Finding what feeds them

It is the Martinmas season. A season when we just start that spiral inward. A season when we search deep within ourselves for that inner spark that lights our way in life. I have been spending some time really looking at our girls, asking myself, "what ignites their passion?" "What is lighting them and how can we nurture those inner sparks?" "How can we support their interests, so that as they grow older their choices in life truly feed them?"

Here is what I see at this moment in their young lives--

Drawing, playing classical violin, tricky mathematics, geography and architecture all make Elizabeth just glow. She likes to find patterns and order in the world.

Writing poetry, singing, modern art, and all things Tudor England set Helen alight. After sinking into the deep color of a Rothko painting or losing herself in the writing of a poem, she emerges nourished.

This weekend we went on a day-trip that spoke deeply to them both. Our first stop was a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Lou absolutely loved it. She loved the patterns of the architecture. She loved how the furniture connected to the building. I could see her mind organizing every horizontal line in the house.

she wouldn't get in any photos

The biggest in-take of breath, however, was when she saw the piano, cello, and music stand. Oh, she wants her Dad to build her a Frank Lloyd Wright music stand. The idea that someone would design a house around the performance of music was a big one for her.

photo courtesy, Currier Museum

Helen also enjoyed the house, but she lit up at the art museum when she got to visit her favorite artists--Mark Rothko and Georgia O'Keefe. She also loved hanging out in this big sculpture called Origins.

It was a wonderful day. This season, I hope I can continue to find the contemplative moments to really see my girls and feed those inner sparks.

Susan  – (November 8, 2010 at 2:56 PM)  

This season has got me thinking about my children, too. Sometimes I don't feel up to the task of nurturing their inner spark. But, my, what a fine job you are doing, Sarah. You and your family always inspire me.

Dawn  – (November 8, 2010 at 7:56 PM)  

I like the idea of asking that question about our children..."what ignites their passion?" I'm glad you were able to spend time doing things that do just that with your girls this weekend. Looks fun!

Anonymous –   – (November 9, 2010 at 10:19 AM)  


You may be surprised to know that Frank Lloyd Wright actually did design a music stand. The last time I visited his home in Wisconsin, called Taliesin, it was on display in the house. You may be able to find plans for it in a book, or somewhere on the internet.

BTW, your daughter has excellent taste in art. Mark Rothko is one of my very favorite artists, and my wife is a huge fan of Georgia O'Keefe. Since she seems to enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright as well, you may be interested to know about this book ( Might make a nice gift for her.

In Houston there is a small meditational chapel designed by world famous architect Renzo Piano. The chapel was designed specifically for the display of Rothko's art, and it is part of a museum called the Menil Collection. It is open to the public.

And in New Mexico there are several sites related to O'Keefe and her life, including a place called the Ghost Ranch, where she lived and had a studio.

Hope some of this information is helpful to you and your daughter. Enjoy.

Anonymous –   – (November 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM)  

Me again. The Frank Lloyd Wright house you visited looks to be the Zimmerman Residence, which is owned by the Currier Museum in New Hampshire. Correct?

Sarah  – (November 9, 2010 at 10:26 AM)  

Hi-- Yes, we were at the Zimmerman House. Before touring the house we watched a Frank Lloyd Wright documentary where his friendship with Georgia O'Keefe was mentioned. Helen was thrilled and has become interested in how artists and architects are connected.

We visited the "Rothko Chapel" at the National Gallery of Art which is what I think began her fascination with Rothko.

Now it's all "frank stella" as there is a big exhibition of his work here in NH and she has had the opportunity to meet hime.

Tammy  – (November 9, 2010 at 1:44 PM)  

I just LOVE this season too...beautiful in so many physical and spiritual ways. :)

This post was a real treat to read today. ♥

Anonymous –   – (November 11, 2010 at 6:48 AM)  

I have 3 girls, all in such different stages, different that I am working full-time, it is so much harder to have the energy but posts like this gently remind me that it must be priority #1 and to press on.

Suzanne  – (November 11, 2010 at 6:03 PM)  

What wonderful trips for your girls. Lovely post sharing how your really trying to *know* your children.

anna  – (November 19, 2010 at 3:55 AM)  

You sound like such a wonderful family! I love your final lantern picture especially - such a beautiful warm light in the darkness.

Lisa  – (November 19, 2010 at 9:35 AM)  

Thank you for this beautiful and timely reminder to ask, "what ignites their passion?" and for sharing yourself.

Tammy  – (November 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM)  

Sarah, I wanted to let you know I had to make my blog private. If you'll email me at I'll send you an invitation.

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