A few midsummer discoveries:
1. Brunch is the perfect hospitality meal with this amazing baked Blintz with blueberry sauce from Ina Garten, this quiche, caramelized bacon (Oh My Word!) and a whatever-you-have-on-hand fruit salad. The secret to why this functions so well for entertaining? Make ahead recipes. Oh, and who doesn’t love a cold champagne glass of mimosa on a hot day? The perfect menu for cooking up new friendships.
2. Richard Foster’s book: Sanctuary of the Soul. Practical. Engaging. He invites us to the well, to dip our hands into the cool wet Word, and then teaches us how to be still enough to drink God’s Presence. I love writers who have LIVED their wisdom, been tested, tried and humbled by the Giver. Foster is such a one.
Another reason why I love Foster? Listening to Foster is like walking into a room of the great cloud of witnesses gathered around a table. He pulls thousands of years of the wise into one place to encourage our distracted 21st century minds and then train them back onto Jesus. Here is one such quote, this time from William Penn: Therefore brethren, let us be careful neither to run out ahead of our Guide, nor loiter behind him; since he that makes haste may miss his way, and he that stays behind may lose his Guide.
3. Robert Siegel, poet. This interview. This poetry. Such rich gifts. What am I savoring? This piece of advice to writers:
Be concrete in your writing, prose or poetry. Appeal to the five senses. This is something we can continue to learn all our lives. As Pound said, “Go in fear of abstractions.” Good writing relies on strong verbs and nouns. Don’t over-adjective and be especially cautious with adverbs.
This poem: (An excerpt from Annunciation)
She didn’t notice at first the air had changed.
She didn’t, because she had no expectation
Except the moment and what she was doing, absorbed
In it without the slightest reservation.
Things grew brighter, more distinct, themselves,
In a way beyond explaining. This was her home,
Yet somehow things grew more homelike.
But honestly, it was this simple paragraph about one of his professors at Wheaton which has me gasping at a life that was continually birthing others:
“A third teacher I must mention is Professor Clyde Kilby at Wheaton, the man who founded the Wade Collection of the Inklings: C.S.Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, Owen Barfield and others. Besides his enthusiasm for literature—especially the Romantic poets and the Inklings—he conveyed a greatness of soul. Literature was very much involved with life and his living faith and his love for students. You could drop into his office any afternoon—or his home on campus—and he would make you feel as if to him you were the most important person in the world at that moment . His wife Martha did the same; they entertained students in their home all the time. I can still hear his infectious laugh, as he told us how his grandmother used to sneak out of her bedroom onto the porch roof to read Byron, as her father had refused to have Byron’s poems under his roof. He was a lovely man, a man radiant with love.”
LeAnn Payne’s writing and giftings were also birthed in relationship to Kilby and his wife at Wheaton and ahhh, what legacy this man continues to have, radiant with love and door-open hospitality.