bellasemplicita

Regaining a lost love for beauty and simplicity.

In Honor of Spring

house:magnolias

Nothing is so beautiful as spring –

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush

Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;

The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush

The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush

With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?

A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning

In Eden garden. – have, get, before it cloy,

Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,

Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,

Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

– Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring, (1918)

A Day in London

My Mom and I spent nearly a day in London last spring on a layover during our flight to Italy.  It was a wonderful experience.  The weather was incredible; we just missed some very grey and rainy days.  We had day passes for the tube and raced around seeing as much as we could.

We first stopped at Buckingham Palace and were just in time to see the changing of the guard.  We also visited Trafalgar Square, Westminster Cathedral and Abbey, the British Museum for the Rosetta Stone, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the crown jewels,  Piccadilly, and the House of Parliament to name a few. We also visited a beautiful small church – Southwark Cathedral – near the Borough Market.

So for throwback Thursday, here are a few pictures.

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For Lent

Michelangelo-crucifixion

Michelangelo, Crucifixion

‘How precious is the gift of the cross!  See, how beautiful it is to behold!  It shows no sign of evil mixed with good, like the tree of old in Eden; it is all beautiful and comely to see and to taste.’

– St. Theodore the Studite, On the Adoration of the Cross

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Some Goals

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I normally refrain from making any definite goals for the new year – things along the line of ‘run more, bike more, etc.’  Things that are far from helpful.  So this year I am making myself several very definite goals.  I thought I would share some of them with you.

–  Run a Marathon.

–  Run a 70.3 Ironman event.

–  Take a photo every day.

–  Read 156 books, that is 3 books a week.

–  Make one of those 3 books a Shakespeare play.  (I don’t know my Shakespeare nearly as well as I could wish!)

–  Read a new poet every week

–  Cook/bake a new recipe every week

–  Knit an Aran sweater.

May your New Year be blessed!

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’     – Tennyson

On The First Day of Christmas . . .

1daysofchristmas

On the First Day of Christmas my true love sent to me,

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

‘Salvation to all that will is nigh’

botticelli_nativity

Botticelli, The Adoration of the Magi

……….

Annunciation

2.  Salvation to all that will is nigh,

That All, which always is All every where,

Which cannot sinne, and yet all sinnes must beare,

Which cannot die, yet cannot chuse but die,

Loe, faithfull Virgin, yields himselfe to lye

In Prison, in they wombe; and though he there

Can take no sinne, nor thou give, yet he’will weare

Taken from thence, flesh, which deaths force may trie.

Ere by the spheares time was created, thou

Wast in his minde, who is thy Sonne, and Brother,

Whom thou conceiv’st, conceiv’d; yea thou art now

Thy Makers maker, and thy Fathers mother,

Thou’hast light in darke; and shutst in little roome,

Immensity cloysterd in thy deare wombe.

Nativitie

3. Immensity cloysterd in thy deare wombe,

Now leaves his welbelov’d imprisonment,

There he hath made himselfe to his intent

Weake enough, now into our world to come;

But Oh, for thee, for him, hath th’Inne no roome?

Yet lay him in this stall, and from the’Orient,

Starres, and wisemen will travell to prevent

Th’effect of Herods jealous generall doome;

Seest thou, my Soule, with thy faiths eyes, how he

Which fils all place, yet none holds him, doth lye?

Was not his pity towards the wondrous high,

That would have need to be pittied by thee?

Kisse him, and with him into Egypt goe,

With his kinde mother, who partakes thy woe.

……….

– La Corona (2,3), John Donne

The Annunciation

George_Hitchcock-Annunciation

On a recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago I saw this beautiful Annunciation by George Hitchcock.  During an often hectic Advent season, this painting has encouraged me to calm my soul and stand in awe before the lovely and humble coming of Christ.

‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.’     – Isaiah 7:14

‘Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.  For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.’     - Luke 1:26-38

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