Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Gift of a Letter

I have had the great good fortune in life to have had personal contact with notable people I admire. While I imagine that many people who are raised up on pedestal can possibly be found disappointing, happily for me, that has not been the case.

I have long admired the prolific writer, Alexandra Stoddard.  For those of us who enjoy creating a beautiful home, her writing is truly inspirational.

One of  Alexandra's books is entitled "The Gift of a Letter."  She doesn't use the computer, but writes her manuscripts using beautiful, French-made paper, gorgeous colored ink, and a fountain pen. Her hand-written letters show the same panache, as you can see above, written to me on China blue stationary with a silver ink.

Yes, Alexandra Stoddard sent ME the gift of a letter after I penned a condolence note regarding the death of her beloved husband, the attorney and author Peter Megargee Brown.  Alexandra has been so brave and open about how she is coping with his earthly loss that I felt compelled to write

Years ago, I read about her first New York City apartment in which she had window boxes on the inside.  Twenty-five years after reading about those "inside window boxes," I made one of my own from my Papa's wooden tool box, which had once belonged to my Pop, his father-in-law.

Alexandra's window boxes had geraniums in them, but I don't have enough light at the back of my kitchen for flowers.

I feel blessed indeed that every time I have reached out to someone I have admired, each of them has turned out to be as wonderful as I thought they were.

Alexandra posts a monthly newsletter on her website on the first of each month. An assistant posts for her from her handwritten draft.  Alexandra's newest missive should be up tomorrow or so.  Each one is wonderful.  I hope you enjoy it.

Alexandra Stoddard

Sunday, June 28, 2015

HOH- PAAAAH!!!!!!!!

I’m passionate about the movies.  

Favorites include Moonstruck, The Hunt for Red October,L.A. Confidential, Fried Green Tomatoes and a lot of film noir.  

Film noir movies always include a dame, a hard-boiled detective or other cynical male lead, with a stylish mystery.  To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Casablanca, Key Largo, and all those movies from the 40's and the 50s with Robert Mitchum and his sleepy eyes are film noir.

Here’s a peak at a film noir favorite with some of the classiest movie dialog ever written.  It ought to be fabulous, William Faulkner wrote it.

The Big Sleep Bogey and Bacall

One of my favorite movies of ALL TIME is My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Not only my favorite, but the top grossing romantic comedy ever produced.  Which is lovely for Nia Vardalos, the Greek star who wrote the screenplay and earned an Oscar nomination the first time out.  

Nia recently tweeted that MBFGW2 is in production.  Every one of the original cast members Lanie Kazan, Michael Constantine (Principal Kaufman from Room 222), John Corbett, and Joey Fattone have signed on for the sequel along with newcomer John Stamos (Uncle Jesse from Full House).  Nia took the pic above while filming.  John Corbett is looking pretty good at 52.

Years ago, my niece, Piper, quipped that any sequel should be called, My Big Fat Greek Wife.  I think she was 11 at the time.  I don't think they're calling it that.

BTW, the title word up there is Greek for Hooray!

Friday, June 26, 2015

And Now, Some Good News - Amazing Grace

Yesterday, we all woke up to the news of horrific terrorist deaths overseas.  I will not name the group, because its name has been glorified (in a sense) far too much.  God is in control.  As Joni Eareckson Tada says, “He allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.”

God is not surprised by this terrorist group.  God knew what would happen.  In fact, He foretold what would happen in Genesis.

How can I discuss Good News?  I can because Good News is all around us, if only we can stop grumbling and complaining enough to recognize it.

When I read the New York Daily News on line this morning, imagine what I found - an  advertisement for Amazing Grace on Broadway.  “The song the world knows, the story it doesn’t,” is the slogan for the show.  

When God wrote in Matthew 24:14 that the Word would be preached to the ends of the earth, he already had Broadway, the Internet, rapid transit, airplanes, and satellites in mind.

Have all the folks who say that Hollywood is all about unrighteousness noticed some of the fabulous television programming and movies being made these days about the Bible and the existence of God? 

Last Sunday, we were leaving Farm Fresh with our groceries in the cart.  Four young men in hip hop gear swarmed in the Out Door without realizing it.  When they saw we were coming out, they slowed down.  One of them looked Bruce straight in the eye, “Excuse us. Happy Father’s Day, Sir.”   How kind, how refreshing! Bruce and I don’t have children, but he has mentored enough young people to have earned the term “father.”

As I’m out and about for work, I listen to XM radio (which I pay for, not the state) to uplift me while I work in a dark profession.  This week I was so cheered to hear a newscaster being interviewed about her new book and her faith in God.  You GO Gretchen Carlson.

The City is replacing the sewer infrastructure in my neighborhood.  Most of the work is right in front of my house.  It has been terribly hot outside and the constant rumbling and beep beep beep of bulldozers has been a challenge. 

I was out mowing the lawn in the heat not long ago when I noticed that one of the big, heavy pipes was on a strip of the lawn I needed to mow next  The land is city property, but I am responsible to mow it.  I momentarily started getting grumbly and then checked myself.
The work has to be done. Maintaining a good attitude is the key.  I mowed the strip I could access.  As the bulldozer operator saw me coming, he “beeped beeped beeped” over, picked up the pipe and gently placed it back in an area which I had already mowed.  There is still good in this world.  I sent an email to the City praising how kind this work crew has been.

I stopped writing this entry because I had to get to work.  God’s biggest Good News surprise for today was yet to come.

Evil thought that it had won in South Carolina when a man was welcomed, a stranger of a different color, to a Bible study. He sat among these kind, prayerful folks listening for an hour and then killed 9.

My day started with Amazing Grace on Broadway.  My work week came to a close with Amazing Grace from my President as he provided the eulogy for Pastor Clementa Pinckney, one of the 9 lost last week.

I didn’t vote for Mr. Obama either time.  However, I know that God calls us to respect and obey those in authority.  We are called to pray for our leaders, whether we voted for or opposed them.  We are NOT called to write hateful things about Mr. Obama or his wife or his children and circulate them on Facebook. 

Hey Rush Limbaugh, we are not called to ridicule America’s First Lady by referring to her as ugly.  I think she is elegant and attractive, calling attention to many American clothes designers. She has a young, refreshing look.  I love how she puts a wide belt over a sweater. I guess when you can’t argue with someone effectively, you call them names.

Christians are also not called to forward on-line posters and quips which degrade the President or his family.  Remember what Thumper’s mother said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Today I saw President Obama preach the gift of God’s grace in church. He gave a salvation message. Yep, Barack Hussein Obama did that. And I love him for it.

He’s been called Godless by the right, which I am a member of, by the way.  I hope it is pretty clear after today that he is not Muslim (eye roll) or Godless. And come to think of it, how paranoid do you have to be to believe that our President was not born in America? I guess you have to believe that the Honolulu Advertiser falsely publicized his birth announcement over 50 years ago in case he might decide to run for office some day.

Evil used a confused and, most likely, mentally ill young man to destroy.  God ultimately won when all of the victims’ families extended grace and forgiveness in court. God got the glory when a U.S. President preached his faith in God’s grace to sustain us and heal us. God won when our President talked about the grace that saved him.  Amazing Grace, indeed.

President Obama Eulogizes the Rev. Clementa Pinckney