I like to draw my own greeting cards, and I occasionally practise my handlettering. This was for a dear friend, and I took a quick picture with my digital camera to show you. What do you think? I’ve designed some cards– not just like this, but in the same style– that, Lord willing, I’ll be selling in the next few months. And that excites me!
I have a vision. A vision to bring back the timeless warmth of the home. A vision to introduce my generation to real living, which has been robbed of us in this cold day of efficient technology. I’m not at all against technology, but I do believe that too much of our culture is focused on efficiency rather than cultivating beauty and warmth in the home. As Maesimund Panchos once put it:
A stranger to our culture observing our commercial eating places might conclude that eating requires a stopwatch.
And it doesn’t stop at eating. We are more concerned with making everything ‘fast and efficient’, and less concerned with savoring the moment and cultivating relationships. We live in a world of speed at the cost of the things that really matter.
As I considered this great lacking in our culture, read books which mentioned it, and discussed it with friends, I came to write this (fictional) essay some weeks ago.
The words caught my eye as I stood before a broad display of candles, trying to choose a gift for a new neighbor.
I picked up the candle and smelled as my eyes fell upon another further down the shelf. “French Vanilla”
I began reading the names as I walked slowly down the row.
“Fir & Cedar”
All of the names sounded so warm, so inviting, so homey. I remember my grandmother’s house smelling like that. But those smells came from warm cobbler in the oven, freshly baked cookies laid out to cool, and a warm fire crackling around the cedar logs I’d split for her in the fall.
Sometimes the house would have the fragrance of lilacs wafting upon the sun-warmed breeze that made the curtains dance as it blew through the open windows. I remember the smell of moss as I picked up hazelnuts in autumn, the spicy scent of fir boughs in the winter, and the hazy, warm smell of hay in the summer as I sat on the board fence and watched the men harvest the fields.
I used to watch Grandmother hang up baskets of wet laundry in the sun and later help her take the clothes down again, sweet smelling and warm from the sun’s gentle rays.
We didn’t need to burn candles to make our house smell like home. Grandma did burn candles– but they were homemade. The everyday ones were made from her own tallow, and for special occasions she made bayberry tapers.
But now, something has changed.
We’ve let beauty and harmony be banished in the name of convenience and efficiency. After all, I can’t imagine that someday women will be spraying their homes with fragrances called “Microwave Dinner” or “Electrical Heating”. Why do we think we can give our homes the illusion of real living — the way Grandma’s house was– by burning a chemically formulated simulation of the real thing? Have we become as artificial as that?
I set the candle down and decided to bake a pie for my neighbors instead.
I have recently been wondering ‘where did the last year go?’ It seems like just yesterday that 2013 was the brand new year that lay ahead of me, to better or to worsen. What happened?
So I narrowed it down. Where were my seconds going? For as go my seconds, so go my hours, so goes my life.
Country music. I never did think I’d enjoy it.
But then, there’s Andy Kenway.
Andy is an up-and-coming balladeer who should be hitting the charts in a few years. He’s also a composer, who’s written “Play The Man” (my personal favorite of his), “Sands of Omaha” (A tribute to that battle of WWII) and “Up in the Morning Early“. Find more of his recordings on his Grooveshark profile here and his YouTube channel.
The song I’m featuring today is actually a Country number. You have permission to call the men in the white coats, but I truly do enjoy this one! (for those of you who don’t know, I’ve been known to go on tirades against 99% of Country music) They say there’s always room for sanctification. That must be true, because this is the girl who a few months ago staunchly insisted to a friend that she hated soundtracks, and now finds herself falling asleep with the Lord of the Rings stuck in her head. Yes, that friend is a little gleeful sometimes.
Andy Kenway on FACEBOOK and ReverbNation
Written by Steve Goodman, and sung by many popular artists, Andy Kenway recorded this treasure a few weeks ago. I love the folksy flair he uses. Want a tip? He puts up new songs every Friday on his Soundcloud channel! (you’re welcome) [edit: he does not do this any more, but check his channel out anyway!]
Because I can’t resist, I’m going to add a bonus. My favorite song of Andy’s!