bellasemplicita

Regaining a lost love for beauty and simplicity.

Tag: spring

An Ordinary Life

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“do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
and make the ordinary come alive for them.
the extraordinary will take care of itself.”

 – William Martin

In Honor of Spring

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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)

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

Some Current Obsessions

Some current food obsessions:

 

1.  LÄRABAR:  Especially their sugar free bars.  My favorites: Cappuccino, Chocolate Coconut Chew, Key Lime Pie, Cherry Pie, Lemon Bar, Peanut Butter Cookie, Jocalat Chocolate Mint. Go try them.

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2.  The Pure Bar, Fruit & Nut Bars:  Again, I prefer their sugar free bars.  My favorites: Dark Chocolate Berry, Chocolate Brownie.  

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3.  Clemmy’s Ice Cream:  Now this is seriously the best.  Sugar free ice cream does not sound amazing,  but Clemmy’s is so amazing.  I am in love!  I do not have a favorite so go try them all.

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4.  Quinoa:  I find myself eating this in some form for lunch everyday.  I normally mix it with roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, melted feta, herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro, chives, diced pepper, onion, cucumbers, and whatever leftover veggies and meats we have sitting around.  It is so delicious, clean, and filling!  Here is a recipe if you are too nervous to improvise.

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Strawberry quinoa & feta salad
Yield: serves 2 as a full meal, 3-4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa (3/4 c uncooked, plus 1 1/2 c water)
  • 3/4 c sliced strawberries (about 5-6 large strawberries)
  • 1/2 c chopped or crumbled feta
  • 1/4 c chopped mint
  • 1/4 c chopped scallions (green and white parts)
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 c baby salad greens
  • 1/4 c sprouts (optional)
  • Lemon Honey Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus a little more to drizzle on at the end)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (plus a little more to squeeze on at the end)
  • 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook your quinoa. I like this method.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
  3. Toss all salad ingredients together and pour on the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. I added a final squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
  4. This is the kind of salad that gets better as it sits and the flavors mesh together… so if you have the patience, let it chill for 15-20 minutes before serving. Make extra if you want leftovers for lunch the next day.

Found it here.

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From ‘My Several Worlds’

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Well, I am back from my long and unintended hiatus! I had a lovely trip to Italy and have thoroughly enjoyed my summer. When the days grow shorter and the weather turns, I will post some of my favorite pictures of the trip.
In the meantime, I would love to share with you several passages from a book I just finished – My Several Worlds, by Pearl S. Buck. The book is a lovely autobiography after a type. As she states near the beginning, ‘the story is incomplete, and, worse still, that it is told upon different levels and about different places and peoples, the whole held together merely by time . . .’. I found this book utterly beautiful and refreshing. It was one of those lovely reads I wished would never end.

The great beauty of Japan is in the spots that you and I, if we be mere passerby, never really glimpse.
It is the beauty which moves the veriest coolie, after a day of crushing labor, to throw aside his carrying pole, and after a bit of fish and rice, to dig and plant in his garden the size of a pocket handkerchief.  There he works, absorbed, delighted; his whole being resting in the joy of creating beauty for himself and his family, who cluster about him to admire.  No one is without a garden.  If fate has denied a poor man a foot of ground, he buys a big plot for a penny and slowly, after hours of labor pleasant and painstaking, he constructs a miniature park, with a rockery, a tiny summerhouse, a pool, with bits of moss for lawns and grass heads for trees and toy ferns tucked into crevices for shrubbery.

It is the quality of beauty, too, which moves a Japanese host to place in his guest room each day for the delight of his guest one single exquisite note.  From his precious store he selects today a watercolor, in black and white, of a bird clinging to a reed, painted with a charming reserve.  Tomorrow it will be a dull blue vase with one spray of snowy pear bloom arranged in such a way as to be a living invitation to meditation.  Sometimes it is a piece of old tapestry, with a quaint procession of lantern bearers marching across its faded length.

………………..

Meanwhile I was also enjoying quite a different sort of life.  First of all were my house and garden.  Though I can live anywhere, be either rich or poor with equal acceptance, I have to have a setting, and if there is not one, I make it.  I subdued, therefore, the too large and somewhat graceless grey brick house where I lived, and within the limits of a small amount of money, I did as my mother had taught me to do and created as much beauty as I could.  The garden furnished plenty of flowers, and well-designed furniture of cheap materials could be cushioned with the inexpensive but beautiful chinese stuffs.  Wicker and rattan I had wearied of, but the Chinese about that time were weaving cash string, a thin robe made of grass, upon strong bamboo frames, and such chairs were comfortable and substantial.  Old chinese blackwood tables could be bought cheaply, and there were always delicate and beautiful bowls and vases in the chinashops.  One day in a silkshhop I found yards of faded silk going at a bargain price and I bought it for curtains and dyed it in different colors.  Matting rugs upon the floor gave good effect and sunshine and flowers did the rest.  I enjoyed the whole process and have often thought to myself that if I had not wanted to write books above all else, I would be a cook in a big family, perhaps in an orphanage, and make delicious dishes for everybody.  But there are many persons I would like to have been – for example, again, a sculptor – had I not wanted to write books.

 

These passages are just a selection among the many I found refreshing and inspiring.  They slightly readjusted my vision for a beautiful, peaceful, and God honoring home.

 

 

Italy

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I have always, quite possibly from the moment I gained consciousness, desired to travel the world but especially Italy.  The many things that I have heard second-hand about Italy deeply resonate with my ideas off family and culture and life.  I love the geography, the cities, the art, the history, the food, and what I think the culture and the people are like.  And I am finally heading of to Italy!  Finally!  My Mom and I have two weeks to hit all of the main spots – Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, Ravenna, Assisi, etc.  I don’t know how we will be able to see all I could wish!  Of course if you have any ideas and travel tips please feel free to pass them along.

And now enough of me – here is a quote from Alberti’s Prologue to On Painting.  He is speaking about the accomplishments that some at the beginning of the Renaissance had achieved and later more specifically Brunelleschi and ‘his dome’.

“Therefore, I believe the power of acquiring wide fame in any art or science lies in our industry and diligence more than in the times or in the gifts of nature.  It must be admitted that it was less difficult for the Ancients – because they had models to imitate and from which they could learn – to come to a knowledge of those supreme arts and sciences without teachers or without any model whatsoever.”

He Is Risen

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‘For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.’

Romans 5:6 – 11

1.  The White Crucifixion – Marc Chagall

2.  The Entombment of Christ – Michelangelo Caravaggio

3.  From the Isenheim Altarpiece – Matthias Grunewald

Fever . . .

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It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!

– Mark Twain

Photo found here.

 

‘Magnolia Bugs no. 6672’

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I thought that these were darling; found them here.

‘There are always flowers for those that want to see them.’ – Henri Matisse

Have a lovely weekend!

Spring is Almost Here

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Ernest Hemingway, ‘A Moveable Feast’ –

“With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.

In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.”