Sunday, June 28, 2020

Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) - Hymn of Joy

Henry van Dyke, Jr was a minister, short story writer, poet, essayist and a college professor. He went to school with Woodrow Wilson, was a good friend of Helen Keller and gave the eulogy at Mark Twain's funeral.  He wrote the words to the "Hymn of Joy" (often called "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee", which is the first line). It is set to a magnificent melody from Beethoven. (Symphony # 9). If you don't know it...

There, aren't they beautiful lyrics?  (And it is helpful to have a good tune, thank you, Ludwig!)
It is said that Henry van Dyke wrote this poem in 1907 while staying with a friend in the Berkshire mountains. (He read from the Book of Psalms every day of his life. It is thought that the lyrics are adapted from Psalm 71.)  Inspired by nature, his very first sermon was "The Voice of God" in which he preached on hearing God in the outdoors.  

Now my friends, I have a dear little calendar at my work that has inspirational quotes and sayings... it is a perpetual calendar. Shall I tell you how long I have used it? I just looked at it recently, it has been at my desk since 2004! Yes, I do take care of things! (And the words never grow old to me.) Several of the quotes are from the esteemed Henry Van Dyke...I should like to share some of them with you now.

"Spend as much time as possible with body and with spirit in God's out -of doors."   

"There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament" 

"Use what talents you possess."

"Be glad of life. It gives you the chance to love, to work, to play and to look up at the stars."

"There is a loftier ambition than to stand high in the world. It is to step down and lift mankind a little higher."

There! I hope you like his words as much as I do. Seems to me that we are in need of inspiration these days.  

"Genius is talent set on fire by courage." 
That is another quote I forgot to give you that I really like!

How is everyone getting on with the new Blogger? Uh, me ...not so good. I somehow got this thing to underline stuff (which I fixed) and now it is bold and the only photo I have here is of a lizard that I had on here already because this is a draft that I began writing some time ago and never had time to least I can get videos on here!

Hope you like the lizard photo! It is called an Eastern fence lizard and might not believe me but it's was doing push ups! (And guess what else, I just saw this on a British TV show, they call them "press ups" in the UK! It so amuses me how the least little thing will be worded differently between the USA and the UK!)

Oh good, there...I got it off the BOLD print. I should go back and fix all that I just wrote but hey, I really did that, so I will just leave it. Hey folks, you got me, mistakes and ALL! 

Hope you are getting out into God's out- of- doors! It is good for body and soul, I believe that also.

Joy! I kept working at it and here is a photo of some of the cucumbers that we have grown from seed! (They are pickling cucumbers and are meant to be short and stubby. They are delicious!)

"Look around for a place to sow a few seeds".  (Sorry, just one more of his quotes!)

How about you, any joy? 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

A Celebration of Spring (Edward Mitchell Bannister)

Summer will begin on June 20th. (The first full day will be on Sunday, June 21st)  Before it gets here, I just wanted to tell you that this year in Georgia, our spring has been positively gorgeous. Really it has, unseasonably cool and actually pleasant to be outside. We have had rain but even then, that has been nice and mostly the showers have been short lived and just enough to make things lovely and green. And the flowers! Oh my stars, how beautiful they have been...

That last was in bright sunlight but these are coreopsis flowers and they are blooming at the side of the road! We also have them in our garden and they are one of our favorites! This year, we think they really liked the rain and cooler temps, they have bloomed beautifully!

Now, I do hope that you clicked on the video that I gave you at the very beginning of my post.  It shows a painting by Edward Mitchell Bannister.  I think it is lovely. And what a fascinating artist! He was an African American born in Canada in  1828 but later moved to Boston, Massachusetts before settling in Rhode Island.  From what I have read about him, he was very well liked and respected.  Here is a quote from him, "All that I would do, I cannot-that is, all that I could say in art-simply from lack of training, but with God's help, I hope to deliver the message he entrusted to me".  Of course, you know that Edward M. Bannister would have had to overcome great obstacles to become a well known artist!

I only just learned of this artist from watching an episode of  Antique Road Show where a lady had inherited one of his paintings and she had no idea of its worth. She said that she came very close to throwing it out! (Why do people want to throw away art? I just can't understand it.) Still, I am thankful that she didn't throw it away and she brought it to the Antique Road Show and I was able to learn of Edward Mitchell Bannister.  I would give you a link to read more about him but I can't figure out this new blogger thing, so you guys are on your own! 

Once again, I can just SEE a film about this artist!  If they ever do make one, I will let you know!

A Celebration of Spring!  (Better late than never!) Wishing you guys a lovely summer!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

How Deep Is Your Love?

                                                Woodland sunflowers, wildflowers blooming in our backyard!

In the long ago days of February of this year (before we had the lock down and everything changed!) Richard and I visited our son.  He surprised us with playing on the guitar and singing to us. We were delighted. He told us that the song was a bit tricky to play with complex chords, so I think he was glad to finally perfect it.  (Christopher is very polite and he wouldn't say it was perfect but you know it certainly was, right?)

The song, as you can see from my post title, was "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees.  It was one of the huge hits from 1977 from the Bee Gees! Barry Gibb, the last remaining Bee Gee has stated that it is his favorite Bee Gees song. 

Sir Barry Alan Crompton Gibb is his proper name. "Crompton" is after a very interesting ancestor. Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule in 1779.  He actually earned money from playing the violin at the Bolton Theatre in Bolton, Lancashire. (And when I say money, it was just for pennies a show!)
 All of his earnings were put towards his invention. The spinning mule was called that since it was a hybird of a spinning jenny and a water board,which pulled the thread through the spindle much faster.  I can't say I quite understand all the science behind the production of the muslin from this time but I can tell you that by 1812,  4 MILLION of Crompton's spinning mules were in use ! 

In 1779, the spinning mules were humming along.  In 1977, we were humming the tunes from the Bee Gees!  (Yes, I said it!)

Good news! I have read that the same producer who did the film "Bohemian Rhapsody" is planning on a film on The Bee Gees! I hope that comes about really soon!
The Bee Gees wrote their own songs, were wonderful singers and musicians!

Oh! Just one more thing I want to tell you...when Barry Gibb moved to South Florida, there were several bridges one had to cross to get to his home.  One of them, had concrete strips  and as the car would drive over it made a sound like..."clackety clack...clackety clack....clackety clack.  There, can you hear that in your mind? Now, when Barry Gibb heard that...he turned that into "Jive Talking"! (And by the way, if you ever need to do CPR, do so by the beat of "Stayin' Alive"!)  Songwriting! I never tire of learning of how songs come about.

 I am thrilled that my son is just as interested in stories behind songs. AND that he has good taste in music, like his parents!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Dike or Dam, Don't Spring A Leak

View from the new dam at Alexander Lake, Panola Mountain State Park.

Anybody remember the story of the little Dutch boy who saved his town by sticking his finger in a hole in the dike?  Are children even told stories anymore? I looked this was written by an American author, Mary Mapes Dodge and was published in 1865. The book was (and still is) "Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates: A Story of Life In Holland".  Now from what I have read of Mary Mapes Dodge, she wrote this book without ever having visited the Netherlands but she was intrigued with the country and tried to learn all she could about it. I found Mary Mapes Dodge to be a very interesting woman. Fascinating really! You may read more about her here! She read some stories about animals from Rudyard Kipling and liked them and suggested that he turn it into a book. The result was "The Jungle Book"! (Wait, you are thinking but Rudyard Kipling was from England! Yes, that is true but he married an American and for a brief time, he and his family lived in America.  I have visited Rudyard Kipling's house in England, Bateman's in Burwash. It is well worth visiting!)

Is it possible that someone could save a town if a leak is spotted in a dam? Not very likely with a finger but how about a boat? This really happened in the 1950's in the Netherlands.  You can read about it here.    1796 people lost their lives due to flooding on Feb. 1, 1953.  That number would have been much higher if not for the Skipper who positioned his boat in the dike. And yes, if you know of any work of fiction you should always look and see if there is a true story that you can connect with it. You know I always do!

There, I really had another post in mind for you...but that will have to wait for another time!  (When I do that post you will see why I thought of the little Dutch boy.)

Hope you are all doing well, my friends. As for myself, I just don't know why I am so busy all the time.  Does time change as you get older and you just don't have enough of it? Why doesn't anyone tell you these things? 

Here is a photo of three people (or are they boxes?) walking across the dam at Alexander Lakes. You can see how wide the dam is now! This took two years for this to be completed! Guess you can see why, they cut most of the trees down near it and it is huge! Oh well, it should hold anyway!

Oh no, I just tried to insert a video and nothing comes up! Y'all know how many times I put songs on YouTube on my posts. I will go into mourning if I am not able to share songs! Anybody have this problem? Let me know what to do! Thanks!

Monday, June 1, 2020

Now The Green Blade Riseth

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid him, love whom men had slain,
Thinking that never he would wake again.
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green,

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain.
Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.