Simply Shaker

{A Weekend Getaway – Part 1 of 2.  Part 2 here.}  

[I know, I know.  I said that I’d post once a week during the summer… but this adventure was two parts.  My blog, my rules to break at will.]

This past weekend we got together with some friends and we went to Lexington KY for the weekend.  On Saturday we drove about 25 miles from Lexington to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.  Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is a living history museum with 14 buildings nestled in the hills of Kentucky.  It is the largest restored Shaker community in America.

Above is a stone building with wood floors built by the Shakers.  When built in the [early?] middle 1800s, it was a wonder to behold because at that time many people lived in log cabins with dirt floors.  The fact that this building is still standing today is equally amazing to me.

This is the dormitory where the Shakers lived.  At the height of their popularity the Shakers, who were celibate, numbered around 500 people.  Notice that there are two front doors on this building.  The left door was for the women & the right door was for the men.

I loved this well-maintained, yet slightly off-kilter, shed.  The white fences and the stone fence you see here were everywhere on the Shaker property– as well as all around Lexington KY.

Inside the barn we saw this snoozing lamb whose mother [upper right corner] gave me her version of the evil eye as I snapped this photo.  In all honesty, sheep don’t do evil very well;  they are just way too cute for that sort of thing.

I like goats so when these two guys decided to try to eat a leather tab on my cross-body bag I let them do it… for a short while.  This is the look they gave me when I stepped back from the fence taking my handbag with me.  Not pleased were they.

This guy, one of two oxen, was a goof.  He loved having his photo taken and followed me along his fence pausing so I could get a good shot of him.  Such a cooperative fellow!

Here is a view of the land surrounding Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill.  It was spectacular to see.  We enjoyed craft demonstrations in many of the restored buildings, then stepped outside each building to see a serene view such as this one.

Naturally there was gift shop at this museum.  Many of the items for sale were either made/grown on the property.  Also, it was possible to special order some pieces of furniture.  We didn’t buy a thing, but enjoyed the inside of this shop which was beautifully merchandised.

While on the outside of the shop on a window ledge this little guy– blissfully unaware of anyone or anything except his own comfort– cleaned his toes .  ‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free… 

Watch This If You’re Running Low On Spunk

About a month ago I saw this video over at Cheri’s blog, Naples Girl Blog.  I watched it, loved it, decided that I should watch it frequently– and then promptly forgot to do so.  *duh*

However, last night as I was sitting down to watch TV, I remembered that I wanted to see this video again.  So I did– many times, actually.  And here’s what I thought:

  • isn’t it wonderful to hear someone say encouraging things to me as if I mattered to her?
  • when did this sort of positive & practical attitude become so passé that a video like this one seems fresh & new?
  • why, exactly, don’t I watch this video every day?

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A Credo for Making it Happen by Danielle LaPorte

1)  you’ll figure it out.

2)  life is on your side.

3)  start fresh.

4)  fear is natural.

5)  make tough choices.

6)  passion is fuel.

7)  come out.

8)  do it now.

9)  you’re growing.

10)  integrity.

11)  focus.

Horsing Around

Yesterday the weather was so pretty that I stopped at a nearby stable to take a few photos of the horses that board there.

There were a few horses in the pastures.

My favorite horse was this one.  She was a goof.

After trotting around the pasture to make sure that everyone saw her, she dropped down to the ground and did a shimmy & a roll.

And then, just for good measure, she did it again rolling in the other direction.

Meanwhile, in an adjacent pasture, an older horse looked on with what only may be described as “church lady” contempt.  In fact, she snorted a few times, clearly unimpressed with little miss shimmy.

And there I stood, camera in hand, snapping photos and laughing at the show.  I mean, who knew that horsing around was something that literally happened?  Not me, that’s for sure.  But now I do– and I’ve got the photos to prove it!

Of Kayaks And Sunsets

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Four weeks ago we were in Naples, Florida.

We went to my favorite access point onto the public beach to watch the sunset.

Very few people were on the beach, which was a shame because the sunset was beautiful that night.

Not so much colorful, as dramatic.

Astonishing in its intensity.

As we watched the sun setting we noticed one person kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico.

The kayaker, who was only a tiny speck compared to the ocean, added perspective to the scene.

Peaceful.  Balanced.  Confident.

Moving forward with ease.

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Happy Leap Day Everyone 🙂

When A Presbyterian Decorates Her Coffee Table

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Two weekends ago after we put away our holiday decorations the coffee table in the living room was looking a bit puny— despite the fact that I keep a crystal bowl filled with jingle bells on this table all year round.  [The jingle bells are from my childhood.  Remind me sometime to tell you the story of how they came to mean so much to me.]  Clearly the table needed something more on it, but I was all out of ideas.

Then a few days ago while I was shopping at the grocery store I saw a small houseplant of ivy for sale.  It looked very healthy so I bought it, brought it home and transplanted it into the first pot that I found in the garage.  However, once I got the pot inside the house I realized that it was too small for this table and that it needed some height.  So I pulled some gardening books from the adjacent bookshelves and placed the potted ivy on top of the books.

Still I wanted something more on the table, so I took the plain vanilla candle that had been in the screened-in porch all summer/fall, brought it inside and put it on the table.  Suddenly, I had a pretty look for the coffee table.  Very coordinated & cheerful.

Or so I thought at first….

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It wasn’t until the next day when I lighted the candle and sat down in the living room to read a book that it dawned on me that I’d set up a tableau that amounted to the Roman Catholic Church’s time-honored excommunication ceremony.

“The bell represented the public character of the act, the book the authority of the words spoken by the presiding bishop.  The candle was believed to symbolize the possibility that the ban might be lifted by the repentance and amendment of its victim.  The ceremony was performed in some conspicuous place….”

~ Encyclopedia Britannica

After I stopped laughing at myself I got worried that maybe I’d really offended Someone– or some System– or some Being.  You know how I like to live a harmonious life.  So I did a bit of research about how one gets himself or herself excommunicated, and discovered to my relief that:

“The purpose of excommunication isn’t to allow you to quit or make a political statement or pursue some other private agenda. It’s to allow the church to throw you out. If you’re already out — that is, if you don’t partake of the sacraments or otherwise participate in Catholic activities… — excommunication is likely to strike church authorities as a waste of good holy water.”

~ Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope

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Finding out that I couldn’t excommunicate myself while decorating a coffee table has set my mind to rest about this situation.  Also, considering that I’m not Catholic I figure that the authorities won’t want to waste holy water on me either.

Of course, I have to admit that upon closer self-examination during this situation, I’ve come to realize that as a [lapsed] Presbyterian I really need not worry about how I’ve inadvertently offended the Roman Catholic Church, as much as the fact that I rarely go to church.  Which I suspect is going to reflect more poorly on my character when I reach the Pearly Gates– than my accidental excommunication-themed decorating tableau.  🙂

This Year I’m Going To…

I find that I’m constitutionally incapable of making life altering, deeply personal resolutions when the weather is cold outside and the trees are bare.  I need to leave the specifics of resolutions for the summer months when my mind has a more can do attitude.  In my worldview, warm weather is for thriving and taking on new goals;  cold weather is for surviving and maintaining the status quo.

So instead of resolving at the beginning of each year, I’ve taken to picking one word as my guiding principle for the upcoming year.  I never over think the word that I pick.  I just ask myself a question such as: what do I need to do differently this year to feel more alive?  Then I let my new word float into my mind.  In its own good time.  Very Zen.

And what word finally floated into my addled brain about one week after it should have arrived?  Glad that you asked.  This year my one word is:  NURTURE.