Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Design for Life -or- How to Save Money

Acanthus wallpaper-1875"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." — William Morris

The fame of Morris during his life was probably somewhat obscured by the variety of his accomplishments. In all his work after he reached mature life there is a marked absence of extravagance, of display, of superficial cleverness or effectiveness, and an equally marked sense of composition and subordination. Thus his poetry is singularly devoid of striking lines or phrases, and his wall-papers and chintzes only reveal their full excellence by the lastingness of the satisfaction they give. wikipedia

In college in East Texas I was on the cleaning crew sent to spiff up the Vice-Chancelor's home prior to his arrival for Fall classes. The foreman of the crew showed me the ceramic rooster, whose colors had been used to decorate the entire house. It was my first experience in seeing a color-coordinated home--every item, no matter how small, had been chosen from the rooster's palette. Later in life I have come to see that it costs no more to choose a blue item than an orange item. The question is--which will go with everything else already in one's possession.

If you are just starting out in life, or training your daughters, gain exposure to beautiful things; china patterns, quilt designs, paintings, carpets and fabrics. Walk through designer homes, showrooms, and store displays and stand at the magazine counter and look through the magazines for months before you buy the one that has the items or overall look that has come to be you. Then consciously build your trousseau and hope chest with only those items that suit you. Not only will you save money, but you will be able to learn how to make many of the items you need and want; you'll be able to buy them on sale, saving not only money but frustration in having too much and not enough of the best and right things.

If you're older and stuck with a lot of mis-matched stuff, educate your eye and get in touch with your heart and choose what's really become you and sell or give away what isn't you. Simplify your life and keep or acquire only those items you need and love. Plain living does not have to be sombre to be simple, but it does mean living without excess. Enjoy getting to know yourself …

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Never judge a book but its cover …

Overnight singing sensation, Susan Boyle, is truly the wakeup call we've all been needing. She is the embodiment of the failing of judging by appearances «for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).» What a shame it would have been for Susan to go to her grave never to have shared with the world her amazing voice.

Thanks be to God that He has allowed the technology of the internet and YouTube--and now, even after 10 years in obscurity, we can all hear Susan sing again in a resurrected rendition of Cry Me a River.

«*Boyle has shattered prejudices about the connection between age, appearance and talent. She has proved that you don't have to be young and glamorous to be talented, and recognised as such.

Lisa Schwarzbaum, writer for US celebrity magazine Entertainment Weekly, said the performance was a powerful reality check.
She wrote: "In our pop-minded culture so slavishly obsessed with packaging - the right face, the right clothes, the right attitudes, the right Facebook posts - the unpackaged artistic power of the unstyled, un-hip, un-kissed Ms Boyle let me feel, for the duration of one blazing showstopping ballad, the meaning of human grace.
"She pierced my defences. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective."

"Susan Boyle is the ugly duckling who didn't need to turn into a swan; she has fulfilled the dreams of millions who, downtrodden by the cruelty of a culture that judges them on their appearance, have settled for life without looking in the mirror."»

But Boyle herself also said she wouldn't want the instant fame to change her.
"I wouldn't want to change myself too much because that would really make things a bit false," she said Friday in an interview with CNN. "I want to receive people as the real me, a real person."

*quoted from BBC article.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Today, while the promise still stands … choose life … be a doer

When the sons of God mature sufficiently that they are no longer interested in playing pretend with the Lord but are interested in actually understanding the mysteries of God, then these sons of God begin to peel back the deception of the Adversary (who has deceived the whole world — Rev 12:9) and reveal previously unknown levels of linguistic precision in Scripture. But this can only occur because meaning is assigned to linguistic icons (i.e., words). Thus as the person matures and is no longer an infant or small child, the meanings that the son of God is able to assign to already familiar words change and become more complex … if words had hard-linked meanings, then the first time a passage is read all of the meaning contained in the passage would be grasped. There would never be the need to reread a passage for there would be nothing further to be gained by rereading the words. But as any Bible student knows, this is simply not true concerning Scripture (or any other literary text): every time a passage is read, more is taken from the passage for the person doing the reading is not then the same person mentally as the one who read the passage before. The person will have grown in some way—unless of course, the person continues to play pretend with the Lord and is too young to actually read the words on the page but must rely upon someone else to tell this small child what the passage says.
    Age old questions resurface when one reads more than the panel of the cereal box on the kitchen table or the "only approved" literature list from one's current affiliation. As the Apostle Paul noted in Romans 7, verses 15-21 … “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” (ESV)
    «The(se) paradoxes are present in Hamlet, where they have been raised to the power of so many tragic truths: tragic because they point directly to as many appalling contradictions in the nature of things. Appearance contradicts reality, words contradict deeds, behavior contradicts purpose; nothing is what it appears to be, and nothing endures, least of all the high dedication of a passionate moment.
What to ourselves in passion we purpose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose. (III.ii.206-7)

… Ironically enough, it is the other King, the one of shreds and patches, who has the final comment on this matter, which involves nothing less than the need so urgently felt by the tragic protagonist throughout the play, for suiting the action to the word, the word to the action.
That we would do,
We should do when we would, for this "would" changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this "should" is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. (IV.vii.118-123)»

Hamlet, William Shakespeare, ed. Cyrus Hoy. W. W. Norton, New York, 1963, xi.