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Posts Tagged ‘English Gardens’

Birches II

In recent years, I find myself giving more advice—breaking a lifetime policy of rarely inflicting personal opinions unless requested to do so, or in situations where someone’s wellbeing is threatened apart from my input.

Always having found advice-givers to be highly annoying, I’ve militated against joining their ranks.  But now I’m holding forth because I believe that most anyone’s wellbeing is jeopardized without the following, standard bit of wisdom:

Find a passion!  Don’t grow old without it.  And especially if you live with chronic illness or pain.  Don’t neglect those creative aspects of life that make aging and chronic health issues not only do-able, but downright enjoyable—even exciting!

I’ve been blessed with many passions:  family, friends, my precious corgi Dylan, books, writing, knitting, wool spinning, music, gardens indoors and out, and now painting.  Art making is new for me; even ten years ago I did not have the foggiest idea that I’d be able to enjoy a lifelong dream.  God saved that one for me to launch when—along with all the other passions—I needed it most.

Most essential to ortho and other health issues, is to keep this body moving! Sitting for any length of time is a huge challenge.  I’ve even learned to stay home from church and other chair-confined events on the most dicey “no sit” days.  Lying in bed (supine or even with pillows) is the second greatest challenge, and for those sleepless nights painting is my great friend.  I paint standing up, and incorporate whole-body motion into the piece of work.

Art making would be wonderful enough if it ended right here, in my cozy bedroom corner studio beside a husband who is contented to sleep through soft lighting and my nocturnal whims—along with George Winston providing a mellow piano background.

But also, painting has led to a spate of new friendships, activities, and opportunities for sharing my art in our community.  Meanwhile, the history of art movements and artists has become a fascinating, inexhaustible area of study.

Thus I feel not only justified in giving advice, but actually responsible for sharing.  Don’t forget your passion.  Don’t grow old without at least one, and every day will be a fantastic adventure!

We are created in the image of a Creative God.  He desires that we somehow reflect His creativity.  Yes, He will answer prayers concerning ways we can honor him with the gifts He has given us.  When God moves, He brings a whole new quality of refreshment to an already abundant life!

Margaret L. Been — September 9, 2015

Note:  If art rings your chimes, you can check out my MESSY PALETTE blog:   https://northernview.wordpress.com/

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After several weeks of being tried and tested by drought, our patio garden is experiencing a new life.  I had watered it through the crisis, but was ever aware of the danger of a dried up well—so my watering became scanty as the dry days lingered.

Although once again getting dry, we’ve been refreshed—and I’m able to make a good early morning round with the hose.  I trimmed plants that had bloomed and shriveled, and these are coming back at the base.  The black-eyed Susans have popped up, and they are thriving.  Roses are experiencing an encore of blooms, and so are the foxgloves and anenome. 

What a picture of GRACE!  A little water, and the garden is responding as if it had never suffered those dry weeks.

Here are some shots of our other gardens:  ↑ ↓

The “mum” plants are sprouting tiny flower buds, preparing for their autumn glory.  It all goes so fast!  Our wayward, unholy nation does not deserve to have an autumn of gentle, healing rain—but I pray for mercy, and MORE RAIN! 

Whether or not our All-Wise God blesses us with rain, I constantly pray that our country will wake up and return to the Living Lord and His standard of righteousness!  There is forgiveness for us, and our nation could be revived—like our gardens!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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Every year at this time, since I began blogging, I’ve commemorated Pearl Harbor with a photo of the disaster.  This year, I can’t bring myself to feature the photo.  Recently, whenever I think of Japan I think of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Necessary from a military standpoint?  Yes!  Unthinkably tragic from a human standpoint?  YES! 

We need to remember history, mainly because we could benefit from learning.  History could provide foresight and wisdom.  But it’s been shown again and again that people do not learn from history.  We may remember history, but we simply play it again.

As Christians, we are commanded to forgive.  Forgiveness is the very core of our faith, and the reason why we are standing here rather than decimated and plowed under by God’s wrath.  Yet there are historical characters whom I cannot forgive in my fallen humanity:  especially Hitler, for his atrocities to God’s people the Jews.  And Stalin. 

And, going way back—Oliver Cromwell.  I read a lot of documentaries on Irish history.  I’m currently experiencing a formidable challenge knowing that I have to forgive the British Empire, not only for its mindless brutality in Ireland but for centuries of power lust and domination in India and Africa.  My husband, always the wit, suggests that I gather up all my English tea and dump it in the harbor a mile from our home.

However when I think England I want to think tea and English country gardens—along with Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Keats, the Brontës, Thomas Hardy, John Galsworthy and other authors too numerous to name.  I want to think our precious English language, and English theatre which (in my opinion) is second to none. 

When I think Russia I want to remember ballet and Tchaikowsky who, tortured as he was in his personal life, left the world a legacy of hauntingly beautiful music.  When I think Germany I want to recall Bach and Beethoven—and the tradition of gemütlichkeit reflected by German Americans in the cultural history of Wisconsin.  When I think Japan I want to focus on centuries of exquisite art traditions:  painting, poetry, gardening.

Every nation on earth has its shame as well as its pride.  Individuals are born sinners.  National shame is sin multiplied.  America is not exempt from national sin.  Just ask the decendants of the Cherokee and other Native Nations who walked the Trail of Tears from the deep South to Oklahoma and points West.  Or ask the descendants of slaves.

There is only One Remedy for sin, and that was accomplished for us at Calvary.  God’s Remedy for sin came to us as a baby, born in a crude and humble manger some 2000 plus years ago.  He is coming again!  “And He shall reign forever and ever!”

Meanwhile I will remember December 7th, 1941.  Remember, but move on!

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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Back in 1993, Joe and I went abroad for our first and probably last time.  We spent 17 days traveling back roads of England, Scotland, and Wales—in a rented car which Joe drove on the “wrong” side of the road.

We stayed at sheep farms and small town inns, and it was wonderful.  Touring the British countryside had long been my desire, and we were not disappointed.  Adventure and beauty greeted us around every bend, and we were not in the least bit tempted to venture into a city . . . .

. . . . except for on the last day.  Scheduled to fly back to the U.S. from Gatwick, which is 30 miles or so out of London, we spent our last night at a farm near Dorking.  We decided to ride the commuter train from that village into London, where we planned to transfer from Victoria Station to Paddington Station and (hopefully) buy a Paddington Bear to take home as a souvenir.

The train ride into London was fascinating, as the track ran through the back yards and alleys of old—I mean OLD!—neighborhoods.  From the windows, we saw one consistent sight in even the tiniest city yards:  carefully tended, interesting plots with funky “art” and a sweet little potting shed in the corner of most every garden.

How the Brits love their gardens!  I was totally captivated by the concept of a LITTLE garden.  At the time we lived on acreage, and I had very unruly gardens scattered hither and thither—plots which I couldn’t begin to manage.  The idea of a tiny garden right outside one’s door got planted then and there in my head, where it has remained dormant until just 2 weeks ago.

Now in our small condo, I’m enjoying a tiny garden plot alongside our patio—with about as much space as the gardens we saw where the train ran along the back yards of London.  Bleeding hearts, chives, tulips, and a couple of hardy rose bushes had already been planted here, and I am dividing and adding.  By the end of May, I hope to have an English garden packed with perennials spilling over each other in quest of the morning sunlight, and then relaxing side by side in the afternoon shade.

On clear days, I toss colorful fabric and a Southwestern Indian rug over patio chairs—and my Teddies go out to bask in the sun.  Sometimes Paddington Bear goes out too, although when this photo was taken he was “still sleeping” so I left him inside.

Incidently, there were no Paddington Bears at Paddington Station.  I got my Paddington Bear at K-Mart, in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Go figure!  🙂

Margaret L. Been—All Rights Reserved

NOTE:  I love to plant poems as well as perennials, and for decades I’ve been heartbroken over the current “state of the art” regarding what passes for poetry today.  Please check “Paintings and Poems” on this site, for a light representation of what I consider to be a contemporary travesty and tragedy!  🙂

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