Monday, June 21, 2010

Caring for My Soul

The days - if we let them - will get away from us. Before we know it, we will have given them to things that really don't matter much. We'll give them to worry, to stress, to pain, to boredom, or to waiting. Freely, we just give our time away.

Beside my desk, or bed, or favorite chair, or even in the car, I try to keep something close to me that helps me remember the importance of time. These things can be photos, notes that I've written, or a book.

One of my favorite books, given to me long ago by a friend, is a book of hours. It's a simple set of pages separated into days of the week and then into specific hours of each day. I've had the book 10 years now and haven't started or finished it. My practice is to pick up the book when I think about it and turn to the page that represents the day and time best. Today, I picked up the book and turned to Monday, Noon. There I found a piece written by John Burroughs.
An excerpt that means a lot to me:

Nature-love as Emerson knew it, and as Wordsworth knew it, and as any of the choicer spirits of our time have known it, has distinctly a religious value. It does not come to a man or a woman who is wholly absorbed in selfish or worldly or material ends. Except ye become in a measure as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of Nature - as Audubon entered it, as Thoreau entered it, as Bryant and Amiel entered it, and as all those enter it who make it a resource in their lives and an instrument of their culture.

John Burroughs, American (1837-1921)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Open House

It has been one hell of a month. Not only has it been business as usual with work and family, but I've had to add to my list preparing the house for an open house and showing.

I've moved thousands of pounds of river rock and mulch, planted a number of trees and bushes, painted in and out, stained concrete, pressure washed, etc. You get the idea. It's been grueling.

BUT, it has really paid off. The open house went incredibly well. The biggest comment: "How on Earth could you and your family ever move out of such a spectacular home?"

The truth is, it's home and we love it, but we have projects to do, places to go, things to see. So change is necessary.

The most rewarding part of the open house evening for me and my wife was welcoming into our home many lovers of mid-century modern architecture. Among them was Alan Ingram, the original architect of our home. What an incredible pleasure it was to see his reactions to all of the updates, especially the 1500 square foot addition designed by Bruce Berberick. Bruce and Alan got along famously. Alan loved Bruce's addition to "his" creation.

Below is an email from Alan I received after the showing. Thanks Alan and thanks Bruce. AND thanks Shonn for being our Realtor.

The soiree held last night by Mr. and Mrs. Mike Carroll, owners of ‘the Mann House' in Charlotte was an outstanding success. Some 50-60 guests attended and toured the house, a mid-century modern tri-level.

The house was designed by Alan Ingram, and has a beautiful studio for Mike Carroll’s very professional photography practice, designed by architect Bruce Berberick. Striking as the house is, it serves as a display platform for the beautiful furnishings selected by the owners.

This is one you really should visit. I was knocked over by the sensitive design of the interiors and careful placement of
objets d’art.

Alan Ingram

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What inspires you?

This nation has been suffering some fairly bad times for a couple years now. Not only in the financial markets, but also environmentally. We've seen earthquakes, floods, and now an ocean bleeding hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil a day.

When will it stop? When will we just be able to take a breath? For goodness sake, my 3 year old wants to know if she'll be able to swim in the ocean this summer. She wants to know why the oil is in the Gulf.

It breaks my heart to listen to the reports each day. It's one of the reasons my wife and I long ago rid our house of cable and TV. We get all the news we need from reports via the internet or the newspapers. Even that is overload at times.

Back to my title for this entry - with all of this bad news, how do we keep going? Why do we keep going? For me there are so many reasons that I keep hope close to me. These are the same reasons I get up each day and have a cup of coffee and try my best to do my bit to make this life meaningful. It's not a simple time but my reasons are simple: