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Inglenook: Welcome!


"Inglenook? What's Inglenook? Whose blog is this?"

...is probably what you're asking as you read this. Never fear, it's just me, Laurie, under a new alias. The days of My Heart Shall Rejoice are gone...Inglenook has arrived! Well, The Inglenook Companion, to be exact.

Let me explain myself.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of my first blog, Hoofprints and Roses, begun as an earnest, horse-loving twelve-year-old. Since then my blog has run through many iterations to suit my changing fancies. My Heart Shall Rejoice was actually the longest run, beginning as simply Rejoice! when I was fifteen. It's been 6 years!

Needless to say, my heart and dreams have grown and changed, and it seemed an appropriate time to change my blog identity—shift it to my grown-up tastes and future aims.

"That's all very well," you may say (primly sipping your tea), "But what's an inglenook?"

This. This is an inglenook.

From Wikipedia

More specifically, that little chimney corner seat tucked back in the wall...can you see it?

A short history: inglenooks were partly enclosed hearth spaces that hark back to medieval times, where family members could sit while the cook worked at the fire. It soon became a cozy and convenient place for people to gather during the Middle Ages, when every shred of heat was precious in drafty winter homes. 

Later, as prosperity and comfort grew, inglenooks were reduced to a decorative setting around the fireplace. Their social impact, however, continued. I love Stephen Holt's description from This Old House:
"A medieval symbol for hearth and home, the inglenook was placed at the very core of the house, usually in the hall. These shingled retreats were for summer resort living, a safe and carefree family home where all could gather around the fire on a foggy evening in the protective inglenook. ...[In modern architecture] it is not used for cooking and only occasionally for heating, but it strongly imparts feelings of sheltering welcome and domestic serenity."
Isn't that lovely?

Warmth and family, welcome and safety. A place to rest with a good book on a quiet afternoon, or bundle in with family and old blankets on a chilly evening. Laughter, stories, companionship. Life.

This is the atmosphere I want to encourage in my own home some day, and express to you through this blog...a blog you could read in your own "inglenook," as a sort of "home companion."

An Inglenook Companion, that is.

Many joys to you,
Laurie

Music Thursday: "Miserere Mei"

Good morning! Today is Music Thursday...not because of any particular musical association with Thursdays, but because I wanted to share a particular song I like. I'm intentional like that.

That song is Miserere Mei, a falsobordone setting (setting being the setting of a psalm to music, falsobordone being a style of musical recitation in the 15th-18th centuries) of Psalm 51, written by Gregorio Allegri around 1638.

I first heard the piece at a local choral concert with a friend--its strong melodies and haunting harmonies stuck in my mind, and I underlined it in the program to look up when I got home. Although I've since listened to it repeatedly, I never knew anything about it until this morning, when I looked it up to share with you.

 Allegri (1582-1652), an Italian priest and composer, wrote the work "on his own time"--or rather, not for a particular commission. Soon, however, his music caught the ear of Pope Urban VIII, who secured an appointment for him in the choir of the Sistine Chapel. He held this position until his death.

The Miserere itself offers a double-choir version of Psalm 51; one choir sings it chant-style and the other adds melodic embellishment...this is what creates that exquisite tapestry of sound. At some point after its writing (and for unknown reasons), the Misererei was forbidden to be transcribed and published (!!!) and  allowed to be sung only in the Sistine Chapel itself.

This continued until, as legend has it, a young composer by the name of Mozart visited the Sistine Chapel in 1770. After hearing the piece only twice, he transcribed it accurately from memory and took it home. Since then, the piece has spread through the world, with ornamentation added by performers until became what it is today.

Sharing it with you today is an appropriate coincidence, as the piece was traditionally performed during Holy Week back in the Sistine Chapel days. Here, the King's College Choir gives it at Easter, in the King's College chapel:


Psalm 51 itself holds one of my favorite verses, and many more that have been a mainstay of the Church for millenia:
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me."  Psalm 51:10-11
What a beautiful ode Miserere is to this heart-felt, repentant Psalm. The Psalmist earnestly desires to serve the Lord with a pure heart, not half-way and steeped in sin. Praise the Lord for His incredible sacrifice at the Cross--the meaning of Easter, and the reason this song was sung--which enables us to live that Spirit-given, Spirit-filled victory over sin! I pray this song blesses you as much as it did me.

Laurie

A Penny for My Thoughts

Well, I haven't been here since Thanksgiving! And I had planned to write at least one post about the new year and "thundering newness" and other esoteric feelings about 2018 (it's probably better I didn't). Happy March, anyway!

I've been thinking about...

...Amazing new opportunities as a graphic designer at our church. I'm actually a ministry "intern" now, and am shortly starting an Assemblies of God Bible school program (which is combined with the internship). I had looked at this program a couple years ago, but it wasn't the time yet. Now, it is! The Lord has pulled me into a group of awesome people that love Him, and I'm excited to start my first real ministry experience with them.

...How much fun it would be to write a travel blog. But first you have to travel. Hmm.

...Having stripped my phone down to the barest essentials of being a "phone." I'm tired of its technological tyranny over my life...so I deleted every app I don't need for work or true convenience. Even the email app went. Crazy, I know.

...But have you read Cal Newport's book "Deep Work"? If you haven't, you need to. You might chuck your phone out the window when you're done. Or at least delete your social media accounts, like me.

...Except for my art-focused Instagram account (my own sketches, preview-able at the bottom of my blog in a handy-dandy widget!). I actually started it around Christmas in an effort to keep myself accountable with daily practice of my art. It worked! However, app access for it went "adios" in the phone purge as well...now I'll only be able to update by transferring the photos to a computer. Less distracting. (Goodbye, Instagram "Explore" page!)

...How I want to read more. My reading life has dwindled to almost nothing in the last couple years, and it nags at my conscience every time I walk past my "half-finished book" lineup. Reading is too slow for the 21st century, too sober and wise and peaceful. But how I crave that wisdom of centuries past to seed and shape my own life!

...Our last two GORGEOUSLY cloudy, rainy days. Maybe people in Seattle are tired of rain. Not me! Not here! (We live in Arizona.)

...The saying my Papa has: "Simplicity is the keynote of art." The more I've thought about it, though, the more I am convinced that simplicity is the keynote of life. I crave it in every corner of my days, from the inside out. Simple thoughts, fewer belongings, unmuddied focus. Why? Because simplicity brings peace and depth. The fewer things you run after, the farther you'll be able to go. I want to go far.

...The difference more Bible reading makes. A devotional email from Kim Potter prompted me to take my Bible reading plan seriously (9 chapters a day, people!) and I'm already seeing the change in my thought life and desires. It feels so good!

...The fact that I haven't finished today's reading yet. Oops. Better get on it.

Go in peace,
Laurie