Happy Thanksgiving

Living in grace

Tilly & the old oak

"The shape of my life today starts with a family. I have a husband, five children and a home just beyond the suburbs of New York. I have also a craft, writing, and therefore work I want to pursue. The shape of my life is, of course, determined by many other things; my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires. I want to give and take from my children and husband, to share with friends and community, to carry out my obligations to man and to the world, as a woman, as an artist, as a citizen. But I want first of all -- in fact, as an end to these other desires -- to be at peace with myself.

"I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact -- to borrow from the languages of the saints -- to live 'in grace' as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from Phaedrus when he said, 'May the outward and the inward man be at one.' " 

- Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea)

Oak leaves after rain

"The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration -- how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?"  - Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)

"[The Navjo concept of] hózhó means ‘beauty’ or ‘beautiful conditions,’ but this term also expresses the intellectual notion of order, the emotional state of happiness, the physical state of health, the moral condition of good, and the aesthetic dimension of harmony. The Navajo do not look for beauty; they…find themselves engulfed in it. When it is disrupted, they restore it; when it is lost or diminished, they renew it; when it is present, they celebrate it."  - Gary Witherspoon ("Dynamic Symmetry & Holistic Asymmetry in Navajo Art & Cosmology)

Reading on an autumn morning

"Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave -- that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm. And therefore, this courage allows us, as the old men said, to make ourselves useful. It allows us to be generous, which is another way of saying exactly the same thing." - Marilynne Robinson (Gilead)

"We should never be at the mercy of Providence if only we understood that we ourselves are Providence."  - Vera Brittain (The Testament of Youth)

Oak in autumn

Autumn fairies by Arthur RackhamAutumn leaf fairies by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)