Category Archives: Quotes and prayers

Mad with joy


I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog lately.  It’s not by choice; I’m back in the busy-ness of teaching, which has swallowed up my attention and energy, and  I’ve also been finishing up a big-and-fun writing project (you’ll hear more on that soon).  I hope normal blogging will resume shortly.

But for now, I offer you some pretty pictures of flowers.  Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, and don’t forget to pause and smell the roses.


People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
— Iris Murdoch 


Mom-thought for the day


Thought for the day

“[W]e believe that God desires us into being.  He desires our wholeness so much that he allows himself to be broken for its sake.  He awakens our desire for him by pouring his own Spirit into our lives.  Our hearts long for him, we say, just as a river seeks its ocean home.  The whole of creation lives and grows under the impulse of desire.  Every new life springs from a moment of desire.  Every flower is pollinated by attraction and desire.  Every step of discovery is made out of a desire to go beyond, always beyond, the horizon of the known.  Every meal we eat, the very sustenance of our living, is taken because our bodies express their need of food in the desire that we call appetite.

Why, then, do we feel the need to suppress our own desires?  Is it possible that our deepest desires flow in the same eternal stream as God’s desire for us and for all creation?”

— Margaret Silf, Close to the Heart: A Practical Approach to Personal Prayer

Garden glories



I love tulips better than any other spring flower; they are the embodiment of alert cheerfulness and tidy grace.

– Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and Her German Garden



The pleasure of poetry

Have you ever seen something that made you instantly recall a line of poetry?  I had a few of those moments last week, when I returned to Filoli for a visit. The potted hyacinths were in bloom — I have never EVER seen such beautiful ones.  They took my breath away.

And T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” surfaced out of the depths of my memory:

“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl.”

It was very nice to have the remembered poetry  to go along with the color and the scent.  (I have to admit, the flowers also made me think of a certain overbearing British matron.  “It’s not BUCKET, it’s BOUQUET.”)


Later, coming across a field of daffodils, I naturally thought of Wordsworth:

“Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”


I didn’t see ten thousand, but I saw quite a few.  And it was a delightful sensation to walk down the little path, daffodils on my right and my left, before me and behind me too.


“And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”

That just about captures it.


Any experience is better with a line of poetry to complement it.  I’m not sure why that is, exactly, except that connecting a poem with an experience somehow pulls the drawstrings of my life closer together: the strings of past and present, words and images.  It’s a great reason to study poetry, so you always have a line or lines to match to what you see around you.

Now if only I could think of a poem about camellias …