Pursuing Life's Daring Adventure

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Moving to WordPress

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for reading and following my writing and photography here at my blog. I love hearing from you, whether on email or through comments. What a privilege to be able to connect!

a photo of Poppies, from my latest piece at www.jenniferlynking.com/blog.

Thank you for your support and encouragement, and for leaving comments and writing through www.jenniferlynking.com/contact. I love hearing from you!

Hopes for a Sun-filled Summer,


Monday, June 14, 2010

Blueprint for a Great Summer

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing,
and the lawn mower is broken."
-James Dent

Northern Michigan camping trip, my four boys

Few things excite me more than summer vacation. Especially a wide-open summer vacation with my boys.

Last summer (2009), summer became a crowded time for selling our house and cars, tending to one of our son's severely broken arm, and moving across the globe to Czech Republic. We still made time for swimming (though it became a series of hotel pools), and experienced many new countries and cultures along the way, but we missed the unstructured time so essential for Summer.

I love the James Dent quote, above, because of its truth ... Summer, if we don't actively guard the time to refresh, becomes an active time in entertaining ourselves, our kids, the neighbors' kids-- a merry-go-round of busyness. And soon, we slip our jackets on and step back into school-time rhythms, the summer is gone, but we haven't really had Summer.  Where does it go, so quickly?

A few years ago, I read Gordon MacDonald's excellent book entitled Ordering Your Private World. It grabbed me at the beginning chapter, defining his personal experience with achieving, ambition, and "the day he hit the wall." I think most of us in this busy world can relate to that, "hitting the wall." And we have to seek out finding a life-balance or risk a lifetime of hitting walls.

Gordon MacDonald's father gave him this excellent advice (p 96):

"Your challenge will not be in separating out the good from the bad,
but in grabbing the best out of all the possible good."

The norm of our era makes an art out of jam-packing our days and our lives, making it feel normal to compress our days into efficient square boxes of daily chaos. And so enters the concept of Summer.

How can we use this Summer to create a season of play, of refreshment, and of grabbing the best out of all the possible good?

In our house, we've been actively making a list on a wipe-board, accessible to see it, follow it, and at a height so that everyone in our family can make their contributions. We might call it our Blueprint for a Great Summer. It says, "What Do We Want to Do this Summer?" And below, a running list of the things we want to do--swimming, basketball, hiking, biking, reading, etc.--along with a few key places we want to go. Because if we don't mark it down and check it off as we go and act intentionally with our days, too soon they are gone.

"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

This summer, I'm looking forward to making time for the best of all possible good (family, quiet, travel, adventure, laughter), and to working more toward that balance in life that Ordering Your Private World describes. To days recharging while watching the grass grow ... to all things best ... to the broken mower ... and to Summer.

Starting the Conversation: What do you look forward to doing this summer? What does all things best mean to you?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Story of a Rose on Both Sides of the Ocean

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

About six years ago, anticipating a roadtrip vacation to Maine from our home in Cincinnati, I saved up many pennies and bought my first SLR camera. (For those who don't know SLR, it means Single Lens Reflex, which means what the photographer sees behind the lens is also the same image captured by the camera, with no delay. Or the big kind with detachable lenses...) This SLR was nothing fancy--actually I even bought at Target, but I squeaked by with enough money leftover to buy a decent macro lens to attach to it. I had always dreamed of a having camera to capture what I saw, and the trip to Maine was the perfect opportunity to give more serious photography a try.

The weather in Maine couldn't have been better the week we were there-- brilliant skies, azure sea pounding up against beaten rocks, whitewashed lighthouses sparkling in the sun. This photo of Portland Head Light is one of my first favorites.

Portland Head Light, Portland, Maine

One misty morning, I captured a photograph of the intensely fragrant Rugosa roses which thrive amongst the Seaside rocks.

Coastal Maine Rugosa Rose

Ever since that photograph and that trip, I have become captivated with photography and the ability to capture the world that I see, to share. And also, I became a fan of the resilient roses doused in heady fragrance, the Rugosas.

A Rugosa, just on the other side of our Prague fence

Since moving to Prague, Czech Republic, last summer, I noticed many unruly roses growing wild in the vacant land surrounding our home. And this week, I discovered just what those roses are: Rugosas. Even now as I type, windows and doors wide open (as the air-conditioner-less Europeans do) I can smell the lusty fragrance lingering on the breeze, from the Rugosas next door.

Czech Rugosa Rose

Though I also enjoy cultivated roses, the finicky delicate ones which unfurl in passionate spirals, I must admit to my hope to be like the Rugosas-- those who can bloom and thrive despite difficult growing conditions, on both sides of the Ocean ...

By the way ... my website has just emerged from a redesign and updating. I'd love to have you stop by, and would also love to hear what you think. http://www.jenniferlynking.com/  Thanks!

Starting the Conversation: What plant / flower do you appreciate for its durable disposition? Do you have a favorite "difficult to grow" flower?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fields of Gold

"As we walk in fields of gold ..."


Fields of gold dancing in the sun ...

Over the past month, vast fields of gold have stolen my heart. Especially as the sun peeks out from behind its billowing cloudy covers--when the golden sunlight illuminates golden fields, I am captivated.
By the movement.
By the stunning color and contrast, and resonant beauty. 
And every time I catch my breath, I hear Sting's moving song lyrics weaving through my head, from his song Fields of Gold.  

Fields of Gold

You'll remember me when the west wind moves

Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold
So she took her love for to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley?
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of gold
See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold

I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in fields of gold
We'll walk in fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of gold

When we walked in fields of gold
Near Prague and all across Europe in the late spring, farmers grow Colza for cooking oil.
This day, sunlight thrust itself between storm clouds, creating incredible lighting.

As summer sneaks in upon us, I hope to remember the golden fields, and to create and nurture a home of calm, and of beauty, and of lasting resonance. Somewhere where all who enter our gates may feel heartily welcomed and altogether secure, a place where we can be ourselves, a safe place where life can reflect the serenity of the plentiful fields of gold caressed by the sun.

To beautiful summer days ... 
as we walk in fields of gold ... 

Starting the Conversation: What do you look forward to about summer? Do you have travels, even around the bend, to discover something new?