Thursday, October 9, 2014
Yesterday morning we saw a gorgeous lunar eclipse.
The kiddos and I awoke before 5am on Wednesday morning and headed down the road to an opening in the trees that lets us see two different ridge lines from one hilltop. We pulled over and there she was... the beautiful, shaded moon.... and the pre-dawn sky was so dark that the stars were shining down on us like spotlights from the heavens.
Sugar Creek, Louisiana is unlike the rest of the state. I was raised about an hour's drive away, in small-town Sarepta, and until I found this house in the woods I had no idea that there was a tiny region of my state that seems more mountain foothill than swampy bayou or pine-scented, flat-floored forest. And it was here, in the rolling hills of a region of our state that is practically unknown to the rest of the world, that my kids and I found ourselves sitting on a hilltop nestled between two ridge lines and grinning beneath the blood moon eclipse of 2014.
It's magical to see the shadow of our planet being cast upon our moon. Every time I have the privilege of seeing an eclipse I always feel like it's a blessing, and yesterday morning I had the distinct feeling that we were seeing something EXTRA special.
Miles turned to me mid-eclipse and asked what ancient people would have thought about when they happened upon an eclipse. Then he mentioned that he thought the Natives here had probably wondered if such a thing was a sign from God.
I grinned and gave my twelve-year old the surprise of his life by talking about the ancient Mayans and calendars so precise that make ours today look out-of-date. We spoke of Poverty Point, and of Serpent Mound, and the mathematically and astronomically genius civilization (the Mississippian Culture) that walked these very lands long ago. We talked about ancient Egypt (one of our favorite subjects) and other societies that loved the sky and had a thorough understanding of eclipses long before our european ancestors made their "discoveries." And it made me think....
Many people today are taught lessons in school, such as lunar cycles and other wonders of astronomy, and never really take the time to truly understand the material that they're studying. I've heard so many people talk of the blood eclipse as a sign that God is about to destroy mankind and usher in an apocalypse. Why do we STILL, after thousands and thousands of years, assume that such an act of nature is a WARNING? Maybe God just wants us to see the shadow of our planet every once in a while so that we may put our own existence into perspective.
The boys and I try to learn lessons from everything we go through in this life. And this morning I'm thinking about the shadows that have darkened my world and blocked me from the light of happier times. I've been through divorce. I've lost people that I loved to sudden, unexpected death. I've been cheated on, beaten, taken advantage of, and along the way I've made the conscious decision to LEARN from the experiences and grow as a person--and to never allow the personal eclipses that darken my little world to make me unable to see the sun when it appears again. You see, I believe that we learn our biggest lessons and grow our spirits the most during hard times. We don't always understand the shadowy things that happen in our lives, and if we're not careful it's easy to assume that shadows are "evil" or "eerie." But like the eclipse of the moon, a little knowledge goes a long way.
Is it not true that we learn the most valuable lessons from hard times? I am the person I have become because of the wonderful AND the terrible things that have happened to me. And I'm sure the same can be said about you.
I've noticed that most of us tend to focus on the shadows that fall across our lives and don't quite realize the true meaning behind it. If I didn't understand science, I wouldn't have been able to recognize the reasons for the eclipse yesterday morning. And if I didn't learn lessons from difficult times, I wouldn't be able to truly appreciate the good times.
Many ancient societies (and even modern ones, at that) saw eclipses as very foreboding. They believed them to be a warning that God was about to punish the earth. And though modern society hasn't fully learned to see eclipses as something profoundly beautiful, I am teaching my children to view the darkness as it sweeps across the surface of the moon and understand that we're seeing the shadow of something much bigger than us--we're seeing the shadow of our own home. And what a beautiful shadow it is.....
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
I am as tough as the square nails that we reclaim. I've been through a lot in life, and as a result I've learned to hold my shoulders up and work my tail off when things get tough. It keeps me sane, and it's the PERFECT character trait for a single Momma who is restoring a house with her young two sons.
But this morning something got through to me and I felt the tears rolling down my face. You see, yesterday the kiddos and I launched an Indigogo campaign to raise the funds we need to finish up this old house. And this morning we opened up our Indigogo page to find that someone had anonymously given $100 to our cause. With the way we are with money, to us $100 is the equivalent of at least $1,000 to most Americans. The kids and I stretch every cent so far that ole' Abe's eyes bulge before we spend it!!!!
Miles, Preston and I have been talking about staring an indigogo campaign for THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK for at least six months now, but we didn't because I was afraid that nobody would contribute a cent and that I would feel silly for bothering everyone. But then I started reading Alice Hoffman's THE DOVEKEEPERS and a single line in this wonderful novel made me change my mind. The main character points out that when you're quiet and you never ask for anything, that's exactly what you'll get. I knew, after reading Alice Hoffman's words, that I needed to get over my ridiculously egotistical pride and let everyone know that we NEED your help. We WANT you to be a part of the history of this house. And we are asking you to help because if we don't ask, you won't ever know that we need your assistance.
Below you'll find the link to our Indigogo campaign. If you're thinking about investing in our future B&B, please know that you don't have to pay until the end of the campaign. I'm serious when I say that EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY. HELPS. TREMENDOUSLY. The boys and I are working our bootays off, but we simply cannot building chimneys, install a septic system, or snap our fingers and have plants suddenly appear around the house that we're restoring every day.
Miles, Preston and I worked on our deck furniture until the sun got away from us last night. We literally used every single second of the setting sun to finish cutting angles because the two sides of the bench were not squared off properly.
Perfection is dang near IMPOSSIBLE when one works with reclaimed wood. But I'm learning to compensate for warped pre-civil war wood by celebrating the uniqueness of our work. NOBODY has another bench like this one. At eight feet long on one end and nearly twelve feet long on the other side, I smile with every nail that we set because I know there will be thousands of amazing conversations that happen on the bench that we're building. And the total cost on this project has been a whopping $30. (The price of a big box of nails.) We're using wood we reclaimed. We even got away with buying only $30 worth of nails because we even REUSED the square nails we salvaged before we bought any new ones to finish the project!
Think about it, y'all. If we can build nearly 20 feet of gorgeous seating, two decks and a dividing wall for $30, then imagine what we are gonna do with the $100 contribution we received on indigogo!
So to whoever you are, you amazing anonymous donor who gave us a big smile and lots of HOPE this morning, we THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOMS OF OUR HEARTS!
If you wanna contribute, visit our campaign athttp://igg.me/at/thehouseatsugarcreek/x/8797740.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
The word on my bathroom door haunts me. I STILL don't know for certain what it means, though I've tried (and had others try) to decipher it.
What does it mean?
So this morning, whilst suffering from the all-too-familiar eye twitch that accompanies the crazy word on my bathroom door, I found myself on the computer. I went straight to my handy online latin to english translator, which every good southern gal uses daily (yeah, right!), and gave the letters a whirl again. Only this time, something weird happened. I already KNOW for sure that trans means "to cross into." So I typed the letters "magnifican" and accidentally hit search in Google instead of the online translator, and look what popped up:
JAMES JOYCE in his book ULYSSES: "Is that then the divine substance wherein Father and Son are consubstantial? Where is poor dear Arius to try conclusions? Warring his life long upon the contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality."
Okay. So let me get this right.... James Joyce, in classic literary genius, penned a similar word in ULYSSES, his most famous book????
I did not expect this connection.
I proceeded, at said moment of discovering a possible connection between my bathroom door and JAMES JOYCE, to almost faint. With my mouth gaping open and my eyes bulging almost out of their sockets, I scrolled down through the article.
What came next more than upped the ante.
There it was, plain as day on the page. THE WORD on my bathroom door, in all of its ridiculously long glory. TRANSMAGNIFICANTUBANDANSIALITY. On the internet. So on a website that highlights the work of James Joyce, the LAST place I would have ever thought to look for the origins of my door, I learned some of the history behind the word that has vexed me so.
I STILL don't know what the heck it means. But I do know that TRANSMAGNIFICANTUBANDANSIALITY has just intrigued me yet again. And that, my friends, is freaking awesome.
Here's a link in case you wanna take a peek at the word origins: