dual personalities

Category: Christmas

There’ll be much mistletoeing/And hearts will be glowing

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The Christmas cactus bloomed on schedule and we had a lovely week, full of family and friends and good food.

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It went by too fast–daughter #2 and DN are leaving today! Hopefully next week I’ll be able to process it all and I’ll have a few more postcards from our flyover Christmas. Let’s all try to hold on to the good vibes.

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One thing and another

As I have mentioned, I am reading the book of Luke, one chapter a day, in the month of December. I am enjoying it very much. It is all very familiar, but it is amazing how you forget specific things, such as this great passage in chapter 18:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

What a great reminder to all of us that we Pharisees need to be mindful of being sinners ourselves. “God be merciful to me a sinner!” indeed.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 9.32.03 PM.pngIn other news, it took two days, but we finally got the big tree up! The boy came over twice!

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We had to go to Walgreen’s twice to buy more  lights! Are we getting old or what? Don’t answer that!

It is that time of year when TCM Remembers all the Hollywood types who have died during the year:

There are a lot of familiar faces in there, including Valentina Cortese, Albert Finney, Rip Torn, Stanley Donen, and, of course, Doris Day. I was surprised to see Herman Wouk included–I somehow missed that he died in his sleep at the age of 103 in May. He was an interesting guy who wrote some good books that were made into good movies. Also, it might be time to dust off The War Wagon (1967) in memory of Robert Walker, Jr., who played Billy, the demolition expert, so affectingly.

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Anyway, I also just heard about a dear friend and fellow Episcopalian who died shoveling snow earlier in the week. Ruby had to be in her mid-eighties at least, but no one was going to tell her not to shovel her own driveway. I always said that Ruby would have made a good pioneer and, indeed, she died with her boots on, literally. I will miss her so much.

Into paradise may the angels lead you, Ruby. At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

On the brighter side, daughter #1 comes home for Christmas today. Daughter #2 and DN are driving here from Maryland and should arrive on Monday.

O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Even I am getting excited.

Tidings of comfort and joy

Here are the dual personalities back in 1959–sixty years ago! According to our mother’s penciled notation, the first picture was taken on Christmas Eve. I was dressed like an elf; I probably annoyed my brother.

img010.jpgThe snapshot below was taken on Christmas morning. I remember those dresses–they were red with white pinafores.

img011.jpgThe tree looks kind of sad, but I’m sure we thought it was beautiful. We had quite a haul from Santa.

I was 3 1/2, our brother was 8 1/2 and my sister had just turned one. Tomorrow is her birthday! We wish her a happy day.

In other news, we had a snow day yesterday. It snowed on Sunday and the weather folk presented dire predictions of ice and snow to come. The OM drove me to MoBap for my radiation treatment at 7:30 on Monday morning and we got there and home just fine. I had decided not to go in to work and it was a good call. It snowed most of the day.

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You can hardly tell, but it was really coming down here!

I got out the Christmas tree ornaments in anticipation of the boy coming over tonight to take the tree out of the garage, put it in the stand and hang the lights on it.

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I know, these pictures look the same every year. What can I say?

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We didn’t get a chance to see the wee babes over the weekend, but they did go to the NICU reunion Christmas party where they got to see Santa. The wee laddie had his doubts…

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…but Lottie was cool with it.

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 10.48.46 AM.pngThe boy also sent pictures of the babes frolicking in the snow on their snow day.

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“I can’t move my arms!”

Well, that was fun, but here’s hoping MODOT has done its job and we can all get to work today!

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I only have three work days ’til I am off for the holidays, and I can’t wait!

Dear Santa Claus

And the Lord will guide you continually,
    and satisfy your desire with good things,
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters fail not.

–Isaiah 58:11 (RSV)

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What do you want for Christmas? All I want is the usual–for everyone in my family to be happy with the gifts I give them. I would also like my eyebrows and eyelashes to grow back. 😑

By the way, the wee babes turned three on Wednesday!

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They are still pretty little, but they’ve come a long way, haven’t they?

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One and a half pounds!

They never cease to amaze me.

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Yes, Santa came to the NICU!

Although there are two weekends before Christmas, I know that this is the last weekend when I will actually be able to get much done, so that is my plan. Maybe we’ll even get the tree up. (Maybe not.) How about you?

While I am getting things done, I will be listening to Christmas music. Here’s one of my favorite carols, based on an old Longfellow poem, and sung by Casting Crowns.

You can read the poem here.

Go tell it on the mountain

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Oh, weekends in December! There is always so much to do. I wrapped a boatload of presents and went to the “Holiday Sale” at my church. I bought some used books. (I had donated three cartons of books, so I came out on top of that equation.)

The OM and I bought our Christmas tree at the neighborhood Optimists’ lot. We found one right away and bundled it home where it is waiting in the garage to be set up and decorated at a later date.

We also went to see They Shall Not Grow Old (2018), a documentary film about WWI directed by Peter Jackson. My DP wrote about the documentary last year when she saw it. It was an impressive film, no doubt about it, but I have to say, after ten minutes I was thinking, “Why did I want to see this movie?” I stayed for the whole thing, but it was an extremely unpleasant experience. Trench warfare, bad. I get it. There are a lot of good things to say about this movie, but reading about it would have been enough for me. We came home and watched The Commancheros (1961) which made me feel much better.

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I went to the 8:00 service at church again and came home and finished A Serpent’s Tooth by Craig Johnson, a Longmire novel I had been re-reading. Speaking of books, I also read Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry last week. I admire McMurtry a lot, but this book, written in 1975, did not really grab me. I think it was supposed to be funny and I was not really amused. I read half and then skipped to the end. The movie you will recall, was a huge hit back in 1983. It won five Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay. You can’t say that about many movies! I had never actually seen it, so we watched it on Amazon Prime this weekend.

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Shirley MacLaine was very good, but I was not that impressed with Debra Winger, who I was not surprised to read was high on cocaine the whole time. It is a “funny” movie that turns tragic and then everyone cries and feels better. Standard stuff. Movies like this were a dime a dozen in the 1930s and 40s.

By the time the wee babes came over for dinner on Sunday night the OM and I were kind of exhausted. They ran circles around us as usual. Lottie wanted to have a dance party and was disappointed that daughter #1 was not there to spin the records. C’est la vie, Lottie; this indeed is life.

Last night we went to the Lutheran Church where the wee babes go to pre-school to see their Christmas program, which consisted of the 2-5 year old munchkins singing a few Christmas carols. It was chaos, but adorable. There was no way to take any pictures, because all we could really see was other grandparents holding up cell phones to record the occasion. This would have bothered me back in the day with my own children, but now I just go with the flow.IMG_4749.JPG

Here is a picture the boy took of them practicing last week. (They were a lot more dressed up last night.) Those 2-year olds in the front really have no clue! (Especially that wee laddie who is not even facing in the right direction.)

Go tell who on what mountain? Hang in there–only two weeks ’til Christmas!

Besides this, you know what time it is*

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Well, it is December now, so everyone is all about decorating for Christmas. (In fact, people around here got started on this ridiculously early and way before Thanksgiving this year.) Even the wee babes have gotten into the act at their preschool.

Daughter #1 helped me get a start on our own home decoration over the long weekend, hauling up boxes from the basement and unwrapping ornaments and such. We put up the little tree in the dining room and set up the mantle.

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We also got a start on our Christmas movie viewing, watching Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

and White Christmas (1954).

It is all a lot of foolishness when you think about it. And I grant you, like everything else, it has gotten out of hand, but I still love it. I am as guilty as the next person of overdoing it. To each, his own.

Since it was the first Sunday in Advent, we went to church. We went to the 8 o’clock service which is much smaller and does not include hymns, but it still counts. And I am reading the book of Luke, one chapter a day, which is a good reminder of what the hoopla is really all about.

*Romans 13:11–14

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

“And offered there in his presence their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense”*

…great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (I Timothy 3:16)

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It is hard to believe that Christmas week is over. We tried to keep our focus where it belonged.

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@johnbcrist (Instagram)

Indeed, this thought was at the forefront of our minds…but the presents sure are fun.

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Also the Christmas movies…

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And the toasting…

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Alas, soon it will be back to the salt mine…but we’ll be celebrating one more time tonight with the wee babes, their parents and daughter #1. I think this calls for champagne!

*Hymn 109

The bells began to chime

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This morning we are driving daughter #2 and DN to the airport. We had a super fun week with them. We threw a party and we went to a party. We went to church on Christmas Eve and opened presents on Christmas morning. We made a delicious Christmas feast. We sat around and talked a lot. We ate a lot and toasted a lot. We watched movies. We played with the wee babes.

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We packed a whole lot of fun into a few days. We will miss them so much.

Sigh.

Some of us slept through it, but c’est la vie.

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O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Shocked and slightly embarrassed by the sight of Larry in a towel

 

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But not for too long…the wee babes are coming over this morning to hang out with us and give their mommy a few hours to do whatever. I am really looking forward to catching up with Larry and Bob:

Meanwhile, zut alors, vacation is speeding by! Pump the brakes!

Then let us all with one accord Sing praises to our heavenly Lord

IMG_5182.JPGThis was the most precious moment of my Christmas Eve…the wee laddie sitting on my lap toward the end of the Christmas Eve service, entertaining himself by paging through the Book of Common Prayer. I mean, c’mon…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!