There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Friday, 1 February 2013

Downton, Midwives, and Tickets

By now all of my American family and friends have seen and cried through the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  Last spring when I watched in horror as Lady Sybil died in childbirth, I knew I had to seal my lips and not breath a word of it to anyone back home--and it was hard not to even hint at the heartache ahead.  The secret is out now and I can finally commiserate with everyone as we discuss the arrogance of the plummy doctor and the shock of losing a loved one so quickly--something that, less than a hundred years ago, was still a fact of life for too many women and the families they left behind.

Women and childbirth is the theme of another series, this one done by the BBC, that Stuart and I have been glued to called, Call the Midwife.  It follows a group of young midwives and nuns in the East End of London in the late 1950's.  It's a time of transition in Britain as the NHS provides, for the first time, medical care and treatment for all, yet home births are still the norm.  It's beautifully and gracefully written, balancing the tension between the reality of East End poverty, and the grace and tender mercies these young women learn from people living the harshest of lives.  It's produced in conjunction with PBS in America, and series one has already aired in the U.S., so it's available on DVD and hopefully will be reshown very soon.  We're in the middle of series two here, so watch for it on PBS this spring or summer.

One more important note for Downton Abbey fans:  Tickets for Highclere Castle's summer opening are now on sale.  Tickets for Easter through to the end of May are already sold out, but tickets for July 14th to September 12th (Monday-Thursday) are now on sale.  My sister is coming to visit this summer, so ours are purchased and everything is set for our visit to Highclere in August.  You can purchase tickets here.

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