is like wrapping myself in a prayer shawl, in a visual reminder to see and listen and understand and pay attention. A reminder of all the wonder in my life. And I need those reminders.

To see my new list click on the tab at the top, 1000 Gifts - Page Two. If you notice a discrepancy in the numbers between the two lists, I have not updated the first list from the first book I used. But I am putting it out there anyway. One of these days I will finish typing those on to the computer. I needed, this time, to start where I was and move forward from here without procrastinating any longer, waiting until things were perfect and complete. Not going to happen in the near future around here. This moment, now, it is good to be writing the list again.

Pooh drawing from The World of Pooh, by A.A. Milne, illustrations by E.H. Shepard - a much used, worn out family classic.
The concept of a gifts list is from Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Thank you, Ann!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Psalms, Illuminated

The Psalms are my favorite book of the Bible. I read them three or four times a year, in a variety of versions, each time learning and listening to the expressions of love to the Lord. This book, The Psalms of David, With illuminations by James S. Freemantle, is a favorite. This may be an overload of photos, but I couldn't pick just a few of the best. Actually, this is just a few of the best. If you want to read the Psalms with a fresh, new-life-giving perspective, pick up this book.

James Freemantle was an artist who lived his whole life in India. Many of the flowers, wildlife and art reflect scenes from his home in India and his travels. He worked on this, from about 1906 until 1934, a labor of love for his wife, Clara. The forward, written by his son, said he wasn't a religious man, but Clara must have deeply loved the Psalms for him to give the hours and years he devoted to this work. I quote from the forward: "I remember my father seated at a desk by the window with his paints, specially ordered from Winsor and Newton, spread out before him. He only used those paints and India ink, often taking many hours to do just a couple of lines of his fine wealth of decoration. Sometimes he would do the lettering with a paint brush, making the bodies of the letters first and then adding the tails painstakingly so that no join would show. Thus, half a page a night represented good progress."

There are tiny mistakes, which I love to see. A forgotten word, inserted with a carrot, a repeated word, smudges in the ink. To me, these give the pages a life, a presence, a touch of reality.

The art and wide variety of scripts can be distracting, absorbing the reader's attention on their own merit. Again, for me, these gave the reading a refreshing perspective of beauty and life and joy.

Deuteronomy 17:18 tells the future kings of Israel to copy the words of the law in their own handwriting. This book gives us an example of how beautiful and inspiring this work could be. I love how his efforts were devoted to his wife, a way to share his love for her.

Amazon has this book available.
(not an affiliate link)