dual personalities

Come, ye thankful people, come

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Today I am taking a half day at work, followed by a 4-day weekend. Huzzah.

My nephew Tim is driving in today from Crawfordsville, Indiana, and so is daughter #1 from Columbia. I will be in the kitchen cooking–terra incognita, for sure. But maybe we will have a dance party.

8f6180883df0ad438082a92665a38151--vintage-thanksgiving-thanksgiving-dinners.jpgAs you are celebrating Thanksgiving with your family and friends tomorrow, keep in mind what Joyce Meyer says: “Go home, and let all your relatives off the potter’s wheel. You are not the potter!”

Relax. Have a great day. Watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

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or Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

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Count your blessings. Life is good.

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Don’t look so surprised!

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose Word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for His own abode;
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou mayst smile at all thy foes.

–John Newton, Anglican Hymn

If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven

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If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven,

Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light,

Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content:—

The stars pre-eminent in magnitude,

And they that from the zenith dart their beams,

(Visible though they be to half the earth,

Though half a sphere be conscious of their brightness)

Are yet of no diviner origin,

No purer essence, than the one that burns,

Like an untended watch-fire on the ridge

Of some dark mountain; or than those which seem

Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter lamps,

Among the branches of the leafless trees.

All are the undying offspring of one Sire:

Then, to the measure of the light vouchsafed,

Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content.

–William Wordsworth, 1832

The wee babes would probably prefer to shine in place contentedly at home, but their adoring parents are always dragging them hither and yon to experience LIFE. Sunday night they went to see the Christmas lights at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

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Little Lottie was, per usual, not impressed. The little bud was more game,

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but, yikes, it was cold out there! I’m sure we did the same thing ourselves back in the day. ‘Tis the season after all…

Personally, I am looking forward to watching the Macy’s Parade from the comfort of my couch.

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Daughter #1 will join us this year. For 5 years she watched the famous parade from various windows on the UWS or on the actual street. Indeed, when she would walk home late Wednesday night after her show aired, she saw the giant balloons gathered on Central Park West.  Life is decidedly less glamorous back in flyover country, but mimosas will be served.

Tonight I shop for the feast. Huzzah.

“Fling wide the portals of your heart; make it a temple, set apart”*

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Thanksgiving is upon us. If you were out shopping at all this weekend, you know that Christmas is upon us. I made the mistake of going to Target, which was very crowded, and then going to Home Goods, which was crazy! Well, I managed to find gold tapers, so all was not lost.

The OM and I went out to dinner on Saturday night with some old friends. When we got home we watched a terrible movie–Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017). Charlie Hunnam couldn’t save this CG insanity which reportedly cost $175 million to make. Why, Lord, why?

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The double feature of two funny movies–The Great Outdoors and Uncle Buck, which we watched on Friday night, was much better. At least there was a discernible story in each.

The rest of the weekend I cleaned a lot at home in anticipation of multiple guests later this week. I ran over to the boy’s house after church to see the wee babes, whom I had not seen for two weeks! They are as brilliant as ever, but I didn’t take any pictures.

The OM made soup on Sunday night. (It’s that time of year again.) I washed the dishes.

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It’s a short work week! Enjoy it.

*Hymn #436, George Weissel (1590-1633)

Saturday sleuthing

As you know, I’ve been going through boxes of old papers and letters whenever I can find the time. In my latest foray into the past, I found this business card:

It brings back some good memories. Back in the early 1960s we had a large black and white TV in a nice Maple case that looked more or less like this.

Its insides were full of complex tubes and wires.

Periodically, when one of those little glass tubes needed replacing, some fuse blew, or one of the more delicate knobs required fine tuning, we called Danny, the owner of the business card shown above. He would come right away and fix the machine.

Danny’s visits always thrilled this little dual personality. From his first appearance when I was three or four (?), we became fast friends. Danny always seemed like a kind of magician to me. While my father couldn’t make heads or tails of all that circuitry, Danny understood it all! More important than his technical expertise, he was an incredibly cheerful, friendly and tolerant guy, who never seemed to mind that I hung around watching what he did and chattering incessantly. I probably drove him crazy, but he never let on. His acceptance meant a lot to me. Alas, time flies. We got another TV and rarely needed to call a repairman, and I grew self-conscious anyway. Gone was the outgoing chatterbox of yore.

Finding the business card brought all of that back to me. I was chagrined to discover no last name on the card, but I did look up the address. It’s a nice little house in nice suburb and it happens to be for sale.

My sleuthing discovered that a Daniel W. Witt and his family once lived there. He’s now 92 — could he be our Danny? I don’t know, but if I did identify him correctly and someone close to him ever finds this post, I’d like to say thank you for being kind to a silly little girl way back when.

Isn’t the internet wonderful?

 

 

 

Friday? Oh hell yes

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The end of another week. After a big work event today, I will be ready for a low-key weekend and a tall glass of wine tonight.

As it is November and we are approaching Thanksgiving with alarming rapidity, I have been thinking about gratitude.  I am grateful for and proud of my scholarly academic relatives, including daughter #2 who just had her first scholarly article published in a scholarly journal: “Sentimentalism and Secularism in Pierre” in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. (I cannot even spell “sentimentalism”…spellcheck corrected me.)

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She has been working diligently to finish her dissertation and we are praying hard for her. She won’t be home for Thanksgiving, but we’ll be thinking of  her and looking forward to seeing her at Christmas.

I am also grateful for Dierbergs Market which will be cooking our Thanksgiving turkey for us.

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I’m sure they will do a heck of a job. I will be doing my best to rustle up my cheesy potato casserole and open a can of cranberry sauceee99e6f9-eb1a-430d-a68d-0558cefba577_1.402270de716c2fe121299c317d2d79cc

and pop some crescent rolls in the oven.

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 6.27.35 AMI will be counting on others to bring the rest. I am grateful for the ten adults who are coming and for the two wee babes who will join us at the table.

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Did someone say cranberry sauce?

So this weekend I will be readying the house for overnight guests (daughter #1 and my nephew Tim from Indiana) and the dining room for the feast.  I am grateful for the opportunity to do this. Time to get out the china and the crystal and the festive tablecloth. Time to iron the napkins and arrange the centerpiece.

I am looking forward to our annual viewing of Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) on Thanksgiving, so tonight my movie pick is for something else from the John Candy/Steve Martin oeuvre: Uncle Buck (1989) or The Great Outdoors (1988); Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)–something along those lines that will help us get in the holiday state of mind.

Also, this obit for a flyover collector was interesting.

Have a great weekend!

Society never advances

“Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts. …The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and so being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents; and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a Christianity entrenched in establishments and forms, some vigor of wild virtue. For every Stoic was a Stoic; but in Christendom where is the Christian?”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

What would old Emerson think of the age of computers and artificial intelligence…with self-driving cars and drones that bomb people and places on the other side of the world…

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Discuss among yourselves.

Thoughts and (more) prayers

Do you need a little mid-week pick-me-up? Mandisa will lift your spirits! Don’t be embarrassed–sing along!

Here’s a thought for today from Frederick Buechner:

“God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference. Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. But I believe that there are some things that by and large God is always saying to each of us. Each of us, for instance, carries around inside himself, I believe, a certain emptiness—a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right inside his skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangement, but whatever you call it, I doubt that there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation, the lonely crowd. Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him. But he also speaks to us about ourselves, about what he wants us to do and what he wants us to become; and this is the area where I believe that we know so much more about him than we admit even to ourselves, where people hear God speak even if they do not believe in him. A face comes toward us down the street. Do we raise our eyes or do we keep them lowered, passing by in silence? Somebody says something about somebody else, and what he says happens to be not only cruel but also funny, and everybody laughs. Do we laugh too, or do we speak the truth? When a friend has hurt us, do we take pleasure in hating him, because hate has its pleasures as well as love, or do we try to build back some flimsy little bridge? Sometimes when we are alone, thoughts come swarming into our heads like bees—some of them destructive, ugly, self-defeating thoughts, some of them creative and glad. Which thoughts do we choose to think then, as much as we have the choice? Will we be brave today or a coward today? Not in some big way probably but in some little foolish way, yet brave still. Will we be honest today or a liar? Just some little pint-sized honesty, but honest still. Will we be a friend or cold as ice today? All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance—not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave…be merciful…feed my lambs…press on toward the goal.”

And here’s a prayer for today:

“Much as we wish, not one of us can bring back yesterday or shape tomorrow. Only today is ours, and it will not be ours for long, and once it is gone it will never in all time be ours again. Thou only knowest what it holds in store for us, yet even we know something of what it will hold. The chance to speak the truth, to show mercy, to ease another’s burden. The chance to resist evil, to remember all the good times and good people of our past, to be brave, to be strong, to be glad.”

–Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

And did you know that November is Prematurity Awareness Month? The wee babes are literally poster kids for it!

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“Be Thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.”*

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Today the Episcopal Church celebrates the feast day of Samuel Seabury (November 30, 1729 – February 25, 1796) who was the first American Episcopal bishop and the second Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.

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In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Seabury earned a reputation as a staunch defender of the Church of England. During his participation in the founding of King’s College (Columbia University) his four Loyalist pamphlets from “A.W. Farmer” (or Letters from a Westchester Farmer) incurred the rage of American patriots.

Despite his anti-Revolutionary sentiments, Seabury became increasingly concerned that the Colonies needed a bishop. His adversaries, especially the Congregationalists, regarded such a move as a further encroachment of the Church of England, and thus the English Crown, upon the American Colonies. But Anglicans supportive of the American Revolution–George Washington among them–could no longer comfortably worship and take communion in a church officially tied with King George III. Thus, the Episcopal Church came into existence.

Seabury sailed for England in 1783 for his consecration, because even though the Episcopal Church was formally separate from the Church of England, it was still spiritually and theologically aligned. Another awkward situation, to say the least. So awkward, in fact, that the Anglican Church refused to consecrate Seabury. So Seabury turned to the Scottish Church, which granted his request. Bishop Seabury then returned to America to bolster and expand the Episcopal Church in the newly recognized United States of America.

You may recall that there used to be a seminary named in Seabury’s honor–Seabury-Western Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. However, it ceased operations as a residential seminary granting the Master of Divinity degree in May 2010, and in January 2012 it moved from Evanston to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America headquarters. In 2013, it joined with Bexley Hall and became part of the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation.

There are now ten accredited seminaries of the shrinking Episcopal Church. One can’t help but wonder what old Samuel Seabury would think of his turmoil-torn Church these days.

Eternal God, you blessed your servant Samuel Seabury with the gift of perseverance to renew the Anglican inheritance in North America: Grant that, joined together in unity with our bishops and nourished by your holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

As for this, no comment.

*Isaac Watts, O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Be Thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.

Pray, and praise thee without ceasing*

In church on Sunday I got to read I Thessalonians 4:13-18 wherein Paul attempts to prepare the Thessalonians for the return of Jesus when they will be reunited with all those who have died in Christ: For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Good stuff.

The weekend was a busy one and a fun one! We did all the things on our to-do list, plus more things, like grocery shopping, laundry and vacuuming! But we never connected with the wee babes. Their parents are busy too. Oh well, c’est la vie.

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Another busy work week looms with another event at the end on Friday. Onward and upward.

*Hymn 657, Charles Wesley

Change of plan…

So, I just spent all morning writing a nice, sad post about remembering WWI and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele (3rd Ypres), where 70,000 British, Canadian, and ANZAC soldiers died and 275,000 more were wounded between July and November 10, 1917.

Alas, when I went back to see if anyone had commented, my post wasn’t there. I don’t know what went wrong, but I’ll take that as a sign that I should discuss something cheerier today.

Therefore, I shall move from the sublime to the ridiculous and post about Thor: Ragnarok, which I saw last Tuesday evening after a long, long day at work. It kept me awake!

Directed by Taika Waititi of Hunt for the Wilderpeople fame, Thor: Ragnarok is a funny, over-the-top (no WWI pun intended) wild, escapist romp. You know how I feel about superhero movies, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The cast members had great chemistry and superb comedic timing, and were clearly having fun. Sure it had lots of CGI, but it fit. If you want to escape the world for a couple of hours and laugh out loud while doing it, I recommend Thor.

If you don’t want special effects, then try another movie I just watched: the great 1940 classic, His Girl Friday, starring Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. The witty dialogue is delivered rapid-fire and no one misses a beat. I can’t wait to use the line, “You’re wonderful… in a loathsome sort of way.”

And talk about superb comedic timing…these two are perfect! The subject matter — journalists covering a corrupt local government’s mishandling of a murder case — stands the test of time. This is not a movie that would work with cell phones and computers, so let’s hope no one tries to remake it.

Given that it is the 99th anniversary of the end of WWI, you might be up for a WWI movie. Prepare to be sad. I would recommend any of the following:

  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  • Wings (1927)
  • La Grande Illusion (1937)
  • The Dawn Patrol (1938)
  • Gallipoli (1981)
  • A Very Long Engagement (2004)
  • Behind the Lines (aka Regeneration) (1997)

What have I missed?