Monday, January 12, 2015

I'm Still Going to School


When another amaryllis lover, Jemma of At Home with Jemma, wrote and asked me to write a guest post as part of her Living with Passion series, telling how I live my life with passion and how it affects my life, I started to run scared.

What grand results do I have from living my life with passion?

Where are the published books that are living proof of my passion for writing? When am I going to wipe the dust off the manuscript I put aside for the holidays, two months ago? The book I've been writing about three families, following them from 1840 to the early 1950s. I'm only at 1911 now. Or the completed manuscript that lies in a chair, in my line of vision right now, that had been undergoing its seventh revision?



What interferes with this grand passion? 

Life does, my friends, everyday life. Because it does go on, a miracle I don't often enough get down on my knees and give thanks for, and not just because it hurts my arthritis too much.

Everyday Life. What would I set aside? My family, my dogs, Judging Amy while I eat lunch?



Laundry, cooking, bill paying, housework?

Not blogging, certainly. I tried that once and lost something I looked forward to.

I just finished rereading, for about the 10th time in as many years, my very favorite novel, bar none, of all time, Rumer Godden's China Court. If you love books in which the main protagonist is a house, a wonderful, quirky, house with a heartbeat, then this is the book for you.

In the book, an exasperated aunt says of her niece Tracey who has inherited China Court instead of her and insists on living in the old ark of a house, not selling it as her aunts wanted to:


"'The child is obsessed with living, daily living,
that's all you can call it,' said Bella,
more than ever incensed."

Tracey herself admits:
"'I like living,' she said.
'Cooking and doing the flowers
and having animals.'"

Maybe for me, now in my seventh decade of life, I've become more like Tracey and her grandmother, Mrs. Quinn. Absolutely, writing is my passion, but so are my family, my dogs, my house.


Cooking, decorating, blogging.

          Nature, Nutella, and Inspector Armand Gamache.

                    James Beard, Vincent Price, Downton Abbey.



I want it all!

Each of them, at different times of my day is my grand passion.

I wrote Jemma that I was going to post about a local celebrity, a woman in her late 80s, about how she inspires me to live my life with passion. And I am going to do that in a post soon.

But not today.

Sure, I want to get those characters in my manuscript past 1911, but I also want to become an inspired cook, tweak my rooms until I no longer have the health to do it, be as excited about a new season of Downton Abbey as a child waiting for Santa, learn how to appreciate art half as much as Vincent Price did.

That's exactly why I loved the post Jemma wrote called "Aging with Style." Please read her post  at http://athomewithjemma.blogspot.com/2015/01/aging-with-style.html.

Jemma, I'm excited about learning what you and other guest writers have to say about Living with Passion and Purpose in this series. Because honey, I'm still going to school, still wanting to learn, more now than when I graduated from school all those years ago.


No words of wisdom here, Jemma, just another person wanting to be brave enough, wise enough, hardworking enough to live her life with passion.

And that octogenarian I started to post about, that I spent two days trying to make her fit this post? She says:


"To enjoy life, you have to have passion for it,
and then it isn't work."


Isn't she beautiful! Oh, yeah, I've got to tell you about her soon!

Meanwhile, I invite you to visit Jemma, again HERE, as I will be doing, to learn more about "The Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project." 



34 comments:

  1. Dewena,
    I am savouring every single morsel of this post as if it were my last meal. You have shared with us the very essence of living a life with a passion and the mindset necessary to actually notice and appreciate what it is.
    Clarifying the details with your ease of writing and the actual work it does involve.
    Beautiful quotes, examples of other individuals living a life well loved with passion and the beauty of living this life with this choice makes a woman glow well into her 80's! Passion, passion, I just can't get enough of it.
    Thank you for sharing the many passions of Dewena's beautiful life!
    Sending Grateful Hugs To You~
    Jemma

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    1. Oh, Jemma, grateful hugs to you, also! What a wonderful community blogging is when we can encourage each other to live life more fully. Which is exactly why I started reading blogs a few years ago before I even knew how to comment. I would read House of Edward and get up and be inspired to make my home nicer for my own Edward, who at the time was an aging dachshund named Penelope. I would read Mod-Vintage Life and suddenly look at my house with an eye to making it fresher, more my style--which I did not know what it was at the time. And I read Cozy Little House and pulled for Brenda who at the time was going through the agony of losing her home in a difficult divorce.

      These were the three blogs I began with and learned that I cared about them. (And Nita of Mod-Vintage Life was the one who told me to go to pet finder.com when we lost Penelope and didn't think we could go through the pain again. She fell in love with the pictures of Otis & Milo just as much as I did and it only took 4 months for us to convince R.H. that they needed us. Now they're snuggling together at my feet in their nest.)

      And Brenda is the one who totally set up my first blog for me!

      I love this new series you've begun and hope that it goes beyond a few posts and stretches throughout 2015 with all of us cheering each other on.

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  2. Dewena,

    You are absolutely delightful and I loved your post about living with passion! There were so many place in your post that I nodded in agreement, along with you. Life happens! It happens to all of us...and as long as we have breath within us, we need to continue living life with passion!

    ~Blessings,
    Jan ♥

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    1. Thank you, Jan! I'm so happy to be taking this path with you, under Jemma's invitation, to encourage each other with stories of our own lives.

      2015 will be filled with more possibilities, won't it? They're right there waiting for us to discover!

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  3. Oh my goodness, I am hooked on this project and now on Deweena. Love your outlook and vision. Your passion for what's important to you. I must put you on my blog list. See you again soon.

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  4. So nice to meet you, Latane! I just visited your delightful blog, and added you to my blogroll. I enjoyed reading your first page and will have to visit your book blog next trip!

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  5. Hi Dewena,
    I am also participating in The Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project so I was anxious to read your post. Sometimes I feel as though I am running short on "grand results" too but if I take the time to step back, I do see the results. (and occasionally they are even numerous enough to count, LOL!) Reading your post was inspiring and I can see your love of life and that you are living it with passion. I think it's wonderful to be passionate about so many things! Enjoy! Thank you for sharing!
    Linda
    mysewwhatblog

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    1. Hello Linda, so nice to meet you! I'll look forward to reading your post about this project and getting to know you.

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  6. Hello Dewena,
    I enjoyed reading about all the ways you express your passion. Jemma is such a gem (like her name), and it's so nice of her to bring us all together once again. I remember you from the Christmas link party. I loved the school picture of you, what a beauty!

    It's good to see you again, and I hope the new year brings you peace and joy.

    ~Sheri

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    1. Hello Sheri, yes she is a gem, a beautiful one! I hope you and your beautiful daughters have a wonderful 2015 also!

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  7. A very lovely post, Dewena and I just wanted to pick up that cuddly baby :) What a sweet snuggly photo that one is! :)

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    1. Thank you Deb, and that baby is Defee and Wallace's youngest. That pose is so typical of how she loves to sleep, on top of her mom and dad. I could just squeeze her!

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  8. You may not have tackled your manuscript or book lately precisely because you have been too busy practicing what you preach - passion - about all the wonderful things in your life, including the chores and the errands. Instead, today, you have managed to provide us with one of the most captivating definitions of the word I have ever read, and I am mesmerized!

    Passion is personal, isn't it? Your Vincent Price, my Billy Collins, your Downton Abbey, my Gilmore Girls, your Nutella, MY Nutella; who ISN'T nuts about Nutella?! This last question makes me appreciate the fact that when a particular passion for something is shared, things become even more exciting. Case in point: blogging - look at how our lives have been so enriched by all the friends we've made, places we've 'been', and things we've learned!

    It is because you ARE in the seventh decade of your life, having acquired so much fascinating wisdom, that you are able to realize that, you are still that beautiful schoolgirl, with that charming smile, whose thirst for knowledge, has never ceased! So, keep tweaking those lovely rooms and cooking up those scrumptious meals and listening to your grands little voices and blogging and, of course, revisiting those three fictional families, who are so lucky to have you guide them through their own passions.

    Love to you!
    xoxo
    Poppy

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    1. As many things as we have found in common these last few years, Poppy, I never realized that Gilmore Girls was one of them until now. I have all 7 seasons and am a Gilmore Girls top fan! Does Liberty like them too? I think it's about time I started over with Season One to keep me company through these winter months of going through Christmas movie withdrawal symptoms.

      And I know I must become acquainted with your Billy Collins.

      R.H. read your comment and grinned at me when he read about the "scrumptious meals" I'm supposed to have been cooking because these weeks since Christmas of packing decor away and fighting off a bad sinus problem have meant that many of our suppers have been soups, homemade soups most nights but even Progresso some nights. I'm hoping to get back in the groove with cooking soon.

      Love to you, Poppy!
      Dewena

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  9. the picture of you
    the words
    the passion
    the sheer ability to make me feel such a swell of kindred emotion through this entire post.
    oh my.
    dsm.
    i am blown away.
    and you are and were so incredibly beautiful. xo♥

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    1. Of course we have kindred emotions, Tammy, we are sisters! (We decided long ago, dear readers, that we were meant to be sisters and so we just adopted each other!)

      Thank you so much, Tam, for always encouraging me!

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  10. The grand gestures of life, while important, don't define our lives. What does is appreciating life's small moments, which really aren't small at all. They in fact are what make up our lives, and when we come to know and appreciate that, passion comes more easily. To take pleasure in the small moments...gardening, cooking, reading, or just watching in awe at a beautiful, curled up sleeping baby, is a gift. It's a gift I believe bloggers, more than most, possess, and why we so often feel a kinship to one another.

    Beautifully written post Dewena.

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    1. Absolutely, Doreen, that's the wonderful thing about blogging, you begin to realize that there are so many wonderful women across the world who care about the same things, many of them wrapped up in family, but all of them wrapped up simply in Life.

      I pulled out Sarah Ban Breathnact's Romancing the Ordinary to read again in January, and the comment you wrote above puts her January thoughts into a nutshell. I am determined once again to focus on the small moments in my life!

      Thank you, Doreen.

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  11. How nice to meet you, Dewena!! Reading your post helped me to believe that I can write a post about passion in a time when my life has little room for the sort of living that the word 'passion' conjures up. I am going to have to be your newest follower!

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    1. Thank you so much and I've just returned from visiting Pondside where I was happy to become your newest follower also. I will look forward to your guest post for Jemma's project. I know that whatever your have to tell us about your life will be an inspiration to me.

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  12. This was absolutely WONDERFUL! I love every single word. I'm going to look into China Court. As I read about it, I wondered if you've ever read Elizabeth Cadell's My Dear Aunt Flora. Same kind of feeling about it.

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    1. Thank you, Nan! That means so much to me. I've never heard of Elizabeth Cadell but I just looked up My Dear Aunt Flora and the cheapest copy was $50! Next cheapest was $350! Wow! Looks like I'll have to see what the library can do for me.

      I hope you like China Court.

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  13. Oh my gosh, Dewena, I just read that you are a Gilmores Girl fan. I watch the reruns every day! I think I like the town people sometimes more than the actual main characters.....Sookie, Luke, Miss Patty, and isn't Kirk so funny? Where did you ever find the collection of the seven seasons? I don't think a day goes by (except weekends) that I don't chuckle about something that happened on Gilmore GIrls. So glad to know that you watch it too. :~)

    Have a fun weekend.

    ~Sheri

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    1. Yay! That's you and Poppy and me, and probably lots more Gilmore Girls fans. Isn't the writing excellent? Now I have to admit that I always thought I could do without Kirk--but I know he adds another layer of quirkiness. And the town, I could move to Stars Hollow!

      Amazon has all 7 seasons. I have to control myself and only allow myself 2 episodes at a time.

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  14. Will you be posting now on this blog, Dewena's Window? I didn't realize you started posting again. I absolutely love the Header. :~) Oh, and I like the fog too....very mysterious and pretty. I just don't like driving in it too much. It's like driving into nowhere haha.

    ~Sheri

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    1. I know it has to be confusing, Sheri, to those who used to know me as Across the Way. I tried not blogging for a month, missed it so much, then for 11 months posted here at the new blog without turning on comments. Decided I was grown up enough then to turn on comments and still limit time spent online so only recently got back into the real community of blogging. I'm so glad you like the header!

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  15. Hello Dewena,
    I came over from Pondside's blog this morning. Your post resonates in so many ways with my life. How can I incorporate all of what I love, sewing, cooking, writing, Downton Abbey, gardening, hiking, etc, into my life and do anything well? Do I have to choose to leave something behind? I won't. Yet I, too, have a writing project that has been neglected for several months.

    I'm looking forward to more conversations here. Oh, and I'm a Gilmore Girls fan, too. Love Stars Hollow. We visited Camas, Washington a few months ago and the town reminded me so much of Stars Hollow, with tree-lined streets and twinkly lights. I looked for Luke but he wasn't around.

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    1. No Luke around, Lorrie? What a shame, he was my favorite. How could Lorelei have been so blind? The show ended perfectly though. Did you see it?

      I'm trying now to put into practice sitting down to work on my manuscripts every day, even if it's only for 15 minutes. Surely we have time for that, don't we?

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  16. I too have an unfinished manuscript lying untouched! Well, untouched lately. I have always had a passion for writing, and yet a passion for so much more that life has to offer. This blog post truly spoke to me!

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    1. So nice to meet you, Marie! We have to keep writing on our manuscripts, don't we? Along with the other passions in our life. Thank you for visiting and I just visited yours and enjoyed it so much!

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  17. Deweena, I am so happy that Pondside left a bread crumb trail to find your blog. Your words... the spirit behind those words... is so inspiring. You can bet I'll be back for another dose. Thank you. blessings ~ tanna

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    1. Thank you, Tanna, that's so nice of you. I've been so happy to meet Pondside's Honora through Jemma, and some other wonderful women. Such a nice result of the blogging community!

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  18. I'm visiting from Pondside, and before I had even finished your post I ordered China Court used from Amazon. Sounds exactly like my kind of book. Thank you! I, too, have an unfinished manuscript that I've picked up again. I've given myself permission to write it even if it never gets published. I think I've bought into a lie that unless I become a famous author it doesn't "count." No, no, no!!
    I loved reading this, and am your newest follower.

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    1. Hello Deborah, please let me know how you like China Court! And do keep at that manuscript! I'm trying to remember that first it has to be written, then I'll think about ways to get it published and today there are many ways to do that.

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